21 July 2015 – Minutes


Minutes of a Meeting of the Policy & Resources Committee held on 21 July 2015 at 6.30pm in the Upper Chamber, Thame Town Hall.

Present: Cllrs D Bretherton, N Champken-Woods, N Dixon (Town Mayor), D Dodds, M Dyer (Chairman), L Emery (Deputy Mayor), H Fickling, C Jones, P Lambert and T Wyse
Cllr Deacock
G Hunt, Town Clerk
A Oughton, Committee Services Officer
M Robinson, Office Administration Manager


1. Apologies for Absence

Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs Austin (Holiday) and Butler (Personal).

2. Declarations of Interest

There were no declarations of interest.

3. Public Participation

There were no applications to address the Committee.

4. Minutes

The Minutes of the meeting held on 21 April 2015 and 19 May 2015 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

Cllr Champken-Woods entered the meeting.

5. Budget Summary

Members received the budget summary up to 31 May 2015.

6. Investment Update

It was noted that there had been a decrease in capital return over the last quarter which may have been linked to uncertainty around the General Election and financial problems in Greece. Rathbone’s had managed the investments very well and levels were almost back to that prior to investments being realised to purchase the Depot.

7. Reports from Representatives on External Organisations

a) Barns Centre – Cllr Dodds reported that he and the Town Clerk had attended a meeting a few weeks ago. The financial statement would be discussed under item 8 of the agenda, however, it continued to reflect a healthy situation and that was testament to the good management of the Centre.

b) Citizens Advice Bureau – A presentation was to be made to Full Council on 28 July 2015.

c) Health Summit – Cllr Champken-Woods reported that a lot of positive work was going on behind the scenes but there was nothing formal to report at this time.

d) NALC – Cllr Dyer had tabled a report from the Conference he attended on 15 July 2015. This would be tabled as a discussion document at the Full Council meeting on 28 July 2015.

e) Thame Business Forum – Cllr Dyer had tabled a report explaining the background to the Business Forum and the success of the Open Doors Event held on 11 July 2015.

f) Thame & District Housing Association – No report.

g) 21st Century Thame – Cllr Fickling had tabled the minutes from the last meeting.

h) Welfare Trust – Cllr Champken-Woods reported that a meeting had taken place two weeks ago. The Trust were supporting the Lighthouse event which would take place next week. The Chairman of the Trust had requested that if Councillors, Community Groups or individuals were approached by someone with a need to please make a referral to the Welfare Trust. Very few hardship applications had been received in the last twelve months.

8. Thame Barns Centre

Members noted the draft Annual Report and Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2015. Cllr Dodds reiterated the positive comments made previously and that the Report showed a £24k surplus. Bookings were booming with nearly every weekend booked for different events.

9. Stones Close Allotments Society

The current Partnering Agreement between the Allotment Society and the Council had been in place for four years and was now due for renewal. The Allotment Society were happy for the terms of the Agreement to remain unchanged. The Council did not see a justification for an increase in the annual ground rent and it was proposed to hold it at the current level for 2015-16.


i) That the Partnering Agreement be signed and sealed.

ii) That the annual rent payable by the Stones Close Allotments Society for the period 2015-16 remain at £300.00.

10. Kebab Van

A request had been received from the owner to replace the current trailer. There would be no change to the current agreed trading area and the upgraded trailer would provide improved working conditions and storage.


i) The current trailer can be replaced with a similar trailer to that shown in the report.

11. Local Council Award Scheme

Cllr Bretherton had previously raised the question as to how the Council could best achieve accreditation to the Local Council Award Scheme. The Award scheme offered Councils the opportunity to show they met standards set by the sector whilst putting in place conditions for continued improvement.

There were three levels of Award; Foundation, Quality and Quality Gold, each required a registration fee of £50 to be paid together with an accreditation fee which varied according to the Award applied for, the income of the Council and the Council’s accreditation history.


i) The proposal to form a Working Group with the tasks, as stated in the report, be approved.

ii) Cllrs Bretherton, Champken-Woods and Dodds were appointed as members of the Working Group.

12. Telephone Contract

The current telephone contract with Incom Business Systems had been in place since April 2011 and was due for renewal. Four companies had been approached to submit a quotation for the new contract including Incom Business Systems.

After consideration it was proposed that a new contract be awarded to Incom Business Systems who were a tried and tested company and offered a reduction in rental and call charges.


i) A new three year maintenance contract with Incom Business Systems be approved.

13. Photocopier Contract

The five year lease with CBE Solutions Ltd for the photocopier was due to expire in November 2015. The agreement had worked well in that there was a fixed quarterly rental fee plus a pre-agreed price per black and white and colour copy.

Four companies had been approached to submit a quotation for the new lease agreement based on the current requirements. CBE Solutions had reduced its charges for both rental and copying which based on current usage would result in an estimated annual saving of £250.


i) A new five year contract with CBE Solutions Ltd be approved.

14. Human Resources and Health & Safety Contract

In 2012 the Council awarded a three year contract to Ellis Whittam who had provided a good service with a dedicated trained adviser. Ellis Whittam currently worked with over a 100 local councils and was endorsed by SLCC.

Four companies had been approached to submit a quotation for the new contract with Ellis Whittam providing a £200 annual saving on the current contract price. Not all the quotations received included the service of a dedicated adviser.


i) A new three year Human Resources and Health and Safety contract with Ellis Whittam be approved.

15. Council Policies

Members considered the minor changes shown in red, to the four policies, as suggested by Ellis Whittam. It was agreed that the suggested wording under item 4.1 of the First Aid at Work Policy should read ‘First aid boxes will be checked every three months with missing or out of date items replaced’.


i) The First Aid at Work Policy, the Health & Safety Policy, the Fire Safety Policy and the Fire Safety Management Policy be approved subject to the above amendment.

16. Energy Advisory Report

An inspection of the Town Hall was carried out in May by an approved energy assessor and a report produced. Public authorities were required to display information regarding their building’s energy use and the Energy Certificate was located in the lobby of the Town Hall.

Members noted the building had achieved a ‘C’ rating which for the age and structure of the building was considered good. The first three recommendations in section 3d) of the report would be considered when setting the budget.


i) The Energy Advisory Report was noted.

17. Transport Study

Cllr Bretherton tabled a draft Transport Study proposal for Members to consider. He had been frustrated by the County Council over the last few years who had missed opportunities to make improvements to the transport network in the town. The Oxford City Council had been similarly frustrated and had undertaken their own Transport Study and presented the results to the County Council. Cllr Bretherton suggested that Town Councillors took the lead and did the same.

Members felt it was important that any data gathered needed to be validated to carry any weight with regard to the recommendations the study would make. Threads to transport were identified in the Neighbourhood Plan, Getting Around section and the Green Living Plan. A transport study could be incorporated into either the Green Living Plan or the Neighbourhood Plan Continuity Group. It was agreed that a small group of Councillors would provide a scoping document for consideration at the Full Council meeting in October.

18. For Information

The information items were noted.

The meeting concluded at 7.35pm


Signed …………………………..
Chairman, 13 October 2015