COMMUNITY LIAISON COMMITTEE
Minutes of a meeting held on 1st February, 2017.
Present: Councillor G. John (Chairman); Councillor Ms. B.E. Brooks (Vice-Chairman); Councillors Ms. J. Aviet, A.G. Bennett, Mrs. C.L. Curtis, Mrs. V.M. Hartrey, N.P. Hodges, P.G. King, Ms. R.F. Probert, R.P. Thomas, C.J. Williams and M.R. Wilson.
Also present: Councillor L. Burnett.
Representatives from Town and Community Councils: Councillors Mrs. S. Hodges (Barry Town Council), Mrs. C. Roach (Colwinston Community Council), J. Harries (Cowbridge with Llanblethian Town Council), A. Glanville (Ewenny Community Council), Mrs. A. Rees (Llancarfan Community Council), J. Teague (Llanfair Community Council), G. Smith (Llanmaes Community Council), Mrs. G. Marks (Michaelston le Pitt with Leckwith Community Council), K. Summers (Penllyn Community Council), Ms. A. Barnaby (St. Athan Community Council), G. Duffield (Welsh St. Donat’s Community Council) and C. Thomas (Wenvoe Community Council).
736 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE -
These were received from Councillor R.L. Traherne, Community Councillors P. Carreyett (Llandough Community Council), M. Hurst (Llandow Community Council), C. Tutton (Pendoylan Community Council), D. Moody-Jones (Peterston Super Ely Community Council), G. Rawson (St. Nicholas and Bonvilston Community Council) and M. Garland (Sully and Lavernock Community Council).
737 ANNOUNCEMENTS -
The Chairman welcomed Police Chief Inspector Gore to the Committee meeting as the new representative for the Committee from South Wales Police.
738 MINUTES -
AGREED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 19th October, 2016 be accepted as a correct record.
739 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -
The following declarations were received:
Councillors Ms. J. Aviet, Ms. B.E. Brooks, Mrs. C.L. Curtis, N.P. Hodges. G. John, P.G. King, C.J. Williams and M.R. Wilson declared an interest in Agenda Item No. 6 - Reshaping Services Programme. The nature of the interest was that they were Members of Town/Community Councils with a dispensation to speak and vote on the matter.
740 POLICE MATTERS -
Chief Inspector Gore introduced herself to the Committee, explaining that she had recently taken up the Chief Inspector role for the Vale of Glamorgan. Previously she had worked in Community Safety and with the Armed Forces Covenant within the Vale of Glamorgan.
Chief Inspector Gore advised that, previously, Response Officers had only worked out of Barry Police Station, which limited the response to rural areas in the Vale and made the service difficult to manage. She confirmed that five more Sergeants had been appointed, and the single response base had been separated into two bases, in Barry and Penarth with a car working out of the Llantwit Major Station. The arrangements would allow better cover over a larger working area, increase the visibility of officers and improve service. The new arrangements would be trialled over a three month period, after which, the response operations would be re-assessed with a view to maintaining this approach.
A Member raised a concern with regard to the police statistics for the Penarth area. The statistics had not been broken down into Wards, making particular reference to the St. Augustines and Plymouth Wards, which were currently reported together yet were very different areas of the town. The Member requested that the future statistics for the Wards in Penarth be received separately, as had been the case in previous years. Chief Inspector Gore confirmed that she would take the request back to the Station for consideration.
The representative of Penarth Town Council advised that they were informed at a recent PACT meeting that the Neighbourhood Officers had held drop-in sessions with the local Councillor which had proved to be successful and he was of the opinion that this should continue. A Member concurred with this particularly in regard to the Stanwell area as this approach helped to address town centre issues. Chief Inspector Gore advised that their focus was to engage with communities as much as possible.
The representative for St. Athan Community Council advised as to multiple issues experienced in the area with regards to speeding and had great concerns about pedestrian near misses. A letter had been sent to the Chief Constable from the Community Council, but no response had been received to date. The Community Council had now distributed a questionnaire to residents of St. Athan, to identify the main issues around speeding. Chief Inspector Gore requested that a copy of the letter be forwarded to her at Barry Police Station for her attention.
The representative for Cowbridge with Llanblethian Town Council asked Chief Inspector Gore for an update with regard to Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) recruitment. A PCSO was urgently needed in the Cowbridge High Street area particularly in regard to assistance with parking in the area.. A deterrent was required to prevent illegal long stay parking with particular attention given to large delivery vehicles. Chief Inspector Gore confirmed that she was aware of the PCSO vacancy in the area. There were currently only two PCSO vacancies across the Vale and she hoped these would be filled soon.
The Chairman stated that speeding was a huge issue and he fully supported the comments made by the St. Athan representative
In conclusion the Chairman thanked Chief Inspector Gore for her attendance and the information provided.
741 TOWN AND COMMUNITY COUNCIL ELECTIONS MAY 2017 -
The Returning Officer delivered a PowerPoint presentation to Committee to provide an overview of important points, specifically relevant to the Town and Community Council elections on 4th May, 2017.
The Officer highlighted the key Electoral Officers available to contact and informed Members that further Candidate and Agent Briefing sessions would be held on 23rd February and 3rd March, 2017. The briefing sessions would be held in an informal setting and Members were encouraged to book early if they wished to attend. The Officer also made reference to the Clerks meeting to be held in March 2017, and the Democratic Services Officer confirmed that an email had been sent to all Town and Community Clerks informing them of the meeting scheduled for 17th March and that further details would follow.
The Returning Officer addressed the key dates within the election calendar, and explained that the Publication of Notice of Election date on 20th March had been brought forward to allow extra time for nominations to be checked, before the close of nominations on 4th April. The Officer stressed that the close of nominations date was set by statute, therefore was strictly observed and reminded Members that if a time was not specified alongside the timetabled dates, the deadline time would be midnight on that date. The deadline time for return of election expenses was 28 days after the election results were declared, which was confirmed as midnight on 2nd June, 2017.
Once the pre-election period (Purdah) had commenced on 20th March it was essential that all Town and Community Councils remained neutral and did not promote any Candidate. The Returning Officer informed the Committee that the All Wales Monitoring Officer Group was finalising pre-election advice which she would distribute to all Clerks in due course.
In addition to the points made in the presentation with regard to the Clerk’s role, the Returning Officer informed the Committee of the Candidates and Agents Pack, which was available online via the Electoral Services section of the Vale of Glamorgan website and provided a detailed resource. The Electoral Registration Deputy Manager was available to contact for further advice.
The Returning Officer referred to a helpful set of papers, created by the Electoral Commission, which provided further guidance on each of the stages in the run up to elections and beyond. The Officer explained the qualification criteria that each candidate must fulfil in order to hold office and must not be disqualified:
The individual must not satisfy the criteria which would disqualify them as a candidate.
The Returning Officer advised the Committee that if a candidate met more than one of the qualifying criteria, it was advisable that this was included on their nomination form. The onus was on the candidate to complete the nomination form correctly. The only criteria that could be validated by the Electoral Registration Office was the candidate’s entry on the electoral register.
Nomination papers must be completed in full with originals submitted, and delivered by hand, to the Electoral Registration Office at the Civic Offices, Barry by 4.00 p.m. on Tuesday, 4th April, 2017. Party candidates must also submit their nomination papers by this deadline with a certificate of authorisation to use a party name/registered description on the ballot paper. Written requests to use one of the party emblems on the ballot paper must also be submitted by hand or post (emails would not be accepted).
A reminder was offered to the Committee that campaigning materials, such as leaflets and posters, must carry an imprint with details of the full name and full postal address of the printer, promoter and any person on behalf of whom the material is published (and who is not the promoter). The spending limit for Town / Community Council elections, was £740 per candidate plus 6p per electorate in the Ward. The Ward electorate was calculated as per the published electoral register as of the 1st March, 2017. The regulated period for the campaigning and expenditure was from 27th March to 4th May, 2017 or from when the candidate becomes an official candidate if later than 27th March. Election expenses must be submitted to the Returning Officer and will be available for public inspection. No reimbursement of expenditure will be available from the Vale of Glamorgan Council.
The Returning Officer advised that she was required to publish a Statement of Persons Nominated following close of nominations The names and addresses of candidates would appear on the notice together with the candidate’s description and candidates that were no longer nominated. She was also required to publish an uncontested notice in the event of an uncontested election. Individuals elected would not take office until four days after the day of election as per the provisions in the Local Government Act 1972. If there were not enough candidates to fill all the vacancies, Elected Members, would be able to co-opt other Members to fill the remaining vacancies, provided that the Council was quorate. If the Town/ Community Council failed to exercise the power to co-opt within seven weeks (35 working days), if there is no quorum, the Vale of Glamorgan Council may order a fresh election, in line with the Representation of the People Act 1983, to properly constitute the Town/Community Council
The public notice of results would be given at the count and the Returning Officer further clarified that the declaration of results would be published on the Vale’s website and would display the name of each candidate, total number of votes for each candidate, number of rejected papers and the reasons for rejection.
The Returning Officer also highlighted that the Council had a statutory requirement to conduct a survey of candidates following the election and that this would be undertaken by the Local Government Data Unit Wales on the Council’s behalf.
The Returning Officer advised the Clerks they needed to arrange an Annual Meeting to be held within 14 days of the election. Clerks also needed to be aware of electoral and non-electoral offences and ensure that all casual vacancies were filled either by election or co-option.
Following the conclusion of the presentation the Chairman thanked the Returning Officer for a very informative presentation.
742 RESHAPING SERVICES PROGRAMME PROJECT TEAM TOWN AND COMMUNITY COUNCILS AND VOLUNTARY SECTOR -
The Head of Performance and Development delivered a PowerPoint presentation to the Committee to update Members in regard to the Reshaping Services Programme, particularly in respect of the Town and Community Councils (TCCs).
The aim of the demanding programme was to reshape the Council to enable it to meet the future needs of citizens of the Vale of Glamorgan within the context of unprecedented financial challenges. The objectives were:
- To identify alternative ways of delivering services which provide better outcomes for citizens and / or more efficient means of delivery.
- To meet future financial challenges while mitigating the impact of cuts on service users.
- To develop the Council and its partners to ensure they are able to meet future challenges.
The Officer updated the Committee in regard to the Service Specific Projects, Corporate Projects and Programme Management Activities currently ongoing and advised that a more detailed Cabinet report from 23rd January, 2017 meeting had been circulated to all TCC Clerks via email prior to the meeting.
The Officer advised as to the highlights of the Town and Community Council and Voluntary Sector Project. Discussions had continued with the larger Councils and four libraries had been transferred from the Council with the Rhoose Community Library transfer being imminent. Work was underway to re-design Visible Services which sought to minimise service delivery impacts. Following the recent conclusion of a review of the Voluntary Sector Compact, a report was being considered at the next Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee meeting. There would also be an opportunity to review the Town and Community Council Charter, via this Committee, in the summer of 2017. The officer also informed Committee that ICT Services were developing a Digital Vale Strategy for consideration in Quarter 4.
The Officer advised that the Welsh Government settlements for 2017/18 were better than anticipated, therefore some savings targets had been deferred to 2018/19, it was therefore difficult at this stage to advise TCCs in relation to possible cuts to local services and therefore which services could potentially be transferred.
In referring to the Community Asset Transfer (CAT) guidance, approved by Cabinet in April 2016, Committee was reminded of the three stage process as follows:
(1) Expression of interest
(2) Full Business Plan
To date, six CAT cases had been received and were at business case development stage and it was hoped that they would be successful. More information on CATs was available on the website.
Cabinet had recently approved proposals to consider the way grant funding was co-ordinated with other sources to improve effectiveness of expenditure. Proposals with regard to the Strong Communities Grant Fund, were also being considered by the Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee to rationalise multiple sources of funding into a single “pot” with criteria to support strong communities in line with the Corporate Plan. The proposals would then go to Cabinet and more information would be presented to the Committee if these were approved.
The Officer advised that a Clerks Meeting had been arranged for 17th March, 2017, and the proposed agenda items were included within the presentation. In terms of next steps, it was reiterated that meetings with the larger TCCs would continue and discussions would be held with TCCs on request. There would be ongoing development of the savings proposals and it was advised that these should be seen in the context of the budget settlement from Welsh Government. Consideration of ‘people based’ services could be carried out alongside a review of the Voluntary Sector Compact.
Councillor Cuddy added that since the announcement of the Welsh Government settlement, progress had slowed on the delivery of the TCCs project. He was of the view that the Council needed to look at the delivery services differently and the review of Visible Services would provide an opportunity to do this. He advised that Councils were starting to work more closely with the Voluntary Sector and there were opportunities to work together in delivering the Reshaping Services Programme. He expressed concern that discussions relating to potential CATs from Penarth Town Council had not progressed. He advised that he could relay any comments in relation to the Reshaping Services Programme to the Project Team and Programme Board.
Following the presentation of the report a discussion took place during which the following matters were raised.
The representative from Barry Town Council expressed concern that a response had not been received following an email sent from the Town Clerk to Councillor Cuddy in relation to feedback from the meetings of the Projects Team and Programme Board.
Councillor Cuddy expressed concern that he had not received this correspondence and requested that it be sent to him. He further advised that he would be happy to meet with the Clerk to provide feedback from the Project Team and Programme Board.
The representative from Barry Town Council expressed concern that Town and Community Councils and the Voluntary Sector were being dealt with together, however, they were very different.
The Head of Performance and Development said he appreciated that the Voluntary Sector was not the same as the TCCs, and the fact that the Voluntary Sector and TCCs had separate Vale Council Committees through which matters could be raised was testament to that. There were however, considerable synergies between the two sectors, which is why the Reshaping Project strand included both.
A Member expressed the view that further leadership and guidance was required from the Vale to TCCs in terms of what services could be transferred.
The Head of Performance and Development advised that if the Council needed to cut a local service to achieve the required savings consultations would take place with the TCC concerned to discuss a possible transfer. However, the Council had not reached that point at present. The Head of Service reiterated that channels of communication were always open to discuss suggestions at any stage.
Councillor Cuddy informed the Committee that he had raised the issue of commercialisation at the Reshaping Services Programme Board. He was of the view that the Council should be talking to TCCs before decisions were made in regard to services, not once decisions had been made.
A Member expressed the view that the TCCs were concerned in regard to the timescales for transfer of services, in that not enough time would be allowed for TCCs to adjust their precepts to cover new services. Ample time was required to allow TCCs adequate time to prepare for and consider these matters.
The Head of Service advised that he appreciated the concerns that TCCs had raised in relation to allowing sufficient time for TCCs to consider raising their precepts if necessary with a view to taking on additional services.
A Member expressed concern that Barry Town Council had been encouraged to strengthen its infrastructure with a view to taking on additional services, however, when a suggestion had been put forward to transfer an asset to expand its services it had been unsuccessful.
The Head of Service advised that a positive meeting had recently taken place between the Leader and Managing Director of the Vale Council and the Leader and Clerk to Barry Town Council to discuss potential areas of transfer, and future meetings were being arranged to discuss matters further.
A Member expressed concern over the capability and resilience of some TCCs to provide new services and take on some services due to the variety of size and resources of some TCCs. They considered that TCCs capacity needed to increase in order to be in a position to take on services if they wished to do so.
The Head of Service acknowledged and appreciated the concerns raised around capability and resilience.
The representatives from Llanfair Community Council expressed the view that the smaller Community Councils were too small to take on any additional services. With no changes to TCCs structure expected to be proposed by the Welsh Government, the TCCs must continue as currently structured at present. A proposal to amalgamate smaller TCCs would be required for this situation to change.
The Chairman acknowledged and concurred with the Representative’s comment as some communities were very small with very little capacity to take on services. The Head of Service advised the idea of clustering had been proposed previously, although he was not aware that this had been progressed by any TCCs.
A Member expressed the view that not all TCCs understood the term ‘double taxation’ and this needed to be explained more clearly.
The Chairman acknowledged the Member’s comment as a valid point and stated that it was important to discuss and clarify this issue in the future.
Following the presentation the Chairman thanked the Head of Performance and Development and Councillor Cuddy for the update on the Reshaping Services Programme.
743 VALE OF GLAMORGAN PUBLIC SERVICES BOARD – DRAFT WELL-BEING ASSESSMENT -
The Head of Performance and Development apprised the Committee in relation to the draft Well-Being Assessment created by the Vale of Glamorgan Public Service Board (PSB). The PSB had a statutory duty to consult with Town and Community Councils on the assessment and it was distributed to TCCs on 9th January, 2017.
The PSB must publish a Well-being Plan by May 2018 which must be informed by a Well-being Assessment. Statutory guidance sets out the process by which PSBs must produce an assessment of the state of well-being in the PSB area. This assessment must be published twelve months before the publication of the PSB's Well-being Plan, therefore by May 2017. The PSB must publish a set of well-being objectives within the Well-being Plan and these must be designed in such a way as to maximise the PSB's contribution to the achievement of the national well-being goals as laid out within the Act.
The Well-being of Future Generations Act also places a duty on Community and Town Councils with a gross income or expenditure of at least £200,000 for each of the three financial years preceding the year in which the local well-being plan is published to take "all reasonable steps" towards meeting the local objectives set out in the area's local well-being plan.
A Community or Town Council which is subject to this duty must also publish a report annually detailing its progress in meeting the objectives contained in the local well-being plan.
The assessment must consider the state of economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being in the area and provide an accurate analysis of the state of well-being in each community and in the area as a whole, capturing the strengths and assets of the people and communities in the area.
Extensive work had been undertaken to draft the Well-being Assessment with the aim of publishing it in April 2017. At the PSB meeting on the 15th December the PSB approved the draft assessment for consultation.
The consultation was taking place between the 9th January and the 5th February 2017 and included a short on-line survey, drop in sessions in three libraries, Stakeholder workshops and attendance at a number of Forums e.g. the Youth Forum and the 50+ Strategy Forum. The revised assessment would then need to be approved by the PSB on the 9th March to enable translation and publication by the beginning of April. It was intended that the draft assessment be presented to Cabinet on the 6th March. Although the assessment did not have to be published until early May the PSB has agreed to make every effort to publish at the beginning of April to avoid the weeks before the local government elections.
All Community and Town Councils had been invited to comment on the draft Assessment and had been invited to attend a stakeholder workshop. They would also be consulted on the local well-being plan and well-being objectives.
The Community Profiles provided an overview of the Vale and each of the three community areas. It was expected that as part of the consultation on the draft assessment that these would be enhanced with input from the public and other stakeholders. The three community areas were agreed by the PSB as they reflected how services were currently provided by partners.
The four detailed evidence reports were being prepared to cover all aspects of well-being and provided a wealth of information about the Vale of Glamorgan. Work was continuing to refine the detailed evidence reports for publication in April. These reports were structured around four themes:
- Having an active and healthy future
- Being part of safe and inclusive communities
- Maximising opportunities and attainment
- Our environment
In November 2016 the PSB held a workshop to consider the key findings emerging from the assessment and to consider where they could collectively add value to improve well-being and where further work would be needed to help develop the PSB's well-being objectives and Well-being Plan. The conclusions reached by the PSB when considering all the information were that the following areas should be the focus of further work and the subject of more detailed research and analysis:
- Ensuring young children had a good start in life and preventing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE)
- Tackling inequalities linked to deprivation, focusing on a range of issues which were more acute in some of our more deprived communities. This provided an opportunity for a place based approach and built on some of the PSB’s existing work.
- Protecting, enhancing and valuing the environment as one of our greatest assets to ensure the natural resources of Wales were sustainably maintained, enhanced and used now and into the future.
- Improving our engagement with our communities, utilising existing networks and being more innovative including the promotion of volunteering.
Following the presentation of the report by the Head of Performance and Development, Councillor Cuddy apprised the Committee of his attendance at a recent workshop on the Wellbeing Assessment. He advised that TCCs with a gross income or gross expenditure of at least £200,000 would be required to take steps to meet the PSB objectives and would need to be involved in the development of the objectives of the Plan. Furthermore, these TCCs would be required to publish a report annually detailing their progress in meeting the objectives contained in the Wellbeing Plan.
The Representative from Barry Town Council expressed disappointment that they had not been asked to contribute to the draft assessment earlier in the process. The Head of Performance and Development advised the Committee that all TCCs had been asked for their views in May 2016 and this was the second stage of consultation . The assessment document had been circulated extensively. The Council was following statutory guidance in terms of consultation and the TCCs would be further consulted in due course.
The representative from St. Athan Community Council complimented the assessment document; however she queried how the outcomes within the assessment would be implemented in St. Athan. The Head of Performance and Development informed the Committee that the assessment, including its locality aspects, would inform the development of the Wellbeing Plan. One of the main areas for the PSB to focus on was tackling deprivation and this would be the subject of further work by the PSB when writing the Wellbeing Plan. A Member drew the Committee’s attention to the data contained within Appendices D and E of the document and expressed the view that the document provided TCCs with interesting data to be able to compare differences between Wards. The Member was of the view that the information should be shared and suggested that the detailed breakdown of the comparison data that was presented to the Corporate Performance and Resources Scrutiny Committee should be circulated to all the TCC Clerks. The Chairman agreed that a breakdown of the data would be useful due to the size of the document and the large amount of information contained therein.
Following consideration of the report, it was
AGREED - T H A T officers be requested to inform the PSB of the comments of the Committee.
Reason for recommendation
To inform the PSB as to the comments of the Committee in relation to the draft Wellbeing Assessment.
744 FIRE SERVICE STATISTICS FOR THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN FIRE SERVICE AREA -
The Fire Service statistics for the Vale of Glamorgan from April 2016 to December 2016 were presented to the Committee for information. The figures detailed in the statistics for the whole of South Wales, the Vale of Glamorgan and individually for Cowbridge, Llantwit Major, Barry and Penarth.
AGREED - T H A T the Fire Service statistics be noted.