Top

Top

THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 27th June, 2012.

 

Present:  Councillor Eric Hacker (Mayor); Councillors Richard Bertin, Janice Birch, Rhiannon Birch, Jonathan Bird, Bronwen Brooks, Lis Burnett, Philip Clarke, Geoff Cox, Claire Curtis, Rob Curtis, Pamela Drake, John Drysdale, Kate Edmunds, Stuart Egan, Christopher Elmore, Christopher Franks, Keith Geary, Howard Hamilton, Val Hartrey, Keith Hatton, Nic Hodges, Jeff James, Gwyn John, Fred Johnson, Maureen Kelly Owen, Peter King, Kevin Mahoney, Anne Moore, Neil Moore, Andrew Parker, Bob Penrose, Anthony Powell, Audrey Preston, Rhona Probert, Gwyn Roberts, John Thomas, Ray Thomas, Rhodri Traherne, Steffan Wiliam, Margaret Wilkinson, Clive Williams, Christopher Williams, Edward Williams and Mark Wilson.

 

 

89            APOLOGY FOR ABSENCE -

 

This was received from Councillor Hunter Jarvie.

 

 

90            DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

91            MINUTES -

 

The minutes of the Annual Meeting held on 23rd May, 2012 were approved as a correct record.

 

           

92            ANNOUNCEMENTS -

 

The Leader drew Members’ attention to the Prosiect Gwyrdd update / briefing which had been tabled for Members’ information.  Members were asked to note that a briefing from Prosiect Gwyrdd officers had been arranged for Wednesday, 25th July 2012 at 17:00 in the Council Chamber.  The Leader encouraged all Members to attend what would be an important awareness-raising event. 

 

 

93            PETITIONS -

 

The following petitions were submitted and passed to the relevant Director:

 

(i)         A petition from Friends of Barry Beaches calling on the Council to urgently cancel plans to install parking “Pay and Display” meters along the Cold Knap (submitted by Councillor Claire Curtis).

 

(ii)        A petition requesting the Council to not proceed with the proposal to introduce car parking fees at Llantwit Major beach car park (submitted by Councillor Gwyn John).

 

 

94            CABINET MEMBERS’ PORTFOLIO TITLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES -

 

The Leader informed Council of a number of minor amendments to the wording of the above from those notified at the Annual Meeting.  In essence, certain of the portfolio titles had been shortened and two specific changes made within portfolios as follows:

 

·         Councillor N. Moore - amended to "Leader and Cabinet Member for Corporate Resources"

·         Councillor S.C. Egan - amended to "Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Adult Services"

·         Councillor Ms. B.E. Brooks - "Cabinet Member for Housing, Building Maintenance and Community Safety"  - unchanged

·         Councillor L. Burnett - amended to "Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation"

·         Councillor R.F. Curtis - "Cabinet Member for the Environment and Visible Services" - unchanged

·         Councillor C.P.J. Elmore - amended to "Cabinet Member for Children's Services"

·         Councillor G. John - "Cabinet Member for Leisure, Parks, Culture and Sport Development" - unchanged.

·         Highway Development - responsibility transferred from the Cabinet Member for the Environment and Visible Services to the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation

·          Coastal Protection - renamed to "Flood Risk Management and Coastal Protection" and transferred from the Cabinet Member for Leisure, Parks, Culture and Sport Development to the Cabinet Member for the Environment and Visible Services.

 

 

95            REVIEW OF COUNCIL CONSTITUTION / OFFICER DELEGATIONS -

 

Since the formal introduction of the Council's new executive arrangements in May 2002, the Constitution had remained under review and would continue to be so on an ongoing basis.  Under Article 15 of the Constitution the Monitoring Officer had a duty to monitor and review the operation of the Constitution to ensure that the aims and principles contained therein were given full effect.  Any changes considered necessary were subject to approval by the Full Council after consideration of the proposals by the Monitoring Officer.

 

Appendix A to the report contained a number of proposed amendments / updates to the Scheme of Officer Delegation.  These were necessary in order to reflect the Senior Management Restructuring and to ensure continuity of service delivery and decision-making by senior officers.  Implementation dates would be linked to the dates respective officers took up posts.  The opportunity would also be taken to make any minor typographical / house-keeping changes to bring the document up to date. 

 

In outlining the report, the Leader proposed an addition, which was subsequently accepted, to recommendation (2) to provide for any changes subsequently to the Constitution to be undertaken in consultation with the Leader, to be circulated to Members for information and reported to the subsequent meeting of Council.

 

In addition to the above, the Leader drew Members’ attention to the fact that the additional information alluded to in the report in respect of the split of delegations of the former Director of Environmental and Economic Regeneration had been tabled.  Similarly, a revised introductory section of Article 12 of the Constitution, which set out the primary responsibilities of Chief Officers, had also been tabled and reflected the ongoing Senior Management changes.

 

An additional recommendation was moved by the Leader, which was again approved, and was set out below as recommendation (3).  Again, this was designed to facilitate a smooth transition under the Senior Management changes.

 

(1)       T H A T the revised Scheme of Officer Delegations, amended to reflect the Senior Management Restructuring be approved and the Constitution amended accordingly.

 

(2)       T H A T any other consequential changes to the Constitution deemed by the Monitoring Officer to be necessary, including the rewording of "Article 12 - Officers", to give effect to the Senior Management Restructuring also be made; any such changes to be made in consultation with the Leader, to be circulated to Members for information and reported to the subsequent meeting of Council.

 

(3)       T H A T with regard to any previous decisions of the Authority which include a delegation to an officer(s) or a requirement for consultation, then the officer(s) will be deemed to be the officer(s) to whom responsibility has passed, or will pass, under the Senior Management Restructuring; in the event of any doubt, the relevant officer(s) to be determined by the Managing Director.

 

 

96             APPOINTMENT OF CHAIRMAN OF LICENSING COMMITTEE -

 

This item had been included on the agenda given the sad passing away of former Councillor Margaret Alexander who had, at the Annual Meeting, been appointed Chairman of the Committee. 

 

It was moved by the Leader and seconded by the Deputy Leader that Councillor Anthony Powell be elected Chairman.

 

It was moved by Councillor Geoff Cox and seconded by Councillor Ray Thomas that Councillor John Thomas be elected Chairman.

 

Upon being put to the vote it was

 

RESOLVED - T H AT Councillor Anthony Powell be elected Chairman of the Licensing Committee.

 

 

97             APPOINTMENT OF VICE-CHAIRMAN OF LICENSING COMMITTEE -

 

Given that Councillor Anthony Powell (appointed Vice-Chairman of the Licensing Committee at the Annual Meeting) had now been appointed Chairman, it was necessary to appoint a new Vice-Chairman.

 

It was moved by the Leader and seconded by the Deputy Leader that Councillor Margaret Wilkinson be elected Vice-Chairman.

 

It was moved by Councillor Keith Hatton and seconded by Councillor Wiliam that Councillor Val Hartrey be elected Vice-Chairman.

 

Upon being put to the vote it was

 

RESOLVED - T H A T Councillor Margaret Wilkinson be elected Vice-Chairman of the Licensing Committee.

 

 

98            SENIOR MANAGEMENT REDUCTION: UPDATE / RESIDUAL ISSUES -

 

Proposals to implement the senior management reduction arrangements were approved by Council on 16th April 2012.  Since that date arrangements had been progressed to implement the proposals including:-

 

·         Confirmation of the designation of Mrs. S. Davies as Managing Director as from 1st August 2012.

·         Confirmation of the appointment of Mr. R. Thomas as Director of Development Services as from 1st June 2012.

·         Confirmation of the appointment of Mr. M. Punter as Director of Visible Services and Housing as from 1st June 2012.

·         Confirmation of the designation of Mr. C. Teague as the Council's Section 151 Officer as from 1st August 2012.

 

In addition to the above, arrangements were in place to interview for the new role of Chief Learning and Skills Officer on 4th July 2012 and the new role of Head of Housing and Building Services on 12th July 2012.

 

The report also referred to the fact that the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011 required local authorities to establish a Democratic Services Committee and for that Committee to designate an Officer as Head of Democratic Services.

 

The composition and terms of reference of the Democratic Services Committee were agreed at the Annual Meeting of Council on 23rd May 2012. The Head of Democratic Services would be a statutory role to undertake the functions set out on the Measure. In summary the functions would include:-

 

·         Providing support and advice (particularly in relation to the functions of Scrutiny Committees and the Democratic Services Committee)

          -         to the Authority in relation to its meetings

          -         to committees of the Authority and members of committees

          -         to any joint committee which the Local Authority is responsible for Organising and the members of that committee

          -         in relation to the functions of Scrutiny Committees, to all Members / Officers

          -         to each member of the Authority carrying out the role of member

·         Promoting the role of the Council's Scrutiny Committees

·         Preparing reports and recommendations in respect of resources required to discharge Democratic Services functions.

 

The designation of the Head of Democratic Services would need to be considered and approved by the Democratic Services Committee at its inaugural meeting and on the basis of a recommendation from the Head of Paid Service. The recommendation would be the current Operational Manager (Democratic Services), the post to remain on Operational Manager grade. Such designation was felt to be congruent with the current duties of the officer concerned and the requirements set out in the guidelines to the Measure.

 

As anticipated in the report to Council on 16th April there were, however a number of additional and residual issues that needed further consideration and resolution by Full Council as set out below.

 

Designation of Monitoring Officer and Deputy Monitoring Officer

 

Proposals for the permanent appointment of a Monitoring Officer had been deferred pending a review of capacity in the Legal Services Section and consideration of all options for meeting this statutory requirement.  The review was ongoing and would be informed by the experience of the wider restructuring arrangements over the coming year.

 

There was, however, a need to ensure that interim arrangements were in place to cover the statutory Monitoring Officer role during the period of the ongoing review and in the light of the redundancy of the Director of Legal, Housing and Public Protection.

 

It was proposed to designate the current Head of Legal Services as Monitoring Officer on a one year interim basis as from 27th June 2012 and subject to review thereafter.  The role would cover the statutory requirements as set out in the Section 5 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 but would not cover responsibility for Democratic Services (as initially envisaged in the original report to Cabinet in September 2011).  

 

The postholder currently undertook the role of Deputy Monitoring Officer and, as such, the arrangement would ensure important continuity during the period of the review. The designation would also include the Proper Officer responsibilities in relation to the Freedom of Information Act 2000, Data Protection Act 1998 and Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.

 

As part of the requirements of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 it was also necessary to put in place arrangements to designate a Deputy Monitoring Officer, it being proposed that the current Operational Manager (Legal Services) be designated as such for the same one year period as referred to above, and then subject to review thereafter.

 

Designation of Deputy Section 151 Officer

 

Arrangements for the temporary re-designation of the Council's Section 151 Officer responsibilities were agreed by Council on 16th April 2012 and specifically to cover the period during which the Director of Resources would be undertaking the role of Managing Director.

 

Although not a statutory requirement, it was usual practice to nominate a second officer to act in the absence of the designated Section 151 officer. The Deputy role was currently undertaken by the Head of Financial Services who, as indicated above, would be assuming full responsibility for Section 151 duties as from the 1st August 2012.  It was proposed that the current Head of Accountancy and Audit be designated as the Deputy Section 151 Officer for the abovementioned three year period and commencing on 1st August 2012.

 

Designation / Arrangements for Role of Deputy Managing Director

 

As part of implementing the residual elements of the senior management restructuring arrangements it was important to confirm "deputy" arrangements to cover any absence of the newly designated Managing Director (as Head of Paid Service).

 

The previous role of Deputy Chief Executive was undertaken by the Director of Legal, Public Protection and Housing Services and specifically to cover the range of delegations as set out in Part 8 of the Council's Constitution in the absence of the Chief Executive.

 

The above delegations include the power to act, in consultation with the appropriate Cabinet Member (and with the Leader, Director of Resources and the appropriate Chief Officer on matters involving financial commitments) on issues that required immediate action or where the issues were of such urgency or emergency as not to allow time to convene a meeting of the appropriate body.

 

Confirmation of such arrangements would also be important to ensure appropriate cover at Council (and other relevant meetings) in the absence of the Managing Director.

 

It was proposed that all three current Directors (Director of Social Services, Director of Development Services and Director of Visible Services and Housing) and the new Chief Learning and Skills Officer be formally designated as Joint Deputy Managing Directors and specifically for the above purposes.

 

Responsibility would be exercised by the above officers on a rotating basis from 1st August 2012 (starting with the Director of Social Services) and for the period of the Managing Director's interim appointment.

 

The Leader moved, it being approved, that recommendation (5) of the report be amended to provide for a rotating basis for the purpose of acting as Deputy Managing Directors of four months, rather than three. 

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1)       T H A T Council approve the report and the recommendations as set out in (2) to (6) below. 

 

(2)       The designation of the Head of Legal Services as the Council's Monitoring Officer on a one year interim basis from 27th June 2012 and subject to review thereafter.

 

(3)       The designation of the Operational Manager (Legal Services) as Deputy Monitoring Officer on a one year interim basis from 27th June 2012 and subject to review thereafter.

 

(4)       The designation of the Head of Accountancy and Audit as the Deputy Section 151 Officer on an interim basis of three years from 1st August 2012.

 

(5)       The designation of the Council's three Directors and Chief Learning and Skills Officer as joint Deputy Managing Directors on a four month rotating basis for the purposes as set out above.  Such arrangements to commence from 1st August 2012 and continue for the period of the Managing Director's honorarium appointment.

 

(6)       T H A T appropriate changes to the Council's Constitution be made as a consequence of the above recommendations.

 

 

99            QUESTIONS PURSUANT TO COUNCIL PROCEDURE RULE 8.2 -

 

Due notice had been given of the following questions:

 

(i)         Question from Councillor G.A. Cox

 

In the last financial year the Conservative Administration budget for resurfacing and road repairs was £2.411 million, which included a grant of £191,000 from the Welsh Government. This was the highest contribution for such repairs from Council’s funds for at least a decade.

 

At the Cabinet meeting of 18 April 2012 we approved a budget for resurfacing and road repairs of £2.57 million for each of the next three years, 2012/2013, 2013/2014 and 2014/2015.  This includes prudential borrowing raised in conjunction with the Welsh Government revenue grant funding.

 

Does the current administration support these decisions? 

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Environment and Visible Services

 

We very much support the funding decisions made by the previous administration in respect to highway repairs funding and remain committed to improving the standard of the Vale’s highway network. We are currently considering whether additional funding may be able to be provided to support the three-year resurfacing plan. However we are somewhat hampered in doing this by the failings of the previous administration in their financial management of the Social Services budgets.

 

Supplemental

 

Quoting from a recent newspaper article that “a Labour run Vale Council will invest in resurfacing our roads, especially in urban areas”, Councillor Cox asked whether this meant priority would be given to the resurfacing of roads in an urban area even if there was plainly a more pressing need to resurface the roads in the rural area.

 

The Cabinet Member indicated that the Council was committed to resurfacing the roads wherever they were worse, whether in urban or rural areas.  The whole of the Vale would be considered and the administration would shortly be coming up with a number of new initiatives.

 

 

(ii)        Question from Councillor J.W. Thomas

 

How do you see the Vale of Glamorgan Council functioning effectively under the “Labour / Llantwit Major First Coalition”?

 

Reply from the Leader

 

The answer to your question did not take much consideration as I consider the arrangement will work extremely well.

 

Supplemental

 

Referring to his understanding that Llantwit Major First had a list of requirements if they were to support a Labour administration, other than the obtaining of a post on the Cabinet for the Llantwit Major First group leader, Councillor Thomas asked whether the Leader would be prepared to share the “list” of requirements with Members.

 

The Leader indicated that, as there was no such list, he could not provide one and that negotiations had taken place with Llantwit Major First as they would have with any other party.  They had not sought anything out of the ordinary in terms of requirements.  He indicated that he had previously worked with Councillor John as part of a previous coalition and had a very good relationship, with the two political groups sharing many of the same priorities for the people of the Vale of Glamorgan, irrespective of the area of the Vale concerned.  These priorities included issues such as the social services budget and car parking charges.  The Leader indicated his intention that the two groups would work together for the good of all the people of the Vale of Glamorgan that they represented.

 

 

(iii)       Question from Councillor J.W. Thomas

 

Could you tell me whether there is any likelihood of European Structural Funds being utilised to assist the “Regeneration Effort in Barry”?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation

 

The Council submitted its response to the WEFO Reflection Exercise on the Preparation for the 2014-2020 Round of European Programmes in January this year. In its submission the Council recommended that Welsh Government policy initiatives such as Regeneration and Renewal Area status in Barry should be aligned with the European Structural Funds, as is the case with other Regeneration Areas identified in the Welsh Government’s Regeneration Framework.  This would enable domestic and European funding grant regimes to be co-ordinated and spatially targeted to maximise the impact of the Welsh Government’s Regeneration Framework in both convergence and non-convergence areas such as Barry. 

 

It is understood that WEFO has complied a synthesis report of views gathered earlier this year which are now being considered by thematic working groups.  Formal consultation on Operational Programmes for 2014-2020 is expected to commence in the autumn/winter 2012.  The Council is committed to achieving the best outcome for Barry from the EU budget for 2014-2020 and will work constructively with the Welsh Government to achieve this. In addition, it is also worth noting that the Welsh Government recently commenced a policy review of regeneration in the context of specific commitments to renew seaside towns and town centres. To this end, I recently met with Assembly Ministers, Jane Hutt and Huw Lewis to press the case for continuing and expanding the regeneration efforts for Barry.

 

Supplemental

 

Referring to previous funding being allocated to areas such as Butetown and Pill, rather than any areas in the Vale of Glamorgan, Councillor Thomas asked whether the Cabinet Member could reassure Members that the Vale would not lose out again.

 

The Cabinet Member stated that everything possible would be done to press for assistance and that dialogue as indicated, had already commenced.  She considered that the best prospects for success related to influencing the current Welsh Government policy relating to town centres and coastal towns.  There were facilities here for Barry and the surrounding areas such as the Enterprise Zone, Communities First, Housing Renewal, private sector interests and strategic regeneration.

 

 

(iv)      Question from Councillor Mrs. C.L. Curtis

 

Would the Cabinet Member please tell me whether he agrees with the previous Conservative administration’s proposal to charge the public for parking at The Knap terrace car park, Llantwit Beach and Penarth cliff top?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Leisure, Parks, Culture and Sports Development

 

I totally disagree with the previous administration's decision to charge for car parking at these locations. These car parks are relatively small in size and are used in the main by local people, some of whom are elderly and wish to enjoy the seaside amenity at no extra cost.

 

In contrast our larger coastal car parks at Ogmore and Barry Island, where we currently charge, have larger capacities and are frequented in the main by visitors to the areas. I aim to present a report to Cabinet in the near future that will detail our future plans and management arrangements for all car parks in the Vale.

 

 

(v)               Question from Councillor R.P. Thomas

 

Why was the opening of the new school car park at Llangan low key with no prior announcement to Council?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services

 

We would not normally announce the completion of a construction scheme such as this to Council.  Visible Services undertake many construction schemes each year and it would simply not be practical to formally report their completion.  This particular scheme was detailed in the local press when the car park was opened by the Headteacher along with a number of school pupils.  I was in attendance, together with the Cabinet Member for Visible Services, Councillor Curtis, along with Jane Hutt AM and Alun Cairns MP.  In addition, the Headteacher, all staff, Governors, all pupils and volunteers from the local community were also invited.  The landowner and developers, along with council officers were also present.  I understand that, as a Local Authority appointed Governor, Councillor Thomas was also invited.  The press, along with the Council’s photographer, were also present.

 

Supplemental

 

Confirming that he had not been invited, Councillor Thomas referred to the fact that the school had been informed of the opening on the eve of half term, leaving the Headteacher insufficient time to inform parties, including parents and the landowner who had donated the land for the car park.  He asked the Cabinet Member why more time had not been allowed for the process.

 

The Cabinet Member responded that the landowner had, indeed, been present, as he had met him.  He also indicated that the local MP had asked the Headteacher, in his presence, whether Councillor Thomas had been invited, to which the Headteacher had replied that he had.  The Cabinet Member reiterated the wide range of parties that had, in fact, been present at the opening.  The event had proved a success, attracting press coverage and he was disappointed that Councillor Thomas appeared to wish to “downgrade” the event. 

 

 

(vi)      Question from Councillor R.L. Traherne

 

I would be grateful if the Cabinet Member could update me on plans for a Vale of Glamorgan Heritage Centre.

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation

 

In March this year, following the receipt of a consultant's report that looked at options for a heritage museum, Cabinet resolved that discussions be held with relevant Heritage Groups and that the matter be referred to Scrutiny for consideration.  This took place in April and it was resolved that an update be provided in 6 months time to Scrutiny on progress in taking the consultant's report forward.  The new administration will therefore need to carefully consider our options in moving forward to ensure the various stakeholders and community groups are involved in looking at options for the delivery of a heritage museum for the Vale of Glamorgan.  I am keen to move discussions forward and provide an assurance that this will be progressed in coming months.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Traherne asked whether the Cabinet Member could provide more clarity on when a Heritage Centre might be established.

 

The Cabinet Member referred to the fact that effective consultation and engagement took time to undertake and, consequently, it was not possible to indicate a specific timescale.  She stressed the commitment of the new administration to fully engage with stakeholders on such matters.

 

 

(vii)     Question from Councillor R.L. Traherne

 

I would be grateful if the Cabinet Member could update me on the future of Nells Point.

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation

 

Councillor Traherne will be aware that the Council previously appointed consultants LDP / Collins to carry out a marketing and investment review of Nell’s Point.  Officers are currently reviewing the LDP / Collins report and the matter will be reported to a future Cabinet as soon as is practical following internal review and discussion with the Welsh Government officials of the Barry Regeneration Area team.  This was also an item on the agenda during a recent meeting I held with Jane Hutt A.M. and Huw Lewis A.M.

 

Supplemental

 

Referring to his understanding that consultants had recommended the establishment of a “state of the art” family attraction and aquarium at Nells Point with a public sector intervention rate of approximately £4m., Councillor Traherne asked whether it was the intention that the Council make up the shortfall, given his understanding that approximately only £3m. of funding was left with the Barry Regeneration Area Partnership Board.

 

The Cabinet Member, having just outlined the process in the original reply, stated she did not wish to enter into supposition.  She again reiterated the commitment to consulting fully with Welsh Government and the people of Barry regarding this matter.

 

 

(viii)    Question from Councillor R.L. Traherne

 

I would be grateful if the Cabinet Member could update me on Creative Rural Communities’ Business Plan 2.

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation

 

Creative Rural Communities Business Plan 2 is, indeed, progressing well. The excellent team based in Cowbridge is making a real difference to the lives of people in rural communities.  A lot of work is also being done to promote the area for tourism, using the Heritage Coast as a key asset, and, in turn, to strengthen the rural economy.  There are many themes to Business Plan 2, but I will focus on some key examples to demonstrate the success of the programme:

 

Firstly, the Pride in our Farming Families Scheme which assists in diversification has already committed over half the available funds, with a strong emphasis on providing accommodation and equine initiatives.  The partnership has recently agreed to bid for new additional funds from Welsh Government for this scheme, due to the strong take up and level of interest.

 

Secondly, Pride in the Vale is working on tourism and community capacity building within communities.  I was delighted to attend the recent launch of the Coastal Camping initiative which was also attended by Jane Hutt A.M. and Alun Davies A.M, both of whom were very impressed by the work of the Council and its key partners. 

 

Finally, Community Foodie is a project designed to increase the growing of food across the rural Vale and several projects are in development including the development of a community growing site in Dinas Powys and a similar project in Treoes.

 

I am pleased to advise that a recent Welsh Government external evaluation of Rural Partnerships scored the Vale of Glamorgan as highest of all 18 rural partnerships in Wales.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Traherne asked whether the Cabinet Member could brief Council on any threats from the Welsh Labour government to rural regeneration funding for the Vale of Glamorgan, post 2013.  He also asked her to outline what was being done to ensure continued support in the form of rural regeneration funding and to ensuring that staff within the Creative Rural Communities Team would still have jobs in 2014.

 

The Cabinet Member pointed out she had already confirmed that the Council was continuing to state the case and support the project.  Dialogue would continue with the Minister.  She indicated to Councillor Traherne that, should he have specific questions, if he submitted such to her, she would respond.

 

 

(ix)      Question from Councillor R.L. Traherne

 

Could the Cabinet Member update me on her plans to market the Hydraulic Pump House?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation

 

Cabinet of 2nd November, 2011 authorised the marketing and disposal of the Pumphouse and surrounding land and the Council has, since this time, been in discussion with Welsh Government officials and property consultants on the terms of that disposal.  Councillor Traherne will be aware that the issue of disposal was discussed at length at the former Economy and Environment Scrutiny Committee in December last year when potential end uses were discussed, as was the need for the disposal process to allow opportunities for community groups to come forward.  I am now reviewing the Strategic Brief and Planning Statement to accompany the disposal to ensure that all parties and groups who have a potentially sustainable idea for the site are dealt with on an equal footing.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Traherne asked what type of consultation would be effected and how much it would cost. 

 

The Cabinet Member indicated that the project would be put out in order to gauge interest.  The process thereafter would depend on the level of sustainable ideas which, in turn, would inform how this matter was taken forward.

 

 

(x)       Question from Councillor R.L. Traherne

 

Can the Cabinet Member update me on the St. Athan Enterprise Zone?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation

 

The St. Athan Enterprise Zone, (which as Councillor Traherne would hopefully know) also includes the Airport, was designated in April of this year.  Since that time the interim Enterprise Zone Board has met regularly and the Council is represented on the Board by the Chief Executive, Mr John Maitland Evans.  Work is underway on seeking to attract business interest to the Welsh Government Aerospace Business Park at St. Athan as well as reviewing options for the Vale of Glamorgan’s own land holding at the Airport.  This will no doubt also inform the work of the Airport Task and Finish Group, chaired by the First Minister, which had its inaugural meeting today.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Traherne asked, in respect of any incentives available to businesses who wished to relocate to the Enterprise Zone, for clarification regarding business rates, enhanced capital allowances and a fast track planning regime. 

 

The Cabinet Member considered it to be incredibly early days of what would be a large project and to the need to ensure that the process worked effectively.  Having pressed for an enterprise zone to include the St. Athan area and the airport, the Council needed to continue its involvement on the ongoing Enterprise Zone study and also work with partners.  She indicated a written response to Councillor Traherne could also be provided should he wish to provide her with his exact question. 

 

 

(xi)      Question from Councillor R.L. Traherne

 

Can the Cabinet Member tell me what plans she has for business innovation here in the Vale?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation

 

As Councillor Traherne will be aware, there was a report to the Council’s Cabinet under the previous administration which detailed the options for strengthening the links with businesses in the Vale of Glamorgan.  However, times move on and I am not sure the content of the report could, in any way, be described as innovative.

 

I am particularly keen to encourage new business development whilst at the same time fostering the success of existing Vale based businesses. To this end, I will seek to work with the Welsh Government at a strategic level on policy interventions and initiatives such as the Enterprise Zone, Barry Regeneration and Rural Regeneration.  We will be looking at clustering and the potential of high growth business but we will also seek to support non-traditional models such as social ventures.  My change in title also indicates an intention to explore options for fostering and promoting enterprise and innovation across the Council as a whole.  We know that the challenges ahead of us will not be overcome with a salami slicer approach with cuts increasingly deeper until the bone becomes exposed.  Only new innovative models, working in partnership with stakeholders, the community and service users themselves will deliver the efficiency and effectiveness we need.

 

It is suggested that enduringly innovative organisations share a number of characteristics.  They are clear about their purpose, have effective performance management, involve young people meaningfully in decision making and are open to outside ideas, thoughts and trends.  It is, therefore, no surprise that the pledges and activity to date of the new administration reflect such an approach.   

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Traherne asked whether the Cabinet Member agreed that the most critical factor stifling business innovation in the Vale was the high levels of business taxation and whether she would like to see a reduction in business rates and the raising of the business rate threshold. 

 

The Cabinet Member responded that research indicated that access to finance was a greater influence on innovation than business rates.  She would seek to ensure that the administration was user friendly in its approach to such matters.

 

 

(xii)     Question from Councillor R.L. Traherne

 

Can the Cabinet Member update Council on the future for Communities First in Barry?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation

 

The current Communities First programmes end by October this year, with bids requested by Welsh Government for a new programme based on clusters of qualifying areas rather than small discrete communities.  A bid has been developed for an enlarged part of Barry, taking in communities within Castleland, Gibbonsdown, Court, Cadoc and Buttrills and this will be submitted this week by 29th June.  Once submitted, the Council will be given a 4 month extension on the existing programme whilst discussions take place with Welsh Government on the new bid.  I can, however, advise that a considerable amount of discussion has taken place between the Council and Welsh Government on the Barry Cluster bid to date and the links between the bid and other regeneration and renewal activity within Barry is viewed as being innovative and incredibly positive.  This should place the Council in a strong position when the bids are evaluated.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Traherne asked whether the Cabinet Member shared his concern that the Labour Welsh Government appeared to be obsessed with centralisation and regeneralisation of Communities First and that, should this occur, there would be little or no resident engagement. 

 

The Cabinet Member indicated that her view was actually contrary to that suggested and that she was a huge supporter of Communities First and the Welsh Government policy direction on the matter.  She reiterated sentiments expressed in some of her previous replies that the new administration was completely committed to full consultation and engagement and that this would become evident over the life of the administration.

 

 

(xiii)    Question from Councillor P.G. King

 

During the Election Campaign, I met many members of the public, and residents in my Ward, who raised the topic of the Local Development Plan, as put out for consultation.

 

Please can the Cabinet Member with responsibility for this work give me an update, on progress to date, on the unsustainable draft LDP as put out to consultation earlier this year.

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation

 

I share my colleague’s views that there are many concerns with the Deposit Local Development Plan as published by the previous administration. I was also very concerned at the nature of the consultation process that had been followed. Whilst this may have met the statutory requirements, I firmly believe that when dealing with the future development of the Vale of Glamorgan for the next 15 years, consultation and engagement should have been far more inclusive and transparent, and should have afforded our constituents a real opportunity of being heard and of influencing the plan. I have already sought advice as to how we can extend future consultation on the Plan. 

 

I am also currently carrying out a review of the statutory LDP process and am considering all options available to us as a new administration.  I will, in addition, be meeting with relevant Welsh Government Minsters in the near future.  I feel strongly that various elements of the Plan as drafted are unsustainable and am committed to ensuring that we do whatever is necessary to deliver a sustainable LDP for the Vale of Glamorgan. 

 

This is an essential policy document for the Vale of Glamorgan and once I have a way forward, I will be in a position to advise colleagues in greater detail.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor King asked whether the Cabinet Member would ensure that Members were kept informed on this issue.

 

The Cabinet Member responded that this would certainly occur and that the administration remained committed to its election pledges on matters such as the Local Development Plan.

 

 

(xiv)    Question from Councillor C.P. Franks

 

Will you make a statement on the current costs of operating Bryneithin Home for the Elderly?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Adult Services

 

You will be aware that the Council decided to close Bryneithin because the building is unable to meet changing standards and expectations without levels of investment that are beyond the resources available. The home remains open at present for two of the people who were residents when the decision to close was made.

 

As the number of residents decreases, fewer staff are needed, parts of the building have been closed down and the costs to the Council have been reduced. However, the revenue spend on Bryneithin in 2011/2012 was still £450,000. 

 

We have ensured that the home continues to meet registration standards with regard to staffing levels and maintenance.  Currently, 13 staff work in the home (10.3 Full Time Equivalent).  This does not include the manager’s post because one manager now covers Bryneithin and Ty Dewi Sant in Penarth. There was no capital expenditure on Bryneithin last year.

 

Supplemental

 

Referring to the Cabinet Member having confirmed that it cost over £200,000 per annum per resident, Councillor Franks asked whether he agreed that plans to close the Home in the face of strong opposition had been ill conceived and financially reckless.  He sought an assurance that, when considering any further cuts to social services, adequate and meaningful consultation would take place. 

 

In response, the Cabinet Member indicated that Councillor Franks had been fully aware of the costs involved, given that he had submitted a Freedom of Information request on that very matter. Having only been in control for a matter of weeks, the new administration would be reviewing, and looking to provide services, not just in Dinas Powys, but throughout the Vale in an appropriate, affordable and, above all, safe and secure manner for residents who needed such services.

 

 

(xv)     Question from Councillor C.P. Franks

 

In a Cabinet report it was indicated that the current rules regarding the financial impact of implementing a limit on charging for care services imposed a severe penalty on this council. What is the latest response on this matter from the Welsh Government?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Adult Services

 

The Leader and I attended an urgent meeting with the Deputy Minister and her officials on Monday of this week to discuss the serious consequences for the Council of delays in addressing the funding shortfall.  We outlined to her a number of issues regarding implementation of the First Steps to Improvement Requirements in the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

·         Because of the mechanism chosen by Welsh Government to allocate additional funding to compensate local authorities for introducing the policy, the Vale of Glamorgan has experienced a disproportionate loss of income.

·         The estimated figure is now £1.776 million in a full year and the trend is still going upwards.

·         The impact on the social services budget is deeply worrying, as only £373,000 has been received from Welsh Government in compensation and the rest of the money will have to come either from the Council’s reserves with a commitment to payback or from additional savings.

·         Because of the need to achieve considerable efficiency savings in the Social Services Directorate for the past five years and for at least the next five, there is limited room for manoeuvre. 

·         Any underfunding, therefore, will have a serious impact on the Council’s ability to provide support and care for some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.

 

We sought assurances that the Deputy Minister is giving a very high priority to dealing with these issues, especially in considering the possibilities of in-year relief to this Council while her officials undertake further work to explore how the policy can be funded appropriately in the longer-term without detriment to local authorities, collectively or individually. 

 

The Deputy Minister clearly shared our concerns, agreeing to expedite analysis of the most recent local government returns and to join with the WLGA in seeking a way of recognising the exceptionally detrimental effects experienced by this Council. 

 

I will be meeting with her again when agreed figures for all local authorities are available.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Franks asked whether the Cabinet Member was indicating that the Deputy Minister had failed to accept the argument put by the Council and that, in turn, this would lead to the Council being penalised. 

 

The Cabinet Member reiterated the comment made in the original reply regarding the fact that the Deputy Minister had been very receptive to the points put, recognising the detrimental effect on the Vale of Glamorgan.  The mechanism used disproportionately affected the Vale of Glamorgan, an area with an increasing number of older people.  The problem was being exacerbated as awareness of the £50 limit was resulting in an increase in demand. 

 

 

(xvi)    Question from Councillor C.P. Franks

 

Will the Member provide an update regarding the application to change the status of St. Cyres School?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services

 

The Governing Body of St. Cyres Comprehensive School published a statutory notice to change its status from a Foundation School to a Community School on 8th March 2012. The notice was in force for a period of one month to 8th April 2012 to allow for objections to the proposal to be submitted.

 

A copy of the notice was sent to the Welsh Government School Organisation and Admissions Branch on 8th March. It is for the Welsh Government to determine the proposal once the notice period has ended.

 

An objection was received that was not specifically related to the change of status proposal but related to the Penarth Learning Community scheme and as such should not be a major consideration in this matter.

 

The application is currently being considered by the School Organisation and Admissions Branch which is responsible for advising the Minister on the approval of the application. It is anticipated that this will be submitted to the Minister in the near future. Discussions with the Minister had been followed up by letter, asking him to expedite the matter.

 

Supplemental

 

Referring to the concern of parents that arrangements for the transfer of pupils from the Dinas Powys site might create significant disruption to their education, Councillor Franks sought clarification regarding the arrangements to ensure a smooth transition.  He queried the level of additional classrooms and associated facilities that would be provided in time for the new term and sought an indication regarding the timetable for determining the future of the site.  He also asked what the Cabinet Member’s individual involvement would constitute.

 

The Cabinet Member pointed out that the transition from the lower, to the upper, site had already taken place.  He had met with the Headteacher some two weeks previously and the initial transition had been dealt with by the fact that there were no sixth formers or Year 11 pupils in St. Cyres for the remainder of the term.  His understanding was that demountable facilities would be put in place over the summer, taking the additional capacity for the following two years.  His personal involvement had included meeting with the Headteacher and moving forward the proposal in September. 

 

In terms of the effect on education, teachers at St. Cyres, on occasions, had to travel between the two sites;  that would now cease and could only be an improvement for education.  The Cabinet Member assumed Councillor Franks to have alluded to his comments at the Vale School Governors’ Association meeting with Chairs and Vice-Chairs of Governors and other governors.  He confirmed he had indicated there would be consultation over the future of the lower site and that he had made it clear in the press and to officers and to other forums that this administration supported the development of St. Cyres as a community school.  He had also attended a meeting with one of the special needs schools to discuss the Penarth Learning Community.  The administration would also consult, as had been said by Councillor Burnett, on its policies over the future of the site, for which he was sure there would be several options.  There was already interest. but the site did not presently belong to the Council and a decision from the Minister was awaited.  He understood that Councillors Hatton, Williams and Hartrey and Councillor Franks himself had a received a briefing on this from Paula Ham, Head of Strategic Planning and Performance in Lifelong Learning.

 

 

(xviii)  Question from Councillor C.P. Franks

 

Will you indicate your priorities for the Local Service Board over the next 12 months?

 

Reply from the Leader

 

In the first five weeks of this administration, I have already attended many meetings, including an LSB meeting.  The Local Service Board's priorities are determined by the Community Strategy, which was agreed in the summer of 2011 and spans 2011-21. Shorter term priorities (2011-14) are contained in the LSB's Delivery Plan.  http://www.valeofglamorgan.gov.uk/living/local_service_board/community_strategy_2011-21.aspx).  

 

Work is underway to produce an Annual Report for the LSB which will be published later in the summer.  The Annual Report will include the key actions for 2012/13 and will be circulated to Members when available.  However, there was a meeting last week when it was agreed to develop research and analysis into the evidence which underpins the Community Strategy, which is our way forward and deals with consultation by Welsh Government in their Shared Purpose - Shared Delivery document. 

 

The LSB has also considered lately:

 

·         progress on rationalising any plans for partnership working

·         strategic and analytical capability / capacity within service areas

·         joined up delivery

·         the burden of statutory duties imposed upon public services

·         scrutiny of the LSB itself and collaborative working

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Franks asked whether the Leader was convinced that the Local Service Board was fulfilling its role as a link between public, and private, organisations on matters important to the public such as lack of investment and under-funding.

 

The Leader indicated that his priorities were to ensure that the Local Service Board required the overarching work within the authority to be delivered properly and to ensure that the needs of the Welsh Government were met and, indeed, to ask whether or not appropriate initiatives were being developed by the LSB.

 

A review of the Community Strategy was underway.

 

 

(xviii)  Question from Councillor C.P. Franks

 

When will the additional resources for repair and resurfacing of our roads be available?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Environment and Visible Services

 

The additional resources for highway resurfacing are now available and work has commenced in a number of areas of the Vale.  Full details of the resurfacing plan for 2012/13 are available on the Council's website.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Franks indicated he had been referring to an additional sum of £2.23m. for capital highway works and asked when the public would be informed as to which roads would be improved.

 

The Cabinet Member indicated that this information would be made available.

 

 

(xix)    Question from Councillor C.P. Franks

 

As you will be aware there are changes regarding Council tax benefit. Will you make a statement how these changes will affect the most vulnerable residents of the Vale?

 

Reply from the Leader

 

As part of the UK Conservative / Liberal Democratic Government’s welfare reform agenda, the existing arrangements for Council Tax Benefit will cease on 31st March 2013.  Responsibility for support for Council tax payers has been delegated to the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales and to local authorities in England.  Along with the transfer of responsibility, the UK Government has announced a 10% reduction in the resources available to fund and administer Council tax support.  However, latest predictions indicate a likely increase of 14/15%, which was likely to be passed on to Councils, including the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

Councils across Wales are working with the Welsh Government to devise a new Council Tax Support scheme for Wales.  The Welsh Government is also in negotiation with the UK Government on the level of resources to be made available to fund the scheme.

 

Until the details of the scheme have been finalised and the level of resources are known, it is not possible to assess the precise impact on groups or individuals.  However, research undertaken by the Institute of Fiscal Studies for the Welsh Government suggests that the 10% cut (and it will be more) amounted to £24m in total.  Spread evenly among the 328,000 claimants across Wales this would add up to £74 per household.  I would also refer the Member to the publication ‘Reforming Council Tax Benefit: Options for Wales’, which is available on the Institute of Fiscal Studies’ website.

 

With regard to how the cuts would affect the more vulnerable residents of the Vale of Glamorgan, I consider they would be devastating.  There will be a huge impact on houses containing spare bedrooms.  Given the huge anticipated impact of these measures, the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) has already put forward this subject as its priority for a Task and Finish Group exercise to be undertaken to look into the wide ranging issues. 

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Franks asked whether the Leader regretted that, unlike in Scotland, the Welsh Government had failed to pass on to Councils adequate funds to cope with this change and that poorer members of society would be hit by these changes.

 

The Leader indicated he did not concur with Councillor Franks.

 

 

100            QUESTIONS FROM THE PUBLIC -

 

No questions had been received.

 

 

101            JOHN MAITLAND EVANS AND PETER H. EVANS -

 

The Leader reminded Members that, as part of the senior management restructuring, both the Chief Executive, John Maitland Evans, and the Director of Legal, Public Protection and Housing Services, Peter H. Evans, would be leaving the Council.  This would be their last Council meeting.  He paid tribute to their contribution to the work of the Council and to the support and advice he had received over many years.  The Leader’s comments and sentiments were echoed by the other Group Leaders and by Councillor Jeff James, former Leader of the Conservative Group. 

 

Members generally wished both Officers a long and happy retirement.

 

Both officers responded, thanking Members for their comments, which were much appreciated.

 

 

102            EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC -

 

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

 

 

103            SENIOR MANAGEMENT RESTRUCTURE: RESIDUAL ISSUES AND STAFFING IMPLICATIONS (EXEMPT INFORMATION - PARAGRAPH 15) -

 

Members considered recommendations in relation to honoraria for an interim Monitoring Officer and Deputy Monitoring Officer, which had been set following discussion with the HayGroup consultants and were based on the considerations contained in the report to Cabinet on 14th March 2012 and Council on 16th April 2012. 

 

A higher honoraria amount had initially been proposed for the role of Head of Legal / Monitoring Officer at a time when consideration was being given to the role also having responsibility for Democratic Services. This was not now the case in terms of the current interim proposals and hence a lower honoraria amount was proposed.

 

The additional duties relating to the designation of the role of Head of Accountancy and Audit (as Deputy Section 151 Officer) and the three Directors and Chief Learning and Skills Officer (as Joint Deputy Manager Directors) were considered to be congruent with the existing salary grade for the officers concerned. 

 

RESOLVED -

 

(1)       T H A T the payment of an honorarium to the Head of Legal Services in recognition of the additional responsibilities as interim Monitoring Officer for the year commencing 27th June 2012 be approved. 

 

(2)       T H A T the payment of an honorarium to the Operational Manager (Legal Services) in recognition of the additional responsibilities as interim Deputy Monitoring Officer for the year commencing 27th June 2012 be approved.