Agenda and Minutes

Vale Action

Partnership Management Group

Minutes of the meeting held at 2pm on Tuesday 7th July 2015

at Greenway Training Centre, Thickthorn Farm, Thickthorn, Wiltshire, SN15 4DY

PRESENT, MEMBERS AND ACTING MEMBERS

Geraldine McKibbin                 (GM)                Voluntary Sector (Chair)

Phil McMullen                          (PM)                Melksham

DEPUTIES AND STAFF IN ATTENDANCE

Alan Truscott                           (AT)                 Programme Manager, Vale Action

Sarah Penfold                                                 Community First, minute taker

  1. 21.Welcome and Apologies
  2. 22.Conflict of Interests
  3. 23.Minutes of last meeting- 19th March 2015
  4. 24.Matters Arising
  5. 25.General Report (Paper B)
  6. 26.Financial Report (Paper C)
  7. 27.Project Progress (Paper D) and Project Progress report (Paper E)
  8. 28.The Application Process (Paper F)
  9. 29.Demarcation of Roles (Paper G)
  10. 30.Call for Projects (Paper H)
  11. 31.Appraisal process (Paper I)
  12. 32.Quality Checker (Paper J)
  13. 33.Conflict of Interest (Paper K)
  14. 34.Financial Delivery Plan (Paper L)
  15. 35.Delivery Plan (Paper M)
  16. 36.Terms of Reference (Paper N)
  17. 37.Meeting Dates (Paper O)
  18. 38.Any other business

GM welcomed everyone to the meeting. Apologies were received from Catharina Davis (Wessex Association of Chambers of Commerce), Holly Traynor (TEN The Rural Enterprise network), Kate Forrest (Wiltshire Council) Andi Whitcombe (NFU/ Association of Tenant Farmers), Peter Wragg (Tourism and General Economic Development), Robert Underhill (Forestry Sector), Alan Titcombe (DEFRA) and Lesley Thomas (Vale Action Programme Assistant).

No conflicts of interest were declared.

These were signed as a true record of the meeting held on 19th March 2015.

There were no matters arising.

The Programme Staff had recently attended three training sessions at the RPA offices in Bristol, covering the background to LEADER in the new round of funding; the processes, audit and irregularities. There will be more training in August covering appraisals, claims and the DORA IT system. The training had highlighted issues, such as the level of time spent with applicants. A pre-programme inspection from DEFRA was expected. It was noted that Vale Action PMG is not a legal entity and cannot sign contracts. AT confirmed that Community First’s insurance covers board members as ‘volunteers’ under its volunteer insurance. Wiltshire Council will undertake a secondary audit once a year.

4.0 The Grant Process- Meetings need to be held every two months, in order to meet the 40 day cycle for grant application approvals. Dates need to be set for handing in applications, which meet with the schedule already set up.

16.0- Launch event- The documents for September will not be signed in time for a major launch event to be organised.

All reporting is shown in £ and € as the Delivery Plan is worked in € only. The annual exchange rate will be decided between the RPA and the accountable body.

There was general discussion regarding the various potential projects.

AT confirmed that there will be a whole series of templates, including those for emails; other items cannot be added to freely.

AT can now perform two roles and Lesley Thomas (LJT) can do some of the checking. This had been fed back following the training and will definitely save on the cost implications to the programme.

LAG members cannot be used as appraisers. The PMG will be project approvers and the Claim 1 recommender will be the accountable body. AT mentioned that the DORA system requires ‘signing off’ on each stage before the next one can be input.

AT suggested that the projects which have come forward should be considered first, with gaps filled later. GM and PM agreed this and suggested that people are told quietly that this is the case. AT suggested that these projects could complete the outline application stage, moving on to full application if they are eligible. They would then go on for appraisal, with a scoring system adopted to prioritise them, sifting out those that do not show value for money.

In the previous programme appraisers were paid between £50 and £150 each time. The appraisal documentation has now been standardised by Defra, with each project having the same level of appraisal regardless of its value. When put before independent advisers, they have indicated that there would be 2-3 days’ work involved for each one and, pricing on the worst case scenario, this would be £500- £750 per appraisal. PM suggested that small grant applicants be put in touch with other businesses or bank loans, in view of the fact that the process would prove expensive compared to the grant sought. AT would refer those smaller grant applicants to the likes of Fredrick’s Foundation for funding.

AT had received confirmation that a quality checker could not also be a decision maker.

Everyone needs to sign a copy of the policy which will be kept on record.

Outputs are still to come from Defra, and once known will be communicated to projects being put forward. It is anticipated that the first project expenditure will occur in the second quarter of the next financial year. AT is currently budgeting for expenditure right through the programme, with overspending early on not envisioned to be as much of a problem as underspending.

1.3 Although not in year one, this has been written as if it started in January

5.1 This does not correspond to the duties matrix

5.7C)Risk Management and Issue Resolution - AT to make unplanned absence sheet

5.7D) AT and Kate Forrest (KF) produced the paragraph with regard to the accountable body

Action: Some typos were spotted - AT to make amendments to the draft

This document forms the agreement between the accountable body and the LAG.

These were included for information as some dates had been rearranged. In GM’s absence PM will chair the meeting scheduled for 17th September 2015. The meeting scheduled for 23rd July will be cancelled.

There was no other business.

The meeting closed at 4.15pm.

The next meeting would be held on Thursday 17th September 2015 - venue to be advised.

Approved as a correct record at the meeting held on 17th September 2015

Signed ………………………………………………………..

Position: Chairman

Date: