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Staffing, Finance & General Purposes Committee - 25 March 2021

Written by Claire Parsons. Posted in Staffing, Finance & Gen. Purposes Minutes

Minutes of the Staffing, Finance & General Purposes Committee held via Zoom on Thursday 25 March 2021at 6.30 pm

PRESENT:

North Ward:

Councillor D Bushby (Chairman)
Councillor P S Christie

East Ward:

Councillor Mrs R Craigie
Councillor Mrs J Gubb (Vice-Chairman)
Councillor Mrs L Hellyer
Councillor J McKenzie

West Ward:

Councillor D Ratcliff

IN ATTENDANCE:

Mrs H J Blackburn (Town Clerk)
Councillor Mrs S Langford
1 x Representative from Out of the World Events.

228.     APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Councillor R Wootton (South Ward – Personal). The clerk did not tender this apology at the meeting, as she received notification of the apology after the meeting.

229.     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST AND ANY REQUESTS FOR DISPENSATION ON ITEMS ON THE AGENDA

There were no declarations of interest at this point in the meeting. Declarations of interest were declared (and noted) alongside the relevant agenda item.

230.     PUBLIC PARTICIPATION SESSION OF 15 MINUTES DURATION

A representative from Out of this World Events spoke to Members about item 16 on the agenda (Her complaint to Bideford Town Council). She said that she had made it clear in her application that she wanted both Torridge District Council and Bideford Town Council to communicate and jointly fund New Year’s Eve, and no communication had taken place. She said that it is time that both Councils take more ownership of this event. Out of this World Events do not want to fund raise for the New Year’s Eve event. New Year’s Eve is a different event to the Christmas Light Switch on, and the two events should not be compared for grant purposes. The New Year’s Eve costs have gone up as more stringent rules and regulations have been stipulated. Her team are happy to man New Year’s Eve but would like both Torridge District Council and Bideford Town Council to jointly fund the event.

Councillor Bushby advised that there is no joint grant application mechanism between Bideford Town Council and Torridge District Council. He asked whether Out of this World Events had applied separately to Torridge District Council. He advised that there was only a brief mention of joint funding on the application form. Members genuinely felt that the New Year’s Eve celebration had run its course and was being less well attended each year. It wasn’t clear that Torridge District Council were being asked to pay part of the £27,000 requested on the application form. The application form is for grant requests to Bideford Town Council only. Councillor Bushby advised that as far as the Light Switch on is concerned, The Town Council feels there is a degree of ownership for this event, as the Christmas lights are owned and managed by the Town Council.

Councillor Bushby advised that the Complaint would be considered under agenda item 16.

231.    MINUTES

Proposed by Councillor Mrs Hellyer and seconded by Councillor Christie, the minutes of the meeting held on 18 February 2021(Grants) were approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 7, Against: 0)

232.    CHAIRMAN’S ITEMS

The Town Clerk advised that a request had been received to remove branches of between 4 foot and 7 foot from the woodland in order to carve them into natural walking and hiking sticks. Members asked the Town Clerk to decline the request in line with the policy of not removing wood from Ford Woods.

233.    ACCOUNTS

Members received the list of payments.

Proposed by Councillor Ratcliff, seconded by Councillor Mrs Gubb and

RESOLVED: That the draft list of payments is approved.

(Vote – For: 7, Against: 0)

234.    DEFRIBRILLATORS

Members considered a request from SWAST to finance the Defibrillators on the Quay and at Bideford Fire Station from November 2021 when the current agreement runs out.

Proposed by Councillor Mrs Hellyer, seconded by Councillor McKenzie and

RESOLVED: That Option 2 is supported.

(Vote – For: 6, Against: 0, Abstention 1)

235.    ADOPTION OF THREE FURTHER DECORATIVE FIGURES

Members considered a request from Bideford 500 to adopt the 3 further decorative figures planned for the town centre which are to be commissioned from Bill and Peach Shaw.

Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor Mrs Gubb and

RESOLVED: That Bideford Town Council adopts the three furthers figures from Bideford 500 once they have been installed.

(Vote: For: 7, Against: 0)

236.    SOLAR LIGHTS

Members considered the quotation from DS Electrical for the provision of three new solar lights around the Westcroft playing field pathway to replace the existing broken solar lights.

Proposed by Councillor Mrs Hellyer, seconded by Councillor McKenzie and

RESOLVED: That the quotation from DS Electrical for the provision of three new solar lights around the Westcroft playing field pathway is accepted.

(Vote – For: 7, Against: 0)

237.    FUNDS EARMARKED FOR PLAY EQUIPMENT

Members reconsidered the previous resolution on how the £25,000 earmarked for play equipment will be allocated.

Proposed by Councillor Christie, seconded by Councillor Bushby and

RECOMMENDED: That £10,000 is allocated to Victoria Park from the ringfenced funds with the remaining £15,000 being allocated to the smaller play areas in Bideford.

(Vote: For: 3, Against: 4) (Recommendation failed).

238.    CHUDLEIGH FETE

Members considered increasing the budget for the Chudleigh Fete from £500 to £2,000. (Recommendation from the Tourism Committee).

Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor Mrs Gubb and

RESOLVED: That the budget for the Chudleigh Fete is increased from £500 to £2,000.

(Vote: For: 7, Against: 0)

239.    EMERGENCY GRANT REQUEST

Members considered the request for an Emergency Grant from the Rugby Club

Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor Mrs Hellyer and

RESOLVED: That The Rugby Club are awarded £2,000.

(Vote: For: 5, Against: 1, Abstention: 1)

240.    EMERGENCY GRANT REQUEST

(Councillors Mrs Hellyer and Ratcliff advised that they would abstain from the vote as they know the applicant personally.)

Members considered the request for an Emergency Grant from the Store Homelessness. Councillor Christie advised that there had been no planning application for a change of use as yet.

Proposed by Councillor McKenzie, seconded by Councillor Bushby and

RESOLVED: That the application is deferred until planning permissions are underway.

(Vote: For: 5, Against: 0, Abstentions: 2)

241.    COVID-19 GRANT REQUEST

(Councillors Mrs Hellyer and Ratcliff advised that they will abstain from the vote as they know the applicant personally.)

Members considered the request for a Covid-19 grant from the Store Homelessness Project.

Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor McKenzie and

RESOLVED: That the Store Homelessness Project are awarded £500 from the Covid-19 grant fund.

(Vote: For: 5, Against: 0, Abstentions: 2)

242.   MAINTENANCE OPERATIVES

Members received an update on the tasks undertaken by the Maintenance Operatives.

The Town Clerk advised that Torridge District Councillor Brenton had asked that the Maintenance Team to clear the area at New Road which is owned by TDC. The plan last year had been for the Postcode Gardener to tackle this area, with Petroc clearing it first, but Covid-19 had dictated other priorities. The Maintenance Team supervisor had advised that this will take about 5 days to clear. Members discussed the team’s current priorities and agreed that this task was not a priority at present. Some Members felt that TDC should be asked to clear the area, as it is their land. A further Member advised that no work should be done until after the May elections, so as not to become involved in Purdah complications.

A Member then asked why the team water the flower beds at Victoria Park. The Town Clerk advised that the previous Property Manager had asked this as a favour as they did not have anyone to water their beds. Some Members felt that this task should not fall to the Maintenance team and should be reviewed.

Councillor Bushby updated Members on the relocation of the Maintenance team. Their container is being moved to the Football Ground, and the majority of their equipment will be moved to the premises of DS Electrical from where they will operate. A short term lease has been agreed with DS Electrical. The long term plan is to purchase some land, possibly with a public works loan, and to build a bespoke operating base. Councillor Bushby will be submitting a Notice of Motion to Council.

Members considered the cost of the paint required for the Kingsley Wall which is owned by Torridge District Council. (approx. £900) and discussed whether to proceed.

Proposed by Councillor McKenzie, seconded by Councillor Mrs Craigie and

RESOLVED: That Bideford Town Council does not paint the Kingsley wall at present.

(Vote: For: 7, Against: 0)

243.   COMPLAINT

Members considered the complaint from Out of this World Events and discussed how to proceed.

Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor Mrs Hellyer and

RESOLVED: That the complaint is discussed at the present meeting.

(Vote: For: 7, Against: 0)

Under the terms of the Complaint Procedure a complaint is where:

• The council has not done something it has a duty to do or normally does.
• The council has done something it has no right to do.
• The conduct or behaviour of an employee is unsatisfactory.
• The established levels of service delivery are not reached.
• An adopted and known procedure is not followed.
• Maladministration is alleged.

Members looked at each area separately to see if one of the above points had been broken.

Members felt that the procedures were followed correctly and although it was unfortunate that Out of this World Events had found out via social media that they had not been awarded a grant, no confidences had been broken as the grant decision meeting is held in public.

The Chairman then invited the Representative from Out of this World Events to speak.

The representative explained that the complaint was not against the Office staff or their administrative procedures, but about how the news had broken. She said that no one had contacted them in advance of the newspaper/social media report, and she felt that this was not right. She had been shocked by the way the information had reached them, as had others.

At this point the complainant was advised that she could have attended the grants meeting herself, had she so wished.

Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor Mrs Hellyer and

RESOLVED: That the Complaint from the Representative of Out of this World Events is not upheld.

(Vote: For: 6, Against: 0, Abstention: 1)

244.    PART II CLOSED SESSION

Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor McKenzie and

RESOLVED: That in view of the confidential nature of the business about to be discussed, the meeting moves into part II.

(Vote For: 7, Against: 0)

245.    STAFFING MATTERS

There is a confidential Minute associated with this item.

246.    Proposed by Councillor Bushby, seconded by Councillor Mrs Craigie and

RESOLVED: That the meeting returns to Standing Orders.

(Vote For: 7, Against: 0)

The business of the meeting having been completed, the Chairman thanked the members for their attendance and the meeting concluded at 7.57 pm.

 

Accounts for approval SFGP Meeting 25.03.021

 


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