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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 declarations of interest were made:-
Councillor JC Spanswick – Prejudicial interest in Agenda Item 8 as a close family member is in receipt of Council Tax Reduction (CTR) under the CTR Scheme. He left the meeting whilst this item was being considered
Councillor Paul Davies - Prejudicial interest in Agenda Item 8 as a close family member is in receipt of Council Tax Reduction (CTR) under the CTR Scheme. Prejudicial interest in Agenda Item 10 as a member of the Standards Committee. He left the meeting whilst these items were being considered
Councillor D White - Prejudicial interest in Agenda Item 8 as a close family member is in receipt of Council Tax Reduction (CTR) under the CTR Scheme. He left the meeting whilst this item was being considered
Councillor B Jones - Prejudicial interest in Agenda Item 8 as a close family member is in receipt of Council Tax Reduction (CTR) under the CTR Scheme. He left the meeting whilst this item was being considered
Councillor RM James – Personal interest in Agenda Item 8 as a family member is in receipt of Council Tax Reduction (CTR) under the CTR Scheme.
Councillor M Clarke – Prejudicial interest in Agenda Item 10 as a member of the Standards Committee. He left the meeting whilst this item was being considered.
Councillor Alex Williams – Prejudicial interest in Agenda Item 6 as he is mentioned in the report. Councillor Williams left the meeting whilst this item was being considered.
Councillor Amanda Williams - Prejudicial interest in Agenda Item 6 as she is mentioned in the report. Councillor Williams left the meeting whilst this item was being considered.
Councillor RE Young – Prejudicial interest in Agenda Item 6, as he is a member of Coity Higher Community Council. Councillor Young left the meeting whilst this item was being considered.
To receive for approval the minutes of 15/12/2021
RESOLVED: That the Minutes of a meeting of Council dated 15 December 2021, be approved as a true and accurate record.
To receive announcements from:
(i) Mayor (or person presiding)
(ii) Members of the Cabinet
(iii) Chief Executive
Firstly, I would like to extend a warm welcome to Councillor Chris Davies as a new representative of the Caerau ward to his first Council meeting.
Since the busy schedule of Christmas the start of the year has been relatively quiet and on that note I would like to wish everybody here today and throughout the County Borough of Bridgend, a happy safe and healthy New Year.
The Mayors Citizenship Awards nominations are now closed and there have been in excess of 30 nominations submitted that are now being assessed, with the format of the presentations to be agreed in due course, depending on the situation with any restrictions due to Covid. However, it is envisaged this will take place in March 2022.
Next week on Thursday 27 January it will be Holocaust Memorial Day. One Day is the theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2022 in the hope that there may be One Day in the future where genocide will no longer take place. People are being asked to light their own memorial candle at home this year to remember those lost or permanently scarred by the effects of genocide. Due to there not being any formal gathering taking place, I will be lighting a candle on behalf of the County Borough in the Council chamber which will be recorded on video.
On the Mayor’s charity fundraising front there will be a Wales 3 Peaks challenge taking place on 2 April 2022. with an early morning ascent of Pen-y-Fan, then moving on to Cader Idris and finally an afternoon ascent of Snowdon, with it all being completed within 24 hours. If anybody is interested in taking part and helping to raise funds for Lads & Dads and Bridgend Carers Centre, then please contact me by the end of this month so that final numbers can be confirmed.
Finally, please note that if you are aware of anybody who may be due to celebrate their 100th. Birthday (or 100 +), or may be celebrating a special wedding anniversary then please get in touch via Mayor@Bridgend.gov.uk where arrangements can be made for a visit from myself and the Mayoress. Even if a home visit cannot be made due to Covid restrictions then arrangements can still take place to send a card and gift.
Members may be interested to know that together with our waste partners Kier, we are trialling an all-electric refuse collection vehicle this week.
Known as an ‘eCollect’, the new lorry started its rounds on Monday and is being used to record vital information that will support future decisions on the increased use of ultra-low emission vehicles.
The eCollect is being put through its paces to explore its ability and range.
In particular, we are monitoring how it performs while collecting waste from our valley communities, and in transporting it to the Materials Recovery and Energy Centre at Jersey Marine.
The vehicle, which is manufactured by the company Dennis Eagle, has already been assessed for its ... view the full minutes text for item 617.
To receive announcements by the Leader
Firstly, I would like to congratulate and welcome Councillor Christopher Davies to his first meeting of full Council.
Also, our best wishes to Councillor Giffard who has been in the Princess of Wales hospital having his gall bladder removed. I know he has been very complimentary about the doctors, nurses and all the NHS staff that have treated him there.
My group are presently carrying vacancies on CO&SC, SO&SC 1 and SO&SC 2, due to Councillor Gebbie formerly sitting on each of these bodies but now no longer being able to, as a newly appointed Cabinet Member.
Therefore, the Labour replacement members on each of these Committees are as follows;-
CO&SC – Councillor N Burnett
SO&SC 1 – Councillor S Smith
SO&SC 2 – Councillor N Burnett
Members will have noted the success of the pandemic arrangements that have been in place since Boxing Day and been pleased to see that infection rates have continued to fall.
Welsh Government has now confirmed that restrictions are to gradually ease further as Wales moves back towards alert level zero.
The move follows latest public health evidence which show that positive coronavirus cases have decreased while more than two-thirds of people aged 12 and over have received either a booster or a third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
This does of course have a number of implications for Bridgend County Borough.
While the full move to alert level zero will be dependent on the public health situation continuing to improve, the number of people who can gather at outdoor events has now risen from 50 to 500.
From 21 January, there will be no limits on the number of people who can take part in outdoor activities.
Crowds will be able to return to outdoor sporting events, and outdoor hospitality will be able to operate without needing to introduce additional reasonable measures.
However, it should be noted that the Covid Pass will still be required for entry to larger outdoor events.
If the downward trend continues, all indoor activities will move to alert level zero from 28 January.
This will mean that nightclubs will be able to re-open, and that while working from home wherever possible will remain important, it will no longer constitute a legal requirement.
Businesses, employers and other organisations will still need to undertake a specific coronavirus risk assessment and put reasonable measures in place to minimise the spread of coronavirus, and the Covid Pass will still be required for entry to nightclubs, events, cinemas, concert halls and theatres.
Table service, the ‘rule of six’ and two-metre physical distancing will no longer be required, but self-isolation rules for people who test positive for Covid-19 and rules on face coverings within most public indoor places will remain in force after 28 January.
You may have also seen that Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board is to offer walk-in vaccinations against winter flu, for two and three year old children.
This follows concerns that children who ... view the full minutes text for item 618.
The Chief Executive presented a report, in order to advise Members of the conclusion of the consultation exercise in relation to the review of electoral arrangements in the Coity Higher Community Council (CHCC) following a formal request during the recent Boundary Review, to seek approval of the final proposals and to authorise the Chief Executive to submit final proposals to the Local Democracy and Boundary Commission for Wales.
The background to the report, confirmed that on the 24 November 2021, the council published its draft proposals in respect of the electoral arrangements of CHCC and wrote to all interested parties as set out in the Terms of Reference to consider the current arrangements and submit any comments by letter or email by 5 January 2022.
The Chief Executive advised, that following the closure of
the consultation period, the submissions have now been reviewed and
guidance sought from the Boundary Commission for Wales in drawing
up the final proposal.
The draft proposal has been amended, taken into account the responses received and guidance from the Boundary Commission for Wales, to provide for better levels of electoral parity, which is one of the Boundary Commission’s key principals. The Final Proposal report, attached at Appendix 1 was summarised in the table shown in paragraph 4.2 of the covering report.
The Chief Executive concluded the
item by stating that following approval, the report will be
submitted to the Local Democracy and Boundary Commission for Wales
for scrutiny. The Commission will then review the proposals and, if
minded, will approve an Order to be made to implement the final
proposed electoral arrangement alteration. The Order must be made
prior to the Notice of Election on the 21 March 2022, in order for
it to be implemented for the Local Elections in May 2022.
RESOLVED: That Council both noted and approved the final proposals arising from the Coity Higher Community Council electoral arrangements review and authorised the Chief Executive to submit the final proposals (as outlined in Appendix 1 of the report) to the Local Democracy and Boundary Commission for Wales.
The Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change presented a report in respect of the above, the purpose of Which was to:
· comply with the requirement of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy’s (CIPFA) ‘The Prudential Code for Capital Finance in Local Authorities (2017 edition)
· provide an update of the capital position for 2021-22 as at 31 December 2021 (Appendix A of the report)
· seek approval for a revised capital programme for 2021-22 to 2030-31 (at Appendix B)
· note the projected Prudential and Other Indicators for 2021-22 (Appendix C).
The report outlined certain background information, following which it detailed the current position that provided Members with an update on the Council’s capital programme for 2021-22 since it was last approved by Council and incorporated any new schemes and grant approvals. The revised programme for 2021-22 currently totalled £49.603 million, of which £28.495 million is met from Bridgend County Borough Council (BCBC) resources, including capital receipts and revenue contributions from earmarked reserves, with the remaining £21.108 million coming from external resources, including Welsh Government General Capital Grant.
Table 1 in the report showed the capital programme for each Directorate from the October 2021 (quarter 2) approved Council position to quarter 3. This reflected a slippage to future years, of just over £30m.
Table 2 in paragraph 4.2 of the report, summarised the current funding assumptions for the capital programme for 2021-22. This may include the realignment of funding to maximise government grants, confirmed the Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change.
Appendix A to the report, provided details of the individual schemes within the capital programme, showing any new approvals, virements and the slippage so referred to in respect of the revised budget for 2021-22.
Paragraph 4.4 of the report, showed the individual schemes that were subject to slippage to future years and the Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change gave a resume of these for the benefit of Council.
Since the last capital report approved by Council in October 2021, there have been a number of new externally funded schemes approved and internally funded schemes, which have been incorporated into the capital programme. Details of each of these were shown in paragraph 4.5 of the report. There were a number of other schemes within the capital programme awaiting confirmation of external funding over the winter period. Some of these schemes may also require re-profiling, she added. The revised Capital Programme was attached at Appendix B to the report.
The next part of the report, gave details regarding Prudential and Other Indicators for 2021-22 and the monitoring of these.
The Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change explained that in terms of the borrowing of any monies, the Council would not be pursuing this in the short term, but rather use its short-term reserves for this purpose. However, the borrowing of money going forward would continue to be evaluated and monitored.
Appendix C to the report, gave details of the actual indicators for 2020-21, the estimated indicators for ... view the full minutes text for item 620.
The Deputy Mayor took the Chair for the item, in view of the prejudicial declaration of interest the Mayor had declared in this report earlier in the meeting.
The Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change presented a report, purpose of which, was to provide Council with information regarding the implementation of the 2022-23 Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTR), and to set out the requirement for the Council to adopt a CTR scheme by 31 January 2022, together with the funding implications.
She advised by way of background, that CTR provides assistance for those on low incomes with a liability to pay Council Tax.
The UK Government previously devolved to Welsh Government, the establishment of localised schemes in Wales and stated the intention to reduce expenditure on CTB by the equivalent of 10%.
On 20 January 2021, the Council adopted the Council Tax Reduction Scheme for 2021-22 in accordance with The Council Tax Reduction Schemes and Prescribed Requirements (Wales) Regulations 2013. This scheme will end on 31 March 2022.
From the latest data, there are currently 12,717 households receiving CTR; 8,114 of these are of working age and 4,603 are of pensionable age. Out of the 12,717 households receiving CTR, 9,801 are entitled to a full CTR reduction.
The Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change, continued by stating that on 27 November 2013, the Assembly laid regulations that implemented the arrangements to support those who will pay council tax. The regulations (Council Tax Reduction Schemes and Prescribed Requirements (Wales) Regulations 2013 and Council Tax Reduction Schemes (Default Scheme) (Wales) Regulations 2013), prescribed the main features of the scheme to be adopted by all councils in Wales. Minor amendments to these regulations have since been made each financial year.
The Council Tax Reduction Schemes (Prescribed Requirements and Default Scheme) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2022 have now been laid before the Senedd for approval. These regulations update the financial figures used in the CTR schemes and make amendments to that outlined in paragraph 4.4 of the report.
The new regulations did not contain any significant changes from the claimants’ perspective, to the current scheme and the maximum level of support that eligible claimants can receive remained at 100%.
The Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change, stated that it is required that the Council adopts a CTR Scheme regardless of whether it applies any of the discretionary elements, shown in paragraph 4.6 of the report. If the Council fails to approve a scheme, then a default scheme shall apply. The Council can only apply discretion if it makes its own scheme under the Prescribed Requirements Regulations.
The next section of the report, outlined details regarding consultation undertaken on the CTR Scheme.
The report proposed that the discretionary elements remain as was outlined in paragraph 4.11 of the report.
The Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change advised that the Council needed to consider whether to replace or revise its CTR scheme and is obliged to make a scheme under the requirements ... view the full minutes text for item 621.
The Monitoring Officer submitted a report, the purpose of which, was to:
She explained that there had been a recent change to the membership of political groups, whereby Councillor Chris Davies (Independent) was elected in the recent bi-election at Caerau. This had therefore slightly affected the political balance on Committees as, since his election, Councillor Davies had joined the Llynfi Independent Group, as opposed to being a stand-alone Independent.
In view of this, the following changes to Committee memberships was required, in accordance with a provision of the Local Government Act 1972:-
1. Town and Community Council Forum – Labour Group to lose a seat, Llynfi Independents to gain a seat.
2. Subject Overview and Scrutiny Committee 2 – Llynfi Independents to gain a seat.
The updated political balance figures accounting for the above changes, were shown at the Appendix to the report.
RESOLVED: That Council:-
(1) Noted the outcome of the revised political balance of the Authority resulting from changes to the membership of political groups following the recent election of Councillor Chris Davies at the bi-election in the Caerau Ward;
(2) Approved the revised political balance (of the Council);
(3) Approved the allocation of seats to political groups in accordance with political balance rules, as set out in the Appendix to the report and the resulting changes to the membership of the Committees, as outlined in paragraph 4.1 of the report.
(4) That Councillor C Davies be nominated from Llynfi Independent Group to sit on Subject Overview and Scrutiny Committee 2 and the Town and Community Council Forum.
(5) That the nomination of a Labour Member to relinquish their seat on the Town and Community Council Forum, be awaited.
The Monitoring Officer presented a report, the purpose of which, was to seek the approval of Council to the extension of the term of office of two Independent Members of the Standards Committee.
She explained that the term of office for two Independent Members expires in February and May 2022. The Members in question are eligible to be reappointed for a further term. Thereafter, they must stand down and cannot serve more than two terms of office under the relevant Regulations. In addition, the Regulations specify that the second term of office can be a maximum of four years.
The Members, Mr Jeff Baker and Mr Philip Clarke, have made a beneficial contribution to the governance of the Council and are in agreement to standing for a further term.
RESOLVED: That Council agreed to re-appoint Mr Jeff Baker and Mr Philip Clarke to the Standards Committee for a further term of office.
The Chief Officer Legal and Regulatory Services, HR and Corporate Policy (and Monitoring Officer), reported on the Information Report which had been published since the last meeting of Council.
RESOLVED: That Council acknowledged the publication of the document listed in the report.
To receive the following Question from the Councillor T Thomas to the Cabinet Member Future Generations and Wellbeing:
Councillor A Hussain to Deputy Leader/Cabinet Member - Communities
Councils are the first line of support for building self-employed businesses back up after the pandemic. For many self-employed people, the pandemic has been not only a health crisis but also an income crisis. Many freelancers in Wales did not get financial support from government and IPSE research found one in four burned through all their savings.
How is the Bridgend Local Authority investing in our areas’ smallest businesses and what help is there for freelancers?
Councillor T Thomas to the Cabinet Member – Future Generations and Wellbeing
Will the Cabinet Member outline the number of County Borough residents enquiries for pest and rodent control over the last individual five years?
Will the Cabinet Member outline the number of County Borough resident’s enquiries for pest and rodent control over the last individual five years?
The number of pest control requests have increased year on year and for the past five years, these are shown below:
Aside from the above domestic pest control requests, SRS have dealt with the following number of complaints:
Supplementary question by Councillor T Thomas
I deal with a lot of Member Referrals relating to problems with rats and I note from the data given, that since 2017/17 pest control requests associated specifically with rats have increased by 53%. I’m wondering if there is a known reason for this?
Data reflects a year on year increase in calls for pest control issues, however, since the Council have had a new Contractor, such calls have significantly reduced when compared with the previous Contractor from 23 to 14 calls a day (on average).
The new Contractor also has a better Operating Module, whereby they provide a ‘call before they visit service,’ to ensure residents are at home before they visit to attend to the problem. The previous Contractor asked residents to ensure they were home for a period of 3 or 4 days, within which time they would visit un-announced between the hours of 9am to 5pm. Though the service was free, residents rather than staying in could opt to have another private provider to resolve the issue, though they would then have to pay for this. The new provider also had better response rates than the previous provider, ie 48 hours compared to 72 hours, respectively.
Second supplementary question by Councillor G Thomas
Are the services provided by the new Contractor free, as they were with the previous one?
Yes, they are, even though pre-pandemic due to savings required under the MTFS, there was a proposal to introduce charging for Pest Control services. However, BCBC did find savings elsewhere, that resulted in maintaining the service free of charge and as it’s a public health issue then this is a reasonable decision. This was not the case with neighbouring authorities though, as the Vale of Glamorgan service comes with a cost, ie around £100 and similarly, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Neath Port Talbot also charge for Pest Control services.
Third supplementary question by Councillor Ross Penhale-Thomas
Has the Cabinet Member had any insight where Pest Control problems may be worse in some areas as opposed ... view the full minutes text for item 625.
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.