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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.
Councillor Heidi Bennett – Item 6 – Prejudicial – Employee of an organisation that receives funding from BCBC
Councillor Colin Davies– item 7 – prejudicial – Wife is a senior manager at Coity Primary School
Councillor Jon Paul Blundell – Item 7 – Prejudicial – LEA Governor for Bryntirion Comprehensive School
Councillor Amanda Williams– Item 7 – Prejudicial – Chair of Governors for Coity Primary School and have been campaigning for an increase in capacity there.
Councillor Ian Williams – Item 7 – Personal – Children attend Bryntirion Comprehensive School and also a child who will be going into the school in September.
Councillor Martin Williams – Personal – item 7 – Daughter attends Coity Primary School
Councillor Maxine lewis – Personal – item 9
To receive for approval the minutes of 9/3/22 and 18/5/22.
RESOLVED: That the minutes of the 09/03/2022 and 18/05/2022 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 mayor’s announcements were as follows:
I hope members enjoyed the recent Platinum Jubilee bank holiday, and that you all saw the well-deserved honour which was bestowed upon our council leader shortly before the celebrations took place.
I’m referring, of course, to the Order of the British Empire which has been presented to Councillor Huw David.
Councillor David was nominated for this award by the Welsh Local Government Association.
It was presented in recognition of the strong leadership that he has consistently demonstrated throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, both for the local authority and as the WLGA’s Presiding Officer and Health and Social Services Spokesperson.
The OBE further acknowledges all of the hard work, enthusiasm and commitment that he has dedicated towards serving the local community, particularly during one of the most challenging periods we have ever faced in local government.
In commenting upon the award, Councillor David himself recognised how it reflects the efforts of everyone who has worked throughout the pandemic to ensure that services have been able to continue, and that vulnerable people have been able to receive essential care and support.
This is, of course, an exceptional achievement, and I am sure that members will want to join me in extending our warmest congratulations to Councillor David.
I am pleased to announce that it has been a very busy start to this Mayoral term.
The mayor’s office is receiving several requests for support which is great and perhaps is indicative of life returning to some form of normality after the pandemic.
A selection of events I have attended include Bridgend College Fashion Show held in Cardiff.
This was a first for me, but an incredible experience to see creativity, talent, and hard work from students with an amazing talent.
Bridgend College can be very proud of the dynamic and successful creative arts department which supports students to flourish in whatever pathways they decide to pursue.
Can I thank my host for the evening Viv Buckley a member of staff?
The enthusiasm and commitment to develop the College not only through creative arts but with other subject matters throughout the county Borough is clearly palpable.
I joined the Bridgend Pernicious Anaemia Society where I met with some wonderful people who are experiencing extreme health difficulties in trying to negotiate life with a vitamin B12 deficiency.
The event was certainly inspiring where I was able to learn about not only the day-to-day difficulties that people must endure but the pioneering work that is being undertaken to support them.
Could I thank Karyl and Martyn Hooper once again for the invitation and their hospitality at the event.
Over the Queens Jubilee weekend, I was delighted to present commemorative coins to children at the Phillip Squire Community Centre at Coytrahen to celebrate The Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty the Queen.
The was an incredible event that involved the whole community coming together like many others to celebrate this incredible occasion.
Some 30 to 40 children received a commemorative coin which was ... view the full minutes text for item 22.
To receive announcements by the Leader
The Leaders announcements were as follows:
Since announcing that the council wants to amend the designation for how almost 20 hectares in the Sandy Bay and Griffin Park area will be used to facilitate future stages of Porthcawl’s regeneration, we have already received a lot of feedback.
While this is excellent and we continue to encourage people to study the proposals set out within both the Porthcawl Placemaking Strategy and the land appropriation plans, it has also resulted in some confusing and inaccurate assumptions, especially on social media.
I would like to just take this opportunity to clarify one or two points.
Firstly, some people are concerned that Griffin Park may become smaller or have houses built upon it, but the opposite is true.
Once the extension and the land previously used for the monster park have been added, the park would actually double in size from four to eight acres.
And far from building houses upon it, we want to retain this newly expanded Griffin Park, and ensure that it remains at the heart of the local community for future generations to enjoy.
Others have asked if Porthcawl is about to lose its tennis courts.
While the current location is required for an access route into the wider Sandy Bay development area, the proposal is to relocate the courts to a new spot, provide new all-weather facilities instead, and ensure that Porthcawl can benefit from high-quality tennis courts built to a modern standard.
We have also seen inaccurate housing statistics being quoted which miss the fact that we have already reduced the number of dwellings intended as part of the plans, especially at the nearby Salt Lake site where housing land has been reduced by a third to make way for an all-new seafront park.
This was introduced in direct response to feedback gathered through previous public consultation, and demonstrates how people’s views are actively influencing what is taking place.
It is essential for people to study the proposals directly, and to consider what the potential benefits could be before having their say.
Full details of how you can do this online or by visiting Porthcawl Library are available at the council website.
Members may also be interested to know that the Home Office is inviting applications to a new fund which is designed to improve security measures at churches, mosques and other places of worship.
Known as the Places of Worship Protective Security Funding Scheme, it is open to all faith communities in England and Wales who feel that their place of worship is vulnerable to hate crime.
Examples of how the funding could be used include the installation CCTV cameras, security alarm systems, perimeter fencing and more.
All places of worship who feel they are vulnerable to hate crime are encouraged to apply, and further information is available at the Home office website.
The deadline for applications is 14 July 2022.
The Chief Officer Finance, Performance and Change presented a report which provided Council with an update on the Council’s revenue financial performance for the year ended 31st March 2022, and sought approval for budget virements between £100,000 and £500,000, as required by the Council’s Financial Procedure Rules.
She explained that on 24th February 2021, Council approved a net revenue budget of £298.956 million for 2021-22. 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.
The Chief Officer Finance, Performance and Change provided the summary financial position at 31st March 2022 and highlighted the many changes that occurred throughout the year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. She explained that Welsh Government allocated £206.6 million in its budget to the Hardship Fund to support local government for the first six months of 2021-22 along with various other support payments throughout the quarters. Further details on these funds were at 4.1.1 of the report.
The Chief Officer Finance, Performance and Change outlined two further significant changes which occurred between quarter 3 and quarter 4 of the year which were:
She added that given the changes that have occurred which have resulted in a better financial position at the end of 2021-22, the Council was able to apply some of this funding to investments to support its residents. Details of this were at appendix 4 of the report. Section 4 of the report provided various tables highlighting Budget virements/technical adjustments, covid 19 cost claims as well as loss of income claims for the year 2021/2022.
The Chief Officer Finance, Performance and Change stated that as outlined in previous monitoring reports during the year there were still £2.376 million of outstanding prior year budget reduction proposals that had not been met in full. Directors have been working to realise these savings during the 2021-22 financial year. A summary of the latest position is attached as Appendix 1. She added that Table 5 and Table 6 outlined the prior year reductions as the budget reductions for year. Figures were broken down by directorate.
The Chief Officer Finance, Performance and Change highlighted the net budget for each directorate and some key areas that contributed to the improved outturn position. Further details were at section 4.3 of the report.
The Cabinet Member Resources thanked the Chief Officer and ... view the full minutes text for item 24.
The Chief Officer Finance, Performance and Change presented a report which sought approval from Council for a revised capital programme for 2021-22 to 2031-32 (Appendix A).
She explained that the Local Authorities (Capital Finance and Accounting) (Wales) Regulations 2003 as amended, contained detailed provisions for the capital finance and accounting controls, including the rules on the use of capital receipts and what is to be treated as capital expenditure. The Council’s Capital Strategy, incorporating the Prudential Indicators for 2022-23, was approved by Council on 23 February 2022. On this date, Council also approved a capital programme covering the period 2021-22 to 2031-32 as part of the Medium-Term Financial Strategy (MTFS). Since then, a review has been undertaken of available capital resources, taking into consideration uncommitted funding in the capital programme, the anticipated year end revenue position for 2021-22, the position on earmarked reserves and revenue budgets available for 2022-23. Further background was at section 3 of the report.
The Chief Officer Finance, Performance and Change explained that the capital programme approved by Council in February 2022 for the period 2021-22 to 2031-32 totalled £230.174 million, of which £123.542 million is to be met from Bridgend County Borough Council (BCBC) resources, including capital receipts and revenue contributions from earmarked reserves, with the remaining £106.632 million coming from external resources, including General Capital Grant. 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.
The Chief Officer Finance, Performance and Change outlined the proposed new capital schemes as well as the funding of new capital schemes as indicated in Table 1 and Table 2 of the report. Some key areas were highlighted below:
Further details on these were at section 4 of the report.
The Cabinet Member Resources welcomed the report and stated the additions to the capital programme mentioned in Table one were exciting opportunities that were much needed. He added that some of these items were for known schemes whilst a number of them will require further reporting to cabinet and council.
A Member eluded to the figure in the report relating to outgoings to the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal totalling £7.7 million. He asked that some clarification be provided on what the money would be used for. He also asked if after 2025 the payments to the CCRCD would end, as there was no further reference of figures beyond this date.
The Chief Officer Finance, Performance and Change explained that the £7.7 million was total spend in regards to schemes paid into or supported by the CCRCD, not total money paid in. She added that she did not have the figures on what had been paid in to date but could gather than information ... view the full minutes text for item 25.
The Monitoring Officer presented a report which sought approval of Council for the Multi-Location Meetings Policy.
At the outset of the Covid-19 Pandemic in March 2020 the Local Authorities (Coronavirus) (Meetings) (Wales) Regulations 2020 enabled local authorities to convene meetings by remote means.
The Monitoring Officer explained that under the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Act 2021, local authorities are required to put in place, and publish, arrangements for multi-location meetings, that is, formal meetings where meeting participants may not all be in the same physical place. Further background was at section 3 of the report.
The Monitoring Officer explained stated that the draft policy attached as Appendix 1 took into account of interim statutory guidance issued by Welsh Government (WG), which set out a number of guiding principles to be considered in developing multi-location meeting arrangements, as well as practical considerations.
She stated that since June 2020, the Council had held all of its meetings by remote means, previously through Skype for Business, and now Microsoft Teams. She highlighted the benefits that remote meetings had provided as indicated in section 4.3 of the report.
The Monitoring Officer stated that the Council would continue to use Microsoft Teams as its primary remote meeting platform. This will be used by Elected Members from their Council provided devices to ensure effective security. Non-Council devices may be used although the functionality available when using these “guest” devices may differ from that provided by the Council. Other participants are able to join meetings using links provided by the Council contained within the meeting invitation.
She added that works were ongoing in the Council Chamber to upgrade the systems to allow for hybrid meetings. It is anticipated that these works will be completed by the end of June which will allow training sessions and some meetings to take place, on a hybrid basis, in July, subject to Health and Safety guidance.
A Member welcomed the report and believed that many Members would agree that the hybrid approach allows for choice in methods for attending depending on what they prefer. He asked in relation to the voting software that this was much needed as the roll call method previously used was not fit for purpose, as it was time consuming The Monitoring Officer agreed and this was something that was being looked at. Once the Council Chamber works were completed, we would look at methods of voting.
RESOLVED: That Council approved the policy attached as Appendix 1.
To receive the following Question from:
Councillor Tim Thomas to the Cabinet Member – Resources:
'Will the Cabinet Member for Resources comment on what this Council is doing to tackle the cost-of-living crisis for County Borough residents?'
Cllr Tim Thomas to the Cabinet Member – Resources
Will the Cabinet Member for Resources comment on what this Council is doing to tackle the cost-of-living crisis for County Borough residents?
The Council has provided support to residents in the County Borough via a number of different means in recent times and is continuing to do so now.
Discretionary Housing Payments
Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) are paid from a cash-limited budget, provided by the Department of Works and Pension, and are intended to help people meet housing costs, usually where there is a shortfall between their Housing Benefit (HB), or housing element of Universal Credit (UC), and their rent. A DHP can only be awarded if the claimant is claiming HB, or UC with housing costs towards rental liability.
A DHP can be awarded for a rent deposit or rent in advance for a property that the claimant is yet to move into if they are already entitled to HB or UC at their present home, and also payments for past housing costs (including arrears of rent).
These payments are emergency payments and the council has to ensure that any payment reaches those who are most in need. The initial allocation of funding to Bridgend in the current year is £253,067.
We do promote these services via our own resources and also work with free advisory organisations such as CAB, who offer free advice to residents and promote this support.
Council Tax Reduction Scheme
The Council Tax Reduction Scheme helps people on low incomes to pay their council tax. This support is provided via an application process and individuals can receive this help to pay their council tax whether or not they are receiving other benefits, working, unemployed, caring for an adult or child or retired.
The total financial support provided to individuals in Bridgend via this route is estimated to be £15 million in the current year. Currently 12,671 individuals or families are receiving financial support via this scheme.
Again, information on how to claim this support is available via our website.
During the last financial year, the Council acted as an agent for Welsh Government and paid the Winter Fuel bills monies. This scheme supported eligible households with the cost of heating their homes throughout the winter months and provided applicants with a one off £200 payment. The scheme was open to households where someone was claiming universal benefit, income support, working tax credits, means tested welfare benefits, income related job seekers allowance or employment and support allowance.
In total 8,649 payments were made, totalling £1,729,700
Cost of Living Scheme
The cost of living scheme is another Welsh government initiative which is being managed locally by this council. The scheme is intended to provide support as Wales recovers from the pandemic and support households to deal with the impact of increasing energy and other costs. The criteria for accessing the scheme has been set by Welsh government. Each eligible household within the county borough ... view the full minutes text for item 27.
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.