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ENVIRONMENT AND REGENERATION SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 14th March, 2017.

 

Present:  Councillor Mrs. A. Moore (Chairman); Councillor Mrs. P. Drake (Vice-Chairman); Councillors A.G. Bennett, G.A. Cox, Mrs. M. Kelly Owen, A.G. Powell, A.P. Riley, G. Roberts, S.T. Wiliam and M.R. Wilson.

 

Also present:  Councillors L. Burnett, G. John and P.G. King.

 

 

913     MINUTES – 

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 14th February, 2017 be approved as a correct record subject to the penultimate paragraph on page 3 to the Barry Island Beach Huts reference being amended to read as:

 

“Following discussions regarding the potential for retail offerings at the site, the survey indicated a slight disappointment in the retail experience, it was suggested that the Tourism and Regeneration Officers speak to local retailers to encourage the submission of a Business Improvement District Proposal and that further discussions with regard to this be considered.”

 

and that Recommendation (2) be amended as follows:

 

“(2)   T H A T consideration be given to a Business Improvement District Proposal being submitted to encourage the retail offer at the site as outlined in the above minute.”

 

 

914     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

Councillor G. Roberts declared an interest in Agenda Item No. 6. Reshaping Services: New Business Model for Visible Services and Transport – reference from Cabinet: 20th February, 2017 in that he was a Member of Penarth Town Council and the Vale of Glamorgan Council with dispensation to speak and vote on matters relating to the reshaping programme. 

 

 

915     SITE INSPECTION (MD) –

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the attendance of the following Councillors at the site indicated below on 14th February, 2017 be noted:

 

Apologies had been received from Councillors A.G. Bennett, R. Bertin, Mrs. M. Kelly Owen and N. Moore. 

 

Coldbrook   Catchment

Councillor   Mrs. A. Moore (Chairman); Councillor Mrs. P. Drake (Vice-Chairman);   Councillors G.A. Cox, A.P. Riley and G. Roberts.

 

Also   in attendance: Councillors Ms. J. Aviet (Ward Member) and N.P. Hodges.

 

 

916     PRESENTATION – HIGHWAYS RESURFACING INCLUDING THREE YEAR PLAN –

 

The Operational Manager for Highways and Engineering advised that the local highway network was a significant Council asset which was used by the public, business and visitors and vital to economic and transportation needs of the Vale.  The Council had some 1,067 kms of road comprising A, B and C class roads as well as unclassified roads.  The highway maintenance responsibilities included the statutory function to maintain the highway under Section 41 of the Highways Act 1980.  He referred to reactive maintenance in accordance with the Code of Practice for Highway Maintenance Management and the Council’s Highway Safety Inspection Manual.  There was a planned maintenance programme for three years which was essential to maintaining the road network.  The three year plan included carriageway surface prioritisation scoring system, which considered eight criteria.  The criteria was assessed via a weighted score out of 400 indicating priority for capital expenditure and the three year plan targets capital expenditure where it was most effective and needed to prolong an asset’s life.  The carriageway resurfacing prioritisation scoring system was presented on screen and as set out below for information:

 

Column

Description

Key

Data Factor

Maximum

Score

A

Road   classification

A Road

30

 

 

 

B Road

25

 

 

 

C Road

20

 

 

 

Unclassified   / Rural

15

30

 

 

 

 

 

B

Scanner   Survey Data

Red

50

 

 

 

Yellow

30

 

 

 

Green

0

50

 

 

 

 

 

C

Visual   Assessment

V1 – No   defects

0

 

 

 

V2 – Cracking

10

 

 

 

V3 – Defects   present

20

 

 

 

V4 – Multiple   Defects

50

 

 

 

V5 -   Unserviceable

80

80

 

 

 

 

 

D

Engineer’s   Assessment

0 - 80

80

80

 

 

 

 

 

E

Third Party   Claims (last three years)

1

0

 

 

 

 

 

 

F

One Vale   complaints

1

10

 

 

 

2

20

 

 

 

3 or more

30

30

 

 

 

 

 

G

Bus Routes

 

20

20

 

 

 

 

 

H

Maintenance   Costs (over one year)

Under £1,000

0

 

 

 

£1,000 >   £3,000

40

 

 

 

Over £3,000

80

80

 

 

 

 

 

Theoretical Maximum is   400

 

Members were informed that with regard to maintenance methods, asset management was important to select the right method at the right time to give the best value for money.  Resurfacing involved planning of all or some of the existing surface, adjusting manholes and gullies, applying tack coat and laying new surface courses to line and level.

 

With regard to surface dressings, potholes or other defects are repaired prior to spraying existing road surface with hot bitumen which was then covered with stone chippings.  The micro asphalt process was a two coat process with the first filling minor imperfections and undulations and the second coat providing final surface. 

 

Resurfacing was generally used when the road surface profile or drainage was poor.  Various specifications were available depending on traffic flows / turning movements and a selection of aggregates, binders and PSV.  The presentation also provided a number of pictures of various resurfacing repairs which had taken place throughout the Vale. 

 

With regard to surface dressing, this was generally used on busy roads or urban roads to provide more grip and to seal the surface from water ingress. Potholes and other defects were fixed and the surface made level.  The existing road surface was sprayed with an adhesive layer of hot bitumen, chippings were rolled into the bitumen to form a water resistant protective layer which made the roads less slippery and extended its life.  The works were carried out in the summer months and vehicles using the new surface helped to embed the loose chippings.  The road was then swept to remove any chippings that had not been pressed into the bitumen and appropriate road markings were then added.

 

With specific reference to micro asphalt, Members were informed that this was generally used on urban roads and lasted up to ten years.  Any faults were fixed including potholes filled.  It comprised a mixture of bitumen, small aggregate and cement, with the first coat filling imperfections and undulations and the second coat providing the final sealed surface and texture of road. 

 

The typical cost for resurfacing works was on average £16 m², micro asphalt cost approximately £4.10 m² and surface dressing was approximately £5.10 m².  Surface dressing and micro asphalt was the most cost effective if carried out at the appropriate time.  The works that had been completed in 2016/17 had a total budget available of £1.48m, resurfacing 25 roads at a cost of £1.1m and surface dressing four roads at a cost of £160k, micro asphalted 31 roads at a cost of £220k. 

 

During the presentation the Operational Manager advised that the Council had demonstrated value for money through a rigorous process and the agreed criteria and as there was not unlimited resources the Council had to work within the resources provided.  All contracts were undertaken through competitive tender with very good rates being provided.  With regard to the solutions for resurfacing, the Department was continually looking at all options with regard to dressing the roads and to make the best use of any new materials.  Members were informed that if they had any issues within their areas to notify the Department as soon as possible, with some Members advising that they used the online referral system which had proved successful.

 

Following a query, regarding guarantees from contractors of the work undertaken, the Operational Manager confirmed that guarantee periods existed with all contracts and that, where necessary, discussions would be held with contractors to undertake remedial work.

 

The three year plan was referred to Cabinet on an annual basis, it being acknowledged that on occasions some roads would change priority as and where appropriate.  The roads that would have been reprioritised would remain on the plan, but on occasions other road surfaces would require more urgent treatment. 

 

Further queries were raised as below:

 

Question

Response

How   much do we spend on repairing potholes?

This   was usually in the region of £700k.    With implementing the “Big Fill” process equating to approximately £200k   annually which the Department would prefer to place into planned maintenance,   but it was important that the safety of the highway was maintained.

In   acknowledging the micro asphalt resurfacing undertaken, a Member queried what   other resurfacing methods were available.

The   officer advised that micro asphalt was a low cost preventative treatment and   in general you would look to select an appropriate treatment suitable for the   lifecycle of the road or the surface defect identified.

Criteria   on priority table – is there a common criteria for all Councils and could the   priority table be forwarded to all Members for information again?

It   was agreed that a copy of the Criteria be forwarded as soon as possible to   Members together with a copy of the report and the three year plan that had   been presented to Cabinet in July 2016.

 

The   Operational Manager advised that the criteria was specific to the Vale but   other Councils had similar criteria.    He also advised that at a recent meeting held with other Welsh Local   Authorities it was considered appropriate that a Welsh Local Authority   criteria be established, but this would take some time.

What   input do taxi drivers and bus service operators have into the three year   plan, particularly if there were complaints from service users?

Following   complaints from any road users an inspection is generally carried out on an   ad hoc basis to assess the issue and where appropriate maintenance works   carried out.  The Maintenance Costs   resulting from such inspections is assessed as part of the carriageway   resurfacing prioritisation scoring system.    In this matter any road user has an indirect input into priority   setting for the three year plan. 

The   Cabinet Member for Building Services, Highways and Transportation advised   that there were 616 miles of highway to be considered and in the austere   times there would never be enough money to resurface the way the Council   would want.

 

Could   the Highways Inspector have a look at minor roads in the rural Vale, in   particular those to the west of Cowbridge?

Annual   inspections were undertaken but as the majority of the network was   unclassified road, the Department would require a detailed list from the   Member which would be useful for future prioritisation.  The Operational Manager advised he would be   more than happy to arrange ad hoc inspections where necessary, but he would   also rely on local Members to provide the information.

The   impact of utility services on the road surfaces’ network?

Utility   service providers did provide the Council with a number of issues, and the   Operational Manager was currently working with the Routine Maintenance   Manager to improve the inspection process.    Any defects to the highway due to poor utility trench reinstatements   would be required to be repaired by the relevant utility company and where   appropriate an associated fine may be levied.   

 

The   Cabinet Member for Visible, Leisure and Regulatory Services pointed out that   the number of improvements made on the highways by utility services was an   issue, plus the number of vehicles that actually parked on the pavements also   causing the Council considerable problems with further monies having been   spent to address pavement resurfacing.   

 

The   Chairman concurred with the Cabinet Member in that a recent road near their   property had been resurfaced and the utilities company had no long after   requested that improvements be made and the road was resurfaced again. 

 

The Chairman took the opportunity to thank the officer for the detailed presentation, and the Committee subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the three year programme report be brought to the Scrutiny Committee for consideration on an annual basis prior to consideration by Cabinet and that the Operational Plan also include the methodology on how to assess roads.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

In acknowledging that the issue of road and highway resurfacing was of such importance to the Scrutiny Committee that regular reports be provided to the Scrutiny Committee for its consideration.

 

 

917     RESHAPING SERVICES: NEW BUSINESS MODEL FOR VISIBLE SERVICES AND TRANSPORT (REF) –

 

Cabinet had, on 20th February, 2017, referred the report to the Scrutiny Committee for consideration.  Members were informed that Cabinet had, in November 2014, approved the Reshaping Services Strategy, the aim of the Strategy being to reshape the Council to enable it to meet the future needs of citizens of the Vale of Glamorgan within the context of unprecedented financial challenges.  For Visible Services and Transport, reshaping savings of £300k were required during the 2016/17 financial year, £525k in 2017/18 and £1.375m for 2018/19. 

 

A review, led by the Director of Environment and Housing and the Head of Visible Services and Transport was therefore undertaken which sought to develop a new target operating model for service delivery that would enable the protection of services within the budget available wherever possible.  The process considered the opportunities, key risks and high level financial benefits to be achieved by each model in addition to a series of service strategies and a recommended way forward for the Council.  A copy of the Executive Summary of the Alternative Service Delivery Review Report prepared by “People Too” was attached at Appendix B to the report.

 

On consideration of the options appraisal, it had been determined that the preferred operating model for the service would be based upon an internal transformation model, with a focus on the following: 

  • Internal operational change and improvements
  • Opportunity to utilise spare capacity created via the operational changes as referred to above, in parallel to a reduction in agency and overtime spend
  • Consideration of collaboration with other public sector organisations to create economies of scale
  • Development of trading opportunities but also consideration of the increase in capacity required and the costs, benefits and risk of doing so.

The proposed target operating model had been designed by the Visible Services and Transport Project Team and challenged and developed by the Director and Head of Service.  In addition to this, a set of risks related to the design and adoption of the new model had been considered by the Project Team at a workshop facilitated by a risk specialist from the Council’s insurers.

 

A business plan to support the development and implementation of the new target operating model for the future delivery of these services was attached at Appendix C to the report.  The proposed model comprised four distinct areas:

 

1.         A Neighbourhood Services Group divided into Operations and Healthy Living and Performance

2.         An Engineering Group

3.         An Integrated Transport Unit

4.         A Construction and Development Group

5.         A Business Support Unit for the Directorate.

 

It was proposed that the model would deliver a total annual budget saving of £900k. 

 

The Director of Environment and Housing, in presenting the report to the Committee, advised that in general the services within the Directorate were well respected and referred to the fact that the Council was the third lowest cost provider in Wales for waste and the second best for recycling.  The Director introduced a number of members of staff to the Committee, who were present at the meeting in the public gallery to hear the debate.  The Director also referred to the fact that by 2019 the Department would have to save £2.2m which was greater than 10% of its overall budget.  The Director had also met with Unions and all staff, and advised that the report had been presented to the Healthy Living and Social Care Scrutiny Committee the previous evening. 

 

In undertaking the review the Department had placed a hold on vacant positions appointing agency staff during the process, thus allowing for the Department to make any changes as appropriate without losing staff members.  The Director further advised that the Council was under extreme pressure to make savings and asked to ensure that those savings were sustainable without having a detrimental effect on the public.  He took the opportunity to thank all the staff for their engagement with the project and in developing how the whole process could be achieved.

 

The Head of Visible Services and Transport then presented a PowerPoint presentation to the Committee and explained the objectives of the review as outlined below: 

  • A new target operating model
  • Achievement of financial savings required
  • Adoption of a model whereby services received by the public would be largely unchanged
  • Build upon previous reviews

        -       Transport Review (Edge)

        -       Alternative Service Delivery Review (People Too) – focus on internal transformation.

 

The preferred operating model namely in-house (plus collaboration), focused on internal operational change and improvements, the opportunity to utilise spare capacity created through operational changes, to build capacity and create social value.  It required change to management capacity and investment to deliver, to develop outcome focused services and assets and required the establishment of a revised operating model (based on an in-house and collaboration model) to deliver savings efficiencies and service improvements for users.

 

In undertaking the approach, the Department had used the Council’s project management methodology, considered a new service delivery model for over 240 activities, had set up a project team with the proposals being challenged and risk assessed by the Director and Head of Service.  Governance for the project was provided by a Project Board led by the Leader of the Council and Managing Director. 

 

The scope of the review covered the areas of highways and engineering, road safety, fleet and passenger transport, parks and grounds, leisure, waste collection, street cleansing and business support.  The review findings for the development of the New Model identified the following main issues:

 

-         Current split of the workforce across multiple locations

-         Emergence of non-standard practices across service

-         Lack of access to accurate management information

-         Limited access to mobile technology

-         An artificial separation of the front and back office

-         Lack of standardised technology

-         Need to be cost effective in relation to private sector companies offering similar services

-         A lack of communication between the business and corporate services

-         “Visible Services” a strong “brand” but there was confusion regarding which environment services it covered.

 

During the presentation the Head of Service also referred to the design aims of the new model as a consistent service for customers, the removal of a separate approach to service delivery, develop enhanced service resilience, achieve £900k efficiency savings and have adherence to the key principles of the Well-being of Future Generations Act. 

 

The suggested implementation approach was outlined as:

 

-         A Phased approach to implementation

-         Introduction of a new Target Operating Model

-         Review of Model, relocation of service to a single base were first stages

-         The New model would seek to achieve £900k savings

-         A Balance required between achievement of savings and ability to deliver services

-         Progression of collaboration initiatives, additional services in fleet / construction combined with additional income generation would assist in realising the further savings required.

 

The following Customer Impact Summary had also been developed:

 

Service

Service Delivery Change

Customer Impact Assessment

Waste   Collections

No   changes to service delivery.  A more   permanent and flexible workforce with less reliance on Agency staff.

Neutral.  Recent changes already made to waste rounds   2nd August, 2016.

Litter   Picking

Zonal   approach as part of a neighbourhood services team.  Removes separate working practices.

Positive   perception as a result of single team approach.  A better co-ordinated resource on the   street with additional resources for enforcement.

Highway   Maintenance

Part   of a wider neighbourhood services team offering greater resilience and   service co-ordination.

Positive.  Improved customer experience due to   increased use of digital / mobile technology.

Grass   Cutting Cycle

No   changes to strategic cutting routes but there will be less cutting to open   spaces to improve biodiversity.

Neutral.  Certain areas may notice changes to   frequency of cutting and this may generate complaints.  This was to be an area where the department   would seek to work with partners to minimise impact.

Fleet

Changes   to team offer opportunities to improve service and income.  Reinforcement of management structure   creating an Integrated Transport Unit

Positive   improved customer experience.  Greater   range of services offered to internal, domestic and commercial customers.

Construction   and Design

Opportunities   for business development and income generation.

Positive.  Enhanced commercial service to be offered   for departments outside of highways.

Parks   and Grounds Maintenance

Zonal   approach as part of a neighbourhood services team.

Positive   perception as result of single team approach.    A better co-ordinated resource on the street with additional resources   for enforcement.

Leisure   and Sport

No   major change.

Neutral.

School   Crossing Patrols

No   changes to service delivery.

Neutral.

Engineering

Greater   resilience via a more permanent work force (rather than agency) and options   for trainees and apprenticeships. 

Road   safety included in this team.

Positive.  Quicker and improved response times for   customer queries and requests.

Passenger   Transport and Policy

No   changes to actual service delivery but staff more flexible giving greater   team resilience.  Reinforcement of   management structure creating an Integrated Transport Unit.

Improved   customer experience due to increased levels of resilience, flexibility and   reliance on new technology to assist with the management transport services.

Asset   Development and Performance

New   team to drive asset transfer and development forward.  Improved management of assets.

Positive   due to increased emphasis on the need to improve the management of assets.

 

As already outlined by the Director, the staffing implications sought to retain as many permanent members of staff as possible whilst removing the reliance on agency staff.  All staff in the service had been regularly briefed via a number of mechanisms including StaffNet, notice boards, question and answer sessions.  However, it was noted that the multifunctional approach to service delivery may result in skills gaps with staff being offered re-training where necessary.  The implementation timeline was outlined as follows:

 

Action

Date

Initial Cabinet report

February 2016

Update to staff and Trade Unions

February 2016

Engagement on the Operating Model and Business Case – including   Scrutiny consideration and staff engagement

March 2017

Cabinet consideration of Final Report

March / April 2017

Staff and Union consultation

April / May 2017

Consultation evaluation

June / July 2017

Selection process

July / August 2017

Avoiding Redundancy / Redeployment

August 2017

Implementation of Changes to Model

September 2017

 

The Head of Service also advised that the services within the Department were generally well regarded, with good and excellent performance in some areas and also with some award winning services.  The Head of Service stated she had every confidence in her Service Managers to adapt to this new way of working and one of the objectives of the review had been had been to build on the previous reviews that had taken place e.g. the Edge report previously reported to the Committee and the People too report.

 

In considering both the presentation and report, a Member congratulated the service on work to date, particularly in light of the current financial challenges, and commented that he concurred that it was no longer viable for the Council to continue to salami slice and as such a thorough review of the structure had had to be undertaken.  However, concern was raised as to the extent of the projected savings and whether they had been independently verified.  The Director, in response, advised that the Department was fairly confident that the £900k was achievable.  Following the response the Member added that a significant issue in their locality was dealing with complaints, however, the Head of Service advised that in terms of complaints, the Department did not get that many in terms of the kind and number   of services it provided, however there was an acknowledgement that further work needed to be undertaken with Contact1Vale as to how such matters could be addressed. 

 

Following a query in relation to opportunities within commercial waste, Committee was advised that the Department would consider the case for business opportunities for commercial waste including any impact to the tax payer. 

 

In recognising that it was important to make savings by reducing the expenditure for agency staff, a Member queried how this was likely to be achieved together with the potential cost of redundancies and whether such actual costs would be taken from the Visible Services’ reserve.  The Head of Service acknowledged that a number of agency staff were covering vacant posts which was an expensive option for the service, but was a good option whilst the business transformation was ongoing to ensure the protection of permanent jobs.  Redundancy payments would be taken from the Visible Services’ reserve, the current estimate for this being around £300k but there was also a Council ERR fund with a budget of £600k-£700k that could be utilised. 

 

Although acknowledging that agency staff had been appointed whilst undertaking the review, a Member raised concern as to how they were being kept in the loop  with  the Head of Service reassuring Committee that she had undertaken a  number of briefings with the agency staff and had made it clear from the outset in relation to their appointment.

 

Members also queried the opportunity to encourage apprenticeships / traineeships as it was apparent that there was a lack of young people working for the Vale and that this was an opportunity to address the current imbalance.  Following a specific question as to where apprentices would be positioned in the organisation, the Head of Service advised that there would be a number of trainee graduate positions throughout the service areas, including engineering, within the Neighbourhood teams and in general right across the business.  It was suggested that a figure of up to 15% young people should be encouraged.  Concern was however also expressed as to whether the review had adequately addressed all collaboration opportunities and whether there had been missed opportunities.

 

The Chairman, pointed out that, in her view, the Council could not consider collaborating at this stage until “it had its own house in order”.  The Head of Service advised that with regard to the age profile, this had been considered during the review and the Department would look at assisting people to learn and gain experience in many areas.  The “People Too” report had also considered five models of operation and had recommended the internal plus collaboration approach as the best way forward for the service with the most important aspect in relation to the review being the invitation for staff to be party to the review, which allowed for ownership of the process.  The Director also advised that he had undertaken talks with at least two other Local Authorities, one which had said it would not be in a position to collaborate, and the other stating that they would be interested but were not at this stage yet.

 

Members, although acknowledging the concept of Neighbourhood Teams and agreeing that in their view this was the appropriate route, recognised the high level of support that would be required.  Paragraph 30 referred to the fact that the three Operational Managers for Neighbourhood Services and Engineering would be expected to provide general management cover for each other, as and when necessary, to assist the service area’s management resilience and flexibility.  Such flexible working would also offer managers the opportunity to learn all aspects of the service area.  Reference was made to mobile working but acknowledging that this would not be the solution for every aspect of the service, although it could save a considerable amount of travel time.  Following a request for further information in relation to the Operational Managers’ role, the Head of Service advised that this would entail covering for general management duties and for the Operational Managers to bond and understand how various aspects of the business worked.

 

The Cabinet Member for Building Services, Highways and Transportation, with permission to speak, recognised that addressing the internal service issues was a currently the priority and developments for further collaboration with regional and other Local Authorities could be considered in the future. 

 

Both the Cabinet Member for Visible, Leisure and Regulatory Services and the Cabinet Member for Building Services, Highways and Transportation stated that they considered it important that the review was undertaken by staff rather than via consultants as, in their view, why should the Council need to pay consultants to tell it what its staff already knew.  They considered it to be a robust document and the Cabinet Member for Visible, Leisure and Regulatory Services stated that he supported his Cabinet Member colleague in the view that although there was a long way to go, the Department was saving jobs and doing its best for its staff.  He took the opportunity to thank the officers for all their work undertaken to date and requested that the Committee support the review.

 

The Director, in conclusion, stated that his vision for the service was for a collection of “borough type” services closer to the community.

 

Following consideration of the report and the presentation, it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the proposals for changes to the Visible Services and Transport Division, as outlined in the report and presented to Committee, be endorsed.

 

(2)       T H A T a future report be presented in due course outlining the proposals for further savings and any significant changes to the proposals contained in the Reshaping Services Business Model for Visible Services and Transport.

 

(3)      T H A T the above recommendations be referred to Cabinet.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       In order to enable the proposals for changes to the delivery model for Visible Services and Transport to be progressed and following the information provided in the presentation to the Committee.

 

(2)       In order that further consideration outlining the proposals for further savings can be given and for a report to be presented on any significant changes to the proposals contained in the Reshaping Services Business Model.

 

(3)       To advise Cabinet of the Committee’s position

 

 

918     REVENUE AND CAPITAL MONITORING FOR THE PERIOD 1ST APRIL 2016 TO 31ST JANUARY 2017 (DEH) –

 

The position in respect of revenue and capital expenditure for the period 1st April, 2016 to 31st January, 2017 was presented to the Scrutiny Committee for its consideration.  A graph and table setting out the variance between the profiled budget and actual expenditure to date was attached at Appendix 1 to the report and the Committee was informed of the following issues within the service areas as outlined below:-

 

Highways and Engineering – There was currently a £36k favourable variance against the profiled amended budget.  The main reason being due to vacant posts currently within the department, however, key posts had recently been filled by Agency staff and therefore it was currently projected that the budget would outturn on target.

 

Waste Management – There was currently an adverse variance of £29k to the profiled amended budget.  This was due to overspends on staffing and transportation costs.  Round changes within waste collections were implemented on 1st August, 2016 in order to reduce the resources required to provide the service.  The service had taken several months to become imbedded while staff learned their new rounds, however, from mid-January it was anticipated that vehicle requirements would reduce by two.  This would also reduce the requirement for four agency staff.  From March 2017 the Green Waste collection service would be double-shifted and an afternoon shift would commence.  This would reduce the requirement for hired vehicles in 2017/18.  It was currently anticipated that there would be a £70k adverse variance at year end which would be met from a favourable variance within Transportation.

 

Transportation – There was currently a favourable variance of £77k against the profiled budget.  Staffing costs within the division were lower than budgeted to date. The income received for producing bus passes was also higher than budgeted, which had contributed to the underspend to date.  It was currently anticipated that this service would outturn with a favourable variance of £70k which would offset the projected overspend within Waste Management.

 

Regeneration –.  There was currently a small favourable variance on this budget.  Rental income at the Council’s Vale Enterprise Centre workshops remained behind target as it was proving difficult to let the persistently vacant units which were in need of some refurbishment.  A capital allocation of £100k had however been identified and was included in the current year's Capital Programme in order to invest in the fabric of the buildings to increase the rental income potential at the site.  This would not assist the position this year, though it was anticipated that with the investment, the targets could be met next year.  The £60k target income for car parking income at Country Parks remained unachieved.  The service had identified additional income streams which were anticipated to mitigate both the loss of workshop and car parking income and hence, at this stage, it was still projected that this service would outturn on target.

 

Development Management – There remained an adverse variance on this budget, as Planning fee income remained down, due to the lack of major planning applications being submitted by developers.  This was considered to be due to uncertainty in the development industry caused by the vote to leave the European Union and the recent legislative changes to the planning system which had delayed developers’ submissions.  There had been some sign of improvement in recent months but it was unlikely that the budget would be balanced at year end.  It was very difficult to forecast final Planning fee income expected by March, however the service was making all efforts to contain controllable costs to mitigate the situation.

 

Appendix 2 to the report detailed the financial progress on the Capital Programme as at 31st January, 2017 and Appendix 3 provided non-financial information on capital construction schemes with a budget of over £100k.  For all schemes where it was evident that the full year’s budget would not be spent during the year, explanations were provided within the report.

drainage schemes.

 

Following a query in relation to the Boverton Scheme and why it was being reprofiled, Committee was informed that this referred to a reprofiling of the budget only, in that as the money was not going to be spent in the current year, it was to be spent the following year. 

 

In referring to double shifting of green waste, Members were informed that this was under consideration and although the green waste collection had commenced the previous week, a number of vehicles had broken down which had resulted in discussions between the Head of Service and the Operational Manager in undertaking a review as to whether to double shift for green waste.  At the current moment in time Committee was advised that there were no plans to change the service over the next few months.

 

In referring to paragraph 20 and the feasibility studies acknowledged for Penarth, the Managing Director who was present at the meeting, advised that the feasibility studies noted were to consider how to improve the public realm of Penarth, including the Esplanade and to look at holistic ways for such improvements, to include working with traders and the Town Council.  The reason for the delay was due to the fact that monies were not currently available to progress works which may be highlighted by the feasibility study, and the Council had to deliver the projects it had funding for in the first instance and as a first priority.  Although recognising the importance of the Esplanade to Penarth and following a question as to whether this should be higher up the priority list, it was acknowledged that there had been a considerable amount of work undertaken in the area to date, particularly on the cliff top, and therefore as it was a sizeable piece of work it would be taken forward in the future.

 

Following the explanations from the officers, it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the position with regard to the 2016/17 revenue and capital monitoring be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

Following consideration of the information presented at the meeting.

 

 

919     VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL ANNUAL SELF-ASSESSMENT (MD) –

 

The Managing Director presented the report to the Committee advising that self-assessments formed a core part of the statutory Local Government inspection processes in Wales and that under the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009, the Council was required to undertake them.  The Managing Director further advised that the Self-Assessment was a statement on the Council’s current position and performance, which also informed the Council’s service plans.  It intended to provide an honest and balanced account of the Council’s achievements and identify areas where further progress was required.  A copy of the Council’s Annual Self-Assessment had been sent under separate cover to all Members prior to agenda despatch, with copies being made available at the meeting if required.

 

Committee was informed that historically the Council had undertaken a self-assessment of its services as part of the service planning process to inform its priorities and areas for improvements.  This had been primarily performance focused and undertaken on a Directorate by Directorate basis.  The current year’s Annual Self-Assessment presented a significant departure from the way in which the annual performance assessment had been conducted in the past.  The development of a more outcome focused Corporate Plan in alignment with the Council’s duties under the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act and the alignment of the Council’s Committee structures to the approach had necessitated the need to refine how the Council undertook its self-assessment process.  In future, the Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes would form the framework for evaluating Council performance and achievements, thus enabling the Council to demonstrate its ability to achieve positive outcomes for residents and to secure continuous improvement.  A summary of the progress to date noted that 57 actions had been identified, 32 had been completed and 25 were ongoing. The self-assessment process was also used to identify priorities for the coming year that were implemented via service plans for 2017/18.  In addition, the Corporate Health priorities would feed into the work of the Insight Board to ensure an integrated approach to planning for improvement.  Work had already commenced in implementing some of the priorities, which incorporated existing areas of improvement activity.

 

The Council's self-assessment process would continue to evolve in line with the wider Local Government agenda as proposed in the recent draft Local Government (Wales) Bill and the Well-being of Future Generation (Wales) Act.  In this respect, the Annual Self-Assessment set out the Council’s key priorities for improvement and would be published and made available to the Council’s regulators to inform their work programme.

 

The Self-Assessment was being reported to all five Scrutiny Committees, with Scrutiny Committees asked to consider the content in relation to the Committees’ wellbeing outcomes to consider whether priorities were fit for purposes, were reasonable and relevant in contributing to the Corporate Plan.  The key achievements to date were reported at pages 32 and 33 under Corporate Plan Achievements and Priorities, for example the regeneration of Barry Island, work to provide a secure route to Barry Island, the Metro scheme, Barry Island Beach Huts, etc. 

 

In acknowledging the detail contained within the report, a Member did however query as to whether there could be criticism of the Council in not recognising any criticisms of itself and whether these should have been highlighted.  The Managing Director, in response, stated that the report was a positive one because the service areas performance were positive, to which the Cabinet Member for Visible, Leisure and Regulatory Services stated that the Council had been recognised by the Wales Audit Office as one of the best Local Authorities in Wales and, in particular, in relation to waste, where it had reached a target of 65%. 

 

Having fully considered the report, it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the Council’s Annual Self-Assessment Report, including identified priorities for 2017/18 onwards, be endorsed.

 

(2)       T H A T the use and contents of the Self-Assessment as the basis for service planning for 2017/18 be endorsed.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To meet the requirements of the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 to undertake a self-assessment of all Council services and use this information as the basis to drive continuous improvement of Council services.

 

(2)       To ensure the Scrutiny Committee confirms that the priorities identified within the Self-Assessment relating to its remit of 'Well-being Outcome 2 “An environmentally responsible and prosperous Vale” represents a fair reflection of the challenges facing both the Council as a whole and the services contributing to the corporate health priorities.  In addition, that the Council identifies and takes appropriate action to address its improvement priorities.

 

 

920     SERVICE PLANS 2017-21: REGENERATION AND PLANNING AND VISIBLE SERVICES AND TRANSPORT (MD) –

 

The Regeneration and Planning and Visible Services and Transport Service Plans for 2017-21 were presented for consideration by the Committee.  The Managing Director, in presenting the report, advised that the service plans were the primary planning document of the Council and a key building block in its performance management framework.  The Service Plans specifically identified how each Head of Service would contribute towards achievement of Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes by asking two questions: 

  • "Which well-being objectives does the service contribute to and what actions will we be taking this year to achieve these?”
  • "How will we manage our resources to achieve these actions and support our service?”

Informed by the Annual Self-Assessment, the Service Plans also comprised a brief overview of the issues facing the service against each of the corporate health perspectives.  The Plan included an action plan for how resources would be used to support the delivery of Well-being Outcome Actions as well as managing risks, collaboration and engagement activities.

 

The Committee was being asked to consider and review the Service Plans, with any views being referred to Cabinet for consideration. 

 

Key areas of note within the Service Plans were: 

  • “Section 1 – Introduction: Sets the context for the Service Plan and provides an overview of the service area, the purpose of the Plan, and the key service considerations which have informed development of the Plan.
  • Section 2 – Our Priorities for 2017-21: Outlines the specific actions that the service would be taking during 2017/18 to contribute towards the Corporate Plan Well-being Objectives and Outcomes.  It also identifies the key enabling actions the service would be taking to support its achievement of the Well-being Outcomes, for example through reshaping of its services.
  • Section 3 – Outlines what actions the Service would undertake during 2017/18 to contribute to Year 2 of the Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes and Objectives.  It also describes how the Service would manage its resources to deliver its priorities in the Service Plan and outlines key workforce development priorities, significant ICT projects, required budget savings and areas of focus in relation to assets, procurement and major capital projects.  This section also identifies how the Service would engage with stakeholders and work in partnership / collaborate to achieve its priorities and incorporates a service risk evaluation.
  • Appendices A and B (within the Service Plan) contain the Service Improvement Action Plan for 2017/18.  This identifies planned service actions, intended outcomes and key milestones, relevant performance measures to demonstrate progress, responsible officer, timescales for completion and the anticipated resources requirements of planned actions.
  • The Visible Services and Transport Service Plan incorporate their contribution to two other Well-being Outcomes, namely Outcomes 3 and 4.  For ease of reference, Members noted that the proposed actions relating to these Well-being Outcome areas had been struck through within the Plan to indicate the areas that did not form part of the remit of the Committee.
  • The Regeneration and Planning Service Plan also incorporated its contribution to one other Well-being Outcome, namely Outcome 3.  For ease of reference, Members noted that the proposed actions relating to this Outcome area had been struck through to indicate the areas that did not form part of the remit of the Committee. “

The Regeneration and Planning Service and Visible Services and transport Services Departments would follow on by developing team plans to underpin and deliver their Service Plan actions.

 

Members were advised that the strike through areas within the Service Plans had been made as they related to other Scrutiny Committees, with the Committee’s attention being brought to the areas relevant to its remit.  It was further noted by the Operational Manager for Regeneration that the actions in relation to Supplementary Guidance detailed at page 10 of the report would also be detailed at the end of the Service Plan in the published document.

           

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the Regeneration and Planning Service Plan and Visible Services and Transport Service Plan for 2017-21 be endorsed.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

In noting that the Service Plans would be the primary documents against which performance for the Corporate Plan Well-being Outcome 2 would be measured.

 

 

921     QUARTER 3 (2016-17) PERFORMANCE REPORT: AN ENVIRONMENTALLY RESPONSIBLE AND PROSPEROUS VALE (MD) –

 

The Quarter 3 performance results for the period 1st April to 31st December, 2016-17, for the Corporate Plan Well-being Outcome 2, “An Environmentally Responsible and Prosperous Vale” were presented for the Committee’s consideration.

 

The Committee was asked to consider the progress to date and the performance results and remedial actions to be taken to address areas of underperformance and tackle identified key challenges going forward. 

 

In presenting the report, the Managing Director referred to the structure of the report as outlined below: 

  • Page 2: Provided an explanation of the performance terms used within the report.  The performance report uses the traffic light system, that is, a Red, Amber or Green (RAG) status and a Direction of Travel (DOT) to aid performance analysis.

Progress was reported for all key performance indicators by allocating a RAG performance status, Green related to performance that had met or exceeded target, Amber related to performance within 10% of target and Red related to performance that had missed target by more than 10%.  A DOT arrow was also attributed to each measure indicating whether current performance had improved, stayed static or declined on last year’s first quarter performance.  An upward arrow (↑) indicated that performance had improved on the same quarter last year, a static arrow (↔) indicated performance had remained the same and a downward arrow (↓) showed performance had declined compared to the same quarter last year.

 

For actions, a Green status related to a completed action or one that was on track to be completed in full by the due date.  An Amber status related to an action where there had been a minor delay but action was being taken to bring this back on track by the next quarter.  A Red status related to an action where limited progress had been made, and an explanation must be provided including any planned remedial action(s) and where appropriate a revised completion date. 

  • Section 1: Outcome Summary - Provided an overall summary of performance and highlighted the main developments, achievements and challenges for the quarter as a whole.  It included an evaluation of the progress made against actions and performance indicators as well as corporate health (resource) impacts which supported the overall RAG status for the Well-being Outcome.
  • Section 2: Performance Snapshot - Provided an overview for each Well-being Objective, describing the status of Corporate Plan actions and performance indicators.  A RAG status was attributed to each Well-being Objective to reflect overall progress to date and contributed to the overall RAG status for the Well-being Outcome.  For ease of scrutiny, any actions / PIs attributed a Red status were presented in full here.
  • Section 3: Key Achievements and Challenges - Highlighted the key achievements and challenges to date in achieving the intended outcomes for the Well-being Outcome.
  • Section 4: Corporate Health: Use of Resources and Impact on Improvement - Provided a summary of the key issues relating to the use of resources and the impact on delivering improvement during the quarter.  The focus was on key aspects relating to staffing, finance, assets, ICT, customer focus and risk management.
  • Appendix 1: Provided, by Well-being Objective, detailed information relating to the Service Plan actions which had contributed to Corporate Plan actions.
  • Appendix 2: Provided detailed performance indicator information linked to each Well-being Objective which showed for our planned activities, how much we have done, how well we have performed and what difference this had made.  

An overall Green RAG status had been attributed to Well-being Outcome 2, “An Environmentally Responsible and Prosperous Vale”, reflecting the good progress made to date towards achieving improved outcomes for residents and customers.

 

A performance status of Green was attributed to the actions the Council was taking under this Well-being Outcome with all 19 actions on track to be delivered within timescales.  Of the 19 actions, 15 were reporting an overall Green status for actions. A further four actions were reporting an Amber status; these four actions were aligned to Objective 4.  The drafting of a five year Waste Management Plan (ER16) was awaiting a final WRAP report to inform the priorities of the future strategy. Further progress in the delivery of the Safe Routes in Communities scheme (ER09) was awaiting confirmation of additional funding from Welsh Government.  The review and update of the Carbon Management Plan (ER15) continued at a slow speed, the challenges arising from the review and update would be considered by the Insight Board in February.  Additional work was required to monitor the changes in coastal waters and erosion in Penarth (ER18) and further monitoring was planned around the cliffs at Penarth Head in Spring

 

Following a query as to the Green status for ER14 – Nell’s Point, in relation to signage not being erected, it was noted that the action was not specifically referring  to the St Baruc ward but the overall picture which had a RAG status of Green although the Managing Director agreed to look into the matter.  On further reflection, of the performance information presented a Member referred to the amount of litter that was being dropped throughout the Vale and suggested that, as had been mentioned at previous committee meetings, this be tackled by awareness raising awareness and education.

 

It was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the progress to date in achieving key outcomes in line with the Corporate Plan Well-being Outcome 2: “The Vale of Glamorgan has a strong and sustainable economy and the local environment is safeguarded for present and future generations” be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the performance results and remedial actions to be taken to address areas of underperformance and tackle identified key challenges going forward be noted.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To ensure the Council clearly demonstrates the progress being made towards achieving its Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes aimed at making a positive difference to the lives of Vale of Glamorgan citizens.

 

(2)       To ensure the Council is effectively assessing its performance in line with the requirement to secure continuous improvement outlined in the Local Government Measure (Wales) 2009 and reflecting the requirement of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act to maximise its contribution to achieving the Well-being goals for Wales.

 

 

922     TARGET SETTING FOR 2017-18 (MD) –

 

The Managing Director outlined that one of the issues that had been raised with the Wales Audit Office via the Council’s Corporate Assessment was that the Council produced Service Plans for the year ahead but they did not contain targets.  This was therefore the first year that the Service Plans would contain targets and the Committee was being asked to consider the relevant targets to meet the outcomes.  Also previously targets had been challenged by the Council’s Performance Team, Corporate Management Team, Scrutiny Committees and Cabinet.  However, just for the current year following sign off by the respective sponsoring Director for each Well-being Outcome, targets were being reported directly to Scrutiny Committees for challenge and thereafter to Cabinet for ratification, this being in line with the Wales Audit Office’s proposal for improvement from its Corporate Assessment of the Council in August 2016. 

 

The Council had a long standing commitment (as outlined in previous and the current Corporate Plan) to continuously improve the services it provided to citizens of the Vale of Glamorgan, however, the ongoing reductions in public sector funding would inevitably impact on the availability of resources. In addition, external factors such as the wider economic environment, also brought into question the realism of continual improvement in service performance.  Having taken account of these factors, the Council would still seek to establish challenging but realistic targets that were commensurate with the available level of resource.

 

Due to the timing of target setting in the current year, the data would only be available for Quarter 3 for those measures reported on a quarterly basis.  For those measures reported on an annual basis, proposed targets had been informed by previous years' trend data (where available) and estimated data as at Quarter 3.  For some new 2016-17 measures which were collected annually, data would not be available until 31st March as services were establishing baseline performance so it had not been possible to set a target.  These would be reported to Members once end of year data became available.

 

Appendix 1 to the report outlined the proposed targets for the Environment and Regeneration Committee, with targets being set for the performance indicators that were continuing into 2017/18.  A number of indicator amendments and deletions were proposed for 2017/18 following the review of existing CPMs with Members being asked to endorse these.

 

In considering the report, Members referred to the fact of the impression being given that fly tipping had increased whereas Members also noted that a significant amount of fly tipping took place on private land.  The Cabinet Member for Visible, Leisure and Regulatory Services responded by advising that the Council, on occasions, cleared private land and could charge the owner for doing so.  However, the Department could assure Members that there had been no significant increases in fly tipping in general, but reminded Committee that where appropriate enforcement action could be taken.

 

Following a query from a Member as to the number of visitors to Barry Island quoted in the report being low, the Operational Manager for Regeneration was requested to undertake further research on this matter and report back to Members accordingly.

 

In referring to the satisfaction survey with regard to public transport, the Head of Service advised that the survey had been undertaken as part of an annual survey together with other additional work before retendering for the bus service provision had been undertaken. 

 

Following consideration of the report, it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the proposed targets for 2017/18 aligned to the Well-being Outcome 2 priorities and the PI descriptions proposed for deletion, at page 10 of the report, be endorsed.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To ensure the Council reports a relevant set of performance indicators against which it can demonstrate achievement of its Well-being Outcomes and consistently sets challenging yet realistic performance improvement targets for the priorities in line with the requirements under the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009.

 

 

923     VALE OF GLAMORGAN WELL-BEING OBJECTIVES AND IMPROVEMENT PLAN PART 1 (IMPROVEMENT OBJECTIVES 2017/18) (MD) –

 

The report sought Member endorsement of the Council’s proposed approach to discharging its duties in relation to the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 and the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 to publish Well-being Objectives and annual Improvement Objectives.

 

The Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 and the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, both place specific duties on the Council in relation to objective setting and reporting duties.  Under the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act, the Council was required to publish its Well-being Objectives by 31st March, 2017.  Under the Measure, the Council also had to set annual Improvement Objectives and publish these as soon as possible at the start of the financial year.

 

The Welsh Government had indicated that it intended to revoke the provisions of the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 in the future.  In the recently published White Paper: Reforming Local Government, the Welsh Government had indicated that the Local Government Measure would be repealed and replaced with a performance framework that was guided by the principles of the Well-being of Future Generations Act and informed by good governance principles.  It was proposed that Local Authorities would take a greater responsibility for improvement activity through a process of external challenge via peer reviews and strengthened expectations of corporate governance and Audit Committees.  To give a broad indication of timescales, assuming a Bill being introduced in the Assembly towards the end of 2017/18, a 12 month legislative period, Royal Assent and commencement orders, it was likely that any new reforms would probably apply from April 2020.

 

The Corporate Plan was the Council’s key means of complying with the Local Government Measure 2009, which required the Council to set “Improvement Objectives” annually and demonstrate continuous improvement.

 

The Corporate Plan 2016-2020 had been approved by Cabinet on 22nd February, 2016 and by Council on 2nd March, 2016 following extensive consultation with key stakeholders and partners.  The Plan set out the Council's Well-being Outcomes and Objectives for the next four years as well as its vision, values with reference to the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.  The Corporate Plan four Well-being Outcomes and associated eight Well-being Objectives were reported as:

 

Well-being Outcome 1: An inclusive and Safe Vale

  • Objective 1:  Reducing poverty and social exclusion.
  • Objective 2: Providing decent homes and safe communities.

Well-being Outcome 2: An Environmentally Responsible and Prosperous Vale

  • Objective 3: Promoting regeneration, economic growth and employment.
  • Objective 4: Promoting sustainable development and protecting our environment.

Well-being Outcome 3: An Aspirational and Culturally Vibrant Vale

  • Objective 5: Raising overall standards of achievement.
  • Objective 6: Valuing culture and diversity.

Well-being Outcome 4: An Active and Healthy Vale

  • Objective 7: Encouraging and promoting active and healthy lifestyles.
  • Objective 8: Safeguarding those who are vulnerable and promoting independent living.

 

The Managing Director advised that the proposals made for a far more streamlined integrated model.  Having reviewed the progress to date in relation to the Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes and corresponding Objectives as part of its Annual Council Self-Assessment for 2017, the Managing Director could assure Members that the priorities the Council had set continued to be relevant priorities for the Council going forward into 2017/18. 

 

Following a query as to whether the new model would affect how a planning inspector would look at an appeal, the Managing Director advised that the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act would be relevant but that the Corporate Plan Objectives would not really have a bearing, although they could be used as evidence for large appeals, but not necessarily for the more routine day to day appeals.

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T Cabinet be informed that the Scrutiny Committee endorsed the proposed approach to discharging the Council’s duties to publish Well-being and Improvement Objectives under the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 and the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.

 

(2)       T H A T Cabinet be informed that the Scrutiny Committee, endorsed the Corporate Plan Well-being Objectives as the Council’s Well-being Objectives for the purposes of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.

 

(3)       T H A T Cabinet be informed that the Scrutiny Committee, endorsed the Corporate Plan Well-being Objectives and associated priority actions for 2017/18 as the Council’s Improvement Objectives for 2017/18.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To ensure the Council fully discharges its statutory duties to set and report on Well-being and Improvement Objectives.

 

(2)       To ensure the Council meets the requirements of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 to publish its Well-being Objectives by 31st March, 2017.

 

(3)       To ensure the Council continues to meet the requirements of the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 to set annual improvement priorities for 2017/18.

 

 

924     CHAIRMAN’S ANNOUNCEMENT –

 

Prior to the forthcoming elections, it being the last scheduled meeting of the Committee, the Chairman took the opportunity to thank all the Members and the Officers, for their support and work undertaken over the years.