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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.
The following Members declared personal interests in Agenda Items 8 and 9 as follows:-
Councillor HM Williams – Chairperson of the Board of Governors at Abercerdin Primary School
Councillor RE Young – School Governor at Ysgol Bryn Castell and Litchard Primary School
Councillor D Patel – School Governor at Coleg Cymunedol Y Dderwen and in the process of re-affirming her interest as a School Governor at Ogmore Vale Primary School
Councillor PJ White – Chairperson of the Board of Governors at Nantyffyllon Primary School and a School Governor at Maesteg Comprehensive
Councillor CE Smith – School Governor at Cefn Glas Infants School and Bridgend College
Councillor Smith declared a further personal interest in Agenda Item 10, in that he was referred to in the report.
The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change presented a report, the purpose of which, was to provide Cabinet with an update on the Council’s revenue financial position as at 30 June 2020 and to seek approval for budget virements between £100k and £500k, as required by the Council’s Financial Procedure Rules.
She explained that this report was a little different from previous such quarterly reports, due to the challenges brought about by the Covid pandemic in the first 1st quarter of this year.
She reminded Cabinet that on 26 February 2020, Council approved a net revenue budget of £286.885m for 2020-21. As part of the Performance Management Framework, budget projections are reviewed regularly and reported to Cabinet quarterly.
The overall projected position at 30 June 2020, is a net over spend of £3.051 million, comprising £2.803 million net over spend on directorates and £248,000 net over spend on corporate budgets. Table 1 in the report referred. The projected position is based on:-
• Inclusion of reimbursed expenditure to date on COVID-19 spend from Welsh Government (WG).
• Exclusion of COVID-19 spend that is currently on hold with WG at the time of writing this report.
•Exclusion of COVID-19 spend that has not yet been claimed or incurred in quarters 2 to 4.
• Exclusion of support from WG for loss of income as the level of support has not been confirmed.
The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change, then referred to the impact that Covid-19 had on the local authority in terms of expenditure, as detailed in paragraph 4.1.3 of the report. This had and would continue to remain in the future, with the result being that the Council were unable to deliver its full extent of savings as well as receiving reduced levels of income.
She added that the Council would need to review its priorities and budgets in light of the impact of the pandemic and re-focus these, in order to move towards a more stable recovery phase as we move out of lockdown.
Paragraph 4.1.5 of the report then gave details of the financial support given to the Council in certain key areas, in order to assist in mitigating some of the effects of the pandemic, whilst paragraph 4.1.6 showed in table format, Covid-19 expenditure claims for Quarter 1 which continued to be made to Welsh Government on a monthly basis. The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change added that claims had been made for a total of £3m and to date £2m had been received. Welsh Government had agreed however, to fund all welsh Councils 50% of the costs incurred in order for staff to work from home.
The Council had also submitted a claim for loss of income to Welsh Government for the first quarter of 2020-21. Welsh Government has committed a funding of £78m to mitigate against loss of income, but no agreement had been reached at this time on how this would be distributed. Bridgend’s ... view the full minutes text for item 515.
The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change presented a report, the purpose of which was to:-
comply with the requirement of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance
and Accountancy’s (CIPFA) ‘The Prudential Code for Capital Finance in
Local Authorities (2017 edition)
provide an update on the capital outturn for 2019-20 (Appendix A to the report)
provide an update of the Capital Programme for the period 1 April to 30
June 2020 (Appendix B to the report)
seek agreement from Cabinet to present a report to Council for approval
for a revised capital programme for 2020-21 to 2029-30 (Appendix C to the report)
note the projected Prudential and Other Indicators for 2020-21
(Appendix D to the report)
She referred to the report’s current situation, that report provided Members with an update on the Council’s capital programme for 2019-20. The original budget approved by Council on 20 February 2019 has been further revised and approved by Council during the year to incorporate budgets brought forward from 2018-19 and any new schemes and grant approvals. The most recent programme for 2019-20, approved by Council in February 2020 as part of the Medium Term Financial Strategy, totalled £30.137 million, of which £13.964 million is met from BCBC resources, including capital receipts, revenue contributions from earmarked reserves and borrowing, with the remaining £16.173 million coming from external resources.
Appendix A provided details of the individual schemes within the capital
programme, showing the budget available in 2019-20 compared to the actual spend. The revised programme was only approved in February 2020, so there had been few amendments since then other than the following main changes:
· new approvals of £1.964 million as a result of a new grant scheme from
the Welsh Government - the Hwb Infrastructure Grant
· £0.403 million funding brought back from 20-21 to reflect spend profiles.
This results in the revised budget being £32.504m.
The Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change therefore confirmed that the total expenditure as at 31 March 2020 was £22.822m, resulting in a total under spend of £9.682m.
The next section of the report explained that a number of schemes had been delayed due to the Covid-19 situation and subsequent slippage into 2020-21, for which £9.073m is required and these were shown in paragraph 4.1.4 of the report.
The next section of the report provided Members with an update on the Council’s capital programme for 2020-21 since the budget was last approved by Council and incorporates any new schemes and grant approvals. The revised programme for 2020-21 currently totals £62.305 million, of which £40.313 million is met from Bridgend County Borough Council (BCBC) resources, including capital receipts, revenue contributions from earmarked reserves and borrowing, with the remaining £21.992 million coming from external resources, including General Capital Grant.
Details of the Capital Programme per Directorate for 2020-21 were detailed in Table 1 at paragraph 4.2.1 of the report.
Table 2 in paragraph 4.2.2 of the report, outlined the Capital Programme 2020-21 Resources and described how the total funding ... view the full minutes text for item 516.
The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change submitted a report, the purpose of which, was to provide Cabinet with the background and financial and operational implications of the above project and to ask Cabinet to recommend to Council that match funding for the scheme is included within.
She confirmed that Welsh Government has introduced 2 initiatives to focus on bringing empty properties back into use as described in the report.
The northern parts of Bridgend are within the Valleys Task Force (VTF) catchment area.
On 30 June 2020 Cabinet approved phase 2 of the Valleys Taskforce Empty Homes Grant and approval was given to enter into an agreement with Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council (RCT) who shall run, and administer the Grant for those northern parts of the County only.
The 2 projects are distinct, the VTF initiative is open to people who wish to purchase an empty house, or owners of an empty property to apply for a grant provided the house has been empty for 6 months and plan to live in the property as their main home for at least 5 years. The Western Valleys Empty Homes project is a grant designed for landlords to bring the property back into use in exchange for nomination rights for social housing purposes.
The Minister for Housing and Local Government had agreed in principle to an allocation of capital funding of up to £169,000 for Bridgend in 2020-21 to establish a one year pilot. The offer of grant funding is subject to match funding of 35% being provided by the Council, which is the same percentage of match funding the Council provides under the VTF project. Welsh Government has made this offer based on the calculations outlined in paragraph 4.1 of the report.
Specific locations of housing need would need to be identified to take part in the project.
The scheme cannot be applied in conjunction with other schemes and a request made to Welsh Government to convert this scheme into the VTF project to ensure a consistent offer across the county was refused. A further request to allow this funding to be used as supplementary funding for RSLs to purchase empty properties, was also declined.
It was proposed that Cabinet agree to take part in the pilot and recommend that Council makes available the match funding of up to £91,000. Covid-19 limitations and the length of time left within this financial year, may impact on the eventual outcome and 13 properties may not be achieved. Therefore the level of grant and match funding will be adjusted on a pro-rata basis.
The Cabinet Member – Wellbeing and Future Generations, felt that there should be similar grant offers available to the kind mentioned in the report to property owners etc, outside as well as inside valley area locations.
The Cabinet Member – Social Services and Early Help welcomed the report, adding that empty and/or dilapidated properties were a blight on the landscape and that the initiative was a ... view the full minutes text for item 517.
The Corporate Director – Social Services and Wellbeing presented a report, the purpose of which, was to seek authority to vary the current contract with DRIVE Ltd in respect of the specialist supported living service at Clos Penglyn, by extending the existing term for a further 12 months, in accordance with Contract Procedure Rule (CPR) 22.214.171.124.
She explained that the current contract for the provision of a specialist supported living service at Clos Penglyn for individuals with complex learning disabilities and autism was commissioned in 2016, and was awarded to DRIVE Ltd following a tender exercise being undertaken. The existing contract in place with DRIVE Ltd expires on 31st August 2020, with no further extension provision.
Due to the significant and unforeseen impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the subsequent ‘lockdown’ restrictions in place to control further infection, it has not been possible for officers to carry out a recommissioning exercise as had been originally intended, or to competitively tender the service.
In view of uncertainty over the duration of the existing ‘lockdown’ measures in place, it is proposed that the existing contract in place with DRIVE Ltd for the provision of a specialist supported living service at Clos Penglyn be extended for a further 12 months, to 31st August 2021, which is the length of time necessary in order to carry out a recommissioning exercise. The recommissioning activity will involve engagement with key stakeholders, which will be reliant on easing of the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 lockdowns in place. There are also capacity issues with Commissioning Team members focusing on Covid-related activities, all of which requires a further 12 months extension.
The Corporate Director – Social Services and Wellbeing, advised that there is provision under CPR 126.96.36.199 to seek to modify an existing contract in certain circumstances, as was outlined in paragraph 4.2 of the report.
She concluded this item, by confirming that the need for modification has been brought about by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, circumstances which the Council could not have foreseen when entering into the original contract with Drive. The overall nature of the contract would not be altered, and all other contractual terms remain unchanged, as the proposed variation is for a 12 month extension only. The proposed modification does not exceed 50% of the original contract value.
The Corporate Director – Social Services and Wellbeing referred Members to the financial implications of the report, for further details on the value of the proposed modification.
The Cabinet Member – Social Services and Early Help supported the extension of the contract for 12 months, due to the reasons outlined in the report.
The Leader added that the changes being made have addressed some of the escalating concerns so highlighted in the thrust of the report and he felt that the local Member(s) for this area should be updated on the decision of Cabinet in this matter.
RESOLVED: That Cabinet authorised the modification of the existing contract with DRIVE Ltd in relation ... view the full minutes text for item 518.
The Head of Legal and Regulatory Services presented a report, that informed Cabinet of an Information Report for noting (attached thereto) that had been published since its last scheduled meeting.
Details of the Information Report was shown in paragraph 4.1 of the covering report.
RESOLVED: That Cabinet acknowledged the publication of the document listed in the report.
The Corporate Director – Education and Family Support presented a report, the purpose of which was to:
· report on the outcomes of the consultation exercise approved by Cabinet regarding the proposed changes to the local authority’s Learner Travel Policy;
· assist Cabinet in determining whether or not it should progress with any of the proposals;
· identify how the proposals would contribute to the overall saving to the Council’s medium-term financial strategy;
· request suspension of the local authority’s contract procedure rules in respect of the retendering of bus, minibus, special minibus and some taxi contracts; and
· report on the outcomes of the independent strategic review of transport.
The Cabinet Member – Education and Regeneration advised that there were a considerable number of recommendations included on page 107 of the report from Scrutiny, that he considered should be given more consideration prior to the Cabinet making a decision in respect of the report.
He therefore felt that the report should be deferred to the meeting of Cabinet scheduled for 15 September 2020 for the above reason and this proposal was unanimously supported by all Cabinet members.
RESOLVED: That Cabinet deferred this report to its next scheduled meeting, in order to give further consideration to the recommendations of the Joint SO&SC 1 and SO&SC 2 dated 6 July 2020.
The Corporate Director – Education and Family Support, briefly introduced the above report on the feedback from the Phase 4 public consultation of the review into post-16 provision across BCBC. He then invited the Specialist Officer for post-16 to go through the detail of the report.
He explained that the purpose of the report was to provide feedback on the public consultation that was held between 2/12/2019 and 21/02/2020 on Phase 4 of the review into post-16 education provision across BCBC. He stated that the consultation put forward three options for consideration and these were described in paragraph 3.2. of the report.
The Specialist Officer for post-16 reported that the public consultation was a robust exercise comprising an online survey, workshop sessions with 1,235 learners in schools and college, public meetings for parents/carers and engagement sessions with staff and governors in schools and the college (341 in attendance).
In referring to the results of the online survey the Specialist Officer for post-16, noted that Option 3, the retention of sixth forms in all secondary schools, was the most popular option, with 75% of respondents strongly agreeing with this option and 85% ranking it as their first choice preference.
Focusing on paragraph 3.7.1 of the report, he pointed out to Cabinet how the results from different school settings were displayed, so that a more nuanced view of the data was available as well as the feedback from Bryntirion and Coleg Cymunedol y Dderwen, two schools which had provided a particularly high proportion of respondents. In addition to the percentage breakdown of responses this section also provided the top three written comment feedbacks from each of the suggested outcomes.
He also pointed out that although in Option 2, outcome B there was a 47% ‘strongly disagree’ amongst all respondents, by contrast those from Pencoed Comprehensive School were 72% in ‘agreement’ with the proposal related to the new college STEAM academy on the Pencoed campus.
The Specialist Officer for post-16, explained that in paragraph 3.8 of the report, he had provided a detailed breakdown of the results of the surveys completed by learners in the workshop sessions so that Cabinet members could compare and contrast the range of responses across all secondary school settings. Furthermore, paragraphs 3.8.1 to 3.8.10 of the report, provided details on the relative proportion of learners from the different key stages who had engaged in the workshops.
In paragraph 3.9, the Officer highlighted the main themes that emerged from both the written correspondence received by BCBC and views expressed in the open meetings.
The Specialist Officer for post-16 then referred to paragraphs 4 of the report, and he stated that this section of his submission, provided the latest position on the main issues which had emerged during the consultation. The issue which had generated the most comment was that of travel and key information was presented in paragraph 4.1 in relation to this. He noted the link between this section of the report and the report on Learner Travel ... view the full minutes text for item 521.
The Corporate Director – Education and Family Support, submitted a report, that provided an update on governance arrangements for the Mutual Investment Model (MIM), and requested that Cabinet considered agreeing to the proposals contained in paragraph 1.1 of the report.
Section 3.1 and 3.2 of the report detailed Cabinet decisions in relation to the Band B schemes, and confirms the approved funding envelope of £68.2m.
The School Programme Manager confirmed, that MIM has been designed to finance major capital projects due to a scarcity of capital funding. It is based on traditional Public Private Partnership structures, but with the following core principles embedded which are detailed in the bullet points at 3.3 of the report.
Under the MIM, the private sector partners will build and maintain public assets and, in return, the Council, supported by funding from the Welsh Government, will pay a fee to the private partner, which will cover the cost of construction, maintenance and financing the project. At the end of the contract the asset reverts to the Council.
She added that Cabinet will be aware that the Welsh Government funding intervention rate for MIM schemes is 81%.
Since October 2019 WG has been running a procuring process for a private sector partner to work with it on the delivery MIM schemes, under the 21st Century Schools and Colleges Programme. It will be the only means of delivering revenue funded Band B projects. WG is in the process of appointing WG is in the process of appointing a private sector partner. The successful private sector partner and a subsidiary of the Development Bank of Wales will be required to form Welsh Education Partnership Co (WEPco), which will deliver infrastructure services.
She further reminded Members that Cabinet has previously determined to fund two schemes via MIM.
With regards to the Strategic Partnering Agreement (SPA), the Participants to the arrangements will be a number of local authorities and further education institutions. The Participants and WEPCo will enter into a Strategic Partnering Agreement (SPA) (Appendix 1 to the report referred).
The SPA provides for how the parties act together over the long term in a collaborative partnering, non-adversarial and open manner to support the effective planning, procurement and delivery of education and community facilities in Wales and the delivery of infrastructure services. The SPA is due to be executed in September 2020.
The initial term of the SPA is 10 years. This may be extended by 5 years by any one or more Participants. Under the SPA, WEPCo is required to provide partnering services to the Participants as detailed in paragraph 4.2 of the report.
Paragraph 4.3 then set out the services that WEPCo have exclusive rights to deliver to Participants in terms of project development, partnering services and project services for qualifying projects, which includes Band B. There was also an opportunity to deliver capital projects on a non-exclusive basis.
The School Programme Manager referred Cabinet to Appendix 2 of the report, which provided a more detailed summary ... view the full minutes text for item 522.
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.
Exclusion of the Public
The following item is not for publication as it contains exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 14 and 16 of Part 4 and Paragraph 21 of Part 5, Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended by the Local Government (Access to Information) (Variation) (Wales) Order 2007.
If following the application of the public interest test Cabinet resolves pursuant to the Act to consider this item in private, the public will be excluded from the meeting during such consideration.
RESOLVED: That under Section 100A (4) of the Local Government Act 1972 as amended by the Local Government (Access to Information) (Variation) (Wales) Order 2007, the public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following item of business as it
contained exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 14 and 16 of Part 4 and/or Paragraph 21 of Part 5 of Schedule 12A of the Act.
Following the application of the public interest test it was resolved that pursuant to the Act referred to above, to consider the following item in private, with the public excluded from the meeting, as it was considered that in all circumstances relating to the item, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighed the public interest in disclosing the information.
Proposed ICF Capital Grant to Linc Cymru