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Minutes of the Town Council Meeting held on Wednesday 19th May 2021 at 7.30pm at Birchwood Leisure Centre, Longmead, Hatfield AL10 0AN

PRESENT:

Councillor Richard Griffiths – Mayor

Councillor Mark Bolitho - Deputy Mayor

Councillor James R. Bond               Councillor Jackie Brennan

Councillor Rory Craig                      Councillor M. Eames-Petersen 

Councillor Caron Juggins                Councillor Linda Mendez

Councillor Lee Newman                  Councillor John Percival

Councillor Tristan Wiltshire

OFFICERS:

Carrie Lloyd (Town Clerk)

Sam Frake (Head of Operations)

Ali Ogilvie (Head of Estates)

Jane Anderson (Office Manager)

 

2 members of the public in attendance

1.               ELECTION OF TOWN MAYOR

Councillor Griffiths was elected Mayor for the ensuing Municipal Year and signed his acceptance of office.

 

As out-going Mayor Councillor Eames-Petersen advised that she had given her 2 charities (Potential Kids and Friendship House) £300 each.  She had enjoyed her limited year as Mayor and was able to meet some wonderful Hatfield Groups and Clubs but not as many as she would have liked.

2.               ELECTION OF DEPUTY TOWN MAYOR

Councillor Bolitho was elected Deputy Mayor for the ensuing Municipal Year and signed his acceptance of office.

3.               APOLOGIES

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Brisbin and Mackay who were unable to attend due to work, Councillor Laming was unable to attend due to ill health and Councillor Brandon who was at a football function.

4.               DECLARATION OF INTERESTS BY MEMBERS

Councillor Wiltshire declared a personal interest in agenda item no. 24 – Twenty is Plenty campaign.

 

5.               MINUTES FROM PREVIOUS MEETINGS

Members approved the minutes of 20th January and 31st March 2021 as a correct record.

6.               RECOMMENDATIONS OF COMMITTEES

It was noted that there were none.

7.               LEADER AND DEPUTY LEADER OF THE COUNCIL AND LEADERS OF POLITICAL GROUPS

Councillor Juggins advised that she was Leader of the Conservative Group and the Council.

Councillor Wiltshire advised that he was Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group and Deputy Leader of the Council.

Councillor Eames-Petersen advised that she was Leader of the Labour Group.

Councillor Percival advised that he was Deputy Leader of the Labour Group.

Councillor Brennan advised that she was Leader of the Liberal Democrats Group.

 

A Member questioned the term “Majority Group” and queried whether the Conservative Group were in Majority.  Members decided that the Conservative Group should be called the Largest Group pro tem.

 

The Town Clerk undertook to seek advice and report back to the next meeting of the Council.  Until the legal advice had been forth-coming, the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council posts were in dispute.

8.               PUBLIC SESSION

No one present wished to speak.

9.               RETURN TO FACE TO FACE MEETINGS

Members considered the report of officers and noted the change in legislation.

RESOLVED that;

 

1.     Meetings of the Council remain face to face – the next meeting scheduled for 23rd June;

2.     Virtual quasi meetings be held for Committees, Sub Committees and Working Groups - This means completely virtual informal meetings, which are not actual meetings of an authority. They would not be meetings for the purposes of the Local Government Act 1972.  Attendance at these “meetings” would be entirely remote, with all members of the committee, sub-committee or Working Group it relates to in attendance. The members will discuss the matters that are to be determined after the “meeting” and give an indicative view on those matters.  After the meeting, the Town Clerk with appropriate delegated authority will then take the decisions, taking into account the indicative view of the “meeting”.  It is important that when making that decision Town Clerk does not simply “rubber stamp” it. There must be proper exercise of discretion when making that decision. The Town Clerk should use the indicative views of members as a means of consultation before exercising their own discretion within delegated powers.  Certain decisions cannot however be delegated and would require a meeting of the full council to take those decisions, such as deciding the annual budget, for example.

3.     Officer Delegation – The Council will increase its officer decision making through delegations. This is in fact referenced as an option in the Government’s safe use of council buildings guidance.  It is noted that overuse of delegation may result in the disenfranchisement of members and the public in the longer term.

4.     Council will – consider all recommendations of Committees and Sub Committees to ratify those recommendations.

(Action: Town Clerk)

10.            COMMITTEE AND SUB COMMITTEES’ TERMS OF REFERENCE AND SCHEME OF DELEGATION

Members noted the documents.

 

Following on from the previous decision, Members delegated authority to the Clerk to decide matters debated at Committees, Sub Committees and Working Groups (under their Terms of Reference) up to 23rd June 2021 and to seek ratification at Council on 23 June 2021.

 

RESOLVED that the preamble to this minute be approved.

 

(Action: Town Clerk)

11.            APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEES AND SUB COMMITTEES

The Labour Group did not agree with the allocation of seats on each Committee and Sub Committee and advised that they would report back to the June meeting of the Council.

 

RESOLVED that the make up be as follows;

 

The Leader and Deputy Leader are ex-officio voting Members of each of the Committees (shown underlined).

 

Resources and Policy Committee: (5 Members)

Chairman: Cllr. T. Wiltshire             Vice Chairman: Cllr. C. Juggins

Members: Councillors Bolitho, Bond, Brennan

 

Sport and Leisure Committee: (8 Members)

Chairman: Cllr. J. Percival         Vice Chairman: Cllr. J. R. Bond

Members: Councillors Brisbin, Craig, Griffiths, Juggins, Wiltshire, (2 Vacancies)

 

Planning Committee: (7 Members)

Chairman:      Cllr J. Brennan          Vice Chairman: Cllr. R. Craig

Members: Councillors Brisbin, Juggins, Laming, Mackay, Wiltshire (1 Vacancy)

 

 

Establishment Sub Committee: (5 Members)

Chairman:      Cllr. Caron Juggins  Vice Chairman: Cllr T. Wiltshire

Members: Cllrs. Brennan, Percival and Craig

 

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 decided at Resources and Policy Committee

 

Health and Well-Being Sub Committee (3 non-senior Members and 3 non-senior Staff)

Cllrs Brennan, Juggins and Mendez

 

All Members are substitute members.

 

Joint Project Lead on de Havilland Grange Capital Project

Cllrs Brisbin and Eames-Petersen

(Action: Town Clerk)

12.            REVIEW AND ADOPTION OF STANDING ORDERS

Subject to the decision regarding face to face meetings above and changes due to exit from the EU, Members RESOLVED that the Standing Orders 2021 be approved.

 

(Action: Town Clerk)

13.            REVIEW AND ADOPTION OF FINANCIAL REGULATIONS

Subject to the decision regarding face to face meetings above and changes due to exit from the EU, Members RESOLVED that the Financial Regulations for 2021 be approved.

 

(Action: Town Clerk)

14.            APPOINTMENT TO OUTSIDE BODIES

The Leader of the Labour Group advised that she had not seen the Outside Bodies list prior to the meeting.  RESOLVED that consideration of this item be postponed to the June meeting of the Council.

(Action: Town Clerk)

15.            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.”

Some Members of the Council did not consider that the timing was right for a Peer Review and suggested that it should be left to a future date.

On being put to the vote the MOTION was LOST.

16.            INSURANCE

Members noted the Council’s insurance details.

17.            REVIEW OF THE COUNCIL’S POLICIES, PROCEDURES AND PRACTICES IN RESPECT OF ITS OBLIGATIONS UNDER FREEDOM OF INFORMATION AND DATA PROTECTION LEGISLATION

Members RESOLVED that they be approved.  Available to view at www.hatfield-herts.gov.uk Accounts & Reports Including Freedom of Information & Transparency - (hatfield-herts.gov.uk)

(Action: Town Clerk)

22.            PRESS/MEDIA PROTCOL

Members RESOLVED that Protocol be approved and is available here Council Meetings - (hatfield-herts.gov.uk)

(Action: Town Clerk)

23.            CODE OF CONDUCT 2021

Members considered the new draft Code of Conduct 2021 and RESOLVED that it be approved.

(Action: Town Clerk)

24.            PROTOCOL ON MEMBER/OFFICER RELATIONSHIPS

Members considered the protocol.

RESOLVED that consideration of this item be deferred to the Council meeting in June.

(Action: Town Clerk)

25.            20 IS PLENTY CAMPAIGN

Members considered the report and RESOLVED that the Town Council join the campaign.

(Action: Town Clerk)

26.            NEWGATE STREET GROUNDS STORE

Members considered the report of officers and RESOLVED that a planning application be submitted including potentially screening the store.

(Action: Town Clerk)

27.            PLACE NARRATIVE

Members noted that there was little reference to the villages within the Town Council area.

RESOLVED that the Town Clerk respond to the consultation following discussion with the Leaders of each political party.  The final document to be circulated to all Councillors.

(Action: Town Clerk)

28.            DATE OF NEXT MEETING

Noted that the next meeting of the Council is 23rd June 2021.

 

Closure: 8:58pm

Mayor