Meeting documents

Ordinary Meeting of the Council
Thursday, 7th December, 2017 9.30 am

Date: Thursday 7th December 2017 Time: 9.30 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)
Councillors D. Bevan
G. Collier
J. Collins
M. Cook
M. Cross
N. Daniels
D. Davies
G. A. Davies
G. L. Davies
M. Day
P. Edwards
L. Elias
K. Hayden
S. Healy
J. Hill
W. Hodgins
M. Holland
J. Mason
H. McCarthy, B.A. (Hons)
C. Meredith
J. Millard
M. Moore
J. C. Morgan
J. P. Morgan
L. Parsons
G. Paulsen
K. Pritchard
K. Rowson
T. Smith
B. Summers
B. Thomas
G. Thomas
S. Thomas
H. Trollope
J. Wilkins
B. Willis
L. Winnett
Item
No
Item/Resolution Status Action
PUBLIC
1. TUDALEN GLAWR AGENDA GYMRAEG/WELSH VERSION OF AGENDA COVERSHEET
Tudalen Glawr Agenda Gymraeg/Welsh Agenda Coversheet (115K/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. Holt, T. Sharrem, D. Wilkshire

Noted
4. DECLARATIONS OF INTERESTS AND DISPENSATIONS

The following declarations of interest were reported:-


Item No. 40 - Future Household Waste Recycling Centre Provision

Chief Finance Officer and Corporate Director Environment & Regeneration

Item No. 42 - Future Management of the Waste Transfer Station and Household Waste Recycling Centre

Chief Finance Officer and Corporate Director Environment & Regeneration

Item No.43 - Senior Management Review - Phase 1

Corporate Director Strategy Transformation & Culture.

Noted
5. MINUTE BOOK - SEPTEMBER - NOVEMBER 2017

The Minute Book for the period September - November, 2017 was submitted whereupon:

- Page 261 Joint Scrutiny Committee (Budget Monitoring) 6th November, 2017, it was reported that Councillor J. C. Morgan was in attendance at the meeting.

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
Minutes (229K/bytes)
Cofnodion (219K/bytes)
Agreed
7. SPECIAL MEETING OF THE COUNCIL
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Agreed
8. PLANNING COMMITTEE
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Cofnodion (179K/bytes)
Agreed
9. PLANNING COMMITTEE
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Cofnodion (190K/bytes)
Agreed
10. STATUTORY LICENSING COMMITTEE
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Cofnodion (123K/bytes)
Agreed
11. GENERAL LICENSING COMMITTEE
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Agreed
12. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
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Agreed
13. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
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Agreed
14. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
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Agreed
15. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
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Agreed
16. CORPORATE OVERVIEW SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
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Cofnodion (133K/bytes)
Agreed
17. SOCIAL SERVICES SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
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Cofnodion (188K/bytes)
Agreed
18. JOINT SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (BUDGET MONITORING)
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Cofnodion (151K/bytes)
Agreed
19. AUDIT COMMITTEE
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Agreed
20. SPECIAL ENVIRONMENT, REGENERATION AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
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Agreed
21. ENVIRONMENT, REGENERATION & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
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Agreed
22. EDUCATION & LEARNING SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
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Agreed
23. PUBLIC SERVICES BOARD SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
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Agreed
24. EDUCATION & LEARNING AND SOCIAL SERVICES SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (JOINT SAFEGUARDING)
Minutes (249K/bytes)
Cofnodion (142K/bytes)
Agreed
25. SPECIAL ENVIRONMENT, REGENERATION & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
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Cofnodion (157K/bytes)
Agreed
26. CORPORATE OVERVIEW SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
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Agreed
27. SOCIAL SERVICES SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
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Cofnodion (210K/bytes)
Agreed
28. SPECIAL EDUCATION & LEARNING SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
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Cofnodion (138K/bytes)
Agreed
29. EDUCATION & LEARNING SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
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Cofnodion (242K/bytes)
Agreed
30. ENVIRONMENT, REGENERATION & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
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Cofnodion (189K/bytes)
Agreed
31. JOINT SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (BUDGET MONITORING)
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Cofnodion (47K/bytes)

It was reported the Councillor J. C. Morgan had been in attendance at the meeting.

Agreed
32. DEMOCRATIC SERVICES COMMITTEE
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Agreed
33. AUDIT COMMITTEE
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Agreed
34. MEMBERS QUESTIONS

It was noted that no questions had been submitted by Members.

RESOLVED accordingly.

Noted
35. PUBLIC QUESTIONS

The Leader explained that submission of this question had been delayed from the previous meeting in order to give the person the opportunity to attend as they were entitled to ask a supplementary question. However, as they were not in attendance today the question would be submitted in their absence.

Question

"Could you please inform me why there are no female Councillors on the Executive, or holding the position of Chair for any of the Scrutiny Committees?"

Response

The Leader of the Council reported that following the Local Government elections in May 2017 every new Councillor was provided with a proforma to give an indication of their preferred topic area, and also if they would be interested in holding a senior position. The overwhelming response was that they were not interested at that stage preferring to learn the process and be chosen on merit.

He said Blaenau Gwent was one of the smallest Authority's in Wales with an Executive Cabinet of 5 Members who were selected on a range of factors including political and professional experience regardless of gender. Each Member was responsible for a very comprehensive portfolio with an excessive workload, and the Leader said he was satisfied that the Cabinet had the knowledge to guide us through the first year of the new Council, and was committed to working hard to deliver the best services for the residents of Blaenau Gwent in the face of continuing financial challenges, and also to continue the good work undertaken by the previous administration.

With the intake of new Members, the Council was being pro-active in creating development opportunities for a number of our female Members to gain greater experience, for example in Scrutiny Committee roles.

In terms of the 4 Scrutiny Chairs, due to proportionality regulations 2 of the Chairs positions were held by the Labour Group, and of the 7 Vice-Chair positions across the Scrutiny and Regulatory Committees 4 of these were held by newly appointed female Councillors.

He assured that all Members would have equal development opportunities, and moving forward from April 2018 the new competency framework would be adopted and would provide the necessary guidance and assistance for Councillors to progress further in their roles.

Noted
36. THE CONSTITUTION
Report (122K/bytes)
Appendix (4M/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report presented to Members to approve and adopt changes to the Constitution.

The Leader of the Council confirmed that a copy of the revised Constitution document would be available in the Members' room.

A brief discussion ensued when the Head of Legal & Corporate Compliance clarified points raised by a Member.

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and the Council approve and adopt the changes and amendments to the Constitution as outlined in the report.

Agreed
37. MINIMUM REVENUE PROVISION (MRP) POLICY REVISION
Report (203K/bytes)
Appendix 1 (96K/bytes)

Councillor B. Thomas left the meeting at this juncture.

Councillor G. A. Davies joined the meeting at this juncture.

The report of the Chief Finance Officer was presented to Members for their consideration to the implications of changing the Authority's Minimum Revenue Provision (MRP) Policy in order to provide a more prudent approach whilst generating annual revenue savings.

The Chief Finance Officer spoke to the report and highlighted points contained therein. The adoption of all the proposed changes would result in a savings opportunity of 15.57m to the MTFS, however, he pointed out that this figure was not cash backed and therefore recommended a prudent managed approach for its use. The savings produced could be used to provide a reduced MRP charge for 5 years, after which the MRP charge would rise to the level that it would be under the new policy (i.e. 2.580m). However, it was clear that an MRP charge of 2.580m was still below the current MRP charge of 3.8m.

The Leader of the Labour Group confirmed that the Group supported the report. However, he pointed out that whilst WAO raised no issues in relation to the Authority's approach, other than to acknowledge that the procedural process had been undertaken correctly, as our Regulators they would continue to assess future outcomes of this decision.

The Leader of the Council said WAO reserved the right to assess the outcome of the changes to the MPR policy after the first year. He stressed that the savings figure was not a 'cash cow' and difficult decisions would still need to be taken. In terms of a prudent approach he assured that financial planning was very high on his list of priorities.

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and the Council approve the following options, as laid out in the report, namely:-

- Option 4, to amend the MRP Policy for the supported borrowing element from a 3% reducing balance basis to a 2% straight line approach and apply retrospectively back to 2007/08.

- To amend the MRP Policy for the unsupported borrowing element in order to apply the current asset life annuity method retrospectively back to 2007/08.

- To apply an increased Adjustment A figure retrospectively to 2004/05.

- Agree a prudent managed approach for the use of the savings generated subsequently by releasing the savings over a phased five year period within the MTFS (through the reduction of the MRP charge from 2017/18 - 2021/22).

Agreed
38. CAPITAL PROGRAMME 2017/18 - 2023/24
Report (121K/bytes)
Appendix 1a (70K/bytes)
Appendix 1b (78K/bytes)
Appendix 1c (80K/bytes)
Appendices 2 - 4 (110K/bytes)

Councillor G. Paulsen joined the meeting at this juncture.

Consideration was given to the report of the Chief Finance Officer which was presented for Members to provide options to allocate 1.7 million of capital funding to the Capital Programme following a thorough review of the capital resources available to the 2023/24 financial year.

The Chief Finance Officer spoke to the report and highlighted points contained therein. Following a thorough review of the current capital resource position, 1.7m of capital resources could now be released. A number of options were outlined at section 6 of the main report, and the Officer confirmed that Option 3 was the preferred option for the allocation of this funding.

A Member referred to the scoring matrix used in the approval process of the capital programme, and asked whether a scoring could be allocated for those projects that may not progress if match funding could not be found.

In response the Chief Finance Officer said the scoring matrix was already very complex. However, he assured that any additional resource that became available would be considered against the capital programme.

Abertillery Leisure Centre Demolition

A discussion ensued when the Chief Finance Officer explained that the figure stated did not include any reimbursement of monies for previous work undertaken, as this was a separate issue.

The Leader of the Council said there would be flexibility to review the capital programme moving forward.

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and

- Option 3 be approved, i.e. the allocation of 1.111m capital funding to the following schemes in the capital programme:

„ Six Bells School Site Sewer Diversion 800,000
„ Abertillery Leisure Centre Demolition 211,000
„ SEBD Provision 100,000
„ Total 1,111,000

And:

- Members agree the revised capital programme 2017/18 to 2023/24 attached at Appendix 4.

Agreed
39. THE 2018 REVIEW OF PARLIAMENTARY CONSTITUENCIES IN WALES - REVISED PROPOSALS
Report (136K/bytes)
Appendix A (432K/bytes)

The report the Head of Legal & Corporate Compliance was presented for Members to consider the revised proposals of the Boundary Commission for Wales in respect of Parliamentary Constituencies in Wales for 2018.

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and the recommendations of the Democratic Services Committee be endorsed, namely that the revised proposal for a new parliamentary constituency of Blaenau Gwent, which would include Argoed, Blackwood, Crumlin, Cefn Fforest, Penmaen, Pengam and Newbridge, be agreed, and a reply sent to The Boundary Commission for Wales endorsing the proposal by the 11th December, 2017.

Agreed
40. LOCAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN REVIEW
Report (163K/bytes)
Appendix (5M/bytes)

RESOLVED that this item be WITHDRAWN.

Deferred
41. TREDEGAR HEALTH AND WELL-BEING UNIT
Report (135K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Director of Social Services and Associate Director of Aneurin Bevan University Health Board which was presented to inform Members of the current position relating to the development of a Health & Well-being Centre in Tredegar.

The Executive Member for Social Services presented the report which provided details of work completed to date in pursuing a Health and Well-being Unit in Tredegar. It also provided details of how the service model was being developed and the engagement that had taken place, and identified the next steps in order to make a submission to Welsh Government for funding.

He confirmed that the report had been considered by the Executive Committee and they supported Option 1 with the addition that all Tredegar Members be kept fully informed of future meetings and progress moving forward.

The Corporate Director of Social Services referred to the recent announcement made by the Health Secretary indicating plans to deliver new integrated health centres across Wales, with funding identified subject to the agreement of successful business cases. The Local Health Board's identified scheme was Tredegar Health & Well-being Centre and this scheme was included within the detail of the Minister's announcement, which was excellent news. The Minister also announced the expectation that all schemes would be delivered by 2021.

The Leader of the Labour Group thanked the Executive Member, Corporate Director and the Leader for bringing this report forward so quickly, and another Member also thanked the previous Administration for their involvement, and also Alan Davies AM for his input.

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and the Council:-

i. Agree in principle that an integrated health and social care wellbeing model be developed for the people of Tredegar;

ii. Note that further briefings and the final model and business case be presented in future for agreement to proceed; and

iii. That Tredegar Members be kept fully informed of progress.

Agreed
42. FUTURE HOUSEHOLD WASTE RECYCLYING CENTRE PROVISION
Report (225K/bytes)

The Chief Finance Officer and the Corporate Director Environment & Regeneration declared an interest in this item, and both left the meeting while the item was being considered.


Consideration was given to the Temporary Head of Public Services which was presented for Members to review the options around the redevelopment of the New Vale Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) within the Ebbw Fach Valley.

The Temporary Head of Public Services spoke to the report and highlighted points contained. The current HWRC provision within Blaenau Gwent was under significant pressure from a capacity and design perspective, and it was therefore necessary for the Authority to take steps to improve and redevelop the current facility and consider the future provision to meet the needs of its residents, provide suitable sites that could manage waste growth associated with housing development and economic growth and provide facilities to enable residents to recycle as much as possible. The Authority must also ensure it was best placed to meet the current and future Welsh Government Statutory targets.

The Officer confirmed that the proposals had been the subject of a Members Briefing session, and the report had been considered by the Environment, Regeneration & Economic Development Scrutiny Committee and the Executive, and both supported Option 2 outlined in the report subject to a business case being reported back to the Scrutiny Committee prior to it being submitted to Council or the Executive. However, it was recognised that due to the financial implications the final business case would be presented to Full Council for approval. She also reported that an alternative operational facility for residents would be required during the construction period.

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and Members approve the preferred Option of the Executive Committee, i.e. The preferred Option identified by Scrutiny was 2: Improvement to New Vale HWRC site and development of a second facility at Roseheyworth South, subject to the following:

- A business case be developed and prepared for the redevelopment of the New Vale HWRC and a second facility in Ebbw Fach Valley at the south of the Roseheyworth Industrial Estate;

- The final business case be presented for approval by Full Council would contain the detailed design, waste flow modelling and financial implications for developing and operating both sites; and

- The Final business case would also provide a detailed programme plan for the implementation of the proposals at both sites.

Agreed
43. STANDARDS COMMITTEE
Report (31K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the Minutes of the Standards Committee held on 8th September, 2017.

RESOLVED that the minutes be received.

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)
44. WASTE TRANSFER STATION AND HOUSEHOLD WASTE RECYCLYING CENTRE
Report (312K/bytes)
Appendix 2 (48K/bytes)
Appendix 3 (178K/bytes)
Appendix 4 (94K/bytes)

The Chief Finance Officer and the Corporate Director Environment & Regeneration declared an interest in this item and both left the meeting while the item was being considered.

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 Paragraph 14, Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act, 1972 (as amended).

Consideration was given to the report of the Corporate Director of Strategy, Transformation and Culture which was presented to provide Members with the current management arrangement of the Council's Waste Transfer Station and Household Waste Recycling Centre and to present options for the future.

The Corporate Director Strategy Transformation & Culture spoke to the report and highlighted points contained therein. A comprehensive review of the arrangements had taken place with the focus of the review being the broader options for the future. He confirmed that a Members Briefing Session had been held, and the report had also been considered by a special Joint Scrutiny Committee on the 4th December, 2017. The Officer then gave a broad overview of the report and picked up the main points of discussion at the Joint Scrutiny Committee.

He also confirmed that the Council Officers who acted as Council appointed Directors had not been involved in the preparation of the report and had not been in attendance at any meetings where it was discussed.

A discussion ensued regarding the Council's current financial position, and the Head of Finance Services confirmed that the figures had been queried and the information was accurate.

In response to a comment made by a Member regarding the risk of potential cost pressure to the Environment & Regeneration budget, the Corporate Director said he had highlighted in the Joint Scrutiny meeting that it currently sat within this budget, however, there would be opportunity to look at this during the budget rounds.

A further discussion ensued when the Corporate Director clarified points raised, and it was

RESOLVED that the report which contained information relating to the business/financial affairs of persons other than the Authority be accepted and the Preferred Option 2a be approved 'in-principle', namely transferring the assets and liabilities of the company back to the Council for the services to be delivered 'in-house' and the company be wound up (as outlined in Section 6.39 of the main report), subject to the following:

- Additional commercial, legal and financial due diligence be carried out to fully assess the asset and liabilities associated with the company, and any future implications for the Council; and
- A further report be submitted to the Executive Committee containing:
„ The findings of the due diligence;
„ Any amendments or further consideration required as to the Preferred Option for implementation; and
„ Action plan for the implementation of the Preferred Option (if this remains the recommended way forward)

Also that revised governance arrangements be implemented as soon as possible and are maintained during the due diligence and transition phases. These arrangements would include:

- Replacement of the two current officer nominations on the board with two elected Members as the Council Appointed (non-Executive) Directors to sit upon the Board during the due-diligence process, namely Councillors J. Hill and J. Wilkins; and
- The two elected Members Directors Remuneration be set at a level of 6,700 p.a. (and increase) in line with the level of the Blaenau Gwent Elected Members Special Responsibilities Allowance (as legally required).

Agreed
45. SENIOR MANAGEMENT REVIEW - PHASE 1
Report (263K/bytes)

The Corporate Director Strategy Transformation & Culture declared an interest in this matter and left the meeting while the item was being considered.

The Managing Director also felt it was appropriate that other Senior Officers leave the meeting while this item was being considered. The Head of Legal & Corporate Compliance (Monitoring Officer) remained.

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 Paragraph 14, Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act, 1972 (as amended).

The report of the Managing Director was presented for Members to consider the expression of interest from the post holder Corporate Director of Strategy, Transformation and Culture to agree to terminate his employment 'in the interests of the efficiency of the service'.

The Managing Director spoke to the report and highlighted points contained therein. In September 2017 the Council made a decision that the new Managing Director would bring forward proposals regarding the future long term Senior Management structure and that this review would be completed by 31st March, 2018. The Managing Director confirmed that this piece of work was on track to be reported to Council in March.

She reported that in October 2017 the Corporate Director Strategy Transformation & Culture had submitted an expression of interest to be released from his employment with the Council on the grounds of efficiency of the service, and if the proposal be approved by Council would mean that he would leave at the end of December 2017. This would allow the Council to achieve an early saving in management costs and avoid a potential redundancy situation in the future, and also move toward a reduced CLT structure.

The Managing Director said the risks in taking this action was particularly the loss of an excellent Officer to the Council, which would impact on the capacity and capability of the CLT and the Council. She said the Corporate Director had been a huge support to her since her appointment and she was very grateful to him for his professional support during this period. She also thanked him for 12 years of exemplary service for Blaenau Gwent.

The other Option 2 outlined in the report was to do nothing and retain the post until the Council undertook a review in 3 months. However, this Option could cost more if a redundancy situation arose.

The Managing Director said Option 1 would allow the Council to move towards a reduction in CLT at an earlier stage and through mutual agreement with the Corporate Director.

The Leader of the Labour Group said the Corporate Director was an excellent Officer and one of the most competent individuals he had encountered in Local Government, and was instrumental in the Council's recovery. He was loyal to the Authority and worked with confidence during very difficult times, and was very well respected by colleagues in Welsh Government and the Authority's regulators. He thanked the Officer for this excellent work with the Authority and wished him the very best for the future.

Another Member concurred with the comments made, and referred to the Corporate Director's previous role within Social Services where he was instrumental in making improvements and guiding the Department through some very difficult challenges.

The Leader of the Council concurred with all the comments made. He said the Corporate Director would be great loss to the Authority but he fully respected his reasons for leaving. He thanked him for everything he had done for the Authority and wished him well for the future.

RESOLVED that the report which contained information relating to the business/affairs of persons other than the Authority be accepted and Option 1 be endorsed, namely to agree for the post holder of Corporate Director Strategy Transformation & Culture to terminate employment using the policy 'in the interests of the efficiency of the service' with effect from the 31st December, 2017.

Agreed