|Date: Monday 9th January 2017 Time: 10.00 a.m. Place: Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Ebbw Vale|
|Present||With||Report to||Report of|
|COUNCILLOR M. CROSS (CHAIR)|
Apologies for absence were received from:-
Councillors P. Baldwin, B. Sutton, B.A., Dip.Ed., and D. Wilkshire.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST AND DISPENSATIONS
There were no declarations of interest or dispensations reported.
CORPORATE OVERVIEW SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Consideration was given to the Minutes of the Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee held on 14th November, 2016 whereupon:-
Welsh Language Standards
A Member referred to the recommendation on the Welsh Language Standards and requested that the paragraph read:-
RESOLVED, subject to the foregoing, that the Minutes be accepted as a true record of proceedings.
ACTION SHEET - 14TH NOVEMBER 2016
Action Sheet (47K/bytes)
Consideration was given to the Action Sheet of the Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 14th November, 2016, whereupon:-
Maintenance of Estate Footpaths
A Member asked for clarification in relation to the on-going dialogue with Tai Calon regarding maintenance of footpaths. The Head of Technical Services informed Members that there was now new personnel at Tai Calon and discussions were moving in a positive direction.
TRANSFORMING BLAENAU GWENT PROGRAMME - UPDATE ON FINANCIAL EFFICIENCY AND MAJOR PROJECTS - QUARTER 2 - OCTOBER 2016
Appendix 1 (102K/bytes)
Appendix 2 (62K/bytes)
Consideration was given to the report of the Strategic Transformation Team, which was presented to provide Members with an opportunity to scrutinise and challenge the current position of the financial efficiency and major projects programme as at 31st October, 2016.
The Team Leader - Strategic Transformation Team spoke to the report and highlighted the key points contained therein.
A Member commended officers on a good report with many efficiency savings having been reached. The decision to keep the Callio project until it was fully embedded was welcomed.
Another Member raised concerns regarding the delays with the iTrent HR/Payroll system. The Head of Financial Services explained that the iTrent system had been successfully implemented three years ago and it was the further development of the software that had caused difficulties. The Officer explained that the provider of iTrent was one of the leading companies offering HR / Payroll solutions within the public sector, however the system could be configured to individual specifications and as a result it was difficult to compare with other users to ascertain whether they had experienced similar issues. The issues continued to be unresolved at this time despite the work undertaken by Consultants from the company and had caused issues and delays with the implementation of online payslips and other areas. Although the situation was frustrating the Officers were working closely with the company to resolve the issues and a resolution was expected shortly.
A Member expressed disappointment that the renegotiation of the banking contract had resulted in a shortfall of 3,000. The Head of Financial Services commented that the contract had been reduced by 10,000 and the Resources Directorate were looking to fund the 3,000 shortfall.
RESOLVED to recommend, subject to the foregoing, that the report be accepted and the information contained therein be noted.
Councillors Nigel Daniels and Garth Collier joined the meeting at this juncture.
PROGRESS REPORT TO MEMBERS FOR CONTRACTS OVER 500,000
Appendix 1 (106K/bytes)
Consideration was given to the report of the Property Services Manager, which was presented to provide Members with updated information on the progress of capital projects over 500,000 in cost undertaken within the Authority and, where appropriate, seek the necessary approval required under the Contract Procedural Rules to additional expenditure incurred on particular projects.
The Head of Technical Services spoke to the report and highlighted the key points contained therein, whereupon:-
Demolition of Abertillery Leisure Centre - the project works had been suspended due to the presence of asbestos hidden in cavities which had not been identified by the specialist consultant's pre demolition survey report. It was likely that substantial costs would be incurred in relation to the removal of the asbestos and a methodology statement to reduce these costs was awaited from the consultants. Approval from the Health & Safety Executive for the removal of the asbestos was also awaited. Negotiations were on going with an independent asbestos surveying company with a view to resolving the issue.
A Member requested that a report be prepared in relation to Consultants fees to enable the Council to hold them to account in such circumstances.
In reply to a Member's question regarding recovery of costs, the Head of Technical Services said that the extent of the liability for the inaccurate survey information had been discussed with the consultants and a solution needed to be agreed before any costs could be challenged.
Highway Maintenance Improvements - a Member commented that it was pleasing to note the significant improvements made in the Authority's A & B roads throughout the borough. It was noted that unclassified roads were not in such good condition. The Head of Technical Services confirmed that a report had been submitted to the Environment, Economy and Infrastructure Scrutiny Committee and awaiting final endorsement by the Executive Committee and a copy would be forwarded to Members.
Demolition of Primary Schools - Briery Hill, Penycwm and Garnlydan - with regard to the disposal of assets the Head of Technical Services commented that empty buildings could cost the Authority in excess of 100,000 in relation to rates, security etc. and confirmed that Briery Hill and Garnlydan sites would be auctioned and Penycwm would be demolished and retained for future educational use.
Members raised concerns with the capacity in the Legal Division in dealing with the disposal of assets and the issue of achieving budget savings in one area only to be utilised to balance the budget in another area. The Head of Technical Services explained that in relation to capacity in the Legal Division in dealing with the disposal of assets, in most instances issues would be resolved by internal meetings with Engineers and would not need legal input.
Demolition of Nantyglo Leisure Centre - another Member enquired if the asbestos found in Nantyglo Leisure Centre had been overlooked by the same surveyor, the Head of Technical Services explained that in relation to Nantyglo Leisure Centre there had been a small implication and the costs had been covered in the original budget. The Officer confirmed that it had been the same company but would explore if it was due to the actions of the same surveyor as this may have an impact on the Council's procurement process.
RESOLVED to recommend, subject to the foregoing, that the report be accepted and
AGENDA ITEMS FOR THE NEXT MEETING OF THE CORPORATE OVERVIEW SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Agenda Items (74K/bytes)
Consideration was given to the list of draft agenda items for the next meeting to be held on 20th February, 2017.
Following a discussion it was
RESOLVED that the Corporate Approach to Public and Staff Engagement report be deferred to a meeting of the Committee post May 2017.
FURTHER RESOLVED that the following items be presented to the next Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee, namely:-
A Member requested a further item be included on the agenda: