Agendas / Minutes

Minutes 2 December 2015

Plain Action

Partnership Management Group

Minutes of the meeting held at 2pm on Wednesday 2nd December 2015 at Ludgershall Memorial Hall, Andover Road, Ludgershall, SP11 9LZ

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)

Andi Witcombe                     (AW)   NFU County Advisor Wiltshire

Len Turner                            (LT)     Warminster & Villages Community Partnership

Malcolm Irons                       (MI)     Independent

Robert Underhill                  (RU)    Forestry

Brian Clake                           (BC)    Voluntary Sector

Doug Roseaman                 (DR)    Devizes area

DEPUTIES AND STAFF IN ATTENDANCE

Alan Truscott                        (AT)                Programme Manager, Plain Action

Alan Titcombe                      (AT-RPA)       Defra

Michael Mounde                  (MM)               Chairman, Heart of Wessex LAG

Sarah Penfold                      (SP)                Community First – minute taker

  1. 53.Welcome and apologies

The Chairman welcomed everyone and welcomed members of a visiting Polish LAG as observers.

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Apologies were received from Kate Forrest (Wiltshire Council), Graham Wright (Amesbury Community Area), Tony Pickernell (Tidworth Community Area), Ali Morgan (Wiltshire Council), Catharina Davies (Wessex Chambers), Sqn Ldr Ali Morton (Ministry of Defence / RAF Boscombe Down), Lesley Thomas (Programme Assistant) and David Wildman (Tidworth Community Area).

  1. 54.Conflict of Interests

No conflicts of interest were declared. AT informed the meeting that a form for policies will be sent out to everyone to sign individually.

  1. 55.Minutes of last meeting 24th September 2015

The minutes of the meeting held on 24th September 2015, which had been circulated, were approved as a correct record.

  1. 56.Matters Arising

There were no matters arising.

  1. 57.General Report (paper B)

AT confirmed that the google group is now set up between programme staff and RPA.

4.0 Training- AT and Lesley Thomas (LJT) have now received software and project appraisal training. AT confirmed that they now have all forms and letters to be signed and sent out to applicants.

6.0 National Event - AT attended the National Event which launched LEADER in the UK.

All agreements are now signed and in place which enabled the Set Up and Evaluation meeting to take place. There were no issues raised and Plain Action was given the clearance to open on 13th November.

AT explained that no guidance had been received for the outline application. AT was using the adapted Countryside Productivity Application guidance, which has now been adopted by the RPA.

  1. 58.Financial Report (paper C)

There are three reports and a project progress table in the financial report, to be updated once we receive applications, for the next meeting in January. AT informed everyone that, in January, the decision making will start. AT highlighted that there is not an answer yet regarding the Euro Exchange Rate, this has currently gone down which means we could lose £170,000 for projects. The ESIFprogramme is also having the same issue, as the programmes do not know how much money is actually there.

When applicants are receiving outline applications there seems to be an issue with the different combinations of Windows Office. Applicants are struggling with the Excel spreadsheet and the drop down boxes.

*Action: It was discussed that AT would colour code and highlight any new information.

  1. 59.Project Progress Report (Paper D) and Project Progress Table (Paper E)

Presented for information only.

  1. 60.National Event 14th October 2015 (Paper F)

AT mentioned that the name ‘Launch Event’ has been changed to ‘National Event’. AT reported that there were two halves; the first half consisted of presentations by senior members of staff and the Minister, which showed everyone how the process will work and how the money will be spent. Geraldine McKibbin (Voluntary Sector, Chair, Vale Action) took notes which have now been made available to both Vale Action and Plain Action.

AT explained that he had been told two different things regarding the Euro Exchange. From the meeting, it was mentioned that Defra would be taking on the responsibility for the Euro Exchange risk. AT was concerned with not being told whether or not there are any changes. Each year a Delivery Plan is written which is sent to Defra at the beginning of April but Defra may not tell them of any changes until after April. AT queried that we need to know the Euro Exchange rate by October, so this can go to committee members in March ready to go out in April.

  1. 61.Open for Business (Application process) (Paper G)

As Programme Manager, AT needs to keep members informed and give the opportunity for questions. AT has presented the outline application paper to the Vale Action group; the full application process will be explained at a later meeting as the form is being revised currently to simplify it. When applicants get to the full application stage, it is clear how we ask applicants how to complete the applications. Applicants need to be more aware and to have a case reason and logic with regard to why they are coming to LEADER for funding. Applicants also need to know the legal entity that they are applying under. For example, for building works whether the land is rented and if this affects the business, as there may not be a long enough lease to go forward with the full application. To go forward with the full application, applicants need at least a five year lease to go forward.

The table on the front of the application processshows the simplicity. AT believes that there is no reason why members cannot be sponsors and work with an application as programme manager from the applicant’s viewpoint, but there would then be a conflict of interest which may rule those members out at a later stage as they may be unable to vote on the project going forward.

The outline application form is not on the website as AT would like to talk to people first - the applicants’ handbook is now on the website.

AT will be carrying out checks on each company, and then he will be able to complete large chunks of the appraisal documents to ensure the background detail is all there before it goes to the appraiser.

AT is hopeful that the external appraisers will be at a lower cost. He is working with Dawn Hamblin, Programme Manager of North Wessex Downs LAG, to go out for tender for joint appraisers. The tender will go out via Wiltshire Council through the South West portal for procurement as agreed for LAG procurement.

AT mentioned that he and Dawn are expecting to go out to independent appraisers who have no connection to a LAG, but they have been approached by 13 other LAGs, where the money is tight, to do appraisals for us, and asked for members’ views. LT questioned their competency, and felt that appraisals need to be in the hands of a named individual rather than a local action group. AT mentioned that the Defra representatives responsible for AT and LJT’s training are willing to train people in Wiltshire, albeit less detailed. MM felt this would raise issues, and FdRP summed up by stating that the job needs to be done cheaply but efficiently. AT-RPA agreed it sounded a complicated process but local appraisers will be familiar with the appraisal process and will be able to copy and paste with information and cut corners to save time.

AT informed the meeting that the next stage after the appraisals is a check by programme staff for quality control, i.e. someone else seeing the appraisal to make sure they are completely happy with it. AT suggested that there could be an appraisal portal on the website for certain people to access, but the security will need to be sorted out.

AT showed the outline application form and what it entails. The drop down box for the ‘status of a business’ was discussed, including the definition of a ‘medium size’ business. It was suggested that clear definitions were included with the outline application form.

AT also showed the spreadsheet for project costs. The applicant will input the percentage rate themselves, but in order for them to do this it needs a better explanation.

Statutory fees cannot be covered. Programme staff will clarify when projects start to come through, on further eligible / ineligible costs. LT asked about the process if something we have funded is being sold. AT-RPA confirmed that the issue should be referred to the RPA.

  1. 62.Any Other Business

Plain Action is still seeking members, especially now it is officially open.

The meeting closed at 3.20pm.

The next meeting will be on 28th January 2016 with the venue to be advised.

Approved as a correct record at the meeting held on 28th January 2016.

Signed…………………………………………..

Position: Chairman

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