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                                                                        Agenda Item No.

 

CABINET

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 13 January, 2014

 

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

                                                    

C2146            MINUTES –

                  

RESOLVED – T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 16 December, 2013 be approved as a correct record.

 

C2147            DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST –

 

No declarations were received.

 

C2148            JOINT CONSULTATIVE FORUM –

 

The following minutes of the Joint Consultative Forum, on 20 November, 2013 were received.

 

Present:  Councillor G. Roberts (Chairman); Councillors K. Hatton, A.G Powell and E. Williams.

 

Representatives of the Trade Unions

Mr. P. Carter (Unison), Mr. N. Patterson (Unite), Mr. G. Beaudette (NUT), Mr. D. Dimmick (NASUWT), Mr. G. Pappas (Unison), Mr. N. Hart (Unison), Mr. N. Stokes (GMB) and Mr. G. Mosely (Unison).

 

 

(a)       Apologies for Absence

 

These were received from Councillors F.T. Johnson, Mrs. M. Kelly Owen and Mrs. A.J. Preston; and Miss. G. Southby (Vice-Chairman) (Unison), Mr. R.E. Frost (Unison) and Mr. J. Swan (Unison).

 

 

(b)       Minutes and Matters Arising

 

AGREED – T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 14th October, 2013 be accepted as an accurate record, subject as follows:

 

-               It be noted that Mr. Neil Hart is a Unison Trade Union Representative, not GMB.

 

 

The following matter was referred under Matters Arising:

 

-               In referring to page 2 of the minutes, point (d)(i) St. Cyres School, Mr. Carter wanted it noted that Unison had received advice that the St. Cyres issue was covered under TUPE.  The Operational Manager for Human Resources acknowledged the union position which was not subject to any current challenge. 

 

(c)        Minutes of Directorate Consultative Groups

 

The minutes of the following Directorate Consultative Groups were received:

 

(i)           Resources / Customer and Corporate Services: 22nd October, 2013

(ii)          Visible Services and Housing: 6th November, 2013

 

(d)       Dates of Directorate Consultative Groups

 

AGREED – T H A T the dates of the Directorate Consultative Groups as indicated below be noted:

 

-               Resources and Corporate and Customer Services: 22nd October, 2013

-               Visible Services and Housing: 6th November, 2013

-               Learning and Skills: 13th November, 2013

-               Social Services: 28th November, 2013

-               Development Services: 15th January, 2014.

 

(e)       Agency Workers Update

 

The Operational Manager for Human Resources spoke on the issue relating to the non application of the National Minimum Wage by an agency worker within the Parks section.  The Operational Manager for Human Resources advised that the concerns were unfounded as the information supplied was based on the National Minimum Wage rate prior to 1st October 2013 which was £6.19 and from 1st October 2013 this had increased to £6.31.  It was confirmed that this new rate had been applied as required under legislation. 

 

Mr. Carter requested further dialogue with regard to the application of the Agency Worker Regulations with particular reference to the payment of increments and to the issue of comparability of job roles and reward . 

 

A trade union representative alleged that it seem that the Parks Management has misinterpreted the provisions of the Agency provisions.

 

The Head of Visible Services and Housing advised that he had written to the agency on 8th November 2013 regarding the issues raised at the Joint Consultative Forum (JCF) on 14th October 2013 and confirmed that he would go through the information from the agency in liaison with Legal and Human Resources colleagues and report back to the Visible Services and Housing Consultative Group.

 

Mr. Pappas advised that he was satisfied that the Head of Visible Services and Housing had written to the agency to seek clarification with a view to resolving the issue, however he had general concerns about staffing issues in the Parks Section.  The Chairman confirmed that the Head of Visible Services and Housing had resolved to look into the issue as previously raised and report back to the Visible Services and Housing Consultative Group. 

 

AGREED – T H A T the comments of the Operational Manager for Human Resources and the Head of Visible Services and Housing be noted.

 

(f)        Management of Attendance Policy

 

The Head of Human Resources provided the JCF with a position statement on the Management of Attendance Policy.  This position statement addressed the concerns raised by Trade Unions about the Management of Attendance Policy as set out within the report.

 

Mr. Dimmick wanted it noted that the concerns raised within the letter pertaining to the Management of Attendance Policy were from the Joint Trade Unions, not solely himself. 

 

The Head of Human Resources advised that the report was a position statement and that the Management of Attendance Policy had evidentially worked well but that now absence was on the increase.  The report set out the concerns raised within the Trade Union letter as well as other concerns raised in the last 12 months.  The Head of Human Resources suggested through the Chairman that the activities listed in paragraph 29 be taken forward.  The Head of Human Resources advised that the report did not seek to provide an immediate recommendation for change (or indeed no change) and that there were lots of perspectives surrounding the management of attendance that would need to be taken on board.  He advised that a strong business case would be required for change to the Management of Attendance Policy as the Policy was working, but sickness absence was increasing. 

 

The Head of Human Resources recommended that a small working group be set up to seek the wider views of all stakeholders including Members, managers, CMT members, HR representatives and Trade Union colleagues.  This working group would focus on the three main issues as outlined within paragraph 25 of the report, pertaining to “triggers†and “totting upâ€, the perceived failure of the Management of Attendance Policy to distinguish between long and short term absence in the way that the triggers are operated, and the perceived lack of discretion for managers to distinguish between general and more chronic or re-occurring sickness absence.

 

The Chairman advised that sickness absence was an issue of huge importance and there was a need to reduce costs and improve conditions and that the JCF needed to work together to improve the situation. 

 

Mr. Beaudette was concerned that the statements made within paragraph 9 of the report could increase stress for staff and therefore lead to an increase in absence. 

 

There was a discussion surrounding the figures contained within paragraph 5 of the report, absence levels over the last five years.  The Trade Unions raised concerns over how the figures were calculated and how the Vale of Glamorgan Council ranked with other authorities in relation to sickness absence.  It was raised that the Forum should be looking at the All Wales figures for sickness absence as it was understood that the Vale of Glamorgan Council was near the top of the table of Councils with low sickness absence levels. 

 

The Head of Human Resources advised that the Vale of Glamorgan Council figures were publicly available and have been reported to Cabinet and Scrutiny, and confirmed that the Vale of Glamorgan Council had up until recently been near the top of the All Wales figures (in terms of good attendance levels).

 

Mr. Carter stated that the increase in the figures for year 2012/13 could be due to staff taking on additional duties due to a reduction in staffing levels.  The Chairman advised that new ways of dealing with these external pressures would need to be found. 

 

A discussion took place about the previous concerns as raised by the trade unions relating to the Management of Attendance Policy and how they were to be addressed in the proposal put forward by the Head of Human Resources.

 

The Chairman advised that the results of the staff survey had been brought to the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) and an area of concern was staff satisfaction, and that management should not rely wholly on Trade Unions to engage and inform staff.

 

The Chairman advised that the Head of Human Resources had set out a clear way forward and the JCF should agree on what the concerns were.  This was the best opportunity to address the Management of Attendance Policy issues.  It was a difficult and emotive issue but one that needed to be addressed.   

 

The Head of Human Resources set out an indicative time-frame for the progression of the review and indicated that the wider issue of staff engagement would be taken on board.  He stressed that the review was not about over raising expectations and that the working group would need to be aware of the future world, that it would be an honest and transparent review but that the review may not resolve all the concerns. 

 

Further concerns were raised with regard to how the policy was currently applied, what was contained within the Policy and what was not contained within the Policy and specific reference was made to the 20% rule.  The Trade Unions requested further clarification of these issues as they have members coming to them with general issues relating to the Management of Attendance Policy. 

 

The Chairman advised that the issues were not new to the JCF and that they now had an acceptance of a review of the Policy, which would be a significant review in consultation with the Trade Unions and it would not be wise to make ad hoc changes whilst a review was in progress.  It was advised that the JCF needed a way of addressing these concerns in the interim period.

 

The Head of Human Resources stressed that all members of his Human Resources team worked hard in advising Line Managers about the Management of Attendance Policy and they (and managers) did treat absence issues on a sensitive and individual basis and that it was not a mechanical policy operated mechanically by Line Managers or Human Resources Officers’ advice. 

 

Mr. Hart advised that the Trade Unions had set out concerns yet the report from the Head of Human Resources suggests that there would need to be a strong business case for a change to the Policy which intimated that any change would be detrimental. 

 

The Trade Unions made reference to individual cases and advised that staff were concerned about being on sick leave because of the Management of Attendance Policy.  The Trade Unions advised they wanted to be involved in the development of a Policy but one that was supportive.  In addition, the Trade Unions advised that individuals who abused the Policy should be taken to task, but that the existing Policy had a negative impact on staff. 

 

The Chairman advised that the JCF was in danger of negotiating on the new Policy in the meeting and advised that the issue of inconsistency had been identified as one issue to be discussed within the review.  In addition, the Chairman advised that if abuse of the Policy took place it should be dealt with as part of the Disciplinary Policy.

 

Further discussion took place with regard to the cost of sickness absence.  The Trade Unions advised that they required a genuine commitment to review the Policy honestly and required confirmation from the Head of Human Resources that this would happen.  The Head of Human Resources advised the Trade Unions to read the report which provided that commitment. 

 

AGREED – T H A T there would be a review of the Management of Attendance Policy as detailed within the report from the Head of Human Resources. 

 

(g)       Feedback on Policy Development

 

The Forum received feedback on the current position on HR policy development as indicated below:

 

            Consultation Complete, prior to CMT / Cabinet

            Whistleblowing Policy

 

            Employment Policy Formulation and Review Group (EPFRG)

            Guidance to Code of Conduct – ready to move forward

 

            Terms and Conditions Group

            Smarter Working Policy – consultation complete

            Adverse Weather Policy – being discussed.

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the minutes of the Joint Consultative Forum be noted.

 

Reason for decision

 

For information.

 

 

C2149                       REVENUE AND CAPITAL MONITORING FOR THE PERIOD 1ST APRIL, 2013 TO 31ST AUGUST, 2013 (REF) –

 

The Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health) on 7 October, 2013 considered the above report of the Director of Social Services.

 

Committee received a report which advised of the position in respect of revenue and capital expenditure for the period 1st April, 2013 to 31st August, 2013 regarding those revenue and capital budgets which formed this Committee's remit.  The Committee also received an update on the progress made in delivering the Social Services Budget Programme.

 

The current forecast was for an overspend at year end of £876,000.  This was following the deduction of savings identified for the year of £2.04m. 

 

Children and Young People Services - the major issue was the need to manage continued pressure on the Children's Placements Budget.  The current projected outturn for the jointly funded Residential Placements Budget for Looked After Children was an overspend of £353,000.  This was an increase of £121,000 from July's position, mainly due to one young person moving into a residential placement due to an adoption breakdown.  It was currently anticipated that this level of overspend could be offset by underspends elsewhere within Children's Services and therefore, a break even position was anticipated. 

 

Adult Services - the major issue was the continuing pressure on Community Care packages, the Division's most volatile budget and the one most dependent upon levels of service demand which were not within the Council's direct control.  At present, the projected year end position was an overspend of £1.635m but this was after the reduction in budget to accommodate the savings target for the year of £685,000.  A decision on the allocation of additional funding identified by Welsh Government for the First Steps initiative, which resulted in the introduction of the £50 cap for non-residential services had not yet been received but any grant received would reduce the overspend.  Actions were being taken to review all processes and to address the shortfall.  There were potential underspends elsewhere in Adult Services of around £466,000 which could be used to offset this position, resulting in an overall projected overspend at year end of £1,169,000. 

 

Areas of savings had been identified this year which were £293,000 above the required target.  This could be used to offset the overspend on Adult Services, resulting in a projected overspend for Social Services at year end of £876,000.

 

Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) had requested a report on the current financial position and the steps which could be taken to mitigate further expenditure.  Work was currently being undertaken to prepare this report and the final version would be brought to this Committee once complete. 

 

Appendix 2 to the report detailed financial progress on the Capital Programme as of 31st August, 2013.

With regard to the Social Services Budget Programme Update, the Directorate was currently required to find savings totalling £6.0m by the end of 2016/17.  Savings totalling £6.189m had currently been identified and the surplus would be used to mitigate any additional savings to be found in future years. 

 

The Social Services Directorate was committed to achieving a balanced budget.  The Corporate Programme Board and Project Teams overseeing the plan would continue to develop it further and ensure delivery and progress.  Progress updates would be reported as part of the overall financial monitoring report for the Directorate.

 

In referring to the reference to the Hen Goleg Boiler Replacement and Heating works as itemised on Appendix 3 to the report, Members asked for an explanation for the delay in commencing the scheme and were advised that there had been issues with the boiler replacement in that asbestos had been found.  A solution to the funding issue was being considered. 

 

Member referred to references within the report to areas of savings having been identified this year which were £293,000 above the required target and felt that Committee should be given details of where these savings originated.

 

Members noted that Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) had requested a report on the current financial position and the steps which could be taken to mitigate further expenditure and requested that a copy of the report be brought before this Committee also.

 

In referring to the Medium Term Financial Plan, Members enquired as to the extent that discussions had taken place to achieve the requirements of the Plan and were advised that the Medium Term Financial Plan required a total of some £40m savings to be made across the Council's budget over the ensuing years.  The Directorate was making every effort to achieve the required level of savings and the Medium Term Financial Plan required additional savings over and above those that had already been identified to date.

 

Achieving a balanced budget had been a managed process to date and efforts would have to be made to ensure that it continued that way. 

 

RECOMMENDED – 

 

(1)       T H A T the position with regard to the 2013/14 Revenue and Capital Monitoring be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the progress made on the Social Services Budget Programme be noted and referred to Cabinet for information.

 

(3)       T H A T future reports before this Committee provide details of underspends against the approved budget.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       That Members are aware of the position with regard to the 2013/14 Revenue and Capital Monitoring relevant to the Scrutiny Committee.

 

(2)       That Scrutiny and Cabinet Members are aware of the progress made to date on the Social Services Budget Programme.

 

(3)       For the information of the Members of the Scrutiny Committee.â€

 

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

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the progress made on the Social Services Budget Programme be noted.

 

Reason for decision

 

To note the progress made to date on the Social Services Budget Programme.

 

 

C2150                        UPDATE ON THE SOCIAL SERVICES BUDGET PROGRAMME (REF) –

 

The Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health) on 2 December, 2013 considered the above report of the Director of Social Services.

 

Committee received an update on the progress made in delivering the Social Services Budget Programme. 

 

The Directorate was currently required to find savings totalling £6.0m by the end of 2016/17.  Savings totalling £6.189m had currently been identified and the surplus would be used to mitigate any additional savings to be found in future years.

 

The approved savings targets and the savings identified as shown below, including the £403,000 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

 

 

 

Progress for each project currently identified was shown in Appendix 1 to the report. 

 

The current financial position for each of the identified Social Services savings for 2013/14 were as follows:

 

 

Project

Target Saving (£000)

Projected Saving (£000)

Position

CHILDREN'S

 

 

 

LAC Residential Care Placements

200

0

Jointly funded budget is currently overspending

Reduction in Contract Spend to fund SLAs

80

80

Achieved

Managed Budget Reduction

190

190

Achieved

Administrative Support

 

20

20

Achieved

TOTAL CHILDREN'S

490

290

 

Project

Target Saving (£000)

Projected Saving (£000)

Position

ADULTS

 

 

 

Reconfigure VCRS

40

40

Achieved

 

Meals on Wheels

 

32

20

Price have increased but budget currently overspending by £12k

Care Packages Budget Reduction

685

0

Budget is currently overspending

Managed Budget Reduction

183

183

Achieved

Supported Accom Learning Disabilities

150

150

Achieved

Residential Services

 

200

25

Negotiations still on-going with Hafod, however partly offset by savings on Council homes

Service Level Agreement

40

40

Achieved

Income Generation

 

100

100

Achieved

Provision of Food to Trinity

 

13

13

Achieved

Office Accommodation

 

7

7

Achieved

TOTAL ADULTS

1,450

578

 

 

 

 

 

 

BUSINESS MGT & INNOVATION

 

 

 

Managed Budget Reduction

75

75

Reorganisation is only partially complete; however, staff vacancies will contribute to achieving the saving

Funding to Carers Support Services

 

25

25

Achieved

TOTAL BUSINESS, MGT & INNOVATION

100

100

 

 

 

 

 

TOTAL SOCIAL SERVICES

2,040

968

 

 

Whilst the majority of identified savings had been achieved this year, Community Care packages continued to be a volatile budget.  It was noted that the identified savings were currently £293,000 more than the required target for the budget programme as a whole at this stage, as additional savings were realised in 2012/13.  There were, however, areas of underspends elsewhere in the budget which could be used to offset this position.  In Children’s Services, the overspend on residential placements for Looked After Children was offset by an underspend in other areas where children were previously receiving a provision prior to their transfer into a residential setting.  In Adult Services, planning was already underway for the savings required for 2014/15 and, where possible were being achieved ahead of target.  An overspend of £140,000 was therefore currently being projected for the Directorate, however, work was being undertaken to address this position and overall a balanced budget was anticipated by year end. 

 

The Social Services Directorate was committed to achieving a balanced budget.  The Corporate Programme Board and Project Teams overseeing the plan would continue to develop it further and ensure delivery and progress.  Progress updates would be reported as part of the overall financial monitoring report for the Directorate.

 

In noting the targets saving of £200,000 for Residential Services and that negotiations were still on-going with Hafod, a Member enquired as to the Council’s current position and was informed that the Council should conclude its negotiations with Hafod by Christmas. 

 

In noting the overall targeted savings of £2,040,000 as compared with the projected savings of £968,000, Members recognised the level of the challenge facing the Directorate. 

 

A Member commented that the Meals on Wheels service had been reviewed recently but the service was still overspending.  The question was asked if the Service would be the subject of a further review. 

 

Members were advised that the reason for the review had been to reduce the level of subsidy.  Prices had been increased last April, and would increase again in the near future.

 

Having considered the report, it was

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the progress made in delivering the Social Services Budget Programme be noted and that the report be referred to Cabinet and Audit Committee for information.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

That Members are aware of the progress made to date in delivering the Social Services Budget Programme and endorse the proposed amendments.

 

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

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the progress made in delivering the Social Services Budget Programme be noted.

 

Reason for decision

 

To note the progress made to date in delivering the Social Services Budget Programme.

 

 

C2151                        ANNUAL AUDIT LETTER 2012/13 (REF) –

 

Audit Committee on 26 November, 2013 considered the above report of the Managing Director.

 

Committee received the Annual Audit Letter for the 2012/13 financial year. 

 

The review of the Annual Audit Letter was included within the remit of the Audit Committee and its terms of reference as follows:

 

“To consider the external auditor’s annual report and other relevant reports and to make recommendations on their implementation to Cabinet and/or Council as appropriate.â€

 

The Appointed Auditor was required under the Public Audit (Wales) Act 2004 to:

 

Provide an audit opinion of the accounting statements;

Review the Council’s arrangements to secure economy, efficiency and effectiveness in its use of resources and;

Issue a certificate confirming that the Appointed Auditor had completed the audit of the accounts.

 

The letter was designed to communicate their key messages and conclusions to the Council and external stakeholders, including members of the public.

 

The Annual Audit Letter 2012/13 was attached at Appendix A, summarising key issues that arose from the work the external auditors had carried out during 2012/13.

 

In relation to the Statement of Accounts, the Appointed Auditor issued an unqualified audit opinion on the accounting statements confirming that they presented a true and fair view of the Council’s financial position and transactions.

 

Overall the Appointed Auditor was satisfied that the Council had appropriate arrangements in place to secure economy, efficiency and effectiveness.

 

The Appointed Auditor issued a certificate confirming that the audit of the accounts had been completed on 26th September, 2013.

 

RECOMMENED – T H A T the External Annual Audit Letter be endorsed and referred to Cabinet for approval.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To facilitate monitoring of the audit function.

 

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At the meeting the Leader thanked all staff for their hard work on achieving an excellent audit report which contained no recommendations for action from the Wales Audit Office.

 

Cabinet, having considered the recommendation of the Audit Committee

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the External Annual Audit Letter be approved.

 

Reason for decision

 

To facilitate monitoring of the audit function.

              

 

C2152                        CENTRAL SOUTH CONSORTIUM JOINT EDUCATION SERVICE: ACTION IN RESPONSE TO WALES AUDIT OFFICE REPORT (REF) –

 

The Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) on 9 December, 2013 considered the above report of the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services.

 

The Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, in presenting the report, advised that the Wales Audit Office had made the following four proposals:

 

  • The Council should establish and refine a performance management regime which would formally and systematically test the extent to which the Joint Education Service (JES) was providing a service that delivered to its expectations. 
  •  The Council should undertake a risk assessment of the impact of the JES and update it on a regular basis.  It should include any high scoring strategic risks in its corporate risk register.  The Education and Skills Directorate should regularly and formally monitor and manage the remainder 
  •   The Council should ensure that there is sufficient investment in the development of the scrutiny function (in the Council and within the collaborative structure), including regular reviews of its success and challenges, as it becomes a feature of the performance management regime 
  • The Council should consider how the value of the service can be increased during the period of the contract, to justify the fixed contribution to the service

It was further noted that work to address the four proposals had been taken forward as follows:

 

  • An interim performance management framework had been developed (Appendix 1) to measure progress on outcomes and organisational processes.  The interim performance management framework would be replaced by a commissioning framework which was currently in development for consideration by the Joint Education Committee.  It was intended that the new arrangements would be in place from April 2014.
  •  A risk assessment had been undertaken and the completed document was attached as Appendix 2 to the report.  The high scoring risks were being added to the corporate risk register.   The remaining risks were being monitored on a quarterly basis by the Learning and Skills Directorate Management Team.
  • The draft initial terms of reference for the joint scrutiny committee were attached as Appendix 3 to the report.
  • A bid for resources to support the development of joint scrutiny arrangements for the Central South Consortium (CSC) had been made to Welsh Government in September, which had been well received by officials as innovative and meeting the criteria of the Welsh Government's Scrutiny Development Fund.  However, in light of the need to revise the governance arrangements of the regional education consortia following the Robert Hill review, colleagues in Welsh Government had advised that the terms of reference for the joint scrutiny committee be reconsidered in accordance with the CSC's new governance arrangements. 

Members in referring to progress of the Joint Scrutiny Committee were advised by the Chief Learning and Skills officer that the current position was not known although there had been some suggestion that joint scrutiny of this nature may not be the way forward. 

 

Notwithstanding the above, work remained to be completed and put in place in regard to robust arrangements to demonstrate an increased value for money in relation to the Joint Education Service.  From April 2014 the Welsh Government, on the basis of a national model for regional working, was expected to stipulate the level of funding that the Council must provide to the JES by way of a ring fencing agreement as well as the services that must be provided. 

 

The Chairman in conclusion referred to the earlier approval in the meeting that a work programme schedule be established where representatives of the CSC would be invited to Committee meetings and noting that an annual report would be presented to the Scrutiny Committee in due course. 

 

Having considered the report it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the actions taken in response to the proposals in the Wales Audit Office report be endorsed.

 

(2)       T H A T the Scrutiny Committee establishes a programme of work to scrutinise the Joint Education Service.

 

(3)       T H A T the report and the above recommendation be referred to Cabinet in order to advise of the intention of the Scrutiny Committee to hold the Joint Education Service to account.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       In recognition of the actions taken and proposed.

 

(2)       In respect of the Scrutiny Committee’s monitoring role.

 

(3)       In order to advise Cabinet of the Scrutiny Committee’s intention.

 

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

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the Scrutiny Committee’s (Lifelong Learning) intention to hold the Joint Education Service to account be noted, it being the only Scrutiny option following the Joint Education Service decision not to have a  Joint Scrutiny Committee.

 

Reason for decision

 

To note the intention of the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning).

 

 

C2153                        PROGRESS REPORT – IMPROVEMENT OBJECTIVES 2013/14 (L) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE’S - ALL) –

 

Cabinet were apprised of the progress made to date in achieving Improvement objectives as identified in the Improvement Plan Part 1 for 2013/14.

 

The council had an obligation under the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 to identify, publish and report performance against its improvement objectives.

 

The council identified eight improvement objectives for 2013/14.  These were informed by the Corporate Plan 2013 -17, a review of service performance, corporate risks and findings from inspections and improvement studies by our regulators. 

 

As at quarter 2, the priorities outlined in the council's Improvement Plan Part 1 for 2013/14, were well on track to be achieved with 87% of actions being reported as either completed or on track to be completed within relevant timescales 13% of actions were reported as slipped.  Overall progress made in achieving improvement objective outcomes including performance measures was detailed in full in appendices (1 and 2) as attached to the report.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision.

 

RESOLVED – T H A T progress to date on the Improvement Objectives 2013/14 as outlined in Appendices 1 and 2, as attached to the report be noted.

 

Reason for decision

 

To ensure that the council was on track to achieve its improvement objectives as outlined in Part 1 of the Improvement Plan 2013/14 and that the plan was effectively monitored.

 

 

C2154                        INSURANCE RENEWAL REPORT 2014 (L) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – CORPORATE RESOURCES) –

 

Authority was sought to award the contract for insurance renewals to the most economically advantageous tenderer.

 

The Council's long term agreements for insurance cover expired at the end of the 2013/14 financial year and as such the Managing Director and appropriate council officers had to consider the most appropriate insurance options for the Council.

 

The Council managed insurance risk through its own internal fund (the Insurance Fund) and by paying premiums to external insurers where it was considered financially prudent that the financial consequences were not borne in-house. Organisations such as the Council entered into long term agreements for insurances as it provided certainty and insurers would offer discounted rates for longer term insurance arrangements.

 

The Council recently carried out a tender for insurance brokerage using the Government Procurement Service's (GPS) Insurance Framework.

By tendering for the insurance brokerage, savings on the annual fee of 62% (£8,069 per annum) were achieved without compromising the quality of service provision.

 

The report set out the proposed approach to the tendering process for the renewal of long term insurance provision for the Council.

 

Marsh Ltd (the Council’s appointed insurance brokers) would undertake the mechanics of the tendering exercise in conjunction with the Council and in accordance with the GPS Framework and the Council’s Financial Standing Orders.

 

It was proposed that the Insurances be tendered in three lots:

 

  • Lot 1: Liability Insurances
  • Lot 2: Personal Accident and Equipment Insurances
  • Lot 3: Miscellaneous Insurances

 

By categorising the insurances in this way the Council could set the scoring mechanism specific to the types of insurances within the invitation to tender specification.

 

It was proposed that the award criteria used for all lots be weighted 70% on price and 30% on quality.

 

Within Lot 1 the quality score would focus on the claims handling processes provided by the insurer and/or their subcontractor. The majority of insurances that fell within Lot 1 were those that represented the public face of the Council and as such the emphasis on quality of claims handling was a priority. This would seek to protect the Council financially in terms of claims that did not need to be paid and ensured that this service was carried out in a professional and timely manner. Within Lot 2 the quality questions would be based around Service Level Agreements provided by the insurer. Lot 3 were small premium insurances where the Council did not wish to commit to long term agreements.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision.

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the Managing Director be given delegated authority in consultation with the Leader to award the contract for the Council’s Long Term Agreements for Insurance to the most economically advantageous tenderer.    

 

Reason for decision

 

To ensure the Council awarded a contract that delivered value for money for the authority in respect of insurance risk, provided adequate insurance cover in order to protect its financial integrity in the event of a major incident occurring and ensured that day-to-day financial activities were protected from the potential effect of insurance claims.

 

 

C2155                        SICKNESS ABSENCE REPORT – APRIL TO SEPTEMBER 2013 (L) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – CORPORATE RESOURCES) –

 

Members were updated on the half yearly sickness statistics for the period 1st April 2013 to 30th September 2013.

 

The report indicated that there had been an increase in absence levels for the first half of the year and reiterated the need to retain a focus on absence management for the remaining period of the financial year.

 

Sickness absence levels up to September 2013 (and comparisons with the same period in 2012) for both corporate and schools employees were as follows:-

 

 

Actual Absence

April to Sept 2012.

      Actual Absence
     April to Sept 2013.

Average days / shifts lost per FTE

3.47 (days per employee)

4.05 (days per employee) 

 

Percentage of lost time by FTE

2.7%

3.1%

 

 

Full details of the breakdown of the sickness absence figures by Directorate and individual service areas were set out within appendix A as attached to the report.

 

Although the sickness levels (at 4.05 days per employee) remained within the pro-rated target for 2013/14 i.e. 4.45 days per employee, they were, however slightly higher than at the same six monthly stage in the previous year.

 

The figures in Appendix A demonstrated that sickness absence within thirteen of the twenty two service areas was below target for the first six months of the year and ten service areas had lower sickness absence than in the same period in 2012. 

 

The highest areas of absence continued to be concentrated in Adult Social Services and Visible Services. Such absence was reflective of the same experiences in other local authorities and congruent with services that had a large number of front line employees with a relatively higher exposure to risk of injury and related ill health.

 

Work would continue in both service areas during the remainder of 2013/14 to ensure that absence was monitored and reviewed and appropriate support was provided.

 

Days lost as a result of long term absence (2.82 days per employee) continued to account for approximately 70% of all absence. Short term/intermittent absence (1.23 days per employee) accounted for approximately 30%.

 

A table showing sickness rates with other Organisations was set out in Appendix B as attached to the report.

 

The recognised trade unions had raised a number of concerns about the robustness of the existing Management of Attendance Policy. This had been raised at previous Cabinet meetings and raised again at the Joint Consultative Forum in October.  As a result of this it was agreed that the Head of Human Resources would review the Policy in the light of those concerns.

 

The review was currently underway and would be reported to Cabinet in due course. The outcome of the review would clearly need to balance the concerns as raised by the unions with the concerns about the recent increase in absence levels.

 

At the meeting the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation commented that the level of evidence contained in the review should be detailed enough to identify types of illness / injury and other long term sickness issues, to consider whether they were work related. This would help the Council to fully address the issues and to provide sufficient appropiate support and help to staff during their return to work.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision.

 

RESOLVED – 

 

(1)       T H A T the Sickness Absence update report for the half yearly period be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T a continued focus on the management of attendance is maintained in order to respond to the increase in absence levels for the first half of 2013/14.

 

(3)       T H A T the report be referred to Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) for consideration.

(4)       T H A T a further report be undertaken  by the Head of Human Resources and be submitted to Cabinet as soon as possible with the report also identifying  types of illness / injury and other long term sickness issues and whether they were work related.

 

(5)       T H A T a report on the full year sickness outturn figures and any issues for future consideration be submitted to Cabinet in June 2014.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)       To bring matters to the attention of Members in line with corporate objectives.

 

(2)       To help respond to a recent increase in absence levels.

 

(3)       To seek the support of Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) to maintain a continued focus on the management of absence throughout all services of the Council.

 

(4)       To provide the opportunity for Members to review issues in relation to the management of attendance.

 

(5)       To provide the opportunity for Members to review issues in relation to the management of attendance with reference to the full years data set.

   

C2156                        CABINET FORWARD WORK PROGRAMME JANUARY TO APRIL 2014 (L) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE’S - ALL ) –

 

Approval was sought to agree the Cabinet Forward Work Programme for the Council for the period January to April 2014.

 

In accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Act 2000 and the Council’s Constitution, the Cabinet Forward Work Programme attached as Appendix (A), set out matters which the Executive and Full Council were likely to consider during January to April 2014.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision.

 

RESOLVED –  T H A T the Cabinet Forward Work Programme for the period January to April 2014, as attached at Appendix A to the report be agreed.

 

Reason for decision

 

To comply with the requirements of the Local Government Act 2000, subordinate legislation and the Council's Constitution.

 

C2157                        WELSH IN EDUCATION STRATEGIC PLAN 2014 – 2017 (CS) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – LIFELONG LEARNING) –

 

Approval was sought for the updated Draft Welsh Medium Education Strategic Plan 2014 - 2017.

 

The Draft Welsh in Education Strategic Plan (WESP) detailed how the authority planned to achieve the Welsh Government's outcomes and targets outlined in the Welsh Medium Education Strategy (WMES 2010).

 

The Authority was required to include data relating to performance against the following targets within the WESP Action Plan:

 

  • more seven-year-old children being taught through the medium of Welsh as a percentage of the Year 2 cohort;
  • more learners continuing to improve their language skills on transfer from primary school to secondary school;
  • more learners studying for qualifications through the medium of Welsh;
  • more learners aged 16-19 studying Welsh and subjects through the medium of Welsh; and
  • more learners with improved skills in Welsh.

This was a matter for Executive decision.

 

RESOLVED – 

 

(1)       T H A T the updated Draft Welsh Medium Education Strategic Plan 2014 - 2017 as attached at Appendix 1 to the report be approved.

 

(2)       T H A T responsibility for making further changes to the plan and submitting it to Welsh Government be delegated to the Chief Learning and Skills Officer in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Children's Services.

 

(3)       T H A T the use of the urgency procedure under article 13 of the Council Constitution be approved in order to submit the Welsh in Education Strategic Plan by the 20 January, 2014.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)       To  address the requirements of the measure which became statutory in 2012 following consultation on School Standards and Organisation (Wales) Bill; White Paper.

 

(2)       To ensure that the Draft Welsh in Education Strategic Plan was fully considered.

 

(3)       To ensure that the Welsh in Education Strategic Plan was progressed.

 

 

C2158                        THE RURAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN FOR WALES (2014-2020) (RIPT) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT) –

 

Approval was sought to submit an expression of interest (EOI) to Welsh Government for the Council to act as the Lead Body in the formation of a Vale of Glamorgan Local Action Group (LAG) under the Rural Development Plan for Wales 2014-2020 (RDP).

 

Creative Rural Communities, the Council led Rural Regeneration partnership, currently delivered a £7.7 million programme under the Rural Development Plan for Wales (2007-2013). This programme had been extended until 31 December, 2014 due to delays at a European Union (EU) level in the agreement on reform of the Common Agriculture Policy.

 

The Local Development Strategy (LDS) for the Rural Vale covering the period 2007-2013 was the framework for the delivery of RDP funded regeneration and was approved by the Welsh Assembly Government in 2007. 

 

The 5 core themes for the 2007-11 LDS were:

 

  •  Community capacity building
  •  Developing the roles of women and young people in rural regeneration
  •  Business networking and cooperation
  •  Access to, and provision of, basic services in rural communities
  • Making the best use of resources.

The current LDS for the Rural Vale was delivered partially through Axis 3 of the current RDP and partially through LEADER (Axis 4). LEADER was a particular strand of regeneration under the RDP essentially focusing on community led and innovative activities at a very local level.

 

Following an extensive consultation period, Welsh Government had set out its proposals for the delivery of the LEADER element of funding under the 2014-2020 RDP.

 

Local Development Strategies under LEADER in Wales would need to demonstrate how they connected to Single Integrated Plans of Local Service Boards, integrated with the use of other European Structural Funds and Investment (ESI) funds and related to the delivery of national priorities for tackling poverty and delivering growth.

 

The Expression of interest would set out the initial priority areas for the LAG from a list of 5 supplied by the Welsh Government. These were:

 

  • Adding value to local identity and natural and cultural resources.
  • Facilitating pre commercial development, business partnerships and

short supply chains.

 

  •  Exploring new ways of providing non-statutory services.
  •  Renewable energy at a community level.
  • Exploitation of digital technology.

This was a matter for Executive decision.

 

RESOLVED – 

 

(1)       T H A T an Expression of Interest be submitted to the Welsh    Government for the Council to act as the Lead Body in the formation of a Vale of Glamorgan Local Action Group.

 

(2)       T H A T full details including staffing and any match funding implications be reported to Cabinet prior to submission of a full bid and acceptance of any grant funds. 

 

(3)       T H A T Welsh Government pre-development costs be accepted as part of this stage one Expression of interest.

 

  Reasons for decisions

 

(1)       To enable the Council to access development costs and for Welsh Government to confirm eligibility to apply for full Local Action Group status at stage 2 of the process in July 2014.

 

(2)       To agree final specific details after negotiations with the Welsh Government are concluded and authorise the essential delivery and running costs for projects and the L0cal Action Group.

 

(3)       To enable the Council to best prepare a Local Development Strategy.

 

 

C2159                        SUPPORTING PEOPLE LOCAL COMMISSIONING PLAN 2014-2017 (HBMCS) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – HOUSING AND PUBLIC PROTECTION) –

 

Approval was sought to adopt the draft Supporting People Local Commissioning Plan 2014 - 2017 and for its submission to the Regional Collaborative Committee for the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff.

 

Cabinet were updated on the budget savings identified to meet the cuts in the Council's Supporting People Programme Grant for 2014/15 and 2015/16.

 

The Supporting People (SP) programme was the policy and funding framework for delivering housing related support to vulnerable people in different types of accommodation and across all tenures.

 

Attached at Appendix 1 was a copy of the Local Commissioning Plan 2014 - 2017.

 

Following the announcement of the Welsh Governments draft budget in October 2013, local authorities received notification of their amended indicative Supporting People Programme Grant for 2014/15 and 2015/16. The impact in the Vale of Glamorgan was reductions in funding of £91,912.30 in 2014/15 (from £3,773,446.27 to £3,681,533.97) and £262,365.87 in 2015/16 (from £3,911,318.27 to £3,648.952.40) when compared to the earlier indicative budget notification received, that showed growth for the periods.

 

In order to mitigate the impact of these budget cuts and to continue to develop two new planned services identified in the Local Commissioning Plan for 2013-2014 for which the capital funding had already been identified, Officers undertook individual meetings with all service providers.

 

This work resulted in sufficient savings being identified to meet the budget cuts in 2014/15 and 2015/16 (as not all of the expected growth in the budget in 2015/16 had yet been allocated) with no adverse impact on front line support services or service users. These savings were listed on page 20 of the Local Commissioning Plan along with the additional number of new service users that would be supported from April 2014.

 

An assessment of the support needs of 591 individuals who had contacted the Housing Division and other voluntary and statutory sector agencies in 2012/13 had been undertaken and through this 'self-assessment' process 94.0% of these identified a support need. The most important serious issues self selected by clients were homeless/potentially homeless and mental health issues.

 

A total of 2,612 units of support funded by Supporting People had been mapped throughout the County. The current supply of services in the Vale showed that there were high levels of support for older people and moderate numbers for people with mental health issues and learning disabilities. There were lower levels of support specifically for clients who were homeless or potentially homeless, those with physical mobility issues, the young and vulnerable, those with alcohol or drug issues, those that had suffered domestic abuse or who were in danger of suffering domestic abuse, ex-offenders and those with a chronic illness.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision.

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the Supporting People Local Commissioning Plan 2014 – 2017, as attached at Appendix 1 to the report be approved and be submitted to the Regional Collaborative Committee for the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff.

 

Reason for decision

 

To ensure that the Council complied with the requirements of the Supporting People Programme Grant (SPPG) Guidance (Wales) July 2012 (updated June 2013).

 

 

C2160                        COLERIDGE AVENUE, DYSERTH ROAD AND CORNERSWELL ROAD, PENARTH – PROPOSED PROHIBITION OF WAITING AT ANY TIME TRAFFIC REGULATION ORDER – OBJECTIONS REPORT (EVS) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT) –

 

Members were advised of two objections and one supporting email received relating to the proposed introduction of a Prohibition of Waiting at Any Time Traffic Regulation Order at the above cross-roads junction and to propose appropriate action.

 

Having received a letter of complaint regarding road safety at the eastern end of Coleridge Avenue from a member of the public, officers carried out an examination of the collision record for that road.  While there had been no collisions at the location highlighted by the complainant, the examination revealed that two personal injury collisions had been recorded at the Coleridge Avenue, Dyserth Road and Cornerswell Road junction since November 2010.  Both of the collisions were attributed by the police officers attending to have been at least partly caused by the presence of parked vehicles on Cornerswell Road which obscured the view of vehicles emerging from the side streets. Given the injury collision record and the obstruction to visibility witnessed, caused by vehicles parked on the corners, it was apparent that there was a need to introduce  a prohibition of waiting at any time at the junction to keep the corners clear of parked vehicles.

 

The details of the proposed restrictions were shown on Drawing Number T/13/42/MT attached to the report as Appendix B.

 

Two letters of objection were received to the proposal from residents of Cornerswell Road, Penarth and one letter of support from a resident of Coleridge Avenue.

 

The correspondence relating to the objections and in support was attached at Appendix A to the report.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision.

 

RESOLVED – 

 

(1)       T H A T the two objections to the proposed introduction of a Prohibition of Waiting at Any Time Traffic Regulation Order at Coleridge Avenue, Dyserth Road and Cornerswell Road, Penarth junction be rejected for the reasons contained within the report and that the prohibition of waiting at any time be introduced.

 

(2)       T H A T the objectors and the individual supporting the proposals be advised of this decision.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)       To allow the Traffic Regulation Order to be made and implemented. 

 

(2)       To confirm the Council's position.

 

 

C2161                        SWANBRIDGE ROAD / COG ROAD / SULLY ROAD – PROPOSED 30MPH TRAFFIC REGULATION ORDER – OBJECTIONS REPORT (EVS) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT) –

 

Members were advised of an objection received relating to the proposed introduction of a 30mph speed restriction order along Swanbridge Road, Cog Road and Sully Road.

 

On 15th February, 2012, a report was presented to the then Cabinet Member for Visible Services which sought approval to give public notice to introduce a 30mph speed restriction along the sections of road shown on the attached plan, drawing no.T/13/104/DJH.

 

The reason for the introduction of the 30mph limit through this area was that it had been identified that some of the lighting columns along the route were further apart than the maximum distance of 183 metres to automatically render the speed limit to be 30mph by virtue of street lighting.  Therefore a formal Traffic Regulation Order was required to make the road 30mph.

 

The proposal would also extend the existing 30mph restriction along Cog Road to its junction with Swanbridge Road, including the southernmost section of Sully Road.  This would greatly enhance the road safety situation at the triangular junction of these roads.

 

Councillor Cox approved the report and public notice and the formal consultation process was completed, which included support for the proposal from the Police.

 

One objection was received from a former Councillor, Mr Anthony Ernest. A copy of his objection email was attached to the report in Appendix ‘B’.  Details of the proposals were shown on the Schedule attached at Appendix ‘A’ and on plan reference number T/13/104/DJH.

 

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 for the reasons given, the objection received relating to the proposed introduction of a 30mph speed restriction order along Swanbridge Road, Cog Road and Sully Road be rejected and approval be given to progress with the proposed Order as shown on the Schedule as attached at Appendix 'A' to the report and on plan no. T/13/104/DJH.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)       For information.

 

(2)       To enable the Order to be made.

 

 

 

 

 

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