Minutes of the Axe Brue Finance and Governance Sub Committee held on Thursday 08 January 2015 at 10.30 am at Bradbury House, 33-34 Market Street, Highbridge. Chairman: Cllr A Gilling

The Chairman welcomed members to the meeting and the new building.

  1. Attendance & Apologies for Absence: as per register appended.

Items Additional to the Agenda: none

  1. Declarations of Interest: Cllr A Gilling – Any matter relating to planning
  2. Minutes of the F&G Sub Committee Meeting held on 14 October 2014: (appended) having been
  3. previously circulated the Chairman signed the minutes as a true and correct record of the meeting
  4. held with one amendment: meeting date 08 May 2014 14 October 2014. All in favour.
  • Matters Arising: Item 12 & 13: S Gee (SMG) advised that bank tendering and initiating direct debit rate collection have not been progressed at this time due to office relocation and workloads.
  • Draft Treasury Management Policy is to be produced in-line with consideration for bank tendering.
  • Item 14: N Stevens (NWS) advised that negotiations had been held with a local trader, which were resolved by settlement of £500 without prejudice for loss of business due to refurbishment works on Bradbury House.
  • Item 11: outstanding rate payers: it was agreed after discussion that plans highlighting land for unknown outstanding rate payers will be provided at future meetings for members’ perusal, to assist with identification.Budgets: (appended) Ref 7, 8, 9 & 10: SMG advised members of the draft budget and commentary.

A full discussion was held, this list is not exhaustive:

  • Precept to the Environment Agency has increased by 2%.
  • The Axe Brue and Parrett Boards will contribute £10k to a shortfall in Somerset Rivers

Authority (SRA) inaugural funding, to which all key partners will be contributing to raise £800k

  • Recommend a works programme with a net cost of £210k, to benefit the urban area where possible
  • Responsible Finance Officer recommendation: 2% increase in penny rate to 6.741p in £

Proposed D Tratt, Seconded W Welland that ‘the 2015/16 budget as submitted is recommended for adoption by the Full Board at its meeting on 20 January 2015 and that recommendation is given to the Full Board at its meeting on 20 January 2015 to adopt a penny rate for agricultural drainage rates for 2015/16 to not increase the Special Levy.’

Vote: 6 for, 1 against, 0 abstain. Motion carried. RESOLUTION 1

11.55 D Tratt left the meeting with apologies

Members requested a balance sheet to be included with future budget papers.

Governance: Ref 17, 18 & 19: SMG advised that to comply with audit regulations, the Board

advertised accordingly for members of the public to inspect the year end accounts.

Ref 20: no changes are recommended to the Board’s Standing Orders, Guidelines and Financial Regulations at this time.

Ref 21: no changes are recommended to the Publications Policy relating to the Freedom of

Information Act. NWS advised that no FOI requests had been received.

Policy and Strategy: (appended) Ref 5 & 27: NWS provided an overview of the live Risk Register, at which the following points were discussed (this list is not exhaustive):

  • No. 27 EA Asset Transfer – the Environment Agency are not transferring assets at this time; remove from register
  • No. 8 Key staff – the Board currently has a Receptionist/Admin Officer vacancy; steps for recruitment are being undertaken.
  • No. 30 Milk Quota – it is the intention of EU/ Government to abolish Milk Quota at April 2015.

It was agreed that this matter be investigated and monitored.

  • No 31 & 32 Impact of SRA and Hinckley Connection Project – the Board is actively seeking funding to cover costs of Key Staff for these projects.
  • No. 23 Changes in Planning Regulations – Cllr A Gilling declared an interest. A new

consultation on lead authority for SUDs approval body, states that the lead authority will be a

statutory consultee of planning; currently the Board is not a statutory consultee on planning applications. NWS advised that the Boards’ response to the consultation is that the Board

should be a statutory consultee.

  • No. 14 Failure of Contractor – NWS advised that within all Terms and Conditions of

Contracts for Contractor maintenance, is a provision to rescind work. The Board is not obliged to accept the lowest tender received, however if the Contractor has not adequately provided service, s/he would not remain on the invitee list. The tender process includes quality factors

as well as price, also contracts are awarded in accordance with the Public Contracts

Regulations 2006.

  • Risk Assessment should include a key to explain how the risk is determined.Any Other Business: NWS advised that he has received an invitation to attend a meeting to discuss role responsibilities and enhanced work programme for the SRA.

The Drainage Boards could be highly involved in setting and managing works i.e. Parrett main river maintenance, continuing maintenance works on dredged area as well as technical ability.

A Key Partners meeting is due to be held at the end of January, the essence of which is greater

funding for greater undertaking of works.

A comparison of the Lincolnshire model was questioned; NWS advised that the Lincolnshire model

may not work in Somerset for the following reasons:

  • Lincolnshire is a very large county; at one time was the largest county
  • 7 district councils included within the model
  • 14 drainage boards included within the model
  • 2 water companies included within the model
  • Co-ordinated working essential

Date of next meeting: Full Board 20 January 2015, 10.30am, Tenders Meeting 17 March 2.30pm and Finance & Governance 02 June 2015, 10.30am.

All meetings, unless specified, will be held at the Board offices, Bradbury House, 33-34 Market Street, Highbridge, TA9 3BW.

Cllr C Williams gave apologies for any meetings that he is not in attendance at, from 14 January 2015 for 6 weeks, due to personal circumstances

There being no other business the Chairman thanked members and officers for attending

and closed the meeting at 13.10pm