Agenda and minutes

Ordinary Meeting of the Council
Thursday, 12th December, 2019 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:

An apology for absence was received from Councillor L. Winnett.

 

3.

Declarations of Interest and Dispensations

To consider any declarations of interest and dispensations received.

Minutes:

 

 

The following declarations of interest were reported:

 

Councillors G. Collier, M. Cross, M. Holland & J. C. Morgan Item No. 28: Council Tax – Removal of Empty Property Discount Allowance for Prescribed Class C Dwellings.

 

The Head of Legal and Corporate Compliance confirmed that the above-named Members may remain in the meeting whilst the item of business was discussed.

 

Councillor W. Hodgins

Item No. 30 – Cardiff Capital Region City Deal Performance Review 2018/19 Q4.

 

Councillors M. Cook & J. Hill

Item No. 36 – Future Management of the Waste Transfer Station and Household Waste Recycling Centre.

 

4.

Chair's Announcements

To receive.

Minutes:

 

 

 

Congratulations were expressed to:

 

Ø21-year-old Nicky Pepper Junior who had been awarded Young Groundsman of the Year by the Institute of Groundsmen. Nicky had been educated at Glyncoed Comprehensive School and had started out his career by cutting lawns for local people.  The award was presented to Nicky by the BBC’s Dan Walker.

 

It was also noted that Nicky Pepper Senior had also been recognised for his groundsmanship at Ebbw Vale by the Cricket League.

 

         RESOLVED that a letter of congratulations be sent.

 

Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Silver Award

 

Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council had received the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Silver Award for its commitment to ensuring service personnel, veterans and their families were not unfairly disadvantaged when seeking employment with the Council. 

 

The award was received on behalf of the Authority at the Armed Forces in Wales Awards at St Fagans Museum on Thursday 28th November, 2019 by Councillor Brian Thomas, the Council’s Armed Forces Champion.  As part of achieving the Silver Award the Council had recently adopted a Time-off for Reservists Policy that included fifteen days paid leave for training for reservists, in addition to supporting their mobilisation. 

 

Blaenau Gwent Council had signed the Armed Forces Covenant, reflecting its on-going commitment to the armed forces community in 2014 along with a range of civilian and military partners who the Council worked with through the Blaenau Gwent Steering Group.  The Council would now be looking to achieve the Gold Award through further measures such as a guaranteed interview for all members of the armed forces community meeting the essential criteria of the post they applied for.

 

At this juncture, the Armed Forces Champion presented the award to the Chair of the Council and expressed his appreciation to the Leader of the Council for supporting the work of the Steering Group.

 

Christmas 2019: Food Bank Charity Initiative

 

The Council was teaming up with Unison to support the Blaenau Gwent Foodbank Network this Christmas and was asking staff to consider donating food and toiletries.

 

The Blaenau Gwent Foodbank Network had been helping people in crisis for over 10 years. The Network provided emergency food packages at foodbank distribution centres in Ebbw Vale, Beaufort, Tredegar, Abertillery, Brynmawr and Nantyglo.

 

This initiative would run from Monday, 2nd December to Thursday, 19th December, 2019 and donation points had been created for staff at the Central Depot, Civic Centre, Anvil Court, VITCC and the General Offices.  Information on those items most in need at the moment had also been made available to staff via the December newsletter.

 

Elected Members were also welcome to donate if they wished to participate.    A collection station had been set up in the Member’s Lounge at the Civic Centre, where further information could be obtained.

 

 

5.

Minute Book - July - November 2019

Minutes:

The Minute Book for the period July – November 2019 was submitted for consideration, whereupon:

 

Executive Committee – 13th November, 2019

Item No. 14 – 2019 School Performance for: End of Foundation Phase, Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4 (Provisional Only)

 

It was noted that the second line of the paragraph two should be amended to read:

 

“The Corporate Director Education concurred with the comments and advised that schools in Blaenau Gwent was performing in line with similar schools in the South East Wales region”.

 

RESOLVED, subject to the foregoing, that the minutes be approved and confirmed as a true record of proceedings.

6.

Ordinary Meeting of the Council pdf icon PDF 454 KB

To consider and if thought fit, approve the Minutes of the Meeting held on10th October, 2019.

Minutes:

Approved.

7.

Planning, Regulatory & General Licensing Committee pdf icon PDF 381 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 3rd October, 2019.

Minutes:

Approved.

8.

Planning, Regulatory & General Licensing Committee pdf icon PDF 259 KB

To confirm the minutes of the Planning, Regulatory & General Licensing Committee held on 7th November, 2019.

Minutes:

Approved.

9.

Statutory Licensing Committee pdf icon PDF 197 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 12th November, 2019.

Minutes:

Approved.

10.

Planning, Regulatory & General Licensing Committee (General Licensing Matters) pdf icon PDF 215 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 12th November, 2019.

Minutes:

Approved.

11.

Executive Committee pdf icon PDF 520 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 13th November, 2019.

Minutes:

Executive Committee – 13th November, 2019

Item No. 14 – 2019 School Performance for: End of Foundation Phase, Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4 (Provisional Only)

 

It was noted that the second line of the paragraph two should be amended to read:

 

“The Corporate Director Education concurred with the comments and advised that schools in Blaenau Gwent was performing in line with similar schools in the South East Wales region”.

 

RESOLVED, subject to the foregoing, that the minutes be approved and confirmed as a true record of proceedings.

 

12.

Special Democratic Services Committee pdf icon PDF 209 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 1st July, 2019.

Minutes:

Approved.

13.

Joint Education & Learning and Social Services Scrutiny Committee (Safeguarding) pdf icon PDF 178 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Joint Education & Learning and Social Services Scrutiny Committee (Safeguarding) held on 15th July, 2019.

Minutes:

Approved.

14.

Social Services Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 170 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Social Services Scrutiny Committee held on 2nd September, 2019.

Minutes:

Approved.

15.

Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 161 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee held on 4th September, 2019.

Minutes:

Approved.

16.

Audit Committee pdf icon PDF 451 KB

To confirm the minutes of the Audit Committee held on 10th September, 2019.

Minutes:

Approved.

17.

Education & Learning Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 161 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Education & Learning Scrutiny Committee held on 11th September, 2019.

Minutes:

Approved.

18.

Community Services Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 239 KB

To confirm the minutes of the Community Services Scrutiny Committee held on 12th September, 2019.

Minutes:

Approved.

19.

Joint Scrutiny Committee (Budget Monitoring) pdf icon PDF 270 KB

To confirm the minutes of the Joint Scrutiny Committee (Budget Monitoring) held on 16th September, 2019.

Minutes:

Approved.

20.

Regeneration Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 307 KB

To confirm the minutes of the Regeneration Scrutiny Committee held on 23rd September, 2019.

Minutes:

Approved.

21.

Special Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 242 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Special Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee held on 26th September, 2019.

Minutes:

Approved.

22.

Social Services Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 231 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Social Services Scrutiny Committee held on 17th October, 2019.

Minutes:

Approved.

23.

Education & Learning Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 237 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Education & Learning Scrutiny Committee held on 25th October, 2019.

Minutes:

Approved.

24.

Special Education & Learning Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 243 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Special Education & Learning Scrutiny Committee held on 6th November, 2019.

Minutes:

Approved.

25.

Members Questions

To receive questions, if any, from Members.

 

Minutes:

 

 

 

The following question was submitted by Councillor S. Thomas, Leader of the Labour Group and responded to by Councillor N. Daniels, Leader of the Council:

 

Question

 

Given the continuing media coverage concerning the Abertillery Learning Community, would the Leader of the Council make a statement regarding the purpose of the Executive meeting held at Mitre Street Council Offices on the 21st October, 2019?”

 

Response

 

The Leader of the Council advised that the Executive Member for Education had been contacted by some members of staff at Abertillery Learning Community asking to meet with her and specifically her Executive colleagues for a private meeting.

 

 

Supplementary Question

 

The Leader of the Labour Group said that the on-going situation at Abertillery Learning Community was well known in the media and stated that in the media yesterday there was a photograph of the Leader of the Council at the site with the protestors.  He asked whether he stood by the statement issued by the governing body to establish a redundancy panel, working with staff and trade unions and to avoid compulsory redundancies where possible i.e.

 

“Did the Leader agree with the stated policy of Council and the Governing Body?”

 

Response

 

The Leader of the Council commenced by stating that with regard to the photograph of him that had been pictured in Wales on-line this had been taken as he was walking through demonstrators to attend a school governing body meeting – he had not been canvassing.

 

He pointed out that the extracts of what had been said above, were extracts of a private meeting of a school governing body of which he was a member.  The Leader concluded by stating that he had supported the view of the governing body that evening. 

 

26.

Public Questions

To receive questions, if any, from the public.

 

Minutes:

There were no questions submitted by members of the public.

 

27.

Treasury Management Mid-Year Review Report - 1st April 2019 to 30th September 2019 pdf icon PDF 586 KB

To consider the report of the Chief Officer Resources.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

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

 

At the invitation of the Chair, the Chief Officer Resources spoke to the report which detailed the Treasury Management activities carried out by the Authority during the first half of the financial year and highlighted the following salient points contained therein:

 

The Authority:

 

ØHad effectively managed credit risk throughout the period, so ensuring that it had not been subjected to any financial loss as a result of the credit crisis and had maximised investment returns as far as was possible whilst managing the associated risk and minimised borrowing costs throughout the period.

 

ØInvestment returns of £35,000 had been achieved with an average interest rate of 0.55%.  This was slightly below the benchmark rate of 0.57% but reflected the fact that the Authority could no longer invest in previous counterparties that paid higher rates, due to credit rating reductions.  However, as the annual estimated investment was £11,000 it could be seen that this had been exceeded at the half year position.

 

ØAn average interest rate of 0.85% had been paid on temporary borrowings against a benchmark of 1.00% amounting to £259,000.  The estimate for interest paid on short term borrowing was £428,000 for a full year.

 

ØIt was noted that due to an expected increase in borrowing levels, every local authority had to fundamentally reassess how to finance their external borrowing needs and the financial viability of capital projects in their capital programme.

 

ØDuring the first half of 2019/2020 due to the advantageous borrowing rates the Authority entered into long term debt arrangements of £13m with the Public Works Loan Board (PWLB) from other public authorities.  These arrangements were made to either replace maturing loans or to finance capital expenditure.

 

Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously,

 

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and Option 1 be endorsed, namely that the activity undertaken during the first half of the 2019/2020 financial year be noted and the record of performance and compliance achieved during the same period be accepted.

 

28.

Treasury Management Annual Review Report 1st April 2018 to 31st March 2019 pdf icon PDF 669 KB

To consider the report of the Chief Officer Resources.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members considered the report of the Chief Officer Resources.

 

The Chief Officer Resources advised that investment returns of £43,004 had been achieved with an average interest rate of 0.62%.  During the year the Council had converted £3m of short term debt into long term debt to replace maturing loans and to fund the remainder of its capital expenditure.

 

Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously,

 

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and Option 2 be endorsed, namely that the treasury management activity undertaken during the 2018/2019 financial year be noted.

 

29.

Council Tax - Removal of Empty Property Discount Allowance for Prescribed Class C Dwellings pdf icon PDF 551 KB

To consider the report of the Chief Officer Resources.

Minutes:

Councillors G. Collier, M. Cross, M. Holland J. C. Morgan declared an interest in this item and, following advice from the Monitoring Officer, remained in the meeting whilst this item was discussed.

 

The report of the Chief Officer Resources was submitted for consideration.

 

The Leader of the Council advised that the report recommended a change of the current policy to use the authority’s discretionary powers to remove the level of discount in respect of dwelling that were classified as long term empty properties (Class C dwellings).  The current arrangements determined that the discount of 0% be granted to Class A & B dwellings (holiday and second homes) and that a discount of 50% be granted for Class C dwellings i.e. long term empty properties.

 

It was noted that empty properties i.e. properties that were unoccupied and were substantially unfurnished were initially exempt from Council Tax for up to a period of 6 months.  A property was considered to be ‘long term empty’ if it had been unoccupied and unfurnished for more than six months and did not quality for another class of exemption from Council Tax.

 

As at 30th September 2019, 1037 dwellings in Blaenau Gwent were receiving an empty property discount.  There were only 4 authorities in Wales that still awarded the 50% discretionary element of settlement from Welsh Government which took into account Class C, however, it was expected that Welsh Government would amend the funding calculation for 2020/21 onwards so that the Council Tax Base calculation would no longer take into account the discounts for the property class.  Should this amendment be made this could result in a reduction in Council funding of £480,000.

 

The Leader continued by stating that the change in policy would allow the Council to levy circa £650,000 council tax against Class C dwellings.  However, this would be offset by the loss of revenue support grant circa £480,000 if the expected change to the current formula used for distribution of unhypothecated funding was implemented.  Subsequently the net effect of the policy change was an additional £170,000 income for the council, based on a 100% collection rate. 

 

The Leader of the Labour Group in seconding the proposal said he hoped that this collection rate could be achieved.

 

Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously,

 

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and Option 1 be endorsed, namely that the current discount for Class A, B & C dwellings be set at 0% with effect from 1st April, 2020.

 

30.

Medium Term Financial Strategy & Bridging the Gap pdf icon PDF 535 KB

To consider the joint Officers’ report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members considered the joint Officers’ report.

 

The Chief Officer Resources spoke in detail to the report which provided an assessment of the Council’s financial position over the next 5 years together with the proposed approach that the Council would take to address the financial challenges.  The following salient points contained therein were highlighted:

 

ØAppendix A of the report proposed the approach to be taken to respond to the financial challenges.  This would be an iterative process and one that would be developed and refined as the Welsh Government funding settlement became clearer and strategic business reviews were further developed and implemented.

 

ØDue to the General Election, Welsh Government had delayed the announcement of the draft local government settlement to 16th December, 2019 with the final settlement due on 25th February, 2020.  This delay had implications for the 2020/2021 budget setting process and planning for the actual budget cuts required to set a balanced budget. Therefore, the Council’s current Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) contained a number of assumptions which impact on the level of its income and expenditure.

 

Councillor P. Baldwin joined the meeting at this juncture.

 

ØBased on these assumptions a budget gap of £16.2m over the next 5 years was forecast.

 

ØThe Strategic Business Reviews have been progressing (detailed at Appendix 1) and the overall financial achievement towards the budget gap was currently assessed as between £5.4m and £7.9m over the period of the Strategy.  It was noted that the Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee had considered the MTFS and Strategic Business Reviews at a recent meeting.

 

ØBased on the current estimated achievement from the Strategic Business Reviews compared to the budget gap identified in the MTFS there was a residual funding gap of between £8.3m and £10.8m over the next 5 years.  For the next financial year 2020/2021 this residual funding gap was between £1.1m and £1.7m.

 

ØFor 2020/2021 additional proposals were being developed across portfolios to mitigate the possible residual funding gap should they be required – further information would be known following the announcement of the draft local government settlement.

 

Budget Papers - the Leader of the Labour Group referred to the delay in the announcement of the local government settlement and asked when Members could expect to receive the detailed budget papers containing the Strategic Business Reviews that were to be progressed and when the formal budget meeting of Council would be taking place as there needed to be sufficient time provided for Members to scrutinise this information. 

 

The Chief Officer Resources confirmed that whilst details of the proposals had been presented to Scrutiny there would be a need for further work to be undertaken between 16th December (the date of the draft local government settlement announcement) and the New Year.  The officer said that she anticipated that the budget report would be available to be considered by Joint Scrutiny and then Council towards the middle to the end of January 2020 and predicted that the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 30.

31.

Cardiff Capital Region City Deal Performance Review 2018/19 Q4 pdf icon PDF 557 KB

To consider the joint report of the Managing Director and Head of Regeneration.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

Consideration was given to the report of the Managing Director and Head of Regeneration.

 

The Leader of the Council advised that unfortunately the information contained within the report was not timely because this had been produced in June 2019.  He explained that it was hoped that further information with regard to the Metro and Metro Plus could have been reported, however it was understood that whilst this report was imminent it was unable to be published prior to the General Election. Therefore, a report on this matter would be submitted to Council for consideration early in the New Year.

 

Metro/Abertillery Transport Hub - the Leader of the Labour Group advised that he had previously expressed concern at Council regarding issues about the Metro/Metro Plus.

 

The Leader of the Labour Group referred to the discussions Special Council on 21st March, 2019 regarding the scheme at which the Leader had advised that further discussions would be taking place on this in more detail at the Cardiff Capital Region.  However, he expressed his concern that this scheme was no further forward and connectivity across the whole of Blaenau Gwent was crucial – this was the barrier that was preventing people from gaining employment as they were unable to travel across and throughout the borough.  Travel to industrial estates was also particularly difficult.

 

He said that any provision needed to be tested and there needed to be connectivity across the whole of Blaenau Gwent particularly in communities that were difficult to reach. Rail infrastructure in isolation would not solve any of the connectivity problems being experienced.

 

Councillor C. Meredith joined the meeting at this juncture.

 

He continued by expressing his concern regarding the scheme to link up Abertillery to a railway when there was already a station in a nearby locality at Llanhilleth and that other areas of the County Borough were being excluded from such a provision including the Sirhowy Valley where there was no provision at all.  Whilst he appreciated that further detail on the scheme was pending he pointed out that this was a once in a lifetime generational opportunity for Blaenau Gwent and said surely a more original scheme could have been submitted as this proposal would cost £5m which equated to £1m per mile.  The Leader of the Labour Group concluded by stating that he was unable to support this proposal.

 

In reply to a question, the Corporate Director of Regeneration & Community Services advised that the Abertillery Transport Hub had been included in the list of schemes being looked as part of the City Deal Programme and would include the opening of the link between Aberbeeg and Abertillery together with associated infrastructure i.e. track, interchange and station.

 

The Executive Member for Regeneration & Economic Development stated that the issue of transport had been a problem for the valley communities for many years, therefore, the Metro could not just be about trains. This had been made clear at the Regional Transport Authority i.e. that all aspects of transport must  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31.

32.

Democratic Arrangements and Scrutiny Progress Report pdf icon PDF 475 KB

To consider the report of the Service Manager Performance and Democratic.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report of the Service Manager Performance and Democratic was submitted for consideration.

 

The Chair of the Democratic Services Committee commended the excellent report and said that the Service Manager Performance and Democratic was an exceptional officer.

 

Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously,

 

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and Option 1 be endorsed, namely that the Democratic Arrangements and Scrutiny Progress be noted.

 

33.

Time Off For Reservists Policy pdf icon PDF 431 KB

To consider the report of the Head of Organisational Development.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members considered the report of the Head of Organisational Development.

 

The Leader of the Council advised that although the Council had received the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Silver Award the policy in respect of Time Off for Reservists still had to be formally agreed.

 

Councillor Brian Thomas, Armed Forces Champion had put a considerable amount of work into this and had represented the Council at these events and meetings exceedingly well.  The Leader, thereupon, wished to place on record his appreciation to Councillor Thomas for all the work he had undertaken in his role as Armed Forces Champion.

 

Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously,

 

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and the Time Off for Reservists Policy be ratified.

 

34.

Replacement Local Development Plan Preferred Strategy pdf icon PDF 750 KB

To consider the report of the Corporate Director of Regeneration & Community Services.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

 

 

Consideration was given to the report of the Corporate Director of Regeneration & Community Services.

 

The Executive Member for Regeneration & Economic Development spoke to the report which sought approval of the replacement Local Development Plan Preferred Strategy which was to be taken forward for consultation.  This was a key document in the process and it set out the strategic framework for the new replacement Local Development Plan.

 

To build consensus on the preferred strategy extensive engagement had taken place with stakeholders including Members and all comments as part of this process would be considered.

 

The intention was to undertake a 6-week public consultation exercise on the Preferred Strategy, the results of which would be reported to Scrutiny and Council at a later date.

 

The Executive Member concluded by expressing his appreciation to officers for the work undertaken to date in respect of this plan.

 

The Leader of the Labour Group said that this was an excellent piece of work and paid tribute to officers for the amount of work undertaken in respect of the strategy.  He concluded by endorsing the recommendation.

 

Settlement Classes - Primary & Secondary - a Member referred to a recent development in Tredegar where 500 houses had been built because there had been a number of suitable sites available.   However, moving forward the Member said that there was a need to identify sites and areas where people wanted to live as this was a far more important aspect than the number of dwellings.

 

Challenge 3: Improving Education and Skills - the Member continued by referring to the Key Challenges and Drivers within the document in particular Challenge 3 – Improving Education Attainment Skills which indicated that “a high proportion of adults had no qualifications and education attainment was generally low”. He expressed his concern that this was too much of a general statement and pointed out that education in Blaenau Gwent primary and secondary schools was progressing well and this needed to be recognised.

 

The Executive Member for Regeneration & Economic Development said that whilst there was a need for Welsh Government system to be holistic, the guidelines issued by Welsh Government on housing were just guidelines and all sites would be looked at across the County Borough.

 

With regard to educational attainment, the Executive Member reported that Blaenau Gwent had recently won a national award for its Aspire Shared Apprenticeship Programme and confirmed that there would be recognition of educational achievements/attainments included within the Local Development Plan.

 

Challenge 5 – Creating a Well Connected Network of Communities -  a Member said that there was a need to publicise good news i.e. that the infrastructure and road links within the County Borough had and were continuing to improve.

 

Challenge 4 – Population Growth and Improving Housing Offer - a Member referred to the aging population within the County Borough and said that there was a shortage of bungalows in particular, to meet housing requirements.   He also pointed out that there was a need to ensure developments contained a mixture  ...  view the full minutes text for item 34.

35.

Memberships Report pdf icon PDF 354 KB

To consider the attached report.

Minutes:

 

Consideration was given to:

 

Aneurin Bevan Community Health Council

the appointment of replacement representatives for Councillors Julie Holt and Mandy Moore.

 

Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously,

 

RESOLVED that Councillor Phillip Edwards be appointed to one of the above vacancies on the Aneurin Bevan Community Health Council.

 

36.

Exempt Items(s)

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).

 

Minutes:

To receive and consider the following reports which in the opinion of the proper officer were exempt items 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 was available on a schedule maintained by the proper officer).

 

37.

Future Management of the Waste Transfer Station and Household Waste Recycling Centre

To consider the report of the Managing Director.

Minutes:

 

 

 

Councillor M. Cook and J. Hill declared an interest in this item and left the meeting whilst it was discussed.

 

Councillor H. McCarthy left the meeting at this juncture.

 

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.

 

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).

 

Consideration was given to the report of the Managing Director.

 

The Managing Director provided an overview of the report which presented the findings of the due diligence activity commissioned to consider the transfer of assets and liabilities of the company back to Council control and to seek approval on the process to secure a suitable arrangement for the services required by the Council.

 

It was noted that a briefing on the report had been provided to both political groups and this report had been considered by the Community Services Scrutiny Committee on 5th December, 2019.

 

Councillor H. McCarthy returned to the meeting at this juncture.

 

Further details of the financial and technical issues were provided including operating losses, the provision for aftercare and the potential cost pressure if the preferred option was pursued.  It was noted that the aftercare liabilities would remain with the company until 2044 and following this date would then subsequently be transferred to the Council and remain until 2076.

 

A working group comprising of a cross section of officers from across the authority had undertaken a robust piece of work and a synopsis of this process was provided in paragraphs 2.24 – 2.27 of the report and a more detailed description of the process was included within Appendix 1.

 

Correction – Appendix 2 – reference was made within Appendix 2 and for clarification it was reported that the company did pay the National Living Wage and that the Council paid the Foundation Living Wage (at the higher level).  However, this correction would not affect the differentiation reported to Council.

 

The Managing Director advised that details of the preferred option were outlined in paragraph 3.6.2.  It was pointed out that the word ‘Scrutiny’ contained in the second bullet point should be amended to read ‘Council’.  It was noted that the Scrutiny Committee had supported the preferred option on 5th December, 2019.

 

Contingency Plan - in reply to a question, the Managing Director confirmed that if there was not sufficient interest from public sector partners to take forward the preferred option, the contingency plan for the delivery of services would be submitted to Council to agree.

 

Carbon Footprint - in reply to a further question, the Managing Director said that the Council’s carbon footprint and the impact this would have to be at the forefront of all  ...  view the full minutes text for item 37.

38.

Community Asset Transfer Process, Selection of Approved User

To consider the report of the Corporate Director of Regeneration & Community Services.

Minutes:

 

 

 

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.

 

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).

 

Consideration was given to the report of the Corporate Director of Regeneration & Community Services.

 

The Executive Member for Environment spoke briefly to the report which set out the result of the re-assessment of information by the Selection Panel provided in support of an appeal by an organisation relating to the proposed Community Asset Transfer.

 

It was noted that the information submitted to support the appeal process had been re-assessed against the published evaluation criteria by the same representatives of the Council’s Community Asset Transfer Steering Group who had assessed the original business case.  In addition, an assessment of the original and revised scoring had been reviewed and re-scored independently. The Executive Member for Environment concluded by proposing that Option 1 be endorsed.

 

Evaluation Matrix - a Member referred to the evaluation matrix that had been used and expressed his concern that organisations were not able to supply any historical information.  He, therefore, questioned how this could then be classed as a track record if only the forward looking information was supplied.  He also expressed his concern that both organisations had scored the same in terms of the financial issues which was not correct.  The Member concluded by stating in his opinion the matrix was flawed.

 

The Corporate Director of Regeneration & Community Services said that the weighting in terms of the track record had been quite low.  With regard to the track record - the point was not whether clubs had fulfilled particular fixtures, it was a look forward rather than a look back at historical information.  He reiterated that an independent assessment of the scores had been undertaken. The Corporate Director concluded by pointing out that both organisations had equal opportunity to supply further information in support of their applications.

 

A Member said that this was one of the saddist days and in his view the Council had failed in a number of areas.  The Charter that had been signed by the Council and the Town Council was a legal agreement.  This particular recreation ground had been left to the people of Tredegar and any change to the recreation facilities must be discussed with the public and Town Council in the first instance.  However, he pointed out that these discussions had never taken place. 

 

He continued by stating that the track records of the clubs should have been taken into consideration as priority was being given to a club who had not played one fixture on the ground.  He also pointed out that the fireworks display and horse show were  ...  view the full minutes text for item 38.

39.

Appointments Committee - 15th October, 2019

To receive report of the Appointments Committee held on 15th October, 2019.

Minutes:

 

 

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.

 

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 Paragraphs 12 & 13 Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act, 1972 (as amended).

 

Consideration was given to the report of the meeting held on 15th October, 2019.

 

Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously,

 

RESOLVED that the report which related to staffing matters be accepted and the appointment of Leanne Roberts to the post of Service Manager Customer Experience & Benefits be noted.

 

40.

Shortlisting - JNC Officers

To receive report of meeting held on 21st October, 2019.

Minutes:

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.

 

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 Paragraphs 12 & 13 Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act, 1972 (as amended).

 

Consideration was given to the report of the meeting held on 21st October, 2019.

 

Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously,

 

RESOLVED that the report which related to staffing matters be accepted and the decision contained therein be noted.

 

41.

Appointments Committee - 8th November, 2019

To receive report of the Appointments Committee held on 8th November, 2019.

Minutes:

 

 

 

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.

 

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 Paragraphs 12 & 13 Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act, 1972 (as amended).

 

Consideration was given to the report of the meeting held on 8th November, 2019.

 

Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously,

 

RESOLVED that the report which related to staffing matters be accepted and the decision not to appoint to the post of Service Manager Transformation & Digital at this stage be noted.

 

42.

Appeal Committee - 12th November, 2019

To receive the report of the Appeal Committee held on 12th November, 2019.

Minutes:

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.

 

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 Paragraphs 12 & 13 Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act, 1972 (as amended).

 

Consideration was given to the report of the meeting held on 12th November, 2019.

 

Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously,

 

RESOLVED that the report which related to staffing matters be accepted and the Appeal be dismissed.