To consider the report of the Managing Director.
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 decisions that were made in the future. Whilst there were no specific targets imposed by Welsh Government and the Council could not be fined at this stage this may potentially change in the future as the ambition of Welsh Government was for the public sector to become carbon neutral by 2030.
It was noted that the Well Being Future Generations Act also included environmental elements that would need to be adhered to.
Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously,
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 – Collaboration with the Public Sector (Shared Services) be endorsed, namely that approval be granted to proceed to the following:
- Take forward Option 1 and carry out soft market testing to better understand the opportunity to achieve a public sector collaboration.
- Should there not be sufficient interest from public sector partners to take forward the preferred option it was requested that Council endorse a proposal for officers to develop a contingency plan for the delivery of services.
- To mitigate against the risks associated with depleting the general reserves that should be retained to cover the costs associated with the aftercare liabilities of the landfill site it was proposed that the Council explored options for securing sufficient reserves to meet the assessed costs and liabilities up to 2076.