Meeting documents

Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday, 23rd January, 2019 9.30 am

Date: Wednesday 23rd January 2019 Time: 9.30 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 J. COLLINS (CHAIR)

Councillors: J. Wilkins
M. Cross
L. Elias
S. Healy
R. J. Hill
G. Paulsen
K. Pritchard
B. Summers
S. Thomas

Corporate Director of Education
Corporate Director of Social Services
Head of Governance & Partnerships
Head of Regeneration
HR Manager
Civil Contingencies Manager
Policy Officer
Scrutiny Officer
CHAIR & MEMBERS OF THE COUNCILDEMOCRATIC SERVICES OFFICER - DEMOCRATIC & CORPORATE SUPPORT
Item
No
Item/Resolution Status Action
PUBLIC
1. TUDALEN GLAWR AGENDA GYMRAEG/WELSH VERSION OF AGENDA COVERSHEET
Tudalen Glawr Agenda Coversheet/Welsh Version of Agenda Coversheet (172K/bytes)
Noted
2. SIMULTANEOUS TRANSLATION

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

Noted
3. APOLOGIES

The following apologies for absence were reported:-

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Councillors: M. Cook

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��������������������� �M. Day

��������������������� �H. McCarthy�

��������������������� �D. Wilkshire
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Noted
4. DECLARATIONS OF INTERESTS AND DISPENSATIONS

There were no declarations of interest or dispensations reported.

Noted
5. CORPORATE OVERVIEW SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Minutes (216K/bytes)
Cofnodion (51K/bytes)

The Minutes of the Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee Meeting held on 12th December, 2018 were submitted, whereupon:-

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PROGRESS REPORT CONTRACTS OVER �500K

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Residential Highway Surfacing Framework

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An amendment was made to page 9 of the Minutes � a detailed report would be submitted to the Environment, Regeneration & Economic Development Scrutiny Committee in February 2019 and not January as reported in the Minutes.

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The Committee AGREED, subject to the foregoing, that the Minutes be accepted as a true record of proceedings.
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Agreed
6. ACTION SHEET
Action Sheet (43K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the Action Sheet of the Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee Meeting held on the 12th December, 2018, whereupon:-

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PROGRESS REPORT CONTRACTS OVER �500K

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Trinity Chapel

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A Member raised concerns regarding the possible relocation of the library into Trinity Chapel and how this would affect footfall in the town centre. The Member also raised concerns that a substantial amount of money had been spent on improving the library building and enquired as to the end use of the vacant building. The Head of Regeneration had only recently taken up the post and proceeded to give Members an update from the Head of Community Services. The proposed move could not be confirmed until the external consultants had finalised the internal design arrangements in approximately 5 weeks and a further 2 weeks for the assigned structural engineer to confirm the proposals are acceptable from a loading perspective.

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It was anticipated that Community Coalfields Regeneration Trust would fund the internal refit of Trinity Chapel and may pursue the option of leasing the then vacated library building with the proposal of delivering a community shop.

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Another Member raised concerns with claw back of monies in relation to any change of use of Trinity Chapel and suggested further discussions take place regarding costings and claw back of monies. The Head of Regeneration said that as yet there was no claw back of monies.

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A Member enquired if a report could be prepared on the history and decision making behind the proposals for Trinity Chapel.

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Another Member commented that it was important to look at what Wards had received investment to ensure equality throughout the borough.

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The Head of Governance and Partnerships clarified the scope and content of the report to be prepared for the Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee.

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The Committee AGREED, subject to the foregoing, that the Action Sheet be noted.
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Agreed
7. REVIEW OF THE COUNCIL�S ATTENDANCE MANAGEMENT POLICY
Report (121K/bytes)
Appendix 1 (953K/bytes)

Consideration was given to report of the Head of Organisational Development which was presented to Members to consider the revised Attendance Management Policy.

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The HR Manager spoke to the report and highlighted the content contained therein including that improving attendance remained a key priority for the Council.

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A Member raised concerns regarding the slight improvement figure of 11.23 days per employee as the target was 10.20 days. He also enquired regarding the number of Managers not using the iTrent system. The HR Manager explained that the roll out of the training was just concluding and further training had been delivered for Social Services. It was also anticipated that the number of Managers using iTrent would increase when the manual system ceased operation. Staff attendance rates for quarter 2 and 3 would be available in due course.

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Another Member enquired regarding the 95% staff attendance figure. The HR Manager gave an explanation on the calculation of the sickness figure which is an average across the workforce, with the majority of staff having little or no sickness.

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In relation to the proposed reduction of timescale for long term sickness absence referrals from four to two weeks and any additional costs to the Authority, the HR Manager said that the proposed reduction would mean earlier intervention and discussions would be held with the external Occupational Health provider to look at the best way to manage the potential increase in referrals. It was likely that any increase in referrals may lead to additional costs but could reduce periods of sickness absence.

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In response to a Member�s question regarding the Task & Finish Group visit to Merthyr County Borough Council to research best practice, the HR Manager said that Merthyr�s Attendance Policy was similar to Blaenau Gwent�s, however, their workforce was configurated slightly differently with fewer front line staff and their sickness was managed in a timely way.

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A Member enquired regarding the high sickness levels recorded in July to September 2018. The HR Manager said that the peak in figures related to school based staff and any information would be provided in the annual report.

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The Committee AGREED to recommend that the report be accepted and endorsed Option 2, namely that Council approve the revised Attendance Management Policy, reviewed in line with the findings of the Member Task and Finish Group.
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Agreed
8. PREPARATIONS FOR EXITING THE EU
Report (130K/bytes)
Appendix 1 (15K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Head of Governance and Partnerships which was presented to outline the measures in place for the Council to prepare for the UK�s exit from the EU on 29th March, 2019.

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The Head of Governance and Partnerships spoke to the report and highlighted the work underway at the Council to prepare for the local and wider impacts of the UK�s exit from the EU.

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A Member Briefing had taken place with the WLGA which outlined the expected implications for local authorities and provided some background about what other Welsh Councils were doing to prepare for exiting the EU.

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The Head of Governance & Partnerships informed Members that a Welsh Government link �Preparing Wales� which set out key points for exiting the EU would be forwarded to Members for information.

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In response to a Member�s question regarding risks in the Brexit high level Action Plan, the Head of Governance & Partnerships said that one key risk was understanding how the UK Shared Prosperity Fund would be shared. The Finance Sub-Group had been established to look at how this Fund would be distributed.

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The Head of Governance & Partnerships clarified that there had been a commitment that some European funding had been secured up to a point in time past March 2019 for certain projects and would forward this information to Members.

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With regard to the Settlement Scheme the Head of Governance & Partnerships said that a lot of work had been carried out to support vulnerable groups to apply for citizenships through the digital app. Community Connectors had been prepared and would assist the elderly and more vulnerable EU residents. There were approximately 500-700 EU residents living in Blaenau Gwent some of whom may be able to apply for citizenship without support. The Officer informed Members that there was an extended period of time after March 2019 to apply for citizenship and several other groups were looking to ensure they were involved in the Settlement Scheme to support vulnerable groups.

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A Member enquired if the high level Action Plan would feature on the Forward Work Programme. The Head of Governance & Partnerships confirmed that an update report would be presented to a future meeting of this Committee and consideration would also be given to arranging another Member Briefing at an appropriate time.

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The Committee AGREED to recommend that the report be accepted and endorsed Option 1, namely that the Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee note the work being undertaken by the Council in preparation for the UK�s exit from the EU and to recommend the report and high level action plan to the Executive Committee.
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Agreed
9. FORWARD WORK PROGRAMME � 6TH MARCH 2019
Report (82K/bytes)
Appendix 1 (60K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Chair of the Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee which was presented to Members for consideration of the Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee Forward Work Programme for the meeting on 6th March, 2019.

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The Chair spoke to the report and highlighted the items agendaed for the next meeting.

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A Member requested that an update on Brexit be added to a future Agenda.

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AGREED accordingly.

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A Member referred to the Corporate Plan Year 1, the Scrutiny Officer clarified that the Council had already met its requirements, therefore it was no longer necessary to present the report.

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The Committee AGREED, subject to the foregoing, that the report be accepted and the following items be submitted to the next meeting on 6th March 2019:

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� Treasury Management � Strategy Statement 2019/20
� Review of Organisational Development Strategy
� Fundamental Review of Disciplinary Policy

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)
10. BUSINESS CONTINUITY MANAGEMENT POLICY AND CORPORATE BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLAN
Report (127K/bytes)
Appendix A (526K/bytes)
Appendix B (255K/bytes)
Appendix C (88K/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.

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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 Head of Legal and Corporate Compliance which was presented to provide Members with the Corporate Business Continuity Plan, the updated Business Continuity Management Policy and the Business Continuity Service Prioritisation.

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The Civil Contingencies Manager spoke to the report and highlighted the main points contained therein.

A Member referred to the implementation of electrical improvements recently carried out at the Civic Centre. The Civil Contingencies Manager said that it had provided an opportunity to ensure the Business Continuity Plan was effective and some revisions had been implemented.

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The Committee AGREED to recommend that the report which related to staffing matters and information relating to the financial and business affairs of any particular person (including the Council) be accepted and Option 3.1 (a) be endorsed, namely:-

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� that Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee recommend that the Executive Committee approve the Corporate Business Continuity Management Plan (Appendix A), Business Continuity Management Policy (Appendix B) and Business Continuity Service Prioritisation (Appendix C).
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Agreed