ENVIRONMENT AND REGENERATION SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 13th September, 2018.

 

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

 

 

285     APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE -

 

These were received from Councillors N. Moore and A.R. Robertson.

 

 

286     MINUTES -

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 12th July, 2018 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

287     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

288     VALE OF GLAMORGAN ANNUAL REPORT (IMPROVEMENT PLAN PART 2) 2017-18 (MD) -

 

The Managing Director presented the draft Vale of Glamorgan Annual Report (Improvement Plan Part 2) 2017/18 which outlined the Council’s progress towards achieving the Wellbeing Objectives agreed in April 2017.  The report also outlined the Council’s performance for 2017/18 on a range of services relative to all other Welsh Local Authorities as published by the Local Government Data Unit (now Data Cymru).  The report also incorporated the Council’s Annual Improvement Report from the Auditor General for Wales which summarised the audit work undertaken in the Council during the period 2017-18.

 

The Annual Report also provided an opportunity to start the process of reviewing the Council’s Well-being (Improvement) Objectives in order to ensure they remain relevant in line with legislative requirements. Confirmation of the Well-being Objectives will be outlined in the Council's forward-looking Corporate Plan Annual Delivery Plan (and Improvement Plan Part 1) in April 2019.

 

Pages 40 to 45 in the Annual Report provided an overview of performance at end of year 2, April 2017 - March 2018, in achieving the Corporate Plan Well-being Objectives relating to Well-being Outcome 2, 'An environmentally Responsible and Prosperous Vale'.

 

For each of the two Well-being Objectives aligned with Outcome 2 ('Promoting regeneration, economic growth and employment' and 'Promoting sustainable development and protecting our environment'), the annual review incorporated a performance snapshot and provided progress in detail in relation to the Council’s achievements, challenges and risks.  This could be viewed on pages 45 to 64 of the attached Annual Report.

 

Under Outcome 2, 85% (52) of Corporate Plan activities aligned to year 2 of the Corporate Plan had been successfully delivered. 80% (25) of performance measures associated with the Well-being Outcome met or exceeded target (green status), two measures (7%) were within 10% of their target (amber status) and the remaining 4 (13%) missed target by more than 10%. It was reported that the positive progress made during the year in supporting the achievement of this Well-being Outcome had contributed in an overall Amber performance status at end of year.

 

Each year, the Local Government Data Unit (Data Cymru) publishes Local Authority performance information on a range of services, highlighting areas where there had been notable changes in the overall level of performance. This made it possible to compare the performance of the 22 Welsh Local Authorities across those services.

 

Overall, it was reported that the Council was performing well in performance indicators across all service areas and for the fourth consecutive year had been the top performing Council in Wales in relation to the national indicator set. The following table demonstrated the Council’s performance in comparison with the remaining 21 Local Authorities.

 

 

 

Upper Quarter

(1)

Upper Middle 

Quarter (2)

Lower Middle 

Quarter (3)

Lower Quarter

(4)

    N/A

  Points

  Rank

 

#

%

#

%

#

%

#

%

#

%

Vale   of Glamorgan

9

50

7

39

1

6

1

6

0

0

60

1

Denbighshire

6

33

6

33

4

22

2

11

0

0

52

2

Gwynedd

8

44

3

17

3

17

4

22

0

0

51

3

Monmouthshire

8

44

1

6

6

33

3

17

0

0

50

4

Cardiff

7

39

4

22

2

11

5

28

0

0

49

5

Carmarthenshire

6

33

4

22

4

22

4

22

0

0

48

6

Flintshire

6

33

3

17

6

33

3

17

0

0

48

6

Isle   of Anglesey

5

28

5

28

5

28

3

17

0

0

48

6

Conwy

4

22

6

33

5

28

3

17

0

0

47

9

Powys

6

33

4

22

3

17

4

22

1

6

46

10

Swansea

2

11

8

44

6

33

2

11

0

0

46

10

Ceredigion

7

39

0

0

4

22

7

39

0

0

43

12

Merthyr   Tydfil

5

28

4

22

2

11

7

39

0

0

43

12

Newport

3

17

5

28

5

28

5

28

0

0

42

14

Caerphilly

4

22

4

22

3

17

7

39

0

0

41

15

Pembrokeshire

2

11

7

39

4

22

4

22

1

6

41

15

Bridgend

2

11

5

28

7

39

4

22

0

0

41

15

Torfaen

3

17

5

28

3

17

7

39

0

0

40

18

Neath   Port Talbot

5

28

1

6

4

22

8

44

0

0

39

19

Blaenau   Gwent

5

28

0

0

4

22

9

50

0

0

37

20

Wrexham

3

17

3

17

4

22

8

44

0

0

37

20

Rhondda   Cynon Taff

2

11

5

28

3

17

7

39

1

6

36

22

 

Pages 155-166 of the Vale of Glamorgan Annual Report detailed how the Council performed against the 2017/18 national performance dataset in comparison with the previous year and with other Local Authorities in Wales.

 

The Council collected and reported data on 26 national performance indicators in 2017/18 (this figure did not include 6 social services measures which would be published separately by Welsh Government in October 2018. Of the 20 indicators, 14 had data that can be compared with the previous year (this included the two waste measures) which showed that: 

  • 43% (6) improved
  • 50% (7) declined
  • 15% (3) achieved best possible performance
  • Performance remained static in 7% (1) indicator.

The areas the Council performed best (ranked 1st in Wales) were, participation in leisure activities, highway cleanliness standards and responding to fly tipping incidents. It was noted that the areas where the Council were performing in the lower to bottom quartiles when compared with the rest of Wales, related to the condition of roads and participation in recycling waste.

 

The Managing Director advised that the rate of recycling had been affected by reason of the inability to recycle contaminated wood.  This meant that these had to be disposed of differently.  He also advised that following the roll out of the 2 bag general waste rule and in comparison to last year’s performance, there had been an approximate 30% reduction in the weight of the waste being collected.

 

In relation to the condition of roads, the Managing Director stated that the Council was investing more money than ever and he was hopeful that the situation would improve as work was rolled out and completed.  Members noted that the relevant performance indicator for this was detailed on page 275 and requested that this should be moved to the main section, on page 50.  The Managing Director clarified that performance for this indicator last year stood at 5.9% of roads in a poor condition, and this year this rate had increased to 6.54%.

 

The report went on to advise that in line with the requirements of the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009, the Auditor General Wales was required to produce an annual report on Welsh Councils and other public bodies entitled, the ‘Annual Improvement Report (AIR)’ which summarised the audit work undertaken during the period 2017 to 2018. The report brought together the key findings from all audit work undertaken in the Council during 2017-18 including those of other inspection and regulatory bodies such as Estyn (Her Majesty’s inspectorate for schools in Wales) and Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW).

 

It was advised that the Wales Audit Office (WAO) report findings were generally positive and concluded that overall the Council was meeting its statutory requirements in relation to continuous improvement.  A number of proposals for improvement were made specifically focusing on strengthening scrutiny arrangements within the Council to better respond to future challenges and to have greater impact. Further strengthening arrangements for Scrutiny remained a priority for the Council as identified in the Council’s Annual Self-Assessment and work was underway to address these.   In addition, work was already underway with the Chairs and Vice Chairs of Scrutiny Group to develop an action plan to address these proposals. The action plan would be reported to the Corporate Performance Resources Scrutiny Committee in due course and incorporated within the Insight Board’s Tracker. These proposals would be monitored by the Insight Board and reported to Scrutiny Committees and the Audit Committee as work to address them progressed.

 

A copy of the Vale’s Annual Improvement Report for 2017/18, produced by the WAO, was attached at Appendix 1 and could also be viewed at on the Council’s website www.valeofglamorgan.gov.uk.

 

In commenting on the WAO report, the Chairman felt that the findings around public engagement and holding Cabinet to account were not reflective of this Scrutiny Committee, referring to occasions when the Committee had made positive contributions to Cabinet proposals, and also in relation to the Committee debates which included public speakers on Hinkley Point and the Barry Bio Mass facility.  In commenting further on this, the Managing Director advised that these very points were raised with the WAO, and the Council was in the process of putting together an Action Plan.

 

Discussion ensued on the relevant sections of the Annual Report, and the following points were raised or discussed: 

  • Concerns had been raised around food bags breaking up too easily.
  • More public information was needed in relation to how and what can be recycled, with particular emphasis paid to demographic group such as small families living in flats.
  • The impact the 2 refuse bags rule was having on fly tipping.  The Managing Director advised that this could potentially have an impact, but current anecdotal evidence showed that more people were recycling.  A key aspect around fly tipping was enforcement and to ensure that the Council responded as quickly as possible.
  • Identification and proof of residence would be a good idea.
  • In regard to Council park and highway bins, the Managing Director would clarify what happened with the waste and whether it was and should be sorted for recycling.
  • The hours of operations of Waste Recycling sites, was probably down to contractual issues as these were run by contractors  on behalf of the Council, the hours in winter being 10am to 4pm and in summer being 8am to 6pm.  The Committee considered that these could be extended.
  • Possibility of Recycling Centres having facilities for small builders and contractors to be able to dispose of their waste safely and responsibly for an appropriate fee.  The Managing Director agreed to check the Council’s policy around this.
  • The Council was in the process of looking at rolling out further the use of Solar Panels on its properties. This would reduce cost and potentially be a source of income.  Members noted that the Carbon Management Plan would be consider at a future meeting of the Committee.
  • In regard to road resurfacing, the Council should consider the use of self-healing concrete.
  • Members clarified indicator CPN/154 and the use of LED street lights.  The Managing Director stated that information on this appeared confusing, so he would check and report back.  In addition, the Managing Director agreed to provide an update on work to replace lights at the Marina in Penarth and also Coldbrook Road East in Barry.

Subsequently it was

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1)       T H A T Cabinet be advised that prioritisation should be given in improving the Council’s performance for the condition of A Roads and the rate of recycling.

 

(2)       T H A T in regard to fly tipping and recycling that Cabinet consider the proposal to roll out a proof residence scheme.

 

(3)       T H A T Cabinet considers the possibility for introducing charges to enable small builders and contractors to access Council Waste facilities for the purpose of waste removal.

 

(4)       T H A T Cabinet consider the proposal to explore opening hours of Waste Recycling facilities beyond the current periods, which could include one evening a week when the facilities are open beyond the usual closure time.

 

(5)       T H A T more information and clarity is available to Members of the Public around recycling and for there to be more engagement with schools and young people.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To ensure the Council prioritise the areas of road resurfacing and recycling, the performance of which had been challenging.

 

(2)       In order to ensure that only residents of the Vale of Glamorgan properly access Waste Recycling sites in the Vale.

 

(3)       In order to assist small contractors in properly disposing of their building waste and in order to assist in tackling fly tipping.

 

(4)       In order to extend opening hours of Waste Recycling facilities.

 

(5)       In order to increase public awareness of recycling and waste management.

 

 

289     SCRUTINY COMMITTEES’ DRAFT ANNUAL REPORT MAY 2017 - APRIL 2018 (MD) -

 

The Democratic and Scrutiny Services Officer presented the draft Scrutiny Annual Report for 2017/18. 

 

This was attached at Appendix A and detailed the role of scrutiny, how scrutiny was undertaken in the Vale of Glamorgan and highlighted key achievements from the work of each Scrutiny Committee.  It also outlined significant events during the year and future working, specifically in relation to the Council agreement that the work of scrutiny should be closely aligned to four Wellbeing Objective Outcomes that form the basis of the Council’s Corporate Plan which was published in April 2016.

 

In relation to this Scrutiny Committee, relevant items were detailed Pages 5, 6 and 7 and included a summary of: 

  • The dredging of material associated with Hinkley Point
  • Civil Parking Enforcement
  • The Bio Mass development in Barry
  • The WelTag process to improve transport around Dinas Powys and also M4 Junction 34 to the A48.

The Committee requested for a paragraph to be added, detailing the Committee’s site visits to a number of stretches of road in the Vale that required re-surfacing. 

 

The Chairman raised a query in relation to the Biomass development in Barry, and referred to a letter sent to Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and the Welsh Government Minister seeking clarification of whether an Environmental Impact Assessment would be carried out.  The Chairman stated that he had not received a reply from either the Minister or NRW.  Members of the Committee therefore agreed for the Chairman to send a follow up letter chasing a response.

 

Subsequently it was

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1)       T H A T the draft Annual report be approved subject to an additional paragraph being added summarising the Committee’s work in relation to Road Resurfacing.

 

(2)       T H A T in relation to the Biomass development in Barry, the Chairman, on behalf of the Committee, write a follow up letter to the Welsh Government Minister in relation seeking a response to whether an Environmental Impact Assessment would be carried out.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To include an additional paragraph on Road Resurfacing, and so that the Scrutiny Annual report for 2017/18 be approved.

 

(2)       So that a letter be sent on behalf of the Committee to the Welsh Government Minister asking for a response.