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                                                                        Agenda Item No.

 

CABINET

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 8 May, 2013.

 

Present:  Councillor N. Moore (Chairman); Councillor S.C. Egan (Vice-Chairman); Councillors Ms. B.E. Brooks, L. Burnett, R.F. Curtis, C.P.J. Elmore and G. John.

 

C1314                        MINUTES –

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 22 April, 2013 be approved as a correct record.

 

C1315            DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST –

 

No declarations of interest were received.

 

C1316                        WELFARE REFORM (REF) –

 

The Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) on 23rd April 2013 considered the above report.

 

The Chairman introduced the report of the Task and Finish Group as a major piece of work undertaken in light of the sweeping Welfare Reform changes with the primary aim of mitigating the affects of the same on residents of the Vale of Glamorgan and welcomed comments from the Committee on its contents.  He formally thanked the Members and officers who had participated in the deliberations of the Task and Finish Group, referring in particular to the contribution from the Head of Financial Services throughout the process.  He indicated that he would amend his Statement as shown on page 3 of the report to that effect.

 

The Head of Financial Services briefly took Members through the covering report and drew particular attention to the fact that the report was based on the information available as at 31st March, 2013 given the fluid nature of the Welfare Reform changes.  Members considered the information contained within the report to be comprehensive, well thought out and highly informative and recommended that a copy be made available to all Members.  A Member of the Task and Finish Group stated that the content of the report well illustrated the efforts that Members and officers had put in.  That Member also referred to the concerns expressed at the Task and Finish Group in relation to the impact of the Welfare Reform changes on the most vulnerable members of society and put forward a motion that the Committee express its abhorrence to the Welfare Reform agenda.  A contrary view was put.  The motion, having been duly seconded and voted upon, was subsequently accepted.

 

RECOMMENDED – 

 

(1)       T H A T the report and recommendations of the Task and Finish Group be endorsed.

 

(2)       T H A T the report be referred to Cabinet for consideration, and that Cabinet be requested to have regard to its contents and specific recommendations, as follows:

 

(i)         The Officer Working Group consider how services could be best co-ordinated to provide appropriate advice services and signposting for claimants, including hard to reach groups, in liaison with libraries, leisure, town and community councils.

 

(ii)        Communications on the implications of Welfare Reform to continue to be managed by the Officer Working Group via the communications plan, including the use of social media, C1V, local radio and the Council's website.

 

(iii)       Further road shows be used to communicate welfare reforms with affected claimants and tenants.

 

(iv)       Members and officers be updated on Welfare Reform as further developments require.

 

(v)        The Benefits Service continue to monitor data on over accommodation and liaise with social landlords (including the Council’s Housing Service) and tenants.

 

(vi)       The Officer Working Group continue to plan and respond to Welfare Reform changes as they develop.

 

(vii)      Action plans continue to be used to manage the risk and implementation of Welfare Reform and monitored by the Officer Working Group and the Corporate Risk Management Group under the corporate risk management policy until the major reforms were implemented.

 

(viii)     The Stakeholder Group continue to ensure the there was a co-ordinated approach to Welfare Reform with all LSB partners in the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

(ix)       A revised Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) policy be developed for approval by Cabinet.

 

(x)        The issue of the Localised Support Services for claimants be taken forward via the Stakeholder Group with involvement of Officer Working Group and any framework agreement entered into for Localised Support Services approved by Cabinet.

 

(xi)       The Council identify and adopt best practice in the administration of Welfare Reform.

 

(xii)      Cabinet to consider designating the Social Services Department as lead department in dealing with the implications of the Discretionary Assistance Fund and the change from Disability Living Allowance to the Personal Independence Payment.

 

(xiii)     Cabinet to consider designating the Housing Service as the lead department in dealing with implications of Welfare Reform on the management of the Council's own housing provision and the implications for overarching housing services.

 

(xiv)     The local housing strategy and the housing asset management plans be reviewed and considered by Cabinet in the light of the impact of Welfare Reform on the enabling function and stock profile.

 

(xv)      Any policy decisions required in relation to Welfare Reform be reported to Cabinet.

 

(xvi)     The Head of Financial Services update the Change Forum of staffing issues associated with Welfare Reform as the situation became clearer.

 

(xvii)    Staff within Resources and Benefits be kept informed of issues by the Head of Financial Services in team briefings, with the staff newsletter and the core brief.

 

(xviii)   Future staffing implications be identified by the Head of Financial Services, included in the Council’s Workforce Plan and dealt with in accordance with Council HR policies as Welfare Reform developed.

 

(xix)     As the financial year progressed, expenditure on Council tax support be included in financial monitoring reports to the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources).  

 

(xx)      The impact of the revised DHP policy and increased funding be monitored and reported to Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection), initially on a six monthly basis.

 

(xxi)     That the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) receive a report on the impact of Welfare Reform within the Vale of Glamorgan, initially on a six monthly basis.

 

(3)       T H A T the report, updated as indicated above by the inclusion of the Chairman’s thanks to the Members and officers involved in the production of the report (in particular the Head of Financial Services) be e-mailed to all Members of the Council.

 

(4)       T H A T the Committee, whilst endorsing the report, also from the knowledge gained through the work done in developing the plan, express their abhorrence to the Welfare Reform agenda being run by the Westminster Government and the overt and insidious attacks on the living standards of the most vulnerable.

 

Reasons for the recommendations

 

(1)       To assist in identifying the impact of Welfare Reform and where possible mitigating the impacts on the Vale of Glamorgan Council and its residents.

 

(2i-v)   To ensure there is effective communication of Welfare Reform with relevant stakeholders.

 

(2vi-xv)            To ensure there continues to be effective management of Welfare Reform.

 

(2xvi-xviii)       To ensure there is effective management of the staffing implications of Welfare Reform.

 

(2xix-xxi)         To ensure there is effective scrutiny of Welfare Reform.

 

(3)       To ensure the information is readily available to all Members of the Council.

 

(4)       To record the concerns expressed.

 

 

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Cabinet having considered the recommendations of the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources)

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1)                  T H A T the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) Task and Finish Group and Officers be thanked for their work in bringing forward the report.

 

(2)                  T H A T the following recommendations made by the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) Task and Finish group be endorsed:

 

(i)         The Officer Working Group consider how services could be best co-ordinated to provide appropriate advice services and signposting for claimants, including hard to reach groups, in liaison with libraries, leisure, town and community councils.

 

(ii)        Communications on the implications of Welfare Reform to continue to be managed by the Officer Working Group via the communications plan, including the use of social media, C1V, local radio and the Council's website.

 

(iii)       Further road shows be used to communicate welfare reforms with affected claimants and tenants.

 

(iv)       Members and officers be updated on Welfare Reform as further developments require.

 

(v)        The Benefits Service continue to monitor data on over accommodation and liaise with social landlords (including the Council’s Housing Service) and tenants.

 

(vi)       The Officer Working Group continue to plan and respond to Welfare Reform changes as they develop.

 

(vii)      Action plans continue to be used to manage the risk and implementation of Welfare Reform and monitored by the Officer Working Group and the Corporate Risk Management Group under the corporate risk management policy until the major reforms were implemented.

 

(viii)     The Stakeholder Group continue to ensure the there was a co-ordinated approach to Welfare Reform with all LSB partners in the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

(ix)       A revised Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) policy be developed for approval by Cabinet.

 

(x)        The issue of the Localised Support Services for claimants be taken forward via the Stakeholder Group with involvement of Officer Working Group and any framework agreement entered into for Localised Support Services approved by Cabinet.

 

(xi)       The Council identify and adopt best practice in the administration of Welfare Reform.

 

(xii)      Cabinet to consider designating the Social Services Department as lead department in dealing with the implications of the Discretionary Assistance Fund and the change from Disability Living Allowance to the Personal Independence Payment.

 

(xiii)     Cabinet to consider designating the Housing Service as the lead department in dealing with implications of Welfare Reform on the management of the Council's own housing provision and the implications for overarching housing services.

 

(xiv)     The local housing strategy and the housing asset management plans be reviewed and considered by Cabinet in the light of the impact of Welfare Reform on the enabling function and stock profile.

 

(xv)      Any policy decisions required in relation to Welfare Reform be reported to Cabinet.

 

(xvi)     The Head of Financial Services update the Change Forum of staffing issues associated with Welfare Reform as the situation became clearer.

 

(xvii)    Staff within Resources and Benefits be kept informed of issues by the Head of Financial Services in team briefings, with the staff newsletter and the core brief.

 

(xviii)   Future staffing implications be identified by the Head of Financial Services, included in the Council’s Workforce Plan and dealt with in accordance with Council HR policies as Welfare Reform developed.

 

(xix)     As the financial year progressed, expenditure on Council tax support be included in financial monitoring reports to the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources).  

 

(xx)      The impact of the revised DHP policy and increased funding be monitored and reported to Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection), initially on a six monthly basis.

 

(xxi)       That the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) receive a report on the impact of Welfare Reform within the Vale of Glamorgan, initially on a six monthly basis.

 

(3)             T H A T the Scrutiny Committees views be reaffirmed in expressing, their abhorrence to the Welfare Reform agenda being run by the Westminster Government and the overt and insidious attacks on the living standards of the most vulnerable.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)                   To assist in identifying the impact of Welfare Reform and where possible mitigating the impacts on the Vale of Glamorgan Council and its residents.

 

(2i-v)               To ensure there is effective communication of Welfare Reform with relevant stakeholders.

 

(2vi-xv)            To ensure there continues to be effective management of Welfare Reform.

 

(2xvi-xviii)       To ensure there is effective management of the staffing implications of Welfare Reform.

 

(2xix-xxi)         To ensure there is effective scrutiny of Welfare Reform.

 

(3)                   To record the concerns expressed.

 

 

C1317                        THE FUTURE OF BRYNEITHIN CARE HOME SITE (REQUEST FOR CONSIDERATION) – THE CLOSURE OF BRYNEITHIN RESIDENTIAL CARE HOME (REF) -

 

The Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health) on 15 April, 2013 considered the above report

 

Committee agreed to consider the request for consideration and the reference from Cabinet of 8th April, 2013 at the same time. 

 

The Request for Consideration, received from Councillor Dr. I.J. Johnson, gave the reasons for the request as:

 

"A newspaper report in the South Wales Echo on 7th March, 2013 said that plans were in place to close the Bryneithin home in Dinas Powys.

 

In a previous report (SW Echo 9th July, 2012) the Head of Adult Services said that the facility had been run at a cost of £450,000 p.a. during the 2011/12 year.

 

When the future of Bryneithin was last discussed by the Social Care and Health Scrutiny Committee on 8th October 2012 it was recommended “'THAT Cabinet be requested to give consideration to the future use of Bryneithin as a site for social care subject to ongoing contractual commitment”.

 

Rejecting this proposal at the Cabinet meeting of 5th November 2012, Cabinet instead 'RESOLVED - THAT the Council's current position on Bryneithin is that it continues to operate as a registered care home.  This commitment will continue for as long as necessary.  Consideration to future options of the future use of the site would be given as and when appropriate.'

 

Assuming that reports regarding the closure of Bryneithin are correct then this is an appropriate time for consideration of future options.

 

As such we would like a full written report to the Social Care and Health Committee at the next appropriate meeting outlining both short and long-term issues regarding the site, including:

 

in the short term

 

(a)       the timeframe for closure of the site in its current format

(b)       anticipated costs of site maintenance etc for 2013/14 and future years

(c)        staff costs for 2013/14 and staff deployment proposals

(d)       any additional costs for Bryneithin site not included in the above

(e)       what savings are anticipated to be accrued from closure of the site in the 2013/14 financial year in respect of the agreed directorate budget and savings targets

 

and in the medium to longer term

 

(a)       which options have so far been discussed informally with regards to the future of the site, including as an older people's village (for which a feasibility study is timetabled for 2013/14)

(b)       what negotiations have taken place regards the future of the site, including discussions regarding capital funding for social care re-development and any negotiations or plans regarding disposal of the site for purposes other than social care.

 

The report should indicate when a full options report will be presented to Cabinet including indicative timescales for decisions regarding the site's future."

 

Committee were also advised that Cabinet on 8th April, 2013 had been informed of the closure of Bryneithin Residential Care Home and had been requested to agree the arrangements being put in place to consider the future use of the site. 

 

Cabinet had been informed that Bryneithin had not admitted any new residents since the decision to close was made by Cabinet in December 2009.  Since that time, the staffing resource of the home had been constantly reviewed and tailored to meet the care needs of reducing numbers of residents. 

 

The last resident of Bryneithin had left the home and Bryneithin was now closed.  The site continued to provide temporary catering facilities for two other residential care homes, whilst essential work was carried out to their kitchens. 

 

It was essential that the Bryneithin site was kept secure throughout any period of transition.  Extensive security arrangements were already in place and these would be reviewed when the remaining services were withdrawn from the site. 

 

A Corporate Project Group was being set up to consider future use of the site, led by the Head of Adult Services and with the assistance of the Council's Major Projects Unit.  From the outset, the project group would consider options for the site that would assist the Council in meeting the social care needs of older people.  It was noted that this exercise would be conducted in the context of there being no funds available from the Council's Capital Programme.  The project group would seek to engage with relevant stakeholders, including the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board. 

 

Cabinet had resolved

 

1.         That the closure of the Bryneithin Residential Care Home be noted.

 

2.         That the arrangements to generate possible options for the Bryneithin site to assist in meeting older people's needs for care and support once it had been vacated be approved.

 

3.         That the Director of Social Services produce regular reports for Cabinet outlining the progress made with this work.

 

4.         That Cabinet receive an options appraisal in due course to enable informed decisions about the Bryneithin site. 

 

5.         That the Director of Social Services be authorised to make arrangements for securing the Bryneithin site, including the demolition of the buildings if necessary, in consultation with the Leader, the Cabinet Member for Adult Services and the Managing Director.

 

6.         That the report be forwarded to the Social Care and Health Scrutiny Committee for information.

 

7.         That a Cabinet Working Group be established, led by the Cabinet Member for Adult Services, to oversee and be involved in all future options for the Bryneithin site and any consultation with the relevant stakeholders.

 

Questions were asked as to:

 

·               timescales for the development of the site

·               transfer of services to other sites

·               the future of dementia services in the Vale

·               what were the medium / long term options for the site.

 

Committee were advised that the catering facility being provided for two other homes on a temporary basis had ceased the previous week.

 

The Crossroads Day Service had vacated Bryneithin on 5th April, 2013.  This meant that no services were being run from the Bryneithin site. 

 

In terms of staff redeployment, it was too early to give definitive answers at present.  The staffing complement had been reduced at the home and the Council was currently in a consultation process. 

 

Regarding the security of the site, the site had now been made secure.  This situation would be reviewed and the Council would continue to maintain the security.

 

There were a number of strategies to take account when planning care and support services for adults and older people.  An emerging issue was how we should provide for meeting the needs of adults with early onset dementia.  Some developments were in the planning stage.

 

There were questions about whether a longer-term plan should have been put in place some four years ago but this would have been premature and it would now be outdated, which highlighted the danger of planning too far ahead.  The Working Group established by the Cabinet would be considering the service's needs.  It was too early to say that there was an agreement as to where the service was going but some areas of consensus about the need to provide services which allow people to have as much independence as possible. 

 

Councillor S.C. Egan, Cabinet Member for Adult Services, was present at the invitation of the Committee.  He advised that there was not much else he would wish to add other than what was in the report to Cabinet on 8th April, 2013.

 

Councillor Egan stated that he expected to site to be used for older people.  The Council had no capital monies available and could only create something with the assistance of other organisations, for example, the UHB or a housing association.  At this stage it was not possible to say what should go on the site, although it was agreed that the use would have to be sustainable. 

 

With the consent of the Committee, Margo Farbrace of the Save Bryneithin Action Group advised that the Vale was under prepared for the aging population.  The number of dementia cases was expected to increase and there was a need to develop care for people in these circumstances.  Increasingly, dementia was affecting younger people and, apart from Ty Hafan, there was not much provision for these people in the Vale. 

 

Ms. Farbrace stated that she was all in favour of Bryneithin being developed and asked the Council to look at other options rather than closing the home. 

 

Ms. Farbrace realised that the Council faced a challenging budget, but all evidence pointed to an increase in this area of need.  Ms. Farbrace asked the Council to look at different models of dementia care. 

 

Ms. Farbrace had a vision that Bryneithin could be developed as a centre of excellence for dementia sufferers.

 

Councillor Egan reiterated his view that the site should be used for services for older people and further stated that he had no preconceived ideas about what should be developed on the site. 

 

Committee were reminded that it had considered and endorsed a recent report relating to the strategy for older people and had agreed the vision for the future.  Additionally, reports had been brought regarding the role of Third Sector and independent providers of services.  More work was required to ensure that the Cabinet Working Group had all the information available to it to create a sustainable use for the site.

 

Following discussions on the issue, it was

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1)       T H A T the resolutions of Cabinet of 8th April, 2013 be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T Cabinet be requested to give consideration to the future use of Bryneithin as a site for social care.

 

(3)       T H A T a progress report be brought before each future meeting of the Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health), to include the issue of the security of the site.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       Having regard to the resolutions of Cabinet.

 

(2)       In order to request Cabinet to give consideration to the future use of Bryneithin as a site for social care.

 

(3)       In order to monitor the progress being made regarding the Bryneithin site.”

 

 

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The Cabinet Member for Adult Services drew Members’ attention to page 4 of the Scrutiny Committee’s reference which referred to ‘Ty Hafan’ and commented that this was a mistake and should in fact read ‘Ty Dyfan’.

 

The Cabinet Member further commented that in relation to recommendation 2 of the Scrutiny Committees reference, he re-confirmed his previous statement that the site should be used for older people’s social care as opposed to simply social care which was mentioned in the reference.

 

Cabinet having considered the recommendation of the Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health)

 

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

 

Reason for decision

 

To note the comments from the Scrutiny Committee

 

 

C1318            SERVICE PLANNING 2013/2017 (MD) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEES – ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT, HOUSING AND PUBLIC PROTECTION AND LIFELONG LEARNING) –

 

In conjunction with this report, the Leader considered the Scrutiny Committees references (agenda item numbers 14a and 14b) which made recommendations in relation to two of the service plans as outlined in this report.

 

Approval was sought to agree the following service plans; Visible Services,Development Services and Learning and Skills. Full copies of the plans were available to view online via the council’s website.

Service planning arrangements had been reviewed to reflect the new senior management restructure by providing a strategic overview of each directorate. Below this level, the council's performance management framework required officers to develop team plans.

The new service planning template was approved by the Council's Corporate Management Team on 29 August 2012. The new plans addressed a number of key questions aimed at enabling services to improve how they measured and provided evidence of their contribution to the priority outcomes identified withinin the Corporate Plan.

The Council had agreed with the Wales Audit Office to use the revised plans as supporting evidence in meeting its obligations for self assessment under the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009.

Following a review by officers, performance measures for 2013/14 onwards would be presented to all scrutiny committees for discussion and agreement during July 2013.

This was a matter for Executive decision.

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1)       T H A T the service plan for the Directorate of Development Services be approved and that the Economy and Environment Scrutiny Committee’s recommendation to include the action ‘to work with Welsh Government in administering the Cardiff Airport Task Force with the success criteria being identified as to increase passenger numbers’ under Objective 9 be rejected as this was not a Council project but a Welsh Government led project and therefore could not be a Council objective. However, the Cardiff Airport Task Force should be fully supported and therefore the Director of Development Services, in consultation with relevant officers be authorised to draft an appropriate objective to be inserted into the service plan in order to reflect this support.

 

(2)       T H A T the service plan for the Directorate of Visible Services and Housing be approved subject to the change that the priority under Objective 2 of the action plan “to review options for the introduction of “Dog Control Orders” within the Vale of Glamorgan” be increased from a low priority to a high priority and not a medium priority as recommended by the Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment).

 

(3)       T H A T the service plan for the Directorate of Learning and Skills be approved.

 

Reasons for decisions

(1-3)    To confirm the service plans as the primary document against which performance for the relevant area would be measured, and to meet self assessment requirements under the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009.

 

C1319            FORMER SIXTH FORM SITE, COWBRIDGE (L) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – CORPORATE RESOURCES) –

 

Members were advised on the status of the former Cowbridge Comprehensive School Sixth Form site.

The Sixth Form site in Cowbridge was vacated when pupils moved into the new single site school for Cowbridge Comprehensive School. The site was marketed but this did not lead to a disposal.

Subsequent investigations into the deed for the site had revealed that a Trust in relation to the Sixth Form site was imposed by a 1894 Conveyance of the land.  The relevant Scheme dated from 1912 and provided that the land was to be used for the purposes of a Secondary School.  Following the discontinuance of use of the site for school purposes the terms of the Trust have failed in total.  Research and consultations with the Charity Commission have confirmed this position. 

It would be necessary for the Council as current Trustee to apply to the charity Commission for a new Scheme (given the failure of the objects of the existing 1912 Scheme).  The way forward in this regard would be the subject of a report to the Trust Committee.

The Cabinet Member for Children’s Services expressed his frustration with this outcome. The Council were bound by the Trust and therefore the Cabinet could only note the report with regret.

This was a matter for Executive decision.

 

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

 

Reason for decision

In order to ensure that Members were aware of the position regarding the former Sixth Form site in Cowbridge.

 

C1320            COMMISSION ON PUBLIC SERVICE GOVERNANCE AND DELIVERY (L) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – CORPORATE RESOURCES) –

 

At the meeting the First Ministers recent statement entitled Commission on Public Service Governance and Delivery was tabled in addition to Appendix A to the report.

 

Members were informed of the establishment by Welsh Government of a Commission on Public Service Governance and Delivery. At the meeting the latest statement by the First Minister was tabled.

The statement stated that the needs of those receiving public services were complex and often met through a range of organisations which "did not fit into organisational boundaries".  It further drew attention to the likelihood that public sector budgets would continue to tighten and demand pressures grow, and that there was therefore a need to examine how services could be sustained and standards of performance raised.  The Commission was intended to provide an opportunity for those who were involved in delivering services, those who were politically accountable for them and the users of them to examine how public service were governed.   

This was a matter for Executive decision.

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1)                         T H A T the establishment of the Commission on Public Service Governance and Delivery and the remit provided by Welsh Government as outlined in the tabled First Minister’s Statement be noted.

(2)                         T H A T further reports be presented to Cabinet as more information became available.

Reasons for decisions

(1)                           To notify Cabinet of national developments which may have a significant bearing on the Council and its operation.

(2)                           To keep Members informed of further details.

C1321            CORPORATE TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY 2013 – 17 (L) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – CORPORATE RESOURCES) –

 

Approval was sought to agree the Corporate Training & Development Strategy 2013 - 17 attached as Appendix A to the report.

The Training and Development Strategy (the Strategy) provided a strategic framework for the delivery of the actions set out in the recently approved Workforce Plan 2013/17.

The strategy set out the key learning and development priorities for the training team over the next four years and a comprehensive action plan to help meet the objectives within the Strategy.

The Strategy had been framed in consultation with the Head of Human Resources, Corporate Management Team, Heads of Service, Operational Managers, members of the HR Division, the recognised trade unions and related stakeholders.

This was a matter for Executive decision.

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the adoption of the Corporate Training & Development Strategy 2013 - 17 as set out at Appendix A to the report be approved.

Reason for decision

To provide a framework for training and development initiatives over the next four years as identified in the Council’s Workforce Plan 2013 – 2017.

 

C1322            THE PUBLIC SECTOR EQUALITY DUTY: EMPLOYMENT INFORMATION, PAY DIFFERENCES AND STAFF TRAINING (L) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – CORPORATE RESOURCES) –

 

Members were updated on the measures being undertaken to implement the employment information, pay differences and staff training elements of the Public Sector Equality Duty (Wales).

The Council had produced its first Annual Equality Monitoring Report to cover the period April 2011 to March 2012. Despite including much of the required information, the Annual Equality Monitoring Report only contained the protected characteristic data that was being gathered prior to the introduction of the Duty and receipt of Welsh Government.

A full equality survey of employees had not taken place since 2005. However, data such as age, gender, ethnic origin, disability and other protected characteristics was collected from job applicants, and thereby recorded for those who subsequently become employees. However, the provision of equality data was not mandatory so the council did not have data for all employees.

A survey of all employees was now required not only to ensure that the identified gaps were filled but also to ensure that the current data held remained accurate. The Council could not use the Duty to compel an employee (or applicant for employment) to disclose information about their protected characteristics. A 'prefer not to say' option was to be included where applicable on the survey. A copy of the survey was attached at Appendix A to the report.

It was intended to run the survey during June 2013 of this year. A campaign to alert staff and the distribution of the survey would be conducted by the Equalities section and the Data received would be input by contact One Vale.

The information gathered would provide evidence upon which equality-related policies, practices and decisions could be made.

This was a matter for Executive decision.

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the actions being taken to implement the Public Sector Equality Duty (Wales) be endorsed.

 

Reason for decision

To adopt measures necessary for the Council to meet the data requirements of the Public Sector Equality Duty (Wales).

 

C1323            THE REGULATION OF INVESTIGATORY POWERS (L) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – CORPORATE RESOURCES) –

 

Members were informed of the changes to The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) and to amend the Council's policy to reflect those changes and best practice guidance.

As part of its public functions the Council undertook a number of regulatory activities for public safety, examples included environmental health, planning and licensing. 

RIPA provided a balance between preserving people's rights and giving enforcement agencies the right to gather evidence for effective enforcement action where necessary.

There had been changes to the legislation and the Council was required to amend its existing Policy in the light of new provisions and best practice guidance. The two changes that  governed how local authorities could use RIPA were highlighted below:

·               Approval of Local Authority Authorisations under RIPA by a Justice of the Peace: The amendments in the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 meant that local authority authorisations and notices under RIPA for the use of particular covert techniques could only be given effect once an order approving the authorisation or notice had been granted by a Justice of the Peace (JP).

·               Directed surveillance crime threshold: Amendments to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers (Directed Surveillance and Covert Human Intelligence Sources) Order 2010 (“the 2010 Order”) meant that a local authority could now only grant an authorisation under RIPA for the use of directed surveillance where the local authority was investigating particular types of criminal offences. These were criminal offences which attracted a maximum custodial sentence of six months or more or criminal offences relating to the underage sale of alcohol or tobacco.

The Home Office had issued guidance in relation to the changes. It was non-statutory but provided advice on how local authorities could best approach the changes in law. It was supplementary to the legislation and to the statutory Codes of Practice. The guidance was intended for local authority investigation teams that may use covert techniques, including Trading Standards, Environmental Health and Benefit Fraud Officers. The Home Office guidance was reflected in the revised policy attached at Appendix A to the report.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision.

RESOLVED – T H A T the revised policy document entitled ‘The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000’ attached at Appendix A to the report be approved.

Reason for decision

To update Cabinet and amend the policy in line with legislative changes and best practice guidance.

 

C1324            DAY SERVICES FOR PEOPLE WITH A LEARNING DISABILITY (AS) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – SOCIAL CARE AND HEALTH) –

 

Members were informed of a proposal that the day service currently provided at the Woodlands Centre and scheduled for closure because of the poor condition of the building was to be provided on a temporary basis at Hen Goleg. 

The report also sought to inform members about work being done to develop a revised service model and commissioning strategy for services to people with Learning Disabilities and, in partnership with Cardiff Council, a joint strategy for delivering appropriate 'Day-Time Activities'.

The Woodlands Day Centre in Barry was in a very poor state of repair.  In 2011, the Council decided to close it and transfer the service to the Gardenhurst site in Penarth.  This move was to be the final stage within a series of changes to day services provision as a whole.

A recent inspection of the kitchen in Woodlands had resulted in another very critical report regarding the condition of the building.  This meant that timely relocation of the day centre to a more suitable and safer property had become even more imperative.  However, it was not possible to proceed at that time with the planned transfer to Gardenhurst because of the ongoing problems in renovating and adapting the premises. 

The Council had a long-term lease on Hen Goleg (twelve years remaining), which was used as a day centre for people with a physical disability.  Subject to some minor access improvements to the changing facilities, council officers judged that the venue had the space and capacity to provide in addition a day service to the clients attending Woodlands Day Centre.  .

Current service users and carers would be asked for their views about the move.  If the outcome of this engagement process indicated that a move to Hen Goleg was practicable and acceptable to current users of the Woodlands Day Centre, the Director of Social Services in consultation with the Managing Director, the Cabinet Member for Adult Services and the Leader would make arrangements for transferring the service on a temporary basis initially.

It was possible that the move from Woodlands to Hen Goleg may have proved to be more than temporary because of problems incurred in renovating Gardenhurst as set out in another report to this meeting of Cabinet.  A more permanent transfer would have efficiency benefits as the Directorate could then use Hen Goleg fully during the period of the lease and reduce overall spend on running costs and maintenance across its day centre estate.

Rationalising use of buildings would help the Directorate to achieve the saving target (S20) identified in Appendix D of the agreed Final Revenue Budget Proposals 2013/14 and Financial Strategy to 2016/17.  Before any longer-term decision in this respect could be made, an impact assessment and full consultation with service users and carers would have to be undertaken. 

Resolution of the issues outlined in the report would help to inform production of a revised service model and commissioning strategy for services to people with a Learning Disability.  This would be presented to Cabinet in the first quarter of the new financial year. 

The Directorate’s work on new service models and commissioning strategies was beginning to produce significant dividends, helping to:

·               provide opportunities for creative thinking about how services were delivered, encouraging dialogue and getting consensus about overall direction;

·               embed concepts which service users and carers believe were necessary to underpin wellbeing – choice and control, a rights-based approach, social inclusion and opportunities;

·               establish service priorities and clarity for staff, partner organisations and service users/carers; and

·               inform decisions about investment of resources and efficiencies,

The revised service model and commissioning strategy would be informed by the work that this Council was undertaking with Cardiff Council, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and Abertawe Bro-Morgannwg University Health Board to develop integrated, effective and cost effective services for people with Learning Disabilities across the two local authority areas.  It included devising a joint strategy for ensuring that centre-based activities helped people achieve and retain independence and community integration.  There would be individual action plans for each local authority area.  The strategy and action plan will be presented to both Councils for agreement.

The action plans would be used as the basis for managing any specific project for remodelling services, which must fulfil the Council's statutory responsibilities for consulting with service users and carers about changes in the services they receive. 

This was a matter for Executive decision.

 

RESOLVED -

 

(1)                         T H A T the relocation of the day service provided at the Woodlands Centre to Hen Goleg, initially as a temporary measure, following engagement with service users and carers affected by these changes be approved in principle.

(2)                         T H A T the Director of Social Services in consultation with the Managing Director, the Cabinet Member for Adult Services and the Leader be authorised to make arrangements for transferring the service if a move to Hen Goleg was judged to be practicable for the current users of the Woodlands Day Centre.

(3)                         T H A T the development of a revised service model and commissioning strategy for services to people with Learning Disabilities and, in partnership with Cardiff Council, a joint strategy and action plan for delivering appropriate 'Day-Time Activities' be supported.

Reasons for decisions

(1)                           To ensure that the service was provided in a building which was safe and fit-for-purpose.

(2)                           To facilitate prompt action and service continuity.

(3)                           To ensure that day-time activities for people with learning disabilities meet the needs of service users and carers and delivered positive outcomes through promoting independence, community integration and skills development.

 

C1325            THE FUTURE USE OF GARDENHURST (AS) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – SOCIAL CARE AND HEALTH) -

 

Members were informed about difficulties encountered in carrying out the decision to move the Woodlands day service to Gardenhurst and to seek approval for suspending all work on Gardenhurst while an in-depth building survey is completed

 

The Woodlands Day Centre in Barry was in a very poor state of repair.  In 2011, the Council decided to close it and transfer the service to the Gardenhurst site in Penarth.  This move was to be the final stage within a series of changes to day services provision as a whole.

To facilitate the move, works to the ground floor area at Gardenhurst were undertaken.  In 2011/12, the toilets were refitted and a changing area created.  In 2012/13, further renovation comprised.

·               creating an emergency exit consisting of replacement doors, a ramp to form a safe route for egress and emergency lighting;

·               replacing the fire alarm system; and

·               undertaking various mechanical electrical and building works to upgrade the building.

The total cost of the works from 2011 - 2013 was £113k.

Outstanding work from the original renovation plan included refitting the existing kitchen to ensure that it met safety requirements and providing a training kitchen for service users to develop their independent living skills.  The cost of the changes to the kitchen area was estimated to be in the region of £50k.  Additionally, the existing lift is no longer serviceable and required replacement at an additional cost of £30k.

As part of an ongoing asset management requirement, all council properties were being surveyed to identify their condition and the cost of any necessary remedial works.  The condition survey report for Gardenhurst had identified a cost of £244k to bring the property up to current building standards.  The same report also highlighted the need to examine the condition of the entire building more fully; of particular importance in this respect was its structural integrity.  Having regard to these findings, building works at Gardenhurst have been suspended on an interim basis, pending a decision on the long-term use of the property.  Subject to agreement from Cabinet, the Social Services Directorate would instruct the Property Section to seek a full building condition survey on Gardenhurst and to provide a costed plan for the remedial works required. 

A further report would be presented to Cabinet outlining the scale of the capital investment needed for the building to be used as the long-term location of the Woodlands Day Service and seeking a decision about whether this represents an appropriate use of resources. 

Additionally, Gardenhurst provided office facilities for the integrated Community Mental Health Team for Older People, which included staff employed by the council and by the Cardiff & Vale UHB. 

This was a matter for Executive decision.

RESOLVED -

(1)                         T H A T the concerns about the financial implications of continuing with the renovation of Gardenhurst, given new information about potential costs and the need to investigate further possible issues about its structural integrity be noted.

(2)                         T H A T all work on the Gardenhurst site be suspended while an in-depth building survey was completed.

(3)                         T H A T the Director of Social Services provide a further report at the end of this exercise with a costed plan for any remedial works required.

Reasons for decisions

(1)                           To ensure that Members were aware of issues that may affect whether it is feasible or prudent to proceed with the decision to move the Woodlands day service to Gardenhurst.

(2)                           To ensure that the council did not incur unnecessary costs.

(3)                           To allow informed consideration regarding the cost effectiveness of using Gardenhurst as a venue for adult day services

 

C1326                        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 reason given beneath the minute headings be considered.

 

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C1327            SERVICE PLAN – DIRECTORATE OF DEVELOPMENT SERVICES (DDS) –

 

Matter which the Chairman has decided is urgent in order to be considered with the Service Plans on the Agenda for 8th May 2013

 

The Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) on 16 April, 2013, considered the above report

 

For Members’ information the Director of Development Services drew attention to the fact that the plan also included reference to the elements of his service area that were under the remit of the Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection).  In considering the service plan and actions that fell within the remit of the Scrutiny Committee Economy and Environment Members referred to the ongoing work of the Welsh Government Cardiff Airport Task Force and that an action should be included under Objective 9 in recognition of the work involved for the Council. The Committee also requested to receive an update on the progress being undertaken by the Task Force to a future meeting. 

 

In response to a request for a policy on 20mph zones within the Vale, the Director advised that this issue would be addressed within team plans if appropriate.  The Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation, having been granted permission to speak responded by advising that the Council currently had no policy to support 20mph zones throughout the Vale and that the consistent approach would be to listen to local people and local needs and deal with issues on a local basis. 

 

With regard to a query in relation to a cycle path between Barry and Dinas Powys and a possible feasibility study, the Director explained that this cycle path continued to be an aspirational one for the Council and as such had not therefore been reflected in the service plan.  However, he confirmed that the action plan at page 133 of the report detailed an action subject to the securing of land owner agreements, to implement improvement works to the Ash Path linking Dinas Powys to the Penarth Learning Community.

 

Having fully considered the service plan and the action plan, the Committee subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T Cabinet be requested to include an action under Objective 9, in the action plan, to work with Welsh Government in administering the Cardiff Airport Task Force with the success criteria being identified as to increase passenger numbers.

 

(2)       T H A T the Scrutiny Committee receives a progress update on the work of the Cardiff Airport Task Force at a future meeting.

 

(3)        T H A T notwithstanding recommendation (1) above the service plan and action plan be endorsed.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To ensure that the work of the Cardiff Airport Task Force is recognised and addressed appropriately within the service action plan.

 

(2)       To update Elected Members.

 

(3)       Having been considered by the Committee.”

 

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This matter was dealt with earlier in the meeting under Agenda Item 6.

 

 

C1328            SERVICE PLAN – DIRECTORATE OF VISIBLE SERVICES AND HOUSING (DVSH) –

 

Matter which the Chairman has decided is urgent in order to be considered with the Service Plans on the Agenda for 8th May 2013

 

The Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) on 16 April, 2013, considered the above report

 

It was noted that the Visible Services draft service plan had been previously reported to the Scrutiny Committee in 2012 due to the fact that the service area had been part of a pilot project under the new service planning arrangements.

 

The report highlighted that Visible Services comprised a group of four interlinked service areas:

 

·                    Waste Management and Cleansing

·                    Parks and Grounds Maintenance

·                    Highways and Engineering

·                    Vehicle Maintenance and Fleet Management.

 

The Housing element of the Directorate would be addressed in a service plan to be reported to the Housing and Public Protection Scrutiny Committee. 

 

Following consideration of the plans Members made reference to the request for consideration that had been discussed earlier in the meeting in respect of “Banning Dogs from Vale Play Areas” , and subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T Cabinet be requested to increase the priority under Objective 2,  in the action plan at page 43, “to review options for the introduction of “Dog Control Orders” within the Vale of Glamorgan” from a low priority to a medium priority.

 

(2)       T H A T not withstanding recommendation (1) above the service plan and action plan be endorsed 

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       In recognition of the discussions that had taken place earlier in the meeting under the Request for Consideration to Ban Dogs from Vale Play Areas.

 

(2)       Having been considered by the Committee.”

 

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This matter was dealt with earlier in the meeting under Agenda Item 6.

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