Agenda Item No 16
The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Cabinet Meeting: 30 July, 2018
Report of the Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood Services and Transport
Establishment of Wales Coastal Monitoring Centre in the Vale of Glamorgan Council
Purpose of the Report
- To establish the Wales Coastal Monitoring Centre (WCMC) within the Neighbourhood Services and Transport team at the Vale of Glamorgan Council.
- That Cabinet notes the business case for a Wales Coastal Monitoring Centre as accepted by Welsh Government.
- That Cabinet agrees to the Vale of Glamorgan Council acting as employer and grant recipient for the Welsh Coastal Monitoring Centre as part of a consortium comprising the Vale of Glamorgan Council, Gwynedd Council, Conwy County Borough Council and the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA).
- That Cabinet authorises the Monitoring Officer/Head of Legal and Democratic Services in consultation with the Head of Neighbourhood Services and Transport and the Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood Services and Transport to enter into all necessary legal agreements to manage and deliver the WCMC programme on behalf of the consortium.
- That Cabinet authorises the Head of Neighbourhood Services and Transport to undertake all necessary recruitment as employer for the Wales Coastal Monitoring Centre.
Reasons for the Recommendations
- To ensure that Cabinet is aware of the purpose and proposed arrangements for establishing a Wales Coastal Monitoring Centre.
- To enable the Council to act as employer and funding recipient for the Wales Coastal Monitoring Centre.
- To enable delivery of a three year programme of coastal monitoring around the Welsh coastline including the use of existing resources within the consortium.
- To enable the recruitment of staff to manage and deliver the coastal monitoring programme.
- The need to undertake appropriate coastal monitoring underpins most flood and coastal erosion risk management (FCERM) activities and is embedded in the Shoreline Management Plan framework. The Wales Coastal Group Forum, including representatives from Welsh Government, Local Authorities and NRW recognised the need for a coordinated approach to coastal monitoring in Wales which led to the creation of the original Wales Coastal Monitoring Centre (WCMC) in 2010. The WCMC was funded by the Welsh Government for an initial period of three years and was hosted by Gwynedd Council. The initial funding did not include the provision of any data collection which at that time was funded through Coastal Groups or individual authorities.
- The WCMC is referred to in the National Strategy for Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management in Wales (November 2011). All risk management authorities, as defined by the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, must act in a manner consistent with the national FCERM Strategy and guidance when delivering FCERM functions, and have regard to them when acting in any other capacity.
- Funding for the WCMC was extended by Welsh Government until August 2014 whilst discussions continued regarding a model and funding for data collection around Wales. Since August 2014 the WCMC has effectively been dormant.
- Since 2014 negotiations over the future role and funding mechanism for the WCMC have been ongoing. Initial consultation was undertaken amongst Risk Management Authorities to gauge expressions of interest to join a consortium in January 2015 and again in July 2016. This initial process generated interest from 3 maritime Local Authorities, NRW, Aberystwyth and Bangor Universities and the Welsh Local Government Association.
- A delivery model was developed in consultation with Welsh Government which consists of a joint local authorities' management approach with the Vale of Glamorgan Council as the employer and grant recipient body, working as part of a consortium with Gwynedd Council, Conwy County Borough Council and the WLGA to deliver the service. The consortium will be supported by an Advisory Panel comprising of Natural Resources Wales, the Wales Coastal Groups Forum and academic representatives. This model will promote a pro-active collaboration benefiting from the best expertise and opportunities available in Wales and beyond, and will offer further opportunities to help deliver the Well-Being of Future Generations Act, Environment Act and additional wider benefits with the Vale of Glamorgan as lead authority enhancing the reputation and status of the Council in this area of expertise.
- A business case (Appendix A) was submitted to Welsh Government in December 2017 and an offer of grant funding was received in March 2018.
Relevant Issues and Options
- As detailed in the attached business case (Appendix A), four options were considered when developing the preferred delivery model for the WCMC. The preferred model is an optimised risk-based approach, based upon Welsh Government funding the WCMC with 2 full-time employees to develop and deliver a coherent and co-ordinated risk based monitoring programme on behalf of the Welsh Maritime Risk Management Authorities.
- Recruitment will be led by this Council in accordance with recruitment policy. Initial proposals are to recruit a Programme Manager and Coastal Process Scientist to address a skills and capacity gap in south Wales and to support other southern local authorities. Monitoring activities in North Wales are already resourced by Conwy and Gwynedd Councils and the existing arrangements will be utilised to deliver surveys in the north.
- The principal monitoring and analytical tasks to be undertaken by the WCMC are as follows:
- Bi-annual beach survey and data collection;
- Data management and quality control in partnership with Channel Coastal Observatory or LIe portal;
- Online data dissemination;
- Analysis and reporting of data;
- Integration of data to deliver national objectives and
- Programme performance review.
- Membership and Governance arrangements for the consortium are outlined in Appendix A, Chapter VIII.
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)
- The Council, on behalf of the WCMC Consortium has secured a Welsh Government Flood Risk Management Grant to fully fund the WCMC for 2018-19 and 2019-20. The offer also indicates funding for 2020-21 subject to confirmation of Welsh Government budgets. No funding contribution is required from the Council.
- The grant offer is for £300,000 each financial year, less than the sum requested in the business case. The Consortium will agree, subject to the acceptance of the recommendations above, a programme of surveys based on the reduced funding availability for the term of the programme. Revised cost estimates are included below.
Monitoring Programme & data management
Staff cost - Programme Manager
Staff cost - Coastal Process Scientist
- The proposals include the recruitment of a Programme Manager and Coastal Scientist to be hosted by the Vale of Glamorgan Council. The Programme Manager costs are based on a Grade I post and the Coastal Process Scientist Grade F, with both posts still subject to job evaluation. Staff costs in 2018/19 are likely to be reduced and survey costs increased accordingly to avoid underspend. Six months staff costs have therefore been transferred to the contingency estimate for 2018/19 pending an anticipated reallocation towards surveys. Slippage of Welsh Government funding between financial years is not possible. All contracts will be temporary until 31 March 2020 and extended once confirmation of funding 2020-21 is received. Additional staff members, either part-time or on a casual basis, may be employed to deliver coastal surveys within the constraints of available funding.
- Subject to acceptance of the above recommendations, an appropriate Memorandum of Understanding and / or contracts will be established to enable other consortium members to undertake surveys or other such services for the monitoring programme and recharge costs to the Vale of Glamorgan Council.
Sustainability and Climate Change Implications
- The proposed programme is designed to monitor the predicted impacts of Climate Change relating to flood and coastal erosion risk management.
Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)
- There are no legal implications to this report. Recruitment will be undertaken in accordance with the Council's recruitment and selection policy, utilising temporary contracts aligned with the Welsh Government grant funding. The three year business case submitted to Welsh Government allowed for redundancy rights acquired by workers on temporary contracts extending beyond two years. Should funding for 2020-21 not be made available by Welsh Government then the two temporary posts may not acquire these rights.
Crime and Disorder Implications
- There are no crime and disorder implications in respect of this report.
Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)
- All recruitment will be bilingual.
- Corporate Objective 4: Promoting sustainable development and protecting our environment.
- Service Objective ER18: Minimise the risk and impact of flooding and coastal erosion via an effective Flood Risk Management Plan, flood reduction measures and a Shoreline Management Plan.
Policy Framework and Budget
- This matter is within the policy framework and budget and is a matter for executive decision by Cabinet.
Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)
- All maritime local authorities in Wales, Natural Resources Wales and the Welsh Coastal Groups were consulted and found supportive of proposed arrangements.
- There is no Ward Member consultation required as the proposal is a Vale wide matter.
Relevant Scrutiny Committee
- Environment and Regeneration.
Clive Moon, Engineering Manager - Environment
Committee Reports - Legal
Neighbourhood Services and Transport - Accountant
Operational Manager - HR
Miles Punter - Director of Environment and Housing Services