Harwich Town Council

The Guildhall,
Church Street,
Harwich. CO12 3DS

t: 01255 507211
e: info@harwichtowncouncil.co.uk
Hours: 9.30am – 1pm Monday, Wednesday & Friday

Finance Minutes 14th August 2013

MINUTES of the Meeting of the Finance & General Purposes Committee
held at
The Guildhall, Church Street, Harwich
on Wednesday 14th August 2013

Present: Councillors Brown, Calver, Fowler, McLeod and Thompson
In the Chair: Councillor Day
Clerk: Mrs Lucy Ballard
Also present: no members of the public and no members of the press

Public Question Time:
None

F31/13 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Cllr I Henderson, Cllr J Henderson – chosen substitute is Cllr D King, Cllr Morrison and Cllr Todd
F32/13 DECLARATIONS OF MEMBERS’ INTERESTS
None
F33/13 MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING
RESOLVED that the minutes of the Finance & General Purposes meeting held on Tuesday 11th June 2013 (previously circulated) be approved by the Committee and signed by the Chairman as a true record with the amendment to the ‘members present’ to include Cllr Thompson.
FURTHER RESOLVED: that the confidential minutes of the Finance & General Purposes meeting held on Tuesday 11th June 2013 (previously circulated) be approved by the Committee and signed by the Chairman as a true record.
F34/13 MATTERS ARISING FROM THE MINUTES
F16/13 – The clerk informed members of an additional insurance premium paid which had exceeded the budget by £1699.25 and that this should be considered wF27/13 – Cllr Day reported on the insurance policy taken out to cover the Council in the event that access to the Hill School site became permanently restricted.
F35/13 HARWICH & DISTRICT COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION
RESOLVED TO RECOMMEND: to fund the bench seating and tables, to a maximum level equivalent to the grant request for those elements, adjusting for VAT, pending receipt of further quotations for these items and on condition that the lease with TDC is in place first.
F36/13 PHAROS TRUST
RESOLVED TO RECOMEND: to grant £1250 S137 funding to cover half of the project costs.
F37/13 GUILDHALL CHARGES
The clerk confirmed the current tariff of charges and income received for room hire over the last year.
RESOLVED: to freeze Guildhall charges at current rate for this Municipal year.
F38/13 FREE ADMITTANCE SIGNAGE FOR GUILDHALL
The clerk informed members of investigations made with regard to planning permission/listed building consent that may be needed.
RESOLVED: to defer until such time as planning commences for disabled access at Guildhall.
F39/13 ARCHIVIST BUDGET
Cllr Calver relayed the request by the Archivists for a budget for stationery and conservation materials. The clerk advised that the archivists did not have the same powers to spend that council committees have, and as such HTC’s Financial Regulations would not allow for this.
RESOLVED: To decline the request on the basis that the Financial Regulations, in their current form, do not allow for an Archivists budget but that no reasonable request for stationery or conservation materials would be refused.
F40/13 GUILDHALL TOUR
Cllr Calver informed members that previous tours of the Guildhall, for members, proved successful and suggested another be arranged for the benefit of the council’s recently-elected members.
RESOLVED: To arrange a tour.
F41/13 TOWN PLAQUES
The clerk confirmed there was only 1 plaque remaining.
RESOLVED: To defer decision, on whether to purchase more plaques, until the next meeting pending receipt of quotations.
F42/13 DISABLED ACCESS
Cllr Day updated members on progress since the last meeting.
F43/13 PUTTING GREEN SHED
The clerk relayed to members the wishes of Cllr I Henderson to write to TDC’s Leisure Services and request they consider replacing the shed under a future Capital Funding Programme.
RESOLVED: to write to TDC.
F44/13 REVIEW OF WORKING ARRANGEMENTS
The clerk and Cllr Day provided some background on the current workloads of the office and concerns of the Internal Auditor that staffing levels were insufficient.
RESOLVED: to set up a Working Party comprising the Chairman, Cllr Fowler, Cllr McLeod, the clerk and Asst. clerk, to review working arrangements, duties, job descriptions and to consider changes to working hours.
F45/13 RISK ASSESSMENTS
The clerk informed members that risk assessments were in progress and once completed would be brought before the next available meeting of the F&GP committee for approval, then would be reviewed annually or as necessary.
F46/13 CiLCA
RESOLVED: To approve expenditure (estimated at £540) for Asst. clerk to undertake professional qualification.
F47/13 CHAIRMAN’S TRAINING
RESOLVED: To approve expenditure (estimated at £210) for Deputy Mayor to undertake training in preparation for becoming 2014 Chairman.
F48/13 HARWICH –CHARTER-400.CO.UK
RESOLVED: To allow domain to lapse.
F49/13 PHONE CALLS TO THE OFFICE
The clerk relayed the expected benefits to be reaped from shortening the time during which calls to the office will be answered, to 9.30am-1pm Monday to Friday. All members were supportive of this measure to improve efficiencies.
F50/13 MATTERS TO BE REPORTED
The clerk reported on the following matters:

  • Purchase of essential professional publications to facilitate clerk/Asst. clerk in providing advice to council. Purchased under s.111 of Lgov Act 1972.
  • Works instructed to repair gate lock at entrance of Hill School property as an emergency due to potential security risk. Instructed under section 10.1 of Financial Regulations.
  • Clerk provided update on income levels against expenditure for council-run leisure facilities.
  • The clerk also reported on the following matters that had arisen since the publication of the agenda:
  • Fencing had been erected on a piece of land known as PRoW 169-12 and the fencing appears to intersect HTC land and therefore the clerk, following consultation with Essex County Highways, would request the part of the fence which is on HTC land is removed.
  • The extra croquet set, which the Council had borrowed free of charge from Downham Croquet Association, had been collected and the clerk would write a letter of thanks for the free use.
  • The ceiling in the caretaker’s flat is showing signs of water damage and is in need of repair. The clerk will make enquiries as to the cause, obtain quotations and instruct the work, if deemed urgent, in line with Financial Regulations, and report back at the next meeting.
F51/13 LIGHTING AT HILL SCHOOL
Members considered a quotation to carry out work to the pathway lighting to rectify the problem of the lights illuminating during daylight hours.
RESOLVED: to accept quotation and proceed with instructing works.
F52/13 HARWICH STORY BOOKS
Cllrs King and Calver declared an interest and refrained from partaking in the debate. Members discussed how the remaining stocks of books will be sold.
RESOLVED: to sell all remaining stocks at the reduced price of £6.50 each with all proceeds going to the Mayoress’ Appeal.
F53/13 MATTERS RECEIVED IN THE POST
Members noted letters of thanks for grant funding from:

  • The Harwich Society
  • Dovercourt & Ramsey Crusaders
  • Harwich & District Social Stroke Group
  • St Nicholas Welcome Committee
  • Harwich International Shanty Festival
  • Home-Start Harwich
  • The Rock School
F54/13 DATE OF NEXT MEETING
The date of the next meeting of the Finance and General Purposes Committee will be held on 2nd October 2013 at 7pm at the Guildhall, Church Street, Harwich
F55/13 EXCLUSION OF PUBLIC AND PRESS
Pursuant to Sub-Section 2 of Section 1 of the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960 the meeting is closed to the press and public for the transaction of the under-mentioned business:

  • To discuss ancillary payments and mileage allowances
  • To accept NJC 2013/14 Pay scales

The Chairman closed the public part of the meeting at 9.23pm