A very different Parish Council Full Council meeting

When COVID-19 struck, the government changed legislation so that councils of all sizes could meet virtually. This change ran out on May 7th this year, meaning that in theory all meetings should now be held face to face. As you can imagine, this caused many concerns for councils, which were made known to the Government, but the ruling was not changed and so we have had to find ways to work around it. Primarily, our committees have continued to meet virtually in workshops, planning the year ahead for ratification at meetings when they take place.

The June 21st 2021 Full Council meeting was therefore our first attempt at meeting face to face, and although we had planned to meet outside, the weather was against us, meaning we had to meet in the Community Room at the Recreation Ground. We had undertaken Risk Assessments well in advance of the meeting, the Councillors were given instructions on what precautions they would need to follow which included:  prior testing; using a one way system; washing hands before entering the building; wearing face masks at all times unless talking. Chairs were positioned as far apart as was practical and numbers were to be limited to 22 as a maximum – luckily we were quite well under that number and could spread out more. Doors were open, as were all the windows, with only one table for the Clerk. It all looked very different, with an agenda kept as short as possible, but the main purpose of the meeting which was to approve the paperwork for the annual report was completed, so we are keeping to our normal routines. Our next meeting in July will fall on the same day as the next set of restrictions are to be lifted, so it will be interesting to see how this meeting will be run.

Below are some highlights from the meeting.

– The Council considered and approved the Annual Governance and Accounting return for the financial year 2020-2021. This report is produced annually and submitted to external auditors for review. It looks not only at the financial side of the Parish Council but also the general running and practices of the Council, ensuring we are following all the necessary rules and regulations.  The unaudited version of the report is now available on the website under Transparency.

– At the meeting, the Council agreed for the Chair and Vice Chair to sign indemnities to allow us to receive some Section 106 monies from the development of Hunter’s Close of Impington Lane. This money is allocated to areas such as development of community facilities and public art, and has to be spent within the next 10 years.

– The Council also gave permission for a new storage shed to be built on the Recreation Ground to enable the Cricket Club to store a mobile scoreboard and other equipment.

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