Following receipt of the Parish Councils reply to my concerns I have sent the following email.
Could you make it clear whether the concerns you refer to in your letter of the 15 September were discussed at a PC meeting and will, in due course, be minuted? And are you responding on behalf of the PC. If so why is the letter from yourself and not the Chairman?
- Firstly – I stopped putting Minutes and Agendas on the bus stop notice board when the bus service was withdrawn. I did advise the PC at the time, by email.
- If Parish Councillors were well known, people would not be asking me who they are and how to contact them.
- It is my purely personal opinion that a £50, S137, donation to people attending a B4RN social function is an entirely inappropriate use of the Council Precept, whether they are hard working parishioners or not.
- It is minuted that all payments to B4RN were to be supported by Invoices. My concern was that the reason for payment 470 does not appear in the minutes, merely that it was to JD&P Pinch and there was no mention of an Invoice from B4RN.
- Cheque 482 was minuted as £323.50 and not the £232.50 mentioned in your letter. My point was that this was an unbudgeted item and there are no minutes giving reasons for the payment. In addition neither of the two Councillors who are Trustees on the Village Hall Charity declared their interest or mentioned that the Village Hall has a Bank Balance exceeding £20,000, and therefore not in need of such a generous donation.
- I appreciate that the accounts are audited. However the missing payments should have been minuted and they were not. This should have been picked up at audit.
- I have concerns that email communications have potential problems, such as people changing email addresses frequently and using devices for email which cannot handle attachments, and have no facility to print. I assume that a steering group with, people more experienced in electronic communications than our Councillors, will be formed before a decision is made.
- It is the PC who are confused regarding the Parish Assembly not myself. Your letter is incorrect in stating that an Annual Parish Meeting has been held every year prior to an AGM. Since May 2012 the PC has held an Annual General Meeting, not Assembly, followed by a PC Meeting on the same day. Prior to 2012 we held an Assembly in April and an AGM in May. The Officers are elected at the AGM, not the Assembly. There are different rules governing the conduct of each of these meetings and who can speak at them. Having a more sensible period of time between these meetings enables the matters raised at the Assembly to be on the Agenda of the AGM.
I am pleased to see that the PC recognise the deficiencies and problems they have. One contributor described the Minutes in the following terms “the current record does not meet the standards of comprehensiveness or comprehensibility that I would expect. The “minutes” often read more like an agenda – a list of headings, with no actual sentences, containing verbs, to be seen, let alone a clear record of discussions that have taken place or decisions that have been made.”
I wish the Parish Council well in their endeavours.