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Minutes of the Town Council Meeting held on Wednesday 31st March 2021 at 7.30pm via Zoom.

PRESENT:

Councillor Eames-Petersen – Mayor

Councillor Linda Mendez - Deputy Mayor

Councillor Mark Bolitho                   Councillor Lenny Brandon

Councillor Jackie Brennan              Councillor Rory Craig

Councillor Richard Griffiths             Councillor Caron Juggins

Councillor Hazel Laming                 Councillor Lee Newman

Councillor Angus Mackay                Councillor John Percival

Councillor Tristan Wiltshire

OFFICERS:

Carrie Lloyd (Town Clerk)

Sam Frake (Head of Operations)

Ali Ogilvie (Head of Estates)

 

6 members of the public in attendance

69.            APOLOGIES

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Brisbin who was unable to attend due to work.

 

Councillor Zhaveri had resigned from the Council 15th March and the vacancy advertised.

 

Councillor Percival left the meeting

70.            DECLARATION OF INTERESTS BY MEMBERS

There were none.

71.            MINUTES FROM PREVIOUS MEETINGS

Members approved the minutes of 9th March 2021 as a correct record and noted that the draft minutes from 30th January 2021 were awaiting the Mayor’s comments.

72.            PUBLIC SESSION

Councillor Newman joined the meeting.

 

Mr Brindle asked about his football development plans in relation to the item on the agenda.  He expressed concern that the Council were still including a 3G pitch as an option despite his information indicating that there were already too many in the area and that no more were needed.

 

He requested that he have sight of any additional proposals being put forward before they were submitted to the council.

 

He suggested that an A4 side of paper for each option was not sufficient for Hatfield residents to make an informed decision.

 

73.            UPDATE ON MANDATED CODE OF CONDUCT TRAINING FOR COUNCILLORS BY THE STANDARDS SUB COMMITTEE

Councillor Percival re-joined the meeting

 

Members noted that Herts Association of Parish and Town Councils (HAPTC) would be carrying out training on 7th June 2pm – 4pm, which Councillors could attend if they had not attended the training on 10th March.

 

Members noted that a revised Code of Conduct would be brought to Council in May for Members to consider, the Town Clerk would be highlighting the difference between the current Code and the new Code for Members.

 

It was recognised that the training on 7th June was not convenient for Councillors who worked and Members RESOLVED that HAPTC be requested to host an evening session of training on the Code of Conduct.

 

(Action: Town Clerk)

74.            TIMETABLE FOR SPORTS SCHEMES AT BIRCHWOOD PLAYING FIELDS

Members noted that should be referred to as sports development rather than football development.

 

Some Members felt that pre-application advice should be sought prior to consulting with the public.  Others felt that this was not necessary.

 

It was suggested that the University may be willing to assist with the independent consultation process.

 

It was recognised that consultation by September was too soon and October was more realistic.

 

RESOLVED that the following timetable be used;

1.               31st July 2021 - All sports development submissions to be formally made. This must include, up to 4 A4 pages providing, Proposal statement, estimated costs for development, running costs once developed;

2.               1st August - 31st August - time for the council to review and ensure all the information has been received fulfils the criteria for public consultation;

3.               1st October – 31st October – Consultation;

4.               Extraordinary Council in November - to review consultation feedback and agree the preferred proposal to take forward.

The Town Clerk be authorised to seek quotes and other sources of help in independent public consultation and report back to the June meeting of the Resources and Policy Committee.

 

(Action: Town Clerk)

75.            TEMPORARY PLANNING APPLICATION FOR CHANGE OF USE – BIRCHWOOD PLAYING FIELDS

Members noted that the change of use to business use would be retrospective as the applicant was already on site.  He had agreed that if planning permission was not granted, he would vacate the site immediately.

 

The Leader of the Council requested details of the planning permission granted to Bon Appetite (Burger Van on site) and the Car Boot operator who had previously operated at weekends on site.  The Town Clerk undertook to provide this information to Members.

 

The Leader of the Council asked the Town Clerk to provide the difference between funfairs and circuses and this type of business.  The Town Clerk was was not able to provide the relevant planning legislation at the meeting but had sought advice from a Planning Officer prior to the meeting and could only advise Members that the temporary Garden Centre operating 7 days a week from March to the end of August was a temporary change of use for the site and required planning permission.

 

Members felt that it was equitable to charge Mr Carroll £600 per month rent the same as the Burger van.

 

RESOLVED that;

(i)               Members be sent the specific details of planning permission on the site and that required for fun fairs and circuses;

(ii)              The Town Clerk apply for Planning Permission for temporary change of use for the site, all costs rechargeable to Neil Carroll; and

(iii)            Neil Carroll be charged £600 per month rent for the site.

 

(Action: Town Clerk / Head of Operations)

76.            CALENDAR OF MEETINGS

Members RESOLVED that the Calendar of meetings at Appendix A be approved.

 

(Action: Town Clerk)

77.            EFFECTIVENESS OF INTERNAL CONTROL

Members considered the draft document.  Concern was expressed that this had been brought to Council for consideration at such a late date in the financial year.

 

Some Members felt that this should include staffing matters which were not on the agenda and should be discussed at the Establishment Sub Committee prior to approval of the document.

 

The Town Clerk was requested to name the Council’s Internal Auditor within the document.

 

Members requested that this document be considered at a meeting in September/October in future.

 

RESOLVED that the document at Appendix B be approved.

 

(Action: Town Clerk)

78.            WELWYN HATFIELD PLACE NARRATIVE

Members considered the letter from Ka Ng and Cllr Tony Kingsbury dated 18th March.  It was noted that a response was required by 16th April, however, Members felt that they wished to have more time to consider this item.

 

RESOLVED that the Town Clerk request an extension of time to respond to 13th May 2021.

(Action: Town Clerk)

79.            NEIGHBORHOOD PLAN FOR HATFIELD

Councillor Eames-Petersen declared an interest as her brother in law had carried out training for Councillors on this subject, free of charge.

 

Members noted the report of officers and the potential financial implications involved.

 

It was noted that the Council would receive 25% of the Community Infrastructure Levy once it had a Plan in place, rather than 15% without.

 

It was noted that the Projects would be the subject of further discussion.

 

RESOLVED that;

 

(i)               The whole of Hatfield Civil Parish be included within the Neighbourhood Plan area;

(ii)              The Planning Committee be delegated authority to progress the Neighbourhood Plan including applying for a grant from Locality without incurring any costs for the Town Council; and

(iii)            The actual matters included withing the Neighbourhood Plan be determined by all Councillors in the future following initial discussion at Planning Committee.

(Action: Town Clerk)

80.            RECOMMENDATIONS FROM COMMITEES SINCE THE LAST MEETING

Members noted that there had been none.

81.            DATE OF NEXT MEETING

Noted that the next meeting of the Council is 12th May 2021.

 

Closure: 9.30pm

Mayor


 

Appendix A

HATFIELD TOWN COUNCIL

CALENDAR OF MEETINGS

2021/22

 

MAY

5

Elections 6 May 2021

DEC

1

PLANNING

 

12

ANNUAL COUNCIL

 

8

RESOURCES & POLICY

 

19

PLANNING

 

15

 

 

26

SPORT AND LEISURE

 

22

 

 

 

 

 

29

 

 

 

 

2022

 

 

JUNE

2

 

JAN

5

 

 

9

RESOURCES & POLICY

 

12

RESOURCES & POLICY

 

16

PLANNING

 

19

COUNCIL

 

23

COUNCIL

 

26

PLANNING

 

30

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JULY

7

 

FEB

2

SPORT & LEISURE

 

14

PLANNING

 

9

 

 

21

RESOURCES & POLICY

 

16

 

 

28

COUNCIL

 

23

PLANNING

 

 

 

 

 

 

AUG

4

 

MAR

2

RESOURCES & POLICY

 

11

 

 

9

 

 

18

 

 

16

 

 

25

 

 

23

PLANNING

 

 

 

 

30

COUNCIL

 

 

 

 

 

 

SEPT

1

 

APR

6

 

 

8

RESOURCES & POLICY

 

13

RESOURCES & POLICY

 

15

PLANNING

 

20

 

 

22

SPORT AND LEISURE

 

27

PLANNING

 

29

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OCT

6

 

MAY

4

Elections 5 May 2022

 

13

PLANNING

 

11

ANNUAL COUNCIL

 

20

RESOURCES & POLICY

 

18

PLANNING

 

27

 

 

25

SPORT AND LEISURE

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOV

3

COUNCIL

JUNE

1

 

 

10

PLANNING

 

8

RESOURCES & POLICY

 

17

SPORT & LEISURE

 

15

PLANNING

 

24

RESOURCES & POLICY

 

22

COUNCIL

 

 

 

 

29

 

 

Easter 2022 – Good Friday 15 April Easter Monday 18 April 2022


EXPECTED STANDARD

EVIDENCE OF ACHIEVEMENT

HAS THIS STANDARD

BEEN MET?

1. Scope of internal audit

The scope of audit work includes reference to the risk management processes and internal controls. Terms of reference are set out in the letter of appointment of the internal auditor.

 

 

YES

2. Independence

The Internal Auditor (Green Biro) has direct access to the RFO and if necessary to the Leader. The annual audit report was made by letter addressed directly to Hatfield Town Council and signed personally by the auditor. The auditor does not have any other role in relation to Hatfield Town Council.

 

 

YES

3. Competence

The report received and comments from the internal audit inspection were seen by Council. The internal audit reports were considered on 26 August 2020.  There is no evidence that internal audit work has not been carried out ethically.

 

 

YES

4. Relationships

Responsibilities are defined in the job description for the Clerk / RFO and the Head of Operations and responsibilities for Councillors are stated under risk management.

The Clerk / RFO and Head of Operations have access via the website to the Governance and Accountability Guide and have downloaded copies too.

 

 

YES

5. Audit Planning and Reporting

The Annual Return was signed on by the Internal Auditor (Green Biro) on 12th August 2020.

The letter of engagement for 3 years was discussed at Council on 6th March 2019.

 

 

YES

6. Internal audit work

Financial statements are produced by the Head of Operations for inspection at Resources & Policy Committee, Sport and Leisure and Council meetings.  This has increased during the pandemic due to the averse impact on Council finances.

Invoices are available for inspection upon request.

 

YES

7. Understanding the organisation, needs and objectives

 

The annual audit plan shows how audit work will provide assurance in relation to the Council’s annual governance statement.

Accounts are held on the computer and are backed up to the cloud.

 

YES

8. Being seen as a catalyst for change

 

Obtaining new quotes for large projects has resulted in good value for the Town Council and rules around this are specified in Financial Regulations.

 

YES

9. Be forward looking

When identifying risks and updating reviews, changes advised by national bodies are incorporated.

 

 

YES

10. Be challenging

In drawing attention to risks and to new possibilities, the Council responds in ways that are appropriate and proportional to the size and budget of a Town Council.

 

 

YES

11. Ensure the right resources are available

The internal auditor (Green Biro) is very experienced within the sector and fully understands the Council and the legal and corporate framework in which it operates.

Access to all the latest Guidelines is available via the appropriate websites.

 

 

YES