12th May 2021
This is to inform you that the Annual Meeting of the Council will be held in The Sports Hall, Birchwood Leisure Centre, Longmead, Hatfield AL10 0AN at 7.30 p.m. on Wednesday 19th May 2020, to which you are summoned, for the transaction of the following business.
Masks will be available for Councillors to wear, please ensure that you keep 2m distant from other attendees at all times.
C A Lloyd
1. ELECTION OF TOWN MAYOR
To elect a Town Mayor
2. DECLARATION OF ACCEPTANCE OF OFFICE
The Mayor will sign the Declaration of Acceptance of Office
3. ELECTION OF DEPUTY TOWN MAYOR
To elect a Deputy Town Mayor
4. DECLARATION OF ACCEPTANCE OF OFFICE
The Deputy Mayor will sign the Declaration of Acceptance of Office
To receive apologies for absence if any.
6. DECLARATIONS OF INTERESTS BY MEMBERS
To note declarations of Members’ personal interests or personal and prejudicial interests in respect of items on this Agenda.
To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the Council meetings held on 30th January 2021 and 31st March 2021 Copies attached and available to view & download at https://hatfield-herts.gov.uk/council-meetings-2
In accordance with Standing Order 12;
a. The draft minutes of a preceding meeting having been served on councillors with the agenda to attend the meeting at which they are due to be approved for accuracy, shall be taken as read.
b. There shall be no discussion about the draft minutes of the preceding meeting except in relation to their accuracy. A motion to correct an inaccuracy in the draft minutes shall be moved in accordance with standing order 10(a)(i).
c. The accuracy of draft minutes, including any amendment(s) made to them, shall be confirmed by resolution and shall be signed by the chairman of the meeting and stand as an accurate record of the meeting to which the minutes relate.
d. If the chairman of the meeting does not consider the minutes to be an accurate record of the meeting to which they relate, they shall sign the minutes and include a paragraph in the following terms or to the same effect:
“The chairman of this meeting does not believe that the minutes of the meeting of the ( ) held on [date] in respect of ( ) were a correct record but their view was not upheld by the meeting and the minutes are confirmed as an accurate record of the proceedings.”
8. TO RECEIVE ANY RECOMMENDATIONS OF COMMITTEES
There are none.
9. LEADER AND DEPUTY LEADER OF THE COUNCIL AND LEADERS OF POLITICAL GROUPS
To note the nomination as Leader and Deputy Leader and Leaders of Political Groups
10. QUESTION TIME
Fifteen minutes of the Meeting will be given over to questions from members of the public on issues relating to the work of the Council.
11. RETURN TO FACE TO FACE MEETINGS
To consider the attached report
12. COMMITTEE AND SUB COMMITTEES’ TERMS OF REFERENCE AND SCHEME OF DELEGATION
To consider the Terms of Reference attached.
13. APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE AND SUB COMMITTEES
To appoint Members to the Council’s Standing Committees and Sub Committees and substitute members.
14. REVIEW AND ADOPTION OF STANDING ORDERS
To consider the Council’s Standing Orders previously circulated to Members (available to view at www.hatfield-herts.gov.uk)
15. REVIEW AND ADOPTION OF FINANCIAL REGULATIONS
To consider the Council’s Financial Regulations previously circulated to Members (available to view at www.hatfield-herts.gov.uk)
16. APPOINTMENT TO OUTSIDE BODIES
To appoint Members as representatives on outside bodies.
17. MOTION FROM THE LABOUR GROUP
“We propose that the NALC/LGA Peer review team are invited to conduct a peer review on Hatfield Town Council in 2021.
The advantages of this are:
a) This is an independent review of the Council by NALC partners, (NALC, LGA and an experienced Councillor and clerk from a Town Council, out of County) with experience of the potential and hazards in decision making for Town Councils, who are wanting to improve their performance and make differences for their area.
b) It will be at no cost to HTC (as members of NALC).
c) HTC Staff, HTC Councillors, and other possible stakeholders will be consulted.
d) They would agree “key areas to be considered” with the above HTC stakeholders before any peer review was undertaken.
e) We as HTC Councillors will receive a written report, to be able consider their suggestions. They can suggest and recommend changes or modifications to structure, organisation, committees or procedures to benefit our future.
More details will follow, but this would be a joint LGA/NALC initiative. Two towns have already received a pilot peer review in the UK: Chippenham and Falmouth in 2019/2020, with great benefit to them. There has been a pause during Covid, but NALC hope this can continue as we emerge from Covid 19. .
This can help a positive way forward for Hatfield Town Council, after a difficult year.”
Members are advised that the Town Council is insured through Zurich. The policy renews on 1st April each year (for 3 years from 2019). Details of the policy can be obtained from the Town Clerk. The price of cover stays the same for the three years at £13,997.59.
19. REVIEW OF THE COUNCIL’S POLICIES, PROCEDURES AND PRACTICES IN RESPECT OF ITS OBLIGATIONS UNDER FREEDOM OF INFORMATION AND DATA PROTECTION LEGISLATION
To review documents available to view here Accounts & Reports Including Freedom of Information & Transparency - (hatfield-herts.gov.uk)
20. PRESS/MEDIA PROTCOL
To consider the Protocol available here Council Meetings - (hatfield-herts.gov.uk) (last approved December 2019).
21. CODE OF CONDUCT 2021
To consider and approve the Code of Conduct (previously circulated or available from the Town Clerk – firstname.lastname@example.org
22. PROTOCOL ON MEMBER/OFFICER RELATIONSHIPS
To consider the attached draft protocol as required under the Code of Conduct 2021
23. 20 IS PLENTY CAMPAIGN
To consider the attached report
24. NEWGATE STREET GROUNDS STORE
To consider the attached report
25. WELWYN HATFIELD PLACE NARRATIVE
To consider the draft Place Narrative (brought forward from last Council meeting)
26. DATE OF NEXT MEETING
To note that the next meeting of the Council is 23rd June 2021.
Distribution: All Councillors
AGENDA ITEM 11
The regulations that currently allow local authorities to hold meetings remotely until 06 May 2021 will not be extended by the Government, and so face-to-face meetings will need to resume from 07 May.
The Association of Democratic Services Officers (ADSO), Lawyers in Local Government (LLG) and Hertfordshire County Council lodged a legal challenge in the High Court that sought a continuation of local authority remote meetings beyond the 06 May 2021. The Courts have not upheld the challenge and as such Councils are required to return to face-to-face meetings. The Courts have confirmed that a change in legislation is required to enable virtual meetings. A ruling is awaited on the provision for the public attending those meeting is permitted via virtual methods.
In light of the ruling above, the Council has the option of resuming all face to face meetings for Council, Committees and Sub Committees subject to the maximum number of attendees at any meeting in the Sportsman being no more than 12 or to agreeing the following temporary amendment to Standing Orders to allow delegation to the Clerk for a period of 6 months;
15 (xviii) To enact the decisions delegated to them by the Council’s Committees and Full Council until such time as virtual meetings are enabled in law, or face to face meetings resume. This delegation will be reviewed on or before 05 November 2021.
This delegation will be backed up by the calendar of meetings as usual via zoom. Committee and Full Council meetings will go ahead virtually and instead of making decisions, Councillors will recommend decisions to the Town Clerk, who will then enact those recommendations under the temporary delegation. The delegation will remain in place until Councillors decide that a return to face-to-face meetings is appropriate, or that the delegation should cease for any other reason.
The signing of the Annual Governance and Audit statements cannot be delegated. This needs to be done by 30 June. Council will therefore take place face to face on 23rd June 2021. The Town Clerk will arrange a single item meeting with a pre-agreed quorate in attendance to agree the signing of these statements after a Full Council meeting has discussed them and agreed for them to be signed.
This decision will contribute to the following agreed priorities:
· Manage the Council’s assets and resources responsibly and transparently.
· Manage the Council’s services effectively to meet the needs of the communities we serve.
· Work to become greener and cleaner in our activities as well as supporting our communities and partners to be as green as possible.
Those who find it difficult to attend face-to-face meetings will be able to continue to engage with proceedings virtually.
The use of virtual meetings will continue to bring with it the associated reduction in the use of cars and other motorised transport, along with the associated reduction in building and resource use.
Crime & Disorder
There are no direct impacts from this report.
Virtual meetings are at a lower cost financially to the Council than physical meetings.
Resources (including workforce)
Virtual meetings are at a lower cost in terms of resources – especially time - to the Council than physical meetings.
The amendments to SOs will allow effective virtual decision making to continue until the Council feels the risks of Covid permit a return to face to face meetings.
There are no direct impacts from this report.
That Full Council decide on their preferred way forward.
Report by Carrie Lloyd, Town Clerk
AGENDA ITEM 12
COMMITTEES’ TERMS OF REFERENCE 2021
Establishment, Appeals, Audit, Health & Well Being and Grants
(a) Control of budget and monitoring of expenditure
(b) Expenditure within budget, investments
(c) Grants and payments to other bodies (through a Sub-Committee)
(d) Matters arising from membership of the National and County Associations of Local Councils.
(e) Staffing matters (through a Sub-Committee)
(f) Health and safety risk assessments
(g) Civic matters
(i) Publications and publicity
(k) To respond to consultations from other bodies such as the County and District Councils, Health Authorities and Public Utility and Service Providers.
(l) To make proposals and representations to such bodies as the Committee considers in the interests of the Town and people of Hatfield.
(m) Capital Build Projects (through Establishment Sub Committee initially)
(a) Budget and Precept
(c) Parish boundaries and matters of major policy.
(a) The oversight, improvement and development of leisure and recreation grounds, premises and activities.
(b) Any other leisure-orientated activities
(c) Authorisation of expenditure within a Budget delegated by the Resources and Policy Committee.
(d) To respond to consultations from other bodies such as the County and District Councils, Health Authorities and Public Utility and Service Providers.
(e) To make proposals and representations to such bodies as the Committee considers in the interests of the Town and people of Hatfield.
Expenditure beyond budget.
Major changes of use for Council recreational facilities.
(a) To comment to the Local Planning Authority on planning applications.
(b) To instruct action, if any, to be taken on appeals.
(c) To comment on other planning matters as set out below if time restrains do not permit consideration at Council.
(d) Public rights of way
(e) To comment on licensing applications.
(f) To respond to consultations from other bodies such as the County and District Councils, Health Authorities and Public Utility and Service Providers.
(g) Environmental Issues.
(h) Matters regarding the Neighbourhood Plan for onward report to Council
Other planning matters such as County Structure Plan, District Local Plan and Minerals Plans.
It is for each Committee to set out the responsibilities and powers of any Sub-Committee or Working Party it may appoint. The following have been agreed by Full Council.
To consider and determine applications for Grants and Partnership Funding in accordance with the Council's criteria.
(a) To consider staffing levels, remuneration and conditions of service.
(b) To consider any reorganisation or adjustment of staff to improve efficiency particularly in the light of changing circumstances.
(c) To act as an appeals committee under the grievance procedure.
(d) To arrange for the appraisal of the Town Clerk, and any other important staffing needs pertaining to the Town Clerk , when the Leader of the Council is unable to undertake this role, for whatever reason.
(e) Any grievance, or complaints, or other staffing issue which is not easily covered through the current employee handbook, should also be addressed through the Establishment Sub Committee .
(f) To consider Capital Build Projects for onward approval by Resources & Policy Committee
To consider H&S issues with 3 staff representatives
Any Member shall be called upon to sit on an Appeals Sub Committee if they have no prior involvement in previous hearings.
To consider payments made or draft AGAR reports (if required)
AGENDA ITEM 22
The purpose of this Protocol is to guide Members and Officers in their relations with one another so as to assist in the proper running of the Council.
· A good working relationship between Members and Officers is essential to the proper functioning of the Council.
· Members and Officers have distinct but complementary roles and responsibilities and are indispensable to one another.
· Mutual respect between Members and Officers is essential to good local government.
· Close personal familiarity between Officers and individual Members can damage a good working relationship and should be avoided. If it exists it should be declared to the Town Clerk. It is not possible to define exactly the range of relationships that would be considered as close or personal. Examples, however, would include a family, business or sexual relationship or regular social mixing such as holidays, networking, outings or meals together.
· The political neutrality of Officers must be respected and observed at all times.
· Officers must serve all Members not just those of any particular group
· Officers must not allow their own personal or political opinions to interfere with their work
· Members need professional assistance and support from Officers in order to be effective in their various roles.
· Members should accept and act on the professional advice given to them by Officers unless they have good reasons not to do so. Members should recognise that a failure to accept and act on Officers' professional advice may result in legal and other challenges to the Council's decisions.
· Members should not put unreasonable demands on Officers and must never ask Officers to breach any Council procedure, policy or legal requirement.
· Officers should provide efficient support to Members as is appropriate and required by the Officer's role.
· There should be no improper disclosure of information between Members and Officers. Improper disclosure of information would include the disclosure of any personal, confidential, sensitive, medical, legally privileged, commercial or similar information without the consent of the information owner or in breach of a legal duty of confidentiality.
· Members should not raise matters relating to the conduct or capability of an Officer in any public forum including a committee meeting.
2.1 Members undertake many different roles. Broadly these are:
a) Expressing political values and supporting the policies of the party or group to which they belong (if any).
b) Representing the electoral ward and acting as advocates for the people who live in the area.
c) Being involved in partnerships with other organisations as community leaders.
d) Contributing to the decisions taken in Full Council and in its various bodies on which they serve.
e) Helping to develop and review policy and strategy.
f) Monitoring and reviewing policy implementation and service quality.
Members are required to adhere at all times to the Council's adopted Code of Conduct for Members whenever they are acting in their official capacity.
3.1 Officers are employed and serve the Council as a whole and are responsible to the Town Clerk and their respective Manager and not to individual Members of the Council, whatever office they might hold. Officers have the following main roles:
a) Managing and providing the services for which they are responsible and being accountable for the efficiency and effectiveness of those services.
b) Providing advice to the Council and its various bodies and to individual Members in respect of the services provided.
c) Implementing policy proposals.
d) Implementing agreed policy.
e) Ensuring that the Council always acts in a lawful manner.
The Mayor is appointed annually from the Membership of the Council. The principles which underlie Member/Officer relations therefore also apply to the relationship between the Mayor and Officers. However, the position as Mayor carries with it specific civic and ceremonial duties and Officers will provide support to assist the Mayor in the performance of the civic and ceremonial role. This is mainly the provision of support in organising the calendar of civic events and maintaining the Mayor’s diary. Support will also be provided to the Mayor on implementation of the Council's Standing Orders to assist in the chairing of meetings of the Council.
5.1 For the effective conduct of Town Council business there must be mutual respect, trust and courtesy in all meetings and contacts, both formal and informal, between Members and Officers.
5.2 A Member should not raise matters relating to the conduct or capability of an Officer at meetings held in public. An Officer has no means of responding to such criticisms in public.
5.3 If a Member feels they have not been treated with proper respect, courtesy or have any concern about the conduct or capability of an Officer, and fails to resolve it through direct discussion with the Officer, they should raise the matter with the Town Clerk.
5.4 It is important in any dealings between Members and Officers that neither should seek to take unfair advantage of their position. Members need to be aware that it is easy for Officers to be overawed and feel at a disadvantage.
5.5 Similarly, an Officer must neither seek to use undue influence on an individual Member to make a decision in his favour, nor raise personal matters to do with their job, nor make claims or allegations about other Officers
5.6 Close personal familiarity between individual Members and Officers can damage the principle of mutual respect. It could also, intentionally or accidentally, lead to the passing of confidential information or information which should not properly be passed between them. Such familiarity could also cause embarrassment to other Members and/or other Officers and even give rise to suspicions of favouritism. For these reasons close personal familiarity must be avoided.
5.7 The only basis on which the Council can lawfully provide support services (eg stationery, typing, printing, photocopying, transport etc) to Members is to assist them in discharging their role as Members of the Council. Such support services must therefore only be used on Council business. They should never be used in connection with party political or campaigning activity, or for private purposes.
6. ACCESS TO INFORMATION
6.1 Members have a statutory right to inspect any Council document which contains material relating to any business which is to be transacted at a Council or other meeting. This right applies irrespective of whether the Member is a member of the body which is meeting and extends not only to reports which are to be submitted to the meeting, but also to any relevant background documents. This right does not, however, automatically apply to background documents relating to certain items which may appear as an exempt item on the agenda for a meeting, e.g. information relating to Officers or criminal investigations.
6.2 The common law right of Members is based on the principle that any Member has a prima facie right to inspect Council documents so far as his/her access to the document is reasonably necessary to enable the Member properly to perform his/her duties as a Member of the Council. This principle is commonly referred to as the “need to know” principle.
6.3 The exercise of this common law right depends, therefore, upon an individual Member being able to demonstrate that they have the necessary “need to know”. In this respect a Member has no right to a “roving commission” to go and examine documents of the Council. Mere curiosity is not sufficient. The crucial question is the determination of the “need to know”.
6.4 Any Council information provided to a Member must only be used by the Member for the purpose for which it was provided, i.e. in connection with the proper performance of the Member’s duties as a Member of the Council. This point is emphasised in the Code of Conduct for Members.
7.1 It is important that there should be a close working relationship between the Chairman of a meeting and the Officers who report to or interact with that meeting. However, such relationships should never be allowed to become so close, or appear to be so close, as to bring into question the Officer’s ability to deal impartially with other Members and other political groups.
7.2 At some meetings, a resolution may be passed which authorises named Officers to take action between meetings in consultation with the Chairman and/or specified Member(s). It must be recognised that it is the Officer, rather than the Chairman and/or Member(s), who takes the action and it is the Officer who is accountable for it.
7.3 Officers are only accountable to the Town Clerk and whilst Officers should always seek to assist a Chairman (or indeed any Member), they must not, in so doing, go beyond the bounds of whatever authority they have been given by the Town Clerk.
8. POLITICAL GROUPS
8.1 It is the National Association of Local Council’s (NALC’s) policy that party politics should have no place in town councils. Town Councillors are there to serve their community as members of the community, and should not be side-tracked by party political issues. Party politics within a town council can pose particular difficulties in terms of the impartiality of the Town Clerk and other employees, and the relationship between Councillors and the staff generally.
8.2 Party political groups have no power to require the Town Clerk or any other employee to attend group meetings or to prepare written reports for them and employees can legitimately refuse to do so. The Town Clerk and other Officers are responsible to the Council as a whole and should not take action under instructions from any individual Councillor, even if they have been styled as ‘Leader’ of the council.
8.3 The Town Clerk will ensure that any reports or advice offered to a political group are statements of relevant facts, with an appraisal of options and do not deal with the political implications of the matter or options, or make any recommendations. It is not the Town Clerk’s job to make recommendations to a political group.
8.4 If a report is prepared for one political group, the Town Clerk will advise all other political groups that the report has been prepared, or that advice was given.
9.1 Official letters on behalf of the Town Council should be sent in the name of the appropriate Officer, rather than the name of a Member. It may be appropriate in some circumstances for a letter to be sent in the name of a Member, for example in response to a letter of complaint sent direct to that Member, but this should be the exception rather than the norm and it should only be done following consultation with the Town Clerk. Letters which create obligations or give instructions on behalf of the Town Council must never be sent out in the name of a Member.
AGENDA ITEM 23
20 is plenty campaign
This Council has been asked by some local residents to sign up to the 20 is plenty campaign. There is no cost to the Council, just a commitment from the Council to try to influence road speed limits.
Members may have heard reasons why 20MPH cannot be introduced in residential streets from County Highways, here are some links countering the argument;
Members are requested to consider signing up to the campaign.
AGENDA ITEM 24
Following the extensive investment by this council in the cricket square at Newgate Street, a store for equipment has been placed on site to house the specialist cricket mower etc.
The Council has received advice on maintenance of the out field and wicket from the England Cricket Board and are on track to provide a facilities as the new field beds in.
A complaint has been received from a local resident regarding the grounds store which has highlighted that planning permission is required for it as it is proposed to keep the store on site longer than 12 months.
The resident has also asked that the store be moved to a different location on site.
The Head of Estates advises that rather than move the store, he would prefer to screen it with a fence, along the long side that is more visible.
Members are requested to decide whether the store should be moved and to authorise the expenditure from Reserves (if necessary) and to authorise the Town Clerk to obtain the relevant planning permission.
Increases participation in sport
Reduces staff time travelling with equipment to site
The store is located in a well screen area of the site
Crime & Disorder
The store provides secure storage of grounds equipment required to maintain the cricket wicket etc.
Minor costs of plans plus planning application fee
Resources (including workforce)
Town Clerk’s time
The Borough Council may take Enforcement action if an application is not submitted and the store will have to be removed
Report by Carrie Lloyd, Town Clerk