Chris Davies, our Head Verger, reported on the ongoing effective working of the verger team. Matters discussed included the implementation of St James’s ethical approach to procurement following recent approval of a new policy agreed by the PCC and training provided by Deborah Colvin, St James’s Sustainability Champion. Additionally, against the background of recent terrorist activity elsewhere and liaison with Westminster police, the need for ongoing vigilance at times of high profile events attracting large numbers of people was highlighted. The PCC also noted that room hire was going well, although Chris also explained the need to balance external hiring of the basement rooms with the needs for use of the rooms to support the congregation’s own activities. The PCC expressed thanks to the members of the verger team, commending their regular work including the need to deal with some difficult situations that arise in relation to the very public nature of St James’s site.
The PCC reviewed the assumptions underpinning the proposed budget for 2017, which had also been reviewed by the Audit Committee. A ‘balanced budget’ was approved, although it was noted that should current negotiations to increase income from the food market not be achieved, this could result in a need to fall back on part of the surplus from 2016. The PCC thanked the Finance Manager and the Honorary Treasurer for their work on the budget.
The PCC reviewed St James’s Risk Register, noting the work undertaken by the Churchwardens in consultation with relevant members of staff to review and update the Register. The updated Register had also been reviewed by the Audit Committee and had been further amended in line with recommendations from the Committee. It was agreed that managers would report on progress on their allocated actions from the Register as part of their regular reporting to the PCC.
The PCC noted progress in relation to the Wren Project (site redevelopment), including a planned meeting with the Chief Executive of Westminster Council. A further consultation meeting with the congregation will be arranged with as plans become clearer.
International Group breakfast
Adolfo Sansolini reported on the first International Group breakfast. As reported to the previous PCC meeting, this new group had been established to provide a place of welcome, hospitality and sanctuary for people with no recourse to public funds referred to St James’s by other organisations including the Red Cross, St Martin-in-the-Fields and Notre Dame de France.
Progress on the recruitment of a new apprentice to serve as St James’s Reception / Administration Assistant was noted. Since the meeting, Sahil Dodhia has been appointed to the role and is now in post.
- PCC members were encouraged to attend meetings of Alternatives in order to help inform the ongoing dialogue following a presentation by Malcolm Stern, Trustee and director of Alternatives, at a recent PCC meeting.
- Plans for Christmas services, in particular volunteer arrangements, were noted.
- The PCC agreed the dates for PCC meetings and Standing Committee meetings for the period up to the April 2018 APCM.
- The PCC received a report from Maggie Butcher on her liaison role with the Julian Group.
- The PCC received for information the minutes of the Staff meeting of 9th November 2016.
- The minutes of the Audit Committee meeting of 21st November 2016 were reviewed and the PCC noted that Simon Stedman had advised of his intention to step down as Honorary Treasurer with effect from April 2017. It was agreed that the Standing Committee would lead the search for a replacement, likely to be an independent non-PCC member volunteer with the requisite skills and experience.
- It was agreed that Deborah Colvin would provide the PCC with an update on Churches Together in Westminster (CTiW) activity, and that Raks Patel would also provide an update on CTiW’s Prisons Mission project to a forthcoming PCC meeting.