1. Background

1.1 Parish Council Advisory Groups support the Parish Council by considering in detail a range of matters relating to their remit, and making recommendations as to the course of action which the Parish Council should take. As agreed at the Parish Council meeting of 6 January 2014 and reviewed and amended at the meeting on 11 May 2015 the Advisory Groups are as follows:

General Governance Advisory Group

Planning Advisory Group

Communications Advisory Group

Rights of Way and Environment Advisory Group

1.2 Membership of the General Governance, Planning and Communications Advisory Groups is entirely drawn from members of the Parish Council. Meetings of the Sports Facilities Advisory Group also incorporate meetings of the Sports fields Management Group and the Multi Use Games Area (MUGA) Management Group, so membership is drawn from a wider field, but always includes three Parish Councillors. Membership of the Rights of Way and Environment Group is drawn from the local community and representatives of County-wide organisations, along with two Parish Councillors, one of whom acts as Chairman and Convenor of the Group. The Chairman is responsible for bringing relevant issues discussed by the Group to the attention of the Parish Council, including any recommendations for action by the Council.

1.3 The Convenor of each Advisory Group is responsible for producing a report of each meeting and presenting it to the Parish Council at the next available Parish Council meeting. In consultation with other Councillors, Convenors also prepare responses to consultations on matters covered by the Advisory Group’s remit, and present them to the Parish Council for approval so that the Parish Clerk can submit them to the consulting body in time to meet the deadline. In addition, Convenors are responsible for reviewing the Parish Plan as it relates to the remit of the Advisory Group, reporting on progress, and making recommendations about future action.

1.4 Parish Council representatives on outside bodies are responsible for ensuring that the Parish Council is fully informed of relevant issues discussed at meetings of these bodies.

1.5 Written reports for inclusion in the agenda of a Parish Council meeting should reach the Clerk ten days prior to the monthly meeting in order to ensure that they can be circulated in advance with the papers for the meeting.

1.6 The Parish Council may be required to appoint a Staffing Committee or an Appeal Panel to undertake roles in connection with the Council’s Disciplinary and/or Grievance Policies. Appointments to both are described in section 6.

 

2. Remit of the General Governance Advisory Group (GGAG)

2.1 Membership of the Group consists of:

            The Chair of the Parish Council

            At least three other Parish Councillors

All Parish Councillors are welcome to attend meetings of the GGAG.

2.2 The Group meets once a month, usually on the middle Monday of the month between Parish Council meetings.

2.3 The Group has overall responsibility for:

Finance, including:

  • Monitoring of the Parish Council’s financial affairs, insurance cover and annual audit procedures
  • Considering criteria for granting funds to other organisations
  • Considering budget and precept setting proposals at appropriate times, in conjunction with the Parish Clerk

Parish Council administration, including:

  • Employment of the Parish Clerk
  • Review of Standing Orders
  • Review of Parish Council policies
  • Drawing up new policies as appropriate
  • Monitoring and review of Parish Plan

Sports and Play Facilities:

  • Management of sports fields and play areas
  • Receiving accounts from the Multi Use Games Area (MUGA) Management Group
  • Liaising with sports field users through the Sports Fields Users Group

Transport & Highways matters

Working Groups in relation to:

  • Responding to consultations – membership of these Groups will be restricted to Parish Councillors
    • Considering and making recommendations on the development of specific projects
  • Other issues as considered appropriate

         

The membership of Working Groups will always include Parish Councillors and the Groups will be led by a Parish Councillor.   Membership of the Groups may also be drawn from interested residents. Working Groups will exist for short periods only and their remit will be strictly defined by the GGAG.

2.4 In the event that insufficient members of the GGAG are present at any meeting, the convenor of the Group may, given the nature of matters listed on the agenda, directly refer all matters so listed for consideration by the next full meeting of the Parish Council. In such circumstances, the convenor would cancel that meeting of the GGAG

 

3. Remit of the Planning Advisory Group

3.1       Membership of the Group consists of not less than three Parish Councillors.

3.2       The Group meets as necessary.

3.3       The Group has overall responsibility for:

Consultations and Policies on Planning Matters

The PAG will draw up responses to consultations and other policies relating to planning matters, for approval by the Parish Council.

Planning Applications

The PAG will consider all relevant planning applications notified to the Parish Council by Northumberland County Council (NCC). The Parish Council is able to make no comment on an application (ie remain silent), state to NCC that there are no objections, support the application or object to it. There is the opportunity also to comment more generally about an application and propose potential conditions. Upon notification of a planning application, the Clerk will inform the Convenor of the PAG who will assess the application. The following process applies.

Where the Convenor believes that no comment should be made (with or without advice from other PAG members), he will make that recommendation to the Clerk. Where the Clerk agrees with that recommendation, he has delegated authority to notify NCC accordingly. Where the Clerk disagrees with the recommendation he should refer the matter to a meeting of PAG which has delegated authority to determine the Council’s response. There must be at least two members of PAG in attendance at the meeting. Alternatively the issue can be addressed at the next meeting of the Parish Council. Where the PAG or the Clerk has used delegated authority, the Council will note the matter at its next meeting.

If the Convenor believes (with or without advice from other PAG members) that the Parish Council should object, support or make any other relevant comment to an application, it should be considered by the next Parish Council meeting. Where the date for submission of comments to NCC does not allow this, the Clerk will request an extension to the deadline. If this is not granted or is not practicable, the matter will be considered by a meeting of the PAG which has delegated authority to determine the Council’s response. There must be at least two members of PAG (or in their absence other councillors) in attendance at the meeting.

Pre Application Enquiries and Sec 106 process

All Pre Application and Sec 106 enquiries are notified to the Clerk and the Convenor by email (or in their absence a nominated alternative councillor). Upon receipt, the Convenor (or in his absence another nominated councillor) will examine the application. Where the Convenor believes that the Council is likely to wish to be involved he will be responsible for co-ordinating engagement with NCC and developers in accordance with the established policy. Where timescales for submission of comments allows, the matter will be considered by the Parish Council at its regular meeting. Where this is not possible, it will be considered by a meeting of the PAG which has delegated authority to determine the Parish Council’s response. There must be at least two members of PAG (or in their absence other councillors) in attendance at the meeting.

Where the Convenor believes the Council will not wish to be involved in the enquiry, the Convenor will notify the Clerk accordingly who has delegated authority to decide whether to agree with the recommendation (and therefore do nothing) or to disagree and refer the matter to a meeting of the PAG.

 

4. Remit of the Communications Advisory Group

4.1 Membership of the Group consists of the Parish Clerk and at least two Parish Councillors.

4.2 The Group meets periodically, as required.

4.3 The Group has overall responsibility for:

  • editorial control of NE43 News, the Parish Council’s quarterly newsletter
  • monitoring the quality and content of the Parish Council’s website
  • producing the Parish Information Card every four years
  • producing other Parish Council publications agreed by Council members

 

5. Remit of the Rights of Way and Environment Advisory Group

5.1 General Remit

To promote and preserve the rights of way, footpaths and general environment within the Parish of Stocksfield.

5.2 Involvement with Stocksfield Parish Council

The Group is an Advisory Group to the Parish Council and governance is as follows:

The Chairman of the Group is always a member of the Parish Council. In addition to the Chairman at least one other member of the Parish Council will be a member of the Group. The Group is therefore made up of two or more Parish Councillors, local volunteers and a number of officers from the County Council and other countywide organisations. The Group meets three or more times a year and its proceedings and recommendations are reported to the Parish Council. A meeting of the Group is classed as being a formal meeting of all members of the Group. The actions and decisions taken by Working Groups and individuals will be reported to the formal meetings of the Group, and, through the Chairman, to the Parish Council.

Projects requiring funding or other support from the Parish Council must be approved by the Parish Council prior to their commencement.

5.3 The Group will:

  • monitor issues relating to the environment in general and raise matters of concern with the Parish Council
  • in liaison with the County Countryside Officer, monitor the condition of the footpaths, bridleways and rights of way within the parish, and agree any action required for their maintenance with the Countryside Officer
  • in liaison with the County Footpaths officer and Allendale Estates, monitor the condition of the footpaths, bridleways and rights of way within the Community Woodland, and agree any action required for their maintenance with the Countryside officer and Allendale Estates
  • in liaison with the Tyne Rivers Trust, monitor the health of the Stocksfield burn, including electro-fishing
  • in liaison with the Tyne Rivers Trust, monitor and attempt to eradicate Himalayan Balsam and other alien invasive plant species where they occur in the Parish
  • develop and monitor the planting in the agreed areas around the station car park, but not including any areas near to the railway line

The Parish Council will be kept informed at all times as to proposals for action and progress on such action.

In the longer term the Group will consider the following:

  • revision of the Habitat Survey (originally undertaken in 2003), with particular reference to sites identified under the Northumberland County Council Local Development Strategy (2013+) and the 2013 Stocksfield Housing Needs Survey as being potentially suitable for housing development.
  • revision of the Species Survey (first undertaken in 2005)
  • in conjunction with the County Council, Prudhoe Pathforce and Allendale Estates, extend the footpath along the south bank of the river
  • the development of a nature reserve in the Merryshields ponds area
  • production from time to time of new or revised footpaths leaflets

The Group will advise the Parish Council every six months on the proposals for and progress of these latter projects.

 

6. Appointment of Staffing Committee or Appeal Panel

6.1 The appointment of either a staffing committee or an appeal panel will only be undertaken at a full meeting of the Parish Council. The Chair will determine whether an extraordinary meeting of the Council is needed to ensure that any procedure contained within other policies is not constrained by time. The Council will establish a staffing committee and an appeal panel in connection with individual matters. Where a new matter arises, the Council will meet to appoint a new staffing committee or appeal panel as appropriate. Councillors who have been appointed to previous staffing committees or appeal panels may be appointed to subsequent committees/panels to consider new matters.

6.2 Where a new matter arises and an existing staffing committee or appeal panel is still constituted, the new matter may be referred to that committee or panel without a meeting of the Council provided the requirements in sub sections 6.3 and 6.4 are met.

6.3 A staffing committee so appointed will consist of three members who have had no direct involvement in the matter and, in normal circumstances will include the Council’s Chair who will Chair the committee. If the Chair has been directly involved in the matter, another councillor will be appointed and the staffing committee will appoint a Chair from amongst its number. The remit of the staffing committee is to conduct the Council’s procedures as described within the Disciplinary and/or Grievance Policies as appropriate.

6.4 An appeal panel so appointed will consist of three members who have had no direct involvement in the matter and, in normal circumstances will include the Council’s Vice Chair who will Chair the panel. If the Vice Chair has been directly involved in the matter, another councillor will be appointed and the appeal panel will appoint a Chair from amongst its number. The remit of the appeal panel is to conduct the Council’s procedures as described within the Disciplinary and/or Grievance Policies as appropriate. No member of the staffing committee may also be appointed to the appeal panel to consider the same matter.

 

Adoption and Review History

Adopted at Parish Council Meeting on

06 January 2014

Reviewed and amended on

07 December 2015

04 January 2016

Reviewed on

09 May 2016

Reviewed and amended on

05 September 2016

Reviewed on

15 May 2017

Reviewed and amended on

14 May 2018

Amended on

04 November 2019

Amended on

06 January 2020

Next Review Due

May 2020