Agenda and minutes

Council - Wednesday, 19th October, 2022 15:00

Venue: Hybrid in Council Chamber, Civic Offices, Angel Street, Bridgend/Remotely

Contact: Democratic Services 

Media

Items
No. Item

40.

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. 

 

Minutes:

The following declarations of interests were made by Members/Officers. It should be noted that where prejudicial interests were declared, those that made them retired from the meeting whilst the item(s) were being discussed:-

 

Councillor R Williams – Item 9 – Personal interest due to there being reference in the report to the Pencoed Level Crossing and as a member of the Development Control Committee and Pencoed Town Council.

 

Councillor I Williams – Item 9 – Prejudicial interest on the grounds of pre-determination of an element of the Local Development Plan proposals.

 

Councillor JP Blundell – Item 9 – Prejudicial interest on the grounds of pre-determination of an element of the Local Development Plan proposals.

 

Councillor S Bletsoe – Item 9 – Personal interest due to his paid employment in the private rented sector.

 

Councillor H Bennett – Item 6 – Personal interest as an employee of an organisation referenced as a Delivery Partner in the report. Item 9 – Personal interest in the Local Development Plan report.

 

Councillor M Evans – Item 9 – Personal interest ass there was reference in the report to the Penprisk Road Bridge and as a member of Pencoed Town Council.

 

Councillor E Winstanley – Item 10 – As her employer receives monies from the Capital Programme.

 

Councillor F Bletsoe - Item 9 – Personal interest due to his paid employment in the private rented sector.

 

Councillor T Thomas – Item 9 – Personal interest due to his employment in the housing sector.

 

Councillor HJ David – Item 12 – Personal interest as a member of the WLGA

 

Councillor J Gebbie – Item 12 – Personal interest as a member of the WLGA, as well as a member of the workforce who lobbied local authorities to agree the proposals of the report.

 

Councillor JC Spanswick – Item 12 - Prejudicial interest as his wife works for BCBC

 

Councillor M Kearn – Item 12 – Prejudicial interest as his son works for BCBC.

 

Chief Executive – Item 14 – Personal and prejudicial interest.

41.

Approval of Minutes pdf icon PDF 428 KB

To receive for approval the minutes of 20/7/2022.

 

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED:                              That the Minutes of a meeting of Council held on 20 July 2022, be approved as a true and accurate record.

 

Councillor S Bletsoe noted from page 20 of the Minutes in response to his question regarding the number of homelessness cases in April of this year were registered in the response as being 3. However, in correspondence he had exchanged with the Leader since the meeting, the actual number of homeless at this time had in fact been 8. He asked if this could be added with the Leader’s consent as a correction to the minutes. The Leader agreed to this request.

42.

To receive announcements from:

(i) Mayor (or person presiding)

(ii) Members of the Cabinet

(iii) Chief Executive

 

Minutes:

Mayor

 

And other dignitaries, as follows:

 

As this is the first meeting of full Council since the death of Queen Elizabeth II, I would like to take a moment to acknowledge the solemn occasion.

 

Queen Elizabeth II was our longest-reigning British monarch, and while her passing is an enormous loss to the United Kingdom and Commonwealth, she leaves behind a lasting legacy of strength and inspiration.

 

As soon as we learned of her passing, the authority expressed its heartfelt sympathies to His Majesty, King Charles, and the Royal Family.

 

Flags were flown at half-mast outside our civic buildings, and as a mark of respect, the Civic Offices, Grand Pavilion and Maesteg Town Hall were all illuminated at night in purple, the late sovereign’s favourite colour.

 

Books of condolence were quickly made available to enable the local community to record their personal messages, and an area below the flagpole at the Civic Offices was reserved for the display of floral tributes that many people wanted to offer.

 

We observed a series of formal events as part of the period of national mourning, including the Royal Proclamation ceremony which was held outside the Civic Offices.

 

To ensure that we could all participate in the state funeral, a huge number of council services were rearranged which included schools, council offices, libraries, leisure centres, waste, recycling and more.

 

On behalf of all Members, Officers of BCBC and the citizens of the County Borough, I would like to thank staff and managers for their efforts in accommodating all of this, and for arranging the wide number of events that took place during the period of national mourning which ensured that the people of Bridgend County Borough were able to pay their respects in an appropriate and effective manner while still benefitting from essential services.

 

I would particularly like to thank the Democratic Services team for the support that I received personally as Mayor. This was first class in every respect, and I am very grateful for their ongoing efforts.

 

During the Queen’s funeral, the nation fell silent as we all observed a minute’s silence, and I would like to invite members to join me now in observing a further minute’s silence in memory of Queen Elizabeth.

 

Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member – Social Services and Early Help

 

I would like to draw members’ attention to a new initiative which has been launched as part of the Bridgend Young Carers Service. 

 

It is designed to help children and young people in Bridgend County Borough who act as unpaid carers for a relative, neighbour or friend, and provides them with direct support as well as practical advice, guidance and more.

 

Operating out of a new centre on Five Bells Road, it looks after the health and well-being of young carers, and includes opportunities for them to gain new qualifications, develop important life skills and take part in issue-based workshops as well as signposting them to further support.

 

The service also provides a youth club with various social  ...  view the full minutes text for item 42.

43.

To receive announcements by the Leader

Minutes:

Members may be interested to hear that initial discussions have taken place between a number of local support organisations to identify ways in which we can work together to help our communities during the cost of living crisis.

 

Representatives - which have to date included the council, BAVO, Awen Cultural Trust, Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, Bridgend College, Valleys to Coast Housing Association and South Wales Police - met recently to discuss coordinating and sharing information on the various support that they can offer residents.

 

Investment is also being made into developing a website called “Stronger Together Bridgend” which once completed will provide an online resource that will signpost people to support ranging from free activities in their communities to warm spaces.

 

To ensure that it is organised and co-ordinated efficiently, we have facilitated a temporary secondment for a member of the Employability team to oversee and coordinate the group’s activities.

 

Working closely alongside the council and BAVO’s community co-ordinators and resilient communities staff, we will be engaging with local residents to develop a joined-up programme of support.

 

At the same time, they will avoid duplicating efforts, for example, in areas where food or warm banks may already be running and will ensure that local residents take full advantage of all existing support ranging from community transport to school uniform grants.

 

With an action plan under development, new initiatives will be announced as part of this project very soon.

 

Following the accolade of being recognised with a Police and Crime Commissioner’s Award for the leading role that they have played in a prominent animal welfare case, the Shared Regulatory Service has been further recognised at the 2022 RSPCA national Paw Prints awards. 

 

This time, the partnership was presented with gold-level status for their work in the categories of dealing with stray dogs, and animal related licensing issues.

 

They also achieved success in the category of kennelled dogs where they were presented with a bronze level award.

 

Members may recall that the service also scored highly in the 2021 awards, but this is the first time that they have achieved gold in the animal licensing category, the only service of its kind in Wales to do so.

 

I am sure members will want to join me in congratulating the team, and in thanking them for their hard work and commitment.

 

Members may also want to remind their constituents that the free parking offer that the council has maintained throughout the pandemic has now been extended until 1 April 2023.

 

This is aimed at supporting local businesses and shoppers while we contend with the pandemic and cost of living crisis and means that the first three hours will be free at the Rhiw multi-storey car park in Bridgend, and between noon and 3pm at John Street in Porthcawl. 

 

Free parking also remains available at the Llynfi Road multi-storey in Maesteg and the Penprysg Road car park in Pencoed, and the situation will be reviewed again before the start of summer next  ...  view the full minutes text for item 43.

44.

Social Services Annual Report 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 293 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Corporate Director – Social Services and Wellbeing, presented a report, the purpose of which was to present to Council the Director of Social Services’ draft Annual Report for 2021/22, and request that Members endorse the report, the analysis therein of the strengths and areas for improvement in Bridgend social services, and the next steps set out.

 

By way of background, she explained that following the implementation of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act (SSWBA) 2014, Welsh Government developed a performance framework which aimed to ensure that authorities report, on and performance evaluated against, the well-being outcomes of the SSWBA. The SSWBA has two key policy objectives:

 

·         to improve the well-being outcomes for people who need care and support;

·         and to reform social services law.

 

It also seeks to:

 

·         transform the way in which social services are delivered, primarily through promoting people’s independence and giving them a stronger voice and control;

·         promote partnership working in social care;

·         and, enhance the preventative role of social care and health, setting out overarching well-being duties to reduce or delay the need for care and support.

 

The Corporate Director – Social Services and Wellbeing confirmed, that SSWBA, places strong emphasis on promoting the well-being of people who need care and support and carers who need support. It is important that the views and voices of people and their carers are heard.

 

The aim of the Annual Report she added, (Appendix 1 to the report) was to provide the Council and people living in Bridgend County Borough with an overview of social care.  It aims to highlight the progress made over 2021/22, being clear about strengths as well as areas for improvement, and identify priorities for 2022/23.

 

The Corporate Director – Social Services and Wellbeing, stated that preparation of the report involved an analysis, based on evidence of effectiveness. Workforce across the services had contributed to the development of this report and there is evidence within the report of feedback from people who use social services and carers together with feedback from third sector partners. 

 

The guidance for the report sets out the sections in relation to the six national quality standards for well-being:

 

           Working with people to define and co-produce personal well-being  outcomes that people want to achieve;

           Working with people and partners to protect and promote people’s physical and mental health and emotional well-being;

           Taking steps to protect and safeguard people from abuse, neglect or harm;

           Encouraging and supporting people to learn, develop and participate in society;

           Supporting people to safely develop and maintain healthy domestic, family and personal relationships;

           Working with and supporting people to achieve greater economic well-being, to have a social life and live-in suitable accommodation that meets their needs.

 

The report provided a summary of the main achievements in 2021/22 considering the challenges faced and the report also highlighted the priorities for social services in 2022/23.

 

The report evidenced key service developments and improvements made during 2021/22, whilst recognising those areas  ...  view the full minutes text for item 44.

45.

Review of Corporate Plan Targets for 2022-23 pdf icon PDF 76 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chief Executive presented a report, in order to seek Council approval of the proposed changes to Corporate Plan targets for 2022-23 as outlined in Appendix A.

 

He explained that as part of the recovery planning process, each directorate had the opportunity to re-consider targets for 2022-23, based on verified year end data.

 

He referred Members to Appendix A to the report, which set out the proposed changes to the Corporate Plan targets, endorsed by Cabinet yesterday and if approved by Council today, these will be published as an addendum to the current Corporate Plan. The new or amended targets were highlighted for ease of reference.

 

As part of a wider review of performance and governance due to the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Act 2021, Council approved this approach to target setting in future planning cycles. This will ensure that the published corporate plan remains up to date with the most recent year end data and avoids the issue of publishing the Corporate Plan without targets due to lack of available data.

 

The Chief Executive reminded Council that this was the last year of the Council’s current Corporate Plan, which would be reviewed then for the next 5 years following this.

 

The Chief Executive advised Members that the draft self-assessment report had previously been presented to the Governance and Audit Committee on 13 October 2022 for consideration.

 

At the Cabinet meeting yesterday, he finally confirmed that there had been  some minor amendments to some supporting data information. These were on the top of page 127 of the report, the first two performance indicators relating to Care Leavers and Education and Employment training. The adjustments here, were that the percentage shown in terms of 12 months since leaving care would now be 65% with this then being 55% following 24 months since leaving care.  

 

The Leader advised that as the Chief Executive had made reference to, some targets had been changed at Cabinet yesterday, in order to make these more challenging going forward.

 

The Cabinet Member – Communities further added, that the performance indicator target for the recycling of waste could also be considered to be set higher in future, notwithstanding the fact that BCBC were attaining already high targets in terms of performance in this area.

 

A Member referred to Appendix A to the report – Growth and Prosperity – and he welcomed the new performance indicator for 2022-23 in terms of footfall figures to Maesteg town centre as part of a number of wider new benchmarking targets. As we were 6 months into the year, he asked when evidence will be available to see how we are measuring against the targets so set, as part of these performance indicators. 

 

The Corporate Director – Communities advised, that she was pleased to see that over 900,000 people had been registered as visiting Maesteg town as part of footfall figures recorded. In terms of overall benchmarking data, figures were being awaited and would be reflected in the next year quarter. This  ...  view the full minutes text for item 45.

46.

Corporate Self-Assessment pdf icon PDF 708 KB

Minutes:

The Chief Executive submitted a report, the purpose of which, was to provide an update on the Council’s corporate self-assessment report, as required by the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Act 2021 and to seek approval for the report attached at Appendix 1 to the covering report, endorsed by Cabinet at its meeting yesterday.

 

By way of some background, he confirmed that the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Act which received royal assent in January 2021, sets out a new local government improvement regime, which puts more onus on the Council to demonstrate improvement rather than on Audit Wales and other regulators. One of these requirements in the Act is for the Council to make and publish a self-assessment report once each financial year, starting from the 2021-22 financial year. He added that this was also a legal requirement and that this Self-Assessment was for last year as opposed to the current one.   

 

He explained that the Governance and Audit Committee agreed the process outlined for developing the self-assessment in June. The process utilised existing performance management and governance processes within the Council as much as possible, including the use of corporate performance assessment (CPA).

 

The process was subsequently followed as agreed and draft findings were presented to CPA members in June and July. The findings and judgements had now been collated into a single, simple, accessible report. In line with WG and WLGA guidance, the self-assessment report and annual well-being assessment have now been merged into a single document, the Chief Executive added. 

 

The Chief Executive proceeded by stating that Welsh Government provided updates on already published reports and their evolving thinking about self-assessment reports at a meeting with the Council on 12 August 2022. WG asked that reports provide clarity on the real, high-level issues around performance in the Authority, for example, in Bridgend they would expect to reference to the inspection work underway around social services.

 

It added that there is minimal value in conducting formal consultation/ engagement on the self-assessment report. The preference would be a summary of key engagement/consultation work over the year, relating to the wellbeing objectives. This feedback has been integrated into the draft report.

 

The draft self-assessment report was presented to the Governance and Audit Committee on 13 October 2022 for consideration, as well as Cabinet on 18 October 2022, he reiterated.

 

The Corporate Self-Assessment moving forward would also benefit in terms of some consultation and engagement with our communities, key stakeholders and the Overview and Scrutiny process, all of which would in turn assist in the Council improving its ways of working moving forward.

 

The Chief Executive concluded his submission, by advising of some of the comments made by the Governance and Audit Committee on the Corporate Self-Assessment at its meeting on 13 October 2022.

 

The Leader thanked the Overview and Scrutiny Chairpersons for their active involvement in this document as part of the Corporate Assessment Framework, which would no doubt strengthen the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny process in the future.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 46.

47.

Replacement Local Development Plan Submission Document pdf icon PDF 436 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Corporate Director – Communities submitted a report, in order for Council to consider the Deposit Plan Consultation Report Summary Document (Appendix 1 to the report) and the proposed submission version of the Replacement Local Development Plan (RLDP) as amended following public consultation (Appendices 2 and 3) and to agree the amended RLDP be submitted to Welsh Government and Planning and Environment Decisions Wales (PEDW) for independent examination.

 

She advised, that the LDP Strategy covers the period 2018 to 2033 and is one of the most important strategies this Council will prepare to address the key challenges of a growing population and to ensure the long-term resilience of the County Borough.

 

It had been developed over 4 years since 2018 and has gone through two extensive public consultations in 2019 and in July 2021 and a Scrutiny Session on the preferred strategy, prior to the pandemic.

 

It had also been prepared with a detailed evidence base which is summarised in paragraph 4.4 of the report.  This included a number of important appraisals including Sustainability and Health Impact Assessment.  It was also based on over 40 supporting documents which detail information on areas such as Transport Assessments, Economic Studies, Retail Assessments, a Green Audit and Demographic Studies. These outlined the Corporate Director – Communities, were all critical to ensure BCBC were developing in line with the Wellbeing of the Future Generations Act.

 

The Corporate Director – Communities reminded Members, that there was still a process to be undertaken. The LDP whilst having been through a number of public consultations, would if approved today, then progress to Welsh Government where an independent Planning Inspector will be appointed to hold an Examination in Public.  Therefore, the LDP its policies, plans and supporting evidence would be scrutinised on a national scale and the public, developers and Members should they desire, can attend the Examination and make representations.

 

She further added, that the Planning Inspector if content with the Plan after the Examination in Pubic, will then refer it to the Minister for approval. Following this, it would be referred back to BCBC for adoption. This could be next summer should it be approved today.

 

In terms of why the LDP was so important explained the Corporate Director – Communities, was because an up-to-date Local Development Plan (LDP) is an essential part of a plan-led planning system in Wales and a statutory duty for all local authorities to discharge.

 

It sets the framework to ensure that the planning system contributes towards the delivery of sustainable development in a co-ordinated manner, enabling a wider, problem-solving outlook than would be possible by dealing with local issues in isolation.

 

Therefore, without an up to date LDP, it would become progressively difficult for the Council to focus on integrating and addressing multiple land use concerns, resulting in the local planning process becoming fragmented, un-co-ordinated and reactive.

 

Within the LDP there is provision for over £116m of financial contributions from developers to deliver the plan and should we not have  ...  view the full minutes text for item 47.

48.

Capital Programme Update Quarter 2 2022-23 pdf icon PDF 176 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change presented a report, 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 on the capital programme position for 2022-23 as at 30 September 2022 (Appendix A to the report);

• seek approval for a revised capital programme for 2022-23 to 2031-32 (Appendix B);

• note the projected Prudential and Other Indicators for 2022-23 (Appendix  C)

 

She explained that the Local Authorities (Capital Finance and Accounting) (Wales) Regulations 2003, as amended, contains detailed provisions on capital finance and accounting controls, including rules on the use of capital receipts and what is to be treated as capital expenditure. They modify accounting practice in various ways to prevent adverse impacts on authorities’ revenue resources.

 

The Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change, reminded Council that on 23 February 2022, it approved a capital budget of £69.979 million for 2022-23 as part of a capital programme covering the period 2022-23 to 2031-32. The programme was last updated and approved by Council on 20 July 2022.

 

This report provided an update on the following:

 

• Capital Programme monitoring quarter 2 2022-23;

• A revised Capital Programme for 2022-23 to 2031-32;

• Capital Strategy monitoring; &

• Prudential and other indicators

 

With regards to the Capital Programme 2022-23 Quarter 2 update, she referred Members to paragraph 4.1 of the report, which provided Members with an update on the Programme for this period since it was last approved by Council, and which incorporated any new schemes and grant approvals. The revised programme for 2022-23 currently totals £89.539 million, of which £54.043 million is met from Bridgend County Borough Council (BCBC) resources, including capital receipts and revenue contributions from earmarked reserves, with the remaining £35.496 million coming from external resources, including Welsh Government General Capital Grant.

 

The Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change, also referred then to the Tables on page 191 of the report, namely Table 1 that contained the Capital Programme per Directorate for 2022-23, with Table 3 summarising the current funding assumptions for the Capital Programme 2022-23.

 

Appendix A to the report, then provided details of the individual schemes within the Capital Programme, showing the projected spend at 30 September 2022 against the budget available.

 

She advised that a number of schemes had already been identified as requiring slippage of budget to future years (2023-24 and beyond). At quarter 2 the total requested slippage is £7.207 million, which comprised the schemes shown at paragraph 4.4 of the report.

 

In terms of the Capital Programme 2022-23 onwards, the Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change confirmed that since July 2022, a number of new externally funded schemes approved and internally funded schemes had been incorporated into the Capital Programme, as was illustrated in paragraphs 4.5 and 4.6 (of the report).

 

Paragraph 4.7 then made reference to the revised Capital Programme at  ...  view the full minutes text for item 48.

49.

Annual Treasury Management Outturn Report 2021-22 pdf icon PDF 548 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change presented a report, the purpose of which was to:

 

·      Comply with the requirement of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance  and Accountancy’s ‘Treasury Management in the Public Services: Code of Practice’ (the Code) to report an overview of treasury activities for  the preceding financial year.

·         Report on the actual Treasury Management Indicators for 2021-22.

 

The report provided some background information that included a reminder for Members, that the Council’s treasury management advisors were Arlingclose.

 

The current services provided to the Council in this arrangement, included:

 

advice and guidance on relevant policies, strategies and reports;

advice on investment decisions;

notification of credit ratings and changes;

other information on credit quality;

advice on debt management decisions;

accounting advice;

reports on treasury performance;

forecasts of interest rates; &

training courses

 

With regards to the present situation, the Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change, confirmed that the continuing economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, together with the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, and higher interest rates were major issues over the 2021-22 financial year. The Bank Base rate was 0.1% at the beginning of the reporting period. April and May 2021 saw the economy gathering momentum as the pandemic restrictions were eased. Despite the

improving outlook, market expectations were that the Bank of England would delay interest rate rises until 2022. However, continually rising inflation changed that. UK CPI was 0.7% in March 2021 but thereafter steadily increased. Initially driven by increases in energy prices and by inflation in sectors such as retail and hospitality which were reopening after the pandemic lockdowns, at that time increases to inflation were believed to be temporary. However, CPI for February 2022 registered 6.2% year on year, up from 5.5% the previous month, she added.

 

In terms of more financial context, she explained that having increased the Bank Base rate from 0.1% to 0.25% in December 2021, the Bank of England raised it further to 0.5% in February 2022 and 0.75% in March 2022. In its March interest rate announcement, the Monetary Policy

Committee (MPC) noted that the invasion of Ukraine had caused further large increases in energy and other commodity prices, with the expectation that the conflict will worsen supply chain disruptions around the world and push CPI inflation to around 8% later in 2022.

 

The Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change added, that in August 2021 HM Treasury significantly revised guidance for the PWLB

lending facility. Authorities that are purchasing or intending to purchase

investment assets primarily for yield, or financial return, will not be able to

access the PWLB except to refinance existing loans or externalise internal

borrowing. Acceptable use of PWLB borrowing includes service delivery,

housing, regeneration, preventative action, refinancing and treasury

management. Further information in relation to this was shown at paragraph 4.2.2 of the report.

 

In terms of Treasury Management Outturn, she advised that a summary of the treasury management activities for 2021-22 was shown in

Appendix A to the report. The Council’s  ...  view the full minutes text for item 49.

50.

Joint Protocol - Mileage Rates pdf icon PDF 372 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Group Manager – Human Resources and Organisational Development presented a report, to seek Council approval to adopt the Joint Protocol for Mileage Rates in Local Authorities in Wales as a temporary arrangement.

 

The joint protocol on mileage rates, attached at Appendix 1 to the report, had been approved by Group Leaders on behalf of the WLGA Executive Board, and shared with the Joint Council for Wales (JCW) Executive, and trade unions have formally agreed the proposal and requested its implementation at the earliest opportunity.

 

She explained that the national protocol is effective from 26 September 2022, which was timely given Council’s earlier decision to implement the recommended rate of 50p per mile in the short term, subject to review by 30 September 2022, with the current rate being 46p per mile and having been that for some considerable time. 

 

She advised that the relevant Trade Unions nationally were in support of the increase and that decisions regarding this be made locally by local authorities.

 

In terms of the reports financial implications, The Group Manager – Human Resources and Organisational Development confirmed that full annual cost of implementing this new rate, based on the 2021/2022 levels of work mileage is estimated at £50,000 per annum. This can currently be funded from within existing mileage budgets as a result of lower than usual mileage at the current time. Should mileage increase then this funding availability may be at risk.

 

Most of the reduced mileage was in respect of meetings/training/conferences now being held virtually instead of in-person rather than front line service delivery e.g., social care workers.

 

As there was a move towards more in-person meetings, spend on mileage will increase and spend against budgets will be closely monitored, she added.

 

She concluded her submission by stating if the report was approved the increase would be effective immediately and reviewed at 31 March 2023.

 

The Leader commended the report and was appreciative of the fact that this would benefit the Council home care worker contingency.

 

A Member asked if petrol prices decreased, would the proposed increase be subject to further review, to which the Group Manager – Human Resources and Organisational Development replied that this would take place at an All Wales level.

 

RESOLVED:                           That Council:

 

(1)  Approved the adoption of the Joint Protocol for Mileage Rates in local authorities in Wales from 26 September to 31 March 2023.

 

Delegated authority to the Chief Executive to approve any extension, should the protocol be extended for a period up to 6 months.  

51.

Constitution and Constitution Guide pdf icon PDF 500 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Monitoring Officer presented a report, the purpose of which, was for the Council to approve the revised constitution and constitution guides.

 

She explained that a new model Constitution has been considered by each local authority and has become common place.  The style of the new constitution is more intelligible to the public and there is less duplication.  Whilst the new model contains detailed provisions, adopting the model constitution does not require all of those detailed provisions to be adopted and therefore following a local review by officers, some of the Council’s existing detailed provisions concerning procedure rules, codes of conduct and protocols have been retained in order to preserve continuity and retain the valuable work that has been done over the years in reviewing each part of the existing constitution. 

 

The Monitoring Officer explained, that whilst the revised draft constitution (Appendix 1 to the report) looked quite different from the current version, by its very nature, the document largely comprises the same elements. These include Procedural Rules for Council, the Executive and Scrutiny Committees, Financial Procedure Rules, Contract Procedure Rules and Member Code of Conduct. In reality, the extent of actual changes in terms of how the Council works are quite small as the general view is that significant elements of the current constitution remain “fit for purpose”.  Consequently, significant elements of the sections governing how the Full Council, the Executive and the Scrutiny Committees operate remain largely the same, if not identical, to the current version.

 

Attached at Appendix 2 to this report was a constitution guide based on the Browne Jacobson model guide and adapted to reflect the Council’s constitutional arrangements.  A guide summarising all the provisions of the constitution was also attached as Appendix 3. 

 

The Monitoring Officer informed Members, that the model Constitution and guides were considered by the Democratic Services Committee on 7 July 2022 and the Committee recommended that a Working Group be established with support from the Group Manager - Legal and Democratic Services to review all aspects of the constitution as part of its improvement journey. 

 

Appendix 4 summarised the issues identified through discussions from the Working Group and sets out a series of recommendations arising from the Group for consideration as a means of improving the Council’s good governance. Since the last meeting of the Working Group, it should be noted that further amendments have been made to the Officers’ Code of Conduct (Section 20) following consultation with Trade Unions.

 

The Chairperson of the Democratic Services Committee commended the input of the Cross-Party Working Group that had been established to review the revised Constitution. 

 

A Member referred to page 266 of the report, paragraph 4.11.4 and announcements from dignitaries and asked if consideration could be given to amend this part of the Constitution, so as to allow questions from Members on these.

 

He also referred to page 395 and paragraph 9.2.2 where reference was made to Regulatory Committees and asked, that where it specified that one  Cabinet Member representative could  ...  view the full minutes text for item 51.

52.

Appointment of the Chief Executive's Appraisal Panel pdf icon PDF 357 KB

Minutes:

The Monitoring Officer presented a report, that sought Council approval for the appointment of Members to sit on the appraisal and performance review of the Chief Executive.

 

The report outlined some background information following which, it proposed that appointment to the above Panel be made in preparation for the date of the appraisal, which was 3 November 2022.

 

Members agreed that the Panel consisted of the following membership:-

 

·         The Leader;

·         The Deputy Leader;

·         Councillor S Griffiths;

·         The Leader/a representative of the Bridgend County Independents;

·         The Leader/a representative of Democratic Alliance.

 

RESOLVED:                          (1)  That Council appointed the Panel responsible for the appraisal and performance review of the Chief executive, comprising of the membership detailed in paragraph 4.2 of the report.

                                        

                                               (2)  Noted that the date of the meeting will be 3 November 2022 at 2.00pm.                  

           

53.

Review of Political Balance - Changes to Committee Membership pdf icon PDF 226 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Monitoring officer presented a report, the purpose of which was to:

 

  • advise Council of the outcome of the adjusted political balance of the Authority resulting from Councillor Steven Easterbrook being elected at the recent by-election in the Bridgend Central Ward;
  • seek approval of the revised political balance;
  • approve the allocation of seats to political groups in accordance with political balance rules, as set out in the Appendix to the report and approve the changes to the membership of the Committees as outlined in paragraph 4.1 of this report.

 

She explained that there had been a recent change to the membership of political groups, whereby Councillor Steven Easterbrook (Bridgend County Independents) was elected in the recent by-election for the Bridgend Central Ward.

 

The change outlined above, had therefore affected the overall political balance on Committees within the Authority.

 

Due to this, the Monitoring Officer proposed the following changes to Committee memberships, in accordance with a provision of the Local Government Act 1972:-

 

1.     Town and Community Council Forum – Democratic Alliance Group to lose a seat, Bridgend County Independents to gain a seat.

2.     Development Control Committee – An Independent Member to lose a seat, Bridgend County Independents to gain a seat.

 

Following the review of political balance, the membership of committees has been updated to reflect the composition of Council accordingly. The updated political balance figures taking into account the above were shown within the attached Appendix to the report. 

 

The Monitoring Officer added, that the Group Leaders of the Bridgend County Independents and the Democratic Alliance together with Councillor Aspey, have been consulted on these changes and were in agreement with them. Both the above Group Leaders had been asked to announce at the meeting of Council on 19 October 2022, the changes required as detailed in the report, reflected in the decision below.

 

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 Steven Easterbrook at the by-election in the Bridgend Central Ward;

 

(2)    Approved the revised political balance (of the Council);

 

(3)    Approved the revised allocation of seats to political groups and in respect of Councillor Aspey in accordance with political balance rules as set out in the Appendix to this report and the resulting recommended changes to the membership of the Committees, as outlined in paragraph 4.1 of the report, namely that Councillor S Easterbrook gains seats on the Council’s Development Control Committee and the Town and Community Council Forum, with these seats being relinquished by Councillors S Aspey and E Richards, respectively.

54.

Information Report for Noting pdf icon PDF 264 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chief Officer Legal and Regulatory Services, HR and Corporate Policy, 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.

55.

To receive the following Questions to the Executive

Question from Councillor Graham Walter to the Cabinet Member Social Services and Early Help

Could the Cabinet Member for Social Services & Early Help please tell me what we are doing as a Council to recruit into vacant positions.

 

Question from Councillor Elaine Winstanley to the Cabinet Member Social Services and Early Help

Does the Cabinet Member for Social Services and Early Help have confidence that we will be able to meet care and support demands for our vulnerable residents during the winter months?

 

Question from Councillor Paul Davies to the Cabinet Member Social Services and Early Help

Considering fairly recent events in Bridgend reported in the press and through documentaries’, does the Cabinet Member for Social services and Early Help have confidence that Children’s Services is fit for purpose and that the services they deliver are safe and effective?

 

Question from Councillor Alex Williams to the Cabinet Member Communities

Is the Cabinet Member for Communities satisfied with the way in which Bridgend County Borough’s refuse and recycling service is being operated by the current service provider; is he content that the service is fulfilling the agreement as set out in the terms of the contract; and what is being done by BCBC to address the significant challenges faced by the operator during the stop-gap extension to the contract whereby there will be little commercial incentive for the operator to improve service delivery?

 

Question from Cllr Ian Williams to the Cabinet Member Communities

There has been a great deal of anger towards BCBC regarding the recreational provision for adults and children in Newbridge Fields which are to be honest an absolute disgrace.
I would like to know when works will start to make our premier park an inclusive and fun place for families with improvements to the substandard playground and the provision of toilets and disabled changing facilities and a suitable attraction such as a skateboard park for older children and teenagers.

 

 

 

Minutes:

Question from Councillor G Walter to the Cabinet Member – Social Services and Early Help

 

Could the Cabinet Member for Social Services & Early Help please tell me what we are doing as Council to recruit into vacant positions?

 

Retention and recruitment of the social care workforce is the highest priority for the Council.

 

It is important that Council roles offer a fair and competitive salary given the market for roles in social work and social care. The Council approved a market supplement policy in October 2021 and the market supplement has been applied where the criteria for it has been met in children’s social care. In addition, there has been a wider review of job descriptions to ensure that they reflect accurately the duties undertaken and this review has resulted in some roles, such as experienced social workers, being evaluated at a higher grade.

 

The Council has also progressed a range of actions to ensure that Bridgend is attractive to potential employees. Workforce charters for key occupations in social work and social care are being progressed which set out the commitment of the Council to employees as a flexible and supportive employer in which people can commence, and develop, their careers. The foundation of support for social care workforce is regular and good quality supervision and the opportunity to develop their careers and access excellent training and development. These aspects are core to the charter.

 

There is a major focus on workforce well-being with timely access to corporate wellbeing resources and specialist support when required.

Reviews of skill-mix have been undertaken and resulted in the creation of innovative social work support officer roles which mean that professionally qualified social workers undertake duties which only they can and there are opportunities for non-social workers to progress and develop their careers in social care.

 

Recognising the challenges in the social care and social work recruitment market, Bridgend is investing significantly in growing our own workforce of the future. Apprenticeship roles in social care and business support have been created. In the last 2 years Bridgend has appointed 16 people as social work secondees and trainees to the social work degree course. We work closely with our partners in Bridgend college and Social Care Wales to develop and implement career pathways into social care.

 

The Council is a flexible employer and promotes hybrid working and family friendly flexibility for the workforce in recruitment literature. Staff working in direct care services in adult and children’s services have a choice of contractual hours to reflect their needs. 9- day fortnights are promoted in social work teams and a generous relocation package is available to people moving to the Bridgend area to take up a role.

 

Barriers to working in particular roles are being addressed, for example, rotas are being changed to open up homecare roles to a non-driving workforce and electric vehicles are being purchased for workforce who can drive but do not have access to a vehicle for work.

 

In addition to the work  ...  view the full minutes text for item 55.

56.

Notice of Motion Proposed by Councillor Alex Williams

That this Council:

 

Requests that Cabinet conducts a review of BCBC’s School Admission Policy and Arrangements 2020/2021; and Learner Travel Policy 2016 and:

 

  1. Notes that Bridgend County Borough Council’s (BCBC’s) Home-to-School Transport Policy allows parents to choose either English-medium, Welsh-medium or a faith-based education for their child.
  2. Notes the report to Cabinet of 23rd July 2019 at paragraph 4.35 which states that: “For pupils wishing to benefit from Welsh-medium education, free home-to-school transport would apply to the nearest Welsh-medium school within Bridgend County Borough.”
  3. Notes that the report on Home-to-School Transport to Scrutiny & Overview Committee 2 on 5th February 2020 fails to mention that home-to-school transport would only apply to the nearest Welsh-medium school within Bridgend County Borough.
  4. Notes that this policy was not properly implemented in September 2020 and that pupils were wrongly awarded BCBC-funded, free home-to-school transport, and that this error was only identified in October 2021.
  5. Notes that free home-to-school transport is available to learners living in BCBC who wish to attend a Welsh-medium secondary school (YGG Llangynwyd) but regrets the erroneous miscommunication to parents and carers on 13th June 2022 which led parents, carers and the Headteachers of both Ysgol Gynradd Dolau and Ysgol Gyfun Llanhari to believe that learners were eligible for home-to-school transport, before unexpectedly discovering that they would not be in receipt of home-to-school transport in late August, a week before children were to start secondary school and had already attended Year 6/Year 7 transition activities with parents/carers also having purchased uniforms.
  6. Regrets that BCBC did not feel that it was necessary to communicate the administrative error which was identified in October 2021 to Ysgol Gynradd Dolau; Ysgol Gyfun Llanhari and parents/carers so that they could plan for the impact which the removal of home-to-school transport would have on children’s education upon transition in September 2022.
  7. Welcomes the fact that learners who have already transitioned from Ysgol Gynradd Dolau to Ysgol Gyfun Llanhari prior to the policy change will continue to receive BCBC-funded, free home-to-school transport from BCBC to Ysgol Llanhari until they complete their secondary school education as home-to-school transport provision had already been provided and, as a consequence, BCBC could not justify the removal of the provision.
  8. Notes that the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 makes provision about promoting and facilitating the use of the Welsh language and treating the Welsh language no less favourably than the English language; notes that the current Welsh Government “Learner Travel: statutory provision and operational guidance (2014)” identifies that local authorities must promote access to Welsh-medium education; and that this legislation does not preclude out-of-county home to school transport.
  9. Welcomes the long-term ambition to incentivise in-county Welsh language education but regrets the practical effect of BCBC’s School Admission & Learner Travel Policies which, in combination, have resulted (in some cases) in the parental choice to remove their children from Welsh language education due to the lack of communication and the negative emotional impact of this upheaval of splitting up friendship groups and  ...  view the full agenda text for item 56.

Minutes:

Councillor Williams put forward an amendment to his original Notice of Motion, as outlined at Item 18. on today’s meeting Agenda, following some constructive consultation and collaboration with the Cabinet Member - Education. This amendment resulted in replacing the original motion with that proposed as follows:-

 

‘That this Council:

 

Confirms that the Cabinet will review Bridgend County Borough Council’s School Admission Policy and Arrangements and Learner Travel Policy and that Cabinet acknowledges all of the points raised by him contained within the original motion which would all be considered as part of the review. ‘

 

As part of his remarks, Councillor Williams stated that he looked forward to receiving correspondence from the Cabinet on the timetable for the review, so that both policies could be scrutinised through the Overview and Scrutiny process, in due course.

 

By way of assent, members of Council supported the amended Notice of Motion as submitted by Councillor Williams.

57.

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. 

 

Minutes:

None.