ENVIRONMENT AND REGENERATION SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 15th March, 2018.

 

Present:  Councillor V.J. Bailey (Chairman); Councillor M. Lloyd (Vice-Chairman); Councillors Mrs. P. Drake, V.P. Driscoll, S.T. Edwards, G. John, N. Moore, Ms. S. Sivagnanam and S.T. Wiliam.

 

Also present: Councillors G.A. Cox, Miss. A.M. Collins and L.O. Rowlands.

 

 

778     APOLOGY FOR ABSENCE –

 

This was received from Councillor A.R. Robertson.

 

 

779     MINUTES –

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 15th February, 2018 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

780     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST –

 

Councillor N. Moore declared an interest in Agenda Item No. 5 – Revenue and Capital Monitoring for the Period 1st April 2017 to 31st January 2018 advising that a family member was employed within the Directorate of Environment and Housing Visible Services and that he had been granted dispensation by the Standards Committee to speak and vote.

 

 

781     REVISED WASTE MANAGEMENT STRATEGY: THE FUTURE COLLECTION ARRANGEMENTS FOR WASTE AND RECYCLING (REF) –

 

Cabinet had, on 19th February 2018, been advised of the outcome of the Waste Resource Action Programme (WRAP) report and future arrangements for the collection of waste and recycling and had referred the matter to the Scrutiny Committee for its consideration.   At the meeting Cabinet had resolved that a public consultation exercise to capture the views of residents in respect of the methods used to participate in a source separated dry recycling collection service be approved and that the restriction of black bags, based on two per household per fortnight from 1st September, 2018 with provision for large families and other certain circumstances, be agreed.  The development of a new seven year Municipal Waste Management Strategy (MWMS) to reflect changes in service delivery and to achieve statutory recycling targets up to 2024/25 be approved.

 

The Operational Manager for Waste Management and Cleansing, in presenting the report to the Committee, also introduced Mr. Iwan Pierce (representative from WRAP Cymru) who he advised had been invited to provide an overview presentation following the WRAP review that had been undertaken. 

 

Committee was further advised that the Collection’s Blueprint statutory guidance attached at Appendix A to the report that had been introduced by Welsh Government recommended the service profile for the collection of recycling from households via kerbside sort to ensure compliance to the revisions of the WFD and to ensure high rates of high quality recycling, cost savings and improved sustainable development outcomes. 

 

Mr. Pierce in commencing his presentation referred to the number of pieces of legislation that were relevant: Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011 and The Environment (Wales) Act 2016.  Both these pieces of legislation he advised set out the requirement to separate collection of four key recyclate streams (paper, metal, plastic and glass), with a duty on Local Authorities to assess their collections for compliance with the legislation.  Other policy initiatives had also been addressed in this regard.

 

There had also been a recent appraisal of the Collections Blueprint commissioned by Welsh Government in September 2015 and Eunomia Research & Consulting (Eunomia) was engaged to review the Blueprint to establish whether this was still the best option for a waste management service across Wales that best delivered: 

  • The Well Being Goals set for the Welsh Government and Local Authorities in the Well-Being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015;
  • the best overall value for money;
  • compliance with the EU WFD namely:

-       Article 11 – separate collection requirements:

-       Article 28 & 30 – to produce and update waste management plans:

-       High quality recycling and the best overall requirement of Articles 10 and 4 respectively of the WFD;

  • Local Authority landfill diversion and statutory recycling targets (SRTs);
  • support for the drive for a circular economy in Wales and resilience in terms of recyclate markets.

Eunomia concluded that the Collections Blueprint still provided clear benefits in terms of cost and material quality (Appendix B).

 

Although the Council had not yet introduced a revised compliant collection scheme, it could demonstrate aspects of TEEP (technically, environmentally and economically practicable) as it had not been economically and practically possible to operate a separate collection system in the absence of a Waste Transfer Station (WTS) in the Vale and that it was not financially possible being contractually tied to a co-mingled dry recycling processing contract up until March 2018. The Council had also not yet been subject to challenge as it had been working with Welsh Government  in conjunction with WRAP to establish the most sustainable and economic process for the Vale.

 

Mr. Pierce further stated that in commencing the review, a variety of collection configurations had been discussed with the Local Authority, with a number of these being taken forward, seven options in total.  The modelling that was undertaken used WRAP’s own Kerbside Analysis Tool (KAT) and the Authority provided operational and financial data to WRAP to enable the modelling to be undertaken.  The KAT was a well-established tool which was used extensively across the UK for modelling resources needed to provide kerbside recycling services.  Projections were made based on the Authority’s own data, took into account the Authority’s current productivity and local circumstances.  The toolkit also took into account vehicle specifications and capacities, with cost predictions being based on unit costs provided by the Authority, including labour costs, fleet costs and fuel costs.  A copy of the presentation was tabled at the meeting for Members’ information.

 

The options listed were:

 

•      Option 1 – Restricting black bags only;

•      Option 1 Atlantic Trading Estate (ATE), Barry – Maintain a co-mingled dry recycling collection service but with a local WTS;

•      Option 2 – Maintain a co-mingled dry recycling collection service but with separately collected glass and the use of a WTS;

•      Option 3 – Implement a twin stream collection system with separately collected glass and the use of a WTS;

•      Option 4 – Implement a source separated dry recycling collection service (not including food);

•      Options 5, 6 and 7 – Implement a source separated dry recycling collection service as per Welsh Government’s Collections Blueprint.

 

Based on the modelling carried out, the Operational Manager stated that option 7 was suggested for consideration. The Particular aspects of this system including two collections per household per week incorporating; the separate collection of residual waste (restricted) and garden waste alternative weeks to the residual, the collection of source separated dry-recycling and food combined, using lightweight multi-compartment vehicles and two loaders.

 

In relation to Options 4, 5, 6 and 7, a multi compartment vehicle would be required with compaction units for plastic, cans and cardboard; this would increase the capacity and efficiency of the vehicle.  The vehicle was based on a smaller, lighter chassis than standard refuse vehicles, being cheaper to purchase and having better fuel economy.

 

The container options were broadly similar to the current options, however Options 2 and 3 required the Council to place specific material in boxes and bags.  For Options 4, 5 and 7 householders were to sort specific materials into boxes and bags with an additional box provided for paper and for Option 6, trollibocs would be provided to as many households as possible.

 

Committee was further informed that the amount of capital expenditure required varied with each configuration and was dependent upon the number and type of containers needed and the amount of sorting and bulking of material that was needed post collection. 

 

The capital costs with regard to new vehicles were annualised over seven years and were included in the revenue cost for each option that was modelled.  WRAP had been asked to provide assistance to the Authority under the Collaborative Change Programme and Mr. Pierce stated that Options 5, 6 and 7 were compliant with legislation and provided revenue savings compared to the baseline.  Other advantages would be separate collection, higher quality material with reject rates being far lower and higher quality material being less likely to be exported and more resilient to fluctuations in the market.

 

Prior to the question and answer session, a Member asked the Operational Manager to provide a background overview to apprise new Members of the issues facing the Council.  The Operational Manager stated that the performance recycling rate for the Vale was 64% which showed that currently the Council was meeting its targets, however, in order for the targets to be increased, source segregation was required.  In referring to the transportation of waste recycling he stated that the Vale of Glamorgan currently operated a co-mingled service which was taken to Lamby Way in Cardiff in the first instance and subsequently to Leicester.  The cost of this process was significant in vehicle time plus the fact that the co-mingled operation resulted in at least a 10% contamination rate.  Also highlighting the change in markets, the officer particularly referred to the fact that China was shutting its doors to the receipt of waste and , together with the contract in Leicester expiring at the end of the month, the Council had to therefore reconsider its waste recycling operation and hence the collaboration programme with WRAP. 

 

Following the presentation a question and answer session ensued.

 

Question

Response

What   are the financial differences with regard to Options 5 and 7?

One   model was based on one driver and one loader, the other was based on one   driver and two loaders.  The reason   that two loaders had been included was due to the fact that one driver / one   loader could hold up the traffic considerably during collections and   therefore result in longer time taken to load the vehicle.  The difference in cost was £30k to £40k.

 

The   Council had previously undertaken kerbside sorting before co-mingling was   introduced in order to increase participation. However, the product via the   co- mingling operation proved inferior with regard to contamination rates and   as such the Council needed to increase its recycling rates.

Will   the new arrangements affect houses in multiple occupations (HMOs)?

WRAP   had identified an option for HMOs but the Operational Manager advised that he   did not think it would work in the locality.    His preference at this stage would be to install bin stores and   suggested that the co-mingling operation remain for HMOs until alternative   solutions could be found.

How   do we encourage people to recycle at the rates required?

It   was going to be a challenge although t Operational Manager referred to issues   that had recently been faced by the neighbouring Authority of Bridgend, as an   example, advising that it had taken a number of months when the new   arrangements had been brought in, but now they were one of the highest   Councils in Wales for recycling rates.   

Concerns   were raised in relation to the number of drivers and loaders who would be   struggling on the narrow streets in the Vale and the fact that the Authority   was quite a wide spread area.  Well   aware of the Welsh Government’s agenda and the fact that Bridgend Council’s   service was undertaken by were private providers, a Member raised concern as   to whether the Vale would be considering a similar course of action which   they hoped would not be the case. 

In   response, the officer advised that with the European legislation changing   Welsh Government direction, the Council had no option but to meet the   performance targets set by Welsh Government and therefore to realign its   resources to make sure the correct resources were placed on the streets in   order to ensure a high rate of collection.    The Department was also proposing to increase the number of vehicles   to collect the waste which would see an increase in jobs. It was also   envisaged that the process would be staggered.  Aware that the black bags proposal would be   a significant change for residents, the Operational Manager also took the   opportunity to reassure Members that a number of other Councils had already   put this initiative in place.  A number   of advertising campaigns would also be undertaken as it was important to   educate the public and schools in order to ensure that the right messages   were being relayed prior to kerbside sort being introduced. 

Any   support from the City Deal being provided?

The   regional idea / concept would be appropriate but the main issue for the Vale   was the fact that the waste vehicles themselves did not travel well and   transporting any considerable distance was very costly. 

Suggestion   to produce a guidance note for larger families?

 

How   can the Council enforce recycling?

The   Department was currently proposing a trial, by inviting families to join with   the intention to assess their waste in order to help them through the   process.  All Members agreed that   education was key and that learning from other Councils was also important in   particular as to how they had handled their programme rollout. 

 

The   officer advised that the WRAP organisation offered a fantastic support   package through the process to the Local Authority.

Following   a query regarding waste recycling by Wards, the Operational Manager stated   that some houses did not put any waste out. It was noted that Dinas Powys was   the top recycling Ward in the Vale, but that there were also some 500   properties that did not appear to recycle.    The Department could serve notices on properties where more than two   black bags were placed for collection but in the first instance the   Department would be keen to educate people and leave enforcement for later   down the line. 

Will   the new receptacles be supplied with lids?

Yes  

 

Councillor Cox, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood Services, with permission to speak, reiterated his statement at the last Full Council meeting where he had urged all Councillors to promote the new collection system within their Wards. 

 

During the discussion Members noted that the containers used for water at the meeting were plastic and queried whether these were recyclable. The officer agreed to look into the matter and report to Members.

 

In conclusion, the Chairman took the opportunity to thank the officers for an excellent question and answer session and referred to the fact that the changes proposed were in response to legislative requirements and financial pressures that the changes were being made in. It was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T Cabinet be requested to identify a strategy for educating the public and in particular working with families and schools in order to communicate the changes proposed.

 

(2)       T H A T Cabinet be requested to arrange for an internal review to be undertaken throughout all Vale Council premises with regard to the use of plastics.

 

(3)       T H A T Cabinet be requested to keep under review the impact of the changes proposed and to consider enforcement if needed.

 

(4)       T H A T the officers be thanked for an informative presentation.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To ensure that the public are fully aware of the forthcoming changes and the need to increase recycling rates.

 

(2)       In order that the use of plastic throughout Council buildings can be reviewed.

 

(3)       To ensure that the impact of the changes is monitored and reported to Committee together with the need for enforcement should it arise.

 

(4)       In recognition of the presentation and responses to queries raised at the meeting.

 

 

782     REVENUE AND CAPITAL MONITORING FOR THE PERIOD 1ST APRIL 2017 TO 31ST JANUARY 2018 (DEH) –

 

The position in respect of revenue and capital expenditure for the period 1st April, 2017 to 31st January, 2018 which formed the Committee’s remit was presented for consideration.  The Principal Accountant advised that for the Highways and Engineering service there was currently a £156k favourable variance against the profiled budget with the main reason being that it was due to vacant posts currently within the department, however, key posts had been filled on a temporary basis by Agency staff and therefore it was currently projected that the budget would outturn on target.

 

Waste Management – There was currently an adverse variance of £279k to the profiled budget.  The variance to date was due to overspends on staffing and transportation costs.  The waste management budget was reduced in 2017/18 for further vehicle savings, however, the department was unlikely to be able to make these in the short term.  It was currently anticipated that the budget would outturn with an adverse variance of £200k however this would be funded from reserves which were set aside from an underspend in the 2016/17 budget.

 

Transportation – There was currently a favourable variance of £52k against the profiled budget.  Staffing costs within the division were lower than budgeted to date. There was also a slight underspend within the supported buses budget which was assisting the current favourable position.  It was currently anticipated that this service would outturn within budget.

 

Visible Services Reshaping Services Savings Target – In 2017/18 there was a savings target of £525k allocated to Visible Services from the current Reshaping Services programme.  Staff consultation ended on 31st July, 2017 and a number of changes had been considered as a result of the consultation.  It was originally anticipated that the structure would start to be populated from late September 2017, however due to the scale of the transformation, it was anticipated that the restructure would take effect fully from April 2018.  It was envisaged that there would be a shortfall in the savings of £525k for 2017/18 and this would be met from the Visible Services Reserve.

 

Regeneration – This budget covered the Countryside, Economic Development and Tourism and Events functions.  There was currently a small favourable variance against the profiled budget even though income due to be generated from commercial opportunities at Country Parks and car parking at Cosmeston had not yet been implemented.   The position had also been mitigated by occupancy on workshop and office units being high therefore rental income was buoyant and rates costs were reduced due to fewer units being vacant.   The position had also improved as all non-urgent expenditure within the Division had been placed on hold.

 

Development Management – There was currently a small favourable variance against the profiled budget due mainly to higher than anticipated building regulation fees.  It was anticipated that the position would level off through the winter period so at this time it was forecast that this service would outturn on target.

 

Appendix 2 to the report listed savings to be achieved in the financial year, it anticipated a shortfall against the target of £809k.  The report also highlighted that it anticipated that the £244k Transport Review saving for Visible Services would not be achieved in the coming year, however, part of the saving would be achieved when the Waste Transfer Station was established, however other means of achieving any shortfall would need to be identified within the Reshaping Services Programme.

 

Visible Services also had a savings target of £525k under the Reshaping Services programme which would be achieved by the introduction of a new target operating model.  The restructure was not to be fully populated until April 2018 which would mean that there would therefore be a requirement for the £525k shortfall to be met from the Visible Services reserve.  It was subsequently reported that it was anticipated that the savings target would therefore be achieved in full in 2018/19.

 

Appendix 3 to the report detailed financial progress on the Capital Programme as at 31st January, 2018 and a number of projects were highlighted to Members during the meeting as detailed at paragraphs 16 to 39 of the report.

 

Following a query as to how the allocation of funds to upgrade shops was viewed as tackling poverty, the Managing Director advised that Welsh Government funding was targeted at various areas for regeneration and by encouraging the improvement of the external fabric of buildings this would not only improve access to vacant or underutilised upper floors to encourage conversion to residential accommodation but also create jobs.  In referring to the £525k savings target for Visible Services, a Member queried whether the Department was fully expecting to realise this saving.  The Head of Service in response advised that the reshaping restructure programme was on course to be completed with the remaining positions to be advertised by 27th March, although as indicated it was the ability to recruit that was important.  An update report would be presented to Committee in due course.

 

Following a query regarding Cogan Farm Section 106 funding and the relevant timescale, the Managing Director confirmed that some Welsh Government funding had been received at very short notice which meant that on occasions, some Section 106 schemes had to be pushed back to ensure that  Welsh Government monies were spent before the end of the financial year.

 

It was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the position with regard to the 2017/18 revenue and capital monitoring be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

Having regard to the contents contained therein.

 

 

783     QUARTER 3 (2017-18) PERFORMANCE REPORT: AN ENVIRONMENTALLY RESPONSIBLE AND PROSPEROUS VALE (MD) –

 

The Managing Director presented the report advising that the Council’s Performance Management Framework was the mechanism through which its key priorities and targets were monitored and realised in order to secure continuous improvement. 

 

The report was structured as follows:

 

Section 1: Stated the overall RAG status attributed to the Well-being Outcome. 

  • Position Statement: Provided an overall summary of performance in relation to the Well-being Outcome and highlighted the main developments, achievements and challenges for the quarter.
  • Performance Snapshot: Provided an overview for each Well-being Objective, describing the status of Corporate Plan actions and Performance Indicators (PIs).  A RAG status was attributed to actions and measures under each Well-being Objective to reflect overall progress to date and contributed to the overall RAG status for the Well-being Outcome.
  • Performance Exceptions: For ease of scrutiny, any actions or PIs attributed a Red status were presented including commentary on the performance.  Members had requested additional direction of travel information to be included in the performance exceptions section and this had been reflected in the new report format.
  • Achievements: Highlighted the key achievements to date in delivering the intended outcomes for the Well-being Outcome.
  • Challenges: Highlighted the key challenges that were or could impact on achieving the intended outcomes for the Well-being Outcome.

Section 2: Corporate Health - Managing our Resources 

  • Provided a summary of the key issues relating to the use of resources and the impact on delivering improvement during the quarter.  The focus was on key aspects relating to People, Finance, Assets, ICT, Customer Focus and Risk Management (both service level and corporate risks) contributing to the Well-being Outcome.

Glossary: Provided an explanation of the performance terms used within the report. 

  • The performance report used the traffic light system that was, a Red, Amber or Green (RAG) status and a Direction of Travel (DOT) to aid performance analysis.
  • Progress was reported for all key performance indicators and actions by allocating a RAG performance status.
  • The risk matrix defined the level of risk by translating impact / magnitude and Likelihood / Probability into an evaluated level of risk.

Appendices

  • Appendix 1: Provided, by Well-being Objective, detailed information relating to the Service Plan actions which had contributed to Corporate Plan actions.
  • Appendix 2: Provided detailed PI information linked to each Well-being Objective which showed for the Council’s planned activities, how much it had done, how well it performed and what difference this had made.  It must be noted that any annual reported performance indicators that had been introduced in 2017 as part of the Council's revised Performance Management Framework would not be have data available until end of year as this year would be used to establish baseline performance.  A Not Available (N/A) status would be attributed to all such measures with commentary provided confirming this status.  The Council would continue to develop its key measures within each Well-being Objective to ensure these most accurately reflect its Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes.
  • Appendix 3: Provided additional PIs which contributed to the Well-being Outcome but did not form part of the Corporate Plan basket of key PIs.  These were made up of statutory and other national PIs.

An overall Amber RAG status had been attributed to Well-being Outcome 2 “An Environmentally Responsible and Prosperous Vale” to reflect the progress made towards achieving improved outcomes for residents and customers during the quarter.   A detailed report outlining the progress for the quarter towards achieving Well-being Outcome 2 was provided at Appendix A.

 

The Managing Director stated that it was important to note that a number of actions shown as being behind schedule were now progressing. 

 

A Member, in noting the delays in some actions and the reasons why, was advised by the Head of Service that it was considered important for the service area to ensure the restructure was in place before any further work could be undertaken. 

 

Members queried the suggested ways forward for a number of services, in particular the Council’s responsibilities around public conveniences, and were advised that the team considering a number of possible options which would be discussed in due course.

 

A discussion ensued with regard to the Council’s PI for fly tipping. The Operational Manager stated that there were notorious hot spots throughout the Vale and he was due to meet with officers in Natural Resources Wales and the Fly-Tipping Action Group regarding the issue and he was also aware that covert cameras in order to try to address the situation had been purchased by the Fly-Tipping Action Group.  It was also important that a strategy was developed to address the issue.  Members asked whether, following the meeting with the two organisations, a report could be brought to the Committee to advise on progress.  It was also noted that Local Authorities were recording the information in a number of different ways and direction from Welsh Government was required.

 

The Managing Director advised that it was important to ensure that any recording of data was consistent with other Authorities, to allow any meaningful comparisons to be made.

 

Having fully considered the report, it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T following the consultation a further update report be presented in relation to Public Protection Dog Orders.

 

(2)       T H A T with regard to the strategy to be undertaken in relation to fly-tipping, a report on current progress be presented to the Committee in due course, including any lessons learned.

 

Reason for recommendations

 

(1&2)  To apprise Members.

 

 

784     TARGET SETTING FOR 2018/19 (MD) –

 

The Managing Director advised that, mirroring the previous year’s approach, target setting for 2018/19 was being undertaken at Quarter 3 in order to align the process with service planning.  Following sign off by the respective Sponsoring Director for each Well-being Outcome, targets had been reported directly to Scrutiny Committees for challenge and thereafter to Cabinet for ratification.  The approach to target setting and internal challenge was in line with the Wales Audit Office’s Proposals for Improvement from its Corporate Assessment of the Vale of Glamorgan Council in August 2016. 

 

The report also highlighted that the Council had a longstanding commitment to continuously improve the services it provided to citizens of the Vale of Glamorgan, however, the ongoing reductions in public sector funding would inevitably impact on the availability of resources and, in addition, external factors such as the wider economic environment, bringing into question the realism of continual improvement in service performance.  Committee was informed  that having taken into account all these factors, the Council would still seek to establish challenging but realistic targets that would be commensurate with the available level of resource.

 

As part of the target setting process for 2018/19 a review had also been undertaken of the existing Corporate Performance Measures (CPMs) aligned to the Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes and Corporate Health priorities.  Appendix 1 to the report outlined the proposed targets for the Environment and Regeneration Scrutiny Committee, however a number of indicator amendments and deletions were being proposed for 2018/19 following the review of existing CPMs with Members being asked to endorse this approach. 

 

In total there were 48 measures proposed for collection during 2018/19, 37 of which were existing performance measures that made up the Corporate Performance Framework and would be carried forward from the previous year.  There were seven additional measures that did not form part of the Corporate Performance Framework but had been aligned to their respective Well-being Outcome areas for monitoring.  There were three performance measures proposed for deletion for 2018/19 that related to Planning and the Council’s building assets (CPM/152, CPM/003 and CPM/163).  There were also four new performance measures that had been proposed for inclusion in the Corporate Performance Framework that related to Planning and Development Control.

 

Of the 37 measures that made up the Corporate Performance Framework, it was possible to set targets for 26 measures. 

 

The Managing Director advised that the consideration of the proposed performance improvement targets by Members was a key feature of the internal challenge process and following review and / or endorsement by the Committee, the performance targets would be reported to Cabinet on 16th April, 2018 for approval. 

 

A Member queried whether there was a productivity measure for the percentage of affordable housing dwellings that were being delivered.  In response the Managing Director advised that this date was collected annually and was a performance indicator in relation to planning.  That assessment showed that performance could vary from site to site, as issues such as site viability did vary from site to site.  There followed debate on the targets relating to Section 106 agreements and the Managing Director referred to the fact that an annual report on Section 106 was presented to the Scrutiny Committee for consideration and provided information split by per site and by category.  During the discussion Managing Director also advised that Members may wish to consider when the report was presented whether there was anything further that could be collected under Section 106 that could be looked at for the forthcoming year with a suggestion that potential target measures for future years be considered at that time.

 

In considering the target for tourism, it was suggested that the Council should be more ambitious and that the target of 3.85 million be increased to 3.9 million.  Although it was considered that the target was dependent upon the weather and that the Vale was predominantly a day tourism destination, it was accepted that the Council needed to develop the offer further. In particular in view of the number of regeneration schemes being undertaken, this was seen to be a positive picture and an aim to aspire to.  The Managing Director further advised that following receipt of the actual data the figure could be considered further at that stage if necessary.  A Member asked whether the Council was able to collate/ monitor information in respect of visitor numbers to the area who stayed for two to three days or more.   The Managing Director agreed to the forward the request to the relevant department as to how this could be explored with the possibility of setting targets in the future.

 

In response to a query regarding vacancy rates in main town centres, the Managing Director advised that the figure of 8.5 had been reached due to the fluctuation across the Vale and that officers had concluded that 8.5 was currently a reasonable estimate for the year based on previous fluctuations in returns.  It was also important to note that at this current time vacant rates were not as high as had previously been envisaged. 

 

Following a further query as to whether Members could have a breakdown of vacancy rates in the four main Town areas, it was accepted that this would be sourced and presented by e‑mail.

 

Having considered the report it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the target for visitors to the Vale of Glamorgan be increased from 3.85 million to 3.9 million.

 

(2)       T H A T a target for stay visitors by category Bed and Breakfast, Self Catering be considered for 2019/20.

 

(3)       T H A T the proposed targets for 2018/19 aligned to the Well-being Outcome 2 priorities be approved subject to Recommendation (1) above.

 

(4)       T H A T the breakdown of town centre vacancy rates for town centres be forwarded to Members via e-mail if available.

 

(5)       T H A T Recommendations (1), (2) and (3) above be referred to Cabinet for consideration.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To maintain a challenging target.

 

(2)       To provide Members with up to date information and to set a target.

 

(3&5)  For Cabinet consideration.

 

(4)       To apprise Members.

 

 

785     SERVICE PLANS 2018-22: REGENERATION AND PLANNING AND NEIGHBOURHOOD SERVICES AND TRANSPORT (MD) –

 

The Service Plans for Regeneration and Planning and Neighbourhood Services and Transport were presented for consideration and endorsement, with the Managing Director advising that they specified how each Head of Service would contribute towards the achievement of Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes by asking two questions: 

  • Which Well-being Objective does the service contribute to and what actions will we be taking this year to achieve these?
  • How will we manage our resources to achieve these actions and support our service?

Informed by the Annual Self-Assessment, the Service Plans also comprised a brief overview of the issues facing the service against each of the corporate health perspectives Risk, Customer Focus, Resources – workforce, finance, assets, ICT.  The Plans included an action plan for how resources would be used to support the delivery of Well-being Outcome actions as well as managing risks, collaboration and engagement activities. 

 

Appendix 1 to the report contained the Service Plans for those services which contributed to the Well-being Outcome the Committee was responsible for monitoring (Regeneration and Planning and Neighbourhood Services and Transport).  Key areas of note within the Service Plans were reported as: 

  • Section 1 – Introduction: Set the context for the Service Plan and provided an overview of the service area, the purpose of the Plan, and the key service considerations which informed development of the Plan.
  • Section 2 – The Council’s Priorities for 2018-22: Outlined the specific actions that the service would be taking during 2018/19 to contribute towards the Corporate Plan Well-being Objectives and Outcomes and the relevant Scrutiny Committee responsible.  It also identified the key enabling actions the service would be taking to support its achievement of the Well-being Outcomes, for example through reshaping of its services.
  • Section 3 – Outlined what actions the Service would undertake during 2018/19 to contribute to Year 3 of the Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes and Objectives.  It also described how the service would manage its resources to deliver its priorities in the Service Plan and outlined key workforce development priorities, significant ICT projects, required budget savings and areas of focus in relation to assets, procurement and major capital projects.  This section also identified how the service would engage with stakeholders and work in partnership / collaborate to achieve its priorities and incorporated a service risk evaluation.
  • Appendices A and B (within the Service Plan) contained the Service's Improvement Action Plan for 2018/19.  This identified planned service actions, intended outcomes and key milestones, relevant performance measures to demonstrate progress, responsible officer, timescales for completion and the anticipated resources requirements of planned actions.  Appendix C detailed the risk evaluation scores for service specific risks and those corporate level risks which impacted on the service.
  • The Neighbourhood Services and Transport Service Plan incorporated its contribution to one other Well-being Outcome, namely Outcome 4.  For ease of reference, it was noted that the proposed actions relating to this Well-being Outcome area had been struck through within the Plan to indicate the areas that did not form part of the remit of the Committee.
  • The Regeneration and Planning Service Plan also incorporated its contribution to two other Well-being Outcomes, namely Outcomes 1 and 3.  For ease of reference, it was noted that the proposed actions relating to this Outcome area had been struck through to indicate the areas that did not form part of the remit of the Committee.
  • All Service Plans incorporated the actions CP1 and CP2 demonstrating commitment to the Council’s corporate priorities; Reshaping Services and the Council's Workforce Plan.  Each Plan also included AC10 and AC12 demonstrating contribution to the Corporate Plan priorities around equalities and Welsh language respectively, which fell within the remit of the Learning and Culture Committee.  Progress against these would be reported via quarterly performance reports to the relevant Committee.

In querying why the Penarth Esplanade and Barry Waterfront were included in the report, the Managing Director confirmed that this aligned with the Corporate Plan and the intention with the Service Plan was to address the work that had been undertaken to date in relation to Regeneration Schemes.  Although no capital funding was reported against Penarth Esplanade, it remained a Corporate Plan action and for completeness the action was being listed for review and progress.

 

With specific reference to Penarth Esplanade, it was noted that the Department was in the process of establishing a Project Board to develop options for the Esplanade.

 

Referring to the Enterprise Zone, Members queried whether it was possible to receive data on the number of jobs that were being safeguarded and / or assisted.  The Managing Director advised that Welsh Government collated this information but that he would look into the possibility of that information being made available to Members with the possibility of considering a measure in future performance indicators.

 

The Chairman noted that the Biomass Plant was absent from the Plan and asked whether an update could be provided.  The Managing Director stated that the Biomass Plant would not figure in the Service Plan which focused on strategic action sand given that the issues around monitoring of the Plant in terms of noise and emissions etc. was not within the remit of the Regeneration and Planning service.  The Managing Director however, stated that he was aware that a meeting had taken place that afternoon between representatives of the Action Group, the Leader of the Council and saff from Shared Regulatory Services and Regeneration and Planning.  It was noted that the Plant was currently at the commissioning stage.  From a planning perspective he advised that it would not be operational until the Plant was connected to the National Grid.  He had also been informed that the Leader would be writing to Natural Resources Wales following the meeting and the Director of Environment and Housing was looking to order air quality monitoring equipment on behalf of the Vale as part of its own monitoring regime following a number of queries and complaints from the public and Members.  The Managing Director further added that a dedicated space on the Council’s website would also be provided to update the public on relevant issues.

 

Although accepting that the particular issues in relation to the Plant around noise and emissions may be a matter for the Homes and Safe Communities Scrutiny Committee, Members commented that it was important to provide reassurance to Members and the public on the measures that were being undertaken, in particular to noise, emissions and adherence to working hours.  Whether employees were meant to be working late at night was a significant query for Members as a number had already witnessed pollution late at night from the Plant. 

 

Councillor A.M. Collins, not a member of the Committee but granted permission to speak, advised that she was fully appreciative that the issue was a matter for the Homes and Safe Communities Scrutiny Committee and advised that she had a number of videos regarding the Plant operating outside of hours.

 

Following a further query with regard to where monitors would be placed, the Managing Director advised that he was aware that the Director of Environment and Housing was currently consideration locations and would be working in consultation with Shared Regulatory Services colleagues regarding their installation.

 

In referring to the Service Plans for Neighbourhood Services and Transport, the Head of Service took Members through the report advising that Neighbourhood Services operations included Waste Management and Cleansing, Highways and Grounds Maintenance, Enforcement and Inspections.  Engineering was responsible for Traffic Management, Highway Department and Inspections, Road Safety, Structures, Flooding  Coastal Protection, Construction and Design; and Transport Services was responsible for transport policy and projects, grants and Active Travel, provision of mainstream, Additional Learning Needs schools transport, public transport and Greenlinks Community Transport. 

 

Having particular regard to the implementation of business transformation through reshaping, the Head of Service advised that the outcome and key milestone for 2018/19 was to ensure service sustainability, increased flexibility and succession planning and reduce service reliance on agency staff.  Her intention was to complete the service reshaping and fill vacant posts by June 2018.  It was envisaged that the service would be more efficient and she particularly urged Members to let her know if there were any issues in their Wards following the roll out which would shortly take place. 

 

Following a query in relation to IT7 – Complete the move towards a peerless “O” licence vehicle inspection procedure, the Head of Service stated that this was a paperless system which would hopefully make the service a more efficient process and contribute to reduced costs.  Members were offered an opportunity, if they wished, to visit the garage at The Alps with a view to understanding the operation.

 

Following a query regarding sickness figures, the Head of Service advised that one of the main issues was in relation to long term sickness absence. 

 

Having considered the Service Plans it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T on receipt of the information from Welsh Government in relation to the data for the number of jobs created at the Enterprise Zone a report be presented to the Scrutiny Committee for consideration in due course.

 

(2)       T H A T the Regeneration and Planning and Neighbourhood Services and Transport Service Plans for 2018-22 be endorsed.

 

Reason for recommendations

 

(1&2)  Having considered the Service Plans and the information presented at the meeting.