18 February 2014 – Minutes
THAME TOWN COUNCIL
Minutes of a Meeting of the Policy & Resources Committee held on18 February 2014at6.30pm in the Upper Chamber, Thame Town Hall.
Cllrs D Bretherton (Vice Chairman), M Dyer (Chairman), L Emery,H Fickling,
AGunn,V Humphries, P Lambert (Town Mayor),J Matelot Green (Deputy Mayor) and M Welply
H Stewart, Town Clerk
Morag Robinson, Office Administration Manager
A Oughton, Committee Services Officer
1 Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs Butler (Medical),Champken-Woods (Unwell) and Dodds (SODC).
2 Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations of interest.
3 Public Participation
There were no applications to address the Committee.
The Minutes of the meeting held on 10 December 2013 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
5 Budget / Finance Summary
Members received the budget summary up to 31 December 2013. A full set of the accounts were available for Members to view at the meeting.
Expenditure – a query was raised regarding 107 – Grant Expenditure which showed a high percentage figure, this was due to grant money that had been agreed for Thame Players that had yet to come out of the budget. Income 101 – Central Services showed a 98.8 percent figure although the annual precept payment had been received in full. This was due to theestimated interest from bank accounts to year end.
The Rathbones Portfolio Performance Summary was noted.
7 Reports from Outside Bodies
a) Citizens Advice Bureau – Cllr Welply reported that following the reorganisation of CAB in Oxfordshire, Thame had enjoyed a period of stability, moral was high and staff and volunteers were working efficiently. Each CAB office was subjected to an audit every three years which covered finance and effectiveness. The Thame CAB had scored 88% for its quality of service which had put it in the top 10% of CAB offices throughout the UK. This achievement truly reflected the excellent service provided by well trained volunteers and staff at Thame.
b) Thame Museum Trust – Cllrs Emery and Bretherton reported that the Museum was shut for the first two months of the year to help keep running costs down. There had been concern that lowering the heating during the closure may damage some of the artifacts but regular checks had been carried out and there had been no adverse affect. There had been a couple of issues with the building due to the exceptionally wet weather, the door had swollen and a couple of water leaks had appeared in the roof. The issues had been reported to the council and action had been taken.
The Museum would re-open on 4 March with an exhibition ‘Two Hankies and A Ribbon’ followed by an exhibition on the First World War which would run from May to August. Finances were good with funding obtained through donations, events and membership subscription. Last Saturday saw the 10th anniversary of the formation of the Museum Trust.
c) Thame Barns Centre – Cllr Matelot Green reported that the Barns Centre would celebrate its 20th anniversary in October. The hire charges for the large and small barn had been discussed at a recent management meeting. The large barn was booked every weekend until the end of the year.
d) 21st Century Thame – Cllr Fickling reported that a project leader had been appointed for the equipment bank and Thame for Business. The environment group was looking at pedestrian routes around the town checking signage and had identified some footpaths without names. There were two outstanding grants for the shop front scheme after which it would close.
e) Thame and District Housing Association – Information about the Housing Association was included under item 16 b).
8 Swimming Pool
An outstanding invoice from the County Council for maintenance costs relating to the swimming pool for the years 2009/10 and 2010/11 was still under dispute.Payment on the invoice would not be made until further clarification of responsibility against the contract implemented in 2009. A request for a meeting with the County Council had been made toe resolve before the end of March 2014.
9 Financial Management
Over the past few months there had been six incidents of fraudulent cheques being presented through the council’s bank account, due to the vigilance of the bank all attempts had proved unsuccessful.
10 Internal Audit
The Council continued to operate sound and effective financial controls and procedures and no issues had been identified in the report.
i) That the interim Internal Audit Report for 2013-14 be approved.
11 Members’ Allowances
It was now a requirement for the Members’ Allowance to be taxed at source and subject to PAYE. An amendment had been made to the Scheme in section 3, paragraph 3.3 to reflect the change.
i) That the amended terms and conditions of the adopted Scheme be approved.
12 Chinnor Rugby Football Club
Discussion took place as to whether the Council would support a request from the Rugby Club for a loan if it was received. The total cost of the project to redevelop the facilities at the Club was £720k and funding would be sought from the Community Infrastructure Fund at SODC, Sport England, the Rugby Football Union, the New Homes Bonus and the Town Council.
Members agreed in principal to support the project financially by providing a loan, however, the fine detail on the period of the loan and whether interest would be charged would need to be explored in more detail.
13 Community Right to Bid
The Localism Act 2011 introduced the Community Right to Bid, which gave eligible organisations such as town and parish councils the opportunity to nominate assets believed to be important to their community wellbeing.
Possible assets to consider were Long Crendon Bridge, the Cattle Market, the Fire Station, land surrounding the Cuttle Brook and the Show Ground. It was suggested that the people of Thame should be invited to submit suggestions through the Council’s enewsletter and media coverage. It was agreed that a Working Group be set up to identify areas already touched on and others to gather information and report back to Full Council. Cllrs Emery, Fickling, Gunn and Welply agreed to be members of the Working Group.
The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) represented the interests of town and parish councils in England. Decision making within NALC was made through a democratic structure and individual town and parish councils were members of their local county association and the national association. The Town Council had not had a nominated representative to OALC (Oxfordshire Association of Local Councils) for many years and after discussion it was agreed that it would be beneficial for a councillor to be nominated to attend OALC meetings.
i) That the Chair of the Policy & Resources Committee be nominated as the representative to the county association.
ii) That Cllr Gunn attend the ‘What Next for Localism’ conference.
15 Cricket Club Lease
The Cricket Club had presented plans to Council to redevelop the Clubhouse, in order to apply for funding the Club needed to show it had a reasonable long term lease. Members agreed that in principal they were happy to review the terms of the lease.
i) That the draft heads of terms are reviewed.
16 For Information
a) Thame Neighbourhood Plan Frontrunner Fund – to note receipt of the balance remaining from the Government Frontrunner Grant.
b) Thame and District Housing Association – Further information.
c) Cheques Legislative Reform Order (LRO).
The above items were noted.
The meeting concluded at 7.46pm
Chairman, 22 April 2014