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Agenda Item No. 8

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Shared Regulatory Services Joint Committee: 26th September 2017

 

Report of the Director of Environment and Housing

 

Review of Arrangements for Dealing with Stray Dogs

 

Purpose of the Report

  1. To advise the Joint Committee of a review of arrangements for dealing with straying dogs and to seek approval for further harmonising stray dog provision across the Shared Regulatory Services (SRS) region.

Recommendations

It is recommended that the Joint Committee

  1. Approves the proposed measures to further harmonise provision across the SRS region, achieve greater efficiency and release cost savings
  2. Endorses going out to tender for the procurement of future stray dog kennelling and considers the outcome of the tender process at a future meeting, with a view to approving revised arrangements to be put in place from 1st April 2018.

Reasons for the Recommendations

  1. Since the creation of the Shared Service there has been a degree of harmonisation in arrangements for dealing with stray dogs across the region, for example in respect of the fees charged. However, significant variation remains as a result of legacy practices, some of which provides far beyond the statutory requirement placed on Local Authorities.
  2. The review of stray dog provision and the going out to quotation for stray dog kennelling arrangements will inform how the service goes forward in terms of implementing improved and more efficient working practices. In addition, cost savings would be achieved.

Background

  1. The Environmental Protection Act 1990 requires Local Authorities to deal with unaccompanied dogs on public land as strays, regardless of whether they are wearing a collar and disc, or have been micro-chipped. Straying dogs are seized by SRS Animal Wardens, and those that cannot be returned to their owner immediately are retained for a mandatory period of seven days. If a dog hasn't been reclaimed by its owner then upon expiry of the seven day period, the law allows that it can be rehomed, or if necessary, put to sleep.
  2. In cases where a member of the public finds a stray dog, they can hand it over into the care of the Local Authority so that it can be looked after as above for the seven day period, or until it is reclaimed by its owner.
  3. The continuation of legacy arrangements means that the service provided by SRS varies across the three Local Authority areas, as follows:-

Cardiff

  • A stray dog found in Cardiff is kennelled at Cardiff Dogs Home
  • There is no out of hours cover for the seizure of stray dogs.

Vale of Glamorgan

  • A stray dog found in the Vale of Glamorgan is kennelled at a commercial boarding establishment based in Bridgend County Borough.
  • A call out arrangement is in place with the commercial boarding establishment so that straying dogs reported by the public during evenings and on weekends will be picked up and transported to the kennel. The cost of this out of hours facility is £45 per call out.

Bridgend

  • A stray dog found in Bridgend County Borough is kennelled at one of two commercial boarding establishments based in the area.
  • A call out arrangement is in place with one of these establishments (as for the Vale of Glamorgan, above) so that stray dogs reported by the public during evenings and on weekends will be picked up and transported to the kennel. The cost of this facility is £45 per call out.
  1. In the 2016-17 financial year, the cost of the out of hours service provided by the commercial boarding establishment was as follows:-

Area

Number of out of hours collections

Cost of each collection

Total cost for the 2016-17 year

Vale

119

£45

£ 5355.00

Bridgend

171

£45

£  7695.00

                                                                            TOTAL

£ 13,050.00

       
  1. The legacy arrangements set out above also give rise to the anomaly that stray dogs found at any location within the Vale of Glamorgan are impounded at the commercial kennel in Bridgend County Borough. This is despite some of the major conurbations to the eastern part of the Vale of Glamorgan being within a very short distance of Cardiff Dogs Home. Not only does this legacy arrangement result in significant travel cost and travel time for the Animal Wardens, it is inconvenient for residents trying to claim stray dogs.
  2. The agreements currently in place with the kennelling providers are now due for review, having not been evaluated since the creation of the Shared Service.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. As part of a review of procurement of stray dog kennelling arrangements, it is proposed that expressions of interest are obtained from parties interested in providing this service going forward. As the total cost to the Service of kennelling stray dogs does not exceed £75,000 per year, Vale of Glamorgan Council procurement rules permit this being done on the basis of a quotation process rather than a full tender process. Guidance obtained from the Procurement Team would suggest that Cardiff Dogs Home would be exempt from the quotation process on the basis of internal provision / inter-Authority co-operation.
  2. Based on that assumption, it is further proposed that under new arrangements, dogs found straying in the eastern sector of the Vale of Glamorgan (the ward areas set out in Annex 1) would be impounded for the statutory seven days at Cardiff Dogs Home rather than in Bridgend. This would make a significant difference to both travel distance and the time taken for both SRS staff and members of the public to reach the kennels, as follows:-

Location

Distance to current kennel establishment

Distance to Cardiff Dogs Home

Penarth

22 miles

2 miles

Dinas Powys

23 miles

3 miles

Barry

20 miles

7 miles

     
  1. Based upon 2016-17, adopting this proposal would see around 70% of stray dogs seized in the Vale of Glamorgan being kennelled at Cardiff Dogs Home.
  2. Dogs found straying elsewhere in the Vale of Glamorgan would be taken to a licensed commercial kennel, as would dogs found straying in Bridgend County Borough.
  3. In order to harmonise the stray dog service provided to residents throughout the region, it is further proposed that the out of hours cover currently provided for residents of Bridgend County Borough and the Vale of Glamorgan is not included in the quotation process and as a result would be withdrawn with effect from 1st April 2018. As indicated in paragraph 5 above, this would bring an annual cost saving in the order of £13,000 based on 2016-17 figures.
  4. The Service would work closely with the Vale of Glamorgan Council Procurement Team in carrying out the quotation process; and the results would be brought to a future meeting of the Joint Committee for Members' approval.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. There are no adverse resource implications for the service, on the contrary the proposal would yield both staff efficiency and cost savings.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. There are no immediate sustainability or climate change concerns associated with this report, indeed the proposal would see a reduction in travel both for SRS Animal Wardens and members of the public when reclaiming lost dogs.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. Each of the Authorities would continue to provide a the statutorily required level of service and as such, no adverse implications have been identified.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. There are no immediate crime and disorder implications associated with this report. The proposals outlined above have no bearing on existing provision by both SRS and South Wales Police in dealing with dangerous dogs.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. There are no anticipated equal opportunities implications associated with this report. The Shared Service will ensure that its enforcement activity reflects this position and is in keeping with the Equality Statements and Policies of the participant Authorities.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. Harmonising and updating stray dog provision as outlined above links with the participant Authorities' stated objectives which are reflected in the Shared Regulatory Service themes of 'Protecting the environment', 'Improving health and wellbeing', and 'Maximising the use of resources''.

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. The key service and improvement objectives contained in the SRS Business Plan identify and link to the Corporate Plans of each Council. This proposal is focused upon the environment, health and wellbeing maximising resources components of the plan. It is intended that the adopted Scrutiny regime will engage in the review and developments of plans, policies and strategies that support the corporate objectives of each Council.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. As set out above, subject to Joint Committee agreement, the proposed extension of the current animal related licensing regime would be subject to 28 days' consultation with stakeholders.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. The SRS is currently scrutinised through the arrangements in place at each partner Council.

Background Papers

None.

Contact Officer

Helen Picton, Operational Manager

Officers Consulted

Corporate Director, Bridgend County Borough Council

Director of Environment, City of Cardiff Council

Director of Environment and Housing Services, Vale of Glamorgan

Accountant, Vale of Glamorgan Council

Legal Services, Vale of Glamorgan Council

Responsible Officer:

Miles Punter - Director of Environment and Housing