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FRM(21)M05 Minutes of FERM Committee Meeting on 8th December 2021

FERMFERM Minutes Uploaded on January 19, 2022

                                                                                                                                        FRM(21)M05

 

FINANCE, EMPLOYMENT AND RISK MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE

                                                                                                                               

Minutes of the meeting of Melton Parish Council Finance, Employment and Risk Management (FERM) Committee held on Wednesday 8 December 2021, commencing at 19:00 at 17 Riduna Park, Station Road, Melton IP12 1QT.

 

Present:

 

Cllr Mrs B Abbott

Cllr Mr N Brown

Cllr Mrs C Gradwell (in the Chair)

Cllr Mr M Packard

Cllr Mr A Porter

Cllr Mr C Taylor

 

Absent:

 

Cllr Mr B Banks

 

In Attendance:

 

Mr W J Grosvenor Clerk and Executive Officer to Melton Parish Council

Mrs P Alder Assistant Clerk and Management Officer to Melton Parish Council

The Council’s Footpaths Advocate

1 member of the public

                          

Part One – Open to the Public

Item No            Item to be discussed

 

21.52               To receive apologies for absence

                          Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Banks.

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21.53                 Declarations of Interest

21.53.01                To receive Amendments to the Register

                               There were none.

21.53.02                To receive Declarations of Pecuniary Interest in Respect of Items on the Agenda

                               There were none.

 

21.53.03                To receive Declarations of Non Pecuniary Interest in Respect of Items on the Agenda

                               There were none.

21.53.04                To consider Full / Partial Dispensations for Pecuniary Interests Declared

                               There had been no requests for dispensations.

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21.54                Public Participation Session 

                              The member of the public present was attending only to observe.

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21.55               To approve the Minutes of the Previous Meeting

                          It was RESOLVED to agree the minutes of the FERM Committee held on 13 October 2021 (Minutes FRM(21)M04 and FRM(21)M04 CONFIDENTIAL previously distributed).

Proposed by: Cllr Brown                             Seconded by: Cllr Taylor

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21.56                To consider Financial and Internal Control matters

21.56.01                To consider the Management Accounts for the period 1 April 2021 to 30 November 2021

                               (Papers FRM(21)56.01 and FRM(21)56.01a-g)

The Assistant Clerk reported that, as at 30 November 2021, income received in the year (less Community Infrastructure Levy monies (CIL)) was £111,317. CIL income received in the year was £106,600. Expenditure so far is £144,275, of which £62,552 has been paid out of CIL and grants. Otherwise expenditure amounted to £81,723 which is 65% of the budgeted expenditure for the year. Cash reserves as at 330 November totalled £632,976. Adding the VAT refund due of £997 and deducting the contingent liability for the rent deposit of £5,120 produces a figure for the total liquid assets of £628,853. Of that sum £535,288 relates to CIL monies held as a restrictive reserve, thus giving a general reserve of £93,565. The report was NOTED.

21.56.02                 To review the detailed budgetary position for 2021/22 at 30 November 2021

(Paper FRM(21)56.02)

This detailed report was considered in conjunction with the Management Accounts covered in Minute 21.56.01 above. It was AGREED to NOTE the report.

21.56.03                 To review further the Draft budget for 2022/23 and purchase of litter bin

                               (Paper FRM(21)56.03)

The covering report summarised the basis on which Full Council on 17 November 2021 adopted the proposals put forward by Budget Working Group and appended the notes which support the provisionally recommended precept for 2022/23 of £104,536. This so far provides for an in-year deficit of £12,125, which can be met via appropriate use of CIL monies. It was NOTED that Planning and Transport Committee has no comments to make on the provisional budget and suggestions from Recreation Committee are incorporated into the resolutions below. Following discussion it was RESOLVED to propose the following changes to the budget for 2022/23 to Full Council:

  • Move the provision of £800 for replacement computer hardware from 2022/23 to 2021/22 to provide new equipment for the new Assistant Clerk in January 2022.
  • To allow for the purchase of a rubbish bin for Woods Lane (by the bus shelter) by setting up a small dedicated Earmarked Reserve of £2k funded by CIL, to provide for this and future needs.

Proposed by: Cllr Taylor                              Seconded by: Cllr Brown

It was further NOTED that if any decision on the report at Agenda Item 21.56.05 below results in agreement to purchase new financial software, then additional budgetary provision will need to be made in 2022/23.

 

 

21.56.04                  VAT issues relating to the pavilion project

(Paper FRM(21)56.04)

This paper set out the issues relating to the requirements for the recovery of VAT in relation to the pavilion build project, including advice received from a VAT consultant. The right to reclaim VAT will depend on the uses of the new building. Where the uses are neither non-business or taxable, the Council will be able to recover the VAT. But where the VAT costs are attributable to a VAT exempt activity, the recovery will be subject to the Council’s partial exemption position and so might not be recoverable. If for example the pavilion is solely used for Council activities and the communal space never let to third parties then it would be fully a non-business activity and VAT can be recovered in full. However where there are lettings of one sort or another the position becomes complicated and there is the risk that VAT on the build will not be recoverable in full. In order to ensure there is no risk to recovery of VAT in full on the pavilion build project, it is recommended that the Council exercise the option to tax the building. Following discussion it was RESOLVED to exercise the option to tax in respect of the new pavilion building.

Proposed by: Cllr Brown                            Seconded by: Cllr Porter

21.56.05                  New Finance software system

(Paper FRM(21)56.05)

The Assistant Clerk took Members through her report which recommends migration from   Alpha to Scribe for reasons of improved functionality. Moving from Alpha to Omega within the RBS suite of products would not give any tangible benefits. Cllr Banks has already looked at the Scribe offering and considers that it has better functionality and future prospects than Alpha. Following discussion it was RESOLVED:

  • To agree in principle to move to Scribe
  • That the new Clerk will develop a project plan, in conjunction with advice from Scribe, that is workable, and bring back to Members with delegated decision-making powers via email for a decision on strategy and timing.

Proposed by: Cllr Taylor                           Seconded by: Cllr Brown

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21.57                 To consider Pavilion project – update and tendering issues

Below is a link to the up to date information on the Council’s website:                                https://melton-suffolk-pc.gov.uk/recreation/pavilion-project/

(Paper FRM(21)57)

The report sought to resolve issues in relation to the draft specifications, in order that the tender documents can be issued to the contractors on the tender list to price the new build. The Clerk took Members through the correspondence with the architect outlined in the report. The latest versions of the specifications are on the Council’s website (see link above). The outstanding issues related to (1) provision of a warranty and (2) the inclusion of significant provisional sums in the specifications. Provisional sums are used where it is desired to enter into a contract to enable the project to commence notwithstanding that the design of parts of the project is not yet finalised. The final amount payable by the client will be adjusted to reflect the actual cost of the provisional sum work. There are usually two aspects to the adjustment, the actual cost and the percentage allowed for overheads and profit. A common problem is where a contractor claims that item X falls within the provisional sum (and is therefore open to adjustment) whereas the client thinks it should have been included within the fixed price element. Therefore it is important to describe the provisional sum work as precisely as possible, and also as to whether overheads and profit on provisional sums will be treated as being included in the provisional sum allowances, or whether to be included in the main contractor’s fixed price.

The Clerk has discussed with the architect as to whether at least some of these costs could be firmed up before tendering. The architect’s view is that the detailed design aspects can best be addressed when the tenders are back and the chosen contractor appointed. At that point the Council as client either directly or by delegation will need to choose everything down to flooring, taps etc. Alternatively the architect could now, for example, seek a design of the electrics, kitchen fittings, plumbing etc. but as the Council has not yet specified these items it would both add significantly to a delay with the project and also to the architect’s professional fees. One of the companies on the tender list has told the architect that the provisional allowances are realistic. The architect was invited to attend the meeting of FERM Committee but had a prior engagement. He was otherwise happy to attend a face to face meeting at a mutually convenient time.

Following discussion it was AGREED that:

  • The architect will be asked to obtain prices for the purchase of a warranty
  • The architect will be asked to make it clear in the specifications that the provisional sums should be regarded as cost ceilings
  • Subject to those points the tender documents can be issued to the list of contractors already agreed by Full Council subject to instructing the architect to describe the provisional sum work more precisely, and also to make it clear as to whether overheads and profit on provisional sums will be treated as being included in the provisional sum allowances, or whether to be included in the main contractor’s fixed price.
  • (Provisionally) a special Full Council meeting in February should be convened to both select the winning tenderer and set up the arrangements for choosing fixtures and fittings for the new building.

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21.58                 To review risk management issues

21.58.01                Risk Register

(Paper FRM(21)58.01)

Members of FERM Committee reviewed the Risk Register updated for December 2021. No changes to ratings were proposed at this time and the report was NOTED.

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21.59                 To consider employment matters

21.59.01                  Staffing report

                                The Assistant Clerk reported discussions with the Council’s Maintenance Officer over workload issues. There is a regular dialogue on all aspects of the work that the Maintenance Officer undertakes, and training and health and safety needs identified. One issue that needs to be kept in view is in relation to transport requirements. Members wanted to emphasise that the Maintenance Officer is a key member of staff and his contribution is highly valued. That appreciation needs to be passed on to him.

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21.60                 To consider draft Health and Safety Policy                   

                        (Paper FRM(21)60)

Whilst Melton Parish Council has fewer than five employees and therefore does not have to have a Health and Safety Policy as a legal requirement, having such a policy statement affirms the Council’s commitment to the prevention of harm and the promotion of safe working practices. The draft statement included the following sections:

  • The Statement of Intent (the actual policy statement)
  • Responsibilities and arrangements for Health and Safety within the Council
  • The arrangements for Health and Safety: how risks are managed.

In discussion it was highlighted that under the paragraph on Display Screen Equipment there needs to be as well a regular assessment of workstations in the Regulations, and that will be added. Subject to that amendment, it was RESOLVED to adopt and publish the statement as a Council policy.

Proposed by: Cllr Brown                           Seconded by: Cllr Taylor

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21.61                 Prioritising County Council Services

www.suffolk.gov.uk/…/your-thoughts-on-council-tax-and-our-services-for-2022-23

 

                            The Clerk reported on the public consultation relating to thoughts on prioritising future County Council Services which runs until 20 December 2021. Whilst acknowledging that around 75% of Council spending is on Adult care and Children’s services, Councillors felt that if possible there should be a little more investment in highways drain clearing.

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  21.62                To consider governance matters

21.62.01                Report of decisions made by Clerk / Assistant Clerk under the Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations 2014

(Paper MPC(21)62.01)

It was RESOLVED to ratify the decisions made by the Clerk / Assistant Clerk in respect of:

  1. Payment of £1,735.00 + VAT to UK Power Networks for the disconnection of the pavilion electricity supply and reinstallation in a kiosk.
  2. Payment of £295.00 and £200.00 to THS Consulting for the Building Regulations Compliance Certificate and EPC for the new build pavilion.

Proposed by: Cllr Taylor                           Seconded by: Cllr Brown

 

21.63               Finance Committee Chair’s urgent business        

                             There was none.

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21.64                Date of next meeting

The next meeting will take place on Wednesday 9 February 2022, commencing at 19:00 at 17 Riduna Park, Station Road, Melton IP12 1QT. There being no further business for the Open part of the Agenda, and following consideration of the Confidential Items, the meeting closed at 21:00.

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