Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Community Space, Keynsham - Market Walk, Keynsham. View directions

Contact: Sean O'Neill  01225 395090

Items
No. Item

1.

WELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONS

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council, Councillor Tim Warren, welcomed Councillor Karen Walker to her first Parish Liaison Meeting since her appointment as Chair of Bath and North East Somerset Council.

 

Councillor Walker welcomed delegates to the meeting.

2.

EMERGENCY EVACUATION PROCEDURE

The Chair will draw attention to the emergency evacuation procedure as follows:

If the continuous alarm sounds, you must evacuate the building by one of the designated exits and proceed to one of the named assembly points. The designated exits are sign-posted. Arrangements are in place for the safe evacuation of disabled people. The assembly points are: the front and rear of Riverside, Temple Street.

 

Minutes:

The Democratic Services Officer advised the meeting of the procedure.

3.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Cabinet Members Councillor Bob Goodman and Councillor Mark Shelford, B&NES Chief Executive Ashley Ayre and Trudi Gillbank, Clerk of Farmborough PC.

4.

URGENT BUSINESS AS AGREED BY THE CHAIR

The Chair will announce any items of urgent business accepted since the agenda was prepared.

Minutes:

There was none.

5.

MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING pdf icon PDF 89 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the Parish Liaison Meeting of 28th February 2018 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

6.

UPDATE FROM THE LEADER OF BATH AND NORTH EAST SOMERSET COUNCIL, COUNCILLOR TIM WARREN

To include:

 

WECA bus franchising – requested by Timsbury PC

Minutes:

Councillor Warren had been requested by Timsbury PC to speak about the possibility of the West of England Combined Authority franchising bus services. He said that he lived in the country and was aware how limited rural bus services were. He gave an example of how the timetabling and lack of public transport provision causes difficulties for local people travelling to the larger towns and cities.   

 

At the present time bus services are deregulated. The operator has freedom to introduce new routes and drop existing ones. The Council can subsidise routes that operators find unprofitable. However, as Council finances become tighter, this is becoming more difficult. Adult Care and Children’s services now account for 80% of the Council Budget. The West of England Combined Authority will have the option of franchising bus services. Transport for Greater Manchester is already preparing an assessment of a proposed bus franchising scheme. WECA will be discussing the bus strategy over the next few months.  They will be is able to decide which routes to support from its central budget. From discussions he had with the WECA mayor, he believed that he was in favour of a bus franchising scheme.

 

At present he believed that buses were often not efficiently deployed in rural areas. Sometimes in the Chew Valley a full-size bus would be carrying only 3-4 passengers to and from work in Bristol. It would actually be cheaper to provide taxis for them. He favoured the idea of a shuttle service in the Valley, perhaps provided by an electric vehicle, picking passengers up and dropping them off to join the main bus routes.

 

In conclusion, he said he was in favour of bus franchising, and hoped that further consideration will be given to a proposal across the West of England.

 

A delegate asked whether there were any alternatives to franchising. Councillor Warren replied that as far as he could see the only alternative was to remain with the deregulated system that exists now, and that either there were large fare increases on rural routes or services were discontinued.

 

The Chair thanked Councillor Warren for his update.

7.

APPRENTICESHIPS - AN OPPORTUNITY FOR PARISHES pdf icon PDF 59 KB

Chantal Young will give a presentation on how apprenticeships may help Parish Councils.

 

Two information papers are attached.

 

A video countering myths about apprenticeships may be viewed on YouTube at https://youtu.be/AiD3RZ6WsXw

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Chantal Young, B&NES HR Partner – Organisational Development, gave a presentation on apprenticeships.

 

She said that many of us have fixed ideas about apprenticeships, but since a

year ago when the Government introduced the Apprenticeship Levy, the landscape had completely changed. The Council can now can recruit for degree apprenticeships in social work, so for the first time did not have to go to universities to find social workers. The Council can offer a professional qualification in social work, and would in the future also be able to do the same for teacher trainees and town planners. The Government has imposed a levy on employers with a pay bill of more than £3m. Employers paying the levy can apply to the Government’s apprenticeship service for money to be put into an apprenticeship account to be used to pay for training. For the first time this year the Council can offer some of that money to partner organisations. This gives the Council an opportunity to offer financial support for apprenticeships to town and parish councils. Parish councils can apply for money to recruit a new employee and pay for their training. A number of examples of apprenticeships that might be useful within parish councils was given on page 17 of the agenda papers. The apprenticeship needed to be a genuine role within the parish council with a contract of employment for at least one year, and the parish council had to pay the salary. Alternatively an apprenticeship could be offered to an existing member of staff, who would remain on the same terms and conditions and take on apprenticeship training. The Council had brought in new staff on apprenticeships and was also using apprenticeships to upskill existing staff. Up to 20% of working hours had to be allowed for learning outside of work, a very broad term which could include attending college, attending meetings, reading, researching or project work. An apprenticeship had to be based on the acquisition of new skills and not just involve a continuation of existing ones. An apprenticeship could be offered to any one of any age.

 

Chantal showed a video countering myths about apprenticeships. This can be accessed on YouTube at https://youtu.be/AiD3RZ6WsXw.

 

Chantal explained that at this stage the opportunity for the funding of an apprenticeship could only be offered to one employer, in order to test the system, that is to confirm that payments to the training provider can be made through the Council’s online apprenticeship account. The Council can help parish councils to find a training provider. There was a limit of 10% of the Council’s apprenticeship budget that could be offered to a parish. If parishes wished to explore the possibility of using the apprenticeship scheme, they should contact Lisa Pollard, Apprenticeship Co-ordinator at the Council.

 

In response to questions from delegates Chantal said:

 

8.

UPDATE ON CHANGING TOGETHER

David Trethewey, Director – Partnership and Corporate Services, Bath and North East Somerset Council, will give a presentation.

Minutes:

David Trethewey, Director – Partnerships and Corporate Services, gave a presentation. A copy of his PowerPoint slides is attached as Appendix 1 to these minutes.

 

He reminded delegates that there had been a serious of conversations with parishes during the previous autumn about the challenges the Council was facing and the impact on services and the structure of the Council. There was a cumulative funding gap. The Government’s grant to the Council would disappear altogether, so the Council would have to fund services from its own resources, including council tax, business rates, income from property and income from tourism. However, there was a growing demand for Council services and the most vulnerable had to be protected. A budget strategy had been set in February.

 

Restructuring had begun with senior staff.  In total Council staff would be reduced by approximately300.

 

Social Care and Children’s Services now accounted for 80% of the Council’s budget.

 

Tim Warren, Leader of the Council, said that the development of the Changing Together strategy had been an enormous challenge for staff. He wished to thank all the staff for their commitment over a very difficult period.

 

The Chair thanked David for his presentation.

Parish Liaison ppoint CT draft 4 pdf icon PDF 878 KB

9.

UPDATE FROM THE CABINET MEMBER FOR ECONOMIC AND COMMUNITY REGENERATION, COUNCILLOR PAUL MYERS

To include:

 

·  Parish Sweeper Scheme

 

·  Community Asset Transfer (requested by Midsomer Norton TC)

 

·  Fix my Street (requested by Dunkerton and Tunley PC)

 

·  General Data Protection Regulation (requested by Dunkerton and Tunley PC)

 

·  calculation of the tax base for council tax/precept setting (requested by Keynsham TC)

 

·  Parish Charter

 

Minutes:

Councillor Myers updated the meeting.

 

Parish Sweeper Scheme

 

The costs of the scheme had to be reduced by £80k by 2019-20. The scheme has been discussed several times at the Parish Liaison Meeting, and a working group of parishes met with the Council on 5th March and 27th April to consider:

 

  • the potential impact on parish precepts;

 

  • the baseline service which the Council will provide to all parishes;

 

  • how to make the best use of digital approaches (e.g. Fix My Street) and partnership opportunities.

 

There is now a defined service level for all parishes. The working group suggested that parishes that wished to continue with the scheme should be allowed to do so, but analysis showed that smaller parishes wishing to do so would have to take steps that could result in a 44% increase in parish precepts in a single year, which is not acceptable. The following proposal, supported by the working group, will offer a transitional arrangement for those already in the scheme who wish to continue it after the subsidy ends by funding their own Parish Sweeper.  In order to do so parishes would need to substantially increase their precept. The proposal is:

 

  • Parishes facing a precept rise of 30% or more next year would have Council funding reduced over 3 years (or 2 if they prefer).

 

  • Parishes facing a precept rise of between 10 and 30% next year would have Council funding reduced over 2 years.

 

  • Parishes facing a precept rise of up to 10% next year would have no phased reduction.

 

This proposal will be considered by the Cabinet Member for Finance and Efficiency within the next few months. 

 

People attending the working group meetings had asked about the situation in Bath, which is not parished. Areas in Bath with high footfall (such as local shopping centres) do receive more regular attention. The Bath Improvement District works in partnership with the Council to augment cleansing in the city centre with their own equipment and rangers.

 

A delegate asked whether parishes which had already increased precepts this year by a large amount in anticipation of increased costs relating to the scheme would be able to benefit from the transition arrangement.  Councillor Myers said he could not answer this at the moment, but he would consult and report back.

 

Community Asset Transfer (Midsomer Norton Town Council)

 

Midsomer Norton’s representatives to ALCA had suggested that the transfer of the Town Hall to the Town Council is taking too long and seems very difficult. Councillor Myers said that his position on B&NES and the Town Council made him feel well-qualified to address their concerns. He agreed it had taken a long time – he had begun discussing it as a Town Councillor in 2006. The Quirk report on community management and ownership of assets was published in 2007. At that time the Council did not have a transfer policy and the original offer was for the Town Council to buy the Town Hall  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

Parish Liaison - Fix My Street pdf icon PDF 464 KB

10.

COMMUNITY LIBRARIES UPDATE

Councillor Karen Warrington, Cabinet Member for Transformation and Customer Services, will give an update. (Requested by Compton Martin PC)

Minutes:

Councillor Karen Warrington updated the meeting.

 

The one-stop located in Keynsham Library was working well. The one-stop and library in Midsomer Norton looked absolutely stunning; she encouraged delegates to visit it. The second stage of the Bath library and one-stop project was under way. There were 5 branch libraries and it was hoped that local communities would take over their running. Saltford library was being taken on by a community group and would include a post office, a facility that had been lost to the village last December and which should help make the library viable. Consulations were ongoing with Paulton Parish Council about them taking on the library. Volunteers were being sought to run Moorland Road Library. There is a programme to encourage the establishment of new community libraries, and the Council is engaging with communities to enable them to do so. £275,000 had been allocated for new libraries, with £5,000 available for each scheme. Help will be given with training and some services, to ensure that schemes are viable and sustainable. There is a national network of community libraries which can provide support. It is anticipated that there could be up to five new community libraries, mostly in rural areas, including Bishop Sutton and Chew Valley School. Responding to a question from a delegate, she said that the mobile library service will continue. At present there is only one driver for the mobile library, which limits the service it can provide. There will be consultation with communities about the mobile library. The opening of new community libraries will mean that the mobile library will be able to stop longer at places without a library.

 

The Chair noted she would be officially opening Midsomer Norton Library and One-Stop Shop on 4th June. She thanked Councillor Warrington for her update.

11.

SUGGESTED FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS

Reminder on Purdah (Cllr Rosemary Naish)

 

Minutes:

Rosemary Naish, Chair of B&NES ALCA, noted that there would elections for a new B&NES Council in May 2019 and that purdah would start in March and that, so that town and parish councils would need to be careful about their agendas and discussions at their April meetings. She suggested that the B&NES should attend the next PLM and give guidance.

 

Delegates noted this information.

12.

DATES OF FUTURE MEETINGS

Parish Liaison Meetings are scheduled for:

 

24th October 2018 (this or a Saturday close to it is intended for a Parish Conference)

 

20th February 2019

Minutes:

Delegates noted the next scheduled Parish Liaison Meetings were on 24 October 2018 and 20th February 2019.