Agenda and minutes

Ordinary Meeting of the Council
Thursday, 28th January, 2021 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:

An apology for absence was received from Councillor M. Moore.

 

3.

Declarations of Interest and Dispensations

To consider any declarations of interest and dispensations received.

Minutes:

The following declaration of interest was reported:

 

Item No. 34 – Application to Lease Land

Councillor W. Hodgins

 

4.

Charlotte Clarke - Outgoing Youth Mayor

To receive an overview of Charlotte’s democracy journey.

 

Minutes:

Councillor T. Sharrem joined the meeting at this juncture.

 

Charlotte Clarke, outgoing Youth Mayor provided the following overview of her democracy journey to date:

 

Charlotte commenced by stating that she had had an amazing time through the course of the last two years, which included her time as Deputy Youth Mayor. Charlotte’s journey began when she was in a very different stage of her life, primary school. She had always been academically ambitious, priding herself over roles she had accomplished, such as head girl, prefect and becoming a member of the school council. She had been thrilled during Year 6 when she had been offered the opportunity to attend the Children’s Grand Council – an event that combined children from across the borough which provided inspiration and innovation and taught independent thinking. At this event, children would participate in tasks such as writing, drawing, and playing fun games, all activities linked to relevant issues of the day. A personal highlight for Charlotte had been the workshop on becoming environmentally friendly. Last year, Charlotte was afforded the opportunity to visit the Children’s Grand Council in her capacity as Youth Mayor. This made her really appreciate to the full capacity how wonderful this event was. From her perspective she could really understand and appreciate how captivating and simulating it was for young minds; which explained why she had previously enjoyed it so much.

 

In the summer of that year, Charlotte had received a letter which explained a poem she had written at the Children's Grand Council had been chosen to be put on a plaque at Bryn Bach Parc. This gave Charlotte a great sense of pride because this had been one of her first major accomplishments. She thoroughly cherished the memory of the unveiling, with support from her parents, grandparents, and aunty. At this event she was then invited to become a member of the Blaenau Gwent Youth Forum, which she had initially declined. This was due to her new lack of confidence, entering secondary school was a hard transition for most pupils, and she felt anxious and doubtful of her capabilities. Nevertheless, with persistence from many supportive figures in her life she decided to join and was delighted in hindsight that she had corrected her decision because this choice had been the catapult to everything else. Whilst Charlotte still identified with that scared, shaky Year 7 girl and still struggled with being anxious, this frightful attitude had only been natured by the Forum.  From the reassurance and support the Forum had given her, she was no longer a scared, Year 7 girl but a 15-year old, who felt confident in setting aside her anxieties in order to strive towards her goals.

 

Upon attending the Youth Forum for the first time, Youth Mayor elections were immediately taking place and she had decided to run for the two-year position as Deputy and Youth Mayor. Whilst extremely hesitant to believe she had a chance of winning due to lack of experience and lack  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Chair's Announcements

To receive.

Minutes:

No announcements had been received.

 

6.

Minute Book - September 2020 - January 2021

Minutes:

The Minute Book for the period September 2020 – January 2021 was submitted for consideration.

 

It was unanimously,

 

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

 

7.

Ordinary Meeting of the Council pdf icon PDF 837 KB

To consider and if thought fit, approve the Minutes of the Meeting held on 26th November, 2020.

 

Minutes:

Agreed.

8.

Special Meeting of the Council pdf icon PDF 308 KB

To consider and if thought fit, approve the Minutes of the Meeting held on 17th December, 2020.

 

Minutes:

Agreed.

 

9.

Executive Committee pdf icon PDF 446 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Executive Committee held on 9th December, 2020.

 

Minutes:

Agreed.

 

10.

Special Executive Committee pdf icon PDF 346 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Executive Committee held on 15th December, 2020.

 

Minutes:

Agreed.

 

11.

Executive Committee pdf icon PDF 403 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 13th January, 2021.

Minutes:

Agreed.

 

12.

Planning, Regulatory and General Licensing Committee pdf icon PDF 333 KB

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

 

Minutes:

Agreed.

 

13.

Planning, Regulatory and General Licensing Committee (General Licensing Matters) pdf icon PDF 241 KB

To confirm, the Minutes of the Planning, Regulatory and General Licensing Committee (General Licensing Matters) held on 14th December, 2020.

Minutes:

Agreed.

 

14.

Planning, Regulatory and General Licensing Committee pdf icon PDF 211 KB

To confirm, the Minutes of the Planning, Regulatory and General Licensing Committee held on 7th January, 2021.

Minutes:

Agreed.

 

15.

Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 237 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee held on 11th September, 2020.

Minutes:

Agreed.

 

16.

Community Services Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 307 KB

To confirm the minutes of the Community Services Scrutiny Committee held on 21st September, 2020.

Minutes:

Agreed.

 

17.

Joint Scrutiny Committee (Budget Monitoring) pdf icon PDF 295 KB

To confirm the minutes of the Joint Scrutiny Committee (Budget Monitoring) held on 28th September, 2020.

Minutes:

Agreed.

 

18.

Community Services Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 247 KB

To confirm the minutes of the Special Community Services Scrutiny Committee held on 13th October, 2020.

Minutes:

Agreed.

 

19.

Community Services Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 237 KB

To confirm the minutes of the Community Services Scrutiny Committee held on 19th October, 2020.

Minutes:

Agreed.

 

20.

Regeneration Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 235 KB

To confirm the minutes of the Regeneration Scrutiny Committee held on 21st October, 2020.

Minutes:

Agreed.

 

21.

Education & Learning Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 277 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Education & Learning Scrutiny Committee held on 3rd November, 2020.

Minutes:

Agreed.

 

22.

Social Services Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 238 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Social Services Scrutiny Committee held on 5th November, 2020.

Minutes:

Agreed.

 

23.

Audit Committee pdf icon PDF 474 KB

To confirm the minutes of the Audit Committee held on 17th November, 2020.

Minutes:

Agreed.

 

24.

Social Services Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 238 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Social Services Scrutiny Committee held on 10th December, 2020.

Minutes:

Agreed.

 

25.

Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 252 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee held on 11th December, 2020.

 

Minutes:

Agreed.

 

26.

Members Questions

To receive questions, if any, from Members.

 

Minutes:

The following question was received from Councillor H. McCarthy and was responded to by the Executive Member for Regeneration and Economic Development:

 

Question:

 

“Whilst the Labour Group broadly welcomed the Executive decision to progress the Community Asset Transfer of Trinity Chapel to the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, could the Executive Member give an undertaking that a period of meaningful public consultation on changes to the Library provision would now take place across the four wards?”

 

Response:

 

The Executive Member advised that Aneurin Leisure Trust operated the library services and the work that had been undertaken would not change the service provision, in fact it would enhance and improve the service.  It was pointed out that the only major change would be the introduction of Adult Education Services with the library provision. 

 

 

 

Supplementary Question:

 

Except for the proposed relocation of the library, this decision was in line with the original Labour Group proposal. To move the library seemed pointless and lacking in imagination or innovation and would not have a significant positive impact on footfall, whereas the community supermarket obviously would.  Could the Executive Member, explain how had it taken 4 years to arrive at this stage, when all that was being done was to move a purpose built and fully refurbished library to a different location?”

 

Response:

 

The Executive Member explained this was far from just locating the library to a new location. It had taken time to secure the funding in order to complete the project and working in consultation with the Coalfields Regeneration Trust and Welsh Government, the grants had now been secured to do this.  He expressed his appreciation to the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, Aneurin Leisure Trust and officers for the considerable amount of work that had been undertaken to bring two good projects to fruition in both buildings. 

 

The Executive Member continued by stating that Trinity Chapel would not only be a library but a community facility where for example, financial advice could be sought through opportunities provided by Coalfields Regeneration Trust.  It was noted that the venue would also include a cash dispensing machine and art classes would be held at the venue. The library through the Aneurin Leisure Trust had also had the opportunity to purposely design what they wanted within the facility.   He believed that footfall would be increase and when plans where published the following week, the opportunities would be evident. With regard to the community supermarket, the Coalfields Regeneration Trust felt that the current library building would be a better setting in terms of access and delivery arrangements.

 

The Executive Member concluded by stating that the Council and its partners had moved at pace to complete both projects in order to avoid delays to the Trinity Chapel scheme and the opening of a community supermarket, which was a very much needed in the area.

 

27.

Public Questions

To receive questions, if any, from the public.

 

Minutes:

There were no questions submitted by members of the public.

 

28.

Treasury Management Mid-Year Review Report - 1st April, 2020 to 30th September, 2020 pdf icon PDF 677 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 commenced by advising that the report detailed the Treasury Management activities carried out by the Authority during the first half of the 2020/21 financial year.

 

Due to advantageous interest rates during the first half of the financial year, the Authority entered into long term debt arrangements of £9m with the Public Works Loan Board (PWLB)/ other public authorities. These arrangements were made either to replace maturing loans or to replace finance capital expenditure. 

 

In summary, despite the financial climate due to the pandemic, the authority had performed well in terms of its Treasury Management activities in comparison to the established benchmark rates. 

 

-      It was noted that investment returns of £3,000 had been achieved in the period with an average interest rate of 0.07%. This was above the benchmark rate of -0.07% but reflected the impact the pandemic had had on the bank base rate and in turn the market interest rates offered on investments.

 

-      The annual budgeted investment interest of £43,000, was unlikely to be achieved, however the amount of interest paid had also significantly reduced which counteracted this in its entirety.

 

-      An average interest rate of 0.67% had been paid on temporary borrowings against a benchmark of 1.00%, amounting to £159,000 for the six-month period.  The budget for interest paid on short term borrowing was £660,000 for a full year - the full year interest payable was likely to be well within this budget.  The interest payable by the Authority had, therefore, been minimised as far as possible and was evidence of good performance.

 

-      All of the Treasury Limits and Treasury Management Prudential Indicators which had been set for the financial year had been complied with during the year.

 

-      No institutions in which investments were made during the period had any difficulty in repaying investments and interest in full, so the Authority had not been exposed to any financial loss as a result of the difficult economic climate. 

 

-      The Debt Management Account Deposit Facility (DMADF) started offering negative interest rates from September 2020 on investments placed with them.  This limited the investment opportunities available to the Authority.  The Authority would continue to monitor other investment opportunities, however proposed an increase in the amount that it was able to hold in the Authority’s bank account from £6 million to £10 million to avoid exceeding the current limit.  This would provide the authority with more flexibility in terms of its cash flow.

 

Members were advised that the Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee had considered the report at its December meeting and recommended to Council the proposed change in the investment strategy.

    

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 2020/2021 financial year be noted and the record of performance and compliance achieved during the first half of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 28.

29.

Domestic Abuse, Violence and Sexual Violence Policy pdf icon PDF 582 KB

To consider the report of the Head of Organisational Development.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report of the Head of Organisational Development was submitted for consideration.

 

At the invitation of the Chair, the Head of Organisational Development advised approval was sought from Council to adopt the Domestic Abuse, Violence and Sexual Violence Policy.  This policy would replace the current Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence policy (VAWDASV) and the amended policy would apply to Council and school based employees.

 

There were a number of key changes to the policy, the aim of which was to ensure that effective and practical support mechanisms were in place across the Authority to assist victims of domestic abuse/violence.  These amendments included:

 

·        Clarification on definitions and key legislation.

·        The provision of up to 5 days paid safe leave and other supportive measures for victims.

·        Details of the role of the manager, supporting individuals through issues.

 

Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee on 22nd January, 2021 had considered the amended policy and had made a number of suggestions to improve the document, namely:

 

-      Support agencies – due to changes in funding particularly for the third sector, checks would be undertaken to ascertain if these organisations were still viable.

-      Victim Support, Claire’s Law and the right to approach the police be included on the list of support agencies.

 

The Leader of the Labour Group said that he totally supported the new policy but had been contacted by some individuals concerned that the new title of the policy did not include the word ‘women’. He continued by stating that this was a particularly historical issue for women and because some women who were suffering from this type of abuse found it difficult to come forward, he requested if consideration could be given to including this aspect within the document.  This would ensure that women would be aware of the policy and that it alluded to them.

 

Another Member also requested that the policy reflected support for children and families because statistics indicated that children who had grown up in a domestic abuse setting were more likely to become perpetrators in the future.

 

The Head of Organisational Development undertook to include additional support agency details within the policy that could provide support for children and families and undertook to include information relating to ‘women’ within the policy document.

 

A Member expressed his appreciation to the Head of Organisational Development for acting upon the suggestions made by the Scrutiny Committee.

 

The Leader of the Council also expressed his appreciation to the Head of Organisational Development for incorporating the contributions made by Members of the Scrutiny Committee into the new policy and said that he also supported the additional suggestions made earlier.  He, thereupon, proposed that Option 2 be endorsed.  This proposal was seconded.

 

It was unanimously,

 

RESOLVED, subject to the foregoing, that the report be accepted and Option 2 be endorsed, namely that the comments and further amendments/additions to the Domestic Abuse, Violence and Sexual Violence Policy be noted and approved.

 

30.

Trans Equality Policy pdf icon PDF 713 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 Head of Organisational Development advised that the Trans Equality Policy had been developed to supplement existing policies and to provide increased support to ensure that employees who did not identify with their birth assigned gender had the right to equal treatment and protection from discrimination at work, and to ensure that managers were clear about their individual roles and responsibilities for supporting colleagues who were transitioning whilst in the workplace.

 

The policy had been developed in line with the Equality Act 2010 and the Gender Recognition Act 2004 and would apply to all employees of the Council and subject to approval, would be recommended to School Governing Bodies for adoption.

 

Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee on 22nd January, 2021 had considered the new policy and had suggested the following amendment:

 

-      Replace the term LGBT with LGBTQ+ - this would align with equality and human rights terminology.  It was noted that LGBTQ+ stood for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning.

 

In reply to a question, the Head of Organisational Development advised that the organisations within the appendix would be reviewed to list viable agencies only. A Member advised that he would email details of a particular support agency through the Head of Organisational Development for consideration of inclusion within the policy.

 

It was unanimously,

 

RESOLVED, subject to the foregoing, that the report be accepted and Option 1 be endorsed, namely that the implementation of the Trans Equality Policy be approved.

 

31.

Information Security Policy pdf icon PDF 483 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 revised Information Security Policy for the Council set out the approach the Council had adopted to develop, manage and improve Information Security to ensure valuable information resources were properly protected.  

 

The draft policy had been revised and updated and replaced a number of the Council’s current policies outlined in paragraph 2.2 of the report.  The policy would apply to all Blaenau Gwent employees, Members, schools, contractors, third parties and all other authorised users with access to the Council’s information assets.

 

The policy identified the general principles of Information Security i.e. confidentiality, integrity & availability, explains the roles and responsibilities of all parties with access to the Council’s information and detailed the Council’s expectations in ensuring that information remained secure.  It also emphasised that all security breaches must be reported immediately.

 

The Chief Officer Resources advised that the Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee on 22nd January, 2021 recommended adoption of the policy.

 

It was unanimously,

 

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and Option 1 be endorsed, namely that the Information Security Policy be approved.

 

 

 

32.

Acceptable Usage Policy pdf icon PDF 485 KB

To consider the report of the Chief Officer Resources.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

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

 

It was noted that the revised Acceptable Usage Policy very much linked to the previous item, Information Security Policy.

 

At the invitation of the Chair, the Chief Officer Resources spoke briefly to the report and advised that the proposed Acceptable Usage Policy for the Council provided guidance and an overview of the Council’s expectations on the acceptable usage of systems, resources and work spaces.

 

It was noted that the draft policy would replace the Council’s current policies:-

 

·        Email Acceptable Use

·        Internet Acceptable Use

 

The policy would apply to all Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council employees, Schools, volunteers, Members, contractors, third parties and all other authorised users with access to the Council’s information assets and identified the general principles and mandatory controls that were required and applied to all information, hardware devices and data within Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council.

 

The Chief Officer Resources concluded by advising that the Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee on 22nd January, 2021 recommended adoption of the policy.

 

A Member requested that it be made very clear to all appropriate parties that all information stored or found on Blaenau Gwent devices would be subject to scrutiny by the authority.

 

The Chief Officer Resources confirmed that all employees and parties to which the policy applied, were provide with the necessary hardware and information assets required to undertake their roles.  Whilst employees were allowed limited use of devices for personal reasons, however, this was not encouraged and individuals should be aware that their use of the Council’s information assets was monitored and audited on a regular basis.

 

Another Member advised that on occasions, constituents had requested that he use his own personal laptop to send emails in his capacity as a Councillor on their behalf and said that he had to respect this request.  Whist he understood that usage had to be monitored, it would need to be monitored by appropriate officers.  He requested that the Monitoring Officer clarify who the appropriate officers would be to monitor emails.

 

The Head of Legal and Corporate Compliance (Monitoring Officer) advised that in terms of the policy document, this did not identify/name an appropriate officer but it would be clearly an independent officer of sufficient seniority and who had been authorised and directed by the Managing Director to review the data.  Any audit and monitoring would be undertaken in confidence, in consultation and with the assistance of the SRS.

 

The Leader of the Labour Group said that this policy referred to the Council’s equipment loaned to Members and employees.  He requested clarity that the use of personal equipment was surely a matter between the Councillor and an individual and that the Council had no control over this.

 

The Chief Officers Resources pointed out that even though Members may be using personal devices, if there was information that related to Council business or any personal information relating to individuals stored on these devices, Members had a responsibility to ensure that this  ...  view the full minutes text for item 32.

33.

Membership Report pdf icon PDF 358 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 the Leader of the Group also confirmed that no expressions of interest had been received from his Group Members at this point in time.

 

SRS Strategic Board

-      to appoint a replacement representative.

 

RESOLVED that Councillor J. Wilkins be appointed as the representative to replace Councillor N. Daniels onthe above Board.

 

Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee

-      to appoint a replacement representative.

 

RESOLVED that Councillor J. Holt be appointed to replace Councillor L. Parsons on the above Committee.

 

34.

Exempt Items

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

 

35.

Application to Lease Land

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

Minutes:

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

 

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 Corporate Director spoke briefly to the report and advised that approval was sought from Council (as Trustees of Bedwellty House and Park) to use part of the Park on a temporary basis for construction activity for the construction of health facilities

 

Once approved by Council, a further application would also need to be made to the Charity Commission under section 105 of the Charity Act 2011 seeking their consent to grant the lease for the use set out in paragraph 2.5 of the report.

 

In reply to a question, the Corporate Director confirmed that a temporary structure to house bats had been provided solely in connection with the construction activity and once completed a permanent structure would be provided. 

With regard to legal fees, it was noted that the cost of any legal fees incurred by the Council would be met by the organisation named within the report.

 

The Leader of the Labour Group welcomed the report and expressed his appreciation to the Corporate Director and his team for work undertaken to progress a much needed health centre for the Tredegar area.

 

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 be endorsed, namely that:

 

The Council as Charitable Trustees had decided that they were satisfied, having considered the surveyor's report, that the terms on which the disposition was proposed to be made were the best that could reasonably be obtained for the charity and the principle of the proposed lease of the area of land shown edged red on the plan attached to Appendix 1 be agreed, for a term of three years or until such time as the development of the new Tredegar HWBC to the named organisation had concluded subject to:

 

i)             The named organisation paying a yearly rental as detailed in report of £900.00 per annum.

 

ii)            Successfully obtaining the consent of the Charity Commission to the lease, which must be obtained prior to the lease being legally completed.

 

iii)          Any revenue receipt being ring fenced for use by the Charity in furtherance of the objects of the Charity and not pooled for use within the Council’s General Fund.

 

36.

Update Cemetery Burial Capacity

To consider the report of the Team Manager Street Scene.

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 Team Leader Street Scene.

 

The Corporate Director of Regeneration and Community Services commenced by advising that both the Executive Committee and the Community Services Scrutiny Committee had considered the report and had approved the preferred option to ensure that burial capacity of 20 years was maintained across the estate.

 

The Corporate Director continued by outlining the capacity levels within each of the cemeteries and the land ownership issues outlined in paragraph 2.4.1 of the report.  It was noted to acquire any land via Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO), planning consent would need to be obtained as part of the process and specialist legal support would be required to move forward with land acquisition, if required.

 

The Leader of the Labour Group welcomed the report and the work undertaken to date.

 

In reply to a question regarding timescales for negotiation, the Corporate Director advised that the discussions with the landowner and work towards the CPO process would be undertaken in parallel to ensure that the project was delivered within the timelines that had been set.

 

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 be endorsed, namely that:

 

·        The appointment of external legal advice to provide the necessary legal information necessary to move forward with land acquisition be approved.

 

·        The use of CPO powers to purchase the land as required based on the legal advice provided, be supported.

 

·          Funding be made available within the Council’s Capital programme to support the land purchase costs and cemetery infrastructure works necessary over the next three years 2021/22, 2022/23 and 2023/24, as identified in paragraph 5.2.1 of the report.

 

37.

Education-Leadership and Management Structure

To consider the report of the Corporate Director Education.

Minutes:

Councillor J. Hill joined 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 Paragraphs 12, 14 & 15 Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act, 1972 (as amended).

 

Consideration was given to the report of the Corporate Director of Education.

 

The report sought Council approval to create a permanent structure and leadership arrangements for the Education Directorate following the appointment to the Corporate Director of Education role. 

 

The Corporate Director of Education advised that the principles of the report were underpinned by advocating a sustainable structure which had the capacity to support and deliver improved life chances for children and young people, in addition to considering the Education portfolio changes associated with the addition of the Leisure client function.

 

Further details of the proposed leadership structure were outlined in paragraphs 2.4, 2.6. 2.7 and 2.8 of the report and these included a new role of Head of School Improvement and Inclusion, who would act as the Deputy to the Corporate Director of Education and would provide additional school improvement capacity.  Details of the Service Manager roles were also provided.

 

In terms of consultation, there had been formal consultation undertaken with the Trade Unions and the staff directly involved in the restructure arrangements and the consultees views were considered within the report. The Trade Union were supportive of the strategic principles outlined within the report and staff had acknowledged the need to strengthen the leadership with the Education Directorate and were fully supportive of the proposed structure.

 

It was noted that the report had been considered by the Corporate Leadership Team (CLT) and had gone through the ‘check and challenge’ review process.  In addition, the proposed structure had been benchmarked against similar neighbouring leadership and management arrangements and would return a net saving circa £88,000 over 5 years, should the proposed structure be approved.

 

The views of Members were, thereupon, sought (summarised below) and were responded to by the Corporate Director of Education/Manager Director and Executive Member for Education:

 

-      The Leader of the Labour Group commenced by stating that the following comments were not directed at any officer.  He continued by stating that he had grave misgivings regarding the proposed structure which appeared to be a similar structure that was operational prior to 2015/16 (the year that the Council came out of Special Measures).  He explained that too much emphasis was being put on the Corporate Director element, when the key focus should be on schools in terms of learning and leadership.  He added that Estyn had previously commended the Council for concentrating on core issues i.e. teaching and learning provision for children and said that he  ...  view the full minutes text for item 37.