Minutes of a meeting held on 10th October, 2012.


Present:  Councillor Mrs. M.R. Wilkinson (Chairman); Councillor Mrs. C.L. Curtis (Vice-Chairman); Councillors: R.J. Bertin, J. Drysdale, Mrs. A.J. Moore, R.P. Thomas and E. Williams.


Also present: Messrs. G. Amos, J. Farrington and B. Fisher (Tenant Working Group).





These were received from Councillors Mrs. V.M. Hartrey, Ms. R.F. Probert and A.C. Williams.



415     MINUTES -


RECOMMENDED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 5th September, 2012 approved as a correct record.





The following declaration was received:


Councillor J. Drysdale

Personal interest – employed by TPAS (Cymru) and TPAS Strategy Report author.





The above matter had been previously considered by the Cabinet at its meeting held on 17th September 2012.  At that time the Cabinet had received the above report which, subject to the Cabinet’s approval, would be submitted to the Regional Collaborative Committee for the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff. 


The draft strategy document itself set out the policy and funding framework for delivering housing related support to vulnerable people in different types of accommodation and across the various tenures.  The strategic aim of the Local Commissioning Plan was to reflect Community Safety and Health, and Social Care and Wellbeing objectives for delivering high quality and strategically planned housing-related support services that were cost effective.


In tandem with the Welsh Government’s new guidance published in July 2012 the Local Commissioning Plan had been developed and co-ordinated by the Local Supporting People Planning Group (SPPG) as specified by the Welsh Government.  This group was constituted with officers from the Council’s Housing and Social Services divisions, the Wales Probation Service, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and the Voluntary Sector (the Vale Housing and Homelessness Forum).


The main objectives for the above draft Local Commission Plan were to oversee the development and provision of supported accommodation services for the Vale of Glamorgan as outlined below:

  • an assessment of the support needs of 863 individuals who had contacted the Council’s Housing division and other voluntary sector agencies in 2011/12
  • a total of 2,600 units of support funded by Supporting People were mapped throughout the Vale of Glamorgan
  • from a needs analysis the Plan had determined that under the Supporting People Programme there was a priority to develop a direct access homeless hostel for clients under the age of 35, supported accommodation and floating support units for clients with mental health issues and a second Extra Care Scheme for clients with physical mobility issues etc.
  • the total revenue costs of the new support services identified within the Local Commissioning Plan was estimated to be in the region of £1.7m.  There would also be a capital funding requirement for some of the projects referred to within the Plan which had yet to be calculated, and consequently there was a shortfall in available resources within the Housing Service which would continue to be addressed with partners and the Welsh Government.

The Chairman, in referring to the report, made reference to arrangements for establishing the Regional Collaborative Committee for the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff and enquired of the timetable for completion of this exercise.  In response the Strategy and Supporting People Manager referred to further meetings with Cardiff which would be held in the near future and the Welsh Government had been notified of these arrangements.  She also indicated that the Wales Audit Office were also assessing Cardiff’s position in regard to the same. 


Councillor Bertin, in referring to funding arrangements in regard to the Plan, enquired of funding arrangements during the next two financial years.  The Strategy and Supporting People Manager indicated that there was circa £80,000 for Year 1 with a further circa £100,000 for Year 2.  In response to this clarification Councillor Bertin enquired of monitoring arrangements in regard to value for money and the Strategy and Supporting People Manager indicated that an annual review is undertaken by the Supporting People Team for all services funded to ensure that they continue to be strategically relevant, deliver the services required and are value for money.


Having regard to the above and related issues, it was


RECOMMENDED – T H A T the Supporting People Local Commissioning Plan for 2012/13 to 2013/14 be noted.


Reason for recommendation


In acknowledgement that the draft Plan must be submitted to the Regional Collaborative Committee for the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff as soon as it is convened.





The Licensing Committee at its meeting held on 3rd September 2012 gave consideration to the above matter which placed a duty on the Council to develop a Statement of Principles that promoted the following three licensing objectives:

  • preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder or being used to support crime
  • ensuring that gambling was conducted in a fair and open way
  • protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited.

The Scrutiny Committee was being consulted as part of the consultation exercise on the contents of the same.  It was noted that consultation would also be undertaken with members of the trade, responsible authorities and current licence holders.  Subject to completion of the consultation exercise, it was anticipated that a Statement of Principles would take effect on 31st January 2013. 


The Chairman, in commenting on the report, expressed her disappointment that there had been no officer available from the Licensing section to address questions that Members may have in regard to the proposed Statement of Principles.  Councillor Drysdale echoed the comments of the Chairman and referred to specific elements of the draft Statement of Principles, specifically in regard to the risks associated with gambling and proposed that the Licensing Committee give consideration to the inclusion of appropriate advice/ warnings to raise the public’s awareness of the associated risks with gambling activities when the Statement of Principles document was published on the Council’s website.


The Committee concurred with the views expressed by Councillor Drysdale and having regard to the above and the contents of the report


RECOMMENDED – T H A T the Licensing Committee be requested to ensure that when the Council’s Statement of Principles in regard to the Gambling Act 2005 were published on the Council’s website this document be accompanied with appropriate information warning the public of the potential consequences of participating in gambling related activities.


Reason for recommendation


To underpin the Council’s Corporate and Service Plan objectives.





The Public Sector Housing (HRA) was predicted to outturn on target and there was currently a favourable variance of £183,000 against the profiled budget.  The variance was made up of an adverse variance on housing repairs of £62,000 which was offset by favourable variances on Salaries (£53,000), Income (£30,000), Premises Costs (£31,000), Transport (£7,000) and other Supplies and Services (£124,000).


The Private Sector / General Fund Housing and Community Safety was also predicted to outturn on target.


Appendix 2 detailed financial progress on the Capital Programme as at 31st August 2012. 


It was noted that Cabinet had previously agreed that further information would be provided where schemes had a value of over £500,000 and showed a variance of 20% or more between actual spend and the profile.  The following schemes met this criteria:

  • Disabled Facilities Grants – expenditure in regard to the budget was running behind the profile due to health and safety requirements which had delayed early grant approvals.  This had now been resolved and work was being undertaken to improve approval rates.  Accordingly no change had been made to the expenditure profile.

Appendix 3 to the report indicated non-financial information on capital construction schemes with a budget over £100,000.  Where a budget was shown in Appendix 2 was more than £100,000 but was made up of several smaller schemes that individually were less than £100,000, this scheme had not been included in Appendix 3.


RECOMMENDED – T H A T the position with regard to the Revenue and Capital Budget for the period 1st April to 31st August 2012 be noted.


Reason for recommendation


In acknowledgement of progress made to date.



420     DRAFT ALCOHOL STRATEGY 2012 – 15 (DDS) –


The draft Strategy had been designed to meet the needs of the population of the County and aimed to build on current capacity for the service by developing skills amongst the workforce at Youth Service and Health Service level to do with presenting alcohol related issues.  The Strategy looked to work across partnerships to tackle and prevent alcohol related harm, building on the foundations laid by the Cadoxton House project in terms of collaborative working.


It was noted that the Strategy included the following main themes, as well as the mechanisms that would aid delivery in the following areas:

  • education and prevention
  • harm to the individual
  • harm to the community.

Within a Vale of Glamorgan context, alcohol remained the highest source of referrals into substance misuse services across the County with 577 referrals during 2011/12.  In addition, the Vale of Glamorgan Young Person’s Consultation Report highlighted that nearly all young people in the Vale of Glamorgan had tried alcohol, with the typical age for the first use of alcohol being 12 years old and with at least a quarter moving towards a pattern of weekly alcohol consumption.  It was noted that alcohol was an aggravating factor in 11% of all recorded crime between April and November 2011 and 9% of anti social behaviour.  In the Vale of Glamorgan, 37% (352) of all recorded and criminal violent offences between the same period were alcohol related. 


An extended consultation exercise had recently been concluded with appropriate feedback received.  The consultation feedback would be used to inform the final version of the Strategy prior to its formal publication.  The Strategy would provide a work plan for the forthcoming three years for the Safer Vale Partnership.


The Safer Vale Manager indicated that action undertaken in meeting the objectives of the Strategy would be reported to the Vale of Glamorgan Local Service Board and to the Scrutiny Committee in the future.  Oversight of the Strategy in itself would be managed by the Area Planning Board for Substance Misuse for Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan.


In response to a question from Councillor Bertin in regard to raising awareness of issues relating to alcohol abuse, the Safer Vale Manager confirmed that concentrated campaigns targeted at schools would be undertaken on a periodic basis.  In addition, she also confirmed that arrangements were in hand to commission an alcohol and misuse service for younger people in the Vale of Glamorgan, which currently did exist.  It was anticipated that this service, once commissioned, would oversee raising awareness on a joint basis and in collaboration with public health services.  She also confirmed that text messaging campaigns would continue to be undertaken, including the use of other social media tools. 


In commenting on the document itself, Councillor Drysdale reiterated his comments made at the last meeting of the Committee regarding the inclusion of objectives within strategies which were not outcome based.  He considered that certain objectives contained within the Strategy were not assessing the impact of the Strategy within the community.  He referred specifically to the objective contained within the Strategy which related to “develop and promote the availability of community detoxification packages of care” with the associated outcome which related to “increase volume of community detoxifications completed”.  He expressed concern that this objective and outcome could not be appropriately measured and expressed concern that any increase in the availability of such packages should be of concern to the Committee.  In response, the Safer Vale Manager indicated that available data suggested that there was a need within the community to increase such packages to address public health issues.


Having regard to the above and to the contents of the draft Alcohol Strategy, it was




(1)       T H A T the draft Alcohol Strategy for 2012-15 be endorsed and referred to Cabinet for approval.


(2)       T H A T the Scrutiny Committee receive regular updates on progress of work against the Strategy within future Community Safety reports.


Reasons for recommendations


(1)       To obtain the Cabinet’s approval for the introduction of the proposed Alcohol Strategy 2012-15.


(2)       To enable the Scrutiny Committee to monitor and review the implementation of the Alcohol Strategy for 2012-15.





The Cabinet had previously approved the above Strategy at its meeting held on 15th February 2012 (Minute No. C1620 refers).  The report as tabled sought to update the Committee on progress against the above Strategy’s Action Plan, details of which were set out in Appendix 2 (LTPS Assessment Report 2011 – Vale of Glamorgan CBC).            


The Council’s Strategy had been assessed overall as good by the Tenant Participation Strategy Advisory Service.  The aim of the Strategy was to improve the quality and delivery of housing service, contribute to wider community development and achieve WHQS by increasing the participation and control that tenants had over housing service and landlord functions.  The long term goal of the Strategy had been translated into a number of objectives which were more specific, details of these were set out in the body of the report.  Each objective had a number of actions and “intended outcomes” to evidence the achievements of the tenants, staff and the housing service delivering the Strategy.


Achievements against the Action Plan to date included:

  • a tenant profiling questionnaire had been sent to all Council tenants and a 43% return rate had been achieved
  • a mystery shopping exercise had been conducted by the Tenant Engagement Associates to review the service offered by the Council’s Contact OneVale service
  • suggestion boxes and feedback forms had been installed in all sheltered housing schemes and the Housing reception in the Civic Offices
  • 4 “Meet the Contractor” events had been organised, one in each of the Housing Improvement Programme areas
  • 14 tenants attended the Tenant Participation Advisory Service course entitled “What is Tenant Scrutiny” to learn about the role of tenant scrutiny, the skills needed and how it could help to improve and inform the delivery of the housing service
  • the Tenants Quality and Design Forum had visited a number of void Council properties after the programme of housing improvement works had been completed
  • the Vale Standard newsletter had continued to be published quarterly
  • all teams in the Public Sector Housing section maintained records of the tenant and community events that staff attended as informal opportunities for engagement with tenants
  • all team managers attended corporate complaints handling training and each team manager was responsible for recording and responding to complaints relating to their service area
  • a member of the Homelessness and Housing Advice Team attended a weekly Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference to discuss the multi-agency approach to addressing the current domestic abuse cases
  • postcard sized satisfaction and feedback questionnaires were provided to people accessing the Housing advice drop in service on 15th of each month (or the next working day) and larger questionnaires had been sent to those clients leaving temporary accommodation on the same date.  Prepaid envelopes had also been provided to encourage responses.  Completed questionnaires were then recorded on an in-house data base
  • the Supporting People Team had reviewed housing related support service provided by Hafod Housing Association, Atal y Fro, Llamau and Taff Housing Association this financial year.  Each service review had included interviews with 20% of service users and gathered their views on the service they received. 

In addition to the above matters, it was also noted that a review of the Tenants’ Governance Structure was currently being conducted.  Changes to the structure were anticipated to be implemented by January 2013.  Following these changes the Action Plan would be reviewed.  The updated Action Plan would include the target dates and address the issues raised in the TPAS assessment of the Strategy, including:

  • providing greater detail in relation to the outcomes about specific improvements to services and community life
  • including more detailed actions for existing tenant participation activities in order to show how outcomes would be achieved.

In commenting on the document, the Chairman referred to the timescales for the completion of the review of the Tenants’ Governance Structure and instructed that a further report be submitted to the Scrutiny Committee on the conclusion of that exercise.  A number of other general points were also made in regard to the document, specifically in relation to the updating of the Action Plan to include targets and timescales and separately, the future provision of training for tenant representatives.  Mr. Farrington had indicated that further training had been requested but had yet to be arranged.  Brief discussion also touched upon the mechanism for accessing funding for environmental improvements under the auspices of the WHQS. 


Having regard to the above and related matters, it was




(1)       T H A T progress to date against the Tenants Participation Strategy 2012 – 15 Action Plan be noted.


(2)       T H A T it be recommended to Cabinet to expedite appropriate training opportunities for all tenant representatives as soon as practicable. 


Reasons for recommendations


(1)       In acknowledgement of progress made to date.


(2)       To ensure that all training opportunities were provided to tenants’ representatives in a timely manner.


(Note: Councillor J. Drysdale had previously declared an interest in the above item and left the room during consideration of the matter.)





The report sought to apprise the Committee on the “Sustainable Investment” approach and the work of the “Hard to Treat” group including further work being undertaken on the options appraisal for the best way forward for dealing with Council housing stock at Brecon Court in Barry and the Airey properties which were located throughout the Vale of Glamorgan.


The report was set within the context of meeting one of the main primary objectives of the WHQS which was energy performance and the standard all Council housing stock had to be improved to a SAP (2005) score of 65 or more.


The report set out the work of the “Hard to Treat” officer working group which had been established as a sub-group of the Housing Investment Group to ensure this approach was properly implemented.  The report also detailed a range of issues in relation to the energy performance of the Council housing stock, which included a large amount of non traditional stock which required considerable structural and energy improvements to meet the above standards.  It was envisaged at the present time that most of the necessary works would be affordable although additional funds were being pursued both from Arbed (Welsh Government initiative) Energy providers’ obligation (CESP/ CERT) and through Green Deal.


The Council had presently 5 unimproved Airey properties which required exceptionally costly repairs.  Attached at Appendix B to the report was a separate progress report which outlined why an options appraisal on these properties was underway.  It was also noted that further work on identifying other “Hard to Treat” stock was also being progressed.


In addition to the above, Brecon Court, Barry had also been considered by the Group due to its structural and other related problems and also attached at Appendix A to the report was an outline why an options appraisal was also required on these properties. 


The Council’s Asset Manager also indicated that the Council currently owned 68 bedsit properties which would also be considered by the above Group.  He indicated that these properties did not meet modern space and lifetime home standards and were often responsible for some of the Council’s worst “hard to let properties” which year on year had a detrimental impact on the Council’s void performance and rental income / Housing Business Plan.  He indicated also that the Council was preparing an Older Persons’ Accommodation Strategy which was an essential piece of work and he envisaged that some of the “bedsit” dwellings would be considered as part of this work. 


The nature of the housing stock and the high cost of non component replacement repairs experienced in voids / WHQS pilot schemes meant that close monitoring and analysis of the budget would be in place over the first six months of the framework contract.  The Asset Manager indicated that this analysis would be used to help determine the scope of the planned repair works which were affordable.  Where high cost dwellings were identified and estimated to cost more than £20,000, a sustainability test would be undertaken which would be reported to the “Hard to Treat” group to ensure a sustainable approach was adopted. 


Discussion ensued regarding the contents of the report and, in particular, to the SAP minimum rating requirement of 65 in regard to the Airey type properties, the ability of the Council to access additional funding streams to assist with funding of work to these properties and the anticipated costs of refurbishing Brecon Court, Barry.  Reference was also made to the recommendations contained in the report, particularly in regard to recommendations (3) and (5) contained therein with the general view expressed that any options appraisals be undertaken within a stipulated completion period with the options appraisal to include the feasibility of demolition and rebuilding options in regard to Brecon Court, Barry, including the future type of housing development on this site and this options appraisal  be undertaken coterminous with the options appraisal for the five unimproved Airey non traditional dwellings.  The Council’s Asset Manager responded by indicating that it would be difficult for the options appraisals to be undertaken in the short term as the Council did not have the relevant expertise in-house to undertake the appraisals at this time.


Having regard to the above and related issues, it was




(1)       T H A T the work of the “Hard to Treat” group, including the sustainable investment approach to meeting the Housing Investment Programme, be noted.


(2)       T H A T it be recommended to Cabinet to initiate further work on sustainability testing and the completion of an options appraisal to include the demolition and rebuild and future accommodation type on the site of Brecon Court, Barry, with the completion of the said appraisal to be determined by the Cabinet.


(3)       T H A T it be recommended to Cabinet that investment in the seven Airey “non traditional dwellings” which had already had structural frame improvement work be progressed, subject to an acceptable scheme being developed at a reasonable cost. 


(4)       T H A T it be recommended to Cabinet to progress an options appraisal in respect of the redevelopment of the five unimproved Airey “non traditional dwellings” in tandem with Recommendation (2) above.


(5)       T H A T it be recommended to Cabinet to defer any decision to place Brecon Court, Barry and the unimproved Airy properties on hold for review on the basis as proposed within the report until the sustainability testing and the completion of options appraisal being undertaken in respect of Recommendations (2) and (4) above.


(6)       T H A T consultation with tenants and stakeholders on the options appraisal and the best way forward be undertaken and, where tenants in the unimproved Airey dwellings had expressed an interest in moving to more suitable housing, these options be progressed.


Reasons for recommendations


(1)       To apprise the Cabinet of work undertaken by the “Hard to Treat” Group in progressing sustainable investment approach in meeting the housing investment programme.


(2-5)    To ensure sustainable investment and the delivery of the asset management strategy, including related options appraisals were delivered within identifiable completion targets and for the avoidance of any doubt.


(6)       To ensure the views of tenants were considered as part of the above options appraisals.





The Committee was apprised of action taken to date in progressing the Action Plan in relation to the completion of works in respect of meeting the Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS).  Committee noted that the latest Housing Business Plan had been approved previously by the Cabinet at its meeting held on 16th November 2011 and this had been subsequently submitted to the Welsh Government.  In addition, the first annual return had been submitted to the Welsh Government on the Council meeting the requirements of the WHQS, details of which were set out in Appendices B and C to the report.  This was the first return calculated using the Housing Asset Management database and demonstrated the need for significant investment with 2% of the Council housing stock currently meeting the above standard.


Four external contractors had been appointed to work in partnership with the Council following an extensive procurement process, all of which had considerable experience in delivering this type of work.  The Council’s own Building Services division would be undertaking some of the refurbishment works and this was mainly linked to sheltered housing accommodation across the county.  Contractors had commenced work on 3rd September 2012 and would be monitored on a continual basis and their performance reported to the Council and to a Tenants Quality and Design Forum.


As referred to in an earlier agendaed report sustainability issues and energy rating of certain “Hard to Treat” properties were under consideration, including options and decisions that would be required to be made to progress these homes in the future. 


In addition to the above, over the last three years there have also been significant improvements to the Council’s Adaptations Service for tenants with a disability with £2m of funding being made available for housing adaptation improvements.  Innovations to changing the service, such as the greater use of call off contracts and staff training in a wider skill set, had dramatically reduced the time taken to deliver adaptation works.


Brief discussion ensued with the Committee commenting upon the current position of void properties within the Vale of Glamorgan and a need for a further report to be submitted to the Scrutiny Committee to enable the matter to be monitored and reviewed.  In addition, reference was also made to the requirement for the action plan to be reviewed and updated to include, where appropriate, time bound completion dates for related actions as opposed to unidentified dates identified for example in 2017.


Having regard to the above and related issues it was




(1)       T H A T the action taken to date in meeting the requirements of the Welsh Housing Quality Standard including the updated Action Plan be noted.


(2)       T H A T Cabinet be requested to ensure that the Action Plan be reviewed and updated to include, where appropriate, time bound completion dates for related actions.


Reasons for recommendations


(1)       In acknowledgement of progress made to date.


(2)       To ensure that actions and related performance can be monitored and reviewed appropriately.





The views of the Scrutiny Committee were being sought in regard to the proposed adoption of a manual in regard to the above subject matter which, once approved by the Cabinet, would be distributed to elected Members and Town and Community Councillors. 


Having regard to the above and related matters, it was




(1)       T H A T it be recommended to Cabinet that the Affordable Housing Enabler distribute the “Manual for Elected Members” to Vale of Glamorgan Councillors and all Vale of Glamorgan Town and Community Councillors.


(2)       T H A T it be recommended to Cabinet that the Affordable Housing Enabler offer to brief interested Members and Town and Community Councillors on the topic.


(3)       T H A T it be recommended to Cabinet to request that the Affordable Housing Enabler provide an appropriate presentation to the Council’s Community Liaison Committee.


Reason for recommendations


(1-3)    To promote the positive role of Elected Members in developing much needed affordable homes within the Vale of Glamorgan.





RESOLVED - T H A T under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Part 4 of Schedule 12A (as amended) of the Act, the relevant paragraphs of the Schedule being referred to in brackets after the minute heading.





The report had been prepared in response to a Request for Consideration which had been received from Councillor R.J. Bertin in respect of the operation of the CCTV facility in the Vale of Glamorgan.  The report referred to current operational arrangements of active CCTV monitoring within the Vale of Glamorgan as supported by the Community Safety Partnership and South Wales Police.  It was noted that the service continued to be able to support any planned operations by South Wales Police on a 24 hour, 7 day a week basis.  The rate of arrests attributable to the use of CCTV had remained consistent.  The Operational Manager for Customer Relations, in commenting on certain operational aspects of the service, indicated that regular meetings with South Wales Police, the Head of Public Protection and the Principal Community Safety Officer were held to identify and resolve any operational issues.  He also indicated that to further increase service resilience and support for the service, options were currently being assessed to:

  • review the potential for South Wales Police officers to be trained to retrieve CCTV footage for evidential purposes
  • work in collaboration with other local authorities to identify ways in which to provide business recovery and resilience through partnership working.

Discussion ensued on the potential options for the future operational provision to be undertaken by South Wales Police.


Having regard to the above and related issues, it was




(1)       T H A T Cabinet request the Operational Manager for Customer Relations to prepare an appropriate business case and options for the future operational provision of CCTV in the Vale of Glamorgan.


(2)       T H A T, subject to Recommendation (1) above, a further update report be submitted to the meeting of the Scrutiny Committee in January 2013.


(3)       T H A T an annual report on the operational performance of the CCTV service be presented to the Scrutiny Committee for consideration.


Reasons for recommendations


(1)       To seek Cabinet’s approval.


(2)       To update the Scrutiny Committee on the progress in respect of Recommendation (1) subject to the Cabinet’s approval.


(3)       To ensure that the service’s performance is monitored and reviewed.