Meeting documents

Ordinary Meeting of the Council
Wednesday, 24th October, 2018 10.30 am

Date: Wednesday 24th October 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

PresentAndWithReport toReport of
COUNCILLOR M. MOORE (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 Version of Agenda Coversheet (175K/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, P. Edwards, M. Holland, G. Thomas, B. Willis and the Corporate Director of Education.

Noted
4. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST AND DISPENSATIONS

The following declarations of interest were reported:-

Councillors J. Mason & H. Trollope
Item No. 8 - Service Review - Care & Repair (Voluntary Sector Scheme Funding Element)

Councillor D. Wilkshire
Item No. 10 - Social Services Service Reviews

It was noted that the Head of Legal and Corporate Compliance had advised Councillor Wilkshire to declare an interest in respect of this item but confirmed that he would be permitted to remain within the meeting whilst Council considered the report.

Noted
5. WALES AUDIT OFFICE ANNUAL IMPROVEMENT REPORT 2017/2018
Report (225K/bytes)
Appendix (2M/bytes)

Consideration was given to the Wales Audit Office report dated September 2018.

A warm welcome was extended to Non Jenkins and David Wilson of the Wales Audit Office (WAO).

At the invitation of the Chair, Ms. Jenkins advised that this was the annual visit to the authority to present the Wales Audit Office Annual Improvement Report for Blaenau Gwent.

This report summarised the audit work undertaken at Blaenau Gwent Council since the last report was published in June 2017. It also included a summary of the regulatory work undertaken by Estyn and the Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW). It was noted that the recommendations of Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) inspection of services for children in Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council had also been included within the report.

The audit work was summarised as follows:-

„ February 2018: Aligning the Levers of Change - Current Successes and Remaining Challenges Community Engagement had concluded that the Council was committed and enthusiastic about engaging with the community and recognised the scale of the challenge.

„ June 2018: 'Scrutiny: Fit for the Future?' Review had concluded that the Council had made positive changes to its scrutiny function and its commitment to improve made it well placed to respond to future challenges.

„ July 2018: Supporting Financial Resilience had concluded that whilst the Council had agreed a Medium Term Financial Strategy and had reserves of 5%; a stronger financial culture would need to be developed if it was to remain financially resilient.

The following thematic review had not yet concluded:-

„ Service User Perspective Review which was focussing on community engagement from a service user perspective. The project would seek to understand how communities could more effectively engage with the Council.

Two certificates of compliance had been issued with regard to:-

„ Statutory improvement planning duties and statutory improvement reporting duties.


It was also reported that:-

„ Details of the National Report Recommendations which were pertinent to local government were also contained within the appendices attached to the report. It was noted that the Wales Audit Office would return to assess progress on these recommendations at a future point in time.

„ Proposals for Improvement management responses had been received in respect of the proposals for improvement but the Wales Audit Office would also return to follow up these proposals.

Ms. Jenkins concluded by expressing her appreciation to the Council for all the support, helpfulness and co-operation provided whilst the WAO conducted this audit work.

The Leader of the Labour Group commenced by commending the positive report and said that whilst there were challenges to be faced in the future, the Council appeared to be moving in the right direction. He continued by referring to the 'Scrutiny: Fit for the Future?' Review and expressed his concern that he found this particular outcome difficult to accept in terms of the progress of scrutiny.

The Leader of the Labour Group continued by protesting in the strongest manner that Item Nos. 8, 9 and 10 (namely the Service Review for Care & Repair; Review of CCTV Operations and the Social Services Service Reviews) included on the agenda should have gone through the scrutiny process prior to being presented to Council for consideration.

He pointed out that Members had only received one opportunity to meet with officers in a political group setting to discuss these items and this had made it difficult for the Group to reach a conclusion on the reports. He added that in particular, Item Nos 9 and 10 were crying out for scrutiny and Members could have raised pertinent questions as part of that process.

The Leader of the Labour Group concluded by welcoming the Annual Improvement Report but expressed his concern that reports were not being considered via the proper process.

The Leader of the Council said that he was committed to the scrutiny process. The reports referred to had been agreed by Council as part of the budget setting process for the 2018/19 financial year and these items had been included as part of the Council's forward work programme and it was, therefore, appropriate that these service review reports were submitted to Council for due consideration.

He explained that whilst this was a complete change to the traditional budget setting process, the Council was committed to eradicating cost pressures. It was noted that a number of these efficiency projects had been proposed by departments for a number of years but had never been progressed and this practice would change going forward. In order to achieve this, officers were undertaking service reviews across 32 areas, some of which had already come to fruition e.g. Home to School and Post 16 Transport.

It was noted that if these reports were approved they would realise savings in excess of 600,000. This was the first attempt to undertake full service reviews and was far from undermining the scrutiny process, it was just a different way of budget setting. In addition, if the proposals were agreed, officers would receive some level of certainty with regard to the budget savings going forward. However, should the proposals be rejected then the savings would have to be identified elsewhere from within departmental budgets.


The Leader of the Council, thereupon, concluded by stating that time was of the essence, however, he would be more than content to assess the process once the budget setting had concluded.

The Leader of the Labour Group pointed out that it had not been indicated at the Council meeting in February (that had agreed the budget), that these reports would not be submitted via the scrutiny process therefore, in his opinion scrutiny was being by-passed. He added that an element of the role of officers was to develop and work with scrutiny and advised that there had been sufficient time prior to the budget setting process to have held scrutiny meetings to discuss these critical issues for the public.

It was noted that on 8th November, 2018 the Council would be receiving an award from the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) an element of which related to scrutiny; however, Scrutiny Members were feeling disaffected from not receiving the opportunity to challenge this information.

The Leader of the Labour Group concluded by stating that he would provide further comment when the reports in question were presented for consideration.

A Member commenced by stating that he disagreed with the Leader's comments that scrutiny was not being by-passed and also expressed concern that risk assessments had not been provided as part of the service review proposal reports.

He continued by stating in his capacity as Chair of Education & Learning Scrutiny Committee that he had convened a Special Committee to consider the Home to School and Post 16 Transport Review. However, Scrutiny Members were not provided with the opportunity to present their views because a Special Meeting of the Executive Committee had been convened prior to this meeting. Therefore, neither Members of the Labour Group nor Scrutiny Members had been given the chance to comment on this particular review. The Member concluded by stating that in his opinion that scrutiny was not working this year.

The Leader of the Council said that he had made a statement at a meeting of the Town/Community Councils at which the Member had been present that 'he did not make the rules, he only applied them'. In terms of the process for Home to School and Post 16 Transport, the Scrutiny Committee was a consultee as part of that process and a consultation meeting had been duly held with Scrutiny Members. The decision had then fallen to the Executive Committee to make as part of the arrangements outlined within the Council's Constitution. A comprehensive report had been produced by the Head of Education Transformation in relation to Home to School and Post 16 Transport and it had been clear from that information that scrutiny had not been by-passed.

The Head of Education Transformation advised that due process had been followed in terms Home to School and Post 16 Transport review. The officer confirmed that as part of these arrangements, the Scrutiny Committee had been a statutory consultee - the proposal was taken to scrutiny to capture views and opinions and then subsequently shared with the Executive Committee, who made the determination. This process had, therefore, followed the previous process that had set the precedent.

The Leader of the Labour Group thanked the representatives of the Wales Audit Office for their report and proposed that the report be approved subject to his earlier comments. This proposal was seconded.

The Leader of the Council said that he wished to reciprocate the comments made to Non and Dave, it had been enlightening working with both and said that he was grateful for the help and assistance that the WAO had provided to the Council as part of the audit work.

It was noted that with regard to the proposals for improvement a meeting had been held the previous week regarding financial resilience and work had been undertaken to incorporate the positive suggestions made by the WAO within this area.

Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously,

RESOLVED, subject to the foregoing, that the report be accepted and

„ the information contained therein be noted; and

„ future reports be received from the Wales Audit Office.

Agreed
6. ASSESSMENT OF PERFORMANCE 2017/18
Report (332K/bytes)
Appendix 1 (3M/bytes)
Appendix 2 (509K/bytes)
Appendix 3 (533K/bytes)

Members considered the report of the Head of Governance and Partnerships.

The Leader of the Council spoke to the report and explained that there was a statutory requirement under the Local Government (Wales) Measure for all Councils to undertake an assessment of performance and to report against a prescribed set of national performance indicators. It was noted that Blaenau Gwent's seven Well Being Objectives/Improvement Objectives were reflected as part of the Council's Corporate Plan 2018/22.

In addition, there was a requirement to publish this information by 31st October each year. This information was subject to external audit by the Wales Audit Office who would assess this data for compliance.

It was noted that the Well-Being Objectives/Improvement Objectives were contained within Paragraph 2 of the report and the summary of assessment against these outcomes were contained within Paragraph 6 of the report.

The Leader of the Council concluded by proposing that the report be accepted. This proposal was seconded.

Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously,

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and the Council's Assessment of Performance 2017/18 be approved

Agreed
7. CARDIFF CAPITAL REGION CITY DEAL QUARTER 4 AND ANNUAL REVIEW 2017/2018
Report (204K/bytes)
Appendix (391K/bytes)

The report of the Corporate Director of Regeneration and Community Services was submitted for consideration.

The Leader of the Council spoke briefly to the report which had been presented to inform Council of the performance of the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal for both quarter 4 and annually for 2017/18. This report had previously been considered and supported by the Environment, Regeneration & Economic Development Scrutiny Committee.

It was also noted that the Joint Working Agreement Business Plan (which had been agreed by all 10 partner authorities) and the work programme was monitored on a quarterly basis by both Welsh and U.K. Governments.

The Leader of the Council concluded by proposing that the report be accepted. This proposal was seconded.

The Leader of the Labour Group commenced by stating that the work of the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal (CCRCD) was progressing at pace and as expressed previously he pointed out that the Metro would be crucial for Blaenau Gwent.


Given the performance over the last year of the CCRCD, he asked the Leader of the Council:-

„ How he felt his voice would be heard in relation to the Metro?
„ Would the Leader be pressing for a solution for the area?
„ How confident was the Leader that a solution would be appropriate for Blaenau Gwent?

It was noted that the Regional Cabinet had considered the Metro Central Project proposals and had agreed 'in principle' of up to 40m being invested from the Wider Investment Fund.

The Leader of the Council clarified that the work in respect of the Metro was being monitored by the Regional Transport Authority. He had made the point that geographically Blaenau Gwent was different to areas such as Cardiff, connectivity was not easy in Blaenau Gwent i.e. there were 3 definitive valleys. The connectivity around the Metro needed to pay special regard to areas like Blaenau Gwent if all areas of City Deal were going to be successful for areas such as ours.

It was noted that the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Transport, Ken Skates had given a commitment to look positively at transport for the area. The Leader said that if the connectivity was not corrected the principle of City Deal could collapse. He continued by stating that rest assured that every time there was an opportunity he would raise the issue of transport for the area. He added that he had supported the 40m for Cardiff because it was only fitting that the capital of Wales had the provision of appropriate transport facilities.

The Leader concluded by referring to the former and newly appointed Programme Directors of Cardiff Capital Region City Deal and advised that he had also raised the importance of transport infrastructure within the valleys with the new Programme Director.

The Leader of the Labour Group said that transport was such a critical area and regular updates should be provided to Members even if these were verbal updates. He also pointed out that he also supported Compound Semi-Conductor Project (Part of IQE Investment through City Deal).

The Corporate Director of Regeneration and Community Services said that one of the key challenges in terms of IQE was to ensure individuals from Blaenau Gwent were employed as part of the project and that Blaenau Gwent companies became part of its supply chain.

The Leader of the Council advised that the Cardiff Capital Regional City Deal - Regional Scrutiny Committee was now operational. In addition, arrangements were in the process of being made for Kellie Beirne, Programme Director to provide a Member Briefing to outline her direction and vision for City Deal going forward.

Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously,

RESOLVED, subject to the foregoing, that the report be accepted and

„ the overall significant progress and completion of the key targets of the 2017/18 Transition Plan be noted;

„ the Quarter 4 performance report and Annual Review 2017/18 be noted; and

„ the draft 2018/19 work plan be approved as the basis for performance reporting for the next year in conjunction with the Annual Business Plan.

Agreed
8. COUNCIL TAX - DISCRETIONARY RELIEF FOR CARE LEAVERS
Report (350K/bytes)
Appendix (153K/bytes)

Consideration was given the report of the Chief Officer - Resources.

The Leader of the Council spoke briefly to the report and proposed that Option 2 be endorsed. This proposal was seconded.

Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously,

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and Option 2 be endorsed, namely that the Council Tax Discretionary Relief Policy be approved. This would allow on-going support to care leavers of up to 100% discretionary Council Tax with effect from 1st April, 2018.

Agreed
9. SERVICE REVIEW - CARE & REPAIR (VOLUNTARY SECTOR SCHEME FUNDING ELEMENT)
Report (340K/bytes)
Appendix (207K/bytes)

Councillors J. Mason and H. Trollope declared an interest in this item and left the meeting whilst it was under discussion.

The report of the Head of Governance and Partnerships was submitted for consideration.

The Leader of the Council advised that as part of the budget setting process for the current financial year, an outline business case was put forward to Council in respect of the VSS element ( 85,000 in total) for Care and Repair and Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), where it was agreed that a service review would be undertaken to understand the impact of withdrawal of funding.

It was noted that this particular report focussed on the Care and Repair element and the CAB review would be the subject of a separate report.

Members were advised that a number of meetings had taken place with the Chief Officer of Blaenau Gwent and Caerphilly Care and Repair and the Head of Adult Services and Public Protection to gain a better understanding of a number of areas to inform the review.

As part of these meetings it had been identified that there were no current robust contract management arrangements in place for the VSS funding. Support in the form of administering the payroll for the Care and Repair Service was also offered by the Council.

It was noted that whilst the handyman service met specific need in Blaenau Gwent there was an opportunity to take a wider view including scoping efficiencies across contracts and alongside other elements of the contract. As Care and Repair were currently seeking alternative funding for a handyman service in Caerphilly there may also be an opportunity to establish a jointly commissioned service.

The Leader of the Council concluded by stating that this was a fulsome report and an assurance had been provided by officers that if the VSS element of funding ( 25,000) was discontinued this would not have a detrimental effect on the service. However, it would assist the Council in reducing its funding gap. The Leader proposed that Option 1 be endorsed. This proposal was seconded.

The Leader of the Labour Group said that given the history of this the service, this particular report was not too intensive and there were limited options available and confirmed that on merit the Labour Group supported Option 1.

Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously,

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


„ the VSS element of funding ( 25k) to Care and Repair be discontinued from 1st April, 2019;

„ the handyman service to continue with contract management and review to be undertaken by Adult Social Services alongside the Safety at Home programme; and

„ the review would include scoping efficiencies across the two contracts, revisiting the age criteria for support and exploring alternative funding avenues.

Councillors J. Mason and H. Trollope returned to the meeting at this juncture.

Agreed
10. REVIEW OF CCTV OPERATIONS
Report (361K/bytes)
Appendix 1 (70K/bytes)
Appendix 2 (68K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Head of Community Services.

The Leader of the Council advised that the review of CCTV operations had been agreed by Council in February 2018 as part of the budget setting process. It was noted that the provision of CCTV had been proposed as an efficiency project for a number of years but had never been progressed. As this was a non-statutory service this was an area that needed to be reviewed.

It was noted that a previous alternative service delivery model for CCTV had been agreed by Council in 2014 when the monitoring service had transferred to Newport.

Paragraph 2.12 of the report provided details of the current number of cameras by town (63 in total), however, this infrastructure was aging and operated on older analogue technology. In addition, the server which was used to transmit images to Newport no longer worked and was beyond repair. Therefore, a decision on the options was required on the way forward and these options were documented within Paragraph 3.

The Leader continued by referring to the financial implications for Option 3 outlined in Paragraph 5.18 of the report. Whilst two current contacts would cease if the preferred option was approved, in order to update the system a bid would have to be made to the capital programme for 150,000 for recording equipment and data storage, replacement of the cameras and upgrade the PSBA infrastructure and set up wireless network in town centres.

It was noted that consultation had taken place with Gwent Police who were content with this proposal. Gwent Police had also been involved in determining the locations of camera positions and had confirmed that they were comfortable with a reduced network of town centre cameras and a small number of mobile cameras.

The Leader of the Council said that CCTV brought value and was necessary provision particularly within town centre areas and within some areas outside of the town centres and he, thereupon, concluding by proposing that Option 3 be endorsed.

A Member (who was also a Member of the Gwent Police Crime Panel) advised that she had raised the issue of the provision of CCTV prior to the commencement of the new financial year with the Panel and the Police and Crime Commissioner who had given an indication that he would be willing to look into the issue and potentially assist in terms of finance. Subsequently, the Labour Group had been working and discussing this issue with the Member of Parliament and Police and Crime Commissioner regarding the possibility of funding for CCTV provision.

The Member continued by stating that as these discussions were still on-going she very much felt that this report had been submitted too early and the discussions alluded to above should conclude before a decision was made regarding the service. The Member concluded by adding that the report should also have been submitted to the Scrutiny Committee prior to it being presented to Council for consideration.

The Leader of the Council disagreed that the report had been presented too early and alluded to the different budget setting method that was being used which would provide officers with an early indication if the savings proposals were achievable. It was noted that if this particular report was approved there was an opportunity for 66,000 savings to be realised.

He continued by stating that he understood that the Police had originally been approached with regard to making a capital contribution towards the upgrading of the cameras but had declined this request. In addition, the rail operator had been approached regarding making a contribution towards the provision of two cameras at Llanhilleth Station. It was noted that if any contributions were made these monies could be vired back into the Council's capital fund.

CCTV Provision - Tredegar Area - A Member pointed out that the country was facing massive cuts to the police service and, therefore, CCTV provision was essential. There was currently a massive problem of anti-social behaviour in the Tredegar area and a need to make the streets safe. This report was, therefore, a matter of public interest and impact.

He referred to the performance data contained within Paragraph 6.1 and in particular, 69 bags of evidence that had been provided in the Tredegar area, however, he expressed his concern that he had been previously advised that only a small number of cameras were currently operational within the area.

With a proposed 50% reduction in the number of cameras for the Tredegar area, the Member questioned whether this number of cameras would be sufficient. In addition, he questioned whether these cameras were sited in the correct locations and be able to detect incidents.

He pointed out that this review should have been considered by the Scrutiny Committee in order that questions such as evidence and camera locations could have been posed. The Member concluded by proposing the following an additional option i.e.

Option 4 - that the report be deferred and be submitted to the Scrutiny Committee for consideration.

The Communications, Marketing and Customer Access Manager clarified that the number of evidence bags (69) had been recorded since the service had transferred to Newport in June 2014. The officer pointed that the cameras in Tredegar were transmitting images to Newport, however, due to the current issues with the server, images were unable to be recorded.

Bank Lane/Cefn Golau, Tredegar - The Leader of the Labour Group said that he had particular concerns in relation to Bank Lane, Tredegar and would have liked the opportunity to discuss this with the Police.

He also added that the Labour Group was unable to support the report because it had not been submitted to Scrutiny for consideration and concluded by also proposing that the item be deferred for Scrutiny's consideration.

Another Member said that he had held numerous meetings with the Police Inspector for Tredegar who had confirmed that the CCTV cameras were not operational. In addition, it had been confirmed by the Cefn Golau Tenants and Residents Association that the four cameras in this area were not operational.

Members were advised that due to the lack of operational cameras, the Police had to obtain CCTV footage from local shop owners in relation to a recent physical assault which had taken place within the town centre.

The Member concluded by also expressing his concern that Scrutiny Members had not received the opportunity to discuss this report and pose questions regarding camera locations and the removal of cameras from certain areas.

Other Members commented as follows:-

„ The provision of CCTV had been discussed by the Scrutiny Committee on numerous occasions.

„ The report focussed on the 'record only' system and this would be detrimental because an operator would be unable to 'zoom' into an incident.

The Communications, Marketing and Customer Access Manager confirmed that the 'record only' option had been discussed with the Police as one of the options and this had been agreed. He explained that because technology had vastly improved the cameras would be able pick up and track incidents because they were motion driven.

„ The CCTV provision needed to be modified and there was provision to add to the camera network over time. This provision was required in order to provide reassurance to constituents.

„ A Member said that he fully supported the upgrading of the cameras but it needed to be implemented correctly this time. Therefore, there was a need to ensure that all options were considered via the correct channels. He concluded by proposing that Option 4 be supported i.e. that the report be deferred and submitted to the Scrutiny Committee for consideration.

„ Councillors would have the opportunity to engage with the public in terms of the locations of the cameras. In addition, camera locations could be discussed with Ward Members.

„ A Member commended Option 3 but said that the Council would need to ensure the availability of Wi-Fi within areas. Another Member pointed out that there were areas of Blaenau Gwent, Cwmcelyn in particular, where Wi-Fi did not work.

The Leader of the Labour Group said that it would have been useful for scrutiny Members to have considered the report and provided comments. Given the situation in Tredegar he had wanted to pose questions around the siting and reduction of the camera network. He, thereupon, proposed the following amendment:-

Option 4 - The report be deferred and submitted to the appropriate Scrutiny Committee for consideration.

This amended proposal was seconded. The Leader of the Labour Group requested that a recorded vote be taken.

A vote on the above amendment was then taken i.e
The report be deferred and submitted to the appropriate Scrutiny Committee for consideration.

In Favour - Councillors D. Bevan, M. Cross, K. Hayden, H. McCarthy, J. C. Morgan, T. Sharrem, T. Smith, S. Thomas, H. Trollope, D. Wilkshire, L. Winnett

The vote on the proposed amendment was not agreed.

A vote on Option 3 was then taken i.e.

Upgrade with the purchase of new high definition cameras, use of wireless technology to improve image quality and reduce signal transmission costs by replacing the BT Redcare contract.

In Favour - Councillors G. Collier, J. Collins, M. Cook, N. Daniels, D. Davies, G. A. Davies, G. L. Davies, M. Day, D. Hancock, S. Healy, J. Hill, W. Hodgins, J. Holt, J. Mason, C. Meredith, J. Millard, M. Moore, J. P. Morgan, L. Parsons, G. Paulsen, K. Pritchard, K. Rowson, B. Summers. B. Thomas, J. Wilkins.

It was, therefore,

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and Option 3 be endorsed, namely:-

„ Upgrade with the purchase of new high definition cameras, use of wireless technology to improve image quality and reduce signal transmission costs by replacing the BT Redcare contract.

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)
11. SOCIAL SERVICES SERVICE REVIEWS
Report (449K/bytes)
Appendix 1 (558K/bytes)
Appendix 2 (565K/bytes)
Appendix 3 (565K/bytes)
Appendix 4 (557K/bytes)
Appendix 5 (351K/bytes)
Appendix 6 (497K/bytes)

Councillor D. Wilkshire declared an interest in this item but on the advice of the Head of Legal and Corporate Compliance was permitted to remain in the meeting whilst the item was 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).

Members considered the report of the Corporate Director of Social Services.

At the invitation of the Chair, the Executive Member for Social Services spoke to the report and acknowledged the excellent work of the Corporate Director and officers. It was noted if the proposals were approved the savings target set would be exceeded. The Executive Member concluded by stating that further ways and opportunities to increase the revenue income for the department would be explored with the newly appointed Chief Officer Commercial.

The Corporate Director of Social Services reported that as part of the service review process, officers had endeavoured to recommend options that would have the least impact on service users and staff but at the same time bearing in mind the need to achieve the savings target. Opportunities to expand and market some of the excellent facilities the Council possessed in Blaenau Gwent were also being investigated.

The Leader of the Labour Group acknowledged the tremendous amount of work undertaken by officers but reiterated that the Scrutiny Committee should have had access to this report prior to it being submitted to Council, because there were issues such as looked after children which would in turn put additional pressure on adult services. It would, therefore, have been of benefit to explore the options and wider collaboration further.

He concluded by stating that because the report had not been considered by the Scrutiny Committee in the first instance, the Labour Group was unable to support the options contained therein.

Another Member commended the excellent report but pointed out that there had been a period of 6/7 months where scrutiny could have taken place. He expressed his concern that Scrutiny Members could have suggested additional options such as use of hydro pool at the Bert Denning Centre after working hours and these could have been explored and progressed via a Scrutiny Task and Finish Group.

The Corporate Director of Social Services advised Members that the hydro pool at the Bert Denning Centre was being outsourced where feasible, on the weekends and during evenings in order to generate income.

The Leader of the Labour Group proposed the following amendment:-

The report be deferred and submitted to the Scrutiny Committee for consideration.

The Leader of the Labour Group requested that a recorded vote be taken. A vote on the amendment was, thereupon taken:-

In Favour - Councillors D. Bevan, M. Cross, K. Hayden, H. McCarthy, J. C. Morgan, T. Sharrem, T. Smith, S. Thomas, H. Trollope, D. Wilkshire, L. Winnett.

The vote on the proposed amendment was not agreed.

A vote on the following options were, thereupon, taken

Residential Home - Options 1 and 5

In Favour - Councillors G. Collier, J. Collins, M. Cook, N. Daniels, D. Davies, G. A. Davies, G. L. Davies, M. Day, D. Hancock, S. Healy, J. Hill, W. Hodgins, J. Holt, J. Mason, C. Meredith, J. Millard, M. Moore, J. P. Morgan, L. Parsons, G. Paulsen, K. Pritchard, K. Rowson, B. Summers. B. Thomas, J. Wilkins.

Supported Living - Options 2 and 4

In Favour - Councillors G. Collier, J. Collins, M. Cook, N. Daniels, D. Davies, G. A. Davies, G. L. Davies, M. Day, D. Hancock, S. Healy, J. Hill, W. Hodgins, J. Holt, J. Mason, C. Meredith, J. Millard, M. Moore, J. P. Morgan, L. Parsons, G. Paulsen, K. Pritchard, K. Rowson, B. Summers. B. Thomas, J. Wilkins.

Augusta House - Options 2 and 5

In Favour - Councillors G. Collier, J. Collins, M. Cook, N. Daniels, D. Davies, G. A. Davies, G. L. Davies, M. Day, D. Hancock, S. Healy, J. Hill, W. Hodgins, J. Holt, J. Mason, C. Meredith, J. Millard, M. Moore, J. P. Morgan, L. Parsons, G. Paulsen, K. Pritchard, K. Rowson, B. Summers. B. Thomas, J. Wilkins.

Community Options - Option 2

In Favour - Councillors G. Collier, J. Collins, M. Cook, N. Daniels, D. Davies, G. A. Davies, G. L. Davies, M. Day, D. Hancock, S. Healy, J. Hill, W. Hodgins, J. Holt, J. Mason, C. Meredith, J. Millard, M. Moore, J. P. Morgan, L. Parsons, G. Paulsen, K. Pritchard, K. Rowson, B. Summers. B. Thomas, J. Wilkins.

It was, therefore,

RESOLVED that the report which related to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the Authority) be accepted and:-

Residential Home

That Options 1 and 5 be endorsed, namely that:-

„ the Residential Home be retained given the fragility of the current residential market position and efficiencies be sought whilst improving services for the residents; and

„ the opportunities of a regional approach be pursued through an independent consultant report on the options available for an alternative service delivery model.


Supported Living

That Options 2 and 4 be endorsed, namely that:-

„ the opportunity to consider closing one of the supported living bungalows by not filling vacancies and possibly moving a tenant/s to another internal vacancy be taken up; and

„ the opportunities of a regional approach be pursued through an independent consultant report on the options available for an alternative service delivery model.

Augusta House

That Options 2 and 5 be endorsed, namely that:-

„ Augusta House be retained internally and access capital to improve and develop a feasibility of expanding the service further be looked at; and

„ the opportunities of a regional approach be pursued through an independent consultant report on the options available for an alternative service delivery model.

Community Options

That Option 2 be endorsed, namely that partners be sought to work within our communities including developing a provider framework to develop providers to deliver services. It was agreed that the recommendations (contained in the report) for each of the service areas below be implemented, namely:-

Older Peoples Services (Ash Park and Lake View); Mental Health Services (Quite Minds); Bert Denning; Vision House - Learning Disability Outreach Services; Community Options Catering Project; Green Shoots; New Vale Recycling; Wick and Wax and Vision 21.

Agreed
DECISIONS UNDER DELEGATED POWERS