LEARNING AND CULTURE SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 22nd May, 2018.

 

Present:  Councillor L. Burnett (Chairman); Councillors Ms. R.M. Birch, B.T. Gray, S.J. Griffiths, N.P. Hodges, M. Lloyd, M.G.J. Morgan, Mrs. J. Norman, Mrs. R. Nugent-Finn and Mrs. S.D. Perkes.

 

Co-opted Members:  Dr. C. Brown (Parent-Governor - Secondary Sector), Mr. P. Burke (Roman Catholic Church) and Mrs. J. Lynch-Wilson (Parent Governor - Primary Sector).

 

Non-Voting Observers:  Mr. D. Griffith (Welsh Medium Education) and Mr. N. Want (Vale Youth Forum).

 

Also present:  Councillor R.A. Penrose (Cabinet Member for Learning and Culture), Councillors Ms. J. Aviet, Dr. I.J. Johnson, L.O. Rowlands and N.C. Thomas.

 

 

49        APPOINTMENT OF VICE-CHAIRMAN -

 

RESOLVED - T H A T Councillor N.P. Hodges be appointed Vice-Chairman for the Municipal Year.

 

 

50        MINUTES -

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the minutes of the Extraordinary Meeting held on 23rd April, 2018 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

51        ANNOUNCEMENT -

 

The Chairman welcomed Councillor Rachel Nugent-Finn and Mr. D. Griffith to their first meeting of the Committee.  The Chairman also took the opportunity to ask all present to introduce themselves for the purposes of the public present at the meeting and reminded all present of the sensitive issues that were to be discussed on the agenda.

 

 

52        DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

Councillors Ms. R.M. Birch, B.T. Gray and Mrs. J. Norman declared an interest in Agenda Item No. 6 in that they had been granted dispensation to speak and vote on matters relating to the Reshaping Services Programme as twin-hatted Members.

 

Mr. D. Griffith declared an interest in Agenda Item No. 7 in that he was a member of Mentor Bro Morgannwg and he had received advice that he could remain in the meeting.

 

Mr. N. Want declared an interest in Agenda Item Nos. 5 and 6 in that he had been involved in the preparation of the reports and would leave the room when the matters were being discussed.

 

 

53        TRANSGENDER INCLUSION TOOLKIT AND GUIDANCE DOCUMENTS FOR SCHOOLS AND OTHER SETTINGS (CALL-IN) -

 

Councillor Dr. I. Johnson, not a Member of the Committee, had requested that the toolkit and guidance document (which had been approved by Cabinet on 30th April 2018)  be called in for consideration for the reason that “the capacity of the Vale Council and others to successfully and appropriately implement these guidelines should be confirmed before their adoption otherwise they run the risk of becoming warm words that cannot be substantiated and would fail to support vulnerable people that they have been developed to protect”.

 

In introducing the call-in, Councillor Johnson stated that some of the questions he wished addressed related to the support to be provided to young people, the confidentiality issues for young people, the responsibility of the Council to ensure the toolkit’s appropriateness, whether all schools would be accepting the guidelines or whether they would be optional, did the Council have appropriate mental health support for transgender queries and whether the Council was  positively able to influence the outcomes for young people. 

 

The Chairman, in advising of the procedures for the meeting, stated that five members of the public had registered to speak on the matter, and seven written representations had been received, six from members of the public and one from a Councillor, not a Member of the Committee, but who was unable to attend the meeting.  Copies of all the representations had been tabled at the meeting for all present and for Committee’s consideration.  The Chairman also referred to three expert witnesses that she had invited to speak to the Committee who had direct experience and levels of expertise in the field namely Lisa Power MBE, LGBT Historian, previous policy director of the Terrence Higgins trust and a founder of the organisation Stonewall, Lu Thomas Chair of PRIDE Cymru, local school governor and Equalities consultant and Ceri Lambert and her daughter Row Jones. Row was an art student in the Vale and had begun her transition whilst at school.

 

The Safeguarding Officer in presenting the report advised that the Transgender Inclusion Toolkit was a guidance document, the purpose of which was to provide information and guidance for schools and other settings in the Vale of Glamorgan on how it could effectively support transgender, transgender questioning young people and prevent transphobia.  The report also outlined that in 2016 a number of Vale of Glamorgan schools had asked for additional advice and guidance on the subject. The document had therefore been developed in response.  The document had also been developed on behalf of the five Central South Consortium Local Authorities and the report noted that Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council had already adopted the guidance and Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council had announced its intention to adopt the guidance.

 

In drafting the document a lot of consideration had been given to developing the guidance.  Stonewall Cymru had also endorsed the guidance and stated that the document was “one of the most comprehensive pieces of guidance I had seen in Wales”.  The document had primarily been written for headteachers and staff to assist in complying with the legislation and to also provide practical guidance when discussing transgender issues.  When compiling the guidance colleagues had been very careful to note that nothing conflicted with other guidance and a real effort had been made to ensure that there was no conflict of rights with any other group.

 

Prior to any further discussion the Chairman took the opportunity to remind all present of the parameters of the issue under discussion.

 

Following the officer’s summary of the report the Chairman then asked the first public speaker who had registered to speak to make their representations.  The Chairman made it clear that each speaker would have up to three minutes to make their representations and requested all speakers to be mindful of the need for their contribution to relate to the call-in.  

 

Ms. Sarah Tanburn commenced by advising that promoting a safe and inclusive environment was important and stated that she was a long term equalities activist. Ms. Tanburn asked the Committee to consider referring the report back to Cabinet in respect of the nature of the Equalities Impact in respect of a number of characteristics, stating that she was not convinced the Council had a robust Equality Impact Assessment (EIA).  Ms. Tanburn further stated that guidance existed which advised  of a common sense approach when such decisions are taken and that in this particular case the Council would need to take into consideration sex, faith, disability and age and that there had been a lot of debate and case law on the subject that sex was not a gender.  In her view, Ms. Tanburn felt that the EIA should be specific to the Vale and consider the potential discriminatory impacts and where questions of mitigation should be addressed.  In conclusion, Ms. Tanburn advised that she herself had written an EIA, knew how they worked and saw no evidence in the report that a robust assessment had been undertaken.

 

Ms. Sue Quinn-Aziz stated that she was a parent of a teenage child in the Vale of Glamorgan and that she welcomed the Vale’s initiative on developing the document, which she felt needed to be addressed but considered that the report was suggesting a one size fits all solution.  Ms. Quinn-Aziz further stated that it was important to have regard to preparing all cultures and trans girls and boys for using facilities in schools and to understand the culture and issues involved.  In her view the report was silent on safe guarding guidance, health and safety assessments, fairness, gender neutral options.  In conclusion she also queried there appeared to be no reference around age and different age group issues provided within the guidance. 

 

Following a question from Councillor Johnson as to whether Ms. Quinn-Aziz could advise whether she was happy with the scenarios identified in the toolkit in response, Ms. Quinn-Aziz stated that she did not think school staff had been presented with the full range of options and in particular it was important to bear in mind that “one size does not fit all”. 

 

Ms. Carryn Williams, whose background was from working in services for young people, advised that she supported the principle of guidance being provided but that,  in her view, there had been no consideration in the report for girls when menstruating.   With there being over 5000 young girls in the Vale of Glamorgan this was an important aspect she felt that should have been addressed.  There were also other vulnerable groups that could be affected in particular those with autism who themselves may lack judgement and require assistance in dealing with such matters.  With regard to the teachers, there was no reference to capacity in schools and in particular how a teacher would advise children.  In conclusion, Ms. Williams asked the Scrutiny Committee to refer the report back to Cabinet having regard to the implications she had outlined. 

 

Ms. Jennifer Charles advised that she was a trans woman parent and a member of the Wales Equality Alliance.  In referring to statistics, Ms. Charles referred to a recent all-Wales survey undertaken in 2017 in partnership with the Centre of Equality Research at Cambridge which advised that 84% of trans people had self-harmed, 45% had attempted suicide and 95% had received death threats.  Such incidents having been caused by bullying and hostile environments that people had found themselves in.  Ms. Charles stated that being trans was not a condition or illness and it was wrong to stop a child from dealing with their gender issues and indeed if anyone did so they would go against NHS guidance on the matter.  In her view trans children should be allowed to reassign gender if they wished to do and should receive support to do so.  There was considerable evidence that the wellbeing of transgender people when supported had improved as a result.  In her view the toolkit provided that the Vale was in accordance with the Equality Act and working to community cohesion and urged the Council to roll out the toolkit throughout all schools in the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

Mrs. Anne Greagsby stated that the toolkit promoted a dangerous myth that children were born in the wrong body.  In her view, gender was a social issue and that children had vivid imaginations and they needed support in acknowledging changes in their body.  On two occasions the Chairman asked Ms. Greagsby to refrain from making comments inappropriate and unrelated to the call-in.  In conclusion Ms. Greagsby stated that she would not want to be referred to as si or sis and teachers had been advised to address pupils in such manners which she did not think was appropriate. 

 

Having heard from members of the public who had registered to speak, the Chairman then asked Ms. Ceri Lambert and Row Jones to address the Committee, advising that they had both been invited to the meeting as expert witnesses with first-hand experience on the subject.  Ms. Row Jones advised that informing trans children about the medical issues required was important and that trans children also themselves tried to inform themselves before any changes were made. 

 

Ms. Lambert advised Committee that she had three children all of whom were currently attending schools in Penarth.  Row was her eldest daughter and was transgender and had the full support of family and friends.  Ms. Lambert advised that she had studied the guidance and had no hesitation in recommending this for approval for use in Vale of Glamorgan schools.  In referring to previous speakers she said that the vast majority had not been unkind.  She had been slightly concerned when the toolkit had been called-in as there had been a significant increase in verbal abuse online as a result, the form of abuse being levied in similar form to abuse directed at gay people in 1970s.  As a result, in her view there was even more reason for the adoption of the Transgender Toolkit to stop trans bullying in schools and on social media.   Ms. Lambert also stated that there was an even greater need for a sympathetic environment and considered that a significant amount of the abuse was as a result of misinformed panic.  Both Ms. Lambert her and her daughter endorsed the toolkit and hoped that it would enhance the sterling work that equalities in schools was undertaking. 

 

Ms. Lisa Power, MBE, who had also been a founder member of the Stonewall organisation and was an LGBT historian, stated that there were parallels today similar to the way in which attitudes to lesbian and gay men had been in the 80s and 90s and asked the question “do you want to go down that road again?”   Ms. Power referred to a recent announcement by Welsh Government in relation to LGBT education and advice in schools stating that this was an important step to supporting guidance for children and school teachers alike.   Ms. Power referred to the fact that only a small number of people actually undertake transition but that everyone was entitled to respect and support.  Toolkits like the Vale’s suggested document were about supporting teachers in schools in addressing and dealing with issues.  Under the Equality Act 2010 single sex changing rooms had been established and trans people when starting transition were entitled to use these facilities. There had also she stated not been any documented examples of issues that had been raised to date. Ms. Power also referred to the repeal of Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 and the well informed statistics for example that 45% of young trans people had attempted suicide and in her view schools had a vital part to play in supporting pupils.  Similar toolkits had already been agreed in other localities and were currently in use. 

 

The Chair of Pride Cymru and a school Governor in the Vale of Glamorgan, Lu Thomas, also informed the Committee that 54% of trans people were bullied.  1 in 10 were subject to death threats and nearly 80% of pupils had never learnt the meaning of transgender.  1 in 3 transgender pupils were not able to be known by their preferred name and 84% of trans people had self-harmed.  The toolkit she stated meant something to trans children and their parents and although not perfect was a start.  Committee was informed that “We all want our children to be safe and supported and create active, positive, engaging students and that treating people with respect was important”.  It was also important, Ms. Thomas advised, that we should think about what message we will be sending to children if the toolkit was not adopted.  Section 28 she said failed, and it had been a pointless and mean spirited piece of legislation.

 

At this stage the Chairman took the opportunity to remind all present of the written representations that had been received for consideration during the meeting and which had been previously circulated to Committee Members.

 

The Head of Achievement for All, in referring to the report, commented similarly to previous speakers that the toolkit although not perfect was a start.  It had also, he said, been long overdue as schools had been requesting guidance for some time.  In referring to the report, he stated that the Council was not dictating to schools it was about presenting scenarios and options, to consider provision and address issues.  The statistics in relation to young people being bullied, death threats etc. were scandalous in his view and although the guidance would not answer every single question that may be asked, he was proud that the Council was at the forefront in Wales of promoting the adoption of the toolkit.

 

The Cabinet Member for Learning and Culture, with permission to speak, stated it was important to have such a debate and took the opportunity to thank Councillor Johnson for submitting the call-in.

 

Following the presentations of evidence the Chairman then referred to Members of the Committee.  In considering the document a number of Members commented that it was important that teachers and staff had such information as guidance in order to handle required situations.  A Member also asked whether there had been any feedback by other Local Authorities who had adopted such guidance with the Head of Service advising that no evaluation had as yet been made, although he could advise that discussions had been positive in respect of the toolkit.  The guidance he further advised offered schools guidance for examples of what types of questions should be considered. 

 

Following on from information received from the speakers a Co-Opted Member commented that sympathetic approaches need to be ensured and referred to an example in her own experience of a child being able to use their preferred name in schools as opposed to their birth name.  Another Councillor who had worked at events in conjunction with Pride Cymru stated that it was important to have a vigorous debate on policy, schools were asking for advice and guidance and it was important for the debate to be undertaken in order that appropriate guidance could be rolled out to schools.  The Member also considered it important that Governors of schools also had similar debates to decide their schools’ policy.  The document itself Members commented also pulled together other documents that already existed and it was important to have diverse views in order for considerations to be given. 

 

To this end, all Members in turn thanked the public speakers and the expert witnesses for attending the meeting. 

 

Following a further question as to whether the Committee would have further opportunity to revisit the document to assess its impact once rolled out into schools, the Head of Achievement for All stated that it was important that a period of reflection took place and views obtained from young people including its impact on young people.  The Head of Service reiterated that the document was not about one particular group it had been framed for equalities for all. 

 

The Safeguarding Officer informed Committee that the second edition of the guidance was currently being developed and took the opportunity to thank everyone present at the meeting including all speakers as the information they had provided would inform the second document.  A Member also took the opportunity to thank Ceri Lambert and Row Jones for attending and providing details of their own personal experiences and referred to the importance that everyone was treated fairly and respectfully.

 

The Director of Learning and Skills reiterated that the document was guidance not policy and that the piece of work deserved to be in the public domain.  The feedback received had been positive and the document would meet the needs of young vulnerable people.

 

Councillor Johnson, in being offered a further opportunity to respond, advised that comparisons to Section 28 were directly comparable.  He did however, have some concerns as to the amount of support that would be available for young people and suggested that the document be also forwarded to the Corporate Parenting Panel for their consideration.

 

During further discussion, the Chairman advised that it was important for the Scrutiny Committee to identify matters as part of their Work Programme and that it would also be important in her view to invite schools to the Committee to talk about their experiences 12 months after the toolkit had been rolled out.

 

Having fully considered the report and the representations received it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1)       T H A T the Transgender Inclusion Toolkit and Guidance Document for Schools and Other Settings attached at Appendix A to the report be endorsed.

 

(2)       T H A T the Scrutiny Committee receives a report in 12 months assessing the impact of the toolkit, in partnership with schools. 

 

(3)       T H A T Cabinet be requested to refer the document to the Corporate Parenting Panel for their consideration.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To enable the Guidance document to be adopted as guidance for schools in the Vale of Glamorgan and rolled out to schools.

 

(2)       In order that the Scrutiny Committee can monitor and review progress.

 

(3)       For the Corporate Parenting Panel’s consideration.

 

 

54        RESHAPING YOUTH SERVICES (DLS) -

 

The Chairman commenced by taking the opportunity to thank the Cabinet for referring the report to the Scrutiny Committee as requested.  The report provided details of the consultation outcome on the proposed reshaping of youth services prior to its consideration by Cabinet.


The Lead Officer for Social Inclusion and Wellbeing commenced by referring  to Recommendations (4) and (5) being proposals in relation to the Llantwit Major Youth Centre building, indicating the recommendation to declare the asset surplus and at Recommendation (5) approval being requested to secure a new community use for the building and to progress a leasehold arrangement for the building.  In referring to issues that had been raised at the previous meeting in relation to recruitment and retention of staff the Lead Officer advised that the level of absenteeism in the work force had been exacerbated by special leave issues and absenteeism.  The proposals however, did advise of a reduction in part time roles and the creation of substantive roles and collaborative approaches. 

 

Many of the representations that had been received during the consultation process the lead officer advised had been of the understanding that the Council was going to replace services with volunteers and he firmly stated that this was definitely not the intention.  The reshaping proposals were about the need to have a more innovative and effective Youth Service.  Throughout the consultation the misunderstanding had been fuelled and a lot of unrest had been felt and the officer took the opportunity to reassure Members that the Council would not stop operating Youth Services with professional staff but they would be reduced and further advised of the decision by the Corporate Management Team that should there be a threat of redundancy each case would be taken on its own merits.

 

With specific reference to the report at paragraph 9, the Lead Officer stated a number of respondents had been concerned that the reduction in the current work force would create a large number of redundancies.  The changes that were being proposed would mean the staff body rising from 34.55 full time equivalents to 37.29 full time equivalents although it would reduce flexibility for staff in relation to the number of hours they could work as the proposals required a greater commitment to full time hours.  Concerns were also raised that staff who hold more than one position with the Council and the interpretation of whether or not there was an entitlement to a redundancy payment.  The position varied dependent upon individual circumstances.  The Corporate Management Team he reiterated had considered this issue and had recommended that each case be dealt with on an individual basis. 

 

Staff had queried the changes to senior youth worker rates of pay. Within the proposal the senior youth engagement workers would be on JNC 16 instead of JNC 17 at present.  Upon reflection and after the input of staff it had been proposed that the current grade of pay be retained within current budget. 

 

A further tabled document was presented for Committee’s information which contained details of the consultation process undertaken advised on the consultation and engagement process that had been undertaken which had included electronic and verbal engagement and Members’ questions.  Staff and young people had also been offered the opportunity to leave views and questions in a consultation mailbox and documents and information had been supplied to staff via a bespoke web address only accessed by them. 

 

Staff members had held individual and group meetings with managers and young people had raised questions via Youth Action and Youth Cabinet groups.  The consultation information had been given to the Children’s Commissioner who had been happy with the engagement with young people that had been undertaken.  The tabled document also detailed the dates of meetings that had been held with Trade unions and staff and included dates of visits to Youth clubs.  Two maps one detailing current youth provisions and the other identifying the vision for the future of youth provision were also tabled for the Committee’s consideration and two further documents provided details of a sample week calendar for the Universal Team post restructure for Team Member 1, Team Member 2 and Team Member 3.  Although noting that the delivery methods had changed and times of opening would change the actual hours provided for the Youth Service, the Lead Officer reported would be 9480.  The Lead Officer also advised all young people who were part of youth action and the Youth Cabinet would continue to be supported but not necessarily the Vale Youth Forum and he took the opportunity to thank Town and Community Councils who had provided financial support for the Youth Forum. 

 

With regard to Appendix B to the report, the Lead Officer advised that this provided at page 12 a pie chart which detailed the special leave reasons provided for the period from 1st April to 14th March, 2018.  It was noted that 29% of all absences from the part time work force also down to non-attendance and he advised that all such absences were therefore making the current service unmanageable.  Since 1st April, 2018 the service had had to cover 115 absences and 21 requests for special leave. 

 

The Lead Officer, in referring directly to the use of volunteers, advised that appropriate safeguarding rules and regulations would be provided.  It was important he stated that the service grew with the Voluntary Sector to provide a working model and the service would work closely with national youth organisations. 

 

A member of the public who had registered to speak, Ms. Helen Payne, was then afforded the opportunity to make her representations.  Ms. Payne advised that she had been involved in the Youth Service for over 36 years and in a number of capacities she had worked in the Youth centre in Barry and in youth services Birmingham and over the whole of Wales.  In her view the process that had been undertaken was flawed and for youth work to be effective it needed to engage young people and widen the range of skills of youth workers.  Youth work was important for growing resilience and should be undertaken in a language of young people’s choice.  Ms. Payne stated that she did not believe that reorganisation would give young people access to all youth provision.  It was her opinion that the Council needed to invest in decent universal services as a matter of urgency and to demonstrate its commitment.  There was no youth centre in Barry which was the largest town in Wales.  In conclusion, Ms. Payne stated that the “Council should not place monetary value on people’s lives but should celebrate them”. 

 

A representative from the Trade Union Unite, Ms. Jo Galaska, stated that the Trade Union although they to felt that the Youth Service needed reshaping, the current proposals in their view were not acceptable and requested that a working party be formed.  The lack of involvement in feedback sessions was not acceptable and the relevant forms that had been devised in relation to the new proposals had not been agreed by the Union.  A number of members of youth service staff had already left the service and morale was extremely low.   Ms. Galaska further advised that the Trade Unions would encourage working with the Council for a sustainable Youth Service but the current proposals in their view were not sustainable and had not been well thought out.  Ms. Galaska urged the Council to reconsider the proposals and referred to the local petition from local people that had over 2,000 signatures. Although she stated sickness absence had been referred to as a reason her question was why had this not been managed successfully.  In conclusion Ms. Galaska stated that it was the Union’s viewpoint that the proposals had been pushed through and they needed to be rejected with further work undertaken.

 

The Chairman referred Committee to a written representation that had been received from Mr. Glenn Pappas, the Unison Trade Union representative, who had been unable to be present at the meeting advising that copies of the representations had not only been circulated to Committee Members prior to the meeting but had been tabled at the meeting. 

 

Councillor N.C. Thomas, not a Member of the Committee with permission to speak, commenced by stating that he would ask the Committee to consider recommending that the proposals be rejected and referred to a cross-party working group.  The proposals in his view were ill advised and the loss of hours and personnel at times when young people needed them the most was not acceptable.  Although some services may be attached to schools he stated that this was not always appropriate at times and the loss of people and personnel was an important consideration.   In referring specifically to Penarth Youth Club, he stated that this was a church youth club and there were no plans for a youth club there unless the Town and Community Council took up the mantle.  It was important he concluded that the service for young people was provided by a diverse group of staff and he felt strongly that a working party be set up to consider youth provision across the Vale.  Although he was aware that savings were to be made under the current proposals, in the long run in his view there could be potential mental health and youth justice issues that had not been recognised. 

 

The Lead Officer, in response to the concerns raised, advised that the staff absence he had referred to was not related to sickness, it was due to special leave and absenteeism.  Qualifying this statement he advised that where staff did not turn up which often happened at least one hour before the youth club actually opened, this had a detrimental effect on the support provided.   He also affirmed that there was youth provision in Barry maintained by the Youth Service at Barry YMCA and also the church group referred to was actually a Youth Service supported provision.  The Lead Officer concluded by stating that we would  still be offering a service that was fit for purpose and that voluntary engagement was important.  Town and Community Councils had also been approached for further funding and their support in providing youth provision in the area was welcomed. 

 

The Head of Achievement for All responded by advising that the proposal was not a reduction in service and the suggestions  to replace paid staff with volunteers was not true.  The use of volunteers was to enhance the service not to provide the service. 

 

A Ward Member for Penarth stated that they had sympathy with the Trade Unions and although acknowledging that there would no doubt always be disagreements on matters of significant issue, queried the Ward Member consultation undertaken. 

 

Another Member raised their concerns in relation to the use of unqualified and untrained staff with volunteers not being able to undertake the duties of experienced and trained staff.  There was also the issue of volunteers not having to be bound by EWC requirements and not being subject to the same checks as paid staff.  The Member was also concerned about the reduction in the number of staff and in particular the personal relationships that young people formed with their youth workers which in her view would be eroded as a result of the proposals.

 

The Vice-Chairman raised concerns in relation to the fact that the Youth Action Group had ceased to exist and queried how many young people were currently involved in the Youth Service enquiring  whether the Lead Officer envisaged the new model proposed would encourage more young people to take advantage of the service.

 

A Member from a rural ward stated that in their area all youth provision was provided by volunteers and that the young people needed considerable support.  The Member felt that further consultation needed to be undertaken with a greater understanding of how the Council could assist.


The Chairman queried the declaring of the Llantwit Major Youth Centre as a surplus asset without any reassurance that the facility would be retained as a youth facility or for community use. 

 

In response to the queries, the Lead Officer advised that the intention of the proposal was to create a professional workforce with an element of targeted support. There was no intention for the service to be handed over to volunteers and at no point had anyone been informed that the service would hand over to unskilled staff.  The Lead Officer further informed Committee that volunteer youth leaders would be trained and agreements put in place with the Council working in collaboration and harness with organisations.  As an example the officer referred to the youth provision in Sully provided by volunteers and with support from the Council there was no reason why this service could not be provided in other areas. 

 

In referring to youth attendance in previous years, attendance of 150,000 had been recorded but this had recently dropped to 93,000. 

 

Having considered the report and representations before the Committee, it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1)       T H A T the outcome of the consultation on the proposed changes to Senior Youth Worker salary spinal points be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T Cabinet be requested to consider the points raised at the Scrutiny Committee, in relation to the proposals to progress plans for reshaping Youth Services in making their decision on whether to approve the proposals.

 

(3)       T H A T the proposals relating to the Western Vale Integrated Children’s Centre (WVICC) as shown in Appendix A to be referred to Cabinet for their consideration and approval in order for this asset to be declared surplus and that a Community Asset Transfer opportunity be progressed in due course.

 

(4)       T H A T the proposals relating to the Llantwit Major Youth Centre Building as shown in Appendix A be referred to Cabinet for their consideration and approval in order for this asset to be declared surplus and a new use be sought for this building in due course, be agreed subject to if for any reason the proposal failed to materialise or be adopted by the Town Council, before it is put for any other use that it be reported to the Scrutiny Committee for its consideration.

 

(5)       T H A T the Scrutiny Committee notes and refers to Cabinet for approval the proposal that delegated authority be granted to the Head of Finance, in consultation with the Leader of the Council, to secure a new youth and community use for the Llantwit Major Youth Centre Building, as referred to in Recommendation (4) above and to progress a leasehold arrangement for this building as outlined within the report.

 

(6)       T H A T  the Scrutiny Committee (subject to Recommendations (3), (4) and (5)) notes and refers to Cabinet for approval the proposal that the Head of Legal Services be authorised to draft and execute all necessary legal documentation associated with the disposals referred to be agreed. 

 

(7)       T H A T a further report be presented to Cabinet and the Learning and Culture Scrutiny Committee to provide an update on the progress of the reshaping project in 12 months be agreed.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       Having regard to the issues raised by respondents to the consultation.

 

(2)       To inform Cabinet of the issues raised at the Committee

 

(3)       To enable Cabinet consideration and approval of the proposals, including the granting of relevant delegated authorities to progress matters, including the authority to dispose of the leasehold interests as described for the two buildings.

 

(4)       To enable Cabinet consideration and approval of the proposals, including the granting of relevant delegated authorities to progress matters, including the authority to dispose of the leasehold interests as described for the two buildings and should the proposal not materialise any further options be presented to the Scrutiny Committee for consideration.

 

(5)       To enable Cabinet consideration and approval of the proposals, including the granting of relevant delegated authorities to progress matters, including the authority to dispose of the leasehold interests as described for the two buildings and to ensure that the facility is reported as the Llantwit Major Youth and Community Services building.

 

(6)       To enable Cabinet consideration and approval of the proposals, including the granting of relevant delegated authorities to progress matters, including the authority to dispose of the leasehold interests as described for the two buildings. 

 

(7)       To ensure the impact of the reshaping project is formally reported to Cabinet and Scrutiny Committee for their consideration in 12 months.

 

 

55        WELSH STANDARDS ANNUAL MONITORING REPORT (MD) -

 

The report sought Scrutiny Committee endorsement of the Welsh Standards Annual Monitoring Report for 2017/18 and to refer the same with any comments to Cabinet in order that approval could be sought to ensure publication on the Council’s website by 30th June, 2018. 

 

The report referred to the fact that the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 made provision for specifying standards of conduct in relation to the Welsh language and enables Welsh Ministers to authorise the Welsh Language Commissioner to issue a "Compliance Notice" to those organisations to which the Measure applies.  The Compliance Notice for the Vale of Glamorgan Council had been issued in September 2015.

 

The Welsh Standards Compliance Notice for the Council was a list of standards relating to service delivery, policy making, operational matters, promotion and record keeping.  One of the standards in the Compliance Notice stated that:

 

(a)      You must produce a report (an "annual report"), in Welsh, in relation to each financial year, which deals with the way in which you have complied with the standards with which you were under a duty to comply during that year.

 

(b)       You must publish the annual report no later than 30 June following the financial year to which the report relates.

 

(c)        You must publicise the fact that you have published an annual report.

 

(d)       You must ensure that a current copy of your annual report is available - (a) on your website, and (b) in each of your offices that are open to the public.”

 

As part of the Compliance Notice the Council was also required to produce a 5 year Promotion Strategy and to review it regularly.  In addition to the Annual Monitoring Report for 2017/18 therefore, an update was attached on the Council's Welsh Language Promotion Strategy.

 

The Head of Performance and Development, in presenting the report, drew attention to staff development in relation to the Welsh Language advising that Welsh awareness sessions had been arranged and that the Council was committed to the provision of an excellent service to Welsh speakers in the area and would strive year on year to improve on this provision.  A further linguistic skills analysis of the Council’s workforce, part of the Standards action plan, would be shortly in train. 

 

It was noted that Welsh Government’s aim was for one million Welsh speakers by 2050 and although the Council would contribute to this via its internal arrangements,  it was important to note that achieving more Welsh speakers in the Vale could only be  completed through  working with  partners such as Menter Bro Morgannwg and the Urdd, which the Council was already doing. 

 

Councillor Dr. I.J. Johnson, not a Member of the Committee but with permission to speak, stated that in his view the Council had taken great strides to date in addressing the standard but with specific reference to the translation of minutes of the Council, he asked why minutes of the Council, Cabinet and Committee meetings and reports may not be translated into Welsh.  The Head of Service advised that the volume of minutes would mean considerable additional expense in their translation. The Welsh Language Commissioner’s Office had been consulted regarding this issue and a steer on the matter was awaited from them.

 

In referring to the possibility of establishing a Welsh Language Centre in the Vale at 3.5 on page 2 of the document and to undertake a feasibility study to explore the potential of establishing such a centre, the Head of Service responded that funding would need to be sought to carry out a feasibility study and in also identifying suitable premises.  The Vice Chairman, also a Barry Town Councillor, suggested that Barry Town Council would be happy to work with the Vale Council and other partners to investigate the establishment of such a Centre

 

Having considered the report it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the comments made at the meeting and the report be referred to Cabinet in order that approval can be sought to ensure publication on the Council’s website by 30th June, 2018.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

In order that the comments made at the meeting and the steps taken to action the Welsh Standards Compliance Notice for the Vale of Glamorgan Council issued by the Welsh Commissioner can be considered and endorsed.

 

 

56        4TH QUARTER DECISION TRACKING OF RECOMMENDATION AND WORK PROGRAMME SCHEDULE 2018/19 (MD) -

 

The Democratic and Scrutiny Services Officer advised Members of progress in relation to the Scrutiny Committee’s recommendations and sought confirmation that the Work Programme schedule for 2018/19.

 

Appendices A to C attached to the report set out the recommendations of the Scrutiny Committee with Members being requested to review progress against each recommendation, to assess whether further action may be required, ensure the required action is undertaken and to confirm which recommendations are to be agreed as completed.

 

The Work Programme (attached at Appendix D) Committee was further informed had been aligned to the Cabinet Forward Work Programme and other reports would be added to the schedule as and when necessity arose. 

 

The Democratic and Scrutiny Services Officer drew Members’ attention to Minute No. 830 - Co-opted and Observer Membership of the Learning and Culture Scrutiny Committee with the Chairman advising that she had recently agreed a letter to be used for the advertising of the vacant positions on the Scrutiny Committee which would also be forwarded to Clerks of Governing Bodies for consideration by Governing Bodies, the Committee having previously agreed that a wider audience needed to be included.

 

In referring the Minute No. 536, the Chairman requested that the recommendation of a site visit to Barry Library be added to the Committee’s Work Programme schedule and in referring the Forward Work Programme at Appendix D, it was suggested that a visit to Ysgol y Deri be arranged for all Members in due course and that this be added to the Work Programme schedule.

 

Following the Committee’s previous recommendation regarding the establishment of a Working Group on Free Sanitary Products in Schools, the Democratic and Scrutiny Services Officer acknowledged the delay in establishment of the Working Group advising that an officer from the Democratic Services Section would be in contact with Members shortly.

 

Following discussion it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1)       T H A T the status of the actions listed in Appendices A to C of the report be noted and the recommendations highlighted as completed below be approved.

 

22 January 2018

Min. No. 625 –   Corporate Safeguarding Mid Term Report – April – September (2017/18) (REF) – Recommended

(3)   That the Committee continues to receive   six monthly updates on work carried out to improve corporate safeguarding   arrangements and the effectiveness of relevant policies.

Added   to work programme schedule.

Completed

Min. No. 627 –   Quarter 2 (2017-18) Performance Report: An Aspirational And Culturally   Vibrant Vale (DLS) – Recommended

That   the Quarter 2 Performance Monitoring report be noted and that arrangements be   made for the Conservation Planner to provide a presentation to the Committee   in due course.

Presentation   arranged for 23rd April 2018 meeting.

Completed

Min. No. 628 – 3rd   Quarter Scrutiny Decision Tracking of Recommendations and Updated Work   Programme Schedule 2017/18 (MD) – Recommended

(2)   That the updated Work Programme attached   at Appendix D to the report be approved to include the amendment of the date   of the meeting in March from 19th to 26th March, 2018   and the extraordinary meeting scheduled for 23rd April, 2018.

Work   programme updated and uploaded to the Council’s website.

Completed

12 February 2018

Min. No. 690 –   Impact of Work in the Central South Consortium’s Business Plan on Schools in   the Region and the Vale of Glamorgan – Recommended

That   both the Managing Director and the Senior Challenge Advisor be thanked for a   comprehensive report and that further regular updates be provided as   appropriate.

Added   to work programme schedule.

Completed

Min. No. 691 –   School Performance Report 2016-2017: Foundation Phase and Key Stages 2 to 5   (REF) –   Recommended

That the further   reports as outlined above be presented as appropriate and that the School   Performance Report 2016-2017: Foundation Phase and Key Stages 2 to 5 be   noted.

Added   to work programme schedule.

Completed

Min. No. 692 – Vale   Seren Programme (REF) – Recommended

That the progress in relation   to the programme be noted and that a further report be presented to the Scrutiny   Committee following the examination results in the summer of 2018 to provide   the Committee with an update on progress.

Added   to work programme schedule.

Completed

26 March 2018

Min. No. 824 –   Service Plan 2018 - 22: Performance and Development; Regeneration and   Planning; Strategy, Community Learning and Resources and Achievement for All   (DLS) –   Recommended

That   officers address the comments and provide responses as outlined above and   that the Performance and Development, Regeneration and Planning, Strategy,   Community Learning and Resources and Achievement for All Service Plans for   2018-22 be endorsed.

[Stress related sickness absence report to   be e-mailed to Members; re a gypsy and traveller site, representative from   the Regeneration and Planning Department to attend the next meeting of   Committee to provide an overview of the Historic Environment in the Vale and   an update]

Representative   for the Regeneration and Planning Department attended the meeting on 23rd   April, 2018.

Completed

Min. No. 826 –   Quarter 3 (2017-18) Performance Report: An Aspirational and Culturally   Vibrant Vale (DLS) – Recommended

(2)   That a report in relation to the credit   card pilot scheme with schools be presented to a future meeting of the   Scrutiny Committee.

Added   to work programme schedule.

Completed

Min. No. 828 –   Proposed Reconfiguration of Primary Provision in the Western Vale (REF) – Recommended

(2)   That the comments made at the meeting be   referred to Cabinet for its consideration following the consultation process.

The   Committee’s comments will be incorporated into a report to be presented to a   future Cabinet following the consultation process.

Completed

Min. No. 829 –   Reshaping of Youth Services (REF) – Recommended

That   Cabinet be requested to forward the final proposal post consultation to the   Committee for consideration prior to the final decision being made.

Cabinet,   on 30th April, 2018, noted the contents of the report.

(Minute   No. C284 refers)

Update   report being presented to meeting on 22nd May.

Completed

Min. No. 830 –  Co-Opted and Observer Membership of the   Learning and Culture Scrutiny Committee (HDS) – Recommended

(2)   That the Chairman,   in consultation with the Democratic Services Officer and the Governor Support   Unit address the issue of criteria as outlined above and that further   advertisement for the positions be undertaken in light of the revised   criteria with copies of the adverts being forwarded also to Clerks of   Governing Bodies for consideration by Governing Bodies.

Added   to work programme schedule

Completed

11   December 2017

Min. No. 536 –   Welsh Public Library Standards Performance 2016-2017 (DLS) – Recommended

(1)   That Cabinet be recommended to endorse the   Annual Return for 2016-2017 submitted to Welsh Government in June 2017.

Cabinet, on 22nd   January, 2018, resolved that the contents of the report be noted and the   Annual Return for 2016/17 submitted to Welsh Government in June 2017 be   endorsed.

(Min.   No. C187 refers)

Completed

(4)   That a Committee site visit to Barry   Library be arranged that possibly coincides with an open day.

Added   to work programme schedule

Completed

Min. No. 538 –   Initial Revenue Budget Proposals 2018/19 (DLS) – Recommended

(2)   That Cabinet, via a reference to the   Corporate Performance and Resources Scrutiny Committee, be requested to give   serious consideration to funding all the cost pressures identified for the   Learning and Skills Directorate, as detailed in Appendix 3 to the report.

Cabinet, on 22nd   January, 2018, resolved that the contents of the report be noted and passed   to the Budget Working Group for consideration in concluding the budget   proposals for 2018/19.

(Min.   No. C189 refers)

Completed

18 September 2017

Min. No. 280 –   Scrutiny Committees’ Draft Annual Report May 2016 to April 2017 (MD) – Recommended

(2)   That a review of   the Public Participation Guide be undertaken.

A   review of the guide is to be reported to the Democratic Services Committee as   the appropriate forum. 

Completed

 

(2)       T H A T the Forward Work Programme schedule attached at Appendix D to the report be approved, subject to the amendments agreed at the meeting, and uploaded to the Council’s website.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To maintain effective tracking of the Committee’s recommendations.

 

(2)       For information.