Agenda and minutes
Venue: Wellington Rugby Football Club, Corams Lane, Wellington, TA21 8LL
Contact: LCN Team Email: email@example.com
Apologies for Absence
To receive any apologies for absence.
Apologies were received from Cllr Marcus Barr (Somerset Council), Cllr Catherine Govier (Wellington Town Council) and Wellington Town Council.
Declarations of Interest
To receive and note any declarations of interests in respect of any matters included on the agenda for consideration at this meeting.
(The other registrable interests of Councillors of Somerset Council, arising from membership of City, Town or Parish Councils and other Local Authorities will automatically be recorded in the minutes: City, Town & Parish Twin Hatters - Somerset Councillors 2023 )
To approve the notes from the previous meeting.
The notes of the previous meeting were agreed upon, with the amendment of adding the attendance of Wellington Town Council Clerk, Dave Farrow and Wellington Town Councillor, Catherine Govier, and signed by the Chair.
Update on Somerset Council's current financial position
The Lead Member for Human Resources and Transformation (Somerset Council), Cllr Theo Butt Philip provided an update the on Somerset Council (SC) current financial position.
A summarised overview of highlights of the update are below:
- SC knowingly declared a financial emergency, reflecting the level of concern increasing the pace of work.
- SC work to reduce the budget gap and the difficult decisions required to be able to continue to deliver services and set a budget in February 2024.
- The Adult and Childrens Social Care overspend.
- The Somerset services devolution opportunities.
- The local and national situation across the sector.
-The proposed capitalisation direction and programme.
- SC launched a 6 week consultation on budget 11 December 2023 for 6 weeks.
Following the update from Cllr Theo Butt Philip, a discussion was had between the Members where the following topics were raised:
- The autumn statement and the impact on Local Government budget.
- Whether a S114 could be avoided by devolution to City, Town and Parish (CTP) Councils and the impact on the services / assets if they are not taken on by CTP.
- The Council Tax funding model.
- The urgency for the facts, figures, data and assets and costs due to CTP meetings in early January to set precepts.
- Services that could be affected i.e grass cutting.
- The current high level detail and the requirement for clear and more detailed information on services i.e. what is the cut to be, what is statutory, the importance to CTP, timeframe and the expected receipt of the draft SC budget (15 January 2023); 2024/25.
- Capitalisation programme and use of reserves.
- Concern from Parish Councils about the devolution project and raising of parish council precept.
- Sustainable future budget setting.
Kate Hellard, Service Manager Local Community Network Development, provided information on the Highway Steward Service, via a PowerPoint presentation, a summarised overview of highlights of the presentation are below:
- The Highway Steward scheme delivers minor works within the capability of a single operative
- The Highway Steward is a skilled highway operative, with a branded vehicle, employed by a main contractor to deliver a defined work programme and empowered to undertake ad hoc works when identified.
- The Parish or town Council decide on local priorities i.e. maintenance hedgerow / verge cutting drainage / drainage maintenance / weed removal / sign cleaning.
- The Highway steward targets discretionary parish works, any statutory or safety-relate work (potholes, damaged regulatory signs to be reported in the usual way for the Highway Authority to insect and assess.
- The options for delivery through Somerset Councils’ Highway Maintenance Contract or self delivery through suppliers commissioned by a Parish or Parish / LCN collaboration.
- The costs, commitment and timeframes.
Following the presentation from Kate Hellard, a discussion was had between the Members where the following topics were raised:
- The capacity of work within the year, scope of CTP work needed.
- The differing rural and ... view the full minutes text for item 21.
Update on Actions from the Previous Meeting
To discuss matters arising from the notes not covered in later agenda items.
The actions from the previous meeting were agreed.
Public Question Time
The Chair to advise of any questions, statements or petitions received that are not covered by items on the agenda for the meeting on which members of the public have requested to speak.
There were no public questions.
Discussion: Themes identified in the July meeting
a. Identify top three and any missing in the context of Somerset Council’s current financial position.
b. What do we know, what do we need to know, what are the opportunities, and who are our other partners
Group discussions took place regarding collaboration working and devolution opportunities, the following points were highlighted;
- Highways and practicalities of how scheme will work, understand implications, clear interest in what can be done.
- Meeting with highways only meeting, discuss with individuals involved with the Exmoor pilot.
- The opportunity for control of services and ability to direct in the best way for the needs of the local community.
- The importance of consistency from Somerset Council and clarity of what is expected from CTPs.
- The risks of devolution, including increased precepts, not being able to set a relevant and adequate precept and impact on communities.
- Governance, provision and delivery of services – service level agreements.
- Collaborative working and benefits with neighbouring parish and cross boundaries.
- The LCN membership, inclusion, spreading the word and gaining involvement and engaging of VCFSE, residents, private sector and partners.
- LCN members talk to residents – orgs and partners in the room not just for parishes what’s important to communities is complex.
- The importance of Members of LCN to be acquainted with information.
- Social enterprises funding.
- Wellington Town Council Clerk, Dave Farrow, offered support for local Parish Councils in aid to look at delivery across the local area.
1. Organise a meeting of Wellington and Wiveliscombe LCN and Somerset Council Highway Team (Microsoft Teams meeting during working hours) – early January 2024.
2. Circulate the Highways Steward Information to all Parish Councils not in attendance.
Somerset Association of Local Councils
Circulate list of precepts to Wellington and Wiveliscombe LCN Members.
Provisional formation of working groups
There were no agreed formation of working groups.
Dates of future meetings
Dates of Future Meetings
Tuesday 6 February 2024
Thursday 18 April 2024
Thursday 11 July 2024
Call for venues to host the Wellington and Wiveliscombe LCN