24 July 2023 – Minutes


Minutes of the Personnel Committee Meeting held on 24 July 2023 at 3pm in the Upper Chamber, Thame Town Hall.


Town Mayor, Cllr A Dite
Deputy Mayor, Cllr A Gilbert
Chairman of Policy and Resources, Cllr M Dyer
Chairman of Community, Leisure and Recreation, Cllr P Cowell
Chairman of Planning & Environment, Cllr H Fickling
Chairman of Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Committee, Cllr C Jones


M Sturdy (Town Clerk)


1 Apologies for Absence

No apologies were received.


2 Declarations of Interest and Dispensations

There were no declarations of interest or dispensations.


3 Public Participation and Public Questions

There were no applications to address the Committee.
There were no questions put to the Committee.


4 Minutes

The Minutes of the Committee Meeting held on 28 March 2023 were confirmed as a correct record, and were signed by the Chairman.


5 Long Service Awards

The committee discussed the number of additional days holiday which are given after 5 years’ service; It was noted that 5 days had been agreed at some point in the past and that there was no need to change this.


  1. The Long Service Awards Policy be adopted with the ‘5 days’ inserted into the text to confirm the agreed number of extra days awarded to staff after 5 years’ service.


6 Exclusion of the Public


  1. Under Section 1, Paragraph 2 of The Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960 the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business because publicity would be prejudicial to the public interest by reason of the confidential nature of the business to be transacted.


7 Training Feedback

a) A short presentation was given by the second member of the management team to have completed over 50 hours of leadership training. The manager highlighted areas of learning that they were already putting into practice including areas to support and develop their team.

The course highlighted the importance of being curious, creative, and critical in a leadership role as well as the benefits that come from being able to recognise and work on emotional intelligence.

Members were able to ask questions and commented on the quality of the ‘fantastic presentation’.


b) A short presentation was given by an officer who has completed half of the first year’s assignments for the level 4 Community Governance Qualification. The officer gave an overview of the course content and highlighted subjects they had chosen for some of the assignments to date. All are directly relevant to the work of the council and will provide opportunities for improvement in some areas. Although not graded as a degree at this level, the officer has received marks to date that would qualify for a first.

A pass mark for of 41% is required and the officer has received an average of 80% to date.

The officer explained that the course allows great opportunities for personal reflection and growth as well as being able to network and learn from other councils and guest speakers linked to the training. The course is challenging and has included more than 160 hours of study to date, much of which has been done in their own time.

Members were able to ask questions and congratulated the officer on the completed work to date.


c) As part of the clerk’s continuous professional development, they proposed that they register to complete the Level 4 Community Governance Qualification which would begin in February 2024 and run for 2 years. Whilst this will require significant additional time commitment for the clerk, they feel this is important to help the council’s continued improvement.

The committee discussed and agreed the merits of the course to continue the development of the council’s professionalism.


RECOMMENDED to Full Council:

  1. To support the clerk in undertaking the (Level 4) Community Governance Course.
  2. To fund the costs of the course by up to £6500 over two years.
  3. To approve setting up a training agreement between the council and clerk to include that the clerk must remain in employment with the council for 2 years following completion of the course or otherwise refund, pro rata the costs of the course.


8 Terms of Reference

A revision of the committee’s terms of reference (ToR) were shared for consideration. The clerk explained that the draft ToR reflected the responsibilities of the committee but that delegation 3 would subsequently need to be revised to note that the clerk’s meetings with the Mayor and Deputy Mayor should be known as briefings and not a sub-committee as confirmed by OALC[1].

Members discussed the composition which is made up of Mayor, Deputy Mayor and the head of each Committee. Whilst it was felt that it may be better to include members with specific (up to date) HR experience there was not a simple way to manage this. It was noted that the current Personnel Committee have a blend of skills and have a long working relationship with most of the current Council staff. The committee proposed that the ToR should include the ability to invite specialists to join meetings as required, subject to data protection; this may include the use of the Council’s contracted HR consultants.

The committee would like to keep the name of the committee the same for consistency.

A proposal was made to include an additional line in delegations, to ‘liaise with external organisation such as the council’s HR consultants as required’.

In line with delegation no 11, the committee discussed the need to review the training materials and available courses for councillors, for their suitability and quality. This would be a future exercise for officers and this committee.

The committee proposed that the discussed revisions be made and the put to full council for approval at an appropriate future date.

RECOMMENDED to Full Council:

  1. The revised ToR be approved at the next appropriate Full Council meeting.


9 Appraisal Process

The clerk explained the process and timescale for this year’s annual appraisals. The clerk’s appraisal and targets had been agreed and will be shared with the committee.


  1. The report and appraisal process be noted.


10 Staffing Matters Update

The clerk presented a report with updates relating to staffing matters including welfare.

Following the discovery of radon gas in the Town Hall basement, a suitable risk assessment has been carried out to ensure the ongoing safety of anyone needing to access the basement. This will include the need for continuous monitoring and may require some investment in improved ventilation.

A new process for monitoring staff absence was shared and noted.

The Staff Handbook is still under review with help from the council’s HR consultants and a law firm (the later has been paid for from a donation).

The committee were given an update on the 2023 / 24 cost of living pay awards which have yet to be agreed with the unions. These will be backdated to April 2023 once agreed and published by NALC.[2]  

A list of staff training requirements for the rest of this year was shared.

The clerk reported that two new members of staff had fitted in well at the Town Hall.


  1. The report be noted.


The meeting concluded at 5:25 pm.



Signed …………………………               Date: ……………………..




[1] Oxford Association of Local Councils

[2] National Association of Local Councils