Councillors Present

Cllr J Burrell (Chairman)

Cllr L Canham

Cllr P Cutler

Cllr K Grehan

Cllr L Howes

Cllr K Kelly

Cllr J McQueen

Cllr M Mitchell

Cllr C Pearce

Cllr S Thredgle (Vice-Chairman)

 

In Attendance

J Thomas – Parish Clerk

E Shrubsole – Responsible Finance Officer

L McLean – Council Administration

 

 

01/08/20CL: TO ELECT THE CHAIRMAN OF THE COUNCIL FOR 2020-21 AND RECEIVE CHAIRMAN’S DECLARATION OF ACCEPTANCE OF OFFICE

Cllr J Burrell asked for nominations for the election of the Chairman of the Council for the ensuing year. Cllr S Thredgle nominated Cllr K Kelly. This was seconded by Cllr P Cutler. There were no further nominations.

 

A vote was taken, with nine in favour and three abstentions. Councillor Kelly was duly elected as Chairman.

 

Cllr K Kelly thanked members for their votes and gave recognition to Cllr J Burrell’s time as Chairman over the past nine years, in which time the council has delivered a significant number of community benefits.

 

Members also echoed their appreciation for his years of service as Chairman.

 

02/08/20CL: TO ELECT THE VICE-CHAIRMAN OF THE COUNCIL FOR 2020-21

The Chairman asked for nominations for the election of a Vice-Chairman of the Council for the ensuing year. Cllr Burrell nominated Cllr S Thredgle and this was seconded by Cllr P Cutler. There were no other nominations.

 

A vote was taken, with eleven in favour and one abstention. Councillor Thredgle was duly elected as Vice-Chairman.

 

Cllr S Thredgle thanked the members for their support.

 

03/08/20CL: TO RECEIVE APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Apologies for absence were received from Cllr J Fukes and Cllr J Hoadley

 

04/08/20CL: TO RECEIVE DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

There were no declarations of interest

 

05/08/20CL: TO APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE COUNCIL HELD ON WEDNESDAY 25 MARCH 2020

The minutes of the meeting of the council held Wednesday 25 March 2020 were approved by the Council to be signed by the chair in person.

 

06/08/20CL: TO CONFIRM THE CALENDAR OF COUNCIL MEETINGS FOR 2020-21

Members were presented with a proposed calendar of council meetings for 2020-21.

 

Taking into consideration the current COVID pandemic and the requirement to hold meetings virtually, council meetings had been scheduled on a bi-monthly basis.

 

Members unanimously resolved the calendar of meetings as outlined.

 

07/08/20CL: TO RESOLVE TO SUSPEND DELEGATION TO COMMITTEES TO MAY 2021

Members discussed the ongoing Covid-19 situation and noted the previous decision to hold bi-monthly virtual council meetings to streamline decision-making during the pandemic.

 

As such, it was proposed that delegation to committees be suspended until the next annual meeting in favour of discussing all necessary items at Full Council Meetings.

 

Members unanimously resolved to suspend delegation to committees to May 2021.

 

08/08/20CL: TO REVIEW ORDINARY AND CONTINUED COVID-19 DELEGATION ARRANGEMENTS TO OFFICERS

Members were presented with a report outlining proposed delegation arrangements to officers to support the efficient operation of ordinary council business, as well as enhanced delegations to transact business during the COVID-19 period.

 

The Parish Clerk confirmed that any significant decisions outside of normal delegations would be discussed with the Chairman (and Vice-Chairman as necessary) if the business could not wait until the next council meeting.

 

Members unanimously resolved to approve the delegation arrangements to officers as outlined.

 

09/08/20CL: TO REVIEW AND RESOLVE ADOPTION OF STANDING ORDERS & FINANCIAL REGULATIONS

Members were informed by the Parish Clerk that a number of new provisions had been added to the standing orders due to the Covid-19 situation. She also confirmed that financial regulations had been updated on the advice of the internal audit report.

 

Members resolved unanimously to adopt the updated Standing Orders and Financial Regulations.

 

10/08/20CL: TO RESOLVE TO APPROVE REASONS FOR NON-ATTENDANCE AT MEETINGS TO PREVENT 6-MONTH RULE DISQUALIFICATION

Due to the Council being unable to convene since March, it was noted that any members who were not present at this meeting would subsequently be automatically disqualified due to non-attendance under the six-month rule.

 

In order to avoid this unwanted outcome, the council were requested to formally approve reasons for non-attendance due to the COVID pandemic to prevent the automatic disqualification of any members affected by this.

 

The council unanimously resolved to approved reasons for non-attendance to prevent any affected councillors being automatically disqualified.

 

11/08/20CL: TO RESOLVE COUNCIL’S RESPONSE TO MODEL CODE OF CONDUCT CONSULTATION

Members were informed that the consultation date had been extended to 16 September to permit further submissions. It was agreed that the council would not respond as a body, but that members could respond to the consultation individually.

 

12/08/20CL: TO RESOLVE COUNCIL EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY POLICY

Members were presented with a new Equality and Diversity Policy to strengthen the councils approach on these issues.

 

Cllr K Grehan noted her delight of the Parish Council’s proactive stance and its commitment to equality and diversity.

 

The Chairman confirmed his agreement to this and noted that the policy seemed to be a perfect approach to providing a high level of support on this issue.

 

Members unanimously agreed with this and resolved to adopt the policy as outlined.

 

13/08/20CL: TO RESOLVE CANCELLATION OF COUNCIL AUTUMN/WINTER EVENTS

Members noted that due to the Covid-19 situation, it was not viable to go ahead with the large events scheduled for the rest of the year, which included the Remembrance Service and Christmas Lights switch on.

 

Members noted they were keen to see these events celebrated in some way, even if it is remotely.

 

The Parish Clerk confirmed that a programme of activities to mark the various occasions was being put together that would see a virtual parish pumpkin tour, Remembrance Service, and various Christmas activities.

 

It was suggested that the senior citizens Christmas lunch may still able to go ahead depending on restrictions, but this will be revisited closer to the time.

 

Members resolved that the usual Remembrance Service and Christmas Lights events be cancelled and that virtual or other suitable events be considered to enable these occasions to be marked in some way.

 

14/08/20CL: FINANCE

 

  1. TO RESOLVE APPROVAL OF ANNUAL RETURN FOR 2019-20

Members were presented with the Annual Return for 2019-20.

 

Members unanimously resolved to approve the Annual Return for 2019-20 for submission to PKF Littlejohn external auditers.

 

  1. TO NOTE INTERNAL AUDIT REPORT FROM HEELIS AND LODGE

Members were presented with an internal audit report produced by the council’s new internal auditer.

 

Members noted the report was much more in depth and felt this was a positive improvement. The RFO confirmed the internal auditor was very thorough and had made several recommendations that had been very welcome.

 

The RFO confirmed all these recommendations were being actioned by council staff.

 

Members resolved to note the internal audit report.

 

  1. TO AUTHORISE PAYMENTS

Members were presented with a report outlining supplier payments for authorisation.

 

Members resolved to approve the authorisation of payments.

 

  1. TO NOTE CONCLUSION OF NJC PAY AWARD FOR 2020/21

Members were requested to note that, following the conclusion of the 2020/21 NJC pay award at 2.75% backdated to 1/4/2020, staff salaries have been adjusted accordingly as per employment contracts and will receive back pay to April 2020 with September 2020 salary payments.

 

Members resolved to note the conclusion of the NJC pay award at 2.75% and adjustment of staff salaries including back pay.

 

15/08/20CL: TO NOTE FUNDING APPLICATION BID FOR ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING POINTS AT STONE PAVILION AND COTTON LANE DEVELOPMENT AND TO RESOLVE COUNCIL MATCH FUNDING AS APPROPRIATE

Members were requested to note the council’s bid for installation of electric vehicle charging points at council facilities, and to determine whether an offer of match funding was appropriate.

 

Members enquired regarding the logistics of the charging points being installed at Stone Pavilion and the proposed community centre at Cotton Lane. This is included access times, as the Pavilion gate is usually kept shut for security reasons.

 

Members questioned whether two spaces dedicated to electric charging points would be a negative for the Pavilion, where there are already only 22 spaces. The Parish Clerk confirmed that officers were looking to establish the most effective arrangement to balance the benefit offered with any effect on regular parking.

 

Members agreed that it would be a benefit to the area, particularly as it is in line with the air quality aspirations of the Stone Parish Neighbourhood Plan and the council’s environmental objectives.

 

Members unanimously resolved to register an interest with Kent County Council, with a decision on match funding delegated to the Parish Clerk, in consultation with the Chairman, once further details regarding technical aspects can be determined.

 

There being no further business, the Chairman closed the meeting at 7.34pm.