Meeting documents

Ordinary Meeting of the Council
Thursday, 21st September, 2017 10.30 am

Date: Thursday 21st September 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

PresentAndWithReport 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 (300K/bytes)
Noted
2. SIMULTANEOUS TRANSLATION

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

Noted
3. APOLOGIES

Apologies for absence were received from: -

Councillors P. Baldwin, J. Hill, H. McCarthy, B.A. (Hons), G. Paulsen, Corporate Director of Social Services, Head of Children's Services, Temporary Head of Adult Services, Head of Organisational Development.

Noted
4. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST AND DISPENSATIONS

There were no declarations of interest or dispensations reported.

Noted
5. MINUTE BOOK JULY - AUGUST 2017


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

Ordinary Meeting of the Council - 27th July, 2017

Attendance - It was noted that Councillor T. Sharrem had not been in attendance at this meeting.

Item No. 25 - Members Questions - Street Scene Improvements - The Leader of the Labour Group reported the following amendment to the first sentence of the final paragraph contained on Page 28 of the minutes.

He explained that it was not felt that taking additional measures to keep the Borough clean and tidy would be contentious - it would be the cost pressures associated with these implemented measures that would be the contentious issue.

Environment, Regeneration & Economic Development Scrutiny Committee - 24th July, 2017

Item No. 9 - Street Scene Improvements - A Member reported the following omission to the Environment, Regeneration & Economic Development Scrutiny minutes. The Member explained that at the Scrutiny Committee he had proposed that Option B be amended to read:-

"Option B - Implement all the identified proposals for 2017/18 only. A one off contribution from the Budget Contingency Fund of 127,864 would fund the balance of the 2017/18 costs. The permanent implication should be considered during the next budget setting round".

A vote had also been taken at the Scrutiny Committee in respect of this amended option which had not been recorded.

Education & Learning Scrutiny Committee - 21st July, 2017

Item No. 8 - Agenda Items for the next Scrutiny Committee - A Member advised of the following amendment to the minutes. He referred to head teacher representation on the Scrutiny Committee and that it was felt that this would be a move in the right direction. However, he pointed out that there were reservations raised that it would not be correct for head teachers to scrutinise their own work and school results.

It had, therefore, been agreed by the Scrutiny Committee that the Head of Policy and Performance would bring back a report to the next meeting for further consideration in respect of this issue.

Executive Committee - 26th July, 2017

Item No. 8 - Grants to Organisations - Cwmtillery Ward - It was noted that the grants outlined in the minutes only related to Councillor J. Wilkins and not all Cwmtillery Ward Members.

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

Agreed
6. ORDINARY MEETING OF THE COUNCIL
Cofnodion (220K/bytes)
Minutes (224K/bytes)


Attendance - It was noted that Councillor T. Sharrem had not been in attendance at this meeting.

Item No. 25 - Members Questions - Street Scene Improvements - The Leader of the Labour Group reported the following amendment to the first sentence of the final paragraph contained on Page 28 of the minutes.

He explained that it was not felt that taking additional measures to keep the Borough clean and tidy would be contentious - it would be the cost pressures associated with these implemented measures that would be the contentious issue.

Agreed
7. PLANNING COMMITTEE
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Minutes (187K/bytes)
Agreed
8. GENERAL LICENSING COMMITTEE
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Minutes (104K/bytes)
Agreed
9. STATUTORY LICENSING COMMITTEE
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Minutes (98K/bytes)
Agreed
10. SPECIAL GENERAL LICENSING COMMITTEE
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Minutes (86K/bytes)
Agreed
11. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
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Minutes (314K/bytes)

Item No. 8 - Grants to Organisations - Cwmtillery Ward - It was noted that the grants outlined in the minutes only related to Councillor J. Wilkins and not all Cwmtillery Ward Members.

Agreed
12. CORPORATE OVERVIEW SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
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Minutes (188K/bytes)
Agreed
13. SOCIAL SERVICES SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
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Minutes (179K/bytes)
Agreed
14. EDUCATION & LEARNING SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Cofnodion (186K/bytes)
Minutes (191K/bytes)


Item No. 8 - Agenda Items for the next Scrutiny Committee - A Member advised of the following amendment to the minutes. He referred to head teacher representation on the Scrutiny Committee and that it was felt that this would be a move in the right direction. However, he pointed out that there were reservations raised that it would not be correct for head teachers to scrutinise their own work and school results.

It had, therefore, been agreed by the Scrutiny Committee that the Head of Policy and Performance would bring back a report to the next meeting for further consideration in respect of this issue.

Agreed
15. ENVIRONMENT, REGENERATION AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Cofnodion (201K/bytes)
Minutes (204K/bytes)


Item No. 9 - Street Scene Improvements - A Member reported the following omission to the Environment, Regeneration & Economic Development Scrutiny minutes. The Member explained that at the Scrutiny Committee he had proposed that Option B be amended to read:-

"Option B - Implement all the identified proposals for 2017/18 only. A one off contribution from the Budget Contingency Fund of 127,864 would fund the balance of the 2017/18 costs. The permanent implication should be considered during the next budget setting round".

A vote had also been taken at the Scrutiny Committee in respect of this amended option which had not been recorded.

Agreed
16. AUDIT COMMITTEE
Cofnodion (182K/bytes)
Minutes (241K/bytes)
Agreed
17. MEMBERS QUESTIONS

There were no questions submitted by Members.

Noted
18. PUBLIC QUESTIONS

There were no questions submitted by members of the public.

Noted
19. THE DYING TO WORK CAMPAIGN
Motion (76K/bytes)
Appendix (159K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the TUC's 'Dying to Work Campaign' and motion.

The Leader of the Council proposed that the TUC's 'Dying to Work Campaign' be supported. The Leader of the Labour Group endorsed this proposal.

Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously,

RESOLVED that the TUC's 'Dying to Work Campaign' be supported and Members of Parliament be lobbied to establish new legislation which:

- Sought to get terminally ill workers covered by Protective Rights at Work in line with those covered by Pregnancy/Maternity Rights.

- Sought to protect death in service benefits.

- Sought to allow workers with terminal illness to die with dignity.

Agreed
20. WALES AUDIT OFFICE ANNUAL IMPROVEMENT REPORT 2016/17
Report (80K/bytes)
Appendix (466K/bytes)


Members considered the Wales Audit Office Annual Improvement Report 2016/17 for Blaenau Gwent dated June 2017.

At the invitation of the Chair, Ms. Jenkins of the Wales Audit Office advised Council that the Annual Improvement Report contained a summary of all the regulatory work undertaken at Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council throughout the course of the year including national work and studies.

It was noted that this statutory report produced on behalf of the Auditor General by staff of the Wales Audit Office was undertaken for all 22 welsh local authorities.

Ms. Jenkins concluded by advising that the 2016/17 assessment considered that the Council would comply with its statutory requirements in relation to securing continuous improvement providing it embedded these arrangements to enable it to meet future challenges consistently across service areas.

The Temporary Lead Corporate Director/Head of Paid Service welcomed the report and confirmed that the content did reflect the on-going audit work that had been undertaken throughout the course of the 2016/17 year. Members were advised that whilst the 'draft' report had been submitted for consideration no further changes had been made to the document, therefore, it could now be classed as the 'final' version.

The officer welcomed the robust monitoring arrangements and said that he looked forward to these working arrangements continuing with the Wales Audit Office. It was noted that the new Managing Director had also met with the Wales Audit Office prior to her formally commencing her duties and this working relationship would also continue in the future.


The Temporary Lead Corporate Director/Head of Paid Service advised that each of the improvement proposals had been incorporated within the business planning process for each service area as part of the performance framework. Members would have the opportunity to scrutinise this information which was included as part of the Finance and Performance Report.

The report was encouraging as the assessment considered that the Authority would comply with its duty to make arrangements to secure continuous improvement. However, the Temporary Lead Corporate Director/Head of Paid Service pointed out these arrangements would need to be fully embedded going forward as there were extremely challenging times ahead particularly in terms of the financial context.

The Leader of the Labour Group said that this was a fair summation of a particularly difficult and challenging year. However, going forward there would be even greater challenges.

The Leader of the Council endorsed the comments made and acknowledged that the Annual Improvement Report related to the 2016/17 year and said that the previous administration should be commended for the work undertaken to achieve this positive assessment. During this period he said he would like to think that both parties worked collectively as one Council and confirmed that the one Council approach would continue in the future to ensure that all Members were informed of the choices and challenges facing the Authority and of the harsh and difficult decisions that would need to be made.

He continued by stating that he was confident that the improvement journey would continue and he looked forward to working with Non Jenkins and the Wales Audit Office in the months and years ahead.

The Leader of the Council concluded by expressing his appreciation to Non Jenkins for attending the meeting and, thereupon, proposed that the recommendation be approved.


Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously,

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and

„ the information contained therein be noted; and

„ future reports be received from the Wales Audit Office.

Agreed
21. WASTE POLICIES TASK AND FINISH GROUP OUTCOMES
Report (147K/bytes)
Appendix 2 (236K/bytes)
Appendix 3 (249K/bytes)
Appendix 4 (238K/bytes)

The report of the Corporate Director of Environment & Regeneration was submitted for consideration.

The Service Manager - Community Services commenced by advising that this report had also been considered by the Environment, Regeneration & Economic Development Scrutiny Committee and the Corporate Leadership Team.

The officer continued by providing background details in relation to recycling targets. It was noted that Blaenau Gwent had not achieved the statutory recycling target of 58% during 2015/16. Whilst a financial penalty of 574,590 was faced by the Authority this was subsequently waived by the Welsh Government due to the Authority being able to evidence the progress it had made and further improvements that would be implemented to increase the recycling rate.

In order to increase the recycling rate a programme of improvements had been delivered in waste services over the past year which had resulted in an increase in the authority's recycling rate from 48.71% to 56.77%. However, this still remained below the statutory target of 58%. It was noted, however, that the quarter one statistics for 2017/18 indicated that the 58% recycling target had been exceeded.

A Task and Finish Group comprising of Scrutiny Members had been established in October 2016 to revise and amend the existing policies and a summation of these amendments and recommendations were outlined in Paragraph 1.6 of the report.

In respect of the financial implications outlined in Paragraph 4 of the report the following updates were provided:-

Paragraph 4.3 - Assuming the Authority maintained its current projected recycling rate for 2017/18 (58%) it would need to recycle/divert an additional 1,850 tonnes from within its current waste arisings to achieve the 64% recycling target in 2019/20. If no progress was made and the recycling tonnage was not increased this would equate to a potential fine of 370,000 per annum for the financial years 2019/20 to 2023/24 ( 1.8 million over the 5 year period) with a further increase from 2025/26 onwards.

Paragraph 4.4 - The current cost of disposing of 1,850 tonnes of residual waste was 178,802.50. There would be a saving to the Authority if this tonnage was recycled (income) or processed as food/green waste (smaller cost to process per tonne).

Strict Side Waste Restriction at Kerbside - In terms of staffing/workforce implications the workload of the current five waste wardens was extensive and wide ranging. Therefore, work was being undertaken with WRAP in order to investigate if additional resources could be acquired in order to appoint four temporary recycling advisors to support the wardens and provide on-going support and advice to residents.

Meet and Greet System at HWRC/Strict Residual Enforcement at HWRC - Work would be undertaken with HWRC to ensure that there were sufficient resources available to fulfil the strict residual enforcement proposal.

The Service Manager - Community Services advised that the Scrutiny Committee had endorsed Option 1 outlined in the report and if supported it would be imperative that a comprehensive public engagement programme took place prior to the implementation of the new policies in April 2018.

Members were then given the opportunity to raise questions/comment on the report.

Fly Tipping - A Member referred to Paragraph 2.3 of the report relating to the proposed strict residual enforcement at the HWRC and expressed her disappointment that there was no mention within the report regarding the impact and increase in fly tipping. The Service Manager - Community Services confirmed that the document would be amended accordingly to reflect the issue of fly tipping.

Large Households - Another Member advised that a number of households within her ward comprised of 8 or more people. Whilst these families recycled materials she expressed her concern that these households had only been supplied with one wheelie bin for the provision of residual waste. The Member said that she hoped that with the proposed application of a side waste restriction that fines would not be imposed on these larger households.

The Service Manager - Community Services advised that the majority of items i.e. food waste and dry recycling would still be collected on a weekly basis but for those households requiring a larger bin than the standard 240 litre this would be assessed and determined on an individual basis.

The Leader of the Labour Group congratulated officers on the comprehensive report and sought clarification in respect of the proposed implementation date of April 2018.

The Executive Member - Regeneration advised a comprehensive communications plan would be implemented over the next 6 months to engage with members of the public in respect of the new policies. If the proposals were approved a business case would be submitted to Welsh Government for additional resources in order that the Authority could make every effort to increase its recycling rates. At present the date of April 2018 was proposed for implementation, however, if not all the outcomes of the communication plan had been achieved this timescale may have to be adjusted accordingly.

In addition, if the report was approved a new Task and Finish Group would be established to review and address all the current issues including the collection of refuse and recycling. It was noted that new vehicles had been acquired that would address the issue of rear lane collections.

Another Member welcomed the comments made and said that it was imperative that the recycling rates increased due to the potential fines of up to 1.8 million that could be imposed upon the authority. The Member concluded by proposing that Option 1 be approved.

Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously,

RESOLVED, subject to the foregoing, that the report be accepted and the amended policies be adopted and a phased operational roll out of the policies be agreed, namely:-

- Domestic Kerbside Collections Policy
- Household Waste and Recycling Centre (HWRC) Operational Policy
- Enforcement Policy

Agreed
22. EXTENSION OF TEMPORARY SENIOR MANAGEMENT ARRANGEMENTS
Report (129K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Head of Organisational Development.

The Leader of the Council advised that the new Managing Director would commence her duties on 16th October, 2017 and had been tasked with reviewing the senior management arrangements to ensure optimum strategic capacity.

However, in the interim it would be important to maintain stability and flexibility within the management structure by extending the current temporary arrangements - this continuity would also be critical for service areas. By implementing this approach, it would allow the Managing Director the appropriate level of time to review the existing structures and develop proposals for a long term senior management structure for the Authority.

The Leader of the Council concluded by stating that the Managing Director had indicated that whilst she would be able to make some progress on the new structure immediately an extension until March 2018 in order to undertake a complete overview of the structure would be welcomed.

The Leader of the Labour Group supported this sensible approach. He continued by referring to paragraph 3.2 of the report relating to job evaluation and said that should the current administration be minded to implement this process the Labour Group would like to play a supportive and active role.

The Leader of the Council said that this would be the senior management structure for the whole Council and would hopefully be fit for purpose for the next 10 years. He confirmed that the Labour Group would be invited to play an active role in this process.

Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously,

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and Option 2 be endorsed, namely:-

- The temporary post of Lead Corporate Director/Head of Paid Service be extended until the 15th October, 2017 to coincide with the start date of the new Managing Director.

- The temporary arrangements in place as detailed in paragraph 1.4 in the report be extended to the end March 2018, namely:-

- Responsibilities as the Returning Officer for all elections and the designated role of Electoral Registration Officer be retained by the Head of Legal & Corporate Compliance.


- The responsibilities for Legal and Corporate Compliance Services be retained by the Chief Finance Officer (NB: there would be an extension of the honorarium payment to reflect this additional responsibility).

- The responsibilities for Estates and Strategic Asset Management be retained by the Corporate Director for Environment and Regeneration.

- The temporary management arrangements for the posts of Head of Adult Services in the Social Services Directorate and the Head of Public Services in the Environment Directorate be extended until the 31st March, 2018.

- The temporary arrangements in the Education Directorate to cover the vacant Head of Achievement be extended until 31st March, 2018.

- The new Managing Director bring forward proposals to Council before the end of March 2018 regarding the future long term senior management structure, with the flexibility to recommend changes as appropriate prior/earlier than the 31st March, 2018.

Agreed
23. MEMBERSHIPS/SUBSCRIPTIONS
report (284K/bytes)


Consideration was given to:-

Community Asset Transfer Steering Group

It be noted that the Executive Member - Environment had been appointed as a representative on the above Steering Group.

Environment, Regeneration & Economic Development Scrutiny Committee

RESOLVED that Councillor P. Edwards be appointed as Chair and Councillor L. Parsons be appointed as Vice-Chair of the Environment, Regeneration & Economic Development Scrutiny Committee.

Constitution Working Group

RESOLVED that the following representatives be appointed to the Constitution Working Group:-

Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council
Leader and Deputy Leader of the Labour Group
Chair & Vice-Chair of Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee
Chair & Vice-Chair of the Council
Councillors Mandy Moore and J. Hill

Digital Inclusion Meetings

To appoint two representatives to attend the above meetings.

The Leader of the Council proposed that Councillors H. Trollope and J. Millard be appointed to attend the Digital Inclusion Meetings.

It was acknowledged that Councillor Trollope had played a substantial role in these meetings previously and the digital environment was an area of expertise for Councillor Millard.

RESOLVED that Councillors J. Millard and H. Trollope be appointed as the representatives on the above meetings.

Adoption Panel

It was noted that due to recent changes and the South East Wales Adoption Service (SEWAS) moving towards a central list of members there was no longer a requirement for elected Members to sit on the panel as part of the regulations. The current Members would serve their tenure for 2017/18 but in future membership would be drawn from a central list.

It was noted that the Council's current representation on the Adoption Panel consisted of:-

Councillor Gareth A. Davies
Substitute: Councillor Keith Pritchard

Voluntary Sector Liaison Committee

To appoint one representative to a vacancy on the above Committee.

RESOLVED that Councillor J. Wilkins be appointed to the Voluntary Sector Liaison Committee.

Armed Forces Champion

To appoint a representative to replace Councillor Keith Pritchard as the Armed Forces Champion.

RESOLVED that Councillor B. Thomas be appointed as the Armed Forces Champion.

Agreed