Minutes – Finance Committee – 9 June 2020
The minutes of this meeting are presented below.
You can also download a PDF copy of the minutes here: Minutes – Finance Committee – 9 June 2020
MINUTES OF THE VIRTUAL MEETING OF THE FINANCE COMMITTEE
HELD ON TUESDAY 9 JUNE 2020 AT 2.00PM
- Councillor Scicluna (Chairman)
- Councillor Barrie (Vice-Chairman)
- Councillor Dignum
- Councillor K Hughes
- The Mayor (Councillor Plowman)
- The Deputy Mayor (Councillor J Hughes)
- Councillor Apel (Chairman of Community Affairs)
- Councillor Joy (Chairman of Planning and Conservation)
- Councillor Lishman
- West Sussex County Councillor Simon Oakley
- Councillor Harry
- Town Clerk
- Deputy Town Clerk (Responsible Finance Officer)
- Property Manager
- Member Services Support Officer
The Mayor in the Chair for the first item.
The Mayor reminded participants that this was to be held under the new virtual meeting arrangements. Members were reminded that this was a meeting in public, just as if the Committee’s meeting would have been had it been held in the Council Chamber. He outlined the meeting protocols, including the need for clear voting practice to be adopted by Councillors.
1. ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN FOR 2020-2021
It was proposed, seconded, put to the vote and RESOLVED that Councillor Anne Scicluna be elected Chairman of the Finance Committee for the remainder of the Council year. There were no other nominations.
2. APPOINTMENT OF VICE-CHAIRMAN
It was proposed, seconded, put to the vote and RESOLVED that Councillor Heather Barrie be appointed Vice-Chairman of the Finance Committee for the remainder of the Council year. There were no other nominations.
In accordance with Standing Order 45, the Chairman and Vice-Chairman were asked to indicate membership of all the Sub-Committees reporting to the Finance Committee.
The Chairman indicated that she wished to be a member of the following Sub-Committees, namely Personnel and Property. However, the Vice-Chairman indicated that she did not wish to serve on these Sub-Committees. It was therefore RESOLVED that the Chairman be a member of all the Sub-Committees but that the Vice-Chairman would not.
Post meeting note: Due to technical difficulties Councillor Barrie was not present for this Agenda item. The Chairman confirmed the acceptance of the Vice-Chairman role and Sub-Committee preferences after Councillor Barrie had successfully joined the meeting.
3. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
No apologies for absence had been received
4. PROPERTY SUB-COMMITTEE EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST FOR MEMBERSHIP
The Chairman called for expressions of interest in membership of the Property Sub-Committee.
After a short discussion it was RESOLVED that the Property Sub-Committee would consist of Councillors Scicluna, Plowman, Dignum, Apel and J Hughes.
5. MINUTES OF THE FINANCE COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON 14 JANUARY 2020
RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Meeting held on 14 January 2020, having been circulated, were approved and be signed as a correct record at a later date.
6. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST BY MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE IN MATTERS ON THE AGENDA FOR THIS MEETING
The Mayor and Councillors Apel, Barrie, Dignum and K Hughes declared a personal interest as Members of Chichester District Council.
7. UPDATE FROM THE PREVIOUS MINUTES
(a) Minute 109 – The Market House
This item to be considered in closed session under Agenda Item 28
(b) Minute 110(ii) – Chichester City Council Standing Orders Review
The Member Services Support Officer advised the Committee that the initial draft of the Standing Orders had now been fully marked up with the suggested changes. He further advised that the fixed legal terminology in the draft was being checked against the appropriate Statues and legal documentation to ensure accuracy. The Committee was informed that the draft would be sent out to Members once this work was completed.
(c) Minute 110(iii) – Chichester City Council Business Plan
The Town Clerk thanked Councillor Gershater for offering to undertake work on the formatting and content of the City Council’s Business Plan.
The Members were then advised by the Town Clerk that, in his opinion, the recent Coronavirus pandemic could signal the need to completely redraw the Business Plan and that the aims expressed within it could be made much more ambitious given that the principal authorities may be reviewing their operations, who delivers them and how.
8. INTERNAL CONTROL POLICY AND RISK MANAGEMENT PLAN
A copy of the Internal Control Policy for the year ending 31 March 2020 had been circulated to all Members with the Agenda.
The Responsible Financial Officer explained the Internal Control Policy to the Committee and highlighted point 6 (External Audit Opinion). Members were advised that this year the exercise of public rights dates would be after the Annual Governance Accountability Return (AGAR) had been approved in June 2020.
The Responsible Financial Officer then explained the Risk Management Plan for 2019-2020. Members were informed that a couple of points in the plan were yet to be completed including clock winding. Members were further informed that the point under Websites (Administration/Legal) had been addressed prior to the lockdown but that the significant changes to the IT infrastructure and working practices that had happened in the previous few weeks would require further work to be undertaken.
It was RECOMMENDED to Full Council on Thursday 25 June 2020 that the amended Internal Control Policy and Risk Management Plan be adopted and signed by the Mayor and Responsible Financial Officer.
9. STATEMENT OF ACCOUNTS 2019/2020
A copy of the Statement of Accounts 2019/2020 produced by DCK Beavers Ltd had been circulated to all Members with the Agenda.
The Responsible Financial Officer’s accompanying report explained that the year end accounts to 31 March showed a deficit £3,029 for the year. Members were advised that this was significantly lower than expected due to some one-off spending being paid from the reserves rather than the revenue budget and the rent from the Market House being slightly higher than predicted.
The General Reserve now held a balance of £481,625.93 with the City Council’s balances totalling £525,906 plus £490,000 invested in the Local Government Property Fund.
It was RECOMMENDED to Full Council on Thursday 25 June 2020 that the Statement of Accounts 2019/2020 be approved and signed by the Mayor and the Responsible Financial Officer.
10. BUDGETS TO BE CARRIED FORWARD FROM 2019/20 AND BUDGETS TRANSFERRED TO RESERVES
The Responsible Financial Officer explained the rationale behind the budgets being carried forward and the budgets transferred to reserves.
Overall, the Earmarked Reserves had increased from £406,345 to £425,740. £71,000 had been spent from the City Council’s reserves in the last year and the total had been boosted by a payment of £30,000 for bus shelters from West Sussex County Council. Members were advised that the reserves also included the CIL receipts received during the year.
It was RESOLVED that the following budgets be carried forward from 2019/2020 to 2020/2021 financial year:
Public realm £14,429.15
Discretionary Grants £ 5,285.00
Computer replacement £ 2,798.54
Councillor Apel highlighted the current level of the Discretionary Grant budget following the April 2020 round of applications and asked whether there was scope to review this. The Chairman agreed that the situation was difficult but that as the 2020/2021 budget had been set in November 2019 there was not much that could be done.
The Town Clerk reminded Members that the Community Affairs Committee of the previous week had formed a working group to review the Discretionary Grants and that that would be reporting in due course. The Town Clerk advised that, as it stands, the remaining budget figure stands as the amount available for the Autumn Grants awards.
The Mayor suggested to Members the need for caution in managing the current year’s budget given the uncertainty around what will happen in 2021/22 and beyond due to the dramatic economic effects of the Coronavirus pandemic. The Responsible Financial Officer agreed with the Mayor and outlined some of the potential dangers to the City Council’s income in such areas as Market House rental, room hire and weddings income although there were currently positive signs from Allotment and Street Naming income.
11. ANNUAL GOVERNANCE STATEMENT (Part 1 of the Annual Return)
A copy of Annual Governance Statement (Part 1 of the Annual Return) 2019/2020 was circulated with the Agenda to all members. The Responsible Financial Officer explained that this Statement assured the Auditors that Chichester City Council was conducting their accounts correctly.
It was RECOMMENDED to Full Council on Thursday 25 June 2020 that the Annual Governance Statement (Part 1 of the Annual Return) 2019/2020 be approved and signed by the Mayor and the Responsible Financial Officer.
12. ACCOUNT STATEMENTS (Part 2 of the Annual Return)
A copy of the Accounting Statements (Part 2 of the Annual Return) 2019/2020 was circulated with the Agenda to all members. The Responsible Financial Officer explained that the figures on the Statement were extracted from the Statement of Accounts.
It was RECOMMENDED to Full Council on Thursday 25 June 2020 that the Accounting Statements (Part 2 of the Annual Return) 2019/2020 be approved and signed by the Mayor and Responsible Financial Officer.
13. INTERNAL AUDIT
The Responsible Financial Officer reminded Members that, in the previous year, the Council had approved a broader scope of Audit and a reformatted Audit Report. The Committee was directed to the Scope and Terms of Reference for Internal Audit which had been circulated to prior to the meeting.
The Responsible Financial Officer recommended to the Committee that Mr Steven James be reappointed as the Internal Auditor for the financial year 2020/21.
It was RECOMMENDED to Full Council on Thursday 25 June 2020 that the following be approved:
- The Internal Audit plan for the financial year 2020/2021
- The appointment of Mr Steven James as the Internal Auditor for the financial year 2020/2021
14. INVESTMENT REGISTER
A copy of the investment register had been circulated to all Members with the Agenda.
The Responsible Financial Officer advised that the Investment Register showed the purchase of the units in the Property Fund and the price per unit.
Members were further advised that the City Council currently received a return on this investment of approximately £20,000 per annum. The Responsible Financial Officer reported that, currently, the balance of the investments showed a paper loss as the mid market unit value had dropped to 295.74pence as at 31 March 2020. She advised that the situation would be monitored.
The Mayor expressed concerns about holding such a large amount of money in one investment, particularly in view of the current uncertainties in the financial markets. Councillor Dignum responded that this investment had been made with a long term view and that liquidating the investment would turn a paper loss in to an actual loss.
15. RETROSPECTIVE DECISIONS TAKEN UNDER DELEGATED AUTHORITY
(a) Blayde Security Patrols
The Property Manager reported to Members that, following lockdown, concerns had been raised about the security of the Council House. Arrangements had therefore been made for Blayde Security to make a visual check of the building twice a day at 6.30am and 5.30pm at a cost of £5.00 per visit. Members were advised that, now that Officers were attending the offices more regularly, the patrols had been discontinued. The Property Manager informed Councillors that the total cost of the patrols had amounted to £710.
(b) Insurance Contract
The Responsible Financial Officer informed the Committee that, immediately prior to lockdown, she had received a renewal notice for the City Council’s Zurich Insurance contract Members were advised that, in the previous year, this contract had cost £10,747.19. This was down from a previous premium of approximately £19,000 and also significantly undercut other quotes received during a market testing exercise.
Members were further advised that, in line with a renewal clause in the original Zurich contract, the City Council had been offered a three year renewal at £8,245.07 per annum. The Responsible Financial Officer reported that she had accepted this offer on behalf of the City Council to ensure that the building continued to be insured during the lockdown at the best possible price.
(c) Street bench sanitising
The Property Manager reported that, starting on the 20 April 2020, discontinued at the end of May; Graffiti Solutions had been contracted to wash down the City Council’s benches and bike racks on a once a week schedule. It was agreed by Officers that this would help show the City Council being proactive in protecting those residents and visitors using the City Centre. Each visit had cost £325 with a total expenditure of £2112.
(d) Mayor’s Hardship Fund
Councillor Apel declared an interest as the City Council’s representative on the Chichester Welfare Trust.
The Mayor gave a brief background of the Hardship Fund which had been set up in collaboration with the Chichester Welfare Trust. To date the Fund had received approximately 20 applications which had been filtered by the Mayor then assessed by a representative of Chichester Welfare Trust. Decisions and payments had typically been made within 48 hours of initial contact. The Mayor reported to Members how much of a difference the funds had made to recipients, small though the amounts had been.
The Mayor reported that, after initial funding of £5,000 from Chichester City Council, Chichester Welfare Trust had, to date, raised a further £2,000 through its GoFundMe page. The Hardship Fund had also received some direct private donations. To date, grants totalling approximately £3,000 had been issued with a remaining balance of approximately £5,000.
(e) Computer equipment purchased to enable home working
The Member Services Support Officer summarised his report for Members and outlined the steps that had been taken to enable Officers to work remotely. The Committee was advised that a phased approach had been taken to enable rapid deployment of remote working using existing equipment and Officers’ personal devices. Once it became obvious that the lockdown would last longer the decision was taken to purchase additional equipment to supply all relevant Officers with City Council owned and configured laptops.
The Committee was further advised that as the way of working in the future would change after lockdown, all office desks had been reconfigured to allow any Officer to use any desk and therefore social distance depending on who would be present in the building.
The Member Services Support Officer reported that a lot of this process had been enabled by the previous purchase of the City Council’s Office 365 subscription which meant that all emails and documents were available from the cloud and only physical files or building based work processes would require attendance at the Council House.
The Committee were informed that, as all the purchasing and configuration had been undertaken in house; this had been made possible at a total new spend of £3,399.41.
(f) Implementation of remote accessibility for the finance and booking systems
The Responsible Financial Officer reported that a six month trial had been purchased to enable the City Council’s finance and booking systems to be used remotely by Officers.
Members were advised that, without having done this, a lot of work would not have been possible during the lockdown period.
16. NEW HOMES BONUS
(a) Extension to the South Downs Planetarium spending plans
The Responsible Financial Officer reported that she had received an email from the South Downs Planetarium regarding their New Homes Bonus grant. Members were advised that the Planetarium had been forced to close for a long period of time due to Coronavirus. The current situation had also made it difficult to find contractors to install the new solar panel array that the grant had been awarded for.
The Committee were advised that the organisation had asked for a 12 month extension to the deadline for spending the grant. The Responsible Financial Officer further advised that the Community Engagement Manager at Chichester District Council had requested that the City Council would have to support the application for an extension before he could take it to Chichester District Council for formal approval.
The Chairman and Mayor expressed support for the Planetarium and it was therefore proposed, seconded and resolved to RECOMMEND to Chichester District Council that the South Downs Planetarium should be permitted a 12 month extension on its plans to install a new solar panel array, funded by a New Homes Bonus grant.
(b) Rugby Club New Homes Bonus grant update
The Responsible Financial Officer advised Members about a conversation she had had earlier in the year when the Rugby Club had applied to draw down the New Homes Bonus grant awarded for improvements to the acoustics of the Club hall. Members were reminded that, at the time of awarding the grant, Councillors had been very specific about the implementation of the solution and that it should only be undertaken by the stated specialists.
The Responsible Financial Officer reported that the application to draw down the funds showed that a non-specialist tent fabric company and a local carpenter had been used in preference to the specialist company specified by the City Council. Following an exchange of emails, the Responsible Financial Officer advised that Rugby Club appeared to have ceased attempts to draw down their allocation but that she would send one final reminder to confirm the situation.
Councillor Dignum commented that it was important that successful grant applicants should conform with the conditions of the grant and that it was unfortunate that the Rugby Club had not taken the opportunity to install the specified specialist solution. The Mayor expressed his support for this approach.
(c) New allocation for 2020/2021
The Responsible Financial Officer reported that Chichester District Council had allocated £49,549.64 to the City Council for new schemes eligible for New Homes Bonus funding. Members were advised that the new funding round had been publicised and that Officers were awaiting applications.
Members and Officers commented it was a positive development that the allocation had been made immediately prior to the Coronavirus lockdown as the situation could have been very different.
The Mayor highlighted the possibility of using some of the New Homes Bonus grant for work on the Council House. The Mayor and Councillor Dignum also highlighted other projects in Chichester that may be applying for funding in the current year.
17. UPGRADE OF EXISTING STREET LIGHT AT WHYKE LANE FOOTBRIDGE
The Property Manager reported he had been approached by a representative from the Whyke Residents Association, who had asked about the possible replacement of the heritage lantern adjacent to the footbridge with a taller LED lantern to improve the illumination on the footbridge itself.
Members were advised that a quote had been obtained for the work from SSE in the sum of £1,474. The Property Manager confirmed that he had requested evidence from the Residents Association that the lantern upgrade was needed and that there were no issues with light pollution for the properties in the vicinity of the light. The Committee was informed that two strong objections had been received and that these had been forwarded by the complainants to Councillor Sharp for awareness.
The Property Manager recommended that this project should not be pursued due to the potential for problems with properties adjacent to the lantern and that the matter should be referred to Network Rail, the owners of the footbridge.
The Chairman commented that the lantern being discussed had been a contentious issue for a long time.
18. CREDIT CARD MACHINE REPLACEMENT OPTIONS
The Member Services Support Officer’s report outlining the current situation regarding the City Council’s credit card machine and possible future options had been circulated to Members with the Agenda.
The report was verbally summarised for Members to outline the current costs and limitations and potential savings and upgrades that an alternative service might offer.
The Committee was advised that, currently, the City Council was unable to take card payments over the phone without an appropriate Officer making an appointment with the payer and then that Officer being present in the Council House. It was also noted that the average cost of a transaction currently was 6.62% with alternative services offering transaction costs as low as 1.75% with no ongoing rental costs.
The Mayor and Councillor Dignum proposed that Officers should be authorised to proceed and put in place their preferred option rather than having to wait until the next Finance Committee meeting in September. This was agreed by the Committee.
Councillor Barrie offered to provide advice and support based on her personal experience with alternative payment processors. The Member Services Support Officer thanked the Councillor and agreed to discuss the matter outside the meeting.
19. WEBSITE UPGRADE PROJECT
The Member Services Support Officer referred Members to his report that had been circulated with the Agenda. He summarised the main issues with the current website, namely that it is quite old and that the website and documents stored on it do not meet Government accessibility guidelines due to come in to force in September 2020 although this date allowed for some flexibility if progress was being shown and an end point for completion identified.
The Committee was advised that two exploratory quotes had been received and that these quotes were at opposite ends of the price spectrum to each other.
Members were further advised that the quotes would now be assessed against the technical specification that had been issued to those companies that had expressed and interest in quoting for the work.
20. AGENDA AND MINUTING SOFTWARE
The Member Services Support Officer’s report had been circulated with the Agenda.
The report was verbally summarised to outline the intention of this project and to highlight some of the advantages of implementing a more automated system for the production and management of Agendas and Minutes for Council and Committee meetings.
Members were advised that some of these included more effective use of Officer time, quicker creation of Agendas in preset templates, faster generation of Agenda and report packs, automated issuing of papers, automated work flows for Agenda and Minute approvals, ability for Members and Officers to annotate documents during the meetings and integration in to the City Council website for the publication of all documents as required.
Members were further advised that two companies who were well known in the Local Government field for providing this kind of system had been approached and the relative costs had been included in the report.
The Member Services Support Officer indicated that the Officers responsible for the Agendas and Minutes for Council and all Committees were keen to move forward with the system subject to the Committee’s approval.
The Chairman expressed concerns about over complicating the process and making it difficult for Councillors to use. The Member Services Support Officer highlighted the case study from Newquay Town Council that had been included with the Agenda and that indicated a very positive response to the iBabs system being proposed.
Members asked questions about the end user functionality and ease of use for Councillors. The Mayor was supportive of the project but also highlighted the need to know more about the ease of use for Members.
The Chairman expressed concerns that adopting this system would result in bigger and more complex Agendas and supporting reports such as those experienced by Chichester District Council and West Sussex County Council Councillors. The Mayor and Councillor Dignum commented that it was not the software that generated the size of the Agendas and reports. That was down to the Councils themselves.
The Member Services Support Officer was asked to provide further information about how the system looked and worked for Councillors. It was agreed that this would be brought to the next Finance Committee meeting along with any demonstration materials that were available.
Councillor Lishman left the meeting
21. COUNCIL HOUSE TELEPHONE SYSTEM UPGRADE
The Member Services Support Officer summarised the report that had been circulated with the Agenda.
Members were advised that this project had been proposed in common with other projects due to the need to review the City Council’s working practices with a view to making them more flexible and to allow for ongoing home working.
The Committee was informed that the current fixed line telephone system in the Council House was approaching 20 years old and that it did not allow much flexibility for home working or more advanced communication methods.
The Member Services Support Officer advised that, while this project would not necessarily save a lot of money, it was intended to look at using the money more effectively in the light of the necessity to enable more flexible working.
Members were further advised that any new telephony system would probably be based around technology known as VoIP which would run through the existing City Council broadband connect and would allow for additional telephony functions such as “follow me” extensions, integration with the City Council mobile phones and video conferencing facilities.
The Committee agreed that the proposal to proceed to a costed solution should go ahead and the findings reported to a future Finance Committee meeting.
22. COUNCIL AND COMMITTEE MEETING ARRANGEMENTS POST LOCKDOWN
The Town Clerk informed Members that there was still uncertainty about the post lockdown arrangements regarding physical meetings versus virtual meetings. Members were advised that the current emergency regulations meant that no meetings were required to take place until May 2021 unless these regulations were reviewed before that date.
Members were further advised that other Councils had accepted the presence of virtual meetings, were finding them to be a satisfactory alternative and were of the opinion that virtual meetings or a mix of virtual and in person meetings would be the norm for the foreseeable future subject to changes in social distancing guidelines.
The Town Clerk informed the Committee that Officers had investigated room capacity at the Council House and that the Assembly Room with a standard capacity of 180 could only accommodate 36 people.
Councillor Dignum advised that, due to age and health concerns, he would not be attending physical meetings until a proven vaccine had been made available.
Councillor Apel asked what effect reducing the social distancing to 1 metre would have. The Town Clerk advised that this could potentially double the capacity but that would be subject to Officers planning out the room accordingly. He also reported that room hirers had started contacting the City Council with regards to restarting bookings when the guidelines allowed.
Members were further advised that, given the social distancing requirements, investigations would need to be made in to audio systems for the meeting set up as well as, potentially, video conferencing systems to enable hybrid meetings to take place between physically present and virtually attending Members and members of the public.
The Mayor commented that there were also the arrangements around City Council events such as Civic Awards and Remembrance Sunday that would need to be considered and that Members and Officers would have to play it by ear and plan events as best as was possible according to the guidelines in force at the time.
23. PRAYERS AT COUNCIL MEETINGS
The Town Clerk reported that, as it was now six months since the original decision to hold prayers for Members separately from the Council meeting, it was now apposite for the Finance Committee to review its decision.
Members were informed that on the three occasions this had happened an average eight Members were present at prayers in addition to the Town Clerk. The Town Clerk further informed Members that, since the original decision, the arrangements for holding meetings had obviously changed and that would need to be reflected in the discussion.
The Committee were advised that if the decision was taken to reintroduce prayers in to virtual Council meetings then those that did not wish to participate could, as a suggestion, mute their microphones and speakers for the duration of the prayers themselves.
Members then discussed the merits of including prayers in the virtual meetings or leaving the arrangements from the previous six months in place.
The Mayor reported that he had discussed the issue with the Mayor’s Chaplain who had expressed the desire to continue with being able to say prayers at Council. The Mayor suggested that a trial could take place at the next Full Council meeting with prayers being said with those Councillors and Officers who wished to participate in a five minute time slot prior to the start of the meeting itself.
The Chairman expressed her belief in the tradition of prayers being included in the meeting arrangements and that those Members not wishing to participate could sit quietly and mute their microphones and speakers if they wished.
Councillor Joy asked why this issue was being discussed at the Finance Committee. The Town Clerk advised that civic and ceremonial matters remained within the terms of reference of the Finance Committee whose previous name had been the Finance and General Purposes Committee.
The Mayor stressed that he thought it was important to retain some of the traditions surrounding Council Meetings and he repeated his proposal that a trial should take place at the next Full Council.
It was proposed, seconded and RESOLVED that prayers would be included at the next virtual meeting of Full Council on a trial basis. Those prayers to start at the commencement of the meeting as opposed to separate from the main body of the meeting.
24. CYCLING AND SAFER PEDESTRIAN SCHEMES
The Town Clerk reported that a lengthy discussion on this subject had taken place at the previous Planning and Conservation Committee meeting on the 27 May 2020.
Members were advised that the expectation from this meeting had been that West Sussex County Council would produce a list of approved cycling and safer pedestrian schemes from the more than 200 proposed projects.
Members were further advised that a second list would then be provided to Chichester District Council and the City Council of projects that they may wish to consider funding on a partnership basis.
To date, West Sussex County Council had issued a press release detailing the approved schemes. The Town Clerk reported to Members that he was awaiting the second list from West Sussex County Councillor Jamie Fitzjohn.
The Chairman agreed that we would have to wait for this additional list. She advised that, to her knowledge, the only scheme currently going ahead in Chichester would involve a cycle lane being created between the railway station and Spitalfield Lane.
Councillor Oakley clarified that the proposed route for the cycle lane in Chichester was from the railway station, via Westgate, along Orchard Street, around the Northgate gyratory, along Oaklands Way and then connecting with Spitalfields Lane. Members were advised that West Sussex County Council were currently awaiting Government advice on the acceptability of this project.
Councillor Oakley also informed Members that an additional cycle lane had been proposed along the A259, terminating at the A27 bypass roundabout and potentially including the reallocation of some of the west bound A259 for the purpose of the cycle lane.
25. ITEMS FOR INFORMATION ONLY
(a) MONTHLY RECONCILIATION WITH EVIDENCE OF BANK STATEMENTS TO END MARCH 2020
RESOLVED to note the monthly reconciliation with evidence of Bank Statements to the end of March 2020
(b) LIST OF CHEQUES PAID FOR MARCH 2020
RESOLVED to note the cheques paid to the end of March 2020
(c) LIST OF BARCLAYCARD PAYMENTS FOR MARCH 2020
RESOLVED to note the Barclaycard payments to the end of March 2020
26. ITEMS FOR INCLUSION ON THE NEXT AGENDA
No items were requested
27. PUBLIC BODIES (ADMISSION TO MEETINGS ACT 1960)
RESOLVED that, in the view of the confidential nature of the business to be transacted, the public (including the Press) be excluded from the meeting because of the confidential nature of the business to be transacted, namely financial and staffing matters
28. THE MARKET HOUSE
The Responsible Financial Officer reported that she had received an email from George Jones at Bills Restaurant via Tim Clark at Vail Williams, the Agents for the leaseholder of the Market House, Orion Developments (Southern) Ltd; regarding the impact on the business of the Coronavirus pandemic and its implications for the business.
Members discussed the contents of the email and the current state of the lettings and tenancies in the Market House as well as the effect of the pandemic on the other food businesses in Chichester.
The Committee agreed that the City Council had to be mindful of the contents of the email but would have to wait until there was a direct approach from the Market House leaseholder, Orion Developments (Southern) Ltd.
29. STAFFING UPDATE
(a) Finance Assistant
The Responsible Financial Officer explained that the Finance Assistant had been diagnosed with a serious health condition which meant she would need surgery in the coming months. The Chairman expressed her view that the Finance Assistant had become a valued member of the Finance Team and wished her well.
(b) Casual Facilities Officer resignation
The Responsible Financial Officer explained that one of the Casual Facilities Officers had tendered his resignation on the 1st June 2020. The Chairman thanked him for his service and wished him well in the future.
(c) Member Services Support Officer
The Responsible Financial Officer advised Members that the Member Services Support Officer had worked tirelessly to assist with the transition to remote working. His hard work and dedication had not gone unnoticed and his assistance had been invaluable. The Finance Manager suggested that this be recognised with a financial incentive. The Chairman agreed and recognised the hard work and commitment and thanked the MSSO. The Committee agreed an increase in salary by 1 increment from Sp 20 to Sp21
DATE OF NEXT ORDINARY MEETING: TUESDAY 15 SEPTEMBER 2020
The meeting closed at 3.59pm