“…a town or parish council may choose to establish a separate working group or steering committee to undertake the majority of the work on the neighbourhood plan. This will be done under section 102(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1972/ 70/section/102 . Members of these steering groups would have voting rights under section 13(3), (4)(e) or (4)(h) of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1989/42/section/13 . The terms of reference for a steering group or other body should be published and the minutes of meetings made available to the public. It should be noted that although the steering group may undertake work on the neighbourhood plan, the town and parish council is the body ultimately accountable for the formal stages of the neighbourhood plan.”[The Good Councillor’s guide to neighbourhood planning 2017]
The name of the organisation shall be the Warmington Neighbourhood Plan Project Group (WNPPG). It should exist only for the period of the WNP work and should cease to exist after the NP referendum.
The WNPPG acts under the authority of the Warmington Parish Council as the ‘relevant body’ in relation to this neighbourhood plan (under the terms of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990 as amended by the Localism Act 2017, section 9, part 1, section 61g(2) (a))
The purpose of the WNPPG shall be to support the parish council in the preparation of a Warmington Neighbourhood Plan (WNP) which will define the planning policy priorities identified by the community in accordance with the legislation governing the preparation of Neighbourhood Plans by:
Defining the scope of the WNP
Managing the progress of the WNP including:
Financial management, identifying sources of funding, applying for funding with the PC
Document and data control and management specific to the WNP process
Liaison with ENC and other relevant authorities
Collection of evidence
Engagement with the community
Preparation, conduct and analysis of surveys
Identification of a long term vision, prioritising issues and developing objectives for the area
Preparation of the draft WNP for assessment and approval
Pre submission publicity and consultation
Amending draft WNP in response to consultation
Submission of draft WNP to LPA (ENC) for compliance/examination
Responding to LPA comments and amending the draft plan as required to achieve compliance
Preparation for referendum on WNP
The chairman of the WNPPG will be a member of the PC delegated to the post by the PC
All appointed members of the PC Governance Committee will automatically be members of the WNPPG. Other members will be co-opted from the community as volunteers and/or people with specific skills or knowledge that are beneficial to the purpose of the WNPPG such that the WNP represents the views of the community in the widest sense. Any interested member of the parish should be eligible to become a committee member provided they are willing and able to contribute positively of their knowledge and time on a regular basis. The committee will have a maximum of 9 members at any one time.
The WNPPG may appoint people to working groups to work on specific elements of the WNP, members of these groups do not have to be members of the WNPPG but operate under the authority of the chairman of the WNPPG. A nominated lead person will head each working group and report to the WNPPG as required.
Members of the committee will initially be appointed to specific roles by the Governance committee. These roles are to be:
Chairman – responsible for arranging meetings and reporting/responding to the PC
Secretary – responsible for minutes and agendas for the WNPPG
Finance manager – responsible for control, recording and management of money used in the WNP process as allocated by the PC
IT/Data manager – responsible for control, storage and security of data used in the WNPPG process and of ensuring documents are available for public scrutiny.
Communication manager – responsible for organising community actions, events, publicity
Group co-oordinator – responsible for identifying and liaising with groups who have a potential interest in the WNP
The committee will meet at least once every 2 months but more often if required. All meetings will be open to the public and should be advertised under similar arrangements to the PC meetings.
All members of the WNPPG and any working groups are expected to comply with the rules and standards expected of Parish Councillors and to behave in accordance with the codes of conduct outlined below. A copy of the PC codes of conduct will be made available to all members..
The Finance manager shall keep a clear record of expenditure supported by receipted invoices and will regularly review and update the budget in liaison with the parish clerk.
The Finance manager in partnership with the parish clerk, will draw up and agree with the WNPPG procedures for volunteers who wish to claim expenses.
Amendments to the Terms of Reference
These Terms of Reference may only be altered or revoked in a convened meeting of Warmington Parish Council.
Code of Conduct
Members of the WNPPG may find that there is an overlap with their personal or professional life and interests. However, in working on the WNP, members shall serve only the public interest and shall never improperly confer an advantage or disadvantage on any person. At all times members shall act in accordance with the trust that the public is entitled to place in them as a co-opted member of a Parish Council Committee.
Declarations of Interest
All Members of the WNPPG must declare any and all personal or professional interests that may be perceived as being relevant to any actions, conclusions or recommendations being made by the WNPPG. This may include membership of an organisation, ownership of interest in land (directly or indirectly) or a business or indeed any other matter likely to be relevant to the work undertaken by the WNPPG. Declared interests will be referred to the Clerk of the Parish Council for a determination on whether they constitute a conflict of interest.
Integrity, Honesty and Respect
In working on the WNP, members of the WNPPG shall consider all their actions carefully to avoid placing themselves in situations where their honesty and integrity may be questioned and shall on all occasions avoid improper behaviour or the appearance of improper behaviour.
Members of the WNPPG will treat other members with respect and dignity allowing everyone to air their views without prejudice and interruption.
Objectivity (in decision making)
Members will make all decisions and recommendations on merit, approaching each with an open mind, listening to the views of others and assessing the information presented carefully. They must then reach their own conclusions on issues and act accordingly. Failure to do so may expose the plan to challenge on the basis of flawed decision making processes.
Everything the WNPPG does must be able to stand the test of scrutiny by the public, the media, other stakeholders, and the courts. Members of the WNPPG are accountable to the public for their actions and the manner in which they develop the WNP. Members are therefore expected to co-operate fully and honestly with any appropriate scrutiny.
Warmington Parish Council strives to maintain an atmosphere of openness throughout the Council to promote confidence of the public, stakeholders, staff and regulators. Members of the NDP Steering Group will be as open as possible about their actions and recommendations, and should be prepared to give reasons for actions taken, conclusions drawn and recommendations made.
These terms of Reference were adopted by Warmington Parish Council 10th July 2017
Version 1.0 (11th July 2017)