Agenda and minutes

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No. Item



The Chairman to welcome all to the meeting and conduct introductions around the



The Chairman welcomed all to the meeting and introductions were carried out around the room.



To receive any apologies of absence.


Apologies for absence were received from David Burfitt and MJ Streather.



To Agree the Minutes from the 14 November 2017 Conference.


The Minutes of the last Conference on 14 November 2017 were Unanimously Agreed once the attendees had been added.



To receive the above item from Rob Stubbs, Head of Finance.


Russell O’Keefe, Executive Director, gave a presentation on the Business Rate Pilot. (Presentation Attached).


Russell O’Keefe informed the Conference that of the business rates collected, 50% was the central share that went to central government, 49% was the local share that went to the local authority and 1% was the major preceptor share that went to the fire service. All Berkshire authorities were tariff authorities.


Russell O’Keefe informed the Conference of the growth and loss and what it was now and what it would be in 2020/21. The Conference were informed of why we had applied for the pilot status, how the pilot would work, which other authorities were part of the pool and what the benefits were of being part of the pool.


The pooling pilot would be for one year and Bracknell would be the Lead Authority. An extra one million pounds would be kept in business rates and this would be used to support local growth and economy. Currently there were two schemes being considered, improvement of the transport infrastructure between Slough and Reading. The LEP would decide where the funds were allocated.


Points raised by the Conference and responses provided included:


·         No current schemes that would be of benefit to RBWM - Currently no schemes had been put forward but there could be at any time.

·         Was this a central government objective. – This is a locally driven pilot formed to retain business rate growth locally.

·         Who were the other authorities? All six LAs Slough, West Berkshire, Wokingham, Bracknell, Reading and RBWM.

·         Economic development impact  - the Conference were advised of a new role being considered. This could be discussed further at a future meeting. Currently RBWM had the most generous business growth and were applying rate relief on several aspects.

·         How are businesses informed about business reliefs? - RBWM proactively write to all businesses and there was a link on the bill to the web page that had information to all reliefs.

·         It was agreed to send the Powerpoint presentations to all Parish Councils.


ACTION: Place Economic Development on a future Agenda.


ACTION: Send all presentations to all parish councils.


CIL/S106 FUNDING (15 MINS) pdf icon PDF 190 KB

Russell O Keefe, Strategic Director to update the Conference on CIL/S106 Funding.


Although the report had not been included on the Agenda the Chairman agreed to consider it as an urgent item, in accordance with Section 100B (4) (b) of the Local Government Act 1972.



Russell O’Keefe, Executive Director, gave a presentation on the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL). (Presentation Attached).


Russell O’Keefe informed the Conference what CIL could be spent on, it could be used to fund a wide range of infrastructure, including transport, flood defences, schools, hospitals and other health and social care facilities.


Russell O’Keefe informed the Conference of what was the neighbourhood portion of the levy, the benefits of a neighbourhood plan, what neighbourhood funding can be spent on and how Parish Councils should report on spending.


Points raised by the Conference and responses provided included:


·         Could you choose between CIL and S106? - No if CIL was in place, it would have to be used. Only certain projects could use CIL such as affordable housing, SANG and site specific infrastructure. The Golf Club is site specific and would therefore use the S106 agreement.

·         What about sites before CIL came in?  - This was complex and was being looked into by government and would be changed. CIL applies on the increased amount of floor space, it was not retrospective. This may change.

·         Was there a CIL team in the borough to provide support?  - The CIL/S106 contact is Helen Murch on 01628 796447 and Hilary Oliver on 01628 796363.

·         What was the process for receiving and tracking CIL?  Who was logging and where was the transparency of the process?  - CIL was being recorded through the planning portal, data on S106 was published and circulated. CIL would be recorded on a scheme by scheme basis. Parish Councils were advised that any auditor would expect to see own records of local developments. It was better for parish councils to keep these records and then compare with statement received.

·         Each S106 application had a statement, would this be the same for CIL?  - There would be a CIL document that would be used to measure.

·         It was reported that the planning portal did not record all received funds.


ACTION: Russell O’Keefe to follow up on application 16/02272/ from 7 November 2016, CIL been paid but there is no record of the CIL payment.


Mandy Brar thanked Officers for keeping CIL/S106 on the Agenda.



Stephen Hedges, Cox Green Parish Council, to update the Conference.


Stephen Hedges, Cox Green Parish Council, informed the Conference that after the last Conference, a small working group from different parishes had met and looked at the document  that he had drafted. Stephen Hedges went through the aim and that it was being created in partnership, this was a very valuable way of communicating. It would be a very fair document.


The working group were due to meet one more time and then the draft Parish Charter would be circulated to all parish councils for comments and would be on the agenda for the next conference.


The Chairman thanked Stephen Hedges for creating the initial document and giving the update.


ACTION: Parish Charter Revision to be on next agenda.



To receive an update from Ben Smith, Head of Highways and Transport.


Ben Smith, Head of Commissioning/Communities, addressed the concerns of the parish councils and gave a brief presentation on Highways and street cleansing and the rural bus services.


Ben Smith informed the Conference that RBWM were now contract managers for many services delivered by third party contractors. These contractors included Volker Highways (Highways), Veolia (Waste), ISS Facility services (grass cutting/open space), Urbaser (street cleaning), NSL (parking), AA Lighting (mainstream lighting) and Project Centre Ltd (professional services). All contracts were managed in the same way and contract review meetings took place monthly, quarterly or six monthly basis.


ACTION: Ben Smith to provide contacts of the officers that manage the contracts.


Points raised by the Conference included:


·         The reporting platform was not user friendly. Does the reporter receive acknowledgement and updates?  - Additional fields are being added to the system and responses should then be sent via the system.

·         If more than one person was to report something, who would get the update email?  - An email will be sent to each reporter with an acknowledgement and an update.

·         Would the second reporter be told that the incident had already been reported? - Ben Smith informed the Conference that this function did not exist but he would look into it.

·         How was the third party delivery against the contracts measured? - The are two main measures based around the volume and quality, did the contractors turn up and how did they do? Other softer things were measured by engagement directly with parish councils.

·         Were parish councils given the contractor work schedules so they could police? - The contract schedules are complicated but parts could and have been extracted for the parish councils to understand and be able to report back on any identified non-compliance.


ACTION: Ben Smith to send to all parish councils.


Other points that were noted included:

·         It would be helpful to be able to report more than one thing at one time on line.

·         Some litter bins were being emptied but not by Volker. Could we please add these litter bins to the schedule. Subject to who provided the bin, these could be captured and added to the Volker schedule.

·         Are Volker aware of the flood wardens, who are volunteers and would require training. Volker have been informed by RBWM.

·         The Volker schedule was discussed, was this a six week or twelve week schedule? Ben Smith confirmed that the Volker schedules were twelve week cycle but some tasks were performed on a less than 12 week cycle, and in some cases the contractor was choosing to complete tasks more frequently to fit with the contractual period. This would be confirmed with individual parish councils.


ACTION: Ben Smith to confirm length of Volker work schedule with individual parish councils.




To receive an update from David Scott, Head of Communities, Enforcement & Partnerships.


David Scott, Head of Communities, Enforcement and Partnerships, informed the Conference that the joint arrangement was being finalised. This is a shared service that was being established along with Bracknell, West Berkshire and RBWM. West Berkshire are the lead/host authority. There would also still be a Memorandum of Understanding with other authorities for shared support in times of crisis as may be required.


The new arrangements would increase our resilience, there would be a pod of officers instead of one that we could call upon. The key risks for all three authorities are very different so this would add additional strength and there would be additional officers  to draw on.


The largest emergency RBWM have at the borough is flooding.


Training has been arranged for all Parish Councils on 1 March 2018.


The new posts are being advertised, for an Emergency Planning Officers and Assistants.




Ben Smith, Head of Highways & Transport to update the Conference on the bus routes in the rural areas.


Although the report had not been included on the Agenda the Chairman agreed to consider it as an urgent item, in accordance with Section 100B (4) (b) of the Local Government Act 1972.



Ben Smith, Head of Commissioning/Communities, gave a brief presentation on The rural bus services. The Conference were informed that there were two main types of services, commercial bus services and the services operated by the local authority in conjunction with a bus company. The rural services were subsidised by the council.


Recently the routes had changed. The services were used by limited number of people and were not sustainable. Different models were being investigated for the rural areas to give stability. An ‘Uber style’ bus service, on demand service, was being piloted in other areas.


The Conference raised the following points:


·         Would the services be mobile and totally reliable?  - This was recognised and the call centre could book for residents with no mobile phones or computer access. Reading do this and it works well.

·         Buses with snorkles for flood times, especially in Cookham. - RBWM have spoken with Arriva, they have had a recent change in their management structure. They have a new director who is in support of different types of buses. There is a meeting scheduled for the 7 March to try and function for Cookham Flood situation.

·         It would be helpful if the buses and trains synchronised, especially in flood times.


ACTION: Ben Smith to provide update after meeting of 7 March to Cookham Parish Council.


·         Suggest route from Old Windsor to Datchet, this would alleviate the excessive traffic on the A308 and through the village. This was already being considered as had been reported by Councillor Jones.


ACTION: Send network map to all parish councils.



BUDGET 2018/19 (15 MINS)

Councillor MJ Saunders to present the 2018/19 Budget to the Conference.


Councillor MJ Saunders, Lead Member for Finance, gave a brief overview of the proposed RBWM budget for the next year which was due to go to Council for approval on the following Tuesday.


The points covered by Councillor Saunders included:


·         There was a 1.95% increase proposed in base Council Tax, less than the 2.99% at most Councils, representing £17.85 on a Band D home, plus the 3% Adult Social Care Levy being adopted by Councils, representing £28.85 on a Band D home.

·         RBWM would remain the lowest Council Tax outside London.

·         This would raise £68.2m (up from £64.1m this year and £60.8m last year) which the Council Officer Leadership Team and Cabinet believe were needed next year to protect and enhance all of our day-to-day services.

·         This did not use any of our funding reserves and was forecast to leave them at £7.1m, £1.2m higher than the £5.9m minimum required.

·         RBWM were allowing for £0.8m of inflation, a £7.6m net reduction in income from Government Grants and Business Rates, £1.5m growth in adult and children’s social care services, £4.4m of savings through efficiencies in our procurement and our partnerships with other Councils and suppliers and £1.5m additional income from non-Resident parking charges.

·         The £85.2m gross budget next year on Children’s and Adult Care and Health and Housing Support is £5.4m larger than this year, responding to the rising demand from younger, older and homeless people requiring care and support from RBWM.

·         Some key decisions were highlighted which may be of particular relevance to the Parishes :

Ø  Securing and exploring how best to enhance our 18 community wardens offering a local and reassuring presence around the Borough;

Ø  Supporting our 17 local libraries and containers and their extended hours and our mobile library services and looking to enhance them all further as one of the easiest local doorways into Council services and support;

Ø  Maintaining our 10 Children’s Centres for easy access to support for families and young people;

Ø  Continuing into next year the Parish Council top-up grants totalling £63k noting in recent years :

§ Bisham, Bray, Cox Green, Hurley, Old Windsor, Sunningdale and Wraysbury have tended to set precepts which decrease their reliance on this top-up grant.

§ While Cookham, Datchet, Eton, Horton, Sunninghill & Ascot and Waltham St Lawrence have tended to set precepts which increase their reliance on this charge which is funded across all RBWM Council Tax payers.

·         Heading into the following year 2019/20, we were also currently projecting a balanced budget with a 1.95% increase in Base Council Tax, no further Adult Social Care Levy, no additional savings and no use of reserves, provided that £2.1m of Negative Revenue Support Grant was not taken from us by Government next year.

·         Negative RSG is a legacy from the past where more prosperous areas lost income so it could be redistributed to less prosperous areas, and the Government announced last week it is looking to remove this unfair cost to areas like ours.

·         At the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 76.



Please inform Sandra Baker or Shilpa Manek for future Agenda Items.


The Chairman advised the Conference to speak to or email Sandra Baker or Shilpa Manek to raise any Agenda Items.


It was suggested that Remembrance 2018 be discussed at the next Conference.



To be confirmed.


The date of the next Parish Conference is to be confirmed.