CORPORATE PERFORMANCE AND RESOURCES COMMITTEE

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 24th May, 2018.

 

Present:  Councillor G.D.D. Carroll (Chairman); Councillors R. Crowley, V.P. Driscoll, S.J. Griffiths, Dr. I.J. Johnson, P.G. King, N. Moore, L.O. Rowlands and E. Williams.

 

 

57        APOLOGY FOR ABSENCE -

 

This was received from Councillor O. Griffiths.

 

 

58        APPOINTMENT OF VICE-CHAIRMAN –

 

RECOMMENDED THAT Councillor V.P. Driscoll be appointed for the current Municipal Year.

 

 

58A     MINUTES -

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 30th April, 2018 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

58B     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

59        RESHAPING SERVICES - INCOME GENERATION AND COMMERCIAL OPPORTUNITIES - ADVERTISING AND SPONSORSHIP PROTOCOL (REF) -

 

Cabinet had previously approved the Income Generation and Commercial Opportunities Strategy in October 2017, which set out a framework for considering existing and new income streams which formed part of the Council’s wider Reshaping Services Programme.

 

In step with the above arrangements, Cabinet at its meeting held on 30th April, 2018 (Cabinet minute no. C291 refers) considered one of the potential income streams explored by Officers relating to sponsorship and advertising and had now been referred to the Scrutiny Committee for further consideration.

 

The report set out proposed arrangements to ensure that advertising and sponsorship activity entered into by the Councils was undertaken consistently and in line with agreed processes and procedures as detailed within the draft Advertising and Sponsorship Protocol which was  attached at Appendix A to the report.

 

In referring to the report and providing explanation of the same the Operational Manager for Performance and Policy referred to the Protocol which comprised the following : 

  • A Document Purpose outlining the reasons for the Protocol and what it aimed to achieve.
  • A section explaining how the protocol linked to the Strategic Principles contained in the Income Generation and Commercial Opportunities Strategy.
  • A section providing Definitions of both advertising and sponsorship for the purpose of the Protocol.
  • A Guiding Principles section outlining the general principles that companies will need to follow when undertaking advertisement and sponsorship activities via the Council which included criteria for when the the Council would not be prepared to work with certain organisations/companies.
  • A section providing Procurement Guidance for officers to support the process for decision making and the award of contracts.
  • A Roles and Responsibilities section explaining how the process and Protocol would be managed including      arrangement for reporting to Cabinet on specific opportunities.
  • A section outlining the proposed Monitoring and Review process for the Protocol.

He further indicated at the time of the report being considered by Cabinet the use of the Urgent Decision Procedure had been sought to implement the Cabinet decisions to enable the Protocol to be used to actively promote sponsorship opportunities for the Summer Events Programme.  Delegated authority is also sought for the relevant Head of Service in consultation with the Leader, Managing Director and Section 151 Officer to promote and agree sponsorship and advertising opportunities and award necessary contracts in line with the Advertising and Sponsorship Protocol.  This meant in these circumstances that not all opportunities would automatically be reported back to Cabinet for approval.

 

The Operational Manager for Policy and Performance also referred to proposals outlined within the report to develop proposals for the sponsorship of other assets, including strategic routes, gateways to the County, pooled cars/fleet, further advertising on the Council’s website and specific locations.

 

He in liaison with the Managing Director, provided an update in regard to the progress made to date with the Summer Events Programme and associated sponsorship arrangements.

 

The Committee made the following points in relation to the proposed Protocol which included clarification provided by the Operational Manager for Policy and Performance:

  • The value threshold of any individual sponsorship;
  • Matters relating to favouritism;
  • Clarification and definition required in relation to paragraph 4.3 of the Protocol ”of a political nature”;
  • A flexible approach to the packaging of strategic and non-strategic routes to ensure equity and that local businesses could gain access be considered;
  • That a baseline assessment should be undertaken to compare what was currently being done against activities      proposed in the future;
  • The Committee’s endorsement of the requirement for the protocol to be reviewed annually and preferably,      including the Scrutiny Committee as part of the review process;
  • Matters relating to the income generation targets for sponsorship of associated events.

Separately, discussion also touched upon unlawful highways advertising, advertising on Billboards and bridges. The Operational Manager for Policy and Performance

also briefly referred to a review of sponsorship linked to the Council’s website with the view to improving current income generation.

 

In regard to the Chairman’s comments relating to a local constituent who had experienced difficulties with advertising their business in the Llandough area, Operational Manager for Policy and Performance gave an assurance that he would look into the matter with a view to taking this forward, potentially as a case study.

 

Having regard to the above and related issues it was

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the Advertising and Sponsorship Protocol be endorsed subject to the Cabinet giving the following matters further consideration: 

  • The provision of a definition required in relation to paragraph 4.3 of the Protocol ”of a political nature”;
  • A flexible approach to the packaging of strategic and non-strategic routes be taken.

(2)       T H A T Cabinet be advised that the Scrutiny Committee endorses the requirement for the protocol to be reviewed annually which should include the Scrutiny Committee as part of the review process.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To ensure equity and that local businesses were appropriately considered.

 

(2)       To allow the Cabinet to consult on the review findings.

 

 

60        WELSH LOCAL GOVERNMENT GREEN PAPER CONSULTATION DOCUMENT “STRENGTHENING LOCAL GOVERNMENT: DELIVERING FOR PEOPLE” COUNCIL RESPONSE (REF) -

 

Cabinet at its meeting held on 21st May, 2018 (Cabinet minute no. C311 refers) considered the Council’s proposed response to the above Green Paper and had subsequently referred the matter to the Scrutiny Committee for consideration.

 

In referring to the Cabinet report and related proposed response the Managing Director made reference to the Members recent briefing which was held on the content of the Green Paper on 9th May, 2018.  The briefing had provided all members with an the opportunity to express views and opinions on the merits or otherwise of the proposals. Where relevant, Members’ comments had been incorporated into the draft response of the Council. 

 

The Managing Directors attention then turned to the Green Paper itself indicating that it set out the case for reform on the basis that Welsh Government contend that Local Government required additional powers and flexibilities, but for this to happen they needed to be bigger.  As a result, the issue of merging local councils was raised yet again, barely 4 years after the issue was first raised as a result of the Williams Commission and some 10 months post hence from the predecessor Minister for Local Government, indicating that merger proposals had been withdrawn in favour of further collaboration and partnership working. The proposals set out the case for the Vale of Glamorgan to merge with Cardiff (one of 10 proposed new Councils) on the basis that this was in line with the Local health Boards, again as was the case with the Williams Commission. Options timelines for mergers ranged from “Early Adopters” 2022 to phased mergers 2026.

 

He indicated that the Council’s draft response was in his view, a fair assessment of the current local government landscape, extremely thorough and robust, and set out in some detail, concerns which were summarised as follows: 

  • This Council was opposed to merging with Cardiff Council, not just for the sake of opposing it, but for sound reasons, namely:
    • There were significant cultural differences with Cardiff as well as geographical differences that necessitate a separate stand-alone Council;
    • The Green Paper was nothing but  a re-run of the Williams Commission – albeit with no additional data and       analysis, which made the continued case for merger flawed;
    • Larger did not equal better –  the Council’s performance on an all Wales basis proved this, as did the various reports from regulators;
    • The Council was Wales’ Top Performing Council;
    • Collaboration was key and has  gained momentum and referred to example of strategic projects which sat       under the umbrella of the Regional City Deal e.g. Housing and Transport, something that had not been recognised in the Green paper.  Wholesale reorganisation would put this at risk;
    • New powers and freedoms should not come at the cost of any mergers;
    • Local autonomy and  responsiveness was key for our communities.  The Council was able to perform well because it could can connect with local communities.
    • Implications for Elected  Members, particularly the democratic deficit created within local communities as a result of the overall reduction of Elected Members, a  consequence of the merger proposals;
    • Sharing services – locally, regionally and nationally had commitment which had been demonstrated over recent years;
    • The Green Paper was as yet another distraction from delivering the Council’s vision.

Discussion ensued with broad support for the Council’s proposed response.

 

A Member suggested that the proposed response should be strengthened in terms of the significant impact any merger proposals would have by distracting the delivery of regional projects e.g. transport, as part of the Regional City Deal. The Member also felt that the response should be strengthened around the mergers creating on-going uncertainty which in turn, had had significant consequences for the Council in terms recruitment and retaining of certain professions. To his knowledge, he referred to cases where Council officers were choosing to leave local government employment in favour of the private sector due to the hiatus linked to mergers. The Managing Director acknowledged the concerns raised and indicated that the proposed suggestions to strengthen the Council’s response should be referred back to Cabinet for consideration.

 

A Member alluded to the dependency of the merger proposals on the outcome of the impending Assembly Administration leadership contest. He also queried the Council’s proposed response to Question 15. He considered that the Council’s response should set out clearly at the start of the response its position on the matter. If an Executive Summary was required to be included then it should be, rather than the format of the Welsh Governments’ document dictating the terms of the Council’s response.

 

The Managing Director acknowledged the merits of the inclusion of an Executive Summary and indicated that this could be included as part of the Council’s response to Question 1.

 

Discussion further ensued with the Chairman strongly suggesting that the Council’s response should draw upon comparisons between local government and health boards in Wales, in terms of budget compliance and service performance. It was timely to remind the Welsh Government that a number health boards in Wales had been in the past or were currently in special measures. The size of these organisations could not be ignored in the context of the merger proposals.

 

Having regard to the above and related issues it was RECOMMENDED -

 

(1)       T H A T the Council’s proposed response to the Green Paper be endorsed.

 

(2)       T H A T Cabinet be requested to consider strengthening of the Council’s response to include the following additional matters:

  • Strengthened in relation to the mergers creating on-going uncertainty having significant consequences for the Council in terms recruitment and retaining of certain professions.
  • Strengthened in terms of the significant impact any merger proposals would have and distraction in the delivery of regional projects e.g. transport as part of the Regional City Deal.
  • Consideration of the inclusion of an Executive Summary which set out the Council’s position on the subject.

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       In support of the Cabinet response on the matter.

 

(2)       To strengthen the the Council’s stance taken in response to the proposals.