Following the advice from the Government, St Erth Parish Council will not be meeting in person for the foreseeable future. This document sets out how the Council will continue to act until such time as the legislation provides for an alternative.
Councillors have agreed an Emergency Scheme of Delegation ‘to delegate authority to the Clerk, in consultation with the Chairman and Vice-Chairman (or other Councillors in their absence), to take any actions necessary with associated expenditure to protect the interests of the community and ensure Council business continuity during the period of the pandemic Coronavirus, informed by consultation with Councillors’.
There are a number of key issues that the Parish Council needs to continue to process during this period and it has agreed to carry out these functions as follows:
1) Links to all planning applications received from the planning authority will be published on the Parish Council website, and circulated to all Parish Councillors. This will take place on a weekly basis and applications will be published on the website by 10am on the Monday after they are received. The public will be given until 5pm on the Friday of that week, to submit their views, in writing, to the Clerk (this includes email).
2) For each application, a summary of any public comments will be circulated to all Councillors for their comments. In accordance with GDPR Regulations, this summary will not contain any personal information unless the commenter has specifically requested that this be included. Councillors will be given a further 3 working days to consider the public comments.
3) Following this, under the Emergency Scheme of Delegation, the Clerk and appropriate Councillors will agree a Council response to each application which identifies relevant material considerations and may give local information or opinion. A draft response will then be shared with all Councillors who will have 2 working days to advise the Clerk of any comments. At the end of the 2-day period the response will be sent to Cornwall Council – with the following statement:
“Due to the restrictions placed on the Council as a result of the pandemic Coronavirus, this response represents the opinion of members of St Erth Parish Council identified through a consultation process and will be ratified at the next appropriate meeting of the Council.”
4) The Parish Council’s response will then be posted on its website as it is currently.
5) If the matter is referred back to the Council under the local council protocol, the Emergency Scheme of Delegation will allow the Clerk to respond on behalf of the Council.
Process Payments due
The Parish Council has agreed a change to its bank mandate to allow online banking to take place. Any payments that have been agreed by Council previously and are included in its budget will now be paid online. The Clerk will continue to prepare a schedule of payments for authorisation by two signatories, which will be obtained via email, prior to payments being processed in accordance with Financial Regulations.
The Clerk, in conjunction with the Chairman, already has authority to spend up to £500 under Financial Regulation 4.1. The limit has been increased to £1,000, to be ratified at the next meeting.
Respond to Other Issues
From time to time, other matters will need to be determined. In such cases, the Clerk will consult the Chairman and Vice-Chairman before making any such decisions and will notify all Councillors each time this occurs.
A record of any decisions taken under the Emergency Scheme of Delegation will be recorded by the Clerk and ratified when the Council is next able to hold a meeting.