|Date: Monday 27th November 2017 Time: 10.00 a.m. Place: Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Ebbw Vale|
|Present||And||Also||Report to||Report of|
|COUNCILLOR L. ELIAS (CHAIR)|
TUDALEN GLAWR AGENDA/WELSH VERSION OF AGENDA COVERSHEET
Tudalen Glawr Agenda Gymraeg/Welsh Agenda Coversheet (172K/bytes)
It was noted that no requests had been received for the simultaneous translation service.
The following apologies for absence were reported:-
Councillors J. Collins, M. Cross and D. Wilkshire.
DECLARATIONS OF INTERESTS AND DISPENSATIONS
There were no declarations of interest or dispensations reported.
CORPORATE OVERVIEW SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
The Minutes of the Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee held on 16th October, 2017 were submitted.
RESOLVED that the Minutes be accepted as a true record of proceedings.
Action Sheet (35K/bytes)
Attachment 1 (190K/bytes)
Consideration was given to the Action Sheet of the Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee meeting held on the 16th October, 2017, whereupon:-
Assessment of Performance 2016/17
In response to a Member's question regarding clarification on the landfill and recycling waste figures. The Service Manager, Community Services clarified that the waste not submitted to landfill or recycling was subsequently burned and part of this was sold as recyclates and the remainder 0.31% was sent to landfill.
RESOLVED, subject to the foregoing, that the Action Sheet be noted.
MINIMUM REVENUE PROVISION (MRP) POLICY REVISION
Appendix 1 (96K/bytes)
Consideration was given to the report of the Chief Finance Officer which was presented to consider the implications of changing the Authority's Minimum Revenue Provision (MRP) policy.
The Chief Finance Officer spoke to the report and highlighted the main points contained therein. The report provided a reasoned justification supporting the case to change the supported borrowing element of the MRP.
Councillor Malcolm Day joined the meeting at this juncture.
In response to a Member's question regarding the review of the MRP policy, the Chief Finance Officer confirmed that the regulations allow the Authority to review its policy every year in order to ensure that the annual provision is prudent.
Another Member enquired if this would impact on savings. The Chief Finance Officer commented that there would be no impact on savings already agreed by Council, however, there may be a beneficial impact on future savings which would be presented to Council in January 2018.
The Chief Finance Officer commented that the Authority had been in discussion with the WAO in relation to the proposed MRP policy change who had no significant view on the report at this time.
In response to a question by the Chair on the number of Welsh Authorities who had revised their MRP policy, the Chief Finance Officer confirmed that one other Authority in Wales would be revising its MRP policy.
RESOLVED to recommend that the report be accepted and
i. Option 4 be supported prior to submission to Council, namely:-
- Amend the MRP policy for the supported borrowing element from a 3% reducing balance basis to a 2% straight line approach and apply retrospectively back to 2007/8.
ii Agree a prudent managed approach for the use of the savings generated subsequently by releasing the savings over a phased five year period within the MTFS (through the reduction of the MRP charge from 2017/18 - 2021/22).
TREASURY MANAGEMENT MID-YEAR REVIEW REPORT 1ST APRIL 2017 TO 30TH SEPTEMBER 2017
Appendix 1 (393K/bytes)
Appendix A (62K/bytes)
Appendix B (19K/bytes)
Consideration was given to the report of the Chief Finance Officer and the Chief Accountant - Capital Services which was presented to give Members the opportunity to scrutinise the Treasury Management activities carried out by the Authority during the first half of the 2017/18 financial year.
The Chief Finance Officer spoke to the report and highlighted the main points contained therein including that despite the financial climate the Authority had performed well in its Treasury Management activities during the first half of the year.
In answer to a Member's question regarding the level of the Authority's outstanding debt, the Chief Finance Officer confirmed that as at September 2017 the Authority's total long term outstanding debt was 105,862m.
Another Member enquired as to new long term borrowing, the Chief Finance Officer commented that the Authority had not taken on any long term borrowing for the first half of 2017/18. With short term interests rates currently much lower than long term rates it was more cost effective to borrow short term at this time.
RESOLVED to recommend that the report be accepted and the Treasury Strategy be supported for approval at full Council.
INFORMATION MANAGEMENT - UPDATE REPORT
Consideration was given to the report of the Chief Finance Officer which was presented to inform Members of recent developments relating to Information Management.
The Chief Finance Officer spoke to the report and highlighted the main points contained therein including that one key focus for the Information Governance Forum (IGF) had been to establish a separate project group to ensure the Council are compliant with new General Data Protection Regulations by May 2018.
In response to Members' questions regarding storage of information, the Chief Finance Officer commented that the Authority held back up electronic data off site, as did other Councils, in case of fire etc. The transfer of paper based records to an electronic format had been in place for a number of years and continued to be rolled out across all Council departments.
RESOLVED to recommend that the report be accepted and the work of the Information Governance Forum (IGF) be noted.
QUARTER 2 (JULY TO SEPTEMBER) FINANCE AND PERFORMANCE REPORT
Consideration was given to the report of the Head of Policy & Performance which was presented to provide quarterly monitoring information across all Directorates.
The Corporate Director of Strategy, Transformation & Culture spoke to the report and highlighted the main points contained therein.
Section 1 - Council and Corporate Services and Strategy
In response to a Member's question regarding the decline in Quarter 2 for Member attendance at formal scrutiny committee meetings, the Head of Policy & Performance clarified that Quarter 1 only covered 1 month, Quarter 2 covered a period of 3 months. The Democratic Services Committee had looked at comparable figures from the previous year which showed an improvement in the trend this year.
In relation to the PSB Scrutiny Committee meetings, the Head of Policy & Performance clarified that the Forward Work Programme set against a legislative timeline which included briefing sessions and as Scrutiny is a formal consultee on the Well-being Objectives the December meeting will be held as a Member Briefing Session and the findings will be reported to the formal meeting in January.
The Chair raised concerns regarding sickness throughout the Council and enquired as to progress of the Members Task & Finish Group. The Corporate Director of Strategy, Transformation & Culture said that this was a priority for the Council as it directly impacted on frontline services. A Task & Finish Group would be set up and a meeting arranged with the Chair and Vice Chair to discuss the Terms of Reference for the Task & Finish Group.
Section 2 - Education
A Member enquired that where we are below the Welsh average were there any good practices from the Learning Zone. The Corporate Director of Education commented that pupils with high GCSE grades tended to move onto A levels which mirrored their performance. The Director stressed that there was a range of qualifications to measure that needed to be captured.
In response to a Member's question, the Corporate Director of Education said that there was a decline in Maths for boys eligible for free school meals and there needed to be an effective use of the 1,000 deprivation grant.
Section 3 - Environment & Regeneration
A Member enquired as to why there had been a decline in the figure for fly tipping from last year. The Service Manager, Community Services stated that owing to a change in the definition of this PI Blaenau Gwent was now recording an increase in fly tipping incidents.
Another Member enquired as to whether litter picked up by Waste Wardens could be recycled. The Service Manager said that this was being done in town centres, however, the amount of tonnage would be approximately 0.5%.
In relation to a Member's question regarding any increase in the number of fines for fly tipping, the Service Manager said that it was difficult to trace the persons responsible. The Waste Wardens would be working in conjunction with the Public Protection Section to target the worst affected areas.
The Service Manager informed Members that there had been positive feedback from the public survey but more improvements were needed.
Councillor Gareth L. Davies left the meeting at this juncture.
Section 4 - Social Services
With regard to the Childcare Offer pilot, the Chair enquired as to the low number of applications returned. The Corporate Director of Social Services said that 773 applications had been sent to all parents of 3 and 4 year olds across the County Borough not all of whom will be eligible and currently only154 had been received. The Department would continue to market and apply this free offer, however, it was parental choice whether to take up the offer.
In relation to the closure of the Business Resource Centre, the Corporate Director of Social Services informed Members that a report had been approved by the Corporate Leadership Team (CLT) in October and would shortly be presented to Council.
In response to a Member's question regarding new legislative changes to the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLs), the Corporate Director of Social Services commented that the Law Commission's report recommended introducing a new statutory scheme Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS) and the Government response to these proposals was still awaited.
The Chair referred to the legal budget overspend in relation to Children's Services. The Corporate Director of Social Services said that the legal overspend was due to the volume of work which required additional external support and advice.
Section 5 - Resources
A Member enquired regarding interest charges on unpaid invoices. The Chief Finance Officer said that generally no interest was charged but it depended on the contract entered into.
The Chief Finance Officer confirmed that the ICT for Members report would be submitted to the January Committee.
In relation to a Member's question regarding Council Tax arrears, the Chief Finance Officer commented that collection rates were 94% in year and the Department would continue to pursue the debt until recovered.
RESOLVED to recommend that the report be accepted and the information contained therein be noted.
AGENDA ITEMS FOR THE NEXT MEETING OF THE CORPORATE OVERVIEW SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Agenda Items (52K/bytes)
Consideration was given to the list of draft agenda items for the next meeting to be held on 8th January, 2018.
The Chair pointed out that it had previously been agreed for a Member Briefing Session on the Enterprise Zone and vacant units to be arranged. The Head of Policy & Performance said she would pursue this.
RESOLVED that the following items be presented to the next Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee, namely:-
- Contracts over 500,000