Agenda and minutes

Community Governance Review Steering Group - Thursday 21st January 2021 10.00 am

Contact: Lisa Cooper 


No. Item


Apologies for Absence


An apology for absence was received from Councillor J. Barnes.


Disclosure of Interests

To receive any disclosure by Members of personal and disclosable pecuniary interests in matters on the agenda, the nature of any interest and whether the Member regards the personal interest as prejudicial under the terms of the Code of Conduct.  Members are reminded of the need to repeat their declaration immediately prior to the commencement of the item in question.


Declarations of interest were made by Councillors in the Minutes as indicated below:


Councillors Bayliss, Byrne, Coleman, Courtel, Gray, Langlands and Thomas each declared a Personal Interest in so far as they were supporters of Democracy4Bexhill.


Minutes of the Last Meeting pdf icon PDF 240 KB

24 November 2020 – Matters Arising


There were no matters arising. 


RESOLVED: That the minutes from the last meeting were accepted as a correct record of the proceedings.


The Parish (Town) Council for Bexhill-on-Sea - Budget Requirement 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 244 KB

Additional documents:


At the full Council meeting held on 21 December 2020 delegated authority was granted to the Chief Executive and Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Economic Development and Regeneration (Transition Bexhill Town Council) to agree the Community Governance Order (CGO) required to create the new Parish Council (PC) for Bexhill-on-Sea, including the identification of the budget requirement.  The CGO could not be completed without the Budget Requirement and the Council Tax liability for 2021/22 being included.


The Chairman welcomed the recently appointed Interim Parish Council Administrator (IPCA), Linda Butcher, who would be undertaking all the necessary preparatory work to establish the new PC for Bexhill-on-Sea and Ian Davison, Lead Solicitor from Surrey Hills Solicitors, undertaking the necessary legal work required.  


As agreed at the last meeting, representations from organisations and individuals who wished to express a view regarding the budget had been sought and a number had been included within the papers for the meeting and circulated separately.  On behalf of the Community Governance Review Steering Group (CGRSG), the Chairman thanked all the organisations and individuals who had submitted representations, all of which had been considered. 


The Assistant Director Resources had prepared a proposed precept in consultation with the IPCA as set out at Appendix B to the report.  This showed that the proposed first year precept was estimated at £276,765; since publication of the Agenda the estimates had been further updated by the inclusion of a general reserve fund of £75,000 bringing the total to £351,765 with a Band D Council Tax of £22.38. 


In recognition of the consultation responses and other soundings that had been taken by Members, it was proposed to add an additional £10,000 to the Grants and Community Support Budget to total £30,000 and an additional £10,000 for a COVID recovery fund.  This resulted in a total budget of £371,765 with a Band D Council Tax of £22.59.  Members were keen to ensure that the new PC would have enough funds in its first year to make an impact and help the community from the outset, particularly with regard to post-COVID recovery. 


Members considered the proposed budget, together with the suggested additions and the following points were noted:


Ø  the employee costs included interim staff employed after 1 April 2021, the new permanent town clerk and included pension and other on-costs;

Ø  premises costs had been estimated at £12,000 per annum based on an estimated rent for office space and a shop front within the town centre; it was not always recommended to be co-located with the District Council, at least initially – this would enable the PC to forge its own identity; even if the PC was located within the Town Hall, there would be a cost – no other town or parishes across the district was subsidised by Rother District Council (RDC) in this way;

Ø  the general reserve account was expected to cover 3-6 months operating costs for the PC and was essentially to cover unexpected costs – £75,000 represented the recommended norm for  ...  view the full minutes text for item CGR20/11.


Terms of Reference pdf icon PDF 190 KB


Cabinet had agreed to extend the Community Governance Review Steering Group’s (CGRSG) Terms of Reference (ToR) to include working with the newly appointed Interim Parish Council Administrator (IPCA) on the preparation of the job description and person specification and appointment process for the new clerk, the promotion of the elections and pre-election events and information sessions for prospective candidates.  A copy of the revised ToR was attached at Appendix A to the report for information.


The IPCA confirmed that she was already working on the job description, person specification and job advert for the new permanent clerk.  It was anticipated that the new permanent clerk would be unlikely to take up the position much before September and the IPCA confirmed her availability to support the gap, if required, although this would be a decision for the Parish Council (PC). 


It was agreed that the CGRSG would meet again in March to receive an update on the signing and sealing of the CGO, the recruitment process and programme for communications on elections etc.  It was noted that should the elections in May be postponed by the Government, a further meeting may be required to consider the implications. 


It was noted that on 1 April 2021, the PC came into existence and the current 18 Rother District Council Bexhill Members became an interim body until the elections, although in practice, it would not be necessary for it to meet, but to keep a watching brief on arrangements.  Members would need to determine whether CGRSG was therefore required after 31 March 2021 at its next meeting. 




1)         the revised Terms of Reference be noted; and


2)         a meeting of the CGRSG be arranged to take place in March.



Any Other Business


There were no any other business items.