Agenda and minutes

Council - Wednesday, 24th February, 2021 15:00

Venue: remotely via Microsoft Teams


No. Item


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. 





Approval of Minutes pdf icon PDF 136 KB

To receive for approval the minutes of 20/01/2021




RESOLVED:                        That the Minutes of a meeting of Council dated 20 January 2021, be approved as a true and accurate record.


To receive announcements from the Mayor

(i) Mayor (or person presiding)

(ii) Members of the Cabinet

(iii) Chief Executive



The Mayor commenced his announcement by stating that he hoped all Members and Officers were keeping safe and well.


He advised that although due to the ongoing pandemic he had been practising social distancing and therefore not been able to physically attend any events, he had been honoured to record a message and light the candle of remembrance as part of Bridgend Council’s annual holocaust memorial day which this year was virtual. As those present were aware, Holocaust Memorial Day takes place on 27 January each year, a date that honours the day in 1945 that allied forces took over Auschwitz-Birkenau and freed the prisoners.


It was a day to remember, the millions of people murdered during the Holocaust, under Nazi Persecution and in the genocides which followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur and reminded us to be ever vigilant against persecution and discrimination in any form.


To receive announcements from the Leader


The Leader announced that Members may be interested to know, that more than 126,300 vaccinations have now been carried out across the Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board region.


For Bridgend County Borough, this breaks down as more than 37,300 people who have received at least one dose of the vaccine.


This was excellent news, and quite different to our previous situation where we were one of the most affected areas in Wales.


Despite this improved outlook, it is important to remember that 38 people are currently recovering from coronavirus at the Princess of Wales Hospital.


Latest figures from Cwm Taf confirm that 16 residents are still battling the illness there, three of whom are in intensive care, so it is imperative that we do not let our guard down in terms of the illness.


As Members were aware, the priority groupings for the vaccination programme have been determined on a UK-wide basis by the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation.


Anyone within the first four groups who may be concerned that they have not received an appointment for their first dose can call 01443 562 264 or fill in an online form at the Cwm Taf website.


Otherwise, with vaccinations for people in priority groups one to four now complete, the focus has turned towards the 120,000 people who are within priority groups five to nine.


Colleagues in Cwm Taf believe that they are on track for completing this new phase and delivering at least the first dose of the vaccination by the end of April.


The Council is continuing to work closely with the health board, and is supporting the roll-out of the vaccine here in Bridgend County Borough.


We were leading on a new lateral flow testing initiative, also known as community testing, in a number of our local wards.


This is a four-week Welsh Government initiative where a testing team targets different communities, and carry out tests on residents aged 11 and over who are not displaying any symptoms of coronavirus.


The aim is to identify asymptomatic individuals who may not be aware that they are infected.


It involves the setting up of centres where people can attend and carry out a test themselves, which is then processed on the premises.


The participant receives the result by text or email within about 30 minutes of completing it.


If it is positive, arrangements are made for the participant to receive a second confirmatory test.


In Bridgend County Borough, the lateral flow testing will focus on Caerau, Nantyffyllon, Pyle, Kenfig Hill, Cornelly, Cefn Cribwr, Sarn, Aberkenfig, Ynysawdre, Bryncethin, Bryncoch, Pencoed, Hendre, Felindre and Penprysg.


While these areas have been selected based mainly on public health surveillance data, the testing programme has been designed to be able to react in the event that another hotspot becomes apparent.


A great deal of preparation is currently taking place to organise and promote the lateral flow testing, and the Leader hoped that Members would play their part, in making people aware and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 506.


Corporate Plan 2018-2023 Reviewed for 2021-22 pdf icon PDF 311 KB

Additional documents:


The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change presented a report seeking Council approval of the Council’s Corporate Plan 2018-2023 reviewed for 2021-22 (attached at Appendix A to the report).


She advised that the Corporate Plan 2018-2023, described the Council’s vision for Bridgend County Borough, its 3 well-being objectives and  organisational values and principles that underpin how BCBC will work in the future, to deliver its priorities. It also represented the contribution to achieving the 7 national well-being goals.


The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change, explained that the Corporate Plan had been refreshed for the year 2021-22. This followed a corporate planning process with Corporate Directors / Heads of Service through each Directorate’s departmental management teams. The process was carried out between October 2020 and December 2020 to review progress and streamline the plan, going forward.


As part of work undertaken to develop the Council’s approach to recovery planning from Covid-19, the recommendations of the cross-party Recovery Panel set up with the aim of shaping, informing and advising Cabinet on the Council’s recovery planning have been used to inform the review of the refreshed Corporate Plan for 2021-22.


Also, as part of the annual review, it was also proposed to extend the life span of the current Corporate Plan by one year to 2023. The rationale for this was detailed in paragraph 4.5 of the report.


The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change explained that, due to Covid-19, some of the targets set had become redundant, in that the performance indicators and data collected for these were not indicative of a normal year of performance.


She advised that the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee had considered the updated Plan on 14 January 2021 and also had made a number of constructive comments and, where feasible, changes had been made to the updated Plan. The Committee would continue to monitor progress against the Plan, added the Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change.


If approved by Council, the updated Plan would then replace the current Corporate Plan. Its delivery would be supported by the MTFS and directorate business plans. It would also be monitored quarterly through the Corporate Performance Assessment process, directorate management team meetings and twice a year by the Corporate Overview and

Scrutiny Committee.


The Cabinet Member – Education and Regeneration felt that targets and performance indicators set last year during Covid had become almost irrelevant, in that the work that the Authority had achieved in this most unprecedented of times would never accurately reflect the challenges BCBC employees had to face and the work they had processed right across the whole of the Authority, from virtually day one of lockdown.


The Leader confirmed that the Corporate Plan did not fully reflect some of the dramatic and far reaching changes that had affected society during the last 12 months. The Authority had achieved a great deal in that time, including supporting the homeless through the provision of temporary accommodation. Work was ongoing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 507.


Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) 2021-22 to 2024-25 pdf icon PDF 241 KB

Additional documents:


The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change, presented a report, the purpose of which was to seek Council approval of the Medium Term Financial Strategy 2021-22 to 2024-25, attached at Annex 3, which includes a financial forecast for 2021-25, a detailed revenue budget for 2021-22 and a Capital Programme for 2020-21 to 2030-31.


She explained that the MTFS, had been significantly guided by certain key priorities. Although previous year-on-year changes in Aggregate External Finance (AEF) have necessitated significant budget reductions across different service areas, the Council still plays a very significant role in the local economy of Bridgend County Borough and is responsible for annual gross expenditure of around £435 million and was the largest employer in the county borough.


The Council’s Corporate Plan had also been presented to Council for approval alongside the MTFS 2021-25, and the two documents were aligned to each other, hence enabling the reader to make explicit links between the Council’s well-being objectives and the resources directed to support them.


The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change continued by stating that the report was being presented to Council, in order to provide details of the Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy for the four year period 2020-21 to 2023-24. The MTFS was complimentary to the Council’s Corporate Plan, and looked to provide the resources that would enable the Council’s well-being objectives to be met.


The MTFS focused on how the Council intended to respond to the forecasted public sector funding reductions as a result of on-going austerity and increasing pressures on public sector services, which had been exacerbated during the Covid-19 pandemic.


Quarterly reports to Cabinet during the financial year, on the projected revenue position for 2020-21, had outlined in some detail the impact on the budget of the additional cost pressures and loss of income faced by the Council throughout the year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Welsh Government had played a significant role in mitigating a large proportion of these losses through their various funding streams, most notably the Covid-19 Hardship Fund. Whilst some of these additional pressures were not recurrent, there were a number that would require longer term funding as new ways of working are embedded into the Council’s business as usual, and these were reflected in the MTFS.


The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change advised that the  final settlement from Welsh Government was not due to be announced until 2 March 2021. As a result, the budget was being proposed on the basis of the provisional settlement received in December 2020.


The report went on to outline the financial issues that Council was requested to consider as part of the MTFS 2021-22 to 2024-25. The Council’s Section 151 Officer is required to report annually on the robustness of the level of reserves. The level of Council reserves, she advised, was sufficient to protect the Council in light of unknown demands or emergencies and current funding levels. It should be emphasised however, the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 508.


Council Tax 2021-22 pdf icon PDF 719 KB

Additional documents:


The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change submitted a report, the purpose of which, was to provide Council with details of the council tax requirement for the County Borough Council, together with the requirements of the Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales and Community/Town Councils, and to seek Council approval of the Band D council tax for Bridgend County Borough Council and the community areas for 2021-22.


The report firstly gave some background information following which, in paragraph 4.1, the Net Revenue Budget was outlined for 2021-22, approved previously at today’s meeting.


The net budget requirement for Bridgend County Borough Council for 2021-22 is £298,956,245, and the amount to be funded from Council Tax is £86,764,691 as shown in Table 2 within the report. This equated to a Council Tax of £1,597.01 on a Band D property, an increase of 3.9%. This proposed increase of 3.9% equates to 77p per week for a person living in a Band A property and £1.15 per week for someone living in a Band D property (62% of properties in Bridgend are lower than a Band D).


The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change advised that the Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales has notified the Council that their precept for the financial year ending 31 March 2022 will rise to £15,631,672, which equates to a council tax of £287.72 on a Band D property, a 5.5% increase. The 2021-22 precept was agreed by the South Wales Police and Crime Panel on 3 February 2021.


For the 2021-22 financial year, the Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales has stated that the amounts to be levied by the Council in respect of policing services, in accordance with section 40 of the Local Government Act 1992, were as shown for each of the categories of dwellings shown in Table 3 of the report.


Table 4, then reflected the Average Council Tax increase for 2021-22, including a Band D property average.


Paragraph 4.6 of the report detailed the average Council Tax increase for BCBC (inclusive of each of the precepting bodies).


Tables 6 and 7 then included, therein, the Total Average Band D Council Tax requirements, 2021-22 for each of the BCB Community/Town Council areas.


A Member queried the increase, adding that a 3.9% increase in Council Tax was regrettable. She based this on the fact that Covid had brought about unprecedented times that had resulted in many residents throughout the County Borough having lost their jobs, resulting in them having difficulties paying their mortgage, with some even having to visit foodbanks to try and make ends meet. For reasons such as this, she was of the opinion that the increase in Council Tax for 2021-22 should be no higher than the rate of inflation.


She also asked if, in future such annual reports on the Council Tax, the number of properties in all Council Tax Bands could be broken down into the number that are in each of the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 509.


Treasury Management and Capital Strategies 2021-22 Onwards pdf icon PDF 601 KB

Additional documents:


The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change, presented a report, the purpose of which, was to present to Council for approval the Treasury Management Strategy 2021-22 (Appendix A to the report), which included the Treasury Management Indicators, and the Capital Strategy 2021-22 to 2030-31 (at Appendix B), which contained the Prudential Indicators and the Annual Minimum Revenue Provision Statement 2021-22 (in Schedule A of Appendix B).


She advised that the Treasury Management Strategy 2021-22 confirmed the

Council’s compliance with the CIPFA Code, which required that formal and

comprehensive objectives, policies and practices, strategies and reporting

arrangements are in place for the effective management and control of treasury management activities, and that the effective management and control of risk are the prime objectives of these activities. It also contained the Treasury Management Indicators for a three year rolling period.


The Treasury Management Strategy had been updated to reflect the current

economic context, not least the holding of interest rates at 0.10% by the Bank of England, but also the challenges of the exit from the European Union and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the latter of which was ongoing and therefore still a major risk.


The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change added that approved investment counterparties and limits (Table 6 included in the attached TMS) had been simplified and amended to take account of the latest advice from the Council’s Treasury Advisors, Arlingclose. There had been a change to the limits for Money Market Funds, which had previously been increased to £30 million as approved by Council in November 2020. This limit has now been removed so that there is no overall limit on investments in Money Market Funds. However, no more than £6 million would be invested in any single Fund, to minimise any potential impact of default risk to the Council.


The report explained that the Council may make loans to third parties for the purpose of capital expenditure. The proposed limit for such loans has been increased from £1 million to £2 million. This was to support potential investment in a Special Purpose Vehicle to support the delivery of the proposed Bridgend Town Heat Network.


The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change advised that the Capital Strategy, Appendix B, gave a high level overview of how capital expenditure, capital financing and treasury management activity contributes to the provision of services, along with an overview of how associated risk is managed and the implications for future sustainability. In doing so, it included the prescribed Prudential Indicators for a three year rolling period.


The Capital Strategy also sets out a framework for the self-management of capital finance and examines the following areas:-


• Capital expenditure and investment plans

• Prudential Indicators

• External debt

• Treasury Management


It further reports on the delivery, affordability and risks associated with the long-term context in which capital expenditure and investment decisions are made, added the Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change.


Whilst much  ...  view the full minutes text for item 510.


Urgent Items

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.