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SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT)

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 3rd September, 2013.

 

Present: Councillor Mrs. A.J. Moore (Chairman); Councillor E. Hacker (Vice-Chairman); Councillors G.A. Cox, Mrs. C.L. Curtis, Mrs. M. Kelly Owen, P. King and C.J. Williams.

 

Also present: Councillor L. Burnett.

 

 

347            APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE –

 

These were received from Councillors Mrs. P. Drake and A.G. Powell.

 

 

348            MINUTES –

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 16th July, 2013 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

349            DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST –

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

350            REVENUE AND CAPITAL MONITORING FOR THE PERIOD 1ST APRIL 2013 TO 31ST JULY 2013 (DDS AND DVSH) –

 

The Revenue Budget and projected outturn for 2013/14 were shown at Appendix 1 to the report.

 

Highways Maintenance and Engineering Design and Procurement – there was currently a £67k adverse variance to the profiled budget.  This was mainly due to the continued pressure on the budget for repairing potholes.  The amount of potholes should start reducing during the year due to the ongoing resurfacing works being undertaken and the Big Fill initiative and therefore, the overall budget was currently expected to outturn £50k overspent.  The original budget for 2013/14 took account of the savings required.  The budget would be monitored closely to ensure these savings were achieved.

 

Waste Management – there was currently a £15k favourable variance to the profiled budget.  The saving was mainly linked to vacant posts within the service.  The original budget for 2013/14 took account of the savings required and good progress had already been made to achieve this.  There were pressures on the budget which may impact later in the financial year and therefore the budget was currently expected to outturn on target.

 

Grounds Maintenance – there was currently a £84k adverse variance to the profiled budget.  The main reasons for this current overspend were continuing costs at Rhoose Point for which there was no budget and the expiration of grant income from Victoria Park.  The original budget for 2013/14 took account of the savings required.  Efforts would be made to reduce the current level of overspend but the budget was currently expected to overspend by £50k.

 

Support – there was currently a favourable variance of £36k to the profiled budget.  This budget was to be held for any cost pressures within Visible Services that may arise throughout the financial year.  Currently, this budget was projected to be £100k underspent at the end of the year.

 

Economic Development – there was currently a favourable variance of £20k to profiled budget mainly due to a vacant post not yet being filled.  There was however a slight drop in income at the Vale Enterprise Centre, which would be closely monitored and therefore an outturn on target was currently projected.

 

Leisure – there was currently a favourable variance of £21k to the profiled budget.  This was primarily due to employee savings as a result of holding vacant posts pending a restructure.  The Rights of Way budget however was currently behind profile and therefore a year end outturn on target was projected.

 

Planning and Transportation – there was currently a favourable variance of £66k to the profiled budget.  This was due to Highway Development income being in advance of the profiled estimate but as it was still early in the year and the receipt of income could be unpredictable, it was projected that the budget would outturn on target.

 

Appendix 2 detailed financial progress on the Capital Programme as at 31st May 2013. 

 

It was reported that there continued to be issues with the Coldbrook Flood Management scheme, and the Director of Visible Services and Housing was preparing a report to update Members. 

 

A Member registered his concern about the Cross Common Bridge.

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the position with regard to the 2013/14 revenue and capital monitoring be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

That Members are aware of the position with regard to the 2013/14 revenue and capital monitoring relevant to this Scrutiny Committee.

 

 

351            IMPROVEMENT PLAN 2013/14 (MD) –

 

The Part 2 Improvement Plan, attached at Appendix A to the report, was a document primarily looking back over 2012/13.  It contained key performance measures along with targets and actions for 2012/13. 

 

The performance information would be used by the Wales Audit Office to assess the Council’s capacity to improve, and therefore was of critical importance to the reputation of the Council. 

 

The Plan was substantially complete, although further minor amendments would be required following additional information being provided by chief officers, changes to performance information provided the Local Government Data Unit and from proof reading.  This information would need to be included prior to the final draft being presented to Cabinet.

 

Of particular interest to this Scrutiny Committee, was Objective 4: "To increase recycling rates in order to achieve the Welsh Government target for 2012-2013". 

 

This objective had been fully achieved, although work would continue to recycle and reuse more of our waste. 

 

In order to increase participation, there had been an increased focus on making it easier for households to recycle.  The launch of weekly co-mingled household kerbside recycling collections since September 2011 had shown an increase of between 30-40% in recycling tonnage.

 

Through proactive initiatives such as "What’s in your bin" campaigns, road shows, door knocking and media campaigns targeting these areas, the service had seen an increase in participation and recycling capture rates in previously poor performing areas of the Vale.

 

It was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the Improvement Plan for 2013/14 be endorsed.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To ensure that actions are taken to improve the performance of the Council.

 

 

352            PENARTH LEARNING COMMUNITY – DELIVERY OF COMMUNITY BENEFITS – PROGRESS UPDATE (REF) –

 

Cabinet, on 15th July 2013, was informed of the Community Benefits on the Penarth Learning Community Project.

 

The public sector in Wales spent a significant amount of money each year and there was a growing requirement to develop ways in which this expenditure could be used to deliver wider social, environmental and economic benefits to the local community. In this respect, the incorporation of social benefits in public procurement contracts was helping to maximise the impact of public spending through the wider community benefits such as targeted recruitment and training (TRAT).

 

The main principles of targeted recruitment and training for Penarth Learning Community were to ensure that:

 

·         New opportunities were provided for new entrants, trainees and those leaving education including those currently not in employment, education or training.

·         The development by the contractor in conjunction with the Council and local agencies, realistic recruitment and training processes to ensure successful implementation of the Councils requirements.

·         The contractor used and promoted local procurement and looked to work with local suppliers to develop their capacity.

·         Benefits to the local community of the scheme were maximised.

·         Working with local education providers and training bodies including but not limited to Cardiff and the Vale College, local schools and 6th form provision.

 

As part of the Penarth Learning Community construction and demolition process, it was envisaged that the substantial investment associated with the project should reap local benefit in terms of targeted recruitment and training as well as in many other ways.

 

The report outlined that through the Targeted Recruitment and Training Method Statement the Council has stipulated the following outcomes:

"The Council intends that for every £1m in contract value provided, the Contractor will provide a minimum of 80 weeks of employment for a New Entrant recruited from a source to be agreed with the Council."

 

The Penarth Learning Community contract value was £39.45m, equating to a total of 3156 Person weeks of New Entrant involvement to be achieved during the construction and demolition process.

 

Cabinet had resolved –

 

(1)       That the contents of the Penarth Learning Community report be noted.

 

(2)       That the report be referred to the Scrutiny Committees (Lifelong Learning, Economy and Environment, and Corporate Resources) for information.

 

Members were advised that the project was on target and on budget. 

 

Committee expressed the view that this was a particularly good story in austere times, and it was felt that the Council should publicise this good news story. They also took the opportunity to congratulate all staff on the inclusion of the apprenticeship initiative which had proven to be very successful.

 

It was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the information provided be noted and that officers be congratulated for the good work.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

Having regard to the information contained within the report.

 

 

353            ENERGY AND CLIMATE CHANGE COMMONS SELECT COMMITTEE SECOND REPORT – A SEVERN BARRAGE? (REF) –

 

Cabinet, on 15th July 2013, was informed of the outcome of the Energy and Climate Change Commons Select Committee's public consultation into the potential for a privately financed Severn Barrage.

 

A report had been presented to Cabinet on 17th December 2012 (minute no C1948 refers), which endorsed a response to the Energy and Climate Change Common's Select Committee to their public consultation into the provision of a privately financed Cardiff to Weston Barrage, the Severn Barrage.

 

The report outlined the recent chronology in respect of obtaining tidal power from the Severn Estuary, including the UK Government’s finding of the feasibility study (October 2010) and consultation into Severn tidal power, which concluded that of all the schemes investigated, despite its high capital cost of approximately £34 billion, the Cardiff to Weston barrage scheme offered the best value for money.

 

The Government however concluded that while there was not a strategic case for public investment of the scale required to facilitate a tidal barrage across the Severn at that time, it did not preclude a privately financed initiative coming forward.

 

In response to privately financed proposals being promoted by a consortium called Corlan Hafren, the UK Government established the Commons Select Committee to investigate the proposal and to examine the potential for the project to deliver low-carbon electricity to the UK and the likely cost to consumers as well as the potential impacts on wildlife and local employment.  

 

At the time of launching the inquiry there was no detail of the new proposal in the public domain however the Consortium, which had since dissolved and reformed as Hafren Power Ltd, suggested that private financing for a Severn barrage may be available but only if it was supported by the proposed Contracts for Difference Mechanism i.e. long-term instruments that provide stable and predictable incentives for companies to invest in low-carbon energy generation schemes.

 

The Committee invited written evidence from interested parties and the report of 17th December 2012 that outlined the concerns of the Vale of Glamorgan in relation to the development of a Severn Barrage was submitted as evidence to the Select Committee. A copy of the report was attached at Appendix 1 to the report.

 

The Energy and Climate Change Committee published its final report 'A Severn Barrage?' (HC 194) on Monday 10th June 2013 and the summary, conclusions and recommendations of the report were attached at Appendix 2 to the report and was available at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmselect/cmenergy/194/19402.htm

 

Cabinet had resolved –

 

(1)       That the contents of the report be noted.

 

(2)       That the report be referred to Planning Committee and Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) for information.

 

Having considered the contents of the reference, Scrutiny Committee

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the contents of the reference be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

Having regard to the contents of the reference.

 

 

354            WELSH GOVERNMENT REGENERATION FRAMEWORK – VIBRANT AND VIABLE PLACES (REF) –

 

Cabinet, on 29th July 2013, was presented with the Council's Strategic Outline Programme under Stage 1 of the Welsh Government's Vibrant and Viable Places Regeneration Framework.

 

The Strategic Outline Programme entitled "Barry - A Centre of Growth and Opportunity" was submitted to Welsh Government within the timescale allowed.  A copy of the bid, which was limited at this stage to 3,500 words, was attached at Appendix 2 to the report.

 

The report presented to Cabinet on 1st July outlined the stakeholder engagement that had been and was planned to be undertaken.  Of particular relevance was the fact that there had been three separate meetings of the Barry Regeneration Area Partnership Board held during the months of May and June 2013 at which meetings the views and opinions of Board Members were discussed and considered.  In addition, meetings had also been held with various Council departments as well as other key stakeholders, which had informed the production of the bid.

 

The Strategic Outline Programme followed a template provided by Welsh Government and presented a vision, namely:-

 

"By 2020 Barry will be a distinct, attractive and safe place to live, work, invest and visit, and will make a unique contribution to the economic growth of the South East Wales City Region.  Its reputation for excellence will be focused on opportunities for skills development, employability and progression augmented by the profile and academic distinction of a leading edge higher and further education sector".

 

A number of strategic objectives follow from the Vision as follows:-

 

·         A great place to live - outstanding quality of life is enjoyed by everyone

·         A rising star - spreading the benefits of major investment

·         A learning town - building a culture of lifelong learning

·         A great place to work and grow a business

·         A place where opportunities are harnessed to improve health

·         A great place to visit - improve the visitor experience

·         An easy place to access - promoting sustainable transport

·         A place to be proud of - investing in quality design

·         A place with sustainable communities - meeting local needs

 

The specific investment aimed for was outlined below and included on page 4 and 5 of the bid document.

 

·         Create a fertile environment to develop cohesive communities by providing the tools to improve and maximise opportunities;

·         Develop a new housing model around the occupation of empty flats, empty commercial properties and other properties in our traditional shopping areas;

·         Broaden the mix and appeal of traditional shopping areas by supporting proposals to locate public facilities, leisure and homes;

·         Renew infrastructure to improve accessibility and perception; and, promote more efficient public transportation provision and usage;

·         Achieve well connected complementary growth by investing in property that will stimulate business and creative industry to start-up or expand; directly creating jobs and growth;

·         Create a brand for the town based around its outstanding waterfront setting and the marine and lifestyle assets; and,

·         Create a strong sense of place by protecting and enhancing Barry's heritage, reusing historic buildings and encouraging new contemporary developments that respect the town's unique identity.

 

The Strategic Outline Programme represented a whole town approach as could be seen from the investment aims detailed above.  A flexible approach had been taken in producing the bid as this allowed the strategy and outline programme scope to adapt over time and for any changes in emphasis to be reflected in Stage 2 of the process.

 

In terms of next steps, the Council was to have been advised on 2nd September as to whether it had been successful in progressing to a more detailed Stage 2, but the deadline had been extended by Welsh Government. If successful the Stage 2 deadline was already set at 4th November with an outcome date of 21st January 2014.

 

Cabinet had resolved – 

 

(1)       That the content of the report be noted.

 

(2)       That a further report be presented to Cabinet on receipt of Welsh Government's decision in September 2013.

 

(3)       That the report be forwarded to Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) for information.

 

Having considered the detail of the reference it was unanimously agreed that the Committees thanks be extended to all that had taken part in the preparation of the bid following which it was subsequently 

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the contents of the report be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

Having regard to the contents of the report.

 

 

355            CARDIFF ORGANIC WASTE PARTNERSHIP – KITCHEN FOOD AND GREEN GARDEN WASTE TREATMENT PROCUREMENT (REF) –

 

Cabinet, on 29th July 2013, was apprised of the outcomes of a highly competitive and robustly dialogued and negotiated procurement process, at the Invitation to Submit Detailed Solutions (ISDS) stage.

 

Following the agreement to work with Cardiff City Council to jointly procure future food and green waste treatment capacity in line with the Welsh Government's (WG) preferred strategy for treatment of organic waste, officers of the Council's Waste Management and Cleansing Division (WM&C) had worked on the ISDS stage of the project.  They had also been part of the procurement and dialogue team and Project Management Board, ensuring that the Council's interests were considered during all aspects of the procurement.

 

Following the initial market testing and the Invitation to Submit Outline Submissions (ISOS) the four bidders taken forward who submitted detailed solutions at the subsequent ISDS Stage were all based on Anaerobic Digestion (AD) technologies for food waste, and Open Windrow Composting (OWC) technologies for garden green waste.

 

The ISDS dialogue stage comprised the following 4 bidders:

 

·         Agrivert Limited

·         Keldar Biogen Renewables Cymru

·         G E Neco Wessex Water

·         Shanks Waste Management Limited

 

The treatment solutions were to be at the following locations:

 

ISOS Bidder

Kitchen Food Treatment Facility

Green Garden Waste Facility

Agrivert Limited

 

Rover Way Cardiff (Neil's Soils)

Cardiff City Council's existing Open Windrow Compositing (OWC) facility at their Lamby Way landfill facility 

Keldar Biogen Renewables Cymru

 

Dwr Cymru Welsh Water's Rover Way Sewage Treatment Plant site

Cardiff City Council's existing Open Windrow Compositing (OWC) facility at their Lamby Way landfill facility 

G E Neco Wessex Water

 

Existing AD facility  Avonmouth

Cardiff City Council's existing Open Windrow Compositing (OWC) facility at their Lamby Way landfill facility 

Shanks Waste Management Limited

New Inn, Pontypool

Cowbridge Compost  Ltd Site in Cowbridge

 

The ISDS Bids were evaluated in accordance with the agreed and published evaluation methodology and the Public Contract regulations. The final two bidders would be selected by the evaluation process and agreed by the Project Board as recommended Final Tenders. The evaluation criteria for the procurement was attached at Appendix 1 and had been used by the Procurement Project Team to ensure that the selection of the bidders through the process resulted in the most sustainable and best value solutions being taken forward to the latter parts of the procurement process.

 

The Council had already signed up to an IAA for carrying out the procurement stages;  but would need to consider, subject to a further report, a  second IAA to cover the contract management, partner liabilities and payment mechanism following the completion of the procurement process. 

 

The 'Next Steps' in taking the procurement forward to financial close were as follows:

 

·         Complete (ISDS) Detailed evaluation stage process and derive Select List for Final Tenders. 2 No (ISFT stage) – July 2013;

·         In parallel, complete Final Tender (ISFT) documentation suite, reflecting the project’s commercial positions and continuing objectives of the project going forward. 

·         Develop communications plan in detail for the next stage, covering media and stakeholder engagement plans.

 

Key Target Milestones of the procurement (depending on progress made by all parties in the final stage of negotiation and dialogue).

 

·         Commence "Call for Final Tenders" Stage – September 2013;

·         Preferred Bidder Announcement - summer 2014;

·         Financial Close – Autumn 2014;

·         Planned Service Commencement January 2016;

·         Project Expiry (15 years) January 2031.

 

The Council had already signed up to an OBC and IAA for this procurement, which provided a tool for the Partnership (and its stakeholders) to analyse the outcome of the procurement process and answer a number of questions about the proposed solution, including:

 

·         Did it address all of the Partnership’s requirements?

·         Did it represent good value for money?

·         Was it affordable?

·         Was it in line with National Waste Policy?

·         Was it a good fit with the Partners’ wider waste management strategies?

·         Was it environmentally sustainable?

·         Was the risk-profile appropriate?

·         Taking all the above into consideration, was it the right solution for the Partnership?

 

Whilst it would be necessary to re-affirm the Final Business Case when the Preferred Bidder had been identified (following the completion of the ISFT) both these items would be matters to be determined within a subsequent report to Cabinet in 2014, which would also address the questions raised above.

 

Cabinet had resolved – 

 

(1)       That the progression of this procurement to the Invitation to Submit Final Tender Stage (ISFT) be approved.

 

(2)       That the report be referred to the Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) for information.

 

(3)       That further reports be provided to Cabinet as necessary on this matter during 2014.

 

Members were supportive of the initiative.

 

A Member referred to an imminent meeting with Mr. Clifford Parish, Operational Manager, at which, amongst other things, issues regarding increased traffic movements at the Cowbridge Site would be discussed.

 

Another issue raised was support for an exploration of the concept of joint governance. 

 

It was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the contents of the reference be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

Having regard to the content of the report.

 

 

356            SCRUTINY COMMITTEES’ DRAFT ANNUAL REPORT – MAY 2012 TO APRIL 2013 AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE WORK PROGRAMME (MD) –

 

The Scrutiny Committees’ Annual Report which had been circulated prior to the meeting included details of the work of all Scrutiny Committees for 2012/13 together with the details of the forward work programmes for each Committee.

 

The report had been prepared in accordance with Section 6.03d of Article 6 of the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Constitution which stated that Scrutiny Committees must report annual to Full Council on their workings and make recommendations for future work programmes and amended working methods as appropriate. 

 

Appendix 2 to the report detailed a complete list of the work programme for the Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) which detailed the reports which were scheduled to be presented to the Scrutiny Committee in the forthcoming months.  Members were informed that the information, together with the Annual Report, would be made available on the Council’s website. 

 

Tabled at the meeting were revised appendices to the Annual Report which had taken account of the membership changes that had taken place within the Scrutiny Committees during 2012/13. 

 

Having considered the report, it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the content of the draft Annual Report for the period May 2012 to April 2013 be approved subject to any further minor amendments being agreed in consultation with the Chairman and that it be submitted to Full Council in September 2013.

 

(2)       T H A T the Scrutiny Committee’s Work Programme for 2013/14 attached at Appendix 2 to the report be confirmed and uploaded to the Council’s website as appropriate.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To approve the draft Scrutiny Committees’ Annual Report to allow it to be submitted to Full Council in September 2013.

 

(2)       To confirm the Scrutiny Committee’s Work Programme, it being noted that the schedule of approved list of items for consideration may be subject to change depending on prevailing circumstances.

 

 

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