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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.
Councillor R Smith declared a prejudicial interest in Agenda item 5, as he was a Director of a company that was a recipient of a Warm Hub grant.
Councillor H Bennett declared a prejudicial interest in Agenda item 5, as an employer of an organisation that was administering the grants.
Councillor E Winstanley declared a prejudicial interest in Agenda item 5, as an employer of an organisation that was administering the grants.
Councillor S Parker declared a personal interest in Agenda item 5, as his wife was a member of Cornelly Warm Hubs who have also been in receipt of a grant.
To receive for approval the Minutes of 21/11/2022
RESOLVED: That the minutes of a meeting of the Town and Community Council Forum dated 21 November 2022, be approved as a true and accurate record.
The Corporate Policy and Public Affairs Manager presented a report, in order to provide an update on the Council’s Corporate Plan and seek support from the Town and Community Council Forum on sharing the Corporate Plan 2023-28, that was attached at Appendix 1 to the covering report. This was due to be reported to Council later this month.
She confirmed that there are 7 wellbeing goals for Wales, set out in the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, and the Council like other local authorities, needed to demonstrate our contribution to each of these goals, which are –
• A prosperous Wales
• A resilient Wales
• A healthier Wales
• A more equal Wales
• A Wales of cohesive communities
• A Wales of vibrant culture and thriving Welsh language
• A globally responsible Wales
The Corporate Policy and Public Affairs Manager added, that the Council must also consider the 5 ways of working as it develops the new Corporate Plan. These were –
• Long term - balancing short-term needs with the need to safeguard the ability to also meet long-term needs
• Prevention - acting to prevent problems occurring or getting worse to help the Council meet its objectives
• Integration – thinking about how its wellbeing goals will contribute to the 7 national goals, on its other objectives and on partners objectives.
• Collaboration – working across different parts of the Council and partners to achieve its objectives
• Involvement - involving people with an interest in achieving the well-being goals, and ensuring those people reflect the diversity of its area.
The Corporate Plan is the Council’s main vehicle for demonstrating and communicating the priorities to local people and businesses. It was also an important part of the assurance framework for its regulators. Audit Wales intend to test approaches to developing the Corporate Plan (especially the well-being objectives) across Wales over the next 6 months. These Objectives were outlined in paragraph 3.5 of the report.
Welsh Government were also taking a keen interest in the development of well-being objectives, in line with the evolution of the Social Partnership Bill and guidance. They are keen to see evidence of the Council working with staff and Trade Unions on the development of its well-being objectives and plan.
The Corporate Policy and Public Affairs Manager then outlined some of the work that had been undertaken or was required, such as in relation to:
· Use of research, data and information to inform the Corporate Plan;
· Use of engagement, involvement and consultation to inform the Corporate Plan.
Further detail regarding the work carried out in these areas, was explained in the report, including feedback in terms of consultation both internally, for example through the Overview and Scrutiny process and externally with stakeholders, such as constituents, the Public Service Board and the Youth Council.
Following the consultation process, some changes had been made to the Corporate Plan based on the feedback received, such as:
• Rewriting the principles, and changing the ... view the full minutes text for item 13.
The Cost of Living Co-ordinator (Employability Bridgend) presented a report, the purpose of which, was to provide the Town and Community Council Forum with an update on the cost-of-living support activity, more specifically Warm Hubs, being provided to communities across Bridgend County Borough.
By way of some background information, she advised that the impact of the rising cost of living affects everyone but there are groups who are likely to be hardest hit. These people spend a greater proportion of their total income on food, housing and energy costs and therefore have less flexibility to meet increased costs. Those who were able to balance their budgets instead start struggling or find themselves in crisis.
Issues with older housing stock means many homes are relatively less energy efficient. In rural areas homes are more likely to be reliant on solid fuel, oil, or LPG for their heating. These are all factors that increase energy costs.
The Cost of Living Co-ordinator confirmed, that in April 2022 the domestic energy price cap was increased to £1,971 per year leading the Welsh Government to estimate that up to 45% of households could be in fuel poverty and up to 8% of households could be in severe fuel poverty. As 1 in 5 homes in Wales posed an unacceptable risk to health prior to the cost-of-living crisis the increase in households affected by fuel poverty is likely to increase excess winter deaths overall.
In September 2022, in response to the escalating cost of living crisis, specifically the increasing cost of energy, Welsh Government announced £1m of funding would be made available to support communities to develop Warm Hubs or expand and enhance Warm Hub provision.
Then in October 2022 it was announced that the funding would be distributed via local authorities who would work with local partners in the development and delivery of Warm Hubs. Bridgend County Borough Council was allocated £44,590 to support Warm Hubs through a grant scheme to be spent by 31 March 2023.
She explained that Warm Hubs are intended as places in local communities where people can find a safe and warm environment during the day to help reduce the cost of heating their own homes and to help people facing extreme fuel poverty this winter. Depending on their location and facilities, Warm Hubs offer a range of support including basic refreshments and snacks as a minimum, extending to a more substantive meal where possible, enrichment activities such as arts and crafts, exercise and cultural activity and the provision of advice and support services such as health and wellbeing, financial matters, and digital accessibility for those who attend.
The aim of the Warm Hubs fund is to provide safe, accessible, friendly, free to use spaces to provide support with the rising cost of living whilst helping communities to be well and stay as such.
To facilitate the allocation of grant funding a scoping exercise was undertaken across the County Borough. To reflect the diversity of local communities across the County ... view the full minutes text for item 14.
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.