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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting:  3rd November 2014

 

Report of the Leader

 

Management Restructure for the Civil Protection Team

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To seek approval for a change in the line management of the Civil Protection Team and to recommend an amendment to the Council's constitution. 

Recommendations

1.         THAT the Strategic and operational management of the Civil Protection Unit is transferred to the Director of Visible Services and Housing with effect from 1st November 2014.

2.         THAT Cabinet recommends to Council that Article 12 of the Council's Constitution be amended to reflect the decision of Cabinet by adding 'Civil Protection' to the functions and areas of responsibility of the Director of Visible Services and Housing.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To enable the Director of Visible Services and Housing to take management responsibility for the Civil Protection Unit.

2.         To recommend to Council an amendment to the Council's Constitution.

 

Background

2.         The Civil Contingences Act (CCA) (2004) resulted in  the separation of a joint working arrangement with Cardiff Council in 2005, for which the Vale of Glamorgan Council was the lead authority. This acted as a catalyst for the Vale of Glamorgan Council to have its own Emergency Planning service, now know at the Civil Protection Unit (CPU).  This ensured that the Council could deliver its statutory duty of CCA (2004) and is fully prepared as a category one responder.  The CPU was placed within the Directorate of Legal, Public Protection and Housing Services with the Principal Civil Protection Officer reporting to the Director of Legal, Public Protection and Housing Services.  The Unit was based at the Alps offices.

3.         There have been a number of restructures within the Council and the Service area during recent years. The CPU is currently within Development Services Directorate as part of the Public Protection Division. The Principal Civil Protection Officer reports to the Head of Public Protection and is a member of the service area DMT.

4.         The Civil Protection remit falls outside the scope of the proposed Bridgend, Cardiff and the Vale Regulatory Services Collaboration.

 

Relevant Issues and Options

5.         There have been a number of incidents and emergencies that have affected the Council over recent  years, and the CPU has successfully coordinated the operational response to these and ensured that the Council can continue to deliver its' service to the community in extreme circumstances.                   

6.         Following these emergencies/incidents and through the de-brief process the CPU has developed effective procedures with Visible Services to ensure that the response can be improved and the Councils limited resources are used to best effect.  

7.         The systems that have been put into place have developed a robust working ethos between the CPU and Visible Services that deliver smooth and effective management of emergency's and incidents.

8.         The CPU has co-ordinated  a number of Strategic and high-profile projects for Visible services including the Preliminary Risk Assessment Report, which makes the Council a Lead Local Flood Authority under the Flood & Water Management Act 2010 and the Highways Stray Horse procedures. The use of the CPU skills and knowledge within these areas enhances the Visible Service teams and gives a cost saving as the Council does not have to use consultants.

9.          Currently Public Protection is in the process of a collaboration project with Cardiff and Bridgend Councils.  This project does not include the CPU and as this is out of scope the CPU would effectively by left without an applicable service area.

10.      As a Category one responder, under the CCA (2004) we are a member of the South Wales Resilience Forum (SWLRF). This forum is the main conduit for the multi-agency resilience agenda across South Wales, and is usually chaired by the Police. The South Wales Resilience Forum is currently undergoing a significant transformation and it would benefit the Vale of Glamorgan Council if it is represented at Director level in view of the key budget and civil protection liabilities involved and to engage Police and Fire Authority leads who have difficulty recognising officers ranked lower than this. This will keep the Councils' in South Wales at the centre of the resilience agenda, with the Vale of Glamorgan Council being a key- stone for this.

11.      Given the synergies that exist in the management of emergencies and to utilise our limited resources, together with the fact that we will now be a key player within the multi-agency resilience agenda, the most appropriate service area where the CPU would best fit would be Visible Services, with the Principal Civil Protection Officer reporting to the Director of Visible Services and Housing. The CPU is already based at the Alps offices so there would be no need to incur any costs for relocation and would save on staff travelling costs from the Alps to the Civic Offices.

12.      This proposed move has also been identified by both service areas through the 'Reshaping Services' questionnaire as an opportunity to ensure more effective line management arrangements.

13.      There has been dialogue with the two CPU staff regarding the move to this Directorate and both would have no objection for this to progress.  There has also been dialogue with the trade unions.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

14.      There would be no financial or employment implications directly arising from this report

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

15.      None identified as part of this report.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

16.      The Civil Contingencies Act (2004) places several emergency planning related duties on the Vale of Glamorgan Council, these are a new statutory duty for Risk Assessment, Emergency Planning, Training and Exercising, Business Continuity Management, Warning and Informing the Public, Sharing Information and Cooperation.

17.      COMAH Regulations places a statutory duty on local authorities to prepare off-site Emergency Plans in case of incidents occurring on industrial sites which store particular types and quantities of hazardous materials

Crime and Disorder Implications

18.      None identified

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

19.      None identified

Corporate/Service Objectives

20.      To ensure that Council services are supported by the appointment, retention and deployment of skilled, flexible and engaged employees

Policy Framework and Budget

21.      This is a matter for consideration by Council.

 

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

22.      This report is non ward specific and applies equally to all elected members.

 

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

23.      Housing and Public Protection

Background Papers

None

 

Contact Officer

Alun Billinghurst, Head of Public Protection

 

Officers Consulted

Miles Punter, Director Visible Services and Housing

Debbie Spargo, Principal Civil Protection Officer

Head of Legal Services

Responsible Officer:

Rob Thomas, Director Development Services