Proposed terms of reference
The role of the Thatcham Flood Forum is to:
- Ensure that Thatcham’s interests are represented at local (West Berkshire/Thatcham Town Council), regional and national level in respect of matters relating to flooding, flood risk and development, management of water and drainage, and emergency planning in Thatcham;
- Work closely with the relevant agencies to ensure that actions identified by the report Flooding in Thatcham, West Berkshire Council flooding reviews, and subsequently identified, are taken forward;
- To monitor progress on actions;
- To respond to relevant consultations (e.g. on drainage plans, the location of new housing);
- To oversee the production of a newsletter, development and updating of a Thatcham Flood Forum website.
It will not normally be the role of the group to take action on specific matters that are the responsibility of individual property holders to take up, e.g. private drainage, disputes with landlords, problems with insurers. Individuals should be encouraged to take up such matters with the ward councillor or directly with the appropriate agency, as appropriate.
Initially, the Thatcham Flood Forum shall exist as an unicorporated association.
The Forum shall consist of:
- A Steering Group
- Individual members
Membership of the Steering Group and of the Thatcham Flood Forum shall be confined to individuals who are resident in Thatcham or Cold Ash parish , or who manage a business in Thatcham. Membership of the Steering Group shall be limited to a maximum of 2 residents of Cold Ash Parish.
The Thatcham Flood Forum shall apply to become affiliated to the National Flood Forum.
Relationship with other initiatives
The work of the Thatcham Flood Forum will largely be considered as part of the Parish Planning process, which is a formal process linking the needs identified by the community to the work of official agencies, especially Thatcham Town Council and West Berkshire Council.
The Flooding in Thatcham report, issued October 2008, has been formally adopted by Thatcham Town Council as part of its Parish Plan (Thatcham Vision), and will similarly be submitted to West Berkshire Council (WBC), which has a formal process for monitoring plan actions against progress.
The work involved in developing and implementing the Parish Plan is managed by Peter Allen, Community and Resource Development Manager, based at Thatcham Town Council.
The Steering Group shall consist of representatives in the community, to include two Thatcham Town Councillors. The Steering Group should aim to represent as many different residential locations in the town as possible.
Steering Group members will be requested to cascade information back to residents in their local area, as appropriate, and work with the local community over flooding-related issues.
The Steering Group shall meet at least quarterly. Meetings shall be open to the public, although the venues for Forum meetings will normally have restricted capacity.
The Steering Group may occasionally organise specific ‘public’ meetings, where the public is specifically invited to attend.
First meeting of the Steering Group
At the first meeting of the SG, those present shall decide on procedures for electing members to the Forum Steering Group, and the appointment of honorary officers (Chairperson, Vice-chair, Secretary, Treasurer, website manager).
Tasks shall be identified and responsibilities allocated:
- Minute taking
- Website development and operation
- Following up to Flooding in Thatcham report
- Overall coordination
Dates for meetings up to end April 2009 shall be identified.
Meetings of the Steering Group
The Secretary and Chairman shall be responsible for drawing up and issuing an agenda for the Thatcham Flood Forum, which shall meet at least twice each year during the first two years. The Agenda shall be issued to all Steering Group members at least five days prior to each Steering Group meeting.
Members of the Flood Forum should be regularly reminded that they can submit agenda items for the Steering Group to discuss.
Rules of behaviour for meetings of the Thatcham Flood Forum
It is understood that emotions can run high when discussing flooding-related matters. However, the Flood Forum will provide one of the most constructive means enabling the community to be involved in taking forward actions for improving Thatcham’s flood resilience. Little will be achieved if those present are abusive or do not respect the contributions of others present. It is therefore requested that those attending:
- If wishing to speak, raise their hand to indicate to the chairperson their wish to speak.
- Wait until invited to speak by the Chairperson.
- Speak concisely, clearly, politely and specifically concerning the agenda item under discussion.
- Pass a note about ‘any other business’ agenda items they wish to raise, to the Chairman, where possible, before the commencement of the meeting.
Members of the Flood Forum will include any member of the public who has provided their contact details either to Thatcham Town Council or the Thatcham Flood Forum for the purposes of being kept informed about the work of the Flood Forum. For the first two years, membership of the Forum shall be free of charge.
Budget and funding
Initially, the Thatcham Flood Forum will not have a bank account and will not hold funds. Funds, if raised, may be held in a charge account overseen by Thatcham Town Council on behalf of the Forum.
Thatcham Town Council will make available a limited budget to the Forum, covering basic running costs for its initial two years (October 2008-October 2010).
The Flood Forum may fundraise for specific projects (e.g. to pay for printing an information leaflet), as necessary.
Indicative budget headings:
- Website (hosting, URL purchase, development)
- Travel expenses (e.g. to meetings elsewhere such as with NFF)
- Affiliation to Thatcham Flood Forum
- Printed newsletter
- Information leaflets
- Public meetings.
Communications about the work of the Forum will mostly be by electronic mail and through the website.
The Forum may occasionally issue a printed news bulletin that is posted to individual properties.
Meetings may be advertised using the Town Council’s noticeboards throughout the town, if submitted in good time (about 2 weeks prior to meetings).