MINUTES OF THE POLICY & RESOURCES COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON TUESDAY 12th OCTOBER 2021
PRESENT: Cllrs. Beck (in the Chair), Fletcher Gilbert, Hatcher, Kings and Smith.
APOLOGIES: Cllr. Warne.
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.
45/21: Internal finance check:
Cllr. Beck confirmed that the internal finance check had been completed and everything was in order.
46/21: Authorisation of payments made after the September meeting:
A list of payments totalling £17,825.73 made after the September meeting, is filed with these minutes.
47/21: Transfers of monies between accounts:
No transfers had been necessary.
48/21: Invoices for Payment:
A list of payments to be made in October had been circulated for approval, a copy of which is filed with these minutes. It was proposed by Cllr. Beck, seconded by Cllr. Fletcher and agreed to approve the payments as presented.
Policy and Resources £6,980.05
Properties & Burial Grounds £1,324.09
Environmental Management £1,872.25
Two members are required to log in to the account and authorise the payments following adoption of the minutes on Thursday evening.
49/21: Community Centres/Medical Centre:
Cllr. Fletcher reported he had attended a meeting today with three GP’s, two practice managers and the Clinical Commissioning Group which was extremely positive; they cannot wait for the project to get underway. A specification for the Medical Centre will be sent to Jonathan White which will allow for the Business Plan to be updated with current costings. The visit to the Southborough Hub had gone well and the feedback was very encouraging.
Cllr. Smith gave an update on the Sissinghurst Village Hall. TWBC are wanting an oak tree retained, this will impact parking provision significantly. As soon as the plans are completed, the public consultation will be scheduled.
50/21: Cyber security:
Cllr. Hatcher had prepared a report following attendance at a KALC training session on Cyber Security in July. There were four main recommendations that we should be considering, these are listed below:
Cllr. Hatcher believes these recommendations may soon become requirements. He is happy to help any councillor that may need assistance or advice on updating their operating systems.
The Clerk advised we were expecting a quote for renewing our Cyber Security Insurance shortly. It is likely to be impacted by the claim submitted last year.
51/21: Photocopier Contract:
The Clerk advised we had been approached by our current supplier Managed Technology with a proposal to take out a new contract for a further five years, which shows a significant cost saving. The proposal specifies retaining the current device. Costs would reduce from £533.99 per quarter to £384.54 and are based on current average print copy figures. Cllr. Gilbert proposed accepting the new proposal, this was seconded by Cllr. Beck and agreed.
No issues were raised.
53/21: High Weald Academy Closure:
Cllr. Fletcher reported on the public meeting held on Friday 8th October in the Vestry Hall, called by Helen Grant MP. He is working with Cllrs. Pethurst and Dyke to collate information
from all the local primary schools in the rural area to confirm the number of pupils in the last year group, which will need secondary school provision. The Attwood Trust have looked at the school and have said it would need an intake of 200 pupils to make it viable and it would be very unlikely to get the decision made in February by Claire Burton – Regional Schools Commissioner for south London and south east England, reversed. The Leigh Academies Trust have been involved in discussions about the school since autumn last year although their letter of appointment was not received until 1st September this year. The Department of Education will have to give approval for the disposal of any of the assets. Helen Grant is focussing on a legal challenge on the decision and is seeking legal help on a pro bono basis or suggesting a couple of parents could apply for legal aid to cover the legal costs.
Cllr. Fletcher is looking at alternative options and also into how we can move forward to engage the young people that will be displaced by the closure.
Cllr. Hatcher advised he has volunteered for the Action Group to fight the closure, in his capacity as a parish councillor and as a ex pupil of the school. He advised a virtual meeting of the Action Group has been scheduled for Thursday at 5pm.
The Clerk agreed to submit a Freedom of Information request to the Department of Education seeking information on the business case to support closure which would have been submitted to Claire Burton in advance of her decision.
Members were also advised that KCC have been providing funds to the school, from monies set aside to support schools experiencing falling roll numbers.
54/21: Grant Applications:
a) Royal British Legion Cranbrook
An application had been received seeking a financial contribution of £400 towards the Remembrance Day Service and Parade. It was proposed by Cllr. Smith, seconded by Cllr. Gilbert and agreed to award the grant in full.
55/21: Items for Information:
None were raised