Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead Community Governance Review Working Group Wednesday 10 February 2021, 3pm, Microsoft Teams Meeting
Present: Councillors Shelim (Chairman), Cannon (Vice Chairman), Davies, Knowles and Hilton
Officers: Suzanne Martin (Electoral & Information Governance Services Manager), Karen Shepherd (Head of Governance), Mark Pattison (Project Management Officer).
Councillor Shelim welcomed all to the meeting.
Apologies for Absence
Review of Draft Recommendations
The Working Group reviewed the latest version of the draft recommendations.
Suzanne Martin agreed to double check the issue of timing of elections, following a query from Councillor Cannon. To enable Suzanne to do this, Councillor Cannon would confirm which guidance he had referenced.
It was noted that until the previous financial year, the areas covered by the Special Area Expenses Account (SAE) had not been detailed. The auditors had required this information and therefore the following services had been identified: allotments, street lighting, and parks and recreation.
Members noted that if a town council were established, the Borough would no longer receive funding of c.£470,000 currently collected through the SAE. However, it would continue to be responsible for, and incur the costs of, the services currently provided by the SAE. To ensure a funding gap was avoided, significant further work was required to determine services that could be transferred to a new town council.
Councillor Hilton explained if the precept were set at £80, an increase of 1% would generate an additional £12,500. A Windsor Town Council would be the largest parish council in the borough and therefore the central costs could be amortised over a larger number of Band D properties than in any other parish council.
Councillor Hilton explained that Band G properties were charged twice that of a Band D property; he agreed to send Councillor Davies further information on the banding calculations.
Members requested that the draft recommendations be updated to reflect the discussions at the meeting and advice provided by the Finance team. An updated version would be circulated for Members of the Working Group to consider.
Next steps/ timetable
Members agreed that the report should be presented to the Extraordinary full Council meeting on Tuesday 2 March 2021, to ensure a full debate could take place. However, it was also noted that this would create a very tight timescale to provide the printers with the details of the consultation leaflet to be issued with the council tax bills. If the deadline was not met, the costs of issuing the leaflet would significantly increase and Members noted that there was no budget allocated for this. Karen Shepherd would seek the Mayor’s agreement to add the item to the Extraordinary full Council agenda.
Members noted that (assuming the draft recommendations were approved by full Council) this would mean the consultation would run from Tuesday 2 March 2021 to Wednesday 2 June 2021. This would give Members approximately 6 weeks to consider the consultation feedback and draft final recommendations, to be presented to full council mid-late July 2021. To ensure the process ran smoothly, Working Group meetings would be scheduled at regular intervals during the three-month consultation period so that Members could consider feedback as it was received.
Date of next meeting
To be confirmed following the outcome of the debate at Extraordinary full Council on 2 March 2021.
The meeting, which began at 3pm and finished at 4pm..