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Agenda Item No.

 

CABINET

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 9 March, 2015.

 

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

 

Also Present: Councillors N. Hodges, and P. Clarke.

 

The Leader welcomed all those who were in attendance for this Community Cabinet Meeting and asked that Cabinet Members and Officers seated at the meeting table to introduce themselves.

 

Before starting the meeting, the Leader called for everyone in the room to stand for a minute’s silence in respect of the young residents from the Vale of Glamorgan who were tragically killed in the recent car accident in Brecon. He further commented that his heartfelt sympathy went out to the families involved in what was a trying and desperate time.

 

C2678  MINUTES –

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 23 February, 2015 be approved as a correct record.

 

C2679  DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST –

 

No Declarations were received.

 

The Leader brought forward Agenda Item no 13 to the start of the meeting for those in attendance who only wanted to hear this item.

 

C2680  REVIEW OF LIBRARY AND INFORMATION SERVICES IN THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN (AS) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – LIFELONG LEARNING) –

 

Before presenting his report, the Cabinet Member for Adult Services tabled a replacement appendix D to the report that contained amendments to Library closing and opening times, along with a letter that he had received from Councillor J. James.  He confirmed that other letters and emails in support of the Libraries had been received by Cabinet Members and Councillors.

 

He also confirmed that the Council had received a 2000+ signature petition from Unison that was delivered to the Council earlier in the day. One of the headlines of the petition stated;

 

To say no to volunteer run libraries – The Council has £40 Million in Reserves which should be used to safeguard the libraries at this present time until alternatives have been thoroughly researched”

 

In response to this headline the Cabinet Member for Adult Services commented that the majority of the Council’s reserves were earmarked for other projects. He further explained that other Councils had overturned their decision to close their libraries, but in his opinion this would only be a short term solution.

 

He stated that the Council was facing 24.7 million pounds in savings over the next 3 years, therefore, there was no alternative but to make necessary cuts to services. He further commented that austerity measures had affected all Councils and Library services across the country.

 

Finally, he explained, that the administration did not want to close libraries but would like to work closely with all communities in all five areas identified in the proposals to try and find ways of working together to develop Community Led Libraries so they would not have to close but would be managed by the relevant communities.

 

At the meeting the Cabinet Member for Regeneration commented that it was very challenging to protect services in these times of austerity, however the proposals set out in the report would support communities to develop Expressions of Interest and Business cases to run their own Community Led Library.

 

At the meeting the Cabinet Member for Visible and Leisure Services commented that, he came on the Council to deliver not cut services however, he further commented that his portfolio had been affected due to cutbacks of funding from Westminster to Welsh Government then to Local Councils which would result in a £400 million loss across Wales next year.

 

The Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Schools commented that he had attended the drop in session and public meeting in Rhoose and he explained at each session that the Council had to make savings due to cuts and that this put the Council in an impossible situation, however he was hopeful that by working with local communities it would be possible to keep the libraries open as Community Led Libraries.

 

At the meeting the Cabinet Member for Housing, Building Maintenance and Community Safety commented that the recommendations outlined in the report presented the best chance to keep the libraries open. The recommendations had been thought through carefully and presented the opportunity for local communities to work with the Council in keeping the libraries open.

 

Finally, in closing the Leader commented that it was not a good time to be in Local Government, but in these difficult times the status quo was not an option. The Council had to look at providing services in a more effective way and had to be open and honest about the amount of money that was available to be spent on services.

 

He further explained that the Council had consulted with communities and that through this report, the Council sought Expressions of Interest in working with the Council to save the libraries by becoming Community Led Libraries and that these Expressions of Interest were to be sent to the Director of Learning and Skills by 18 May, 2015.

 

He also explained that the Council was willing to provide appropriate and proportionate support to help those organisations that came forward to discuss their proposals. He also commented that Community Led Libraries could access funds that were not available to the Council.

 

In closing the Leader commented that this was not a decision that was taken lightly and had been in review since September 2013 and that he hoped that every library could remain operational.

 

Cabinet considered the outcome of consultation on proposals arising from the Library Strategy.

 

Substantial savings to the Council’s Budget were necessary in 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18. The latest projections estimated that these would equate to a reduction of approximately £24.7 million in total over the next three years. Failure to deliver the required savings was not an option for the Council. It was against a backdrop requiring savings that the review of library services in the Vale was undertaken. If fully implemented it was anticipated that the Library Strategy would deliver savings in the region of £578k over the two year period 2015/16 to 2016/17. A breakdown of the estimated net savings was attached at Appendix E to the report.

 

At the Cabinet meeting of 11 August, 2014 eleven of fourteen recommendations arising from a review of library services were approved. It was agreed to consult on three further, and more significant, proposed changes to library services:

  • The development of community led libraries in St Athan, Dinas Powys, Sully, Wenvoe and Rhoose.
  • Reduced library opening hours in Barry, Penarth, Cowbridge and Llantwit Major.
  • Relocating library services in St Athan.

The consultation which focussed on these three proposed changes began on 13 October, 2014 and closed on 31 December, 2014. To ensure that stakeholders had access to all of the information required to make informed comments on the strategy a comprehensive consultation document was produced, and was attached at Appendix A to the report. The document set out the findings of the library review, the rationale for the proposed changes, and also offered information on how the Council believed these could be implemented. In addition the full strategy was made available, along with performance and usage data for each library in the Vale, and a report produced by the Arts Council for England highlighted successful alternative delivery models for library services. The consultation document also included three separate questionnaires; one for each proposal, and was made available to Vale residents and library users on-line via the Council’s website and in paper form at each of the Vale’s libraries.

 

During the consultation period a series of drop-in sessions were hosted at each of the Vale’s libraries. These sessions were designed to help promote the consultation and offer residents the opportunity to discuss the strategy and consultation process with senior officers from the Learning and Skills Directorate.

 

A full analysis of the consultation results was attached at Appendix B to the report.

 

Responses to part 1 of the consultation; the introduction of community led libraries, demonstrated that the views of residents varied greatly across the Vale which suggested that the viability of community libraries would also vary between communities. The results suggested that community led facilities would be viable in Dinas Powys, St Athan and Wenvoe. However, the data gathered suggested that such a facility would not garner significant support in Sully and clearly indicated that the establishment of a community library in Rhoose would not be welcomed.

 

Given that the status quo was not an option and the alternative for the libraries at Dinas Powys, Rhoose, Wenvoe, St Athan and Sully was closure, it was advised that all five communities be offered the opportunity to make a successful transition to a community led library. To progress the implementation of this proposal, the following steps were recommended:

  • Seek formal Expressions of Interest which were to be submitted by 18 May, 2015.
  • In the event an Expression of Interest was not received for any one of the libraries, the library in question would close.
  • Upon receipt of one or more Expressions of Interest, the community group concerned would be asked to submit a business case for running the library by 12 July, 2015.
  • In the event a business case was not received for a particular library, the library in question would close.
  • An evaluation of the submitted business cases was reported to Cabinet in early autumn 2015. In the event where a business case was considered unviable, the library in question would close.

The timetable for the establishment of each community library where a viable business case was developed would be clarified as part of the evaluation of the business case. Whilst it was likely that the development of community libraries would continue over a period of time the preferred timetable would be to launch the libraries in the spring of 2016.  A range of support would be provided or commissioned by the Council for any community group requesting such support, such as:

  • Advice and guidance on becoming a constituted organisation.
  • Recruitment (including DBS checks) and training of volunteers.
  • On-going provision and rotation of book stock.
  • Transfer of all fixtures and fittings including ICT equipment.
  • On-going provision of peripatetic professional librarian support.

The second part of the consultation focused on proposed changes to the library opening hours.  The consultation document included the following statement: The Vale of Glamorgan is seeking to reduce the cost of running Barry, Cowbridge, Llantwit Major and Penarth Libraries by at least 40.5 hours a week. This will significantly reduce the cost of running each library and so create a sustainable service for the future. Respondents were asked to select one of four potential options and were also offered the opportunity for residents to suggest any other ways library opening hours could be reduced. Analysis of the consultation responses showed a clear preference for reduced opening hours at all libraries with varied opening and closing times to allow for at least one late evening a week.

 

The schedule of opening hours for each of the town libraries, was attached at Appendix D to the report, had been proposed in response to the views expressed during the consultation exercise.  The proposals showed an overall reduction of 41 hours achieved by adjusting the opening and closing times each day whilst maintaining one late evening at each library. In order to meet the savings target for 2015/16 it was proposed that the revised opening hours were implemented from 1 June, 2015.

 

Responses to the third part of the consultation about the relocation of St Athan Library were inconclusive. Whilst a number of respondents made suggestions about alternative locations there was no consensus of opinion. It was proposed that future consideration of the location of the library in St Athan be tied in with discussions with any groups expressing an interest in running a community led library in the area.

 

A number of suggestions to enhance the service and the use of library buildings were put forward during the consultation some of which were already being progressed such as the establishment of ‘friends of’ groups to support the libraries at Barry, Penarth, Cowbridge and Llantwit Major. Other common suggestions included the introduction of a coffee shop, leasing or sharing library buildings with other organisations and facilitating community use of libraries outside of opening hours. These suggestions would be explored further and a report brought to a future Cabinet meeting to progress any further developments.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1) T H A T the analysis of responses to the recent consultation on three proposals put forward in the Library Strategy, attached at Appendix B to the report, be noted and regard be given to the Equality Impact Assessments attached at Appendix C to the report.

 

(2) T H A T the reconfiguration of opening hours as set out in the revised tabled Appendix D, for the libraries at Barry, Penarth, Cowbridge and Llantwit Major be approved and implemented with effect from 1 June, 2015.

 

(3) T H A T the proposal to seek Expressions of Interest from groups interested in developing a community led library in Dinas Powys, Rhoose, St Athan, Wenvoe or Sully with a deadline for submission of 18 May, 2015 be endorsed. Cabinet and Officers would be prepared to meet with any group to discuss any proposals that they intend to submit.

 

(4) T H A T in relation to recommendation 3 above, should it be requested, appropriate and proportionate support be given to assist those groups or individuals in helping them develop their Expression of Interest for submission by 18 May, 2015. Expressions of Interest are to be sent to the Director of Learning and Skills.

 

(5) T H A T in the event an Expression of Interest is not received for any one of the libraries listed in Recommendation 3 above, delegated authority be granted to the Director of Learning and Skills in consultation with the Leader and Cabinet Member for Adult Services to take all action necessary to close the relevant library or libraries.

 

(6) T H A T if one or more Expressions of Interest to run a community library or libraries as listed in recommendation 3 above, is received by 18 May, 2015, delegated authority be granted to the Director of Learning and Skills in consultation with the Leader and Cabinet Member for Adult Services to consider whether or not the groups or individuals expressing such an interest be requested to submit a business case for the running of the library or libraries by 12 July, 2015.

 

(7) T H A T in relation to recommendation 6 above, should it be requested, appropriate and proportionate support be given to assist those groups or individuals in helping them develop their robust business cases for submission by 12 July, 2015.

 

(8) T H A T it be agreed that, provided one or more Expressions of Interest to run a community library in St Athan was received by 18 May, 2015 and subject to recommendation 6 & 7 above, it be agreed, if necessary, to have discussions with any party expressing an interest in establishing a community library in the St Athan area and on its location.

 

(9) T H A T subject to the outcome of Recommendation 6, 7 and 8 above, a further report on the evaluation of any submitted business cases be reported to Cabinet in the Autumn of 2015.

 

(10) T H A T in line with the recommendations (1-9) above, the Director of Learning and Skills, in consultation with the Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Adult Services, be given delegated authority to develop and implement a phased restructure of the library service to support implementation of the recommendations, subject to consultation with staff and the relevant trade unions.

 

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

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1) To note the responses to the consultation and the Equality Impact Assessments prior to deciding next steps.

 

(2) To enable a reduction in overall opening hours resulting in a more efficient and sustainable service for the future.

 

(3) To assess the interest and intent of groups in the development of community led libraries.

 

(4) To ensure each community group has access to a range of advice, guidance and support when developing its Expression of Interest.

 

(5) To provide clarity over the future of the library in question and to ensure that financial savings targets are met.

 

(6)  To ensure that group plans are viable before progressing to the next stage in the development of community led libraries.

 

(7)  To ensure each community group has access to a range of advice, guidance and support when developing its business case.

 

(8)  To provide clarity over the future of the library in question and to ensure that financial savings targets are met.

 

(9)  To afford Cabinet the opportunity to consider submitted plans.

 

(10)  To ensure that the proposals are progressing in and where necessary in accordance with the Council’s avoiding redundancy policy.

 

(11)  To ensure the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) is consulted and comments on the recommendations contained in this report.

 

C2681  APPOINTMENT OF LOCAL AUTHORITY GOVERNORS ADVISORY PANEL - 

 

The minutes of the Appointment of Local Authority Governor’s Advisory Panel meeting held on 25 February, 2015 were submitted.

 

Present:  Councillors F.T. Johnson; P.J. Clarke, C.P. Franks, T.H. Jarvie and Mrs. M.R. Wilkinson.

 

Also present:  Mrs. M. Gibbs, Vale Governors Association.

 

(a) Apology for Absence -

 

This was received from Councillor C.P.J. Elmore (Chairman).

 

(b) Appointment of Chairman for the Meeting -

 

In the absence of the Chairman Councillor C.P.J Elmore, Councillor F.T. Johnson was appointed Chairman of the Panel for the duration of the meeting.

 

(c) Declarations of Interest -

 

The following declarations were received:

  • Councillor T.H. Jarvie, Governor of Cowbridge Comprehensive School and Ysgol Iolo Morgannwg
  • Councillor Mrs. M.R. Wilkinson, Governor of Colcot Primary School.

(Note: Both Members withdrew from the meeting during consideration of the applications in respect of their related schools).

 

(d) Guidance Regarding Appointment Process -

 

The Senior Governor Support Officer outlined the procedure and advised of the requirement for applicants to attach a completed skills register to their application.  The new procedure had been approved by Cabinet at its meeting on 8th September, 2014 with schools also being invited to complete and submit a register of need outlining the type of skills required for their Governing Body.  A full list of current Local Authority Governor vacancies was attached at Appendix 1 to the report.  Members were further advised that an advert had been distributed to all Elected Members, all Vale Schools, members of the Vale Governors Association Management Committee in accordance with the Council’s policy.  LA Governors whose terms of office were due to cease had also been contacted to establish if they wished to be re-nominated for the positions and all applicants had been informed that application forms and a skills register must be completed otherwise they would be precluded from consideration. 

A grid reference of all schools and applicants was attached at Appendix 3 to the report.

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the guidance regarding the appointment procedure be noted.

 

(e) Exclusion of Press and Public -

 

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

 

(f) Applications for Appointment of Current Local Authority Governor Vacancies (Exempt Information - Paragraph 12) -

 

Due to technical difficulties Ms. S. Williams’ skills register had not been available to be despatched with the agenda, following agreement by Members this was subsequently tabled at the meeting.  Having fully considered the criteria for the appointment of Local Authority Governors, the applications  and the information tabled at the meeting, it was

 

RECOMMENDED to Cabinet -

 

(1) T H A T the following appointments be made for the schools as set out below:

 

 

School Appointment
All Saints Church in Wales Primary School S. Williams
Bryn Hafren Comprehensive School J. Rees
Bute Cottage Nursery No applications received – deferred to the Autumn
Colcot Primary R. Thomas * ( position 2)

The remaining vacancy to be deferred to the Autumn

Cowbridge Comprehensive School J. Smith
Dinas Powys Primary School D.A. Dean
Evenlode Primary School T.S. Bowring ** ( position 1)

The remaining vacancy to be deferred to the Autumn

High Street Primary School Deferred to the Autumn
Llandough Primary School T.S. Bowring ** ( position 2)
Llansannor Church in Wales A.L. Bourne
Oakfield Primary School R. Thomas * (position 1)
St. Andrews Church in Wales Primary School S. Dovey
St. Joseph’s RC Primary School M.A. Wilson
St. David’s Church in Wales Primary School I. Eldridge
St. Nicholas Church in Wales Primary School No applications received – deferred to the Autumn
St. Richard Gwyn RC High School G. A. Hawke ***
Sully Primary School C. Hooper
Victoria Primary School S. McLaughlin

The remaining vacancy to be deferred to the Autumn

Wick and Marcross Church in Wales Primary School M.E. Cornelius
Ysgol Iolo Morgannwg S.J. Davis ( appointed from 21/07/15 and R.D. Jones
Ysgol Sant Baruc A. Tamplin ****
Ysgol Sant Curig H.E. Cooper ***** ( position 1 )


NB.

 

* Should R. Thomas not wish to accept appointments to the two schools, Ms  Thomas to be appointed to Oakfield Primary School in the first instance.

 

** Should T.S. Bowring not wish to accept appointments to the two schools, Mr Bowring to be appointed to Evenlode Primary School in the first instance.

 

*** Should G .A Hawke not wish to accept the appointment at St. Richard Gwyn R/C High School, the position to be re-advertised for consideration in the Autumn.

 

****  H.E Cooper to be appointed in the first instance to Ysgol St Curig. However, should  Mr. A. Tamplin not wish to accept the appointment at Ysgol St Baruc , Ms. Cooper to be appointed to the position subject to confirmation with officers that she would be willing to be appointed to two schools. 

 

(2) T H A T Cabinet be requested to write to schools carrying vacancies as outlined above, stressing the need for appointments to be made and in particular if the Governing body or the school is aware of interest from persons in the local community or business field to encourage them to apply.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1) To allow Cabinet to consider and approve the appointments to the above school Governing Bodies.

 

(2) To encourage schools to be proactive in the appointment of Governors.

 

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

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1) T H A T the following School appointments be made;

 

 

School Appointment
All Saints Church in Wales Primary School S. Williams
Bryn Hafren Comprehensive School J. Rees
Bute Cottage Nursery No applications received – deferred to the Autumn
Colcot Primary R. Thomas * ( position 2)

The remaining vacancy to be deferred to the Autumn

Cowbridge Comprehensive School J. Smith
Dinas Powys Primary School D.A. Dean
Evenlode Primary School T.S. Bowring ** ( position 1)

The remaining vacancy to be deferred to the Autumn

High Street Primary School Deferred to the Autumn
Llandough Primary School T.S. Bowring ** ( position 2)
Llansannor Church in Wales A.L. Bourne
Oakfield Primary School R. Thomas * (position 1)
St. Andrews Church in Wales Primary School S. Dovey
St. Joseph’s RC Primary School M.A. Wilson
St. David’s Church in Wales Primary School I. Eldridge
St. Nicholas Church in Wales Primary School No applications received – deferred to the Autumn
St. Richard Gwyn RC High School G. A. Hawke ***
Sully Primary School C. Hooper
Victoria Primary School S. McLaughlin

The remaining vacancy to be deferred to the Autumn

Wick and Marcross Church in Wales Primary School M.E. Cornelius
Ysgol Iolo Morgannwg S.J. Davis ( appointed from 21/07/15 and R.D. Jones
Ysgol Sant Baruc A. Tamplin ****
Ysgol Sant Curig H.E. Cooper ***** ( position 1 )


NB.

 

* Should R. Thomas not wish to accept appointments to the two schools, Ms  Thomas to be appointed to Oakfield Primary School in the first instance.

 

** Should T.S. Bowring not wish to accept appointments to the two schools, Mr Bowring to be appointed to Evenlode Primary School in the first instance.

 

*** Should G.A Hawke not wish to accept the appointment at St. Richard Gwyn R/C High School, the position to be re-advertised for consideration in the Autumn.

 

****  H.E Cooper to be appointed in the first instance to Ysgol St Curig. However, should  Mr. A. Tamplin not wish to accept the appointment at Ysgol St Baruc, Ms. Cooper to be appointed to the position subject to confirmation with officers that she would be willing to be appointed to two schools. 

 

(2) T H A T the Department of Learning and Skills be requested to write to schools carrying vacancies as outlined above, stressing the need for appointments to be made and in particular if the Governing body or the school is aware of interest from persons in the local community or business field to encourage them to apply.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1) To approve the appointments to the above school Governing Bodies.

 

(2) To encourage schools to be proactive in the appointment of Governors.

 

C2682  SUMMARY OF SCHOOL INSPECTION REPORTS FOR THE AUTUMN TERM 2014 (REF) - 

 

The Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) on 9 February, 2015 considered the above report of the Director of Learning and Skills.

 

Members were updated on the outcomes of school inspections for the autumn term 2014 and the outcome of an Estyn monitoring visit that had been made during the autumn term 2014. 

 

Llandough Primary, Murch Junior and Y Bont Faen Primary Schools had been inspected during the autumn term 2014 and a summary of the inspection findings for each was appended to the report at Appendix 2. 

 

During the autumn term the overall judgements received for each of the schools was good for current performance and good for prospects for improvement.  St. Helen’s Roman Catholic Infant and Nursery School had also been monitored by Estyn in autumn 2014 with Estyn judging the extent of the progress made by the school in addressing the recommendations of the inspection report.  At that time, the review activity considered the Local Authority report and the scrutiny of the School’s post inspection action plan and self-evaluation report with the school’s responsibility being to supply evidence that demonstrated progress against the recommendations to Estyn at the time of the visit.  Estyn’s overall judgement for the school was that sufficient progress had been made with the outcome being that the school was removed from follow up activity. 

 

Members welcomed the report and the positive judgements that have been made and subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1) T H A T congratulatory letters be forwarded to all the schools by the Chairman on behalf of the Committee.

 

(2) T H A T the report be forwarded to Cabinet in recognition of the good judgements received.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1) In recognition of the good judgements received.

 

(2) In order to advise Cabinet of the achievements of the schools.”

 

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

 

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

 

RESOLVED – T H A T a letter of congratulations be sent to all the schools by the Leader on behalf of the Cabinet in recognition of the good judgements received.

 

Reason for decision

 

To congratulate the schools for the good judgments received.

 

C2683  SCHOOL PLACE PLANNING IN THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN (REF) - 

 

The Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) on 9 February, 2015 considered the above report of the Director of Learning and Skills.

 

The report informed Members of the Minister for Education and Skills’ assessment of the progress made by the Council with regard to reducing surplus school places.  The Head of Strategy, Community Learning and Resources in presenting the report advised that following the publication of an Estyn report on school surplus places in schools in Wales in May 2012, the Minister for Education and Skills had contacted Cabinet Members for Education to point out that there was a higher than necessary level of school places across Wales, which had resulted in a drain on resources which could be better used to improve the quality of education for all learners. 

 

At that time there were 10 local authorities with more than 20% surplus primary school places and 6 local authorities with similar levels of surplus places in the secondary sector.  The Minister had therefore, requested that the 16 local authorities with more than 20% surplus places in either sector or projected to have more than 20% by September 2016 submit statements, setting out plans under consideration or already underway to reduce the level of surplus places to below 15% at January 2015.  The remaining authorities, which included the Vale of Glamorgan were required to submit a statement on how surplus places would be managed to January 2015 with an estimate of what levels of surplus would remain in each sector at that time.  The statement that had been submitted to the Minister on the management of surplus school places for the Vale of Glamorgan was attached at Appendix A to the report. 

 

Surplus places in the primary sector were forecast to reduce from 16.4% to 10.19% in September 2016 and to increase from 4.76% to 12.86% in the secondary sector by September 2016, decreasing again after this date as larger primary cohorts fed into the secondary sector.  The statement also set out the position in terms of schools with a significant number of surplus places, increasing demand for Welsh Medium school places and plans to reduce surplus capacity in some areas through school reorganisations. 

 

Following the submission of the statement further correspondence was received from the Minister in which he confirmed approval of the targets set out in the statement and challenging the Cabinet Member for Children's Services and Schools to meet those targets. The Minister added that he would be writing to all local authorities to make it clear that he would consider using the powers available to him under Schedule 7 to the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 should insufficient progress be made against agreed targets.

 

A further letter from the Minister for Education and Skills was received on 9th December 2014 (Appendix B), the purpose of which was to review achievements to date and set out what further action was necessary.  The following progress was acknowledged:

  • Proposals to meet the demand for Welsh medium education primary school places were brought forward.
  • School amalgamations have been agreed which will provide schools which are more sustainable in the future.
  • The innovative and cost effective construction process adopted to provide a new school building for Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg and the Authority's plans to replicate this for Ysgol Gymraeg Dewi Sant and Oakfield Primary School.
  • The school rationalisation and building renewal at Penarth Learning Community and the strategic plans in train for the Llantwit Learning Community.
  • At January 2014, 11% of primary school places were empty which, taken together with projections and other known developments suggests that the 2016 target of 10.19% will be met.
  • At January 2014, 14.9% of secondary school places were empty, however when the projected fall in numbers is taken into account the 12.9% target for 2016 might be met, depending on whether the rebuild of Llantwit Comprehensive School is achieved. Even if the target is narrowly missed, it is clear this situation would not persist as robust plans are in hand.

The letter dated 9th December, 2014 also highlighted that the Minister welcomed the progress that had been made to date and encouraged the local authority to continue with prudent and strategic planning in the future.

 

The Head of Service further highlighted for Members, that in January 2014 three secondary schools; Barry Comprehensive, Llantwit Comprehensive and Bro Morgannwg had in excess of 25% surplus capacity.  Projections showed that surplus places at Bro Morgannwg would fall to under 25% in 2016 (23% surplus) as larger primary cohorts feed into the school. Surplus capacity at Llantwit Comprehensive School would be removed when the school was rebuilt. The new school building was scheduled to open in September 2017 with the reduction in capacity and surplus places being reflected in the January 2018 Pupil Level Annual School Census.

 

Members were also informed that robust admission procedures were in place to manage admissions to community schools in the Vale with pupils being admitted up to the admission number for each school, which was only exceeded in exceptional circumstances and in agreement with the school. 

 

In considering the report a Member queried whether the number of new developments that were due to come on line through the planning process, had been considered in the future projections as there were concerns that schools would be full sooner than officers were predicting.  In response, the Head of Service stated that it was a frustrating process as Welsh Government were not keen for local authorities to project future populations because the schools identified within Local Development Plans had not yet come to fruition.  Officers were confident however, that there would be an increase in numbers and could advise that the projections had been carried via a Facilities Paper that had had to be developed for the LDP itself.  The Member stated that he was pleased to note that the Planning Department had been fully consulted in relation to the future projections. 

 

A Member who had been part of the School Surplus Places Group of the Scrutiny Committee a few years previous referred to the significant surplus places at Holton Primary, Jenner Park and Oakfield and queried the future proposals for those schools.  In response, the Head of Service advised that for Jenner Park the situation had changed in recent years with a significant increase in demand being received in the last two to three years. It was now expected that by 2017 the school would not be in the significant school surplus places category.  This was anticipated to be the same for the Cadoxton area and for Oakfield.  In referring to Oakfield in particular, the Head of Service informed Committee that 24 pupils had been accepted in September 2014 which had been the largest intake the school had known for many years at reception, and 28 pupils for nursery provision was anticipated for September 2015.  Therefore, with the demand increasing and with the new developments proposed for the area the likelihood would be that this would be sustained over future years. She could confirm that the Authority had also been challenged in respect of the numbers for Oakfield by Welsh Government but they had successfully been persuaded on the basis of the proposed future developments.  With regard to Holton Road, Members were reminded that the school was part of the catchment area for the Waterfront development and a new Flying Start Development was also proposed for the area.

 

A co-opted Member informed Committee that grants had recently been offered to businesses in Holton Road to turn premises into residential properties which could assist future projections. 

 

Following queries in relation to Welsh Medium Education, the Head of Service stated that demand for Welsh Medium Education had been taken into account within the overall predictions.  It was well documented that the demand was increasing rapidly in the Barry area and although it was difficult to predict the projections were reviewed on an annual basis. 

 

Referring to Appendix A, the Chairman sought reassurance that any proposals to reduce surplus capacity would be reported to the Scrutiny Committee for consideration.  The officer advised that Committee had already considered the Gwaun y Nant proposals and that year on year reviews of school surplus places would be undertaken. 

 

In conclusion, the Chairman stated that he welcomed the report and was pleased to note that a number of the recommendations of the School Surplus Places Task and Finish Group had and were continuing to be pursued.

 

Having fully considered the report it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1) T H A T the progress to date be welcomed.

 

(2) T H A T on an annual basis the Committee receives a school place planning update for Vale of Glamorgan schools and that the report be referred to Cabinet for its consideration.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1) In order to apprise Members of the measures taken to manage school places across the Vale of Glamorgan and of current performance against set targets.

 

(2) To ensure school place planning was considered on an annual basis and for Cabinet to consider the progress made on reducing surplus places and the Minister’s assessment of performance against agreed targets.”

 

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

 

 

At the meeting the Leader commented that the Cabinet decision not to close schools, contrary to recommendations received by other bodies, had been proven correct and that the Council was determined to keep schools open.

 

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

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the contents of the report be noted and that a further report on school place planning for Vale of Glamorgan schools be presented to Cabinet on an annual basis.

 

Reason for decision

 

To ensure school place planning was considered on an annual basis and to consider the progress made on reducing surplus places and the Minister’s assessment of performance against agreed targets.

 

C2684  NATIONAL CATEGORISATION – OUTCOMES FOR VALE SCHOOLS (REF) -

 

The Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) on 9 February, 2015 considered the above report of the Director of Learning and Skills.

 

The Head of School Improvement and Inclusion advised that National Categorisation was a new three step process that resulted in each school being assigned to a category.  The category indicated whether the school was on its improvement journey and the level of challenge / support required to ensure further improvement.  Categorisation replaced the former banding of secondary schools and the regional arrangements for categorising schools as A, B, C or D. 

 

The first step in the process was the assigning of the school to one of four standards groups, 1-4, this being determined by Welsh Government using a range of data. The details for which could be found at Appendix 1a for Primary and Appendix 1b for Secondary attached to the report. The second step was to assign the school to one of four groups, A-D that reflected the school's ability to improve. This to be determined by the school's Challenge Advisor based on a range of evidence, including the school's improvement processes. The third step used the outcomes of the first two steps to determine the category and resulting level of support / challenge needed.  The categories being: Green, Yellow, Amber or Red.

 

Members were then advised of the definition of each of the categories as detailed below:

 

“Green Categorisation – these are the best schools who:

  • know themselves well and identify and implement their own priorities for improvement;
  • have resilience within the staff team;
  • are rewarded by greater autonomy;
  • will be challenged to move towards or sustain excellence; and
  • have the capacity to lead others effectively (school to school support).

Yellow Categorisation – these are our good schools who:

  • will know and understand most of the areas in need of improvement;
  • have many aspects of the school's performance which are self-improving; and
  • will receive bespoke challenge and support deployed according to need.

Amber Categorisation – these are the schools in need of improvement who:

  • do not know and understand all the areas in need of improvement;
  • have many aspects of the school's performance which are not improving quickly enough;
  • will receive bespoke challenge and intervention deployed according to need
  • will receive an automatic letter from consortium;
  • self-evaluation and school improvement plan will be signed off by the consortium;
  • will be expected to remain in an amber category for only the short-term; and
  • will receive time limited, focused challenge and intervention to support improvement.

Red Categorisation – these are the schools in need of greatest improvement who:

  • will receive critical intervention;
  • receive an automatic warning letter from LA and subsequent use of statutory powers where necessary;
  • trigger intensive and effective collaboration between LA and consortium;
  • trigger the all-Wales common school causing concern arrangements; and  
  • will lose autonomy and be subject to a more directed approach.”

Following the categorisation of a school the Local Authority and Joint Education Service would subsequently agree a bespoke programme of support, challenge and intervention. Those schools categorised as amber and red would receive a greater level of support than those categorised as yellow or green.  The details for which were provided at Appendix 2 and which had been taken from the Central South Consortium's Framework For Challenge and Support.

 

The position of Vale schools within the National Categorisation process was referred to as a grid which was detailed at Appendix 3 to the report.  The Head of Service advised that the standards group and capacity to improve were plotted along the ‘y’ and ‘x’ axis respectively to determine the level of schools category.  A revised version of Appendix 3 and Appendix 4 was also tabled at the meeting, due to the fact that information in respect of schools was updated on a regular basis and as such the categorisation had therefore changed since the agenda for the meeting had been despatched.  It was accepted that the information was as accurate at the time the information was recorded and would therefore be an ever evolving process. The Head of Service took the opportunity to point out to Members that the number of the PIs assigned by Welsh Government to categorise the schools, in the main, referred to numeracy and literacy and did not take into account other measures e.g. wellbeing issues etc.  However, the tool was seen as an informative tool for schools, local authorities and the Consortium in order to identify the schools that needed assistance for improvement.  It was noted that the majority of Vale schools were either green or yellow with one of the primary schools being referred to as red as it was currently in Estyn monitoring.  

 

A number of Members queried the use of the system stating that this could cause anxiety for some parents who may use the tool to move their children from school to school depending on the categorisation.  Some Members felt uneasy with the decisions in relation to some schools in their wards which they themselves considered to be similar in standard but they had been placed in different categorisations. The Head of Service advised that although some schools appeared to be of a same standard the categorisation tool highlighted where some improvements in certain areas may be required.  The tool would also show, over the forthcoming years, the progress and improvements made year on year and allow the school to receive the level of support it needed at the time it needed it.

 

A Member informed the Committee that they were aware of a school that had itself asked to be placed in an improvement category in order to receive the support they wanted.  The Chairman reiterated his belief that the importance of the tool was that schools received the support when they needed it with another Member welcoming the flexibility of the tool.  A co-opted Member queried how the information would be conveyed to parents being of the view that this should be undertaken in a positive way.  The Director of Learning and Skills confirmed that it would be the responsibility of the Headteacher and the Governing Body as to how they decided the information should be disseminated to parents, in the way they felt appropriate. Headteachers had been informed of this view at a recent meeting and would continue to be advised at future Headteacher meetings.

 

In recognising that National Categorisation was a pilot project the Director further stated that it had a number of benefits as opposed to the previous banding system that had been introduced for secondary schools.  In particular, she anticipated that there would not be as much volatility as in previous years as the information relied on a three-year average which she advised should result in more stability in the rate of progress. 

 

A Member took the opportunity to refer to the recent excellent work that had been undertaken at Colcot School by leadership team which had resulted in other schools requesting to utilise the good practice.  The Chairman also expressed the view that the work of the Committee’s Progress Panels in monitoring school performance was positive to the process and that it was reassuring to know that the schools receiving visits had also been identified in the National Categorisation grid as those needing support. 

 

Following a discussion as to whether the schools categorised as green should be formally congratulated by the Committee, it was subsequently accepted that this not be undertaken at this stage in view of the number of schools also identified in the yellow category, the fact that the tool was new and that the data was changing on a regular basis.

 

Although some Members considered that school categorisation could have a negative effect, in general, the Committee concluded that it was a useful tool to identify the support required and where resources should be placed.  Members also recognised that Estyn reports were currently in the public domain for all to view and assess in a similar way.

 

In referring to Barry Comprehensive (red category) the Chairman enquired about progress to date at the school.  The Head of Service stated that it was evident that Barry needed to improve and the categorisation tool had confirmed that diagnosis. The school was currently receiving a bespoke package to assist progress and improvement, and had been defined as a Challenge Cymru school. 

 

The Director of Learning and Skills advised that the Committee’s Individual School Progress Panel was due to visit Barry Comprehensive and she was aware that the school was keen to demonstrate to that Panel, improvements to date. The Committee would then receive a report of the Panel’s findings shortly thereafter. 

 

Following considerable discussion on the report it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1) T H A T the report be noted and that the Committee acknowledges and welcomes the large percentage of schools in the Vale categorised as green.

 

(2) T H A T the support being provided to the schools categorised as yellow, amber and red for further improvement, be noted.

 

(3) T H A T the report and the comments of the Scrutiny Committee be forwarded to Cabinet for its consideration.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1) In recognition of the new process put forward by Welsh Government and in recognising the number of schools identified in the green category within the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

(2) In recognising the support being identified for schools improvement.

 

(3) In order for Members to be apprised of the National Categorisation system and the support being provided.”

 

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

 

At the meeting the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Schools was pleased to note that the report highlighted that over 70% of schools in the Vale of Glamorgan were in the top two categories green and yellow and that only two schools were in the bottom category of red. However, he confirmed that the schools in the red and amber category would receive further help from the Joint Education Service (JES) and the Council to get the best outcome for our learners.

 

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

 

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

 

Reason for decision

 

To recognise the support being identified for schools improvement.

 

C2685  CARDIFF AND VALE COMMUNITY LEARNING PARTNERSHIP (REF) - 

 

The Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) on 9 February, 2015 considered a presentation by Nicola Campbell, the Cardiff and Vale Community Learning Partnership Co-ordinator.

 

The Committee received a presentation by Nicola Campbell, the Cardiff and Vale Community Learning Partnership Co-ordinator following a recent Estyn monitoring visit of the service.  (A copy of the presentation was also tabled at the meeting for Members’ information.)  Members were updated on progress to date and advised that in response to unsatisfactory inspections of the Adult Community Learning (ACL) in Cardiff and the Vale in 2013 Estyn had returned to conduct a monitoring visit between 12th and 15th January, 2015.  The purpose of the monitoring visit had been to determine the Partnership’s progress against previous inspection recommendations and advise of the provisional judgements that had been received however, the Partnership was awaiting the formal monitoring response letter. 

 

The provisional judgements that had been received to date were as follows:

 

“1. Improve success rates and accreditation for all learners – very good progress

2. Improve the strategic leadership, management and co-ordination of ACL - very good progress

3. Review and revise the curriculum; Improve the provision for developing literacy and numeracy skills – strong progress

4. Analyse data robustly and improve quality processes – very good progress

5. Improve the quality of teaching – strong progress

6. Improve the support available for learners – strong progress. “

 

Ms. Campbell stated that this was a very positive outcome for the Partnership with the visit highlighting various improvements that had been made. Estyn had also advised that there was a four year trend of improving success rates, innovative and effective drop-in work club provisions, a vibrant well managed full cost recovery programme, good progress made with Welsh Medium courses and good use of Scrutiny Committees to challenge the Partnership. 

 

Areas however, for improvement were reported as :-

  • Some teaching was deemed adequate or satisfactory and it was recognised that further work needed to be undertaken to challenge underperformance and support improvements in teaching
  • The Partnership should continue to develop working relationships with Communities First
  • Develop and embed support for learners and embed literacy and numeracy skills development across ACL provision.

Although good progress had been made the Chairman queried in relation to the assessments inspected how the 25% of satisfactory lessons equated to the overall partnership.  Ms. Campbell confirmed that inspectors had only viewed one class and the unsatisfactory recommendation referred, in the main, to the drop in provision which it was acknowledged was difficult to plan for as it was difficult for the Partnership to know in advance who would be attending the classes.  However, it was accepted that the situation needed to be considered and that the Partnership was currently discussing how this could be managed. 

 

With regard to improving the agenda around learning and numeracy skills for all clients, the co-ordinator stated that interview skills were being developed with more opportunities for learners to be provided.  Overall the success rate for the service was currently standing at 84% with future service targets of 86% for 2015/16 and 88% for 2016/17. 

 

Members congratulated the officer on the good progress to date noting that in the main, it was evident that the majority of the services inspected were good.

 

In conclusion, Ms. Campbell advised that it was likely that Estyn would conduct a full re-inspection of the Partnership in 12 months which would focus on all aspects of the Common Inspection Framework.

 

Having considered the presentation it was subsequently,

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1) T H A T Ms. Campbell be thanked for the information presented, the Committee notes the good progress being made to date and that a progress report be presented in 12 months.

 

(2) T H A T a copy of the presentation and the minutes of the meeting be forwarded to the Cabinet for their information in respect of the good progress being made to date.

 

Reason for recommendations

 

(1&2) To advise Members.”

 

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

 

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

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the contents of the report be noted and Cabinet thanked all staff involved for the improvements made in this area.

 

Reason for decision

 

To note the contents of the report.

 

C2686  LEAVE WITH PAY – ELECTION DUTIES ON 7 MAY 2015 (RO) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – CORPORATE RESOURCES) -

 

Approval was sought for Vale of Glamorgan employees to claim leave with pay on Thursday 7 May, 2015 if they were appointed as Presiding Officer or Poll Clerk at polling stations in the Cardiff South and Penarth constituency, and employed by Cardiff Council.

 

The Council's current Special Leave Scheme allowed employees wishing to serve as a Poll Clerk, Presiding Officer or other electoral roles in respect of elections / counts administered by the Vale of Glamorgan Council, leave with pay.

Approximately 35-40 Vale of Glamorgan employees would be approached to work on Poll Day by Electoral Services in Cardiff Council.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

RESOLVED – T H A T  it be agreed for Vale of Glamorgan employees to claim leave with pay on 7 May, 2015 for Election Duties, if they were appointed as Presiding Officer or Poll Clerk at polling stations within the boundaries of the Vale of Glamorgan administrative area and also, within in the Cardiff South and Penarth constituency area.

 

Reason for decision

 

To extend existing special leave arrangement for 7 May, 2015 Election Duties.

 

C2687  EXTERNAL FUNDING: FAMILIES FIRST GRANT, FLYING START GRANT, OUT OF SCHOOLS CHILDCARE GRANT, YOUTH CRIME PREVENTION FUND, REGIONAL COLLABORATION FUND, CLUB INNOV8 BARRY COMMUNITIES FIRST PUPIL DEPRIVATION GRANT (L) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – CORPORATE RESOURCES) -

 

Cabinet was informed of proposals for the use of six grant allocations from Welsh Government and to seek approval for the work being undertaken and acceptance of the grants and conditions.

 

The Council's External Funding Steering Group (EFSG) considered the six projects at a meeting on the 28 January, 2015 in terms of exit strategy, risks and implications for the Council. All the following projects were supported;

  • Families First Grant - The Families First funding was for £1,534,990 (Revenue) and was used to fund 10 projects. Proposals were submitted to Welsh Government in January. The funding would support a number of existing posts and the continuation of work to benefit families in defined areas, working to address the Welsh Government's four priority outcomes for Families First projects. Further information about the bid was detailed in Appendix A as attached to the report.
  • Flying Start Grant - The Flying Start programme was initiated in 2007 and the second phase of the grant scheme began in April 2012. The first phase of the project was based in the three Ward areas in Cadoc, Gibbonsdown and Court. The second phase of the funding in 2012 allowed for the expansion into the majority of the Castleland Ward and selected post codes within Buttrills and Dyfan Wards. The funding for 2015/16 was £2,608,109 (Revenue) and included the Language and Play (LAP) grant of £46,109.00 which had been merged with the Flying Start grant. The funding would support a number of posts and would continue work in the defined areas that were in need of extra support. Further information about the bid was detailed in Appendix B attached to the report.
  • Out of Schools Childcare Grant - The Out of Schools Childcare grant provided access to good quality, affordable and accessible childcare for children to enable parents/carers to enter/continue in work, training or education. The funding was for £94,037 (Revenue) and would support the creation of one new post and the continued work of the Out of Schools Childcare programme. Further information about the bid was detailed in Appendix C attached to the report.
  • Youth Crime Prevention Fund - The projects funded through the Youth Crime Prevention Fund delivered collaborative outcomes and met national and local priorities across a range of areas such as child poverty, mental health, domestic abuse and substance misuse. The funding was for £224,000 (Revenue) and this would fund a number of existing full time and part time posts. Further information about the bid was detailed in Appendix D attached to the report.
  • Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan Regional Collaboration Fund - The revenue funding had been used to fund five specific projects; Remodelling Adult Social Care & Integration with Health Services, Regionalising Regulatory Services, CYD Cymru, Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) Alcohol Treatment Centre (ATC). The funding for 2015/16 was £728,000 and was required to support the continuation of projects into their third year and to enable exit strategies/ options for sustaining these projects to be developed. Further information about the bid was detailed in Appendix E attached to the report.
  • Club Innov8 Barry Communities First Pupil Deprivation Grant - The Club Innov8 project aimed to engage children and young people, particularly girls and their families in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) education. The overall funding for the project was £120,000 (Revenue) that would support the continuation of the project to the benefit of all children within participating schools. Further information about the bid was detailed in Appendix F attached to the report.

Each project delivered a range of differing services that would work towards improved community wellbeing and resilience. The work undertaken would target a range of different people, and would work towards achieving a more prosperous, inclusive and socially cohesive society in the Vale of Glamorgan.  

 

At the meeting the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Schools commented that the Families First Grant and Flying Start Grants had helped families in the Vale of Glamorgan to engage in learning in a safe environment and there was indicative evidence that children entering the primary school sector were more engaged and ready for learning, this meant that children coming to schools became more confident.

 

The Cabinet Member for Regeneration commented that she had visited Club Innov8 and was pleased to see children programming games that they had built themselves with the support of older pupils.

 

The Leader commented that without financial grant support the projects outlined above could not be delivered, he further highlighted that the Regional Collaborative Fund streamed from Welsh Government was in its final year of funding and had been reduced in 2015/16 by 46%.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1) T H A T the proposals for use of the Families First funding including on-going responsibilities as lead body for the grant be approved.

 

(2) T H A T the proposals for use of the Flying Start funding including on-going responsibilities as lead body for the grant be approved.

 

(3) T H A T the proposals for the use of the Out of Schools Childcare Grant 2015/16 including on-going responsibilities as lead body for the grant be approved.

 

(4) T H A T the proposals for use of the Youth Crime Prevention Fund allocation which covered Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan be approved.

 

(5) T H A T the proposals for use of the Regional Collaboration Fund allocation which covered Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan be approved.

 

(6) T H A T the proposals for the use of the Club Innov8 Barry Communities First Pupil Deprivation Grant including on-going responsibilities as lead body for the grant be approved.  

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1) To enable the work of the Families First programme to continue.

 

(2) To enable the work of the Flying Start programme to continue.

 

(3) To enable work funded through the Out of Schools Childcare Grant to continue. 

 

(4) To enable the work funded through the Youth Crime Prevention Fund to continue.

 

(5) To enable the projects funded through the Regional Collaboration Fund to continue for a further year and develop appropriate exit strategies.

 

(6) To enable work funded through the ClubInnov8 Barry Communities First Pupil Deprivation Grant to continue.

 

C2688  GRANTS TO COMMUNITY / VOLUNTARY ORGANISATIONS 2015 / 16 (L) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – CORPORATE RESOURCES) -

 

Approval was sought in the awarding of a grant from the 2015/16 corporate revenue budget.

 

Following a partial collapse of the Town Wall in 2008, the Authority made a grant of £60,000 to Cowbridge Charter Trust who administered the works to return the Town Wall to a safe and attractive condition.

 

A three year grant was requested by Cowbridge Charter Trust, 2015/16 - £1,320 and £752 for 2016/17 and 2017/18. The grant would be reviewed at the end of the three years.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

RESOLVED – T H A T a grant be awarded to Cowbridge Charter Trust of £1,320 for 2015/16 and £752 for 2016/17 and 2017/18.

 

Reason for decision

 

To enable works to be carried out to the Cowbridge Town Wall.

 

C2689  THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN PUBLIC OPINION SURVEY 2014 (L) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – CORPORATE RESOURCES) -

 

Cabinet was informed of the results of the 2014 Public Opinion Survey that was attached at Appendix A to the report.

 

The Council conducted a public opinion survey every two years. In 2014, as in 2012, Beaufort Research, an independent market research company, carried out the public opinion survey on behalf of the Council.

 

The research focused on two key areas, how residents interacted with the Vale of Glamorgan Council and residents' satisfaction with a range of Vale of Glamorgan Council services. The majority of questions asked mirrored those used in 2012 and 2009 to allow for trend analysis. 904 interviews were conducted with a representative sample of Vale residents aged 16 or over. The interviews were conducted face to face in respondents' homes between 30 July 2014 and 2 to the 15 September 2014.

 

Vale of Glamorgan residents’ knowledge of their council was mixed. Half thought that they either knew a lot (10%) or enough (40%) with other half admitting that they knew some, but not enough (33%) or nothing at all (16%). The report highlighted the following;

  • Customer Contact: The number of residents contacting the Council was increasing and the way in which they are doing this was changing. In the last 12 months 52% of residents had contacted the Council, this was an increase from 46% in 2012 and 35% in 2009. The telephone remained the most likely way in which to contact the Council (66%) but the use of the internet/website had increased significantly as a contact method (27% in 2014 compared with 5% in 2012).
  • Overall opinion of Council services: The results showed that there had been a decline in the level of satisfaction compared with the previous survey. However, the vast majority (84%) of Vale of Glamorgan residents remained satisfied overall with the service provided by the Vale of Glamorgan.
  • Satisfaction with individual services: satisfaction levels remained high across the majority of Council services. However, there was a trend of decline, 92% of respondents were very or fairly satisfied with parks and grounds maintenance. This was the one area where satisfaction levels had not moved since 2012.

At the meeting the Leader noted the contents of the report and stressed that the Council would seek to address any areas for improvement that was outlined in the public opinion survey that was attached at appendix A to the report.

 

The Cabinet Member for Visible and Leisure Services commented that he felt that the public could help the Council in certain areas one of which was to report the parking of cars on the pavements. He confirmed that this was damaging to pavements and reduced access for pedestrians, he also stressed that too much Council funding was being spent on the clearing up of illegal fly tipping and littering. He encouraged residents to contact the council to report any of these incidents.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the findings of the Council’s 2014 Public Opinion Survey attached at Appendix A to the report be noted.

 

Reason for decision

 

To note residents' level of awareness of the Council's work and levels of satisfaction with the standard of Council services.

 

C2690  SECURITY AND PORTER SERVICES AT BARRY LIBRARY (AS) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – LIFELONG LEARNING) -

 

Approval was sought to remove the 24 hour security and the porter service provided to Barry Library and replaced with CCTV during 2014/15.

 

At the Cabinet meeting of 11 August, 2014 it was resolved that subject to consultation with staff and the relevant trade unions, the Director of Learning and Skills in consultation with the Leader, be given delegated authority to implement the recommendation (minute ref C2430).

 

As the wording of the recommendation was restricted to overnight security only there was a requirement to seek approval to remove the 24 hour security service and the porter service in order to meet the Barry Library savings target of £143k.

 

Security at the library would be supported through the use of CCTV which was already in place.  Library staff had received training on dealing with conflict and difficult situations and this would be refreshed as and when necessary. Prior to the relocation of the Library Resources Service from the Printmet offices on Sully Moors Road to Barry Library in 2011, library staff handled book deliveries. Library staff had received appropriate manual handling training to support a return to this practice.

 

Full consultation would be carried out with staff and the relevant trade unions. As part of the Library Strategy and Review of Security and Porter Service consultations, these proposals would be progressed in accordance with the Council's Avoiding Redundancy Policy.  Where possible, staff would be redeployed to vacant positions.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1) T H A T the removal of the 24 hour security service and porter service at Barry library be approved.

 

(2) T H A T the Director of Learning and Skills be granted delegated authority, in consultation with the Leader and Deputy Leader, to undertake consultation as a result of Recommendation 1 above.

 

Reasons for Decisions

 

(1) To ensure that the savings target for the library service was achieved.

 

(2) To ensure the recommendation could be progressed under officer delegation and the proposals progressed in accordance with the Council’s avoiding redundancy policy.

 

C2691  PROPOSAL TO CREATE A 1,361 ALL THROUGH SCHOOL THROUGH THE AMALGAMATION OF YSGOL GYMRAEG NANT TALWG AND YSGOL GYFUN BRO MORGANNWG BY CLOSING YSGOL GYMRAEG NANT TALWG AND EXTENDING THE AGE RANGE OF YSGOL GYFUN BRO MORGANNWG (CSS) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – LIFELONG LEARNING) - 

 

Cabinet was apprised of the outcome of the Statutory Notice on the proposal and approval was sought for the implementation of the proposal to amalgamate Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg and Ysgol Gyfun Bro Morgannwg.

 

Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg and Ysgol Gyfun Bro Morgannwg were federated in September 2012 under a single governing body and Headteacher. The Headteacher of the secondary school was Headteacher of the federated school and the teacher in charge of the Primary School was an Assistant Headteacher within the senior leadership structure.

 

On 18 February, 2014 the Chair of Governors and Headteacher of Ysgol Gyfun Bro Morgannwg and Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg contacted the Council and requested that the schools be amalgamated, following a resolution of the full Governing Body on 27 November, 2013.

 

A report on a proposal to create a 1,361 place 3 - 19 all through school through the amalgamation of Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg and Ysgol Gyfun Bro Morgannwg was presented to Cabinet on 14 July, 2014. Two options were considered for amalgamation: close both schools and open a new school or discontinue Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg and change the age range of Ysgol Gyfun Bro Morgannwg to admit children from the age of 3. Cabinet approved consultation on a proposal to discontinue Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg and extend the age range of Ysgol Gyfun Bro Morgannwg.

 

Consultation took place between 24 September, 2014 and 12 November, 2014 with prescribed consultees and a range of individuals. The consultation document was attached at Appendix A to the report.

 

At its meeting of 15 December, 2014 Cabinet approved the publication of the consultation report and agreed to proceed to the publication of a statutory notice on the proposal. The consultation report was published and provided to prescribed consultees and a range of individuals on 17 December, 2014. The consultation document was attached at Appendix B to the report.

 

The Council published a Statutory Notice on the proposal on 6 January 2015 that notified stakeholders of the intention to amalgamate Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg and Ysgol Gyfun Bro Morgannwg from 1 September 2015. The 28 day statutory notice period came to an end on 3 February, 2015. A copy of the notice was attached at Appendix C to the report.

 

At the end of the statutory notice period on 3 February, 2015 the Council received no objections to the proposal. There was therefore no requirement to publish an objection report as part of the proposal as required by the School Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act 2013 and the School Organisation Code 2013, Statutory Code Document no. 006/2013.

 

In order to implement the proposed amalgamation the Federation of Ysgol Gyfun Bro Morgannwg and Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg would need to be formally dissolved and all stakeholders notified in accordance with The Federation of Maintained Schools (Wales) Regulations 2014.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1) T H A T the receipt of no objections to the published Statutory Notice to amalgamate Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg and Ysgol Gyfun Bro Morgannwg be noted.

 

(2) T H A T the implementation of the proposal to amalgamate Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg and Ysgol Gyfun Bro Morgannwg from 1 September, 2015 be approved.

 

Reasons for Decisions

 

(1) To comply with the School Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act 2013 and subsequent School Organisation Code 2013.

 

(2) To proceed with the implementation of the proposal to amalgamate Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg and Ysgol Gyfun Bro Morgannwg.

 

C2692  FEES AND CHARGES, COUNTRYSIDE SERVICE (VLS) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT) - 

 

Approval was sought for the proposed changes to charges levied at Cosmeston Lakes Country Park, Porthkerry Country Park and the Glamorgan Heritage Coast Centre.

 

Cosmeston Medieval Village

In June 2012, after a review of operations, the Medieval Village became a free entry site.  Management of the site was absorbed into the Country Park Ranger Service (previously a dedicated Manager and Assistant Manager) and as a result a considerable year on year cost saving had been realised.  Charges were raised for some services, such as guided tours, but basic entry had been free.

 

Income had grown, especially in respect of filming activities which had been a target for growth.  Filming by companies such as the BBC, Disney and Fox, had resulted in a substantial growth in income in recent years, with a number of bookings and leads already being negotiated for 2015/16.  Further increases were therefore proposed, but with the flexibility to negotiate to ensure a balance was achieved.

 

These charges, including those related to events such as fetes and trade events that took place in the village, were set out in Appendix A as attached to the report.

Cosmeston Lakes Country Park. Appendix B as attached to the report showed proposed changes to charges.  In some cases charges remained unchanged, in others they increased by more than the rate of inflation.  This reflected the true value of the unique facility, and a need to recover a larger proportion of costs incurred to achieve overall savings. 

 

Porthkerry Country Park

Appendix C as attached to the report showed proposed charges for Porthkerry.  Charges, similar to Cosmeston.  One new charge being introduced was the hire of part of the meadow for events.  Such events would be managed to avoid disturbance to other park users, but represented an opportunity to allow increased organised use of the meadow area and raise additional income.

 

Further Commercial Opportunities

The Countryside Service was nearing the end of a fundamental restructure, facilitating more integrated working across all sites, including Rights of Way maintenance.  This was realising substantial cost savings.  Realising savings above targets had allowed the creation of a new Commercial Opportunities Officer post on a two year contract.  The post holder would work with the private sector to explore feasible options and facilitate new activities at the full range of countryside sites. 

 

Glamorgan Heritage Coast Project

Proposed charges were set out in Appendix D as attached to the report, which were largely unchanged.

 

In January this year the Council secured a 'Coastal Communities' grant of £224 760 to exploit the employment creation opportunities of the Heritage Coast.  This followed from the very successful work at the coast led by Creative Rural Communities, the Council led rural regeneration partnership project. 

 

This work had included the creation and part implementation of an interpretation strategy, improvements to the Heritage Coast Centre to make it more public facing, creation of several new campsites, roll out of National Cycle network 88, promotion of 'sense of place' amongst tourism businesses, digital tourism tools and a suite of new promoted walking routes.

 

The funding also allowed for the replacement of the slipway at Southerndown, the provision of beach wheelchairs and provision of new storage units for outdoor activity equipment (e.g. Kayaks) at the Heritage Coast Centre.  It was proposed that the latter be hired to the private sector to enable growth of small businesses offering outdoor activities along the Heritage Coast. The grant was providing 100% of costs.

 

At the meeting the report was presented by the Cabinet Member for Regeneration as a result of a change in Portfolio’s at the recent Council Meeting held on the 4 of March 2015.

 

The Cabinet Member for Regeneration commented that these changes would ensure that services ran efficiently. She was also pleased to note that the Council had secured a “Coastal Communities” grant to encourage economic activity on the Heritage Coast area.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1) T H A T the charges detailed in the Appendices A,B,C & D as attached to the report for implementation in April 2015 be agreed.

 

(2) T H A T the charges be the maximum with the Director of Development Services having the ability to vary for promotions.

 

(3) T H A T the report be referred to the Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) for information.

 

(4) T H A T delegated authority be granted to the Director of Development Services, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Regeneration and the Managing Director to agree fees/charges, terms and conditions for new commercial activities in respect of countryside services or on land managed by countryside services and to authorise the Head of Legal Services to enter into the appropriate legal agreements on behalf of the Council in this regard.

 

(5) T H A T delegated authority be granted to the Director of Development Services to agree charges, terms and conditions and to manage the letting of storage units at the Heritage Coast Centre, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Regeneration and to authorise the Head of Legal Services to enter into the appropriate legal agreements on behalf of the Council in this regard.

 

Reasons for Decisions

 

(1) To reflect costs, opportunities and market conditions.

 

(2) To allow prices to be used as a marketing tool.

 

(3) To inform Members.

 

(4) To allow new activities to take place.

 

(5) To allow commercial arrangements to be established

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