Agenda and minutes

Ordinary Meeting of the Council
Thursday, 6th February, 2020 10.00 am

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Ebbw Vale

Contact: Democratic Services  6139

Items
No. Item

1.

Simultaneous Translation

You are welcome to use Welsh at the meeting, a minimum notice period of 3 working days is required should you wish to do so.  A simultaneous translation will be provided if requested.

 

Minutes:

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

 

2.

Apologies

To receive.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors M. Cook and J. Wilkins.

 

3.

Declarations of Interest and Dispensations

To consider any declarations of interest and dispensations received.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest or dispensations reported.

4.

Chair's Announcements

To receive.

Minutes:

Condolences

 

ØCondolences were expressed to the family of former Councillor David White who had sadly passed away.

 

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

 

Congratulations

ØCongratulations were extended to Denis and Audrey Osland from Abertillery who would be celebrating their Diamond Wedding Anniversary on 6th February, 2020.

RESOLVED that a letter of congratulations be sent.

 

5.

Minute Book - November 2019 - January 2020

Minutes:

The Minute Book for the period November 2019 – January 2020 was submitted for consideration.

 

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

 

6.

Ordinary Meeting of the Council pdf icon PDF 350 KB

To consider and it thought fit, approve the Minutes of the Meeting held on 12th December, 2019.

Minutes:

Agreed.

7.

Special Meeting of the Council pdf icon PDF 285 KB

To consider and it thought fit, approve the Minutes of the Meeting held on 19th December, 2019.

 

Minutes:

Agreed.

8.

Special Planning, Regulatory & General Licensing Committee (General Licensing Matters) pdf icon PDF 216 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Special Planning, Regulatory and General Licensing Committee (General Licensing Matters) held on 10th December, 2019.

 

Minutes:

Agreed.

9.

Statutory Licensing Committee pdf icon PDF 194 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 10th December, 2019.

Minutes:

Agreed.

10.

Planning, Regulatory & General Licensing Committee pdf icon PDF 242 KB

To confirm the minutes of the Planning, Regulatory & General Licensing Committee held on 13th December, 2019.

Minutes:

Agreed.

11.

Planning, Regulatory & General Licensing Committee (General Licensing Matters) pdf icon PDF 195 KB

To confirm the minutes of the Planning, Regulatory & General Licensing Committee (General Licensing Matters) held on 18th December, 2019.

Minutes:

Agreed.

12.

Special Planning, Regulatory & General Licensing Committee (General Licensing Matters) pdf icon PDF 234 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 14th January, 2020.

 

 

 

Minutes:

Agreed.

13.

Executive Committee pdf icon PDF 659 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 18th December, 2019.

 

Minutes:

Agreed.

14.

Social Services Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 234 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Social Services Scrutiny Committee held on 28th November, 2019.

Minutes:

Agreed.

15.

Education & Learning Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 226 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Education & Learning Scrutiny Committee held on 4th December, 2019.

Minutes:

Agreed.

16.

Community Services Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 326 KB

To confirm the minutes of the Community Services Scrutiny Committee held on 5th December, 2019.

Minutes:

Agreed.

17.

Regeneration Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 288 KB

To confirm the minutes of the Regeneration Scrutiny Committee held on 9th December, 2019.

Minutes:

Agreed.

18.

Members Questions

To receive questions, if any, from Members.

 

Minutes:

The following question was submitted by Councillor H. Trollope, Deputy Leader of the Labour Group and responded to by Councillor J. Mason, Executive Member for Social Services:

 

Question

 

Would the Executive Member for Social Services make a statement and explain his support for maintaining the status quo with regard to Home to School and Home to College Transport (current level of provision) in September 2018 contrasted against his support for the Executive decision taken on Assisted Transport in Social Services the previous week”.

 

Response

 

The Executive Member said he believed that there were fundamental differences between these two decisions, the Council had a statutory duty to provide Home to School Transport, whereas there was no statutory duty to provide Assisted Transport.  Social Services only had a duty to meet those needs that could not be met by the person’s own resources or community resources.

 

The decision taken by the Executive in September 2018 was not to increase the current policy limit to the statutory limits laid down for Home to School Transport provided by Welsh Government and Home to College Transport, the decision had been not to agree to a phased reduction of the Post 16 travel grant.  This decision was taken to ensure children’s safety, and that all children and young adults within Blaenau Gwent had the best possible opportunities to learn and develop skills for the future regeneration of the area.

 

The Assisted Transport Policy implementation was supported by both Social Services Scrutiny and Executive and the decision taken by Executive was simply charging 11 individuals who were not eligible for free transport but were unable to make their way to Community Options and needed to use the Council’s transport, and Executive had agreed this charge should be the equivalent to the cost of making their way in by public transport.  Out of the 149 assessments undertaken, only one citizen had stopped attending Community Options, this reflected the consultation and solutions found by the team for those attending and their carers.

 

Supplementary Question

 

“Had a full impact assessment been undertaken with service users and families because it was obvious from the comments made in the South Wales Argus dated 29th January, 2020 that the individual concerned had felt let down and was experiencing on-going problems”.

 

 

 

 

Response

 

The Executive Member confirmed that a full impact assessment had been attached to the reports that had been submitted to both the Executive and Scrutiny Committee, which fully covered the points raised.

 

However, he extended an offer to arrange a meeting with himself, the Member and the Corporate Director at a convenient time to discuss the case concerning the individual.

 

Councillor Trollope thanked the Executive Member and accepted the offer to meet.

 

19.

Public Questions

To receive questions, if any, from the public.

 

Minutes:

There were no questions submitted by members of the public.

 

20.

Revenue Budget 2020/2021 to 2024/2025 pdf icon PDF 900 KB

To consider the report of the Chief Officer Resources.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Chief Officer Resources.

 

The Chief Officer Resources spoke to the report which had been presented to Members to:

 

ØProvide an update on the positive provisional local government settlement for 2020/2021 and the impact upon the Council’s budget.

 

ØConsider and agree the detailed budget for 2020/2021 and indicative budget for 2021/2022.

 

ØAgree the level of Council Tax increase for the 2020/2021 financial year.

 

The following salient points were, thereupon, highlighted in further detail:

 

Scope and Background:

 

ØThe Provisional Settlement contained details of the revenue funding the Welsh Authorities could expect to receive in 2020/2021 in order to allow them to set their budgets and determine levels of Council Tax for that year.  It also provided details of the Capital funding that Authorities could expect to receive to fund their Capital Programmes.  It was noted that indicative figures for the 2021/2022 financial year and beyond had not been provided at this stage.

 

ØThe positive provisional settlement combined with the opportunities identified in the Bridging the Gap Programme meant that the Council was able to invest in key priorities, avoid cuts to services and enhance its financial resilience.

 

National Position (All Wales)

 

ØThe overall headline increase in the Aggregate External Finance (AEF) quoted by Welsh Government was 3.9%, after taking into account transfers into the settlement.  Compared to the Welsh average increase of 4.3%, this placed Blaenau Gwent in the bottom third of the all-Wales table.

 

ØThere had been four transfers into the settlement as follows:

 

·        £39.112m for the teachers’ pension grant

·        £12.018m for the teachers’ pay grant

·        £1.9m for NHS funded nursing care

·        £151k for the Coastal Risk Management Programme

 

It would be a matter for each council to decide whether to passport all or some of this funding to the relevant budget holders.

 

ØCertain specific Revenue Grants data had only been published on an all-Wales basis totalling £982m, therefore, the full impact of this was not yet known for Blaenau Gwent.

 

ØFunding for certain grants had increased, for example Regional Consortia School Improvement Grant, PDG Access and Social Care Workforce and Sustainability Pressures Grant.  In addition, there was a new grant for Additional Learning Needs but some grants had decreased for example, the Sustainable Waste Management Grant.

 

Ø Further details of the specific grants would be published alongside the final Revenue Support Grant (RSG) on 25th February, 2020.

 

Ø The non-hypothecated general capital funding for 2020/2021 would be £198 million (including £20 million for public highways refurbishment grant) an increase of £15 million over that announced in the Final Budget last year.

 

Blaenau Gwent Position

 

ØThe headline increase for Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council after allowing for transfers was 3.9% (£4.3m) compared to the all Wales increase of 4.3%.

 

ØDetails of the Standard Spending Assessment (SSA) – the formula on which Welsh Government based the distribution of funding was provided in paragraphs 2.22 – 2.24 of the report. 

 

ØThe Authority  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20.

21.

Memberships Report pdf icon PDF 450 KB

To consider the attached report.

Minutes:

Consideration was given to:

 

Aneurin Bevan Community Health Council

to appoint a replacement representative for Councillor Julie Holt.

 

The Leader reported that the Independent Group had no current nominations to submit for this vacancy and offered the Labour Group to provide a nomination.

 

Advisory Panel for Local Authority School Governors

 

The following recommendations were made by the Panel on 17th December, 2019 to appoint:

 

Councillor D. Davies – Ebbw Fawr Learning Community

Councillor P. Edwards – Rhos-y-Fedwen Primary School

Councillor H. Trollope – Tredegar Comprehensive School

Ms. Sian Barrett – Willowtown Primary School

 

The following recommendations were made by the Panel on 31st January, 2020 to appoint:

 

Councillor D. Bevan – Cwm Primary School

 

Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously,

 

RESOLVED that the above appointments be endorsed.

 

A Member stated that given the important nature of the business discussed at these meetings, requests had been made for a clerk to be provided at future Panels to minute the proceedings.

 

The Leader of the Council advised that discussions had taken place with the Executive Member – Education on this matter and he would liaise with Democratic Services Team regarding this request.