Minutes of a meeting held on 7th September, 2011.
Present: Councillor G.C. Kemp (Chairman); Councillor T.H. Jarvie (Vice-Chairman); Councillors Mrs. J.E. Charles, P. Church, G.A. Cox, A.M. Ernest, H.J.W. James, R.L. Traherne and Mrs. D.M. Turner.
C1403 APOLOGY FOR ABSENCE -
This was received from Councillor A.D. Hampton.
C1404 MINUTES -
RESOLVED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 20th July, 2011 be approved as a correct record.
C1405 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -
No declarations were received.
C1406 CARDIFF BAY ADVISORY COMMITTEE -
The following minutes of a meeting held on 22nd June, 2011 were submitted:
Vale of Glamorgan Council
Mrs. C. Dimond
CardiffFlood Action Committee
Mr. A. Rees
Mr. J. Harrison
Mrs. S. Newbold
Mr. S. Howell
Mr. P. Barry
CYC / RYH
Mrs. K. Bowen
Vale of Glamorgan Council.
(a) Appointment of Chairman -
AGREED - T H A T Councillor P. Church be re-appointed Chairman for the ensuing municipal year.
(b) Appointment of Vice-Chairman -
AGREED - T H A T Mrs. C. Dimond be re-appointed Vice-Chairman for the ensuing municipal year.
(c) Apologies for Absence -
These were received from Councillor N. Howells (Cardiff Council), Councillor A.M. Ernest (Penarth Town Council), Mr. S. Jones (Penarth Marina) and Mr. M. Chidlow (Harbour Master).
(d) Minutes -
AGREED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 16th March, 2011 be accepted as a correct record.
Members referred to improvements made to the fish counting system but both Simon Howell and John Harrison had no further updates on the matter since it was discussed at the last meeting.
(e) Progress Update - Cardiff Harbour Authority - Mr. Simon Howell -
Mr. Howell, the Operational Manager for the Harbour Authority apprised the Committee on the following matters:
The annual dredging campaign was due to commence on 24th July, 2011 to maintain access from the Barrage. This would take approximately three weeks and would cause minor disruption to boat users navigating the locks.
A new automated road barrier had been installed on the Barrage it was operational and would enable more efficient access onto the Barrage for vehicles when necessary.
The Adizone had been completed and was providing a further attraction on the Barrage.
With regard to high flow conditions, no significant high flows had been experienced since the last meeting and the recent rain fall had increased the base river flows which it was hoped would assist the Cardiff Harbour Authority to operate without lock restrictions during the coming weeks.
Midge larvae numbers had remained low since the first application of larvicide in the spring and monitoring had continued.
The Authority would continue to deal with dikerogammarus and had implemented approved bio-security measures of the specialist technical advisory group (STAG).
With regard to water quality no major issues had taken place since the last meeting of the Committee. Two recorded values had fallen marginally below the 5 mgs standard but had been dealt with through adjustments to the aeration equipment.
An oil pollution incident had taken place in the River Ely within the last week which had resulted in booming off an area and collecting off the surface for disposal. However, the actual amounts taken away had been relatively small. Over the Easter weekend, the Harbour Authority had dealt with an algae bloom on the River Ely upstream of Western District PS. The approved procedures had been followed which had included putting signs up about preventing access to canoes etc during this period.
The Pont y Werin Bridge had had a number of technical issues since it had been completed which had resulted in problems with the opening and closing of the bridge which had been due to temperature variations. A slight re-design of the hydraulic system appeared to have resolved the matter and the bridge operation was now more reliable.
The Premier Canoe Slalom Event held at CIWW on 18th and 19th June had been a real success and many Olympic hopefuls had attended ahead of the 2012 Olympics.
In conjunction with National Bike Week on Sunday, 26th June the Barrage would be one of the locations for a 20 mile bike ride in partnership with Cancer Research Wales.
Mr. Howell could also report that the 'Gull and Leek Pub' would be officially opened on Flat Holm Island on Friday, 24th June by Councillor Delme Bowen the Lord Mayor of Cardiff and the International Food and Drink Festival would take place on 8th, 9th and 10th July, 2011.
Having considered the report it was
AGREED - T H A T Mr. Howell be thanked for his informative report.
(f) Progress / Update - Environment Agency -
Mr. Harrison advised that the Environment Agency was currently dealing with the ongoing sporadic low level pollution in the area and that they were also dealing with a diesel spillage in the Taff which they were trying to stop going into the river stream. However, they did not anticipate it having any effect on Cardiff Bay. A news release was also anticipated in respect of this matter.
With regard to the recent weather conditions, the dry flows had caused concern but in view of recent changes that concern had now subsided.
Reference was made to joint working and consistent approaches and Mr. Harrison could advise that in considering these approaches a recent meeting which the Cardiff Harbour Authority had taken part in had been with the Bristol Channel Standing Environment Group that looked at planning for major marine incidents in the Channel. The Group would continue to work together to consider ways in addressing issues collectively and for the future.
Mr. Harrison then referred to the Welsh Government Review of Environment Bodies in Wales the options for which were due to be announced in September 2011.
AGREED - T H A T Mr. Harrison be thanked for his report.
(g) Timetable of Meetings (Report of the Clerk) -
The report detailed suggested dates for future meetings of the Committee as detailed below:
Wednesday, 21st September, 2011 at 5.15 p.m.
CardiffBay HarbourAuthority Offices
Wednesday, 23rd November, 2011 at 5.15 p.m.
Wednesday, 18th January, 2012 at 5.15 p.m.
Thursday, 15th March, 2012 at 5.15 p.m.
Wednesday, 6th June, 2012 at 5.15 p.m. (Annual Meeting)
AGREED - T H A T the Timetable of Meetings as detailed above be approved.
(h) Revised Agreement for Cardiff Harbour Authority Function (Information Only Report) -
The report detailed the proposed budgetary and revised arrangements and budgetary arrangements that would be available from the Welsh Government to enable Cardiff Council to continue to undertake the Harbour Authority function.
AGREED - T H A T the contents of the report presented to Cardiff Council's Executive Meeting on 7th April, 2011 be noted.
(i) Any Other Business -
Mr. John Harrison took the opportunity to refer to the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust which offered approximately 100 British citizens a Fellowship each year for a wide range of projects. Fellows travel overseas for between 4 - 12 weeks, to widen individuals experience in such a way that he or she can grow in confidence, knowledge, authority and ambition. Past award winners had included nurses, artists, scientists, engineers, farmers, conservationists, carers, craft workers, artisans, members of the emergency services, sports men and women and young people. Members of the Committee were provided with relevant literature and requested to inform others of the work of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust and advise residents of the Vale of Glamorgan of the objectives and purpose of the Trust should they be interested in making an application.
(j) Date of Next Meeting -
AGREED - T H A T the next meeting be held on Wednesday, 21st September, 2011 at 5.15 p.m. at the Cardiff Harbour Authority Offices.
Members were reminded that a tour of the Norwegian Church would take place immediately following the closure of the meeting in order that the Committee could view the recent refurbishments that had taken place and view what was on offer.
- - - - - - - - - -
RESOLVED - T H A T the minutes be noted.
Reason for decision
To take account of the views of the Cardiff Bay Advisory Committee.
C1407 JOINT CONSULTATIVE FORUM -
The following minutes of a meeting held on 4th July, 2011 were submitted:
Present: Councillor Mrs. J.E. Charles (Chairman); Councillors Mrs. M.E.J. Birch, Ms. V.L. Ellis, A.D. Hampton, Mrs. M. Randall, R.L. Traherne and M.R. Wilson.
Representatives of the Trade Unions: Mr. P. Carter, Mr. J. Davies, Mr. N. Hart and Mr. G. Moseley (UNISON); Mr. G. Beaudette (NUT); Mr. T. Cox (NASUWT); Mr. G. Lewis (GMB); Mr. N. Patterson (Unite); and Mr. P. Whitcombe (ASCL).
The Chairman opened the meeting at 10.15 a.m., apologising for the late start. Mr. Carter requested that the Unions’ displeasure at being kept waiting in the corridor be recorded in the minutes. The Chairman then asked if there were any objections to Ms. B. Price, Training Officer, observing the meeting; there were no objections.
(a) Apology for Absence -
This was received from Mr. N. Stokes (GMB).
(b) Minutes and Matters Arising -
The following matters were referred to under “Matters Arising”:
· Facility Time - Mr. Cox drew attention to the fact that the Director of Learning and Development’s report in relation to the foregoing concerning which NASUWT was to be requested to contribute, had not yet been submitted to Cabinet. Mr. Carter amended the reference in respect of facility time for UNISON by stating that there had been interim agreement only.
· Discrimination - Mr. Carter indicated that the issue of discrimination would be considered later in the meeting.
· Health Fairs - the Chairman drew attention to an inaccuracy in the minute relating to Health Fairs indicating that the first sentence should commence as follows “The Corporate Health and Safety Officer notified the JCF that the Health Fair in the Alps Depot had been held on 25th October, 2010 …”. The Head of Human Resources confirmed that, in respect of further publicity being given to the Council’s flu injections campaign, it had now been incorporated into the Corporate Induction Programme.
· Redeployment / Redundancy Pack – the Head of Human Resources confirmed that the pack had recently been submitted to the Change Forum.
· Pay rates for employees in work on the date of the Royal Wedding – Mr. Carter clarified the minute by stating that he had referred to the above on behalf of the GMB.
AGREED - T H A T the minutes as amended above be approved as a correct record and the matters arising referred to above either actioned as indicated or noted.
(c) Directorate Consultative Groups -
(i) Lifelong Learning
In addition to the minutes of the meeting held on 10th February, 2011 (contained within the papers circulated) Members were informed that a further meeting had been held on 12th April. Mr. Cox referred to the fact that back in February a significant number of items had not been discussed, that the minutes were incomplete in that those items had not been listed and that there was no discussion of those items at the April meeting despite their being in the agenda. He indicated that the omission of discussion of items placed at the end of agendas for the Directorate Consultative Group was a recurring theme and expressed the hope that the outstanding matters would be discussed at the forthcoming meeting of the same given that certain of those issues had been raised 6 months ago. The Chairman undertook to look into the matters raised by Mr. Cox. Mr. Carter expressed the view that this was indicative of the practice whereby issues raised by the Trade Unions were sidelined in favour of matters which the Council considered to be important and that unfinished business from a previous meeting should be placed near the top of the agenda for the next meeting in order to ensure that it was considered.
(ii) Social Services
The minutes of the meetings held on 1st November, 2010, 10th January, 2011, 14th March, 2011 and 18th April, 2011 were submitted for consideration. The Head of Business Management and Innovation confirmed that meetings were held regularly and that she was not aware of any outstanding issues. Mr. Carter expressed appreciation at being kept informed on the progress of joint working with Health.
Councillor Wilson drew attention to the delay in reporting Consultative Group minutes to the JCF, requesting that the minutes of the last meeting relating to Lifelong Learning be circulated to Members immediately. Councillor Birch also expressed the view that delay in the consideration of items should be avoided and that minutes should be reported to the JCF in a timely fashion.
(d) Minutes of the Corporate Health and Safety Committee -
The minutes of the meetings held on 13th December, 2010 and 6th June, 2011 were submitted. Mr. Carter sought clarification as to the reference to violence and aggression under item no. 3 of the December meeting. In response to questions regarding the meeting in June, the Corporate Health and Safety Officer
· confirmed that she and the Principal Civil Protection Officer were discussing the provision of training for supervisors in relation to chemical fatalities, and
· agreed to raise the lack of detail in the minutes relating to feedback in respect of the Directorate of Lifelong Learning meeting and to ascertain progress regarding the schools wellbeing survey.
Reference was made later in the meeting to comments attributed to Mr. Stokes at that meeting relating to a feeling that double standards might be at play as to how unions and managers were dealt with if agreements were breached (see (e) below).
(e) Corporate Occupational Health and Safety Update - Joint Working with the Welsh Local Government Association -
The report contained details in relation to both the Domestic Abuse in the Workplace Policy and the WLGA Manual Handling Passport Scheme. The Chairman drew attention to the fact that this Council was at the forefront in the development of the Domestic Abuse Policy and offered congratulations to all involved. The next stage was for a policy to be drafted and to develop any necessary training to ensure its effectiveness.
The Manual Handling Co-ordinator took the JCF through the Passport Scheme. In response to Councillor Ellis’s request for some statistical data, she indicated that absence levels had fallen, that claims against the Council were very low and that, overall, the situation had much improved. Councillor Ellis then requested that the JCF be made be aware of year on year data in order to assess trends. Mr. Carter expressed concerns in relation to the level of training afforded to agency staff and to the implications that any lack of training could have on Council employees, i.e. that the health and safety of Council staff could be jeopardised by having to work alongside agency staff who were inadequately trained. The Manual Handling Co-ordinator indicated that Acorn (the recruitment agency used by the Council) was aware of the requirements of the Council and delivered the necessary training. Mr. Carter then raised the matter of the need for protective clothing to be issued to some agency staff, the point being made that if agency staff were unaware of the need for protective clothing, were they in fact receiving the same level of training as Council employees. In response to a question, he confirmed that, whilst those issues had been brought up at Directorate level, they had yet to be resolved. As a consequence, Mr. Carter was asked to continue to seek resolution of those issues at Directorate level and through meetings of the Health and Safety Group. Following further discussion on the above and related matters, including a point from Councillor Wilson that safeguarding training was required throughout the Council and that efforts should made to expedite the same, Mr. Carter referred to the feeling of double standards as outlined in (d) above in relation to managers not addressing the issues identified by the Trade Unions. Mr. Hart confirmed that matters pertaining to the training of agency staff, or the lack of it, had been previously raised.
(f) Job Evaluation Update -
The Head of Human Resources notified the JCF that meetings were continuing with the Trade Unions to work towards the achievement of a collective agreement. Efforts were being made to ascertain whether there was any scope to refine the package whilst keeping within the same financial restraints. An Action Plan was being followed and he was hopeful that the negotiations would be concluded in the near future. Mr. Davis referred to the rumour and disinformation amongst staff and requested that staff be kept informed of the ongoing position, suggesting that some form of regular update would be useful. The Head of Human Resources indicated that a further newsletter would be issued within a few weeks.
Mr. Carter then expressed various concerns relating to the job evaluation process. These included the fact that staff had been evaluated on out-of-date job descriptions and contracts - and were still working to contracts which bore no relation to their current duties, that staff were unable to access the detail of the score awarded, that in some cases the statutory roles of staff had not been recognised and that no mention had been made of the funding set aside for appeals. Whilst the Chairman reminded the JCF that the Head of Human Resources was currently in negotiations with the Trade Unions, Mr. Carter drew attention to the fact that those negotiations were confidential. The Head of Human Resources confirmed that the negotiating Group comprised himself, his Director and Operational Manager, the 3 Regional Trade Union representatives together with the following local representatives: Mr. Lewis, Mr. Moseley and Mr. Patterson. Mr. Moseley indicated that matters pertaining to the access by staff to the details of their score was one of the matters under negotiation and that he and his colleagues felt a level of frustration at their inability to share information.
In response to the concerns expressed by Councillor Wilson in relation to consultation, Members were reminded that 59 roadshows had been held at various venues to facilitate attendance by staff Council-wide (whether Trade Union members or not) and that numerous training sessions had been held, including training for Members. The Head of Human Resources accepted the points made that staff might well not be aware of the current position and undertook to take those points on board. Councillor Ellis indicated that she felt that all Members had the opportunity of full briefing on the Job Evaluation process. Councillor Birch referred again to the issue of confidentiality, suggesting that the dissemination of information through Trade Union representatives could prove helpful in that respect. Mr. Moseley indicated that Staffnet was considered a useful medium to transmit information, asking whether the Trade Unions could in fact put forward their opinion on Staffnet as opposed to just contributing to the joint communiqués which was the way in which progress on job evaluation was being publicised to date. The Chairman’s proposal that the use of Staffnet for the dissemination of the Trade Union viewpoint be discussed outside of the JCF was accepted. The Head of Human Resources agreed that he would take the matter to the meeting of the Job Evaluation / Single Status Forum scheduled for the day following the JCF together with Mr. Carter’s request that he and the Branch Secretaries of the GMB and UNITE be invited to attend future meetings. Mr. Moseley indicated, in response to the suggestion that these matters be referred for consideration to the Regional Officers, that he believed the issues had already been discussed at that level.
(g) Workforce Planning Update -
The Head of Human Resources introduced the report which set out the processes to be adopted. Workforce planning had already been incorporated into the service planning process over 3 years and was linked to the medium term financial plan. He explained that the Plan would look at cross cutting issues such as demographics, agile / mobile working, change management and the engagement of staff in those processes.
Mr. Cox made the point that, despite having asked for workforce planning in schools given that the vast majority of staff within schools were Council employees, nothing had been forthcoming in that respect. Mr. Cox continued by referring to changes within the Education Service which should be in place by September 2012. The Head of Human Resources indicated that the issues referred to would be picked up the Service. In response to the comments in relation to the finalisation of the Plan, he confirmed that the Plan would be submitted to the Corporate Management Team, Scrutiny Committee, this Forum and thence Cabinet with the aim of the Plan being accepted in the Autumn.
(h) Update from Change Forum Meeting -
The Head of Human Resources drew attention to the recently established Change Forum which was meeting on a minimum of a monthly basis to help improve the effectiveness of consultation with Trade Unions on change management. Over recent months the Forum had made progress in relation to a number of issues including the progression of issues covered under the Welsh Local Government’s “Memorandum of Understanding” and the redevelopment of a redeployment pack / resources for those employees who might be at risk of redundancy. In response to a request from Mr. Carter for sight of the redeployment pack, the Head of Human Resources indicated that it had already been forwarded to him.
(i) Workforce Cost Reduction Measures - Welsh Local Government - Memorandum of Understanding -
All 22 Welsh Local Authorities had recently agreed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to help progress potential workforce reduction measures in the face of ongoing budget pressures. A copy of the
MOU was appended to the report. The Head of Human Resources had indicated in the report that the MOU was intended as an enabling framework to help “sanction” discussions within Authorities on a number of common issues, including the use of external advertising, use of agency workers, voluntary reductions on working hours and the increasing pursuit of working flexibility and the definition of contracts and roles. He further indicated that he had produced a paper as to how this Council could respond to the foregoing issues and that he had forwarded that paper to the Trade Unions for comments. Mr. Davies sought clarification as to whether the Council had signed up to the original MOU, as had the Unions, or whether the Council had signed up to the version as amended by the Head of Human Resources. The Head of Human Resources stated that his paper responded to the issues raised and that regular updates on the MOU would be made at future meetings.
(j) Feedback on Policy Development -
The report highlighted those policies which had been approved and implemented, those where further issues remained to be clarified prior to proceeding, those where consultation had been completed and those referred to the Terms and Conditions Group. Mr. Cox indicated that, in respect of the Career Break Scheme (which had been approved and implemented), there had been no consultation with the Teacher Trade Unions and that the Scheme had been imposed upon them. The Operational Manager (Human Resources) indicated that the Scheme had in fact been discussed at length with non-teaching Unions given that it had been imperative to introduce the Scheme because of changes in pension regulations. Mr. Cox then indicated that he was unable to attend the meetings at which these policies were discussed and was therefore not consulted.
(k) Proposed Timetable of Meetings 2011/12 -
The following dates were proposed for meetings for the remainder of 2011/12, each date being a Monday with the meetings to commence at 10.00 a.m.:
10th October, 2011
20th February, 2012
30th April, 2012.
No objections were received to the first date proposed. Mr. Cox drew attention to the fact that 20th February was the first day following half term and that 30th April was the second week after Easter, indicating that there could be difficulties in the submission and receipt of paper work. Councillor Wilson indicated also that 30th April was close to the Local Government elections. It was agreed that the latter two dates be revisited.
(l) Trade Union Items -
Mr. Carter opened discussion on the above matter by reiterating concerns in relation to consultation with certain managers. He quoted as an example the fact that further information had been requested on the various issues published in the Core Brief given that he had been made aware of only one of those issues prior to publication. He referred to the disappointment felt by Unions given that training had been undertaken and that the Chief Executive had previously sent out two reminders in respect of the need for proper consultation. Mr. Davis indicated that he had been involved in a very constructive meeting in relation to collaborative working with Bridgend. He indicated that he had been informed that the Trade Unions would be regularly updated and that a corporate protocol would be drawn up to deal with staff involved in those arrangements.
The Head of Human Resources stressed the importance of the Change Forum and that this was the appropriate venue to raise concerns about consultation. He indicated that it was disappointing that Mr. Carter had not raised them in this Forum. Mr. Carter undertook to put future concerns in writing. Mr. Patterson concluded the discussion by indicating that the issue around consultation lay only with certain managers, stating that training would have little effect on such managers and that what was required was that they needed to be reminded more forcibly of their obligations.
(b) Facilities Time - Discrimination Against UNISON Representatives
Mr. Carter indicated that UNISON was the only Trade Union where representatives had to request leave to represent members in advance. He referred to representatives having been denied time off, for example, for conferences and to one representative being refused time off for training during July and August. He further indicated that the three days allotted him to undertake his duties as Secretary of Unison was taken up with corporate meetings which meant that he was unable to represent members at lower levels. Mr. Patterson confirmed that he and Mr. Stokes (Secretaries of UNITE and GMB respectively) had discussed facility time with the Head of Human Resources but that he had subsequently asked for a further meeting with the Head of Human Resources with all three Secretaries present to clarify the proposals for each. The Head of Human Resources referred to an interim arrangement made some 18 months ago whereby the UNISON Secretary would be allotted three days a week and arrangements made in respect of local representatives. He added that he was seeking to extend the principles of the facilities agreement to local representatives of UNITE and GMB and had already had preliminary discussions with the Secretaries of those Unions to explore this. He had not however offered three days facility time to those Union Secretaries because of the lower levels of membership.
Discussion ensued on the requirement that five days notice be given for leave to attend on UNISON business, a suggestions being made that the requirement in fact discriminated against UNISON which represented the vast number of Council’s workforce, and was not practicable given there were often situations which required expeditious actions to be taken. What was clear was that there was a requirement to be flexible and reasonable. Mr. Davis drew attention to the issue of certain managers being unwilling to release Union representatives for no good reason which needed to be addressed.
Following further discussion on the above matter, Mr. Patterson’s suggestion that the three Secretaries meet with the Head of Human Resources to formulate a more permanent agreement in relation to facilities time be accepted.
(m) Schools’ Trade Unions -
(a) Schools’ Management of Attendance Policy
Mr. Cox referred to the above as being yet another example of a corporate policy being introduced into which the Teacher Unions had no input. The paper before Members contained a statement regarding the main objections to the Sickness Absence Management Policy as agreed by NASUWT, NUT, ASCL and UNISON. Given that schools’ absence levels were better than the rest of the Council Mr. Cox questioned the need for the Policy, indicating that there were better ways to deal with sickness absence and that the Policy was in fact nonsensical since it did not deal with the issues. The Director of Learning and Development indicated that the Policy had in fact been subject to extensive consultations and that there had been some amendments to reflect the views of Teaching Unions from the Policy as applied to non- teaching staff. He further confirmed that Headteachers felt it would assist in the process of managing sickness. The Chairman confirmed that the Policy in fact highlighted the causes of sickness and had assisted the Council in helping staff back into the work place. Mr. Cox continued by referring to the existing processes and rules which allowed the necessary information in relation to absence to be tracked and the particular problem with the Schools’ Management of Attendance Policy being the automatic trigger points and the automatic impersonal warnings which could ultimately lead to dismissal. He also drew attention to the lack of an appeal mechanism in the early stages. The Head of Human Resources indicated that managers did have discretion in the way the outcome of meetings were communicated. The Chairman undertook to ensure that all managers and Human Resources officers were fully aware of the necessary procedures. In response to a question relating to the implementation plan agreed by the Director of Learning and Development, the Director confirmed that a report on that matter would be submitted to Cabinet.
The next process would be for the Council to recommend acceptance of the Policy to schools, following which it would be a matter for the Headteachers and Governing Bodies to determine. In response to concerns from Councillor Birch that the matter should be discussed further with all relevant parties, the Principal Human Resources officer present indicated that discussions had taken place over the last two years and that consultation was normally undertaken with headteacher and trade union representatives only. Following discussion, a motion was put by Councillor Birch that the Policy be revisited and further consideration given to its content by trade union, headteacher and governor representatives together with the Director of Learning and Development and Head of Human Resources. The Chairman then put forward the following amendment:
“THAT, having heard the concerns of the trade unions, the Policy be referred to Cabinet for a decision as to whether the Policy should be adopted or taken back for further consultation”.
Upon being put to the vote, the amendment was carried.
(b) Suitable Alternative Employment in Cases of Redundancy
Mr. Cox had indicated in his written submission that the Council had failed in its duty of care to provide suitable alternative work to a teacher being made compulsorily redundant despite there being a number of suitable jobs available. He stated that proper processes should be in place well in advance to avoid future compulsory redundancy either by early retirement or some other means – as had been the case in many other Councils in Wales for some years. The Director referred to the need to act quickly in respect of a recent case and accepted that the situation could have been better handled. He intended to bring forward proposals in relation to redeployment for consideration at the Education Forum with the aim of having a scheme for the effective redeployment of staff in place early in the autumn term. He indicated, however, that there could be no guarantees that compulsory redundancy would be avoided.
(c) Facility Time for National Office
The above matter had withdrawn from consideration by the JCF in July 2010 following assurances from the Director of Learning and Development that it would be resolved. Mr. Cox stated that there had been no such resolution, that there was no policy in place, and that whilst schools had released staff, they were not being reimbursed and had now started to refuse. He indicated that he had been obliged to raise the issue again since no progress had been made – that it had, in fact, been ongoing since 1999 and that he had been waiting since that time for some recognition of his role. The Director of Learning and Development fully accepted that he had been unable to resolve the situation, commenting that a solution needed to be found concerning facilitating time off for local, regional and national office and a requirement that he cut the facilities budget by £20k., and the fact that he was being also forced to reduce staff due to budgetary constraints.
Discussion ensued on the above, suggestions made including that regional and national government be asked to address the issue of payment of facility time for regional and national duties and that Mr. Cox discuss the position with the General Teaching Council for Wales. Mr. Cox then reiterated that the problem related only to his national duties and that an agreed arrangement was required in that respect. The Chairman concluded discussion of the matter by asking the Head of Human Resources to chair a further meeting between Mr. Cox and the Director, the outcome of which was to be reported to a future meeting of the JCF.
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(1) T H A T the minutes be noted.
(2) T H A T a further report regarding the School’s Management of Attendance Policy (Minute m(a) refers) be brought before Cabinet in October 2011.
Reason for decisions
(1&2) To take account of the views of the Joint Consultative Forum.
C1408 VALE OF GLAMORGAN LOCAL ACCESS FORUM -
The following minutes of a meeting held on 27th July, 2011 were submitted:
Present: Mr. F. Coleman (Chairman); Mr. G.D. Cubbin, Mrs. V.M. Hartrey, Mr. J.J. Herbert, Mrs. H. March, Mr. M. Parry, Ms. A. Phillips, Mr. R. Simpson, Mrs. L. Stuart and Mrs. V. Warlow.
Mr. J. Wyatt, Mr. B. Guy, Mr. G.W. Teague and Mrs. S. Thomas (Vale of Glamorgan Council); Mrs. T. Cottnam (Coastal Access Officer).
(a) Apologies for Absence -
These were received from Ms. A. Duddridge, Councillor A.M. Ernest, Mr. H.S. McMillan, Mr. N. Moss, Mr. R. Pittard and Mr. R.L. Traherne.
(b) Penarth Walk-
Prior to the meeting a number of members of the Forum undertook a circular walk in Penarth. The purpose of the walk was to illustrate to members the current coast path route, a proposed route and an alternative route for a circular walk.
(c) Minutes -
AGREED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 20th April 2011 be accepted as a correct record.
The following updates were provided to members:
(i) Vale of Glamorgan Local Development Plan (LDP)
The Chairman indicated that approval was still awaited from the Welsh Government of a revised LDP timetable which showed consultation as being scheduled for November / December 2011.
(ii) Current Position Relating to the LAF and CCW
As agreed at the last meeting, the Chairman had written to Jean Rosenfeld regarding whether he would make representations on a national basis regarding Welsh Government proposals for a review and potential merger of various environmental bodies, including CCW.
The current position was that there was a business plan still in the process of being drawn up and that it would potentially be some time before a final report was placed before the relevant Minister, who would then determine whether / how to proceed. No specific timetable was currently available. Currently, no mention had been made of anyone outside the affected organisations being consulted although J. Rosenfeld would follow up the suggestion that such consultation take place.
(iii) Vale of Glamorgan Walking Festival
Mrs. V. Warlow referred to the success of the second Vale of Glamorgan Walking Festival held in May 2011. A total of 285 walkers had participated, with 16 different walks taking place. Excellent feedback had been received and, subject to available funding, she hoped that the event would take place again, and hopefully evolve further, in 2012.
Mr. B. Guy indicated that it would be advisable for an application to be submitted for funding to the Council at the earliest opportunity.
(iv) Walking and Cycling Action Plan for Wales
A report on this matter would be submitted to the November meeting.
An invitation would be extended to Sustrans to give a presentation to the LAF at its November meeting.
(d) Funding of Valeways -
The Chief Executive Officer of Valeways, Gareth Simpson, was in attendance to address the Forum regarding the fact that there would be no more core funding provided from the Vale Council for Valeways after March 2012.
He circulated details of the type of activities undertaken by Valeways on behalf of / in conjunction with the Council. He indicated that the core funding currently provided from the Council was not going to be renewed from April 2012. Similarly, an indication had been received from CCW that they were unlikely to continue their funding (currently £15,000).
In response, Mr. Guy referred to a letter of 26th July to Mr. P. Gibbins, Chairman of Valeways Trustees. Mr. Guy stressed the value of Valeways and the partnership between the organisation and the Council. However, he reminded members that, when Valeways was provided with its current three year grant, assistance was provided on the strict basis that it was a final period of support and that the organisation would need to achieve financial viability during that period. As this had not been achieved, other options had been explored during a meeting between Mr. Guy and Mr. Gibbins.
In essence, the most viable option appeared to be the possibility of the Council absorbing responsibility for maintenance and volunteer co-ordination. It was important to note, however, that should this be deemed feasible, given the limited budget available within the Council, it would have to be funded from within Mr. Guy’s existing service budget. Any employment issues relating to the existing full time employee would be taken into account. Mr. Guy indicated that, should the above occur, Council would continue to support wherever possible the remaining areas of work undertaken by Valeways.
Whilst Valeways could, nevertheless, submit an application for further funding, Mr. Guy felt it important to point out that, given the position outlined above, he would be unable to support such an application.
Mrs. Warlow, in her capacity as a Trustee of Valeways, thanked Mr. Guy for the Council’s candidness as the Trustees needed clarity as to the future funding / structure of Valeways.
On behalf of the Forum, the Chairman expressed the hope that, whatever the outcome, Valeways would continue, and evolve, in some form, and offered the support of the Forum to this end.
(e) Coastal Access Improvement Programme: Update -
Mrs. Cottnam updated members on the following specific projects:
· Porthkerry Drainage - work was now complete and construction had been done as aesthetically as possible. When looking out from the Porthkerry park side, the work was barely noticeable. Currently, the project was proving successful.
· Gilestone - Kissing Gates - negotiations had been concluded with the landowner to replace the existing stiles with two kissing gates, which would be installed shortly.
· Negotiations - negotiations for dedications were continuing where necessary. It was anticipated that Dunraven Estates’ creation agreements would be completed shortly. Progress had also been made at Lavernock Point and a further draft agreement was being considered, together with a redraft of the Mitchels and Butler agreement at Swanbridge.
· Cwm Mawr Steps - the design specifications for improvements had been completed. Consultation on design was ongoing with the landowner and Heritage Coast wardens. The relevant authorisations of CCW would be requested in due course.
· People counters had been put in place at 11 coastal locations, and interim results over a two month period were presented. Members were impressed with the daily and weekly statistics produced, and in the volume of usage. Ogmore, Dunraven and Porthkerry were clearly shown to be the most frequented sites.
Mrs. Cottnam alluded to the walk undertaken by a number of members prior to the meeting. She pointed out that only one official route could be signed as part of the Coastal Path. Local / alternative routes could be signposted on other localised mapping. A number of members expressed a preference for the route marked blue on the map provided. Views of Forum members would be welcomed and were to be submitted either to Mrs. Cottnam or Mr. Teague by the end of August.
(f) Public Rights of Way Orders Update and Definitive Map Modification Order Tracking -
The regular update report in respect of the above was submitted.
(g) Update on Rights of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP) -
Members received an update on the three projects covered within the ROWIP funding programme for 2011/12:
(i) Employment of an officer to complete quality assurance of the Definitive Map to facilitate its republication and provide analysis of the condition survey results.
Andrew Tovey had been appointed as ROWIP assistant, although work on the project had been ongoing since May. Quality assurance was 85% complete. An initial summary of condition survey results was provided to members, with a full set of data to be provided in due course. Mr. Teague pointed out that, of the network survey so far, only approximately 10% had been deemed to be unusable.
(ii) Match funding of Rural Development Plan Community and Cycleways Links Project.
Mark Cottray had been appointed as Rural Regeneration Officer (Countryside Access). Mr. Cottray, in his role, would have access to potentially significant grant funding possibilities. He would be invited to make a presentation to the next meeting of the LAF.
(iii) Establishment of a wildlife walk, including onsite interpretation and facilities for group activities.
The initial planned route had proved not to be viable and discussions with the Council’s biodiversity team were ongoing.
(h) Any Other Business -
(i) Mr. Simpson asked whether some kind of local promotional event would be arranged to commemorate the eventual opening of the Coastal Path. Mr. Teague indicated that this would be considered on a wider basis as part of events planned for the path as a whole.
(ii) Mrs. March referred to the stone stiles project recently undertaken and to the unsatisfactory nature of some of the work carried out, which had led to a number of complaints within the Llantwit Major area. She referred to the type of stone and installation methods used. Mr. Guy indicated that a meeting was scheduled shortly with the contractors to discuss certain issues which had arisen.
(iii) Mrs. March was still concerned regarding the potential implications for certain paths within the Llantwit Major area should national proposals in respect of railway crossings be progressed following the Law Commission’s consultation exercise.
- - - - - - - - - -
RESOLVED - T H A T the minutes be noted.
Reason for decision
To take account of the views of the Vale of Glamorgan Local Access Forum.
C1409 VALE CYCLING STRATEGY (REF) -
Jon Fox (Capita Symonds) had been appointed as a consultant to progress a Vale Cycling Strategy and urged the Authority to consider promoting cycling wherever possible. He congratulated the Vale through the Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) on the successful funding they had received for various cycling initiatives to date. In his opinion cycling should be seen as a cross cutting agenda and should infiltrate every service area within the Council, in particular schools. He gave examples of small areas where the Council could be effective to promote cycling e.g. in the use of events which could also be used to encourage traders to attend and in planning applications where developers could be encouraged to consider cycling issues when submitting proposals. Another suggestion was that public transport could be adapted to suit cyclists.
In considering the presentation, Members referred to the need to ensure that cyclists were made aware of their responsibilities whilst cycling and that school children should be encouraged to cycle safely. In their opinion education was key. The Head of Service stated that the presentation by Mr. Fox was part of the initial stages of developing a strategy and that further consultation would be undertaken with a view to reporting back to Committee within approximately 6 months. He further advised Committee of an award that the Vale team had won in recognition of the cycling initiatives that had been undertaken within the Vale. The Council had also been the only local authority in Wales to have been part of this award ceremony.
The Chairman, a keen promoter of cycling, welcomed the work that was to be undertaken and although aware that a Task and Finish review on cycling had not been approved as a priority under the Scrutiny Committees review programme, took the opportunity to ask Members if they would participate in a Member-only review, to which a number of Members agreed to take part.
Some Members considered that the Cabinet should be requested to undertake a “mind mapping exercise” and establish recommendations on cycling in the Vale and that the Committee should receive a presentation on the bright project. However, the contrary view was to wait for the outcome of the consultation before making any firm recommendations. Following a vote on the matter it was subsequently
RECOMMENDED - T H A T Cabinet be requested to undertake a “mind mapping exercise” to establish recommendations for proposals for cycling within the Vale.
Having considered the request of the Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment), it was
(1) T H A T the recommendation of Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) be noted.
(2) T H A T a report on this subject be brought before a future meeting of the Cabinet.
Reason for decisions
(1&2) In order to consider ways to further develop cycling within the Vale of Glamorgan and to advise on the legal rights and responsibilities in relation to cycling.
C1410 VOLUNTARY ACTION SCHEME - AGE CONCERN - VOLUNTARY SECTOR JOINT LIAISON COMMITTEE (REF) -
Approval was sought of the Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee on 13th July 2011 to review a scheme submitted by Age Concern for which funding had been approved by the Committee but which had since been reduced in scope without the Committee being notified. Age Concern had been awarded a lesser grant than applied for and Ms. Burris explained there had been a consequent need to reduce the projects to be delivered. She had, in fact, notified officers within the Council of that fact when the grant offer had been made but that the timing of that notification had not coincided with the date of the last Committee. She confirmed that delivery of the reduced scheme had been held in abeyance and that continuing delay could jeopardise the same. After discussing the proposed revision to the scope of the scheme and the reasons behind that revision, Members agreed the revision was acceptable.
Members stressed however that should a similar situation arise, the issue must be flagged up immediately with the Council to allow full consultation. Officers would work with the organisation concerned to develop projects which best met the Council’s requirements and any amendments to schemes funded by the Committee would be reported back for further consideration. To avoid any unnecessary time delay, Members agreed that where required the Chairman should be authorised to agree such revisions which would subsequently be reported back to Committee for information.
AGREED - T H A T the proposed changes to the scheme submitted by Age Concern be accepted and that Cabinet be asked to authorise the Chairman of the Committee to agree such revisions as required in order to avoid any undue time delay, any such agreements to be subsequently reported back to Committee for information.
Having considered the decision of the Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee, it was
RESOLVED - T H A T the request of the Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee be agreed.
Reason for decision
To allow the revised scheme to proceed and to prevent undue delay in implementation.
C1411 REVIEW OF THE CORPORATE PLAN 2010-14 (L) (SCRUTINY - ALL) -
Cabinet were requested to endorse the revised Corporate Plan for 2010-14.
The current Corporate Plan had been approved in 2010 and set out a four year vision for the Council. The Plan was structured around seven corporate priorities and 34 Improvement Objectives.
The Plan had been updated to inform service planning for 2012/13, which would commence in October 2011, and to assist with the drafting of the Medium Term Financial Plan. The update had taken account of the revised Community Strategy for 2011-2021. A more comprehensive review and consultation would be undertaken in 2012.
A revised Corporate Plan was attached to the report to ensure clarity over what activities needed to be undertaken to deliver the agreed Improvement Objectives, what activities needed to be revised and any changes in timeframes.
A number of new activities which supported the delivery of the Improvement Objectives had also been included in the revised Plan, and were prefixed with “Proposed New Action”.
Improvement Objectives had not been amended as there had not been sufficient time to consult, and these would be reviewed in 2012.
The Plan had also been amended to include reference to a number of new initiatives e.g. work with Bridgend County Borough Council, greater emphasis on partnership working and area working.
The Plan would be submitted for comment to all Scrutiny Committees following which it would be ratified by Cabinet prior to being submitted to Council for approval. Furthermore, an open session for all Members had been arranged for 21st September 2011.
The revised Corporate Plan would be submitted to Council for approval on 7th December 2011.
(1) T H A T the draft revised Corporate Plan for 2010-14 be endorsed.
(2) T H A T the draft Plan be referred to all Scrutiny Committees for comment.
(3) T H A T the draft Plan be re-submitted for Cabinet approval, and then referred to Council for approval.
Reasons for decisions
(1-3) To ensure the Council has an effective and up to date Corporate Plan which reflects the work being undertaken across the Council to improve the quality of life in the Vale of Glamorgan.
C1412 REVENUE MONITORING FOR THE PERIOD 1ST APRIL TO 31ST JULY 2011 (L) (SCRUTINY - ALL) -
Cabinet were advised of the progress on revenue expenditure for the period 1st April 2011 to 31st July 2011.
The projected outturn for the 2011/12 Revenue Budget showed a balanced Council Revenue Budget. Further details were contained within the report, as outlined below:
· Education and Schools - there was a projected overspend against the Additional Learning Needs budget of £72,000 made up of £56,000 Redundancy costs incurred as a result of the implementation of the Additional Learning Needs staffing savings for 2011/12 and 2012/13. The balance was as a result of reduced Cymorth and Families First funding for the Cowbridge Pupil Referral Unit. This budget was volatile, and the position would be monitored closely throughout the year. It was possible that the projected overspend may reduce due to increased recoupment income or reduced out of country expenditure.
· An amount had been set aside within the budget for the annual cost of financing the School Investment Strategy of £600,000. This sum would be transferred to the School Investment Strategy Reserve.
· The cost of the Schools’ ER / VR scheme of £329,000 would in the first instance be funded from Education reserves. This would be repaid by participating schools over 2012/13 and 2013/14.
· Children and Young People’s Services - it was currently projected that the budget could overspend by £765,000 by year end. This was due to the Children’s Placement budget being projected to overspend by £1m. at year end, offset by use of a provision of £210,000.
· Adult Services - it was currently projected that this budget could overspend by £189,000 by year end. A gross overspending of £654,000 had arisen from the need to increase fees payable to care homes by over the 2% inflation included in the 2011/12 budget, the continuing pressure on the Community Care Packages budget and the need to achieve the 2011/12 savings targets. The gross overspend could be partly funded by a specific provision of £465,000.
· Social Services - the overall year end position for the Directorate was an estimated overspend of £954,000. It was essential that the Directorate take the necessary remedial measures in order to fund this shortfall from within the existing budgets.
· For Other Services, expenditure was anticipated to be within budget.
This was a matter for Executive decision.
(1) T H A T the position with regard to the Authority’s 2011/12 Revenue Budget be noted.
(2) T H A T the Director of Social Services take the necessary action to balance the overall budget by year end.
Reasons for decisions
(1) That the Members are aware of the projected revenue outturn for 2011/12.
(2) To achieve a balanced budget.
C1413 PHOTOGRAPHY PROTOCOL (L) (SCRUTINY - CORPORATE RESOURCES) -
Cabinet were requested to agree a revised Protocol for the use of photography and media use.
A Photography Protocol was agreed by Cabinet on 25th April 2007. It was closely linked to the External Communications Strategy, which aimed to protect and enhance the reputation of the Council.
The Photography Protocol provided formal guidelines for staff and Members in the use of photography as a promotional tool. The Protocol, attached as an Appendix to the report, had been reviewed to ensure that it remained up to date, and addressed issues arising from the use of new technology.
The Protocol outlined best practice and provided guidelines to services on how to use photography for promotional and media purposes. It addressed the responsibilities and costs associated with the use of photography, outlined how and when to seek advice from the Communications Team.
This was a matter for Executive decision.
RESOLVED - T H A T the revised Photography Protocol be agreed.
Reason for decision
In order to achieve the greatest exposure of the Council and to achieve value for money from the photography budget.
C1414 CAPITAL MONITORING REPORT FOR THE PERIOD 1ST APRIL TO 31ST JULY 2011 (L) (SCRUTINY - ALL) -
Details as to the financial progress on the Capital Programme for the period 1st April to 31st July 2011 were appended to the report. The report itself contained further details of specific schemes as outlined below:
Director of Social Services
· Community Equipment Grant - grant funding in the sum of £135,809 had been brought forward from previous years on this joint scheme with Cardiff County Council. The scheme, to establish and run a joint community equipment store, based in Cardiff, was administered by Cardiff Council who have taken the lead on progressing the works carried out. The Vale has been requested to reimburse a share of the costs. This, in turn, was funded wholly by WG grant. In addition to the carry forward, a further £200,000 was offered for 2011/12, and it was requested that the whole £335,809 be now included in the 2011/12 Capital Programme in order to reimburse Cardiff Council, when required, for works carried out this financial year.
Director of Legal, Public Protection and Housing Services
· Housing Improvement Programme - Cabinet, on 22nd June 2011, had approved an increase of £2,000,000 in this year’s Capital Programme in order to be able to achieve significant improvements needed in the Council’s housing stock. The revised budget, following this increased sum, was indicated in Appendix 1 to the report.
Director of Environmental and Economic Regeneration
· Visible Services Asset Renewal - it had been requested that the sum of £150,000 be transferred from the Highway Maintenance budget to the Visible Services Asset Renewal budget in order to proceed with refurbishment works at Harbour Road bridge. The current allocation within the asset renewal budget was not sufficient to cover the cost of the works required, so it was necessary to transfer the budget in order to proceed. This action would require the approval of Council.
· Barry Island Footbridge - as Network Rail agreement had now been achieved to allow this scheme to proceed over their land, the Council had in place £171,000 of funding as matchfunding for a Department for Transport grant bid of £500,000, giving a scheme budget of £671,000. The grant bid had been submitted and an outcome was expected early in September. Should the grant bid prove successful, works could potentially commence in late October and, with a 30 week contract period, could complete in April / May 2012. Appendix 1 to the report indicated the anticipated full cost of the scheme, which would be revised once the outcome of the Department for Transport grant bid was known. Should this bid prove unsuccessful, a further bid for Council funding would need to be submitted for 2012/13.
Variance between Actual Spend to Date and Profiled Spend
The report then detailed those schemes with a variance between the actual spend to date and the profiled spend. Appendix 2 to the report provided non financial information on capital schemes with a budget of over £500,000.
(1) T H A T the following change to the Capital Programme be approved:
· Community Equipment Grant - increase the Capital Programme by £335,809 (funded from WG grant)
(2) T H A T Council be requested to approve the following change to the Capital Programme:
· Visible Services Asset Renewal - transfer £150,000 from the Highway Maintenance budget to the Visible Services budget for Harbour Road Bridge refurbishment.
Reason for decisions
(1&2) To allow schemes to proceed this financial year.
C1415 SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY (L) (SCRUTINY - CORPORATE RESOURCES) -
Approval and endorsement was sought from Cabinet for the Social Media Strategy and Policy, and associated action plan as attached to the report.
The use of social media by the general public was growing, and there was an expectation that public organisations would use this medium to engage with their customers and stakeholders. The Strategy set out the Council’s aims and objectives for its use of social media and how its use would be developed in the near future. The action plan detailed the work to be undertaken over the coming year.
The Policy detailed what was expected of staff when using social media in their work and guidance on how to use this form of communication to best effect. It also advised on the use of social media privately as a Council employee.
Officers were requested to consider the use of the QR (Quick Response) Code in promotional material.
This was a matter for Executive decision.
RESOLVED - T H A T the Social Media Strategy and Policy be endorsed.
Reasons for decision
(1) To provide an effective base to develop the Council’s use of social media for communications and customer relations purposes.
(2) To ensure that the use of social media by Council officers for official business is undertaken in a professional and effective manner.
C1416 EXTERNAL FUNDING APPLICATIONS (L) (SCRUTINY - ALL) -
Cabinet were informed of external funding applications submitted / allocated to maximise the amount of external grant sought / utilised to support the delivery of corporate objectives.
Corporate Management Team had agreed procedures to improve the way in which the Council assessed and co-ordinated its bids for external funding.
An “External Funding Framework” covered the practicalities of maximising external funding opportunities to meet corporate objectives. The Framework highlighted the criteria that potential applicants must address, and those applying for external funding to minimise risk to the Council.
Integrated Family Support Service
The aim of the Integrated Family Support Service (IFSS) was for professionals from different backgrounds to be brought together to provide intensive social work intervention and parenting support for adults, children and families with complex needs, as a result of substance misuse / mental health.
The bid for Phase II roll out of IFSS was a joint bid with Cardiff. Submission of a collaborative bid with Cardiff was chosen for the following reasons:
· the Welsh Government had dictated that the collaborative footprints should follow the new Health Board boundaries;
· Cardiff City Council and the Vale of Glamorgan Council already worked closely with Cardiff and Vale UHB;
· both Cardiff and the Vale had an Option 2 service for families where there was parental substance misuse as a basis for IFSS development across Wales.
The IFSS aimed to safeguard children and young people through supporting family lifestyle changes by offering intensive professional interventions. The service would be multi-agency, and would include health and social care (including children and adult) services.
The fundamental principle upon which IFSS was based was the prevention of children and young people having to be removed from their families and into the statutory care system by supporting parents and families to make the necessary changes to their lifestyles to enable them to parent and provide appropriate care.
Cardiff County Council would host all of the IFSS posts and provide line management arrangements for the team. An IFSS Board was being established. Composition was subject to agreement to minimise duplication of post holders across the Consortium. The report detailed the membership and areas of responsibility.
Lead Local Flood Authority Grant Funding 2011/12
The Flood Risk Regulations (FRR) 2009 and the Flood and Water Management Act (FWMA) 2010 imposed new legal duties on Councils to manage flood risk. The FRR confirmed the lead local flood authority role for the Council, and required specific tasks to be undertaken.
The FWMA received Royal Assent on 8th April 2010, and it was now the responsibility of the Welsh Government to introduce the regulations in Wales for the relevant sections of the Act. Risk management authorities were expected to begin putting in place the organisational framework and strategic development ahead of this.
The Act aimed to improve both flood risk management and the way water resources were managed. It created clearer roles and responsibilities and instilled a more risk based approach.
The implications regarding FRR and FWMA were reported to the Cabinet on 8th June 2011.
Community Support Centre - Co-location of Substance Misuse Services and Domestic Abuse - Cadoxton House
Cadoxton House was a One Stop Shop, a centre where victims of Domestic Abuse and Substance Misuse could go for help, support advocacy and advice regardless of age, gender or sexual orientation.
Capital grant funding of £148,870 was required from the Welsh Government’s Substance Misuse Action Fund Capital Programme. The funding was required to complete the renovation e.g. fixtures, fittings, IT for both Police and Voluntary Sector and security measures such as internal CCTV.
This was a matter for Executive decision.
(1) T H A T the retrospective submission of the joint application submitted by Cardiff County Council for Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan to become a Phase II pioneer area for Integrated Family Support Services (IFSS) be approved.
(2) T H A T the acceptance of the IFSS revenue grant be authorised.
(3) T H A T a further report be submitted to Cabinet in November detailing the composition of the IFSS Board and how IFSS will be delivered including the composition of the IFSS core team.
(4) T H A T a report be brought before Cabinet prior to March 2012 updating plans on how the IFSS service would be sustained post March 2012.
(5) T H A T the retrospective acceptance of the revenue Local Lead Flood Authority Grant for 2011/12 be authorised.
(6) T H A T retrospective authority for the submission of an application under the Substance Misuse Action Fund Capital Programme be authorised.
(7) T H A T, if successful, authority be granted for the acceptance of the grant and the inclusion of the grant in the Authority’s Capital Programme.
Reasons for decisions
(1) To ensure Cabinet is aware of the joint application submitted by Cardiff County Council as designated lead partner.
(2) To enable the grant to be accepted.
(3) To ensure Cabinet is aware of governance and delivery arrangements.
(4) To enable Cabinet to approve future delivery and funding arrangements.
(5) To enable the grant to be accepted.
(6) To authorise the submission of the application.
(7) To enable the grant to be accepted and the Capital Programme to be amended.
C1417 HEALTH AND SAFETY ENFORCEMENT SERVICE PLAN 2011/12 (LPP) (SCRUTINY - HOUSING AND PUBLIC PROTECTION) -
Approval was sought for the Council’s Health and Safety Enforcement Service Plan 2011/12.
The Vale of Glamorgan Council was an “enforcing authority” under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was required by Section 18 of the Act to set out its arrangements for discharging that duty. The Health and Safety Enforcement Service Plan set out these arrangements.
The Plan needed to take account of local needs whilst addressing national priorities as set out by the Health and Safety Commission in its Strategic Plan. The Plan must identify both reactive and proactive work and include details of planned promotional and education activities.
For 2011/12 the resource requirements identified in the Plan had been met in full.
There were several challenges to the service which needed to be faced during the year in the area of resources and service delivery. The financial difficulties faced by both the Council and the Health and Safety Executive would require new ways of working to be explored. Nationally, the Health and Safety Executive had lost more than 200 staff and had closed a number of area offices. This meant the resources they allocated to partnership working with local authorities would diminish. Locally, the loss of the Operational Manager and Principal Environmental Health Officer posts in Public Protection had reduced the management and operational resource available to deliver the service. The Council would work with other local authorities in Wales and the Health and Safety Executive to understand how resources could be best managed to deliver the common agenda.
In 2010, following a review of Health and Safety in the UK, Lord Young had made a number of recommendations in his report “Common Sense, Common Safety” which had been accepted by the Government. These included:
(i) regulators providing greater support to small businesses (this is being implemented in the Vale of Glamorgan with workshops being provided for small local businesses e.g. Health and Safety for Tattooists and Body Piercers;
(ii) a review of the risk assessment regime and
(iii) combining food safety inspections and health and safety inspections (already achieved in the Vale of Glamorgan).
Proposals to change workplace accident reporting requirements were likely to come into force during the year which would have an impact on the service. Reporting after an employee has been absent from work for seven days following an incident rather than the current threshold of three days was proposed.
Until this year, there had been National Assembly of Wales Performance Indicators for local authority Health and Safety Enforcement Services. This was no longer the case. The Health and Safety Executive’s “Revitalising Health and Safety Strategy Statement” required them to work with local authorities to produce a performance indicator against which local authorities’ enforcement performance could be measured.
Local authorities were required to demonstrate that they had effective routes for communication on Health and Safety enforcement issues with policy and decision-makers. Whilst historically the Health and Safety Enforcement Service Plan had been approved by Cabinet, it was proposed that in future the Plan be approved by the Cabinet Member for Legal and Public Protection in consultation with the Director of Legal, Public Protection and Housing Services.
This was a matter for Executive decision.
(1) T H A T the Health and Safety Enforcement Service Plan attached at Appendix 1 to the report, be approved subject to the following amendments to Page 12 of the document:
- the words “of Members from four political parties” in the final sentence of the first paragraph being replaced with “as follows”
- the word “Group” to be shown following the word “Independent” in the table
- the designation of the Cabinet Member contained in the third paragraph to read “Legal and Public Protection”.
(2) T H A T the Cabinet Member for Legal and Public Protection, in consultation with the Director of Legal, Public Protection and Housing Services, be given delegated authority to approve future Health and Safety Enforcement Service Plans.
Reasons for decisions
(1) To ensure the Council has robust arrangements in place to deliver its obligations as an enforcing authority under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and comply with statutory guidance.
(2) To speed up the decision-making process in relation to the approval of Health and Safety Enforcement Service Plans.
C1418 THE PROPOSED PUBLICATION OF A STATUTORY NOTICE TO CHANGE THE NATURE OF THE SPECIALIST RESOURCE BASE AT ST. ILLTYD PRIMARY SCHOOL (ELL) (SCRUTINY - LIFELONG LEARNING) -
Cabinet were advised of the statutory processes undertaken in relation to proposals to change the nature of the Specialist Resource Base at St. Illtyd Primary Schools, and were requested to approve the publication of a Statutory Notice to this effect.
Within the Vale of Glamorgan, there was currently a range of Tier 2 provision for children and young people with Additional Learning Needs (ALN). This provision consisted of specialist resource bases, formerly known as units, for children with speech and language difficulties, hearing impairment, behavioural difficulties and Moderate Learning Difficulties (MLD). These were based in mainstream schools, and allowed for children to be taught in small specialist classes, with opportunities for inclusion in mainstream activities. Where good progress had been made, pupils moved out of the provision and into mainstream.
In relation to MLD, there were currently four specialist provisions, based at St. Illtyd Primary, Fairfield Primary and Jenner Park Primary (2 classes). Over the past year, numbers in two of these provisions (St. Illtyd Primary and Fairfield Primary) had reduced significantly.
The MLD resource bases could cater for up to ten pupils. The two classes at Jenner Park were full to capacity, but in September 2011, there would only be one pupil at St. Illtyd Primary, and four pupils at Fairfield Primary.
Over recent years, there had been an increase in numbers of children with a diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Within the Vale of Glamorgan, there was a range of support for pupils with ASD, including attendance at Ashgrove Special School and support from the ASD Outreach Team for over 100 pupils attending mainstream schools. However, there was currently no Tier 2 provision for pupils with ASD.
It had been initially proposed that two of the current MLD resource bases (St. Illtyd Primary and Fairfield Primary) should be changed into Tier 2 ASD provision. The two MLD classes based at Jenner park Primary would be retained.
A report was submitted to Cabinet on 2nd February, and approval was given for the consultation process to commence.
An informal consultation took place from February to April. During this time, meetings were held with school staff, governors and parents at the two schools. Individual meetings were held with any parents who had particular queries or concerns.
As a result of the informal consultation, it became clear that the existing class was still required at Fairfield Primary. At St. Illtyd Primary, on the other hand, there would be only one remaining pupil in the class in September, for whom individual arrangements could be made.
As a result, it was decided to proceed only with the proposal to change the nature of the provision at St. Illtyd Primary. A period of formal consultation took place from 15th June to 20th July, including a meeting held on 4th July. Letters were sent to all interested parties but no responses were obtained. A copy of the formal Consultation Document was attached at Appendix 2 to the report.
In order to proceed, it was now necessary to publish a Statutory Notice, with a view to opening the new ASD provision at St. Illtyd Primary as soon as approval had been given by the Welsh Government. It was hoped that the changes would be implemented in January 2012.
The new resource base would cater for up to eight pupils at KS1 and 2, and would be staffed by one specialist teacher and two Learning Support Assistants.
The resource base would cater for children in mainstream schools who, despite a high level of support, were making little progress and required a smaller, specialist environment, but who benefited from opportunities from inclusion in mainstream. In addition, pupils who were currently attending Ashgrove may also be considered for placement.
The Head of Ashgrove had been working closely with the Pupil Support Service in the development of this proposal, and the Outreach Service at Ashgrove School would play an important role in supporting the new provision.
Following approval by Cabinet, a statutory notice would be published in keeping with Welsh Government guidelines on consultation.
Staff currently working in the MLD provision may wish to be considered for the new role. In this case, training would be provided. However, it was recognised that working with children with ASD could be challenging, and other options may need to be considered.
This was a matter for Executive decision.
RESOLVED - T H A T a Statutory Notice be published to change the current Resource Base for pupils with Moderate Learning Difficulties to a Resource Base for pupils with Autistic Spectrum Disorder.
Reason for decision
A change in demand for specialist provision requires the Council to respond by changing the nature of current provision in order to meet its statutory obligations.
C1419 WELSH GOVERNMENT CONSULTATION DOCUMENT - DRAFT PRACTICE GUIDANCE REALISING THE POTENTIAL OF PRE-APPLICATION DISCUSSIONS (PT) (SCRUTINY - ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT) -
Cabinet received a report which informed of recent draft guidance issued by the Welsh Government promoting pre-application discussions, and were requested to approve the consultation response to that document.
The Welsh Government had produced draft pre-application discussion practice guidance to help ensure that the benefits of the pre-application stage were realised. The draft guidance was called “Realising the Potential of Pre-Application Discussion”, and a copy of which was attached at Appendix A to the report.
The Welsh Government was currently consulting on the content of the draft guidance, and a structured response questionnaire was provided. The proposed response on behalf of the Vale of Glamorgan council was attached at Appendix B to the report.
In most part, the draft guidance endorsed the approach that the Council was already undertaking insofar as the Council had an existing protocol which was clear to all involved and was consistent with much of the advice in the guidance. For example, the Council already records all pre-application submissions on the planning application database so that they are taken into account once formal applications were submitted. The guidance also recognised that it was legitimate to charge for pre-application advice, although it did not specify details.
There were matters in the guidance which raised new issues for the Council to consider whether the existing pre-application protocol needed to be amended.
Firstly, the guidance endorsed more involvement from third parties (i.e. external consultees such as environmental bodies or local communities). Whilst there were obvious benefits of doing so, there were concerns about the additional resources required to do this, the ability of third parties to respond to consultation or get involved in the process effectively, and also what the implications were for the confidentiality of pre-application discussions.
The guidance also advocated the involvement of Local Authority Members in pre-application discussions. At present, the Council did not have formal procedures to involve Members at this stage and this may therefore need to be investigated further. It was, however, recognised that there were occasions where individuals had contacted their Members for advice, and in such instances requests had been forwarded to the Council’s officers for progressing.
One of the key concerns was that the guidance was primarily focused towards Local Planning Authorities and placed much of the responsibility for the delivery of successful pre-application discussions upon the Council. This did not truly recognise the partnership process that was required between the developer and the Local Planning Authority, and therefore the consultation response stressed the importance of the role of developers and how the guidance should direct developers to participate in the process as well as Local Planning Authorities.
This was a matter for Executive decision.
(1) T H A T the contents of the report be noted.
(2) T H A T the response as attached at Appendix B to the report be sent to the Welsh Government and that a copy of the report be brought to the attention of the Planning Committee.
Reasons for decisions
(1) To inform Cabinet of the content of the recent guidance issued by the Welsh Government promoting pre-application discussions.
(2) To respond to the Welsh Government’s consultation document with feedback on the draft guidance.
C1420 BRIDGEND DEPOSIT LOCAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN 2006 -2021 CONSULTATION (PT) (SCRUTINY - ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT) -
Cabinet were advised of the release of Bridgend County Borough Council’s (BCBC) Deposit Local Development Plan 2006-2021 (LDP) and were further advised of matters which may have cross boundary implications for the Vale of Glamorgan Council.
The BCBC Deposit LDP:
· sets out the national, regional and local policy context and the role and purpose of the Plan and outlines the key environmental, social and economic issues for Bridgend
· sets out the Vision and the four strategic objectives for the Plan and sets out the strategy that will guide future development within BCBC during the Plan period
· is based on the four strategic objectives, namely: Producing High Quality Sustainable Places; Protecting and Enhancing the Environment; To Spread Prosperity and Opportunity Through Regeneration and To Create Safe, Healthy and Inclusive Environments
· Outlines the detailed monitoring framework including the targets and indicators that will be used to assess the effectiveness of the Plan
· Provides details on the Supplementary Planning Guidance that will be produced to supplement and expand upon the relevant policies within the Plan
· Chapter 9 of the document focuses on the delivery and implementation of the land use allocations within the Plan.
The Vision of the BCBC Deposit LDP had been amended following the previous consultation, and now stated that: “By 2021, Bridgend County Borough will be transformed to become a sustainable, safe, healthy and inclusive network of communities comprising strong, interdependent and connected settlements that can offer opportunities, an improved quality of life and environment for all people living, working, visiting and relaxing in the area”. It was envisaged that this vision would be delivered through four strategic objectives, namely:
· to produce high quality sustainable Places
· to protect and enhance the Environment
· to spread prosperity and opportunity through Regeneration
· to create safe, healthy and inclusive Communities.
In terms of significant impacts upon the Vale of Glamorgan stemming from the BCBC LDP, these were most likely from employment and housing allocations and in this regard the area to the south east of Bridgend extending into Brocastle was included within one of the four Strategic Regeneration Growth Areas. This included provision for a 46 Hectare Strategic Employment site at Brocastle, a 126 Hectare Employment site at Waterton Industrial Estate (although much of this site has already been developed) and a possible waste treatment facility (although a preference for an alternative site had also been identified). Whilst no objections to these allocations had been raised, the Council’s concerns with regard to traffic generation and the impact upon the Vale’s strategic highway network had been expressed.
With regard to housing allocations, the BCBC LDP allocated land for 9,000 houses, an increase of 900 units on the figure provided within the pre deposit proposals. However, as housing was now a matter for each individual local authority to consider and was not based upon a regional apportionment, this increase was not considered to have a direct impact upon the Vale of Glamorgan. With regard to specific allocations, whilst a small number of sites had been identified within the vicinity of the inter authority boundary, no significant housing sites had been allocated that would have a significant impact upon the Vale of Glamorgan.
BCBC had provided a comment form for response to ensure that the consultation remained focused. It was the Council’s intention to complete and submit the consultation form to BCBC by the closing date of 9th September 2011. However, for ease of reference, a table summarising the Council’s comments was contained at Appendix 2 to the report.
This was a matter for Executive decision.
(1) T H A T the comments contained within the report be submitted to Bridgend County Borough Council on the appropriate forms as the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s formal response to Bridgend County Borough Council’s Deposit Local Development Plan consultation.
(2) T H A T a copy of the report be submitted to Planning Committee for information purposes.
Reasons for decisions
(1) To obtain Cabinet’s endorsement of the response to Bridgend County Borough Council in respect of their Deposit Local Development Plan.
(2) To ensure Planning Committee is informed of progress with Bridgend County Borough Council’s Local Development Plan.
C1421 MATTER WHICH THE CHAIRMAN HAD DECIDED WAS URGENT -
RESOLVED - T H A T the following matter which the Chairman had decided was urgent for the reason given beneath the minute heading be considered.
C1422 UPDATE ON COLLABORATIVE WORKING (L) (SCRUTINY - CORPORATE RESOURCES) -
Urgent by reason of the need to keep Members apprised of the evolving position regarding regional collaboration
Cabinet were updated on progress on collaborative working, and were requested to endorse the Council’s preferred arrangements for regional collaboration.
The Simpson report (“Local, Regional, National: What Services are Best Delivered Where?”), published in March 2011, was significant in accelerating the pace and extending the ambition of public service collaborative working in Wales. The report, broadly welcomed by the Welsh Government and Councils, proposed a flexible approach to methods of collaborative service delivery on a service-by-service basis. On 8th June, a Council submission detailing the Vale’s comprehensive response to the Simpson Review, and alluding to other WG-commissioned reviews of Education and Social Services structures, was endorsed by the Cabinet. The report before Cabinet updated on developments since then.
The Council had embarked on a number of collaborative arrangements with other organisations. A major initiative was the Memorandum of Understanding with Bridgend Council. A number of projects were being progressed under the aegis of a joint Programme Management Board, and attached to the report at Appendix 1 was the report to the Board meeting of 5th September 2011 which detailed the good progress being made.
The Council continued as a member of the Connecting South East Wales Board, and was playing an active part in two large scale regional collaborative projects: Prosiect Gwyrdd in respect of waste management and the South East Wales Improvement Collaborative (SEWIC) for Social Services.
Local collaboration under the aegis of the Vale Local Service Board (LSB) continued to progress well. The Minister for Local Government and Communities recently wrote to all LSB chairs notifying them of his intention to introduce a number of reforms to the way LSBs worked. The Vale LSB had already completed or embarked on these changes, and Appendix 3 to the report detailed a letter to the Minister that was sent by the Chair of the Vale LSB in response.
The Council was collaborating closely with Swansea Council on implementing and developing the Oracle eBusiness Suite of applications, in which both Councils had made significant investment. Although this investment had delivered significant business benefits to both Authorities, continuing to support, maintain and develop the suite comes at a significant cost. Both Councils believed that that there were better prospects of benefits to be gained in collaborating over the medium term, with a view to a joint approach to current updates and the joint procurement of a totally new replacement Oracle system, likely to be around 2016/17. The Councils had agreed to share development plans and to identify those areas where collaboration could be explored in a shorter timescale.
Given the accelerating pace of the collaboration agenda, there was hardly a Council service that was unaffected. There was, accordingly, a real challenge for managers to get to grips with a new way of managing, and to aid in this respect a note “Collaborative Working - Guidance for Managers” had been developed.
Members were advised of a less welcome development in the Welsh Government’s thinking about how regional collaboration should be progressed. The Simpson Report stressed the need for an approach which treated each service individually and allowed Councils to collaborate flexibly in differing consortia as best suited the circumstances. However, a statement was released on 21st July 2011, attached at Appendix 5 to the report, which outlined a much more prescriptive regime. According to this proposal, Welsh Councils would be divided into six regions, aligned with Local Health Board boundaries, with collaboration confined to the Councils within each region. Cardiff and the Vale was being proposed as one such region. Attached at Appendix 6 to the report was a copy of the letter sent by the Leader rejecting such a restrictive arrangement. The view was expressed that the proposed boundaries were arbitrary, and that the views of the Council’s partner organisations be sought via the Local Service Board.
The Vale of Glamorgan Council was a member of the Central South Education Consortium in partnership with Caerphilly, Bridgend, Merthyr and Rhondda Cynon Taff. The collaboration had developed in response to an explicit challenge from the Welsh Government to establish effective and resilient arrangements. On 13th April, Cabinet had agreed to progress collaboration arrangements towards a Joint School Improvement Service, subject to agreement on the final business case. Cabinets in Rhondda Cynon Taff, Caerphilly, Merthyr and Bridgend agreed the same approach at that time. Central South had recently been subject to a recent “stock take” by the Welsh Government School Standards Unit where the progress achieved and the commitment to joint working was recognised.
Attached at Appendix 7 to the report was a copy of the July update on Education Collaboration. Discussions were continuing, but as at 26th August, the position had been complicated by a request from Caerphilly to leave Central South (and to seek to join the South East Wales Consortium). The potential for Cardiff to joint Central South was an option which was being explored by the Chief Executives and Directors of Central South. The stance taken to date by the Vale’s Chief Executive and Director was that there were no objections in principle to Cardiff replacing Caerphilly, but in response to suggestions, a possible exclusive collaboration with Cardiff had been rejected as not being in the Vale’s interests for agile collaborative working.
This was a matter for Executive decision.
(1) T H A T the contents of the Leader’s letter to the Minister for Local Government and Communities on the Council’s preferred arrangements for regional collaboration based on the South Wales Police area be endorsed.
(2) T H A T Cabinet endorses the model for Education collaboration based on the wider Central South region.
Reason for decisions
(1&2) To ensure a flexible approach to collaboration that enables the Council to work with a range of partners in order to deliver improved services and maximise efficiencies.