MINUTES OF THE POLICY & RESOURCES COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON TUESDAY 8th AUGUST 2023
PRESENT: Cllr. Bunyan (in the Chair), Cllrs. Fletcher and Hatcher.
Apologies: Cllrs. Fairweather, Gilbert and Pethurst.
Declaration of Interests, Dispensations and Predetermination:
Members are required to declare any interests, dispensations or predetermination on items on this agenda in accordance with the Council’s Code of Conduct. Members are reminded that changes to the Register of Interests should be notified to the Clerk.
28/23: Internal finance check:
Cllr. Pethurst had previously confirmed that the internal finance check had been completed and everything was in order, all paperwork had been signed and initialled.
29/23: Authorisation of payments made after the July meeting:
A list of payments totalling £16,840.94 made after the July meeting, is filed with these minutes.
30/23: Transfers of monies between accounts:
It was confirmed that £125,000 had been transferred from the Lloyds Current Account to the Unity Trust Account.
31/23: Invoices for Payment:
A list of payments to be made in August had been circulated, a copy of which is filed with these minutes.
Cllr. Bunyan proposed the payments be approved as presented, this was seconded by Cllr. Fletcher and agreed.
Policy and Resources £9,834.75
Properties & Burial Grounds £2,209.61
Environmental Management £ 930.30
Two members are required to log in to the account and authorise the payments.
32/23: Kent County Council Audit Programme 2023/24:
The Internal Audit Programme for 23/24 had been circulated to the Committee. The work programme’s internal audit control objectives were listed and are required to be approved by the Council. We were also advised the internal audit fees for 2023/24 were set to increase by 5%. It was proposed by Cllr. Bunyan, seconded by Cllr. Hatcher and agreed to approve the Audit Programme for 2023/24 as presented by Kent County Council. The work programme will be circulated to all Members with these minutes.
33/23: Cyber Insurance:
The Clerks had undertaken an online training session on Thursday 13th July on Cyber Security and Awareness: Safeguarding Councils in the Digital Age. The training was relatively basic, explaining about the different types of threat. From information gained at the training session, we were able to approach another insurance provider. They have given us a form to complete before they can provide a quote. The Clerk has requested help from Cllr. Hatcher and our current IT support provider before responding to some of the questions.
Cllr. Hatcher agreed to chase Uprise Digital for their help to complete the insurance application form. The Clerks remain disappointed at the level of support being provided by Uprise Digital.
- a) Amendment to Standing Orders:
Following on from the adoption of the Co-Option Procedure last month, an amendment to the Standing Orders was required to permit voting by ballot as opposed to a show of hands, as specified in the procedure. Cllr. Fletcher proposed the following statement be added to the Council’s Standing Orders:
- When voting on the co-option of a councillor, voting will be by ballot, as specified in the Cranbrook & Sissinghurst Parish Council Co-option Procedure.
This was seconded by Cllr. Bunyan and agreed. The revised Standing Orders would be circulated to all Members as soon as is practicable.
35/23: Community Centres/Medical Centre:
Cllr. Fletcher reported he had attended a meeting with the GP’s, who all remain adamant that a medical centre is needed in Cranbrook. Due to the massive increase in interest rates and build costs, the current Business Plan for the project is no longer viable. The amount the Integrated Care Board are prepared to pay for a medical centre in rental, will not cover the cost of the loan required to build it. Other funding options will need to be explored, before a new business plan can be created.
The Clerk requested permission to sign up for an SLCC online ‘Canva’ training course at a cost of £30. Canva is a graphic design software package, free to non profit organisations. It will make it easier to create social media friendly posts. It will also gain her 1 CPD point. Cllr. Fletcher proposed the Clerk undertake the training; this was seconded by Cllr. Hatcher and agreed.
37/23: Grant Applications:
No applications had been received.
38/23: Items for Information:
- a) Cllr. Fletcher reported he had been in conversation with County Councillor Seán Holden regarding education provision in Cranbrook. Cllr. Holden is going to try and organise a meeting with the Head of Education at Kent County Council, Rory Love. The number of children being statemented for special needs in Kent, is 70% above the national average which has a huge impact on the KCC educational budget. A public meeting is being held in the Vestry Hall on 4th October at 2pm and again at 8pm to discuss education in the Town. Chairmen from surrounding parishes will also be invited as the impact of the closure of High Weald Academy has affected the whole rural area.
He also attended the closure of Rainbow Pre-School. There were a lot of tears being shed and a great deal of anger being expressed regarding the closure.
- b) Cllr. Hatcher wanted to highlight the Parish Council Surgeries, which are due to start next month. Originally it was agreed to hold them quarterly, but it has now been decided to trial holding them monthly. In the months of September, October and December, the surgery will be held in the Addison Room in Cranbrook. In November it will be held in The Parish Room in Sissinghurst.
He also referred to the Highway Improvement Plan engagement evening. He would be asking the Clerk to circulate the PDF, along with a version of the questionnaire, he intends to create via ‘Be in the Know’ and through our social media platforms