This page will be reveiwed as necessary.
Due to the impact of COVID19 The Chair, Vice Chair, and the Clerk acting together, proposed arrangements to enable the essential business of The Stukeleys Parish Council to be carried out, with due regard for the health and safety of our residents, service users, Councillors and employee.
Given the advice from the government on social distancing, all Councillors were sent the proposals and they emailed to state whether they agreed to those arrangements. Formal ratification will be sought at the first public Council meeting we are able to hold.
SAFETY STATEMENT – MEETINGS
The Stukeleys Parish Council [SPC] recognises and agrees that no business, meeting, service provision or service delivery of the Authority is of any importance above that of public and personal safety. As such the following proposal is made:
AGREED: All scheduled public meetings will be cancelled for an initial 6 week period until 4th May 2020 (or as circumstances dictate).
Notices will be put on the Parish Council Boards announcing the cessation of meetings and directing residents to the Parish Council website for more information. [Note to Councillors – it is proposed that the version of these proposals will be approved if accepted by a simple majority, at least 3 Councilors (our quorum) They will then be reworded to show the proposals as “AGREED via email” and a copy added by the Clerk as a notice on the Parish Website page.]
SUSPENSION OF STANDING ORDERS / FINANCIAL REGULATIONS
AGREED: SPC gives delegated authority to the Clerk as our Responsible Financial Officer (in consultation with any two of the Chairman/Vice Chairman/Finance lead) to suspend any relevant Standing Order or Financial Regulation as they judge to be necessary to ensure the smooth running and operation (wherever possible) of the Parish Council for a period of no longer than 6 weeks (or as circumstances dictate). The Clerk will compile and maintain a log of such suspensions and reasons; the log will be presented to a future meeting of the Parish Council for scrutiny.
ANNUAL COUNCIL MEETING / ANNUAL PARISH MEETING
As meetings are to be cancelled this will affect initially; April Monthly Meeting (scheduled Monday 6th April 2020) at Little Stukeley Village Hall cancelled.
The Annual Meeting of SPC & The Annual Parish Meeting
(scheduled for Monday 4th May 2020), where Committees, advisory groups and the role of Chair and Vice Chair are agreed will not take place at Ermine Street Church Academy as planned (unless circumstances dictate further cancelations). If this is the case then, the roles Chair, Vice Chair and the existing committee and advisory group structures (including the chairmanship of such) will remain the same until a suitable and a safe public meeting is called and held.
It is noted that whilst the above decisions are contrary to existing legislation (as of 20th March 2020) the Parish Council has made these decisions in order to place public safety at the forefront.
ORDERS FOR PAYMENT
AGREED: That the Clerk, along with those Councillors with delegated responsibility for the authorising and signing of payments, puts measures in place with robust transparency processes to ensure effective business continuation and to minimise impact on local service delivery and local business with ratification by the Council to be made at the earliest and safest opportunity. Further details of these processes will be circulated to all Councilors and the processes will remain under review, as the current unprecedented situation develops.
AGREED: That the Council authorises the Planning Committees to deal with planning applications via email and gives delegated power to the Clerk to collate responses and submit to HDC (on a majority basis).
BUDGETARY CONTROL AND AUTHORITY TO SPEND
AGREED: In respect of any emergency or Health & Safety matter to authorise an increase in the spending limit to the Clerk in consultation with any two of the Chairman / Vice Chairman and Finance lead of the respective substantive committees and Advisory Groups (i.e. Admin, Planning, Personnel) from any item below £500 to any amount below £ 5,000.
AGREED: That the Clerk will pay staff payments, NEST pensions submissions and HMRC through bank transfer in line with the normal timescales.
AUDIT The Clerk will prepare for the annual, statutory Audit and AGAR submission. She will seek advice from the Internal Auditor on the matter of the statutory deadlines for submission and public scrutiny of the accounts and will act as appropriate on any National Guidance on these matters that is issued to Councils.
AGREED: That the awarding of essential new contracts be delegated to the Finance Advisory group (acting through email) using best value principles (noting best value does not mean the cheapest) with the decision to be ratified by the Council at a future date.
STAFFING MATTERS – ANNUAL APPRAISALS
AGREED: That annual staffing reviews be delayed, and any monetary awards be backdated to 1st April 2020 (once and if approved).
AGREED: That delegation is afforded to the Clerk to update policy documentation where revision dates are the only necessary updates, such updates to be ratified by the Council at a future meeting. Where any legislative or operational changes in policies are judged to be necessary, the Clerk will update relevant documentation and implement any necessary changes.
WORK OF PARISH CLERK
AGREED: That the Parish Clerk works her hours from home as usual.
AGREED: In the event that the Parish Clerk is unable to carry out her duties, the situation will be reviewed, and in full consultation with the Council appropriate measures put in place to ensure essential activities continue.