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Agenda Item No.

 

CABINET

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 27 April, 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: Councillor I. Johnson.

 

C2737  MINUTES –

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 13 April, 2015 be approved as a correct record.

 

C2738  DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST –

 

No declarations of interest were received.

 

C2739  JOINT CONSULTATIVE FORUM  -

 

The minutes of the Joint Consultative Forum meeting held on 23 February, 2015 were submitted.

 

Present:  Councillor G. Roberts (Chairman); Councillors K. Hatton, F.T. Johnson, A.G. Powell, Mrs. A.J. Preston and E. Williams.

 

Representatives of the Trade Unions:  Ms. G. Southby (UNISON), Mr. G. Pappas (UNISON), Mr. D. Dimmick (NASUWT), Mr. R. Hughes (UNISON), Mr. C. Jordan (GMB), Mr. G. Moseley (UNISON), Ms. C. Mason (UNISON) and Mr. P. Carter (UNISON).

 

(a) Apologies for Absence – 

 

These were received from Councillor Mrs. M. Kelly Owen, Mr. G. Beaudette, Mr. N. Patterson, Mr. N. Stokes and Mr. T. Davies.

 

(b) Minutes and Matters Arising – 

 

AGREED – T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 20th October, 2014 be accepted as an accurate record subject to third paragraph of Minute (f) reading as follows:

 

‘Leighton Andrews AM had been appointed Minister for Public Services with responsibility for the implementation of the proposals’. 

 

In referring to the application of the New Agency Staff Contract, Mr. Pappas advised that this matter was ongoing. 

 

Regarding the issues surrounding the cancelling the use of a meeting room just prior to the commencement of a meeting, Mr. Carter stated that the investigation report had been produced and he had requested a copy.  He was aware that the report had recommended that he be provided with an apology which the Director confirmed had been given to Mr. Carter.

 

Mr. Carter referred to the review of the Library Service, in particular that he understood that Wenvoe Library had been awarded S106 monies.  He had now been advised that the S106 monies could be used towards any library within the Vale of Glamorgan and sought clarification on the point. 

 

It was agreed Mr. Carter would refer his enquiry to the Director of Development Services for a response. 

 

(c) Reshaping Services Update

 

The Head of Performance and Development provided a verbal update on the Reshaping Services Agenda, which represented a proactive response to austerity.

 

Cabinet, on 26th January 2015, had endorsed the programme plan, governance arrangements and service reviews proposed for Tranches 1 and 2 as the basis for consideration by Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources), Community Liaison Committee, Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee and the Local Service Board. 

 

All Council services were to be reviewed and the report had highlighted Tranche 1 and 2.  The first report was due in the Autumn. 

 

Mr. Carter advised that the Trade Unions were aware of the report and his understanding was that staff working in the Alps Depot had been informed of a 20% reduction in resources.

 

The Head of Performance and Development advised that the reference to a 20% reduction had been included within the Appendix to the report to Cabinet as an indicative target.  Savings would have to be made over the next few years and how they were achieved remained for consideration within the relevant Service. 

 

Mr. Carter advised of his concerns regarding the forthcoming restructure of the Housing Division.  The Housing Division would now also be subject to review under the second Tranche.  Mr. Carter asked why the Housing Division could not be reviewed as part of the first Tranche.

 

Mr. Carter believed that it had taken some 18 months to get to the current stage of the restructure, and the morale of staff was low and that an additional review in such a short timeframe may increase staff concerns. 

 

The Head of Performance and Development stated that it was known that there were savings to be made during this year and next.  Directors were taking steps to implement the savings of which none were to come from the Reshaping Services Agenda.

 

Given the level of savings required, the Council did not have the luxury to wait and had little option other than to implement a proactive response over the suggested timeframe as set out within the above Agenda. 

 

The Chairman advised that it should be realised that the Reshaping Services Agenda was not responsible for the savings.  It was a response to the level of savings required by the Council. 

 

It was essential that the issues were communicated to all staff through the mediums of Core Briefs and the Engagement Strategy.

 

(d) Expression of Interest Update

 

The Head of Performance and Development provided a verbal update on the Minister for Public Services’ announcement that the Welsh Government would not give consideration to a voluntary merger of the Vale of Glamorgan and Bridgend Councils. 

 

It was unclear as to the current position with regard to the future of local government in Wales although it was understood that the Minister for Public Services would publish a map in the Summer. 

 

The comments of the Head of Performance and Development were noted. 

 

(e) Health and Safety in Schools

 

It was reported that over the past year, the Trade Unions had been made aware of serious health and safety issues within the responsibility of the Directorate of Learning and Skills.  The Trade Unions advised that one school had been reported to the internal Health and Safety team.  Inspections had taken place and some of the issues had been resolved.

 

The Trade Unions’ concerns were that someone be made accountable for the health and safety issues and what action was to be taken against those parties and indeed the enforcement of provision to stop further infringements of health and safety in schools.

 

Mr. Carter said that health and safety was a big issue.

 

Mr. Carter referred to an issue regarding fire doors at a school in Barry and Mr. Carter reaffirmed the Trade Unions’ expectations in relation to the wellbeing of the staff and the children at the school. 

 

The Corporate Health and Safety Officer advised that a number of inspections had taken place at the school which had identified a number of fire doors which had been locked. 

 

The Director of Learning and Skills had written to the school on this issue.  Further inspections had revealed that the doors were no longer being locked. 

 

Furthermore, a Fire Officer had inspected the school and the doors had not been locked. 

 

The school had been informed that it must develop a management plan regarding measures to provide the appropriate security to the workplace as well as enabling the safe operation of fire doors.

 

The Director of Learning and Skills advised that the comments of the Health and Safety team were always taken seriously. 

 

Mr. Carter advised that he had been approached by some members of his Trade Union alleging that they had felt coerced into performing certain tasks. 

 

Mr. Dimmick stated that, when Health and Safety issues were being overlooked, the people responsible should be told.  He asked if the recent Corporate Health and Safety Officer’s letter could be copied to the relevant workers in the school.

 

It was suggested that Health and Safety training could be given to school Governors although the view was expressed that this was not a general problem. 

 

The Director of Learning and Skills advised that under Local Management of Schools, many Health and Safety matters were delegated to schools who were supported in order to secure good management of health and safety. 

 

Having discussed the issue, it was

 

AGREED – T H A T Cabinet

 

(1) Be advised of the Joint Consultative Forum’s concern that despite the best efforts of officers of the Authority, not all schools took full responsibility for Health and Safety matters.

 

(2) Be requested to agree that Health and Safety issues form part of the training for school Governors.

 

(f) Police Interviews

 

The Trade Unions had requested the development of implementation of guidance for managers and a cross Authority protocol to deal with staff being interviewed by the Police.  Furthermore, the Forum was requested to consider allowing staff to have representation from the recognised Trade Unions at such meetings. 

 

Mr. Carter advised of a situation which had resulted in members of staff being interviewed by the Police and requested that a procedure be developed to respond to any potential incidents.

 

The Head of Business Management and Innovation advised that she had drafted a protocol. 

 

It was not possible to change the Police protocols, although the Council had put support mechanisms in place. 

 

The draft protocol would be considered at the next scheduled meeting of the joint Terms and Conditions meeting. 

 

The Chairman advised that the Council did not have any power over how the Police conducted their investigations and the Council was limited in what it could do in such circumstances. 

 

(g) Corporate Health and Safety Committee

 

The minutes of the Corporate Health and Safety Committee held on 14th January 2015 were considered. 

 

With regard to Minute No. 4, “Outcome from HSE Inspection re Hand-Arm Vibration”, the Forum was advised that every member of staff using vibration machinery had to complete a form in advance of using the machine and not after the event.

 

The internal Health and Safety team was aware that these forms were not being completed properly and was exploring options to improve recording arrangements. 

 

The Council had looked at the introduction of electronic monitoring machines but it had been determined that these were not cost effective. 

 

The situation would be reconsidered, but this was not likely to be completed by the end of March. 

 

Mr. Carter referred to the issue of the inspections on Waste Vehicles being reduced, which he advised was currently being looked into by Health and Safety.  Mr. Carter recommended that comprehensive inspections be conducted on the Waste Vehicles and that this would be reinforced within the Service.  He was monitoring the situation and would raise it at the Directorate Joint Consultative Forum meeting if concerns continued. 

 

AGREED – T H A T the minutes of the Corporate Health and Safety Committee of 14th January 2015 be noted.

 

(h) Directed Time Budgets and Voluntary Activities in Schools

 

This issue, raised by the Trade Unions, had been raised with the Cabinet Member for Education in September 2014.  On his advice, Mr. Carter had written to the Director for Learning and Skills and had also raised the matter on behalf of the NASUWT at the Learning and Skills Directorate Joint Consultative Forum in October 2014.  The Council, following consultation with the Governing Body, determined to reduce the wages from those staff who had advised that they were undertaking strike action and had refrained from attending at an Open evening at Barry Comprehensive School.  The NASUWT was in dispute with the Local Authority over this issue. 

 

Mr. Dimmick distributed a note on this issue to all present. 

 

The Director of Learning and Skills stated that she had nothing further to add on this issue at present. 

 

(i) Minutes of the Directorate Consultative Groups

 

The minutes of the following Directorate Consultative Groups were received:

  • Learning and Skills – 8th October 2014
  • Resources – 15th October 2014
  • Social Services – 9th December 2014
  • Visible Services and Housing – 1st October 2014
  • Visible Services and Housing – 5th November 2014
  • Visible Services and Housing – 3rd December 2014
  • Visible Services and Housing – 7th January 2015.

AGREED – T H A T the minutes of the Directorate Consultative Group meetings be noted.

 

(j) Dates of Directorate Consultative Groups

 

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

Learning and Skills – 11th February 2015

Resources – 25th February 2015

Social Services – 12th January 2015

Visible Services and Housing – 11th February 2015.

(k) Update on Terms and Conditions Review

 

It was reported that an important agreement had been reached with UNISON, GMB and UNITE on 8th January 2015 in relation to changes to terms and conditions for employees on Single Status / Green Book provisions. 

 

Attached to the report was a summary note which had also been placed on StaffNet. 

 

These were important agreements which had been negotiated in good faith with the Unions over the previous 12 months, and supported by Cabinet at its meeting on 17th November 2014.  It would help contribute to the much needed savings targets across the Council and would also reinforce the principles of fairness and equity of the Council’s core conditions of service. 

 

(l) Management of Attendance Policy Update

 

Mr. Carter advised that he had been issued with a draft agreement which he in his capacity of Joint Secretary had categorically rejected on behalf of the joint Trade Unions. 

 

 

The draft agreement had not taken account of:

- The 20% calculation

- The “totting-up” process.

The Trade Union side was disappointed with what it had received, and it was the view of Mr. Carter that the draft agreement was “set to fail”. 

 

The Operational Manager, Human Resources, replied that this was a “very draft” draft agreement which contained room for further discussion.  He further advised that there had been several joint meetings dedicated to consider the current draft policy but Mr. Carter had only advised of the joint response late on the previous Friday afternoon. 

 

The draft document was not intended to be reported to Cabinet yet and represented “work in progress”. 

 

AGREED – T H A T the update be noted.

 

(m) Feedback on Policy Development

 

AGREED – T H A T the current position on the HR Policy Development be noted.

 

(n) Proposed Timetable of Meetings 2015/16

 

Following consideration of the proposed meeting dates for the 2015/16 municipal year, it was

 

AGREED – T H A T the proposed meetings dates as listed below be agreed:

6th July 2015

19th October 2015

22nd February 2016.

 

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In presenting the minutes of the Joint Consultative Forum, the Leader made reference to the below recommendations that were highlighted in Agenda Item (e) on page 4 of the minutes:

 

“AGREED – T H A T Cabinet

 

(1) Be advised of the Joint Consultative Forum’s concern that despite the best efforts of officers of the Authority, not all schools took full responsibility for Health and Safety matters.

 

(2) Be requested to agree that Health and Safety issues form part of the training for school Governors.”

 

The Leader further commented that he would like to request that the Governor Training Support Unit provide Health and Safety training as part of their Governor training program in the future.

 

At the meeting the Director of Learning and Skills confirmed that the Health and Safety training would take place during the autumn term 2015. She further commented that this training would be available to Headteachers.

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the minutes from the Joint Consultative Forum meeting held on 23 February, 2015 be noted, and that the Governor Training Support Unit provide Health and Safety training as part of their Governor training program in the future.

 

Reason for decision

 

To note the minutes, and ensure that Health and Safety training be included as part of any Governor training program in the future.

 

C2740  PUBLICATION OF REVISED WELSH GOVERNMENT TECHNICAL ADVICE NOTE (TAN) 1 JOINT HOUSING LAND AVAILABILITY STUDIES (2015) (REF) - 

 

The Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) on 24 March, 2015 considered the above report.

 

The purpose of the report was to advise Members of the publication of a Technical Advice Note.  Committee was informed that a copy of the new guidance had been placed in the Members Room for reference.  The background to the report advised that Joint Housing Land Availability Studies (JHLAS) was the principal mechanism for monitoring the supply of housing land through the planning system.  JHLAS demonstrated whether local planning authorities have a deliverable, five year supply of land for housing as required by Welsh Government Policy.  Failure to have a five year housing supply was an important material consideration which was taken into account by Planning Inspectorates when determining planning appeals for residential schemes.  The Council’s formal response to the consultation on the draft TAN 1 had been reported to Cabinet on 8th September, 2014 and the Planning Committee on 2nd October, 2014.  In that response, serious concerns had been raised regarding the proposals to change the manner in which housing land supply was calculated and that only authorities within an adopted LDP would be able to undertake a JHLAS calculation.  Following that consultation process, the Welsh Government had now issued an interim copy of revised TAN 1 guidance. 

 

It was noted, that previously local Planning Authorities without an up to date Adopted Development Plan were able to calculate housing land supply using a ten year average annual past build rate.  However, under a new TAN 1 guidance the use of the past build rates methodology which was based on the past performance of the building industry was not accepted and those LPAs without an up to date Development Plan were unable to demonstrate a housing land supply for determining planning applications. 

 

The Vale of Glamorgan’s UDP expired on 1st April, 2011 and officers were currently preparing for submission of the LDP to Welsh Government for independent examination by an appointed inspector which was timetabled to take place throughout August 2015.  Therefore, local planning authorities that did not have either an Adopted LDP or UDP would be unable to formally demonstrate its housing land supply position and would therefore effectively be considered not to have a five year housing land supply.  However, Members were also informed that the Council was required to undertake an annual objective assessment of its housing land supply in preparation of its LDP.

 

In this regard officers were of the view that the requirement to keep under review the housing land supply retained the ability for the housing land supply to be a material consideration in the determination of planning applications, particularly given the emphasis on evidencing a five year supply on adoption of its LDP.  However, Welsh Government had advised that since the assessment would not be subject to the normal JHLAS process it would not carry the same weight for planning purposes as a formal study.  Nevertheless, officers would need to assess how planning proposals would contribute to both supporting delivery of the emerging LDP and the provision of a five year housing land supply on its adoption, and these were themselves considered to be important material considerations.

 

In this respect, Planning Policy Wales (section 2.6) remarked on what happens in instances where the local development plan is not yet adopted.  Paragraph 2.6.2 of PPW advised that in development management decisions the weight to be attached to an emerging draft LDP would in general depend on the stage it had reached.  In considering what weight to give to specific policies in an emerging LDP that applied to a particular proposal, local planning authorities would need to consider carefully the underlying evidence and background to the policies.  National planning policy could also be a material consideration in these circumstances (see section 4.2 of PPW).

 

Therefore, the determination of planning applications for residential development in advance of the LDP Examination would need to fully consider all other material considerations, such as the LDP background evidence and the wider environmental, social and economic benefits of the scheme (such as meeting local housing needs and the provision of local infrastructure).

 

Given that the Council was faced with a less than five year housing land supply, and its inability to formally participate in the JHLAS process, it was inevitable that until the Council had formally adopted its LDP, the Vale of Glamorgan would be at risk of speculative development applications as was the case during 2012/13 when the Council’s JHLAS had a less than five year housing land supply.  This concern was clearly raised by the Council in its formal submission to the Welsh Government draft TAN1 consultation in the autumn 2014, as referenced via the following link:

http://www.valeofglamorgan.gov.uk/en/our_council/council/minutes,_agendas_and_reports/reports/cabinet/2014/14-09-08/Welsh-Government-Consultation-Draft-Technical-Advice-Note-.aspx

|.  Of note was the fact that similar concerns had also been raised by the Welsh Local Government Association during the consultation period (Appendix 1) and the Royal Town Planning Institute (Appendix 2).

 

Committee was further informed that both the Leader and the Cabinet Member had sent a letter setting out the concerns of the Vale which was read out at the meeting for the Committee’s consideration.  The guidance had raised concern for officers within the Vale and although officers would continue to fight unacceptable developments the guidance placed the Council in a difficult position.  The Cabinet Member reiterated that the work that had to date been undertaken in relation to the LDP could very well be undone as a direct consequence of the TAN advice and she awaited the Minister’s comments.

 

Following a query as to whether other local authorities would be in a similar position to the Vale, the Operational Manager advised that a number of authorities would definitely be in a similar situation.  It was therefore suggested that a collective group of local authorities should consider taking the TAN guidance to judicial review.  In acknowledging that the letter sent on behalf of the Council was an excellent response to the Welsh Government guidance it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T Cabinet be requested to consider undertaking discussions with other local authorities with a view to conducting a judicial review in respect of the TAN 1 guidance. 

 

Reason for recommendation

 

In view of the difficult position the TAN 1 guidance has placed on local authorities in Wales.

 

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At the meeting the Cabinet Member for Regeneration commented that the issue of TAN I was raised as part of the South East Wales Strategic Planning Group Meeting and serious concerns had been noted. The Cabinet Member further commented that she and the Leader would be meeting with the Minister to discuss this issue.

 

Cabinet, having considered the recommendation of the Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment)

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the contents of the report be noted and confirm that, as the Leader and the Cabinet Member for Regeneration had written to the Minister, the recommendation from the Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) would not be acceded to.

 

Reason for decision

 

To note the contents of the report and confirm the Council’s position.

 

C2741  REVISED WASTE MANAGEMENT AND CLEANSING CHARGING ARRANGEMENTS (REF) -

 

The Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) on 10 March, 2015 considered the above report.

 

Cabinet had referred the report to the Scrutiny Committee for consideration.  Cabinet agreement had been sought for a range of new charges for the Council’s domestic waste management services.  The Council’s revenue budget for 2014/15 had identified savings of £100,000 per annum from 2014/15 from limiting the number of waste bags to be provided.  Due to a large existing stock it was not necessary to introduce such controls from 1st April, 2014 but Cabinet had been advised that they should now be introduced from 1st April, 2015.  The Director of Visible Services and Housing in presenting the report advised that the report provided specific proposals for charging for Waste Management services which had been considered to be necessary in balancing the budget in this service area for 2015/16.  The report highlighted that the Controlled Waste in England and Wales Regulations 2012 described waste which was to be treated as household waste, industrial waste or commercial waste and specified the types of household waste for which a collection charge may apply.  Included within the household waste for which the Council could make a collection charge and that it had have a statutory duty to collect were:

(i) garden waste

(ii) any article of waste that exceed 25kg in weight

(iii) any article of waste that did not fit into a cylindrical container 750mm in diameter and 1m in length

(iv) bulky household furniture waste (a general non-exhaustive guide to what was and what was not bulky household waste items was given for information in Appendix 1 as attached to the report).

Some charges already existed within Waste Management and Cleansing Services which primarily related to commercial waste collection services, chargeable additional recycling and composting receptacles, slipway, pier docking charges and filming fees.  These charges were however, currently under review with a further report to be presented to Cabinet in due course.  Members were informed that the Vale was currently one of only two Councils in Wales not to levy a charge for its bulky items collection service, the other being the Isle of Anglesey.  The remaining 20 local authorities had varying charges ranging from £10 to £34.  It was being proposed that a charge of £15 for up to 3 bulky waste items be introduced from 1st April, 2015.  Residents would however still be able to take bulky household items to either of the Council’s two household waste recycling centres free of charge but another option that was being explored for the Council was to engage and support voluntary organisations to promote the reuse of redundant furniture in the community.  Should officers be successful with obtaining such support the details would be provided to residents via the Contact Centre when calling to arrange a collection.  The contact details of the companies/charities concerned would be made available via the Council’s website.  Town and Community Councils would also be asked if they would be prepared to work with the authority on this matter.  It was further noted that with a 60% reduction in collection, £96,000 would be collected in fees and with a 50% reduction the income would be £120,000.  The savings from reducing one vehicle and its crew would be approximately £70,000 per annum. 

 

The report also highlighted the concessions that would apply for bulky collections for householders in receipt of Income Support, Housing Benefit, Pensions Credit or Council Tax Benefit.  This was noted in paragraph 21 of the report and not paragraph 24 as referred to in paragraph 13 of the report.  To date comments had been received regarding the rationing of the food bags with Members being advised that in general there were approximately 1 - 3 bags per week being used.  Every additional bag would be at a cost of 4p, it being noted however that the food waste itself that was being placed for recycling was actually more value in monetary value  than the 4p cost for a bag.

 

In response to Members concerns regarding how the charges would be communicated to residents the Director advised that additional links had been added to Facebook and Twitter in order for members of the public to be informed and in order for the Council to be able to receive their views.

 

A Member queried the collection of services from premises such as sheltered accommodation with the Director advising that these were being looked at separately in view of the clientele involved although it was confirmed that the Council itself did not actually go into people’s properties to pick up waste.  The Director further stated that he was currently working with the Head of Service for Housing to consider ways of addressing this issue, although he reiterated that there were no major concerns at this time.

 

With regard to van and trailer permits a number of Members sought advice from the Director on the issue as some stated they had witnessed people taking commercial waste to the sites in vans and trailers who had not been asked for their permits.  However, the Director advised that no CCTV arrangements currently existed but the Department was considering the use of either CCTV or number plate recognition technology and would be discussing the issue with Biffa to ensure that appropriate checks are made.  Reference was also made to the provision at Llandow, with the Director advising that new agents had been appointed for the land owners and to assist with upgrading the access road the Council had issued the landowners with a price for undertaking work on the potholes on the road. 

 

In response to a query as to whether waste caddies could be lined with newspaper.  The Director confirmed that this was indeed correct.  In referring to the issue of concessions the Director acknowledged that this may prove difficult on occasions and that a pilot project would be undertaken in the first instance. In referring to fly tipping and the incidents of high fly tipping being recorded it was acknowledged that fly tipping was not as high as the data for 2014/15 had advised due to an interpretation error with the data and the definition had now been made clearer and records were more accurate.

 

Members were also keen to ensure that enforcement was a key component of the process and that sufficient consideration was given to ensuring the proposed changes were communicated effectively to residents. The Director informed Members that he was waiting for this Scrutiny Committee to consider the report following which he would then be undertaking to ensure that an advert was placed in the press and the Council’s website. It was further suggested that any new contract include a clause with regard to enforcement. 

 

Members took the opportunity to also congratulate the Director on the standards at the Atlantic Trading site following which it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1) T H A T the proposals to charge householders for Waste Management services as stated within the report be endorsed.

 

(2) T H A T further consideration by Cabinet be given to establishing CCTV cameras on the Council’s remaining collection sites and that clauses in contracts be considered for enforcement as outlined above.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)  To assist in meeting the budgetary challenges in the Waste Management and Cleansing division of Visible Services.

 

(2)  To ensure compliance.

 

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Cabinet, having considered the recommendation of the Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment)

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the contents of the report be noted and the Director of Visible Services and Housing and the Head of Legal Services consider the request of the Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) to establish CCTV cameras on the Council’s remaining collection sites and report back to Cabinet if necessary.

 

Reason for decision

 

To note the contents of the report and the request of the Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) be given due consideration.

 

C2742  SECTION 106 LEGAL AGREEMENTS – PROTOCOL FOR CONSULTATION ON IMPLEMENTATION OF SPEND (REF) -

 

The Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) on 24 March, 2015 considered the above report.

 

Cabinet had referred the report to the Scrutiny Committee for consideration.  At its meeting on 26th January Cabinet’s endorsement had been sought for an updated protocol for Member consultation on the use of financial contributions received from Section 106 obligations.  The report outlined that the Council had the power to enter into legal agreements with developers under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 seeking contributions from developers to mitigate negative development impacts and facilitate a development which might otherwise have not occurred.

 

The background to the report advised that in February 2008 the then Cabinet and Planning Committee had endorsed a protocol for Member consultation on Section 106 spend, following a review by the Ward Member Consultation Task and Finish Group of the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources).  This had subsequently been reviewed by Cabinet in 2012 following concerns that financial contributions were not being spent quickly enough, once received from developers.  The 2012 amended protocol set out that when financial contributions were received the relevant Ward, Cabinet Members and Officers from the relevant service areas are notified at the same time and options for spend considered and proposed by the relevant service area before further consultation was undertaken with Ward and Cabinet Members and a scheme for implementation agreed. 

 

Following this consultation, the Director of Development Services made the final decision that in the event that the local Member was aggrieved with his decision the decision was to be called into Planning Committee to determine.  Since the introduction of the protocol, this had only occurred on one occasion in respect of an education facilities contribution from the development of the former lower school site at Cowbridge.  As a result of this case, the process had been reviewed and an amended protocol had been drafted to reflect the fact that decisions on capital projects funded by Section 106 contributions were a matter for the Executive and not the Planning Committee.  The amended protocol was attached at Appendix A to the report. 

 

At a meeting on 14th November, 2014, the Community Liaison Committee considered the annual Section 106 Review 2013/14 report and recommended that Cabinet be requested to consider the feasibility of including consultation with Town and Community Councils in the process.  Cabinet considered this request on 15th December, 2014, and resolved “That the comments made about consultation with Town and Community Councils be noted, however, it should be for the respective Vale Councillor for the area to liaise with their Community Council in line with the protocol attached as an appendix to the report’.  In this regard, it was accepted that Town and Community Councils could comment on proposals and potential Section 106 Agreements at the application stage, particularly as officers and Members considered the need for mitigation at that stage.  In addition it was noted that as local Ward Members they were also consulted on proposals for projects once money was received, this then provided another mechanism for Town and Community Councils to comment on proposals.  The approach was deemed to be at an appropriate level of engagement given the need to balance engagement against the timely implementation of capital schemes to mitigate new development.  A letter outlining the process had been sent to all Town and Community Councils in 2011, a copy of which had been attached at Appendix B to the report. 

 

Members concurred that there were no major concerns with the detail contained within the Protocol attached at Appendix A, but suggested that the accompanying letter by Councillor James in 2011 be recirculated to all Town and Community Council’ highlighting the paragraph which includes ‘encourage all Town and Community Councils to consider such matters when they are formally consulted on planning applications in their area’. 

 

Reference was also made to the proposed Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) which was likely to be a replacement for some of the issues currently addressed by the Section 106 process.  The Operational Manager advised that in the future the Council would have to be specific about what it intended spending any monies on advising that consultation would therefore be of primary importance at the planning application stage.  He took the opportunity to further advise Committee of his intention to provide training sessions for Members regarding the Community Infrastructure Levy and how agreements would be made in the future.  Members requested that the training be open to all Elected Members of the Vale Council and similar sessions arranged for Town and Community Councillors.

 

The Cabinet Member for Regeneration, with permission to speak stated that the intention was to build on the previous process of Section 106 to ensure that funding was earmarked appropriately and reiterated that local Ward Members were the Council’s conduit for consultation.  In her view, it was important to ensure there was a more strategic approach to distributing Section 106 monies which she considered compared favourably to the approach required under the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL).  In referring to the comment that five developments could be grouped together for Section 106 purposes, the Operational Manager confirmed that the legal advice that had been provided to date for the Vale was that the five should be site specific projects. However, he was aware that other Local Authorities were operating a broader approach which he considered was not the intention of the legislation. 

 

Members commented on ‘the wriggle room’ for negotiation with developers with the Operational Manager advising that there was some room but it was unfortunately less than previously. 

 

Following a query from a Member as to whether the community of Rhoose should establish a Community Council to ensure they had another voice in planning considerations, the Operational Manager advised that that was a question for the residents of Rhoose.

 

Following the discussions it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1) T H A T training for Elected Members be arranged as outlined above and that similar training for Elected Members of Town and Community Councils also be arranged via the Community Liaison Committee.

 

(2) T H A T the letter dated 5th August, 2011 be recirculated to all Town and Community Councils reminding them to engage early on in the process and prior to the application being determined.

 

(3) T H A T the contents of the report be noted and the recommendations of the Committee forwarded to Cabinet for information.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1) To apprise Members.

 

(2) To remind all Town and Community Councillors of the contents of the letter dated August 2011.

 

(3) To inform Cabinet of the views of the Committee.

 

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Cabinet, having considered the recommendation of the Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment)

 

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

 

Reason for decision

 

To note the contents of the report.

 

C2743  WHITE PAPER ‘REFORMING LOCAL GOVERNMENT: POWER TO LOCAL PEOPLE’ (REF) - 

 

The Community Liaison Committee on 18 March, 2015 considered the above report.

 

Cabinet had, on 23rd February, 2015 been requested to approve for circulation, the White Paper to stakeholders for their comments in advance of the Council’s formal response to Welsh Government by 28th April, 2015.

 

The Head of Performance and Development, in presenting the report, advised that the White Paper was Welsh Government’s Statement of Intent about the future of Local Government in Wales. The paper set out Welsh Government’s proposals for making changes in the following fields, local democracy, the roles and remuneration of Elected Members and Senior Officers, Community governance and Community Councils, community rights, corporate improvement, service performance, scrutiny, audit, inspection and regulation and finance.

 

In order for the Council to provide an informed response the White Paper had been referred for comments to the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources), the Council’s Democratic Services Committee, Standards Committee, Audit Committee, Community Liaison Committee, Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee and the Vale of Glamorgan Local Service Board.

 

The Head of Service advised that all Members, Town and Community Councils and the public could respond to the White Paper direct however, any comments of the Committee would be referred to Cabinet for consideration. 

 

The Chairman then opened the debate on the document for comments.  The Town and Community Council representatives raised concerns in relation to the proposals for the re-organisation of Town and Community Councils, advising that a number of smaller community councils may not be able to pass the capacity test, as outlined within the White Paper.  A Member of the Committee also felt that some local authorities may consider that Town and Community Councils (TCCs) should be ‘grouped together’ to assist with passing the capacity test which could result in some local authorities then relinquishing some of their responsibilities and delegating services down to TCCs.  Of relevance all felt, was the aspect of the merger of local authorities and referred in particular merging to the Vale merging with Cardiff and the fact that Cardiff did not have the same infrastructure as the Vale and they were aware that Cardiff also had little interaction with their TCCs. 

 

The reference to the number of uncontested seats was considered by all present to be flawed, particularly in the Vale where uncontested seats were not significant.  The report was also in their opinion very disparaging to the Council Leader and on the whole it was seen as a condescending document.  A number of Members commented that the Welsh Assembly Government should look internally at itself before it started reorganising local government and placing greater burdens on Members and Councils. For example Committee queried whether Welsh Assembly Members were recommended / required to produce Annual Reports and undertake PDRS.  It was also considered that the proposals would lead to a loss of identity for TCCs.

 

In referring to the impression given by the paper that there were thousands of people within Wales wishing to become a Councillor, those present stated that this was not the case.  There were no queues of people they were aware of waiting to become Councillors also if the Council numbers were to be reduced as outlined in the White Paper communities would not be supported as well as now. 

 

In referring to the proposal for Area Boards to be established all present stated that they could not understand the requirement for such a tier of Government that was not required.  Democratic accountability would also be lost as the proposals suggested the Boards would rely heavily on one or two Councillors to which they were vehemently opposed.  The view was that the White Paper was an attempt to micro-manage Wales on so many levels which was not supported by the Committee.  To limit the number of years a Member could be elected for was also considered unfair due to the fact that many may be quite young when their 25 years came to an end. 

 

It was further considered in referring to the number of rural settlements within Wales that the White Paper proposals threatened the identity of a large number of rural communities within Wales.  Reference was also made to the fact that some communities may not have an established Town or Community Council in their area.  The representative from Llanmaes took the opportunity to advise that his Council consisted entirely of co-opted Members and he felt sure that if constituents were asked whether they would prefer the appointment of a co-opted Member or an Elected Member appointed for a much larger Council, the co-opted Member approach would win.

 

The majority of Town and Community Council representatives informed the Committee that their respective Councils would be making their own submission on the document and commented that in their view it should be classed as a Green Paper and not a White Paper.  They also took the opportunity to reiterate the view that the Vale supported its Town and Community Councils much better than in other local authorities.

 

Following considerable discussion, and being the unanimous view of the Committee and all the representatives present from the Town and Community Councils, it was

 

AGREED - T H A T Cabinet be informed that the Community Liaison Committee did not support the proposals contained within the White Paper for a number of reasons, as outlined above, and which included the size of the Town and Community Councils proposed, the grouping together of smaller Community Councils and the loss of identity, the false economy of savings, the establishment of proposed Area Boards as another tier of government and the overall loss of democracy.

 

Reasons for recommendation

 

To advise Cabinet of the Committee’s views in order that a response can be forwarded to the Minister on the White paper.

 

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

 

Cabinet, having considered the recommendation of the Community Liaison Committee

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the contents of the report be noted and the comments of the Community Liaison Committee had been considered in the Council’s final response.

 

Reason for decision

 

To note the contents of the report.

 

C2744  WHITE PAPER: “REFORMING LOCAL GOVERNMENT: POWER TO LOCAL PEOPLE” (REF) -

 

The Democratic Services Committee on 15 April, 2015 considered the above report.

 

The White Paper “Reforming Local Government: Power to Local People” represented Welsh Government’s statement of intent regarding the future of local government in Wales.  The White Paper set out Welsh Government’s proposals for making changes in the following fields:  Local Democracy, Roles and Remuneration of Elected Members and Senior Officers, Community Governance and Community Councils, Community Rights, Corporate Improvement, Service Performance, Scrutiny, Audit, Inspection and Regulation and Finance. 

 

The White Paper had been published on 3rd February 2015, with responses required by 28th April 2015.  In order for the Council to give as informed a response as possible, the White Paper was being been submitted for consideration to the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources), Standards Committee, Audit Committee, Community Liaison Committee, Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee and the Vale of Glamorgan Local Service Board in addition to the Democratic Services Committee.

 

The Head of Democratic Services alluded to the extremely wide-ranging nature of the White Paper and he invited Members to indicate how they considered the matter might most appropriately be discussed. 

 

In response, there was an acknowledgement across those Members present that the nature of the White Paper meant that, in their view, it was impractical to consider each and every element which could be deemed to fall within the remit of the Committee.  With this in mind, Members agreed that their discussion would take place on a “thematic” basis.  Members of the Committee, across the political parties represented at the meeting, expressed numerous concerns regarding the overall nature, rationale of the White Paper, as well as a number of inferences it contained which they considered to be highly inappropriate.   During the ensuing discussion, these concerns were elaborated upon and, in summary, included the following:

  • In many respects, Members considered the White Paper to be inconsistent,  unrealistic and to contain numerous “themes” which were open to challenge.
  • It was considered that the White Paper failed to acknowledge, and seriously undermined, the good work and levels of performance within Local Government in its existing format.  Members felt that this was the case, not just in terms of the Council’s own performance, but Welsh Local Authorities in general.  It was considered that the Council was, indeed, already implementing much of what was contained in the White paper
  • Consequently, the premise that could be drawn from the White Paper that Local Government in Wales was, somehow, in a poor state, was totally wrong.
  • Members felt that the White Paper was, in many instances, undermining the very “product” (e.g. local government, Members and officers) that it purported to be looking to enhance.
  • Reference was made to the White Paper lacking evidence to support much of its content and to it, in some respects, appearing to represent more of a consultation document rather than a formal White Paper.
  • Members considered that isolated events within a very small number of Local Authorities had led to inappropriate generalisations within the White Paper in terms of Members, officers and Councils as a whole.

As alluded to above, Members considered that it was impractical to deal with each and every issue covered within the White Paper.  Furthermore, there was a general view amongst Members that the accompanying questionnaire, which had been circulated with the White Paper, was an inappropriate means of being able to provide a meaningful response.  Reference was made to the significant number of “closed” questions and to a potentially distorted picture being capable of being drawn from simply analysing responses to the questionnaire.  Notwithstanding this, and in addition to the generic concerns outlined above, Members also expressed concern regarding certain particular proposals on which views were sought within the White Paper.  These included:

  • The suggestion that the term of office of Chief Executives be limited
  • Similarly, the suggestion that Councillors should only be allowed to serve for a fixed number of terms
  • The extreme difficulty faced by people in full-time careers who might seek to become a Councillor
  • The disincentives to potential councillors
  • Their  view that the move towards achieving a reduction in the overall number of Councillors should be accompanied by a greater acknowledgement (rather than a reduction in remuneration) of the level of commitment required
  • Concern regarding the concept of “area structures” and additional layers of bureaucracy and potential confusion arising from proposals such as the introduction of  Public Accounts Committees
  • Reference to the fact that proposed powers of competency for Town and Community Councils could only possibly be relevant to two of the 26 Councils currently existing within the Vale of Glamorgan and, consequently, to the potential “knock on” effect on the vast majority of the remaining much smaller Councils.
  • The suggestion regarding increasing the number of co-opted members with voting rights (given the fact that it was the Council Members themselves who held the democratically-elected mandate on behalf of their constituents and the residents of the Vale of Glamorgan as a whole)
  • The potential impact on staff morale of certain of the proposals set out in the White Paper.

RESOLVED – T H A T the concerns of the Democratic Services Committee, as set out above, be recorded and submitted to Cabinet on 27th April 2015 for consideration as part of the Council’s overall response to the White Paper.

 

Reason for decision

 

To ensure the views of the Committee are recorded and to inform the Council’s overall response to the White Paper.

 

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

 

Cabinet, having considered the recommendation of the Democratic Services Committee

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the contents of the report be noted and the comments of the Democratic Services Committee had been considered in the Council’s final response.

 

Reason for decision

 

To note the contents of the report.

 

C2745  WHITE PAPER – REFORMING LOCAL GOVERNMENT: POWER TO LOCAL PEOPLE (REF) -

 

The Standards Committee on 26 February, 2015 considered the above report.

 

Committee was invited to consider that part of the consultation document published by the Welsh Government entitled “Reforming Local Government: Power to Local People” which related to the Standards Committee.

 

The White Paper Reforming Local Government: Power to Local People was the Welsh Government’s statement of intent about the future of Local Government in Wales.  The White Paper set out the changes the Welsh Government wanted to make to the law so people could give their opinion before it happened.

 

The White Paper set out the Welsh Government’s proposals for reform in the following fields:

  • Local Democracy
  • The Roles and Remuneration of Elected Members and Senior Officers
  • Community Governance and Community Councils
  • Community Rights
  • Corporate Improvement
  • Service Performance
  • Scrutiny, Audit, Inspection and Regulation
  • Finance.

Committee considered that part of the Consultation Survey that related to the Standards Committee and which was attached at Appendix 2 to the report. 

 

Six main areas had been highlighted and Committee was requested to comment on these areas:

  • The powers of Standards Committees should be enhanced to enable them to consider cases where there is an allegation of a Councillor failing to fulfil their duties satisfactorily.

- Committee strongly agreed with this statement.

  • If you agree, how should their powers be enhanced?

- The powers of Standards Committees should be enhanced by granting the power to disqualify Councillors, in line with the powers granted to the Adjudication Panel for Wales.

  • What sanctions might there be for Councillors failing to fulfil their duties satisfactorily?

- The powers should be enhanced by the grant of powers to suspend and disqualify in addition to the existing power to suspend.

  • Where internal processes have failed to operate satisfactorily should there be a role for an independent body?

- Yes.

  • If yes, in what circumstances should they be involved?

- Standards Committee felt that this question was too vague and that further information would be required, including guidance on performance standards to be required of Councillors.

  • Who do you think would be best placed to undertake this role?

- It was felt that the powers of the Adjudication Panel for Wales should be extended to deal with these cases.

Members noted the contents of Paragraph 3.12 of the Consultation Document, headed “Electoral Qualification”.  Although not specifically a question for Standards Committees as part of the consultation process, comments had been requested on whether it should be easier for employees of a Local Authority to stand for election to their employee Council, and whether there should be restrictions preventing Elected Members of Local Authorities also serving as either Assembly Members or Community Councillors. 

 

The proposal as contained in the Consultation Document was that Local Authority officers – other than those holding politically restricted posts – should be entitled to stand for election to their own Authority.  Only if elected should they be required to resign their paid employment with the Authority.  This was intended to widen the pool of potential candidates whilst ensuring there was no conflict of interest once the candidate was elected.

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1) T H A T the Standards Committee’s response to the Consultation Document published by the Welsh Government entitled “Reforming Local Government: Power to Local People” be as outlined above.

 

(2) T H A T the Standards Committee’s decisions be incorporated into the Council’s response to the White Paper.

 

Reason for decisions

 

(1&2) To be considered as part of the Council’s proposed response to the Consultation Document.

 

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

 

Cabinet, having considered the recommendations of the Standards Committee

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the contents of the report be noted and the comments of the Standards Committee had been considered in the Council’s final response.

 

Reason for decision

 

To note the contents of the report.

 

C2746  WHITE PAPER “REFORMING LOCAL GOVERNMENT: POWER TO LOCAL PEOPLE” (REF) -

 

The Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee on 23 March, 2015 considered the above report.

 

The Committee was provided with a report which had been referred from Cabinet at their meeting on 23rd February 2015.  At the Cabinet meeting approval was sought to circulate the White Paper “Reforming Local Government: Power to Local People” to stakeholders for their comments in advance of the Council’s formal response to Welsh Government.

 

The White Paper "Reforming Local Government: Power to Local People" was Welsh Government's statement of intent about the future of local government in Wales and was made available to view in the Members’ room and via the following link. http://wales.gov.uk/docs/dsjlg/consultation/150203-power-to-local-people-full-en.pdf

 

The White Paper set out Welsh Government's proposals for making changes in the following fields:  local democracy, the roles and remuneration of Elected Members and senior officers, community governance and Community Councils, community rights, corporate improvement, service performance, scrutiny, audit, inspection and regulation and finance.

 

Welsh Government published the White Paper on 3rd February 2015; responses were required by 28th April, 2015.  In order for the Council to give as informed a response as possible, wide circulation of the White Paper locally was proposed.  The White Paper would be referred for comments to Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources), Democratic Services Committee, Standards Committee, Audit Committee, Community Liaison Committee, Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee and the Vale of Glamorgan Local Service Board.

 

Cabinet had resolved –

 

“(1) That the White Paper “Reforming Local Government: Power to Local People” be circulated to the Council's stakeholders, including Elected Members, for their comments as outlined in paragraph 3 of the report.

 

(2) That the comments received were considered in formulating the Council's response to the White Paper “Reforming Local Government: Power to Local People”.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1&2) To ensure that the Council's formal response on the White “Reforming Local Government: Power to Local People” Paper to Welsh Government was informed by comments from Elected Members and local stakeholders.”   

 

The Head of Performance and Development informed the Committee that the paper had been referred to a number of internal forums and that the voluntary and third sectors would be submitting their own response to Welsh Government.  The Council’s formal response to the White Paper would be formulated in readiness for determination at the Cabinet meeting of 27th April 2015.  A huge number of issues were to be considered as part of the consultation on this Paper, however, it was suggested that the Committee focused on Section 5 of the Paper, Power to Local Communities. 

 

The White Paper stated that the Welsh Government’s vision for Local Authorities was that they would become activist Councils, taking action to support and improve the wellbeing and resilience of their communities.  To this end, Community Bodies would be given a range of rights which would enable them to become more involved in local services and take responsibility for community assets.

 

In terms of Community Participation, it was proposed that if a Community Body envisaged that they could improve a service, they would be able to make a request to the Local Authority setting out their proposals and that Local Authorities would be required to take these requests seriously.

 

The Paper also proposed that Community Bodies should be able to start the process of asset transfer through a request to their Local Authority, whereas currently it must be initiated by the Local Authority.  Furthermore, the Paper proposed that Communities may also wish to become involved in private ownership, for example the local village pub or shop, and that they would have the right to first refusal when these properties came up for sale. 

 

Community Bodies would be required to meet certain standards with regard their organisation and would be required to have appropriate standards of governance and financial management.

 

The Head of Performance and Development stated that there was a great deal of alignment between the proposals within this section of the White Paper and what was already being progressed in the Council’s Reshaping Services Programme and the Council would endorse partnerships between itself and not for profit organisations. 

 

A Committee Member was concerned at the criticism levelled at the leadership in Local Authorities, which they felt to be insulting.  They expressed the view that Welsh Government had encouraged voluntary mergers, yet had rejected all the expressions of interest that had been submitted, wasting a lot of time in these Authorities.  In addition, the Paper was light on guidance for Local Authorities.

 

Ms. Connor, Executive Director of the VCVS, expressed concern in relation to the uncertainty involved with the proposals contained within the Williams Report and stated that in Conwy and Denbighshire, Third Sector organisations had merged, at great cost, due to the recommendations within the Report; however, subsequently the expression of interest for a voluntary merger between these Councils had been rejected. In light of this, she expressed the view that Third Sector organisations within the Vale of Glamorgan would be not make any decisions in relation to the proposals until further down the line, in case there were any changes.

 

Ms. Connor stated that a list of community assets in the Vale of Glamorgan would be helpful as it would assist organisations with expressions of interest in the transfer of assets or services and help to gauge the level of interest across the county.

 

Ms. Connor expressed the view that it would be difficult to ascertain whether a Community Body would be able to improve a service when the costs involved were unknown.  The Third Sector wanted to improve services, however they had significant efficiency savings to meet, therefore they required the full picture, which could hopefully be ascertained via the work carried out as part of the Reshaping Services Programme.

 

In response, the Head of Performance and Development advised that many of the principles within the White Paper were aligned with the Reshaping Services Programme and this Programme would continue regardless and be progressed through various Committees, including the Voluntary Sector Community Liaison and the Community Liaison Committee.

 

A Committee Member expressed the view that one of the main objectives for all involved was greater activism and engagement in the communities, however stated that diversity was an issue within Councils and the Council needed to find a way to increase diversity in elected representatives, yet was unsure whether the White Paper was the right way to go about this.  In addition, one of the main issues and challenges involved in the process of getting organisations more involved in service delivery was capacity building which was essential and was of the view that there was a gap between the strategy and implementation of these proposals. 

 

This Committee Member also informed the Committee that the Creative Rural Communities team had given a superb demonstration of the leader approach, and talked about a local action group, the Vale Market Action Group, which had taken forward a proposal to Cabinet for the Cowbridge Cattle Market.  The Member expressed the view that there were some brilliant ideas in the communities and it was the role of Councils and voluntary bodies to stand beside each other and develop skills in order to help build capacity. 

 

A Committee Member expressed the view that more information was required in regards to the Area Boards mentioned within the White Paper, as certain Town and Community Councils may not have sufficient resources to establish these. 

 

In response, the Head of Performance and Development stated that a great deal of concern had been expressed in the Community Liaison Committee about Area Boards and it was felt that there was no clarity in regard to their role and funding.

 

A Committee Member endorsed the comments expressed by the Committee in relation to the White Paper and stated that it contained little of substance, with no mandate and was contradictory in parts.  Furthermore, the Expression of Interest for voluntary merger submitted by the Council which had subsequently been rejected had wasted a lot of officer time

 

In response to a question from a Committee Member, Ms. Connor, expressed the view that in order to enable organisations to develop a project they would need time to gather expertise and complete feasibility studies.  Furthermore, it would take a long time, if this was to be done for all projects, time which was not available.  A lot was expected of Third Sector organisations and the Vale of Glamorgan Council which involved capacity building, however this took time.  It was a real challenge; however a large amount of money needed to be saved yet resources would need to be invested in order to build capacity. 

 

Following consideration and discussion of the report, it was subsequently

 

AGREED – T H A T Cabinet be informed of the comments and views of the Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee as detailed above.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To inform Cabinet of the Committee’s views in order that a response to the White Paper “Reforming Local Government: Power to Local People” could be forwarded to the Minister.”

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Cabinet, having considered the recommendation of the Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the contents of the report be noted and the comments of the Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee had been considered in the Council’s final response.

 

Reason for decision

 

To note the contents of the report.

 

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At the meeting the Leader brought forward the Urgent Agenda Item, numbers 25a and 25b to be taken in consideration with Agenda Item number 12.

 

 

C2747  MATTERS WHICH THE CHAIRMAN HAD DECIDED WERE URGENT

 

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

 

 

C2748  WHITE PAPER - REFORMING LOCAL GOVERNMENT: POWER TO LOCAL PEOPLE (REF) - 

 

Matter Which the Chairman has decided is urgent by reason of the need to meet Welsh Government’s Consultation Deadline of 28th April, 2015

 

The Audit Committee on 20 April, 2015 considered the above report.

 

At the meeting of Cabinet on 23rd February, 2015 Cabinet had been requested to approve the circulation of the White Paper ‘Reforming Local Government - Power to Local People’ to stakeholders for their comments in advance of the Council’s formal response to Welsh Government; the document had subsequently been referred to the Audit Committee for consideration.

 

The White Paper "Reforming Local Government:  Power to Local People" was Welsh Government's statement of intent about the future of local government in Wales.

 

The White Paper set out Welsh Government's proposals for making changes in the following fields: 

  • local democracy,
  • the roles and remuneration of Elected Members and senior officers,
  • community governance and Community Councils,
  • community rights,
  • corporate improvement,
  • service performance,
  • scrutiny,
  • audit,
  • inspection and regulation,
  • and finance.

The Head of Performance and Development, present at the meeting, informed the Committee that a draft response to the White Paper would be considered by Cabinet and would take into account the comments made by the Audit Committee and the other Committees to which it had been referred.  He drew the Committee’s attention to the relevant part of the White Paper, ‘Corporate Governance and Improvement’ which specifically related to proposals regarding the roles and responsibilities of Audit Committees. 

 

The Committee was informed that one of the proposals was to clarify the responsibilities and remit of Audit Committees, rename them Corporate Governance and Audit Committees, and expand their independent membership, which would include the requirement that the Committee be Chaired by a suitably appointed independent person.  The Committee was informed that the aim of this proposal was to strengthen internal Audit Committees.

 

The Chairman invited the Head of Finance to comment and, in response he expressed the view that the Council’s Audit Committee performed its function well and he was unsure of the value of having an independent person as the Chairman of Audit Committees and unsure whether the White Paper added value in terms of governance the Operational Manager for Audit expressed the view that an independent person may not have the depth and breadth of experience to perform this crucial role. 

 

Discussion of the White Paper took place during which the following concerns were raised:

  • Concern was expressed that proposals in the White Paper seemed to indicate that Audit Committees should become less political, which was of concern as Members expressed the view that the Council’s Audit Committee was not political in performing its functions.
  • Members were unsure of the benefits of the proposal to increase independent membership of Audit Committees which seemed to indicate a move away from Elected Members and felt that this would be detrimental to the function of the Audit Committee.  Furthermore, views were expressed that although the Audit Committee took professional advice from the external Auditors it did not feel that it was handing over responsibility for the Committee to these auditors.
  • Views were expressed that it was a difficult undertaking for a Lay person to sit on an Audit Committee and the independent advice should come from the professional external auditors who were independent of the authority.  Furthermore, Independent members may not have the relevant understanding of local government that Elected Members had and concern was expressed that this could potentially be a hazardous way forward. 
  • A Member expressed the view that Independent Members simply meant that the individual was not an Elected Member, however, they may not necessarily be independent.  It was crucial that Independent Members knew what was expected of them and the White Paper did not provide this assurance. 
  • Concern was expressed in regard to the frequency of the biennial peer reviews proposed in the White Paper.  The Head of Performance and Development expressed the view that light touch self-assessments would be acceptable, however, if they were hugely bureaucratic and required to be carried out every two years, this would be too frequent and burdensome, particularly if other inspectorates e.g. Estyn and CSSIW continued to be required to carry out service assessments as proposed in the White Paper.
  • Members were of the view that self-assessments should be short and sharp and then focus in on areas of concern where improvement was required, furthermore, they should be carried out on a risk basis.
  • Members of the Committee expressed concern in relation to the proposal that the Annual Improvement Plan would be replaced by annual self-assessment plans and biennial peer reviews.  Members agreed that local authorities should carry out self-assessments, however, were of the view the quality varied and a lot of effort would be required for how these would be run and they would require input from external auditors.  Furthermore, concern was expressed that biennial peer reviews on top of the annual self-assessments may prove to be overly bureaucratic. 

The Head of Performance and Development advised that the draft response to be considered by Cabinet did not support the proposal for an independent member to be Chairman of the Audit Committee and Members endorsed this.

The external auditors expressed the following views

  • They had experienced politics at play in some Audit Committees, however, advised that this should not be the case. 
  • It was important to strengthen governance and broadening Audit Committees ability to see what was happening was good.. 
  • It was important that Audit Committee Members had an appropriate skill set which needed to be strengthened.

The Chairman expressed the view that he agreed with the point in relation to strengthening governance and if the White Paper could do this and elevate the standing of Audit Committees it would be a good thing.

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the Audit Committee’s concerns and comments in relation to the White Paper: “Reforming Local Government: Power to Local People”, as set out above, be submitted to Cabinet for consideration within the Council’s formal response to the White Paper.

 

Reason for decision

 

To ensure that the Council’s formal response on the White Paper “Reforming Local Government: Power to Local People” to Welsh Government is informed by the response of the Audit Committee.

 

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Cabinet, having considered the recommendation of the Audit Committee

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the contents of the report be noted and the comments of the Audit Committee had been considered in the Council’s final response.

 

Reason for decision

 

To note the contents of the report.

 

C2749  WHITE PAPER: “REFORMING LOCAL GOVERNMENT: POWER TO LOCAL PEOPLE” (REF) - 

 

Matter Which the Chairman has decided is urgent by reason of the need to meet Welsh Government’s Consultation Deadline of 28th April, 2015

 

The Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) on 21 April, 2015 considered the above report.

 

The White Paper “Reforming Local Government: Power to Local People” represented Welsh Government’s statement of intent regarding the future of local government in Wales.  The White Paper set out Welsh Government’s proposals for making changes in the following fields:  Local Democracy, Roles and Remuneration of Elected Members and Senior Officers, Community Governance and Community Councils, Community Rights, Corporate Improvement, Service Performance, Scrutiny, Audit, Inspection and Regulation and Finance. 

 

The White Paper had been published on 3rd February 2015, with responses required by 28th April 2015.  In order for the Council to give as informed a response as possible, the White Paper was being been submitted for consideration to the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources), Standards Committee, Audit Committee, Community Liaison Committee, Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee and the Vale of Glamorgan Local Service Board in addition to the Democratic Services Committee.

 

The Head of Performance and Development alluded to the extremely wide-ranging nature of the White Paper and to the fact that the Scrutiny Committee was the last to consider the above proposals. He considered that many of the proposals contained within the White Paper fell within the remit of Scrutiny Committee and accordingly invited Members to comment on the same.

 

In response, a numbers of Members indicated that they, as members of other Committees subject of the same consultation exercise, had already made their specific views known and reiterated concerns made at those meetings that it was impractical to consider each and every element which could be deemed to fall within the remit of the Committee.  With this in mind, the Chairman suggested and supported by Members that their discussion would take place on a themed basis.  Members of the Committee, across the political groups represented at the meeting, expressed numerous concerns regarding the overall nature; rationale of the White Paper, as well as a number of assumptions contained therein which they considered to be undemocratic and undermined some of the key principles which the Welsh Government alleged that it was setting out to achieve e.g. diversity and greater local democratic accountability.  During the ensuing discussion, these concerns were elaborated upon and, in summary, included the following:

  • In many respects, Members considered the White Paper to be inconsistent, unrealistic and to contain numerous “themes” which were open to challenge.
  • It was felt that the consultation was already bias and was based on a presumption in favour of existing WG policy. It was considered that the whole process was prescriptive and regardless to views made, they would merely be ignored by the Minister without any credible justification. Reference was made to the WG voluntary merger arrangements and the Register of Interests process as an example.
  • Reference was made to the White Paper lacking evidence to support much of its content and to it, in some respects, appearing to represent more of a consultation document rather than a formal White Paper.
  • It was considered that the White Paper failed to acknowledge, and seriously undermined, the good work and levels of performance within Local Government in its existing format.  Members felt that this was the case, not just in terms of the Council’s own performance, but Welsh Local Authorities in general.  It was considered that the Council was, indeed, already implementing much of what was contained in the White paper. Members felt that the White Paper was, in many instances, undermining the very “product” (e.g. local government, Members and officers) that it purported to be looking to enhance.
  • Members considered that isolated events within a very small number of Local Authorities had led to inappropriate generalisations within the White Paper in terms of Members, officers and Councils as a whole.
  • There was a keen sense that the WG briefings held recently across Wales to explain to Members/ Officers the rationale behind the White Paper, should have been held much earlier in the WG consultation timetable and the “drip” effect of information had only led to Members further concerns regarding the manner in which Local Government in Wales was being portrayed by the WG to the media and the public.

Furthermore, there was a general view amongst Members that the accompanying questionnaire, which had been circulated with the White Paper, was an inappropriate means of being able to provide a meaningful response.  Reference was made to the significant number of “closed” questions and to a potentially distorted picture being capable of being drawn from simply analysing responses to the questionnaire.  Notwithstanding this, and in addition to the generic concerns outlined above, Members also expressed concern regarding certain particular proposals on which views were sought within the White Paper.  These included:

  • The extreme difficulty faced by people in full-time careers who might seek to become a Councillor. The WG negative generalisation/ portrayal would only serve to further undermine its own efforts to increase diversity and also to attract younger and more professional individuals to stand for election.
  • The disincentives to potential councillors.
  • Their view that the move towards achieving a reduction in the overall number of Councillors should be accompanied by a greater acknowledgement (rather than a reduction in remuneration) of the level of commitment required.
  • Concern regarding the concept of “area structures” and additional layers of bureaucracy and potential confusion arising from proposals such as the introduction of Public Accounts Committee particularly relating to improved transparency and accountability. There was also concern relating to the potential for duplication between Area Committees and Town/ Community Councils where service delivery opportunities arose.
  • Reference to the fact that proposed powers of competency for Town and Community Councils could only possibly be relevant to two of the 26 Councils current existing within the Vale of Glamorgan and, consequently, to the potential “knock on” effect on the vast majority of the remaining much smaller Councils, who were likely to view such proposals as undemocratic, inequitable and marginalising local communities.
  • The suggestion regarding increasing the number of co-opted members with voting rights (given the fact that it was the Council Members themselves who held the democratically-elected mandate on behalf of their constituents and the residents of the Vale of Glamorgan as a whole). This appeared to run counter to the WG aspirations as set out in the White Paper regarding greater local accountability.
  • Proposals to end the existence “Twin Hatted” Councillors failed to acknowledge the experience accumulated, with many Members political careers starting from serving on Town/ Community Councils.
  • The cycle for future Elections as proposed was not supported with a concern that the public would experience “election fatigue” with the potential for further exacerbating low polling turnouts.
  • The potential impact on staff morale of certain of the proposals set out in the White Paper.
  • The lack of application of the White Paper proposals such as Term Times, Power of Recall etc. to other democratically elected bodies e.g. Welsh Assembly.

RESOLVED – T H A T the concerns of the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources), as set out above, be submitted Cabinet on 27th April 2015 for consideration as part of the Council’s overall response to the White Paper.

Reason for decision

 

 

To ensure the views of the Committee are recorded and to inform the Council’s overall response to the White Paper.

 

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

 

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

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the contents of the report be noted and the comments of the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) had been adequately covered in the Council’s final response.

 

Reason for decision

 

To note the contents of the report.

 

C2750  THE COUNCIL’S RESPONSE TO THE WHITE PAPER “REFORMING LOCAL GOVERNMENT: POWER TO LOCAL PEOPLE” (L) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – CORPORATE RESOURCES) -

 

Approval was sought for the proposed response to the White Paper "Reforming Local Government: Power to Local People", that was attached at Appendix A to the report.

 

The White Paper "Reforming Local Government: Power to Local People" was available on the Welsh Government website at the following link:

http://gov.wales/docs/dsjlg/consultation/150203-power-to-local-people-fullv2-en.pdf.

 

The document was the Welsh Government's statement of intent about the future of local government in Wales.  The White Paper set out Welsh Government's proposals for making changes in the following fields:  local democracy, the roles and remuneration of Elected Members and senior officers, community governance and Community Councils, community rights, corporate improvement, service performance, scrutiny, audit, inspection and regulation, and finance.

 

Welsh Government published its White Paper on 3 February, 2015; and responses to the paper were required by 28 April, 2015.  In order for the Council to give as informed a response as possible, the White Paper was given a wide circulation locally.  It was referred for comments to Corporate Resources Scrutiny Committee, Democratic Services Committee, Standards Committee, Audit Committee, Community Liaison Committee, Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee and the Vale of Glamorgan Local Service Board.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1) T H A T the Council’s proposed response to the White Paper "Reforming Local Government: Power to Local People", that was attached at Appendix A  to the report be submitted to Welsh Government.

 

(2) T H A T the use of article 13.09 of the Council's constitution (urgent decision procedure) be authorised to submit the response to Welsh Government by 28 April, 2015.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1) To apprise Welsh Government of the Council’s views on a large number of issues relating to the future of local government in Wales.

 

(2) To submit the Council’s response to the White Paper "Reforming Local Government: Power to Local People", that was attached at Appendix A to Welsh Government by the 28 April deadline.

 

C2751  IMPROVEMENT PLAN PART 1 (IMPROVEMENT OBJECTIVES 2015/16) (L) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – ALL)

 

Endorsement was sought of the Improvement Plan Part 1 attached at Appendix 1 to the report that outlined the Council's proposed Improvement Objectives for 2015/16.

 

The Corporate Plan approved by Cabinet on 25 February, 2013 complied with the Local Government Measure 2009, which required the Council to set 'Improvement Objectives' annually and demonstrate continuous improvement. The Plan set out a four year vision for the Council, structured around eight priority outcomes.

 

All Scrutiny Committees considered the proposed Improvement Objectives during March 2015. The views of key stakeholders including the Local Service Board, Town and Community Councils, local businesses and voluntary sector organisations were also sought over a period of 6 weeks (23 February to 7 April, 2015).  In addition, public views had been sought via an online survey, local media advertisements and social media in line with the requirement to consult on our Improvement Objectives.

 

Five Improvement Objectives were proposed for 2015/16. These were outlined below:

  • To deliver sustainable services including alternative methods of delivery as part of the Council’s Reshaping Services Change Programme. (Objective 1)
  • To support more people towards independence. (Objective 2)
  • To support and enhance the town centres of the Vale of Glamorgan for the benefit of residents, visitors and businesses. (Objective 3)
  • To reduce the number of young people who are not in employment education or training (NEET). (Objective 4)
  • To reduce the achievement gap between pupils in receipt of free school meals and those who are not. (Objective 5)

Objectives (2, 3 and 4 above) had been carried forward from last year, with objective 5 amended to reflect an area of focus for further work in 2015/16.

 

Appendix 1 attached to the report contained the original Improvement Plan Part 1 that outlined the proposed objectives for 2015/16 and provided a rationale for each objective. The measures to be undertaken to make a difference were identified including a lead at chief officer level with responsibility for ensuring the achievement of key outcomes.

 

Challenging targets had been set against all measures for improvement, reflecting the Council's commitment to continuously improve the services it provided to citizens of the Vale.  At the same time, the Council was also mindful of significant financial and service demand pressures over the coming year and key targets and milestones for proposed Improvement Objectives had been set within this context. This meant that in some areas it would be an achievement to maintain existing levels of service performance whilst absorbing reductions in funding, managing increasing service demand or both. Such issues would need to be taken into account during internal challenge of proposed Improvement Objectives and targets.

 

Despite efforts made on behalf of the Council to consult with key strategic partners and other identified key stakeholders including the public, only three organisations responded. These were Cardiff & Vale University Health Board, Penarth Town Council and Diverse Cymru.

 

All three organisations supported the proposed Improvement Objectives for 2015/16. Appendix 2 attached to the report highlighted in full comments and suggestions made in relation to all objectives.

 

The Improvement Plan Part 1 would be revised to reflect relevant Cabinet and Council amendments and published following Council approval on 29 April, 2015.

 

This was a matter for Executive and Council decision

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1) T H A T the recommendations from all Scrutiny Committees following consultation on the proposed Improvement Objectives for 2015/16 be noted.

 

(2) T H A T comments from key strategic partners in response to consultation on the proposed Improvement Objectives for 2015/16 be noted.

 

(3) T H A T the Improvement Plan Part 1 including proposed Improvement Objectives for 2015/16 attached at Appendix 1 to the report be endorsed.

 

(4) T H A T the use of article 13.09 of the Council's Constitution (urgent decision procedure) be authorised to enable the report to be presented to Council on 29 April, 2015, for approval in order to meet the statutory timescales.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)  To ensure that Improvement Objectives focused specifically on those areas where there was a need for improvement, reflecting the work being undertaken across the Council to improve the quality of life for Vale residents.

 

(2) To ensure the Council fulfilled its duty to consult on its annual Improvement Objectives.

 

(3) To ensure the Council identified key annual improvement priorities for 2015/16 in line with requirements of the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009.

 

(4) To ensure the Council met its statutory obligation to publish its forward looking Improvement Plan at the start of the financial year outlining how it proposed to meet its Improvement Objectives for 2015-16.

 

C2752  “TIME TO CHANGE” WALES ORGANISATIONAL PLEDGE (L) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – CORPORATE RESOURCES) -

 

Approval was sought to commit the Council to signing the "Time to Change" Wales Organisational Pledge.

Time to Change Wales was the first national campaign to end the stigma and discrimination faced by people with mental health problems. The campaign sought to improve the knowledge and understanding of mental illness, and to get people talking about mental health.

 

The most commonly diagnosed mental health conditions were depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and personality disorders.

 

The Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies stated that around 70m working days were lost to mental illness last year, costing the UK economy £70bn to £100bn. She said in her annual report that the number of working days lost to stress, depression and anxiety had risen by 24% since 2009, yet 75% of people with diagnosable mental illness get no treatment at all. She said, "One of the stark issues highlighted in the report was that 60 to 70% of people with common mental disorders such as depression and anxiety are in work, so it is crucial that we take action to help those people stay in employment to benefit their own health as well as the economy."

 

Mark Winstanley, chief executive of Rethink Mental Illness, said that for many people with mental illness, having a job can be a crucial part of managing their condition and staying well. He said, "But often people get very little support to go back to work after a period of mental illness, or to stay in employment," he said. "Many employers also assume that if you have a mental health problem, you won't be able to hold down a job." More specialist help to get people with mental illness back into the workplace and greater understanding from employers was needed, he said. But those who were unable to work because of their condition should not be demonised.

 

For the financial year 2013-2014, stress and depression related absence accounted for the largest proportion of total sickness absence for Council staff; just under a quarter of all sickness absence. For the half year of April to September 2014 the figure had increased to nearly a third (31%) of all sickness absence.

 

At the meeting the Cabinet Member for Adult Services commented that this was an important report that highlighted the first national campaign to end the stigma and discrimination faced by people with mental health problems.

He further commented that the problems of mental health were highlighted in one of his favourite films titled ‘A Beautiful Mind’ in which the lead actor Russell Crowe played the part of a person who came to terms with mental health issues positively and went on to lead a full and academic life.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1) T H A T the Council commits to signing the "Time to Change" Wales Organisational Pledge during 2015, to coincide with the UK wide event "Mental Health Awareness Week", on 11th-17th May.

 

(2) T H A T The Cabinet Member for Adult Services be appointed as the Council 'champion' for Time to Change Wales, to act as the Council's signatory to the Time to Change Wales Organisational Pledge.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1&2) To reduce the stigma faced by people with mental health problems.

 

C2753  WELSH LANGUAGE SCHEME ANNUAL MONITORING REPORT 2014-15 (L) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – CORPORATE RESOURCES) - 

 

Cabinet was provided with an update on the Welsh Language Scheme Annual Monitoring Report 2014-15.

 

This was the final report in respect of the Council's Welsh Language Scheme. The scheme would be replaced by the new Welsh Standards. Any actions not completed would form part of a new action plan.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the Welsh Language Scheme Annual Monitoring Report 2014-15 attached at Appendix A to the report be approved.

 

Reason for decision

 

To ensure that the report was published by the 30 June, 2015 deadline.

 

C2754  INTERIM SENIOR MANAGEMENT ARRANGEMENTS (L) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEES – CORPORATE RESOURCES, ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT, HOUSING AND PUBLIC PROTECTION) -

 

Cabinet was asked to consider interim management arrangements for the Development Services Directorate from the 1 May, 2015.

 

On 25 March, 2015 the Council ratified the appointment of the current Director of Development Services as Managing Director.  The appointment would take effect from 1 May, 2015.

 

Consideration however, needed to be given to ensure interim senior management cover arrangements were in place in the Development Services Directorate from 1 May 2015.

 

In accordance with the above it was proposed that, as an interim measure, the current Director of Visible Services and Housing assumed temporary management responsibility for the Development Services Directorate from 1 May, 2015 (together with the associated functions and delegations of the Director of Development Services).

 

Such responsibility would be undertaken alongside the current responsibilities of the Director of Visible Services and Housing pending a more substantive review of senior management arrangements.

This interim arrangement would mean that the following additional officers would report to the Director of Visible Services and Housing for the interim period:-

  • Head of Shared Regulatory Services
  • Operational Manager - Development Control
  • Operational Manager - Planning and Transportation Policy
  • Operational Manager - Countryside and Economic Projects
  • Operational Manager - Leisure and Tourism
  • Major Project Managers - Project Management Unit
  • Business Support Officer - Development Services.

This was a matter for Executive decision 

RESOLVED –

 

(1) T H A T the interim management arrangements for the Development Services Directorate as set out in paragraphs 4 to 8 of the report following the appointment of the current Director as Managing Director from 1 May, 2015 be approved.

 

(2) That recommendation 1 above be dealt with under Article 13.09 of the Council's Constitution (Urgent Decision Procedure) in order for the arrangements to take effect from 1 May, 2015. 

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1) To ensure interim management arrangements for the Development Services Directorate from 1 May, 2015 and pending consideration of more substantive restructuring proposals.

 

(2) To ensure that management arrangements and the necessary delegations were in place from 1 May, 2015.

 

C2755  RESOURCES DIRECTORATE: AMENDMENTS TO OFFICER DELEGATIONS (L) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – CORPORATE RESOURCES) 

 

Approval was sought for various amendments to officer delegations within the Resources Directorate, given the post of Director of Resources would not exist from 1 May, 2015 and to make the consequential amendments necessary to the Council Constitution.

 

Council ratified the appointment of the current Director of Development Services as Managing Director at a Special Council Meeting on 25 March, 2015. The appointment of the new Managing Director would take effect from 1 May, 2015.  As part of the senior management restructuring, the post of Director of Resources (currently occupied by the existing Managing Director) would no longer exist.

 

In order to ensure continuity in terms of officer delegations / responsibilities within the Resources Directorate, the amendments as set out in Appendix A attached to the report were proposed and, on the recommendation of Cabinet, would also be referred where appropriate, for approval by Council on 29 April, 2015. It was also proposed that any other "ad hoc", or individual delegations granted to the Director of Resources (in respect of both Executive, and Council, functions) also rest, instead, with the Managing Director from 1 May, 2015.

 

The Appendix also sought approval to amend any reference in the Constitution to "Head of Financial Services" and "Head of Accountancy and Resource Management" to read "Section 151 Officer and Deputy Section 151 Officer".

 

This was a matter for Executive and Council decision

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1) T H A T the proposed amendments to officer delegations within the Resources Directorate, as set out in Appendix A attached to the report, be approved.

 

(2) T H A T the amendments alluded to in recommendation (1) above be referred to Council on 29 April, 2015 and, subject to approval by Council, the Council Constitution be amended accordingly.

 

(3) T H A T any other "ad hoc" or individual delegations granted to the Director of Resources in respect of Executive functions rest, instead, with the Managing Director from 1 May, 2015.

 

(4) T H A T subject to the approval of Council on 29 April, 2015, any "ad hoc" or individual delegations granted to the Director of Resources in respect of Council (as opposed to Executive) functions rest, instead, with the Managing Director from 1 May, 2015.

 

(5) T H A T recommendations 1 to 4 above be dealt with under Article 13.09 of the Council's Constitution (Urgent Decision Procedure) in order for the arrangements to take effect from 1 May, 2015. 

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1-4) To ensure continuity of officer delegations / responsibilities as a consequence of the appointment of the new Managing Director and the deletion of the post of Director of Resources.

 

(5) To ensure that management arrangements and the necessary delegations were in place from 1 May, 2015.

 

C2756  ESTYN MONITORING VISIT: ADULT COMMUNITY LEARNING (AS) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – LIFELONG LEARNING) -

 

Cabinet was informed of the outcome of the recent Estyn monitoring visit.

 

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

 

The overall judgements were:

  • Current performance: Unsatisfactory
  • Prospects for Improvement: Unsatisfactory 

The report included the following six recommendations:

  • R1: Improve success rates and accreditation for all learners;
  • R2: Improve the provision for developing learners' literacy and numeracy skills, particularly to ensure that Adult Basic Education [ABE] learners have access to higher level courses;
  • R3: Improve the quality of teaching across the partnership;
  • R4: Improve the strategic leadership, management and co-ordination of adult community-based learning in the Vale of Glamorgan to make sure that provision is better aligned to local and national priorities and set targets that challenge performance;
  • R5: Analyse data robustly and improve quality processes to monitor and evaluate performance effectively to bring about improvements for learners;
  • R6: Review and revise the curriculum to ensure that all learners have equal access to appropriate learning opportunities.

Early work following the inspection suggested that there might be benefits in establishing a wider adult community learning partnership covering Cardiff as well as the Vale of Glamorgan.  Cardiff Council had received a similar Estyn report.  Following discussions with a range of potential partners the development of this wider partnership was included in the Post Inspection Action Plan alongside other actions to address the six recommendations.

 

The Cardiff and Vale Adult Community Learning Partnership comprising Cardiff and Vale College, Cardiff Council, Workers’ Educational Association (WEA), Welsh for Adults and the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) had developed effectively since the inspection.  The Strategy Board was chaired by WEA and the partnership employed a coordinator who had focussed on the implementation of the Post Inspection Action Plan.  Regular reports of progress had been made to the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning).

 

Cabinet had received reports about the restructuring of the service and two reports about fees for learners.  The agreement of the recommendations in those reports supported the implementation of the Post Inspection Action Plan and contributed to the changes required to accommodate a 37% reduction in Welsh Government grant for the service.

 

Estyn visited the Cardiff and Vale Adult Community Learning Partnership in January 2015 to review progress in relation to the six recommendations in their inspection report.  The full report of the monitoring visit, published on 31 March, 2015 was attached at Appendix A to the report. The inspectors made the following judgements:

R1 Very good progress

R2 Strong progress

R3 Strong progress

R4 Very good progress

R5 Very good progress

R6 Strong progress

The inspectors concluded that the partnership was judged to have made sufficient progress in relation to the recommendations from the previous inspections.  As a result Estyn had removed the partnership from any further follow-up activity.  Estyn would continue to monitor progress through routine link visits to the partnership.

 

At the meeting the Cabinet Member for Adult Services thanked all those staff who played a part in turning around the Adult Community Learning Department following the unsatisfactory Estyn inspection report in February 2013. He further commented that this was a great success story for the Council.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1) T H A T the outcome of the Estyn monitoring visit, and the subsequent result that the Cardiff and Vale Adult Community Learning Partnership had been removed from any further follow up activity, be noted.

 

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

(3) T H A T thanks be given to all staff who played a part in turning around the Adult Community Learning Department

following the unsatisfactory Estyn inspection report in February 2013.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1) To note the progress that had been made since the inspection in 2013.

 

(2) To ensure that Members of the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) could continue to scrutinise progress to fully implement all the recommendations.

 

(3) To recognise the hard work of all staff from the Adult Community Learning Department.

 

C2757  CENTRAL SOUTH CONSORTIUM BUSINESS PLAN 2015/16 (CSS) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – LIFELONG LEARNING) -

 

Cabinet was informed of the Business Plan of the Central South Consortium. The Business Plan was attached at Appendix A to the report.

 

The Joint Committee of the Central South Consortium agreed a business plan for 2015/16 at its meeting on 26 March, 2015.  The business plan set out the Central South Wales Challenge vision, priorities of the consortium, operating model, budget and performance monitoring arrangements.

 

The business plan evaluated progress in 2014/15 and included information about educational outcomes which had improved at every key stage on most outcome measures across the consortium and in individual authorities since 2012.  It included information about progress of the first year of the Central South Wales challenge including:

  • The launch of the 3 School Improvement Groups (SIGs) to engage all schools to identify and build joint practice development.
  • The launch of two rounds of pathfinders including 60 schools.
  • The pilot of a 'peer review' leadership model.
  • The launch of the 'hubs' programme whereby schools provide quality assured and accredited programmes of support to other schools.

The business plan reiterated the targeted areas for improvement and incorporated updated targets for 2015/16 and 2016/17 for attainment and attendance.

 

At the meeting the Leader highlighted that paragraph 2 of the report under background information should read as follows;

 

“The Joint Committee of the Central South Consortium agreed a draft business plan for 2015/16 at its meeting on 26th March.  The Business Plan is attached as Appendix A”.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1) T H A T the draft Central South Consortium Business Plan for 2015/16 attached at Appendix A to the report be noted.

 

(2) T H A T the draft Central South Consortium Business Plan for 2015/16 be referred to the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) for consideration.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1) To note the contents of the draft Central South Consortium Business Plan for 2015/16.

 

(2) To inform the Scrutiny Committee of the contents of the draft Central South Consortium Business Plan for 2015/16.

 

C2758  EDUCATION ASSET RENEWAL BUILDING PROGRAMME 2015/16 (CSS) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – LIFELONG LEARNING) -

 

Approval was sought for the allocation of the 2015/16 Education Asset Renewal budget.

 

At the Council meeting of 4 March, 2015 (minute number 940) approved the 2015/16 Capital Programme.  £900k was approved for Education Asset Renewal works, with a further £50k budget allocated as a contingency.

 

A prioritised list of schemes to be funded from the Education Asset Renewal budget had been developed by the Schools Planning and Buildings Manager, in consultation with the various departments and the proposed programme was attached at Appendix 1 to the report.

 

The Education Asset Renewal programme was treated as a single overall scheme.  Council, on 4 March, 2015, also approved that the Managing Director or the Head of Finance, in consultation with the Cabinet Member responsible for Finance, be given delegated authority to make additions, deletions or transfers to or from the 2015/16 to 2019/20 Asset Renewal budgets as appropriate.

 

In order for the procurement process to commence as soon as possible, Emergency Powers had been obtained for the approval of the following allocations from this budget :- 

  • £250k allocated for Ysgol Bro Morgannwg kitchen roof renewal,
  • £10k allocated for Llanfair Primary kitchen floor, and,
  • £120k allocated for Peterston-Super-Ely Primary to renew electric heaters

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the funding of the proposed schemes, as detailed in Appendix 1 as attached to the report, from the 2015/16 Education Asset Renewal budget be approved.

 

Reason for decision

 

To allocate the 2015/16 Education Asset Renewal budget and enable procurement to commence.

 

C2759  LECKWITH ROAD (PART), LLANDOUGH, PROPOSED TRAFFIC CALMING – OBJECTION REPORT (VLS) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT) -

 

Cabinet was informed of the objections received to the proposed installation of a traffic calming feature on Leckwith Road (part), Llandough.

 

On 15 December, 2014 Cabinet gave approval to give public notice of a proposal to implement traffic calming, in the form of a raised plateau on Leckwith Road (part), Llandough. A copy of this proposal was attached at Appendix A to the report.

 

The proposed traffic calming was a requirement of planning consent for a new residential development consisting of 25 homes, to be built by Charles Church on the former quarry site in Llandough. Accordingly, public notice of the proposals was given on 8 January, 2015 with objections being invited in writing by 30 January, 2015.

 

The junction proposal indicated that visibility splays of approximately 43 metres could be achieved in both directions. Due to land constraints and third party ownership there was no viable alternative location for site access, or opportunity to improve visibility. In line with national guidance, a visibility splay of 43 metres was suitable where traffic speeds were recorded at or below 30mph. In this instance, 85th percentile speeds were in excess of the figure and as a consequence, the visibility splay would need to be increased or the speed of traffic reduced.

 

To ensure the junction operated safely and that the visibility splays conformed to guidance, the access proposals had been amended to incorporate a junction plateau, augmented with warning signs and bilingual “slow” road markings, which was expected to reduce average speeds below 30mph. The proposed visibility splays would conform to national guidance and be acceptable.

 

Letters were received from local residents, containing a mixture of concerns, objections and requests for further dialogue and information. Redacted copies of the letters received were contained within Appendix B as attached to the report. The report also detailed extracts of the comments along with the Traffic Officer responses.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1) T H A T the objections for the reasons contained in the report be rejected and the traffic calming feature be installed.

 

(2) T H A T the objectors be advised of the decision.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1) To enable the works to be completed as intended.

 

(2) To confirm the Council's position.

 

C2760  LOCAL TRANSPORT FUND (LTF), ROAD SAFETY GRANT AND SAFE ROUTES IN COMMUNITIES (SRIC) GRANT BID 2015/16 (R) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT) -

 

Cabinet was advised of the invitation by the Welsh Government (WG) to bid for funding through the Local Transport Fund (LTF), Road Safety and Safe Routes in Communities (SRIC) grant process and of the schemes submitted for this funding for 2015/16.

 

Welsh Government (WG) invited Local Authorities to submit bids for LTF, Road Safety and Safe Routes in Communities (formally Safe Routes to Schools) funding to enable the delivery of transport and local road safety projects that enhanced road safety and encouraged sustainable travel to various key locations.  There was an emphasis that these grants be linked to road safety measures and transport schemes at locations close to schools and other key locations. The invitation to bid for funding was received on 26 February, 2015 with a submission date of 16 March, 2015.

 

WG had restricted the number of road safety revenue schemes to be submitted by each Local Authority to 6 schemes per authority, of which 4 must include kerbcraft, Pass Plus Cymru, National Standards Cycle Training and Motorbike Interventions. The funding allocation to the Council was indicative at £69k, a £1k reduction from 2014/15, although it was noted that in 2014/15, WG allocated a further £7k during the year to provide additional Pass Plus Cymru courses.

 

In terms of capital funding, a maximum of 3 schemes could be submitted for each Capital Grant, to include LTF, Road Safety and SRIC.  Bids could include schemes over a 3 year period and a maximum of £1.5m would be allocated per scheme in any one year.

 

Evidence of public support for the schemes was critical.  As a result, School travel plans had been used where these were available. The terms and conditions of the Grant meant that the works identified for the year would need to be completed by 31 March, 2016.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

RESOLVED –

 

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

 

(2) T H A T the schemes that were submitted for funding for 2015/16, by the Director of Development Services and the Cabinet Member for Regeneration under delegated powers in order to meet the Welsh Government deadline of Monday 16 March, 2015 be noted.

 

(3) T H A T any funding awarded by Welsh Government be included into the Capital Programme.

 

(4) T H A T the Highways and Transportation teams be congratulated for producing a fully costed and quality scheme within the three week allocated timescale.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1) To note the information contained in the report.

 

(2) To note the acceptance of the schemes submitted, under delegated powers to enable the bids to be submitted within the requested timescales.

 

(3) To enable schemes to be commenced early in the 2015/16 financial year.

 

(4) To recognise the hard work of the Highways and Transportations teams in producing the scheme.

 

C2761  VALE OF GLAMORGAN SUPPLEMENTARY PLANNING GUIDANCE PARKING STANDARDS – REPORT OF PUBLIC CONSULTATION (R) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT) -

 

This Item was deferred until the next meeting scheduled on 11 May, 2015.

 

C2762  PROPOSED EVENTS PROGRAMME 2015 – 2016 (R) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT) -

 

Cabinet was informed of an outlined programme of proposed events and sources of funding for the financial year 2015 - 2016, as set out in Appendix A as attached to the report.

 

Every year the Council organised and supported a varied programme of events across the Vale of Glamorgan.  These events made an important addition to the tourism offered within the Vale and to the quality of life for residents. 2014 was a very successful year for Council events in the Vale of Glamorgan and the programme was well received by residents, traders and visitors alike.

 

2014 saw the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of First World War and the Council supported a number of WW1 commemoration events across the Vale.  For the national day of commemoration in August 2014, the Council's Events Team created a projection of poppies and a John McCray poem onto the Town Hall in Barry. This image was well received across social media and a photo of the projection was shown on the BBC Wales lunchtime news. 

 

In August 2014, Barry Island hosted the Barry Wartime Weekend which was organised by the Barry Tourist Railway (Cambrian & Co). The weekend featured a display by the Red Arrows on the Saturday and a Military fly past on the Sunday.  The Red Arrows display was very popular with approximate attendance of 20,000 people. The Council supported the weekend with funding of £2,000. Cambrian & Co were looking to hold a similar event again and had booked the Red Arrows Team for a display on Saturday 20 June, 2015.

 

During 2014, the popular Barry Island Weekenders Summer Programme was held for a second year.  The programme ran for seven weekends and featured two evening events, namely The Isle of Fire and the Cinema by the Sea.  Both these events attracted approx 5,000 visitors per weekend and extended the night time economy of the Island. The remaining programme included Beach Volleyball, Street Art and Street Theatre, Sports, Live Music and was supported by the Council's Sports and Play Team.  The Weekenders received very positive feedback from residents, traders and visitors, with many visitors attending from outside of the Vale and Wales. The Isle of Fire event was recently shortlisted as a finalist for a Visit Wales National Tourism Award.  The popular event was in the top 3 other small events from across Wales and winners were announced at a Visit Wales ceremony at the end of March 2015. Provision had been made in the planned schedule for the Weekenders to continue in 2015 and it was expected that the Council would work with the company Walk the Plank again to create a similar Isle of Fire event for 2015.  It was also envisaged these summer events would make use of the event spaces within the newly refurbished Eastern side of Barry Island Promenade.

 

Last year the Events Officer worked closely with Cardiff Triathletes to bring an Aquathlon to Barry Island in late September.  The trial event was very popular and attracted both first time and regular multi sports competitors.  The event included a 650m open water swim across Whitmore Bay and a 5km run along the Island's coast.  Following on from this success, discussions had been held to bring a full Triathlon to Barry, either later this year or during the first part of 2016.

 

In addition the Christmas festivities were very successful and in particular the 3D projection show in November 2014, which replaced the traditional Christmas light switch on.  The show was extremely well received and proved to be a significant talking point on social media with Wales Online printing an article titled "Did Barry just put on Wales's best Christmas light switch on?" Consideration was being given to the arrangements for Christmas 2015.

 

Cowbridge Food and Drink Festival moved to a new date this year and the two day event would now take place on Sunday 24th and Monday 25th May and not in October as previously. The Council continued to support the event with advice and the free use of events equipment such as gazebos and handwash units.

 

The Events Officer had also worked closely with the organisers of GlastonBarry, providing advice, support and the free use of equipment.  The festival was planned to run for two days in Romilly Park, Barry in July.

 

An events programme and sources of funding for 2015 - 2016 was attached in Appendix A as attached to the report.  The events were set out by season so that the contributions throughout the year could be appreciated.  The appendix detailed where the Council provided a direct financial grant as well as instances where the Council provided financial assistance in support of the event via the Events budget.

 

At the meeting the Cabinet Member for Regeneration gave thanks to her colleague the Cabinet for Visible and Leisure Services outlining that 2014 was a huge success in terms of the Council’s Events programme. She further commented that this good work would continue to be developed by the proposed events programme for 2015.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1) T H A T the proposed events and associated costs for the financial year 2015 – 2016 be approved.

 

(2) T H A T a further report be presented to Cabinet on the progress of the Council’s events programme during 2015.

 

Reason for decision

 

(1) To approve the proposed events programme and sources of funding.

 

(2) To provide Cabinet with a progress update on the Council’s 2015 Events programme.