Agenda, decisions and minutes

Cabinet
Tuesday, 15th December, 2020 14:30

Venue: remotely via Skype for Business

Contact: Democratic Services  MA Galvin

Media

Items
No. Item

575.

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:

None.

 

576.

Approval of Minutes pdf icon PDF 142 KB

To receive for approval the Minutes of 17/11/20.

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED:                            That the minutes of a meeting of Cabinet dated 17 November 2020, be approved as a true and accurate record.

 

577.

Social Services Representations and Complaints Annual Report 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 84 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Corporate Director – Social Services and Wellbeing presented a report, the purpose of which, was to present to Cabinet the 2019/20 Annual Report on social services representations and complaints procedures as required by Welsh Government guidance. The Annual Report was attached at Appendix 1 to the main report.

 

She advised that Members will be aware, that there is a requirement for local authorities to have in place procedures for considering any representations or complaints made in relation to the discharge of their Social Services functions.  This was the sixth Annual Report relating to social services representations and complaints received that have been handled in accordance with the revised Welsh Government Complaint Guidelines “A Guide to Handling Complaints and Representations by Local Authority Social Services” which came into effect on 1st August 2014.

 

The key elements of the Social Services Representations and Complaints Procedure, were shown in paragraph 3.2 of the report.

 

Cabinet would also note from the Annual Report, that strong emphasis is placed not just upon complaints, but also on the comments and compliments received from service users which gives an overall balanced view.  The services were keen to learn from the information gathered and to use this to inform future service developments/service improvements.

 

The number of representations (complaints, comments and compliments) received during the reporting period, was  broken down as follows:

 

32        statutory complaints

35        corporate complaints

201      concerns resolved pre-complaints procedure

96        compliments/comments

 

This was a reduction in the overall number of complaints received in the stated period, but also a reduction in the number of compliments when compared to the previous reporting period.

 

The Corporate Director – Social Services and Wellbeing continued, by advising that statistics reflected that the Directorate had continued to achieve an early resolution for complainants. The number of complaints resolved by this approach in 2019/20 was 201 compared to previous years, 234 in 2018/19, 198 in 2017/18 and 187 in 2016/17. Therefore, although there had been a reduction in the number of complaints with early resolution by 33 this year, the total overall number of complaints received in the year by the Directorate had also reduced by 44.

 

Further information in the report, highlighted that during 2019/20, 9 complaints were received by the Public Service Ombudsman Office (PSO), which were subsequently dealt with by recommendations from the PSO to the local authority, rather than the PSO formally investigating these complaints.

 

During the above period, the Corporate Director – Social Services and Wellbeing confirmed that 6 rota visits by Members took place in adult social care settings, 12, in the independent sector, and 5, in children’s social care settings.

 

She concluded her submission, by picking out some other key information from the report’s Appendix to share with Members.

 

The Cabinet Member – Social Services and Early Help thanked the Corporate Director – Social Services and Wellbeing for the report. She confirmed that whilst no one wished to receive complaints and representations, she was pleased that these were being dealt with by  ...  view the full minutes text for item 577.

578.

Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment 2020 pdf icon PDF 80 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Corporate Director – Communities presented a report, the purpose of which, was to outline the findings of the Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (GTAA) and seek authorisation to submit the Assessment to Welsh Ministers for approval. This would allow the Local Housing Authority to fulfil its statutory duty and enable the statutory deposit Local Development Plan (LDP) consultation to proceed as per the Delivery Agreement.

 

She advised that the Local Housing Authority had a statutory duty to carry out an assessment of the accommodation needs of Gypsies and Travellers residing in or resorting to its area under Part 3 of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014. The Act requires Local Housing Authorities to undertake a GTAA at least every 5 years, although there is flexibility to undertake GTAAs more frequently if a material change in the level of need in the area has been identified. The GTAA must be subject to consultation and submitted to Welsh Ministers for approval. If an approved assessment identifies need for additional pitches within an Authority’s area, the Local Housing Authority has a legal duty to ensure that need is met by exercising its powers under section 56 of the Mobile Homes (Wales) Act 2013.

 

The Council last published a GTAA in 2016 (covering the period up to 2031) and the Local Housing Authority would have therefore been required to review this Assessment in 2021. However, as the Replacement LDP covers the period 2018-2033 and consultation on the deposit LDP is scheduled for early 2021, a slightly early review of the GTAA is necessary to comply with the LDP Delivery Agreement.

 

The Corporate Director – Communities proceeded further, by informing Cabinet, that a revised GTAA estimated a County Borough need of 5 pitches for the first 5 years of the GTAA period and a further 2 pitches for the remainder of the LDP period. The total estimated pitch provision needed for Gypsies and Travellers in Bridgend County Borough was identified as being 7 pitches up until 2033. This total was the projected amount of provision necessary for the Local Housing Authority to meet its statutory obligations towards identifiable needs of the population arising in the area. The need comprised of combination of doubled-up households, movement from bricks and mortar homes and new household formation. This need could be accommodated across two new sites and through intensification of existing sites, as explained in paragraph 4.2 of the Officer’s report.

 

The Cabinet Member – Wellbeing and Future Generations welcomed the report and thanked Officers for engaging with the Gypsy and Traveller community which was not always an easy task, both on their current needs and any long term visions they may have. She noted that the identified need was now for 6 sites to be provided, even though provision was being made for 7 (sites). The Cabinet Member – Wellbeing and Future Generations confirmed that she supported this increase, due to the demographics and population of the County Borough of Bridgend, which was growing in size. 

 

The  ...  view the full minutes text for item 578.

579.

Porthcawl Harbour Byelaws pdf icon PDF 215 KB

Minutes:

The Corporate Director – Communities submitted a report, the purpose of which, was to seek Cabinet approval to undertake a process to revise the byelaws that are currently effective at Porthcawl Harbour, to reflect the current operations and activities that take place within this particular location and to consult on and advertise any proposed new byelaws, under the provisions of the Local Government Byelaws (Wales) Act 2012.

 

She was supported in the presentation of the report, by the Group Manager – Economy, Natural Resources and Sustainability.

 

The report outlined certain background information, following which it advised that specific areas within the footprint of Porthcawl Harbour (as defined by the 1987 Act) are currently subject to local byelaws that identify Public Bathing Places across Porthcawl. These byelaws were established in 1953 by the Urban District Council of Porthcawl.

 

Based on a recent review of Health and Safety and recent incidents reported in the area, it was considered that revisions are required to the current byelaws.  In undertaking a process to revise the byelaws the intention is not to prohibit any particular activity, but more put in place a clear set of rules that are aligned to other coastal and quayside environments that has user’s safety as a priority.

 

The intention is that the byelaws that are currently in place will therefore be revoked, insofar as those byelaws are relevant to Porthcawl Harbour and replaced by more up to date byelaws.

 

The next sections of the report, outlined the process that takes place when byelaws are put in place, including the legislative requirements that have to be met to this end.

 

A copy of the proposed draft byelaws intended for consultation, was attached at Appendix A to the report.

 

The Cabinet Member – Education and Regeneration welcomed the report. He felt that some clarification in terms of what the byelaws would actually cover and making the public aware of this, would assist in them knowing what activities could and could not take place in and around the areas of the Porthcawl Marina and Harbour. He was aware for example, that there had been reported previously an issue with jet skiing in the waterways at Porthcawl coastal area. It was important he felt for certain activities of a dangerous nature, to hopefully cease in the future, or be regulated (by for example byelaws being in place).

 

The Leader advised that it was important to note that at this stage, the Council were only looking to consult on the making of revised byelaws, as opposed to putting them in place. He hoped that the consultation would include key partners such as the RNLI, as the byelaws if adopted, would help to ensure that the public are kept safe in what is a potentially dangerous coastline area. He also hoped that the consultation would be extended to both Porthcawl Town Council and the Porthcawl local members, to ensure that if the byelaws were pursued, they would be fit for purpose for the area.

 

The Cabinet  ...  view the full minutes text for item 579.

580.

Introduction of a Development Viability Model pdf icon PDF 80 KB

Minutes:

The Corporate Director – Communities presented a report, which sought  authorisation to implement a new schedule of charges for issuing a Development Viability Model (DVM) to developers and/or site promoters. The charges will cover the Council’s administrative costs and will enable the submission of viability evidence in support of Candidate Sites and/or Planning Applications.

 

Following her introduction of the report, she introduced the Group Manager – Planning and Development Services, who took Cabinet through the report

 

Legislation required the Council to publish its deposit Local Development Plan (LDP) for public inspection and consultation before submitting the LDP to Welsh Government. Sites prioritised and proposed for allocation in the plan would need to be evidenced as deliverable, particularly in relation to financial viability. Planning Policy Wales (Edition 10) and the Development Plans Manual (Edition 3) require site-specific viability appraisals to be undertaken as early as possible during LDP preparation, although no later than deposit (LDPR 17) stage. Proposed site allocations will need to be supported with robust evidence proportionate to their scale and significance in delivering the plan. Further viability testing at the planning application stage should then only be required on an exceptional basis.

 

He confirmed that, the Council had worked in partnership with other Councils across the South East Region to develop the Development Viability Model (DVM) assessment tool. The DVM has been created by Burrows-Hutchinson Ltd as a comprehensive, user-friendly model that can be used to assess the financial viability of development proposals. It was based on the same, well-received approach used by the Mid and South West Wales Strategic Planning Group. The model would eventually be adopted by all authorities in the Cardiff Capital Region.

 

The Group Manager – Planning and Development Services explained that the Council could make the DVM available to developers, site promoters, or any other individual/organisation to undertake a financial viability appraisal of a proposed development.

 

The Council proposed to release the DVM to developers and site promoters in a site-specific locked format with an accompanying user-guide, subject to receipt of a standard fee. This mirrored the approach employed in the Mid and South West Region for consistency. The proposed fee schedule for this service was detailed in paragraph 4.1 of the report (with all charges shown being subject to VAT).

 

The Group Manager – Planning and Development Services advised, that the fees were intended to cover the Council’s administrative costs of locking and distributing the model, verifying the completed appraisal and providing a high-level review to the developer/site promoter. Therefore, payment of a fee would not serve to guarantee site allocation within the Replacement LDP, or directly result in the granting of planning permission. The fee will enable the Council to consider certain criteria, as illustrated in paragraph 4.2 of the report.

 

The Cabinet Member – Communities supported the directives contained in the report and the fee charges which were modest and set at a ‘sliding scale’, dependent on the size of the development.

 

The Cabinet Member – Wellbeing and Future Generations  ...  view the full minutes text for item 580.

581.

Cosy Corner pdf icon PDF 87 KB

Minutes:

The Corporate Director – Communities (supported by the Group Manager – Economy, Natural Resources and Sustainability) presented a report, the purpose of which, was to update Cabinet on recent developments in relation to the proposed development of a Maritime Centre on Cosy Corner, Porthcawl; to outline a series of recommendations in relation to taking forward a preferred option for the site and to seek authority for BCBC to submit a funding proposal to Visit Wales.

 

The Maritime Centre project was developed and was being taken forward by Porthcawl Harbourside Community Interest Company (CIC), which later became Credu Charity Ltd. 

 

It was explained, that BCBC has worked closely with Credu Charity Ltd for many years, to support them to further develop and implement their project. This was a substantial property development proposal by Credu Charity Ltd on Council owned land and officers undertook significant due diligence to ensure lease arrangements were in place to control delivery and ownership of the site. Prior to the agreement for lease being entered into a full risk assessment was undertaken and reported to Cabinet, which included an assessment of the business case and the funding requirements.

 

Credu Charity Ltd were granted a 3 year lease on part of the site on 16th November 2017 to enable them to set up portacabin showers and toilets, as well as storage shipping containers for displaced groups. On 14th November 2019 Credu Charity Ltd were granted a license to install hoardings and set up a temporary compound. The Council entered into an agreement for lease on 7th November 2019 to provide Credu Charity Ltd with certainty that they could take entry onto the site to carry out the full construction works but only once a number of conditions had been met, including funding and planning. These conditions were never met and the agreement was subsequently terminated and the Council took possession of the site on 9th November 2020.

 

Officers continued, by advising that on 2nd October 2020 BCBC received formal notification from Welsh Government that the Welsh Ministers gave Credu Charity Ltd notice on the 18th August 2020 of their intention to withdraw further ERDF funding towards the Maritime Centre and to recover the ERDF funding they had already paid to Credu.

 

As a result of this, BCBC terminated the agreement for lease relating to the Maritime Centre at the Cosy Corner site, as Credu Charity Ltd were unable to satisfy conditions relating to that agreement for lease within an agreed timeframe.

 

Since this time no work has taken place on Cosy Corner and today it stands as a part completed development site surrounding by hoarding. The site has partially laid foundations and a range of materials left on it.  Their removal is being considered at this time and potential implications are being reviewed.

 

Since serving notice to terminate the agreement for lease and resuming control of the site it has become clear that the site cannot remain in its current condition for any length of time and that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 581.

582.

Welsh Government Homelessness Phase 2 Capital Bids pdf icon PDF 73 KB

Minutes:

The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change presented a reort, in order to provide Cabinet with an update regarding Bridgend County Borough Council’s (BCBC) response to the Welsh Government Homelessness Phase 2 Guidance.

 

As part of the Covid 19 response, all local authorities were expected to ensure that no individual was street homeless and was provided with suitable temporary accommodation. Suitable temporary accommodation was defined as having en-suite facilities and where possible access to own kitchen. For BCBC this entailed re-purposing its current temporary accommodation and under-occupying premises to ensure it met those requirements as far as possible; reducing the numbers in floor space; securing bedrooms within the local hotels that had remained open; the use of Air BNB; purchasing four homeless pods; providing flat pack furniture, microwaves, and small fridges where needed; and providing take-away meals for those without access to a kitchen. 24 hour security has also been provided for hotels.

 

In accordance with Welsh Government (WG) Guidance, BCBC has accommodated significantly increased numbers in temporary accommodation. Between March to November 2020, 587 households have been provided with temporary accommodation.

 

The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change, stated that on 3rd June 2020, WG issued Phase 2 Guidance, which made it clear that those individuals being temporarily accommodated are to be provided with permanent accommodation, with no one returning to homelessness. A Rapid Rehousing approach was to be taken to help achieve this. Funding was then made available for this through Welsh Government, but to date such funding was only available up to the end of March 2021.

 

Currently Bridgend Council had around 125 households being supported in temporary accommodation.

 

The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change, continued by informing Members, that on 30th June 2020, BCBC submitted a funding application and Phase 2 Plan to WG. The application included funding bids for 7 capital projects and 8 revenue projects. Liaison with providers and partner Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) took place and bids focused on the key areas, as were detailed in paragraph 4.2 of the report.

 

Three of the capital projects require planning permission and as such were going through the application process. Once delivered the capital projects would provide up to 34 units of accommodation. These will increase BCBC’s social housing stock and also allow for increased temporary accommodation units. The revenue projects will enable increased support packages to those who are homeless.

 

Following an agreement between BCBC and RSL partners, a RRP has been agreed and has been operational since June 2020.  The Protocol explains the context within which BCBC is now working and outlines a new operational process that is being followed, to meet the pent up demand currently housed in temporary accommodation, such as hotels and Bed and Breakfast accommodation.

 

The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change explained further, that to date 70 households have been rehoused via the RRP, with a further 21 pending a move in date. Without this process it is likely  ...  view the full minutes text for item 582.

583.

Reduced Timetable Policy pdf icon PDF 73 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Corporate Director – Education and Family Support submitted a report in order to seek off Cabinet, formal approval and adoption of Bridgend County Borough Council’s Reduced Timetable Policy (attached at Appendix A to the report).

 

He confirmed that there was no statutory basis upon which to establish a reduced timetable, however, in exceptional circumstances, schools may need to implement a reduced timetable in order to support a pupil who cannot attend school for a full day for a variety of reasons.

 

Schools, pupil referral units (PRUs) and educational settings have a statutory duty to ensure all pupils on their roll receive a full time            educational entitlement and achieve good outcomes, the Corporate Director – Education and Family Support added.

 

The Pastoral Support Plan (PSP) is a school-based intervention to help individual pupils to better manage their behaviour and to identify any support mechanisms which need to be put in place. The PSP should identify precise and realistic behavioural outcomes for the pupil to work towards. PSPs could also be used in other circumstances, such as a managed move or returning to school from a long health related absence.

 

The Corporate Director – Education and Family Support advised, that as there was no statutory basis to establish a reduced timetable, it was important that there is an element of consistency and equity for all pupils in schools, PRU and educational settings, who, for one reason or another may require a phased reintegration back into full time education for a limited amount of time.

 

A database was being developed in order to capture accurate data on the number of pupils who are on a reduced timetable in schools, PRU and educational settings in Bridgend County Borough.

   

 He concluded his report, by confirming that reduced timetables will be monitored by the Access to Education Panel, which meets on a monthly basis. This approach would ensure that there is consistent, regular oversight of any pupil that is not accessing full-time education.

 

The Cabinet Member – Education and Regeneration supported the proposals of the report.

 

The Leader asked how the impact of the Policy would be monitored, with regards to individuals with protected characteristics.

 

The Corporate Director – Education and Family Support confirmed that the Policy could affect and support any learner at any time and that those that were particular recipients of the Policy provisions were, pupils regarded as anxious non-attendees at school, pupils with mental health issues, pupils affected by a managed move and pupils with physical issues, amongst certain other characteristic groups. In terms of the detail of such monitoring arrangements, he added that he would be happy to provide this to any Member who wished to receive it including the Leader, outside of the meeting.

 

The Cabinet Member – Wellbeing and Future Generations asked how many pupils were on a Reduced Timetable throughout the County Borough and when on this Timetable, how long was it before they returned to back to an integrated school based setting.

 

The Corporate Director –  ...  view the full minutes text for item 583.

584.

Contract for the Supply of Home-to-College Transport - Suspension of the Contract Procedure Rules pdf icon PDF 87 KB

Minutes:

The Corporate Director – Education and Family Support presented a report in relation to the above matter.

 

He explained by way of introduction, that following a procurement process in 2018, the Council awarded a contract for the supply of home-to-college transport to First Cymru Buses Ltd.  That contract was now due to expire on 7 January 2021. 

 

Following the report to Cabinet in September 2020, on the outcome of the public consultation on the proposed changes to the Council’s Home-to-School/College Transport Policy, he reminded Members, that Cabinet determined that Education and Family Support Directorate officers, together with transportation officers, continue dialogue with private sector transport providers, Bridgend College and other post-16 providers, in order to make a saving. This also more significantly assisted creating a budget which will provide students with a ‘travel pass’. This would be more flexible than traditional home-to-college transport and would be a more ‘adult’ solution for young people.

 

In order for the identified engagement to progress with all prospective suppliers and stakeholders and for a range of options to be proposed for consideration by Cabinet on the future arrangements for a post-16 travel pass, it was proposed that the Council should suspend the contract procedure rules and enter into a contract with First Cymru Buses Ltd on the same terms as the current contract from 8 January 2021 until 25 June 2021 (ie the end of the current academic year). This is necessary as work to progress the development of a travel pass and an assessment of the development required by the Council to bring this forward to fruition, will likely not be completed until the end of April 2021, at the earliest.  There is also a review ongoing by Welsh Government into Learner Travel, the main focus of which was in respect of post-16 learners, added the Corporate Director – Education and Family Support. This was due to be concluded in March 2021.

 

Under the Council’s contract procedure rules, the Council is required to tender and advertise contracts such as this one on ‘Sell2Wales’ as a minimum.  The Council, in entering into a contract in this manner, will be unable to comply with those requirements. 

 

The Corporate Director – Education and Family Support concluded his submission, by advising that Cabinet should be aware, that by not complying with its contract procedure rules the Council is exposed to the risk of potential challenge from other suppliers of such products, as we are entering into a contract without any competition which breaches the requirements of procurement legislation.

 

The Cabinet Member – Education and Regeneration advised, that interesting dialogue was ongoing with First Cymru and other third parties with regard to seeking a more innovative and adult method of transport provision for young adults and the proposals in the report, gave the education authority an opportunity to further progress those negotiations, with a view to putting in place a new form of transport arrangements for 16 plus and Home-to-College students.

 

RESOLVED:                           That Cabinet:

 

 • Suspended the relevant  ...  view the full minutes text for item 584.

585.

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.

 

586.

Exclusion of the Public

The following item is not for publication as it contains exempt information as defined in Paragraph 14 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.

 

 

 

Minutes:

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 Paragraph 14 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, because the information is commercially sensitive and it relates to the business and financial affairs of the Council and the proposed vendors.

587.

School Modernisation Programme - Band B Capital Programme - Land Costs