Meeting documents

Ordinary Meeting of the Council
Thursday, 27th July, 2017 10.30 am

Date: Thursday 27th July 2017 Time: 10.30 a.m. Place: Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Ebbw Vale

Please note: all Minutes are subject to approval at the next Meeting

PresentAndReport toReport of
COUNCILLOR D. HANCOCK (THE CHAIR,
PRESIDING)
Item
No
Item/Resolution Status Action
PUBLIC
1. TUDALEN GLAWR AGENDA/WELSH VERSION OF AGENDA COVERSHEET
Tudalen Glawr Agenda Gymraeg/Welsh Agenda Coversheet (251K/bytes)
Noted
2. PRAYERS

The Chair of the Council said Members would be aware that at the last meeting it was agreed to introduce the role of Chair of the Council, and he was honoured to have been nominated for the role. He said previously the Mayor identified a chaplain to informally offer prayers before each scheduled Council meeting and he intended to continue with that tradition, and advised Members that Rev. Roy Watson would be offering prayers at future meetings.

Noted
3. SIMULTANEOUS TRANSLATION

It was noted that no requests had been received for the simultaneous translation service.

Noted
4. APOLOGIES

Apologies for absence were received from: -

Councillors P. Baldwin, M. Day, K. Hayden, G. Thomas,
L. Winnett, T. Sharrem

Noted
5. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST AND DISPENSATIONS

There were no declarations of interest or dispensations reported.

Noted
6. MINUTE BOOK - FEBRUARY - JULY 2017

The Council Minute Book for February - July 2017 was submitted for consideration, whereupon:-

Annual Meeting of the Council - 25th May, 2017

A Member referred to the fourth paragraph on page 67 and reported that the word 'scrutinised' should be amended to read 'commissioned'.

RESOLVED, subject to the foregoing, that the Minutes be approved and confirmed as a true record of proceedings.

Agreed
7. ANNUAL MEETING OF THE COUNCIL
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A Member referred to the fourth paragraph on page 67 and reported that the word 'scrutinised' should be amended to read 'commissioned'.

Agreed
8. SPECIAL MEETING OF THE COUNCIL
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9. SPECIAL MEETING OF THE COUNCIL
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10. SPECIAL MEETING OF THE COUNCIL
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11. STATUTORY LICENSING COMMITTEE
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12. PLANNING COMMITTEE
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13. SPECIAL GENERAL LICENSING COMMITTEE
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14. PLANNING COMMITTEE
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15. STATUTORY LICENSING COMMITTEE
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16. GENERAL LICENSING COMMITTEE
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17. SPECIAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
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18. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
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19. SOCIAL SERVICES SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
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20. AUDIT COMMITTEE
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21. PUBLIC SERVICES BOARD SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
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22. CORPORATE OVERVIEW SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
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23. EDUCATION AND LEARNING SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
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24. ENVIRONMENT, REGENERATION & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
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25. SOCIAL SERVICES SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
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26. AUDIT COMMITTEE
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27. SPECIAL AUDIT COMMITTEE
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Agreed
28. MEMBERS QUESTIONS

The following questions were submitted by Members:-

To the Deputy Leader re Street Scene Improvements Report

The Street Scene Improvements report submitted to the Executive on 26th July, 2017 was described as a 'political manifesto commitment'. In light of this, would the Deputy Leader/Executive Member for Environment give a detailed statement indicating the latest financial position and 2017/18 outturn forecast for the Department, as well as an explanation of how under his political direction the projected annual cost pressure of 300,000 would be met.

The Deputy Leader said Members would be aware that at the Annual Meeting of the Council in May 2017 the Leader, Councillor N. Daniels proposed that savings in the Democratic Services budget be vired into the Environmental Services budget and ring-fenced for specific street cleaning initiatives.

The report considered by the Executive on the 26th July, 2017 'Street Scene Improvements' was the culmination of a process building on the Council resolution in May 2017, involving both Officers and Members to:-

- Fulfil manifesto priorities; and
- Enable the Council to work towards more community involvement and cohesion to improve the local environmental quality within Blaenau Gwent.

The Deputy Leader also said Members would be aware that the Annual Cycle of Meetings was agreed at the Annual Meeting, and it was an accepted process that quarterly budget monitoring reports be considered initially by the Joint Budget Scrutiny Committee and then the Executive Committee. The first opportunity for these Committees to consider the 2017/2018 budget monitoring reports was the 11th September, 2017 and 27th September, 2017 respectively.

The Council agreed its Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) to 2019/2020 in January 2017, and planning for future year's budgets had commenced based on the assumptions and funding gaps identified in the MTFS. All Members and Stakeholders would have several opportunities to comment on all elements of the budget, including savings, cost pressures and growth items. However, ultimately it would be for the Council to agree the budget.

The Leader of the Labour Group then asked the following supplementary question:

Whilst we agree with the principles of the report, would it have been more prudent to wait until notification of the settlement figure for next year, in light of potential substantial cost pressures moving forward and the difficult decisions that would need to be taken to achieve a balanced budget.

The Deputy Leader confirmed that any financial constraints would be addressed in the formal manner. He referred to the Cost Pressure Sub-Group that was set up by the previous administration and said there was merit in continuing this process to focus on those unfunded cost pressures and any others that may arise throughout the year.

To the Leader of the Council

Would the Leader make a statement outlining the reasons why a reasonable request to allow all Members of the Council an opportunity to scrutinise and debate the Street Scene Improvements Report (Environment, Regeneration & Economic Development 24th July, 2017) was refused.

The Leader of the Council said the request was considered, but the decision was taken following consultation with the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Environment, Regeneration & Economic Development Scrutiny Committee and the Executive Member, and also the fact that it fell within the normal work of the Scrutiny Committee and reflected the on-going work programme. He confirmed that the democratic process had been followed and the report had been considered by the Scrutiny Committee and the Executive Committee.

The Leader of the Labour Group said the report was about a manifesto commitment, putting a substantial cost pressure on the budget. He referred to p.63 of the minutes of the Annual Meeting held on 25th May, 2017 where the Leader gave assurance that full scrutiny would be undertaken on all reports where possible, and that Joint Scrutiny Committees would be convened for any contentious issues affecting all Members.

The Leader said he did not feel that taking additional measures to keep the Borough clean and tidy was contentious. The decision had been taken in conjunction with the Scrutiny Chair and Vice-Chair and CMT, and WAO had also been informed of the proposals and they had no concerns. He assured that the integrity of the Scrutiny process would be preserved and Joint Scrutiny Committees would be convened to consider contentious issues affecting all Members of the Borough.

Noted
29. PUBLIC QUESTIONS

There were no questions submitted by members of the public.

Noted
30. PROPOSED COUNCIL FORWARD WORK PROGRAMME 2017-18
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Consideration was given to the report of the Corporate Performance Manager.

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and the proposed Council Forward Work Programme for 2017/18 be approved.

Agreed
31. STATEMENT OF PAYMENTS MADE TO MEMBERS IN 2016/2017
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The report of the Principal Payroll Officer was submitted for consideration.

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and the publication of the Statement of Payments for 2016/17 in line with Statutory Guidance be approved.

Agreed
32. SCHEDULE OF MEMBERS REMUNERATION 2017-18
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Members considered the report of the Head of Exchequer Services.

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and

„ the Schedule of Members Remuneration 2017/18 be accepted and published following the required updates; and

„ That any in year amendments to the Schedule be communicated to the IRPW.

Agreed
33. THE IMPROVEMENT AND WELL-BEING OBJECTIVES FOR THE COUNCIL
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Members considered the report of the Temporary Lead Corporate Director/Head of Paid Service.

The Temporary Lead Corporate Director/Head of Paid Service spoke briefly to the report which had been submitted to both Scrutiny and the Executive. He said the Council was currently under two separate pieces of legislation with responsibilities for the Council under both elements. However, in order to not have two separate planning documents, Welsh Government have stated that both could be aligned and it was therefore intended to use our Well-being Objectives as our Improvement Objectives. The report sought approval prior to publication of the Well-being Objectives before 31st July, 2017.

The Temp Lead Corporate Director clarified points raised by a Member, and it was

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and the Well-being Objectives would act as the Council's Improvement Objectives in order to satisfy both pieces of legislation (Measure and the Act).

Agreed
34. TREASURY MANAGEMENT ANNUAL REVIEW REPORT 1ST APRIL 2016 TO 31ST MARCH 2017
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Appendix B (22K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Chief Finance Officer.

The Chief Finance Officer presented the report which gave a summary of the Treasury Management activities carried out by the Authority during the 2016/17 financial year. He drew Members' attention to section 2.3 of the main report which stated that despite the financial climate the Authority had performed well against its targets. He also reminded Members that a Members' Briefing Session had been arranged for 6th September, 2017 covering all aspects of Treasury Management.

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and the information contained therein be accepted together with the record of performance and compliance achieved during the 2016/17 during the 2016/17 financial year.

Agreed
35. ANNUAL REPORT OF THE DIRECTOR OF SOCIAL SERVICES 2016/17
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The report of the Corporate Director of Social Services was submitted for consideration.

The Executive Member for Social Services presented the report which was a statutory responsibility of the Director of Social Services. He said there had been changes to the reporting framework for 2017-2018, but the new framework had been used for 2016-2017 in order to test our information in readiness for the new reporting requirements. The main themes within the report was the implementation of the Social Services and Well-being Act 2014. Since its implementation on 6th April, 2016 there had been substantial progress throughout the year with a significant culture change required for staff, as well as preparation for the implementation of the information advice and assistance service. However, there was still some work to be done, both regionally and local to comply fully with the Act.

Also linked to the Act was the preparation for the implementation of the Wales Community Care Information System which went live on the 15th May, 2017, and Blaenau Gwent was the first area across Gwent to implement this health and social care computer system.

The Executive Member reported that positive comments had been received from the CSSIW following their visit, and some areas for development had been identified for the coming year. He concluded that the report had been considered by the Social Services Scrutiny Committee and the Executive.

In response to a question raised by a Member, the Leader of the Council assured that rigid financial control within Social Services and Education would remain a priority for the new administration. He said the report was mindful of the financial situation within Social Services and hopefully the Edge of Care report would go some way to alleviating the cost pressure within Children's Services.

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and the information contained within the Annual Report of the Director of Social Services be approved.

Agreed
36. TASK & FINISH GROUP - WORKING IN A PAPERLESS ENVIRONMENT
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Appendix 5 (749K/bytes)


Members considered the report of the Chief Finance Officer.

The Leader of the Council presented the report which detailed the outcomes of the Task & Finish Group set up to review the ICT for Members Scheme and the paperless environment. He said he was pleased that the outcomes reflected those of the previous Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee and commended those Members involved, particularly Councillor Winnett who had made a significant contribution to the report, particularly sections 4.2 and 4.3.

The Leader confirmed that the Executive supported the recommendation of the Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee, as detailed in paragraphs 4.2 and 4.3 of the summary report, and it was

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and the Council approve the following:-

i. the preferred option of the Task & Finish Group, namely option 2a; and

ii. the recommendations of the Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee, as detailed in sections 4.2 and 4.3 of the summary report.

Agreed
37. FOLLOW UP TO WELSH GOVERNMENT STATEMENT ON 27TH JUNE REGARDING FUNDING OF 100M OVER 10 YEARS IN BLAENAU GWENT
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Consideration was given to the report of the Temporary Lead Corporate Director/Head of Paid Service.

The Leader of the Council reported that he had met with the Cabinet Secretary and relevant Officers on the 4th July, 2017 where it was confirmed that the funding was additional funding for the whole of Blaenau Gwent.

In terms of political representation at future meetings he felt it was appropriate for Portfolio holders to take responsibility for their respective areas, and therefore the Executive Member for Regeneration & Economic Development, Councillor D. Davies, would be representing the Authority along with the Temp Lead Corporate Director/Head of Paid Service and the Corporate Director for Environment & Regeneration.

A Member referred to Welsh Government's decision to not support the Circuit of Wales project, and asked whether an automotive technology business park would be sustainable without the Circuit of Wales.

The Executive Member for Regeneration & Economic Development said the companies spoken to were comfortable that the proposed manufacturing space could provide the facilities they needed, and on land in public ownership. He also reported that the Circuit of Wales have stated that they want to be involved in the proposals for a technology park.

The Leader of the Council confirmed that communication between Officers and the Heads of the Valleys Development Board have continued with no commitment on either side, but very much looking at reconfiguration of their original proposals, and this would form part of discussions as it progressed. He also confirmed that opportunities for neighbouring Authorities would also be explored through City Deal.

A discussion ensued regarding the land identified for the Circuit of Wales and the Temporary Head of Public Services confirmed that the land was still in the ownership of the commoners.

The Temp Lead Corporate Director/Head of Paid Service undertook to raise the issue of land ownership with the Heads of the Valleys Development Board.

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and Members acknowledge the latest position and anticipated next steps.

Agreed
38. MEMBERSHIPS/SUBSCRIPTIONS
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Consideration was given to:-

Adult Learning Wales (formerly Workers Education Association YMCA Wales Community College - WEA YMCA CC Cymru)

RESOLVED that the change of name of the above outside body be noted.

Blaenau Gwent & Caerphilly Care & Repair (formerly Blaenau Gwent Care & Repair Board)

RESOLVED that the change of name of the above outside body be noted.

Advisory Panel for the Appointment of Local Authority Governors

The following recommendations were made by the Panel on 14th July, 2017 to appoint:-

Kathryn Cross - Cwm Primary
Gareth Davies - Rhos Y Fedwen
Donna Hardman - Georgetown Primary
Bernard Willis - Deighton Primary
Lyn Elias - Agreed - Blaen-y-Cwm Primary
Haydn Trollope - Deighton Primary
John Hill - Ysgol Bro Helyg
Roy Lynch - Beaufort Primary

Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously,

RESOLVED that the above appointments be endorsed.

The Leader of the Council also reported that the Constitutional Working Party that was disbanded in 2014 would be reconvened, and asked that nominations be submitted to Democratic Services.

Agreed
39. FUTURE TIME OF COUNCIL MEETINGS

Following a discussion it was,

RESOLVED that the future Council Meetings commence at 10.30 a.m.

Agreed
TO RECEIVE AND CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING REPORT(S) WHICH IN THE OPINION OF THE PROPER OFFICER IS/ARE AN EXEMPT ITEM(S) TAKING INTO ACCOUNT CONSIDERATION OF THE PUBLIC INTEREST TEST AND THAT THE PRESS AND PUBLIC SHOULD BE EXCLUDED FROM THE MEETING (THE REASON FOR THE DECISION FOR THE EXEMPTION IS AVAILABLE ON A SCHEDULE MAINTAINED BY THE PROPER OFFICER)
40. SHORTLISTING JNC OFFICERS
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Having regard to the views expressed by the Proper Officer regarding the public interest test, that on balance the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighed the public interest in disclosing the information and that the report should be exempt.

RESOLVED that the public be excluded whilst this item of business is transacted as it is likely there would be a disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 12 & 13, Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act, 1972 (as amended).

Consideration was given to the report of the meeting held on 31st March, 2017.

RESOLVED that the report which related to staffing matters be accepted and the candidate named therein be invited for interview.

Agreed
41. APPOINTMENTS COMMITTEE - JNC OFFICERS
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Having regard to the views expressed by the Proper Officer regarding the public interest test, that on balance the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighed the public interest in disclosing the information and that the report should be exempt.

RESOLVED that the public be excluded whilst this item of business is transacted as it is likely there would be a disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 12 & 13, Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act, 1972 (as amended).

Consideration was given to the report of the meeting held on 13th April, 2017.

RESOLVED that the report which related to staffing matters be accepted and the post of Corporate Director of Social Services be offered to Mr. Damien McCann on a salary in accordance with JNC CO.

Agreed
42. SHORTLISTING - MANAGING DIRECTOR JNC CE
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Having regard to the views expressed by the Proper Officer regarding the public interest test, that on balance the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighed the public interest in disclosing the information and that the report should be exempt.

RESOLVED that the public be excluded whilst this item of business is transacted as it is likely there would be a disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 12 & 13, Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act, 1972 (as amended).

Consideration was given to the report of the meeting held on 19th June, 2017.

RESOLVED that the report which related to staffing matters be accepted and the candidates named therein be invited for interview.

Agreed