Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Offices Angel Street Bridgend CF31 4WB. View directions
Contact: Mark Anthony Galvin Senior Democratic Services Officer - Committees
Declarations of Interest
To receive declarations of personal and prejudicial interest from Members/Officers in
accordance with the Members’ Code of Conduct adopted by Council from 1 September 2008.
Councillor RE Young declared a personal interest in agenda item 6 – proposal for a Strategic Development Plan for the Cardiff Capital Region as he is being nominated to represent the Council on the Interim Strategic Planning Panel.
Kelly Watson, Head of Legal and Regulatory Services and Monitoring Officer and Gill Lewis, Interim Head of Head of Finance and Section 151 Officer declared an interest in agenda item 8 – Proposed Changes to the JNC Management Structure as their positions are affected by the proposals. Both officers left the meeting during consideration of the item.
To receive for approval the minutes of 18/09/2019
RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting of Council of 18 September 2019 be approved as a true and accurate record subject to the inclusion of the name of Councillor JE Williams in the list of apologies for absence.
To receive announcements from:
(i) Mayor (or person presiding)
(ii) Members of the Cabinet
(iii) Chief Executive
The Mayor informed Council of the engagements which he had undertaken since the last meeting of Council, which included visiting the Standing to Grow Playgroup based in the Nantyffyllon Miners Institute Maesteg, which had recently opened a new room, funded by the Childcare Offer Capital Funding Grant and allocated by the childcare team on behalf of Bridgend County Borough Council. He had attended the annual prize giving evening at Pencoed Comprehensive School and congratulated the pupils on their success and the staff for their dedication and commitment.
The Mayor announced that he was honoured to support the Annual Charity Poppy Appeal held in the Garw Valley Leisure Centre, with music being provided by the Prince of Wales Division Band and included contributions from various local choirs. The Mayor informed Council that in the coming month he would be visiting the winners of the Local Business Awards, held in September.
The Deputy Leader announced that the County Borough’s first ever re-use shop has opened for business at Maesteg’s community recycling centre. It will be run by social enterprise Wastesavers in partnership with the Council and Kier. The shop has been named ‘The Siding’ in recognition of Maesteg’s mining heritage. Unwanted household items, in good condition can be donated and put to good use, with all profits reinvested into social programmes.
Arrangements have been made for Members to receive training in Managing Abusive And Aggressive Phone Calls, Conflict Management and Personal Safety Awareness on 31 October 2019, with the first session commencing at 9.30am, and a repeat session at 1.30pm. Some places are still available at both sessions and Members wishing to attend should contact, Andrew Rees, Democratic Services Manager.
Cabinet Member Communities
The Cabinet Member Communities informed Members of the recent and very reluctant decision of Cabinet to move to a full-cost recovery position for playing fields and sports pavilions. It highlighted the position the Council is in and reveals just how far the local authority has been subsidising such facilities, in some cases by as much as 80%. He urged more organisations, sports groups and town and community councils to come forward and meet with the Council to discuss taking on the running of popular local facilities through the Community Asset Transfer process, with Bryncethin Rugby Club being a perfect example of what this process can achieve, and demonstrates how a club or organisation can access funding to develop new facilities. He stated that until local government finds itself in a position where it is sufficiently funded, the Council is going to need to continue to work in closer partnership and use processes such as community asset transfers in order to ensure that facilities such as toilets, pavilions, playing fields, pitches, playgrounds and more remain available to use. He hoped Members will reflect this message within their own wards, and will encourage local people to consider how they too might contribute towards keeping popular facilities at the heart of the community.
He was delighted to confirm that ... view the full minutes text for item 360.
To receive the report of the Leader
The Leader announced that the Rest Bay Watersports Centre had recently been opened, which is part of a Visit Wales initiative to create 13 new visitor destinations across Wales. The facility will provide enhanced visitor facilities as well as a purpose-built base for Porthcawl Surf School, Rest Bay Bike Hire, Welsh Coast Surf Club and the Beach Academy. A café/bistro will also be set up and the facility will feature a refreshments kiosk, new toilets, external showers, all-weather bicycle storage, accessible beach wheelchairs and more. He informed Council that this would be a fantastic new addition to Porthcawl which will benefit residents and visitors alike.
The Leader also announced a pop-up business school is returning to Bridgend County Borough next week. Taking place between 10am and 3pm at Bridgend Life Centre from Monday 28th October to Friday 1 November, the event aims to provide people with the knowledge and tools necessary for starting their own business. Participants can book a place by visiting the pop-up business school Bridgend website.
The Leader announced that Welsh-medium childcare is on its way to Bettws and the Ogmore Valley, which is designed to support pupil admissions to the recently-completed Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Calon Y Cymoedd at Bettws. Two new facilities will be constructed at the Isfryn Industrial Estate at Blackmill, and at the site of the Bettws Boys and Girls Club. The plans mark the first phase of an initiative to develop more Welsh-medium childcare in Bridgend County Borough, with later phases focusing upon new facilities in Porthcawl and the Bridgend town area. He stated that the Welsh Government is providing £2.6m for design and development work to ensure local children will benefit from first-rate modern educational environments.
The Group Manager Development sought authorisation to formally commence the preparation of a Strategic Development Plan (SDP) for the Cardiff Capital Region, with the Vale of Glamorgan Council being Responsible Authority; to identify the strategic planning area as the 10 local planning authority areas within the Cardiff Capital Region, for relevant officers to engage with the Welsh Government in drafting the Strategic Development Plan Regulations to deliver the governance arrangements for the SDP and Strategic Planning Panel (SPP); to agree that the cost of preparing the SDP is shared across the 10 Authorities on a proportional cost based on SPP voting arrangements, which is reviewed annually, and to cover the start-up costs likely to be incurred in this financial year 2019/20 and nnominate an elected Member to sit on the Strategic Planning Panel.
He reported that Council at its meeting on 28 February 2018, authorised officers to proceed with the preparation of the SDP in conjunction with the 10 Local Planning Authorities in the Cardiff Capital Region. He stated that at this stage the guidance and regulations for the SDP have not been made and the region is in a position to influence how the process can be managed and a successful SDP delivered. A preferred way forward has been identified in respect of the Strategic Planning Area Boundary; Governance and Scope, Content and Plan Period.
The Group Manager Development reported on the need for joined-up strategic planning for the Cardiff Capital Region and that the best way for achieving this is via a statutory Strategic Development Plan for the Cardiff Capital Region. He stated that the City Deal Agreement gave a commitment to prepare a Strategic Development Plan for the region and to work collaboratively on strategic transport and strategic planning issues, which reflects the recommendation from the Growth Commission’s report. A statutory SDP provides certainty to developers, investors and communities that key strategic decisions around housing, transport, employment and infrastructure provision are being taken at an appropriate regional level, whilst still allowing key decisions on planning proposals to be taken locally through Local Development Plan allocations and policies and thereafter in development management decisions. He stated that a proposal to proceed with an SDP for the Cardiff Capital Region can only be put forward to Welsh Government by an identified Responsible Authority, once all Councils have formally given approval. Following this the Welsh Government can start preparing the necessary regulations setting out how the SDP should be prepared.
The Group Manager Development reported on the role of the responsible authority which is purely administrative, acting in support of the work of the 10 local authorities and as the sole point of contact between the Welsh Government and the 10 local authorities. The background work, including all technical work and consultation, e.g. identifying the strategic planning boundary, would be done on a collective basis by officers from all 10 Local Authorities. The role of the Responsible Authority would be to formally submit the proposal on behalf of the ... view the full minutes text for item 362.
The Interim Head of Finance and Section 151 Officer presented the Council’s Annual Report 2018-19. The Plan defined 40 commitments to deliver the three well-being objectives and identified 58 outcome-focused indicators for the 2018-19 financial year. She stated that the Medium Term Financial Strategy identified how it would best use its resources to support the achievement of the well-being objectives and statutory duties, including the management of financial pressures and risks over the next four years.
The Interim Head of Finance and Section 151 Officer reported that the Annual report evaluated how well the Council did in delivering its commitments and planned outcomes for the financial year, using its success measures and other evidence. She stated that overall, the Council performed well in 2018-19 and of the 40 commitments, 35 were completed successfully and the remaining 5 achieved most of their milestones. The Interim Head of Finance and Section 151 Officer informed Council that the Corporate Plan identified 58 indicators to measure success, 37 indicators are on target, 9 are off target by less than 10% and 10 missed the target by more than 10%. She stated that data for all indicators is not available and therefore a comparison as to how the Council performed nationally cannot be made. The ‘How do we compare?’ section sets out performance on indicators that have been published to date and is available on the ‘Mylocalcouncil’ website.
A member of Council questioned how many full time equivalent staff are employed by the Council and in schools. The Corporate Director Education and Family Support confirmed there are 3,000 staff employed in schools. The Chief Executive informed Council that the Council has 5,800 employees.
A member of Council asked whether the target for bringing empty properties back into use could be more challenging. The Cabinet Member Wellbeing and Future Generations stated that she would provide information as to the target for bringing empty properties back into use as a result of the appointment of an Empty Properties Officer.
RESOLVED: That Council approved the Annual Report 2018-19.
The Chief Executive sought approval to amend the senior management structure and to commence formal consultation with relevant JNC officers on the proposed structure.
He informed Council that a new pay and grading structure was approved in November 2017, whereby additional tiers were added to the existing pay scale, to provide more flexibility in the structure to meet future challenges and to more ably respond to market forces and improve recruitment and retention. Council in February 2018, approved various changes to the JNC senior management structure which included the deletion of the Head of Human Resources and Organisational Development, the reduction of a Head of Service post in the Communities Directorate, and the deletion of the former Corporate Director in the Operational and Partnerships Directorate. The changes resulted in a revised management structure in the Communities in a revised management structure in the Communities Directorate and the creation of the Chief Executive’s Directorate.
The Chief Executive reported that further changes to the senior management team have taken place with the departure of the previous Chief Executive in December 2018 and the appointment of the previous Corporate Director Communities to the Chief Executive position, initially on an interim basis in January 2019 and permanently in May 2019. He stated that this has meant that during this period, interim arrangements have prevailed in terms of the management of the Communities Directorate and for the Head of Finance and Performance (and Section 151 Officer). Interim arrangements have ensured that services have continued to run satisfactorily during this time, it was clear that they are not sustainable in the long term and that permanent arrangements are required to ensure the Council has the capacity and resilience to meet the numerous challenges it faces moving forward, including substantial budgetary reductions and a significant change agenda to help ensure that public services can be sustained and are fit for purpose. He informed Council that in order to achieve stability in the Communities Directorate, a recruitment process for the position of Corporate Director, will be undertaken in accordance with the Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (Wales) Regulations 2006 (as amended).
He reported on a proposal that the current Head of Finance and Performance (and section 151 officer) post, which is currently vacant, is re-designated to that of Chief Officer Finance, Performance and Change. The post will continue to report directly to the Chief Executive as part of the Chief Executive’s Directorate and will assume additional responsibility for aligning the Council’s financial resources with its corporate change programme. He stated that the Council has a statutory obligation to have a nominated Section 151 Officer and an appointment to this post was essential. He informed Council of the proposal that the salary range for the role of Chief Officer Finance, Performance and Change be £91,121 to £97,469. The role will encompass responsibility for the current Head of Partnerships, which includes, IT, digital transformation, programme management and customer services.
He also reported on a proposal that following a review of Human ... view the full minutes text for item 364.
The Interim Head of Finance and Section 151 Officer presented a report to comply with the requirement of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy’s (CIPFA) Prudential Code for Capital Finance 2018; provided an update of the Capital Programme for 2019-20 at 30 September 2019; sought approval for a revised capital programme for 2019-20 to 2028-29 and for Council to note the projected Prudential and Other Indicators for 2019-20.
The Interim Head of Finance and Section 151 Officer reported that the Local Authorities (Capital Finance and Accounting) (Wales) Regulations 2003, as amended contain detailed provisions for capital finance and accounting controls, including the rules on the use of capital receipts and what is to be treated as capital expenditure. Additionally, the Council manages its Treasury Management and Capital activities in accordance with associated guidance. The Prudential Code for Capital Finance in Local Authorities requires Local Authorities to have in place a Capital Strategy which demonstrates that the authority takes capital expenditure and investment decisions in line with service objectives and properly takes account of stewardship, value for money, prudence, sustainability and affordability.
The Interim Head of Finance and Section 151 Officer reported that Council on 20 February 2019, approved a capital programme, which was updated on 24 July 2019. She stated that the revised programme for 2019-20 totals £38.133m, of which £18.504m is met from the Council’s resources, with the remaining £19.629 met from external resources. She summarised the position per Directorate and the current funding assumptions for the capital programme for 2019-20. She provided detail of the projected spend on individual schemes within the programme compared to the budget available. A number of schemes had been identified as requiring slippage to future years, at quarter 2, the total requested slippage is £18.858m in relation to:
· Depot Rationalisation (£7.802m)
· Fleet Replacement Programme (£1.672m)
· 21st Century Schools Programme (£0.543m)
· Relocation of Household Waste Recycling Centre (£1.292m)
· Highways Bridge Strengthening / Carriageway Resurfacing (£3.583m)
· Capital Asset Management Fund (£0.8m)
· Corporate Landlord Energy Savings Strategy (£0.585m)
The Interim Head of Finance and Section 151 Officer reported that a number of new externally funded schemes have been approved, which have been incorporated into the capital programme:
· Community Hub – Brynteg Comprehensive
· Valleys Regional Park – Bryngarw and Parc Slip
· Caerau Heat Network
· Economic Stimulus Grant
A number of schemes within the capital programme are awaiting confirmation of external funding and once approval is known, it may result in some schemes needing re-profiling.
The Interim Head of Finance and Section 151 Officer also reported on the monitoring of Prudential and other indicators for 2019-20. The Capital Strategy which was approved in February 2019 is intended to give an overview of how capital expenditure, capital financing and treasury management activity contribute to the provision of services along with an overview of how associated risk is managed and the implications for future sustainability. A number of prudential indicators were included, and approved by Council in line with the requirements of the Prudential Code, The Chief ... view the full minutes text for item 365.
The Interim Head of Finance and Section 151 Officer presented a report, the purpose of which was to comply with the requirement of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy’s (CIPFA) Treasury Management in the Public Services: Code of Practice (the Code), to provide an overview of treasury activities as part of a mid-year review; report on the projected Treasury Management Indicators for 2010-20 and sought approval of Treasury Management activities for the period 1 April 2019 to 30 September 2019.
The Interim Head of Finance and Section 151 Officer reported that Treasury management is the management of the Council’s cash flows, borrowing and investments, and the associated risks. The Council is exposed to financial risks including the loss of invested funds and the revenue effect of changing interest rates. Treasury risk management at the Council is conducted within the framework of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy’s (CIPFA) Treasury Management in the Public Services: Code of Practice 2017 Edition (the CIPFA Code) which requires the Council to approve a Treasury Management Strategy (TMS) before the start of each financial year. While Arlingclose provide advice to the Council on treasury management.
The Interim Head of Finance and Section 151 Officer reported that the interest rate views incorporated in the Council’s TMS 2019-20 were based upon officers’ views supported by a forecast from Arlingclose. When the TMS 2019-20 was prepared in January 2019, due to the anticipated short time for a Brexit withdrawal deal to be agreed and the possibility of an extended period of uncertainty over the possible outcome, Arlingclose’s central case scenario was forecasting a 0.25% rise in the Bank Rate during 2019-20 to take official UK interest rates to 1.00% by December 2019. The Bank Rate started the financial year at 0.75% and the current forecast is that the Bank Rate will remain at this level beyond the end of the financial year-end.
The Interim Head of Finance and Section 151 Officer summarised the external debt and investment position as at 30 September 2019, the Council held £96.87m of external long term borrowing and £43.75m of investments. She highlighted the borrowing strategy and outturn in that it was forecast the Council would need to borrow £16m in 2019-20. There would be no long term borrowing requirement in 2019-20 due to additional grants being received in the last quarter of 2018-19 and a change in the capital programme for 2019-20. The Interim Head of Finance and Section 151 Officer summarised investment strategy and outturn with the main objectives during 2019-20 to maintain capital security; to maintain liquidity so funds are available when expenditure is needed and to achieve the yield on investments commensurate with the proper levels of security and liquidity. The balance on investments at 30 September 2019 was £43.75m. She summarised the investments profile from 1 April to 30 September 2019; the Treasury Management indicator for Principal Sums invested for periods longer than a year and the position on long term investments.
A member ... view the full minutes text for item 366.
The Monitoring Officer sought approval to accept nominations and appoint Councillors to serve on the Overview and Scrutiny Committees due to recent changes affecting the Conservative Group, which does not affect the political balance of the Council; approve a combined Overview and Scrutiny Committee to consider the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) and approve a proposed programme of meetings to consider the MTFS.
Councillor Webster placed on record her thanks to the Corporate Director Education and Family Support and Cabinet Member Education and Regeneration for their excellent support as Chairperson of Subject Overview and Scrutiny Committee 1, a role she felt privileged to have undertaken, which she thanked Council for the opportunity she had been given. Councillor Webster thanked the Scrutiny Officers for their valuable support, advice and guidance during her time as Chairperson.
RESOLVED: That Council:
(1) accepted nominations and appointed the Councillors to serve on the Overview and Scrutiny Committees and Town and Community Council Forum due to recent changes affecting the Conservative Group as outlined in paragraph 4.1 of the report;
(2) received a nomination and elected Councillor T Giffard, the Chairperson of Subject Overview and Scrutiny Committee 1 as outlined in paragraph 4.2 of the report;
(3) approved the proposed changes to the programme of meetings as outlined in paragraph 4.4 of the report;
(4) approved that should there be further changes in the dates of the final local government settlements for 2020/21, that authority to change the dates of these Committees is delegated to the Monitoring Officer in consultation with the Chief Executive, Section 151 Officer and Group Leaders.
(5) approved a combined Overview and Scrutiny Committee to comprise the membership of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee and Subject Overview and Scrutiny Committees 1,2 and 3 in order to consider the MTFS;
(6) noted that the meeting of Cabinet scheduled to take place on 11 February 2020 will now be held on 25 February 2020.
To receive the following Question from:
Councillor A Hussain to the Cabinet Member Social Services and Early Help
There has been an increase of older children with more complex needs going into care. Could the Cabinet Member let the Council know how many such children are in care here in Bridgend, and could he also highlight about their placement?
Question from Councillor A Hussain to the Cabinet Member Social Services and Early Help
There has been an increase of older children with more complex needs going into care.
Could the Cabinet Member let the Council know how many such children are in care here in Bridgend, and could he also highlight about their placement?
Response of the Cabinet Member
Whilst over the last four years the numbers of children looked after in Wales has increased, the proportion of those over 10 years of age has remained stable (52.22% in 2014 and 52.85% in 2018).
In Bridgend, overall, the Looked After Children population has reduced from 412 in 2014 to 381 in 2019. The proportion of those who are over 10 years of age has remained relatively stable, 51% in 2014 compared to 54.1% in 2019 which is close to the national profile.
Some children are placed in out of authority residential provision or with Independent Fostering Agencies, and in recognition of this our Remodelling Programme has prioritised the further development of our in-house residential provision and fostering services to equip us to better meet said need and place children locally and in-house wherever possible. Since 2014 the number of children in this age group placed with in-house foster carers has gone up from 95 in 2014 to 118 in 2019 (compared to figures dropping from 80 to 47 in Independent Fostering Agency placements), and the number placed in independent residential provision has decreased from 13 in 2014 to 5 in 2019.
Councillor Hussain a supplementary question, knowing that more taxpayer’s money on half of these children who are away with independent agencies, how does the Council keep track of their health assessments and plans. And, how often are they reviewed and inspected and what is the total amount of money paid to independent agencies.
The Mayor ruled the supplementary question out of order as it did not relate to the original question put and he advised Councillor Hussain to submit his question to the next meeting of Council.
To consider any item(s) of business in respect of which notice has been given in
accordance with Part 4 (paragraph 4) of the Council Procedure Rules and which the person presiding at the meeting is of the opinion should by reason of special circumstances be transacted at the meeting as a matter of urgency.
There were no urgent items.