Venue: Remote meeting via Skype for Business
Contact: Democratic Services
Note: Note: Please note that due to the requirement for social distancing this meeting will not be held at itsusual location. This will be a virtual meeting and Council Members and Officers will be attending remotely. If you have any queries regarding this, please contact email@example.com
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.
The following interests were declared:
Councillor PA Davies declared a personal interest in agenda item 6 - Presentation on The Cardiff Capital Region City Deal & Programme of Future Presentations to Council as she knows the Chair Regional Economic Partnership and Investment Panel.
Councillor SE Baldwin declared a personal interest in agenda item 6 - Presentation on The Cardiff Capital Region City Deal & Programme of Future Presentations to Council as he knows the Director of the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal.
To receive for approval the minutes of 22/07/20
RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the meeting of Council of 22 July 2020, be approved as a true and accurate record.
To receive announcements from the Mayor
The Mayor thanked all staff across the authority for their continued hard work in these difficult times, and that their ongoing efforts are very much appreciated.
He congratulated Mr Laurence Brophy of Pencoed who had recently cycled from Land’s End to John ‘O Groats to raise money and awareness for the homelessness charity Llamau. He stated that Mr Brophy’s journey was even more remarkable as at 88 he is set to become the oldest man to complete this challenge. To date he has raised over £3,000 for charity.
The Mayor announced with sadness of the recent passing of Mr George Davies, who acted as Mayoral consort to his daughter Marlene Thomas during her year as Civic head and was also a former community councillor. Despite celebrating his 90th birthday while consort he never missed an event and threw himself into whatever the role required, the long days never phased him and he would often go on to further community work after finishing his civic duties. On behalf of the Council the Mayor extended his condolences to Marlene Thomas and her family.
To receive announcements by the Leader
The Leader informed Members of announcement that Rhondda Cynon Taf has unfortunately become the second area in Wales to go into lockdown and he briefed Members on an update of the situation in Bridgend. Cabinet at its meeting yesterday, endorsed a regional action plan which outlined a raft of measures for tackling the spread of Covid-19 and responding to any incidents or outbreaks of the virus. The Covid-19 Prevention and Response Plan covers the entire Cwm Taf Morgannwg area, and has been co-ordinated between local authorities and the health board and describes in detail the roles, key objectives and measures for the region, setting out arrangements for preventing the spread of infection among the most vulnerable, mitigating and controlling its impact, and monitoring it within local communities. The plan also outlines the procedures in place when decisions on implementing local actions or restrictions are required, seen most recently in the Caerphilly area, and now Rhondda Cynon Taf.
He stated that many clusters and incidents can be managed through the Test, Trace, Protect programme without any need to close premises or initiate wider lockdown restrictions, robust investigation, management and control arrangements are in place for any significant developments. He informed Council of the central role Council’s have in how Covid-19 is being managed in Wales. Demonstrated in how social care and support to vulnerable residents, the childcare hubs which have supported essential key workers and vulnerable children is provided. The maintenance of essential services, the deployment of staff to support the Test Trace Protect programme. If the Council needs to respond to further significant incidents or outbreaks, it will fulfil this role.
The Leader informed Members that people may be concerned at the recent rise in infection rates across the South Wales region and the lockdowns that have already been declared, and he reassured Members and residents that necessary systems are in place to try and prevent this from happening in Bridgend County Borough. At the same time, it should be recognised by all that whether the County Borough enters a local lockdown or not largely depends on how the community chooses to act. He stressed that it was more important than ever for the County Borough to come together as one community, to behave in a responsible and safe manner, and to follow national requirements on social distancing, wearing masks, washing hands, using sanitise. He stated that the pandemic was far from over, and residents must not let their guard down. He informed Members that a joint statement had been issued earlier this week between the Council and South Wales Police requesting all residents to behave responsibly and remain alert and urging people not to turn up and gather in large numbers for the cancelled Elvis Festival in Porthcawl, and to think twice, stay safe, and stay home. He hoped Members will support these efforts and will help to promote these important key messages among their constituents.
The Leader announced that since schools started back, there had been nine incidents ... view the full minutes text for item 431.
The Chief Executive introduced a presentation to Council on the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal programme and informed of the programme of future presentations to Council. He stated that the purpose of the presentation on the City Deal programme was threefold, namely for Members to have a better understanding of the programme, an opportunity to demonstrate the good progress made and to discuss opportunities for the programme within the County Borough of Bridgend.
Council received a presentation on the Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) City Deal programme from Kellie Beirne, Director of CCR City Deal and Frank Holmes, Chair of the Regional Economic Partnership and Investment Panel. The Director of CCR City Deal stated that the CCR City Deal is a £1.3bn pound public-led investment programme across a triumvirate partnership of 10 local authorities, Welsh and Central Governments. It was targeted to generate 25,000 additional jobs, to lever £4 billion of additional investment and an uplift of 5% in Gross Value Added to the economy. She informed Council that the Councils work together as ten because they share a functional economic geography but within that, some of the most and least competitive places co-exist, a growth strategy in isolation could exacerbate rather than address some of those endemic problems. She outlined the programme’s innovation proposals, which would be used to not only be technology and business focussed, but also about powering up civic society, driving growth in foundational economies and public services sector. The ambition is to create conditions for generalised prosperity and to ensure economic ambitions are matched with more progressive social policy and to have resilience, which endures.
The Chair of the Regional Economic Partnership and Investment Panel informed Council of the processes which have been in place and that he had put together an experienced board of individuals with its role being to assess the investment programme, advisors to the joint Cabinet and to bring inward invest. He stated that the Board needed a plan to ensure money was invested in accordance with the investment programme in order to leverage the £4bn additional investment. The Board had embarked on 3 pillars needed to have true connectivity regionally with public and private partnerships. In order to be competitive there was a need for investment in innovation and connectivity with digital connectivity being paramount and to be reilsient to benefit this and future generations. He stated that the plan had recently been reviewed, alongside developing an invest framework to leverage innovation and to assist companies to grow. Significant research has been undertaken to ensure money was put to good use across the region.
The Director of CCR City Deal informed Council of the mission for resilient good growth also grounding in foresight and what was coming, which was likely to be disproportionately impacted by Brexit given the reliance on EU structural funds for economic growth. She sated there would be no more city deals and that all new regional economic investment at UK Government level will now come through UKIS. ... view the full minutes text for item 432.
The Interim Deputy Head of Finance presented a report, the purpose of
which was to comply with the requirement of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) Treasury Management in the Public Services: Code of Practice (the Code), to report an overview of treasury activities for the preceding financial year and to report on the actual Treasury Management Indicators for 2019-20.
The Interim Deputy Head of Finance reported that treasury 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. Advice to the Council on treasury management is provided by Arlingclose and following a recent tender process, they had been re-appointed for a period of 4 years, until August 2024.
The Interim Deputy Head of Finance reported that the UK’s exit from the European Union and future trading arrangements remained one of the major influences on the UK economy during 2019-20. The Bank of England, which had held interest rates steady at 0.75% through most of 2019-20, moved in March 2020 to cut rates from 0.75% to 0.25% and then swiftly thereafter brought them down further to the record low of 0.1%. The Interim Deputy Head of Finance informed Council that towards the end of the financial year, the Covid-19 pandemic swiftly changed everything causing uncertainty in financial markets.
The Interim Deputy Head of Finance reported on the Treasury Management Outturn for 2019-20 and informed Council that it has complied with its legislative and regulatory requirements during 2019-20. She summarised the external debt and investment position for 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020, no long-term borrowing was taken out in 2019-20 and no debt rescheduling was undertaken as there were no significant savings to be made, however, the loan portfolio would be reviewed during 2020-21. The Interim Deputy Head of Finance informed Council that favourable cash flows had provided
surplus funds for investment and the balance on investments at 31 March 2020 was £30 million, with an average interest rate of 0.82%. This was an increase in investments outstanding from the start of the financial year where investments were £27.4 million at an average interest rate 0.94%. The interim Deputy Head of Finance summarised the investment strategy and outturn in that the main objectives during 2019-20 were to maintain security of cash; ensure liquidity, so funds are available when needed and only then to seek yield on investments. She informed Council that the majority of investments had been held as short-term investments with UK local authorities and banks of high credit quality.
A member of Council commented that it was standard practice for local authorities to borrow and lend to other local authorities. The Deputy Leader informed Council that the Treasury Management Strategy is approved by Council and officers implement that strategy. He stated that lending ... view the full minutes text for item 433.
The Chief Executive sought approval of the updates to the Council’s Corporate Plan 2018-2022 reviewed for 2020-21, following the impact of Covid-19 and for Council to adopt the revised Corporate Plan.
He reported that the Corporate Plan 2018-2022, describes the Council’s vision for Bridgend County Borough, the 3 well-being objectives and the organisational values and principles that underpin how the Council will work to deliver its priorities. He stated that the Plan represented the Council’s contribution to achieving the 7 national wellbeing goals as set out in the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and its improvement objectives under the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009.
He reported that the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic had affected the ability of the Council to progress on the delivery of its well-being objectives set out in the refreshed Corporate Plan. He stated that it was prudent to revisit the current commitments and targets and refocus the key priorities for the rest of 2020-21. He set out the proposed changes to the Corporate Plan which included some minor changes to the Council’s commitments as well as some new ones to reflect the key priority areas the Council needs to focus on for the remainder of 2020-21. He stated that are a number of new success measures in the Plan, as well as current ones, where the targets have been revisited. Where targets have been reduced as a result of the impact of Covid-19 a rationale had been provided, for example, town centre closure has had an impact on businesses and footfall.
The Chief Executive informed Council that the Plan will be reviewed annually to take into account changing circumstances and progress made against the well-being objectives and to ensure that the requirements of the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 and the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 are met. The revised commitments and
measures will supersede those commitments and measures set out in the
current Corporate Plan and will become the updated Corporate Plan 2018-2022 reviewed for 2020-21. He informed Council that delivery will be supported by the Medium Term Financial Strategy and directorate business plans and monitored quarterly through the Corporate Performance Assessment process, directorate management team meetings and the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee and taking into account recommendations made by the Recovery Panel.
He highlighted the main changes which proposed in relation to the learner outcomes section due to the introduction of hybrid and blended learning and the development of safe school environments. There will be an increased focus on infrastructure support for businesses to overcome the impact of the pandemic. In relation to building resilient communities, the Council will work in partnership with Town and Community Councils and community groups to create long term solutions to manage and maintain facilities / services. In relation to culture and leisure there was a need to rebuild participation by improving accessibility and removing barriers. Opportunities would be looked at in relation to digital transformation to evolve new ways of working and ... view the full minutes text for item 434.
The Development Planning Team Leader advised Members of the necessity to revise the Local Development Plan Delivery Agreement (DA), previously approved by the Welsh Government (WG) in June 2018 and sought approval to make amendments to the Timetable for LDP preparation in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. He informed Council that the Development Control Committee had, at its meeting on 20 August 2020, agreed the recommendations in this report and referred the recommendations to Council for approval.
He reported that the Council received a letter from the Welsh Government on 7 July 2020 advising it to undertake an assessment of the technical evidence base underpinning the replacement LDP, alongside the preferred strategy and policies in terms of sensitivity to the consequences of the pandemic. He stated that this task had been completed with the findings outlined at Appendix 1 of the report for noting. The Welsh Government had also advised that Delivery Agreements should be adjusted to account for any necessary changes to the LDP timetable due to delays caused by the pandemic. This should also include amendments to the Community Involvement Scheme (CIS) given the need to adjust to new patterns of working and consider alternative methods of stakeholder engagement brought about by the need to maintain social distancing. He outlined the proposed revisions to the timetable. He stated that the Deposit Plan should be subject to consultation between January and March 2021 (previously July - August 2020), however an allowance had been made to extend the statutory consultation period of 6 weeks to 8 weeks to provide more time for people to provide their views whilst accounting for any further restrictions imposed due to the pandemic. He informed Council that the final adoption of the LDP is likely to be delayed by up to 6 months as a result, though the dates relating to the stages following submission of the plan to the Welsh Government are indicative. He outlined how the CIS has been amended to account for different methods of stakeholder engagement to maintain the social distancing measures that are likely to be required for the foreseeable future.
RESOLVED: That Council:
• approved the revisions to the timetable and Community Involvement Scheme and authorised the Group Manager Planning & Development Services to submit the revised Delivery Agreement (attached at Appendix 2) to Welsh Government; and
• provided delegated authority to the Group Manager Planning & Development Services to make any factual corrections or minor amendments to the Delivery Agreement as considered necessary.
The Mayor informed Council that he had received a message from the Director of the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal informing that there had been a release made to the Conservative press claiming that the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal supports the M4 relief road and blamed Welsh Government for its cancellation, Ms Beirne is an officer and let Mr Frank Holmes give his view as an independent businessman. Ms Beirne did not endorse the criticism of the Welsh Government in cancelling the M4 relief road. He requested that the Conservative Member who had made the original statement correct their statement made to the press.
The Leader of the Conservative Group requested a point of order as he believed there had been a breach of the Constitution. The Mayor stated that the statement was as a result of a message which he had received from the Director of the CCR City Deal. The Monitoring Officer advised that it had not been referenced which part of the Constitution had been breached. The Mayor stated that the message he had received from the Director of the CCR City Deal was that someone had spoken to the Conservative press. The Leader of the Conservative Group stated that it was not clear that the remark had been made by the Conservative Group. The Mayor stated that the remark was unlikely to have been made by the Labour Group and that the Director of the CCR City Deal did not criticise the Welsh Government, but the remarks had been by someone who is independent of the City Deal. The Conservative Group Leader and Deputy Leader took issue with assertion made against their Group. A member of Council who had asked the question at the presentation in relation to the cancellation of the M4 relief road clarified that he had not contacted anybody, which included the press.
A motion was made to move progress on the matter, which was seconded.
The result of the vote was 20 in favour to move progress on the matter and 9 in favour of continuing the debate.
The Chief Officer Legal, HR and Regulatory Services and Monitoring Officer reported on the following Information Reports which had been published since the last meeting of Council.
Title Date Published
Urgent Delegated Decisions 10 September 2020
Final Statement of Accounts 2019-20 10 September 2020
RESOLVED: That Council acknowledges the publication of the documents listed in this report
To receive the following Questions from:
1. Councillor T Thomas to the Cabinet Member Wellbeing and Future Generations
Will the Cabinet Member outline their plans to reduce the risk of homelessness during the continued concern of the Covid-19 pandemic?
2. Councillor A Hussain to the Cabinet Member Social Services and Early Help
There is a warning following publication of a joint LGA report with the Centre for Mental Health which sets out the need for preventative local services to help reduce health inequalities and ensure better mental health for all.
Could the Cabinet Member let us know what preventative measures are we taking in our County to help everyone to stay mentally well, including those affected by COVID-19?
Question from Councillor T Thomas to the Cabinet Member Wellbeing and Future Generations
Will the Cabinet Member outline their plans to reduce the risk of homelessness during the continued concern of the Covid-19 pandemic?
Response of the Cabinet Member Wellbeing and Future Generations
As you have previously been informed, individuals become homeless for a plethora of reasons, for example, a relationship breakdown, difficulties in a parent and child relationship, domestic abuse. These reasons (risks) have not changed due to the COVID- 19 pandemic, but what has changed is the expectation on local authorities.
As you will know, at the start of the pandemic all local authorities were expected to ensure that no individual was street homeless during the lockdown. Welsh Government expected Bridgend County Borough Council to provide suitable temporary accommodation with en-suite facilities to this group. Welsh Government expanded the definition of vulnerability under the current Housing Act to consider the impact of the COVID- 19 pandemic. Their view is that the COVID- 19 pandemic presents a grave and exceptional risk to those persons who are homeless as these individuals may be unable to adhere to health advice, self- isolate, socially distance or maintain necessary hygiene requirements and it appears almost inevitable that a person who is either street homeless or faced with street homelessness is less able than an ordinary homeless person to fend for himself or herself. One impact of this change in the guidance has meant accommodation units where we would usually place homeless individuals did not meet the current requirement i.e. due to social- distancing the capacity threshold was reduced, and need for en-suite facilities due to the highly contagious nature of the COVID-19 virus.
Last year Cabinet set our strategy to tackle homelessness in Bridgend County Borough, with the aim being “To work collaboratively on a corporate basis with external partners, and service users, in a responsive, creative and timely manner to prevent and relieve homelessness throughout the county borough, ensuring people can access suitable accommodation, with the support required to meet their needs”.
The COVID-19 pandemic has not changed our ambition, but with the additional funding provided by Welsh Government it has allowed us to expedite some of our plan and bring forward projects which otherwise would have been waiting in the pipeline for funding to be made available.
Our co-produced plan understood homelessness is a complex and multi-layered issue requiring a multifaceted response. Analysis of needs of the cohort of people that have been housed during the COVID-19 pandemic confirms this to be the case. For example, out of those households placed during the COVID-19 pandemic, only 1 in 15 had no support needs with everyone else having needs which required mental health and/or substance misuse support - providing accommodation is not the only answer. In order to ensure that the housing provided is suitable for the individual, the individual must be willing and wanting to address some of their other needs.
Bridgend County Borough Council has submitted funding bids to ... view the full minutes text for item 437.
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.