Venue: Committee Rooms 1/2/3, Civic Offices Angel Street Bridgend CF31 4WB. View directions
Contact: Andrew Rees Democratic Services Manager
Apologies for Absence
To receive apologies for absence from Members.
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor RE Young.
Declarations of Interest
To receive declarations of personal and prejudicial interest (if any) from Members/Officers in accordance with the provisions of the Members’ Code of Conduct adopted by Council from 1 September 2008.
Councillor D Patel declared a personal interest in Agenda item 8., in that Appendix 1 to the report made reference to Ogmore Vale Primary School of which she is a School Governor.
Councillor PJ White declared a personal interest in Agenda item 10., in that he was the local Ward Member and had submitted no objection to the proposal from a planning perspective.
To receive for approval the Minutes of 10/09/2019 and 17/09/2019
RESOLVED: That the Minutes of meetings of Cabinet on the following dates, be approved as a true and accurate record:-
Special meeting – 10 September 2019
Ordinary meeting – 17 September 2019
The Interim Head of Finance and S151 Officer submitted a report on behalf of the Chief Executive, the purpose of which, was to consider the Annual Report 2019-19 (Appendix A to the report) and recommend it to Council in turn, for approval.
The report gave some background information which confirmed that the Plan defined 40 commitments to deliver the three well-being objectives and identified 58 outcome-focused indicators for the financial year 2018-19.
The report also confirmed some pleasing news, in that overall it had performed well in 2018-19. Of the 40 commitments, 35 (88%) were completed successfully and the remaining 5 (12%) achieved most of their milestones.
The Corporate Plan identified 58 indicators to measure access. Of the 56 indicators with a target, 37 (66%) were on target, 9 (16%) were off target by less than 10% and 10 (18%) missed the target by more than 10%. Detailed information about the Council’s performance against its commitments and targets was included in Appendix A.
The Interim Head of Finance and S151 Officer confirmed that the Annual Report was an important document, as it provided citizens and stakeholders with detailed information about the Council’s performance against its well-being objectives and outcomes. It also included national comparable measures to give a full picture of how the Council performed across a range of services.
The Leader felt the report and supporting information was very balanced and made for positive reading. He particularly felt that reference to a number of case studies that brought the report to life. He felt that reaching 88% of the Council’s commitments put the Authority in good stead moving forward. He also referred to page 25 of the report where this detailed how the Council’s wellbeing objectives dovetailed with our wellbeing goals. He was also pleased that the report did not hide areas where the Council did not compare so favourably to other authorities.
He felt it notable also to advise that we were ranked 3rd lowest in Wales in terms of the percentage of Year 11 school leavers that were not in further education, employment or training. There were also a list of actions in the Report that identified how the Council had met its objectives.
The Cabinet Member – Social Services and Early Help referred to page 28 of the Annual Report and a snapshot of economic, social, cultural and environmental well-being goals achieved across the Bridgend County Borough. He referred to the fact that in 2018-19 there were 81,767 over 60’s free swims recorded for 5,000 individual users, which was the highest participation in Wales out of 22 local authorities.
The Head of Operations – Community Services in response to a question regarding details of the footfall in terms of visits to Porthcawl town centre, advised that these were showing as relatively low in the report. He added that this figure was inaccurate due to the fact that one of the CCTV cameras was not working around the time this figure was collated. This camera had ... view the full minutes text for item 418.
The Interim Head of Finance presented a report, the purpose of which, was to provide Cabinet with an update on the Council’s revenue financial position as at 30 September 2019.
By way of background, she confirmed that on 20 February 2019, Council approved a net revenue budget of £270.809m for 2019-20, and that budget projections are reviewed regularly and reported to Cabinet on a quarterly basis.
Paragraph 4 of the report then showed a summary of the Council’s financial position at 30 September 2019, which reflected the Council’s net revenue budget and projected outturn for 2019-20 in Table 1 in this section of the report.
The overall projected position at 30 September 2019 is a net under spend of £575k, comprising £659 net over spend on directorates and £4.808 million net under spend on corporate budgets, offset by net appropriation to earmarked reserves of £3.574m.
The Interim Head of Finance proceeded, by confirming that the main reason for the under spend of £3.8m on ‘Other Corporate Budgets,’ is due to Welsh Government advising local authorities of additional grant funding being made available during 2019-20 to meet the increased cost of teachers’ pensions, fire service pensions and teachers pay increases, all of which were originally funded in full through the MTFS. A detailed analysis of the more significant projected under and over spends was set out in section 4.3 of the report.
Paragraph 4.2 of the report then outlined information in respect of the monitoring of Budget Reduction Proposals and paragraph 4.2.2 contained Table 2 detailing Outstanding Prior Year Budget Reductions. This reflected that of the £2.342m outstanding reductions, £1.795m is likely to be achieved in 2019-20, leaving a shortfall of £547,000. In respect of this, paragraph 4.2.3 of the report listed the proposals still not likely to be achieved in terms of reductions in certain areas.
Table 3 of the report then highlighted the Monitoring of Budget Reductions 2019-20 where it stated that the total budget reductions required totalled 7.621m, with £6.492 of these likely to be achieved, hence leaving a shortfall of £1.129m.
Appendix 2 identified the projected amount of saving against the proposals in detail and action to be taken by the directorate to mitigate the shortfall.
A summary of the financial position for each main service area was attached at Appendix 3 to the report and comments on the most significant variances were provided on a directorate by directorate basis in the next sections of the report. Some further narrative was then given on Council Wide budgets, whilst Table 4 then in paragraph 4.4.2 of the report gave details of Earmarked Reserves during Quarter 2, which amounted to £3.574m.
The Deputy Leader advised that there were significant challenges ahead, notwithstanding the level savings that the Council had been required to make to date as a result of austerity. Some reliance had also been made on staff vacancies in order to manage the levels of savings that were required under the MTFS. To this end, he noted that ... view the full minutes text for item 419.
The Interim Head of Finance and S151 Officer submitted a report, the purpose of which was to:-
· comply with the requirement of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy’s (CIPFA) Prudential Code for Capital Finance 2018
· provide an update of the Capital Programme for 2019-20 at 30 September 2019 (Appendix A to the report)
· seek agreement from Cabinet to present a report to Council for approval for a revised Capital Programme for 2019-20 to 2028-29 (Appendix B)
· note the projected Prudential and Other Indicators for 2019-20 (Appendix C)
The report outlined certain background information, the Local Authorities (Capital Finance and Accounting) (Wales) Regulations 2003 as amended, contain detailed provisions for the capital finance and accounting controls, including the rules on the use of capital receipts and what is to be treated as capital expenditure. They modify accounting practice in various ways to prevent adverse impacts on authorities’ revenue resources.
The Interim Head of Finance and S151 Officer, confirmed that on 20 February 2019, Council approved a capital programme covering the period
2019-20 to 2028-29 as part of the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS).
The capital programme was last updated and approved by Council on 24 July 2019. The report before Members provided an update on the following areas:
Capital Programme 2019-20 Monitoring;
Capital Programme 2019-20 Onwards;
Prudential and Other Indicators Monitoring;
Capital Strategy Monitoring
In respect of the Capital Programme 2019-20 Monitoring, Table 1 in paragraph 4.1 of the report, reflected the Capital Programme per Directorate for 2019-20.
The revised programme for 2019-20 currently totals £38.133m, of which £18.504m is met from BCBC resources, including capital receipts and revenue contributions from earmarked reserves, with the remaining £19.629m coming from external resources.
Table 2 in the report, then summarised the current funding assumptions for the capital programme for 2019-20.
Appendix A to the report provided details of the individual schemes within the capital programme, showing the budget available in 2019-20 compared to the projected spend.
A number of schemes have already been identified as requiring slippage of budget to future years (2020-21 and beyond). At quarter 2 the total requested slippage is £18.858 million, which included the schemes as listed in paragraph 4.4 of the report.
Paragraph 4.5 of the report gave information regarding the Capital Programme 2019-20 onwards and, in particular, confirmed that since the last capital report was considered in July 2019, there have been a number of new externally funded schemes approved, which have been incorporated into the capital programme and these were listed in this section of the report.
The Interim Head of Finance and S151 Officer advised that there were a number of other schemes within the Capital Programme that were awaiting confirmation of external funding over the autumn period, and at present, the Capital Programme had not been updated to take account of these.
The final sections of the report then gave information in respect of Prudential and Other Indicators 2019-20 Monitoring and Capital Strategy Monitoring, whilst the ... view the full minutes text for item 420.
The Chief Executive presented a report, the purpose of which, was to advise Cabinet of the introduction of a guaranteed interview scheme for veterans, as part of the Council’s recruitment and selection procedures.
The report advised that veterans can find making the transition to civilian life extremely challenging, particularly in finding and securing lasting employment, notwithstanding that they have valuable transferable skills as detailed in the report.
He explained that a guaranteed interview scheme for veterans provides the guarantee of an interview to those that meet the essential criteria as set out in any relevant job pack. It did not however, guarantee employment, as selection procedures ensure that the best candidate for any job is appointed.
The above together with other support for veterans, can assist them to overcome barriers in finding civilian employment and help to reduce the risk of health and welfare problems as a result of long term unemployment.
The introduction of a guaranteed interview scheme supports BCBC’s Armed Forces Community Covenant.
Paragraph 4.2 of the report, confirmed the terms of eligibility for the scheme and criteria that required to be met. The Chief Executive confirmed that if the proposals of the report were approved, then the recruitment process of the Authority would be amended to reflect the above.
The Leader commended the report and added that the guaranteed interview scheme would be one more support mechanism for veterans, added to free swimming sessions, adaptations made where necessary to their living accommodation and prioritising any applications they make to be placed in housing accommodation.
RESOLVED: That Cabinet noted the implementation of a guaranteed interview scheme for veterans.
The Head of Operations – Community Services submitted a report, the purpose of which, was to provide an update to Cabinet on the Capital Energy Investment Project and seek approval from Cabinet to use the Re:fit Framework and to issue an Invitation to Tender for the works; as well as seeking approval for the Corporate Energy and Carbon Strategy 2019.
He advised that in February 2018, as part of the Medium Term Financial Strategy 2018-19 to 2021-22, council approved capital funding of £1.3m to enable the delivery of the Capital Energy Investment Project. This was to be funded from prudential borrowing with repayments made from energy savings generated as a result of the investment.
The Welsh Government proposed that the Council considers delivering carbon saving measures using the Re:fit programme. Re:fit is an energy performance framework produced by Local Partnerships LLP (which is a joint venture owned by HM Treasury and the Local Government Association and established in 2009) and specialises in delivering retrofit energy projects to public sector buildings. Re:fit have delivered projects across the UK but also to many Welsh Local Authorities, such as Cardiff, Swansea, Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Merthyr Tydfil, to name a few.
The report then confirmed that following a review being undertaken of a number of options, Officers of the Council determined that using the Re:fit framework would provide the most appropriate Capital Investment delivery model.
22 buildings as shown in Appendix 1 were identified as delivering the most effective measures in respect of the above, and these were shown in Appendix 1 to the report and engagement with stakeholders is currently being undertaken
With regard to the Corporate Energy and Carbon Strategy 2019, the Head of Operations – Community Services, advised that similar to the Capital Energy Investment Project, Officers have been working to produce this so that it could help to improve management of energy and carbon emissions produced by the Council.
There were set key objectives to follow here and in order to meet these, a series of actions and activities have been identified and these were illustrated through 8 key areas shown in paragraph 4.2 of the report.
A copy of the Energy and Carbon Strategy proposed to be approved by Cabinet was attached to the report at Appendix 2.
The Head of Operations – Community Services concluded his submission by giving a resume of the report’s financial implications.
The Deputy Leader felt that this was a timely report and referred to the fact that BCBC has previously approved a £1.3m of capital funding for the Capital Energy Investment Project utilising prudential borrowing, with a payback period of 5 years. If this was fully realised then the project would basically be self-funded he added.
The Cabinet Member – Future Generations and Wellbeing advised that she was pleased to note that the Capital Energy Investment Project was being rolled out in some of our schools. She asked if they could be involved in some of the processing of work through their Eco ... view the full minutes text for item 422.
The Head of Operations – Community Services presented a report, the purpose of which, was to provide detailed feedback to Cabinet on the public consultation undertaken between 17 April and 10 July 2019, on proposals to make the Council’s provision of playing fields, outdoor sports pitches and parks pavilions more financially sustainable moving forward.
In addition, the report put forward recommendations to support a financially sustainable future provision of facilities and provides an update concerning current Community Asset Transfer (CAT) progress.
On 18th September 2018 Cabinet approved a consultation exercise on proposals to make the Council’s provision of playing fields, outdoor sports facilities and parks pavilions more financially sustainable moving forward.
The provision of these facilities is recognised as playing an important contributory part in helping to achieve healthy lifestyles and better levels of physical and mental wellbeing for the County Borough’s residents.
A list of pavilions and playing fields managed by the Council’s Parks Department was attached at Appendix A to the report.
The report outlined that currently there were Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) proposals relating to savings in the areas of playing fields, outdoor sports facilities and parks pavilions, which amounted to £69k in 2019-20 and a further indicative saving of £369k in 2020-21. This totalled a saving overall of £438k.
Paragraphs 4.1 to 4.7 of the report, then gave a comprehensive update regarding progress in respect of Community Asset Transfers (CAT) in respect of the above facilities and although some progress had been made with CAT, it had not been to the extent or level previously anticipated.
The next section of the report, ie from paragraphs 4.8 to 4.13 outlined the part the CAT Task and Finish Group had played in the support of CAT including input from the Scrutiny process, which had provided strategic direction in respect of the Council’s CAT Programme, including associated policies, systems and processes. Paragraph 4.9 listed the main recommendations arising from the CAT Task and Finish Group which concluded their review in February 2019. In relation to this, the Group had reported to Cabinet on 23 July 2019, a priority of assets for CAT be refined so that the necessary savings required under the MTFS could be prioritised accordingly.
A consultation was subsequently carried out on the proposals required to achieve the level of savings that needed to be made, in order to gather the views of the public and users of the facilities opinions on the potential impact of changes that would be required moving forward, in order to achieve this. The consultation document was attached at Appendix B to the report and whilst paragraph 4.17 of the report outlined some salient points received on the consultation, the Head of Operations – Community Services also highlighted some of these for the benefit of Members.
Paragraphs 4.18 to 4.36 of the report then continued to give further information with regard to feedback received to the consultation. These included:
The Head of Operations – Community Services presented a report, in order for Cabinet to make a decision on whether or not the above Council owned land, which is classed as public open space, should be made available for disposal.
He explained that a request has been received from an existing business based on the Forge Industrial Estate, Maesteg, to purchase a parcel of Council owned land to facilitate the construction of additional factory space.
Following negotiations with the prospective purchaser, a purchase price for the parcel of land has been agreed. The land was outlined at Appendix 1 to the report.
As the land in question formed part of a wider area of green space, there will be no detriment as a result of the loss of the small parcel of open space.
The proposal was a positive one if approved also, the Head of Operations – Community Services added, in that the sale of land would lead to the creation of a further 10 new full-time posts in the above mentioned factory.
There was one objection to the proposal, however, the report highlighted (in paragraph 4.4) that this was not proven to be valid.
The Deputy Leader was happy with the report, particularly given that the sale of land would result in employment opportunities being created.
The Cabinet Member – Future Generations and Wellbeing asked if any small trees or shrubs have to be removed as a result of the land transaction, then could these be re-planted in another area of this valley location and once more could local school pupils assist in the re-planting, to which the Head of Operations – Community Services replied that both these suggestions could be pursued.
RESOLVED: That Cabinet having considered the report and the objection received in response to the Notices published in accordance with Section 123 (2A) of the Local Government Act 1972, authorised the disposal of land at Forge Industrial Estate, Maesteg.
The Head of Legal and Regulatory Services submitted a report, in order to update Members on the UK Steel Charter, Code of Practice – Ethical Employment in the Supply Chain, Welsh Government’s Foundation Economy model – Better Jobs Closer to Home, the South East Wales Delivery Group and the Welsh Government Project Bank Account Policy and seek to:-
· Sign the UK Steel Charter with a view of working towards achievable commitments within the Charter if reasonable to do so.
· Sign the Code of Practice – Ethical Employment in the Supply Chain with a view of working towards achievable commitments within the Code if reasonable to do so.
· Work with Welsh Government to work towards the principles of the Foundation Economy Model – Better Jobs Closer to Home – Local Wealth Building when procuring goods, works and services.
· Agree for the council to participate in the South East Wales Delivery Group for common and repetitive collaborative Framework Agreements, if they provide value for money for the council.
· Adopt the principles within the Welsh Government Policy on Project Bank Accounts and apply payment through project bank accounts on contracts where their application is deemed appropriate and reasonable to do so.
The report outlined some background information in respect of the UK Steel Charter, Code of Practice – Ethical Employment in the Supply Chain, Foundation Economy Model – Better Jobs Closer to Home – Local Wealth Building, the South East Wales Delivery Group and the Welsh Government Project Bank Account Policy.
In terms of the South East Wales Delivery Group, the report expressed at paragraph 3.4.4, that for delivery of collaborative contracts by Local Government post 2020, there is a clear preference to establish regional delivery arrangements, for the 3 reasons given in bullet point format in this section of the report.
The Head of Legal and Regulatory Services then expanded upon the current situation of the report, giving reasons why the Council needed to consider adhering to/signing up to the proposals detailed in the bullet points above.
She then explained in terms of Section 5. of the report, that the Council’s Contract Procedure Rules will require updating, in order to comply with the commitments of the UK Steel Charter, the Code of Practice – Ethical Employment in the Supply Chain and to reference the relevant requirements of the Welsh Government Project Bank Accounts Policy.
With regards to the financial implications of the report, the Head of Legal and Regulatory Services explained that these would be minimal at present, however, there was potential for a cost implication for the Council going forward. If these materialise, then they would be outlined in a future report to Cabinet she added.
The Leader advised that a considerable amount of work had gone into the report before Members, which had been the subject of consideration by Scrutiny as well as the subject of discussions with Welsh Government officials. The proposals of the report, if implemented, would help support the local economy including through local businesses. They had ... view the full minutes text for item 425.
The Head of Legal and Regulatory Services presented a report, the purpose of which, was to inform Cabinet of the Information Report for noting published since its last scheduled meeting.
Details of this were outlined in paragraph 4.1 of the report with the report entitled ‘Treasury Management – Half-Year Report 2019-20’ which was published on 16 October 2019.
RESOLVED: That Cabinet acknowledged the publication of the above document listed in the report.
To consider any items of business that by reason of special circumstances the chairperson is of the opinion should be considered at the meeting as a matter of urgency in accordance with paragraph 2.4 (e) of the Cabinet Procedure Rules within the Constitution.