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SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (CORPORATE RESOURCES)

 

Minutes of an extraordinary meeting held on 8th January, 2013.

 

Present:  Councillor M.R. Wilson (Chairman); Councillor Mrs. P. Drake (Vice-Chairman); Councillors J.C. Bird, K.J. Geary, K. Hatton, H.J.W. James, P.G. King, R.A. Penrose and G.H. Roberts.

 

Also present: Councillors C.P.J. Elmore, Dr. I.J. Johnson, Mrs. A.J. Moore, N. Moore and A. Parker.

 

 

691     APOLOGY FOR ABSENCE –

 

This was received from Councillor H.C. Hamilton.

 

           

692     MINUTES -

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 11th December, 2012 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

693     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

694     CIVIC OFFICES COUNCIL CHAMBER ACCESS IMPROVEMENTS (REF – MINUTE NO. C1928) –

 

The Cabinet’s decision as contained within Minute No. C1928 in respect of the above had been “called-in” for consideration by Councillor H.J.W. James.  In stating his reasons for the request, Councillor James had indicated his view that

  • the “access improvements” proposed were a complete reconfiguring of the Chamber, raising floor levels and removing the tiered Member desks
  • Members of the Council had not been afforded an opportunity to consider the proposals in detail nor had any alternative options been presented for Members to express a preference
  • the introduction of lifts and the options to use stair lifts should prevent the need for wholesale changes to the Chamber
  • the ceiling was proposed to be renewed although it and the lighting system had been renewed only 10 years ago.

He asked that Members of the Committee and all other Members of the Council be able to discuss and consider the implications rather than a scheme be thrust upon them, concluding his reasons for request by saying “after all it is the Council Chamber and the Members are the Council”.

 

The Operational Manager (Property) gave a presentation to the Committee and took Members through the various options which had been drawn up, illustrating those options with plans of the Chamber and photographs.  She explained the reasons why the preferred option had been selected and why the additional works were required (together with costings).  Given that the primary object had been to improve access into the Chamber, Cabinet had considered and approved the proposals put forward at its meeting on 3rd December as creating both an accessible and flexible environment within that area.  

 

In response, Councillor James stated that, whilst he recognised that adaptations were required to the Chamber, the DDA required only that the needs of disabled people be sympathetically considered.  He drew attention to several documents he had provided and which were tabled for Members’ attention, including the arrangements in relation to disabled access at the Palace of Westminster and the Council Chamber at Bromley Civic Centre – neither of which had been adapted to the extent proposed by Cabinet.  He further referred to the status of the current Council Chamber being lost by transforming the room into a multi-functional facility and to his view that its current popularity as a venue for weddings and civil partnerships was, in part, due to that status and the present layout which allowed good vantage points owing to the tiered seating.  Councillor James proposed at this juncture that the Committee request Cabinet to withdraw its decision and refer the matter to this Committee to take the lead on a review of access with the intention of preserving the Chamber.  The motion was duly seconded.

 

In response to a question as to whether the costings as contained within the report were likely to increase, the Operational Manager confirmed that the estimates prepared by Building Services had been verified by Quantity Surveyors within the Estates Section as being realistic.  A further question was put as to whether the views of the Fire and Rescue Service had been sought in relation to the proposals and, in particular, the new floor electrical and IT sockets.  The Operational Manager confirmed that consultation with the service had been undertaken.

 

A paper entitled “The Duty to make Reasonable Adjustments” had also been tabled at the meeting by the Equalities Section which explained the requirements placed on the Council, the consequences of not making reasonable adjustments as well as the benefits, and the way in which improved accessibility fitted in with Welsh Government priorities.

 

A contrary view to that expressed by Councillor James was then put forward.  The Council had a public duty to promote equality for people with disabilities.  In addition to improving its accessibility and allowing greater flexibility of use, the installation of, for example, sound attenuation panels would assist those with hearing impairments.  The internal layout within the Chamber with its raised dais on one side and its public viewing space overlooking the area would allow it to remain an attractive venue and in no way diminish its current status. 

 

Following further discussion on the above and related matters, including a vote as to the way forward, it was

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the decision of Cabinet on 3rd December 2012 in respect of the above matter be endorsed.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To allow the necessary improvements to be progressed.

 

 

695     SCRUTINY DECISION TRACKING OF RECOMMENDATIONS (DR) –

 

Having considered the progress to date in respect of those uncompleted recommendations made during 2011/12 to December 2012, it was

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the following actions detailed as completed in the report be accepted:

 

11 September 2012

Min. No. 327 - Sickness Absence Report Full Year April 2011 – March 2012 (REF) – Recommended

(2)   That the Welsh average figures and comparative data with the private sector be submitted to this Committee for consideration when further consideration would be given as to whether the absence targets for the previous financial year should be applied in the current financial year.

 

 

Report considered on 11th December, 2012.

Completed

16 October 2012

Min. No. 438 - Proposals for St. Cyres Comprehensive, Dinas Powys Site and Adjacent Grazing Land Site (REF) – Recommended

(2)   That the outcome of the consultation be reported to the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) as soon as available.

 

 

 

Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

Min. No. 440 - Revenue Monitoring for the Period 1st April, 2012 to 31st August, 2012 (MD) – Recommended

(1)   That Cabinet be requested to approve a virement from the Policy Budget to the Economic Development and Leisure of £333,000.

(3)   That the information in relation to the £63,000 Grounds Maintenance adverse variance as detailed above be e-mailed to all Members as soon as possible.

 

 

 

(1)  Cabinet, on 5th November 2012, approved the virement (Min. No. C1872 refers).

Completed

(3)   E-mail sent 12th November, 2012.

Completed

Min. No. 441- Capital Monitoring for the Period 1st April, 2012 to 31st August, 2012 (MD) – Recommended

(1)   That, notwithstanding the budget report requested above, the following be recommended to Cabinet:

·           Day Care Reconfiguration - Rondel House - increase budget by £50,000 funded from a transfer of £25,000 from the Rhoose Road Capital Budget and £25,000 contribution from revenue.

·           Pont y Werin and NCN88 - transfer £17,000 from NCN88 to Pont y Werin and increase the Pont y Werin by a further £6,000 funded from SEWTA grant.

·           That the IT Equipment budget be increased by £4,000 funded from the IT Fund.

(2)   That the information requested to be e-mailed to Members be forwarded as above as soon as possible.

[Wick Pavilion - full break down of the £18,000 for the replacement boiler;  Pont y Werin and NCN88 - breakdown of the contribution details for the Council and Crest Nicholson;  Rhoose Road Respite Home ]

 

 

(1)   Cabinet, on 5th November 2012, approved the changes (Min. No. C1873 refers).

Completed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(2)   E-mail sent 12th November, 2012.

Completed

13 November 2012

Min. No. 533 - Staff Survey 2012 Updated Action Plan (MD) – Recommended

(1)   That the updated Action Plan as appended to the report be endorsed and the Plan referred to Cabinet for consideration.

 

(3)   That the Head of Performance and Development submit a progress report to this Committee in 6 months.

 

(4)   That Cabinet be asked to consider the proposal that a draft of the survey be submitted to this Committee for consideration.

 

 

(1)   Cabinet, on 17th December, endorsed the Action Plan (Min. No. C1938 refers).

Completed

(3)   Report programmed for May / June 2013.

Completed

(4)   Cabinet, on 17th December, resolved that the new survey, once produced, be presented to Cabinet and then referred to this Committee for consideration (Min. No. C1938 refers).

Completed

Min. No. 534 - The Impact of the Economic Downturn on the Council and its Services – Update on Progress of the Recommendations of the Task and Finish Group (MD) – Recommended that the progress on the above recommendations as indicated above be accepted and that, where requested, the relevant Directors/Heads of Service submit reports to this Committee.

 

 

 

Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

Min. No. 538 - Interim Report of the Task and Finish Group on Welfare Reform (HFS) – Recommended

(3)   That the report be referred to Cabinet.

 

 

(3)   Referred to 19th November  Cabinet meeting, which noted the actions and resolved that the findings of the report would used as evidence in informing the Council’s Strategy in dealing with the impact of the Welfare Reform Act (Min. No. C1917 refers).

Completed

Min. No. 539 - Treasury Management (S151O) – Recommended that the Treasury Management mid year report for the period 1st April to 30th September be noted together with the latest Treasury Management Indicators and referred to Cabinet.

 

Referred to 19th November Cabinet meeting, which noted the Committee’s referral (Min. No. C1916 refers).

Completed

11 December 2012

Min. No. 645 - Corporate Plan 2013 – 17 (REF) –

Recommended that the contents of the Corporate Plan be noted and that Cabinet be requested to consider the inclusion of further job creation proposals and also the establishment of a new Health Centre in Dinas Powys within the document.

 

Referred to 17th December 2012 Cabinet meeting.

Completed

Min. No. 647 - Initial Revenue Budget Proposals 2013/14 (MD) – Recommended

(4)   That Cabinet be requested to consider if the efficiency savings could be applied to all parts of the Council.

 

 

Referred to 17th December 2012 Cabinet meeting.

Completed

Min. No. 648 - Initial Capital Programme Proposals 2013/14 (MD) – Recommended

(1)   That the initial capital budget proposals for 2013/14 be noted together with the comments of all other Scrutiny Committees be submitted to Cabinet.

 

 

Referred to 17th December 2012 Cabinet meeting.

Completed

Min. No. 649 - Sickness Absence Report - April to September 2012 (MD) – Recommended that the absence outturn figures and targets at Appendix A be noted and the comments of this Committee referred to Cabinet for consideration on 17th December, 2012.

 

 

Referred to 17th December 2012 Cabinet meeting.

Completed

Min. No. 650 - Corporate Workforce Plan 2013 – 17 (MD) – Recommended

(1)   That the comments of the Committee be referred to Cabinet on 17th December, 2012 for consideration, including the suggested minor changes as set out at 1 and 6 of the Head of Human Resources’ note.

(2)   That, on the basis of the above, the adoption of the Workforce Plan as set out at Appendix A to the report be supported and referred for approval by Cabinet on 17th December 2012.

(3)   That the Workforce Plan be reviewed annually and that it be monitored on a six monthly basis by this Committee.

 

 

(1)   Referred to 17th December Cabinet meeting.

Completed

 

(2)   Referred to 17th December 2012 Cabinet meeting.

Completed

 

(3)   Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To maintain effective tracking of the Committee’s recommendations.

 

 

696     QUARTERLY PERFORMANCE MONITORING AND SERVICE PLAN ACTION MONITORING REPORTS (MD) –

 

An updated report in respect of the Service Plan Action Monitoring had been issued prior to the meeting.

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the following reports relating to Quarterly Performance and Service Plan Action monitoring be noted:

  • Customer Relations
  • Corporate Services
  • Human Resources
  • Legal Services
  • Democratic Services
  • ICT
  • Accountancy and Resource Management
  • Finance and Property.

Reason for recommendation

 

To have regard to the information presented.