Agenda item

Reports from Independent Member visits to Town/Community Councils

To receive verbal reports from independent members of the Committee on their visits to the following councils:


·         Northop Community Council (Phillipa Earlam – 14.01.19);

·         Buckley Town Council (Phillipa Earlam – 26.02.19); and

·         Bagillt Community Council (Phillipa Earlam – 13.03.19).



That the verbal reports be received and feedback given to Town and Community Councils.



Mrs Phillipa Earlam provided verbal reports on her visits to the following councils:


·         Northop Community Council (14.01.19)

·         Buckley Town Council (26.02.19)

·         Bagillt Community Council (13.03.19) 


Northop Community Council


Reporting on her visit to Northop Community Council, the Independent Member said the meeting had been well conducted and  chaired and a variety of topics considered.  A Streetscene officer had been present during the meeting and his contribution had been valuable.  The website was of a good standard and agendas and minutes of meetings were available online.  Arising from a matter considered discussion took place about how to get young people involved in community matters. 


A point of feedback to the Committee was around the increased role and responsibilities of Clerks to Town and Community Councils and the difficulties experienced by Councils regarding the recruitment and retention of Clerks.


Councillor Arnold Woolley asked if a qualification was available for the role of Clerk to Town/Community Councils.  The Monitoring Officer advised that a qualification was available but it was for each Town/Community Council to specify whether they wished it to be essential criteria for the post. 


Referring to the matter of recruitment and retention of Clerks, discussion took place around Town/Community Councils giving consideration to the joint  employment of the same Clerk.  The Monitoring Officer cited the example of where two Community Councils jointly employed a Clerk and worked together to share the cost of recruitment, training and development of the Clerk.  The Chair proposed that the suggestion be raised with either Town/Community Councils or the Standards Forum as a possible solution to the issue.


Buckley Town Council


The Independent Member reported on her visit to Buckley Town Council.  She said a seating plan with names had been provided which had been helpful. She had experienced no difficulty in contacting the Clerk’s office or establishing the venue for the meeting and commented on the high standard of the agenda pack provided and said the meeting had been well conducted.  She referred to the Council’s website and  commented that at the time renovation was being undertaken and although information was available some was clearly signposted  and some was not.  


The Independent Member commented on the variance between individual Town/Community Council’s websites and asked if guidance could be provided to assist them to produce a model layout for ease of access to locate basic information on meetings and agendas, minutes, etc.  Discussion took place around the need for all Councils to agree to a model layout and the skills and time required by  Clerks to update websites to the required standard.  It was agreed that all Councils should achieve the minimum standard required  to provide information about the date, time, venue, agenda and minutes of meetings.  It was acknowledged that each Council would retain its individuality in terms of design and inclusion of further local community information.  


Bagillt Community Council


The Independent Member provided feedback on her visit to Bagillt Community Council.  She said the meeting had been well chaired and clerked and members of the public had been in attendance during the meeting.  She said the website was under review and commented that she had experienced some difficulty in gaining connection and locating minutes etc.


The Independent member was thanked for her comprehensive feedback.


In response to a query raised by Councillor Arnold Woolley concerning the need for information to be provided in the Welsh language, the Monitoring Officer advised that the County Council used Conwy Borough Council translation services and said he would make enquiries as to whether a service could be provided for Town/Community Councils.




That the verbal reports be received and feedback given to Town and Community Councils.