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VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 27th April, 2016.

 

Present:  Councillor Fred Johnson (Mayor); Councillors Antony Bennett, Richard Bertin, Rhiannon Birch, Jonathan Bird, Bronwen Brooks, Lis Burnett, Geoff Cox, Claire Curtis, Rob Curtis, Pamela Drake, John Drysdale, Kate Edmunds, Stuart Egan, Christopher Elmore, Christopher Franks, Eric Hacker, Howard Hamilton, Val Hartrey, Keith Hatton, Nic Hodges, Jeff James, Hunter Jarvie, Gwyn John, Dr. Ian 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, Margaret Wilkinson, Christopher Williams and Edward Williams. 

 

 

1058            APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE –

 

These were received from Councillors Janice Birch, Clive Williams and Mark Wilson.

 

 

1059            DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST –  

 

The following Member declared an interest in the Agenda Item No. shown:

 

Name of Member

Agenda Item / Nature of   Interest

Councillor   Dr. Ian Johnson

Agenda   Item 11(d) – Part time employee of Jill Evans MEP

 

 

1060            THE LATE COUNCILLOR PHILIP CLARKE AND FORMER COUNCILLOR EMLYN WILLIAMS MBE –

 

The Mayor made reference to the recent sad passing of Councillor Philip Clarke and the former Councillor Emlyn Williams MBE and Members of the Council stood in a minute’s silence as a mark of respect.

 

 

1061            MINUTES –  

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the minutes of the meetings held on 2nd and 10th March, 2016 were approved as a correct record.

 

 

1062            ANNOUNCEMENTS –

 

The Mayor made the following announcements:

 

In the final months in the Mayoral office he had paid a visit to Barry’s brightest new business, the Hang Fire Southern Kitchen. 

 

He also joined pupils from Cadoxton School in taking part in Science Week at Dow Corning, Barry.

 

He had been delighted to be a guest of the Lord Mayor of Cardiff at St. David’s Hall and attended the decoration of the new High Sheriff at the Millennium Centre.

 

He had with great sadness assisted the Lord Lieutenant to award a posthumous MBE to the family of the late Emlyn Williams. 

 

He was also saddened by the tragic death of Councillor Philip Clarke and had extended, on behalf of the Council, condolences to his family.

 

He was also pleased to announce that he had hosted several receptions including tea for the local PCSO Team; James Savory who had unveiled his “Hall of Fame” plaque; attended presentations of staff long service awards and attendance at a Citizenship Ceremony.

 

He was also honoured to host the retirement lunch for the Lord Lieutenant, High Sheriff and distinguished guests. 

 

Fundraising for the Mayor’s charities (the RNLI and St. Vincent de Paul Society) was continuing with his charity football match, his final engagement, as the captain of the Mayor’s team, which was taking place on 6th May.

 

 

1063            NOTICE OF MOTION –

 

The following Notice of Motion (submitted by Councillors Kevin Mahoney and Christopher Williams) had been included on the agenda for discussion:

 

“To change the provision of 4.23.5 Recorded Vote in the Constitution to :-

  

4.23.5  Recorded vote

 

If one member present at the meeting demands it, the names for and against the motion or amendment or abstaining from voting will be taken down in writing and entered into the minutes. A demand for a recorded vote will override a demand for a ballot.”

 

In introducing the Motion, Councillor Mahoney indicated that he felt most strongly that every elected politician’s voting records and stance on any particular vote on any matter should be recorded and a matter of verification if sought by any member of the public.  In submitting the Motion, he indicated that he had made a concession by insisting that his request should not apply to every minor vote taken at every meeting of the Council, but considered that it should be the case where matters were considered at meetings of the Council and the Planning Committee.  He would consider it vital that the public, the residents of the Vale of Glamorgan, were able to check the voting records of each and every Member of the Council.

 

He formally moved the Motion in the name of himself and Councillor Williams.

 

The Motion was formally seconded by Councillor Williams.

 

Councillor Williams, in thanking the Mayor, indicated that he was, along with Members of the Labour Group, in favour of openness and transparency. 

 

Councillor Hodges, in response to the Notice of Motion, indicated that he was surprised at the manner in which it had been written.  Consequently, he formally moved an amendment to the Motion “That a report is prepared for the Democratic Services Committee for recommendations to be made to Cabinet on this and other matters relating to Full Council”.  He considered that this was the appropriate way to deal with business relating to potential changes to the Constitution. 

 

In formally seconding the amendment, Councillor Franks reminded Members of the recently approved new Constitution produced following an extensive process led by the Leader, Leaders of the political Groups and advised by senior officers of the Council.  He considered that the Council’s Constitution was an important document and he did not think that there should be any changes to it without due process.  He also felt that the original intention of the Notice of Motion was disappointing given that it would ignore the proper process of taking such matters to the Democratic Services Committee.

 

Councillor John Thomas intimated that his original intention was to speak against the Motion but taking account of Councillor Hodges’ proposed amendment, he considered that this was the sensible way to proceed.  He also echoed the comments of Councillor Franks regarding the work undertaken by the political Group Leaders and senior officers in reviewing the Constitution and felt that no changes should be made to it on a whim as proposed by Councillor Mahoney.  He also referred to existing arrangements available to allow voting to be recorded and indicated that this was possibly the best way to proceed, however he agreed that the matter should be discussed at Democratic Services Committee with a further report subsequently to the Council at a future date.

 

The Leader also expressed his surprise at the proposed Notice of Motion, indicating that the recent review of the Constitution had worked particularly well and concurred with the views of Councillor John Thomas in that such matters could not be undertaken on a whim and acknowledged that current voting facilities could be adapted.  He indicated that he was content with the proposed amendment and for the matter to be referred to the Democratic Services Committee to allow the matter to be discussed properly. 

 

Councillor Penrose, in indicating his involvement in the review of the new Constitution, acknowledged each Member as entitled to a different opinion on the subject.  He indicated that he was content for the matter to be discussed further by the Democratic Services Committee. 

 

In summing up, Councillor Mahoney appreciated the sentiments expressed however, he considered the fact that a process had been in place for many years and had not been a matter identified under the recent review of the Constitution did not mean that it could never change in the future. 

 

Councillor Roberts, in referring to the amendment and wording, suggested that the amendment be amended to remove the words “and other matters”. 

 

In response to Councillor Roberts’ concerns, Councillor Hodges agreed to amend the wording of his amendment by removing the “and other matters”, subject to the agreement of his seconder, Councillor Franks, who indicated that he was content to do so.

 

Upon being put to the vote, the amendment proposed by Councillor Hodges and seconded by Councillor Franks was carried.

 

RESOLVED – T H A T a report be prepared for consideration by the Democratic Services Committee on options to change the provision of the requirements of Recorded Votes (paragraph 4.23.5) of the Council’s Constitution. 

 

 

1064            THE LOCAL AUTHORITIES (MODEL CODE OF CONDUCT) (WALES) (AMENDMENT) ORDER 2016 (MO) –

 

The Local Authorities (Model Code of Conduct) (Wales) (Amendment) Order 2016 amended the existing subordinate legislation made under Part III of the Local Government Act 2000, consequential upon provisions of the Local Government (Democracy) (Wales) Act 2013 which had come into force on 1st April, 2016.

 

The Order amended the Model Code of Conduct for Local Government Members (the existing provisions of which were reflected in the Members’ Code of Conduct contained in the Council’s Constitution). 

 

The main elements related to the following areas: 

  • The 2013 Act transferred responsibility for maintaining the Register of Interests of Members of Community Councils from the Monitoring Officer of the Principal Local Authority for the area to the 'Proper Officer' of each Community Council with effect from 1st May, 2015.  A number of consequential amendments are made to the Model Code to reflect this change. 
  • The Model Code was also amended to clarify that, in terms of the Register of Members' Interests, any interest disclosed for the first time must be entered in the Register.  This was not a change of policy, but clarified the original intention.  The exemption for Community Councillors from the requirement to register certain financial and other interests up front was maintained.
  • The obligation on a Member to report a potential breach of the Code of Conduct to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales was now omitted from the Code.  However, there continued to be the obligation to report such matters to the Monitoring Officer.
  • Paragraph 18.3.1(K) of the Code was now omitted.  This was to overcome unintended difficulties in the practical application of this paragraph in relation to participation in business relating to constituency interests.  Nevertheless, a Member participating in the consideration of a Ward matter was still under an obligation to act objectively and in the wider public interest in accordance with paragraph 18.2.9 of the Code.  For ease of reference Paragraph 18.3.1 (K) required a Member to regard himself / herself as having a personal interest in any business of its Authority if: …… "a member of the public might reasonably perceive a conflict between your role in taking a decision, upon that business, on behalf of your authority as a whole and your role in representing the interests of constituents in your ward or electoral division".   

Other minor changes had been made and had also been incorporated into the revised Members’ Code of Conduct which was appended to the report.

 

The matter had been considered by the Council’s Standards Committee on 15th April, 2016 and subsequently resolved “that the provisions of the Local Authorities (Model Code of Conduct) (Wales) (Amendments) Order 2016 be noted and incorporated within the Members’ Code of Conduct contained in the Council’s Constitution”.

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1)       T H A T the provisions of the Local Authorities (Model Code of Conduct) (Wales) (Amendment) Order 2016 be adopted and incorporated within the Members' Code of Conduct contained in the Council's Constitution.

 

(2)       T H A T the Monitoring Officer ensures that the requirements of section 51(6) of the Local Government Act 2000 are adhered to.

 

 

1065            COMMUNITY COMMITTEE MEMBER SERVING ON THE COUNCIL’S STANDARDS COMMITTEE (MO) –

 

The Standards Committee (Wales) Regulations 2001 stated that the composition of Standards Committees shall not consist of persons other than:

 

(a)       persons who are members of the relevant Authority concerned

(b)       independent members, or

(c)        Community Committee Members.

 

The Community Committee Member currently sitting on the Council’s Standards Committee was Penarth Councillor M. Cuddy, being appointed to the Standards Committee on 18th July, 2012, for a period of four years.

 

As a consequence of the postponement of the 2016 Local Government elections, provision was made by the Local Government (Standards Committees, Investigations, Dispensations and Referral) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2016 to enable a relevant Authority to determine that Community Council Members of its Standards Committee who were in place on 1st April, 2016, to continue to serve until the next ordinary election in 2017.  In addition, the current four year restriction on the term of office for such a Member was removed. 

 

In seeking the Council’s approval to extend the existing Community Committee Member’s term of office, the need to invite applications for the position for Town and Community Councils within the Vale of Glamorgan and make an appointment following interview would be avoided.  The reappointment would also provide the Standards Committee with continuity of its membership. 

 

RESOLVED – T H A T Town Councillor M. Cuddy’s term of office as Community Committee Member of the Council’s Standards Committee be extended to 4th May, 2017.

 

 

1066            REVIEW OF THE COUNCIL’S CONSTITUTION / OFFICER DELEGATIONS (MO) –

 

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 Section 2.4 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. 

 

Section 2.6.2 of the Constitution provided for changes considered by the Monitoring Officer to be "required to be made to remove any inconsistency, ambiguity or typographical correction" to be made and then reported to the next Full Council meeting for information.   In accordance with the above, the following amendment to the Constitution had been made:

 

  • Section 12 – “Finance, Contracts and Legal Matters”

 

Reference in sub-paragraphs 12.4.2 and 12.4.3 to “£100,000” to be amended to “£75,000”.

 

This is to accord with the contract threshold of £75,000 contained in the Contracts Procedure Rules (Section 17 of the Constitution).

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the amendment to Section 12 of the Constitution as set out above be noted.

 

 

1067            USE OF THE MANAGING DIRECTOR’S EMERGENCY POWERS (MD) –

 

The following use of the Managing Director’s Emergency Powers was reported:

 

(a)       The replacement of Councillor Pam Drake with Councillor Lis Burnett on the Planning Committee with immediate effect and until further notice.

 

(Scrutiny - Corporate Resources)

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the report be noted.

 

 

1068            INDEPENDENT REMUNERATION PANEL FOR WALES (IRPW) ANNUAL REPORT 2016/17 (REF) –

 

In introducing the report, Councillor Hodges (Chairman of the Democratic Services Committee) reminded Members that the Annual Report of the IRPW had been considered by the Committee at its meeting on 13th April, 2016.  He alluded to the various suggestions brought forward by the IRPW, the major one of significance was to in effect introduce two levels of payment for Executive Members and for Committee Chairmen.  In referring to the deliberations on the matter by the Democratic Services Committee, Members in principal did not see the need for two salary levels and were content to maintain the status quo. 

 

The Council's Members' Allowances Scheme currently reflected the fact that the Council had resolved to abide by the determinations of the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales (IRPW) as set out in its Annual Report each year.  As such, there was generally no need to present a specific report to Members.  However, the Annual Report for 2016/17, whilst not proposing any increases in the basic or senior salaries, incorporated changes to the IRPW framework which it was stated "provide greater opportunities for flexibility at local level to reflect the variations in governance structures of Principal Councils".  Further details were set out below and, given the flexibility which the IRPW had introduced, specific consideration was required to be given as to whether the Council wished to vary the relevant payments or maintain the status quo.

 

The full list of the IRPW's determinations for 2016/17 was as set out in Appendix A to the report. 

 

The IRPW was, in effect, introducing two salary levels for Executive Members (except Leaders and Deputy Leaders) and for Committee Chairmen.  This was designed to allow Councils to take account of any differences in the responsibilities that they consider might be attached to specific posts.  The IRPW stated that, having considered the responses to its draft report in which a number of Executive posts were prescribed to be paid at the higher level, the IRPW had responded to those concerns in that the revised arrangements left it to the discretion of each Council as to which salary level was paid according to local circumstances.  Nevertheless, the IRPW was of the view that, in many instances, there were indeed differences in the responsibilities attached to portfolios of Executive Members, which, in turn, it was suggested should be reflected in the level of salary paid.  The IRPW was of the view that the same principle also applied to Committee Chairmen.

 

The draft Annual Report was originally considered by the Democratic Services Committee on 21st October, 2015.  At that time, as far as Cabinet positions were concerned, if an Authority had a Cabinet of more than six Members (including the Leader), the IRPW was proposing that additional Cabinet  Members would only be entitled to a salary of 10% less than the other six Cabinet Members.  Since that time, the IRPW had given further consideration to this aspect and the final report provided for individual Local Authorities to decide which of two bands of Senior Salary it wished to pay to each individual Cabinet Member.  The Vale of Glamorgan Council fell within Group B as far as IRPW Council sizes were concerned.  As such, Cabinet Member Senior Salaries could be

 

            Level 1 - £29,000

            Level 2 - £26,100.

 

As far as Chairmen of Committees were concerned, the IRPW continued to  take the view that the specific responsibility and workload of some Committee Chairmen was greater than others and, therefore, was introducing two levels of remuneration, viz.:

 

            Level 1 – £22,000

            Level 2 – £20,000.

 

It was for individual Authorities to decide which of its Chairmen (if remunerated) should receive a Level 1 or Level 2 payment.

 

RESOLVED – T H A T no changes be made to the current levels of Senior Salaries to Cabinet Members or Committee Chairmen. 

 

 

1069            DRAFT PROTOCOL RE SCRUTINY AND CABINET ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES (REF) –

 

In introducing the report, the Leader referred to the matter being considered by the Democratic Services Committee on 10th February, 2016. 

 

Members had been made aware from previous reports, of the all-Wales Scrutiny Improvement Study undertaken by the Wales Audit Office.  As far as this Council was concerned, in response to the nine specific recommendations emerging from the Study, an Action Plan was prepared.  That Action Plan had been the subject of update reports to both the Democratic Services Committee and the Scrutiny Committee Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen Group.  That would continue to be the case.

 

The nine specific recommendations of the Auditor General had been reported previously and were covered in the Action Plan (which, in itself, was included as a separate agenda item).

 

The Action Plan included the drawing up of a Protocol designed to encompass a number of elements of the Wales Audit Office recommendations, including:

 

  • the overall roles / responsibilities of Scrutiny and Cabinet Members (and, indeed, officers),
  • the general arrangements in place governing the Scrutiny process,
  • the need for correlation of internal (i.e. Council, Cabinet and Scrutiny) Work Programmes and correlation between those and external regulators' Work Programmes.

 

The draft Protocol was attached as Appendix A to the report.  The draft was also submitted to the Scrutiny Committee Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen Group for consideration. 

 

The draft Protocol sought to set out parameters governing the following specific areas: 

  • Principles of Effective Scrutiny
  • Role of the Scrutiny Committees
  • Holding the Cabinet to Account
  • Relationship Between Cabinet and Scrutiny
  • Work Programmes and Agendas
  • Ethos of a Scrutiny Committee Meeting
  • Attendance by Cabinet Members at Scrutiny Committee Meetings
  • Attendance by Officers at Scrutiny Committee Meetings
  • Responses of Cabinet Members to Questions from Scrutiny Committees
  • “Call-In” of a Cabinet Decision
  • Recommendations made by Scrutiny Committees
  • Meetings Between Scrutiny Committee Chairmen and Cabinet Members
  • Public Speaking at Scrutiny Committee Meetings.

The Leader indicated that the draft Protocol had been endorsed by the Democratic Services Committee and subsequently referred to the Cabinet for consideration, which it had done so on 7th March, 2016 with the matter now being referred to Council for final endorsement.  A review would be undertaken in 12 months’ time.

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the draft Protocol relating to Scrutiny and Cabinet roles and responsibilities be endorsed.

 

 

1070            IMPROVEMENT PLAN PART 1: IMPROVEMENT OBJECTIVES 2016/17 (REF) –

 

In introducing the report, the Leader reminded Members that the proposals had been considered by all five Scrutiny Committees.  He referred to the appendix attached to the original Cabinet report which was submitted for endorsement by the Council and he referred to the journey of the Improvement Objectives which had been developed as a consequence of the Corporate Plan’s four corresponding Objectives.  He also acknowledged that work remained in regard to how certain performance information was to be measured, however, this would be the ongoing work of the Members Working Group which included Group Leaders and the Chairs of Scrutiny Committees.  He also referred to the revised Terms of Reference and titles of the Scrutiny Committees which would be considered later in the agenda in regard to the Council’s new Performance Management Framework. 

 

The Corporate Plan 2016-20 was approved The Corporate Plan 2016-2020 was approved by Cabinet on 22nd February, 2016 and by Council on 2nd March, 2016 following extensive consultation with key stakeholders and partners.  The Plan set out the Council's priorities for the next four years as well as its vision, values and Well-being Objectives.  Work had been undertaken to ensure that the plans were aligned and reflected the priorities for the Vale of Glamorgan.  These outcomes were also reflected in Service Plans for 2016/17.

 

The proposed Improvement Objectives and associated actions for 2016/17 reflected the four Well-being Outcomes in the Corporate Plan, ensuring that the Council was focused on the identified areas of priority in need of the most improvement.

 

Five Improvement Objectives were proposed for 2016/17 as follows:

 

1 -       Reducing poverty and social exclusion

2 -       Promoting regeneration, economic growth and employment

3 -       Raising overall standards of achievement

4 -       Encouraging and promoting active and healthy lifestyles

5 -       Deliver the Council’s transformational programme, “Reshaping Services” to meet the future needs of citizens of the Vale of Glamorgan, within the context of unprecedented financial challenges.

 

Appendix 1 to the original Cabinet report outlined the proposed Improvement Objectives for 2016/17 and provided a rationale for each objective (Pages 8-28).  The intended outcomes and the measures to be undertaken to make a difference to Vale of Glamorgan citizens were identified including a sponsored Director with responsibility for ensuring the achievement of key outcomes.

 

A number of performance measures identified in the Plan did not have data reported for the 2015/16 period or targets established for 2016/17.  In line with existing performance management arrangements, all Council services were undertaking an End of Year data collection and verification exercise which would be concluded at the end of April to tie in with data submissions to Welsh Government and the Local Government Data Unit.  In addition, some nationally produced data such as tourism and economic activity data was not available until later in the year and the Improvement Plan would be updated to reflect this new data once published. Similarly All Wales benchmarking data was published in September of each year.

 

Appendix 2 to the original Cabinet report provided a summary of the views and comments from the consultation including the views of three Scrutiny Committees.  In summary:

 

•           Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health) did not endorse the proposed Improvement Objectives for 2016/17 due to concerns about the proposed performance indicators for use in measuring how progress to achieve Objective 4 would be monitored.

•           Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) recommended to Cabinet that the Improvement Objectives for 2016/17 be endorsed.

•           Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection) recommended to Cabinet that the Improvement Objectives for 2016/17 be endorsed.  Furthermore that Cabinet should be informed of the view of the Committee that each Improvement Objective should be linked to its outcomes and actions.

 

The views of key stakeholders including the Local Service Board, Town and Community Councils, local businesses, voluntary sector organisations and the public were also sought over a period of four weeks (14th March to 8th April, 2016).  The consultation was promoted via an online survey, local media releases and a combination of social media (over 16,000 followers).

 

Despite extensive promotion of the consultation, only ten stakeholders took the opportunity to have their say on the Vale of Glamorgan's proposed Improvement Objectives for 2016/17.  Respondents included five residents, a Colleague from the Vale of Glamorgan Council, Welsh St. Donats Community Council, Cardiff and Vale Credit Union, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board (UHB) and the Glamorgan Voluntary Services (GVS).

 

On the whole, of the ten responses received, there had been no formal objections to the proposed Improvement Objectives for 2016/17.  Responses had been positive and supportive with some suggested additions to the narrative in the rationale for some objectives.

 

Councillor Traherne referred to the Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health)’s previous deliberations on the matter and put on record that the Committee was disappointed by the lack of performance data in the report when considering Improvement Objective 4 – Encouraging and Promoting Active and Healthy Lifestyles.  He referred to the fact that most of the data for 2015/16 was unavailable and there were no targets for five of the eight Indicators.  He acknowledged that things had moved on, but noted that data for 2015/16 was still not available for three of the eight Indicators and there was no target at all for one of the Indicators.  To him also it seemed there was no data for seven of the eight Indicators in regard to the 2014/15 Welsh Average.  Without the ability to benchmark performance against the Welsh Average or better still against the Welsh top quartile, he did not see how the Council’s performance could truly be measured.  In view of the lack of benchmarking data he considered it was difficult to know whether the targets were sufficiently challenging and he went so far as to say that in view of the lack of benchmarking data it was difficult to know whether the Council had the right Indicators.   He considered that the report was “sloppy” and was clearly being rushed through without a great deal of thought.

 

In response, the Leader disagreed with Councillor Traherne’s version of events and did not accept that the report was “sloppy”.  He reiterated his comments regarding the Council’s new Corporate Plan which had been formed around the Future Generations and Wellbeing Act.  Members were abundantly aware that the Corporate Plan as reported to the previous meetings of the Scrutiny Committee had been aligned to the Objectives of the Act.  He indicated that Members were fully aware as in previous years that the end of year data for 2015/16 would not be available until July.  He also pointed out that in regard to Objective 4, in most cases there was no Welsh Average, as much of the data was unavailable but, accepted the comment regarding the Welsh top quartile and this could be considered going forward.  He also reiterated his previous comments regarding the Member Working Group and the work that this Group would be undertaking later in the year regarding performance information.

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the Improvement Plan Part 1, including proposed Improvement Objectives for 2016/17, be approved.

 

 

1071            PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT FRAMEWORK (REF) –

 

The Leader, in introducing the report, referred to the previous debate on the Improvement Plan, with this report being an extension of that, with the Council being asked to formally endorse the titles and scope of the Council’s revised Scrutiny Committee arrangements.

 

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

 

•           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 performance management and measurement was undertaken across the Council. The framework enabled the Council to regularly assess, report and scrutinise performance in order to support the 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 (which included the Community Strategy, Corporate Plan, Service Plans, Team Plans and Personal Development Plans) 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 December 2015, Cabinet approved proposals for changes to the Council’s PMF as the basis for consultation with Scrutiny Committees and that report was subsequently referred to each of the Council's five Scrutiny Committees.  A subsequent report in February 2016, provided Cabinet with a summary of the views of the five Scrutiny Committees.  Cabinet approved the recommendation to establish a Working Group of Elected Members and Officers to develop further the arrangements that would support the revised PMF, including consideration of the review of the Council's Scrutiny Committees.  It was also resolved that the report be referred to the Democratic Services Committee for consideration.  The report to Cabinet of 22nd February, 2016, also contained a recommendation that a further report be brought to Cabinet following conclusion of the review by the Working Group on matters related to the naming and terms of reference of the Council's Scrutiny Committees.  The report provided Cabinet with an update on the developments to the PMF since February.

 

The Working Group had therefore given consideration to the proposed titles for the new Scrutiny Committees in response to concerns related to the public understanding of the Committees' remits should the titles of the Committees be identical to the Well-being Outcomes contained in the Corporate Plan.

 

Well-being Outcome

Scrutiny Committee Title

 

An Inclusive and Safe Vale

Homes and Safe Communities Scrutiny Committee

 

An Active and Healthy Vale

Healthy Living and Social Care Scrutiny Committee

 

An Environmentally Responsible and Prosperous Vale

Environment and Regeneration Scrutiny Committee

 

An Aspirational and Culturally Vibrant Vale

Learning and Culture Scrutiny Committee

 

 

In addition to the four Well-being Outcome-based Scrutiny Committees, the existing Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) would be replaced with a Committee called Corporate Performance and Resources Scrutiny Committee.

 

In terms of Performance Reporting, significant developments to the PMF had taken place over the past six months.  These included the development and adoption of a new Corporate Plan for the Council and the publication of the Council's first whole-Council Annual Self-Assessment report.

 

Service Plans were currently under development and would be reported to Scrutiny Committees and Cabinet in April-May 2016.  This year Service Plans were being developed at Head of Service level and would focus on the contribution made to the Council’s Well-being Outcomes and objectives, in addition to the way in which the service would manage its resources.  Following approval of the Service Plans; Team Plans and Personal Development Plans would be put in place to reflect the contribution to service objectives made by the Council's teams and individual colleagues.

 

The Working Group would next consider the reporting arrangements associated with the PMF.  As reported previously, it was proposed that the Corporate Plan would be monitored on a quarterly basis by an overall Corporate Health Report and this would be 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 risk. It was envisaged that the report would incorporate a RAG status for each Well-being Outcome to give a snapshot of overall progress, summarising the performance of the measures and the activity underway to support the delivery of the outcome.  A brief position statement would be provided for the quarter covering the Well-being Outcomes and corporate health performance overall as well as a brief summary of achievements by outcome. Areas of underperformance / key challenges across the corporate health perspectives would be highlighted with proposed remedial actions to address them.  It was proposed that this quarterly overview report would be presented in a dashboard / scorecard format designed to make the information contained in it as accessible as possible.

 

Four Quarterly Well-being Outcome and Objectives Reports would demonstrate progress against each of the individual Well-being Outcomes and associated objectives.  Informed by performance data collected from Service Plans, these reports would demonstrate the cross-cutting nature of the Well-being Outcomes and draw together evidence from the range of the Council's service areas responsible for delivering the actions associated with the outcome.  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 them.

 

The format of the Corporate Health and Quarterly Well-being Outcome and Objective Reports would be developed by the Working Group in the coming months, prior to the first quarter's performance being reported to Scrutiny Committees in September 2016.  This would also involve a review of the Performance Indicators used to demonstrate whether the Council was achieving its intended outcomes for each of the eight Well-being Objectives.

 

The existing approach to the monitoring of Service Plans would be replaced with quarterly reports against each Well-being Objective linked to a Well-being Outcome.  This would enable Members to focus on scrutinising progress towards achieving the Council’s Well-being Outcomes.  Services would continue to report performance data quarterly to the Council's Performance Team.  The Performance Team would then use this information to produce the more focused Well-being Outcome Reports.

 

Below was an indicative timetable for implementation of the revised PMF, which would be phased in over the 2016/17 annual performance planning and reporting cycle and would be fully implemented by the end of 2017/18.

 

 

Activity

 

Timescale

Service Self-Assessment 2015/16

Completed (March 2016)

Service Plans 2016/17

April-May 2016

Team Plans 2016/17

April – June 2016

Personal Development and Review for all staff

June – September 2016

Corporate Plan 2016-20

Completed (1st April, 2016)

Development and agreement of performance scorecard reports

April – August 2016

Approval of Scrutiny Structures

May 2016

Quarter 1 performance reporting

September 2016

Quarter 2 performance reporting

December 2016

Quarter 3 performance reporting

March 2017

End of Year performance reporting

July 2017

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the proposed changes to the titles and scope of the Council’s Scrutiny Committees be approved.

 

 

1072            EUROPEAN UNION REFERENDUM AND WELSH LOCAL GOVERNMENT ASSOCIATION POSITION (REF) –

 

The Leader, in introducing the report, set out his rationale for bringing the matter to Cabinet and subsequently to the Council.  He referred to the receipt of correspondence from the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) in respect of the European Union (EU) Referendum and to adopt a position in relation to the referendum.

 

The WLGA Co-ordinating Committee received a report on 24th March, 2016 which updated Members on the referendum on UK membership of the EU.  A copy of the letter dated 15th April, 2016 from Councillor Bob Bright (spokesperson on European Affairs) sought feedback on the stance being adopted by individual Councils in the run up to the EU Referendum.

 

Copies of that letter were attached, including the proforma for feedback and the report to the Co-ordinating Committee, had been attached at Appendix 2 to the original Cabinet report.

 

The Leader indicated that he had circulated copies of the WLGA Co-ordinating Committee information to all Group Leaders for consideration. 

 

He indicated the proforma sought details on a number of questions and Cabinet had endorsed a draft response at its meeting on 25th April, 2016.  In summary, reference had been made to: 

  • The fact that the steps taken by the authority in publicising the referendum would be those normally taken in relation to any election or referendum.
  • That it would be a matter for individual members to support and/or promote any campaigns.  However, in doing so it would be appreciated that council facilities were not to be used for party political or campaigning purposes.
  • That the activities planned as part of Europe Day would not differ from any other year.
  • Examples were also given as to how the EU membership had benefited the economy of the Vale of Glamorgan area as well as other benefits (questions 5 and 6).

The Cabinet had subsequently resolved

 

(1)       That subject to subject to consideration by Council on 27 April, 2016 the Welsh Local Government Association stance in relation to supporting the EU Referendum be supported.

 

The Leader considered the draft response to be balanced and fair.  However, in some respect he felt that he was between a rock and a hard place and consequently he was leaving it to individual Members of the Council to consider. 

 

The Leader made it abundantly clear that the first question to ask Council was whether or not they wanted to take a view on the first question asked in the Proforma – whether or not the Council wished to adopt a formal position on the issues of the EU referendum?

 

The Leader confirmed that if the Council did not want to take a position, that would be an end to the matter and no further action would be required.

 

Councillor Penrose, in referring to the Leader’s comments, requested that a Recorded Vote take place and the requisite number of Members stood to confirm that this would be the case.  Unlike the Leader, in his opinion, he didn’t personally feel that this was a matter for the WLGA or the Council.  He considered it more a matter between the electorate and the ballot box and consequently it should remain there.  For that reason he indicated that he would be voting against the proposal, however that didn’t necessarily indicate his own personal viewpoint on the subject matter.

 

In echoing Councillor Penrose’s comments, Councillor Bertin also considered that the matter should be left to the electorate to decide.  He felt that the Council should be concentrating on improving services in the Vale of Glamorgan as opposed to promoting a position of the Council in regard to the EU Referendum. 

 

Councillor John Thomas indicated that he personally and his Group were opposed to the Council adopting a position on the EU Referendum.  He also referred to an officer’s e-mail sent to all Members of the Council earlier in the day regarding the legitimacy of considering the matter at the meeting.  He concluded that just because it was legitimate it didn’t make it right to do so, and indicated that he would voting against the proposals.

 

The Deputy Leader intimated how most people perceived how he would vote in most elections at the Assembly or Westminster.  However, he considered that the EU Referendum was an entirely different matter.  He also disagreed with certain comments made relating to the WLGA involvement in seeking the views of Welsh Councils on the issue.  He suggested that it was right for the views of all Councils in Wales to be sought and he had no interest in how other Members would vote on the matter however, he indicated that he would be abstaining from any vote. 

 

Councillor James, in supporting the comments of Councillor Thomas, referred to the Leader’s earlier comments relating to the WLGA Co-ordinating Committee, but reminded Members of the finer point that it was the Co-ordinating Committee manifesto commitment for remaining in the EU.  He also accepted the Deputy Leader’s comments relating to the WLGA and that it was a representative body for Councils in Wales, however it was an organisation run on political lines with the majority of the Co-ordinating Committee being Labour Members.  He considered that if the Council was to approve the Cabinet proposal under consideration, irrespective of individual Member’s positions, the Council would be moving along a line that was devised by the Co-ordinating Committee.  In doing so, that would be a political decision to influence the outcome of the Referendum which was not the role of the Council to do.

 

Councillor Mahoney alluded to the comments already made and suggested that it wasn’t about having a debate on the ins and outs of the European Union, if that were to be the case, the Council meeting would last forever.  What he was concerned with however, was the fact that the Independent Group had advocated leaving the WLGA for some time, ceasing to pay affiliation charges.  In referring to the proforma and in particular to the list of advantages for remaining in the EU, he was disappointed that no disadvantages were mentioned.  He considered the whole proposal to be ludicrous and that the public were quite capable of making a decision on the matter without the Council expressing a view.

 

The Leader, in summing up, reiterated his previous comments in regard to the rationale for bringing the matter in front of Council for a decision.  He acknowledged that the matter was indeed within the manifesto of the Co-ordinating Committee and accepted that it was a decision for the Council to say no on the matter.  If it was the Council’s response to the first question in the proforma, that being “Has your Authority adopted, or are you planning to adopt, a formal position on the issue of the EU Referendum” was no, that would be the end of the matter and no further questions would be answered in the proforma.

 

A Recorded Vote took place as follows:

 

Councillor

For

Against

Abstain

L.   Burnett

X

 

 

J.   Drysdale

X

 

 

K.E.   Edmunds

X

 

 

C.P.J.   Elmore

X

 

 

N.   Moore

X

 

 

R.F.   Probert

X

 

 

G.   Roberts

X

 

 

A.G.   Bennett

 

X

 

R.J.   Bertin

 

X

 

J.C.   Bird

 

X

 

G.A.   Cox

 

X

 

C.L.   Curtis

 

X

 

R.F.   Curtis

 

X

 

H.J.W.   James

 

X

 

T.H.   Jarvie

 

X

 

M.   Kelly Owen

 

X

 

P.G.   King

 

X

 

K.P.   Mahoney

 

X

 

A.   Parker

 

X

 

R.A.   Penrose

 

X

 

A.G.   Powell

 

X

 

A.J.   Preston

 

X

 

J.W.   Thomas

 

X

 

R.P.   Thomas

 

X

 

R.L.   Traherne

 

X

 

M.R.   Wilkinson

 

X

 

C.J.   Williams

 

X

 

R.   Birch

 

 

X

B.E.   Brooks

 

 

X

P.   Drake

 

 

X

S.C.   Egan

 

 

X

C.P.   Franks

 

 

X

E.   Hacker

 

 

X

H.C.   Hamilton

 

 

X

V.M.   Hartrey

 

 

X

K.   Hatton

 

 

X

N.P.   Hodges

 

 

X

G.   John

 

 

X

F.T.   Johnson

 

 

X

A.   Moore

 

 

X

S.T.   Wiliam

 

 

X

E.   Williams

 

 

X

TOTALS

7

20

15

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the Council adopt no formal position on the issue of the EU Referendum.

 

 

1073            USE OF THE URGENCY DECISION PROCEDURE (REF) –

 

The Leader reminded Members that Agenda Item Nos. 11(b), (c) and (d) utilised the use of the Urgency Decision Procedure under Article 14.14 of the Council’s Constitution and therefore were also reported to Council for noting. 

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the use of the Urgency Decision Procedure in respect of the below matters and as set out in Article 14.14 of the Council’s Constitution be noted:

 

(i)         Cabinet Minute No. C3123, 14th March, 2016: The Treatment of Biodegradable Municipal Waste Tender Acceptance.

 

(ii)        Cabinet Minute No. C3124, 14th March, 2016: Management and Operation of the Council’s two Household Waste Recycling Centres.

 

(iii)       Cabinet Minute No. C3141, 11th April, 2016: School Admission Arrangements 2017/2018.

 

(iv)       Cabinet Minute No. C3150, 27th April, 2016: Improvement Plan Part 1: Improvement Objectives 2016/17.

 

(v)        Cabinet Minute No. C3151, 27th April, 2016: Performance Management Framework.

 

(vi)       Cabinet Minute No. C3163, 27th April, 2016: European Union Referendum and Welsh Local Government Association Position.

 

           

1074            QUESTIONS PURSUANT TO COUNCIL PROCEDURE RULE 8.2 -

 

Due notice had been given of the following questions:

 

(i)         Question from Councillor R.L. Traherne

 

Do you feel that the Council has the necessary resilience within its planning department to deal with the increasingly complicated and numerous planning applications that require considered and efficient resolution?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Regeneration

 

The Planning Department constantly keep under review the resources it needs to process planning applications and to deal with other issues such as the preparation and delivery of the Local Development Plan, and when necessary additional temporary resources are secured.  So the answer is yes.

 

Supplemental

 

In referring to the Cabinet Member’s response, Councillor Traherne came to the conclusion that the Cabinet Member didn’t fully understand the difficulties in the planning division and inferred that even if the Council doubled the current number of planning officers, they would still be unable to deal with the volume of work and asked the Cabinet Member if these officers were wrong. 

 

The Cabinet Member pointed out that the Council’s performance with regard to the determination of planning applications remained third in Wales, determining 91% of all applications within eight weeks (October 2015 – December 2015) against an average in Wales of 78%.

 

In addition, the Council continues to receive and determine the sixth highest number of applications in Wales, with only Wales’ three cities, Rhondda Cynon Taff and Carmarthenshire receiving more planning applications.  As a consequence, she hoped that the Member was reassured that the Council continued to ‘punch above its weight’ when it came to not only the speed at which it determined applications, but also in the quality of its decision making.

 

(ii)        Question from Councillor R.L. Traherne

 

I understand that the ‘Local Development Plan Inspector’ has rejected the land at Hayes Road Sully as a location for a Gypsy and Traveller Site. Is this true?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Regeneration

 

Yes (although I am a little surprised at the question given that your current dispensation does not apply to meetings of the Council and you have consistently declared an interest in the LDP at previous Council meetings).

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Traherne enquired if the Cabinet Member had a Plan B.

 

The Inspector has recommended that in light of the constraints imposed by the Development Advice maps issued by Natural Resources Wales and despite the fact that Natural Resources Wales have actually raised no objection to the LDP in this regard, that the Hayes Road allocation is removed.  He has also suggested that the Council provide an update as to how it wishes to address the resulting shortfall within the Plan.  This will be dealt with in due course.

 

(iii)       Question from Councillor R.L. Traherne

 

At its meeting in March there was dissatisfaction from all Members of the Social Care and Health Scrutiny Committee regarding the failure of the Council to complete much needed capital works within the current financial year.  There was particular concern that schemes had been delayed due to ‘a number of staffing resource issues in Property Services’.  The Deputy Leader agreed to share these concerns with Cabinet however these do not appear to be reflected in the minutes of the Cabinet Meeting of 11th April when the Revenue and Capital Monitoring Report was referred to Cabinet.  I am sure that this was merely an oversight on behalf of the ‘minute taker’; however are you able to explain why there have been such serious ‘staffing resource issues’ in Property Services and are you able to reassure Members that these issues have been resolved, as it is clearly most unsatisfactory for much needed capital works to be delayed in this manner.

 

Reply from the Leader

 

Firstly can I say that Councillor Egan did raise the issue with Cabinet colleagues and I have raised concerns re delays in the delivery of the Capital Programme and that officers and my cabinet colleagues are looking to address the issues.  I have also put in place a monthly capital monitoring regime, which I attend.

 

At the outset, can I just say that it is always very easy to criticise.  I believe it worth noting that the Property Section has successfully delivered many projects in recent times.  These include major contracts such as the School Improvement Programme (for example. the multi award winning Penarth Learning Community, Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg, Ysgol Gymraeg Dewi Sant, Ysgol Gymraeg y Nant / Oak Field Primary School and the ongoing Welsh Housing Quality Standard framework works. All of these are projects of major scale that have been a high priority for this administration. 

 

There have however been factors that have contributed to slippages in recent months.  Issues that have contributed to the slippage of the planned programme included gaining Listed Building Consent, difficulties encountered by contractors to source specific electrical equipment and access being denied to certain residential homes due to outbreak of norovirus.

 

In addition, the Property Section is currently experiencing unprecedented staffing issues although these are being addressed.

 

I can confirm that the action being taken includes:

 

-         Proposals to set up a framework agreement for consultancy services that will enable call-off at peak periods or when resource issues are encountered;

-         Reviewing the staffing structure to ensure it is best placed to meet future challenges (departing staff may not be replaced on a like for like basis) still ensuring it was efficient;

-         Recently recruiting a Project Manager whose duties include co-ordinating the workload of staff engaged in design and administration of schemes; and

-         Recently engaging a permanent Quantity Surveyor to replace a member of staff who gained employment elsewhere.

 

The Leader concluded by indicating that there were various obvious reasons for the difficulties which were being addressed. 

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Traherne, in his opinion, alluded to the “hollowing out” of services in some parts of the Council and that posts were being left vacant in order to save money, leaving teams without the necessary resilience to cope with sickness and leave.  He asked if the Leader would undertake a review to ensure that all parts of the Council were properly staffed and that teams had the necessary resilience to cope in an efficient and effective manner with their work.

 

The Leader, in referring to Councillor Traherne’s question, suggested that perhaps he had missed something in his earlier reply.  He reiterated that since he had taken on the role of Leader there had been an ongoing review of management and staffing levels.  Regarding the Property Section, there had recently been new appointments and that a staffing restructure was underway.  He also touched upon delays in Social Services which were now progressing and referred to the project at Hen Goleg which was due to commence in May. He also made reference to electrical re-wire work at Southway and Cartref Porthceri which was also underway; the installation of call and assistance systems at Southway, Cartref Porthceri, Ty Dyfan and Ty Dewi Sant were complete; a structural survey and report relating to subsidence at Cartref Porthceri had been completed and costings were currently being undertaken for the remedial works to proceed.  He gave an assurance that reviews were taking place and that services would be fit for purpose. 

 

(iv)       Question from Councillor R.L. Traherne

 

In her compliance notice of 30th September, 2015, the Welsh Language Commissioner required this Council to comply with no less than 176 different Standards covering service delivery, policy making, operational matters and record keeping.  She required 143 of these Standards to be in place by 30th March, 2016.  Are you able to confirm that this has been achieved?

 

Reply from the Leader

 

Since being notified of the Standards that apply to the Council we have been working on their implementation, and an officer working group with representatives from all Directorates has been undertaking this task for the past six months.  The Council has an action plan setting out how we are going about meeting the Standards set out by the Welsh Language Commissioner, and this action plan is on the Council’s website.  The bulk of the Standards due to be in place by April have been introduced.  The working group will continue to meet to plan for the implementation of the remaining Standards and were well aware that these were many and complicated.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Traherne referred to the current budget of £100,000 to cover the cost of compliance with the Welsh Language Commissioner’s Notice and asked the Leader if this was sufficient.

 

The Leader confirmed that the £100,000 amount was indeed in the budget and reminded Councillor Traherne that this amount was in the initial budget process.  He also reminded Councillor Traherne that the Council was not only working with officers within its departments and that the Council was working with a number of organisations like Menter Bro Morgannwg, on a regular basis and suggested that if Councillor Traherne had read the report, he would have been aware of this.  He also referred to the recent entering into of a Service Level Agreement with Cardiff County Council as well as having an in-house translation service.  In referring to the Standards, he referred to the Council’s requirement to comply with 138 standards by 31st March, 2016 and to a further 33 Standards to comply with by 30th September, 2016.  

 

In referring to the Welsh Language Commissioner’s Office, they had indicated that they were satisfied with the Council’s progress to date, but he acknowledged the challenges going forward. 

(v)        Question from Councillor R.L. Traherne

 

Are you satisfied with the progress of the “Reshaping Services Agenda” in view of the urgent need to deliver services in a more innovative manner as a result of budgetary pressures?

 

Reply from the Leader

 

Yes.

 

Supplemental

 

In referring to the apparent ruling out of outsourcing of services to the private sector by the Council and the appearance of the lack of enthusiasm for the establishment of social enterprises, Councillor Traherne asked if it might have been better to ask external consultants to obtain an objective view of Council services to ascertain whether services should be kept in-house or delivered in a different manner. 

 

The Leader, in response, was surprised by Councillor Traherne’s comment and indicated that he had not taken a view of going out to the private sector although he was delighted that there were many examples of involvement of the private sector, especially in the field of the Scrutiny Committee for which Councillor Traherne chaired.  The Leader indicated that without such partnerships the Council could not operate its services.  He also reminded Councillor Traherne that a recent report had been submitted to the Cabinet in relation to social enterprise projects and gave Catering Services as an example.  He did not accept Councillor Traherne’s assertion that the Council would not be utilising consultants and reminded of earlier work undertaken by consultants in respect of Visible and Housing Services to identify efficiencies.  As far as he was concerned, he was satisfied with progress made to date.  The reason why he was satisfied was due to the many projects being made under the Council’s Reshaping Services Programme, which referred to a number of projects, for example relating to community libraries; the Council’s in-house pool car scheme; the Shared Regulatory Service; cleaning and security services to name but a few.  He also mentioned the ongoing work with Town and Community Councils which was supported by One Voice Wales who believed the Council was doing ground breaking work.  He also referred to the work undertaken internally with the Council in regard to staff development workshops and staffing sessions relating to the Leadership Café, all of which were participated by committed staff who attended in their own time.  He also made reference to work with the Trade Unions to develop a new Staff Charter and work would continue going forward in regard to Tranche 3 of the Reshaping Services Programme next year.  He also reminded Members of the numerous reports made on the Space Project and Reshaping Services Programme reported previously and referred to the recent annual Cabinet Work Programme considered by Cabinet earlier in the week, which would now include quarterly updates relating to the Reshaping Services Programme and circulated to Members and referred to the relevant Scrutiny Committees.  He was therefore pleased with the work that was progressed, but indicated that the task would have been easier if such efforts had been undertaken a long time ago. 

 

(vi)       Question from Councillor R.J. Bertin

 

Following the sad and tragic loss of Councillor Clarke on the B4270 road at Llandow, many locals have come forward claiming this road is dangerous and that the Council should consider making safety improvements on this road.  Will the Cabinet Member please inform us if there are any such plans in the pipeline?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Regeneration

 

Could I firstly reiterate previous comments in respect to this most terrible accident involving Councillor Clarke.  This is one of two fatal road traffic accidents on the B4270 this year, and whilst a tendency towards introducing physical safety improvements along any section of highway where there have been such serious incidence is understandable, it is important that we first analyse the Police incidence reports to fully understand the causes.

 

In the cases of the two most recent incidents the Police reports have not indicated any highway related issues and this therefore suggests that no safety improvements are required.

 

(vii)      Question from Councillor H.J.W. James

 

I understand that the Inspector to the LDP has requested the Council’s justification for the disproportionally large scale of development proposed within the rural communities.

 

How are you going to respond to his concerns?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Regeneration

 

The Inspector has asked the Council to justify the level of growth proposed within the minor rural settlements, including an explanation of how the developments will conform with the sustainability principles set out in Planning Policy Wales and deliver the Plan’s own objectives.  He has also required the Council to demonstrate how the level of growth proposed in such settlements strikes the appropriate balance between the need to support rural areas and to respect local character.

 

The Council is clearly satisfied with the level of growth proposal and that it is consistent with the Plan’s strategy to promote development opportunities in Barry and the south eastern zone, with St. Athan to be a key development opportunity and Cardiff Airport a focus for transport and employment investment, with other sustainable settlements to accommodate further housing and associated development.

 

Supplemental

 

In referring to the concerns expressed by the Inspector to the LDP regarding certain communities and the policy / strategy relating to the allocation of development in rural areas being too large for small rural communities.  On the understanding of these facts, Councillor James asked the Cabinet Member if the draft LDP in its current form was completely unsustainable.

 

The Cabinet Member, in referring to the Inspector’s comments had understood that the Council had been requested to justify the level of growth proposed.  However, he had not declared the draft LDP unsound.  She also reminded Councillor James of the previous concerns at the level of growth within the south east of the Vale of Glamorgan previously.  The fact of the matter was that this area had experienced significant growth in previous years and this is why the Administration had sought a better balance across the Vale of Glamorgan to ensure that all development was sustainable and met the needs of current and future population whilst supporting existing communities and facilities.  She looked forward to the outcome of the LDP process.

 

(viii)     Question from Councillor Dr. I.J. Johnson

 

How many Syrian refugees have been successfully accommodated in the Vale of Glamorgan under the Vulnerable Person Resettlement Programme?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Housing, Building Maintenance and Community Safety

 

None.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Dr. Johnson referred to the matter being pressing given that part of the Immigration Bill was due to be considered the following week in Westminster where the Government were proposing to reject the resettlement of 3,000 children to the UK.  He also referred to his previous Council questions ten months ago to the Council and to very little information being provided from Cabinet since that time.  In referring to the refugees and the crisis situation, he sought an assurance from the Cabinet Member that something real and tangible would be in place by the time of the next meeting of the Council in July.

 

The Cabinet Member, referring to Councillor Dr. Johnson’s comments indicated that the Council had one property that was available under the Resettlement Scheme and her main priority was to support the Vale of Glamorgan along with Cardiff in partnership taking families affected by the refugee crisis in Syria.  Support was now in place, including education arrangements, and the Police had been involved in the community safety aspect with it likely that a family would be resettled in the Vale of Glamorgan in May. 

 

(ix)       Question from Councillor Dr. I.J. Johnson

 

What discussions have been held regarding a Dinas Powys bypass in the past twelve months?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Regeneration

 

I have certainly not been involved in any discussions on this topic although I am aware that the route was submitted as evidence as part of the LDP Examination in Public session held in March 2016.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Dr. Johnson referred to previous discussions on the Local Transport Plan at Council the previous year and to one of the reasons given for not being included in that programme for 2012/13, was the lack of work that had been carried out.  He asked the Cabinet Member if there was any intention in the final year of its Administration and the first year of the new Welsh Government Administration to start the process and plan to include the bypass in the next Local Transport Plan. 

 

The Cabinet Member informed Members that she was of the view that whilst the provision of a bypass would partially address through traffic issues within Dinas Powys, it would not address the primary issues which caused the congestion and alluded to constraints imposed by the Merrie Harrier and Barons Court junctions and this would merely transpose the issue to another location.   She considered the inclusion of the bypass scheme in the LDP or LTP was not considered to be required at this time.  She also referred to the protection of the previous bypass route, and that the Council considered that the route identified in previous development plans was largely protected by the area to the east of Dinas Powys having been designated as a green wedge.

 

(x)        Question from Councillor Dr. I.J. Johnson

 

How do you plan to evaluate the current regeneration spending in Barry?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Regeneration

 

There is no single answer to the question however, in broad terms, Vibrant and Viable Places Tackling Poverty Programme, includes funds for evaluation of the programme.  Welsh Government has yet to confirm the methodology to be used in this evaluation process.

 

With regard to the wider regeneration of Barry and indeed the Vale, it is important to note that the Service Plan currently being prepared for the Regeneration and Planning Department will include a number of key milestones and performance indicators with regard to important projects such as the Broad Street improvements, Nell’s Point and the Waterfront.

 

Overall, the success of regeneration in Barry must be measured against highly successful completed projects, such as the Pumphouse and Barry Island.

 

Both of these projects have been recognised nationally and at a Wales level with nominations for awards by the Royal Town Planning Institute, Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and the Royal Institute of British Architects.

 

In addition, these major schemes have been promoted alongside a suite of other projects at a local level such as improvements to public spaces to promote healthier and active lifestyles.  In the same way the renewal schemes target the areas of Barry that are in greatest need of housing improvements.  The initiatives around the Communities First programme are very much linked to helping people into suitable employment, so it all works together to contribute to the successful regeneration of Barry.

 

Supplemental

 

In thanking the Cabinet Member for her reply, and acknowledging all Members supported the successful regeneration of Barry, Councillor Dr. Johnson did not believe this was a matter under discussion.  He referred to a recent event attended where he raised concerns that there was an over-reliance on anecdotes and not enough quantitative data which could prove what the regeneration spend was having.  Taking account of this, he wondered what plans the Cabinet Member had to ensure that quantitative data was available so it put the Council in a stronger position to attract further grant funding from the Welsh Government.

 

The Cabinet Member referred to positive working with Welsh Government and increasingly they were applauding the Council’s approach to whole town regeneration.  Taking a whole town approach was a challenge to identify appropriate and meaningful measures and referred to the undermentioned: 

  • “We can say that through Communities First or the Work Programme 1,000+  people have been supported into employment but what difference has that made to their lives?
  • We can say how many schools we have built, improved or expanded over the past few years, but what has been the impact on the lives of pupils, families and the wider community?
  • We can quantify how many houses have been upgraded through the Renewal area or WHQS improvements but how much difference has having a safe, secure home made to the lives of local residents.
  • How do we measure the confidence and self-esteem of parents who have written story books for their children or the young people who have set up in business as a result of our Inspiring the Vale bursary scheme.
  • How do you quantify the impact of education courses on a woman who a year ago was terrified to accept an award in public but who now is establishing a social business and can happily debate pricing, packaging, marketing etc.
  • How do you measure the effect on local people when Barry is prominent in the media or on social media and they have a daily reason to feel good about their home town.
  • How do you measure it when people tell you that Barry not only “Looks better” but that it “Feels better”.”

She referred to Councillor Dr. Johnson’s undoubted awareness of many academics and organisations that had pondered the measurement of social impact and hoped that the Performance Monitoring Framework adopted earlier in the meeting as the result of the Wellbeing and Future Generations Act would prove to be helpful to assessing meaningful outcomes.

 

(xi)       Question from Councillor Dr. I.J. Johnson

 

What discussions have the Council held with the police about CCTV monitoring moving from the Vale to Bridgend?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Housing, Building Maintenance and Community Safety

 

South Wales Police have been consulted at each stage of the process of transferring CCTV monitoring to Bridgend Council.  At the beginning of the project, as part of the creation of the business case, South Wales Police were directly consulted regarding any operational issues that the transfer of the service might cause, and none were identified.  In addition, South Wales Police were involved in discussions via their representatives on the Vale of Glamorgan Community Safety Partnership (on which she also sat), and their officers have been provided with regular project updates before the transfer of the service.

 

The service has now been assumed by Bridgend, who have themselves been liaising continuously with the Police as the project leads.  A positive working relationship will continue between Bridgend as the new provider, the Police and the Vale Community Safety Partnership.

 

Supplemental

 

In thanking the Cabinet Member for her response and referring to his and Councillor Egan’s attendance at a local PACT meeting the previous week where PCSOs had expressed concerns at an increase in shop lifting at Holton Road and correlation with the movement of the CCTV monitoring to Bridgend, and asked the Cabinet Member if she would ensure that operations of Police and PCSOs were unaffected due to the change of venue when dealing with matters affecting town centre shops. 

 

The Cabinet Member, in responding, suggested that it was for the Police and PCSOs to bring the matter to the attention of their senior officers so that any matters could be dealt with in line with agreed procedures.

 

 

1075           QUESTIONS FROM THE PUBLIC – 

 

The following questions were submitted and replied to as shown, in accordance with the protocol agreed by Council on 5th May, 2010 (neither of the questioners were present at the meeting):

 

(i)         Question from Ms. N. Ross

 

Can the Regeneration department inform me if Building Regulations were obtained for any properties in the 438 properties included in the Penarth Renewal Programme?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Housing, Building Maintenance and Community Safety

 

Yes, Buildin Regulations were obtained for a number of properties in the Penarth Renewal Area.

 

(ii)        Question from Ms. N. Ross

 

Can the Regeneration department inform me why the building regulations were not sought in respect of replacement roofs as regulations require in Phase 5B Penarth Renewal Scheme, further, can the Vale confirm that the other phases in the Penarth Renewal scheme do / do not have the correct regulations?  If only Phase 5B are missing, and therefore liable to prosecution, can the Vale state these properties were not dealt with to the building regulations issued at the time?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Housing, Building Maintenance and Community Safety

 

In respect of Phase 5b of the Penarth Renewal Area the contractor was responsible for identifying the need for and securing building regulations approval.  It has since been identified that limited works would have required approval under the regulations in force at that time but were not submitted for such.  The Council is now putting this right, working with occupants, and ensuring all works meet current standards. No issues have arisen in other phases.

 

(iii)       Question from Mr. D. Jenkins

 

Asbestos mishandling has been brought to the Vale’s attention on four separate occasions regarding Penarth Renewal Phase 5B.  To date there are no records indicating these complaints have been recorded, can the Vale detail what the procedure should be for reporting asbestos and how the records should be kept?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Housing, Building Maintenance and Community Safety

 

The following details relate to instances relevant to employees working for or on behalf of the Council at this current time.

 

Any asbestos incident should be recorded on the Council’s incident reporting form and investigated in the first instance by the appropriate manager overseeing the work.  The form and report should then be forwarded to the Corporate H&S Team for further investigation and reporting to Health and Safety Executive, if appropriate. 

 

In general terms, issues relating to working with asbestos are administered by the Health and Safety Executive under powers introduced by the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.

 

The Council is aware of allegations relating to the handling of concerns by the then contractors working on Phase 5B.  This was an issue that predated the 2012 Regulations and have been investigated as necessary.          

 

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