Procedures & Policies
Uplowman's Procedures and Policies are being reviewed. The following Procedures and policies are in place:
Planning Application Procedures (Adopted 16 July 2020)
Parish Councils do not have power to grant or refuse planning permission. The Local Government Act 1972, section 101 does however, require local authorities to consult parish councils on certain matters affecting their parish and a parish council is a statutory consultee on the development plan, local plans and structure plans as well as for planning applications that affect land within the Parish.
Planning authorities must inform local parish councils of applications affecting its parish and consider its views when deciding on planning applications. The statutory consultation period is twenty-one days in Mid Devon.
It is important that local parishioners are able to put forward their views to the Parish Council as well as directly to the Planning Authority, which is usually Mid Devon District Council but could be Devon County Council for certain strategic matters.
This document sets out a Procedure to allow Uplowman PC to respond in a timely way to planning applications, given that the consultation period may not include a full council meeting, currently scheduled every 2 months in Uplowman.
Decisions of the PC (or other local council) may be made either by councillors at a properly constituted open meeting or by delegating the powers to an officer.
Three things are needed for the Parish Council to make a decision:
There be a Chairman of the meeting
There must be a Quorum of 1/3 of all councillors or a minimum of 3 councillors
The public must have access, by written notice, to the meeting to provide an opportunity to express views and to show transparency
Alternatively, under the Local Government Act (LGA) 1972 section 101 the Council may arrange for the discharge of its functions by one of its officers, provided it is a “Proper Officer”. This is commonly referred to as “delegated powers”.
The Parish Clerk is delegated by Uplowman PC as the Proper Officer to make decisions on Planning Applications where a decision is required between Parish Council meetings. This delegation will be reviewed annually.
The Planning Applicant and neighbours will have been informed by MDDC of the application plus a notice will have been posted at the site to enable other parishioners the opportunity to examine the proposals and to comment either directly to MDDC or to their Parish Councillor.
In addition, all planning applications are placed on the Parish Council web site with notes if a site meeting has been arranged. This allows all residents to make themselves aware of any application.
To ensure that as many residents as possible are notified of applications for new dwellings or have a major impact on the community then the Response Hub using email will be used.
It should be noted that only full planning applications are notified to the Parish Council and not those were permitted development, specifically under class Q for agricultural building conversion.
As a guide, applications may fall in to 3 main cases:
Those that are non-contentious e.g. minor changes to a building
Those requiring comment but without the need for a site visit
Those where a site visit is required to ascertain certain facts and possibly to speak to other interested parties. Case (c) will include all new developments and situations where neighbours may be affected by the proposal.
Issues to be considered when looking at a planning application.
It should be based on UPC’s current policy which is to not support any new residential development as it is deemed unsustainable and aligns with Mid Devon DC’s Local Plan.
Some applications may be based on a class Q fall-back position, but this should be examined to ensure the Parish Council agrees this statement.
UPC Procedures for consideration of Planning Applications:
1. The Clerk is informed of all applications by the Planning Authority (either Mid Devon DC or Devon CC) and notification is passed to the Chairman, with a copy to other Councillors, asking for the appropriate action. Details will be added to the UPC website.
2. Where consultee response period finishes prior to the next full meeting, all Councillors are requested to read the applications and to inform the Clerk and the Chairman promptly of their views.
3. Where all are agreed that Case (a) or Case (b) above applies then the Clerk will take a consensus of the views and inform MDDC of the decision of the Parish Council under delegated powers, with a copy to the Chairman.
4. For Case (c) applications, where a site visit is considered necessary by the Chairman or another Councillor, then the Chairman will appoint a minimum of 2 councillors who do not have a personal or financial interest in the application as an ad hoc subcommittee. A site visit of the councillors plus the Clerk will be arranged and will be advertised on the noticeboard and the web site, with a minimum of 3 clear days’ notice. Councillors should be aware that they should avoid any risks associated on a site and wear appropriate footwear.
5. Following a site visit the councillors will discuss their findings and provide the opportunity for any member of the public present to make comments.
6. Where a decision is required prior to the next Parish Council meeting and the ad hoc committee considers that the issues can be decided without a full meeting then the Clerk will take all known information in to account and make a decision as the Proper Officer under LGA 1972 and inform MDDC.
7. In contentious cases a request to MDDC for an extension will be made. Such requests have always been granted in the past but may not be so if other deadlines have to be met.
8. All applications will be discussed at the subsequent full Council meeting, which meets every 2 months. The Clerk will inform the Meeting of any decisions made under delegated powers, as per LGA 1972, between meetings. The public have an opportunity to attend the meeting and to make comments.
Adopted September 2016
Revised and adopted 16 July 2020
UPLOWMAN PARISH COUNCIL: CODE OF CONDUCT
Adopted on 19 July 2012
Reviewed 21 Sept 2017
Next review: May 2019
Pursuant to section 27 of the Localism Act 2011, Uplowman Parish Council (‘the Council’) has adopted this Code of Conduct to promote and maintain high standards of behaviour by its members and co-opted members whenever they conduct the business of the Council including the business of the office to which they were elected or appointed or when they claim to act or give the impression of acting as a representative of the Council.
This Code of Conduct is based on the principles of selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty, and leadership.
For the purposes of this Code, a ‘co-opted member’ is a person who is not a member of the Council but who is either a member of any committee or sub-committee of the Council, or a member of, and represents the Council on any joint committee or joint sub- committee of the Council, and who is entitled to vote on any question that falls to be decided at any meeting of that committee or sub-committee.
For the purposes of this Code, a ‘meeting’ is a meeting of the Council, any of its committees, sub-committees, joint committees or joint sub-committees.
For the purposes of this Code, and unless otherwise expressed, a reference to a member of the Council includes a co-opted member of the Council.
When a member of the Council acts, claims to act or gives the impression of acting as a representative of the Council, he/she has the following obligations.
1. He/she shall behave in such a way that a reasonable person would regard as respectful.
2. He/she shall not act in a way which a reasonable person would regard as bullying or intimidatory.
3. He/she shall not seek to improperly confer an advantage or disadvantage on any person.
4. He/she shall use the resources of the Council in accordance with its requirements.
5. He/she shall not disclose information which is confidential or where disclosure is prohibited by law.
Registration of interests
6. Within 28 days of this Code being adopted by the Council, or the member’s election or the co-opted member’s appointment (where that is later), he/she shall register all interests which fall within the categories set out in Appendices A and B.
7. Upon the re-election of a member or the re-appointment of a co-opted member, he/she shall within 28 days re-register any interests in Appendices A and B.
8. A member shall register any change to interests or new interests in Appendices A and B within 28 days of becoming aware of it.
9. A member need only declare on the public register of interests the existence but not the details of any interest which the Monitoring Officer agrees is a ‘sensitive interest’. A sensitive interest is one which, if disclosed on a public register, could lead the member or a person connected with the member to be subject to violence or intimidation.
Declaration of interests
10. Where a matter arises at a meeting which relates to an interest in Appendix A the member shall not participate in a discussion or vote on the matter. He/she only has to declare what his/her interest is if it is not already entered in the member’s register of interests or if he/she has not notified the Monitoring Officer of it.
11. Where a matter arises at a meeting which relates to an interest in Appendix A which is a sensitive interest, the member shall not participate in a discussion or vote on the matter. If it is a sensitive interest which has not already been disclosed to the Monitoring Officer, the member shall disclose he/she has an interest but not the nature of it.
12. Where a matter arises at a meeting which relates to an interest in Appendix B, the member shall withdraw from the meeting. He/she may speak on the matter before withdrawing only if members of the public are also allowed to speak at the meeting.
13. A member only has to declare his/her interest in Appendix B if it is not already entered in his/her register of interests or he/she has not notified the Monitoring Officer of it or if he/she speaks on the matter before withdrawing. If he/she holds an interest in Appendix B which is a sensitive interest not already disclosed to the Monitoring Officer, he/she shall declare the interest but not the nature of the interest.
14. Where a matter arises at a meeting which relates to a financial interest of a friend, relative or close associate, the member shall disclose the nature of the interest and withdraw from the meeting. He/she may speak on the matter before withdrawing only if members of the public are also allowed to speak at the meeting. If it is a ‘sensitive interest’ the member shall declare the interest but not the nature of the interest.
On a written request made to the Council’s proper officer, the Council may grant a member a dispensation to participate in a discussion and vote on a matter at a meeting even if he/she has an interest in Appendices A and B if the Council believes that the number of members otherwise prohibited from taking part in the meeting would impede the transaction of the business; or it is in the interests of the inhabitants in the Council’s area to allow the member to take part or it is otherwise appropriate to grant a dispensation.
COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE, Adopted 9 May 2017
A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction by one or more members of the public about the Parish Council’s action or lack of action or about the standard of a service, whether the action was taken or the service provided by the council itself or a person or body acting on behalf of the council. Complaints can be both verbal and written.
A good complaints system is:
* well publicised and easy to use;
* helpful and receptive;
* not adversarial;
* fair and objective;
* based on clear procedures and defined responsibilities;
* quick, thorough, rigorous and consistent;
* decisive and capable of putting things right where necessary;
* sensitive to the special needs and circumstances of the complainant;
* adequately resourced;
* fully supported by councillors and officers; and
* regularly analysed to spot patterns of complaint and lessons for service improvement.
It will not be appropriate to deal with all complaints from members of the public under this complaints procedure. For example this procedure is not appropriate for use where a serious complaint is made against the conduct of an individual.
Consider engaging other procedures/bodies in respect of the following types of complaint:
i) Financial irregularity: Refer to the Local elector’s statutory right to object Council’s audit of accounts pursuant to s.16 Audit Commission Act 1998. On other matters, councils may need to consult their auditor / Audit Commission
ii) Criminal activity: Refer to the Police
iii) Member conduct: A complaint relating to a member is failure to comply with the Uplowman Parish Council Code of Conduct should be dealt with in accordance with the Code of Conduct following the advice of an Independent Person as prescribed in the Localism Act 2011.
iv) Employee conduct: Refer to Chairman and follow internal disciplinary procedure.
The purpose of a complaints procedure is to put things right if things go wrong.
In the first instance the individual receiving the complaint should attempt to resolve the matter informally. If this is not possible because of the serious nature or complexity of the complaint, then he/she should forward the matter to the Clerk who will consult the Chairman of the Parish Council (or in his/her absence the Vice Chairman).
The identity of a complainant should only be made known to those who need to consider a complaint.
The written response on behalf of the Parish Council should include a full and frank response to the concerns raised by the complainant and an apology where appropriate.
The response should be made within 2 working days of receipt wherever possible. If the investigation requires more time then an initial response explaining the reason for a delay should be sent to the complainant within 2 working days.
The following procedure is designed for those complaints which cannot be satisfied by less formal measures or initial explanations provided to the complainant by the clerk or chairman.
The clerk (or other nominated officer) will represent the position of the council. If the clerk (or other nominated officer) puts forward justification for the action or procedure complained of, he or she should not advise the council or committee, as they need to determine the matter themselves.
At all times, the rules of natural justice will apply. In other words, all parties should be treated fairly and the process should be reasonable, accessible and transparent.
1.The complainant should be asked to put the complaint about the council’s procedures or administration in writing to the clerk or other nominated officer outlining their remaining concerns.
2. If the complainant does not wish to put the complaint to the clerk or other nominated officer, he or she should be advised to address it to the chairman of the council.
3. The clerk or other nominated officer shall acknowledge receipt of the complaint within 2 working days and advise the complainant when the matter will be considered by the council or subcommittee established for the purposes of hearing complaints. The complainant should also be advised whether the complaint will be treated as confidential or whether, for example, notice of it will be given in the usual way (if, for example, the complaint is to be heard by the Parish Council).
4. The complainant shall be invited to attend a meeting and to bring with them a representative if they wish.
5. Seven clear working days prior to the meeting, the complainant shall provide the council with copies of any documentation or other evidence relied on. The clerk shall provide the complainant with copies of any documentation upon which the council wish to rely at the meeting and shall do so promptly, allowing the complainant the opportunity to read the material in good time for the meeting.
At the Meeting
6. The Parish Council shall consider whether the circumstances of the meeting warrant the exclusion of the public and the press. Any decision on a complaint shall be announced at the council meeting in public.
7. The Chairman should introduce everyone and explain the procedure.
8. The complainant (or representative) should outline the grounds for complaint and, thereafter, questions may be asked by (i) the clerk or other nominated officer and then (ii), members.
9. The clerk or other nominated officer will have an opportunity to explain the council’s position and questions may be asked by (i) the complainant and (ii), members.
10. The clerk or other nominated officer and then the complainant should be offered the opportunity to summarise their position.
11. The clerk or other nominated officer and the complainant should be asked to leave the room while members decide whether or not the grounds for the complaint have been made. If a point of clarification is necessary, both parties shall be invited back.
12. The clerk or other nominated officer and the complainant should be given the opportunity to wait for the decision but if the decision is unlikely to be finalised on that day they should be advised when the decision is likely to be made and when it is likely to be communicated to them.
13. The decision should be confirmed in writing within seven working days together with details of any action to be taken.
Handling Vexatious or Abusive Complaints
Most complainants behave in legitimate ways. A very small minority make complaints that are vexatious, in that they persist unreasonably with their complaints, or make complaints in order to make life difficult for the Council rather than genuinely to resolve a grievance.
The Council recognises that it is important to distinguish between people who make a number of complaints because they genuinely believe things have gone wrong, and people who are seeking to subvert the legitimate business of the council. We acknowledge that complainants will often be frustrated and aggrieved and it is therefore important to consider the merits of each case rather than the way in which they are expressed.
It is not necessary to meet a complainant is unreasonable demands, or to answer every single point in an unreasonable letter. Judgement will be required to separate a complainant is legitimate queries from those that are unreasonable, often within the same complaint. Skill will be required to respond tactfully and sympathetically. If the complainant's persistence adversely affects the Council's ability to do its work and provide a service to others, the Parish Council need to address such behaviour.
Where complaints are identified as vexatious in accordance with the criteria set out in appendix 1, the Clerk in liaison with three councillors including the Chairman of the Council and, whenever possible, the Vice Chairman, will determine what action to take. The Clerk will implement such action and will notify the complainant(s), that their complaint/grievance is considered as vexatious and what action that will be taken. This notification will be copied to all Councillors and a record kept of the reasons why a complaint has been classified as vexatious.
The council may deal with vexatious complaints in one or more of the following ways:
* In a letter, setting out a code of commitment and responsibilities for the parties involved if the Parish Council is to continue processing the complaint/grievance. If these terms are contravened, consideration will then be given to implementing other action as indicated below.
* Decline contact with the complainant, either in person, by telephone, fax, email, or any combination of these, provided that one form of contact is maintained which will usually be by conventional post (letter).
* Notify the complainant, in writing that the Council has responded to the points raised and has tried to resolve the complaint/grievance but that there is nothing more to add and continuing contact on the matter will serve no useful purpose. The complainant will also be notified that the correspondence is at an end and the Council does not intend to engage in further correspondence dealing with the complaint.
* Inform the complainant that the Council intends to seek legal advice on unreasonable or vexatious complaints/grievances and behaviour.
* Temporarily suspend all contact with the complainant, in connection with the issues relating to the complaint or grievance being considered.
Any restrictions will be appropriate and proportionate to the nature of the complainant is contacts with the council at that time such as:
* Placing time limits on telephone conversations and personal contacts;
* Limiting the complainant to one form of contact (letter);
* Requiring the complainant to communicate only with one named employee/member;
* If a complaint is currently going through the council's complaints procedure, asking the complainant to enter into a written agreement about their future conduct if the complaint is to be progressed;
* Closing the investigation into a complaint;
* Refusing to register and process further complaints providing the complainant with acknowledgements only;
* Banning a complainant from the Council’s premises;
* Involving the police where the complainant is believed to have committed a criminal offence (harassment, assault or criminal damage), where assault is threatened, or the complainant refuses to leave council premises.
The clerk will inform the complainant in writing why a decision has been made to restrict or stop future contact, the contact arrangements and the length of time that these restrictions will be in place.
There should never be a blanket ban for an unspecified period of time unless the Council are legally required to do so following a police investigation. The council should always try to maintain one form of contact which will normally be by way of conventional post (letter). In extreme situations the council will tell the complainant in writing that they must restrict contact to communication through a nominated advocate known and declared to be acting on their behalf.
In deciding which restrictions are appropriate, careful consideration will be given to balancing the rights of the individual with the need to ensure other residents, our employees, councillors and co-opted members do not suffer any disadvantage or undue stress and the resources of the council are used as effectively as possible.
Threatening and Abusive Complainants and Harassment
We do not expect staff or members to tolerate unacceptable behaviour by complainants which causes or may cause undue stress. The Council believes that harassment is totally unacceptable. The Council will work to prevent any form of harassment from happening in the first instance and where it has already occurred, will work to prevent it from happening again.
Harassment is a term that is generally used to define unwelcome and unwarranted behaviour that affects the dignity of an individual or group of individuals. Harassment may also include actions characterised as offensive, intimidating, malicious, insulting or humiliating that attempts to undermine or injure an individual or group of individuals.
Where there is abusive or aggressive behaviour which produces damaging or hurtful effects, physically or emotionally on the staff or members which includes, but not exclusively, verbal abuse (including name calling), bullying, shouting or swearing or threat of any of these behaviours the staff or members affected should step away from the situation and the complainant asked to leave the premises where appropriate.
This can mean terminating a conversation whether it is face to face or by telephone, advising that the conversation is being terminated, and in the case of such behaviour in a face-to-face contact in the office or public meeting the complainant should be asked to leave the premises.
All such incidences must be documented. This will, in itself, cause personal contact with the complainant to be discontinued and the complaint will, thereafter, only be continued through written communication by post.
Any complainant who threatens or uses physical violence towards staff or members will receive written confirmation that they are being treated as a vexatious complainant and informed of the action that will be taken.
Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 Section 14(1), public authorities do not have to comply with vexatious requests. The Council also has a legal duty under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of its employees and members.
Definition of a Vexatious Complainant
Complainants (and/or anyone acting on their behalf) may be deemed to be vexatious where contact with them shows that they meet one or more of the following criteria:
* Persist in pursuing a complaint/grievance where the Council’s Complaints Procedure or the Freedom of Information procedure has been fully implemented & exhausted.
* Persistently change the substance of a complaint/grievance or continually raise new issues or seek to prolong contact by continually raising further concerns or questions upon receipt of a response.
* Are repeatedly unwilling to accept evidence given as being factual or deny receipt of an adequate response in spite of correspondence specifically answering their questions or do not accept that facts can sometimes be difficult to verify when a long period of time has elapsed.
* Repeatedly do not clearly identify the precise issues which they wish to raise despite
reasonable efforts of the Council to address their concerns, and/or where the concerns identified are not within the remit of the Council.
* If the complaint is about essentially the same matter that has already been considered, with only very minor differences, and does not contain any new information. The most difficult vexatious complaints to deal with are often complaints that are slightly different from the original complaint, but about the same broad area of activity.
* Regularly focus on a trivial matter to an extent which is out of proportion to its significance. It is recognised that determining what is a trivial matter can be subjective and careful judgement must be used in identifying frivolous complaints.
* Have threatened or used physical violence towards staff or members at any time.
* Have had an excessive number of contacts with the Council - placing unreasonable demands on staff or members. Discretion will be used in determining the precise of number of excessive contacts applicable under this section, using judgement based on the specific circumstances of each individual case.
* Have harassed or been personally abusive or verbally aggressive towards staff or members dealing with the complaint/grievance. The Council recognise, however, that complainants may sometimes act out of character in times of stress, anxiety or distress and should make reasonable allowances for this. All instances of harassment, abusive or verbally aggressive behaviour will be documented.
* Have harassed or been personally abusive or verbally aggressive towards any Members of the Council (Councillors) or co-opted members whether this has been on a face-to-face contact or at public meetings.
* Are known to have recorded meetings or conversations without the prior knowledge and consent of other parties involved and/or have impersonated any member of staff or Councillors with the objective of soliciting information for whatever purpose.
* Seeking to coerce, intimidate or threaten staff, Councillors or other people involved, whether by use of language, tone of voice or behaviour including body language.
* Repeatedly raise grievances which are already proven to be without substance or foundation.
PROCEDURE FOR AWARD OF CONTRACTS, Adopted March 2016
It is important that the Council is transparent when letting contracts for work or services or making grants for others to let contracts acting on UPC's behalf.
All Contract awards will be made by the full Council at properly constituted meetings and recorded in the Minute when the decision was made. Contracts will usually be signed by the Chairman. This role may be delegated by a vote of the full Council to the Responsible Financial Officer in particular cases.
This Procedure should be read in conjunction with the Councillors Code of Conduct, which sets out when to declare an interest and when to be absent from decisions where there may be a conflict of financial or personal interest, either directly or through family connections.
The following will apply to all contracts arranged by Uplowman Parish Council:
All contracts, regardless of the value, will be reviewed annually.
(net of VAT)
Basis of decision
Less than £500
Competitive quotes not required.
Price. Consider obtaining alternative quotes if apparent benefit to Council
£500 to £1000
At least 2 quotations required
Best value as below.
More than £1000
At least 3 quotations must be obtained
Best value, taking into account, inter alia: price, work included in quote, timing, and contractor experience.
Where the number of quotes required cannot be obtained, e.g. due to specialist work, or delay in receiving responses, then a contract may still be awarded, and the reason minuted.
For emergency works only the Chairman plus the Responsible Financial Officer (Parish Clerk), may award a contract up to £250 + VAT between official meetings.
Payments will usually be made by cheque drawn at full meetings of the Council unless prior authorisation has been given and minuted by a full meeting of the council. Payments required between meetings for pre-existing contracts may be authorised by written approval (including by email) of a majority of councillors.
This procedure will be reviewed annually by the full Council.
RESERVES POLICY, Adopted May 2016
The policy is based on best practice that a council should have the following reserves:
A small general reserve to cover unforeseen or foreseeable events.
An election reserve to cover the costs of a contested election
A legal & professional fees reserve to cover incidental or unforeseen costs
A locum clerk cost reserve
A maintenance reserve
The General Reserve
All councils should have a small basic general reserve. This should be proportionate to the activities that the council undertakes and the risks associated with those activities. Expenditure is not always incurred evenly throughout the year. There may be significant cost peaks at certain times of the year. These cost peaks should be considered when reviewing the adequacy of the general reserve.
The Election Reserve
In a democracy one thing is certain elections. As elections are entirely foreseeable it is best practice to provide for their cost. The minimum reserve would be the cost of one contested election. The cost of elections varies widely between principal authorities. It is best practice to contact the principal authority monitoring officer to establish the current amount that would be charged in the event of an election, contested or otherwise. Whether a council has an election reserve for more than 1 election will vary from council to council. The more councillors a council has, the greater the chance that there will be a casual vacancy. It is best practice that the council's risk assessment should review the frequency with which casual vacancies have occurred and then ensure that the election reserve is adequate.
The Legal & Professional Fees Reserve
Insurance and membership of a County Association of Local Councils is not an adequate substitute for competent legal or professional advice when it is needed. This is especially the case regarding land, property and employment. Failure to get good advice in these instances can be very expensive. Professional costs are not proportionate to the size of the council. Legal costs may be the same irrespective of the size of the council. An adequate legal and professional fee reserve may be proportionately larger for a small council as opposed to that for a large town council. Deciding on an appropriate amount for the reserve is very difficult. Parish council decisions are not immune from judicial review. It may cost tens of thousands of pounds to be represented at such a review or an employment tribunal. Councils may also wish to have legal representation at planning inquiries, yet the failure to provide for the costs may deprive the council and its electors of an adequate voice.
The locum clerk cost reserve
Clerks are human, they get ill, die, leave suddenly and so forth. A council MUST have a proper officer, an untrained councillor acting as clerk effectively deprives the community of an elected representative. The loss or prolonged unavailability of the clerk should be considered in detail on the council's risk assessment. It is best practice to have a specific locum clerk cost reserve which covers the cost of hiring a temporary replacement clerk for between 3 and 6 months.
The maintenance reserve
If a council has any interest in land or property it is best practice to have a maintenance reserve. Whether the property or land is let is immaterial as the tenant may fail to meet their obligations regarding the upkeep of the property. In such circumstances the council may be left a substantial bill to repair the property. It is suggested best practice that the reserve be sufficient to cover remedial repairs, urgent maintenance and emergency damage whilst the insurance situation is assessed.
General and Specific Reserves
A Specific Reserve is as its name implies a reserve solely for that specific purpose. A transfer between such reserves requires a decision to be made by the council. These Reserves are an accounting method to ring fence funds for specific projects. In the case of this Parish Council the amounts assessed are not a Specific Reserve but a General Reserve and as such do not require a transfer decision. They are an indicative amount to assess an overall level of general reserve but it is still important that this overall level is reviewed each year.
Uplowman Parish Council Reserves
Based on best practice it is determined that the Council should have an overall General Reserve based on the following build up:
A small general reserve to cover unforeseen events £ 500
An election reserve to cover the costs of a contested election £ 900
A legal & professional fees reserve to cover incidental or unforeseen costs £ 600
A locum clerk cost reserve £ 500
A maintenance reserve:
Leat repairs where no landowner/emergency £ 500
Repairs to assets re bus shelter/noticeboard/telephone box £ 500 £1000
The following Procedures and Policies were adopted by Uplowman Parish Council on or before 19th March 2009 and remain subject to review.
The Standing Orders for conduct of Uplowman Parish Council business will be as given in Legal Topic Note 29, third Revision dated May 1994, published by the National Association of Local Councils, except as provided hereinafter.
EXPENSES POLICY (Adopted: 15th January 2009)
UPC does not pay attendance allowances to Members. Expenses properly made on items agreed by the Council will be reimbursed at cost on production of a valid receipt or invoice. Travel expenses will be paid as standard class rail fares or milage as declared at 40 pence per mile.
ADOPTION OF COUNCILLOR (Adopted: 19th March 2009)
A. On receipt of written confirmation of resignation by a councillor, the Clerk (or, in his/her absence, the Chair) will inform the electoral services officer at Mid Devon who will set in train the process for advertising a potential election to replace the resigned Member. If there is no call by 10 electors for an election then Uplowman Parish Council will seek to co-opt a replacement Member as follows:
B. Notices advertising the vacancy will be placed on the Parish notice board(s) and in all appropriate local newsletters giving at least 2 weeks for prospective co-optees to express their interest to the Chair.
C. If more than one expression of interest is received during the stipulated period, the Chair will call a special meeting of the council with the sole purpose of interviewing the candidates. Candidates will be invited to present themselves for consideration. At the end of the meeting the successful candidate will be chosen by a simple majority of the continuing Members present.
D. The successful candidate will normally be invited to take his/her seat, sign acceptance of office and complete the Register of Interests at the next available full meeting of Uplowman Parish Council. The Clerk will inform MDDC of the name and address of the successful candidate.
AGREEMENT OF ANNUAL BUDGET, Adopted: 19th March 2009
A. The Precept request will normally be forwarded to MDDC in early January of each year.
B. The Council will determine a set of priorities for the following fiscal year at its November meeting each year. Costings will be provided to the Clerk by 31st December.
C. The Clerk will draft a budget of the anticipated expenditure, allowing for prioritised activities plus regular expenditure for discussion at the January Meeting, at the conclusion of which the required Precept will be agreed.
D. The Clerk will inform MDDC of the required Precept.
MAKING PAYMENTS (Adopted: 19th March 2009)
A. Costs of items clearly identified in the budget need not be further discussed, provided that the actual cost is within 10% of that anticipated at the time of budgeting.
B. Payments against the budget will normally be made by cheque signed at a full meeting of Uplowman Parish Council. Payments of up to £200 may be made between full council meetings, if necessary, subject to approval at the next public opportunity.
FINANCIAL REPORTING, Adopted: 19th March 2009
The Annual Audit is required by 30 June each year. The Clerk will prepare provisional Accounts by March of each year and final accounts for adoption in the May meeting. These will be adopted subject to successful internal Audit. On completion of the Annual Audit the summary accounts will be posted on the website.
EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES adopted 19th March 2009
Uplowman Parish Council is committed to the principle of equal opportunities and declares its opposition to any form of less favourable treatment, whether through direct or indirect discrimination accorded to the general public including on the grounds of their race, religious beliefs, creed, colour, disability, ethnic origin, nationality, marital/parental status, sex or sexual orientation. This policy applies equally to paid employees of the Parish Council and to Councillors and volunteers.
REQUESTS FOR INFORMATION, adopted 19th March 2009
Requests for information must be addressed to the Clerk. The requested item will be made available in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act. Copies may be made at the rate of 5 pence per A4 sheet (monochrome).