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Declarations of Interest
To receive declarations of personal and prejudicial interest (if any) from Members/Officers in accordance with the provisions of the Members’ Code of Conduct adopted by Council from 1 September 2008.
Cllr Ross Penhale -Thomas declared a personal interest in all agenda items as he works for a charity that specialised in housing and equalities.
Cllr Melanie Evans declared a prejudicial interest in agenda item 6 as she is a governor for Pencoed Comprehensive and her son attends the same school. Councillor Evans left the meeting when this item was considered.
Cllr Rhys Goode (Chairperson) declared a personal interest as he works for a charity that works in equalities.
To receive for approval the Minutes of 25/07/2022
RESOLVED: Cllr Melanie Evans stated that it was not recorded that she had sent in her apologies. With the exception of the record of Cllr Evans’ apologies, the minutes of the meeting that took place on 25 July 2022 were approved as a true and accurate record.
The Chairperson raised an issue which he felt would be remiss if it was not mentioned within an Equalities Committee, that is the FIFA World Cup that took place in Qatar. The Chairperson consulted with the monitoring officer the day before the meeting. He expressed his congratulations to the Welsh men's football team and the FA of Wales for their successful campaign in the World Cup. He stated he felt it was important that they did not ignore what had been created by the authorities in Qatar and the duplicity of FIFA in holding it in such a repressive nation. He said that football had not always been a place where LGBTQ+ people have felt welcome, however the work, including the Welsh FA, had much to change with the culture and attitudes in the game. He stated that support for LGBTQ people isn't something that can be rolled out when convenient. Consideration had to be given to people whose human rights are being violated by a nation, as they had been given a global platform that demonstrated intolerance and this shouldn't be acceptable in 2022. FIFA should be using its influence to improve human rights, not to ignore them.
The Chairperson then invited the Consultation, Engagement and Equalities Manager to submit the report.
The Consultation, Engagement and Equalities Manager stated that the purpose of the report was to provide an update on the work completed within the Strategic Equality plan 2022-2024 and the period 2021-2022 and went through the report.
The Chairperson invited questions on the report.
The Deputy Leader queried that as it was White Ribbon Day the week of the meeting whether BCBC held accreditation as an employer as it previously did.
The CEE Manager responded that BCBC’s accreditation has lapsed, but the domestic violence team manager is looking into renewing accreditation for the 2023.
The Deputy Leader also queried with reference to unconscious bias, critical thinking and hidden disabilities with 24 delegates attending the training, out of a head count of employees where BCBC has 1232 males and 4655 female in a head count, she queried if 24 was an aspirational figure or if the thought was to be putting this through the workforce a bit more.
The Group Manager Human Resources and Organisational Development, stated that there had been other training taking place that was not detailed in the report. The report is a “snapshot”. The Group Manager Human Resources and Organisational Development accepted that the numbers looked extremely low when compared to the overall size of the Council's workforce. She pointed out that it is not reflective of training that had been undertaken previously by other by employees and as such is not cumulative figure.
The figures reflect what had occurred during the reporting period on specific courses highlighted as part of the SEP, she assured members that if required, at a further date, HR could bring a more detailed report on training attendance.
The Chairperson added that he and the CCE Manager have had ... view the full minutes text for item 12.
The Community Cohesion Officer discussed the report submitted and invited questions.
The Chairperson queried the possibility of an uptake in tension within the communities as the visas and hosting period for Ukrainian Guests came to an end, though there had not been a change to the situation in the country while time elapsed.
The Community Cohesion Officer stated at the beginning of the crisis the Ukraine scheme had a very different response to the Afghan scheme as an example. People had generally been very welcoming and very supportive and they had not seen an increase in Community tensions relating to the Ukraine scheme. They had considered that the cost of living crisis could change this but for the moment, they had actually seen it increasing Community tensions.
The Community Cohesion officer stated they have seen Housing leading on the Ukraine scheme and they would be best placed to provide specific data. She stated they had seen a small amount of hosts in the area where perhaps the relationship may have broken down and families have been able to have required additional housing or support, but had been significant initiative from Welsh Government and from the Wales Housing to strengthen hosts and family relations by way of delivering workshops specifically for hosts and their homes in the Ukraine Scheme, providing support directly for hosts to try and increase that the longevity of the stay so that it doesn't get to six months and the relationship is broken down. She stated that they had also seen, under the Ukraine scheme, that most people who arrived had wanted to start working straight away. They had good qualifications, and wanted to start training, in such cases, people have really had a more positive relationship with their hosts. A small percentage had seen a breakdown in the relationship.
A Member stated she knew of new arrivals being extremely educated and yet being offered jobs that were below their qualifications which in turn was demoralizing. The Member also cited further examples and queried what can be done to support individuals given their circumstances and how can their well-being be supported while ensuring that they receive support. The Councillor also queried the prevalence of hate crime.
The Community Cohesion Officer responded that they are working with organizations involved with displaced people in with a view to placing those who are fully qualified in specific areas and ensuring that the procedures are followed to allow such qualifications being utilised. She cited an example, where displaced people in action have a program where medical professionals can get the equivalent of the qualification recognized in the UK which is translated so that they can practice medicine in the UK without having to we go through training again.
A Member mentioned that the visitors were having to report to the job centre but receive the message that they were required to take up employment irrespective of their qualifications to ensure receipt of benefits.
The Member also queried hate crime figures as ... view the full minutes text for item 13.
The Consultation, Engagement and Equalities Manager explained the purpose of the report and stated as a general update, there's been two key Welsh language consultations that had taken place in 2021 to 2022, stakeholders from across the borough were asked to share their views on the draft Welsh language objectives.
The public consultation closed on the 18th of June 2021 was published on the Council website on the 1st of September 2021. The Welsh and Strategic Welsh in Education strategic plan was launched on the 27th of September and the results from the consultation were used to inform the final WESP, which has been in place since September 2022.
Monitoring is carried out monthly to identify the demand for Welsh services across all access channels within customer services including telephone face to face, e-mail and online.
Online recruitment is available in Welsh with the ability to enable the submission of Welsh applications advertisement of vacancies via MBO.
A rolling calendar of Welsh language activities and events is still in place, sharing details across internal and external communication channels such as press, social media and Bridgenders.
The Consultation, Engagement and Equalities Manager elaborated on the use of grant funding received in early years settings in Bettws, Ogmore Valley Preschool, and Bridgend.
She stated there was continuous monitoring of the number of seven-year olds being taught through the medium of Welsh and stated that there had been a significant amount of promotional work undertaken to encourage more families to consider Welsh medium education for their children.
She stated that the Council monitors the transition from primary provision to secondary provision, with the aim to improve transition rates and increase retention of children in Welsh medium education in foundation phase and key stage.
The Consultation, Engagement and Equalities Manager stated that in order to support an increase in the number of Welsh Medium childcare providers, Flying Start settings in Brackla will become a Clych Meithrin in the afternoon sessions from January 2023.
The Consultation, Engagement and Equalities Manager concluded that BCBC continued to work in partnership with Urdd Gobaith Cymru to deliver school half term activities.
She proposed that the recommendation for the report is for the committee to note the progress that's been made in the last year.
A Member queried while it was great to see that the new centre in Blackmill was nearing completion she wondered referring to a previous update by the Directorate there wasn't a lot of interest from providers to go in and actually provide that service there and that maybe there would be some discussions with Welsh Government at how that can be progressed. She queried if parties had come forward with an interest to provide services and options available to ensure that it is set up and functional at the earliest opportunity.
The Corporate Director for Education and Family support stated that the Directorate had run an extensive marketplace event for providers to try and attract Welsh medium childcare providers into that setting and the ... view the full minutes text for item 14.
The Consultation, Engagement and Equalities Manager introduced the report stating that the purpose of the report was to provide Members with an update on the implementation of the Welsh language standards and a version of this report is presented at every Cabinet Equalities Committee to keep all interested parties updated.
She highlighted progress or updates with compliance since the last report that was presented in July 2022 and following a complaint from the Commissioner regarding the Mynydd Cynffig consultation when he was found that BCBC had not fully considered the effects.
The Officer also mentioned a second complaint received from the Commissioner with reference to BCBC’s website.
The Councillors and officers discussed the complaint, ruling and proposals with regards to Mynydd Cynffig.
RESOLVED: That the Cabinet Committee Equalities receives and considers the content of the report.
To consider any other item(s) of business in respect of which notice has been given in accordance with Rule 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.