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CABINET

Minutes of a meeting held on 7 September, 2015.

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

 

Apologies: Councillor N. Moore.
    

C2880        MINUTES –

RESOLVED – T H A T the Minutes of the meeting held on 27 July, 2015 be approved as a correct record, subject to it being noted that with regard to Minute No. C2878, “Proposal to Change the Character of Gwenfo Church in Wales Primary School to a 3 - 11 years school by creating a Nursery Unit within the school”, following Welsh Government advice the consultation referred to in the report is to be undertaken by the Governing Body for the school and not the Council.

C2881     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST –

No declarations were received.

C2882        JOINT CONSULTATIVE FORUM -    

The following minutes of the Joint Consultative Forum meeting held on 6 July, 2015 were submitted.

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

Representatives of the Trade Unions:  Ms. G. Southby (UNISON) (Vice-Chairman);
Mr. D. Dimmick (NASUWT), Mr. T. Greaves (GMB), Mr. R. Hughes (UNISON), Mr. C. Jordon (GMB), Ms. C. Mason (UNISON), Mr. G. Pappas (UNISON) and Mr. S. Robertson (UNITE).

ANNOUNCEMENT –

Prior to the commencement of business, the Chairman put a suggestion to the Forum that it consider reducing the numbers of Vale of Glamorgan Elected Members and Trade Union/Employee representatives required for a quorum.  In the JCF Constitution the quorum numbers were four Elected Members and eight Trade Union / Employee Representatives.  It was suggested that this be reduced to three Elected Members and six Trade Union / Employee Representatives.  The Chairman requested that the Trade Unions consider this suggestion and if they were happy to proceed that the matter be progressed accordingly.

(a)    Apologies for Absence -

These were received from Councillor F.T. Johnson and Mr. J. Davies (UNISON).

(b)    Confirmation of Trade Union Positions -

It was confirmed that Mr. Phil Carter was no longer the Unison Branch Secretary or the Joint Secretary for the Trade Unions and that a replacement had yet to be appointed.  The Trade Unions advised that Mr. G. Pappas (UNISON) would be the Joint Secretary for the purposes of this meeting and a vote would be arranged for the substantive appointment of this position.  It was also confirmed that Mr. N. Stokes was to remain as the Branch Secretary for GMB.

(c)    Minutes and Matters Arising -

AGREED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 23rd February, 2015 be accepted as an accurate record.

The Head of Human Resources advised that the issue of staff engagement in relation to the Reshaping Services Programme, raised at the previous meeting, would be addressed later in the agenda, with the update on the progress of the staff engagement sessions.   

It was confirmed that the recommendation in relation to Governor training on Health and Safety issues made at the Forum’s last meeting had been put to Cabinet on 22nd April, 2015.  The Director of Learning and Skills further confirmed that she had spoken with the Chairs of Governors in relation to a range of health and safety issues and also to Headteachers in order to raise the profile of these issues.  This would be followed up with training for Governors in the autumn school term.  

Mr. Pappas (UNISON) advised that the Trade Unions had received a response from Thompsons Solicitors in relation to police interviews and the Chairman confirmed that this issue was being progressed through the Joint Terms and Conditions Group.

The Head of Human Resources made reference to the concerns raised at the last Forum meeting in relation to the level of waste vehicle inspections being reduced.  He advised that these concerns had been looked into in some detail and confirmed that, following investigation of the issue, there were no concerns in relation to the level of vehicle inspections being carried out.  

(d)    Declarations of Interest -

Councillor G. Roberts declared an interest, the nature of which was that his partner had transferred to the employment of the Vale of Glamorgan Council as part of the Joint Regulatory Services Programme.  Councillor Roberts confirmed that he had been granted dispensation from the Standards Committee to speak and vote on staff matters.  

Councillor C.J. Williams declared an interest, the nature of which was that his wife worked in the Learning and Skills Directorate of the Vale of Glamorgan Council.  Councillor Williams confirmed that he had a dispensation from the Standards Committee to speak and vote on staff matters.

(e)    Minutes of Directorate Consultative Groups -

The Minutes of the following Directorate Consultative Groups were received:

  • Learning and Skills - 11th February, 2015
  • Learning and Skills - 10th June, 2015
  • Social Services - 12th January, 2015
  • Social Services - 10th February, 2015
  • Social Services - 21st April, 2015
  • Visible Services and Housing - 4th February, 2015
  • Visible Services and Housing - 4th March, 2015
  • Visible Services and Housing - 6th May, 2015.

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

(f)    Dates of Directorate Consultative Groups -

The Chairman informed the Forum that the meeting of the Social Services Directorate Consultative Group, held on 19th May, 2015 was purely an introductory meeting and therefore there were no minutes for this meeting.  

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

  • Social Services - 19th May, 2015
  • Social Services - 16th June, 2015.

(g)    Minutes of the Corporate Health and Safety Committee - 8th June, 2015 -

The Corporate Health and Safety Officer informed the Forum that a second letter had been sent to Barry Comprehensive School on 19th June, 2015 with regard to the locking of fire doors and advised that a further unannounced inspection would be carried out at the school.

AGREED - T H A T the minutes of the Corporate Health and Safety Committee of 8th June, 2015 be noted.

(h)    Reshaping Services Update -

In presenting the report, the Head of Performance and Development informed the Forum that the Reshaping Services Programme All Projects Summary Highlight Report, attached at Appendix A, provided a status summary for each project ongoing as part of the Programme.  The document included a summary of the Programme, financial savings, programme activity updates, service specific projects work stream updates, corporate projects work stream updates and the log of the programme risks and issues.  The Summary Highlight Report was considered by the Reshaping Services Programme Board on a monthly basis and the Forum was informed that the Social Services Directorate had been reshaping services for the last few years and the Directorate’s Budget Programme – All Projects Summary Highlight report was attached at Appendix B.

The Chairman expressed the view that there was a lot of information contained within the report and that huge changes would be seen in the future as the Programme progressed.  The Head of Performance and Development confirmed that each project would be developed in its own right which would involve individual consultation exercises.  

Mr. Dimmick (NASUWT) queried the financial savings summary for the Additional Learning Needs and Inclusion Department, in that the minutes for the Directorate Consultative Group for Learning and Skills listed the Department’s required savings as £500,000, yet the Reshaping Services document listed it as £623,000.  In response, the Director of Learning and Skills advised that the savings required from Reshaping Services Programme for the ALN service totalled £500,000, however, this was only part of the Authority’s savings programme for the service.  The rest of the savings were contained within the Medium Term Financial Plan and these had been added to the savings for the Reshaping Services Programme, which in total came to £623,000.  Mr. Dimmick expressed concern that these financial savings would affect very vulnerable learners.

The Head of Performance and Development advised that the Reshaping Services Programme, including the financial savings, would need to be managed.  The Chairman expressed the view that all service areas would need to be reviewed in terms of alternative methods of service delivery in order to achieve the requisite savings.  

AGREED - T H A T the Reshaping Services Update, including the attached Appendices, be noted.

(i)    Staff Engagement Sessions Update -

In presenting the report to the Forum, the Head of Human Resources advised that the figures contained within the report were slightly out of date, and at present 49 staff engagement sessions had been delivered in the previous six weeks, with a total of approximately 1,500 employees attending.  The sessions had been delivered by 16 members of the Council’s Senior Management Team to a mixture of staff across the Authority using a set presentation.

The four objectives for the staff engagement sessions were as follows:

  • To inform staff as to the challenges faced by the Council, which included the £24m savings already made and the Local Government Change Agenda.
  • To reassure staff in regard to the Reshaping Services Programme Agenda, the Council’s response to austerity and alternative service delivery methods.  The message given was that the Vale of Glamorgan Council had already delivered £24m of savings in the last four years, yet it was now entering unprecedented times and therefore things needed to be done differently.  
  • To inform staff as to what the Reshaping Services Programme meant for them.
  • To provide an opportunity for staff to raise questions, provide comments and ideas about ways of saving money and to provide them with an opportunity to attend four workshops, one of which would focus on the formulation of a new Vale employee contract.

The four workshops would focus on the following topics:

  • Communications
  • Training and Development Strategy
  • Engagement Issues
  • The expectations for staff and Managers.

The Head of Human Resources advised there had been a great response so far with attendance levels of 72%.  There had also been a high level of response to the upcoming workshops.  116 questions resulting from the sessions had been answered and posted on the StaffNet with 127 which required responses.  A lot of good feedback had been received from the sessions and the Head of Human Resources expressed his gratitude for the attendance of the Trade Unions.  

The Chairman expressed the view that the engagement sessions were a positive way of dealing with a negative situation.

AGREED - T H A T the update on the Staff Engagement Sessions be noted.

(j)    The Leadership Café -

The Head of Human Resources, in presenting the report, informed the Forum that part of the Council’s Workforce Plan involved consideration of Leadership going forward and Succession Planning.  With a view to this, the Council had developed the Leadership Café which provided monthly voluntary, extracurricular sessions.  A year’s programme had been developed which consisted of a variety of leadership development topics and the sessions were low industry and not costed.  The sessions included presentations from guest speakers, including officers from the All-Wales Academy at the Welsh Assembly.  All three sessions that had taken place had been full to capacity; and sessions were open to all employees.  

Mr. Hughes (UNISON) commented that the session he had attended had been positive and the Chairman expressed the view that these sessions were a positive development.  Furthermore, he was of the view that these sessions would create a good camaraderie across Directorates and that Human Resources should be congratulated for establishing the Leadership Café.  

The Head of Human Resources advised that the presentations provided at the previous three sessions were on the StaffNet.  

A Member asked whether best practice had been identified in other Local Authorities and, if so, whether these Councils had been invited to attend the Leadership Café sessions.  In response, the Head of Human Resources advised that officers had attended from the All-Wales Academy and provided talks on such topics as Positive Psychology.  Other Local Authorities had attended, as they were keen to establish similar sessions within their Authorities.  

The Vice-Chairman suggested that they look to invite other individuals who have worked with Council’s, such as Trade Union representatives, to attend future Leadership Cafés.  In response, the Head of Human Resources expressed the view that this was a good idea and advised that an officer from Building Services had attended one of the sessions on new leaders and had facilitated interviews with the attendees.  

AGREED - T H A T the contents of the update report on the Leadership Café be noted.

(k)    Employee Relations Framework Agreement Update -

The Forum was provided with an update on the progress and status of the Employee Relations Framework Agreement.

The Head of Human Resources advised that the Employee Relations Framework Agreement had been formulated within the context of austerity savings and aimed to identify how services could be provided differently.  Discussions with Trade Unions had resulted in five main areas being identified, which are as set out below:

  • Lot 1 - Resolution of residual elements from 2012 Single Status Agreement
  • Lot 2 - Contribution to budget savings
  • Lot 3 - Supporting change
  • Lot 4 - Review of Attendance Policy
  • Lot 5 - Increasing flexibility and capacity.

These elements of the Framework Agreement were set out in more detail at Appendix A, attached to the report.

Mr. Dimmick (NASUWT) queried the meaning of the ‘smiley face’ icon and the Head of Human Resources advised that it indicated that progress was going well and this icon had been used as it cost more to print in colour, for example Red, Amber and Green.  The Head of Human Resources advised that £70,000 of savings had been made via the Annual Leave Purchase Scheme and was of the view that this contributed to the work / life balance of employees.

 

The Head of Human Resources advised that he had submitted the Employee Relations Framework Agreement 2015/16 for the Public Sector Personnel Managers Association (PPMA), Excellence in HR Awards 2015.  The Framework Agreement had subsequently been shortlisted as a finalist in the Creating Positive Employee Relations category.

A Member expressed the view that purchase of Annual Leave was a good idea and requested confirmation that all staff involved had been fully briefed; he further asked whether this scheme would be carried out on an annual basis.  In response, the Head of Human Resources advised that the Annual Leave Purchase Scheme was permanent and would be carried out on an annual basis. He further confirmed that all staff involved had been well briefed, particularly with regard to implications on pension contributions.  

The Member also asked whether the extension of the annual leave carry over had been fully discussed and agreed by the Trade Unions.  In response, the Head of Human Resources advised that the proposals had been taken to the Change Forum and Cabinet and it had been introduced to allow staff who were unable to take leave at certain times of the year, due to the exigencies of the service, to carry over more leave.  He also advised that annual leave periods for staff worked either on a financial year calendar or from employees’ birthdays.  

The Head of Human Resources, in response to a question from a Member, advised that a mechanism had been required to address concerns in relation to change management and to facilitate consultation and an overarching Change Forum was established to ensure that change was well managed; he further informed the Forum as to the membership of the Change Forum and the Corporate Management Team.  

AGREED - T H A T the update report on the Employee Relations Framework Agreement be noted.

(l)    Management of Attendance Policy Update -

The Forum was provided with an update in relation to the Council’s Management of Attendance Policy which had been subject to a review over recent months to reflect concerns as previously raised by Trade Union colleagues at the Joint Consultative Forum.

A number of meetings had taken place in order to address the concerns raised, and a draft revised Policy was attached the report at Appendix A.  The policy was due to be introduced in autumn 2015 subject to final comments from the Trade Unions.  

AGREED - T H A T the update on the Management of Attendance Policy be noted.

(m)    Feedback on Policy Development -

The Forum was provided with an update in relation to the current position on HR policy development as at 29th May, 2015.

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

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

Reason for decision

To note the minutes.

C2883        2014/15 ANNUAL PROGRESS REPORT ON THE CORPORATE PLAN 2013-2017 (REF) -    

The Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) on 21 July, 2015 considered the above report of the Managing Director.

The above Plan was structured around eight priority outcomes which were carried forward into Service Plans to ensure consistency and focus.  Within the Corporate Plan a number of objectives were listed under each of the eight priority outcomes.  These were included in the relevant Service Plans and provided the basis for the development of key actions to ensure these objectives were delivered.  In addition, the Council’s Medium Term Financial Plan outlined how the Corporate Plan would be funded in future years.

In addition to the above, the actions within the Service Plans set out year on year the activities that would be undertaken to achieve these objectives, and monitoring of the action provided the foundation for an annual progress report on the Plan.  Detailed quarterly performance on all Service Plans were reported to the Corporate Management Team, Cabinet and relevant Scrutiny Committees.

During 2015, the Plan would be reviewed with a new Plan for 2016-20 agreed by March 2016.  The incomplete actions from the 2013-17 Plan would be rolled forward; which ones would be determined during the above review.  The Head of Performance and Development referred to the overall good progress that had been made in the second year of the above Plan and to the majority of actions that had been completed or were on track for completion, however, he indicated that there were some areas of slippage in delivering some of the objectives.

He also referred to Appendix A attached to the report which set out full details of progress against all objectives contained within the Plan.  Details of overall performance of each priority were set out in paragraphs 8 to 15 of the report and showed the level of progress in delivering the Plan.

In considering the report, a Member acknowledged that performance in the year had been good with many of actions at 100% completion.  He referred to Corporate Plan CL 2 “increased customer satisfaction and improve how customers access services by developing more integrated service delivery with our partners and being more innovative in how public buildings were used”.  In referring to the implementation of a shared telephone based service with Cardiff and Vale UHB Communications Hub he enquired of the Head of Service as to whether the shared service was maximising its profitability.  In response, the Head of Service indicated that whilst he was unable to provide a specific answer to the issue of income, he indicated that a fair charging policy was in place and that this provided an income stream to the Council.  

Another Member referred to reference R7 “actively seek a new cinema for the town Barry” and queried the 80% completion rate as stated in the report.  In response, the Leader indicated that this action was linked to developing key sites within the Innovation Quarter at Barry.  The action in itself was linked to the provision of digital downloading and a cinema with the scheme being grant funded with further financial support through regeneration funding.  

Having regard to the above, it was

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the progress made and areas of slippage identified within the report be noted and the remedial action required be referred to Cabinet for approval.

Reason for recommendation

To enable the Council to proceed with delivering the Corporate Plan 2013-17 and to inform the forthcoming review of the Plan.”

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

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

Reason for decision

To note the contents of the report.

C2884        REGIONAL EDUCATION CONSORTIA: REPORTS BY ESTYN AND WALES AUDIT OFFICE (WAO) (REF) -

The Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) on 20 July, 2015 considered the above report of the Director of Learning and Skills.

The Director of Learning and Skills presented the report, the purpose of which was to inform the Scrutiny Committee of the conclusions of Estyn and the WAO following visits to the four regional education consortia.

The report outlined that Estyn and the WAO visited the four regional education consortia between November 2014 and January 2015 to report on the progress being made by the regional consortia to provide school improvement services.  The reports by both Estyn and the WAO, which referred to the progress of the consortia collectively, were published on 3rd June and were attached at Appendices 1 (Estyn) and 2 (WAO).  

The WAO report concluded “that after an uncertain start, the foundations for the regional school improvement services are being established and there were positive signs of progress but remaining weaknesses are hindering the development of the whole system and the effective governance and financial management of regional consortia”.  The main findings of the Estyn report were set out in pages 6 to 8 of the report (Appendix 1).

Both reports contained recommendations for consortia, Local Authorities and Welsh Government.  The recommendations for Local Authorities were:

Estyn:

R6    Support their regional consortium to develop medium-term business plans and ensure that all plans take account of the needs of their local schools

R7    Develop formal working arrangements between scrutiny committees in their consortium in order to scrutinise the work and impact of their regional consortium

WAO:

R1    To clarify the nature and operation of consortia
Local Authorities should clarify whether consortia services are jointly provided or are commissioned services (services provided under a joint committee arrangements are jointly provided services and are not commissioned services).

R4    To build effective leadership and attract top talent
Local Authorities should collaborate to support the professional development of senior leaders and to ensure appropriate performance management arrangements are in place for senior leaders.

R5    To improve the effectiveness of governance and management of regional consortia

Local Authorities and their regional consortia should:

  • Improve their use of self-evaluation of their performance and governance arrangements and use this to support business planning and their annual reviews of governance to inform their annual governance statements.
  • Improve performance management including better business planning, use of clear and measurable performance measures, and the assessment of value for money.
  • Make strategic risk management an integral part of their management arrangements and report regularly at joint committee or board level.
  • Develop their financial management arrangements to ensure that budgeting, financial monitoring and reporting cover all relevant income and expenditure, including grants funding spent through Local Authorities.
  • Develop joint scrutiny arrangements of the overall consortia as well as scrutiny of performance by individual authorities, which may involve establishment of a joint scrutiny committee or co-ordinated work by Local Authority Scrutiny Committees.
  • Ensure the openness and transparency of consortia decision making and arrangements.
  • Recognise and address any potential conflicts of interest; and where staff have more than one employer, regional consortia should ensure lines of accountability are clear and all staff are aware of the roles undertaken.
  • Develop robust communications strategies for engagement with all key stakeholders.

The visit to the Central South Consortium had been carried out in November / December 2014 and tailored verbal feedback was provided to the Consortium at that time.  The Estyn report commented that the consortia responded positively to the feedback and had already begun to address many issues raised in the reports.

The Joint Committee of the Central South Consortium agreed on an Action Plan setting out proposed actions in relation to the reports at their meeting on 25th June 2015.  This report was attached at Appendix 3 to the report.  It was noted that discussions were taking place nationally in relation to the recommendations relating to the scrutiny function.

In terms of what happens next, the Director advised that Estyn / WAO planned to inspect individual consortia next year and all inspection reports would be in the public domain.

In answer to a Member’s concern around whether the Council was receiving value for money from membership of the Central South Consortium, the Director of Learning and Skills stated that each year the Council allocated £655,000 to support the work of the Consortium.  She went on to explain that there were a number of ways the Council could assess whether it was achieving value for money.  The first related to a direct comparison of the current amount allocated to the Consortium and to the amount that the Council used to spend on the school improvement service.  She confirmed that the amount spent now was lower.  In addition, the Council had not incurred any inflationary pressures in respect of its contributions to the Central South Consortium, which the Council would have to face if it was a stand-alone service.  She also advised Members that a number of enhancements had been delivered through the delivery of the Central South Consortium’s business plan and she cited the example of the “Moving on in Maths” scheme which was aimed at bridging the gap and improving the teaching of maths across the primary and secondary school transition in Vale schools.  For this, the Central South Consortium had allocated an amount of approximately £100,000.  Overall, the main key way of showing value for money was in respect of a rise in the pupil attainment levels particularly at GCSE level.

Further to this point, the Cabinet Member stated that during the first year of the Central South Consortium it was fair to say that it did not work as effectively as it should have.  There were a number of issues to begin with, particularly around the governance arrangements and the leadership structure of the Consortium which did not achieve the best outcomes for the member Local Authorities.  Since that time new senior officers had been appointed and a new structure had been put into place and this had resulted in a significant improvement into how the Consortium operated.  The Cabinet Member stated that improvement could be demonstrated through the fact that of the top five secondary schools in Wales, two were from the Vale of Glamorgan and that every secondary school within the Vale had shown progress last year.  He also commented that according to headteachers, the School to School approach was working and that overall a lot had improved and better results were expected this year.  He stated that he was unsure whether the Council, on its own, could afford the improvements made.

The Head of School Improvement and Inclusion also asked if he could make some comments and stated that further to the Cabinet Member’s points, it should be noted that all outcomes within the Key Stages had shown an improvement last year.  He also stated that at a recent meeting with the headteachers of eight amber primary schools, it was clearly evident that the challenge provided to the headteachers by the Challenge Advisor was significant.  This was something that headteachers had found demanding but that they had all recognised how important the challenge process was.  

A Committee Member, in referring to the WAO report, queried findings that there was a failure of educational staff to understand the role of Local Authorities within the accountability and governance arrangements.  In response, the Director of Learning and Skills explained that this related to a WAO comment around the development of a national model for Consortia and, in particular, the lack of understanding by civil servants around the role that Local Authorities played in maintaining schools.

In response to a Member’s query regarding the scrutiny functions, the Cabinet Member stated that one thing that the Consortium was developing was for information to be presented to all Scrutiny Committees across the region at the same time.  This would help staff within the Consortium and it would formalise scrutiny arrangements.

The Committee also noted that as part of the improvements to the scrutiny arrangements within the Central South Consortium formal meetings would be arranged with the Chairs of each individual Scrutiny Committee on a regular basis in order to discuss performance of the Joint Educational Service.

A Committee Member enquired as to whether educational improvement had been seen within all of the member Local Authorities.  In response, the Director of Learning and Skills stated that last year all five authorities had seen an improvement in pupil attainment and that some of the most significant improvement had been by those Local Authorities with the lowest rate of performance.  Each Local Authority in the region had been inspected by Estyn and all had been required to make some form of improvements.  

Further to this point, the Head of School Improvement and Inclusion informed Members that he met with the Senior Challenge Advisor from the Consortium on a regular basis and that during these meetings he challenged the performance of the Consortium.   In addition, on a termly basis he also met with all Challenge Advisors involved with schools in the Vale, who were made aware of the Vale’s priorities and regular update reports were discussed with senior officers within the Consortium.  Termly meetings including the Director of Learning and Skills and the Managing Director of the Consortium monitored progress in the Vale.  He stated that from his perspective he had seen an improvement in practices that ensured that schools were more robustly held to account and challenged to improve.  Challenge Advisors and Officers were now ready to have the challenging conversations.

Having considered the report the Committee

RECOMMENDED –

(1)    T H A T the contents of the two reports and the work that is being progressed by the Central South Consortium Joint Education Service be noted.

(2)    T H A T both reports be referred to Cabinet for consideration.

(3)    T H A T the WAO report be referred to the Audit Committee.

Reasons for recommendations

(1)    In order that the Scrutiny Committee scrutinises the work of the Central South Consortium and these reports include relevant comments about the development of regional education consortia across wales, they also include recommendations specifically related to scrutiny arrangements.

(2)    These reports include recommendations for Local Authorities as well as consortia and Welsh Government.

(3)    The report includes recommendations that relate to the responsibilities of the Committee.”

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

RESOLVED –

(1)    T H A T the contents of the report be noted and the Welsh Office Audit Report be forwarded to the Audit Committee.

(2)    T H A T Cabinet receive regular update performance reports on the Central South Consortium Action plan attached at Appendix 3 to the report.

Reason for decisions

 

(1)    The report includes recommendations that relate to the responsibilities of the Audit Committee.

(2)    To update Cabinet on the work that is being progressed by the Central South Consortium Joint Education Service.

C2885        GENERAL PLANNING MATTERS (REF) -

The Planning Committee on 30 July, 2015 considered the above report of the Director of Development Services.

(i)    Welsh Government Consultation - Developments of National Significance -

The Committee received a report to update Members on the Welsh Government (WG) consultation on Development of National Significance and to recommend an appropriate response to those consultations.

As part of the implementation of the proposed changes to the Planning System in Wales, which will be introduced through The Planning (Wales) Bill, a number of consultation papers had been released seeking the views of interested parties with regard to the above.

The WG commissioned research which highlighted concerns about local planning authorities’ (“LPAs”) ability to make timely decisions on some of the most challenging applications, including those that raise complex technical issues and are of a contentious nature. Some of these applications already fall to the Welsh Ministers to decide, either as a result of being called in, or on appeal following refusal by the LPA. WG considered this to be an inefficient approach. Accordingly the following consultation had been issued with the aim of ensuring that in future these applications are submitted directly to, and determined by, the Welsh Ministers. To address this WG proposes a new category of development called Developments of National Significance (“DNS”). These are developments which are few in number but of greatest significance to Wales because of their potential benefits and impacts.

The thresholds and types of development proposed to be included in the DNS category were detailed within Appendix A attached to the report.

The consultation paper, attached to the report at Appendix A included a set of specific questions to which the Welsh Government was requesting views. The closing date for replies was 12 August 2015.

The proposed responses to the consultation papers point out concerns about the democratic deficit this process would create. The issue of how the LPA will fund its involvement in the DNS process when the planning fee will be given to the WG was also a major concern.

The issues raised were addressed individually in the consultation response attached at Appendix B.

Following presentation of the report, Members also expressed concern in relation to the above mentioned issues, these being, the role of the Local Member and Planning Committee in the proposed process and how work carried out by the LPA would be funded. Concerns were also raised in relation to the short timescales set out within the proposals. The Operational Manager advised that these concerns had been addressed within the response to the consultation.

Following consideration of the report, the Committee

RESOLVED -

(1)    T H A T the contents of the report be noted and the response to the consultation be agreed and sent to Welsh Government.

(2)    T H A T the matter be referred to Cabinet for information and that should Cabinet have any additional issues it wished to raise that these be forwarded on to Welsh Government.

Reason for decisions

(1)    To allow the Council to respond to the consultation.

(2)    To inform Cabinet of the views of the Committee when responding to the consultation and to allow any further comments of Cabinet to be forwarded to the Welsh Government.”

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At the meeting the Cabinet Member for Regeneration commented that the Council was not formally informed of the consultation by the Welsh Government, however, she was pleased that this was picked up by officers during the Council recess who turned the response around within a short time scale.

She further commented that the Planning Committee were in agreement with the Council’s response attached at Appendix B to the report.

Cabinet, having considered the recommendations of the Planning Committee

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

Reason for decision

To note the contents of the report.

C2886        CABINET FORWARD WORK PROGRAMME – SEPTEMBER TO DECEMBER 2015 (L) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEES – ALL) -     

Cabinet presented its Forward Work Programme for the period September to December 2015.

In accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Act 2000 and the Council’s Constitution, the Cabinet Forward Work Programme attached at Appendix A to the report set out matters which the Executive and Full Council were likely to consider during September to December 2015.

This was a matter for Executive decision

RESOLVED – T H A T the Cabinet Forward Work Programme for the period September to December 2015, as attached at Appendix A to the report be approved.

Reason for decision

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

C2887        CORPORATE SAFEGUARDING UPDATE (L) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEES – SOCIAL CARE AND HEALTH, LIFELONG LEARNING, CORPORATE RESOURCES) -

Cabinet was updated on the work that had been undertaken to improve corporate arrangements for safeguarding and protecting children and adults who required specific Council services and to ensure that these arrangements were effective.

In 2011, the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) and the Education and Training Inspectorate for Wales (Estyn) published a joint report following their investigation into the way Pembrokeshire County Council was managing allegations of professional abuse and its arrangements for safeguarding and protecting children in education services.  Significant concerns were expressed in the report about the quality of corporate working to safeguard and protect children by the local authority.

Following that report, the Council established a Corporate Safeguarding Working Group to learn lessons from the Pembrokeshire investigation and to ensure that robust arrangements for protecting children and young people were in place in the Vale of Glamorgan area.  In January, 2013, Cabinet agreed a Safer Recruitment Policy for the Council and Schools. The Policy was implemented in April 2013 and was adopted by all Vale schools throughout the Council.  

The report outlined that there had been a substantial number of changes in Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) eligibility and administrative arrangements.  These had been incorporated within a revised DBS policy and procedure, which Cabinet approved in March of this year.  A new action plan was being developed by the Corporate Safeguarding Working Group to address findings from experience, inspection and audit.

Attached at Appendix 1 to the report was the Corporate Safeguarding Update – June 2015 that outlined the safeguarding activity undertaken by the Resources, Learning and Skills and Social Services Directorates.  

At the meeting the Cabinet Member for Visible and Leisure Services commented that he recently attended an inset day at Llantwit major Comprehensive School where he represented the authority as a Local Authority Governor.

This was a matter for Executive decision

RESOLVED –

(1)    T H A T the work undertaken to improve corporate arrangements for safeguarding and protecting children and adults be noted.

(2)    T H A T Cabinet continue to receive six-monthly reports on work carried out to improve corporate safeguarding arrangements and the effectiveness of relevant policies.

(3)    T H A T the report be referred to the Scrutiny Committees (Social Care & Health, Lifelong Learning and Corporate Resources) for consideration.

Reason for decisions

(1)    To note the recent developments in corporate arrangements for safeguarding.

(2)    To allow Cabinet to exercise effective oversight of this key area of corporate working.

(3)    To respond to requests that each Scrutiny Committee is provided with update reports.

 

C2888        YOUTH REPRESENTATION ON SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (LIFELONG LEARNING) (L) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – LIFELONG LEARNING) -

Approval was sought from Cabinet and Council for the appointment of youth representatives plus substitutes to sit on the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning).

On 18 May, 2015 the Scrutiny Committee received a report of progress to date from the Youth Cabinet. The report outlined a way forward in respect of the appointment of youth representatives to sit on the Scrutiny Committee – Lifelong Learning. The Committee considered at that time that representation by young people on the Committee would enable young people to provide information, suggestions or comments and that such a position would provide a voice for young people where their views and ideas would be considered as part of the Council decision-making process.

The recommendation of the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) was referred to Cabinet who on 29 June, 2015 resolved :   

"(1)   T H A T the principle of the Vale Youth Forum being invited to nominate two representatives, plus substitutes, as non-voting observers to the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) be agreed.

(2)   T H A T a more detailed report be brought to Cabinet with a view to making a recommendation to Council in September and incorporating those recommendations into the report on the Council Constitution which would also be considered at that Council meeting."

Following approval of the above resolutions of Cabinet it was the intention that an information pack be provided to the Vale Youth Forum in order that representatives could be appropriately briefed on the role in order that expressions of interest could then be put forward.  To assist in the nomination process, officers from within the Democratic Services Section would arrange briefing sessions with the Vale Youth Forum Members in respect of the proposed roles.  

The appointment(s), whilst in a non-voting capacity, would provide a further opportunity for the Council to further formally engage with young people.  The appointment(s) were to be agreed on the basis that the representatives were Vale Youth Forum Members and subject to change by the Vale Youth Forum itself.

The Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) met on a monthly basis, every four weeks, and it would be left to the representatives of the Youth Forum for the nominations to decide whether they attended every meeting or meetings where they had a particular interest.  The Scrutiny Committee could also call upon the nominated representatives to attend if they felt the views of the young people would be required on particular areas of service.

If approved, the appointment of Youth Service representatives to the Scrutiny Committee would enhance the membership of the Committee and allow for young people between the ages of 11 and 25 to provide information, suggestions or comments for consideration by the Committee.

This was a matter for Executive and Council decision

RESOLVED –

(1)    T H A T the Vale Youth Forum be invited to nominate two representatives plus substitutes to sit as non-voting observers on the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning).

(2)    T H A T in line with resolution 1 above the Council be requested to agree to the appointment of two representatives to sit as non-voting observers on the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) and the Council's Constitution be amended accordingly.

Reason for decisions

(1&2)    To seek Cabinet and Council approval in order to allow for young people between the ages of 11 and 25 to provide information, suggestions or comments for consideration by the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning).

C2889        CAPITAL MONITORING REPORT FOR THE PERIOD 1ST APRIL TO 31ST JULY 2015 (L) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – CORPORATE RESOURCES) -

Cabinet was advised of progress on the 2015/16 Capital Programme for the period 1 April, 2015 to 31 July, 2015.

Appendix 1 attached to the report detailed the financial progress on the Capital Programme as at 31 July, 2015.
For all schemes where it was evident that the full year's budget would not be spent during the year, the relevant officers were required to provide an explanation for the shortfall to be reported to the earliest available Cabinet.

Appendix 2 attached to the report provided non-financial information on capital construction schemes with a budget of over £100k. Where a budget shown in Appendix 1 was more than £100k but was made up of several schemes that individually were less than £100k, the scheme was not included in Appendix 2.

This was a matter for Executive decision

RESOLVED –

(1)    T H A T the following recommendations that amend the 2015/16 Capital Programme be approved.

  • Barry Regeneration Partnership - £13k be vired to the High Street/Broad Street Traffic Management Scheme.
  • Barry Regeneration Partnership - Increase the Barry Regeneration Partnership Scheme budget by £8k funded by a revenue contribution from Visible Services.
  • CASH Grants - Increase the 2015/16 budget by £8k to be funded by a contribution from the Policy revenue budget.

(2)    T H A T update reports continue to be presented to Cabinet on a quarterly basis.

Reason for decisions

(1)    To amend the 2015/16 Capital Programme.

(2)    To appraise Cabinet of progress in budget outturn.

C2890        REVENUE MONITORING FOR THE PERIOD 1ST APRIL TO 31ST JULY 2015 (L) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEES – ALL) -

Cabinet was advised of the progress relating to revenue expenditure for the period 1 April to 31 July, 2015.

It was early in the financial year and the forecast for the 2015/16 revenue budget was for an outturn within target as shown in the following table.  The Housing Revenue Account (HRA) budget for 2015/16 was also forecast to outturn on target.

 

 Directorate/Service 

 2015/16

Original

Budget

£'000

 2015/16

Projected

Outturn

£'000

 Variance

(+)  Fav

(-) Adv

£'000

 Learning and Skills      
 Education and Schools  92,731  92,731  0
 Libraries  2,359  2,359  0
 Adult Community Learning  265  265  0
 Youth Service  1,043  1,043  0
 Catering  1,756  1,756  0
 Social Services      
 Children and Young  People  14,497  14,197  +300
 Adult Services  37,418  37,718  -300
 Business Management & Innovation  319  319  0
 Youth Offending Service  672  672  0
 Visible Services and Housing      
 Environment and Visible Services  16,911  16,911  0
 Parks and Grounds Maintenance  3,503  3,503  0
 Building Services  0  0  0
 Council Fund Housing  1,218  1,218  0
 Public Sector Housing (HRA)  (129)  (129)  0
 Development      
 Regulatory Services  2,094  2,094  0
 Coroner  210  210  0
 Private Housing  10,662  10,662  0
 Planning and Transportation  6,525  6,525  0
 Leisure  2,481  2,481  0
 Economic Development  1,210  1,210  0
 Managing Director      
 Resources  963  963  0
 General Policy  18,018 18,018  0
 Total  214,726  214,726  0
 Met from General Reserve  -2,500  -2,500  0
 Grand Total  212,226  212,226  0

 

The Learning and Skills Directorate - was aiming to outturn at budget, however, there were significant pressures faced by the services as outlined in the report.

Social Services - was anticipated that the projected outturn for 2015/16 would overall be in line with the budget, but with variances between service heads.

Visible Services and Housing Services - was currently projected that overall services under this Directorate would outturn within target at year end.

Development Services – was currently projected that services under this Directorate would outturn within target at year end.

Managing Director - General Policy – was projected that this budget would outturn within target.

2015/16 Savings Targets

As part of the Final Revenue Budget Proposals for 2015/16, a savings target of £6.847m was set for the Authority.  Attached at Appendix 1 to the report was a statement showing the progress against these targets.  Services were projecting to achieve the majority of their savings and where savings may not be achieved, further information was provided.  The appendix showed that currently there was a £138k projected shortfall against the target.  The Prosiect Gwyrdd scheme was projected to exceed its target, however, there were other savings in Visible Service which would not be achieved and would therefore offset this favourable position.  In addition, Visible Services also had savings from previous years which had yet to be achieved in full, however, progress would be made this year in their implementation.  The last section of the appendix detailed the savings identified in previous years which had yet to be fully achieved.

This was a matter for Executive decision

RESOLVED –

(1)    T H A T the position with regard to the Authority’s 2015/16 Revenue Budget be noted.

(2)    T H A T reports continue to be presented to Cabinet on a quarterly basis.

Reason for decisions

(1)    To note the projected revenue outturn for 2015/16.

(2)    To monitor progress in budget outturn.

C2891        EXTERNAL FUNDING: COMMUNITY SAFETY POLICE AND CRIME COMMISSIONER’S FUND, ARBED ECO FUND (L) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – CORPORATE RESOURCES) -

Cabinet was informed of two external funding grants, and approval was sought for acceptance of the grants and associated conditions.

The Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales allocated an annual revenue grant to the Safer Vale partnership to address crime and disorder issues in the Vale of Glamorgan. The funding was allocated to the partnership to deliver services that met the priorities of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, the Police and Crime Act 2006, the Police and Justice Act 2007 and the local priorities as outlined in the Community Strategy 2011-2021. The allocation had historically allowed the partnership to fund co-ordinators to ensure that all voluntary and statutory partners were delivering effective services that supported the reduction of crime and the fear of crime.

The total allocation to the Vale of Glamorgan from the fund was £56,500.00. This had previously been and would continue to be used to contribute towards employment costs of existing personnel in the partnership.

The ARBED eco fund was provided by Welsh Government to support investment in the private and social housing sector to improve energy efficiency, reduce carbon emissions and help families considered to be in fuel poverty. The bid was submitted on 30 June, 2015 to round three of the Welsh Government's 'Warm Homes Arbed-Eco' fund. Notification that the bid had been successful was received from Welsh Government on 12 August, 2015 with a requirement for signed offer letters to be returned by 26 August. The grant bid was focused on the Gibbonsdown estate and in particular the Gibbonsdown 2 Lower Super Output Area (LSOA). This area was chosen because it appeared in the top 5% of deprived LSOAs across Wales in the Welsh Indices of Multiple Deprivation (WIMD) Index 2014 and was therefore adjudged to be an area that would benefit greatly from this type of grant support.    

The total funding required for the ARBED eco project was £2,617,182.75 of which, £2,367,182.75 was sought in capital grant funding with £250,000 being provided in match funding. The programme would seek to deliver a number of improvements to homes in the Gibbonsdown 2 area.

This was a matter for Executive decision

RESOLVED –

(1)    T H A T the acceptance of the Community Safety Police and Crime Commissioner Funding be approved.

(2)    T H A T the use of the Managing Director’s emergency powers to approve acceptance of ARBED eco funding and the proposed uses of the funding be noted.

(3)    T H A T the inclusion of the ARBED grant into the Capital Programme be approved.

Reason for decisions

(1)    To allow grant funding to be accepted in order to continue the work of the Safer Vale Partnership.

(2)    To allow ARBED eco funding to be accepted within required timescales in order to deliver an extensive work programme to improve energy efficiency within homes.

(3)    To include the ARBED eco funding in the Capital Programme.

C2892        EXTERNAL FUNDING PROCEDURE REVIEW (L) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – CORPORATE RESOURCES) -

Cabinet approval was sought for proposals to amend the existing external funding framework.

The Council’s External Funding Framework stipulated that all capital bids regardless of value and all revenue bids over £50,000 (with the exception of transport grants) must be considered by the External Funding Steering Group (EFSG), Corporate Management Team (CMT) and Cabinet before any external funding was accepted.

A number of issues had been identified with the current framework and these were reported to CMT in February 2015 as outlined in Appendix A attached to the report.

It was recommended to CMT that a review of the External Funding Framework took place as part of the Reshaping Services Programme Effectiveness of Spend Project. The External Funding Steering Group (EFSG), with additional officers, formed the project team for this aspect of the Reshaping Services Programme led by the Managing Director as Programme Sponsor. This review was ongoing with progress reported to the Reshaping Services Programme Board.

On 1 July, 2015 discussion at Corporate Management Team (CMT) suggested delegated authority for the Managing Director, in consultation with the Leader, would be the most appropriate and practical solution to ensure grant funding bids could be submitted and accepted in a timely manner. The CMT minute was attached at Appendix B to the report.

All Capital schemes, including those that were entirely grant funded, would continue to be reported to Cabinet and would require Cabinet approval for inclusion in the Capital Programme in line with the Council's Constitution.

The procedure for signing a grant application or acceptance of an allocation would not be changed and would remain that only Directors or Heads of Service could sign on behalf of the Council following the use of delegated authority by the Managing Director, in consultation with the Leader.

Should Cabinet agree to the proposal, the external funding framework outlined within the Council's Financial Procedure Note attached at Appendix C to the report would be updated.

This was a matter for Executive decision

RESOLVED –

(1)    T H A T delegated authority be granted to the Managing Director, in consultation with the Leader, to authorise submission and acceptance of future external funding grant applications and allocations; and to enter into the associated grant terms and conditions.

(2)    T H A T Capital schemes, partially or entirely grant funded continue to be reported to Cabinet for inclusion within the Capital Programme.  

(3)    T H A T current established processes continued to be used to ensure grant applications and allocations were considered by the External Funding Steering Group and Corporate Management Team prior to submission and acceptance.

(4)    T H A T the relevant Financial Procedure Note be updated to reflect the change set out in resolution 1 above.

Reason for decisions

(1)    To allow grant funding applications to be submitted and accepted on a timely basis in light of issues identified with the current external funding framework.

(2)    To include schemes within the Capital Programme in line with the Council's Constitution.

(3)    To ensure effective oversight of the use of grant funding across all Council directorates was maintained.

(4)    To reflect the change as set out in resolution 1.

C2893        METRO CORRIDOR SCHEMES (R) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT) -    

Cabinet was apprised on the current position following feasibility and design of the Metro Corridor Schemes for Culverhouse Cross to St Athan (via Cardiff Airport) and Dinas Powys to Cardiff, and considered a way forward for their delivery within the timescales set by Welsh Government.

Welsh Government (WG) previously accepted two proposals from Sewta (South East Wales Transport Alliance) for bus priority schemes within the Vale of Glamorgan that were identified as a result of Sewta's Bus Strategy.  Measures relating to bus priority considered the entire journey along these corridors and included bus stop upgrades, junction improvements and bus lanes amongst the proposals.

WG set aside £1m for works on the Culverhouse Cross to St Athan corridor and £1.5m for the Dinas Powys to Cardiff corridor.  These were indicative financial allocations to fund works which needed to be delivered by 31 March, 2016.

Officers and Consultants carried out feasibility and design works on the Culverhouse Cross to St Athan Corridor and engaged Bellway Homes as an adjoining developer to assist with the Culverhouse Cross Scheme.  This enabled a scheme to be designed that considered buses as part of the highway works that were being progressed for the new housing development at the former HTV site.

The Culverhouse Cross to St Athan Corridor Report recommended works that could be broken down into six scheme elements as shown on the Map at Appendix 1 attached to the report. All of the Schemes had been traffic modelled, to ensure there was no detrimental effect on moving traffic, and that they had positive bus journey benefits.  

Capita Consultants were engaged in February 2015 to carry out feasibility works on the Dinas Powys to Cardiff corridor.  Their final report was completed in May 2015. The Dinas Powys to Cardiff Corridor Report recommended significant works and could be broken down into four scheme elements as shown by the Map attached at Appendix 2 to the report.

In relation to both Corridors, much progress had been made in terms of discussing options and funding with WG. The report recommended that negotiations continued with WG with a view to deliver all elements of the scheme that could be implemented during 2015/16 and those elements of the scheme (if any), that could be carried forward with funding to beyond the end of March 2016.

The delivery of the Metro Schemes would be funded in full by WG Grants and Section 106 funding.  Works at Culverhouse Cross would be delivered and funded partly by the developer of the housing scheme and partly by the Grant where there were specific bus priority measures to be delivered.  The Grant was subject to approval by WG. S106 funding that was available from the HTV site was required to implement the pedestrian footway / cycleway scheme from Walston Castle to Brooklands Terrace to allow economies of scale. Should the funding not be forthcoming, the works would not be delivered.

This was a matter for Executive decision

RESOLVED –

(1)    T H A T the proposed Metro bus solutions for the Culverhouse Cross to St Athan and the Dinas Powys to Cardiff Corridor schemes be endorsed.

(2)    T H A T the progress made in relation to the availability of funding to deliver the Culverhouse Cross to St Athan Corridor bus schemes be noted, and the work currently being delivered be endorsed.

(3)    T H A T the Director of Environment and Housing Services be requested to continue discussions with Welsh Government over the terms of any funding award, having particular regard to the level and timing of scheme delivery and ensuring that all expenditure incurred by the Council will be reimbursed by Welsh Government grant funding and / or utilising S106 Planning Obligation funding.

(4)    T H A T pursuant to resolutions 2 and 3 above, delegated authority be granted to the Director of Environment and Housing Services in consultation with the Leader, the Head of Finance and Managing Director, to consider the terms of any Grant funding offer and if appropriate, accept any Grant offer related to the Metro Corridor Schemes.

(5)    T H A T it be agreed that any funding awarded by Welsh Government, and any S106 monies utilised, be added to the Capital programme.

(6)    T H A T the purchase of land at Quarry Road Roundabout required in connection with the scheme be agreed, and that the Section 151 Officer be granted delegated authority to negotiate and agree Heads of Terms with the landowner in respect of the acquisition, and that the Head of Legal Services be authorised to prepare and enter in to the appropriate legal documentation to carry into effect the terms of the transaction.

(7)    T H A T the use of S106 funding from the HTV site to deliver the footway / cycleway from Walston Castle to Brooklands Terrace be agreed to ensure economies of scale were made when implementing the scheme.

(8)    T H A T a further study be carried out to establish the effect of the Metro proposals on traffic through the Dinas Powys to Cardiff Corridor prior to implementation of any scheme on this Corridor, with the results of that Study being reported back to Cabinet in due course, and that any funding agreed for this study be accepted with the same delegated authority as resolution 4 above, including the necessary addition to the Capital programme.

Reason for decisions

(1)    To enable Cabinet to consider the recommendations from the two Metro reports: Culverhouse Cross to St Athan Bus Priority Measures and Dinas Powys to Cardiff Corridor Bus Priority Measures.  To allow the proposals to progress within the timescales required to use the Grant funding.

(2 - 4)    To ensure that the funding could be obtained, released and schemes delivered within the proposed timescales of the report. To tie in with other schemes that were being implemented to allow for economies of scale.

(5)    To amend the Capital Programme.

(6)    To acquire the necessary land to deliver the Quarry Road Roundabout improvement works.

(7)    To ensure best use of the funds available.

(8)    To ensure that the proposals were traffic modelled in order that they offered the best solutions prior to agreeing their delivery. To consider the affect on traffic whilst implementing any schemes and to agree acceptance of the relevant funding.

C2894        CORPORATE POOL CAR SCHEME PROGRESS REPORT (VLS) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – CORPORATE RESOURCES) -     

Cabinet was updated on the staff pool car pilot and authority was sought to introduce an authority wide pool car scheme.

Prior to April 2015, the vast majority of Council staff were not provided with access to a Council vehicle, which contributed to an annual "grey fleet" mileage claim of over 1.2 million miles per year. Staff mileage claims amounted to £776,593 in the financial year 2013/14, spread between 1124 claimants, with an average claim amount of £690.92. A key recommendation of the Council's Transport Savings Programme (approved by Cabinet in January 2015 Minute No. C2623 referred) required the setup of a corporate pool car scheme in order to reduce the cost of "grey-fleet" mileage.

In February 2015, following the decisions of Cabinet, the Council's Corporate Management team endorsed the establishment of a pilot driver registration and pool car scheme, to commence April 2015, including approval of a Draft Policy attached at Appendix A to the report. Administration support for the scheme was provided by the Business Support team in Visible Services, including the costing of one current full time administrator into the projected savings. Registration onto the scheme also provided employees with the opportunity to make online bookings for the corporate pool car scheme.

In order to support the pilot, a fleet of 40 small passenger vehicles were procured via a short term hire arrangement and situated at 4 key sites (Civic Offices, Alps Depot, Dock Office, Court Road Depot). The Council scheme was projected to save approximately £80,000-£100,000 per annum, although those projections relied upon the purchase, as opposed to hire, of cost efficient pool vehicles.

The initial 3 month pilot for the Driver Registration and Pool Car scheme had concluded. Approximately 884 users had registered for the Driver Scheme, enabling checks of insurance and licence requirements for "grey fleet" drivers to be carried out with increased accuracy and efficiency and in accordance with VOSA guidelines.

There was an average monthly saving of £11,854, and, whilst the reduction in the mileage rate paid via claims from £0.65 to £0.525 could be attributed to £7,453 of the average monthly saving, an average monthly saving of £4,401 could be directly attributable to the use of pool cars as indicated in the savings column shown shaded in Appendix B attached to the report. Savings were limited by the current spot hire arrangement for the pool car fleet. The potential to purchase vehicles outright via either a recognised procurement framework or via e-auction, in order to support the scheme in the long term, would enable an estimated additional £6,000 per month to be saved.  

Consideration had been given to the most cost effective way of procuring appropriate vehicles. Due to the value of the purchase the procurement exercise would be subject to OJEU thresholds. To expedite the process consideration was given to using an established framework agreement rather than running a full tender process internally. Crown Commercial Services (CCS), an executive agency of UK government, had an established framework for this category of fleet which exploited economies of scale by combining the purchasing power of the UK public sector.

As such it was proposed that the use of a reverse electronic auction was the most cost effective way of procuring the required vehicles. CCS auctions were set at 6 monthly intervals with the next available auction scheduled for 22 October, 2015.  Should this date not be met the next auction was not until February 2016.  As the current vehicles were costing £17,500 per month in total to operate, it was proposed that Cabinet exercise the use of urgency procedures in order to realise the maximum savings via an earlier procurement process.

Several barriers remained before full take-up of the scheme could be achieved. During the pilot scheme, exemptions were provided without significant challenge to the chief officers requesting or supporting the exemption on behalf of their staff. In addition, the lack of vehicles available at high mileage user bases such as Barry Hospital had limited the potential uptake of the scheme to certain user groups. All exemption requests plus all instances where a booking request was refused due to unavailability of a vehicle were recorded by the Business Support team (a summary was provided at Appendix D attached to the report). In addition, a recent sample audit of mileage claims had determined that certain mileage claims were being submitted and approved without being accompanied by an authorising exemption code, as required by the pool car policy.

Based on the feedback received via a Staffnet survey, staff reaction to the implementation of the scheme had been largely favourable. However, several learnings had been taken from the pilot implementation and such learnings had either been designed into the existing pilot Scheme or would be incorporated into the permanent version of the scheme.

Expansion of the scheme over the next 6 months would require the further integration of departments and locations currently exempt from the Scheme. The Business Support team were working with department heads to determine the best approach to achieve this integration.

Changes to the scheme were also required to address the issue that a large percentage of the vehicles remained under utilised during evenings/nights/weekends and bank holidays. Potential consideration would be given to the expansion of the Scheme to include private hire of vehicles to Council staff, organised groups or members of the public, similar to the development of a car club and mini-bus hire schemes by Edinburgh University and Monmouth County Council respectively.  Any such proposals would be put forward at a later date for consideration by Cabinet.

At the meeting the Cabinet Member for Visible and Leisure Services gave thanks to officers for working on progressing this successful scheme.

Also, the Director for Environment and Housing Services commented that the Council needed to be proud of this scheme which in its infancy was not without its challenges. Currently, the scheme was used by 50% of staff who drive to undertake Council business and the target was to reach 75% take up.

One of the main reasons that staff who drive to undertake Council business were not using the scheme was due to access to vehicle bases and he ensured that this would be addressed by extending coverage of the scheme.

The Director concluded that other Councils were interested in coming to the Vale after hearing about the success of the scheme to see it in operation.

This was a matter for Executive decision

RESOLVED –

(1)    T H A T the conclusion of a successful pilot of the corporate pool car scheme be noted, and the permanent implementation of the scheme be approved.

(2)    T H A T delegated authority be granted to the Director of Environment and Housing Services to procure, via reverse electronic auction, 40 small, fuel efficient vehicles in order to realise the full savings required from the scheme, with the option of purchasing up to a further 10 vehicles to meet future requirements of the scheme. The vehicles required are to be funded from the current Vehicle Replacement Budget for 2015/16.

(3)    T H A T in terms of resolution 2 above, the use of article 13.09 of the Council's Constitution (urgent decision procedure) be authorised.

(4)    T H A T a further report be presented to Cabinet during the first 6 months of 2016 to detail progress of the pool car scheme, including expansion of the scheme to locations currently exempted.

Reason for decisions

(1)    To provide the Council with a permanent arrangement for its corporate pool car scheme, in order to reduce the cost of mileage being undertaken by its "grey fleet", to ensure that employees were appropriately licenced and insured and to support the previously agreed withdrawal of the Essential Car Users allowance.

(2)    To provide the necessary authority to procure via reverse electronic auction a fleet of vehicles capable of maximising the savings required from the scheme, replacing the current passenger vehicle hire agreement.

(3)    To ensure that the next Electronic auction deadline for submission of specification of 16 September, 2015 was met in order that the maximum vehicle procurement savings can be realised.

(4)    To maximise the number of staff that were able to benefit from access to the corporate pool car scheme.

C2895        STRENGTHENING ARRANGEMENTS FOR MONITORING AND EVALUATING THE WELLBEING OF CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE (CSS) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – LIFELONG LEARNING) -    

Authority was sought to enter into contracts with The Viewpoint Organisation (Europe) Limited ("Viewpoint") to develop an online wellbeing assessment service and accompanying software licence and, if necessary, Sussex University regarding use of wellbeing questions.

The work stream around the social and emotional wellbeing of pupils in the local authority originated from the National Behaviour and Attendance Review (NBAR) Project.  This was a research project in which a small number of pupils in Bridgend and the Vale of Glamorgan were self-assessed online using two questionnaires developed by Sussex University: 'My Feelings' and 'My Class'.  Pupils with lower wellbeing were identified, interventions provided and the impact then evaluated.  The research had now ceased.  The work within the Local Authority had continued.

The Estyn inspection in May 2013 recommended that the Local Authority "strengthen arrangements for monitoring and evaluating the wellbeing of children and young people."  A number of actions were taken to meet this recommendation and during the first monitoring visit, Estyn stated that "generally, the local authority monitors well the impact of the NBAR project on pupil wellbeing.  However, the full impact of improvements in wellbeing on teaching and learning, and on the broader outcomes for pupils in their daily lives, are not evaluated effectively.”

The IT platform which the Local Authority used to assess pupil wellbeing, created and managed by the University of Sussex, was not intended for such large scale nor focused use. A great deal of time and effort had been spent on trying to overcome the barriers to progress the action necessary to address the Estyn recommendation.  A number of options were investigated.

The IT platform provided by Viewpoint offered a reliable system of online assessment of pupil wellbeing, which could be accessed through a number of devices (PC, tablet, phone) with an interface that was very child centered.  It was also secure, pupils could be identified and their progress over time monitored.  Further to this, it enabled the import of other data held by the Local Authority (attainment, attendance, FSM etc.) and correlation of this data with the wellbeing data.  Schools were able to prioritise relevant wellbeing interventions in order to improve learning, attendance etc. and to assess the impact of these interventions.

All eligible schools within the Local Authority were engaged with the existing wellbeing work.  They were familiar with, understood and trusted the existing assessment questionnaires ‘My Feelings’ and ‘My Class’.  The questionnaires were considered to be valid measures of pupil wellbeing.  In order that schools remained engaged, and that pupil wellbeing continued to be assessed in a valid and reliable way, the report proposed to use the existing questionnaires within the new Viewpoint IT assessment platform. The questionnaires were developed by the University of Sussex.  The university had agreed for their use in order to support the work of the Local Authority in improving pupils' wellbeing, though it had concerns about any commercial interests of Viewpoint.  Contractual provisions around the limitations of Viewpoint's commercial interests were necessary in order for the university and the Local Authority to be reassured that any profit made by Viewpoint was reasonable and proportional.  Without this concern being covered the university would not consent to the Local Authority continuing to use the ‘My Feelings’ and ‘My Class’ questionnaires and this would reduce the impact of work in meeting the related Estyn recommendation.

This was a matter for Executive decision

RESOLVED – T H A T delegated authority be granted to the Director of Learning and Skills, the Cabinet Member for Children's Services and Schools and the Head of Legal Services to agree the terms of contracts with Viewpoint and, if necessary, the University of Sussex and to enter into the associated contract(s).

Reason for decision

To agree contracts with Viewpoint and, if necessary, Sussex University so as to strengthen the arrangements for monitoring and evaluating the wellbeing of children and young people.

C2896        DISPOSAL OF SURPLUS LAND, THE OLD HOCKEY PITCH, OFF COLLEGE ROAD, BARRY (CSS) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – CORPORATE RESOURCES) -

Cabinet was requested to declare the unused land known as the old hockey pitch off College Road, Barry, surplus to requirement and approval was sought to determine the preferred method of its disposal.

The old hockey pitch was constructed from a specialist sports material and used by Ysgol St Curig, but had not been used for many years. The land was severely overgrown and would require major investment to be reinstated as a sports pitch. The exact location of the land was shown on Appendix A as attached to the report.
Access was off College Road but was very narrow at approximately 3.0m wide which was only sufficient for a single track entrance lane. The area of the site was in the region of 7550m².

The land had been previously offered to Parks and Grounds Maintenance in line with the Council's disposal procedures, but was not progressed as no viable use could be identified.

The annual cost was estimated to be less than £250 per annum but as the site became more overgrown it was anticipated that maintenance costs would increase. Additionally, while the current annual cost was relatively small, the site remained a liability from a property management perspective.

In order to allow this land to be fully utilised, Cabinet was requested to approve that the Head of Finance appoint marketing agents to advise on the most appropriate method of disposal and thereafter market the land for disposal. This would be in accord with best practice and the Council's disposal Protocol.

At the meeting the Deputy Leader commented that he was pleased to see this report as the land in question was situated within his ward and had been left derelict for some time. He further commented that he called the Council’s Visible Services Directorate on many occasions to cut back the overgrowth.

This was a matter for Executive decision

RESOLVED –

(1)    T H A T the unused Council owned land, known as the old hockey pitch off College Road, Barry be declared surplus to requirements of the Learning and Skills Directorate.

(2)    T H A T delegated authority be granted to the Head of Finance, in consultation with the Head of Legal Services and the Leader, to appoint agents and to seek their views to determine the preferred method of disposal of the surplus land and dispose of the land in the most appropriate manner.

(3)    T H A T the Head of Legal Services be authorised to sign and execute the appropriate disposal documentation.

Reason for decisions

(1)    To allow the disposal of the land, thereby relinquishing liabilities attached to the land.

(2)    To ensure that best consideration would be achieved through the preferred disposal route.

(3)    To provide the necessary authority.

C2897        APPOINTMENT OF THREE LOCAL AUTHORITY (LA) GOVERNORS TO COGAN NURSERY SCHOOL GOVERNING BODY OUTSIDE THE NORMAL PROCESS (CSS) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – LIFELONG LEARNING) -

Approval was sought to appoint three Local Authority (LA) Governors to Cogan Nursery School Governing Body outside the normal appointment process with immediate effect.

During the summer recess, the Chair and Vice Chair of the governing body of Cogan Nursery School resigned from office. This reduced the governing body numbers which were already low.  The governing body only had 5 governors and consequently was lacking in parent, staff, LA and community governors.

There were a number of complex employee relation issues at the School, including disciplinary and grievance matters, which required the assistance of the governing body and the continuity of support from either the Chair or the Vice Chair of the governing body.  These issues had been on-going for some time and by their nature needed to be progressed as soon as possible in order to comply with employment legislation and to act in the best interests of the governing body.

A meeting of the governors took place on 26 August, 2015 to provide an update in relation to the resignations received over the summer recess.  No appointments to the positions of Chair and Vice Chair were able to be made at this meeting. In order to expedite a fuller complement of governors, the Head of Governor Support had found three potential candidates for the appointment of LA governors.

Normally, such appointments would be made by the LA Governor Appointments Panel whose recommendations were confirmed by Cabinet.   In respect of the candidates proposed by the report, whilst they had not completed application forms, all were already governors and as such had demonstrated skills, experience, contribution and aptitude which was consistent with the factors the Advisory Panel would normally take account of.

This was a matter for Executive decision

RESOLVED – T H A T the appointment of three Local Authority Governors, named in paragraphs 10 and 11 of the report, to Cogan Nursery School Governing Body outside the normal process with immediate effect, be approved.

Reason for decision

To appoint three Local Authority Governors to consider a number of outstanding matters under personnel processes which require immediate attention.

C2898        MATTER WHICH THE CHAIRMAN HAD DECIDED WAS URGENT

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the following matter, which the Chairman had decided was urgent for the reason given beneath the minute heading be considered.

 

C2899        ARMED FORCES COMMUNITY COVENANT GRANT (L) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – CORPORATE RESOURCES) -

Matter which the Chairman had decided was urgent by reason of the need to enable the grant expression of interest to be submitted by the required deadline.

Approval was sought for the submission of an expression of interest for an Armed Forces Community Covenant grant bid, relating to the Ministry of Defence (MOD) St Athans Play/Family Area Redevelopment project.   

On 23 June 2011, the Council launched a Community Covenant.  The aims of the Community Covenant were to:

  • Encourage local communities to support the Armed Forces Community in their areas.
  • Nurture public understanding and awareness amongst the public of issues affecting the Armed Forces Community.
  • Recognise and remember the sacrifices faced by the Armed Forces Community.
  • Encourage activities that help to integrate the Armed Forces Community into local life.
  • Encourage the Armed Forces Community to help and support the wider community whether through participation in events and joint projects, or other forms of engagement.  

The aim of the Community Covenant Grant Scheme was to financially support projects at the local level, which strengthen the ties or the mutual understanding between members of the Armed Forces Community and the wider community in which they live.

The Council had been approached by the Ministry Of Defence at St Athans to submit an expression of interest on its behalf for a Play/Family Area Redevelopment project.  The project would include the creation of a Multi-Use Games Area, a skateboard park, an outdoor gym and junior play park, a family barbecue area and outdoor table tennis.  Attached at Appendix 1 to the report was a draft layout of the area.

The park would be specifically located to help encourage links between the civilian and military communities and to enhance their relationships through the medium of play.

The deadline for the submission of the expression of interest was midday on 24 September, 2015.

This was a matter for Executive decision

RESOLVED –

(1)    T H A T the submission of an expression of interest to the Armed Forces Community Covenant grant, totalling £240,000, relating to the Ministry Of Defence St Athans Play/Family Area Redevelopment project be approved.

(2)    T H A T if the bid referred to in resolution 1 above is successful, the grant be accepted and the Council enter into an appropriate Deed of Grant with the Ministry Of Defence.

Reason for decisions

(1)    To apply for the grant.

(2)    To accept and enter into the necessary legal agreement.