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CABINET

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 14 December, 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. J. Johnson

               

C3007                                MINUTES -

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 30 November, 2015 be approved as a correct record.

 

C3008                 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

The following declarations of interest were received:

  

Councillor S.C. Egan

Agenda Item 9 - Reshaping Services Programme Update

Reason for Declaration -

Member of Barry Town Council. He had received dispensation from the Standards Committee to speak and vote on this matter.

Councillor L. Burnett

Agenda Item 9 - Reshaping Services Programme Update

Reason for Declaration -

Member of Penarth Town Council. She had received dispensation from the Standards Committee to speak and vote on this matter.

Councillor G. John

Agenda Item 9 - Reshaping Services Programme Update

Reason for Declaration -

Member of Llantwit Major Town Council. He had received dispensation from the Standards Committee to speak and vote on this matter.

Councillor B.E. Brooks

Agenda Item 9 - Reshaping Services Programme Update

Reason for Declaration -

Member of Barry Town Council. She had received dispensation from the Standards Committee to speak and vote on this matter.

 

C3009                                THE GAMBLING ACT 2005 - STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES 2016 - 2019 (REF) -

 

The Licensing Committee on 1 December, 2015 considered the above report of the Director of Environment and Housing Services.

 

Committee received a report which sought approval for the amendments to the Draft Statement of Principles and which recommended that the amendments be referred for comment to Cabinet on 14th December, 2015 and then to Council for final decision on 16th December, 2015.

 

Local Authorities had a duty under the Gambling Acct 2005 to prepare a Statement of Principles before each successive period of three years.

 

The current Statement of Principles was approved by the Council on 5th December, 2012 and was effective for the period 31st January, 2013 to 30th January, 2016.

 

The Draft Statement of Principles for the period 31st January, 2016 to 30th January, 2019 had been subject to public consultation between 7th September, 2015 and 9th November, 2015.

 

The Gambling Act 2005 placed a duty on Local Authorities to develop a Statement of Principles that promoted the three licensing objectives:

  • Preventing gambling from being a source of crime and disorder, being associated with crime and disorder or being used to support crime
  • Ensuring that gambling was conducted in a fair and open way.
  • Protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited.

The Draft Statement of Principles had been subject to an extensive consultation with members of the trade, responsible authorities, current licence holders and Members. A list of consultees and the way in which they were consulted was attached at Appendix A to the report.

 

The Draft Statement of Principles was also available on the Vale of Glamorgan Council's website.

 

The consultation ended on 9th November, 2015 and four responses had been received and responded to in relation to the Draft Statement of Principles.

 

A list of the amendments to the Draft Statement of Principles and responses to the consultation was attached to the report at Appendix B.

 

The Statement of Principles 2016 - 2019 would need to take effect on 31st January, 2016. The Statement of Principles would be published and made available on the Vale of Glamorgan Council's website and at Vale of Glamorgan libraries. The Statement of Principles notice will be placed on the Vale of Glamorgan website and public noticeboard. The Statement of Principles and notice will be available a minimum of four weeks in advance of the effective date, which would be 3rd January, 2016.

 

Having considered the report, it was

 

RESOLVED -

 

(1)                T H A T the amendments to the Draft Statement of Principles be approved.

 

(2)                T H A T the replies made to consultees who had responded to the Draft Statement of Principles and shown in Appendix B to the report be endorsed.

 

(3)                T H A T the amended Statement of Principles be referred for comment to Cabinet on 14th December, 2015 and then to Council for decision on 16th December, 2015.

 

Reason for decisions

 

(1-3)                To ensure a comprehensive and workable Statement of Principles is in place and also to ensure the Vale of Glamorgan Council complies with the requirements of the Gambling Act 2005.

 

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After this item was presented, the Cabinet Member for Visible and Leisure Services explained that minor comments had been received from the consultation process and that they had been addressed in the report. As such, he was happy to second the acceptance of the report and refer it to Council for approval.

 

Cabinet, having considered the recommendations of the Licensing Committee

 

RESOLVED -

 

(1)                T H A T the amended Statement of Principles as referred to in the report be agreed.

 

(2)                T H A T the report be referred to Council for final approval.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1-2)                To ensure a comprehensive and workable Statement of Principles was in place and also to ensure the Vale of Glamorgan Council complied with the requirements of the Gambling Act 2005.

 

C3010                                AUDITOR GENERAL FOR WALES: ANNUAL IMPROVEMENT REPORT 2015 (REF) -                               

 

The Audit Committee on 16 November, 2015 considered the above report of the Managing Director.

 

Members were advised of the results of the assessment by the Auditor General for Wales of the Council's arrangements to secure continuous improvement.

 

The Wales Audit Office's (WAO) Annual Improvement Report of the Council was contained within the report attached at Appendix 1 to the report. The report presented a picture of improvement over the past year. For 2014-15, the WAO's improvement assessment was based around three themes: performance, use of resources and governance.

 

Overall, the Auditor General had concluded that "the Council continues to perform well in the context of national indicators and continues to manage its finances effectively: its forward planning arrangements and track record suggest it is well placed to secure improvement in 2015-16". A total of 13 proposals for improvement had been made.

 

In terms of the Council's performance, the Annual Improvement Report concluded that:

  • The Council's overall performance as measured by national indicators was comparatively strong. During 2014-15, results for 20 of the national statutory indicators placed the Council's performance in the top quartile compared to the rest of Wales.
  • Reporting did not provide a clear and balanced picture of performance and of the outcomes being achieved in respect of the Council's priorities. It was proposed that where necessary changes would be integrated with the development of a Corporate Plan during 2016. Linked to this, the Annual Improvement Report found that the Council has improved the speed of delivery of Disabled Facilities Grants, but its evaluation focuses on a narrow range of information and service planning is not sufficiently strategic.
  • The Council was delivering environmental health services at above minimum standards despite a cut in budgets and a significant fall in staff numbers.
  • The Council was making progress in addressing some of its Estyn inspection recommendations. Follow up monitoring in December 2014 against two recommendations found that the Authority was making good progress. The final monitoring visit will take place in November 2015.
  • The Council was improving in some aspects of social care and had appropriate strategies for dealing with future demand, as highlighted by the CSSIW Annual Review and Evaluation of Performance 2013-14 published in October 2014. CSSIW outlined that the Council could demonstrate committed leadership with detailed plans in place to deal with areas where further change was necessary.
  • The Council monitors the level of and reason for Discretionary Housing Payments, but its monitoring arrangements did not enable it to establish the impact being achieved.
  • The Council continued to improve its Welsh speaking provision including staff training and working closely with Urdd Gobaith Cymru.

In terms of the Council's use of resources, the Annual Improvement Report concluded that:

  • The Council had complied with its responsibilities relating to financial reporting and use of resources and the Council had a good track record of delivering a balanced budget within year and monitoring service specific savings is undertaken by Scrutiny Committees. The Council has an effective process for developing its future financial plans and is maintaining a robust approach to its Medium Term Financial Plan and is preparing for significant financial challenges in the future.

In terms of the Council's governance, the Annual Improvement Report concluded that:

  • The Council's Reshaping Services Strategy conforms to good practice and demonstrates that it is following the right processes to achieve transformation.
  • The governance, accountability and management arrangements for overseeing whether the Council is meeting its safeguarding responsibilities to children are mostly adequate, but some improvements could be made.

Having considered the report, it was

 

RESOLVED -

 

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

 

(2)                T H A T the report be referred to Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) and Cabinet.

 

Reason for decisions

 

(1&2)                To provide for scrutiny and review of the Auditor General's Annual Improvement Report.

 

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At the meeting, the Managing Director noted that some issues raised by the Auditor General's Annual Improvement Report, in particular P1 and P2 of the report, would be addressed in Cabinet Agenda Item 7, to be considered later on the agenda.

 

Cabinet, having considered the recommendations of the Audit Committee

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the contents of the report be noted and that Officers be thanked for their hard work, resulting in such a positive report.

 

Reason for decision

 

To note the contents of the report and thank Officers for their work.

 

C3011                                DRAFT CORPORATE PLAN 2016-20 (L) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE - ALL) -

 

Endorsement was sought of the draft Corporate Plan 2016-20 attached at Appendix B to the report to be used for the basis for consultation.

 

The current Corporate Plan was approved in 2012 and set out a vision for the Council up to 2017 and was structured around eight corporate priorities. In June 2015 Cabinet agreed that a review of the current plan should be undertaken and agreed a way forward and a timetable for the review (Minute C2822 referred).

 

In April 2015 Welsh Government passed the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act. The Act placed a duty on the Council to carry out sustainable development which meant the process of improving the economic, social and cultural well-being of Wales. The Act required the Council to set and publish well-being objectives by April 2017 that maximised its contribution to achieving the well-being goals which were attached as Appendix A to the report.

 

The Draft plan attached at Appendix B to the report had been drafted in parallel with the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) and during a time of significant and sustained pressure on public finances. The priorities for the next four years had been developed in full recognition of the financial climate and the achievability of the actions associated. There was also a recognition that in light of future budgetary decisions there would be a need to review and potentially amend the plan. Increasingly the Council would need to work with its partners and communities to identify alternative ways of delivering services.

 

The draft plan set the scene in terms of key facts and figures about the Vale of Glamorgan as an area, the Council as an organisation and the Council's vision and values. The plan proceeded to demonstrate the factors that had influenced the new plan's creation which included:

  • information regarding what had been achieved through the Corporate Plan 2013-17
  • an overview of local needs e.g. demographic trends
  • available resources and the need to reshape services to meet future challenges
  • details of staff engagement activities
  •  engagement with partners and residents
  •  the importance of partnership working
  •  the Council's duties under the Act.

The delivery element of the draft plan was framed around four well-being outcomes and there were two well-being objectives to support each outcome.

 

The final parts of the plan demonstrated the Council's approach to strategic planning and recognition of the need to have robust arrangements in place. This was followed by details of actions linked to the internal workings of the Council which would be instrumental to ensuring the Council had the foundations in place to promote sustainable development. The plan concluded with details of how the plan would be monitored.

 

In terms of consultation the plan had been developed in tandem with the MTFP and it was proposed that a joint consultation was undertaken on the budget and the draft Corporate Plan. This would enable stakeholders to comment on the Council's proposed priorities with a better understanding of the available funding. The consultation would include an on-line questionnaire, circulation of the draft Corporate Plan to a range of stakeholders including the Local Service Board, Vale 50+ Strategy Forum, Town and Community Councils, Youth Cabinet and all five Scrutiny Committees.

 

To ensure the consultation was fully accessible to all Vale residents, hard copies would be available on request and respondents would be able to submit their views online, in writing and by telephone. There would also be a number of face-to-face engagement sessions with community groups that represented residents with protected characteristics, as defined under the Equality Act (2010).

 

The timetable below details key dates for consulting on the draft plan, approving and publishing the plan.

  

 Activity  Date
 Cabinet  14 December, 2015
 Consultation   December 2015 - February 2016
 Five Scrutiny Committees (Draft Plan)  4 - 12 January, 2016
 Amendments to Plan post consultation  January/February 2016
 

Corporate Resources Scrutiny (Amended

Plan)

 9 February, 2016
 Cabinet  22 February, 2016
 Council  2 March, 2016
 Translation  March 2016
 Publication  April 2016

                                                                                         

After this item was presented, the Cabinet Member for Regeneration commented that she was pleased this report was being bought forward as it was an ambition of the Council to increase community participation and the Corporate Plan was a core document in this regard. She considered it important to consider this matter in the context of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and this report was an important step forward.

 

The Managing Director confirmed that the outcomes of the Corporate Plan were aligned with the requirements of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015. They had been assessed in order to ensure the outcomes and key priorities were appropriate for the Vale of Glamorgan in moving forward. He further commented that it was important to recognise that the Council had to focus on priorities during austerity. Finally, he gave thanks to Officers and Members for their work so far on this important document and looked forward to the consultation process.

 

The Leader noted that there remained much work to do, and once the report had been through an Equality Impact Assessment it would be reported to Council for approval. It was acknowledged that the Draft Corporate Plan would help the Council achieve the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 requirements.

 

At the meeting the Cabinet Member for Visible and Leisure Services agreed with his colleagues and passed on his congratulations to all Officers in bringing this report forward.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

Cabinet, having considered the report and all the issues and implications contained therein

 

RESOLVED -

 

(1)                T H A T the Draft Corporate Plan 2016-20 attached at Appendix B to the report, and timetable for proposals for consultation as outlined in the report be approved.

 

(2)                T H A T the Draft Corporate Plan 2016-20 report and appendices be referred to all relevant Scrutiny Committees for their comments.

 

(3)                T H A T the Draft Corporate Plan 2016-20 report and appendices be referred to all relevant stakeholders; and members of the public be encouraged to respond as part of the consultation process.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)                To ensure the Council had an effective and up to date Corporate Pan which reflected the work being undertaken across the Council to improve the quality of life in the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

(2-3)                To enable timely and meaningful consultation and scrutiny of the draft Corporate Plan 2016-20.

 

C3012                                PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT FRAMEWORK (L) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE - ALL) -

 

Cabinet was requested to approve changes to the Council's Performance Management Framework as the basis for consultation with Scrutiny Committees.

 

The Council had a strong performance management track record as evidenced in previous Annual Improvement Reports (AIR) by the Wales Audit Office. However, the recent AIR for 2014/15, identified the following two proposals for improvement:

  • P1 Refine performance reporting arrangements to ensure data was presented in a way that provided a balanced picture of performance and of the outcomes being achieved.
  • P2 Improve reporting so that cross-directorate/cross-service activity was considered in the context of delivery of priorities rather than completion of service-based actions.

The Council's Performance Management Framework (PMF) set out the way in which the Council undertook performance management across the Council. The framework enabled the Council to regularly assess, report and scrutinise performance in order to support continuous improvement of its activities.

 

The PMF brought together the Council's key planning, monitoring and evaluation processes through an integrated suite of documents. These included the Community Strategy, Corporate Plan, Service Plans, Team Plans, and Personal Development Plans and demonstrated the contribution made at a variety of levels of the organisation to the Council's priority outcomes. These were supported by other key strategies and plans such as the Medium Term Financial Plan, Workforce Plan and Corporate Asset Management Plan.

 

In view of the significant new challenges faced by the Council going forward, it was considered essential that the Council took stock of its position and reassessed what its priorities should be in the medium term. This had necessitated a review of the Corporate Plan, which was reported to Cabinet separately on the agenda.

 

The Council's draft revised Corporate Plan had considered and reflected the requirements of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and identified a series of well-being outcomes for the Council. Within each well-being outcome, well-being objectives had been identified including associated actions aimed at achieving the outcomes and to articulate the priorities for the Council over the next four years. A sponsoring Director would take responsibility for each of the outcomes and would be responsible for coordinating activity to achieve the well-being objectives, improving accountability for well-being outcomes and recognising the cross-cutting nature of the objectives.

 

The report outlined that the Corporate Plan would be monitored on a quarterly basis by an overall Corporate Health Scorecard report and supplemented by specific quarterly reports for each of the four well-being outcomes.

 

"Corporate health" would be illustrated from a number of perspectives: Performance against well-being outcome/objectives, resources (finance/savings, people, assets and ICT), customer focus and risks. The report would incorporate a Red, Amber, Green (RAG) status for each well-being outcome to give snapshots of overall progress against the well-being outcomes. A brief position statement would be provided for the quarter covering the well-being outcomes and corporate health performance overall. A brief summary of achievements by outcome would be provided as well as areas of underperformance/ key challenges across the corporate health perspectives being highlighted with remedial actions to address these going forward. The quarterly overview report would be presented in a dashboard/scorecard format designed to make the information contained as accessible as possible.

 

Four Quarterly Well-being Outcome & Objectives Scorecard Reports would demonstrate progress against each of the well-being outcomes and associated objectives. Informed by performance data collected from Service Plans, the reports would demonstrate the cross-cutting nature of the well-being outcomes and draw together evidence from a range of service areas. A brief position statement from the sponsoring Director would be provided for the quarter. A brief summary of achievements by objective would be provided and areas of underperformance/ key challenges highlighted, including a description of any remedial actions required to address these going forward.

 

The measures included amending the Scrutiny Committee structure from May 2016 to align it with the well-being outcomes of the Corporate Plan. Such a change to Scrutiny structures would require the approval of Council prior to the Annual General Meeting in May 2016. The Terms of Reference for the existing "service based" Scrutiny Committees would be reviewed to reflect the Council's four well-being outcomes and to support the cross-cutting nature of the new plan.

 

In addition to the four well-being outcome-based Scrutiny Committees, the existing Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) would be replaced with a Committee responsible for Corporate Resources & Performance. In addition to the Corporate Resources & Performance Scrutiny Committee, the Council would therefore have the following Scrutiny Committees in operation:

  • An Inclusive & Safe Vale Scrutiny Committee
  • An Active & Healthy Vale Scrutiny Committee
  • An Environmentally Responsible & Prosperous Vale Scrutiny Committee
  • An Aspirational & Culturally Vibrant Vale Scrutiny Committee

The proposals did not consider any changes to the composition of the Committees. However, the proposals were not merely a change in name of the Committee but rather they represented a refocusing of scrutiny activity on the way in which the Council's actions were delivering against its intended outcomes.

 

Quarterly Well-being Outcome & Objectives reports would be reported to the relevant committee, with the Overall Corporate Health Scorecard Report being presented to the Corporate Resources & Performance Committee.

 

The Council would continue to produce Service Plans. However, rather than being at Directorate level, the plans would be developed at Head of Service level and would focus on the contribution made to the Council's well-being outcomes & objectives, in addition to the way in which the service managed its resources. It was intended that this would help reduce the size of the Service Plans and improve the focus of the plans on specific priority areas for the Council.

 

The report contained the timetable for implementation of the revised PMF, which would be phased in over the 2016/17 annual performance planning and reporting cycle.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

Cabinet, having considered the report and all the issues and implications contained therein

 

RESOLVED -

 

(1)                T H A T the proposals for changes to the Council's Performance Management Framework as described in the report as the basis for consultation with Scrutiny Committees be approved.

 

(2)                T H A T the report be referred to the Scrutiny Committees (Corporate Resources, Lifelong Learning, Economy & Environment, Housing & Public Protection and Social Care & Health) for their consideration.

 

(3)                T H A T Cabinet receive a further report in due course setting out final proposals for changes to the Council's Performance Management Framework, informed by the consultation activity.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)                To authorise consultation on the proposed changes to the Council's Performance Management Framework with Scrutiny Committees.

 

(2)                To provide Scrutiny Committees with an opportunity to consider the proposals and feedback any comments to Cabinet.

 

(3)                To update Cabinet on the outcome of the consultation process with Scrutiny Committees and receive final proposals upon which to make a determination.

 

C3013                                MEDIUM TERM FINANCIAL PLAN 2015/16 TO 2018/19 (L) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE - CORPORATE RESOURCES) -

 

Approval was sought for the draft Medium Term Financial Plan 2015/16 to 2018/19 attached at Appendix 1 to the report.

 

The Budget Strategy for 2016/17 was approved by Cabinet on 27 July, 2015, (min no. C2865 referred). This established a baseline for services to prepare initial revenue budgets for 2016/17 based on the cost of providing the existing level of service and approved policy decisions and included any net savings targets set. It also set out the timetable to be followed and requested Directors to continue to progress the Reshaping Services Programme.

 

The purpose of the Medium Term Financial Plan was to link the Council's strategic planning process with the budget process and to ensure consistency between them. It was a mechanism that attempted to match future predicted resources and expenditure, identify potential shortfalls and provide the financial framework for the next 3 years. It was not the budget setting process that allocated detailed budgets for services. Its purpose was to inform members and to suggest a way of dealing with the future financial pressures facing the Council.

 

This Medium Term Financial Plan, therefore, attempted to:

•                Identify the main financial implications resulting from the increased pressure falling upon Council services, including pay and price inflation, legislative and demographic changes;

•                Estimate the reduced financial resources that would be available to the Council to meet these demands;

•                Match the predicted expenditure and resources and provide a framework to develop a financial strategy towards achieving a balanced budget for the next 3 financial years.

 

Initial estimates presented the following picture showing a projected savings target between 2016/17 and 2018/19 of £30.9m, comprising of £17.8m of savings already identified and £13.1m yet to be allocated.

 

 

Matching Predicted Resources to Expenditure

2016/17

£000

2017/18

£000

2018/19

£000

Real Term Decrease in Resources

7,020

5,119

4,979

Cost Pressures

8,397

3,682

1,735

Identified Savings

(12,170)

(5,652)

(0)

Additional Shortfall

3,247

3,149

6,714

 

The matching exercise indicated that there remained £3.2m of savings to be identified for 2016/17 and this was after already identifying £12.2m. The initial revenue budget proposals for 2016/17 were presented to Cabinet on 16 November, 2015 and reported a £6.4m shortfall for 2016/17. The reason for the lower shortfall being reported as part of the Medium Term Financial Plan was firstly due to the inclusion of an assumed increase in Council Tax of 2%, which equated to £1.2m, although clearly this was purely for indicative purposes and the final increase could well vary. Secondly, the assumption in the Plan that schools would only be funded at the Minimum Funding Commitment, while the budget proposals identified the full cost pressures for schools which totalled a further £2m.

 

The achievement of the identified savings was by no means guaranteed, but failure to deliver this level of savings would significantly impact on the Council achieving its required financial strategy which would now be based on an estimated reduction of £30.9m by 2018/19.

 

The report noted that in arriving at this shortfall, there would inevitably be additional cost pressures arising between now and 2018/19 which were as yet unknown and little provision had been made for service development. Although savings would continue to remain a major expectation of future budgets, it was unlikely that the Council would seek to or be able to fund all cost pressures.

 

As a result of the high level of savings required, there would be difficulties in maintaining the quality and quantity of services without exploring opportunities for collaboration and alternative forms of service delivery. The only realistic option facing the Council in future years was successful delivery of the programme of reshaping and transforming services.

 

To ensure that the budget set for 2016/17 continued to address the priorities of Vale residents and the Council's service users, the budget setting process would incorporate engagement with a range of key stakeholders.

 

Options which were recommended within the Plan for exploration as part of the 2016/17 budget process were:

•                Considering the results of the budget engagement process in determining priorities for future savings and service delivery;

•                Review the appropriateness of the current financial strategies for Education and Schools, Social Services and Other Services;

•                Review feasibility of increasing the use of the Council Fund Reserve as part of the financial strategy;

•                Reviewing the level of cost pressures with a view to services managing and reducing demand and mitigating pressures;

•                Services funding their own residual cost pressures through reviewing their existing budgets and revised/alternative means of service provision;

•                Services meeting their own pay and price inflation etc. through reviewing their staffing structure in line with changes to service delivery and workforce planning requirements;

•                Reviewing the priorities for funding statutory and non-statutory services, including establishing minimum levels of service provision; and

•                Pursuing options for reshaping services including means of alternative service delivery in order to attempt to maintain the level of service while reducing the cost of provision.

 

It was clear, however, that whatever strategy was taken forward it would involve the use of the Council Fund and other reserves to allow the specific savings required to be developed, consulted upon and implemented. The strategy set out in the 2015/16 final revenue budget proposals assumed the further use of a minimum of £4m Council Fund Reserve between 2015/16 and 2016/17. As the savings targets set for these years were based on this assumption, any reduction in the use of the Reserve would increase the level of savings required. However, the Medium Term Financial Plan had identified a significant increase in the level of savings required. As such, the report considered it necessary to increase the use of reserves in the short term subject to the Council Fund reserve balance not falling below a figure which the Section 151 Officer deemed to be a reasonable minimum.

 

From a Capital Programme perspective, an expected decrease in the Council's General Capital Funding allocation in 2016/17 and specific capital grants from WG, coupled with limited capital receipts, continued to give the Council little room for maneuver in progressing its priorities in this area.

 

A Capital Programme had been agreed for the period 2015/16 to 2019/20. Any amendments would be dependent on future funding levels and for the most part were expected to relate to changes in phasing of the existing approved programme. However, unless contractually committed, formal bids would need to be made for all capital schemes, irrespective of whether they were present in the current Capital Programme.

 

At the meeting the Section 151 Officer reiterated that this report pulled together all the known information at this point in time and that as soon as more information became available, the predictions contained within the Medium Term Financial Plan would be updated.

 

The Deputy Leader commented that he was concerned about the financial situation facing Welsh Councils, with a number of unknown factors that could affect budgets combined with unavoidable cost pressures.

 

The Leader agreed with his colleague, stating that the Council was still in a difficult financial situation, however this report would help move the Council forward.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

Cabinet, having considered the report and all the issues and implications contained therein

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the contents of the draft Medium Term Financial Plan for 2015/16 to 2018/19 attached at Appendix 1 to the report be endorsed and the Plan be referred to the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) for information.

 

Reason for decision

 

To facilitate the integration of medium term financial planning into the corporate planning and budget process.

 

C3014                                RESHAPING SERVICES PROGRAMME UPDATE (L) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE - CORPORATE RESOURCES) -

 

Cabinet was provided with an update on the progress of the Reshaping Services Programme.

 

Cabinet approved the Reshaping Services strategy on the 3 November, 2014. The Strategy was developed following a programme of consultation and engagement with key stakeholder groups, including briefing sessions for elected members and officers.

 

The aim of the strategy was 'to reshape the Council to enable it to meet the future needs of citizens of the Vale of Glamorgan within the context of unprecedented financial challenges.' The objectives of the strategy were:

•                To identify alternative ways of delivering services which provided better                 outcomes for citizens and/or more efficient means of delivery.

•                To meet the future financial challenges while mitigating the impact of cuts on service users.

•                To develop the Council and its partners to ensure they were able to meet future challenges.

 

The Reshaping Services strategy provided a framework for the Council to work within for the next three to five years. The programme was the Council's proactive response to central government's austerity drive that had created a period of unprecedented financial pressure in the public sector. The Council's budget had been under pressure for a number of years with £35million in savings identified between 2010/11 and 2015/16. Further substantial savings would be necessary in future years. Failure to deliver the required level of savings would not be an option for the Council. According to many analysts the period of austerity was likely to continue for councils and the public sector.

 

Cabinet approved the proposals for the management of the Reshaping Services change programme in January 2015. Since then work had commenced in line with the process described in that report. Where appropriate, reports had been presented to Cabinet (and other Committees) throughout the year on specific Reshaping Services activity.

 

The Reshaping Services programme comprised of three inter-related project workstreams as follows:

•                Service Specific Workstream Projects

•                Corporate Workstream Projects

•                Programme Activity

 

Stage one of the challenge process was completed in the autumn of 2014 and was overseen by the challenge group which comprised the Leader, Deputy Leader and portfolio holder of the service area. The challenge group was supported by the Managing Director, Head of Finance, Head of Human Resources, Head of Performance & Development, the relevant Service Director and Executive Director of the Vale Council for Voluntary Services.

 

Following the first round of the challenge process, Cabinet approved proposals for those services which should proceed in the first two tranches of projects to stage two of the process (a more in-depth assessment of the service's potential to be reshaped). Tranche one was targeted at delivering savings in 2016/17 and tranche two in the 2017/18 financial year. The services making up these tranches were identified on the basis of:

•                their alignment with the evaluation criteria contained in the Reshaping Services strategy;

•                the opportunities for alternative ways of working highlighted in the baseline assessments and during challenge meetings;

•                a financial appraisal of the scale of potential savings; and

•                an assessment of the potential impact of changes to the service. (The impact assessment was based on the consideration of the risk of undertaking - or not undertaking - the project, the potential impact on customers/partners, legislative limitations and the extent to which the proposal meets Council priorities).

 

Cabinet also approved the proposal that existing projects which aligned with the Reshaping Services strategy should be included in the first tranches of projects, for example the transportation review and social services budget programmes. In addition, where reshaping activity was identified in service areas but excluded on the basis of the relative scale of the potential financial savings, these had been included in other projects in order that the opportunities were not foregone; examples of which include a review of allotment and public conveniences services.

 

The projects included in the first tranches of the service specific workstream were as follows:

  

Tranche One

Tranche Two

Additional Learning Needs and Inclusion

Catering

Library Services

Transportation

Building Maintenance

Highways

Planning

Regulatory Services

ICT (to be run over tranches 1 and 2)

Property projects (corporate office building rationalisation and cleaning & security)

Social Services Budget & Collaborative Working Programmes

Learning & Skills Strategy and Resources

Parks & Grounds (Maintenance and client services)

Housing Services (Landlord responsibilities)

Building Services - Cleaning & Security services

Refuse & Recycling and Street Cleansing

Corporate Services

 

The report to Cabinet in January 2015 indicated that work on tranche two projects would commence in January/February 2016 in order that, as far as possible, savings resulting from these projects would be realised from the 2017/18 financial year. It was proposed that the challenge process be run again during 2016 in order to identify future tranches of projects.

 

The third element of the Reshaping Services programme was the corporate arrangements that had been put in place to manage the programme and ensure its efficient delivery.

 

Programme Management

 

As approved by Cabinet in January 2015, programme governance arrangements had been implemented to manage the overall programme. A programme board had been established to manage the overall programme in all its aspects. Chaired by the Managing Director, members of the Programme Board were the Leader, Corporate Management Team, the Executive Director of the Glamorgan Voluntary Services, Penarth Town Councillor Mike Cuddy (TCC representative) and the Operational Manager - Performance & Policy who was undertaking the role of programme manager.

 

The Programme Board had met throughout the year to monitor the progress being made by projects within each of the workstreams. A regular report (All Projects Summary Highlight Report) had been produced which summarised progress, illustrated the financial targets and provided a summary of progress by each project as well as documented programme level risks and issues. The All Projects Summary Highlight Report was published on Staffnet after each Programme Board meeting in order to provide updates for elected Members and staff.

 

Multidisciplinary project teams had been established for all Reshaping Services projects, comprising representatives from service areas and corporate services.

 

Regular updates were provided to the recognised trade unions as part of the monthly Change Forum meetings and the Council's Joint Consultative Forum. In addition, more detailed consultation continued to take place on a tranche-by-tranche basis.

 

There was recognition that the issues raised by the Reshaping Services strategy were new to many elected members, council officers and partners. The programme was considering fundamentally different ways of delivering services and this would require a change in culture for the Council. In response to this challenge, a series of organisational development activities had been undertaken.

 

At the meeting the Cabinet Member for Visible and Leisure Services commented that it was important that progress on the Reshaping Services Programme was made with Town and Community Councils. He further commented that dialogue needed to take place with relevant Town and Community Councils to agree how they would be involved in the reshaping process and where the finances would come from to undertake the provision of extra services, for example, if Town and Community Councils would have to raise their precepts.

 

The Cabinet Member for Children's Services and Schools commented that he had read the minutes of a voluntary sector presentation from the Community Liaison Committee and raised concerns there was a misconception that reshaping services would simply consist of block grants being paid to the voluntary sector from the Council.

 

The Deputy Leader commented that all easy solutions had been exhausted and it was hard to isolate single schemes and areas that could be managed through other arrangements, and that this would bring extra pressure on Town and Community Councils to work differently in the future. He further commented that all Councils would have new obligations under the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and looked forward to more communication and information on how the process would be successful.

 

The Cabinet Member for Housing, Building Maintenance and Community Safety noted that all options had to be considered, including working cross-Council, as there was no easy answer. She drew attention to the newly created shared Regulatory Services between Bridgend, Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan Council, which was proving successful and provided a good example of cross-Council working.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

Cabinet, having considered the report and all the issues and implications contained therein

 

RESOLVED -

 

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

 

(2)                T H A T a copy of the report be sent to all elected Members, Clerks of Town and Community Councils, members of the Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee, Community Liaison Committee and the Local Service Board for their information and in order to provide an update on the progress being made on the Reshaping Services Programme.

 

(3)                T H A T the proposal to rename the Town & Community Council Project to "Town & Community Council and Voluntary Sector" Project be approved.

 

(4)                T H A T the inclusion of a new project to develop digital working opportunities be approved.

 

(5)                T H A T the detailed service reviews described in the report be reported back as required to Cabinet for approval prior to implementation.

 

(6)                T H A T quarterly progress reports be brought to Cabinet from 2016 to provide updates on the progress of the Reshaping Services programme.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)                To note the progress of the Reshaping Services programme.

 

(2)                To provide the Committees, groups and the Local Service Board with an update on the progress being made on the Reshaping Services programme.

 

(3)                To formally reflect the value and contribution of the role that the third (not for profit) sector has in the programme and in particular this project.

 

(4)                To ensure that current activity relating to digital opportunities across the Council was coordinated and consistently managed to maximise the potential benefits in this area.

 

(5)                To ensure Cabinet approved any proposed changes resulting from Reshaping Services projects as appropriate.

 

(6)                To ensure Cabinet were kept informed of the progress being made on the programme.

 

C3015                                QUARTER 2 PERFORMANCE REPORT 2015/16 (L) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE - ALL) -

 

Cabinet was presented with performance results for quarter 2, 1 April - 30 September, 2015-16.

 

Service Plans for 2015/16 were designed to focus on the achievement of key objectives within each directorate which in turn contributed towards the achievement of identified outcomes in the Corporate Plan 2013-17, the Outcome Agreement 2013-2016 and the Improvement Plan Part 1 2015/16. Quarterly performance reports had been revised to reflect Service Plans and were designed to ensure the Council reported performance in the context of progress against its objectives.

 

The report provided a quick snapshot of each directorate's progress towards achieving the objectives contributing towards its service outcomes. It highlighted progress towards key actions in the Corporate Plan 2013-17, the Outcome Agreement 2013-16 and the Improvement Plan Part 1 2015/16 for which the Directorate had responsibility. The key areas of slippage were identified and the planned remedial action to bring these back on track.

 

A detailed report of the Council's overall performance by directorate for quarter 2 of 2015/16 was provided in Appendix 1 and hard copies were available in the Members room. Some of the key performance results were highlighted below:

 

Resources

 

Overall the Resources Directorate was well on track to achieve the objectives contributing to its service outcomes, with 83% of actions either completed or on track. Of the 43 remaining actions within the Service Plan, 1 was complete, 35 were on track, 3 had slipped, and 4 were not due to have started this quarter.

 

Visible Services

 

Visible Services remained on track to achieve the objectives contributing to its service outcomes, with 88% of Service Plan actions either complete or on track. Of the remaining 25 actions within the Service Plan, 1 was complete, 21 were on track, and 3 had slipped.

 

Social Services

 

The Social Services Directorate was on track to achieve the objectives contributing to its service outcomes, with 79% (22) of Service Plan actions currently either completed or on track. 5 (19%) actions had slipped this quarter.

 

Housing and Building Services

 

Housing and Building Services were on track to achieve the objectives contributing to its service outcomes with 72% of all Service Plan actions either completed or on track to be completed. 6 actions were reported slipped and 4 were not due to have started this quarter.

 

Development Services

 

The service was well on track to achieve the objectives contributing to its service outcomes, with 96% of actions currently either completed or on track. Of 44 Service Plan actions, 1 was complete, 41 were on track to be completed, 1 had slipped and 1 was not due to have started this quarter.

 

Learning and Skills

 

Overall, Learning and Skills was considerably on track to achieve the objectives contributing to its service outcomes, with 94% of actions currently either completed or on track. Of 35 actions, 4 had been completed, 29 were on track and 2 had slipped this quarter.

 

At the meeting the Managing Director commented that the Quarter 2 Performance Report had also been sent to the Corporate Management Team for the attention of Directors and to all Scrutiny Committees in relation to their individual service areas and this process allowed for remedial action to be undertaken if required.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

Cabinet, having considered the report and all the issues and implications contained therein

 

RESOLVED -

 

(1)                T H A T the service performance results and remedial actions to be taken to address service underperformance as outlined in the report and the appendix (available online and in the members room) be noted.

 

(2)                T H A T the progress to date in achieving key outcomes as outlined in the Corporate Plan 2013-17, the Outcome Agreement 2013-2016 and the Improvement Plan Part 1 2015/16, be noted.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)                To ensure the Council is effectively assessing its performance in line with the requirement to secure continuous improvement outlined in the Local Government Measure (Wales) 2009.

 

(2)                To consider the quarter 2 performance results as at 30 September, 2015 in order to identify service areas for improvement.

 

C3016                                REVIEW OF THE ANNUAL LEAVE PURCHASE SCHEME AND VOLUNTARY REDUCTION IN WORKING HOURS SCHEME (L) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE - CORPORATE RESOURCES) -

 

Cabinet was updated on the annual leave purchase scheme and authority was sought to implement the scheme on a continuing annual basis. Cabinet was also updated on the voluntary reduction in working hours scheme and authority was sought to continue the scheme on an ongoing basis.

 

The annual leave purchase scheme enabled employees to voluntarily increase their annual leave allowance by buying additional leave (subject to certain conditions). The main advantage was that the scheme offered a flexible, employee benefit whilst also providing financial savings for the Council. 132 employees took the opportunity to purchase additional annual leave this year. 17% of these purchased 10 days annual leave (pro rata for part-time employees based on their contracted hours) and the remaining 83% purchased 5 days (pro rata for part-time employees). A consultation exercise was undertaken, requesting feedback from participants on the scheme and also from their managers. The result was an overwhelmingly positive response to the scheme from participants.

 

The voluntary reduction in working hours scheme provided employees with the opportunity to apply for flexible working (subject to certain eligibility criteria) to suit their personal circumstances. Over the last year 14 employees had applied to reduce their hours through the voluntary reduction in working hours scheme and such applications had been accepted. This resulted in a potential total reduction in 93.1 hours per week.

 

The trial of the annual leave purchase scheme would, over the course of the financial year result in a projected saving of £91,769 to the Council. With regard to the voluntary reduction in working hours scheme, very modest savings had been made (in the region of £1,500). The scheme had however given services the ability to work more flexibly with their employees, whilst also contributing to budget savings. It continued to be a positive means to help employees effectively achieve a work/life balance.

 

After this item was presented the Head of Human Resources noted that the Review of Annual Leave Purchase Scheme and Voluntary Reduction in Working Hours Scheme had made modest savings this year and they were expected to achieve more the following year due to increased awareness and advertising.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

Cabinet, having considered the report and all the issues and implications contained therein

 

RESOLVED -

 

(1)                T H A T the successful results of the trial of the annual leave purchase scheme be noted and the re-launch of the scheme, as set out in Appendix A as attached to the report, be approved for 2016/2017 and on an annual basis thereafter.

 

(2)                T H A T the results of the voluntary reduction in working hours scheme be noted and that the scheme, as set out in Appendix B as attached to the report, be approved to continue on an ongoing basis.

 

(3)                T H A T delegated authority be granted to the Head of Human Resources, in consultation with the Leader of the Council, to make any amendments to the schemes (as referred to in resolutions 1 and 2 above) in future years.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)                To help contribute to current savings targets across all service areas and increase flexibility for both the Council's Services as well as employees.

 

(2)                To help support a flexible working environment and contribute to the current savings targets across all service areas.

 

(3)                To support the continued refinement of the two schemes in future years.

 

C3017                                RENEWAL OF AGENCY STAFF CONTRACT (L) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE - CORPORATE RESOURCES) -

 

Consent was sought to a short-term extension of the Council's existing agency contract pending conclusion of a tendering exercise as part of the National Procurement Service (NPS) All Wales Framework agreement and approval was sought to the selection of a new Agency Staff supplier by means of the All Wales Agency Framework Agreement.

 

The current contract for the supply of agency staff was implemented in January 2014 following a mini competition between two providers. The tendering process was conducted under a Framework Agreement which was commissioned and administered by the former Welsh Purchasing Consortium. The Framework Agreement had since transferred to the control of the National Procurement Service (NPS) and had been recently retendered and awarded in compliance with EU and UK Procurement regulations. In 2014 Randstad was successful in securing the contract with the Vale of Glamorgan Council and provided over 70% of agency staff under a Master Vendor relationship.

 

The existing contract under the Framework Agreement with Randstad would expire on 31 January, 2016 and in its place the NPS had undertaken a new procurement exercise on behalf of the Welsh Public Services for the provision of agency staff. The outcome of the NPS procurement exercise was that six agencies, including the Council's existing supplier, had been identified as potential contenders for the provision of agency staff.

 

Each of the agencies had been asked to tender for the provision of staffing under the following headings:

Professional;

Management;

Technical & Admin;

Social Care;

ICT;

Construction Trades & Operatives; and

Education Support Staff (this also includes Supply Teachers).

 

There was a separate agreement under the NPS Framework Agreement for School Teaching Staff which had been awarded to New Directions as the only supplier. Individual schools had the ability to use this agreement and also retain the option to use alternative agencies.

 

The following Councils were engaged in a collaboration under the terms of the NPS Framework Agreement to procure the support of an organisation to assist with the supply of agency staff as follows :-

Pembroke;

Carmarthen;

Bridgend;

Newport;

Torfaen; and

Monmouth.

 

The Vale of Glamorgan had been invited to join this collaboration to secure a new agency provider and to increase the potential for 'economies of scale' savings.

 

After considering the various options, a project group considered that the most appropriate approach would be to join the NPS led collaborative approach for most staff groups (as set out in paragraph 19 of the report) but to run a separate but concurrent mini competition for the supply of residential care home agency staff.

 

At the meeting the Head of Human Resources commented that, while the use of Agency staff could be seen as contentious, it provided a useful tool to support departments. He further commented that utilising the National Procurement Service with other Local Authorities would allow the Council to take advantage of economies of scale.

 

In support of the Head of Human Resources, both the Cabinet Member for Children's Services and Schools and the Director of Social Services commented that Agency Services were useful for the Social Services department, as they allowed the Council to provide instant and flexible care.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

Cabinet, having considered the report and all the issues and implications contained therein

 

RESOLVED -

 

(1)                T H A T a three month extension to the existing agency contract with Randstad for a period from 31 January, 2016 to 30 April, 2016 be approved.

 

(2)                T H A T the progression and conclusion of a further collaborative procurement arrangement in accordance with the National Procurement Service All Wales Framework Agency Agreement for the provision of agency staff be approved.

 

(3)                T H A T delegated authority be granted to the Head of Human Resources in consultation with the Leader, Head of Legal Services and Head of Finance to enter into an agreement with the successful supplier (following the conclusion of the procurement exercise covered in resolution 2 above) and in relation to the supply of agency staff not within the scope of resolution 4 below.

 

(4)                T H A T delegated authority be granted to the Head of Human Resources in consultation with the Leader, Director of Social Services, Head of Legal Services and the Head of Finance to progress a mini competition tendering exercise for the procurement of a supplier for residential care home staff as a separate contract.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)                To allow sufficient time for a managed and detailed tendering approach to the renewal of the contract in accordance with the compliant National Procurement Service Framework and European Union and UK procurement requirements.

 

(2-3)                To reflect Welsh Government collaboration expectations and to realise anticipated increased administrative efficiencies, cost and associated benefits through a collaborative procurement approach.

 

(4)                To ensure that appropriate arrangements are in place to support services within residential care homes and fulfil our statutory obligations.

 

C3018                                PROPERTY INSURANCE RENEWAL REPORT (L) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE - CORPORATE RESOURCES) -

 

Consent was sought to renew the long term agreement for property insurance as the Council's existing arrangements were due to expire on 31 March, 2016.

 

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

 

The Crown Commercial Service's (CCS) framework was used in the Council's retender exercise for insurances other than property at the end of the 2013/14 financial year, at which time the Council's Audit Section gave that tender exercise a substantial assurance review. As such the report proposed to use that framework for the tender exercise to renew the property insurances.

 

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

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

Cabinet, having considered the report and all the issues and implications contained therein

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the Head of Finance be granted delegated authority, in consultation with the Leader of the Council, to award a contract for the Council's Property Insurance to the most economically advantageous tenderer.

 

Reason for decision

 

To ensure the Council provides adequate insurance cover in order to protect its financial integrity in the event of a major incident occurring and ensures that day-to-day financial activities are protected from the potential effect of insurance claims.

 

C3019                                WELSH LANGUAGE STANDARDS - COMPLIANCE NOTICE FOR THE COUNCIL (L) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE - CORPORATE RESOURCES) -

 

Cabinet was informed of the compliance notice received in respect of Welsh Language Standards for the Council and approval was sought for the actions necessary as a consequence.

 

The Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 made provision for the specification of standards of conduct in relation to the Welsh language. These replaced the Welsh language schemes provided for by the Welsh Language Act 1993. The 2011 Measure enabled Welsh Ministers to specify standards by authorising the Welsh Language Commissioner to issue a "compliance notice" to those organisations to which the Measure applied. Draft compliance notices were issued to all Councils earlier in 2015; after considering responses, the Commissioner issued final compliance notices on 30 September, 2015.

 

The compliance notice for the Vale of Glamorgan Council was attached at Appendix A to the report. It related to standards in the following classes of activity: Service Delivery, Policy Making, Operational, Promotional and Record Keeping. A number of standards were listed under each class, with the requirement that they were achieved by the Council either by 30 March, 2016 or 30 September, 2016.

 

Conforming in full with the requirements of the compliance notice would be a significant challenge for the Council. A number of actions would need to be taken such as gathering the information regarding language preferences of customers and making it easier for Welsh speakers to deal with the Council in Welsh where that was their wish. There was potentially a substantial rise in the need for translation, whether in written form or as instantaneous translation in meetings, and that would bring additional costs. It was difficult to estimate these costs because the demand could not yet be foreseen.

 

As part of our approach to the standards, the Council would need to consider such issues as awareness training for elected members and staff, and briefings for staff on how to implement the standards. A corporate working group involving all Directorates had already been set up to progress the matter.

 

At the meeting the Managing Director noted that the Council needed to be more proactive in this area, focusing particularly on areas of first contact. However he commented that the Vale of Glamorgan Council was not alone in being in this position, as similar compliance notices had been sent to a number of Local Authorities across Wales. The Managing Director further commented that the Council did have a right to appeal, which other Local Authorities were looking to exercise, however he considered it more appropriate to work with the Commissioner on this matter. Finally he noted that appeals were not time sensitive, so the Council could appeal later if difficulties were being encountered.

 

The Cabinet Member for Children's Services and Schools also agreed with the Managing Director, commenting that the Council was offering increased Welsh language provision for children, and many adults were increasingly interested in accessing Welsh information. He also noted that the Council was working with Welsh organisations, such as Menter Bro Morgannwg, to develop a growing base of Welsh speaking children and adults.

 

The Cabinet Member for Visible and Leisure Services commented that, while other Councils had shown reluctance, the Welsh language legislation had been taken forward and the Vale of Glamorgan Council had a duty to act. He noted that the Council faced a difficult challenge to fulfil the compliance notice within the timescales provided, however progress could still be made. Finally he commented that he would like to see funding be made available from Welsh Government to support Councils on this matter.

 

The Leader agreed with his colleagues, noting that a cost pressure bid had been made to assist with compliance, it being noted that compliance with the notice was statutory.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

Cabinet, having considered the report and all the issues and implications contained therein

 

RESOLVED -

 

(1)                T H A T the Welsh Language Standards compliance notice received for the Council from the Welsh Language Commissioner be noted.

 

(2)                T H A T the actions necessary as a consequence be approved.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)                To ensure that members are aware of the statutory compliance notice.

 

(2)                To enable the Council to discharge its responsibilities in respect of the compliance notice.

 

C3020                                PROPOSAL TO AMALGAMATE CADOXTON NURSERY AND CADOXTON PRIMARY SCHOOLS AND EXTEND THE AGE RANGE OF CADOXTON PRIMARY SCHOOL FROM 4 TO 11 TO 3 TO 11 YEARS (CSS) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE - LIFELONG LEARNING) -

 

Approval was sought to consult stakeholders on a proposal to create a 3 to 11 year primary school through the amalgamation of Cadoxton Nursery and Primary schools.

 

A report requesting approval to consult on the amalgamation of Cadoxton Nursery and Primary Schools was considered by Cabinet on 19 October, 2015. At the meeting the Cabinet Member for Children's Services and Schools tabled a statement from the Chair of Governors of Cadoxton Nursery School, and in light of the tabled information the report was deferred for further consideration of the proposal. The report had been revised in response to comments put forward in the statement.

 

Over the past 10 years the Council had sought to move towards a primary school model for 3 to 11 years education by amalgamating separate infant and junior schools where there had been an opportunity to do so. Cadoxton Primary School was established from the amalgamation of the infant and junior schools in 2002. At that time it was decided that the nursery should not be included as part of this process of amalgamation. In the light of experience in other primary schools which had nursery classes, the development of the Foundation Phase curriculum and continuing pressures on the schools budget, the report reconsidered this decision.

 

The proposal would provide the following potential benefits:

  • The establishment of a single leadership team and governing body would result in the removal of duplication of management and governance functions.
  • The streamlining of management and administrative functions, as well as the ability to arrange joint contracts and service level agreements for building and other support services would result in available funding being utilised more effectively.
  • Duplication of specialist posts such as Additional Learning Needs Coordinator and Child Protection Officer would be removed enabling more effective use of resources.
  • Where parents had children of both nursery and primary ages, amalgamation of the nursery and primary school would make it easier to engage with parents. Parents would only need to familiarise themselves with one set of policies and one set of communications.
  • An amalgamation would enable strengths present in the existing separate schools to be combined and contribute to the already high quality provision offered at both schools. A consistent education philosophy would be put in place for children for up to 9 uninterrupted years of education, thereby minimising the potential for disruption during transition from nursery to the school.
  • There would be consistent behaviour management strategies resulting in clear expectations and a shared ethos which was understood by children, parents and carers throughout the primary and early years' stages.
  • The provision for pupils with Additional Learning Needs (ALN) would continue to be identified at an early age as it was in the nursery school. The proposal would support a coordinated approach to planning for the needs of vulnerable pupils across the Foundation Phase.
  • The proposal would provide staff with continuing professional development opportunities by enabling them to gain experience in an 'all through' Foundation Phase and key stage 2 thereby improving their career options.

The report reviewed options for amalgamation and considered that there were more advantages in securing the amalgamation by extending the age range of one school and discontinuing the other because it would minimise the disruption in relation to the governance, leadership, staffing and policy at one school.

 

The Welsh Government School Organisation Code stated that the Local Authority had to "act in accordance with the Code" as determined by the School Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act 2013. Section 48 of the 2013 Act required that before school organisation proposals were published, a consultation document had to be distributed to prescribed consultees and Welsh Ministers. The consultation document would be provided to all interested parties and allowed a minimum of six weeks to respond. The consultation period had to include a minimum of 20 school days. Meetings would be held during the consultation period to provide an opportunity for discussion and clarification. Appropriate consultation would take place with prescribed consultees and a range of individuals, the details of which were attached at Appendix A to the report.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

Cabinet, having considered the report and all the issues and implications contained therein

 

RESOLVED -

 

(1)                T H A T the Director of Learning and Skills, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Children's Services and Schools, be granted delegated authority to undertake consultation from 4 January, 2016 for a period of 6 weeks on the proposal to amalgamate Cadoxton Nursery and Primary Schools by:

  • Extending the age range of Cadoxton Primary School from a 4-11 to a 3-11 years school; and
  • Closing Cadoxton Nursery School.

(2)                T H A T the report be referred to the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) for its consideration as part of the proposed consultation process.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)                To comply with the requirements of the School Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act 2013.

 

(2)                To ensure that the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) is consulted on the proposal.

 

C3021                                PROPOSED 'FAMILY SUPPORT PLUS' PILOT PROJECT (CSS) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE - SOCIAL CARE AND HEALTH) -

 

Authority was sought to undertake a pilot project with an existing provider of family support services which would provide additional help to children and young people in need and their families within the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

The agenda established in Sustainable Social Services and mandated by the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 would have profound implications for the way in which children's social services were delivered. As part of its Commissioning Strategy for Children and Young People (attached at Appendix I to the report), the Vale of Glamorgan Council had already recognised the need to act to make more effective prevention, early intervention and crisis resolution services available, which supported families in difficult times and enabled them to stay together wherever it was safe to do so.

 

The Children and Young People Services Division had reviewed the services and support that helped the Council to meet the objective in our Commissioning Strategy to 'keep families together'. The review demonstrated that there were families where returning looked after children home or preventing a child becoming looked after required more intensive and longer-term input, focused on making positive changes in parenting capacity.

 

The report proposed that the service be commissioned from Action for Children. Action for Children (formerly known as National Children's Homes or NCH) had extensive experience of providing direct support to children and families. It was an established and trusted provider within the Vale of Glamorgan, having operated services here for many years. The project would comprise a level 3 support worker on a half-time basis, three level 2 support workers and managerial input from the local service manager for family intervention services in Action for Children. The existing contract monitoring arrangements would be extended to include the new service as a discrete project, with arrangements in place for sharing the range of financial, quantitative and qualitative information that met the monitoring requirement of the Council.

 

The report considered it appropriate that Action for Children provided the Family Support Plus project for a period of six months. This would allow sufficient time for the new service to be set up and for some initial evaluation of effectiveness (in terms of delivery, impact and outcomes for families and operation within the assigned budget). All Action for Children services took part in ongoing evaluation, including the views of the children and their families/carers who had used them. The project would be subject also to the Council's contract monitoring process. It was anticipated that the new service could be operational from 1 January, 2016. Action for Children staff worked under flexible hours contracts and some existing staff members already working within the current services (who were DBS checked and trained in models of parenting support) had requested additional hours. At the end of the pilot period, a full tender process would be undertaken for any future service provision in this area, if that was the Council's preferred option.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

Cabinet, having considered the report and all the issues and implications contained therein

 

RESOLVED -

 

(1)                T H A T the Council awards a contract for the pilot project for a period of up to six months to the current provider.

 

(2)                T H A T the Council's Contract Procedure Rules be waived to enable the award of the contract without obtaining the minimum number of quotations prescribed to allow the contract detailed in the report to be put in place.

 

(3)                T H A T delegated authority be granted to the Head of Legal Services, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Children's Services and Schools, to extend the contract referenced in resolutions 1 and 2 above.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)                To provide and evaluate a new intensive approach to working with children and families through the provision of direct support in the family home and other relevant settings.

 

(2-3)                To comply with the Council's Contract Procedure Rules and Financial Regulations.

 

C3022                                NEW DRAFT SUPPLEMENTARY PLANNING GUIDANCE - AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND PLANNING OBLIGATIONS (R) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE - ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT) -

 

Approval was sought for the new Draft Affordable Housing Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) which was attached at Appendix 1 to the report and new Draft Planning Obligations SPG which was attached at Appendix 2 to the report, to be submitted as evidence to the Planning Inspectorate as an examination document to the Deposit Local Development Plan (LDP). A further report would be brought to Cabinet on the status of the SPGs following the receipt of the Inspector's Report.

 

On 24 July, 2015 the Council formally submitted its LDP and associated supporting documents to the Planning Inspectorate for Examination in Public (E.I.P). This coincided with a 6 week public consultation on proposed Focused Changes arising from the previous Deposit LDP consultation.

 

In the interim period since submission of the LDP, the Council had produced a new Local Housing Market Assessment (LHMA 2015) which provided an updated picture with respect to housing across the Vale of Glamorgan. In light of the new evidence of affordable housing need, the Council had also updated the LDP affordable housing viability evidence to take account of the findings of the LHMA in respect of affordable housing tenures.

 

In response to the Focused Changes Consultation, the Welsh Government had submitted representations in respect of the Council's proposed changes to the LDP, including Policy MG4, which proposed a three tier affordable housing requirement. Within the representations the Welsh Government had requested further clarification on the status of the Council's Draft Affordable Housing SPG, which the Council had referred to in the written justification of the Deposit LDP.

In order to address the Welsh Government's representation, officers wished to submit as evidence in support of the LDP the draft affordable housing SPG (attached at Appendix 1 to the report) which clarified how the Council proposed to implement the affordable housing policies set out in the LDP.

 

The Council benefited from an adopted SPG on Planning Obligations which assisted officers when negotiating the terms of legal agreements on these topics and in particular, the likely contributions required for new major development proposals.

Since the last update in July 2012 (Cabinet meeting 23/07/12 Minute No. C1785 referred), there had been substantial changes in legislation, the Deposit Local Development Plan had been submitted to the Welsh Government and construction costs had increased. The revised Draft SPG took account of these changes and the most up to date evidence that had been used to inform both the LDP and the Draft SPG.

 

The Draft Planning Obligations SPG was attached at Appendix 2 to the report. The SPG was largely based on the existing SPG which provided a sound basis for seeking planning obligations and was equally applicable to the proposed LDP policies. The main changes to the Planning Obligations SPG were set out in the report.

 

The Head of Regeneration and Planning commented that these documents were for the inspector to consider and were not final. Should the inspector decide to amend them, they would be coming back to Cabinet for information and consideration.

 

The Cabinet Member for Housing, Building Maintenance and Community Safety welcomed the report and thanked Officers of the Planning and Housing department for their work on this matter, as she felt the Supplementary Planning Guidance better reflected the varied and diverse rural and urban areas of the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

Cabinet, having considered the report and all the issues and implications contained therein

 

RESOLVED -

 

(1)                T H A T the Draft Affordable Housing Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) and the Draft Planning Obligations SPG be approved for submission as evidence to the examination in public of the Council's Local Development Plan (LDP).

 

(2)                T H A T the changes to the S106 consultation procedure attached at Appendix 3 to the Draft Planning Obligations SPG be noted and endorsed.

 

(3)                T H A T a further report on any proposed changes to these SPGs be brought back to Cabinet after the Council has received the LDP Inspector's Report.

 

(4)                T H A T the SPGs be approved to be used as material considerations in relevant Development Management decisions with immediate effect.

 

(5)                T H A T the report be referred to Planning Committee for information.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)                To enable the Council to provide the appointed Planning Inspector additional evidence on how the Council proposes to implement the Affordable Housing and Planning Obligations Policies set out in the Deposit Vale of Glamorgan Local Development Plan.

 

(2)                To reflect the recent changes in organisational structure following the creation of the Regeneration and Planning Services within the Resources Directorate.

 

(3)                To allow Cabinet to amend the SPGs to reflect any changes to the relevant LDP policies following the Inspector's Report in due course.

 

(4)                To enable the Draft SPGs to be used for Development Management purposes in the current context where the UDP is time-expired.

 

(5)                To inform Planning Committee of the proposals.

 

C3023                                COWBRIDGE LIVESTOCK MARKET - APPROPRIATION OF LAND (R) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE - CORPORATE RESOURCES) -

 

Before presenting her report, the Cabinet Member for Regeneration tabled the following collective statement from Councillor Hunter Jarvie, Councillor Andrew Parker and Councillor Geoffrey Cox as the Cowbridge Ward Member Consultation response:

 

"I write on behalf of my two fellow ward members as well as myself as requested with our comments on the Report to Cabinet next Monday. We support the proposal for appropriation of the land, but feel that Cabinet should be apprised of the present situation regarding the due diligence being undertaken concerning the viability of the VMAG scheme, bearing in mind that the time limit for satisfying the requirements set out in the minutes of the cabinet meeting of 23rd March 2015 has just over three more months to run."

 

Approval was sought for the appropriation of the land identified as Areas X and Y on the plan in Appendix A as attached to the report, for the purposes of facilitating its comprehensive regeneration.

 

The Council had considered the existing use of the land at Areas X and Y and had effectively determined that the usage was inappropriate as it could be better used for the benefit of the wider community for the purposes of regenerating the land, for example in accordance with the Vale Market Action Group's Mixed Use Master Plan attached at Appendix B to the report (subject to Cabinet Minute C2710) which proposed a more efficient use of the land with the Livestock Market retained alongside various other land uses including new public car parking, a Market Hall and an older person's residential development; or other appropriate regeneration and land development schemes, subject to obtaining planning permission.

 

The Council had the power to hold land for various purposes. In order to use land for a purpose other than the existing use, the land had to be "appropriated" for a different use. Appropriation was a statutory process, permitting the Council to transfer land in its ownership from one use to another. Section 122(1) of the Local Government Act 1972 enabled the Council to appropriate land for any statutory purpose for which it was authorised to acquire land. Accordingly the Council had to determine that the land was no longer required for its current purpose and appropriate it for planning purposes.

 

Where land was appropriated for planning purposes it was then held by the Council under the statutory provisions of Part 9 of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990. The practical consequence (by virtue of Section 237 of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990, as amended by Schedule 9 of the Planning Act 2008) being that the erection, construction or carrying out of any maintenance of any building or work on the land and subsequent use of the land was authorised under those planning powers if the works were done in accordance with planning permission.

 

The Cabinet Member for Regeneration confirmed that due diligence would be undertaken when the Vale Market Action Group's proposal was submitted.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

Cabinet, having considered the report and all the issues and implications contained therein

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the appropriation of the land identified as Areas X and Y on the plan in Appendix A as attached to the report be authorised in accordance with Section 122(1) of the Local Government Act 1972 and Section 237 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended) for the purpose of enabling the regeneration of the land.

 

Reason for decision

 

To enable the regeneration of the land identified as Areas X and Y on the plan in Appendix A as attached to the report.

 

C3024                                HIGHWAY MAINTENANCE CONTRACTS: 2015 - 2016 (VLS) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE - ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT) -

 

Approval was sought to award: the Highway Surface Dressing Contract to Road Maintenance Services Ltd, the Micro Asphalt Surfacing Contract to Kiely Brothers, and extend the existing contract for Carriageway Resurfacing.

 

Tenders for the Highway Surface Dressing Contract 2015 / 2016 were invited from four contractors. The analysis of the tenders was based on a quality / price model with a 30/70 split respectively. Works in relation to the contract were due to commence early in 2016. Road Maintenance Services Ltd was identified as the most economically advantageous tender for the Highway Surface Dressing Contract (an analysis of tenders was attached at Appendix A to the report). It was anticipated the value of the contract for the year to 31 March, 2016 would be in the order of £200k.

 

Works associated with the Micro Asphalt Surfacing Contract 2015 / 2016 were now substantially complete for the 2015 / 2016 period and therefore retrospective permission was requested to agree the award of the contract for this particular work, which was subject to competition in line with the Council's financial regulations and standing orders. Tenders for the Micro Asphalt Surfacing Contract 2015 / 2016 were invited from four contractors. The analysis of the tenders was based on a quality / price model with a 30/70 split respectively. Kiely Brothers was identified as the most economically advantageous tender for the Micro Asphalt Surfacing (an analysis of tenders was attached at Appendix B to the report). It was anticipated the value of the contract for the year to 31 March, 2016 would be in the order of £200k.

 

Tenders had previously been invited for the Carriageway Surfacing Contract in 2014 / 2015 and awarded to Lafarge Tarmac. The Contract would normally expire on 31 March, 2015 but the Contract permitted extensions of up to a further two years with the agreement of the Council and relevant contractor via an annual review. There would be no increase in rates and prices under the contract to extend it to 31 March, 2016. The report considered this to be the most economically advantageous option. The anticipated spend to end March 2016 was up to £800k.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

Cabinet, having considered the report and all the issues and implications contained therein

 

RESOLVED -

 

(1)                T H A T the contract for Highway Surface Dressing be awarded to Road Maintenance Services Ltd until 31 March, 2016 with an option to extend for a further 2 years subject to a performance review.

 

(2)                T H A T the contract for Micro Asphalt Surfacing be awarded retrospectively to Kiely Brothers until 31 March, 2016 with an option to extend for a further 2 years subject to a performance review.

 

(3)                T H A T the contract for Carriageway Resurfacing 2014 / 2015 awarded to Lafarge Tarmac be extended until 31 March, 2016 with no price increase to current rates.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1-3)                To ensure compliance with the Council's Contract Standing Orders and Financial Regulations.

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