Meeting documents

Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee
Monday, 23rd July, 2018 10.00 am

Date: Monday 23rd July 2018 Time: 10.00 a.m. Place: Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Ebbw Vale

Please note: all Minutes are subject to approval at the next Meeting

PresentAndWithAlsoReport toReport of
COUNCILLOR J. COLLINS (CHAIR)
Item
No
Item/Resolution Status Action
PUBLIC
1. TUDALEN GLAWR AGENDA GYMRAEG/WELSH VERSION OF AGENDA COVERSHEET
Tudalen Glawr Agenda Gymraeg/Welsh Agenda Coversheet (172K/bytes)
Noted
2. SIMULTANEOUS TRANSLATIONS

It was noted that no requests had been received for the simultaneous translation service.

Noted
3. APOLOGIES

The following apologies for absence were reported:-

Councillors S. Healy, G. Paulsen and J. Wilkins

Noted
4. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST AND DISPENSATIONS

There were no declarations of interest or dispensations reported.

Noted
5. CORPORATE OVERVIEW SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Minutes (160K/bytes)
Cofnodion (42K/bytes)

The Minutes of the Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee Meeting held on 25th June, 2018 were submitted.

The Committee AGREED that the Minutes be accepted as a true record of proceedings.

Agreed
6. ACTION SHEET
Action Sheet (44K/bytes)
Attachment 1 (53K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the Action Sheet of the Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee Meeting held on the 25th June, 2018, whereupon:-

Trinity Chapel

A Member raised concerns that the final cost of the refit of Trinity Chapel was still unknown, only an estimate of 450,000 had been reported. The Head of Community Services said that costs had been estimated as it was not yet known what internal finish would be required for the end use of the building. A report would be presented the Environment, Regeneration and Economic Development Scrutiny Committee in October which would include background information and the various cost implications for the Authority.

Another Member commented that the end use for the building needed to be agreed urgently to regenerate the town centre, and enquired if the funding received for the refit of the building from the Welsh Government and European funding may need to be returned.

The Head of Public Services reiterated that a report would be presented to the Environment, Regeneration and Economic Development Scrutiny Committee to look at outcomes from the regeneration funding that had been received over the years and where that funding had been utilised and would include funding received for Trinity Chapel. The Town Centres Task and Finish Group was also looking at funding to regenerate town centres within Blaenau Gwent.

CCTV and SRS

In response to a Member's question regarding the reviews of CCTV and SRS, the Head of Community Services said that both reviews were nearing completion and a report on the SRS review would be presented to this Committee following the completion of the review in September.

In relation to CCTV a Member raised concerns regarding funding and monitoring of the cameras at Newport, he stressed that anti-social behaviour in his ward was of great concern. The Head of Community Services informed Members that six month's notice was required for withdrawal from the contract. In relation to funding BT was the most costly part of the contract. Members would be informed of funding proposals once the review had been completed in September.

The Committee AGREED, subject to the foregoing, that the Action Sheet be noted.

Noted
7. ORDER OF AGENDA

It was agreed that Item 9 - Wales Audit Office - Overview and Scrutiny, fit for the future? Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council be considered at this juncture.

Noted
8. WALES AUDIT OFFICE - OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY: FIT FOR THE FUTURE? BLAENAU GWENT COUNTY BOROUGH COUNCIL
Report (124K/bytes)
Appendix 1 (167K/bytes)
Appendix 2 (89K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Head of Governance & Partnerships and Designated Head of Democratic Services which was presented to provide Members with the Wales Audit Office report 'Overview and Scrutiny: Fit for the future? Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council'.

Alison Rees, Wales Audit Office representative, spoke to the report and highlighted the main points contained therein which included that this was a national themed report across all 22 local authorities. As part of the fieldwork the WAO had observed three scrutiny meetings, interviewed key officers and arranged focus groups, met with Executive Members and Scrutiny Chairs to gather evidence to support their findings.

A Member commented that it was a pleasing report and was a fair appraisal of the current position of the Council.

The Committee AGREED to recommend that the report be accepted and that Option 1 be endorsed, namely to accept the WAO review and actions to implement the proposals for improvement.

Agreed
9. PROPOSED SCRUTINY COMMITTEE FORWARD WORK PROGRAMME 2018-19
Report (83K/bytes)
Appendix 1 (821K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Chair of the Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee which was presented for Members approval of the Corporate Overview Scrutiny Work Programme for 2018/19.

In relation to Welsh translation costs a Member said that although the Welsh Language was a statutory requirement the Council should prioritise spend on higher priority areas. The Corporate Performance Manager said that the Council had challenged some of the Standards and continued to challenge other areas, but as the Member correctly said Welsh Language was a statutory requirement that Councils had to adhere to. The Council was exploring Welsh language policies from other authorities to see if Blaenau Gwent could replicate these in order to lower translation costs.

A Member commented that the Welsh Government should consider providing extra funding for Welsh language translation costs.

September 2018

A Member raised concerns regarding technical issues in relation to SRS. The Chair commented that a report on SRS Partnership Working - Half Yearly Monitoring was due in September. However, a review of SRS against the business case would also be completed in September and would be presented to this Committee at a date to be confirmed.

The Committee AGREED that the report be accepted and Option 1 the Forward Work Programme 2018/19 be endorsed.

Agreed
10. QUARTER 4 (JANUARY TO MARCH) FINANCE AND PERFORMANCE REPORT
Report (116K/bytes)
Appendix 1 (849K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Head of Governance & Partnerships which presented the Finance and Performance Report for Quarter 4, covering the period January to March 2018.

The Corporate Performance Manager spoke to the report and highlighted the main points contained therein.

A Member commented that it was good to note that the Finance and Performance report linked to the Council's Corporate Plan and highlighted the key messages on what had gone well across all Council departments.

The Corporate Performance Manager said that the information previously reported had been enhanced and presented in a more user friendly format.

In response to a Member's question regarding digital framework within schools, the Head of Education Transformation said that a report on ICT Infrastructure and Connectivity for Schools had been supported by the Education & Learning Scrutiny Committee in June and the Service Level Agreement was under consideration and should be in place from the Autumn term.

The Chief Finance Officer informed Members that Quarter 3 reported 1.4m adverse variance but that had now been reduced to 700,000 due to grants that had been received. A report would be presented to the Joint Budget Scrutiny Committee and the Executive Committee in September.

In response to a Member's question regarding recycling due to be shipped abroad ending up in landfill, the Head of Public Services assured Members that this was unlikely to happen as Blaenau Gwent's recycling was tracked through the Wales Data Flow system. Therefore the Council could track where its recycling ended up. The Officer commented that this related to trade waste.

The Committee AGREED to recommend, subject to the foregoing, that the report be accepted and that Option 1 be endorsed.

Agreed
11. PROGRESS REPORT CONTRACTS OVER 500K
Report (119K/bytes)
Appendix (73K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of Head of Community Services 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 a particular project.

The Head of Community Services spoke to the report and highlighted the main points contained therein which included that out of the five contracts over 500,000:-

- Three were rated Green
- Two were rated Amber

In answer to a Member's question regarding removal of asbestos at Abertillery Leisure Centre, the Head of Community Services said that legal advice had been sought regarding MSS's failure to identify additional asbestos removal and that the Council were awaiting final outturn costs for this asbestos removal before submitting financial claims against MSS. The Asbestos Removal contract was substantially complete and was awaiting the issue of 'Stage 4 Completion' and a 'Certificate of Occupation' before main demolition works could recommence.

A Member enquired if the demolition contractor was looking to claim any monies for the delay. The Head of Community Services said that costs had been agreed for the demolition contract and they should remain the same subject to no further unforeseen events occurring. The anticipated completion date for demolition was the 27th October, 2018.

A Member enquired regarding the Six Bells Sewer Diversion, the Head of Community Services said that the sewer work was substantially complete and construction of the new school was due to commence on 6th August, 2018.

The Committee AGREED to recommend that the report be noted.

Agreed