Meeting documents

Ordinary Meeting of the Council
Thursday, 28th February, 2019 10.30 am

Date: Thursday 28th February 2019 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 M. MOORE (THE CHAIR,
PRESIDING)


Councillors:

D. Bevan
G. Collier
J. Collins
M. Cook
M. Cross
N. Daniels
D. Davies
G. A. Davies
G. L. Davies
P. Edwards
L. Elias
S. Healy
W. Hodgins
M. Holland
J. Holt
J. Mason
H. McCarthy, B.A. (Hons)
C. Meredith
J. Millard
J. C. Morgan
L. Parsons
G. Paulsen
K. Pritchard
T. Smith
B. Summers
B. Thomas
G. Thomas
S. Thomas
B. Willis

Managing Director
Corporate Director of Social Services
Chief Officer Commercial
Chief Officer Resources
Head of Community Services
Head of Legal and Corporate Compliance
Head of Organisational Development
Strategic Education Improvement Manager
Data Protection & Governance Officer
Press & Communications Officer
THE CHAIR AND MEMBERS OF THE COUNCILSENIOR BUSINESS SUPPORT OFFICER - DEMOCRATIC SERVICES
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 (196K/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:-

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Councillors P. Baldwin, M. Day, D. Hancock, K. Hayden, J. Hill, K. Rowson, T. Sharrem, H. Trollope, J. Wilkins, D. Wilkshire, L. Winnett, Corporate Director of Education and Corporate Director of Regeneration & Community Services
�

Noted
4. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST AND DISPENSATIONS

The following declarations of interest were reported:-

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Item No. 39 � Corporate Fees and Charges Register 2019/2020
Including Core Fees and Charges to be Operated
by Aneurin Leisure Trust
Councillors W. Hodgins and L. Parsons

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Item No. 46 � Delegated Authority � Budget Variation 2018/2019
Councillors G. Collier, N. Daniels, W. Hodgins, L. Parsons and S. Thomas

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Noted
5. CHAIR'S ANNOUNCEMENTS

Condolences

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Condolences were expressed to:-

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�� The family of Greg Watkins an employee of Aneurin Leisure Trust who had sadly passed away.

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�� Councillor Keith Hayden, whose brother had recently passed away.

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

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Illness

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�� Best wishes were expressed to former Mayor and Borough Councillor John Taylor who was currently experiencing ill health.

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Congratulations

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Congratulations were expressed to:-

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�� Lloyd Crump, age 12 of Waunlwyd, Ebbw Vale. Lloyd had been chosen to play for Wales in a Junior International Badminton Tournament.

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It was noted that a letter of congratulations had been sent to Lloyd on behalf of the Council.

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�� Blaenau Gwent Police Cadets who had won through to the Finals of the National Crimebeat Awards 2019.

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RESOLVED that an appropriate letter be sent.

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Reminder � Freedom of the Borough

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�� Members were reminded that an Extraordinary Meeting of the Council to bestow the Freedom of the Borough on Mark Williams would be held on Thursday, 14th March at 11.30 a.m

�

Noted
6. MEMBERS QUESTIONS

There were no questions submitted by Members.

Noted
7. PUBLIC QUESTIONS

There were no questions submitted by members of the public.

Noted
8. MINUTE BOOK - OCTOBER 2018 - FEBRUARY 2019

The Minute Book for the period October 2018 � February 2019 was submitted for consideration.

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RESOLVED that the minutes be approved and confirmed as a true record of proceedings.
�

Agreed
9. ORDINARY MEETING OF THE COUNCIL
Minutes (442K/bytes)
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10. SPECIAL MEETING OF THE COUNCIL
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11. SPECIAL MEETING OF THE COUNCIL
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12. SPECIAL MEETING OF THE COUNCIL
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13. STATUTORY LICENSING COMMITTEE
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14. GENERAL LICENSING COMMITTEE
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15. PLANNING COMMITTEE
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16. PLANNING COMMITTEE
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17. PLANNING COMMITTEE
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18. STATUTORY LICENSING COMMITTEE
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19. GENERAL LICENSING COMMITTEE
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20. PLANNING COMMITTEE
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21. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
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22. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
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23. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
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24. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
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25. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
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26. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
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27. EDUCATION & LEARNING SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
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Agreed
28. ENVIRONMENT, REGENERATION & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Minutes (226K/bytes)
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Agreed
29. JOINT EDUCATION & LEARNING AND SOCIAL SERVICES SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (SAFEGUARDING)
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Cofnodion (224K/bytes)
Agreed
30. CORPORATE OVERVIEW SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
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Agreed
31. SOCIAL SERVICES SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
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Agreed
32. JOINT SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (BUDGET MONITORING)
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Agreed
33. SPECIAL ENVIRONMENT, REGENERATION & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
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Agreed
34. EDUCATION & LEARNING SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
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Agreed
35. ENVIRONMENT, REGENERATION & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
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Cofnodion (206K/bytes)
Agreed
36. AUDIT COMMITTEE
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Cofnodion (231K/bytes)
Agreed
37. PUBLIC SERVICE BOARD SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Minutes (189K/bytes)
Cofnodion (131K/bytes)
Agreed
38. CORPORATE OVERVIEW SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Minutes (216K/bytes)
Cofnodion (51K/bytes)
Agreed
39. EDUCATION & LEARNING SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Minutes (295K/bytes)
Cofnodion (237K/bytes)
Agreed
40. REVENUE BUDGET 2019/2020
Report (584K/bytes)
Table 1 (148K/bytes)
Table 2 (158K/bytes)
Table 3 (147K/bytes)
Revenue Budget Book 2019/2020 (2M/bytes)
Extract of Minutes (330K/bytes)

Please refer to Extract of Minutes.

Agreed
41. CORPORATE FEES AND CHARGES REGISTER 2019/2020
Report (347K/bytes)
Appendix 1 (331K/bytes)
Appendix 2 (80K/bytes)

Councillors W. Hodgins and L. Parsons declared an interest in this item as they were Trustee representatives sitting on the Board of the Leisure Trust, but both remained in the meeting whilst this item was considered.

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Members considered the report of the Chief Officer Resources.


At the invitation of the Chair, the Chief Officer Resources spoke in detail to the report which, also included the core fees and charges to be operated by Aneurin Leisure Trust and highlighted the following points:-

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The fees and charges register had been reviewed to :-

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- Establish if all fees and charges had been considered for an increase or were there any that had been missed.
- Identify any changes in local and national policy and legislation.
- Reflect an increase in charges in line with the 2% income inflation.
- Consider if fees and charges could be increased by 7% (to increase income in line with the Financial Efficiency Project for 2019/20).
- Identify if a separate business case was being submitted for a higher or lower percentage increase.
- Consider benchmarking information where available, in determining the proposed fees.

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A list of proposed fees that did not follow the proposed 7% income increase was detailed in paragraph 2.5 of the report.

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The Chief Officer Resources continued by advising that the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) included an inflationary forecast of 2% for 2020/21 through to 2021/22 and the income policy adopted by Council in 2014 would be reviewed further in 2019/20 taking into account full cost recovery as well as a more commercial approach to income generation. It was noted that any changes to policy would require formal approval by the Executive.

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Members were then given the opportunity to comment/raise questions when concerns were expressed in relation to:-

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Licensing Committee - the Leader of the Labour Group said that whilst he supported the report, he pointed out that clearly the Licensing Committee had decisions to make which could impact on the revenue budget. At present the Council had a funding gap of �5,000 and if the proposals were not accepted by the Licensing Committee, there would need to be a draw from the general reserve fund to mitigate this gap.

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The Leader of the Council referred to the savings proposal submitted to Special Council on 15th February, 2019 which related to an increase in the fees for taxi and private hire vehicles and confirmed that this was a matter for the Licensing Committee to agree. He advised that throughout the budget process departments had been made aware that any savings proposals had to be deliverable. If the �5,000 savings proposal which would be realised by an increase in level of fees for taxi and private hire vehicles was not agreed by the Licensing Committee, the department would have to identify the savings from elsewhere in the budget. This shortfall would not be funded from general reserves.

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Private Providers Residential Care/Nursing Care � the considerable increase in fees and charges relating to private residential care and nursing care providers would again impact on the most vulnerable in the community.

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The Chief Officer Resources said that private provider care charges had increased on average by 7% to reflect the increase in the National Living Wage and increased costs of pensions, recruitment, retention and equipment � those increases would vary depending upon provider and these cost pressures had been taken into account when the fees had been set.

Grounds and Playing Fields (including Astro Turf) � the increase in the level of fees for the usage at sports grounds, playing fields including the use of the astro turf. The Member said that health and wellbeing was one of the driving factors and an increase of 25% in the charges was beyond a joke. There was a need to increase participation levels with more children and adults being encouraged using these facilities.

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The Leader of the Council sympathised with the increase in fees and charges referred to. He pointed out that the Leisure Trust had to make itself a little more financially viable and if this meant an increase charges, this was somewhat beyond the Council�s control. He concluded by stating that he suspect that the increase would not affect the level of pitch usage.

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A Member who was also a Board Member of Aneurin Leisure Trust said he would relay these concerns to the Board.


Registration of Births, Deaths & Marriages Certificates � the huge increase from �15.50 to �35 for copies of birth, death and marriages certificates.

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It was noted that the above charges were regulated, however in response to a request relating to ceremony charges and the level of these charges compared to other local authorities, the officer undertook to provide this comparative data to the Member.

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RESOLVED accordingly.

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Licensing � Food Hygiene Registration Scheme (Rescore Visit) � in reply to a question, the Chief Officer Resources confirmed that the proposed �180 was a fixed charge that was set by external regulation.

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Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously,

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

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�� The Fees and Charges Register for 2019/2020 which included the core price increase for Aneurin Leisure Trust be agreed; and specifically for discretionary services an uplift of 7% on the 2018/19 rates be agreed.

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�� The fee areas identified in Section 2.5 of the report be agreed, namely:-

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The following proposed fees and charges did not follow the proposed 7% income increase:

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� Those fees and charges set on a statutory basis.
� Social Services were proposing to increase in-house charges including non-residential, residential, respite care and community alarms and telecare charges by 2% for 2019/2020. A detailed review of fees and charges would be carried out during the financial year in line with the full cost recovery principles.
� Private provider care charges had increased on average by 7% to reflect the increase in the National Living Wage and increased costs of pensions, recruitment, retention and equipment � those increases would vary depending upon provider.
� The proposed meal charge for Meals on Wheels had been increased by 15.8%. This was reported to Special Council on 12th December, 2018, with effect from 1st January, 2019.
� Some licensing fee increases would be agreed by the Licensing Committee and have not been updated as part of the report (as proposed in the FEP for 2019/2020).
� Some planning fees were currently under review and would be separately considered by the Planning Committee.
� The proposed school meal charge had been increased by 2% with effect from September 2019.
� Traveller site rent was proposed to increase by 2% as it was likely that any further increase would increase arrears as some tenants were not entitled to full housing benefits.
� MOT tests had not been increased to remain competitive with local businesses.
� Cemetery fees had been increased by 2%, with the exception of the non-resident interment new grave double depth fee. This had been set as double the resident fee.

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�� The fees and charges be reviewed during 2019/2020 to ensure cost recovery was being achieved.
�

Agreed
42. TREASURY MANAGEMENT MID-YEAR REVIEW REPORT 1ST APRIL, 2018 TO 30TH SEPTEMBER, 2018
Report (430K/bytes)
Appendix 1 (316K/bytes)
Appendix A (28K/bytes)
Appendix B (20K/bytes)

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

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The Chief Officer Resources spoke briefly to the report and explained that the Audit Committee had considered the Annual Audit Letter from the Wales Audit Office which had highlighted some concerns regarding the ratio of long term debt compared to short term debt. Whilst the report indicated an increase in level of short term debt, this was undertaken on a risk based assessment to take account of low interest rates that could achieved by borrowing in short term as opposed to long term. It was noted that short term debt was not the majority of the outstanding debt i.e. it equated to only �50m of �150m outstanding debt.

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Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously,

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

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�� the activity undertaken during the first half of the 2018/2019 financial year be noted; and

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�� the record of performance and compliance achieved during the first half of the 2018/2019 financial year be accepted.
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Agreed
43. REVIEW OF THE COUNCIL'S ATTENDANCE MANAGEMENT POLICY
Report (422K/bytes)
Appendix (734K/bytes)

Members considered the report of Head of Organisational Development.

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The Leader of the Council commenced by stating that sickness absence had been identified as a key risk for the authority and there was pressure to reduce the cost and the impact of sickness was having on service delivery. He pointed out that whilst the outturn figure for the 2017/18 year end had reduced by over one day from the previous year�s outturn figure and whilst sickness levels remained high, it was important to note that the majority of employees had little or no sickness absence and attend work regularly with 95% of the workforce actively in work during 2017/2018.

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A Task and Finish Group of Members and officers including the Head of Organisational Development was, therefore, established the outcomes of which were detailed in paragraph 2.5 of the report. It was noted that the report had been considered and approved by the Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee.

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The Leader of the Council continued by proposing that the report be approved together with the revised Attendance Management Policy. The Task and Finish Group under the guidance of the Head of Organisational Development had undertaken an outstanding and forensic piece of work which had contributed significantly and had influenced policy. He concluded by expressing his appreciation to those Members and officers of the Task and Finish Group for undertaking this exceptional piece of work.

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The Leader of the Labour Group echoed these comments.

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A Member also echoed these comments and said that this cross party Task and Finish Group had proved the worthiness of good scrutiny in the Council i.e. Members were working together to help the officers with their challenges and problem areas. He concluded by stating that he hoped that the sickness levels would continue to decrease.

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Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously,

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RESOLVED that the report be accepted and Option 2 be endorsed, namely the revised Attendance Management Policy, reviewed in line with the findings of the Member Task and Finish Group be endorsed.
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Agreed
44. STANDARDS COMMITTEE APPOINTMENT
Report (303K/bytes)
Appendix (15K/bytes)

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

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The Leader of the Council in proposing that the recommendation be endorsed, said that the retiring member Mr. Edwin Hackling was held in high esteem by the Standards Committee and requested that appreciation be expressed to Mr. Hackling for the contribution he had made as a long standing member of the Standards Committee.

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The Leader of the Labour Group echoed the comments made and supported the appointment of Mr. Williams. He continued by referring to minutes of the Council Meeting held on 8th November, 2018 at which, a request had been made for the membership of the Standards Committee to reconsidered to take account of the inclusion of a Member of the Labour Group and asked whether the Leader had now reached a conclusion on this matter.

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Another Member said that whilst he had every confidence in the Standards Committee, its composition should return to the bipartisan approach that the Labour administration had previously established.

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The Leader of the Council said that he had given an assurance that the composition of the Committee would be reconsidered and said that the optimum time to reconsider this would at the forthcoming Annual Meeting of the Council.

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Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously,

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RESOLVED, subject to the foregoing, that the report be accepted and the appointment of the reserve member, Mr. Stephen Williams as a permanent independent member of the Standards Committee be approved.
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Agreed
45. RIPA POLICY AND PROCEDURES
Report (370K/bytes)
Appendix A (135K/bytes)
Appendix B (2M/bytes)
Appendix C (9M/bytes)

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

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The Data Protection & Governance Officer spoke briefly to the report and advised that the policy set out the Council�s approach to Covert Surveillance, the use of Covert Human Intelligence Sources and the acquisition of Communications Data.

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It was noted that the RIPA Policy and Procedures had been endorsed by the Audit Committee.

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A Member enquired whether the Council had sanctioned any RIPA operations with regard to fly tipping. The Data Protection & Governance Officer advised that the RIPA policy would only be instigated when a certain threshold level had been reached. The officer confirmed that with regard to trading standards and environmental health, the majority of these issues did not require RIPA authorisation.

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Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously,

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RESOLVED that the report be accepted and the RIPA Policy and supplementary procedure document be approved.
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Agreed
46. COMMUNITY ASSET TRANSFER OF BEDWELLTY PARK BOWLING GREEN AND PAVILION
Report (359K/bytes)
Appendix (423K/bytes)

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

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The Executive Member � Environment spoke briefly to the report and recommended that Option 1 be endorsed.

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Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously,

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RESOLVED that the report be accepted and Option 1 be endorsed, namely the transfer of Bedwellty Park Bowling Green and Pavilion to Bedwellty Park Bowls from 1st April, 2019 be approved.
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Agreed
47. GWENT POLICE AND CRIME PANEL
Report (238K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report produced by Councillor Stewart Healy, the Council�s appointed representative on the Gwent Police and Crime Panel.

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Councillor Healy spoke briefly to the report and advised that he had raised the 6.99% increase in the precept level at the Panel Meeting and had submitted an amendment to veto the proposal but this had not been supported.

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A Member said that this would indicate that the majority of panel Members were content with the level of policing in their areas. However, Blaenau Gwent was not content with the level of policing provided within the County Borough.

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A general discussion ensued when Councillor Healy responded to questions raised.

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The Leader of the Council expressed his appreciation to Councillor Healy for the report and the work undertaken on behalf of the Council at the Police and Crime Panel.
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RESOLVED that the report be accepted and the information contained therein be noted.

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Councillor H. McCarthy left the meeting at this juncture.
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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)
48. DELEGATED AUTHORITY - BUDGET VARIATION 2018/19
Report (336K/bytes)

Councillors W. Hodgins and L. Parsons declared an interest in this item as they were Trustee representatives sitting on the Board of the Leisure Trust, but both remained in the meeting whilst this item was considered.

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Councillors G. Collier, N. Daniels and S. Thomas also declared an interest in this item and remained in the meeting whilst it was considered.

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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.

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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).

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Consideration was given to the report of the Managing Director.

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The Managing Director spoke to the report and advised that there were a number of conditions attached by the Council to the approval of the budget variation and these were detailed in paragraph 2.5 of the report. These conditions had been accepted by the board of trustees and since the preparation of the report a number of these conditions had been completed and others were being worked towards. The Managing Director concluded by stating that Option 1 was the preferred option.

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Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously,


RESOLVED that the report which related to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority) be accepted and Option 1 be endorsed, namely the use of the delegated authority granted by the Council and the in-year budget variation of �100,000 in consultation with the Executive Member � Environment, Leader of the Council and Leader of the Labour Group be noted.
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Agreed