The three main standing committees are:
Committees are appointed at the Council’s Annual General Meeting in May each year.
The Communities Committee is responsible for the development and implementation of strategies, policies, and projects aimed at improving life at a local level in the context of the priorities identified by the community, the Council Plan and other corporate strategies.
The Finance Committee is responsible for the management of all matters related to the Council finances and make recommendations to Full Council regularly. However, only Full Council can resolve the Precept. The committee is responsible for the running of the Council’s businesses operations including the Council Office, allotments, and public domain assets such as Fairhill recreation ground, benches, bus shelters, the bandstand and the Musgrave Monument. The committee is responsible for the oversight of all personnel related matters.
The Planning Committee is responsible for responding to planning applications, and submits responses to Westmorland and Furness Council who are the Local Planning Authority. They also consider highways and footpath issues and respond to any consultations in these areas. The Committee also oversees the delivery of the Penrith Neighbourhood Development Plan.
Committees may establish working groups of Councillors. Working groups or Task and Finish Groups cannot make decisions on behalf of the Council. The groups may research projects and make recommendations back to their parent committee. These meetings are informal and governed by terms of reference and close after their work is complete. These meetings are not formally minuted. Notes of the meeting may be produced. Members of the public are not permitted to attend these meetings but on occasion members of the public with specialist knowledge may be invited to participate in a meeting to progress a specific project.
For further information, please refer to the Council’s Scheme of Delegation in the policies section of this site.
Councillors Meeting Attendance
Councillors Training Register
The Councillors Training Register is currently being updated
The employees and Members of the Council are seen as being fundamental in all areas of its service delivery and development. Accordingly, it is essential that they are all fully trained to carry out their duties as effectively as possible.
Training and development forms part of the overall performance management of the Council and each staff member receives an annual appraisal. Each member of staff maintains a CPD log and strive to attain at least 12 CPD points per year.
Civility and Respect
Civility and respect should be at the heart of public life, and good governance is fundamental to ensuring an effective and well-functioning democracy at all levels.
The intimidation, abuse, bullying and harassment of councillors, clerks and council staff, in person or online, is unacceptable, whether by councillors, clerks, council staff, or members of the public.
This can prevent councils from functioning effectively, councillors from representing local people, discourage people from getting involved, including standing for election, and undermine public confidence and trust in local democracy.
NALC (National Association of Local Councils), county associations and OVW (One Voice Wales), as the membership organisations representing the first tier of local government in England and Wales, and the SLCC (Society of Local Council Clerks), as the professional body for clerks, are committed to working together to promote civility and respect in public life, good governance, positive debate and supporting the well-being of councillors, professional officers and staff. A pledge has been produced by these organisations to which the Council is committed. It agreed, at it’s meeting on 10 October 2022, that the Council will treat councillors, clerks, employees, members of the public, and representatives of partner organisations and volunteers with civility and respect in their roles and that it:
- Has put in place a training programme for councillors and staff.
- Has signed up to the Code of Conduct for councillors.
- Has good governance arrangements in place including staff contracts and a dignity at work policy.
- Will seek professional help at the early stages should civility and respect issues arise.
- Will commit to calling out bullying and harassment if and when it happens.
- Will continue to learn from best practices in the sector and aspire to be a role. model/champion council through for example the local Council Award Scheme.
- Supports the continued lobbying for change in legislation to support the Civility and Respect Pledge including sanctions for elected members where appropriate.
Council Staff Team
The Council is required by Section 112 of the Local Government Act 1972 to appoint such officers as it considers necessary for the proper discharge of its functions. The 1972 Act and other legislation entrust a number of responsibilities and duties to the Proper Officer of the Council (another title of the Clerk). The Standing Orders of the Council designate the Clerk to be the Proper Officer of the Council so that that the public is aware of the extent of the Clerk’s authority. Section 151 of the 1972 Act also requires local councils to ensure that one of its officers has overall responsibility for the administration of its financial affairs, the Responsible Finance Officer.
The Town Clerk, Mrs Viv Tunnadine is an experienced qualified clerk and is a Principal member of the Society of Local Council Clerks (SLCC). She is a National Panel assessor for the National Association of Local Councils Local Council Award Scheme.
The Town Clerk is the Council’s principal executive and adviser and is not answerable to any individual councillor – not even the Chair. He/she is an independent and unbiased employee of the Council, recognising that the Council is responsible for all decisions and taking instruction from the Council as a body. The Town Clerk can only be appointed and removed from appointment by the Council and he/she is accountable to the Council as Corporate Body. The Town Clerk cannot be line-managed by any one councillor. The Clerk is the line manager for all other Council employees.
Together with the Mayor (Chair of the Council) the Clerk is the face of officialdom in the community. The Clerk is often called the 2nd Citizen in view of the advisory and ceremonial role played alongside the 1st Citizen (Mayor/Chair).
As the Council’s Proper Officer the Town Clerk is responsible for implementing Council policy; ensuring the council acts within the law; advising the council on all aspects of its work and may have delegated powers of decision making especially in urgent situations.
The Town Clerk has a key role in advising the Council, and its members, on governance, ethical and procedural matters. A constructive partnership between the Town Clerk, Chair and Elected Members is essential for the proper and efficient functioning of the Council.
Responsible Financial Officer
John Kemp is the Responsible Financial Officer and is a qualifyied chartered accountant. He has extensive experience at a senior level and has worked in Penrith for almost 20 years for Amey (previously TFE Accord and now Urbaser). Having worked closely with the district council providing municipal services contractor covering refuse, grounds maintenance, street cleaning and building cleaning, John has a deep understanding of public service provision.
John is responsible for the Council’s financial administration, providing financial information and advice to Councillors, preparing budgets and budgetary control reports for the Council and it’s Committees and the formulation of financial policies, regulations and strategies.
The solicitor employed by the Council, Paul Foote, has extensive experience of working for and advising local authorities across the range of their responsibilities and functions. He qualified as a solicitor in 1980.
He has worked for Metropolitan and Shire District Councils during the greater part of his career. Prior to joining the Town Council he was employed by Eden District Council where he was the Director of Corporate and Legal Services. He was also the monitoring officer for the District Council. He acted as the Deputy Chief Executive in his later role until his retirement in 2016. He was re-engaged to act as the Senior Legal advisor by Eden District Council until July, 2019.
Paul will provide advice to the Council and its staff on legal matters affecting the Town Council and undertake some of its legal work. He is the Data Protection Officer for the Council.
Services & Contracts Manager (Acting Town Clerk)
The Services and Contracts Manager, Ian Parker, is an experienced local government officer, having spent 18 years working within the area of leisure and community services which involved the management of contracts, grounds maintenance, sports development, events and play area services. He is currently the Acting Town Clerk as approved by Council on 17 July 2023.
The Services and Contracts Manager will lead the implementation of the devolution of assets from Westmorland & Furness Council.
The Town Council is increasing its assets and the Services and Contracts Manager will manage contracts to ensure that assets are inspected and maintained to a high standard and that the Council’s service standards are met.
The Services and Contracts Manager will manage the Penrith Town Caretaker who is being contracted to ensure that many of the Council’s assets are inspected, repaired and cleaned ensuring that they are fit for use for the public and present Penrith as an attractive, well maintained and welcoming Town.
The Services and Contracts Manager will be supporting new and established Community Groups who are seeking to make improvements to open space and land owned and maintained by the Town Council including improvements to play areas, street furniture and the wider environment.
Deputy Town Clerk
The Deputy Town Clerk, Rosalyn Richardson, is an experienced local government officer, and has worked at both Cumbria County Council and Eden District Council where she was a democratic services officer for 15 years. Her responsibilities include:
- Ensuring that statutory and other provisions governing of affecting the Council are observed
- Advising the Town Council as to the requirements of new legislation and ensure compliance with approved standing orders and the Ethical Framework as defined in the Local Government Act.
- Taking accurate minutes at the various meetings and publishing the agreed minutes as appropriate
- Using relevant software systems including MS Office and finance systems
- Preparing material for the web site
- Mayor’s administration and the Council’s civic responsibilities
- Co-ordinating Civic functions including tasks such as booking the venue, organising the catering and printing, issuing invitations and attending as required
- Implementing policies of the Council as and when required
- Delegated authority for budgets relating to services
- Freedom of Information requests
The Deputy Town Clerk acts as clerk for the Planning Committee and the Penrith Neighbourhood Plan Group.
Economic Development Officer
Carol Grey, the Town Council’s Economic Development Officer developed Penrith Business Improvement District and is experienced in town centre management, tourism and business development.
The role and responsibilities of the Economic Development Officer are varied and include :
- Identifying new initiatives and opportunities for the development of services and the town.
- Collaborating with Penrith Business Improvement District & Chamber of Trade, and representatives from the Principal Authority.
- Developing, managing and delivering a range of economic initiatives and projects in line with the Council’s Priorities.
- Facilitating, promoting and developing high quality relationships with significant employers, businesses, stakeholders, business associations and networks, economic development partners and those seeking to invest in the area.
- Responsible for the promotion of Penrith, to raising its profile, leading to more visitors, increased footfall, and longer dwell time and higher spend.
Community Services Officer
The Community Services Officer, Lewis Murray, has experience within local government having previously worked as a Communications Officer at Cumbria County Council, providing a communications lead on a variety of projects from community enrichment programmes like the HAF to the building of two new alternative education facilities in Carlisle and Barrow.
Having studied History at the University of Reading, Lewis has a deep appreciation for historic market towns and is immensely proud to be working at Penrith Town Council at an exciting time of change for the town.
Lewis is responsible for providing a range of services and support to local third sector organisations, communities and volunteers, promoting council services, facilities and events, facilitating community engagement and representing the Council and the town in multi-agency meetings.
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