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CABINET

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 18th April, 2012.

 

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, A.D. Hampton, H.J.W. James, R.L. Traherne and Mrs. D.M. Turner.

 

 

C1688                        APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE -

 

No apologies were received.

 

 

C1689                        MINUTES -

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 28th March, 2012 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

C1690                        DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

Councillor G.A. Cox declared an interest in Agenda Item No. 6, "Grants to Cowbridge Charter Trust" in view of his wife being a Member of the Cowbridge Charter Trust.  Councillor Cox vacated the room whilst the matter was under consideration.

 

Councillor A.M. Ernest declared a non-prejudicial interest in Agenda Item No. 5 “Grants to St. Donats Arts Centre” in that he was a Council appointed Board Member of St. Donats Arts Centre.

 

 

C1691                        JOINT CONSULTATIVE FORUM -

 

The following minutes of a meeting held on 5th March, 2012 were submitted:

 

Present:  Councillor Mrs. J.E. Charles (Chairman); Councillors A.D. Hampton, Mrs. M. Kelly Owen and Mrs. M. Randall.

 

Representatives of the Trade Unions:  Mr. P. Carter, Ms. C. Chilcott, Mr. N. Hart, Mr. R.M. Hughes, Mr. G. Moseley and Ms. S. Rees (UNISON); Mr. G. Beaudette (NUT); Mr. T. Cox (NASUWT); and Mr. N. Stokes (GMB).

 

 

(a)       Welcome -

 

The Chairman welcomed all present, referring specifically to Colette Chilcott who would be assuming the role of Vice-Chairman for the meeting.

 

 

(b)       Apologies for Absence -

 

These were received from Councillors Mrs. M.E.J. Birch and Ms. V.L. Ellis, Ms. P. Harvey (UNISON) and Mr. N. Patterson (UNITE).

 

 

(c)        Minutes and Matters Arising -

 

The minutes were accepted as a correct record.  The following matters were referred to under “matters arising”:

 

  • Facility time: discrimination against UNISON representatives – in response to Mr. Carter’s request that the issues be dealt with expeditiously given the time that had elapsed since the last meeting of the JCF, the Head of Human Resources agreed to address the issues by the end of April, 2012.
  • Schools’ Management of Attendance Policy – Mr. Cox referred to the NASUWT now being in a formal collective dispute regarding the foregoing, expressing the view that no changes had been brought about to the Policy and concerns in relation to the amount of consultation that had taken place.  He had written to the Chief Executive in January requesting a meeting and had been offered the date of 4th April which, Mr. Cox indicated, did not accord with the timescales set out in the relevant conditions of service.  The Head of Human Resources confirmed that the Council was aware of Mr. Cox’s concerns and that changes had, in fact, been made to the Policy as a result of the consultation undertaken. He also referred to the fact that the Council took a different viewpoint as to the issue of timescales and emphasised the fact that a meeting with the Chief Executive had been scheduled.
  • Facility time for national office – Mr. Cox drew attention to the fact that the meeting had not taken place in November.  Following some discussion during which, inter alia, the point was made that this issue was separate from that relating to the collective dispute (which would be the matter discussed on 4th April), the Head of Human Resources agreed to organise another meeting for that specific purpose.  In response to the suggestion from Mr. Cox that it would be useful to have a draft report circulated prior to that meeting, the Head of Human Resources agreed to facilitate the same.

 

 

(d)       Minutes of Directorate Consultative Groups -

 

(i)         Learning and Development: 7th November, 2011 -

 

Mr. Carter expressed concerns that the trade unions were not being consulted on ongoing staffing issues in respect of the Consortia which would require local trade union involvement prior to the implementation of the same by September.  In response, Mr. Carter was informed that those matters were being discussed with regional trade union representatives at Consortia level and that negotiations were continuing.  As a consequence the matter could not be discussed at a local level.  The Head of Human Resources suggested Mr. Carter raise his concerns in the first instance at the Directorate Consultative Group.

 

(ii)        Learning and Development: 16th January, 2012 -

 

Mr. Cox referred to there being a further meeting of the Directorate Consultative Group scheduled for the forthcoming week but that, in the interim, 3 staff members from Oakwood Primary School had been made redundant.  He indicated that he was not aware of any pro-active efforts being made to find those staff members suitable alternative employment or to formulate early retirement packages, referring also to the timing of the redundancies prior to the summer holidays and the likely adverse impact of that on their future careers.  Members were informed that this matter had been previously discussed within the Directorate with trade union representatives when the Council’s decision not to offer early retirement packages across the board because of the potential costs had been raised.  Mr. Cox was reminded that the Council had no power to compel Governing Bodies to employ staff under threat of redundancy and that pupil numbers at the school mentioned above were diminishing, thereby resulting in a reduction in the number of staff required.  Mr. Carter then referred to the continuing uncertainty as to the position of Learning Support Assistants, following which further reference was made by Mr. Cox to Council’s duty to seek suitable alternative employment for all of its employees.  Mr. Beaudette drew attention to the fact that staff other than those referred to above had already been made redundant and that this was a growing problem. 

 

Referring to the second paragraph of minute no. 2 of the Directorate meeting on 16th January in relation to the appointment of a Deputy Head, Mr. Hart asked if, indeed, appointments to that (and more senior) positions in schools were treated differently from appointments to other positions.  As indicated in the minutes of the Directorate meeting, it was confirmed that was, indeed, the case since such appointments had to be made in accordance with legislative requirements.  Mr. Beaudette then expressed the view that, despite there being specific regulations applicable to schools and the staff therein, the Council had in his opinion foisted the corporate Management of Attendance Policy onto schools.  The Head of Human Resources rebutted that statement by indicating that the corporate Policy had, in fact, been refined to suit the needs the schools better.  In response to questions, confirmation was given that the date of the meeting to discuss issues pertaining to the Management of Attendance Policy with the Chief Executive was  4th April and that the proposals currently being developed within HR in relation to redeployment/redundancy would be fed back to the trade unions.

 

(iii)       Social Services: 12th September, 2011 and 24th October, 2011-

 

No questions were raised on the issues discussed at either of the above meetings.  Mr. Carter asked that his appreciation of the working relationship between trade union representatives and management in both the Directorate of Social Services and that of Environmental and Economic Regeneration be recorded in the minutes.  He also expressed the hope that that relationship could be replicated throughout the Council.

 

 

(e)       Minutes of Corporate Health and Safety Committee: 23rd January, 2012 -

 

Mr. Carter referred to continuing concerns in respect of the amount and adequacy of the training received by agency staff.  The Corporate Health and Safety Officer confirmed that all agency staff received manual handling training through the auspices of the agency prior to their employment by the Council and that any other training necessary to undertake the work required was delivered by the Council through the induction process.  Mr. Carter referred to the passport system available for agency staff and Mr. Stokes proposed that agency staff should bring their training records with them prior to commencing work with the Council.

 

 

(f)         Update on Job Evaluation/Equal Pay -

 

The Head of Human Resources, in introducing the report, referred to the significance of the previous week in that the Council now had a new equality approved pay structure in place.  He indicated that approximately 83% of employees had signed up to the 'COT3' legal agreements and that it might take up to 12 months to complete all appeals.  He drew attention to the fact that there was a substantial amount of work involved in progressing the new pay arrangements over the coming months and ensuring that it provided a sustainable basis for the future.  In response to a question from Mr. Carter in relation to the issue of equal pay and whether it was too late to submit an equal pay claim, he responded that the Council was currently in discussions with Thompsons Solicitors and that it was a matter for employees as to whether they felt the need to submit an equal pay claim. 

 

 

(g)       Feedback on Policy Development -

 

The report set out the current position in relation to HR policy development as at 7th February, 2012.  There were no subsequent questions.

 

 

(h)       Requests for Information -

 

Mr. Carter had asked for the above matter to be brought before the JCF.  He introduced the topic by referring to numerous requests made by the Trade Unions for timely information to assist representatives in safeguarding/furthering the interests of their members, quoting for example the lack of information in respect of the TUPE transfer arrangements for staff engaged at the Leisure Centres and at Dyffryn.  He referred also to the various departmental restructuring exercises and to the implications of collaborative working for current staff, emphasising that the Trade Unions should be given the information necessary to fulfil their obligations to staff expeditiously and without the need to ask repeatedly for that information.  When referring to requests for the early release of documentation in relation to appeals, Mr. Carter was reminded of the requirements of, for example, the Data Protection Act and the difficulty of discussing such matters without going into specifics – which would be inappropriate in the JCF.  The Head of Human Resources indicated that the above matters should be raised at the Change Forum.  Both Mr. Carter and Mr. Stokes referred to their having raised the issue as to membership of Housing Panels at the Change Forum where they had been told that membership details were covered under the Data Protection legislation.  The Head of Human Resources suggested that they reiterate their concerns in this respect at the next meeting of the Change Forum.

 

This being the last meeting of the current municipal year and prior to the Local Government elections in May, the Chairman conveyed her thanks to all Members, Officers and Trade Union representatives on the Forum for their contributions over the period of her Chairmanship.

 

---------------

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the minutes be noted.

 

Reason for decision

 

Having regard to the views expressed.

 

 

C1692                        GRANTS TO COMMUNITY / VOLUNTARY ORGANISATIONS: ST. DONATS ARTS CENTRE (L) (SCRUTINY - CORPORATE RESOURCES) -

 

Approval was sought on the award of further funding in respect of St. Donats Arts Centre Ltd.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision.

 

RESOLVED -

 

(1)       T H A T grant funding to St. Donats Arts Centre Ltd. be approved in the sum of £35,000 per annum, payable annually in advance, for the three years commenced 1st April 2012.

 

(2)       T H A T a Deed of Grant for three years from 1st April 2012 be entered into with St. Donats Arts Centre Ltd.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)       To demonstrate the Council’s commitment to the organisation.

 

(2)       To formalise funding arrangements with the organisation.

 

 

C1693                        GRANTS TO COMMUNITY / VOLUNTARY ORGANISATIONS: COWBRIDGE CHARTER TRUST (L) (SCRUTINY - CORPORATE RESOURCES) -

 

Approval was sought on the award of further funding to Cowbridge Charter Trust in respect of works to the Cowbridge Town Walls.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision.

 

RESOLVED - T H A T grant funding to the Cowbridge Charter Trust be awarded in the sum of £6,693 for the purpose of further works to the Cowbridge Town Walls.

 

Reason for decision

 

To demonstrate support for the work of the Trust.

 

 

C1694                        RATIONALISATION OF PARTNERSHIPS (L) (SCRUTINY - ALL) -

 

Cabinet were advised of progress on the rationalisation of partnerships operating in the Vale of Glamorgan. 

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Local Service Board (LSB) received a report in May 2011 on the partnerships operating in the Vale of Glamorgan and proposals to review and potentially rationalise / amalgamate them in the light of the new Community Strategy.  The new integrated strategy, agreed in June 2011, aimed to improve links between organisational and community planning, the removal of unnecessary duplication across partnerships and better services delivered in partnership.

 

The LSB, in July 2011, considered a table of joint working groups categorised under the Key Partnerships framework.  The table identified existing partnerships and their remits to help identify which groups were still relevant, with the potential of reducing their number by amalgamation and rationalisation.  The exercise identified over 120 such workings groups, ranging from 4 under the Learning and Skills Partnership to 39 under the Health, Social Care and Wellbeing Partnership.  The LSB agreed a target of reducing working groups by 50%, in line with the target set by the Welsh Government in its consultation document “Shared Purpose - Shared Delivery”. 

 

A revised structure had been drafted, details were attached at Appendix A to the report.  This had been approved by the Key Partnerships and endorsed by the LSB.  This structure remained work in progress as it had been recognised  that further work was required to identify where there were further opportunities to amalgamate groups in the short to medium term and whether there were any gaps.  The new structure sought to ensure that there was a clear rationale for each working group reflecting the integrated delivery arrangements set out in the Community Strategy.  A guiding principle had been to minimise officer time spent attending meetings and avoiding duplication of groups and partnerships operating in “silos” whilst making sure groups which remained were fit for purpose and accountable.  An annual review would be conducted as a way of monitoring the number of groups and ensuring the partnership structure was viewed as a whole rather than consisting of separate entities. 

 

This was a matter for Executive decision.

 

RESOLVED -

 

(1)       T H A T the revised structure and ongoing progress to rationalise partnerships in the Vale be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T a report be presented to Cabinet in 12 months' time outlining progress in further rationalising partnerships in the Vale.

 

Reason for decisions

 

(1&2)  To maximise opportunities for cost effective integration of partnership working across the Vale.

 

 

C1695                        THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN SCHOOL INVESTMENT PROGRAMME (2012/13 TO 2019/20) (ELL) (SCRUTINY - LIFELONG LEARNING) -

 

Approval was sought for the implementation of the Vale of Glamorgan School Investment Programme (SIP) for the period 2012/13 to 2019/20.  A copy of the Programme was attached to the report.

 

The 21st Century Schools Programme was formally launched by the Welsh Government in March 2010 to support large scale capital building projects across Wales with the aim of enhancing school buildings to meet 21st Century educational needs. 

 

In line with the Welsh Government requirements, the Vale’s 21st Century Schools Strategic Outline Programme was submitted to the Welsh Government in December 2010 and at the time the Welsh Government was providing a 70% grant support intervention rate towards local authority school investment projects. 

 

In July 2011, the Minister for Education and Skills outlined in a written statement that Welsh Government contributions would be reduced to 50% and as a result, Local Authorities across Wales were invited to review and prepare revised forward outlook programmes for school capital investments.  On 16th November 2011, the Cabinet approved a revised forward outlook programme for the Vale called the Revised Band A programme of projects.  This submission was successful and in December 2011, a Conditional Offer was received from the Welsh Government (subject to conditions) for £10.48m. of Welsh Government grant support towards the total cost of £20.96m. which would transform and enhance various schools in Llantwit Major and Barry. 

 

In addition to the Revised Band A projects above, the Council was anticipated to draw down up to £33,360,650 of Welsh Government grant funding for the Penarth Learning Community (PLC) which represented a 70% grant support rate as the Council successfully procured this grant under the former Tranche 3 of the 21st Century School transitional grant funding.

 

In view of the above changes a new School Investment Programme (SIP) had been prepared and was appended to the report.

 

The new SIP sought to consolidate the recent history of Welsh Government funding for schools in the Vale of Glamorgan ranging from The Schools Building Improvement Grant, the 21st Century Schools Transitional Funding, followed by the launch of the 21st Century Schools Programme and outlined the Vale’s original Strategic Outline Programme, followed by summarising the reduction of Welsh Government funding under the 21st Century Schools Investment Programme and leading to the Revised band A programme of projects.

 

For the Vale of Glamorgan area, the SIP set out in one document both the planned capital investments for large scale new build / remodelling school projects and also outlined the ongoing improvement and renewal of all schools in the area.

 

Despite significant financial constraints, the SIP reported a track record of successful project implementation over the past five years by the Council with the delivery of circa £46m. of capital investments including the completed £22m. remodelling of Cowbridge Comprehensive School and just over £2m. invested in the feasibility and design of Penarth Learning Community.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision.

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the Vale of Glamorgan School Investment Programme (2012/13 to 2019/20) attached to the report at Appendix A be approved.

 

Reason for decision

 

To obtain Executive approval from Cabinet for the Vale of Glamorgan School Investment Programme (2012/13 to 2019/20).

 

 

C1696                        EMPTY HOMES STRATEGY 2012 - 2017 (HCS) (SCRUTINY - HOUSING AND PUBLIC PROTECTION) -

 

Cabinet were requested to adopt the Empty Homes Strategy 2012-2017. 

 

The proposed Strategy (attached at Appendix A to the report) set out the Council’s plans to bring empty homes back into use over the next five years.  It outlined a co-ordinated, proactive approach to tackling empty homes in partnership with relevant Council departments and stakeholders. 

 

The aims of the proposed Empty Homes Strategy were to:

 

·                    monitor empty homes

·                    provide advice, assistance and guidance to landlords and property owners

·                    reduce the negative effect of empty homes on our communities

·                    reduce the number of empty homes

·                    return empty homes to use

·                    promote the empty homes initiative.

 

Through the Strategy, the Council would target problematic empty homes that were: inactive in the housing market, unlikely to return to use without intervention from the Council and were the subject of valid complaints from the public, partners and Councillors. 

 

The Strategy would not cover short term empty properties, such as: transitional vacancies, due to the property being advertised for sale or rent, properties undergoing renovation prior to sale or rent, infrequently used properties such as holiday or second homes or student accommodation.

 

The Strategy proposed a range of services to assist landlords and property owners bring empty properties back into use, including: advice and assistance, the services of a social lettings agent, Landlord Accreditation Wales, property guardian schemes, financial assistance and incentives.

 

The Council had extensive legislative powers to intervene where it considered a property was unsafe or in an unacceptable condition.  These powers included:  enforcement activity such as serving Improvement, Abatement of Nuisance or Prohibition Notices on owners; Demolition Orders, Management Orders, slum clearance, Compulsory Purchase Orders and Empty Dwelling Management Orders under the Housing Act 2004. 

 

Enforcement in relation to empty properties fell within the service objectives of the Public Protection Service.  Empty homes were primarily dealt with by the Council’s Environmental Health (Housing) Enforcement Team in partnership with the housing department.

 

In April 2012, the Welsh Government was introducing the “Houses to Homes” initiative.  This provided £5m. between the local authorities to bring empty properties back into use.  This national loan scheme would be delivered through a local authority and the Welsh Government had invited interest. 

 

To qualify for the “Houses to Homes” funding, local authorities had to work collaboratively utilising the six regions model.  Of the £5m. funding available across Wales, Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan Councils had been allocated approximately £750,000.  The Vale’s share was £212,000 and this apportionment had been based on the level of stock in each local authority area.  The funding was a one-off amount and there would be a yet to be agreed cut off date for it to be spent.  The Vale of Glamorgan Council was working collaboratively in order to appropriately deliver the loan scheme and work was underway to ensure the scheme was available to empty property owners in the Vale of Glamorgan. 

 

The Strategy had been developed in partnership by the Council’s Public Sector Housing, Public Protection, Legal, Council Tax, Planning and Development Control departments and the Council’s partner Registered Social Landlords. 

 

Cabinet, in September 2011, granted authority to consult on the Strategy.  The consultation lasted six weeks and ended on 16th December 2011. 

 

Five consultation questionnaires were completed and returned.  These responses agreed with the aims and objectives of the Strategy.  No amendments had been made in response to the consultation questionnaires received. 

 

The Public Protection department had identified efficiency savings from the Grant Agency Service in order to appoint a temporary Empty Property Co-ordinator within Environmental Health for a period of 2 years.  The post would provide support to implement the Strategy and act as the public point of contact for empty properties and develop and manage public information on empty properties in the area.

 

The Council would also seek the support of partner Registered Social Landlords to enable an Environmental Health Officer or equivalent to be employed three days a week to take forward enforcement action that would include Compulsory Purchase Orders.  The Private Sector Housing Enforcement team would lead the implementation of Strategy.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision.

 

RESOLVED -

 

(1)       T H A T the Empty Homes Strategy 2012 - 2017 be accepted.

 

(2)       T H A T the Vale of Glamorgan Council lead the Houses to Homes loan scheme on behalf of the Vale and Cardiff Councils.

 

(3)       T H A T the report be referred to the Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection).

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)       To meet a key objective of the Public Protection and Housing Service Plans.

 

(2)       A lead authority for each region has to be nominated for the Houses to Homes loan scheme and the Vale of Glamorgan Council has the necessary expertise to lead.

 

(3)       To ensure that the Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection) monitors the Council’s performance against the Action Plan on a six monthly basis.

 

 

C1697                        REVIEW OF DISABLED FACILITIES GRANT SERVICE IMPROVEMENTS (HCS) (SCRUTINY - HOUSING AND PUBLIC PROTECTION) -

 

Cabinet considered the findings of the Internal DFG Audit Report and the Welsh Audit Office Report on DFGs and were requested to agree an action plan in response to the audit reports.

 

As part of the Internal Audit Plan 2011/12, a review was undertaken of the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Grant Agency Service procedures in relation to the awarding and delivery of Disabled Facility Grants. 

 

The Audit Opinion concluded “the effectiveness of the internal control environment was unsatisfactory and therefore only limited assurance could be placed upon the systems of internal control.  This overall opinion was supported by the identification of a combination of fundamental and / or substantial weaknesses were action was considered imperative to ensure that the Council was not exposed to high risks”.

 

However, the Audit Implementation Plan only contained one priority 1 recommendation which did not relate to the service provided but related only to the date used to calculate the national performance indicator.  The team had been using DFG Completion Date and not the Certified Date.  This recommendation was implemented before the Audit Report was received, and all performance data reported during 2011-12 had been calculated using the certified date.  On review of the impact of this finding on the 2010-11 performance, it had been calculated that the average number of days to complete a DFG would have been reduced by 15 days. 

 

The Internal Audit Report also identified a number of areas that required improvement. 

 

Recommendations from the Internal Audit had been included in the Action Plan attached to the report at Appendix 1. 

 

During August 2011, the Wales Audit Office conducted a review of the DFG service and concluded that “the Council was not yet delivering Disabled Facilities Grants effectively, but significant changes were underway that should improve performance”. 

 

However, in its conclusion the Wales Audit Office “recognised that the Council in the last four years has questioned the reasons for poor performance and operational procedures, and continues to do so.  We are also confident that the manager appointed in December 2010 to head the section responsible for processing DFG applications had the capacity and means to analyse and improve the service”.

 

In relation to proposals for improvement, the Wales Audit Office had recommended:

 

·                    improved performance through implementing the Internal Audit’s recommendations

·                    more modern methods of procurement to be considered

·                    customer feedback obtained, reviewed and processes amended when necessary

·                    improvement to the scrutiny, oversight and strategic management of the service by the wider development of qualities and quantity measures to enable Members to evaluate the service and outcomes.

 

The proposals for improvement had been included in the Action Plan. 

 

Over the past six months, changes had been implemented within the DFG service, and further actions were being progressed.

 

At the end of the 3rd Quarter of 2011/12, data indicated that the average number of days to complete a DFG from its first point of contact was 396 days.  Forecasts indicated that the service’s performance at the end of the reporting year would be better than predicted and would be around 400 days.  For 2010/11, the Welsh average for the delivery of DFGs was 387 days.  The Vale’s current average performance was within 9 days of this average and would also surpass the Council’s target time for 2011/12 of 500 days. 

 

The improvement to the service’s performance during 2011/12 had been achieved through tighter management of cases.  This improvement would continue into 2012/13 as changes to work procedures and procurement methods were implemented.

 

To introduce modern procurement methods into the service, the DFG team had been working with the Council’s Property Section to develop framework contracts.  The first of these contracts concerned the design and installation of stairlifts. 

 

In addition to the stairlift framework, a framework contract was being developed to complete bathroom and kitchen adaptations and to alter access into and around the client’s home. 

 

The introduction of both framework contracts would improve the quality of service to clients who chose to use the Council’s Grant Agency service to delivery adaptations.  Through these contracts, the time delay between the schedule of works being completed to works starting on site would be reduced and again would have a positive impact for both service users and the Council’s performance indicator. 

 

To enable Members to scrutinise the DFG process in more detail, from April 2012 additional local performance measures would be reported to Committee that broke the DFG process down into three stages.  These would be:

 

·                    time between OT first contact and OT request for joint visit for DFG

·                    time between OT and DFG joint visit and approval of DFG

·                    time between approval of DFG and completion of works.

 

In addition, these performance measures would be broken down further to report against children and adult DFGs.

 

From April 2012, customer satisfaction and outcome measures from a client perspective would also be collated on completion of each DFG.  This data would also be available to Scrutiny Committee and would be detailed in the Service Plan. 

 

This was a matter for Executive decision.

 

RESOLVED -

 

(1)       T H A T the findings of the Internal DFG Audit Report and Welsh Audit Office Report on DFGs be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the proposed DFG Action Plan be agreed.

 

(3)       T H A T the report be forwarded to the Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection) for consideration.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)       To apprise Members of the findings of the Internal DFG Audit Report and Welsh Audit Office Report on DFGs.

 

(2)       To agree the proposed DFG Action Plan.

 

(3)       To enable the Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection) the opportunity to consider the report.

 

 

C1698                        HIGHWAYMAINTENANCE CONTRACTS (VBS) (SCRUTINY - ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT) -

 

Approval was sought to extend and award a number of highway maintenance contracts. 

 

The Carriageway Resurfacing contract was awarded to Tarmac National Contracting in April 2011.  Under 26.1 of the contract on agreement of the engineer and contractor, the contract can be extended for a further two year period on an annual review basis. 

 

Tarmac National Contracting had indicated that they would be prepared to extend the contract for one year with a contract value increased by the Product Price Index from April 2012.  The latest Producer Price Index for February 2012 was 4.1%. 

 

Tenders for highway emergency and permanent repairs were invited from four Contractors and based on a quality / price model with a 20 / 80 split respectively.  LGA Ltd. were identified as the most competitive Tenderer for the 2012/13 contract. 

 

Tenders were invited from five Surface Dressing Contractors, and based on a quality / price model with a 20 / 80 split respectively, Road Maintenance Services Ltd. were identified as the most competitive. 

 

This was a matter for Executive decision.

 

RESOLVED -

 

(1)       T H A T the contract for Carriageway Resurfacing 2011/12, awarded to Tarmac National Contracting be extended until March 2013.

 

(2)       T H A T the contract for Highway Emergency and Permanent Repairs 2012/13 be awarded to LGA Limited until March 2013.

 

(3)       T H A T the contract for Highway Surface Dressing 2012/13 be awarded to Road Maintenance Services Limited until March 2013.

 

Reason for decisions

 

(1-3)    To ensure compliance with the Council’s Standing Orders and Financial Regulations.

 

 

C1699                        FUNDING ARRANGEMENTS - HIGHWAY ASSETS (VBS) (SCRUTINY - ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT) -

 

Approval was sought to utilise funding from Visible Services’ reserves to continue to address the backlog of highway repairs, and Cabinet were informed of other funding arrangements that would assist in addressing this ongoing problem.

 

It was noted that reference to Evenlode Road, Penarth on the final page of Appendix 6 to the report should read "Evenlode Avenue".

 

The backlog of highway resurfacing had almost doubled since 2009/10, despite significant spending in this area over the period.  The main cause of this had been a national under investment in highway repairs over the past 20 years, further exacerbated by the severe winters of 2009/10 and 2010/11.

 

Appendix 1 to the report detailed the funding arrangements for highway resurfacing and repairs for the period 2007/08 to 2011/12.  The total budget (Capital and Revenue) for resurfacing and road repairs stood at £2.411m. for the 2011/12 financial year.  This included an additional one off budget of £900k. made available from departmental savings last year and a capital grant of £190,840 received from the Welsh Government in December 2011.

 

Additionally, it was proposed that Cabinet agree to an additional funding amount from the Visible Services reserve of £150k. for the previous financial year 2011/12.  It was also proposed that Cabinet approve the use of £450k. in 2012/13 to ensure continuing improvement to the highway network.

 

The costs of the Three Year Highway Maintenance Resurfacing Plan had unfortunately continued to rise due to additional roads requiring attention and the pace of this deterioration being greater than that of repair.  The Plan had proved invaluable in ensuring that the relevant highways received the most appropriate forms of surface treatment and at the correct time.

 

Additionally, despite all the investment, the value of Council’s Three Year Highway Maintenance Plan had continued to increase year upon year from its inception in 2009/10 when the total stood at £2.36m.  The 2011/12 Plan now stood at a value of £4.17m.

 

As part of the Road Maintenance Grant from the Welsh Government in 2010/11, an amount of £300k. was set aside to undertake highways asset assessments across Wales. 

 

The Highways Asset Management Plan (HAMP) commenced in May 2010 with regular workshops held on an area basis working on a number of asset management models tailored for each Authority.  The models included Highway Deterioration Modelling, Cost Protection and Valuation, Budget Profiling and Risk Management and included Life Cycle Cost Analysis. 

 

The production of the new Vale of Glamorgan Highways Asset Management Plan was underway with the first four chapters complete.  This would contribute to the annual report to be submitted to Welsh Government on Highway Asset Data Management.

 

The Welsh Government continued to support HAMP across Wales and had provided a further £500k. funding for the 2011/12 financial year.  Part of the funding (approximately £14k. per Authority) was for the setting up of systems for the collection of footway condition data.  This was an area where there was very little data available, with only one Council in Wales having undertaken this work.

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Footway Condition project commenced in September 2011 and the report would provide a comprehensive understanding of footway condition across Wales and would allow the Welsh Government to determine the backlog of work for each Authority.  Importantly, for the Vale of Glamorgan, this information would assist officers in preparing accurate and timely footway repair and refurbishment schedules, the demands for which could then be compared with that of other highway assets.

 

On 31st January 2012, the Welsh Government approved £4m. of revenue grant funding for the 2012/13 financial year.  The funding was for a 22 year period and was being provided to allow local authorities to free up their own resources for prudential borrowing up to an expected aggregate total of £170m.  across Wales.  This was exclusively for capital highway improvement investment.  The allocation for the Vale of Glamorgan for 2012/13 was £151,813.  The funding provided over the 22 year period would enable the Vale of Glamorgan to prudentially borrow £6.7m. over the three year period 2012/13 to 2014/15. 

 

The Local Government Borrowing Initiative (LGBI) was supported by the submission of a Business Justification Case (BJC) and a copy of the BJC submitted by the Vale of Glamorgan was attached at Appendix 6 to the report.  This contained such pertinent information relating to the delivery of the project to be funded through the LGBI process.

 

The BJC submission for the Vale of Glamorgan had been agreed by the Highways Engineering Services Group and had been signed off by the Council’s S.151 officer.  This would allow the funding release for the 2012/13 period from the Welsh Government.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision.

 

RESOLVED -

 

(1)       T H A T the use of £750,000 from the Visible Services reserve for the 2011/12 and 2012/13 financial periods be approved.

 

(2)       T H A T the £190,840 capital funding provided by the Welsh Government for 2011/12, the current position with the Highway Asset Management Plan and the implications of the recently announced Local Government Borrowing Initiative for highway assets for the 2012-15 period be noted.

 

(3)       T H A T the report be forwarded to the Scrutiny Committees (Corporate Resources) and (Economy and Environment) for information.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)       To continue to assist in funding the significant increase in the number of highway repairs necessary since the severe winters of 2009/10 and 2010/11.

 

(2)       To ensure that Cabinet are kept fully informed on these matters.

 

(3)       To advise the relevant Scrutiny Committees of the current and future positions for highway asset funding.

 

 

C1700                        CITY REGIONS TASK AND FINISH GROUP (EDR) (SCRUTINY - ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT) -

 

Cabinet were advised of the establishment of the City Regions Task and Finish Group, and the publication of a “City Regions Task and Finish Group - “City Regions’ Definition and Criteria” Document.  Cabinet also considered a response to the questions raised in the Document that were relevant to the Vale of Glamorgan.  A copy of the Document was attached at Appendix A to the report. 

 

The task of the Group was:

 

“To decide, on the basis of objective evidence, whether a city region approach to economic development will deliver an increase in jobs and prosperity for Wales as a whole.  If this is the case, what parts of Wales should be included and why, and what is needed for the approach to be successful?”.

 

The published Document constituted a call for evidence for supporting city regions.  The paper set out the economic context and explained that there were four strong city regions in the UK (these being Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool and Bristol) and were in close proximity and therefore competed with Wales. 

 

In relation to Wales, the paper considered what, if any, possibilities existed for developing a city region concept.  To consider this issue, the Task and Finish Group considered commuting flows, travel to work areas as well as the urban settlement pattern and looked at a range of possibilities as follows:

 

·                    no city regions in Wales

·                    one city region in South Wales: more or less covering the whole of the former Industrial South Wales definition

·                    two city regions in South Wales: South East Wales and Swansea Bay

·                    three city regions in South Wales: Cardiff, Swansea and Newport

·                    one city region in North Wales along the A55 corridor

·                    one city region in North Wales / North West England: Wrexham, Deeside and Chester.

 

The Document set a series of questions, some of which related to city regions generally and some of which related to specific cities and potential city regions.  A great many of the questions therefore related to areas and issues outside of South East Wales and in such instances, comments were made in a general manner.

 

The report outlined the questions and the proposed answers thereto.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision.

 

RESOLVED -

 

(1)       T H A T the publication of the “City Regions’ Definition and Criteria” Document be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the issuing of the report to the Task and Finish Group as the Council’s response to the Document be approved.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)       To note the publication of the “City Regions’ Definition and Criteria” Document.

 

(2)       To allow the Vale of Glamorgan Council to respond to the Document.

 

 

C1701                        COMMUNITY GROWN FOOD MANAGEMENT AGREEMENT FOR PARCEL OF LAND AT SIR IVOR PLACE, DINAS POWYS (EDR) (SCRUTINY - ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT) -

 

Approval was sought to enter into a Management Agreement with Dinas Powys Residents’ Group for the parcel of land located at Sir Ivor Place, Dinas Powys.  The land was currently a disused play area and adjoining overgrown area and the Group was seeking to replace it with a community grown food area.

 

The site was Council owned, and currently managed by the Housing Service.  It had previously been a play area which had now been decommissioned.  The site had been reviewed and had been deemed to have no sale value or building potential due to the fact that it had no vehicular access. 

 

The site was now overgrown and subject to fly tipping, graffiti, dog fouling and anti social behaviour.  This had led the Dinas Powys Residents’ Group with the support of Creative Rural Communities, the Council’s Rural Regeneration Partnership, to seek to manage the site as a community growing area.

 

The Dinas Powys Residents’ Group was a fully constituted Group and had been actively working with the community and Council to improve and maintain facilities within the Dinas Powys area for three and a half years. 

 

The Residents’ Group had already consulted with the community and had clearly demonstrated community support for the project.  In addition to this, they had also held a number of public awareness raising meetings.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision.

 

RESOLVED -

 

(1)       T H A T, subject to sufficient funding being awarded by Tidy Towns, the entry into a Management Agreement for the land with the Dinas Powys Residents’ Group be approved.

 

(2)       T H A T authority be granted to the Director of Legal, Public Protection and Housing Services to negotiate the terms and conditions of the Management Agreement in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Housing and Community Safety.

 

(3)       T H A T the Director of Legal, Public Protection and Housing Services be authorised to sign the Management Agreement on behalf of the Council.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)       To obtain the correct consents and permissions to progress this project, to support and assist the work of voluntary groups whilst protecting the interests of the Council in the future control of the land.

 

(2)       To provide the necessary authority to agree the Management Agreement.

 

 (3)      To ensure the correct execution and completion of the relevant legal documentation.

 

 

C1702                        DELIVERING INTEGRATED SOCIAL CARE AND HEALTH SERVICES TO MEET THE NEEDS OF LOCAL PEOPLE (SCS) (SCRUTINY - SOCIAL CARE AND HEALTH) -

 

Cabinet received a report which:

 

·                    updated on progress made by the formal programme board, which was overseeing the operational integration of selected health and social care services across the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff

·                    updated on the implementation plan for developing integrated health and social care services for older people.

 

A number of Local Health Boards (LHBs) provide NHS services in the Vale of Glamorgan.  The majority of patients are assisted by Cardiff and Vale University Health Board (C&V UHB).  Since April 2011, primary care services in the Western Vale had been provided by C&V UHB but the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board (ABMU) continued to take responsibility for Mental Health and Maternity services.  ABMU was also the provider of specialist NHS services to people in the Vale of Glamorgan who had a learning disability and Cwm Taff LHB managed Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) across the region. 

 

The Welsh Government had considerable expectations of a step change in the scale of collaboration between social services directorates and between social services and other key services, especially the NHS. 

 

Across the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff, the two local authorities and the University Local Health Board recognised at an early stage the need for action in developing integrated health and social care services which were seamless, co-ordinated and responsive.  For this reason, the three organisations agreed to create a programme board which would ensure that local government and the NHS in this area worked collaboratively in delivering change, within current statutory and organisational governance arrangements.

 

Chairmanship of the programme board rotated on an annual basis between non-officer members of the three statutory organisations.  The programme board was made up senior corporate officers from the three statutory organisations as well as representatives from both third sector umbrella organisations, recognising the key role of the third sector in moving towards more integrated models of care. 

 

Cabinet routinely received the minutes of programme board meetings which demonstrated significant progress in some of the workstreams whereas others were relatively new and still at an early stage of development.

 

The benefits of collaboration and integrated services could be considerable - economies of scale, shared skills, more efficient use of resources (reduced management costs, back office savings), whole systems planning, achieving the cultural change within organisations needed to produce more seamless and co-ordinated care etc.  However, the programme board recognised that these benefits could be lost because the possible costs of partnership working were not managed well enough.

 

For this reason, the programme board had been working hard to reach agreement on shared values to ensure strong sponsorship at a high level within all three organisations and to identify common difficulties and mutually beneficial outcomes.

 

Historically, Older People’s services had been less integrated than areas such as Mental Health and Learning Disabilities.  However, in the past year, a number of important developments had taken place in the Vale of Glamorgan:

 

·                    The Vale Intermediate Care Service had been co-located with Community Rehabilitation (Health therapies).  This had created a Community Resource Service, a development led by the Vale Locality team and managed through the joint appointment with C&V UHB.  The new service was already generating significant improvements.  Service users were less confused as they experience a more co-ordinated approach, rather than visits by many different professions all appearing to have a different agenda.  Linking review information allows more accurate assessment for future planning and time was being saved in organising aids and adaptations.

·                    The restructuring of teams and management posts in Adult Services had created an Operational Manager post for the Vale Locality as a whole, responsible for older people’s services and for services to people with physical disabilities. 

 

The programme board had agreed to give particular priority to the older people’s services workstream over the next year and the Service Delivery Programme had been renamed “The Wyn Campaign”.  From September 2011 to March 2012, the Campaign had achieved the following:

 

·                    an agreed vision across the partner agencies

·                    an agreed new model of service delivery for frail older people

·                    agreed outcomes-based performance indicators

·                    a better understanding of the provision of public and third sector community based services across the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff, and the gaps which needed to be addressed in order to implement the new model

·                    the embedding of key pathways into the new model including Falls, Dementia, and End of Life Care

·                    outline proposals for Phase 2 of the Community Resource Teams in order to provide a more complete crisis response to avoid unnecessary admission to hospital and facilitate early discharge

·                    implementation of a Proof of Concept pilot for a Frail Older Persons Advice and Liaison Service.  This would identify frail older people in the Emergency Unit, provide a prompt Comprehensive  Geriatric Assessment and multidisciplinary  plan, returning patients back to the community and CRTs wherever possible

·                    an agreed model for an Integrated Complex Discharge Support Team and detailed implementation plan

·                    work commissioned from Oxford Brookes University’s Institute of Public Care (financed by Welsh Government) to produce a Joint Market Position Statement for longer term care.

 

The Implementation Plan for 2012-13 would see the Campaign gather further momentum.  Plans included further development of:

 

·                    universal services, including a focus on public health priorities, early identification of frail older people in the community to facilitate proactive signposting and information giving, and effective support for unpaid carers before crisis point was reached

·                    targeted interventions including improved crisis response in the community, improved hospital experience via key pathways, and more effective medicines management in the community

·                    joint commissioning for longer term care, incorporating and building on the work of the Institute of Public Care, and exploring options for formalised partnership arrangements.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision.

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the contents of the report be noted.

 

Reason for decision

 

To ensure that Cabinet is aware of the progress made to date and supports implementation of the actions agreed by the programme board.

 

 

C1703                        SOCIAL SERVICES CHANGE PLAN 2011 - 2014: PROGRESS REPORT (SCS) - (SCRUTINY - SOCIAL CARE AND HEALTH) -

 

Cabinet were advised of the progress made in delivering the actions in the Social Services Change Plan 2011 - 2014.

 

The Change Plan came into effect in April 2011 and dealt primarily with those issues with a corporate approach, across Council Directorates, and was required to deliver appropriate action.  The Corporate Management Team sponsored the Change Plan as a key programme of work and there was an implementation group comprising officer representatives from across the Council.  Six monthly progress reports were submitted to the Corporate Management Team and consideration of these reports by the Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health) and by Cabinet was intended to allow robust monitoring and oversight.

 

The second progress report, submitted to Scrutiny Committee on 12th March 2012, was attached at Annex A to the report.  The report indicated good overall progress with this long term agenda for change and identified where delays in delivery had occurred, with some suggested revisions to timescales to support completion of actions across all the priority areas.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision.

 

RESOLVED -

 

(1)       T H A T the progress made in delivering the actions in the Social Services Change Plan be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T those areas where implementing some actions has been delayed, and the work being done to expedite delivery be noted.

 

Reason for decisions

 

(1&2)  To provide an update on implementation of the Social Services Change Plan, in accordance with agreed monitoring mechanisms.

 

 

 

 

 

C1704                        SETTING A STANDARD CONTRACTING RATE FOR PLACES IN INDEPENDENT RESIDENTIAL HOMES FOR OLDER PEOPLE (SCS) (SCRUTINY - SOCIAL CARE AND HEALTH) -

 

Cabinet were advised of the process which would be used to determine the fees that the Council would pay in 2012/13 when contracting for places in residential care homes for older people run by the independent sector.

 

Since January 2012, officers from the Social Services Directorate had met with representatives of the independent care home sector in the Vale of Glamorgan on three occasions.  These meetings were used to continue sharing information about current pressures within the independent sector and to identify any changes that may be required to the fee-setting methodology in response.

 

One of the meetings was attended by officers from the Council, representatives from the care home sector and external experts who had worked with the Council on this matter since 2007/08.  The issues raised at the meeting were still being explored, including differentiated rewards for quality.

 

Additionally, there was a need to consider with the providers the implications of adopting an “open book approach” for ascertaining costs, profits, relative efficiency and forward investment or business plans.  Such an approach was required in order to deal with questions about financial viability, sustainable provision of residential care and safeguarding the welfare of current residents. 

 

It was proposed that, if possible, a report be brought to Cabinet in June recommending the standard care home fees for 2012/13.  This timescale had been discussed and agreed with the representatives of the independent sector providers.

 

Some issues would take longer to resolve, including development of:

 

·                    a quality framework as a method of assessing the quality of care in each home and making appropriate payments to high performing care homes

·                    an audit framework to evaluate the financial viability of care homes.

 

It had been agreed with representatives of the independent sector that this work would be completed by September 2012, with the audits scheduled to take place between October and March.  The findings would be included as part of the process for determining care home fees for 2013/14.

 

The Cabinet Member for Social and Care Services advised that the legislative context within which the Council set fees for residential and nursing care placement required that it must aim to ensure stability and sustainability in the provision of placements, so that obligations under the community care legislation can be met.

 

The Fulfilled Lives, Supportive Communities Commissioning Framework Guidance and Good practice was issued under section 7(1) of the Local Authority Social Services Act 1970 and it was, therefore, statutory guidance.  Section 10 of the guidance indicated the factors which a Council should take into account when considering the issue of fee setting.

 

·                    Commissioners would have to take into account the full range of demands on them and their strategic priorities, as well as the resources they had at their disposal in developing their commissioning strategies.

·                    Fee setting must take into account the legitimate and future costs faced by providers as well as the factors that affect those costs and the potential for improved performance and more cost effective ways of operating.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision.

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the process to be used be agreed.

 

Reason for decision

 

To clarify the process for establishing 2012/13 fee levels.

 

 

C1705                        PUBLIC PROTECTION - PROPOSED FEES AND CHARGES 2012/13 (LPP) (SCRUTINY - HOUSING AND PUBLIC PROTECTION) -

 

Cabinet considered proposals for increases in fees and charges in respect of those functions managed by Public Protection.

 

Fees generally had been increased in line with the published Retail Price Index figures.  However, for this financial year it was proposed to increase charges by the same rate as the Council Tax i.e. 1.75%.

 

Trading Standards charges under the Weights and Measures Act 1985 would be set regionally but would not be published until April 2012.  These fees and charges would be the subject of a further report.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision.

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the schedule of fees and charges listed in Appendix 1 to the report be approved and that they become effective from 1st May, 2012.

 

Reason for decision

 

To ensure fees are increased in line with inflation, statutory requirements and reflect more accurately the actual cost of providing services.

 

 

 

C1706                        REGIONAL TRANSPORT CONSORTIA GRANT (RTCG), LOCAL ROAD SAFETY GRANT (LRSG) AND SAFE ROUTES IN COMMUNITIES (SRIC) GRANT AWARD 2012/2013 (PT) (SCRUTINY - ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT) -

 

Cabinet were advised of the funding awarded by the Welsh Government (WG) to the Council from RTCG, LRSG and SRIC.

 

The Regional Transport Plan (RTP) was adopted in 2009 by the WG and funding was sought through the bidding process for RTCG for 2010/11 and 2011/12 as part of a five year delivery programme of the RTP.  The WG requires the Regional Consortia to bid for funding annually and this year the funding for the South East Wales Transport Alliance (Sewta) Region had been awarded in excess of £8m. 

 

Following last year’s announcement by WG that they would not be offering LRSG direct to local authorities and that it would be some 30% less than in previous years, for 2012/13 funding the grant had again been reduced by approximately 7%.  Therefore, the bid for 2012/13 included all education elements currently delivered, with the exception of Pass plus Cymru and Road Safety Publicity which were bid for, and would be delivered on a regional basis to offer economies of scale.  The only engineering scheme bid for was the Barry Docks Link Road priority road safety engineering scheme as it was significantly more cost than the schemes submitted normally and scored highly within the region having been assessed by the Road Safety Capital Working Group using the criteria agree by WG and informed by accident data.

 

The total amount of grant available to the Council for 2012/13 was £1,200,000.  Of this, £600,000 had been allocated to the Council by LRSG Capital for the Barry Docks Link Road, £107,000 for LRSG Revenue for Education and Training, £185,000 for cycling schemes under the RTCG and £308,000 for element 7 of the Barry Comprehensive SRIC Scheme.

 

The LRSG Revenue Schemes which had been funded were as follows:

 

·                    continued funding for one full time and one part time Road Safety Officer Posts to deliver educational road safety schemes e.g. tufty, Junior Road Safety Officer, cycle training and management of cycle training, promotional and road safety launches

·                    continued funding for a further 12 months of the Kerbcraft (Child Pedestrian Training) scheme

·                    continuation of the Children’s Traffic Club Scheme

·                    funding for Cycle training school pupils to National Standards Levels 1 and 2

·                    additional funding to supplement materials / resources for road safety initiatives

·                    continuation of the advanced Bike Safe programme for motorcyclists.

 

The £185,000 Regional Transport Grant would be used for:

 

·                    National Cycle Network - £50,000 had been awarded to match fund the £425,000 awarded from the Creative Rural Communities European Grant fund (the £50,000 was part of a three year match fund programme totalling £150,000).  Works would include providing cycle infrastructure in various rural locations within the Vale of Glamorgan.

·                    Pont-y-Werin connections - £135,000 to continue providing the cycle infrastructure within the Penarth area to improve cycle routes to Pont-y-Werin.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision.

 

RESOLVED -

 

(1)       T H A T the information contained within the report be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the acceptance of the Regional Transport Consortia Grant, the Local Road Safety Grant and the Safe Routes in Communities Grant be approved.

 

(3)       T H A T the Regional Transport Consortia Grant, the Local Road Safety Grant and the Safe Routes in Communities Grant be included in the Council’s Capital Programme for 2012/13.

 

(4)       T H A T all proposed schemes be subject to full consultation with local Ward Members.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)       To advise Members of the procedures, terms and conditions of the Local Road Safety Grant, Regional Transport Consortia Grant and Safe Routes in Communities Grant.

 

(2)       To approve the acceptance of the grants within the WG deadline.

 

(3)       To enable the Council’s Capital Programme for 2012/13 to reflect the grants awarded to the Council via Sewta by the WG.

 

(4)       To obtain the views of local Ward Members.

 

 

C1707                        ISSUES AFFECTING YOUNG PEOPLE WHO ARE LOOKED AFTER, LEAVING CARE OR HOMELESS (SCS AND HCS) (SCRUTINY - SOCIAL CARE AND HEALTH) -

 

Cabinet was provided with information from the Corporate Parenting panel concerning issues affecting young people who were looked after, leaving care or homeless.

 

A discussion paper outlining the issues affecting young people who are looked after, leaving care or homeless was presented to Corporate Parenting Panel on 28th February 2012.  A copy of the report was attached at Appendix 1 to the report and the Panel requested that the report be updated and presented to Cabinet for consideration of the issues it outlined.

 

Young people who had housing and support issues, including homelessness, were previously dealt with on a discrete basis by each individual agency with which they came into contact.  In recent years, there had been a number of decisions by the Courts concerning the interrelationship between duties under the Children Act 1989 and duties under the Housing Act 1996 as they related to young people aged 16 or 17 who required accommodation.  These judgements had clarified the legal position that the duty under Section 20 of the 1989 Act took precedence over the duties under the 1996 Act when providing for children and young people who required accommodation and were assessed as being “in need”. 

 

In the Vale, there has been a considerable increase in the number of young people in this age group accommodation by Social Services as a result of applying case law.  Based on the new national minimum fostering allowance rates, if fostering placements were used to meet this demand, it would cost a minimum of £2,000 per week in allowances alone.

 

In response to the emerging case law and in partnership with the Welsh Government, the Vale of Glamorgan Council commissioned specialists in field of homelessness and social care services to facilitate production of a Young People’s Housing and Support Action Plan.  It was aimed at improving the co-ordination of services for young people and the housing and support options available. 

 

Additionally, in partnership with Llamau, the Council had developed a One Stop Shop for all 16-25 year olds who needed help with accommodation issues.  The focus of the service was on early advice and prevention of homelessness. 

 

The range of accommodation options available within the Vale of Glamorgan was summarised in the report.  All of the outlined accommodation was occupied currently, and this was generally the case.  The increasing demand for accommodation for young people presenting as homeless was adversely affecting the accommodation options available for young people leaving care and preparing for independence.

 

It was clear that the range and levels of supported accommodation needed to increase in order to meet statutory obligations.  The following options had been identified:

 

·                    semi-supported shared accommodation for young people preparing to leave care aged 16-18 years (e.g. supported lodgings / 6 bed unit)

·                    24 hour high intensity shared accommodation and support for young people aged 16-18 who cannot live in foster placements and require closer supervision and support than the Vale’s existing accommodation options provide (e.g. development of a 4 bed unit)

·                    small units of supported accommodation for young people aged 16-18 with offending behaviour or risky behaviour who cannot live within foster placements and require closer supervision and support than our existing accommodation options provide

·                    supported accommodation for care leavers who do not meet the criteria for adult social services but will struggle to live independently (e.g. lower threshold adult placement scheme / supported lodgings).

 

Officers in the Housing Division had indicated that they would be able to identify a family house for use by Social Services for shared accommodation for young people.  However, the property would need careful management, preferably on a 24 hour basis, to ensure that the young people were adhering to the licence agreements and receiving appropriate support and that any tenancy issues were addressed quickly.  This provision would require capital and revenue funding.  The capital investment required was estimated at £50,000 to develop the property to the required standard and the revenue costs would be £65,000 per year.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision.

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the contents of the report be noted, in particular:

 

·                    the assessment process for young people aged 16 and 17 years who present as homeless and become looked after; and

·                    the proposals for enabling Social Services and Housing Services to provide a wider range of support and accommodation options for young people aged 16-18 years, if resources can be made available.

 

Reason for decision

 

To ensure that Cabinet is aware of the need to make changes in the provision of services to young people who are looked after, leaving care or aged 16 and 17 years and homeless.

 

 

C1708                        CORPORATE IMPROVEMENT OBJECTIVES 2012/13 (L) (SCRUTINY - ALL) -

                        CORPORATE IMPROVEMENT OBJECTIVES 2012/13 (REF) –

 

The Chairman agreed, as a matter of urgency, to receive references from Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health) of 16th April, 2012 and Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) of 17th April, 2012 by reason of the need to consider them in conjunction with this item.

 

Endorsement was sought of proposed Corporate Improvement Objectives for 2012/13.

 

Currently, the Corporate Plan included a mixture of improvement objectives (defined as those areas where improvements were needed because of existing deficiencies) and other Council priorities.  The Council’s improvement objectives needed to focus specifically on those areas where there was a need for improvement.

 

Corporate Plan objectives would not be amended for 2012/13, but a full review of the Corporate Plan 2010/14 was planned during 2012 post Local Government elections in May.

 

As an interim measure to address the issues raised by the Auditor General in his Annual Improvement Report, an analysis of the Corporate Plan had been undertaken to identify the Council’s key improvement objectives for 2012/13 along with relevant actions and measures that contributed towards achieving these.

 

Eight Improvement Objectives were proposed for 2012/13 following an analysis of the Corporate Plan and a review of service performance to date, corporate risks and findings from recent Wales Audit Office reviews / improvement studies and other regulators’ inspections.  Appendix 1 to the report outlined the proposed objectives and Appendix 2 provided a rationale for the proposed improvement objectives.

 

The 2012/13 Improvement Plan Part 1 would need to be amended to reflect the revised improvement objectives including relevant performance measures.  A statement explaining how progress would be measured and reported would also be included.

 

Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health) had, on 16th April 2012, considered the report and had recommended

 

(1)       T H A T  Corporate objective 2 be amended to read “ To reduce the time taken to deliver disabled facilities grants to children and young people and to adults to achieve as a minimum the Welsh average performance of 2011-2012.” .

 

(2)       T H A T Cabinet be requested to endorse Recommendation (1) above and refer same to Full Council.

 

Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) had, on 17th April 2012, also considered the report and had recommended

 

(1)       T H A T an additional key objective be included “to develop Communities First schemes to raise relevant areas out of deprivation in line with Welsh Government standards (index of deprivation) “.

 

(2)       T H A T Cabinet be requested to endorse Recommendation (1) above and refer same to Full Council.

 

With regard to the comments from Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health), Cabinet referred those to Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection) which was meeting later this day.

 

With regard to the reference from Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment), Cabinet were of the view that any new key objective should be measurable, and as the Communities First programme was currently in the process of being reorganised and as the Council was only one of a number of partners able to influence levels of deprivation, more work should be carried out to develop a meaningful key objective.  Subject to further work being carried out this could be considered for inclusion as a key objective for 2013/14.

 

This was a matter for decision by the Council.

 

Having considered the contents of the report together with the recommendations of Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health) and Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment), it was

 

RESOLVED -

 

(1)       T H A T the reference from Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health) be referred to Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection) for consideration.

 

(2)       T H A T no decision be taken on the reference from Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) at present, and that more consideration be given to the inclusion of the additional key objective for 2013/14.

 

(3)       T H A T the proposed Corporate Improvement Objectives for 2012/13 as contained in the report be endorsed.

 

(4)       T H A T the proposed Corporate Improvement Objectives be referred to Council for approval on 25th April, 2012.

 

(5)       T H A T the proposed Objectives be incorporated in the Part 1 Improvement Plan 2012/13.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)       The objective falls under the responsibility of the Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection).

 

(2)       To develop a measurable key objective.

 

(3)       To ensure that the Council's Corporate Plan 2010/14 identifies key annual improvement priorities for 2012/13 in line with requirements of the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011.

 

(4)       To enable the Council to more easily demonstrate achievement of its objectives.

 

(5)       To meet the Auditor General for Wales' recommendation as outlined in the 2012 Annual Improvement Report.

 

 

C1709                        MATTERS WHICH THE CHAIRMAN HAD DECIDED WERE URGENT -

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the following matters which the Chairman had decided were urgent for the reasons given beneath the minute heading be considered.

 

 

C1710                        CENTRAL SOUTH CONSORTIUM (ELL) (SCRUTINY – LIFELONG LEARNING) –

Urgent by reason of the need to ensure that Cabinet Members are aware of significant and recent development which will affect future education structures within the Vale of Glamorgan

 

Cabinet were apprised of the progress achieved in developing Education Consortia arrangements (the Central South Consortium (CSC)) to deliver a Joint Education Service on behalf of the five Authorities of Central South i.e. Bridgend, Cardiff, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Merthyr Tydfil and the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

The Consortium was expected to achieve two key objectives through partnership working:

 

·                    to raise standards

·                    to sustain key services within available resources.

 

Following the decision of Caerphilly to leave the current ESIS structure to join the South East Consortium and for Cardiff to leave the South East Consortium to join CSC, a business case was developed and presented on behalf of the five Central South Local Authorities to Welsh Government in November 2011.

 

Following submission of the business case and presentation to the Minister by the Consortium Leaders and Chief Executives, considerable effort had been committed by staff across the five Authorities to create and ensure delivery of an operational model by September 2012.

 

The key components of the new model were:

 

·                    a Joint Education Service fulfilling Local Authority statutory functions for School Improvement Services

·                    a high quality Data Service which would enable forensic analysis of pupil level data to inform and support monitoring and challenge processes

·                    clearly defined Strategy Lead Officers to deliver national strategies (e.g. numeracy and literacy) and also local priorities

·                    a Consortium Traded Service providing high level support to Local Authorities and schools on a self-financing basis.

 

Current priority work streams to deliver this major project included:

 

·                    Joint Education Service final design

·                    School Improvement process design

·                    Traded Services modelling

·                    Management of Caerphilly departure assets / liabilities

·                    Staffing arrangements

·                    Teaching Associations / Trade Union consultation

·                    Governance arrangements design

·                    Communication consultation arrangements

·                    Financial modelling.

 

The project management arrangements were supported by Rhondda Cynon Taff staff.  It had also been agreed that RCT would undertake holding Authority functions to provide Legal, Finance and HR support to the project.  The former Director of Learning and Development from the Vale of Glamorgan had been appointed as an interim Regional Director to establish the new organisation and interim Head of Traded Services had also been appointed.

 

Staff from across the five Authorities were involved in detailed design work.  The project management arrangements included involvement of all Chief Executives in a senior stakeholder group chaired by the Chief Executive of Bridgend.

 

Headteachers were involved in a reference group reviewing design proposals and also in shaping the Traded Services offer.  Teaching Associations and Trade Unions were being consulted on progress and staff had been invited to briefing meetings.  School Governor representatives had also been briefed on the proposals.

 

The five Authority Chief Executives had made clear their expectations that the Joint Education Service should have clear arrangements for governance which reflected a commitment to protect democratic accountability.  This would require the establishment of a Joint Committee to oversee the functions, and the proposed stages up to June 2012 were as follows:

 

·                    submission of report to each Local Authority that formed the CSC to inform Members of the proposals to establish a CSC Joint Committee

·                    development of Constitution and Terms of Reference for the CSC Joint Committee

·                    agreement of Constitution and Terms of Reference for the CSC Joint Committee by each respective Local Authority that formed the CSC

·                    initiate contact with each representative Local Authority that formed the CSC to arrange nomination of Members to sit on the CSC Joint Committee

·                    nominations and appointments for Members to sit on the CSC Joint Committee be made by each respective Local Authority that formed the CSC at their respective AGMs.

 

Section 58 of the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011 outlined the considerations that would need to be given to Joint Scrutiny arrangements.  It was envisaged that guidance from Welsh Government would not come into force until late 2012.  Whilst this did not prevent Local Authorities establishing such arrangements, scrutiny activity taking place prior to this date would not have any legal power until the regulations were made.  It was considered unadvisable therefore to proceed with such arrangements at this stage.

 

The establishment of a robust and fit for purpose CSC Joint Committee would ensure that the interests of each respective Local Authority that formed the CSC were equally and democratically represented in the decision making processes of the new CSC.

 

In order to achieve the challenging timescale and Welsh Government requirements, it was recommended that delegated power be granted to the Chief Executive to make a decision on any matter relating to the CSC for reasons of urgency or due process. It was also recommended that the progress be reported back to Cabinet at the appropriate time.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision.

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1)               T H A T progress be noted.

 

(2)               T H A T the actions taken to date and the proposals to establish joint Governance arrangements be endorsed.

 

(3)               T H A T delegated power be granted to the Chief Executive in consultation with the Director of Legal, Public Protection and Housing Services and the Director of Finance, ICT and Property to make a decision on any matter relating to the CSC for reasons or urgency or due process.

 

(4)               T H A T a further report on progress be brought to Cabinet at the appropriate time.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1&2)  To note the position.

 

(3)               To allow appropriate progress in view of tight timescales for delivery.

 

(4)       To update Cabinet.

 

 

 

 

 

C1711                        CONSTRUCTION AND ADOPTION OF A NEW CONCRETE SLIPWAY ON THE LLANTWIT MAJOR FORESHORE (VBS) (SCRUTINY – ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT) –

Urgent by reason of the need to agree a financial contribution to support an external grant application

 

Cabinet received a report which:

 

·                    sought approval to construct and take full possession of, and future maintenance liability for, a new concrete slipway on the foreshore at Llantwit Major Beach

·                    sought a contribution of £10k. towards the cost of the scheme.

 

The Council provided a discretionary Lifeguard service during the summer period on Llantwit Major beach.  It owned the Lifeguard Building (presently leased to the Surf Lifesavers Club), together with the foreshore and the beach itself, including the remains of former concrete slipways adjacent to the Public Convenience and Lifeguard Building and the Council controlled car parking area.

 

Llantwit Major Surf Lifesavers Club were now applying for Environment Agency Wales “Splash” Grant funds to provide a Lifeguard slipway, and had requested the Council’s assistance in the grant application by providing a similar financial grant of £10k. towards the scheme.  Should the Surf Lifesaving Club be unsuccessful in obtaining Splash funding, the slipway would not be constructed. 

 

Any final proposal to build a new slipway at Llantwit Major Beach was subject to the Llantwit Major Surf Lifesaving Club obtaining grant funding for the construction works sufficient to allow the slipway to be built to a standard acceptable to the Council, following agreement of construction details in accordance with the recommendations of the Cwm Colhuw – Pedestrian Access to Shoreline Report by CEDM Ltd (T/As Shoreline Management Wales, November 2011).  The Council would receive payment from the Llantwit Major Surf Lifesavers Club for the full costs of the construction works and the Council’s Highways Team would arrange the works required.  As the proposal would cross land in the ownership of Crown Estates, it would be necessary to obtain permission from the land owner in addition to the other necessary permissions such as Planning consent, Marine License and CCW permits.

 

As the slipway would be designed and constructed through the Council’s own Highway Construction staff, the design and specification of the slipway would be to the Council’s satisfaction and this would address the adoption and maintenance aspects of the lease offer.  A fully engineered solution would take proper account of the coastal processes that prevail at this section of the coastline.  It would also be demonstrably competitively priced against current contractual rates to provide best value.  The Shoreline Management Plan 2, which was currently being reviewed, proposed a policy for this area of “Hold the Line” for the next 20 years and to then adopt a managed retreat option to allow the natural coastal processes to progress.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision.

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1)               T H A T the Director of Environmental and Economic Regeneration, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Visible and Building Services, be authorised to enter into an Agreement with the Llantwit Major Surf Lifesavers Club for the Council to arrange construction of a new slipway subject to the Surf Lifesavers Club successfully obtaining a sufficient amount to provide a suitable slipway, and the Council obtaining an appropriate lease from the Crown Estates.

 

(2)               T H A T the Director of Legal, Public Protection and Housing Services, in consultation with the Director of Finance, ICT and Property and the Cabinet Member for Visible and Building Services, be authorised to enter into an appropriate lease with Cooke & Arkwright, Agents for Crown Estates, in respect of the land upon which the slipway was proposed to be built, subject to the Surf Lifesavers Club successfully obtaining a sufficient amount to provide a suitable slipway.

 

(3)               T H A T the Llantwit Major Surf Lifesavers Club be awarded a grant of £10,000 towards the costs of constructing the slipway subject to the balance of funding required being obtained from the Llantwit Major Surf Lifesavers Club.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)       To ensure that a sufficient guarantee of payment is in place and that any construction is appropriate and to the required engineering standards.

 

(2)       To ensure that suitable terms and conditions are agreed with Crown Estates with regard to the construction and ownership of the proposed new slipway.

 

(3)       To assist the Llantwit Major Surf Lifesavers Club in funding the construction of the proposed new slipway should their grant application be successful.

 

 

C1712                        EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC -

 

RESOLVED - T H A T under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Part 4 of Schedule 12A (as amended) of the Act, the relevant paragraphs of the Schedule being referred to in brackets after the minute heading.

 

 

C1713                        FREEDOM OF INFORMATION APPEAL (L) (EXEMPT INFORMATION - PARAGRAPHS 13, 14 AND 16) (SCRUTINY - CORPORATE RESOURCES) -

 

Cabinet considered a request to authorise external legal advisors to determine a Freedom of Information Appeal on behalf of the Council, the circumstances of which were outlined in the report.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision.

 

RESOLVED -

 

(1)       T H A T the contents of the report be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T external solicitors be appointed to determine an Appeal in relation to a Freedom of Information request, including authority to act as the qualified person under Section 36 of the Freedom of Information Act.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)       To inform Cabinet of the issue.

 

(2)       In order for the Council to determine the Appeal.

 

 

C1714                        CASTLELAND RENEWAL AREA - FACELIFTING PROGRAMME PHASE 2A ACCEPTANCE OF CONTRACTOR TENDER (HCS) (EXEMPT INFORMATION - PARAGRAPH 14) (SCRUTINY - HOUSING AND PUBLIC PROTECTION) -

 

Consent was sought to appoint contractors to undertake Phase 2A of the Facelifting Programme in the Castleland Renewal Area.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision.

 

RESOLVED - T H A T, subject to the contractors providing satisfactory Health and Safety Plans for the construction stage and the required Performance Bonds, the tender received from Vale Building Services Ltd. for Phase 2A be accepted and that the Council enter into a contract with them to undertake Phase 2A of the Facelifting Programme for the Castleland Renewal Area.

 

Reason for decision

 

To enable progress on the Facelifting Programme in the Castleland Renewal Area.

 

 

 

C1715                        CARDIFF ROAD/ CROSS COMMON ROAD, DINAS POWYS JUNCTION IMPROVEMENT - LAND ACQUISITION (VBS) (EXEMPT INFORMATION - PARAGRAPH 14) (SCRUTINY - ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT) -

 

Cabinet were advised of details of a proposed highway improvement scheme at the junction of Cardiff Road and Cross Common Road, Dinas Powys and were requested to grant approval to progress with negotiations for the acquisition of the land required for the scheme.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision.

 

RESOLVED -

 

(1)       T H A T the contents of the report be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the need for the scheme be supported and that the land in question be acquired.

 

(3)       T H A T a further report be provided to Cabinet when the land was acquired.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)       For information.

 

(2)       To allow the scheme to be progressed.

 

(3)       To allow Cabinet to take a decision on the next stage of this project.

 

 

C1716                        HOUSING IMPROVEMENT PROGRAMME 2012 - 2017 TENDER ACCEPTANCE (L AND HCS) (EXEMPT INFORMATION - PARAGRAPH 14) (SCRUTINY - CORPORATE RESOURCES) -

 

Cabinet received a report which:

 

·                    sought acceptance of tenders submitted by the preferred contractors for each of the four contracts comprising the Housing Improvement Programme 2012 - 2017 together with approval to award contracts to the same (subject to completion of consultation process with long leaseholders)

·                    sought approval for the Director of Finance, ICT and Property in consultation with the Leader and the Cabinet Member for Housing and Community Safety to consider any observations made in response to consultations with long leaseholders

·                    sought approval for Building Services Division to undertake some work packages of the programmed works subject to meeting price and quality standards

·                    sought approval for the Director of Finance, ICT and Property to be granted delegated authority to determine the method and sequencing of the works programme for each contract area.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision.

 

RESOLVED -

 

(1)       T H A T the tenders submitted by the preferred contractors outlined below be accepted and, subject to completion of consultation as required by the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 and the Service Charges (Consultation Requirements) (Wales) Regulations 2004, they be awarded the following contracts to deliver the Housing Improvement Programme 2012 - 2017:

 

·                Contract A - Lovell Partnerships Ltd.

·                Contract B - Ian Williams Ltd.

·                Contract C - Apollo Property Services Ltd.

·                Contract D - SMK Building and Maintenance Ltd.

 

(2)       T H A T delegated authority be granted to the Director of Finance, ICT and Property in consultation with the Leader and the Cabinet Member for Housing and Community Safety to consider any observations made in response to consultations with long leaseholders.

 

(3)       T H A T Building Services Division be allocated some work packages of the programmed works (subject to meeting price and quality standards).

 

(4)       T H A T delegated authority be granted to the Director of Finance, ICT and Property to determine the method and sequencing of the works programme for each contract area.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)       To approve the preferred contractors to deliver the Housing Improvement Programme to meet the Welsh Housing Quality Standard.

 

(2)       To permit completion of the consultation process with long leaseholders whilst minimising delay to the planned programme.

 

(3)       To improve the viability of the DLO, ensure local labour and provide additional competition for contractors.

 

(4)       To enable the works programme for each contract area to be determined.

 

 

 

 

 

 

C1717                        PENARTH LEARNING COMMUNITY TENDER ACCEPTANCE (L AND ELL) (EXEMPT INFORMATION - PARAGRAPH 14) (SCRUTINY - CORPORATE RESOURCES) -

 

Authority was sought for the acceptance of the preferred tenderer for the delivery of the Penarth Learning Community.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision.

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the preferred contractor, Leadbitter Group, be awarded the contract to deliver Penarth Learning Community.

 

Reason for decision

 

To approve the preferred contractor to deliver the Penarth Learning Community.

 

 

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