Minutes of the Town Council Meeting held on Wednesday 12th August 2020 at 7.30pm via Zoom.
Councillor Eames-Petersen (Mayor, chairing the meeting)
Councillor Linda Mendez - Deputy Mayor (from item 34 onwards)
Councillor Lenny Brandon
Councillor Jackie Brennan
Councillor Richard Brisbin
Councillor Richard Griffiths
Councillor Caron Juggins
Councillor Hazel Laming
Councillor John Percival
Councillor Tristan Wiltshire
Carrie Lloyd (Town Clerk)
Sam Frake (Head of Operations)
Ali Ogilvie (Head of Estates)
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Mark Bolitho (work), Councillor Rory Craig (work), Councillor Angus Mackay (work) and Councillor Lee Newman (work), Councillor Bhumi Zhaveri (work).
There were none.
There were none.
Committee Membership 2020/21
Mayor: Councillor Margaret Eames-Petersen
Deputy Mayor: Councillor Linda Mendez
Council Leader: Councillor Lenny Brandon
Deputy Leader: Councillor Caron Juggins
The Leader and Deputy Leader are ex-officio voting Members of each of the Committees (shown underlined).
Resources and Policy Committee: (6 Members)
Chairman: Cllr. T. Wiltshire Vice Chairman: Cllr. J Percival
Members: Councillors Brennan, Brandon, Eames-Petersen, Juggins, MacKay (1 vacancy)
Sport and Leisure Committee: (7 Members)
Chairman: Cllr J. Percival Vice Chairman: Cllr. A. MacKay
Members: Councillors Brandon, Brisbin, Craig, Griffiths, Juggins, Mendez, Newman
Planning Committee: 7 Members
Chairman: Cllr Linda Mendez Vice Chairman: Cllr Jackie Brennan
Members: Councillors Brandon, Brisbin, Craig, Eames-Petersen, Juggins, Laming
Establishment Sub Committee: (Chairman and/or Vice Chairman of Resources & Policy Committee, Leader (or Deputy Leader) of the Council
Chairman: Cllr. Lenny Brandon Vice Chairman: Cllr. Caron Juggins
Members: Cllr. Eames-Petersen, Percival, Wiltshire
Appeals Sub Committee (3 Members)
All Members are Members of the Appeals Sub Committee provided they have not been involved with the matter under discussion beforehand.
Audit Sub Committee - (3 Members) – to be determined at Resources & Policy Committee
Health and Safety Sub Committee (3 non-senior Members 3 non senior staff)
Cllrs Brennan, Mendez and Juggins
All Members are substitute members.
Members noted the information received from NALC regarding confidential minutes and that all minutes should be capable of being shown in the public domain. The Mayor expressed her concern that an on-going matter discussed in the Confidential session at a meeting required more note taking than just the public minutes displayed so that all Members could be aware of the on-going discussions. Eventually she would like to see actions requested in the confidential part of a meeting to be displayed on the website too.
Generally, Members felt that it was a political matter for briefings to be given to Group Members and not necessary to draft briefing papers nor detailed notes of confidential meetings if Members were unable to attend the meeting.
The Mayor was happy to consider the legal advice received but did not think it answered her question.
Members noted that there was only one bid of £15,000pa for three years.
Members were very supportive of the applicant but in the current financial climate were keen to see a clause in the licence that allowed a review of the rent every 12 months to make allowance for inflation etc. Members stressed that any uplift would not be extortionate.
Proposed by Councillor Juggins and Seconded by Councillor Brandon that a yearly rent review be included in the three year contract with EDSV Academy.
RESOLVED nem con.
Members considered the Council’s existing Complaints Procedure with a slight amendment to take into account complaints against all Officers (including the Town Clerk and Head of Operations) and a procedure drafted by the Society of Local Council Clerks.
Proposed by Councillor Brandon and seconded by Councillor Percival that the Council’s existing procedure (as amended) together with the 8 bullet points from the SLCC procedure be approved subject to complaints against employees being referred to the Establishment Sub Committee rather than Council.
RESOLVED nem con.
The next ordinary meeting would be 26th August. The new calendar of meetings was noted.
RESOLVED that, further to s1(2) of the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960, that the press and public be excluded from the meeting, and the following matters dealt with in a subsequent Part 2 of the meeting on grounds of employee confidentiality.
The Mayor advised that she had sought advice from 4 Human Resource Advice providers including Ellis Whittam and HR Services Partnership and they did not consider the final paragraph of the Disciplinary and Grievance Procedure legally sound. She considered it essential that Establishment Sub Committee had clear Terms of Reference from Resources and Policy Committee and intended to bring an item to the next meeting of Resources and Policy Committee to do just that. She considered it essential that Councillors had independent HR Advice in future and would be recommending that it be purchased for Councillors from an independent source to Ellis Whittam in future.
The Mayor advised that she had sought advice from 4 Human Resource Advice providers including Ellis Whittam and HR Services Partnership and she had been advised that the final paragraph of the Disciplinary and Grievance Procedure was not legally sound. She considered it very important at this stage that Establishment Sub Committee had well defined Terms of Reference from Resources and Policy Committee, to sort these issues and a safe appraisals procedure. She proposed that she bring an item to the next meeting of Resources and Policy Committee to achieve this. She also mentioned that Ellis Whittam are unable to provide certain Human Resource advice which the Council required (e.g. for the Town Clerk’s appraisal) without considerable extra expense. She therefore suggested it was important for the Council to procure independent HR Advice for this purpose in future. The Mayor had been advised by NALC and the LGA that HR Services Partnership could provide such a service and they were recommended but other quotes were being sought.
This item would be reviewed after legal clarification.
20:51 Cllr Mendez joined the meeting
The Mayor advised that the Town Council had a duty of care organise and provide a safe appraisal for the Town Clerk. Given this had not taken place for over a year the Mayor thought attention should be given to this matter within the next month. It would need to be discussed at the next Establishment Sub Committee, with a view to changing the relevant standing order, to allow other members to conduct the appraisal. The Sub Committee’s Terms of Reference may need changing at Resources and Policy Committee .
Members noted that appraisals were carried out every year for all other staff and there appeared to be no other issues arising for these appraisals .
The Mayor thanked the Town Clerk for sight of the Senior Management Team’s Job Descriptions but explained that she had not asked this to be an agenda item. She further advised that there may have to be revisions following fall out from CoVid 19 or Local Government Reorganisation.
It was noted that the Town Clerk’s job description has been available on the Council’s Website since 2015 under the Transparency Regulations.
It was noted that the cost of redundancies had been £26,907.
Members noted that unless a request was received from a Union to be recognised, there was no way to have a Union Agreement at the Council. Individual employees could join any union they wished to and the Council as employer had no right to know that they were a member of a union until there was a need to consult with them.
The Mayor did not agree with this view and wished to note and recognise any unions that staff belonged.
Members thanked all the staff for getting Birchwood Leisure Centre open to the public.