Venue: remotely - via Microsoft Teams
Contact: Democratic Services
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 C Webster declared a personal interest in Agenda Item 7, due to her son being in receipt of School Transport.
To receive for approval the minutes of 24/02/2021 and 10/03/2021
RESOLVED: That the Minutes of meetings of the Council dated 24 February and 10 March 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
The morning after the annual meeting I was invited to attend a remote meeting with KPC Youth, this “cuppa and a chat” is a regular get together for them. It was lovely to “virtually” meet all the dedicated volunteers and hear about their current initiatives and was a really positive start to my Mayoral year.
The Deputy Mayor and myself then collected our chains of office in a short private ceremony in the Mayor’s Parlour with my wife (Mayoress), the Chief Executive and the Leader.
As part of Volunteers week, I was invited to visit The Zone in Bridgend town centre. As you are probably aware, this is a family centre that has been set up to support all members of the community, with their volunteers providing support and guidance on a whole range of issues. It was interesting to meet the staff and learn how they have adjusted and carried on during the pandemic. In a similar vein, I also visited the Bridgend Carers’ Centre during Carers week, to meet and say thank you to all the staff who do such an amazing job all year round.
Other events in my calendar included a visit to Parc Slip Nature Reserve on Saturday morning with Iolo Williams who broadcasts live on the BBC and on Monday - lunch with the High Sherriff.
In terms of my charity fundraising, I am in the process of arranging events and have two provisional dates for your diaries:
Saturday 13th August – a tandem skydive with the Mayoress, at Swansea airport and Saturday 18th September – Welsh 3 Peaks Challenge, with hopefully at least 2 minibuses being available for around 20 participants.
If you would like to make a donation in support of my charity fundraising, you can do so by going the Mayor’s page on the BCBC website and clicking on the Charity button - this will then direct you to a donations page. As a reminder, my charities are “Lads and Dads” and “Bridgend Carers Centre”.
Work has now started on improving the entrance into Village Farm Industrial Estate at Pyle.
This is being carried out ahead of the planned opening of the estate’s all-new community recycling centre later in the year.
To improve traffic flow, avoid congestion and prevent vehicles from queuing, an all-new dedicated lane for turning into and out of the estate off the A48 is being created.
As part of the works, new traffic lights are being installed, and the road at Heol Mostyn will be resurfaced.
The improvements are expected to take up to 12 weeks to complete and every effort is being made to minimise inconvenience.
When it opens later this year, the new Community Recycling Centre will feature parking bays for 31 cars, on-site queuing capacity for up to 72 vehicles at a time, and easier access with new bypass lanes.
Once they see how easier it is to access and use, I believe people will welcome the new recycling centre, and ... view the full minutes text for item 544.
To receive announcements by the Leader
Members may be aware that Armed Forces Day will take place this year on Saturday 26 June.
While pandemic restrictions have limited how we have been able to mark this important occasion, the Armed Forces flag has been flying outside the Civic Offices in recognition of the event.
We are also using the occasion to remind current and serving members of the military that an Armed Forces Community Covenant is in place to provide them with help and support.
The covenant, which has been in place since 2013, promises mutual support between the people of Bridgend County Borough, the armed forces community, public service organisations, local businesses and the charitable and voluntary sectors.
It brings organisations together at a local level to work in partnership and use their specialist knowledge, experience and expertise to provide members of the armed forces community with appropriate help, support and advice.
Over the years, the community covenant has been developed and expanded to offer a range of benefits.
As a result, housing applicants who require adapted accommodation due to injuries sustained while in service or who may need to find somewhere to live as a result of having left the Armed Forces receive priority treatment.
The Council Tax Reduction Scheme has been amended so that war widow pensions are no longer included when calculating a person’s income.
The School Place Allocation Policy also ensures that veterans are not disadvantaged when returning to Bridgend County Borough.
Serving personnel and veterans can enjoy free sessions at local Halo swimming pools across the county borough, and can apply to the community covenant fund for financial support designed to help them integrate into civilian life.
The Armed Forces Community Covenant makes it easier for service personnel, families and veterans to receive the help, support and recognition that they so richly deserve.
As well as representing a mark of respect, the community covenant demonstrates that the people of Bridgend County Borough have not forgotten the service, sacrifice and dedication of our armed forces.
More information about the Armed Forces Community Covenant and how it can support local people is available at the council website.
I’d also like to briefly remind members that the deadline for applying to the EU Settlement Scheme expires on 30 June.
If you have constituents within your wards who are EU citizens, this is their last chance to apply to continue to live and work in the UK, although the Government has also confirmed that there will be a 28 day extension for people who have a reasonable excuse for the delay.
The council website contains a wealth of information about the settlement scheme, and includes details on available support and advice.
You can also visit the UK Government’s EU Settlement Scheme webpage.
Finally, the latest phase in our ongoing investment into highways infrastructure is underway with a £2.7 road improvement scheme which is targeting 40 local roads.
Resurfacing has already been completed on roads within the Porthcawl, Nottage, Caerau, Cefn Glas and Brackla Industrial ... view the full minutes text for item 545.
The Monitoring Officer presented a report, the purpose of which, was to present the Cwm Taf Morgannwg (CTM) Region – Test Trace Protect COVID-19 Prevention and Response Plan 2021/2022 for noting and to outline the contribution of the Shared Regulatory Service (SRS) in the delivery of the plan.
She introduced to the meeting, Kelechi Nnoaham, Executive Director of Public Health and Lead for R&D and Innovation (EDPH) and Dave Holland, Head of Shared Regulatory Services, who would give a joint presentation in in respect of the above programme.
The report advised, that Welsh Government produced their “Test, Trace, Protect” Strategy on 13 May 2020 which was based on Public Health Wales’ (PHW) advice. Each region was required to develop a response plan outlining how the aims of the Strategy would be achieved. The Cwm Taff Morgannwg response plan, referred to as the CTM TTP Programme, is being managed on a regional (CTM) footprint under the leadership of the Director of Public Health. A multi-agency Regional Strategic Oversight Group (RSOG) comprising of members of the Health Board, Local Public Health Team and the three local authorities was been set up to operationalise the response plan within the CTM area.
The Cwm Taf Morgannwg COVID-19 Prevention and Response Plan for 2021/2022, attached at Appendix 1 to the report, was submitted to Public Health Wales and Welsh Government in August 2020.
The 2020/2021 plan led to a number of significant deliverables, delivered in partnership and often within very short timescales, all with the aim of preventing and responding to the pandemic to minimise the impact on our communities as far as possible. These were included in bullet point format, at paragraph 4.1 of the report.
The plan was set in the context of a ‘look-back’ to events in 2020/2021 and lessons learned. It provided some of the epidemiological back-drop, together with the current status of COVID-19 in CTM and potential scenarios communities need to be ready to respond to, as we moved into 2021/2022.
In March 2021 Audit Wales produced a report “Test, Trace, Protect in Wales: An Overview of Progress to Date” (attached at Appendix 2 of the report). The key messages on a national level included:
• The TTP programme has seen different parts of the Welsh public and third sector work together well, in strong and effective partnerships, to rapidly build a programme of activities that is making an important contribution to the management of COVID-19 in Wales.
• The configuration of the TTP system in Wales has a number of strengths, blending national oversight and technical expertise with local and regional ownership of the programme, and the ability to use local intelligence and knowledge to shape responses.
• The TTP programme will remain a key tool in Wales’s battle with the virus for some time to come.
The Audit Wales report, highlighted a number of challenges which impact upon the delivery of services, these have been taken into account in the development of this year’s plan. These were ... view the full minutes text for item 546.
The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change presented a report, the purpose of which, was to provide Council with an update on the Council’s revenue financial performance for the year ended 31st March 2021.
By way of background, the report reminded Members that on 26th February 2020, Council approved a net revenue budget of £286.885 million for 2020-21. As part of the Performance Management Framework, budget projections are reviewed regularly and reported to Cabinet on a quarterly basis. The delivery of agreed budget reductions is also kept under review and reported to Cabinet as part of this process.
She explained that the 2020-21 financial year had been a unique and complex year in managing the financial position of the Council primarily as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Significant changes have occurred throughout the year as circumstances altered and services were supported in different ways to deliver outcomes in the best way possible. A Covid-19 Hardship fund was set up at an early stage by the Welsh Government to the tune of £188.5 million which the Council was able to draw on for financial support.
The Council had been extremely successful at securing support for many of the additional costs incurred along with loss of income claims. Our claims against the WG Hardship fund totalled £21.5 million of which only £882,000 were disallowed.
Additional to the assistance and support from the WG Hardship fund were specific grants received to help cushion the effects of COVID on the delivery of services. These included ICT for digitally excluded learners, concessionary fare reimbursement and local authority cyber security along with specific support for schools in for school counselling services, face masks and support for additional cleaning costs. Furthermore, significant grants were received in the last quarter of the financial year.
The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change, confirmed that the other significant change between quarter 3 and quarter 4 was the £1.261 million contribution from WG in February 2021, in recognition of the reduced council tax collection rates experienced by Councils in 2020-21 as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic. The key areas of investment were outlined in the report and shown in more detail at Appendix 1.
The Council’s net revenue budget and final outturn for 2020-21 was shown at Table 1 in the report.
The overall outturn at 31st March 2021, was a net under spend of £432,000 which has been transferred to the Council Fund, bringing the total Fund balance to £9.771 million in line with Principle 9 of the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS).
Table 1 highlighted the changes referred to of £6.6 million since quarter 3 on total Directorate Budgets, and a change of £4.549 million on total Council Wide budgets. Table 2 in the report, highlighted the main reasons for the change and additional funding received by the Council since quarter 3 that support the changed outturn position.
Since quarter 3, the Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change confirmed that the ... view the full minutes text for item 547.
The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change presented a report, the purpose of which, was to seek approval from Council for a revised capital programme for 2020-21 to 2030-31 (Appendix A to the report referred).
She reminded Members, that the capital programme approved by Council in February 2021 for the period 2020-21 to 2030-31 totalled £205.732 million, of which £116.147 million is to be met from Bridgend County Borough Council (BCBC) resources, including capital receipts and revenue contributions from earmarked reserves, with the remaining £89.585 million coming from external resources, including General Capital Grant.
As mentioned in the report, a number of proposals for new capital schemes have been received, and these have been considered and prioritised by Cabinet and Corporate Management Board, in line with the Council’s Capital Strategy. Funding for these schemes has been set aside through new earmarked reserves, established during the 2020-21 year end process, from unallocated general capital funding received through the 2021-22 Local Government Settlement and from public realm fund revenue funding for the 2021-22 financial year. In addition, there was one school scheme that also needs inclusion in the capital programme which is part funded from school delegated budgets and partly via a Salix interest free loan, to be repaid by the school.
The total cost of the new schemes was £4,552,271 and this was broken down in Table 1 in the report, with Table 2 showing the breakdown of funding for the proposed schemes.
Further information was detailed on the schemes, in paragraph 4.4 of the report, some of which added the Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change.
The Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member – Future Generations and Wellbeing, in turn, commended some of the projects so listed, the former the replacement of the new CCTV system and the latter, the added facilities provided by Arwen Trust and Halo at their buildings, that would benefit those with mobility issues and the provision of gully sucking equipment and playground refurbishment proposals.
A Member commended the provision of solar panels at Litchard School and asked if this was intended for other schools interested in this, particularly those that could not afford this out of their own budgets.
The Corporate Director – Education and Family Support advised that he could update the Member on the above outside of the meeting.
The Interim Deputy Head of Finance advised that there was an Energy Saving Scheme in the Capital Programme to look at energy saving efficiencies in Council buildings including for schools as well as for solar panels at these and other
RESOLVED: That Council approved the revised Capital Programme for 2020-21 to 2030-31 (at Appendix A to the report).
The Chief Officer Legal, HR and Regulatory Services and Monitoring Officer reported on the Information Report which had been published since the last meeting of Council.
A Member asked about the suspension of the relevant Contract Procedure Rules that related to a decision made regarding Home to School Transport costs. He asked if it would be in order to ask the COSC to look at this process retrospectively, in order to establish that everything was in order in relation to this particular decision.
The Chief Officer Legal, HR and Regulatory Services, advised that she could write to the Chairperson of the above O&SC or the Member himself, to explain the reason for the suspension of the Contract Procedure Rules in this instance, executed under the relevant provision of the Scheme of Delegation (of Functions).
RESOLVED: That Council acknowledged the publication of the document listed in the report.
To receive the following Questions from:
Councillor Ross Penhale-Thomas to the Leader
What is the local authority doing to help address poverty and disadvantage across our communities here in Bridgend.
Councillor Tim Thomas to the Cabinet Member - Communities
What percentage of County Borough public rights of way are accessible to the public and are at a satisfactory standard.
Councillor Ross Penhale-Thomas to the Leader
What is the local authority doing to help address poverty and disadvantage across our communities here in Bridgend?
· Supporting a successful and sustainable economy
· Helping people and communities to be more healthy and resilient
· Smarter use of resources
· Building soft skills and confidence to create more resilience and independence
· Offering upskilling to increase employability
· Support to look for and sustain employment
· Providing laptops and wi-fi dongles to help overcome digital literacy and digital access barriers
· Support for volunteering placements to reduce social isolation and interaction with communities – which also provides work experience to put on a CV.
4.1 To date, the programme has achieved over 1200 job outcomes.
· Debt problems Financial difficulty
· Unemployment (claiming benefits, including Universal Credit (UC))
· Inability to budget or manage finances effectively
· Those experiencing ‘in work poverty’
· Those requiring information and support to undertake employment better off calculations.
5.1 FASS has been instrumental in providing support to those disadvantaged as a result of the pandemic, particularly those who have found themselves struggling financially, whereby 80% of their income has been met by the furlough scheme although unfortunately was not enough to meet their household outgoings.
· council tax reduction scheme – support for residents on low ... view the full minutes text for item 550.
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.