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PC Budget analysis to save toilets (or not)

Posted on 14th January, 2013

From: "Bruce Poole"

Date: Wed, 16 Jan 2013 13:22:14 -0000

To: Jo and Chris

Subject: RE: Toilets paid within current PC budget


Dear Jo and Chris


I can confirm that the members were kept advised of your e-mails as they always are. I am surprised that you need to ask the question. Likewise it shouldn’t be necessary for you to ask that I ensure that your emails are recorded as being received when it would be and is my standard practice.


The budget process has not been completed due mainly because the Parish Council is currently waiting to be informed by North Somerset what the Grant will be for 2013-14. When that is received the Parish Council will move forward to confirm the Budget and Precept hopefully at its February Meeting. When that decision has been made the information will be incorporated within the Parish Council Minutes.


As far as the publication and circulation of the Meeting Agenda is concerned the timings are governed by legislation (LGA 1972) which is what the Parish Council works to. I do not actually follow your argument regarding waiting for a month – the agenda is circulated are prescribed and members of the public can if they so wish attend a meeting and speak subject of course to the Parish Council’s Standing Orders.


In conclusion I can confirm that the discussions that the Parish Council is currently undertaking with respect to the Budget and Precept takes all views and suggestions into account.




Bruce Poole BA(Hons); Fellow ILCM; MMC

Bleadon Parish Council

Clerk to the Parish


10 South Street


Somerset TA8 1BS


Tel: 07887802922

E-Mail: parishclerk@bleadonparishcouncil.gov.uk

Web Site: www.bleadonparishcouncil.gov.uk



From: Jo

Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2013 14:48:35 +0000

To: Parish Clerk

ReplyTo: Jo

Subject: Re: Toilets paid within current PC budget


Dear Bruce


Thank you for your reply. For continuity can you confirm that you also copied councillors the 'More on questions' as well please?


Also perhaps to aid communication these analyses could be put on website with the current action plan?


Please send us a copy of the latest ones.


I was aware our replies would miss the agenda but as the agenda and minutes were published Wednesday Night and our reply from you received on Friday at 5pm, it's difficult to see how anyone could get any new comment onto the agenda for a contextural discussion by councillors in the same month it refers. to?


It seems inevitable with the current process that new relevant electorate views on agenda items will always be a month behind when a decision may already be taken! How can this be quality democracy?


Please ensure that this email is also circulated and put on next months agenda with the others previously sent.


Kind regards


Jo and Chris




From: Parish Clerk

Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2013 12:10:04 -0000

To: 'Jo'

Subject: RE: Toilets paid within current PC budget


Dear Jo


Thank you for your e-mail which is too late to formally go on to this evening’s agenda. However I have circulated its contents to the members who no doubt will give it every consideration when it comes to setting the Budget/Precept.


As you have rightly surmised the Parish Council does of course maintain an analysis as it is required to do within its governance and auditing regulations and if you had asked I would have gladly provided you with copies.


Time today does not allow me to respond to your points in detail but rest assured when I am free to do so I will provide you with the answers.




Bruce Poole BA(Hons); Fellow ILCM; MMC

Bleadon Parish Council

Clerk to the Parish

E-Mail: parishclerk@bleadonparishcouncil.gov.uk

Web Site: www.bleadonparishcouncil.gov.uk



From: Jo

To: "parishclerk@bleadonparishcouncil.gov.uk"

Sent: Sunday, 13 January 2013, 15:05

Subject: Toilets paid within current PC budget


Dear Parish Council,


Attached - Overview Analysis of Parish Council Expenditure 2012-13 (so far) converted from Excel & Word documents using a legally free document converter obtained via internet, thus saving £15. Why did the Parish Council need to purchase one? (BPC minute reference 109 Jan 2013).


All data was extracted from the PC minutes & agenda published so far this financial year on the PC website and then categorised and summarised into headings that seemed to fit their descriptions.


From this analysis, we think we can identify and constructively suggest several items with potential savings to pay for the toilets (PC say annual cost is £2,941.39) without raising the precept.


For example:

Conferences £1,525 Please can you state what these are for, why they are necessary and what cost/benefits do they yield.


Grass cutting £2,678 What hourly rate is charged, or is it a contracted price? Could other local quotes be requested and hope to reduce this, say 20%.


Village News £2,200 currently £1,100 this year for 2 issues. Whilst a luxury colour version is very nice, publication can be time consuming to regularly produce (as indicated in your recent email to us) so perhaps there could be fewer publications, a reduction in the content similar to the previous newsletter, and/or residents could opt for an electronic version and print their own copy if required. This could reduce printing costs, reducing the impact on the environment and requiring less copies to deliver around the village. It will also mean villagers can all access a copy at the same time and not have to wait for a copy to be delivered. This could reduce the total cost by say 50%.


Flowers £1,064 This seems very high. Perhaps the village could try to obtain sponsors, fundraising events, or by donations.


CRM Website £390 As the current website clearly needs more regular updating all policy documents, minutes, agendas, BVN, Non-PC content, etc. could easily be put on http://www.bleadon.org.uk for free. Alternatively the current PC website needs much more regular voluntary maintenance effort and/or like other organisations they could make more/better use of Facebook or other free social networking platforms or significantly cheaper hosting solutions.


BT Broadband £333 This appears to relate to various locations eg: Shop, Youth Club, Village Hall, Councillors homes? What contributions are made by users/locations toward these costs? What use is made and do we need all of them, are there any usage statistics available? What about a different (cheaper) supplier?


Microshade VSM £400 Like many SLCC promoted services there are often other more cost effective commercial solutions available but why are these IT products specifically needed for Bleadon? Who uses them for what and why?


Estimated Potential Year on Year Saving over £2,941.39 We therefore believe that significant savings above the required amount could be made without "a significant reduction in some services & activities currently provided by the PC" (BVN convenience article, option 3).


Remember savings based on 10 months data only so these savings figures may hopefully increase.


This analysis did take Jo and I several hours to produce and of course I’m sure the PC have already done their own analysis and may present something similar at the meeting on Monday evening but I hope this analysis has been of interest and help for the Parish Council in making a difficult decision.


I'm also sorry I couldn't link article directly to BVN article as it’s not on the PC website yet and the editor hasn't as yet sent me a copy as requested, perhaps he’s still making the most of the Christmas break.


Kind regards,


Chris & Jo

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