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                                                                        Agenda Item No.

 

CABINET

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 17 June, 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.

 

Also present: Councilor (s) R Traherne. R Probert.

 

C1355                        MINUTES –

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 3 June, 2013 be approved as a correct record.

 

C1356                        DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST –

 

The following declarations were received:

 

Councillor N Moore

Agenda Item 15 – Utilisation of Additional Welsh Government Capital Funding For Schools

 

Reason for Declaration -

1.            Governor of Bryn Hafren Comprehensive School.

As a Local Authority Appointed Governor , his personal interest did not equate to a prejudicial interest and therefore was able to speak and vote on the matter

 

Councillor S Egan

Agenda Item 15 – Utilisation of Additional Welsh Government Capital Funding For Schools

 

Reason for Declaration -

 

Governor of High Street Primary School

 

As a Local Authority Governor of High Street Primary School , his personal interest did not equate to a prejudicial interest and therefore was able to speak and vote on the matter

 

 

Councillor R Curtis

Agenda Item 15 – Utilisation of Additional Welsh Government Capital Funding For Schools

 

 

Reason for Declaration -

 

Governor of Oakfield Primary School

 

As a Local Authority Governor of Oakfield Primary School, his personal interest did not equate to a prejudicial interest and therefore was able to speak and vote on the matter

 

 

 

 

C1357                         UPDATE ON THE SOCIAL SERVICES BUDGET PROGRAMME (REF) -

 

The Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health) on 20 May, 2013 considered the above report from the Director of Social Services.

 

Committee were updated on the progress made in delivering the Social Services Budget Programme and considered a request for amendments to the Programme for 2013/14 onwards. 

 

During 2012/13, the Directorate was required to find savings totalling £1.43m.  In order to progress the savings programme and to reduce the savings required in future years, the Directorate itself set a savings target of £1.833m., which represented an additional saving of £403k. 

 

The following table showed the progress made during 2012/13 for each of the identified Social Services savings.  Where the identified savings had not been fully achieved during the year, underspends in similar areas had been allocated to compensate for the shortfall.  In the circumstances, the actions to be taken during 2013/14 are as outlined below:

       

Project

Target Saving (£000)

Actual Saving (£000)

Position

Delete CAMHS Social Worker Post

58

58

Achieved

Contract with Atal Y Fro

67

67

Achieved

 

Contract with First Opportunities

25

25

Achieved

Continuing Health Care

110

110

Achieved

 

Managed Budget Reductions

200

200

Achieved

TOTAL CHILDRENS

460

460

 

 

 

Reconfigure VCRS

45

45

Reorganisation was implemented from February 2013.  Staff vacancies contributed to achieving the saving in 2012/13

Care Packages Budget Reduction

618

618

Savings have been achieved in year through a reduction in expenditure and an increase in income

Managed Budget Reduction

300

300

Achieved

 

Supported Accommodation Learning Disabilities

100

100

Achieved

Residential Services

100

100

Achieved by an increase in client contributions for residential care

Service level agreement with Cardiff Council - Emergency Duty Team

 

25

25

Achieved

TOTAL ADULTS

 

1,188

1,188

 

 

 


Project

Target Saving (£000)

Actual Saving (£000)

 

Child Protection Conferencing & Review

35

35

Review and staff consultation is complete.  Currently in process of implementation, including staff recruitment.  Staff vacancies achieved the saving in 2012/13

Managed Budget Reduction

90

90

The staffing reorganisation will not be complete until part way through 2013/14.  Underspends elsewhere in the division have contributed to achieving the saving in 2012/13

Delete ICT Budget

60

60

Achieved

 

TOTAL BUSINESS, MGT & INNOVATION

185

185

 

 

 

 

 

TOTAL SOCIAL SERVICES

1,833

1,833

 

Certain schemes had previously been identified but with no specific savings target attached.  The following schemes were now being closed as follows:

-               Revocation of Care Orders – this scheme had now been closed as the project had delivered revocations for all appropriate cases and the approach was now embedded in normal practice.

-               Supported Accommodation – this scheme had now been closed.  A review had concluded that alternative forms of service provision would be more beneficial.

 

The following savings targets had been approved by the Council as the minimum Social Services savings required for the next four years.  Savings identified were also shown and included the £403k. identified in 2012/13 in excess of the saving target for that year.

 

Year

Savings Required

£000

Savings Identified

£000

In Year Surplus/ (Shortfall)

£000

Cumulative Surplus/   (Shortfall)

£000

Additional 2012/13 savings

   -

403

403

403

2013/14

2,150

2,040

(110)

293

2014/15

838

579

(259)

34

2015/16

1,700

1,776

76

110

2016/17

1,315

1,391

76

186

TOTAL

6,003

6,189

 

 

 

The savings identified incorporated an additional saving which Social Services would find via the Fostering Services.  Scrutiny Committee on 11th March 2013 received a report on the Council’s in-house Fostering Service.  Part of this report detailed an invest-to-save scheme to recruit additional foster carers.  This bid had now been approved and the savings to be achieved through this initiative had been included in the identified savings.  This had resulted in savings identified being £186k. over the target required.  This surplus would be used to mitigate any additional savings to be found in future.

 

It had become apparent that some of the implementation dates for the savings required amendment.  Appendix 1 to the report therefore provided a draft showing the individual areas of saving for 2013/14 onwards, which incorporated proposed changes that required approval.  It was requested that changes are made to the approved programme to bring forward some savings from 2014/15 and to put back some of the savings from 2013/14 to 2014/15.  The proposed changes did not alter the total savings to be found by year or overall throughout the programme.

 

Scrutiny Committee was asked to consider the following changes to the programme, and to refer the changes to Cabinet for approval. 

 

 Children’s Services

Supported Lodgings – the £20k. saving in 2013/14 to be amalgamated with the SLA saving of £60k., as the saving would be realised through reduced SLA expenditure.

 

Residential Care Contract – the £50k. saving in 2013/14 to be amalgamated with Out of Area Residential Placement saving of £150k., as the saving would be realised from reduced placement costs.

Adult Services

Meals on Wheels - £32k. to be brought forward from 2014/15 into 2013/14.  The majority of this saving would be achieved via the increase in charge for 2013/14, already approved.

 

Provision of Food to Trinity - £13k. to be brought forward from 2014/15 into 2013/14.  A part of the saving would be achieved by any increase in charge for 2013/14 already approved.

 

Office Accommodation - £7k. to be brought forward from 2014/15 into 2013/14.  The Adult Placement Service had already moved from Washington Chambers in Penarth to Hen Goleg.

 

Care Packages Budget Reduction – increase the 2013/14 saving of £620k. by £65k.  This was thought to be achievable based on the level of current commitments.

 

Managed Budget Reduction – reduce the 2013/14 saving of £300k. by £117k.  £65k. to be transferred to the Care Packages Budget and £52k. to be put back to 2014/15 to compensate for schemes being brought forward.

 

The Social Services Directorate was committed to achieving a balanced budget.  The corporate programme board and project teams overseeing the plan would continue to monitor and ensure its delivery.  Progress updates would be reported on a monthly basis as part of the overall financial monitoring report for the Directorate.

 

Discussions ensued about the size of the total Care Package budget and the savings that were being required to be met from it.  In reply, Members were advised that the total budget was some £24m. and that the savings required were of the order of 3%. 

 

The budget reductions were challenging, and being managed.  Less people are being supported, but the ones that are require a greater level of involvement.  Furthermore, more people are being admitted to hospital which has an impact on the Council’s discharge services.

 

In referring to the First Steps negotiation with the Welsh Government, Committee were advised that the Welsh Government had allocated a sum of £3.2m. for the current financial year and that it would be allocated by means of a grant.  The amount allocated to the Vale of Glamorgan Council would not cover the loss of income. 

 

There was a need to look at the way in which the level of the gap was set in future years. 

 

In referring to paragraphs A17 and A18 of Appendix 1 to the report, Committee were advised that the figures quoted were estimated and would require more work in the future. 

 

RECOMMENDED –

(1)       T H A T the progress made in delivering the Social Services Budget Programme during 2012/13 be noted.

(2)       T H A T the changes to the Social Services Budget Plan for 2013/14 to 2016/17 as outlined above be endorsed and referred to Cabinet for approval.

 Reasons for recommendations

(1)       That Members are aware of the progress made to date in delivering the Social Services Budget Programme.

(2)       That a revised Budget Plan to 2016/17 be approved, as had been requested by Cabinet on 25th February 2013.

 

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

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the changes to the Social Services Budget Plan for 2013/14 to 2016/17 as outlined in the report be approved.

 

Reason for decision

 

To approve the Budget Plan to 2016/17

 

 

C1358                        UPDATE REPORT: MANAGING ALLEGATIONS OF PROFESSIONAL ABUSE – COMPLIANCE WITH PART IV OF THE ALL WALES CHILD PROTECTION PROCEDURES (REF) –

 

The Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health) on 20 May, 2013 considered the above report of the Director of Social Services.

 

Committee received a report which assured that the Council complies with the requirements of the All Wales Child Protection Procedures as they relate to managing allegations of professional abuse.

 

The Council took very seriously its responsibility for complying with Part IV of the All Wales Child Protection Procedures 2008 which dealt specifically with the handling of professional abuse cases.  The Council was able to demonstrate that allegations involving professionals were pursued rigorously.

 

In this context, the allegations of abuse may involve all professionals, employees and volunteers working for or accredited by a public, voluntary, private agency, place of worship or faith organisation or independent contractor, whose work brought them into contact with children.  Allegations of abuse may be made against an individual employee in either their private life or their working capacity.

 

Where these allegations involve Council staff, serious matters that may constitute gross misconduct were supported by suspension of the employee(s), subject to investigation.  In all instances, such issues were determined by a Head of Service or above.  Any allegation of potential abuse brought to the attention of Human Resources was referred immediately to the safeguarding unit in Social Services and advice obtained.  Should allegations be made against education and school staff, discussions always took place between the designated officers for safeguarding in Social Services and the Learning and Skills Directorates.  When taking forward action that could potentially involve suspending, dismissing or terminating the contract of a Vale employee, the Managing Director and the Leader were advised at the point of application or shortly after, if they were unavailable.

 

Appropriate attendance at strategy meetings to agree how investigating agencies would manage the allegation was determined by the designated safeguarding officer in Social Services, who chaired all strategy meetings under Part IV of the All Wales Child Protection Procedures.  Where allegations involved education staff, the Head or Deputy Head would attend the strategy meeting (unless the allegation relates to them), plus the designated safeguarding officer in the Learning and Skills Directorate. 

 

Police representatives attend all strategy meetings.  In every case of professional abuse, the meeting always considered whether a criminal investigation was appropriate. 

 

Outcome review meetings were convened as appropriate to review progress and to manage risk until the matters had been properly concluded.

 

At the time of the previous six monthly report, three investigations remained ongoing.  Two of these investigations have concluded: one involving investigation by the Police and referral to the Independent Safeguarding Authority and the General Teaching Council for Wales and the other concluding with investigation by the employer.  The third matter remained ongoing and was now subject to ongoing Court proceedings.

 

Between 1st September 2012 and 31st March 2013, 18 allegations of professional abuse received by Social Services crossed the threshold for a strategy meeting.  16 had been concluded, and two were the subject of ongoing Police investigation and the conclusion of Court proceedings. 

 

Eight of the 18 allegations involved Vale of Glamorgan Council staff, five in Social Services (foster carers)  and three in Learning in Skills.  Two of the 18 related to self-employed individuals, three to volunteers and one to the public sector.  The remaining four concerned staff in independent sector residential care and fostering. 

 

Of the 16 concluded matters:

 

·           six of the allegations were retracted

·           six were investigated by the Police (four jointly with Social Services)

·           four were investigated by Social Services.

 

16 of the 18 allegations involved investigation by the employer / voluntary organisation in addition to Social Services and / or Police investigation or as an action agreed by the strategy group.

 

In two of the 16 concluded matters, individuals had been charged with offences.  In respect of the matters not yet concluded, two individuals were awaiting Court prosecution.  Where disciplinary processes had been instigated, two concluded matters had resulted in the dismissal of staff and one in foster carers being de-registered.  The remainder involved additional training requirements for staff or additions and amendments to policies and procedures.  Referral to relevant regulatory and professional bodies and to the Independent Safeguarding Authority had been undertaken as appropriate.

 

Members enquired as to the number of allegations that had been made in the previous six months, but this information was not available.

 

Members were advised that the Council has established a Safe Recruitment Policy, which represented a major milestone for the Council.  It was further reported that the Director of Social Services, the Head of Human Resources and the Director of Learning and Development separately reported to CMT on a six monthly basis and the view was put that it would be helpful if each of these reports were submitted to Cabinet. 

 

Members enquired as to how many of the reported incidents could have been prevented through proper training and were advised that it would require analysis on a case by case basis to answer that question.  This information however could be included in the next such report to Committee.

 

The view was expressed that, whilst the report gave Members the numbers of allegations, it did not provide the background to those allegations.  As such, the report presented difficulty to the Members achieving a full understanding of the issues.  It was suggested that a flow chart for each individual case be presented to Committee in future.

 

Having considered the content of the report, it was

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the contents of the report and the work undertaken to ensure best practice in managing allegations of professional abuse be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the Director of Social Services provide a report on a six monthly basis about how allegations of professional abuse have been managed by the Council. 

 

(3)       T H A T the report be presented to Cabinet for information.

 

(4)       T H A T the reports prepared six monthly for CMT by the Head of Human Resources and Director of Learning and Development be also reported to Cabinet.

 

Reason for recommendations

 

(1-4)    To ensure that the Council has in place effective arrangements for overseeing this key area of work for safeguarding children.

 

 

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

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1)             T H A T the contents of the report and the work undertaken to ensure best practice in managing allegations of professional abuse be noted.

 

(2)             T H A T the Director of Social Services provide a report to Cabinet on a six monthly basis about how allegations of professional abuse have been managed by the Council. 

 

(3)             T H A T the reports prepared six monthly for Corporate Management Team by the Head of Human Resources and the Chief Learning and Skills Officer be also reported to Cabinet.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1-3)          To ensure that the Council has in place effective arrangements for overseeing this key area of work for safeguarding children.

 

 

C1359            CENTRAL SOUTH CONSORTIUM PERFORMANCE STOCKTAKE REPORT (REF) –

 

 

The Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) on 23 May, 2013 considered the above report of the Chief Learning and Skills Officer.

 

Appendix 1 to the report provided the Scrutiny Committee with the findings of the Central South Consortium’s termly performance Stocktake that had been conducted by Welsh Government’s School Standards Unit (SSU) in Spring Term 2013.  The Welsh Government’s SSU had been set up in Autumn 2011 to engage directly in professional dialogue about school performance with each of the four regional Consortia in Wales.  The Stocktake approach enabled the SSU to identify areas for improvement and to share what worked well in other schools across Wales. 

 

In response to whether the Consortium had appointed a Director to head the service the Committee was advised that the Joint Committee had considered proposals for leadership and had agreed that there would not be a full time permanent director although the arrangement would be kept under review.  The Head of School Improvement had recently been appointed, namely Mr. Robert Hopkins, and two part time roles had also been created.  With regard to the function of joint scrutiny of the JES , the Democratic and Scrutiny Officer would consult with the Head of Democratic Services and advise Members by email on progress to date.

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

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

 

(2)       T H A T Cabinet be informed of the Scrutiny Committee’s concerns at the delay in setting up a joint scrutiny committee of the JES and that Cabinet’s attention be also drawn to the reference to St. Cyres School contained within the appendix to the report.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To keep Members informed.

 

(2)       To apprise Cabinet of the views of the Committee and the contents of the report.â€

 

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At the meeting the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services commented that the Council was currently working with the consortium in relation to setting up a scrutiny function with four other Local Authorities.

 

Cabinet having considered the recommendation of the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning)

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the Scrutiny Committee’s (Lifelong Learning) concerns at the delay in setting up a joint scrutiny committee of the Joint Education Service reference to St.Cyres School contained within the appendix to the report be noted.

 

Reason for decision

 

To note the views of the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning)

 

 

C1360            NEETS PROVISION IN THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN (REF) –

 

The Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) on 23 May, 2013 considered the above report of the Chief Learning and Skill Officer.

 

The Committee received a progress report on NEETs provision in the Vale which provided an update on developments with young people in both the Vale of Glamorgan and at a national level.

 

NEET levels for 16-18 had steadily been improving year on year both locally and nationally.  This was in contrast with the levels of NEET 19-24 which had been increasing due to the economic climate and its well publicised affect on youth unemployment globally.  It was therefore crucial that the Authority developed and improved training and employment opportunities for those young people in transition between full time education and work to thus attempt to reduce the continuing increase in the level of post 18 NEET.

 

A Youth Service Welsh Government Revenue Grant was currently being reconfigured to have a direct focus on those young people deemed at risk and to help reduce the number of NEETs in the Vale.  The Youth Service was currently developing working arrangements with schools to provide early intervention strategies for young people who are at risk of becoming NEET. Young people were identified in Years 8 and 9 by the school on attendance levels, behaviour, attitudes to learning and emotional literacy.  Support for schools was flexible and was driven by the needs of the learners.  The purpose of the intervention was to provide ongoing support for young people and to prevent them dropping out of mainstream provision and becoming NEET.  Through a partnership with Urdd Gobiath Cymru, support for Welsh Medium schools was also available.

 

Many young people aged 16-24 were NEET due to isolation and lack of services in rural areas.  Employment options, education services, training providers and Careers Advisors were based in the Barry area and transport costs for young people make accessing these services difficult.  Mobile provision was being developed to take information, advice and guidance (IAG) to young people in their communities.  The mobile service (VPOD) would be used in partnership with Job Centre Plus, and Careers Wales to engage with young people and provide IAG and links to education, training and employment services.

 

The 14-19 Network had been responsible for work which had been very significant in providing increased choice and progression opportunities for hundreds of learners in the Vale, helping to reduce the number of young people not engaged.  This included college courses shared and mixed classes in schools, expanding volunteering opportunities, extended work experience and pre and post 16 Learning Coach support.  From April 2013 this funding was being allocated on a regional basis rather than locally, a small increase in additional funds for provision and support had been secured for 2013-14.  However the future sustainability of this funding was uncertain beyond 2013/14.

 

Withdrawal of the above funding would have an effect on learners as some 2 year courses may not be able to be completed due to funding ceasing part way through periods of study.  The funding also supported two Learning Coach roles, one of whom intervenes pre 16 and directs young people at risk to alternative education other than school and one post 16 who was seconded to CW and worked directly with young people aged 16-19 identified as economically inactive.  It was reported that the support given was very successful, however the uncertainty of the future of 14-19 funding raised the question of whether this essential function and service could be sustained in the future.  Welsh Government had however not yet announced any indication on the way forward or offered any solutions to the issue. 

 

Many Families First funded projects support the work with NEETs. These included Gateway to Engagement (25-35 students per year) and the Partnership for Young Parents which targeted young mothers (15 per year) and was run in partnership with Flying Start.  The transition from Cymorth to Families First funding had changed the way the funding could be used and had led to a move away from individual projects to working around a whole family.

 

Through Communities First funding several initiatives had been approved to deliver targeted work within the cluster areas, the three main themes were: Learning Communities, Prosperous Communities and Healthy Communities. Within Learning Communities, 3 projects would commence to help target those not in education, employment or training.

 

The report stated that the Statutory Youth Service had a key role to play in its diverse project and centre based work which allowed formal and informal work with all young people with a specific emphasis on young people at risk.  In addition, the Youth Service had re-established a Youth Provider Network (YPN) with the aim of sharing information resources and expertise to provide a collaborative approach to addressing the NEET issues.  The Youth Service administered, developed, monitored and supported the network and helped ensure a more joined up approach to youth support services across the Authority.

With regard to the Education Welfare Service Members were reminded that the EWO’S addressed education and non-attendance issues and were based  in schools.  The Alternative Learning Support Programme Co-ordinator supported young people into appropriate learning provision with one of five local training providers and the officers identified and targeted those at risk pre 16, and have had a positive effect in significantly reducing the number of non-attendees.  In response to a query regarding whether the Council had sufficient education and welfare officers in place to deal with absenteeism and lateness etc., the Chief Learning and Skills Officer advised that the Council did not tackle the issue on its own.  The department worked with schools in order to tackle attendance and whilst noting that attendance and unauthorised absence data that was gathered needed improvement, particularly in primary schools she assured Members that the Council was committed to working with schools and to the use of EWOs to best effect. 

 

Following the presentation of the report a Member referred to the issue under paragraph 10 as to what support was in place that was driven by the needs of the learners.  In response Committee was advised that mobile provision provides a means to assist with engaging with pupils and a number of courses had also been made available, particularly in relation to behaviour issues.  There were also a number of bite size learning activities that took place which were referred to as learning by stealth with pupils having the opportunity to work on their literacy and numeracy skills. The Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme provided support for pupils in respect of life skills.

 

Following consideration of the report, it was

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the progress to date, the reduction in the numbers of NEETS and the measures for further improvement be noted. 

 

(2)       T H A T six monthly progress updates on NEETs provision in the Vale of Glamorgan be presented to the Scrutiny Committee and the work programme be amended accordingly.

 

(3)       T H A T the report be referred to Cabinet for information advising of the  measures contained therein to secure further improvement.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       For Members to be aware of the priority being given to preventing young people in the Vale of Glamorgan from becoming NEETs and the framework responsibilities..

 

(2)       Members considered that six monthly reports were more reasonable than quarterly.

 

(3)       For information and or consideration.

 

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Cabinet having considered the recommendation of the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning)

 

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

 

Reason for decision

 

To note contents of the report.

 

 

C1361            SUMMARY OF SCHOOL INSPECTION REPORTS FOR THE SPRING TERM 2013 (REF) –

 

The Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) on 23 May, 2013 considered the above report of the Chief Learning and Skills Officer.

 

Committee received feedback on two schools in the Vale of Glamorgan namely Peterston-Super-Ely C/W Primary and Dinas Powys Infants School.  It was noted that the schools had been inspected during the Spring term 2013 and a summary of the investigation findings were appended to the report.

 

The report highlighted that at Peterston-Super-Ely Primary the current performance and prospects for improvement were good and for Dinas Powys the current performance was noted as excellent and prospects for improvement good. 

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the Scrutiny Committee notes with great pleasure the results of the inspections and the Chairman writes on behalf of the Committee to the Schools expressing congratulations and thanks for the good work.

 

(2)       T H A T the good practice identified as excellent be shared with the Scrutiny Committee and with other schools in the Vale as soon as practicable.

 

(3)       T H A T the report be referred to Cabinet for consideration and / or information.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       In noting the results of the inspection.

 

(2)          To enable good practice to be shared.

 

(3)          For Cabinet consideration.

 

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Cabinet having considered the recommendation of the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning)

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1)             T H A T the results of the school inspection reports for the spring term be noted.

 

(2)             T H A T a letter of congratulations be sent on behalf of Cabinet to both Peterston Super Ely CW Primary School and Dinas Powys Infants School commending the Governors, staff and children for their hard work.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)             To note the contents of the report.

 

(2)             To commend the work of both schools.

 

 

C1362             SCHOOL ADMISSION ARRANGEMENTS 2014/15 (REF) –

 

The Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) on 23 May, 2013 considered the above report.

 

Cabinet had referred the report to the Scrutiny Committee for information following the conclusion of the Council’s statutory consultation exercise that was undertaken.  The report outlined that the Local Authority had a statutory duty to consult on school admission arrangements on an annual basis.  The School Admissions Policy had been issued for consultation on 11th January 2013 to Headteachers and chairs of governors of all schools in the relevant areas, neighbouring local authorities and Diocesan Directors of Education.  Responses had been required by 1st March 2013.  The LA had received 785 written responses to the consultation exercise of which 22 respondents had stated they were in favour of the changes with the remainder being either opposed or having serious concerns. 

 

The main themes emanating from the consultation exercise were summarised at Appendix B to the report.

 

The responses to the consultation highlighted the importance that local people attached to the use of attendance at designated feeder schools as an admissions criterion in the case of oversubscription.  Taking into account this clear view the proposals had been amended to retain the feeder school system as an oversubscription criterion for entry to secondary schools with minor modification to address certain anomalies within the system ensuring that local children who did not attend a linked feeder primary school were enabled to attend their local secondary school. The revised arrangement also addressed the legislative requirements in terms of a Local Authority prioritising pupils within its Authority area.

 

The current oversubscription criteria for secondary schools together with the proposed criteria consulted on and revised criteria post consultation were attached at Appendix C to the report.

 

The admission arrangements detailed in the attached School Admissions Policy 2014/2015 at Appendix A would be operational for the 2014/15 academic year.

 

In considering the report, the following queries were raised and responses  provided:

 

Question

Response

How is capacity calculated?

Capacity was calculated on the size of the school with a formula set by Welsh Government.  The whole school was measured with the criteria taking into account the space within the school.  It was noted that in certain circumstances the LA could admit over admission numbers but that would be dependant on class organisation and agreement with the Governing body and the Headteacher.

Do we have any over subscriptions in the Vale?

Yes, there were a number of schools.  The admission criteria would be implemented from September 2014.

To date how many appeals have been made in respect of school admissions?

Approximately 15 appeals with some children being offered second preference accepting that they were unable to have their first preference.

What consideration does the Council give to military personnel? 

The Authority has due regard for the military covenant, but this is not legally binding on the Authority.  The normal criteria was moving into an area was that the Authority would need to see a guarantee of an address.  With regard to the military, they Authority needed to see information regarding the address of the unit.  The Local Authority had regular discussions with the RAF and the contact officer had advised that  there was no intention for the military to have preference over and above those currently living within the Vale of Glamorgan.

What arrangements for 2018 are we making for the military?

We are currently working with the MoD and seeking clarity on future expectations.

How do we deal with late applications?

Any late applications are considered after all the applications that are received before the deadline.

In considering the number of primary pupils, what are the plans for future Welsh medium comprehensive education?

Forecasted pupil numbers show that there will be a need to increase Welsh medium secondary sector places as the larger primary cohorts feed through.  This requirement is being built into our planning assumptions.

 

Having considered the report it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the amended arrangements be endorsed and the contents of the report noted.

 

(2)       T H A T Cabinet be requested to consider the possible forthcoming military expansion in the area to ensure that school admissions are planned for accordingly.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       In support of the school admissions policy for 2014/15 as contained within the report.

 

(2)       To ensure that adequate plans are put in place for the future.

 

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At the meeting the Leader confirmed that the possible forthcoming military expansion would be considered when planning school admissions.

 

Cabinet having considered the recommendation of the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning)

 

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

 

Reason for decision

 

To note the contents of the report.

  

 

C1363              SCHOOL AND COMMUNITY BASED COUNSELLING SERVICE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE (REF) –

 

The Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) on 23 May, 2013 considered the above report of the Chief Learning and Skills Officer.

 

The Committee had requested to receive a report on the matter which advised of the current position and progress in relation to the development of the local School Based Counselling Service in the Vale of Glamorgan.   The Children and Young People’s Partnership Manager advised that the service had been established as a key recommendation following the Clywch report in 2004 which had been issued by the then Children’s Commissioner Peter Clark.  Members were informed that between April 2012 to March 2013 384 young people had undertaken an episode of counselling.  This equated to 1,921 individual sessions, with females accounting for over 60%  of those accessing the service.  It was noted that more young people appeared to access the service as they got older, with a peak in year 10.  Of those seen by a counsellor only 10 young people reported being a Looked After Child (LAC), and this was below the national average.  This had been discussed by the Management Board who oversaw the service and raised with the relevant staff working directly with LACs but numbers remained low. 

 

In reporting to Committee the Partnership Manager advised that the main issues for referral were often highlighted as family, stress, anger and bullying issues.  The report also highlighted that through the young people’s Post Counselling Questionnaire feedback was positive:

 

·                100% of pupils agreed that the referral process worked well. 

·                100% of pupils stated they felt comfortable with the counsellor and would use the service again.

·                80% of pupils stated that using the service had helped improve relationships with friends and family.

·                70% had noted an improvement in their own behaviour and concentration as well as being more able to cope with things at school.

·                Of the 40% of pupils who highlighted that their attendance was an issue prior to counselling all suggested that counselling had made it easier to attend school.

·                Areas highlighted for improvement included the length of waiting lists and the counselling room was not always adequate. These are areas that are being explored with schools and the service provider.  

 

Welsh Government feedback on the Vale of Glamorgan’s progress had also been very good.  A review by the Welsh Government had used a number of indicators to evaluate the cost and quality of the service during the Spring term of 2011 with the service in the Vale performing well on all of these indicators.

 

Following reference to the YP Core Tool as detailed in paragraph 13 of the report, Members were informed that this was a psychological tool to measure psychological wellbeing and stress levels and showed a reduction in reported stress levels pre and post counselling of between 9 and 10 points.

 

The Chairman stated that he was pleased to note that the young people as clients had positively reported that the referral process worked well.

 

Following consideration of the report, it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the report and the excellent progress to date be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the Scrutiny Committee continues to monitor progress on the development of the service and that the work programme schedule for the Committee be amended to include that an annual update is presented in May or June of each year.

 

(3)       T H A T the report be referred to Cabinet in order for Cabinet to consider the progress that had been made to date.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       In recognition of the work being undertaken.

 

(2)       In order to monitor progress.

 

(3)       For Cabinet consideration.

 

 

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

 

 

Cabinet having considered the recommendation of the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning)

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1)                     T H A T the excellent work and progress made in relation to the development of the local School Based Counselling Service in the Vale of Glamorgan be noted.

 

(2)                     T H A T all staff be formally thanked for providing and improving the services.

 

Reason for decision

 

(1&2)              In recognition of the work being undertaken.

 

 

C1364            COLLABORATIVE WORKING CCTV PROPOSAL (L) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – CORPORATE RESOURCES) –

 

Members were informed of the proposal currently being developed for working with Bridgend County Borough Council with regards to CCTV monitoring.

 

As part of the Council’s agile approach to collaborative working, the Council had a Memorandum of Understanding with Bridgend County Borough Council to explore collaborative working arrangements to improve services for residents and/or deliver financial savings. A Programme Board co-chaired by the Managing Director of the Vale of Glamorgan Council and Chief Executive of Bridgend Council oversees the delivery of projects.

 

One of the projects under consideration as part of the Partnership with Bridgend Council was CCTV monitoring services. The scope of the project excluded the strategic management of CCTV which would remain with the Council and be overseen by the Community Safety Partnership.

 

As part of the project to consider the potential for collaborative working with Bridgend, an options appraisal had been completed which had considered a range of different approaches to joint working in this area. The options appraisal was developed by officers of both Councils and involved contact with South Wales Police and the Community Safety Partnership.

 

Analysis of the services offered at each existing location revealed that Bridgend Council’s control centre provided a much broader range of services, offering emergency out of hours telephone contact, lone worker, lift monitoring and bollard management for example. This contrasted with the control centre in Barry which was entirely focused on CCTV monitoring and interaction with South Wales Police.

The benefits of the project had been identified as follows.

 

·           Service and Efficiency Savings: The pattern of activity created a natural inefficiency in monitoring operations which could only be part resolved by the use of in fill tasks. This inefficiency would be used to absorb some of the additional monitoring activity and allow for the combined staffing resource to be reduced. This was anticipated to deliver income/ savings totalling £75,000 per annum for both authorities based on current combined operational costs.

·           Improved productivity through monitoring of wider geographic area;

·           Improved monitoring of single cross authority incidents;

·           Improved monitoring of cross authority criminal and community safety activity.

 

·           Operational Flexibility: Monitoring activity over a wider geographic area would allow for greater flexibility to direct monitoring resources to priority incidents, irrespective of local authority boundaries.

 

·           Business Continuity and Technical Resilience: Neither operation currently had a business continuity solution in the event that existing premises became inaccessible. The proposed solution provided for a business continuity workstation to be maintained at Contact OneVale to be used in the event that the Bridgend control room becames inaccessible.

 

·           Improved Access for South Wales Police: South Wales Police currently must attend separate control rooms to access CCTV recording for evidence. This solution would allow for evidence for each authority to be produced at the main control room or from the business continuity workstation in Barry. In addition, South Wales Police would have access to 2 RIPA suites with the ability to view images across the combined CCTV network. There was an additional benefit of enhancing the service provided to South Wales Police through a single co-ordinated service.

 

·           Sustainability: The integration of monitoring activities for both local authority areas would help maintain an efficient and sustainable service. The combined operation may provide Bridgend Council with additional opportunities to work with, and provide monitoring services for, other neighbouring authorities.

It was proposed that Cabinet and Members of the Corporate Resources Scrutiny Committee visited the proposed Bridgend facility to meet with Members and Officers from Bridgend Council to discuss the proposal in further detail. Concurrently it was proposed that a tender process to be completed for the provision of technical integration works to determine the actual cost of this work.

 

The business case needed to be developed further before any decision on CCTV collaboration could be made. This needed to take into account the views of Cabinet and the Scrutiny Committee and also to refine the financial details, service and legal implications of the proposal. A more detailed report resulting from this work would then be presented to Cabinets in both local authority areas if the business case is robust.

 

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 report be referred to Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) for consideration and that the Committee provides comments back to Cabinet.

 

(3)             T H A T a visit to Bridgend County Borough Council’s CCTV monitoring facility be arranged for Cabinet and Members of the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources).

 

(4)             T H A T the business case for the provision of CCTV monitoring services be further developed and reported back to Cabinet in due course, together with consultation reports.

 

(5)             T H A T Audit be requested to carry out an independent review of the business case for collaboration of the CCTV service, particularly in relation to likely savings and the potential impact on level of service.

 

Reasons for decisions

(1)               To ensure that members were provided with an update regarding collaborative working proposals for the CCTV monitoring service. 

(2)               To ensure that due consideration is given to all aspects of the proposal.

(3)               To provide Members with an opportunity to visit the proposed location for CCTV monitoring.

(4&5)      To ensure that a robust business case underpins any future arrangements for this service.

 

C1365            IMPROVEMENT PLAN PART 1 (IMPROVEMENT OBJECTIVES 2013/14) (L) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – ALL) –

The report sought Members endorsement of the Improvement Plan Part 1 outlining proposed improvement objectives for 2013/14.

 

A full review of the Corporate Plan was undertaken during 2012 following local government elections and identified eight priority outcomes for the council. The proposed improvement objectives and associated actions for 2013/14 reflected priorities in the Corporate Plan and ensured that the council was focused on the areas in need of the most improvement.  Priority outcomes were also reflected in service plans that had informed the development of service outcomes and objectives. The 2013/17 Corporate Plan was approved by Council on 6th March 2013 following consultation with key stakeholders and partners.

 

In response to findings from the consultation undertaken with the public and relevant stakeholders including town and community councils no amendments to the Improvement Plan were proposed:

·           Responses from 2 out of the 3 participating town and community councils were broadly supportive of the proposed improvement objectives. Of the additional priority areas identified by Dinas Powys Community Council, traffic congestion was not considered as high a priority as the proposed improvement objectives.  Furthermore, Education and Social Services budget issues were picked up through the council's annual budget process. The only response from a member of the public did not raise any objections to the improvement objectives.

 

In addition to the public consultation the draft improvement objectives were discussed at meetings of all five of the Vale of Glamorgan Council scrutiny committees. Appendix 2 attached to the report outlined in full the recommendations and comments from all scrutiny committees and the key recommendations were as follows:

·           Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health) endorsed the proposed improvement objective for 2013/14 “To increase the number of Council Foster Carersâ€.

·           Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) endorsed the improvement objectives for 2013/14 that fell within its remit subject to the word “not†being inserted in the last line of the penultimate paragraph under the rationale for objective 1.

·           Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection) endorsed the proposed improvement objectives with no recommendations to cabinet.

·           Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) recommended that cabinet be requested to consider increasing the targets identified for 2013/14 under objective 4 by more than 1% as this was not felt to be sufficiently challenging. The committee also requested that consideration be given to introducing measures for the early identification of NEETS at the end of Year 9.

·           Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) recommended that cabinet approve the draft improvement objectives but made a number of additional comments that they wished to be taken into consideration. Particular attention was paid to objective 2, the time taken to deliver disabled facilities grants with a recommendation for cabinet to consider concerns expressed in relation to ongoing service underperformance. The committee also requested that the word “tool†contained within the 2nd action shown in relation to objective 6 be amended to “mechanismâ€.

 

In response to the findings from the consultation undertaken with scrutiny committees the following amendments to the Improvement Plan were proposed:

Objective 1

·           Under the rationale for the objective, insert the word 'not' in the last sentence of the penultimate paragraph to correct a typing error.

Objective 2

·           Amend the 2013/14 target for the delivery of disabled facilities grants (GFDs) to children to 510 days from 580 days, a more challenging yet realistic target reflecting improvements made to the service during 2012/13.  In light of these changes, new cases assessed for adaptations will be delivered quicker impacting positively on the overall delivery time for DFGs.

Objective 4

·           Retain the proposed 1% increase across the board for measures aimed at improving pupil attainment levels at key stage 3 with a view to reviewing this in the autumn in line with the proposed Key Stage 3 Improvement Strategy agreed by cabinet on 22 April 2013.

Objective 6

·           Replace the word 'tool' with 'mechanism' as a preferred wording in the second action under, 'what actions are we going to take to make a difference?'

Objective 8

·           None.  Measures for early identification are being addressed as part of the NEETs Strategy. The strategy is due to be considered by cabinet.

 

The original plan would be revised to reflect relevant cabinet amendments and will be considered by Council on 26th June 2013.

At the meeting the Leader took this item with agenda item no 24b ‘Delivery of Children’s Disabled Facilities Grants’. He acknowledged Scrutiny’s concern’s regarding the performance of this activity. The improvement objective target proposed  was realistic for 2013/14  but he felt a more ambitious target should be set for 2014 – 15.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision.

 

RESOLVED –

(1)           T H A T the recommendations from all the scrutiny committees following consultation on the proposed improvement objectives 2013/14 be noted.

 

(2)           T H A T the public and Town and Community Councils responses to consultation on the proposed improvement objectives be noted.

 

(3)           T H A T the proposals for amendments to the Improvement Plan Part 1 be approved.

 

(4)           T H A T the Improvement Plan Part 1 attached at Appendix 1 to the report, including proposed improvement objectives for 2013/14 be endorsed.

 

(5)           T H A T the revised Improvement Plan Part 1 incorporating Cabinet amendments be referred to Council for approval on 26th June 2013.

 

(6)           T H A T the position for this year remained as indicated as a minimum and Cabinet noted the concerns of the Scrutiny Committees but would expect the 2014/15 target to put the council in the top 50% within Wales.

 

(7)           T H A T it be noted that more money would be invested within the service when the budget was finalised and that a further report with an action plan outlining how to increase the delivery for 2013/14 and 2014/15 onwards be brought back to Cabinet.

 

Reasons for decisions

(1)               To ensure the council identifies key annual improvement priorities for 2013/14 in line with requirements of the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009.

 

(2)               To ensure the council fulfils its duty to consult on its annual improvement objectives.

 

(3)               To ensure that improvement objectives focus specifically on those areas where there is a need for improvement, reflecting the work being undertaken across the council to improve the quality of life for Vale residents.

 

(4)               To enable the council to more easily demonstrate achievement of its priorities.

 

(5)               To gain council approval.

 

(6,7)       To ensure the Councils performance improves.

 

C1366             ESTYN INSPECTION REPORT: ADULT COMMUNITY LEARNING PARTNERSHIP (AS) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – LIFELONG LEARNING) –

 

Members were updated on the outcome of the Estyn Inspection of the Vale of Glamorgan Adult Community Learning Partnership.

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Adult Community Learning Partnership was inspected by Estyn in February 2013: the report was published in May.

 

The structure of the inspection report was  based on two overall summary judgements, and three key questions and ten quality indicators and took the following form:

Overall Summary Judgements;

 

·           Overall judgement on current performance

·           Overall judgement on prospects for improvement

 

And the three key questions were as follows;

 

Key Question 1 : How good are outcomes?

Key Question 2: How good is provision?

Key Question 3: How good are leadership and management?

 

The two overall summary judgements and the judgements for the three key questions and the ten quality indicators are based on a 4-point scale:

·           Excellent - Many strengths, including significant examples of sector-leading practice

·           Good - Many strengths and no important areas requiring significant improvement

·           Adequate - strengths outweigh areas for improvement

·           Unsatisfactory - Important areas for improvement outweigh strengths

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the outcome of the Estyn inspection and the arrangements in place to prepare a Post Inspection Action Plan be noted.

 

Reason for decision

 

To ensure Members are aware of the work that was in hand and being planned to respond to the recommendations made by Estyn for the further development of adult community learning in the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

C1367            NEETS STRATEGY (CS) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – LIFELONG LEARNING) –

Approval was sought to agree the proposed Vale of Glamorgan Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) Strategy 2013-15

 

NEET can be defined as a statistical category relating to a group of young people who are not in education, employment or training. In response to the increasing profile being given to the NEETs and worklessness agenda, an overarching Strategic Group and an Operational Group were established to develop and coordinate services. They were primarily concerned with prevention and the development of interventions for young people classified as NEET.

 

The scope of the strategy was to engage with young people from the age of 11-24, however, specific focus would be on the 16-17 age group. It detailed the steps that would need to be taken to ensure as many young people as possible chose to stay in learning or where appropriate to enter good quality employment post 16.

 

The strategy would be implemented by the NEET Strategic Group. The group reports to the Learning and Skills Partnership, which was part of the LSB's strategic partnership structure.  The NEET Strategy Group was chaired by the Principal Youth Officer.  It had representatives from Cardiff and Vale College, Vale of Glamorgan Council Youth Service, Education Welfare Service and Youth Offending Service, the Children and Young People's Partnership, Learning and Skills Partnership, 14-19 Network, Careers Wales and local training providers.

 

The Group had recently refreshed the NEETs Strategy document for 2013-15, the draft strategy was attached at Appendix 1 to the report. The aim of the strategy was to ensure that as many young people as possible had positive careers choices post 16 and in doing so reduce the number of NEET young people.  The focus was on improving outcomes for young people at risk of becoming disengaged in education, employment or training. The Strategy was linked to the Corporate Improvement Plan Objective 8 that was attached as Appendix 2 to the report.

 

The strategy would be reliant on the Statutory Youth Service as a key service to employ its diverse project and centre based work in NEET reduction. It had expertise in formal and informal work with all young people with a specific emphasis on young people at risk. In addition, the Youth Service had re-established a Youth Provider Network (YPN) with the aim of sharing information resources and expertise to provide a collaborative approach to addressing the NEET issues.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the ‘Vale of Glamorgan Not in Education Employment or Training Strategy 2013-2015’ attached at Appendix 1 to the report be approved.

 

Reason for decision

 

The Council's Not in Education Employment or Training Strategy had been updated to reflect changes in the labour market profile and the requirements of the Welsh Government Engagement and Progression Framework.

 

 

C1368            UTILISATION OF ADDITIONAL WELSH GOVERNMENT CAPITAL FUNDING FOR SCHOOLS (CS) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – LIFELONG LEARNING) –

Approval was sought for the inclusion of a number of additional projects in the 2013/14 Capital Programme following receipt of additional funding from the Welsh Government for capital maintenance and investment in schools late in 2012/13.

 

On 15 March, 2013 the Welsh Government confirmed that the Council had been allocated £574,882 capital funding for planned capital maintenance works at schools during the financial year 2012/13. The sum was derived from a formula allocation of the £12,853,000 agreed by the Minister for Education and Skills.

 

The funding had to be spent before 31 March 2013 on capital repair and maintenance works, identified as a priority in the Council's planned capital maintenance programme.

 

Following an assessment of current educational needs at all schools across the Vale, the following schemes had been proposed to be funded through this additional capital funding and included in the 2013/14 capital programme:

·           Llancarfan Primary, £106,600 required to replace the existing very poor quality demountable classroom in addition to the £153,000 from the 2012/13 capital programme. In order to progress procurement in time for the summer holidays the Managing Director had already exercised her emergency powers to approve this request.

·           Oakfield Primary, £146,282 to build a new entrance and reception area to improve access to the school and security.

·           High Street Primary, £80,000 to replace the 25 year old boiler which was at the end of its economic life.

·           Gwenfo Primary, £60,000 to replace the 19 year old boiler which was at the end of its economic life.

·           Romilly Primary, £50,000 to refurbish the year 5/6 toilets which following an assessment of all school toilets were confirmed as being in very poor condition.

·           Romilly Primary, £50,000 to eradicate dry rot under main reception floor.

·           Peterston-super-Ely Primary, Ysgol Pen y Garth and Bryn Hafren Comprehensive, £72,000 for fire precautions works highlighted after Fire Risk assessments to replace missing and defective fire barriers within the ceiling voids.

Ysgol Iolo Morganwg, £10,000 to overboard cracked lath and plaster ceilings to prevent loose section of plaster failing through suspended ceilings

This was a matter for Executive decision

RESOLVED –

(1)          T H A T capital funding allocated from the Welsh Government be  utilised to fund the following additional education projects within the 2013/14 capital programme:

·           Oakfield Primary, new entrance and reception area - £146,282.

·           High Street Primary, boiler renewal - £80,000.

·           Gwenfo Primary, boiler renewal - £60,000.

·           Romilly Primary, toilet refurbishment - £50,000.

·           Romilly Primary, dry rot eradication - £50,000.

·           Peterston-super-Ely Primary, Ysgol Pen y Garth and Bryn Hafren Comprehensive, fire precaution works - £72,000.

·           Ysgol Iolo Morganwg, overboard ceilings - £10,000.

(2)               T H A T the use of the Managing Director's emergency powers to approve the procurement of a demountable for Llancarfan Primary School be endorsed.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1&2) To allow the approved projects to proceed.

 

C1369            YOUTH SUPPORT SERVICES STRATEGY (CS) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – LIFELONG LEARNING) –

Approval was sought to agree the Youth Support Services Strategy and action plan that was attached as appendix A to the report.

 

The Local Authority had a duty to provide youth support services and participate in the provision of services with other bodies and persons, or commission the provision of services through other bodies. Youth Support Services encompassed all organisations that provided a service to young people aged 11-25.

 

The Children’s and Young People’s Partnership (CYPP) was the lead partnership body that strategically guided and brought together a broad range of youth support services from all sectors including council services, educational providers, health services and voluntary sector providers.

 

The report outlined that the Youth Support Services strategy would :

·           Demonstrate a cohesive multi-agency approach to the development and performance management of youth support services for young people.

·           Improve co-ordination and allocation of resources avoiding duplication of effort.

·           Increase opportunities to access and share data and information.

·           Identify, prioritise and meet the needs of young people in the most efficient and effective way.

·           Measure the impact of work with young people in the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

At the meeting the Cabinet Member for the Environment and Visible Services commented that under the Sustainable and Climate Change section of the report, it should include that young people were encouraged through the Youth Support Services Strategy to learn and value the environment and biodiversity.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1)       T H A T the proposed Youth Support Services Strategy 2013-2017 and action plan attached as Appendix A to the report be approved.

 

(2)       T H A T the report be referred to Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) for information.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)       The strategy identified priorities for Youth Support Services across the Vale and necessary actions to ensure outcomes are met.

 

(2)       For information.

 

C1370            JOINT FUNDING OF RESIDENTIAL PLACEMENTS FOR CHILDREN LOOKED AFTER BY THE COUNCIL (CS) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – SOCIAL CARE AND HEALTH) –

Approval was sought to propose that a joint budget be established for meeting the education and social care costs of placements in residential homes in respect of children with highly complex needs who are looked after by the Council.

 

Currently, the costs incurred by the Council in providing residential placements for looked after children was funded from budgets held by both the Social Services and the Learning and Skills Directorates.  Where Continuing Health Care funding applied, contributions could be received from the Cardiff & Vale University Health Board (UHB).  The process for determining the allocation of costs to each funder could be difficult and time consuming; the outcomes often lacked clarity and consistency.

 

The Social Services budget was used to fund care placements for looked after children who had a high level of complex needs or challenging behaviour and who had been assessed as requiring specialist residential care placements.  The Learning and Skills budget was used to fund the educational needs of children and young people who had complex needs and who had been assessed as requiring specialist educational provision outside the county's mainstream and special schools. 

 

All looked after children requiring specialist residential placements were considered by the Children and Young People Services multi-agency Complex Needs Panel.  It comprised relevant officers from Social Services, Learning and Skills and the UHB. The Terms of Reference for the Complex Needs Panel, was attached at Appendix 1 to the report.

 

Following discussions about possible changes in arrangements for funding placements, it was decided to scope the possibility of establishing a joint placement budget with access only through the Complex Needs Panel.  This would allow for proper corporate decisions to be made about how best to meet the individual needs of our most challenging looked after children.

 

To establish the joint budget, it was proposed that funding was transferred from the budgets of both Directorates.  Placement costs within Learning and Skills and Social Services for cases which meet the criteria for the proposed joint budget have been identified.  This information had been used to determine the percentage contribution to the budget by the respective Directorates.

 

Once a child had been identified as being eligible for funding from the joint budget, all the costs of caring for the child and meeting their needs would be charged to that budget (i.e. the total cost of the whole package of support for the individual child or young person).  These costs would include the residential care placement, all transport costs, respite care costs and any additional service provision required to support the placement.

 

The budget holder for the joint budget would be the Head of Children and Young People Services who would have responsibility for monitoring and reporting the position of the budget.

 

If agreed, it was proposed that this arrangement was piloted for one year in the first instance.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

RESOLVED – T H A T a joint budget be established to meet the education and social care costs of residential placements for children with highly complex needs who were looked after by the Council, initially as a pilot scheme for one year from 1st July 2013.

 

Reason for decision

 

To ensure efficient and effective financial management of residential placements for children looked after by the Council.

 

C1371            DISPOSAL OF SURPLUS LAND AT THE FORMER ST CYRES COMPREHENSIVE, DINAS POWYS SITE (CS) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – LIFELONG LEARNING) –

Approval was sought to declare land between the rear of Little Orchard and Cherry Close and the former St Cyres Comprehensive, Dinas Powys site, surplus to requirements and approve the sale of this land to the adjacent residents and to Brackley Investments.

 

St Cyres Comprehensive School occupied the site on the southern edge of Dinas Powys from the early 1970's until declining pupil numbers led to the decision to close the school site in July 2012.

 

On 22 May 1981 South Glamorgan County Council entered into a Deed to let an unused portion of the school site to the then owners of 5 and 6 Little Orchard and nos. 1, 2, 3 and 5 Cherry Close to extend their gardens. Legal Services had confirmed that the Deed did not appear to have been determined. The location of these parcels of land was shown on Appendix A that was attached to the report..

 

During August and September 2012 adverse possession claims were received from the current owners of nos. 1-5 Cherry Close via Land Registry claiming ownership of the land in question due to long term occupation. These claims were being resisted owing to the consent to use the land pursuant to the Deed on a legal point.

 

Unrelated to the adverse possession claims, on 1 October 2012 Cabinet declared the former St Cyres Comprehensive school site surplus to requirements and approved that a consultation process be undertaken to consider future possible uses for the site (Minute C1841 refers). However the area of land occupied by the adjoining residents was not included within the area declared surplus by Cabinet on 1 October.

 

In addition Cabinet resolved to dispose of the former Tennis Courts at the St Cyres site to Brackley Investments for the development of a new Medical Centre (minute C1308 refers).

 

 Land Registry had determined that the claims for adverse possession should be determined either via adjudication or negotiation between the parties.

 

The land had been incorporated into the adjacent gardens since 1981 and would not significantly increase either the financial or utility value of the remaining site if it was taken back into Council ownership. Especially as the land in question was at the foot of a steep bank at the edge of the school site which would limit alterative development.

 

The disposal of the land would not impact upon the outcome of the consultation process as the land had been enclosed within the adjoining gardens for over 30 years and was not considered to be part of the school site that had been consulted upon.

 

To avoid this matter being referred directly to adjudication by Land Registry sales negotiations had started with the adjoining owners, subject to Contract and subject to Cabinet approval.

 

The complete area of land was to be sold to the adjoining owners, if one resident did not wish to purchase the land it would be offered to the adjoining owners either side. The aim was to avoid retaining small areas of land within Council ownership incurring future management costs.

 

The owners of 1 Cherry Close had confirmed that they only wished to purchase the land to the end of their garden. The strip of land to the side would be a burden to the Council with regards to future maintenance and it was therefore recommended that Brackley Investments were requested to include this land with the site they had already agreed to purchase for the Medical Centre.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1)          T H A T the Council owned land currently occupied by owners of Little Orchard and Cherry Close, Dinas Powys be declared surplus to requirements.

 

(2)          T H A T the land not required by No1 Cherry Close be included in the sale of land to Brackley Investments for the Medical Centre.

 

(3)          T H A T the Director of Resources be authorised to negotiate and undertake the disposal of the surplus land to the owners of 5 and 6 Little Orchard and 1 - 5 Cherry Close and that the Head of Legal Services be authorised to prepare, complete and execute the necessary legal documentation.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)               To allow the disposal of the land.

 

(2)               In order to pass the responsibility for this strip of land onto the Medical Centre Developers to ensure that the Council was not left with a strip of land maintainable at public expense.

 

(3)               To allow the sale of the land to be completed.

 

 

C1372            APPOINTMENT OF BIODIVERSITY CHAMPION (LPCSD) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT) –

Approval was sought to appoint a Cabinet Member as Biodiversity Champion for the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

The Council had a statutory duty under section 40 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 (NERC 2006) to show regard for nature conservation in all its functions and also to promote actions that fulfil the outcomes of the Wales Environment Strategy. The Biodiversity Champion had a key role in ensuring that biodiversity was considered in all Council functions and in the decision making process. Full details of the Wales Environment Strategy could be viewed viasee the following link:-     wales.gov.uk/topics/environmentcountryside/epq/envstratforwales

At the meeting the Cabinet member for the Environment and Visible Services thanked the Cabinet for appointing him to this position  which is an area which he felt very passionate about.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

RESOLVED – 

 

(1)           T H A T Councillor Rob Curtis, the Cabinet Member for the Environment and Visible Services be nominated as the Council’s Biodiversity Champion.

 

(2)           T H A T the role of the Biodiversity Champion as outlined in the report be approved.   

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)               To enable the Council to fulfil its duties under the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 (NERC 2006) and to assist promotion of biodiversity across all Council functions.

 

(2)                To agree the various issues and responsibilities associated with the role of Biodiversity Champion. 

 

C1373            LOCAL AUTHORITY PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT (LPCSD) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT) -

 

Approval was sought to release grants to external organisations as part of the Local Authority Partnership Agreement the Council has with Sport Wales.

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council received £404,329 in funding from Sport Wales to deliver physical activity opportunities in the Vale of Glamorgan.  Significant elements of this funding were ringfenced for Sport Wales initiatives delivered by the Council such as 5 x 60, Dragon Sport, Community Chest and free swimming.  There was, however, an element of this funding for additional projects that will deliver further physical activity opportunities in the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

Applications for this funding were considered by the Sports Development Team and a Sport Wales representative in the first instance.  Subsequently, they were considered by the Local Authority Partnership Agreement Board which included the Cabinet Member for Leisure, Parks, Culture and Sport Development, the Director of Development Services, the Operational Manager, Leisure and Tourism as well as representatives from organisations with goals of increasing physical activity locally, such as Public Health Wales, Sport Wales and Parkwood Leisure.

 

The list of schemes proposed for 2013/2014 was attached at Appendix A to the report.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the Director of Development Services be authorised to release funding to the external organisations detailed in Appendix A attached to the report.

 

Reason for decision

 

To increase physical activity opportunities in the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

 

C1374            SURRENDER AND RE-GRANT OF LEASE IN RESPECT OF LAND AT DYFAN ROAD BARRY (LPCSD) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – CORPORATE RESOURCES) –

Authority was sought to surrender the current lease to the Trustees of the 2nd/4th Barry Scout Group (dated 14th November 2008) and grant a new lease (to include an additional area of housing/open space land) to the newly formed Witchell Hall Community Association to enable the development of a new community hall

 

In 2008, the Trustees of 2nd/4th Barry Scout Group were granted a 25 year lease in respect of the land and buildings at Dyfan Road (as shown at Appendix 2) in order to redevelop the hall which was at this stage in a very poor condition and replace it with a new facility. In order to achieve this, the lease was granted for a nominal rent and the use of the property was restricted to that of Scout Group Headquarters, although the Scout Group were permitted under the terms of the lease to allow other occasional community uses.

 

The Scout Group had been successful in their application for Welsh Government Funding as part of the Communities and Activities Programme and has been awarded £294,289.20. The Purpose of the Funding was to rebuild the hall for community use.  Welsh Government had stated that the funding must be spent in full by the 31st March of the 2013-2014 financial year or the funding will be ceased.

 

Following consultation with the Council's land holding Departments and advice from the Council's Estates and Legal Services Departments, a letter was received from the Scout Group's architect on 13th May 2013 requesting the consent of the Council as landlord and owner of the land for the following:

·           To grant the new lease to the trustees of what would be the newly formed Witchell Hall Community Association

·           To increase the area of land to be leased to the new association as shown in the plans at Appendices 1 & 2.

·           To allow a change of use to permit the newly developed hall to be used for wider community uses.

·           To allow the construction of an improved footpath across Council land to access the new community hall

·           To request for a temporary works access licence to permit access over the Council land during the construction and development of the new community hall..

 

As stated above, the Scout Group had secured Welsh Government funding to rebuild and develop a new hall at Dyfan Road. However, whilst the funding was granted to the Scout Group, this was on the understanding that the responsibility for the ongoing management and future of the hall would lie with a newly formed community association with wider community objectives than those of the scouting movement although the Scout Group would remain a primary user of the new facility.

 

The Council had received a draft constitution for the new Witchell Community Hall Association but had requested the trustee's solicitor provide a more comprehensive document that detailed how the association intended to hold the land and clarified its community/charitable objectives. It was proposed that this should be in line with the usual model for community associations. The surrender and regrant of the lease to the new association would be conditional on evidence that the new group was properly constituted.

 

The additional land required to be included within the demise of the new lease was land which was currently vested in the Council's Housing Services Department. However, the land in question had the characteristics of open space land and had been used as such on a daily basis. Therefore the land would need to be advertised for disposal under S123 (2A) of the Local Government Act 1972.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

RESOLVED –  

 

(1)              T H A T the difference between the land shown highlighted on the plans at Appendices 1 and 2 attached to the report be declared surplus to requirements of Housing Services and that authority be granted to the Director of Resources in consultation with the Director of Housing and Visible Services and the Head of Legal Services and the Cabinet Member for Leisure, Parks, Culture and Sports Development to advertise as necessary the proposed disposal of public open space in accordance with s123 (2A) Local Government Act 1972 (as amended) and to consider and determine any objections received.

 

(2)              T H A T  the Director of Resources be granted delegated authority to agree the surrender of the current lease and agree appropriate terms and conditions for a new lease (including the provision of the additional area of land and a right of access) to the Trustees of the Witchell Hall Community Association.

 

(3)           T H A T  the Director of Resources in consultation with the Head of Legal Services agree a temporary works access licence with the Trustees of the Witchell Hall Community Association to facilitate the construction and development of the new community hall.

 

(4)           T H A T the Director of Resources in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Leisure, Parks, Culture and Sports Development, the Head of Legal Services and Operational Manager for Legal Services be authorised to prepare, complete and execute the necessary legal documents required.

 

(5)           T H A T the use of the Urgent Decision Procedure under Article 13 of the Council Constitution be authorised for recommendations 1 - 4.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1 2 and 3).   

 

In order to secure the required authority to allow the agreement to surrender the current lease and for agreement for the new lease to be entered into.

 

(4)             In order to execute and complete the legal formalities

 

(5)             To avoid any further delays on the construction of the new community hall and to permit works to be undertaken within the area of the original lease (attached at appendix 1 to the report).

 

C1375             ANNUAL REPORT – SECTION 106 LEGAL AGREEMENTS 2012 – 2013 (RIPT) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT) –

Members were informed about progress on Section 106 (Planning Obligation) matters that have arisen in the last financial year (April 2012 - March 2013).

 

The Council had the power to enter into legal agreements with developers under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, to seek contributions from developers to mitigate negative development impacts and facilitate development which might otherwise not occur. 

 

In accordance with the Section 106 protocol, this report summarised the Council’s progress on negotiating, monitoring and implementing planning obligations through section 106 agreements, for the last financial year.

 

Planning Applications subject to s106 agreements

108.      In the 12 months between April 2012 and March 2013, a total of 12 planning permissions had been issued, which had been subject to section 106 legal agreements. A list was attached at Appendix A. The value of the financial contributions in these legal agreements was £511,873.

109.      In the previous financial year, 2011/12, a total of 18 planning permissions were signed with a financial value of £10,263,858.68, which was principally due to the major Barry Waterfront redevelopment, which represented a £8,093,600.00 financial obligations package.

110.      The financial contributions secured through these legal agreements would be used to provide or enhance facilities off site, such as sustainable transport facilities, public open space, community facilities and more.

111.      The planning obligation requirements secured this year had also included ‘in-kind’ obligations such as on site affordable housing, on site public open space and recreational facilities, and public art.

 

Implementation of Planning Obligations

Between April 2012 and March 2013 the Council had received financial and in-kind obligations in respect of a number of previously outstanding planning agreements, including interest payments where applicable. The Council’s Section 106 account currently held £2,213,336.69, with £406,938.86 having been spent this year through implementation of s106 projects. Details were attached at Appendix B. Where schemes were already identified and monies committed these were identified in grey in the table at Appendix B.

 

This year implementation had included works to improve steps from Main Street to Victoria Park in Cadoxton, improvements to local schools, delivery of affordable housing and provision of bus services.

 

Following the annual monitoring report for 2011/12, Members raised concerns about the time taken to implement s106 spend and at their meeting on 5th November 2012 Cabinet resolved to endorse an updated protocol for the implementation of s106 obligations. When financial obligations were received, the relevant service areas are notified and Member consultation is undertaken at the same time so that ideas for spend could be identified at the earliest opportunity.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1)           T H A T the progress made on Section 106 matters between April 2012 and March 2013 be noted.

 

(2)           T H A T the report be referred to Planning Committee, Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) and Community Liaison Committee for information.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)               To inform Cabinet of the progress made on section 106 matters between April 2012 and March 2013.

 

(2)               To inform the Planning Committee, Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) and Community Liaison Committee.

 

C1376             HOUSING IMPROVEMENT PROGRAMME – PROGRESS UPDATE (HBMCS) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – HOUSING AND PUBLIC PROTECTION) –

Members were provided with performance information relating to the Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS) improvement works in council housing in the Vale.

 

On 13 March, 2013, a report on the operational performance of the Housing Improvement Programme was presented to the Housing and Public Protection (HPP) Scrutiny Committee.  During that meeting Members voiced their concerns with the current performance of the contractors delivering the work, particularly in terms of the time taken.  In a response to this the five contractors appointed to carry out the improvements and officers from Housing and Property Services (managing agents for the contract), were invited to a further meeting of that Committee held in April to give Members the opportunity to question contractor representatives and officers directly on their performance.  Members raised particular concerns regarding the overall time taken to complete properties and the poor levels of customer care tenants were experiencing in a large number of geographical areas, as a consequence of poor communication and site management.  Contractors at that time, particularly those that had been under performing, gave a commitment to ensure performance was improved.

 

Members were concerned about the time lag between work being completed and the performance reports being presented to Scrutiny Committee, and observed that the next performance report would not reach them until June 2013.  Members requested that the Head of Housing and Building Services bring an earlier report focusing on site performance to the May HPP Committee.  Appendix 1 (attached) detailed the performance for the last quarter of 2012/13 with the previous outturn data included for comparison purposes.

 

From the attached report it was evident that there was a marginal decrease in performance in terms of tenants’ satisfaction as an average across all contractors. There was a marginal increase in terms of satisfaction from Property Service's Officers in terms of timely delivery of the project but a marginal decrease in the quality of the works and the health and safety awareness of all contractors.

 

Broadly in the areas specific to quality of service, performance had decreased, with the number of formal complaints increasing.  Voids completed right first time had also decreased with a marginal increase in the number completed to time

 

 The number of apprentices employed on the project had risen to 20 in line with the Council’s community investment objectives.

 

On reviewing the contractors on an individual basis it could be observed that there exists some incremental improvements in performance but also some reductions in performance both in terms of tenant satisfaction and time taken to complete the work (the focus of members concerns during the HPP meeting held in April 2013.)  The outturn figures were largely expected due to the level of complaints that were being received by the Property Section Team and in line with the concerns of Members at that time.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1)           T H A T the current performance and figures and the interventions adopted to further improve the performance of contractors and the Vale’s own staff in delivering a high level of customer care to tenants whose homes are undergoing improvement works be noted.

 

(2)           T H A T the complaints management system being maintained by the Property Section together with relevant contact details be noted.

 

(3)           T H A T the Property Section's intention to review the contract management processes and to submit a further report on this to Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection) in due course be noted.

 

(4)           T H A T Cabinet be provided with further reports on the performance of contractors as the  Welsh Housing Quality Standards programme progresses.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1-3)          To advise Cabinet of the current performance of contractors on the WHQS improvements works programme and of interventions recently adopted, including the complaints management systems.

 

(4).            To ensure that Cabinet are regularly updated on progress and performance with the Welsh Housing Quality Standards programme.

123.       

 

C1377                        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.

 

C1378                         WELSH LANGUAGE SCHEME ANNUAL MONITORING REPORT 2012 -13 (REF) –

 

Matter Which the Chairman has Decided is Urgent by Reason of the Need that the Annual Monitoring Report has to be Submitted to the Welsh Language Commissioner by 30th June, 2013

           

The Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) on 4 June, 2013 considered the above report of the Managing Director.

 

The Operational Manager for Corporate Policy and Communications presented the report by advising that its purpose was to apprise Members of the details of the Annual Report and the update to the Welsh Language Commissioner on the achievement of actions within the Welsh Language Scheme.  It was noted that the one previous annual report had been submitted on the current Welsh Language Scheme and was available for information on the Council's website.  The report for 2013 was attached at Appendix 1 to the report which included areas the Council had improved.

 

The report highlighted there was a statutory requirement on the Council to publish and implement the Welsh Language Scheme under the Welsh Language Act 1993.  The Welsh Language Scheme would be replaced in time with the Welsh Language Standards under the Welsh Language Wales Measure 2011.

 

During consideration of the report, Members were informed that the Welsh Web Translator had recently left the Council and that officers were currently   recruiting for that position.  Members thought that collaborative working with other local authorities was a possible way forward but the officer advised that the Welsh Government had been undertaking research into providing a collaborative approach across Wales but this had recently been put on hold.  Officers had also tried to establish a collaborative approach with officers in neighbouring authorities but this had not been successful to date.  Members then suggested that an approach would be for elected members in authorities to discuss the issue and if possible develop arrangements and that this view should be expressed to Cabinet.

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1)       T H A T the report and the Appendix be referred to Cabinet for consideration prior to the submission of the Annual Monitoring Report to the Welsh Language Commissioner by 30th June, 2013.

 

(2)       T H A T Cabinet be requested to consider engaging in conversations with neighbouring authorities regarding collaborative working in relation to Welsh Language translation.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       In order to provide the required information to the Welsh Language Commissioner.

 

(2)       In order to pursue a collaborative approach by Elected Members."

 

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

 

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

 

Reason for decision

 

In order to provide the required information to the Welsh Language Commissioner.

 

C1379            DELIVERY OF CHILDRENS DISABLED FACILITIES GRANTS (REF) –

 

Matter Which the Chairman has Decided is Urgent in Order for Cabinet to Consider the Views of the Scrutiny Committee at the Same Time as the Improvement Plan (Part I) is Being Considered

 

The Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) on the 4 June, 2013 considered the above report of the Director of Development Services.

 

At the last meeting the Committee had requested that a report in relation to the concerns expressed regarding the ongoing underperformance in the delivery of disabled facilities grants be presented to this meeting. However,

Members considered that the report before them did not reflect the minutes of the last meeting or the concerns that had been raised previously. 

 

The Principal Housing and Pollution Officer in referring to the report stated that following the implementation of Wales Audit findings to monitor the stages of DFGs (Disabled facilities Grants) during quarter 3 of 2012/13 it had been noted the time taken for occupational therapy to assess a child for a DFG was increasing significantly in comparison to adults as detailed in the table below.  This table detailed the time taken from first contact with the Council to the DFG team receiving the Occupational Therapist assessment of need across each quarter during 2012/13.

 

 

2012/13

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

ALL

85

126

115

115

ADULTS

71

92

89

98

CHILDREN

177

303

256

267

 

Although noting that performance had improved year on year from 2009/10, 2012/13 Members considered that the report did not address suggestions for  radical measures that needed to be put in place in order to reduce the figures further.  The target level for Performance Indicator PSR009A of 510 days was in their view not suitable and that further staffing arrangements should be considered.

 

In response the officer advised that for Children's Services 9 cases were noted at the time the report had been written. These cases had now been allocated and fast-tracked through the DFG system following the decision that all applications for children were to be dealt with as soon as they were received.

 

In explaining certain issues contained within the report the officer also advised that Children's Disabled Facilities Grants were often more complex although the Planning Department did recognise the need for the urgency required in respect of such applications in order to avoid delays. These would be addressed on a case by case basis.

 

Reference was made to the fact that the Public Protection Department was financing an OT to support the OT Team with a closing date for applications for the post due shortly. The officer was hopeful that the appointment could be made within the next couple of months.  An additional OT had also been funded on a temporary basis to address the backlog for adults.  With regard to the PI’s Members were made aware that an immediate improvement would not be seen as reports were presented on a quarterly basis and it would take 12 months for the impact to take effect.  Furthermore although the appointment of extra staff would see an improvement in the PI there was currently 260 days already in the system for current cases which the authority could not do much about.

 

With regard to why one vacancy had been subject to a long delay the officer advised that this had been due to the Social Services team being restructured, some maternity issues within the Occupational team and discussions ongoing with the Health Authority for a rotational scheme to be established. In response to a query regarding as to the point at which a DFG process commences, the officer advised that it was when the first contact was made with the local authority was made and the client is waiting for an assessment.

 

Some Members in referring to the vacancy factor were aware that a number of reasons would contribute to delays but were still of the view that radical measures needed to be considered to address the backlog. Members also felt that other local authorities seemed to be responding more favourably to such applications and suggested that collaborative working may be a way forward.  All agreed that the filling of vacancies should be seen as a priority.

 

Following suggestions that contracts and frameworks could be streamlined the officer advised that she was currently looking into these aspects but that there were obstacles such as VAT, ownership of the grant and implications on the Council's RSG and capital funding settlement from Welsh Government. 

 

Having considered the report and the concerns raised above Members also agreed that a further report to identify all the issues and delays should be presented to the Committee following which it was subsequently

 

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1)       T H A T Cabinet be advised of the concerns of the Committee in that the report had not addressed the concerns raised at the last meeting on 23rd April 2013, in particular the concerns regarding the waiting list and the urgent need for more innovative solutions to the problems to bring down the number of days via a step change reduction in the number of days.

 

(2)       T H A T a further report be presented to the Scrutiny Committee on the issues referred to above, the delays involved and the stages of the processes in the delivery of Disabled Facilities Grants for children and adults.

 

(3)       T H A T the report be noted and referred to Cabinet for consideration.

 

(4)       T H A T the report and the minutes of the meeting be referred to the Scrutiny Committees (Housing and Public Protection and Social Care and Health) for information and to advise of the concerns that had been raised.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       That the Committee's concerns are forwarded to Cabinet and radical solutions to reduce the number of days explored.

 

(2)       In order to consider the matter further.

 

(3)       To refer the report to Cabinet for consideration.

 

(4)       In order that the views of the Committee are forwarded together with the report to the Scrutiny Committees (Housing and Public Protection and Social Care and Health) for information / consideration.

 

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This matter was dealt with previously in the meeting under Agenda Item No. 12 ‘Improvement Plan Part 1 (Improvement Objectives 2013/14.