Agenda and minutes

Ordinary Meeting of the Council
Thursday, 26th November, 2020 10.00 am

Venue: Virtually Via Microsoft Teams - if you would like to attend this meeting live via Microsoft Teams please contact committee.services@blaenau-gwent.gov.uk

Contact: Democratic Services  6139

Media

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 G. Collier, T. Sharrem and the Corporate Director of Social Services.

 

3.

Declarations of Interest and Dispensations

To consider any declarations of interest and dispensations received.

Minutes:

The following declarations of interest were reported:

 

Item No. 21 – Data Centre Business Case

Councillor W. Hodgins

 

Item No. 30 – Appointments Committee JNC Officer

Corporate Director of Education

 

4.

Chair's Announcements

To receive.

Minutes:

No announcements had been received.

 

5.

Minute Book - March - October 2020

Minutes:

The Minute Book for the period March – October 2020 was submitted for consideration.

 

It was unanimously,

 

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

 

6.

Ordinary Meeting of the Council pdf icon PDF 412 KB

To confirm and if thought fit, approve the Minutes of the Meeting held on 24th September, 2020.

 

Minutes:

Agreed.

7.

Special Meeting of the Council pdf icon PDF 275 KB

To confirm and if thought fit, approve the Minutes of the Meeting held on 22nd October, 2020.

 

Minutes:

Agreed.

 

8.

Planning, Regulatory and General Licensing Committee pdf icon PDF 226 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Planning, Regulatory and General Licensing Committee held on 3rd September, 2020.

Minutes:

Agreed.

 

9.

Planning, Regulatory and General Licensing Committee pdf icon PDF 253 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Planning, Regulatory and General Licensing Committee held on 1st October, 2020.

Minutes:

Agreed.

 

10.

Special Executive pdf icon PDF 240 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Special Executive Committee held on 21st September, 2020

Minutes:

Agreed.

 

11.

Executive Committee pdf icon PDF 467 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Executive Committee held on 14th October, 2020

 

Minutes:

Agreed.

 

12.

Special Executive pdf icon PDF 341 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Special Executive Committee held on 19th October, 2020

 

Minutes:

Agreed.

 

13.

Joint Scrutiny Committee (Budget Monitoring) pdf icon PDF 321 KB

To confirm the minutes of the Joint Scrutiny Committee (Budget Monitoring) held on 9th March, 2020.

Minutes:

Agreed.

 

14.

Education & Learning Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 247 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Education & Learning Scrutiny Committee held on 15th September, 2020.

Minutes:

Agreed.

 

15.

Social Services Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 258 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Social Services Scrutiny Committee held on 17th September, 2020.

Minutes:

Agreed.

 

16.

Special Regeneration Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 356 KB

To confirm the minutes of the Regeneration Scrutiny Committee held on 23rd September, 2020.

Minutes:

Agreed.

 

17.

Audit Committee pdf icon PDF 472 KB

To confirm the minutes of the Audit Committee held on 29th September, 2020.

Minutes:

Agreed.

 

18.

Members Questions

To receive questions, if any, from Members.

 

Minutes:

The following question was received from Councillor H. Trollope and was responded to by the Leader of the Council:

 

Question:

 

Councillor Trollope commenced by stating that this was not a ‘political’ question. He was posing this question because of the position he had recently found himself in losing a very good friend and also because the pandemic had affected every person in Blaenau Gwent.

 

“Given that Blaenau Gwent had, sadly, had such a high incidence of Covid-19, there was some public concern about the views of Councillor Mark Holland expressed on social media. The question was posed why, after Cllr Holland had left the Independent Group of his own accord, you asked Councillor Holland to reconsider and return to the Independent Group? This was reported in the local press.

 

Please explain whether, in hindsight, you now think your leadership should have been more proactive in expelling him yourself; and whether you consider that Councillor Holland was in breach of the code of conduct?

 

Response:

 

The Leader commenced by stating that he was mindful of Councillor Trollope’s unfortunate personal circumstances and did not consider this as a political question. He continued by stating that he had considered this matter very carefully and seriously and when it had first been brought to his attention his immediate course of action was to have a conversation with both the Monitoring Officer and the Managing Director regarding Councillor Holland’s comments particularly, in relation to any potential conflict in terms of the code of conduct and said that if those conversations had left any major doubt in his mind, his approach and decisions would have been much different as he had clearly demonstrated in the past and particularly in 2017.

 

It was in the light of those conversations he had written to Councillor Holland and asked him to reflect and would have possibly have hoped to have had a conversation with him on a one to one basis.  To contextualise the word ‘reflect’ - asking an individual to reflect was a form of consistency he had tended to adopt in matters such as this as indeed other colleagues who had indicated to leave the Independent Group could testify.  He would always respect an individual’s choice because for independent councillors there was no written contract or obligation but whatever the circumstances he would always value a conversation with any individual because this was the style he adopted.

 

However, in this instance and Councillor Holland’s subsequent comments and the very clear reasons he had provided in writing to the Leader for leaving, created a position whereby he could not and probably would not want to be readmitted to the Independent Group.

 

With regard to the comments with regard to hindsight and being proactive in relation to his actions, mindful of the content of his response so far together with leadership style that he had chosen to adopt, the Leader said that he had dealt with the situation as he considered then and still considered this appropriate.  With regard  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.

19.

Public Questions

To receive questions, if any, from the public.

 

Minutes:

There were no questions submitted by members of the public.

 

20.

Authorised Absence - Councillor Garth Collier

To consider.

Minutes:

The Leader advised that as Members were aware, Councillor Collier had been taken ill earlier in the year and did not feel that currently he was in a position to return to normal Council duties although his health was slowly improving and he was anticipating returning to duties fairly shortly. As the 6-month attendance rule for Councillor Collier would lapse in January and this was the last formal Council meeting prior to that period, he proposed that an authorised absence be granted to cover any further absence beyond January 2021.

 

The Leader of the Labour Group endorsed the comments made and gave his total support for this action and wished Councillor Collier the very best in his recovery.

 

The Leader thanked the Leader of the Labour Group for his comments and gave an assurance that when he spoke to Councillor Collier he relayed that the thoughts and best wishes of the Council (across the whole political spectrum) and he would continue to do so.

 

Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously,

 

RESOLVED that Councillor Garth Collier be granted approved absence for a further 6-month period effective from January 2021.

 

21.

Assessment of Performance 2019/2020 pdf icon PDF 487 KB

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

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Service Manager Performance and Democratic.

 

It was unanimously,

 

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and the Council’s Assessment of Performance which provided a retrospective account of the 2019/20 year and fulfilled all required statutory legislative requirements be endorsed.

 

22.

Data Centre Business Case pdf icon PDF 699 KB

To consider the report of the Chief Officer Resources.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor W. Hodgins declared an interest in this item but remained in the meeting whilst it was discussed.

 

Members considered the report of the Chief Officer Resources.

 

It was unanimously,

 

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and Option 4 – Alternate Provision be endorsed, namely the Data Centre Move to NGD Newport (including the move of existing services from the Civic Centre) and associated investment required (capital & revenue).

 

23.

Proposed Council Forward Work Programme 2020-21 pdf icon PDF 380 KB

To consider the attached report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report detailing the Council Forward Work Programme for 2020/2021.

 

The Leader of the Labour referred to the Council Forward Work Programme and stated that a report in respect of the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal would be useful being included in the Forward Work Programme particularly, as a point was now being reached where decisions were being made.  He also referred to the previous discussion in respect of the Members Question and pointed out a report issued by CCRCD in June 2020 did indicate that the Leader had been appointed the lead Member for Technology and 5G.

 

The Leader of the Council referred to the Leader of the Labour Group’s final point and confirmed that this had now been corrected by CCRCD.  He added that a report regarding CCRCD was due to be presented to the next scheduled meeting of the Regeneration Scrutiny Committee and would subsequently be considered by Executive and Full Council.

 

It was unanimously,

 

RESOLVED, subject to the foregoing, that the report be accepted and Option 1 be endorsed, namely that the Council Forward Work Programme for 2020/2021 be agreed.

 

24.

Standards Committee Appointment pdf icon PDF 395 KB

To consider the report of the Head of Legal & Corporate Compliance (Monitoring Officer).

Minutes:

The report of the Head of Legal and Corporate Compliance (Monitoring Officer) was submitted for consideration.

 

It was unanimously,

 

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and

 

-      Mrs. Sarah Rosser be appointed as a member of the Standards Committee, effective from the date of Council approval (26th November, 2020).

 

-      The term of office would initially be for 6 years; however, the relevant Regulations enable members to sit for a further consecutive term of up to 4 years.  A report would be brought before Council prior to the end of the initial term, in order for the re-appointment to be considered.

 

-      Ms. Sarah Manuel be approved as a reserve appointee should a vacancy become available within 12 months.

 

25.

Membership Report pdf icon PDF 480 KB

To consider the attached report.

Minutes:

Consideration was given to:

 

Aneurin Bevan Community Health Council

-      to appoint a replacement representative.

 

The Leader advised that he had received no nominations for this position and requested that expressions of interest be submitted from the Labour Group and Minority Independent Group, if any Member was interested in taking up this vacant position.

 

PROPORTIONALITY CHANGES

 

Due to changes being made to proportionality to 9:5:1 on the Committees below, it was RESOLVED that the following be appointed:

 

CORPORATE OVERVIEW SCRUTINY COMMITTEE 

15 MEMBERS – PROPORTIONALITY 9:5:1

 

1.           Chair -                  Councillor S Healy

 

2.      Vice Chair -         Councillor M. Cook

 

3.           Councillors          P. Baldwin

 

4.                                       G. Collier

 

5.                                       M. Cross

 

6.                                         G. A. Davies

 

7.                                        L. Elias

 

8.                                        J. Hill

 

9.                                        H. McCarthy

 

10.                                     C. Meredith

 

11.                                     J. P. Morgan

 

12.                                     L. Parsons

 

13.                                     G. Paulsen

 

14.                                     S. Thomas

 

15.                                      T. Smith

 

REGENERATION SCRUTINY COMMITTEE 

15 MEMBERS – PROPORTIONALITY 9:5:1

 

1.      Chair -                  Councillor J. Hill

 

2.      Vice Chair -         Councillor G. A. Davies

 

3.      Councillors          M. Cook

 

4.                                  M. Cross

 

5.                                  G. L. Davies

 

6.                                   P. Edwards

 

7.                                   K. Hayden

 

8.                                  S. Healy

 

9.                                  W. Hodgins

 

10.                                H. McCarthy

 

11.                                J. C. Morgan

 

12.                                 J. P. Morgan

 

13.                                L. Parsons

 

14.                                 K. Rowson

 

15.                                 B. Willis

 

 

 

COMMUNITY SERVICES SCRUTINY COMMITTEE 

15 MEMBERS – PROPORTIONALITY 9:5:1

 

1.      Chair -                  Councillor M. Moore

 

2.      Vice Chair -         Councillor C. Meredith

 

3.     Councillors            P. Baldwin

 

4.                                    M. Cook

 

5.                                    M. Cross

 

6.                                    M. Day

 

7.                                    P. Edwards

 

8.                                   S. Healy

 

9.                                   W. Hodgins

 

10.                                 J. Holt

 

11.                                 J. C. Morgan

 

12.                                 G. Paulsen                            

 

13.                                T. Sharrem

 

14.                                 B. Summers

 

15.                                L. Winnett

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Education & LEARNING SCRUTINY COMMITTEE –

15 MEMBERS – PROPORTIONALITY 9:5:1

 

1.           Chair -                 Councillor H. Trollope 

 

2.      Vice Chair -         Councillor J. Holt

 

3.      Councillors          D. Bevan

 

4.                                  G. Collier

                                     

5.                                  M. Cook

 

6.                                   M. Day            

                            

7.                                   L. Elias

                                     

8.                                   J. Hill                           

                                     

9.                                   C. Meredith

 

10.                                 J. C. Morgan

                                     

11.                                 J. P. Morgan

 

12.                                  L. Parsons

 

13.                                  T. Smith

 

14.                                  B. Summers

 

15.                                  D. Wilkshire

 

 

 

* Would also include 2 Members of religious bodies and between 2-5 parent governors with voting rights only when dealing with education matters.

 

1.      Mr. T. Baxter                Diocesan Education Body             

                                                (R.C. Church)

 

2.      Mr. A. Williams             (Church in Wales)

 

3.      Vacant                            Youth Forum Representative

 


SOCIAL SERVICES SCRUTINY COMMITTEE –

15 MEMBERS – PROPORTIONALITY 9:5:1

 

1.           Chair -                  Councillor S. Thomas

 

2.      Vice Chair -         Councillor K. Rowson

 

3.      Councillors          D. Bevan

 

4.                                  G. Collier

 

5.                                    G. A. Davies

 

6.                                   G. L. Davies

 

7.                                   P. Edwards

 

8.                                    K. Hayden

 

9.                                    W. Hodgins

 

10.                                 J. Holt

 

11.                                  M. Moore

 

12.                                 G. Paulsen

 

13.                                T. Sharrem

 

14.                                T. Smith

 

15.                                 B. Summers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PUBLIC SERVICE BOARD SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

15 MEMBERS - PROPORTIONALITY 9:5:1 (to include Corporate Overview Members & Chairs of Scrutiny Committees)

 

1.           Chair -                  Chair - Corporate Overview Scrutiny   

                            Committee

                                  Councillor S. Healy

     

2.      Vice Chair -         Vice Chair - Corporate Overview Scrutiny

                                     Committee

                                      Councillor M. Cook

         

3.                                  Chair - Social Services Scrutiny Committee                           Councillor S. Thomas

 

4.                                   Chair  ...  view the full minutes text for item 25.

26.

Exempt Items(s)

To receive and consider the following reports which in the opinion of the proper officer are 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 decisions for the exemptions is available on a schedule maintained by the proper officer).

 

Minutes:

Councillors D. Bevan and M. Holland left the meeting at this juncture.

 

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 reasons for the decisions for the exemptions were available on a schedule maintained by the proper officer).

27.

Festival Park Update

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

 

The Leader of the Labour said that the report should be considered as two separate elements (i.e. Festival Park and the Civic Centre/Working Arrangements) and proposed the following amendment to the preferred option, namely that:

 

-      It be noted that the position agreed at Council to proceed with acquisition of Festival Park had been reconsidered by the Member Working Group, and that it should now be left to private investors who had expressed an interest in the site to take it forward.

 

-      The matters of the Civic Centre and working arrangements for staff be considered by a newly formed Working Group comprising of Members of each political group.

 

A recorded vote was, therefore, requested.

 

In Favour of the amendment – Councillors P. Baldwin, M. Cross, P. Edwards, L. Elias, K. Hayden, H. McCarthy, J. Millard, J. C. Morgan, K. Pritchard, T. Smith, S. Thomas, H. Trollope, D. Wilkshire, B. Willis, L. Winnett.

 

Against the amendment – Councillors J. Collins, M. Cook, N. Daniels, D. Davies, G. A. Davies, M. Day, D. Hancock, S. Healy, J. Hill, W. Hodgins, J. Holt, J. Mason, C. Meredith, J. P. Morgan, L. Parsons, G. Paulsen, K. Rowson, B. Summers, B. Thomas, G. Thomas, J. Wilkins.

 

The vote on the amendment was not carried.

 

A recorded vote was, thereupon, taken in respect of Option 1 (preferred option):

 

In Favour of Option 1 – Councillors J. Collins, M. Cook, N. Daniels, D. Davies, G. A. Davies, M. Day, D. Hancock, S. Healy, J. Hill, W. Hodgins, J. Holt, J. Mason, C. Meredith, M. Moore, J. P. Morgan, L. Parsons, G. Paulsen, K. Rowson, B. Summers, B. Thomas, G. Thomas, J. Wilkins.

 

Against Option 1 – Councillors P. Baldwin, M. Cross, G. L. Davies, P. Edwards, L. Elias, K. Hayden, H. McCarthy, J. C. Morgan, T. Smith, S. Thomas, H. Trollope, D. Wilkshire, B. Willis, L. Winnett.

 

Abstentions – Councillors J. Millard and K. Pritchard

 

The vote in respect of Option 1 was carried.

 

It was, therefore,

 

RESOLVED, subject to the foregoing, that the report which related to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority) be accepted and Option 1 be endorsed, namely that:

 

-      The position agreed at Council to proceed with acquisition of Festival Park had been reconsidered by the Member Working Group, and that it should now be left to private investors who had expressed an interest in the site  ...  view the full minutes text for item 27.

28.

Shortlisting - JNC Officers

To consider the report of the meeting held on 29th September, 2020.

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 29th September, 2020.

 

It was unanimously,

 

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

 

29.

Shortlisting - JNC Officers

To consider the report of the meeting held on 7th October, 2020.

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 7th October, 2020.

 

It was unanimously,

 

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

 

30.

Appointments Committee - JNC Officers

To consider the report of the meeting held on 6th October, 2020.

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 6th October, 2020.

 

It was unanimously,

 

RESOLVED that the report which related to staffing matters be accepted and the decision not to appoint to the post of Lead Officer School Improvement be noted.

 

31.

Appointments Committee - JNC Officers

To consider the report of the meeting held on 4th November, 2020.

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).

 

The Corporate Director of Education Lynn Phillips left the meeting at this juncture.

 

Consideration was given to the report of the meeting held on 4th November, 2020.

 

It was unanimously,

 

RESOLVED that the report which related to staffing matters be accepted and the post be offered to Lynn Phillips on a salary in accordance with JNC Chief Officer (£82,247 - £90,469).