Terms of Reference

October 2014

Terms of Reference [Terms]

for

Ponteland Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group [Steering Group or SG]

Amended October 2014

1. Vision and Aims
The Vision is to produce a Plan which will provide a framework for development over the next 18 years as from May 2013 in the Ponteland area which will meet the needs and expectations of the community, improve the quality of life in Ponteland and make the residents feel proud of Ponteland.

Ponteland Town Council (PTC) and the Ponteland Community Partnership (PCP) have by a Memorandum of Agreement agreed to establish a Steering Group (SG) as an advisory body to carry out the work required to produce the Ponteland Neighbourhood Plan (PNP). The agreement is attached as an appendix to these terms and forms part of this document.

The SG shall endeavour to identify the diverse interests of the community and ensure effective communication with all sectors. The members of the SG shall endeavour to react in a caring manner towards all the residents and environment, in the best interests of Ponteland and avoid imposing personal agendas.

2. Steering Group Membership
The membership shall be limited to 12 in number including the representatives from Northumberland County Council, PTC and the PCP. This excludes advisors and representatives of various interests not included above working on various particular interests who may work with the SG from time to time but they will not have any voting rights.

The members of the SG shall be residents living in Ponteland and who shall be eligible to vote in the final referendum apart from the County Councillors.

The SG should as far as practicable reflect the diversity of the community and produce the Plan by consensus and consultation that is in accordance with the applicable legal requirements.

The SG shall also include two representatives from the Northumberland County Councillors elected for various parts of Ponteland, three councillors from PTC, one member from PCP, one member from Darras Hall Estate Committee, one member from the Civic Society, one member from the business community, one member from the Green Belt Group and two members from the residents of Ponteland. The Northumberland County Councillors will have full voting rights within the SG.

The Chairman and Vice Chairman shall be elected from within the membership of the Steering Group and shall be so elected on an annual basis.

Such elections shall be held in March each year.

Membership of the Steering group shall be ratified by the PTC. Such approval shall not be unreasonably withheld.

3. Responsibilities

PTC will be the qualifying body for development of the Plan and the work in developing such a Plan will be carried out by the SG on behalf of the PTC. On completion of the Plan it shall be submitted to the PTC. It will be scrutinised by the PCP and a formal six week consultation with the community will be carried out if this is thought to be necessary by the PTC.

Submission of the Plan for inspection shall be made by PTC after it has been scrutinised by the PCP. Final adoption of the Plan after satisfactory inspection shall be by means of a local Referendum held in accordance with existing legislation.

4. Task Definition

The task of the SG is to develop the Plan for ratification by the PTC after scrutiny by the PCP and in such detail as to satisfy inspection by Northumberland County Council and the subsequent referendum.

The details of the Plan shall be prepared on the basis of views obtained from all sectors of the community and records shall be maintained to demonstrate the methods used for such consultation and the information obtained from such consultations.

As far as is practicable, the SG shall reach conclusions by consensus but if this should not be possible the dispute shall be referred to the PTC for resolution as set out in the Agreement

As the Plan develops it may be necessary to amplify this task definition and the Terms will be modified as required by the PTC after discussion with PCP and the SG.

5. Code of conduct

The code of conduct will be similar in intent to that as used by the PTC and shall apply to all the members of the Steering Group including registration of interests as laid out by the PTC as well as declaration of particular interests at a meeting if not covered by the registration.

The code of conduct is based on the principles of selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability openness, honesty and leadership. All members of the steering group shall behave respectfully, shall not act in a bullying or intimidating manner, shall not seek to confer an advantage or disadvantage on any person and shall not disclose confidential information.

All members of the SG will be deemed to have agreed to this code of conduct

by acceptance of appointment to the SG.

6. Standing orders

The standing orders of the SG contained within these Terms shall be similar in intent to those of the PTC, namely to ensure that the proceedings are conducted in an orderly and courteous manner, that proper records are maintained and such records are freely available apart form any confidential discussions.

The chairman or in the absence of the chairman, the vice chairman shall be in charge of the meetings and shall prepare the agenda for each meeting.

All contributions should be made though the chairman and by permission of the chairman.

The chairman shall ensure that decisions are reached on all items on the agenda.

The Secretary shall not be a member of the group but shall take notes

and prepare and issue minutes. In the absence of the Secretary the chairman shall appoint a member to take notes and prepare and issue minutes. After approval at the next meeting the minutes shall be sent to the Town Council, the Partnership and published on the web sites of both the PTC and the SG.

Where the chairman considers a matter should be dealt with on a confidential basis the records shall not be published on the web sites or sent to the PCP. However such record should be sent to the PTC for them to consider on a confidential basis.

For the avoidance of doubt confidential shall include matters of commercial interests or matters which should not be disclosed at this stage because the various parties have not as yet been fully consulted.

As far as is practicable, the SG shall reach conclusions by consensus between all members at the meeting but if this should not be possible the dispute shall be referred to PTC for resolution as set out in the Agreement

Meetings shall be held at least monthly or such shorter period as the SG may decide. The chairman shall submit a monthly report to the PTC and PCP. A summary report shall be sent to Pont News and Views [PNV] for publication in such format as the editor of the PNV may require.

7. PTC Support
PTC will provide such reasonable support to the Group as lies within the capabilities of PTC. This shall include reasonable financial support for the SG but exclude costs which are considered to be the responsibility of Northumberland County Council. If it is appropriate, PTC, PCP and the SG may apply for grants to support the work of the Group.

The expenditure and receipt of funds, if any, will form part of the normal accounts of the PTC.

8. Variation of Terms
These Terms may be varied by the PTC at any time if it considers it to be in the best interests of Ponteland and the PTC and the effective functioning of the SG after discussions and agreement with PCP and the SG. If they are unable to obtain such agreement they reserve the right to make such variations as the PTC consider to be appropriate.

9. Termination
The Group may be terminated by PTC after due discussion with the SG and the PCP at any time if it appears to them to be in the best interests of Ponteland and PTC. If the inspection or referendum rejects the Plan, the PTC reserve the right to terminate the appointment of the SG or to make such other arrangements as the PTC considers appropriate.

Memorandum of Agreement [Agreement] between Ponteland Town Council [PTC] and Ponteland Community Partnership [PCP] as joint sponsors of a

Ponteland Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group [Steering Group of SG]

Amended October 2014

1. Vision and Aims
PTC and PCP have agreed to establish a Group to carry out the work required to produce a Ponteland Neighbourhood Development Plan [Plan].

The Vision is to produce a Plan which will provide a framework for development over the next 18 years from 2013which will meet the needs and expectations of the community, improve the quality of life in Ponteland and make the residents feel proud of Ponteland.

2. Group Membership
The Group membership should as far as practicable reflect the diversity of the community and produce the Plan by consensus and consultation that is in accordance with the applicable legal requirements.

The Group shall endeavour to identify the diverse interests of the community and ensure effective communication with all sectors. The members of the Group shall endeavour to react in a caring manner towards the residents and environment, in the best interests of Ponteland and avoid imposing personal agendas.

3. Responsibilities
PTC will be the qualifying body for development of the Plan and the work in developing such Plan will be carried out on behalf of PTC by the Group. Submission of the Plan for inspection shall be made by PTC after it has been finished by the Group, scrutinised by the PCP, a final six week consultation of the community by PTC and ratification by PTC. Final adoption of the Plan after satisfactory inspection shall be by means of a local Referendum held in accordance with existing legislation.

4. Support
PTC will provide such reasonable support to the Group as lies within the capabilities of PTC. This shall include reasonable financial support for the Group but exclude costs which are considered to be the responsibility of Northumberland County Council. If it is appropriate, PTC, PCP and the Group may apply for grants to support the work of the Group. The expenditure and receipt of funds, if any, will form part of the normal accounts of PTC.

5. Resolution of disputes
It is intended that all decisions will be reached by consensus between the PTC PCP and the Group as well as within the Group. If after its best endeavours the PTC is unable to satisfactorily resolve any disputes, the PTC will make the necessary final decision.

6. Dissolution of PCP
If PCP shall be dissolved, PTC will continue to deal with the Group in accordance with the general intent of this Agreement.

7. Referendum rejection
If the referendum rejects the Plan, the PTC reserve the right to terminate this Agreement or to make such other arrangements as PTC considers appropriate.

8. Changes to this Agreement
This agreement may be varied by PTC if it considers it to be in the interests of Ponteland and PTC after discussions and if possible agreement with the PCP and the Group. If they are unable to obtain such agreement they reserve the right to make such variations.

9. Termination
This Agreement may be terminated by either party after due discussion at any time, if it appears to either party to be in the best interests of Ponteland and either party. PTC also reserve the right after due consultation to cancel this Agreement without such agreement.

Mrs K Mavin
Town Clerk on behalf of Ponteland Town Council
Dated:

Mr B Prickett
Chairman of Ponteland Community Partnership on behalf of Ponteland Community Partnership
Dated: