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SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT)

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 10th March, 2015.

 

Present:  Councillor Mrs. A.J. Moore (Chairman); Councillor E. Hacker (Vice-Chairman); Councillors P.J. Clarke, G.A. Cox, Mrs. P. Drake, Mrs. M. Kelly Owen, P. King, A.G. Powell and G. Roberts.

 

Also present:  Councillor Dr. I.J. Johnson.

 

 

966     APOLOGY FOR ABSENCE -

 

This was received from Councillor S. Wiliam.

 

 

967     MINUTES -

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 6th January, 2015 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

968     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

969     REVISED WASTE MANAGEMENT AND CLEANSING CHARGING ARRANGEMENTS (REF) -

 

Cabinet had referred the report to the Scrutiny Committee for consideration.  Cabinet agreement had been sought for a range of new charges for the Council’s domestic waste management services.  The Council’s revenue budget for 2014/15 had identified savings of £100,000 per annum from 2014/15 from limiting the number of waste bags to be provided.  Due to a large existing stock it was not necessary to introduce such controls from 1st April, 2014 but Cabinet had been advised that they should now be introduced from 1st April, 2015.  The Director of Visible Services and Housing in presenting the report advised that the report provided specific proposals for charging for Waste Management services which had been considered to be necessary in balancing the budget in this service area for 2015/16.  The report highlighted that the Controlled Waste in England and Wales Regulations 2012 described waste which was to be treated as household waste, industrial waste or commercial waste and specified the types of household waste for which a collection charge may apply.  Included within the household waste for which the Council could make a collection charge and that it had have a statutory duty to collect were:

 

(i)         garden waste

(ii)        any article of waste that exceed 25kg in weight

(iii)        any article of waste that did not fit into a cylindrical container 750mm in diameter and 1m in length

(iv)        bulky household furniture waste (a general non-exhaustive guide to what was and what was not bulky household waste items was given for information in Appendix 1 as attached to the report).

 

Some charges already existed within Waste Management and Cleansing Services which primarily related to commercial waste collection services, chargeable additional recycling and composting receptacles, slipway, pier docking charges and filming fees.  These charges were however, currently under review with a further report to be presented to Cabinet in due course.  Members were informed that the Vale was currently one of only two Councils in Wales not to levy a charge for its bulky items collection service, the other being the Isle of Anglesey.  The remaining 20 local authorities had varying charges ranging from £10 to £34.  It was being proposed that a charge of £15 for up to 3 bulky waste items be introduced from 1st April, 2015.  Residents would however still be able to take bulky household items to either of the Council’s two household waste recycling centres free of charge but another option that was being explored for the Council was to engage and support voluntary organisations to promote the reuse of redundant furniture in the community.  Should officers be successful with obtaining such support the details would be provided to residents via the Contact Centre when calling to arrange a collection.  The contact details of the companies/charities concerned would be made available via the Council’s website.  Town and Community Councils would also be asked if they would be prepared to work with the authority on this matter.  It was further noted that with a 60% reduction in collection, £96,000 would be collected in fees and with a 50% reduction the income would be £120,000.  The savings from reducing one vehicle and its crew would be approximately £70,000 per annum. 

 

The report also highlighted the concessions that would apply for bulky collections for householders in receipt of Income Support, Housing Benefit, Pensions Credit or Council Tax Benefit.  This was noted in paragraph 21 of the report and not paragraph 24 as referred to in paragraph 13 of the report.  To date comments had been received regarding the rationing of the food bags with Members being advised that in general there were approximately 1 - 3 bags per week being used.  Every additional bag would be at a cost of 4p, it being noted however that the food waste itself that was being placed for recycling was actually more value in monetary value  than the 4p cost for a bag.

 

In response to Members’ concerns regarding how the charges would be communicated to residents the Director advised that additional links had been added to Facebook and Twitter in order for members of the public to be informed and in order for the Council to be able to receive their views.

 

A Member queried the collection of services from premises such as sheltered accommodation with the Director advising that these were being looked at separately in view of the clientele involved although it was confirmed that the Council itself did not actually go into people’s properties to pick up waste.  The Director further stated that he was currently working with the Head of Service for Housing to consider ways of addressing this issue, although he reiterated that there were no major concerns at this time.

 

With regard to van and trailer permits a number of Members sought advice from the Director on the issue as some stated they had witnessed people taking commercial waste to the sites in vans and trailers who had not been asked for their permits.  However, the Director advised that no CCTV arrangements currently existed but the Department was considering the use of either CCTV or number plate recognition technology and would be discussing the issue with Biffa to ensure that appropriate checks are made.  Reference was also made to the provision at Llandow, with the Director advising that new agents had been appointed for the land owners and to assist with upgrading the access road the Council had issued the landowners with a price for undertaking work on the potholes on the road. 

 

In response to a query as to whether waste caddies could be lined with newspaper.  The Director confirmed that this was indeed correct.  In referring to the issue of concessions the Director acknowledged that this may prove difficult on occasions and that a pilot project would be undertaken in the first instance. In referring to fly tipping and the incidents of high fly tipping being recorded it was acknowledged that fly tipping was not as high as the data for 2014/15 had advised due to an interpretation error with the data and the definition had now been made clearer and records were more accurate.

 

Members were also keen to ensure that enforcement was a key component of the process and that sufficient consideration was given to ensuring the proposed changes were communicated effectively to residents. The Director informed Members that he was waiting for this Scrutiny Committee to consider the report following which he would then be undertaking to ensure that an advert was placed in the press and the Council’s website. It was further suggested that any new contract include a clause with regard to enforcement. 

 

Members took the opportunity to also congratulate the Director on the standards at the Atlantic Trading site following which it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1)       T H A T the proposals to charge householders for Waste Management services as stated within the report be endorsed.

 

(2)       T H A T further consideration by Cabinet be given to establishing CCTV cameras on the Council’s remaining collection sites and that clauses in contracts be considered for enforcement as outlined above.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)           To assist in meeting the budgetary challenges in the Waste Management and Cleansing division of Visible Services.

 

(2)           To ensure compliance.

 

970     COLLECTION OF DRY RECYCLATE - WASTE (ENGLAND AND WALES) REGULATIONS 2011 (REF) -

 

Cabinet had, on 23rd February, 2015 been provided with an update on recent changes to waste legislation and had been requested to agree to a review of the Council’s current and future recycling arrangements in order to ensure compliance with the new legal requirements.

 

The report outlined that Cabinet had, on 6th July, 2011 revised the Council’s Municipal Waste Management Strategy to reflect changes in service delivery considered necessary to meet Welsh Government recycling targets.  The 2011 service change had however, always been considered to be part of a five year business plan to meet the Welsh Government 2015/2016 recycling target and householders had been informed of this at that time.  The new regulations applied from January 2015 required the separation of the collection of glass, paper, metals and plastics unless it could be demonstrated that other collection methods could produce high quality recyclate without separating them prior to collections.  Of note was the fact that the 2011 Waste Regulations did not prohibit the use of all co-mingled collections of the four waste materials from 2015 but they did establish that separate collection was the default position and set out the conditions where that default position could be deviated from.  The two tests to be satisfied were:

 

"(a)      it was necessary to ensure the collection was carried out to facilitate or improve recovery of materials

 

(b)       it was technically environmentally and economically practicable."

 

The report highlighted that there were a number of significant issues that had hindered and delayed the possibility of Welsh co-mingled collection authorities such as the Vale of Glamorgan carrying out the relevant tests.  The Director advised that over the previous few months officers had met with the Waste and Resource Action Programme (WRAP) in an attempt to bring forward the Council’s CCP service review.  It had also been agreed that WRAP would carry out a service review in the Vale February 2015.  Natural Resources Wales who were the regulatory body for Welsh Government had also stated publically that their enforcement priorities would initially focus on the commercial collection sector rather than municipal.

 

The Director highlighted for Members that in 2013/14 the Council was in the top four in Wales of the highest performing Councils for recycling with the lowest operating costs.  He referred to the fact that an application had been made to Welsh Government for a grant to extend the site at Atlantic Trading Estate in order for the Council to be able to handle its own waste material and if the waste was separated by our own staff the Council could receive more money.  Members were concerned about source segregation at the kerbside stating that as co-mingling had already been sold to householders resulting in higher performance rates, a change to the current system may result in lower performance with the costs of sorting and collection increasing.  Members were also concerned about the fact that some households would have extreme difficulty in storing the segregated waste due to the number of receptacles that would be required. The reason for the change the Director advised was due to long term economics.  There were currently more markets requiring clean material than those accepted material that had been collected mixed.  The Director however reiterated that the Council’s current operations ensure closed loop recycling, low contamination rates and good performance.  At some time in the future it may be prudent for the Council to switch to some form of source segregated collection service, but he did not believe that this was necessary now.  Following the discussion Members agreed to offer their support to the continuation of the existing method of kerbside collection of dry recyclates in view of the assistance it offers to residents in particular to those people living in flats and small dwellings and the advantage to the Council’s performance to which it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the resolutions of Cabinet be supported.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

Due to the absence of any evidence that would suggest the current service did not meet the new legal requirements.

 

 

971     REVENUE AND CAPITAL MONITORING FOR THE PERIOD 1ST APRIL 2014 TO 31ST JANUARY 2015 (DDS AND DVSH) -

 

A graph and table setting out the variance between the profiled budget and actual expenditure to 31st January, 2015, was attached at Appendix 1 to the report.  The report considered all the service areas within the Directorates with the Accountant advising that there was currently a favourable variance of £258,000 for the Highway Maintenance and Engineering Design and Procurement Service. It was noted that the budget had had pressures due to car parking income being significantly less than budgeted for, street lighting energy costs which were higher than budgeted and also pressures on the budget for routine maintenance of potholes.  These pressures however, had been off-set by a one off transfer of £350,000 from Central Policy and also an underspend on the Central Energy Recharge Budget of £460,000. 

 

There was also a favourable variance of £72,000 for Waste Management with the main reason being the current underspend in the interim contract with Viridor for waste disposal had resulted in large budget savings. 

 

For Grounds Maintenance there was a favourable variance of £8,000 and although there was an overspend projected on vehicle costs some vehicles had again been identified for disposal over the forthcoming months.  For Support Services that was currently a nil variance and it was noted that the budget now included Emergency Planning which had been transferred from the Public Protection Service.

 

In referring to Building Services it was currently anticipated that the Building Cleaning and Security Trading Unit would outturn with a deficit of £100,000 at year end, the main reason being the pay award that had recently been agreed for all staff.  It was also accepted that the majority of clients for Building Cleaning and Security paid an annual fixed amount and therefore it would be unfair at this stage to increase the charges to clients.

 

For the Economic Development Section there was currently a favourable variance of £105,000 mainly due to an underspend on profiled repairs budgets. 

 

Leisure Services was also showing a favourable variance of £95,000 which it was  noted was due mainly to an underspend on the Central Energy Recharge to leisure centres as well as vacant posts within the Countryside Division being held pending the restructure of the Division.

 

A current favourable variance of £238,000 was also noted for the Planning and Transportation Section which was reported as mainly due to a higher than anticipated level of planning and Section 106 fee income that had been received during the year.

 

Appendix 2 to the report detailed the financial progress on the Capital Programme as at 31st January, 2015 with reference being made to the following schemes by the Accountant:

 

A4226 Five Mile Lane Improvements Ground Investigation – Welsh Government had  confirmed that the Council would be reimbursed the direct costs associated with the appointment of CC Ground Investigations Ltd, up to £48,485 excluding VAT, based on the corrected tender sum of £40,404 plus 20% for any additional works that may be required during the investigation works. 

 

Ewenny Road Bridge - Network Rail was project managing the scheme which would not be complete until June 2015 when the Council would be required to make a contribution.  The £975,000 budget was to be carried forward to 2015/16.

 

Gileston to Old Mill - There was a projected expenditure against this scheme in 2015/16 for landscaping, fees, fencing, provision for a road safety audit and retention.  To complete the scheme, the £195,000 budget was to be carried forward to 2015/16.

 

Visible Services Highway Improvements Resurfacing - £120,000 relating to the scheme was to fund resurfacing part of the Miskin interchange, however Welsh Government required a 12 week lead into preparing legal notices to close the slip roads.  This budget was to be carried forward to 2015/16.

 

Ashpath Footpath Improvements - Highways had been unable to complete this scheme in the current financial year due to the current work programme with £8,000 of this budget being carried forward to 2015/16.

 

Cogan Hall Farm - Due to the current work programme, feasibility design had not yet taken place, which it was anticipated would now take place in early March.  £10,000 of this budget was to be carried forward to 2015/16.

 

Byrd Crescent Community Centre - The community centre is being used as a polling station during the May elections which meant that works had been delayed.  £10,000 of this budget was to be carried forward to 2015/16.

 

Italian Shelter Penarth - The Council had been out for tender at the end of February and was to be contractually committed by the end of this financial year and the  £25,000 budget was to be carried forward to 2015/16.

 

St. Paul’s Church - Following a recent marketing exercise, the Council was currently considering a proposal to re-use the building by a community group, however further work was required by the group to establish whether the proposal was viable and would be the subject of a separate report to Cabinet in due course.   The future of the property would not be determined within the financial year therefore it had been requested that £245,000 be carried forward into the 2015/16 Capital Programme.

 

In considering the report a Member took the opportunity to ask the Director to pass on their thanks to staff in respect of the Windsor Road to Pill Street programme of works undertaken via a Section 106 agreement for the Penarth Heights development. 

 

In referring to the Planning and Transportation favourable variance the Director confirmed that he would be carrying forward some of the planning fee income received to date, as it related to applications that would run into 2015/16.

 

With regard to car parking charges in the Vale a Member queried when a further report was to be presented to the Committee on the subject. The Director advised that he was shortly to commission a consultant to undertake a piece of work in relation to price sensitivity with a remit that it should not have a detrimental effect on town centres.  He anticipated that a report would be forthcoming within the next six to eight weeks. 

Following a query in respect of St. Paul’s Church, Members were informed that the Department had advertised for Expressions of Interest with a report to be presented to Cabinet in due course.  Members urged that a way forward be agreed as soon as possible in view of the length of time that had already been taken to address the matter. However, a local Member stated that although the Council had been criticised for the perceived delays due consideration of the matter was essential.

 

Following consideration of the report it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the report be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

In view of the contents contained therein and the information provided to Members at the meeting.

 

 

972     SERVICE PLAN 2015/19: DEVELOPMENT SERVICES (DDS) –

 

Prior to the commencement of the discussions Councillor Gwyn Roberts declared that he had a dispensation from the Standards Committee to speak and vote on matters in relation to the Reshaping Services Agenda as referred to in the report. 

 

The Director tabled at the meeting an Executive Summary of the document highlighting the various sections and referring specifically to certain elements, in particular to the service outcomes and the service objectives.  It was noted that the Service Plans for the 2015/19 specifically identified how each Directorate would contribute towards the achievement of the Corporate Plan, Improvement Plan and Outcome Agreement Outcomes and incorporate key measures and milestones to demonstrate progress.  It was accepted that the Council was currently consulting widely on proposed Improvement Objectives for 2015/16 and these would be reflected within relevant Service Plans once approved by the Council in May 2015.  Appendix A contained the Development Services Service Plan 2015/19 with key areas of note within the Plan being:

 

"·         Our Service Plan 2015/19 (pages 4 to 22): This sets the context for the Directorate's Service Plan and identifies its key challenges over the coming years.

·           Our Service Self-Assessment (pages 23 to 53): This highlights how the service is performing and what has been achieved during the previous year and informs areas for improvement in the coming year. Much emphasis continues to be placed on strengthening our use of benchmarking/comparative data as well as highlighting good practice where relevant. In addition, in terms of what has been achieved, a more consistent approach continues to be encouraged in identifying the outcome/impact for the customer/citizen. These issues have previously been highlighted as an area of development by the Wales Audit Office in its Annual Improvement Report of the Council (2013/14).

·           Our Service Outcomes and Objectives (pages 54 to 58): This section affirms the Directorate's service outcomes and objectives going forward (including its contribution to corporate priorities), having considered its key service challenges and the self-assessment.

·           Appendix 1 (pages 59 to 72) contains the Directorate's Service Improvement Action Plan for 2015/16.

·           Appendix 2 (pages 73 to 85) which contains the service's performance measures is currently incomplete as end of year data for 2014/15 is not yet available at the time of reporting to the Committee. Following a review by officers, performance measures for 2015/16 onwards will be presented to all scrutiny committees for discussion and agreement during July 2015.

·           Appendix 3 (pages 86 to 87) details the Directorate's workforce requirements.

·           Appendix 4 (pages 88 to 90) provides a breakdown of the savings required for the Directorate over the next three years."

 

Members were informed that the Directorate would develop Team Plans to underpin the Service Plan within the Directorate.  The Director stated that the report outlined the implications of meeting the savings required and the plan also summarised the ongoing collaboration work being undertaken and the key risks.  The Department heavily relied on grant funding and he specifically referred to the Countryside Service (Creative Rural Communities) where Welsh Government had advised funding would not be available until July 2015. This had meant that he had to consider utilising funds from other areas within his directorate to fund the service until the grant was received as it would not be beneficial to the Council to disband the service to only establish another a few months later.

 

The Chairman in referring to the report noted that the number of affordable houses had appeared to have decreased with the Director advising that the data had been resubmitted to Welsh Government which showed that affordable housing was higher than reported and Welsh Government had acknowledging an error that had been made.

 

It was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the Service Plan be endorsed.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

In recognition that the Service plan was the primary document in which performance for Development Services would be measured and to meet the self-assessment requirements under the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009.

 

 

973     SERVICE PLAN 2015/19: VISIBLE SERVICES (DVSH) -

 

The Director of Visible Services and Housing also provided Members with an Executive Summary of the document attached at Appendix A to the report.  One of the biggest challenges he stated for his service was actually remaining within budget.  Members were informed that staffing arrangements for the forthcoming years would be required to be changed but that he would ensure that front line services would be protected. 

In referring to page 17 of the document and the cleanliness indicator in the Vale for 2013/14 being 72.23% he advised that he had recently received data which now advised that we were below the Welsh average.  He would update the Service Plan in relation to this information but informed Members that the situation was not as good as it had previously been as this was due to the absence of enforcement arrangements in the service area.  Overall however, the service was generally doing well in relation to its service outcomes and objectives. He stated that there were fairly broad high level objectives and that the four Team Plans to be developed would address the detail.  A review the Director advised had been undertaken in respect of the level of street cleaning with the department recognising that it needed to put more emphasis on enforcement.

 

In referring to the reduction in the winter maintenance budget he stated that he firmly believed that the Department would comply with the Highways Act but that fewer routes would be treated with a further report on the matter scheduled to be presented to Cabinet and the Scrutiny Committee later in the year. Following requests from Members as to whether there was a contingency plan for the service in the winter months, the Director advised that there was money in reserves and a contingency plan had been drawn up.

 

A Member also reiterated that it would be essential to ensure the public were well informed of the decisions relating to any reductions in street lighting and when they were likely to take place.  The Director acknowledged that continued work with communities was essential as well as publicising information to the public. 

 

In referring the Reshaping Services Agenda, he stated that discussions with some Town and Community Councils had already been undertaken but that they were ongoing.  The Director referred to a few examples of services that could possibly be undertaken by Town and Community Councils namely public conveniences and allotments. 

 

A Member took the opportunity to seek the views of the Director regarding a number of complaints they had received from constituents in relation to Council vehicles being left idle in various places throughout the Vale during the day.  The Director advised that the Telemetry system that had been installed could provide detailed information of the whereabouts of Council vehicles and assured Members that if they had any concerns to contact him direct and he could provide the detail required.  He stated that the Department had worked closely with all the Trade Unions in relation to the introduction of the Vehicle Telemetry system and it was an excellent management tool. The Director also took the opportunity to advise Members of the new Pool Car Scheme to be introduced from 1st April, 2015 and reassured Members that all the pool cars would be issued with tracking devices. 

 

Following the discussion, a Member suggested that the Committee be afforded an opportunity to have a live demonstration of the Vehicle Telemetry System. The Director confirmed that arrangements could be made and the Democratic and Scrutiny Services Officer would liaise accordingly.

 

Having considered the report it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the Visible Services Service Plan 2015/19 be endorsed.

 

Reason for decision

 

In recognition that the Service plan was the primary document in which performance for Development Services would be measured and to meet the self-assessment requirements under the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009.

 

 

974     QUARTER 3 DEVELOPMENT SERVICES PERFORMANCE REPORT 2014-2015 (DDS) -

 

The Director outlined that overall the Development Services Directorate was well on track to achieving the objectives contributing to its service outcomes with 99% of all actions currently either completed or on track. Of the 40 Corporate Plan actions within the Service Plan, 7.5% (3) had been completed, 90% (36) were on track and 2.5% (1) had slipped.

 

There were 15 actions relating to the Improvement Objectives. 13% (2) had been completed and 87% (13) were on track for completion. There were currently no Outcome Agreements in place for the service.

 

Of 38 Performance indicators, 29 had met or exceeded target, 5 were within 10% of target and 1 had missed target by more than 10%. The Performance status was however, not applicable to 3 indicators. Members were informed that 3 more PIs had met or exceeded target than did in Q2.

 

In terms of exceptional performance, these were reported as follows:

 

·         The eastern promenade regeneration scheme was successfully completed and opened for public access during November 2014.

·         The success of the Council's summer events programme has been recognised by virtue of the Isle of Fire being shortlisted for the best local event in the Visit Wales National Tourism Awards 2014.

·         The Vale of Glamorgan Council was the first authority to complete a Welsh Government 'tackling poverty' funded project with the conclusion of the cafe and community space at the Hub before Christmas.

·         The performance of the Department when dealing with a range of planning applications and appeals was ahead of target, during a time when submissions have increased considerably.

 

There was slippage against one area being:

 

·         The introduction of a scheme that allowed objectors and applicants to directly address the Planning committee was prioritised for later in the year [CP/CL6 (DS/A151)].

 

In considering the report Members acknowledged that public speaking at Planning Committee had now commenced.

 

It was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the performance results and remedial actions to be taken to address service under-performance and the progress to date in achieving outcomes outlined in the Corporate Plan 2013-17, the Outcome Agreement 2013-16 and the Improvement Plan Part 1 2014-15 be noted.

 

Reason for decision

 

In recognition of the Council’s requirement to secure continuous improvement outlined in the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 and the performance as at 31st December, 2014.

 

 

975     QUARTER 3 VISIBLE SERVICES PERFORMANCE REPORT 2014-15 (DVSH) -

 

The Director of Visible Services and Housing advised that the Visible Services Department was on track to achieve the objectives contributing to its service outcomes. 72.5% of all Service Plan actions were either completed or on track and of the 40 actions, 11 actions (27.5%) were reported as slipped.

 

Of 13 Corporate Plan actions 61.5% (8) were either completed or on track for completion, and 5 actions had slipped. There were no actions relating to the Improvement Objectives.

 

Of the 2 Outcome Agreement actions for the service, both had been completed. There were 6 measures relating to the Outcome Agreement, 5 of which were reported on a quarterly basis and of these, 4 had met or exceeded target and 1 had missed target by more than 10%. Of the 18 performance indicators within the Service Plan, 11 had either met or exceeded target, 2 were within 10% of target, and 5 had missed target by more than 10%. This was reported as a slight improvement from Q2 where the Service reported 9 performance indicators having either met or exceeded target.

 

Members noted that in terms of exceptional performance:

 

·         The percentage of reported fly-tipping incidents cleared within 5 working days (STS006) had improved considerably compared with the same period in 2013/14, where the Vale was the worst performer in Wales. Based on the 'Public Accountability Measure' performance shown for all councils in 2013/14, the Vale was now performing at a level above the Wales average.

·         The amount of waste prepared for reuse of recycled (WMT/011) had also increased considerably compared with the previous year's performance due in part to new penalty arrangements introduced as part of our Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) management contract.

·         The street lighting strategy had been agreed late in 2014 and all areas of the Vale were currently being risk assessed with a view to implementing the LED / Part-night lighting arrangements from April 2015.

·         "E" Recycling calendars had been introduced from 1st January 2015 saving £20,000 per annum.

 

Slippage was noted for a number of actions as detailed within the report.

 

In noting that certain actions had slipped, the Director advised that more progress would be made in the forthcoming year.  The use of the vehicle tracking system would also be an important tool for management.  The Director advised that with regard to the Highway Maintenance Service there had been a continued increase in claims in respect of this area although this was very much the trend nationally.  He advised that overall performance was above average but he could reassure Members that in a number of cases good positive indicators were coming through for the final quarter.

 

In response to a query regarding the Waste Collection Service leaving kerbside waste and not picking up recycling bags, the Director advised that he was not aware of any specific issues where this had taken place and advised Members that the majority of the vehicles were also fitted with side cameras and these could be used to check such instances.  He again referred to the introduction of the Vehicle Telemetry System where information could be interrogated and considerable detailed investigations could be undertaken.  

 

It was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the performance results and any remedial actions to be taken to address service underperformance and the performance to date in achieving key outcomes as outlined in the Corporate Plan 2013-17, the Outcome Agreement 2013-16 and the Improvement Plan Part 1 2014/15 be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

In view of the requirement to secure continuous improvement outlined in the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 and in consideration of the performance results as at 31st December, 2014.

 

 

976     IMPROVEMENT PLAN PART 1 (IMPROVEMENT OBJECTIVES 2015/16) (DDS) -

 

The report outlined that the Corporate Plan was a key means of the Council complying with the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 which required the Council to set improvement objectives annually and demonstrate continuous improvement. 

 

Five improvement objectives had been proposed for 2015/16 as detailed below:

 

·         Objective 1: To deliver sustainable services including alternative methods of delivery as part the Council’s Reshaping Services Change Programme.  [New]

·         Objective 2: To support more people towards independence.  [Carried forward]

·         Objective 3: To support and enhance the town centres of the Vale of Glamorgan for the benefit of residents, visitors and businesses.  [Carried forward]

·         Objective 4: To reduce the number of young people who are not in employment, education or training (NEET).  [Carried forward]

·         Objective 5: To support and challenge schools in order to improve pupil attainment levels at Key Stages 2, 3 and 4.  [Proposed amendment: To reduce the achievement gap between pupils in receipt of free school meals and those who are not.]

 

For the Development Services Directorate, one objective applied specifically which was within the Committee’s remit to consider. However, also of note was the fact that the work of the Committee also contributed towards Objectives 1 and 4.  The three objectives being:

 

·         Objective 1: To deliver sustainable services including alternative methods of delivery as part the Council’s Reshaping Services Change Programme.

·         Objective 3: To support and enhance the town centres of the Vale of Glamorgan for the benefit of residents, visitors and businesses.

·         Objective 4: To reduce the number of young people who are not in employment, education or training (NEET).

 

Appendix 1 to the report outlined the proposed objectives for 2015/16 and provided a rationale for each objective.  The Council was required to consult on its Improvement Objectives and the proposed objectives would be published on the Council’s website during March 2015 with invitations for comment from the public.

 

The Director of Development Services in presenting the report, referred to Objective 3 advising that work had been undertaken with regard to restoring some of the Vale’s buildings, renewal area work was now entering into the Upper Holton Road area and various grant programmes had been put in place.  The Director also referred to the appointment of a new Town Centre Manager and to the extremely successful events that had been run over the Christmas period in the Barry Town King Square and in Penarth and Llantwit Major.

 

The Member for Penarth stated that following an unsuccessful bid with regard to a Town centre strategy Penarth Council now needed to urgently recost the strategy and took the opportunity to request the attendance of the Town Centre Manager at a Penarth Town Council meeting to look at alternative proposals.  The Director also referred to the number of initiatives that the Creative Rural Communities Team had developed in the rural Vale and referred to the European Funding that had been provided for a number of projects.

 

Following a concern from a Member of the use of funding in the rural Vale to provide food display cabinets in public houses, the Director advised that this was as a result of an initiative to encourage sustainable communities. It had been a granted funded scheme to target places where there were no shopping facilities and to encourage sustainability in order to ensure that people who had no access to transport could purchase daily provisions within their community.  To this end, the grant funding had been provided for publicans to purchase display cabinets within their pubs in order to assist residents in the communities.  Part of the approach was also to assist and promote the sustainability of "pubs" in rural localities which was often the only facility available in an area.

 

The Democratic and Scrutiny Services Officer also took the opportunity to advise Members that a presentation by the Principal Officer for Creative Rural Communities was to be presented to the Community Liaison Committee on 18th  March, 2015 which would include details of the projects being undertaken.

 

Following consideration of the report it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the proposed Improvement Objectives for 2014/15 be endorsed.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

In recognition of the Council’s need to comply with the requirements of the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 and in view of the information provided at the meeting.

 

 

977     ANNOUNCEMENT -

 

The Chairman took the opportunity to remind Members of the Extraordinary meeting of the Committee to be held on Tuesday, 24th March, 2015 at 6.00 p.m. which had been convened in order to manage Committee business.

 

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