Meeting documents

Ordinary Meeting of the Council
Thursday, 22nd March, 2018 10.30 am

Date: Thursday 22nd March 2018 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 GYMRAEG/WELSH VERSION OF AGENDA COVERSHEET
Tudalen Glawr Agenda Gymraeg/Welsh Agenda Coversheet (190K/bytes)
Noted
2. APPRECIATION

On behalf of Council, the Chair expressed his appreciation to officers for the tremendous amount of work they had undertaken during the recent inclement weather conditions.

Noted
3. CONGRATULATIONS

Congratulations were extended to Mr. Stuart James from Cwm who had set a new world record of 145.5kg in the senior weight lifting category. Stuart was due to compete in the World Championships which were taking place in Malta in June.

RESOLVED that an appropriate letter be sent.

Noted
4. CONODOLENCES

The Chair referred to the sad death of former Borough Councillor and Brynmawr Town Councillor Marie Jones.

Members and officers stood in silence as a mark of respect.

Noted
5. SIMULTANEOUS TRANSLATION

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

Noted
6. APOLOGIES

Apologies for absence were received from: -

Councillors G. A. Davies, M. Holland, J. Holt, K. Rowson, T. Sharrem, H. Trollope, J. Wilkins and D. Wilkshire.

Noted
7. DECLARATIONS OF INTERESTS AND DISPENSATIONS

The following declarations of interest were reported:-

Item No. 29: Pay Policy Statement 2018/2019

- Michelle Morris - Managing Director
- Richard Crook - Corporate Director Environment & Regeneration
- Damien McCann - Corporate Director Social Services
- Dave McAuliffe - Chief Finance Officer
- Andrea Jones - Head of Legal & Corporate Compliance
- Julie Morgan - H.R. Manager
- Lynn Phillips - Head of Education Transformation & Performance
- Angela O'Leary - Corporate Support Manager
- Sean Scannell - Communications, Marketing & Customer Access Manager
- Ceri Edwards-Brown - Senior Business Support Officer - Democratic Services & Corporate Support
- Audra Williams - Elections & Land Charges Manager

The Head of Legal and Corporate Compliance confirmed that whilst officers had declared an interest in respect of the Pay Policy Statement 2018/19 they would be permitted to remain in the meeting. However, should extensive discussion ensue those officers who had declared an interest would be requested to leave the meeting at the appropriate juncture.

Item No. 33: Senior Management Review

- Richard Crook - Corporate Director Environment & Regeneration
- Damien McCann - Corporate Director Social Services
- Dave McAuliffe - Chief Finance Officer
- Andrea Jones - Head of Legal & Corporate Compliance
- Lynn Phillips - Head of Education Transformation & Performance

The Head of Legal and Corporate Compliance confirmed that the above-named officers would leave the meeting whilst this item was discussed. The following officers would remain in the meeting:-

„ Michelle Morris, Managing Director
„ Julie Morgan, H.R. Manager
„ Ceri Edwards-Brown, Senior Business Support Officer - Democratic & Corporate Support (Clerk

Noted
8. MINUTE BOOK - DECEMBER 2017 - MARCH 2018

The Minute Book for the period December 2017 - March 2018 was submitted for consideration, whereupon:-

Special Meeting of the Council - 25th January, 2018


ENV026 - Increase Fees of Grounds Maintenance whilst Undertaking Community Asset Transfers - 71,000 proposed saving

The Leader of the Labour Group reported the following correction to the second paragraph on Page 52 of the minutes in particular the wording "any club who did not wish to pursue a CAT transfer by 2018 would have their facilities closed".

He continued by pointing out this proposal had been removed from the final budget papers at the Special Meeting of the Council held on 1st March, 2017, therefore, it had not become Council policy to close these facilities.

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

Agreed
9. ORDINARY MEETING OF THE COUNCIL
Minutes (296K/bytes)
Cofnodion (288K/bytes)

Special Meeting of the Council - 25th January, 2018
ENV026 - Increase Fees of Grounds Maintenance whilst Undertaking Community Asset Transfers - 71,000 proposed saving

The Leader of the Labour Group reported the following correction to the second paragraph on Page 52 of the minutes in particular the wording "any club who did not wish to pursue a CAT transfer by 2018 would have their facilities closed".

He continued by pointing out this proposal had been removed from the final budget papers at the Special Meeting of the Council held on 1st March, 2017, therefore, it had not become Council policy to close these facilities.

RESOLVED, subject to the foregoing, that the minutes be approved and confirmed as a true record of proceeding

Agreed
10. SPECIAL MEETING OF THE COUNCIL
Minutes (354K/bytes)
Cofnodion (337K/bytes)

The Minute Book for the period December 2017 - March 2018 was submitted for consideration, whereupon:-

Special Meeting of the Council - 25th January, 2018
ENV026 - Increase Fees of Grounds Maintenance whilst Undertaking Community Asset Transfers - 71,000 proposed saving

The Leader of the Labour Group reported the following correction to the second paragraph on Page 52 of the minutes in particular the wording "any club who did not wish to pursue a CAT transfer by 2018 would have their facilities closed".

He continued by pointing out this proposal had been removed from the final budget papers at the Special Meeting of the Council held on 1st March, 2017, therefore, it had not become Council policy to close these facilities.

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

Agreed
11. SPECIAL MEETING OF THE COUNCIL
Minutes (262K/bytes)
Cofnodion (256K/bytes)
Agreed
12. PLANNING COMMITTEE
Planning Committee Minutes (188K/bytes)
Cofnodion (186K/bytes)
Agreed
13. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
Minutes (273K/bytes)
Cofnodion (149K/bytes)
Agreed
14. SPECIAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
Minutes (226K/bytes)
Cofnodion (107K/bytes)
Agreed
15. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
Minutes (250K/bytes)
Cofnodion (247K/bytes)
Agreed
16. SPECIAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
Minutes (227K/bytes)
Cofnodion (224K/bytes)
Agreed
17. EDUCATION & LEARNING SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Minutes (291K/bytes)
Cofnodion (225K/bytes)
Agreed
18. ENVIRONMENT, REGENERATION & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Minutes (197K/bytes)
Cofnodion (189K/bytes)
Agreed
19. CORPORATE OVERVIEW SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Minutes (202K/bytes)
Cofnodion (142K/bytes)
Agreed
20. PUBLIC SERVICES BOARD SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Minutes (159K/bytes)
Cofnodion (43K/bytes)
Agreed
21. ENVIRONMENT, REGENERATION & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Minutes (230K/bytes)
Cofnodion (219K/bytes)
Agreed
22. SPECIAL JOINT SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (REVENUEBUDGET)
Minutes (106K/bytes)
Cofnodion (42K/bytes)
Agreed
23. EDUCATION & LEARNING SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Minutes (295K/bytes)
Cofnodion (139K/bytes)
Agreed
24. JOINT SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
minutes of the meeting held 5th February 2018 (204K/bytes)
Cofnodion (199K/bytes)
Agreed
25. ENVIRONMENT, REGENERATION & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Minutes (191K/bytes)
Cofnodion (185K/bytes)
Agreed
26. DEMOCRATIC SERVICES COMMITTEE
Minutes (161K/bytes)
Cofnodion (101K/bytes)
Agreed
27. SOCIAL SERVICES SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Minutes (283K/bytes)
Cofnodion (280K/bytes)
Agreed
28. MEMBERS QUESTIONS

There were no questions submitted by Members.

Noted
29. PUBLIC QUESTIONS

There were no questions submitted by members of the public.

Noted
30. CARDIFF CAPITAL CITY REGION DEAL - JOINT WORKING AGREEMENT BUSINESS PLAN
Report (547K/bytes)
Appendix A (9M/bytes)
Appendix B (237K/bytes)

The report of the Managing Director was submitted for consideration.

The Leader of the Council advised Members that whilst the Joint Working Agreement (JWA) in relation to the delivery of the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal (CCRCD) had been signed and the Regional Cabinet established on 1st March, 2017 constituent Councils were now required to take a subsequent decision as a "Matter Reserved to The Councils" in respect of the approval and adoption of the draft JWA Business Plan by 31st March, 2018.

It was noted that during January 2018 a Members Briefing had been held for Councillors to promote understanding of the City Region Deal Programme and the potential benefits and opportunities it represented for the County Borough. This detailed session had been facilitated by Sheila Davies, Programme Director.

The Leader of the Council continued by advising that each of the other 9 constituent Councils would be considering an identical report (apart from the financial aspects). It was noted that all 10 Council Leaders would be supporting the approval of the JWA which was required to unlock and stimulate economic growth. However, should the JWA not be approved and adopted this would represent a significant reputational risk for the Council. The Leader of the Council concluded by proposing that the recommendation be supported.

The Leader of the Labour Group supported the comments made by the Leader of the Council and agreed that the Council needed to fully participate and be part of the CCRCD. There were two aspects of the City Deal that were significant for Blaenau Gwent, namely:-

„ Regional Growth - the authority needed to be involved in any plans going forward in terms of regional growth.

„ The Metro Project - it was noted that there were on-going concerns regarding the project and there was now a need to gain a full understanding of how the Metro would work for Blaenau Gwent.


He continued by requesting that the Leader of Council make a strong case for Blaenau Gwent in respect of these matters and requested that a standing item be included on the Council agenda to update Members in respect of progress. The Leader of the Labour Group concluded by supporting the recommendations contained in the report.

The Leader of the Council confirmed that a number of mixed messages had been received regarding The Metro Project. He advised that he was scheduled to meet with Ken Skates Assembly Member and Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Transport in May and it was his intention to discuss this issue as a priority including the provision of a rail link into Abertillery.

This report would give impetus to the work of the Regional Cabinet which had, following the initial investment had given in principle support to the four schemes outlined in paragraph 4.5 of the report. It was noted that with regard to the Skills for the Future Project, the Corporate Director Environment & Regeneration was jointly leading on this and a considerable amount of background work had already been undertaken.

The Leader of the Council advised that the democratic process would be robust and said that progress reports would be submitted to Council and in addition, a view had been expressed that a scrutiny process should be established with Member participation from each of the 10 local authorities.

The Leader of the Labour Group said he supported the provision of a rail link into Abertillery. However, with regard to the Metro system he pointed out that this would possibly involve the provision of buses within Blaenau Gwent and expressed his concern that there were already difficulties experienced by people traversing the valleys via bus routes.

The Leader of the Council stated that a Member had raised the issue of transport and the problems experienced within the County Borough at the Member Briefing Session. Transport was vital for the aspirations of the City Deal and if this could not be achieved this would affect all priorities - it was noted that the key priorities would need to be interchangeable.

Another Member said that a strong voice was required at the Regional Cabinet and if the JWA was not supported the County Borough would lose out in respect of the benefits and opportunities that the City Deal would have to offer. On another note, he added that the potential creation of a Western City Region had also been muted by the Secretary of State. The Member concluded by stating that the Cardiff Capital City Region Deal should be included on the Council agenda as a quarterly standing item in order that Members were kept updated of progress.

Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously,

RESOLVED, subject to the foregoing, that the report be accepted and Option 1 be endorsed, namely:-

„ the Joint Working Agreement (JWA) Business Plan be approved on behalf of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council; and

„ the change to the Council's capital programme spend/funding profile be noted.

Agreed
31. A REVIEW OF ELECTORAL ARRANGEMENTS IN BLAENAU GWENT - A CONSULTATION BY THE LOCAL DEMOCRACY AND BOUNDARY COMMISSION FOR WALES
Report (476K/bytes)
Appendix A (12K/bytes)
Appendix B (12K/bytes)
Appendix C (14K/bytes)
Appendix D (365K/bytes)

Members considered the report of the Head of Legal & Corporate Compliance.

The Chair of the Democratic Services Committee commended the report and said that he wished to place on record his appreciation to the Vice-Chair of the Democratic Services Committee, Members of the Task and Finish Group and all Members who had participated in this work. In addition, appreciation was also expressed to officers Angela O'Leary, Corporate Support Manager and Audra Williams, Elections & Land Charges Manager for all the work they had undertaken in respect of the review.

The Leader of the Labour Group echoed the comments made by his colleague - however, he stated that with the recent announcement regarding a potential reorganisation of local government this review may have to potentially be reconsidered at some point in the future.

The Leader of the Council supported the comments made by the Chair of the Democratic Services Committee and complimented the work of the Task and Finish Group in dealing with such a very emotive subject. He also paid tribute and complimented officers for undertaking a phenomenal amount of work within such a short timescale. He concluded by stating that the proposals if agreed, would be submitted to the Local Democracy and Boundary Commission for Wales by 27th March, 2018.

Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously,

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and the following proposals be agreed:-

„ a reduction in the number of Councillors from 42 to 34 from 2022;

„ a reduction in the number of electoral wards from 16 to 14 wards;

„ revised boundaries for each of the 14 electoral wards as outlined in Appendix D; and

„ the proposal be submitted to the Local Democracy and Boundary Commission of Wales by 27th March, 2018. Additional evidence and detailed plans would also be submitted as part of the proposal.

Agreed
32. TREASURY MANAGEMENT - TREASURY STRATEGY STATEMENT, INVESTMENT STRATEGY & MRP POLICY STATEMENT 2018/19 (INCLUDING PRUDENTIAL INDICATORS)
Report (366K/bytes)
Appendix A (893K/bytes)
Appendix B (75K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the joint Officers' report.

It was noted that local authorities were required to prepare, before the commencement of each financial year, a statement of their policy on making revenue provision to cover debt repayments (known as MRP or Minimum Revenue Provision) in respect of that financial year and submit it to Council for approval. The MRP statement for 2018/2019 was, therefore, also included as part of the Treasury Management Statement.

Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously,

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and

„ the Annual Treasury Strategy Statement, Annual Investment Strategy and MRP Policy Statement for 2018/19 and the Treasury Management Prudential Indicators contained therein be approved;

„ the contents of the Treasury Management Policy Statement be noted; and

„ it be noted that a Capital Strategy would be developed for the 2019/2020 financial year, as required by the revised Prudential and Treasury Codes.

Agreed
33. CAPITAL PROGRAMME 2017/18 - 2023/24
Report (420K/bytes)
Appendices (94K/bytes)

The report of the Chief Finance Officer, Corporate Director Environment & Regeneration and Principal Accountant was submitted for consideration.

The Leader of the Council commenced by stating that the Council was committed to the 21st Century Schools Programme and providing a new school in Six Bells. However, unfortunately this position had arisen due to the 18 month delay (as a direct consequence of the sewer diversion and site issues) and the tendered costs which were no longer reflective of current market conditions had to be updated as appropriate to reflect market increases and inflation.

He concluded by stating that a capital contingency fund had previously been identified for allocation to projects at a future date and it was, therefore, proposed that the shortfall in funding be met from a transfer of 489,000 from this fund of 589,000 to allow the commencement of and prompt completion of the works.

Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously,

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and

„ Option 1 be agreed in retrospect, namely that the sum of 489,000 be vired from the capital contingency fund to the Six Bells Primary School and Sewer Diversion Project;

„ The Corporate Leadership Team (CLT) decision to award the contract for the Six Bells Primary School and Sewer Division Project to Morgan Sindall Contraction and Infrastructure Ltd be noted; and

„ The revised Capital Programme for the period 2017/18 - 2023/24 incorporating the additional funding required for Option 1 be noted.

Agreed
34. PAY POLICY STATEMENT 2018/19
Report (491K/bytes)
Appendix 2 (2M/bytes)

The following officers declared an interest in this item but remained in the meeting whilst if was being considered:-

Managing Director; Corporate Director Environment & Regeneration; Corporate Director Social Services; Chief Finance Officer, Head of Legal & Corporate Compliance; Head of Education Transformation & Performance; Corporate Support Manager; HR Manager, Communications, Marketing & Customer Access Manager; Elections & Land Charges Manager and Senior Business Support Officer - Democratic and Corporate Support.

Members considered the report of the Head of Organisational Development.

Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously,

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and the Pay Policy Statement be approved with immediate effect and would be subject to review on a minimum of an annual basis in accordance with relevant legislation.

Agreed
35. EXCESS MILEAGE SCHEME
Report (450K/bytes)
Appendix 2 (371K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Assistant OD Policy & Projects Officer.

It was noted that the Trade Unions had endorsed the proposal.

Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously,

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and Option 1 be endorsed, namely the update to the Excess Mileage Scheme be approved for adoption.

Agreed
36. CIVIL PARKING ENFORCEMENT
Report (431K/bytes)

Members considered the report of the Corporate Director of Environment & Regeneration.

The Executive Member - Environment spoke to the report and highlighted points contained therein. He explained that historically Gwent Police had undertaken enforcement of contraventions of formal Traffic Regulation Orders, such as parking restrictions. However, in line with all other Welsh Police Authorities, Gwent Police had given notice that they would cease to undertake such enforcement on 31st December, 2018.

A "Collaborative Working Feasibility Study Report" dated July 2017 had subsequently been prepared as part of the joint G7 group of Chief Executive Officers. This had provided financial and operational information around the development of a Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) regime including options for moving forward on a regional basis which would be further informed by a future detailed business case.

The Executive Member continued by highlighting the summary of Capital and Revenue Outputs of Financial Modelling detailed at Paragraph 1.8 of the report. The Council was currently working with Newport, Torfaen, Caerphilly and Monmouthshire to identify collaborative CPE opportunities and all of these authorities were currently in the process of preparing/presenting reports to their respective Councils including consideration of linking with existing operations undertaken by RCT and Merthyr Councils. It was noted that the Outline Timescale for Potential of Implementation of CPE was detailed in Paragraph 1.18 of the report.

Parking Issues - A Member reported that many of the parking issues experienced were within town centres because car parks (especially in her particular ward) were fully utilised. The Member requested that the Highways Inspector and a Member of the Neighbourhood Policing Team undertake an inspection of all towns and streets to ascertain where prohibition of waiting orders could be removed in order to alleviate this issue.

The Executive Member - Environment confirmed that as part of the proposal a comprehensive review of all parking restrictions in the County Borough would be undertaken. Members would be consulted as part of this process and following the conclusion of the review, a report would be submitted to Council for consideration.

Timescales - A Member referred to the outline timescales for the potential implementation of CPE, namely approval of CPE powers for Blaenau Gwent during July 2019. The Member asked if Gwent Police was to cease enforcement activity on 31st December, 2018 how would traffic enforcement take place during the interim period prior to the CPE powers being granted to Blaenau Gwent.

The Corporate Director of Environment & Regeneration pointed out that Gwent Police had already accommodated an extension to the deadline from 31st March to 31st December, 2018; therefore, discussions would need to take place with Gwent Police to ensure that the final decision date was aligned.

Cost Pressure - A Member referred to the final paragraph contained in Paragraph 4.1 i.e. "The potential commencement of CPE in the second financial quarter of 2019/20 may generate a cost pressure as a result of delays in receiving PCN income. Alternative funding sources from within the Highways portfolio would need to be identified should this arise". The Member concluded by asking how long a likely delay could be.

The Corporate Director of Environment & Regeneration advised that the length of delay in receiving income would depend on the volume of appeals received.

Enforcement Activity - A Member pointed out that parking associated issues mainly occurred during the evenings and asked whether officers would be available to undertake enforcement activity during this period. It was noted that other enforcement activities concluded at 5.00 p.m.

The Executive Member - Environment advised that this issue would be addressed as part of the review.

The Leader of the Labour Group supported the proposal to introduce CPE within Blaenau Gwent.

Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously,

RESOLVED, subject to the foregoing, that the report be accepted and the following Options be approved, namely:

The introduction of CPE within Blaenau Gwent

- Option 2 - the introduction of CPE within Blaenau Gwent on a regional collaborative basis subject to a full affordable business case.

The operational model for CPE within Blaenau Gwent

- Option D - on-street civil parking with all the services on a regional collaborative basis.

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)
37. HEADS OF THE VALLEYS ORGANICS PROJECT - FINAL BUSINESS CASE AND SECOND INTER AUTHORITY AGREEMENT
Report (533K/bytes)
Appendix 2 (3M/bytes)
Appendix 3 (616K/bytes)

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 Environment & Regeneration.

At the invitation of the Chair, the Executive Member - Environment spoke in detail to the report which sought approval of the Heads of the Valley Organics Project Finance Business Case and the Second Inter Authority Agreement for the joint procurement of a long term food waste treatment contract.


At this juncture the Executive Member - Environment expressed his appreciation to Amy Taylor, Team Leader Strategic Projects for the tremendous amount of work the officer had undertaken in respect of the report.

The Executive Member continued by stating that the Heads of the Valleys Organics Project was a collaborative procurement consisting of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council, Torfaen County Borough Council and Monmouthshire County Borough Council. It was noted that the procurement process had now concluded and a preferred bidder had been selected.

It was noted that due to existing contractual arrangements for one local authority that needed to conclude, the initial timescale would be slightly delayed by one or two months. The Executive Member concluded by proposing that the recommendations be endorsed.

The Leader of the Labour Group referred to Paragraph 4.7 of the report and advised that the Executive Committee had considered the Outline Business Case in 2017 and not 2015 as stated in the report. He continued by pointing out that this report had not been submitted to the Scrutiny Committee and said that previously the authority had been criticised by the external regulator for reports not being scrutinised. He concluded by requesting that this noted in respect of future reporting arrangements.

Risk Implications - A Member referred to Paragraph 3.3 of the report, namely that within the contract a maximum tonnage had been set and asked if the authority failed to meet the required tonnage whether penalties would be incurred.

The Corporate Director Environment & Regeneration advised that the council's 33% had been based on projected tonnages of food waste via a modelling process. It was noted that a maximum ceiling had been including before any penalties would be incurred. This tolerance had been modelled by reviewing maximum and minimum volumes of food waste.

Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously,

RESOLVED, subject to the foregoing, that the report which related to the financial and business affairs of any particular person (including the Council) be accepted and Option 2 be approved (subject to fine tuning), namely:-

„ Both the Final Business Case and Second Inter Authority Agreement be approved.

Agreed
38. SENIOR MANAGEMENT REVIEW
Report (689K/bytes)
Appendix 1a (13K/bytes)
Appendix 1b (33K/bytes)
Appendix 2a (106K/bytes)
Appendix 2b (279K/bytes)
Appendix 3 (221K/bytes)
Appendix 4 (197K/bytes)

The following officers declared an interest in this item and left the meeting whilst it was under discussion:-

Corporate Director Environment & Regeneration; Corporate Director Social Services; Chief Finance Officer; Head of Education Transformation & Performance and Head of Legal & Corporate Compliance.

The following officers remained in the meeting:-

Managing Director; HR Manager and Senior Business Support Officer - Democratic & Corporate Support.

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

Consideration was given to the report of the Managing Director.

At the invitation of the Chair, the Managing Director commenced by stating that she already had the opportunity to speak with the majority of Members regarding the Senior Management Review either via the Scrutiny process or at political Group Meetings and she expressed her appreciation to Group Leaders for this opportunity.

The Managing Director continued by highlighting the key points contained within the report which set out the approach undertaken to complete the review of Senior Management within the Council. The report also presented a revised structure intended to put in place the capacity and capability needed within the Council to address future challenges.

With regard to consultation, it was noted that officers within the scope of the review had been consulted with at two stages. Consultation had also taken place with the Trade Unions and discussions regarding the proposal had taken place at the Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee held on 12th March, 2018.

It was noted that generally the Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee had supported the proposal and recognised the objectives of the review which would assist the Council to address future challenges. Comments had included the need:-

„ For service areas to deliver improvements going forward, namely marketing and communications, estates, I.T. services.

„ To generate income for the authority.

„ For more regional working including the development of a regional legal service in partnership with other councils was recognised together with other opportunities to work on a regional basis.

The Managing Director advised that the structure very much responded to and reflected the above approach.

Option 1 - Independent Remuneration Panel - it was noted that since the preparation of the report, the Independent Remuneration Panel had confirmed that the proposals contained within the report did not fall within the remit of the panel and, therefore, the panel did not have any comments to offer in respect of the Senior Management Review.

Regional Legal Service - The Managing Director advised discussions were currently on-going with two other local authorities regarding this proposal and a further report would be submitted to Council for consideration in due course. However, temporary arrangements had been incorporated as part of the structural review in order to ensure business continuity in the interim.

Chief Finance Officer/S151 Officer - The proposed arrangements concerning the current post holder were noted.

Risk No. 2 - The Managing Director stressed the importance of making the correct appointments in order to ensure that the Council could effectively manage the challenges ahead.

Financial Implications - The proposed structure would achieve the target cost reduction in year 1 (2018/19) which would be required to remove the current pressure from the Senior Management budget.

Benchmarking - The outcomes of the benchmarking exercise in respect salary levels were detailed in Appendix 3 of the report. These levels had been benchmarked against other local authorities that were broadly comparable in terms of size and region. The Trade Unions had endorsed this approach.

The Managing Director concluded by stating that Council policy had been considered and adhered to in terms of the preparation of the structure and would be followed in respect of making appointments to the new structure.

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

Chief Finance Officer/S151 Officer - A Member referred to the termination date of the current post holder and expressed her concern that this did not leave sufficient time in order to appoint a replacement.

The Managing Director confirmed that following discussions it had been agreed that the Chief Finance Officer would remain in post as the S151 Officer until a substantive appointment had been made in order to ensure service continuity. It was noted that dates for the internal appointment process had been confirmed for the end of April. However, if an external appointment was required this would elongate the process.

A Member said that he had worked with the Chief Finance Officer in his former role of Chair of the Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee and said that it would be remiss not to express his appreciation to this superb officer who had helped and assisted to him in his role over the years.

The Leader of the Labour Group endorsed the comments of his colleague and said that the officer had played a vital role during the time that Welsh Government advisors were working with the authority.

The Leader of the Council echoed the comments made and commended the professionalism of the Chief Finance Officer.

In reply to a question, regarding the flexible retirement termination date, it was noted that the Flexible Retirement Policy provided the opportunity for officers to remain with the organisation albeit within either a different role or via a reduction in working hours. The current post holder had opted to pursue the flexible retirement option which would ensure service continuity in the interim period until a substantive appointment had been made to the new post of Chief Officer Resources.

The H.R. Manager added that as part of the Flexible Retirement Policy a termination date was required to be stipulated. This would allow the officer's current employment to be terminated and the post holder re-engaged (in either a different role or a role with reduced hours) permitting the release of the individual's pension.

Marketing - A Member pointed out that the authority had a lot to offer and requested that in terms of the restructure that the marketing of the Council be taken forward in a far more dynamic manner.

Structure - Another Member said that it was imperative that the structure and its principles were correct going forward.

In reply to a question, the Managing Director confirmed that there were currently two Heads of Service whose appointments were of a temporary nature and these officers would be afforded the opportunity to apply for the new posts. It had been agreed with the Trade Union that the posts would be ring fenced to officers in scope via an internal recruitment process.

Councillor J. C. Morgan left the meeting at this juncture.

The Leader of the Council said that he fully supported the proposed structure and agreed with earlier comment made regarding a more dynamic approach to marketing. It was noted that it was the aspiration to deliver at a senior level, a workforce that had transferable skills and the opportunity presented itself this coming year to achieve this objective.

Councillor J. C. Morgan re-joined the meeting at this juncture.

The Leader of the Council continued said that it was fitting that the structure also acknowledged the need to work on a regional basis and reiterated that he fully supported the proposals and looked forward to the proposals coming to fruition.

Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously,

RESOLVED that the report which related to staffing matters and information relating to the financial and business affairs of any particular person (including the Council) be accepted and Option 1 be endorsed, namely:-

„ the proposed Senior Management Structure and grades detailed in Section 6.1 and Appendix 2a and 2b, subject to the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales with effect from 1st April, 2018; supporting the redesign of roles and agreeing the recruitment principles for recruiting to the new structure;

„ work continued on the feasibility of developing a regional legal service in partnership with other councils, as detailed in paragraph 6.3, with a further report back to Council in due course, and that in the interim the Head of Legal & Corporate Compliance reported to the Managing Director; and

„ that, as detailed in paragraph 6.4, the current temporary arrangements for the Head of Adult Services and Head of Public Services be retained, until the recruitment process into the new posts in the structure were concluded, and that the Chief Finance Officer be granted Flexible Retirement upon appointment of the new Chief Officer (Resources).


Agreed