The PCC reviewed and approved an updated Staff Handbook prepared by Jane Gray, our HR Advisor. A number of new policies had been added: an IT Back-up policy, a Social Media Policy, Travel Assistance Guidelines for staff working late, a policy relating to payment of concerts staff in the event of cancellation of concerts/events, and the latest version of the Health & Safety Policy. Additionally, the latest version of the Safeguarding Policy, as approved at a recent PCC meeting, was included. Further policies will be added in due course. The PCC received a schedule of policy reviews, noting that a systematic annual review of policies at St James’s has been recently introduced.
The PCC received a presentation from Hugh Valentine on St James’s website, including a live demonstration of the site. Hugh was thanked by the PCC for his work in developing the site and keeping it up to date. The PCC commended the site for its content, ease of use, and the effectiveness of its news pages in keeping people who are unable to regularly make it to St James’s up to date on what is happening. The PCC agreed to look into a couple of enhancements to the website: adding a means for people to make donations to St James’s on-line, and adding links to the sites of organisations that St James’s supports through Away Giving.
Simon Stedman, PCC Honorary Treasurer, presented the draft budget for 2015-16. The PCC reviewed the budget and discussed a number of areas of discretionary expenditure and the ongoing challenge of finding ways to fundraise and grow income in order to ensure a sustainable financial strategy. An apprentice had been employed on the London Living Wage and a new HR post and Project Assistant role had been developed. Funds were secure for 2016 but the PCC noted it was not yet clear how a balanced budget would be achieved from 2016 onwards. The difficult financial climate was noted. The PCC approved the budget.
The PCC noted plans for an art installation to draw attention to the Syrian refugee crisis. The installation by Arabella Dorman will take the form of a boat from Lesbos (together with life jackets) suspended from scaffolding in the nave of the church. Originally planned to be in place over the Christmas period, the timing of the installation has yet to be confirmed, due to lack of funding.
The PCC approved fees for occasional services for 2016. A modest annual increase similar to previous years had been added to the fees.
The PCC noted that consideration of a new strategic plan for 2016-19 was ongoing and that a consultation with the St James’s congregation is planned for Sunday 17th January. This meeting will also be used as an opportunity for consultation on a revised feasibility study in relation to site redevelopment.
Plans for Christmas services were discussed, with an appeal made for volunteers to help with collections (being co-ordinated by Jane Preest) and the serving of mince pies and wine after services (being co-ordinated by Fiona Notman).
The PCC also received for periodic review, and approved, St James’s’ Disaster Recovery Plan, and also reviewed and approved a policy relating to the handling of complaints.
Mark Ashurst reported on his liaison role with the Blake Society and Meg Stewart provided feedback on her liaison role with the Julian Group.
Minutes were received and noted of the recent Staff Meeting, Liturgy Group meeting and Health and Safety Committee meeting.
Plans for a lunch on Christmas day, being organised by Mary Stewart and Debbie O’Brien, were discussed. Invitations are to be extended to members of the congregation and also to the homeless sleepers who use the Church pews. Additionally, the invite will be extended to users of the West London Day Centre, which is not holding a lunch on Christmas Day this year, and also to anyone attending the service on Christmas day. The PCC agreed to invite members of the congregation to make donations towards the cost.
Feedback was received in relation to the help that St James’s has provided to homeless people through the West London Day Centre. Of the twelve people that funds donated by St James’s have been used to help individuals into accommodation, every person is still in accommodation.