Parish Council Meeting Minutes
MEETING OF CHOLMONDELEY & CHORLEY PARISH COUNCIL HELD AT SCHOOL FARM, CHOLMONDELEY ON 9 JUNE 2020
|PRESENT:||Councillor A D Fennell (Chairman)|
Councillor C Baker
Councillor C Farquharson
Councillor C Hopley
Councillor C Crossley
Councillor A Gresty
Councillor S Langton
Councillor P Probin
|APOLOGIES:||Councillor R Keyes|
72 DECLARATION OF INTERESTS
Members were asked to declare any disclosable pecuniary interest, personal interest or non- pecuniary interest which they had in any item of business on the agenda, the nature of that interest, and in respect of disclosable interests, to leave the meeting prior to the discussion of that item.
No declarations were made.
RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the Meeting held on 21 January 2020 be approved as a correct record.
74 PUBLIC QUESTION TIME
Members of the public had been asked to submit questions, in writing, by 5.00 pm on Monday, 8 June 2020. This arrangement was intended for this first remote meeting only.
No questions had been received
75 COVID-19: REGULATIONS FOR TOWN AND PARISH COUNCILS – UPDATE
Members had been notified separately that under S.78 of the Coronavirus Act 2020, new Regulations have been put into place, and these have made the following key changes to local government procedures.
- The regulations applied to all local council meetings to be held before 7 May 2021.
- Meetings could be held remotely, via video-link and this could be attended bymembers of the public.
- The Annual Parish Meeting (comprising electors in the parish) was not permitted to beheld remotely.
- Where appointments would normally be made at Annual Council, no suchappointments were permitted and all office-holders, eg Chairman and Vice-Chairman, remained in office until May 2021, unless the Council decided to elect replacements earlier.
- Voting arrangements could be stipulated in a revision to Standing Orders. The current arrangement was by show of hands; however, as the meeting was being held remotely and it may not be possible for the Clerk to view all Members at the same time, it was suggested that after each item, Members were individually polled for their vote.
- Public Notice of meetings (in accordance with The Public Bodies [Admission to Meetings] Act 1960) had been amended so that the time and place of a meeting was deemed to have been given if published on the Council’s website. Note: ‘place’ had been re-defined to apply to the appropriate platform being used for remote meetings.
76 INSURANCE COVER – 1 JUNE 2020 – 31 MAY 2021
The Parish Council was asked to review its insurance cover for the period 1 June 2020 – 31 May 2020.
The insurance documents provided by Zurich Municipal were submitted. As the insurance cover was due to start prior to the date of the Parish Council meeting, the Clerk had approved it and paid the invoice.
The Parish Council was asked to ratify the Clerk’s action in approving the insurance policy and settling the invoice.
Members reviewed the documentation and any queries relating to cover, could be raised with Zurich Municipal.
RESOLVED: (a) That the insurance policy with Zurich Municipal be approved for the year 1 June 2020 – 31 May 2021; and
(b) That the Clerk’s action in approving the insurance policy and settling the invoice in the sum of £294.54, be ratified.
(Note: Councillor Probin joined the meeting during discussion of this item.)
77 ANNUAL ACCOUNTS – 2019-2020
77.1 The Parish Council was asked to approve the accounts for 2019-2020.
As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the audit regulations had been revised as follows:
(a) The public inspection period must commence on or before 1 September 2020. This was formerly to include the first 10 working days of July.
(b) The AGAR must be approved and published by 31 August 2020 at the latest.
(c) A wet signature was still a requirement. When the accounts were returned, the Chairmanwould need to sign the AGAR.
(d) The publication date for final, audited accounts had moved from 30 September to 30November 2020 for all local authorities, BUT this did not apply to those authorities which declared themselves exempt and submit a Certificate of Exemption to the External Auditor.
77.2 Accounts for Approval
The following documents were submitted:
(a) Annual Governance and Accountability Return (AGAR) Part 2.
Page 3 was the Certificate of Exemption and the Parish Council was asked to confirm that it wished to be regarded as exempt from external audit on the basis that its annual gross income was less than £25,000.
(b) Copy of ledger for 2019-2020 showing bank reconciliation.
77.3 Annual Governance and Accountability Review (AGAR)
The AGAR must be approved in a specific order. Section 1 first (the Annual Governance Statement) and secondly, Section 2 (Accounting Statement). The Minute Nos. must demonstrate that they were considered in the correct order.
77.4 Section 1 – Annual Governance Statement – 2019-2020
The Parish Council considered points 1–9 on the Annual Governance Statement as it was the Council’s responsibility to ensure that there was a sound system of internal control including arrangements for the preparation of the accounting statements.
RESOLVED: That the Annual Governance Statement – 2019-2020 be approved.
77.5 Section 2 – Accounting Statement – 2019-2020
The Parish Council considered the Accounting Statement – 2019-2020.
RESOLVED: That the accounts for 2019-2020 be approved.
77.6 Exemption from Limited Assurance Review
The Parish Council was reminded that in accordance with regulations introduced in 2015, councils whose turnover was less than £25,000 per annum could opt out of an external audit. The rationale behind this was that the Government took the view that for councils of this size, the audit undertaken by the Internal Auditor was thorough and there was no requirement for any further auditing.
RESOLVED: That the Parish Council declare itself exempt from a limited assurance review under Section 9 of the Local Audit (Smaller Authorities) Regulations 2015.
77.7 Review of the Effectiveness of Internal Audit
At its next meeting, after return of the accounts from the Internal Auditor, the Parish Council would be asked to review the effectiveness of the internal audit process for 2019-2020.
78 FINANCIAL TRANSACTIONS
It was noted that payment to Selectmark, in the sum of £2,215.20 (£1,846.00 net and £369.20 VAT) had been made, for the ‘DNA’ kits approved by the Parish Council.
78.2 Payments requiring approval
|£40.00||HMRC Tax for the first quarter of the new tax year|
|£40.00||HMRC Underpaid tax during 2019-2020|
78.3 Reimbursement to the Clerk (Total £654.54)
Reimbursement for payment of insurance premium (Screenshot enclosed.)
|£160.00||C M Jones|
Underpayment of salary in 2019-2020.
(Members are referred to the ledger for the year 2019-2020. Net salary for the period 1 April – 30 June 2020)
|£200.00||C M Jones|
Net salary for the period 1 April – 30 June 2020
(based on new salary rate)
RESOLVED: (a) That the payment to Selectmark (Minute No. 78.1) be noted; and
(b) That the payments listed under Minute Nos. 78.2 and 78.3 be approved.
79 DISTRIBUTION OF ‘DNA’ KITS SUPPLIED BY SELECTMARKMembers considered arrangements for the distribution of the Selectmark kits which were intended for supply to each household in the parish.The process had been interrupted by the pandemic.
No decision was made at this meeting.
80 BOROUGH COUNCILLOR’S REPORT
Councillor W S Davies was not in attendance.
81 NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN
Councillor Farquharson updated the Parish Council on progress on the Neighbourhood Plan process.
Two working groups had been set up, each with a remit to carry out its own sphere of work. One of the groups had reported to the previous Steering Group meeting and had tabled various documents to support its work to date. The second group had not yet reported, and its members had not been present at the last Steering Group meeting.
Mr Latham, the Chairman of the Steering Group had resigned and at the next meeting, a new Chairman would need to be elected.
The next meting of the Steering Group would be set up using Zoom, and the Clerk was asked to contact all Members of the Steering Group to arrange a meeting.
82 REVIEW OF THE WEBSITE
Councillors Chris Baker and Chris Nickson reported progress on their review of the website.
They explained the technical difficulties associated with the site and referenced the accessibility requirements which would become mandatory from 23 September 2020.1
RESOLVED: That Councillors Baker and Nickson be authorised to make draft changes to the website, for submission to the Parish Council for approval.
83 DATE OF NEXT MEETING
The Clerk would arrange a meeting when the accounts had been returned from the Internal Auditor.2
1 The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations 2018).
2 Subsequently agreed as 21 July 2020