Partnership Management Group
Minutes of the meeting held at 2pm on Thursday 30th July 2015
at Rowde Village Hall, Cock Road, Rowde, Devizes, Wiltshire, SN10 2PP
PRESENT, MEMBERS AND ACTING MEMBERS:
Fleur de Rhé-Philipe (FdRP) Wiltshire Council (Chairman)
Dawn Lyndene (DL) 1 Artillery Brigade-SW-MCI
Geraldine Wimble (EGW) Independent (Vice-Chairman)
Douglas Roseaman (DR) Devizes Community Area
Robert Underhill (RU) Forestry Sector
Andi Witcombe (AW) NFU County Adviser Wiltshire
Brian Clake (BC) Voluntary Sector
DEPUTIES AND STAFF IN ATTENDANCE:
Alan Truscott (AT) Programme Manager, Plain Action
Lesley Thomas (LJT) Programme Assistant, Plain Action
Kate Forrest (KF) Wiltshire Council
Tony Pickernell (TP) Tidworth Community Area
Alan Titcombe (AT-RPA) Defra
Gail Smith (GS) 1 Artillery Brigade-SW-MCI
Sarah Penfold (SP) Community First apprentice
- 36.Welcome and Apologies
- 37.Conflict of Interest
- 38.Minutes of last meeting 25th June 2015 (Paper A)
- 39.Matters arising
- 40.Delivery Plan Approval (Paper B)
- Review of Progress – As there has been plenty of interest, there is a requirement to inform Defra that expectations have been raised
- Investment Plans – As there are plenty of pipeline projects, it has been agreed to deal with these first, allowing any further available funding to be used to target programme priorities, if necessary changing the priorities in January. All those listed in the document have been very pro-active in publicising the programme, with Wiltshire’s communications team proving particularly helpful. There are radio interviews prepared ready to go ahead at the programme start. In view of this significant involvement with media contacts there should be no difficulty in calling for projects. There should be a representative from the Federation of Small Businesses coming forward to join the PMG, similarly with the Countryside Landowners Association where contact has now been made. The smaller organisations are represented at BOBS (Business Over Breakfast). Farm Shopping is based in Southampton but covers the whole of Wiltshire. AT will inform RU of his contact at the Forestry Commission.
- Budget Profile –There will be no true expenditure on grants before the second quarter of 2016.
- Milestones and Output profile – The outputs are the same as those in the LDS. The milestones are very sparse at this stage, in expectation of confirmation of the programme start. These will be expanded for the next submission of the Delivery Plan in April. Members were happy with this.
- Accountable Body Arrangements – 5.1 Tim Martienssen will be signing funding agreements on behalf of the Accountable Body, with Graham Huxter checking the project claims. (Graham is known to Programme Staff and many of those on the PMG, as he performed this role under the previous Plain Action programme.) On the condition that ‘once in a lifetime’ inspections are consistent and properly undertaken, these will be the responsibility of programme staff. 5.2 Due to a slight error regarding timings, the flow chart has now been amended and condensed. 5.3 The Conflict of Interest policy will need to be signed in due course, as well as the register at each meeting. 5.4 Julian Head has now moved on within Wiltshire Council, and replaced by KF. 5.5 No staff or appraisers are expected to be recruited. 5.6 Staff are awaiting the next round of training on IT systems, inspections, claims and state aid. There is a requirement that one PMG meeting will concentrate on training PMG members. 5.7 There is a comprehensive Risk Management policy in place, to cover such scenarios as a project not reaching completion, sudden departure of the programme manager, etc. Accountable Body and Plain Action staff meet together regularly, with the PMG meeting every two months, so there is good input from KF and AT-RPA.
- Partnership Information – 6.1 No sector can make up more than 49% quorum of a meeting or the body of the PMG. FdRP emphasised the importance of PMG members confirming with programme staff that they are able, or not, to attend a meeting to ensure that the meeting will be quorate. 6.2 AT is aiming to build interest in an advisory group. Under the LAG members list, Mr Douglas Roseaman’s entry is to be amended, as the organisation he represents is “Wiltshire Museum” and no longer “Wiltshire Heritage Museum”. 6.4 A cascade of documents had come from Defra via the Accountable Body. The Terms of Reference was the Partnership Agreement under the previous programme, and includes the role of Community First as the employer of programme staff on behalf of the LAG. AT-RPA confirmed that the funding agreement is being worked on currently, and KF confirmed that Wiltshire Council’s solicitors are happy to build on Defra’s example. 6.5 This is to be corrected, as Plain Action has two deputy members on the LEP, Col. Toby Bridge and FdRP. FdRP often has voting powers as she is there to represent Jane Scott, Leader of the Council. It has been suggested that LAG managers will report to the LEP on what projects they are supporting, and where. Due to a change in the dynamics of the LEP, FdRP felt that the LEP members should now be interested in the smaller businesses and organisations. 6.6 It was agreed that, where a conflict of interest occurs, the person involved should be present for discussion during the meeting but not eligible to vote. 6.7 The timing of the PMG meetings should enable the 40 day process time to be met.
- Communication, Co-operation and Engagement – 7.1 As mentioned in 2. above, this has been addressed, using the networks already in place. Social media has also been set up, AT-RPA particularly recommending Facebook. Plain Action already has a profile in Wiltshire following AT’s visits to the Area Boards. 7.2 A full specification for tendering for appraisals will be forthcoming. There will be co-operation with other LAGs if there is an opportunity for cross-county projects, and the procedure for this is yet to be decided. Local LAG managers meet regularly, and the SW LAGs would like to meet on a six-monthly basis. There is also the possibility of an international project with the Great Bustard Group.
- Monitoring and Evaluation – Updates on each grant will be provided at each PMG meeting, therefore information received will be ongoing and up-to-date. The mid-point review will be carried out by either the LAG or an external body. FdRP suggested that the decision on how this is done, and by whom, should be made when it is known how the programme is performing.
- 41.Any Other Business
The Chairman welcomed everyone, and introductions were made. Apologies were received from Len Turner (Warminster & Villages Community Partnership), David Wildman (Tidworth Community Area), Graham Wright (Amesbury Community Area), Catharina Davis (Wessex Chambers), Sqn Leader Ali Morton (MOD Boscombe Down) and Flt Lt Ema Bean (MOD Boscombe Down).
No conflicts of interest were declared.
The Minutes of the meeting held on 25th June 2015, which had been circulated, were approved as a correct record.
26. Project Progress Report– Programme staff are receiving on average two enquiries per week, with several from the farming community. Staff hope to be asking for applications from September.
33. LEADER Financial Delivery Plan– The plan has been revised to show that AT is now full-time as programme manager, with costs apportioned at 50% each to Vale Action and Plain Action. His hours will drop off in the final year, so over all figures are not affected. Defra has now agreed that RCA funding will remain at £247k per local action group, which will not change over the length of the programme. There is approximately £1.1m available for grants from Plain Action, which will fluctuate according to the € versus £ rate. This money will be claimed by Defra in arrears, and each year a letter will come from Defra with the need to plan for the following year.
The Delivery Plan will need to be submitted to Defra by 15th April each year. Therefore, with no guarantee that the programme will start in September, and the first tranche of grant payments not expected until the first quarter of 2016, information has been kept to a minimum, as the delayed timing will have a knock-on effect should the programme start be delayed until the last quarter of 2015. The plan submitted for 15th April 2016 will be more detailed. AT expanded on the Plan as follows:
Supporting documents checklist – KF asked the Terms of Reference for LAGs to be amended to show that the GN101 Defra terms of reference are forming the working draft for the partnership document, which is in progress.
There was no other business.
The meeting closed at 2.55pm.
The next meeting will be on Thursday 24th September 2015 – venue to be informed.
Approved as a correct record at the meeting held on 24th September 2015.