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SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT)

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 17th July, 2012.

 

Present: Councillor R.L. Traherne (Chairman); Councillor Mrs. A.J. Moore (Vice-Chairman); Councillors P.J. Clarke, Mrs. C. Curtis, Mrs. P. Drake, E. Hacker, P.G. King, A.G. Powell and C.J. Williams.

 

 

152     APOLOGY FOR ABSENCE -

 

This was received from Councillor G.A. Cox.

 

 

153     MINUTES -

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 19th June, 2012 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

154     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

The Chairman informed the Committee that although there was no item on the agenda in relation to the LDP should any discussion take place during the course of the meeting, he would have to declare an interest and vacate the room.

 

 

155     CLOSURE OF ACCOUNTS 2011/12 (DDS AND DVSH) -

 

The report informed Members of the provisional financial position for the 2011/12 financial year.  It was noted that the Council had on 28th February, 2011 agreed the authority's budget requirement for 2011/12 and certain accounting adjustments had been made to service budgets in respect of depreciation of assets, IAS 19 retirement benefits, single status, energy and the carbon reduction scheme.  Appendix 1 to the report detailed the revised estimates that had taken account of the adjustments.

 

The following table also compared the amended estimate and the actual expenditure for the Authority:-

 

Service

Amended Revenue Estimate

Total Provisional Actual

Variance Favourable 

() Adverse

 

£’000

£’000

£’000

Directorate of Environmental and Economic Regeneration

 

 

 

Planning and Transportation

4,810

4,915

(105)

Economic Development and Leisure

6,096

6,193

(97)

Visible Services

20,535

20,331

204

 

 

 

 

Grand Total

31,441

31,439

2

 

Members were advised that the main reasons for the above variances were as follows:-

 

·         Planning and Transportation - due to planning fee income being reduced by £144,000 due to the current economic climate.  There was a net increase in Support, Internal Recharge expenditure and income of £38,000 due to the need to provide staff cover and a reduction in technical salary income. A £117,000 over spend on transport and third party costs was more than offset by an additional  £127,000 in other grant income contributions towards the provision of bus services. There was a £43,000 saving on employee costs across the division and an additional £24,000 in Government Grant income as a result of extra one off funding from the Planning Improvement Grant.

 

·         Economic Development and Leisure  - a net adverse variance of £97,000 after transferring £38,000 to a provision to cover staff restructuring costs.  The net overspent of £59,000 was as a result of a £92,000 overspend on premises costs across the Division.  This had however been off-set by a net underspend on third party internal recharge expenditure and income of £62,000. 

 

·         Visible Services, under Cleansing there was a favourable variance of £40,000.  Grounds Maintenance had an adverse variance of £18,000 with the employee budget being underspent by £15,000 due to vacant posts.  The premises budget was overspent by £7,000 mainly due to the increased cost of utility bills. Due to new legislation for Hand Arm Vibration the majority of hand tools within Grounds Maintenance at a cost of £15,000 for which there was no budget. The supplies and services budget was also overspent by £11,000.

 

·         Highways and Engineers - favourable variance of £6,000.  Employee costs were over budget by £65,000 due to agency costs for which there was no budget, however the Highways and Engineers section had additional income of £51,000 from these agency staff booking their time to capital schemes.  Supplies and Services were £1.280 million over budget which was largely due to doing additional work for other departments. The Highways and Engineers section had additional income of £1.300 million from these schemes.  Monies had also been  set aside within the Support budget of £176,000 which had been utilised to achieve a balanced Directorate budget.

 

·         Appendix 2 to the report detailed the capital outcome for a number of schemes as at 31st March, 2012. 

 

Appendix C to the report detailed the Directorates reserves as at 31st March, 2012.  The Head of Service advised that given anticipated ongoing cuts in the capital funding for future years it was vital that all uncommitted capital expenditure be retained for future use on prioritised schemes.  All Directorates had been informed that whilst committed capital schemes would be allowed slippage, those which were not contractually committed could not be funded.  Therefore, some underspends on the programmes would be able to be retained and ploughed back into funding the future capital programme.

 

With regard to the slippage, Cabinet would be requested to utilise the Urgent Decision Procedure in order that all slippage for the previous year could be confirmed.

 

During consideration of the report Members requested to receive further details (via e-mail) in relation to the Merrie Harrier Bus Lane (itemised at Appendix 2) final land issues with the scheme and in respect of the Knap Gardens bridge repair works further details on why the works were no longer required.  

 

Following the discussion it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the report be noted and the information as requested above be e-mailed to all Members of the Scrutiny Committee.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To apprise Members.

 

 

156     REVENUE AND CAPITAL MONITORING FOR THE PERIOD 1ST APRIL, 2012 TO 31ST MAY, 2012 (DDS AND DVSH) -

 

The Head of Service provided the Committee with the details in respect of the revenue and capital expenditure for the period 1st April, 2012 to 31st May, 2012  within the Committee's remit.  The revenue budget and projected outturn for 2012/13 was attached at Appendix 1 to the report.  In presenting the report t he Head of service highlighted that for Highway Maintenance and Engineering Design and Procurement there was currently an £8,000 favourable variance to the profiled budget which was mainly due to a slight underspend on premises costs. 

 

For Waste Management a £52,000 favourable variance was reported with a current underspend being mainly due to tonnages to landfill dropping as the food waste and co-mingled recycling programmes increased in popularity and thereby saving on costly landfill disposal. For Grounds Maintenance there was currently an adverse variance of £28,000 which was mainly due to an overspend on new machinery as new legislation had come into force for Hand Arm Vibration.

 

With regard to Support Services there was also a favourable variance of £20,000  which was being held for any cost pressures within Visible Services that may arise throughout the financial year.

 

The adverse variance of £163,000 for Economic Development and Leisure reported referred to continued pressure on the service and planned transfers of both the leisure centres and Dyffryn which were scheduled to progress in the near future.

 

Finally the adverse variance of £49,000  for the Planning and Transportation section was predominantly due to a shortfall in income from planning fees as the estimates include major schemes that were yet to be submitted.

 

Appendix 2 to the report detailed the financial progress on the capital programme as at 31st May, 2012, it being noted that the Appendix did not include requests for unspent committed expenditure to be slipped.  Members were advised that this slippage would be requested when preparing the closing down report which would be presented to future Cabinet and Scrutiny meetings. 

 

In considering the report the Chairman requested an update in respect of the transfer arrangements for the Leisure Centres to Parkwood and for Dyffryn to the National Trust.  The Committee was informed that the proposed date for transfer for the leisure centres was 1st August, 2012 and that the overall savings that would be considered for each the year over the course of the contract was estimated at £1.5 million per year.  It was however, noted that although the transfer would take place the Council would still have the responsibility for monitoring the contract and regular reports would be submitted to the Scrutiny Committee.  The primary concerns were for staff under the TUPE transfers and for customers in the product that would be provided.  It was suggested that Members undertake a tour of the various  Leisure centres following completion of the transfer, to include the Colcot Centre although this was not part of the transfer agreement.  If possible it was considered that a future meeting of the Committee could also be held at one of the Centres.

 

With regard to Dyffryn it was anticipated that the transfer would take place by 1st September, 2012. Members considered that various PR exercises should be undertaken in order to inform the public of the current situation and what was envisaged for the future. The Operational Manager advised that PR would be undertaken at the appropriate time.

 

Having considered the report it was

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T  the Revenue and Capital Monitoring report be noted

 

(2)       T H A T  a tour of the Leisure centres including the Colcot centre be arranged and that a further update report be presented to the Scrutiny Committee following the transfer agreement with Parkwood.

 

Reason for recommendations

 

(1 &2 )  To apprise Members.

 

 

157     BARRY TO DINAS POWYS CYCLEWAY (DDS) (REQUEST FOR CONSIDERATION - COUNCILLOR C.J. WILLIAMS) -

 

Councillor C.J. Williams who had made the Request for Consideration was not present at the meeting, at the time the item was being considered. It was subsequently  

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the Request for Consideration of Matter be deferred to the next meeting of the Committee on 4th September, 2012.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

In order that Councillor C.J. Williams could be in attendance to present his request.

 

 

158      QUARTERLY SERVICE PLAN ACTION MONITORING AND END OF YEAR 2011/12 PERFORMANCE MONITORING (DSS) -

 

(i)         Economy, Planning and Transportation -

 

In considering the actions and end of year performance Members queried the way in which the footfall numbers for town centres was collected, it being noted that at different times of the year i.e. winter months and inclement weather, precise collection methods would be difficult.  However, it was agreed that the PI should be retained and that the Council should consider other ways of obtaining more accurate information. Members subsequently requested that the detail of how footfall figures was currently collated be e‑mailed to all Members for consideration.  It was also noted that the matter would be addressed via the Town Centre strategy which was due to be produced early in the autumn.

 

Having considered the report it was

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the service plan action monitoring and end of year performance be noted.

 

 

(ii)        Leisure and Tourism -

 

The Operational Manager advised that with regard to performance indicator L647Q - the number of brochure enquiries for tourist information and L648Q - the number of web hits on the Council's tourism website, the numbers of requests for brochures exceeded the website hits.  It was apparent that more and more customers preferred to receive printed materials as opposed to accessing the information on the website. 

 

With regard to the performance indicators for the number of attendances at sports and leisure centres, although some of the centres targets appeared to be low on an individual basis, overall performance was up.

 

The service was also experiencing a number of pressures in some areas and in particular new competition  in that a  new leisure facility had opened in Llandow.  Following job evaluation within the Council some hourly rates had also been reduced e.g. instructors, with many leaving the Council to set up their own business.  The Operational Manager, however, advised that the Parkwood Organisation would not be bound by the Job Evaluation process of the Council and could therefore take a more commercial view. 

 

Having considered the report and the issues in relation to the leisure centres, it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED -  T H A T the Action Plan Monitoring and Performance reports be noted.

 

 

159     QUARTERLY SERVICE PLAN ACTION MONITORING AND END OF YEAR 2011/12 PERFORMANCE MONITORING (DVSH) -

 

(i)         Building Services -

 

It being noted that the Building Services service area was within the remit of the Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection) it was

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the report be withdrawn.

 

 

(ii)        Strategy and Support

 

It being noted that no actions had slipped or not been started for the service area and that the targets would be set for sickness once the corporate restructure was completed it was

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the report be noted.

 

(iii)       Visible Services -

 

In considering the report Members referred to a number of indicators questioning whether the targets set were realistic. However, after some discussion it was agreed that the targets remain as detailed within the report it being noted that further consideration could be given to amending the targets at the appropriate time.  

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T  the action planning monitoring and performance reports be noted subject to Performance Indicators  L349aQ and L349bQ being deleted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

It being noted that L349aQ L349bQ were no longer relevant as the majority of private drainage systems had transferred to Dwr Cymru.

 

 

160     SCRUTINY TRACKING OF RECOMMENDATIONS (DLPPHS) -

 

Members were informed of the progress in relation to recommendations made by the Scrutiny Committee for the municipal year April 2011 to March 2012, 17th April, 2012 and 19th June, 2012. The recommendations were detailed at Appendices A, B and C of the report.

 

With regard to recommendation minute number 64 of the Scrutiny Committee on 19th June, 2012, that Members e-mail the Scrutiny and Committee Services Officer with suggestions for a topic for review, as this item was being addressed at Agenda Item 10 the matter was deemed completed.

 

Having considered the report it was

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1)       T H A T the following actions be deemed completed:

 

7 February 2012

Min No 868 - Revenue and Capital Monitoring: 1st April to 31st December, 2011 (DEER) - Recommended

 

(2)       That a site visit be arranged for Members of the Committee to the Barry Island Adizone.

Arrangements can be made with officers if a visit was required by Members at any time.

Completed

27 March 2012

Min No 1053 - Review of Supported Local Bus Services 2011 - Award of Supported Local Bus Contracts and Local Transport Services Grant 2012/2013 - Call-in - Recommended

 

(2)       That a review be undertaken to include an equality impacts assessment in particular for services on a Sunday.

Cabinet, on 28 March 2012 noted the recommendation (Min. No. C1686 refers)

Completed

(3)       That alternative funding sources be investigated for such services e.g. sponsorship, particularly for the P1 and 87 services.

Cabinet, on 28 March 2012 resolved that Recommendation (3) be included within the fundamental review being undertaken (Min No. C1686 refers)

Completed

(4)       That further clarification be sought from the Minister in respect of his letter dated 16 March 2012 in relation to the extension of funding referred to therein and that clarification also be sought in respect of the Bus Service Operators Grant.

Cabinet, on 28 March 2012 accepted the recommendation (Min No C1686 refers)

Completed

 

(5)       That the above recommendations be referred to Cabinet. [(1)   That existing services be maintained for 2012.]

Cabinet, on 28 March 2012 resolved that Recommendation (1) be not accepted (Min. No. C1686 refers)

Completed

Min No 1055 - Traffic Impact from Planned Housing Development - Recommended

 

(1)       That the Scrutiny Committee's concerns be referred to Cabinet in respect of the amount of developments that are proposed for the future within the LDP and the delay in vital transport infrastructure required.

Cabinet on 28 March 2012 noted the recommendation (Min No C1687 refers)

Completed

(2)       That no housing developments listed for Dinas Powys contained within the LDP be considered until the effects of the Barry Waterfront development are known.

Cabinet on 28 March 2012 rejected the recommendation (Min No C1687 refers)

Completed

(3)       That any development over 10 houses be subject to a Transport Impact Assessment

Cabinet on 28 March 2012 rejected the recommendation (Min No C1687 refers)

Completed

(4)       That the draft Deposit LDP include an investigation relating to the development of the Barry to Cardiff road through Dinas Powys.

Cabinet on 28 March 2012 noted the recommendation (Min No C1687 refers)

Completed

17 April 2012

Min. No. 1103 - Corporate Improvement Objectives 2012/13 (REF) - Recommended

 

(2)       That Cabinet be requested to endorse Recommendation (1) above and refer same to Full Council.

[(1)  That  an additional key objective be included “ to develop Communities First schemes to raise relevant areas out of deprivation in line with Welsh Government standards ( index of deprivation) “.]

Cabinet, on 18th April 2012, resolved that no decision be taken on the reference from Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) at present, and that more consideration be given to the inclusion of the additional key objective for 2013/14. (Min. No. C1708)

Completed

Min. No. 1104 - Vale of Glamorgan Heritage Centre - Options Appraisal (REF) – Recommended

 

That a progress report in respect of the above be presented to the Scrutiny Committee in six months.

Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

Min. No. 1106 - Cosmeston Medieval Village (DEER) – Recommended to Cabinet

 

That a feasibility study be undertaken of the future of the Medieval Village to include various scenarios such as partnership working and that the study also be reported to the Scrutiny Committee in due course.

Referred to Cabinet on 30th May 2012, who resolved that a further report be submitted detailing all options available to the regarding the future management of the Village, including potential partnerships with appropriate business and voluntary organisations, and appropriate financial appraisals (Min. No. C1723 refers)

Completed

Min. No. 1107 - Kerbside Recycling Arrangements - An Update (DEER) - Recommended

 

(2)       That Committee receives reports on recycling rates for each Ward at six monthly intervals.

Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

(5)       That the Scrutiny Committee be presented with a further report following the conclusion of the audit of waste and recycling issues for multiple occupancy dwellings.

Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

 

(2)       T H A T the following ongoing recommendations be noted:

 

13 March 2012

Min. No. 972 - Cardiff Airport - Request for Consideration of Matter - Recommended

 

(2)   That a report detailing the Welsh Government's position, the Council’s position and what the Council could do to encourage the sustainability of Cardiff Airport be brought to a future meeting.

Report to be prepared in due course.

17 April 2012

Min. No. 1105 – Barry Town Centre – Framework for Future Public Realm improvements and Request for Consideration of Matter 

 

(1)     That Cabinet be informed of the concerns of the Scrutiny Committee that it took two years for a report of this magnitude and importance to the future of Barry to come to the knowledge of the majority of Councillors of the Vale of Glamorgan Council.

Referred to Cabinet on 30th May 2012.  Cabinet resolved that a further report be presented updating on progress on the issues identified within the report.  (Min. No. C1722 refers).

 

Members of the Committee  requested that they also receive a copy of this report and that the recommendation be deemed as ongoing.

Min. No. 1107 - Kerbside Recycling Arrangements - An Update (DEER) - Recommended

 

(1)       That the report be referred to the Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection) and to the Planning Committee for consideration.

Referred to Planning Committee on 14 June 2012, who noted the report (Min No 33 refers); and to be considered by Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection) on 18 July 2012.

 

Reason for recommendations

 

(1&2)  In maintaining effective tracking of the Committee's recommendations.

 

 

161     SCRUTINY COMMITTEES' DRAFT ANNUAL REPORT MAY 2011 TO APRIL 2012 (DLPPHS) -

 

The draft Annual Report which covered the period May 2011 to April 2012 was presented for Committee approval. Members were also requested to  confirm a topic for review to be forwarded to the Scrutiny Chairmen and Vice- Chairman Group for consideration.

 

In accordance with Section 603(d) of Article 6 of the Vale of Glamorgan Council's Constitution Scrutiny Committees must report annually to Full Council on their workings and make recommendations for future work programmes and amended working methods as appropriate.  The Scrutiny Committees' Annual Report was attached at Appendix 1 to the report.  Members were informed that the report was slightly different to previous years in that Chairmen's comments had not been included due to the recent Local Government Elections.  During consideration of the matter Members requested that paragraph 5, on page 6 of the draft report be rearranged into two sentences.

 

In considering a topic for review the Scrutiny and Committee Services Officer advised that two topics had been put forward 'Sustainable Travel - Safer Cycling' by Councillor C.J. Williams and 'Traffic Management - Impact of Traffic Flows in the Vale' by Councillor Mrs. A.J. Moore.

 

During consideration of the topics it was suggested that Sustainable Travel be included in the Traffic Management topic and it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T  the Annual report be approved and referred to Full Council.

  

(2)       T H A T  Traffic Management, the impact of traffic flows within the Vale of Glamorgan to include Sustainable travel be put forward as the Committee’s suggested topic for review.

 

(3)       T H A T  the following Members form a Task and Finish Group if the above topic is  approved by the Scrutiny Chairmen and Vice Chairmen Group: Councillors Mrs. P. Drake, E. Hacker, P.G. King, Mrs. A.J. Moore, R.L. Traherne and C.J. Williams.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       Approval confirmed for report to be submitted to Full Council in September 2012.

 

(2 &3) To refer a suggested topic for review to the Scrutiny Chairmen and Vice-Chairman Group and to confirm the Membership of the Task and Finish Group should the topic be  approved.

 

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