Agenda and minutes

Cabinet
Tuesday, 19th November, 2019 14:30

Venue: Committee Rooms 1/2/3, Civic Offices Angel Street Bridgend CF31 4WB. View directions

Contact: Mark Anthony Galvin  Senior Democratic Services Officer - Committees

Items
No. Item

431.

Apologies for Absence

To receive apologies for absence from Members.

 

Minutes:

Cllr R Young

432.

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.

 

 

Minutes:

The following Members declared a personal interest in Agenda item 10 for the reasons shown below:-

 

Councillor D Patel – As a School Governor at Coleg Cymunedol y Dderwen Comprehensive

Councillor CE Smith – As a School Governor at Bridgend College

Councillor PJ White – As a School Governor at Maesteg Comprehensive

433.

Approval of Minutes pdf icon PDF 119 KB

To receive for approval the Minutes of 22/10/2019

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED:                  That the Minutes of a meeting of Cabinet dated 22 October 2019, be approved as a true and accurate record.

434.

Shared Regulatory Services Annual Report 2018-19 pdf icon PDF 128 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Operational Manager, Shared Regulatory Services (SRS) presented a report, the purpose of which, was to provide Cabinet with the Shared Regulatory Services Annual Report 2018-19 for noting.

 

The report commenced with some background information, following which, the Operational Manager SRS outlined some key aspects of operational performance across the region arising from the Annual Report, particularly insofar as it related to Bridgend.

 

He confirmed that sickness levels for 2018/19 were 7.55 days per FTE person. This was below the Council’s average of 11.90 days FTE, but was an increase on the previous year where absence records were recorded as 6.89 per FTE person. There were mitigating factors for this however, with several Officers undergoing planned medical interventions. There were no discernible trends in either the short or long term absence figures.

 

He proceeded by advising that the Gross Revenue Budget position for 2018/19 for the SRS was an under spend of £496k against the gross revenue budget of £8.504m. For Bridgend County Borough Council, this resulted in a net underspend of £129k against a net budget of £1.328m. The Authority Specific Services for Bridgend County Borough Council underspent by £57k, which was partially the result of a £29k underspend within the Licensing Section and a £28k underspend within Kennelling and Vets, where activity is below budget. 

 

The SRS had also consolidated service delivery, in accord with agreed standards and delivered the requisite financial savings. However, the report indicated that more demands were being placed upon the service at a time of reduced resources. Targets and actions identified in the 2018/19 Plan were achieved for the most part.

 

The Operational Manager, SRS was pleased to advise Cabinet, that the Service had been active in the Courts and Appendix 2 of the Annual Report, set out the successful interventions undertaken in the 2018/19 period.

 

Paragraph 4.2 of the report, then outlined key operational implications for BCBC and the Operational Manager SRS gave an overview of these for the benefit of Members.

 

With it acknowledged that the SRS Business Plan is also aligned to the Council’s Corporate Plan, the next section of the report reflected upon some of the notable activities for the Borough during the above mentioned period.

 

The Cabinet Member – Future Generations and Wellbeing confirmed that she was pleased to note that food hygiene standards in establishments within Bridgend had improved in Bridgend for 2018/19 and that there had been some successful prosecutions against businesses that had fallen foul of food hygiene requirements and the like.

 

The Deputy Leader acknowledged the significant levels of improvements made within the SRS since 2014, but made the point that there were challenges going forward, particularly in respect of staff recruitment and retention moving forward.

 

The Operational Manager, SRS agreed with this, stating that resources had shrunk over the last few years and that there was an issue regarding the recruitment and retaining of certain professionals, for example, Environmental Health and Trading Standards Officers. This was being mitigated to a degree, by looking  ...  view the full minutes text for item 434.

435.

Amendment to the Scheme of Delegation of Functions - Renting Homes (Fees etc.) (Wales) Act 2019 pdf icon PDF 101 KB

Minutes:

The Operational Manager SRS presented a report, in order to inform Cabinet of new legislation, namely the above and to seek to amend the Scheme of Delegations of Functions to accord with this.

 

He confirmed that the Renting Homes (Fees etc) (Wales) Act 2019 came into force on 5 May 2019. Since the 1 September 2019, letting agents and landlords who manage their own properties are prevented from charging any fees before, during or after a tenancy, unless they were specifically exempt under the provisions of the Act. Such a banned payment is called a ‘prohibited payment’. He added that Letting Agents and Self-Managing Landlords are also banned from requiring a tenant to take out a loan or entering into a contract for services.

 

Enforcement of such new requirements can be undertaken by the Council and Rent Smart Wales (as the Single Licensing Authority). They will contribute to a fairer and more transparent experience for tenants relying on the private rented sector.

 

The Operational Manager SRS added, that Welsh Government believe that any costs associated with renting in the private sector should be reasonable, affordable and transparent.

 

Paragraph 3.5 of the report, defined the different methods by which payment can be required by letting agents and self-managing landlords, whilst the next section of the report highlighted other issues regarding payments, including those that are banned and prohibited.

 

He proceeded further, by confirming that offences were committed where landlords and/or agents failed to comply with the Act and that local authorities were responsible for enforcing this legislation, in partnership with Rent Smart Wales (RSW).

 

He further added, that local authorities are primarily responsible for enforcing the requirements of the Act and have a duty to inform the Rent Smart Wales if they take enforcement action. Rent Smart Wales will also have a duty to inform Local Authorities, if they serve a fixed penalty notice or prosecute under the new Act. There were two formal enforcement options as described in paragraph 4.3 of the report, whilst paragraph 4.4 outlined the proposed new provision to be inserted in Scheme B2 of the Scheme of Delegation of Functions.

 

He finalised his submission by confirming that the Joint Working Agreement for the Shared Regulatory Services will also need to be varied, due to there being an extension of delegations to the Service.

 

The Cabinet Member – Future Generations and Wellbeing, advised that this was a good news report, it prevented tenants in the future from being exploited by landlords, etc.

 

The Deputy Leader referred to paragraph 3.5 of the report in respect of permitted payments. He advised that when he was a member of the V2c Board there was an issue regarding disaggregating rent charges from certain other associated tenant costs, such as for example, grass cutting or issues such as charging for installing sound proof insulation between rented properties under any Management Agreement that may be in place. He asked how matters such as this would be considered under the new Act and permitted  ...  view the full minutes text for item 435.

436.

Homelessness Strategy 2018 - 2022 pdf icon PDF 108 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Performance and Partnership Services presented a report, to seek Cabinet approval to adopt and submit to Welsh Government the

Homelessness Strategy and Action Plan 2018 – 2022, which has taken into

consideration consultation responses.

 

The background of the report confirmed that Part 2 of The Housing (Wales) Act 2014 places a duty on the Council to carry out a Homelessness Review for its area and adopt a Homelessness Strategy, based on the results of that review. The strategy should look to :

 

• The prevention of homelessness;

• That suitable accommodation is and will be available for people who are or may become homeless;

• That satisfactory support is available for people who are or may become

homeless.

 

He advised Members, that co-production was a key principle of developing the Strategy, during which, the views of service users in addition to the professionals involved in providing services and support for homeless people were collated.  An independent consultant was also commissioned to undertake the Homelessness Review, he added.

 

A total of 76 questionnaires from service users were completed, which

provided key information that ultimately informed the objectives and actions

adopted by the Strategy. Service user interaction provided an opportunity

for discussion with individuals, which allowed them to voice their key priorities for action, as well as highlighting their experiences. This included reasons for homeless presentations, outcomes achieved and desired, and background demographics. Other activities participated in to gather information included:

 

• A half day workshop was held with Bridgend County Borough Council

  (BCBC) Supporting People and Housing Solutions Teams to explore their

  views on local provision and their performance in line with the Housing

  (Wales) Act 2014;

• A half day workshop was held with BCBC Statutory Services; Registered

  Social Landlords and Providers;

• Consultation with Cwm Taf Morgannwg Health Board.

 

Professional consultees as part of the process included:

 

Statutory:

• BCBC – Housing Solutions

• BCBC – Supporting People Team

• BCBC – Social Services

• BCBC – Environmental Health

• BCBC – Local Member with Wellbeing Portfolio

• South Wales Police

• Swansea Bay University and Cwm Taf Morgannwg Health Boards

 

Providers:

• The Wallich

• Pobl Care & Support

• Llamau

• Calan DVS

• Shelter Cymru

 

Registered Social Landlords (RSL’s):

• Hafod Housing

• Linc Cymru

• United Welsh

• Valleys to Coast

 

The Head of Performance and Partnership Services, reminded that a public consultation outlining the Strategy was undertaken over a six week

period, following the presentation of the Strategy to Cabinet on 22 January 2019.

 

He referred to Appendix A to the report, which included a summary of the public consultation carried out, whilst the Strategy itself was shown at Appendix B.

 

He then concluded the report, by stating that the aim of the Strategy was to work collaboratively on a corporate basis with external partners and service users, in both a responsive, creative and timely manner, to prevent and relieve homelessness throughout the County Borough. This would ensure that people can access  ...  view the full minutes text for item 436.

437.

Environmental Enforcement Policy pdf icon PDF 104 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chief Executive submitted a report, that sought Cabinet approval for the adoption of the revised Enforcement Policy for the issuing of Fixed Penalty Notices for Environmental Offences.

 

The Head of Operations – Community Services advised that on 16 April 2019, Cabinet approved a consultation exercise to seek the views of the public, in relation to a revised Enforcement Policy. This document included the procedures for issuing Fixed Penalty Notices, the level of fines and an early payment discount.

 

He confirmed that a public consultation survey based on Bridgend County Borough Council’s amended Enforcement Policy was conducted over a twelve week period between 17th June 2019 and the 8th September 2019.  The survey was available to complete online, on the consultation pages of the Council’s website and residents could also request a paper copy or another alternative format by telephone or email. Comments regarding the consultation were also invited via letter, email and telephone.

 

In total, there were twelve questions which required a reply from respondents. All questions in the survey were optional and offered anonymity to the respondent. The Council’s standard set of equalities monitoring questions were also included with the survey, as it is recommended good practice for all public facing surveys carried out by the Authority.

 

He explained that, in total there were 18 survey completions, representing 0.01% of the Bridgend County Borough population. This is subject to a maximum standard error of plus/minus 23.10% at the 95% confidence level. Therefore, there is 95% confidence that these responses are representative of those that would be given by the total adult population. 

 

Full details of the public consultation and its findings were attached for Cabinet’s consideration at Appendix A to the report, whilst a copy of the Enforcement Policy was attached at Appendix B.

 

The Head of Operations – Community Services, confirmed that it was important to recognise that issuing each Fixed Penalty Notice will be considered on its individual merits, matters of proportionality, objectivity, fairness and reasonableness. A system was in place to offer an appeal or contest to the notice and to preserve the integrity of the process. No undue external pressure should be brought, by either members of the Council or Senior Officers, which could be misconstrued to unduly influence the decisions by virtue of their position alone. This was a similar process adopted by the Car Parking Marshals when issuing fines for parking offences.

 

He concluded his submission, by expanding upon some salient points outlined in the Consultation Report that was attached to the covering report.

 

The Deputy Leader felt that there was a very fair approach that would be taken with regard to individuals. He reiterated that those who fall foul of the Policy, would be reminded of the provisions of this; given a warning, then fined if they repeated any such offending.

 

The Cabinet Member – Future Generations and Wellbeing, referred to the Table of Fines on page 114 of the report, and asked how the Council intended to communicate to the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 437.

438.

Valleys Task Force Empty Homes Grant pdf icon PDF 159 KB

Minutes:

The Chief Executive submitted a report, the purpose of which, was to seek approval from Cabinet to enter into a service level agreement with Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council for the Valleys Task Force Empty Homes Grant and to delegate authority to Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council (RCT CBC) to deliver and manage Empty Homes Grants to property owners within the Valleys Task Force Area of Bridgend.

 

The Head of Operations – Community Services explained that the Minister for Housing and Local Government has agreed to support the Valleys taskforce by rolling out an Empty Homes Grant to all local authorities in the taskforce areas, as a pilot for the period from October 2019 to the end of March 2020. £10 million has been set aside for empty properties over the next two years within those areas.

 

For the pilot stage £4,500,000 has been allocated to deliver the programme. No financial contribution is expected from local authorities for this phase of the Empty Homes Grant programme. For Phase 2 Local Authorities will be expected to make a 35% contribution towards the fund. Phase 1 of the project had been fully supported financially speaking, through grant funding.

 

The Head of Operations – Community Services, added that this grant will furthermore support the delivery of the Council’s and Welsh Government’s priority of returning empty properties into use in the Valleys areas of Bridgend County Borough, in order to help regenerate communities, provide more choice and suitable accommodation for residents.

 

The next section of the report gave an overview of the current situation, together with the eligibility and conditions of Valleys Task Force Empty Homes Grant scheme, and the Head of Operations – Community Services, advised that RCT CBC would deliver and manage the Scheme in the Valleys Taskforce area of Bridgend, with BCBC then entering into a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with this Authority to access the allocated funding.

 

With regards to Phase 2 of the Scheme, the Head of Operations – Community Services stressed that though this would begin in April 2020, with a proposal of the scheme presently being developed. A further report would be provided to Cabinet regarding Phase 2 should the Council be looking to enter into this.

 

In respect of the next steps, he confirmed that Cabinet would need to consider the proposals detailed in the report and determine whether to progress with Phase 1 of the Scheme and, should this be agreed, then the Authority would sign the SLA to administer the grant.  

 

The Cabinet Member – Future Generations and Wellbeing, made the point that she was pleased to note that Welsh Government (WG) were tackling the issue of Empty Properties remaining empty. She also noted that the target times for both Phase One and Two (if the latter received Cabinet approval) of the Scheme seemed ambitious. She asked when Phase 1 would be completed and what areas the Scheme covered.

 

The Head of Operations – Community Services, advised that Phase 1 was due  ...  view the full minutes text for item 438.

439.

Re-Commissioning Supported Living Services pdf icon PDF 103 KB

Minutes:

The Corporate Director – Social Services and Wellbeing submitted a report, the purpose of which, was to request Cabinet approval to implement the proposed recommissioning plan for the Supported Living services across the Bridgend County Borough and request Cabinet approval for Bridgend County Borough Council (the Council), to undertake a procurement exercise to invite tenders to establish a Framework Agreement of commissioned service providers.

 

She explained that the Council had carried out a procurement exercise in 2016, which had resulted in the appointment of three independent services providers to deliver Supported Living services to eligible individuals with a learning disability.

 

During 2018-19, an in-depth review led by the Adult Social Care’s Transformation and Review team was undertaken, which focused on the effectiveness of service delivery and outcomes for individuals across the three independent service providers.

 

The Corporate Director – Social Services and Wellbeing, proceeded by confirming that the current contracts in respect of Supported Living Services were ‘County-Wide, meaning that each of the three incumbent service providers must manage a number of Supported Living schemes dispersed across the entire County Borough, which did have some challenges for service providers.

 

The next section of the report, advised that the location of current schemes falls into naturally localised areas, which supports a move towards community-based contracts within the geographical areas shown in paragraph 4.2 of the report. This was more flexible and based upon what service users both needed, wanted and required.

 

Paragraph 4.6 of the report, explained that the above would be undertaken on a phased based approach for a number of reasons, including to ensure that there was minimal disruption for those affected by the change.

 

She went on to explain, that service providers on the Framework Agreement would not be guaranteed an award of a Local Area Service, each of which will be subject to its own tender process and evaluation. In order to mitigate risk of the impact of future business failure, no single provider will be awarded a Local Area Service(s) contract, whereby they will have a market share in excess of 50%.

 

Paragraph 4.11 of the report, included a table that set out the planned Stage 1 procurement timescales should approval be given to implement the Recommissioning Plan.

 

The Corporate Director – Social Services and Wellbeing added, that as part of Stage 2 of the procurement process, it was planned that everyone who lives in a Supported Living scheme will also be able to say what is important within the service and ‘what matters’ to them.

 

She proceeded further by confirming that certain engagement events had been held and the main findings from these were shown in paragraph 4.14 of the report.

 

Paragraph 4.18 of the report (as was highlighted in paragraph 3.3) confirmed, that the Learning Disability Supported Living service is a jointly-funded service, with around 75% of costs funded via Adult Social Care core budgets for the care elements of the service, and circa 25% funded via the Welsh Government Housing Support Grant (HSG)  ...  view the full minutes text for item 439.

440.

Review of Post-16 Provision Across Bridgend (Phase 4 Report) pdf icon PDF 91 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Corporate Director – Education and Family Support reminded Members, that in April 2019, Cabinet gave approval for work to be undertaken to prepare specific option proposals under Phase 4 of the review of post-16 provision across Bridgend. 

 

This update report, provided Cabinet with the detail of those option proposals and seeks approval to go to public consultation on the basis of the proposals contained in Appendix 1 and supporting information in Appendices 2 to 4.

 

He confirmed by way of background information, that in 2016, a Strategic Review Board (SRB) was established.

 

The SRB in turn established a Post-16 Operational Board to review post-16 provision across Bridgend County Borough. This Board presented its report back to the SRB and then to Cabinet in October 2017.  SRB recommended that six concepts be considered for the future of post-16 education and recommended two preferred options.  Cabinet endorsed these recommendations and asked for more detailed work to be undertaken.  This was completed and reported back to Cabinet in April 2018 where Cabinet gave approval for a public consultation on the six concepts and preferred options for post-16 provision across Bridgend County Borough.

 

Arising from the above and further consultations subsequently undertaken, Cabinet last April, approved the further analysis of three options from the original 6 concepts and details of these, were outlined in paragraph 4.1 of the report.

 

Supporting information with regards to each of these, Options was contained in the supporting information attached to the report, in the form of a series of Appendices.

 

The Corporate Director – Education and Family Support concluded his report, by advising that Cabinet approval was now being sought to take the option proposals detailed in Appendix 1 to the report, out to public consultation from 2 December 2019 to 21 February 2020, with the intention of bringing the results of the consultation back to Cabinet in April 2020. In addition feasibility studies will be prepared, particularly where there are capital implications, and be presented to Cabinet together with the outcomes of the consultation, should Cabinet give approval to go out to consultation.

 

The Cabinet Member – Education and Regeneration, extended his thanks to the Specialist Officer – Post 16 Education and Training for putting together such an informative report. He added that Option 3 in the report had previously been the most favourable option to pursue, though there would be further consultation following which it would be revealed if this was still the case, or whether an alternative option would be preferred.

 

He was fully understanding of the view of many, namely that a popular choice would be to retain a 6th form within every Comprehensive School within the County Borough, though this would come with the need for some considerable collaboration and financial resource. He welcomed the contribution from the Council’s Subject Overview and Scrutiny 1 on the review of Post-16, whereby Members of this Committee had been broadly supportive of proposals moving forward.

 

The Cabinet Member – Future Generations and Wellbeing asked  ...  view the full minutes text for item 440.

441.

Community Learning Grant - East Hub pdf icon PDF 96 KB

Minutes:

The Corporate Director – Education and Family Support submitted a report, with the view of providing Cabinet with information regarding Welsh Government’s (WG) Community Learning Grant and the East Hub project.

 

The background information section of the report, outlined that accommodation was secured for the North Hub in Coleg Cymunedol Y Dderwen and for the West Hub in Pyle Life Centre. However, there was no budget available to allow for a bespoke multi-agency hub for the east locality and as an interim measure, space was secured in Civic Offices for eight desks adjacent to the Safeguarding East Team. Since then, the Early Help Team had expanded from 14 to 23 staff, which had presented challenges for effective desk working/sharing, subsequently leading to an increase in off-site working and homeworking, which sometimes had in turn, a detrimental effect on issues such as information sharing and joint working.

 

He confirmed that in December 2018, Welsh Government (WG) invited local authorities across Wales to submit expressions of interest (EOI) against a £15m capital budget, to create community learning hubs. It was further recognised, that relocating the East Hub from the Civic Offices to Brynteg School, would significantly improve integrated working and funding for this purpose was subsequently approved.

 

The Corporate Director – Education and Family Support further explained, that a scheme had been developed in consultation with key stakeholders, which comprised of a new detached, single-storey building at the Brynteg school site.

 

Whilst there had been a problem with the tendering process in relation to proceeding with the scheme, this had now been overcome he added.

 

The Cabinet Member – Education and Regeneration, advised that the report exampled effective cross curricula working between the areas of Education, Social Services and Wellbeing of Future Generations. Whilst there had been planning and access issues at the new Hub site, he was pleased to confirm that these had now been overcome, and extended his thanks to the Headteacher of Brynteg Comprehensive for assisting here to this end.

 

The Cabinet Member – Future Generations and Wellbeing added that notwithstanding the above, she asked for reassurance that all issues of safeguarding at the school had been resolved, given that the area in question where the Hub was being relocated, had no less than 7 points of access/egress.

 

The Corporate Director – Education and Family Support advised that the primary concern had been to ensure that the site was made secure and this had been achieved through the erection of fencing around it at some strategic points, as well as the provision of a footpath near the Ewenny Road entrance. There had also been the provision of on-site parking for 6th form pupils and a Safeguarding Strategy would also be put in place at the school, which would include set lockdown times for the closing of the school gates and re-positioning of the Reception area to a more central area of the school.

 

The Leader concluded debate, by extending his thanks to WG for the extra funding they  ...  view the full minutes text for item 441.

442.

Appointment of Local Authority Governors pdf icon PDF 94 KB

Minutes:

The Corporate Director – Education and Family Support submitted a report, the purpose of which, was to seek approval from Cabinet, for the appointment of local authority governors to the school governing bodies listed at paragraph 4.1 of the report.

 

Details of the necessary appointments were outlined in this section of the report.

 

The Cabinet Member – Education and Regeneration referred to Appendix A to the report that listed the current (and forthcoming) list of Local Authority governor vacancies and he asked if this could be circulated to all Councillors; the media, staff within the Authority and other community minded people, in order to obtain as much interest as possible, so that hopefully these vacancies could be filled in the not too distant future.

 

RESOLVED:                      That Cabinet approved the appointments listed at paragraph 4.1 of the report. 

443.

Urgent Items

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.

 

Minutes:

None.