Agenda Item No 5

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Shared Regulatory Services Joint Committee: 27th February 2018

 

Report of the Director of Environment and Housing

 

Update on Review of Arrangements for Stray Dog Provision

Purpose of the Report

 

  1. To provide an update on the review of arrangements for dealing with straying dogs first presented to the Joint Committee at its meeting on 26th September 2017; and to seek approval for the new arrangements proposed.

Recommendation

  1. It is recommended that the Joint Committee approves the appointment of Hope Rescue and Cardiff Dogs Home as the providers of kennelling for stray dogs in the SRS region, from 1st April 2018.

Reason for the Recommendation

  1. To enable the appointments to be made and for contracts to be agreed and operational from the start of the new financial year.

Background

  1. The Environmental Protection Act 1990 requires Local Authorities to deal with unaccompanied dogs on public land as strays, regardless of whether they are wearing a collar and disc, or have been micro-chipped.  Straying dogs are seized by SRS Animal Wardens, and those that cannot be returned to their owner immediately are retained for a mandatory period of seven days. If a dog is not reclaimed by its owner then upon expiry of the seven day period, the law permits the Council to rehome the animal, or if necessary, put it to sleep.
  2. In cases where a member of the public finds a stray dog, they can hand it over into the care of the Local Authority so that it can be looked after, as above, for the seven day period, or until it is reclaimed by its owner.
  3. The continuation of legacy arrangements has meant that that the stray dog service provided by SRS varies across the three Local Authority areas. Thus dogs straying in the Vale of Glamorgan or Bridgend areas have been kennelled at premises in Bridgend County Borough, while dogs straying in the Cardiff area have been kennelled by a Cardiff provider. In addition, residents in the Vale of Glamorgan and Bridgend areas have traditionally enjoyed a collection service for dogs found straying out of hours, while Cardiff residents have not had this option available to them.
  4. As outlined at the September 2017 Joint Committee meeting, the kennelling in Bridgend of all dogs found straying anywhere in the Vale of Glamorgan has resulted in the anomaly of animals being transported long distances when Cardiff Dogs Home is in much quicker reach of conurbations such as Penarth, Dinas Powys and Barry. In addition to the significant travel cost and travel time this has created for the SRS Animal Wardens, the arrangement has proved inconvenient for residents trying to claim stray dogs.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. Under the guidance of the Vale of Glamorgan Council Procurement team, a service specification was established together with quotation criteria, and applications invited via the Sell2Wales site for the provision of kennelling for stray dogs found in the Bridgend and western Vale of Glamorgan Council areas. The closing date was 8th January 2018 and one application was received. The applicant, Hope Rescue, is a registered animal charity based in Llanharan near the borders of both Bridgend county borough and the Vale of Glamorgan; and the application met all the quotation criteria.
  2. An interim arrangement is already in place with Hope Rescue for the kennelling of dogs found straying in Bridgend. This follows the decision by the previous provider to withdraw its services prior to commencement of the quotation process. The standard of care provided by Hope Rescue to date and resident feedback have both been excellent, and the Service therefore has confidence in the charity providing these facilities going forward.
  3. Since September and following guidance from the Vale of Glamorgan Procurement team, the Service has engaged with Cardiff Dogs Home to secure additional space for dogs found straying in the eastern part of the Vale of Glamorgan to be kennelled, (in addition to those found straying in the Cardiff area). Cardiff Dogs Home was exempt from the quotation process based on internal provision / inter-authority co-operation.
  4. Committee will note that the proposed new arrangements will include out of hours drop off facilities at the kennelling providers, but not an out of hours collection service. As indicated in the September 2017 report, the discontinuation of an out of hours facility in the Bridgend and Vale of Glamorgan areas will result in a saving of approximately £13,000 per annum. The new arrangements offer value for money and will ensure the service is able to continue to operate effectively in the control and management of stray dogs.
  5. Consequently, the Committee is asked to approve the appointment of Hope Rescue and Cardiff Dogs Home as the providers of kennelling for stray dogs in the SRS region, from 1st April 2018.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. There are no adverse resource implications for the service; the proposed new arrangements will yield both staff efficiency and cost savings.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. There are no immediate sustainability or climate change concerns associated with this report, indeed the proposal would see a reduction in travel both for SRS Animal Wardens and members of the public when reclaiming lost dogs.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. Each of the Authorities would continue to provide a the statutorily required level of service and as such, no adverse implications have been identified.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. There are no immediate crime and disorder implications associated with this report. The proposals outlined above have no bearing on existing provision by both SRS and South Wales Police in dealing with dangerous dogs.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. There are no anticipated equal opportunities implications associated with this report. The Shared Service will ensure that its enforcement activity reflects this position and is in keeping with the Equality Statements and Policies of the participant Authorities.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. Harmonising and updating stray dog provision as outlined above links with the participant Authorities' stated objectives which are reflected in the Shared Regulatory Service themes of 'Protecting the environment', 'Improving health and wellbeing', and 'Maximising the use of resources''.

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. The key service and improvement objectives contained in the SRS Business Plan identify and link to the Corporate Plans of each Council.  This proposal is focused upon the environment, health and wellbeing maximising resources components of the plan. It is intended that the adopted Scrutiny regime will engage in the review and developments of plans, policies and strategies that support the corporate objectives of each Council.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. No specific consultation has been undertaken in relation to this report.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. The SRS is currently scrutinised through the arrangements in place at each partner Council.

Background Papers

None

Contact Officer

Helen Picton, Operational Manager

Officers Consulted

Corporate Director, Bridgend County Borough Council

Director of Environment, City of Cardiff Council

Director of Environment and Housing Services, Vale of Glamorgan

Accountant, Vale of Glamorgan Council

Legal Services, Vale of Glamorgan Council

Responsible Officer:

Miles Punter - Director of Environment and Housing