Meeting documents

Ordinary Meeting of the Council
Thursday, 8th November, 2018 10.30 am

Date: Thursday 8th November 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)
Councillors P. Baldwin D. Bevan G. Collier J. Collins M. Cook M. Cross N. Daniels D. Davies G. L. Davies P. Edwards D. Hancock S. Healy J. Holt J. Mason H. McCarthy, B.A. (Hons) J. Millard J. C. Morgan J. P. Morgan L. Parsons K. Pritchard K. Rowson T. Sharrem T. Smith B. Summers S. Thomas H. Trollope J. Wilkins D. Wilkshire B. Willis

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 (194K/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 G.A. Davies, M. Day, L. Elias, K. Hayden,
J. Hill, C. Meredith, G. Paulsen, B. Thomas, G. Thomas,
L. Winnett and Corporate Director Regeneration and Community Services.

Noted
4. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST AND DISPENSATIONS

The following declarations of interest were reported:-

Item No. 18
Social Services Scrutiny Committee
Councillor D. Wilkshire
Councillor L. Parsons

Item No. 35
Gwent Association of Voluntary Organisations (GAVO)
Councillor M. Moore
Councillor J. Mason

Item No. 36
Feedback Information from Outside Bodies -
Aneurin Leisure Board
Councillor N. Daniels

Item No. 41
Service Review - Phase One
Councillor N. Daniels
Councillor W. Hodgins
Councillor L. Parsons

Noted
5. WALES CHARTER FOR MEMBER SUPPORT AND DEVELOPMENT

The Chair welcomed Sarah Titcombe from the WLGA who had been invited to present to Council the Wales Charter for Member Support and Development Award.

At the invitation of the Chair, Sarah Titcombe congratulated the Council on the award which recognised the quality of support provided by the Local Authority to its Elected Members. The Award covered elements of information provision, training, equipment and committee support. During the assessment process for the submission the support provided to Members was very impressive and met or exceeded the criteria set for the Award. The Panel had been particularly impressed by the Member Development Strategy which fitted into the overall work of the Council. She added that the Award also demonstrated the leadership of members and commended both the Head of Governance and Partnerships and the Senior Democratic Services Officer along with their team on their hard work.

Sarah also announced that there was an advanced Award and hoped that the Authority would apply for this soon. Sarah concluded by thanking the Chair for the invitation to attend Council and presented the Award to the Chair of the Council on behalf of the WLGA.

The Leader of the Council thanked Sarah Titcombe for her attendance and welcomed the support received from the WLGA. The Leader reiterated comments on the dedication and hard work of Democratic Services and stated that the Authority was fortunate to have such an excellent team to support Elected Members and he hoped that in the not too distant future a submission for the Advanced Charter would be progressed.

Agreed
6. CHAIR'S ANNOUNCEMENTS

The Chair advised that today would mark the 100 year anniversary of the armistice which ended the First World War in 1918.

As the Chair of Council, I am honoured to outline the considerable support that this Council provided to both our serving and veteran armed forces community. The Chair reported that during this year alone, the Council supported numerous events as part of a 'Blaenau Gwent Remembers' programme to mark our respect, remembrance and thanks to all those that have served and suffered.

At this juncture, the Chair referred to events which had taken place, as follows:-

- The Royal Welsh reaffirmed their Freedom of the Borough with a parade through Brynmawr on Saturday 22 September, following their recent tour of Estonia;

- Recent correspondence had been received from the Royal Welsh Regiment expressing their appreciation for all the work undertaken and congratulating the success of the recent Parade. Special congratulations were extended to Helen Cunningham, Policy Officer who had led on the event.

- On the same day in Nantyglo, a commemorative paving stone was laid to honour John Henry Williams VC who received the Victoria Cross - the highest award for gallantry. To this day, Jack remains the most decorated Welsh non-commissioned officer of all time; and

- Our School Grand Council, with children represented from every primary school, met in October at the Ebbw Vale Coleg Gwent Campus. Their day involved the Royal British Legion dipping and moving the Standards, marching drills from the Royal Welsh, a poppy painting workshops, and educational re-enactment workshops.

The Chair referred to the photographs which had been taken at these events which showed how truly successful they were. The Chair thereupon expressed thanks all those involved.

In conclusion, the Chair pointed out to Members and Officers the two Silent Silhouettes which were part of an important movement from the Royal British Legion as mark of 'Thank You' from us to a generation of people who served, sacrificed, rebuilt and changed our nation.

The Chair, Members and Officer observed a two-minute silence in memory of all those that have died or suffered in all wars and conflict.

The Chair thanked everyone for their participation.

At this juncture, the Chair introduced Samuel Taylor, Youth Mayor and invited him to provide an overview of his successful year as Youth Mayor.

The Youth Mayor thanked the Council for the opportunity and informed Members that he lived in Rassau, was 16 years old and was currently the Youth Mayor for Blaenau Gwent. The Youth Mayor advised that the Youth Forum had opened many doors for him from a young boy who struggled in school to someone who had now grown and gone on to represent Blaenau Gwent locally, nationally and even internationally.

The Youth Mayor continued by stating that he had been fortunate to serve a two year term as Member of Youth Parliament following election at his Ward meeting. This was what had kick started him on the journey he was on today as less than a month later he was one of the first Welsh people to represent Wales at the UKYP Annual Sitting.

The Youth Mayor further advised that he attended a sitting in the House of Commons which had now become a regular occurrence. He also informed of his work with Young Wales on the UKYP Agenda and his election to Chair of their Project Board. During his time in this role the Youth Mayor outlined that he had discussed a range of issues including education, bullying and children rights with Kirsty Williams, AM, Huw Irranca Davies, AM and the late Carl Sergeant. He had also recently met with Mark Drakeford, AM and two Scottish Ministers in relation to Brexit.

The Youth Mayor said he was privileged to serve the young people of Blaenau Gwent as Deputy and Youth Mayor over the past two years. The role of Youth Mayor had given him countless opportunities such as speaking at Public Service Board events, campaigning for fairer rail fares for young people and the most meaning of all, for the first time ever this year on Remembrance Sunday he would lay a wreath on behalf of the young people in Blaenau Gwent.

At this juncture, the Youth Mayor shared his three proudest moments from across these roles:-

(1) The assistance provided on the consultation plan and being host of a young people's Brexit question time at the Senedd. A report from this event was provided to the Minister for Children and Older People Huw Irranca Davies, AM.

(2) First sitting at the House of Commons where he spoke against the cuts that effect the NHS, the Youth Mayor felt this was fitting being from Aneurin Bevan's original constituency. The Youth Mayor was travelling to London following the Council meeting for his third sitting in the House of Commons.

(3) In September the Youth Mayor travelled to the United Nations in Geneva where he had attended the day of general discussion as a Human Right's Defender. The theme of the day was Article 12 of the United Nations Conversion on the Right of the Child. This was the right to have your voice and opinion heard. This was a personal favourite and he had been privileged to be able to address the floor on ensuring that youth consultation was not just a 'tick box' exercise. He also undertook discussions on how business donations were not always beneficial to poorer communities.

The Youth Mayor advised that his aforementioned experiences had been life changing and he felt exceptionally lucky and honoured to have had the chance to take part in such events. However, he added that if you strip away the events and different roles he was doing one thing which was representing the young people of our Borough. He further advised that he was currently campaigning to be a Member of the Welsh Youth Parliament.

The Youth Mayor stated that he had only been given these opportunities because of the Youth Forum which was about giving the young people of Blaenau Gwent the same opportunities he had been offered. It was also about young people's voices being heard no matter their age, gender or address. The Forum raised the aspirations of local young people and it does so in a way which was truly unique.

The Youth Forum was a credit to Blaenau Gwent and he encouraged Councillors to make young people between the ages of 11-25 years old aware of the Forum and their work, maybe even encourage them to attend.

In conclusion, the Youth Mayor personally thanked each and every Councillor for their continuing support for the Youth Mayor's role in Blaenau Gwent. He referred to the invitation which had been extended to all Councillors for the next Youth Mayor's Inauguration which was scheduled to take place on 26th November 2018 and encouraged Members to attend to meet the next Youth Mayor and Deputy.

He further thanked the Council for the opportunity and although this was the first time an invitation had been extended he had hoped Youth Mayors could continue to respond in this way as who knows maybe someone who gave a speech to Council today could be in the seat next to you tomorrow.

The Chair thanked the Youth Mayor for his attendance and commended him on his work undertaken as Deputy and Youth Mayor for Blaenau Gwent.


Condolences

The Chair informed Council of the sad death of the former Education Officer - John Howells and advised that his funeral service would be held on Friday,
16th November, 2018 at 11.00 a.m. at Wesleyan Chapel, Nantyglo followed by cremation at Gwent Crematorium, Croesyceiliog,

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

Noted
7. MINUTE BOOK - SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER 2018

The Minute Book for the period September - October 2018 was submitted for consideration, whereupon:-


Education and Learning Scrutiny Committee -
15th October, 2018


Environment, Regeneration and Economic Development Scrutiny Committee -
18th October, 2018

A Member reported that both sets of the above Minutes had not been endorsed by the relevant Scrutiny Committees and should be agreed by Scrutiny prior to being ratified by Council. He concluded by requested that the Minutes not be endorsed.

The Chair advised that this practice would be looked at in the future.

RESOLVED accordingly.

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

Agreed
8. ORDINARY MEETING OF THE COUNCIL
Minutes (297K/bytes)
Cofnodion (288K/bytes)
Agreed
9. PLANNING COMMITTEE
Minutes (299K/bytes)
Cofnodion (245K/bytes)
Agreed
10. PLANNING COMMITTEE
planning minutes (186K/bytes)
Cofnodion (182K/bytes)
Agreed
11. EXECUTIVE
Minutes
Cofnodion (207K/bytes)
Agreed
12. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
Minutes (352K/bytes)
Cofnodion (351K/bytes)
Agreed
13. EXECUTIVE
Minutes
Cofnodion (204K/bytes)
Agreed
14. EDUCATION & LEARNING SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Minutes (271K/bytes)
Cofnodion (214K/bytes)
Agreed
15. ENVIRONMENT, REGENERATION AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Minutes
Cofnodion (177K/bytes)
Agreed
16. JOINT SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (BUDGET MONITORING)
Minutes (179K/bytes)
Cofnodion (115K/bytes)
Agreed
17. AUDIT COMMITTEE
Minutes (290K/bytes)
Cofnodion (234K/bytes)
Agreed
18. SPECIAL ENVIRONMENT, REGENERATION & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Minutes (167K/bytes)
Cofnodion (165K/bytes)
Agreed
19. CORPORATE OVERVIEW SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
minutes (263K/bytes)
Cofnodion (204K/bytes)
Agreed
20. SOCIAL SERVICES SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Minutes (267K/bytes)
Cofnodion (265K/bytes)
Agreed
21. SPECIAL AUDIT COMMITTEE
special audit minutes (259K/bytes)
Cofnodion (141K/bytes)
Agreed
22. EDUCATION AND LEARNING SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Minutes (283K/bytes)

Education and Learning Scrutiny Committee -
15th October, 2018


Environment, Regeneration and Economic Development Scrutiny Committee -
18th October, 2018

A Member reported that both sets of the above Minutes had not been endorsed by the relevant Scrutiny Committees and should be agreed by Scrutiny prior to being ratified by Council. He concluded by requested that the Minutes not be endorsed.

The Chair advised that this practice would be looked at in the future.

Deferred
23. SPECIAL EDUCATION & LEARNING SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Minutes (190K/bytes)
Cofnodion (129K/bytes)
Agreed
24. ENVIRONMENT, REGENERATION & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Minutes (226K/bytes)
Cofnodion (223K/bytes)

Education and Learning Scrutiny Committee -
15th October, 2018


Environment, Regeneration and Economic Development Scrutiny Committee -
18th October, 2018

A Member reported that both sets of the above Minutes had not been endorsed by the relevant Scrutiny Committees and should be agreed by Scrutiny prior to being ratified by Council. He concluded by requested that the Minutes not be endorsed.

The Chair advised that this practice would be looked at in the future.

Deferred
25. DEMOCRATIC SERVICES COMMITTEE
Minutes (212K/bytes)
Cofnodion (112K/bytes)
Agreed
26. MEMBERS QUESTIONS

There were no questions submitted by Members.

Agreed
27. PUBLIC QUESTIONS

There were no questions submitted by members of the public.

Agreed
28. UPDATE ON THE LOOKED AFTER CHILDREN POPULATION IN BLAENAU GWENT AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE SAFE REDUCTION OF LOOKED AFTER CHILDREN STRATEGY
Report (540K/bytes)
Appendix 1 (537K/bytes)
Appendix 2 (710K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Head of Children's Services.

The Executive Member - Social Services advised that the report provided an update on the current situation in relation to the number of children who were currently looked after by the Council. The report also outlined progress made in relation to the implementation of the Safe Reduction of Looked After Strategy.

The Executive Member advised that both Scrutiny and Executive had approved Option 1 and he recommended to Council that Option 1 be endorsed.

The Corporate Director Social Services referred to Project 5 which was a joint project between Blaenau Gwent and Monmouth Councils. The Corporate Director informed Members that Monmouthshire's Select Committee had considered the report and was now being considered by the Executive Member, therefore a decision was imminent. Once approval had been received the Department would be able to commence the recruitment process in order that the project could commence.

The Corporate Director Social Services further informed Members that there had been a slight reduction in Looked After Children numbers in recent months from a high earlier this year of 237 to 222.

The Leader of the Labour Group referred to the number of updates recently received in relation to Looked After Children and noted his concern on the current figure. He asked the Executive Member for Social Services to provide information on the current overspend and future savings which would be required to reduce the 3.7m funding gap. He noted that the savings achieved from the recent Service Reviews undertaken in Social Services had only identified savings of 600,000.

The Corporate Director Social Services noted the significant cost pressures in Social Services which would continue to be monitored. It was noted that when this report was presented to the Scrutiny Committee there was a projected overspend indicated of 1.5m if the current position continued. The Corporate Director further referred to the recent announcement of additional monies of 20m across Wales within the RSG and an additional 30m to be received for Health and Social Care in the form of grants. It had not been confirmed what conditions would be applied to the grants or how this funding could be used, however the element for Blaenau Gwent based on population numbers would be approximately 900,000.

In conclusion, the Corporate Director Social Services added that based on current projections 2019/2020 savings could be in the region of 600,000 to 1.5m depending how this year's budget progressed.

The Leader of the Labour Group welcomed the new investment and said that hoped these monies would be ring-fenced. He reiterated the extremely concerning position in Social Services and asked the Executive Member for Social Services or the Leader of the Council if reserves would be used to address the cost pressure.

In response, the Leader of the Council advised that he intended to repeat last year's actions and produce a balanced budget without a draw on reserves However, the quarter 2 figures had only recently been received and would be discussed by the Joint Scrutiny Committee on 12th November, 2018. Until these grants were received he was unable to give a commitment but could only give an indication not to draw on reserves where at all possible. It was noted that the reserves were currently marginally below the agreed Council position of 4%.

Once information had been received in relation to the anticipated grants the Resources Team would work on how to utilise these monies.

The Leader of the Labour Group advised that it was not a statutory obligation to retain reserves at 4% and that in dire circumstances it was proper to dip below with a plan to build back up going forward. He said that in January/February the budget would be presented to Members for consideration and whilst he supported Project 5 and the Supporting Change initiatives, he stated that until now they were more an instrument of cost avoidance rather than savings. He reiterated his grave concerns that the Council was sleepwalking into a disaster.

The Leader of the Council recognised the right for the Leader of the Labour Group to highlight these issues in his capacity as an Elected Member and as Chair of the Social Services Scrutiny Committee. However, the Leader stated that these were also the concerns of the Majority Group and the concerns of other local authority leaders who had addressed the Minister with these same issues at a recent WLGA meeting.

The Majority Group were committed to Looked After Children and Social Services as the Group were committed to Education priorities along with taking into consideration the priorities of the public.

The Leader of the Council advised that since 2015 Looked After Children had steadily increased with budget position in 2017 of 2.5m adverse variance which had reduced, however it still remained a significant concern.

The Leader of the Labour Group welcomed the amplified level of commitment to Social Services but said it was late in coming. He said that in last year's budget setting process he had warned against the futility of levying a 214,000 saving on an already massive burden in Children's Services and that time had proved him right. He stated that budget proposals had to be realistic and not paper exercises and added that the Labour Group would be scrutinising new Outline Business Cases (OBCs) which should be deliverable.

The Leader of the Council advised that via the budget setting process it had been identified that a number of income targets had not been achieved due to unrealistic targets. He stated that cost pressures apparent in last year's budget would not be there this year and it had been agreed with the Managing Director that savings must be realistic.

In conclusion, the Leader of the Council commended the Corporate Director Social Services on his level of professionalism and said he his team undertook a significant amount of work around budgetary control which had assisted in plateauing Looked After Children which was positive, as well as addressing other areas of overspends. He was confident that the new initiatives being introduced would soon realise the proposed savings.

The Leader of the Labour Group stated that he had high regard for the Corporate Director Social Services and the Department on their dedication. He also welcomed that new OBCs would be realistic and not just paper exercises.

Another Member referred to earlier comments raised by the Labour Group Leader and gave a reassurance that he and his colleagues take the budget setting process and the corporate parenting role seriously. He recognised that the service was volatile and pointed out that the area had been overspent during previous administrations.

The Leader of the Labour Group advised that during his time in the Leadership he worked tirelessly with his Group Members to identify budget reductions in other Portfolios to address the cost pressures in Social Services.

The Executive Member for Social Services added that he had raised these concerns with the Minister on two separate occasions at Regional Partnership Board Meeting he attended on behalf of Blaenau Gwent.

It was, thereupon, proposed and seconded that Option 1 be endorsed.

Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and Members gave consideration to the information contained within the report and provided comments on areas requiring further clarity.


Agreed
29. DEMOCRATIC ARRANGEMENTS PROGRESS REPORT
Report (309K/bytes)
Appendix (450K/bytes)

The report of the Corporate Performance Manager was submitted for consideration.

The Chair of Democratic Services wished to express his congratulations to staff on the WLGA award and referred to the report which outlined progress on the Democratic Arrangements.

He concluded by stating that he hoped that on-going training programme would be supported by all Members.

It was proposed and seconded that Option 1 be endorsed.

Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and the information contained within the Democratic Arrangements Progress report be noted.

Agreed
30. DRAFT REPORT OF THE INDEPENDENT REMUNERATION PANEL FOR WALES 2019/20
Report (318K/bytes)
Appendix (859K/bytes)

Members considered the report of the Head of Organisational Development.

The Chair of the Democratic Services Committee advised that the report contained proposals from the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales and added that the Independent Panel proposed Councillor salaries, they were not set by Elected Members themselves.

The Member welcomed the element pertaining to the reimbursement of costs of care.

It was proposed and seconded that the report be endorsed.

Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and the Draft IRPW proposals be agreed and the publication of the costs of care be agreed, namely that total amount reimbursed by the Authority during the year but not attributed to any named Member.

Agreed
31. GWENT CREMATORIUM REDISTRIBUTION OF RESERVES
Report (262K/bytes)

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

The Leader of the Council advised that the report sought approval to formalise a protocol for the allocation of future windfall payments to the Council and also to agree the use of the additional redistributed reserves received from the Gwent Crematorium 2018/19. The Leader noted the preferred option and advised that adding the monies to Council Reserves would assist in maintaining the acceptable 4% level.

It was proposed and seconded that the report be endorsed.

Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and

- the redistributed reserves for Gwent Crematorium be allocated to the Council Fund (General) Reserve; and
- any similar future windfall payments be allocated to the General Reserve.

Agreed
32. TREASURY MANAGEMENT ANNUAL REVIEW REPORT 1ST APRIL, 2017 TO 31ST MARCH, 2018
Report (375K/bytes)
Appendix 1 (223K/bytes)
Appendix A (69K/bytes)
Appendix B (24K/bytes)

The report of the Chief Officer Resources was submitted for consideration.

The Leader of the Council advised that the report was a summary of Treasury Management activities carried out under delegated powers by the Chief Officer Resources and Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee .

It was proposed and seconded that the report be endorsed.

Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously,

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and the activity undertaken during the 2017/18 financial year be approved.

Agreed
33. REVIEW OF THE ELECTORAL ARRANGEMENTS OF THE COUNTY BOROUGH OF BLAENAU GWENT
Report (334K/bytes)
Appendix (14K/bytes)

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

The Leader of the Council referred to the recent Boundary Commission Electoral arrangements agreed following consideration by the Task and Finish Group. The Task and Finish Group proposed 31 Members and a reduction from 16 to 14 Wards. The Boundary Commission recommended to reduce Councillors to 33 and agreed to decrease Wards to 14.

The Leader reported that it had been requested that the amalgamation of Abertillery and Six Bells Wards be renamed Abertillery and Six Bells Ward and this amendment was agreed by the Boundary Commission as detailed in Option A.

The Leader of the Council expressed thanks to the Head of Legal and Corporate Compliance and Electoral Registration Team for the huge amount of work carried out on this exercise which had been time consuming.

It was noted that the date contained in Paragraph 7.2 of report should be amended to read 2019.

The Leader of the Labour echoed the comments raised in relation to the significant amount of work undertaken by staff.

It was proposed and seconded that Option A be endorsed.

Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously

RESOLVED, subject to the foregoing, that the report be accepted and Option A be supported with the exception of one amendment, namely:-

- a reduction in the number of elected Members from 42 to 33;

- an amendment be requested that the proposed new ward of Abertillery be renamed Abertillery and Six Bells Ward;

- this option retained all the same electoral ward boundaries with the exception of:

1. Badminton, Beaufort and Rassau Wards. The proposal was that these wards would be amalgamated into 2 council wards. The proposed new wards would be Beaufort Ward (3 Members) and Rassau and Garnlydan Ward (2 Members).

2. The existing wards of Abertillery and Six Bells be merged into 1 new ward (3 Members) and be named Abertillery and Six Bells Ward.

Agreed
34. CONSTITUTION AMENDMENTS - SCHEME OF DELEGATION
Report (361K/bytes)
Appendix (4M/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Head of Legal & Corporate Compliance.

It was proposed and seconded that the report be endorsed.

Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and the revised Constitution be approved.

Agreed
35. DATA PROTECTION POLICY
Report (371K/bytes)
Appendix A (562K/bytes)
Appendix B (322K/bytes)
Appendix C (361K/bytes)


The report of the Head of Legal & Corporate Compliance was submitted for consideration.

The Leader of the Council advised that the Council was obliged to update the Corporate Data Protection Policy which reflected the requirements of new legislation.

It was proposed and seconded that the report be endorsed.

Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and the Data Protection Policy be approved.

Agreed
36. STANDARDS COMMITTEE
Report (100K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the meeting held on 2nd October, 2018.

The Leader of the Labour Group referred to the political representation on the Standards Committee, although he had no issues with the Members on the Committee he stated that , as it appeared that Blaenau Gwent was the only Council in Gwent who did not have dual representation on the Committee.

He pointed out that whilst the Labour Group was in administration Councillor Clive Meredith from the then Minority Group was appointed to the Standards Committee. The Labour Group Leader therefore requested that the Leader of the Council re-look at the membership of the Standards Committee to take account of a Member of the Labour Group.

The Leader of the Council said that he would be content to pursue this request and undertook to discuss with the Head of Legal & Corporate Compliance and Leader of the Labour Group.

RESOLVED accordingly.

A Member wished to express his thanks to the Members of the Standards Committee on their thorough work undertaken at the last meeting.

FURTHER RESOLVED, subject to the foregoing, that the report be accepted and the information contained therein be noted.

Agreed
37. GWENT ASSOCIATION OF VOLUNTARY ORGANISATIONS (GAVO)
Report (189K/bytes)

Declarations of interest were raised by Councillor M. Moore and Councillor J. Mason.

The Chair, Councillor Moore declared an interest in this item but remained in the meeting whilst it was discussed. The Vice-Chair of Council, thereupon, took the Chair at this juncture.

Consideration was given to the report produced by Councillor John Mason, the Council's appointed representative on GAVO.

The Executive Member for Social Services referred to the report which provided information on the current service delivery of GAVO. He further spoke to the report and highlighted the main points contained therein.

A Member noted his disappointment in the lack of information around the support to resident on Universal Credit and asked if this support was being provided by GAVO.

In response, the Executive Member agreed to raise this issue at the next meeting and report back accordingly.

It was proposed and seconded that the report be endorsed.

Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and the information contained therein be noted.

Councillor M. Moore returned to the Chair at this juncture.

Agreed
38. ANEURIN LEISURE TRUST BOARD
Report (153K/bytes)

A declaration of interest was made by Councillor N. Daniels, however he remained in the meeting during discussions.

Consideration was given to the report produced by Councillors Wayne Hodgins and Lee Parsons, the Council's appointed representatives on the Aneurin Leisure Trust Board.

The Board Member spoke to the report which provided feedback from Aneurin Leisure Trust Board meetings which he and his colleague had attended on 28th September and 2nd October, 2018. The meeting in September was the AGM, and the minutes for this meeting was awaited. The Member further noted the Service Reviews currently being undertaken and advised that him and his colleague was unable to make comment on the ongoing review.

The Leader of the Labour Group noted the difficult position in terms of ongoing Service Reviews.

Another Member concurred with the comments raised and welcomed report from Councillors represented on outside bodies as it provided an opportunity for all Members to be informed of the work being undertaken.

It was proposed and seconded that the report be endorsed.

Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and the information contained therein be noted.

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)
39. SHORTLISTING - JNC OFFICERS
Report - Head of Regeneration (130K/bytes)
Report - Chief Officer Commercial (130K/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 Paragraphs 12 & 13 Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act, 1972 (as amended).

Consideration was given to the reports of the meetings held on 1st October, 2018.

Councillor J. C. Morgan advised that he had submitted his apologies for both meetings along with the reason for his absence, however they had not been recorded.

RESOLVED accordingly.

It was proposed and seconded that the report be endorsed.

Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously

RESOLVED, subject to the foregoing, that the reports which related to staffing matters be accepted and the decisions contained therein be noted.

Agreed
40. APPOINTMENTS COMMITTEE - JNC OFFICERS
Report (129K/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 Paragraphs 12 & 13 Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act, 1972 (as amended).

Consideration was given to the report of the meeting held on 16th October, 2018.

It was proposed and seconded that the report be endorsed.

Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously

RESOLVED that the report which related to staffing matters be accepted and the post of Chief Officer Commercial be offered to Mrs. Anne-Louise Clark.

Agreed
41. APPOINTMENTS COMMITTEE - JNC OFFICERS
Report (68K/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 Paragraphs 12 & 13 Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act, 1972 (as amended).

Consideration was given to the report of the meeting held on 18th October, 2018.

It was proposed and seconded that the report be endorsed.

Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously

RESOLVED that the report which related to staffing matters be accepted and the post of Head of Regeneration be offered to Ms. Eleanor Fry.

Agreed
42. COMPULSORY REDUNDANCY
Report (524K/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 12 Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act, 1972 (as amended).

Consideration was given to the report of the Managing Director.

The Managing Director spoke to the report and highlighted the main points contained therein. It was noted that this situation had arisen as a result of the recent review of Senior Management. and this risk had been highlighted as part of the original report that had been presented to Members.

The Managing Director advised that the relevant discussions had been undertaken with the Trade Unions to identify a potential redeployment opportunity but regrettably this had proved unsuccessful.

The Managing Director further referred Members to the financial implications detailed in the report and advised that redundancy costs would be met via the savings identified from the Senior Management Review.

The Leader of the Labour Group wished to express his thanks to the Officer whose dedication and service had been outstanding.

It was proposed and seconded that the report be endorsed.

Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously

RESOLVED that the report which related to staffing matters be accepted and the compulsory redundancy of the displaced Head of Revenues, Benefits & IT be approved with effect from 9th November, 2018.

Agreed
43. SERVICE REVIEW (PHASE ONE)
Report (625K/bytes)
Appendix 1 (2M/bytes)
Appendix 2 (127K/bytes)
Appendix 3 (527K/bytes)

Declarations of interest we made by Councillors N. Daniels, W. Hodgins and L. Parsons. All Members left the meeting during discussions.

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 Head of Education Transformation.

The Executive Member - Environment referred to the views of the Scrutiny Committee which were outlined in the report and advised that these were considered at length by the Executive. However, the Executive felt that the all 5 options contained within 'Management Options' were unnecessary at this stage due to the time restraints in terms of the Phase 2 reporting schedule.

The Executive Member further outlined the Phase Two reporting timetable as follows:-

Members Briefing Date to be confirmed

Joint Scrutiny Committee 20th November 2018
Executive 28th November 2018
Full Council 29th November 2018

He continued by stating that the Executive felt that the Leisure and Culture Strategy 2019-2029 was a suitable document to proceed to Phase Two of the Review and needed no further amendment. In terms of the Evaluation Matrix, the Executive had felt that this was more appropriate with a 60/40 split which promoted a greater level of community benefit.

At this juncture, the Head of Education Transformation was invited to outline the report. The Officer spoke to the report and advised that the report provided an overview of the review of leisure services and required ratification on the decision made by the Executive Committee based on the phase one elements of the review, which included:-

- the management options under consideration;
- a draft of the Leisure and Cultural Strategy 2019-2029; and
- the evaluation matrix for the assessment of future management options.

The Head of Education Transformation advised that following the Joint Scrutiny Committee the report was considered by the Executive Committee on m31st October, 2018 and the following was approved:-

- Management Options - Option One (b) accept the three management options under consideration;
- Leisure and Cultural Strategy 2019-2029 - Option 2 (a) accept the draft Leisure and Culture Strategy (2019-2029); and
- Evaluation Matrix for the Assessment of the Future Management Options - Option 3 (a) accept the Evaluation Matrix to assess future management options of Leisure Services.

T

he Officer confirmed that Phase 2 of the review would be presented to Full Council on 29th November 2018 for consideration.

The Leader of the Labour Group referred to the Management Options and Option 1(b) which had been agreed by the Executive to give consideration to the three management options. The Member referred to the huge funding gap to be identified this year from all budgets and felt that point 2 'all services to be returned back to Council control' in Option 1(b) would place significant additional burden on the Authority. He felt strongly that this management option should be removed. The Council could not afford to fund this service in 2014 and therefore the service was transferred as 11m savings had to be identified by the Council. These services were utilising monies the Council could not afford.

This Service Review comes at a time when other local authorities were adopting Trusts to run these facilities and he felt that it demonstrated a backward step for this Council. He suggested undertaking investigations to identify running services in collaboration with neighbouring local authorities rather than bring further cost pressures on the Council.

The Leader of the Labour Group stated that there was significant cost pressures in the Environment Portfolio and further savings would need to be identified for 2019/2010, therefore he proposed that point 2 'all services to be returned back to Council control' of Option 1(b) be removed.

Councillor H Trollope seconded the proposal.

A Member noted his disappointment at the lack of Executive support of the recommendations brought forward by the Scrutiny Committee and instead of looking at all options the Executive had agreed to reduce to just 3 options.

The Executive Member noted the comments and stated that all options in Option 1(b) would be considered in the boarder context within the three points outlined within Paragraph 3.29.

The Leader of the Labour Group referred to budget papers and reiterated the significant cost pressures with the Environment Portfolio. If this service was returned to the Council it would place greater pressure on the Environment Portfolio and other services. The Leader of the Labour Group stated that this particular service was a non-statutory function and Members needed to be mindful that the Council were struggling to meet pressures on statutory services.

He continued by advising that this Council needed to balance the budget in January/February 2019 and he felt that returning this service back into the control of the Local Authority would not assist this task. He felt that if this was to be the case, there needed to be a clear reason and rationale for the decision.

The Executive Member - Environment confirmed that the financial information would be presented to Members for consideration at the Special Meeting of the Scrutiny and Full Council..

The Leader of the Labour Group continued to stress his strong concerns on the proposal to return this particular service back and pointed out that although this was an important service for the County Borough it was not a statutory function to be undertaken by the Local Authority.

The Chair of the Environment, Regeneration and Economic Development Scrutiny Committee apologised that the report had been presented to Scrutiny whilst he was absent and was, therefore, unable to comment. However he reassured Members that a group of Members had been set up to give consideration to Phase 2 report and suggested that the options remain as they were presented until the next Council meeting where full consideration of all financial aspects could be undertaken.

The Leader of the Labour Group thanked the Scrutiny Chair for his comments, however stated that his proposal remained unchanged. The Member referred to proposals around Silent Valley and the Household Waste Recycling Centre which may also need to be funded. He stated that at some point the Council need to take control of the budget.

He further added that at the time of the decision to transfer this service the Housing stock had been transferred and schools had closed in order to maintain the budget. The decision was made following lengthy discussions with staff, officers and trade unions to protect this service and balance the budget. He asked if any other Council had made a decision to return outsourced services back to their control especially in light of ongoing poor budget settlements.

Another Member also referred to the Executive Committee's decision in terms of the Evaluation Matrix to assess future management options of Leisure Services where Scrutiny recommended a 60/40 split. However, the Scrutiny Committee proposal was a 70/30 weighing towards financial and non-financial criteria and the Member felt that the financial aspect of the review should be paramount to this Council.

The Member felt that he would be unable to vote on any option as the preferred options in the report went against the recommendation of the Scrutiny Committee to the Executive.

The Chair of the Environment, Regeneration and Economic Development Scrutiny Committee reiterated that Members should await the Phase 2 report and the recommendation of the Member Group

The Head of Education Transformation advised that this Review was being closely monitored by the Wales Audit Office who was also undertaking a study to ensure the Council achieve value for money based on performance and finance. The report was important as it set the scene for the management options to be considered as part of the Phase 2 report.

The Leader of the Labour Group added that this service had been massively subsidised whilst run by the Council which in most instances were accepted, however this came at a detriment to the condition of our roads and pavements. The Leader of the Labour Group stressed that in his opinion this service would be better operated outside of local authority's control.

The Deputy Leader of the Labour Group pointed out that only a small number of community asset transfers had been undertaken since the transfer of Leisure Services and he felt that no big changes had been made to reduce the running costs. He advised that at the time of the original transfer good officers, including the Head of Education Transformation provided support and advice on the reasons Leisure Services would be better run by a Trust.

He thereupon seconded the Leader of the Labour Group's proposal to remove point 2 'all services to be returned back to Council control' of Option 1(b) and

A recorded vote was thereupon, requested and it was

In Favour - Councillors P. Baldwin, D. Bevan,
M. Cross, H. McCarthy, J. C. Morgan, T. Smith,
S. Thomas, H. Trollope, D. Wilkshire, B. Willis,
T. Sharrem

Against - Councillors G. Collier, J. Collins, M. Cook, D. Davies, G. L. Davies, P. Edwards, D. Hancock,
S. Healy, W. Hodgins, M. Holland, J. Holt, J. Mason,
J. Millard, A. Moore, J. P. Morgan, L. Parsons,
K. Pritchard, K. Rowson, B. Summers, J. Wilkins

The Executive Member - Environment proposed that the following be agreed as per the decision of the Executive:-

- Management Options - Option One (b) accept the three management options under consideration;
- Leisure and Cultural Strategy 2019-2029 - Option 2 (a) the draft Leisure and Culture Strategy (2019-2029) be accepted; and
- Evaluation Matrix for the Assessment of the Future Management Options - Option 3 (a) the Evaluation Matrix to assess future management options of for the service be accepted.

Upon a recorded vote being taken it was

In Favour - Councillors G. Collier, J. Collins,
M. Cook, D. Davies, G. L. Davies, P. Edwards,
D. Hancock, S. Healy, W. Hodgins, M. Holland,
J. Holt, J. Mason, J. Millard, A. Moore, J. P. Morgan, L. Parsons, K. Pritchard, K. Rowson, B. Summers,
J. Wilkins

Against - Councillors P. Baldwin, D. Bevan,
M. Cross, H. McCarthy, J. C. Morgan, T. Smith,
S. Thomas, H. Trollope, D. Wilkshire, B. Willis,
T. Sharrem

FURTHER RESOLVED that the report which related to the financial and business affairs of any particular person (including the authority) be accepted and the following Options be endorsed, namely:-

Agreement of Management Options


Option One (b) would continue to consider all the management options that the Executive Committee agreed to progress (as outlined within the Executive report considered in February 2018) but the management options would be grouped into three broader categories:

1. The Trust to remain as was with a tapered budget reduction over the next five years 2019-24.
2. All services to be returned back to Council control
3. Alternative service delivery models

Leisure and Culture Strategy 2019-2029


Option 2 (a) the ten year Leisure and Culture Strategy (2019-2029) be approved and adopted.

Evaluation Matrix for the Assessment of the Future Management Options

Option 3 (a) the Evaluation Matrix to assess future management options of the service be approved.



Agreed
DECISIONS UNDER DELEGATED POWERS