Minutes of the Parrett Board Finance & Governance Sub Committee Meeting held at Bradbury House, 33-34 Market Street, Highbridge on Tuesday 13 January 2015 at 2.15 pm.  Chairman: Mr D Spicer

The Chairman welcomed members to the meeting.

Attendance & Apologies for Absence: as per register appended.  M Young

  1. Items Additional to the Agenda:
  2. By agreement with the Chairman Item 7 will be heard prior to Item 6Declarations of Interest: none
  3. Minutes of the Sub Committee Meeting held on 04 November 2014: (appended) having been
  4. previously circulated the Chairman signed the minutes as a true and correct record of the meeting
  5. All in favour.  Matters Arising: Item 6 Welland and Deepings staff review visit – Mr Bradford assured members that any visit to review staffing procedures was not to be considered critical of staff employed by the Somerset Drainage Boards Consortium.
  • S Gee (SMG) advised that a staff audit undertaken by the internal auditors (SWAP) is being finalised to summarise findings and would be available to members shortly.
  • Consideration was given to publishing a staff structure on the Board website.
  • Tide watch: members were advised that although settlement has been received for the cost of 4 telemetry sites, approx £9k, an invoice to the Environment Agency has not been raised to cover Expenditor time incurred on tidewatch duties.
  • Somerset Rivers Authority: NWS advised that a funding bid for an inaugural year of the SRA has been approved which will provide future staffing i.e. 2x engineers and 1x rating officer; however an invoice has not been raised to cover staff commitments during the current financial year; members opined that Somerset County Council should give consideration to the reimbursement of IDB staff time in the current year. It was agreed after discussion that NWS will clarify recoverable costs with SRA Project Leaders.
  • Slabgate Sluice: NWS advised that sentencing had taken place for a member of the public who had pleaded guilty to tampering with a structure without consent of the Board. A member of the public who pleaded not-guilty will be sent to trial in March 2015.
  • Thorney Ring Banks: SMG advised that all invoices raised to date will be settled during January 2015; £135k.Budgets:

Ref 7, 8, 9 & 10: (appended) SMG briefed members on the draft budget highlighting the current year income and expenditure.

14.50pm Cllr I Dyer joined the meeting

  • Grant in Aid: take up of GIA was less than programmed and some cash surpluses also exist which are being managed by officers as a result of less work being necessary than anticipated, and un-completed works due to inclement weather.
  • Members requested that engineering and its administration costs to be listed outside of office administration costs
  • Engineering includes Expenditors, maintenance, vehicles, plant and engineering staff costs
  • Pension: auto enrollment staging date is March 2017
  • Contributing employers pay an additional amount to pension deficit fund on top of regular employment contributions
  • Previous resolution of the Board was to auto enroll on a works agreement Expenditors, however Terms & Conditions for Expenditors have yet to be concluded
  • Fuel and lubricants: although crude oil costs have reduced over the course of 2014/15, costs may increase during 2015/16. Fuel estimate will therefore be adjusted with caution.
  • Environment Agency Precept has increased by 2%
  • Board schemes: budget of £289k of which £186k is grant funding
  • Milk Quota: there is EU/Government intention to abolish milk quota in April 2015, however legislation states that penny rate calculation is undertaken using values at 31 December – P Maltby, T Bradford and C Passmore declared an interest in this matter
  • Capital Schemes: majority of schemes have funds raised in previous years or are as yet unfunded
  • Capital schemes with an estimate of £10k will enable funding bids to be submitted by SRA or other body
  • Chadmead culverts and channel improvements: members opined that this is a Highways issue not a Board matter
  • Knapp Bridge Drove culvert could be a small scheme; therefore could reduce estimated costs

Proposed C Passmore seconded Cllr I Dyer ‘that the Finance and Governance Sub-committee recommend to the Main Board at its meeting of 27 January 2015 to adopt the proposed 2015/16 budget and to adopt a Parrett IDB penny rate for 2015/16 of 6.323p in the £ as in 2014/15.’ Vote: unanimous RESOLUTION 1

16.40pm Cllr I Dyer left the meetingPolicy & Strategy: Ref 5 and 27 Business risk management: NWS advised that staffing and availability of qualified and experienced staff risk had been added to the risk register and advised that the IDB would require additional staff to fulfil extra activities only if it could be funded from the SRA.

Members discussed training options available to engineers to undertake SRA works including, but not limited to:

  • Environment Agency Foundation Degree
  • Structured Training
  • National Certificate
  • Higher National Certificate in Civil Engineering

Board members succession is to be included within the Risk AssessmentGovernance: Ref 17 & 18: SMG advised that the accounts had been advertised appropriately; however no requests were received from members of the public to view the accounts.

  • Ref 21: No Freedom of Information requests have been received.
  • A consultation from DCLG on the revised implementation of SuDs approval is currently being considered by the Board for return at the end of January. Officers will make reference to ADA’s response.Banking: Ref 22: SMG advised that bank tendering has not yet been undertaken due to office relocation and the festive season.
  • A Treasury Management Policy is to be designed for formal approval of the Board.
  • Avenues are being investigated to provide adequate rates of interest for Board funds.Any Other Business: A SRA Working Group meeting is to be arranged in the near future to enable members to be kept up to date with relevant information.

Date of Next Meeting: Full Board 27 January 2015 and Finance and Governance 19 May 2015.

There being no other business the Chairman thanked members and officers for attending and closed the meeting at 17.01pm