Agenda, decisions and minutes

Council
Wednesday, 21st October, 2020 15:00

Venue: remotely via Skype for Business

Contact: Democratic Services  Mark Anthony Galvin

Media

Items
No. Item

460.

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:

Councillor S Baldwin declared a prejudicial interest in Agenda item 6 and withdrew from the meeting when this report/presentation was considered.

 

461.

Approval of Minutes pdf icon PDF 186 KB

To receive for approval the minutes of 16/09/2020

Minutes:

RESOLVED:                             That the Minutes of Council dated 16 September 2020, be approved as a true and accurate record, subject to the following:

 

  1. That Council noted that the declaration of personal interest made by the Mayor in respect of the City Deal item, was made subsequent to the meeting and not at the meeting itself.
  2. That it be further noted that the Mayor had made an apology at the Annual meeting of Council, in that he confirmed that he was wrong to announce that a Conservative Councillor had made an incorrect statement on an item at the meeting of Council on 16 September 2020, when it could have in fact, been any Councillor in attendance at the meeting, regardless of which political group they were a member of.

 

462.

To receive announcements from the Mayor

Minutes:

Prior to going into his formal announcements, the Mayor felt that it was incumbent to state to those that were in the Member briefing immediately prior to Council, that as both Mayor and the partner of Councillor J Williams, that this Council collectively acknowledges her bravery in providing an example to us all in the face of great adversity and in vocalising the situation that faces not only herself, but so many other individuals in the face of the pandemic.

 

The Mayor following this, welcomed all those present to his first Ordinary Council meeting since being invested as Mayor. He hoped that all Members and Officers and their families were keeping safe and well.

 

He announced that despite these unusual times, he had the pleasure of carrying out his first official engagement, albeit virtually.  He had spoken to Mr. Laurence Brophy of Pencoed who at 88 cycled from Land’s End to John O’Groats and back again to raise over £5,000 for the homeless charity Llamau.  Not only did Laurence complete this amazing journey, he did it with no support team and slept rough along the way to better understand the challenges of being homeless and feeling vulnerable.  Laurence is already planning his next challenge which is possibly going to be the three peaks challenge.

 

The Mayor added that it was very enlightening to speak to someone who has so much enthusiasm, drive and desire to help those less fortunate than himself.  He had subsequently written to Laurence and expressed the Council’s admiration and support for his future endeavours.

 

As he had advised in his Mayoral acceptance speech, the charities that the Mayor would be supporting during his term of office, are Parkinson’s UK and the Epilepsy Society.  He was looking at the feasibility of holding some virtual fundraising events and will of course update those present, with any future details. In the meantime he added, donations could be made via the Mayor’s Just Giving account. The link for this could be found on the BCBC Mayoral webpage.

 

463.

To receive announcements from the Leader

Minutes:

The Leader announced that earlier this week, Welsh Government confirmed that the whole of Wales is to enter a two-week ‘fire-break’ period of lockdown that will begin on Friday 23 October, and end on Monday 9 November.

 

With as many as 2,500 people contracting coronavirus every day in Wales, the First Minister confirmed the action as being essential to turn this around, and to prevent hospitals and critical care units from becoming overwhelmed in the weeks and months ahead.

 

The move will also support efforts to limit restrictions around the forthcoming Christmas and New Year periods, and follows efforts by Welsh Government to keep Wales safe by preventing people travelling to Wales from coronavirus ‘hot spots’ in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

 

The fire-break will impose a number of restrictions upon households and businesses throughout Wales throughout its duration.

 

People will need to stay at home, and also work from home wherever possible.

 

People can only go out for essential reasons, e.g. to buy food or pick up a prescription medicine, and can also leave home to exercise either alone, with members of your household or with a carer.

 

Adults living alone or single parents will be able to join with one other household for support, but visits to other households or meeting with people you do not live with, either indoors or outdoors, will not be possible.

 

Outdoor gatherings, including organised activities such as Halloween or Bonfire Night, will not be able to take place.

 

However, an exception will be made for small-scale Remembrance Sunday events that have already been organised.

 

While community centres, libraries and recycling centres will all need to close, local parks, playgrounds and outdoor gyms can remain open.

 

As regards the impact upon local schools, primary and special schools will re-open as normal after the October half-term holiday, and secondary schools will re-open for children in years seven and eight.

 

Pupils will be able to attend school to take exams, but other children will need to continue with their learning from home for an extra week.

 

All non-food retail and hospitality businesses, close contact services, and events and tourism businesses are required to close during the lockdown.

 

This will include hairdressers, beauticians, hotels, cafes, restaurants and pubs, but take-away and delivery services will still be able to operate.

 

Health and NHS services will continue to operate, and where indoor public spaces remain open, face coverings must be worn, including on public transport and in taxis.

 

To support businesses during the lockdown fortnight, Welsh Government has announced a new £300m fund.

 

Every business covered by the small business rates relief will receive a £1,000 payment, while all small and medium-sized retail, leisure and hospitality businesses that have to close will receive a one-off payment of up to £5,000.

 

A recently announced fund to help businesses develop in the longer term is being increased from £80m to £100m, with the additional £20m ring-fenced to support tourism and hospitality businesses.

 

Additional discretionary grants and support will also be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 463.

464.

Presentation By Valleys To Coast & Programme Of Future Presentations To Council pdf icon PDF 63 KB

Minutes:

The Chief Executive submitted a report, the purpose of which, was to introduce a presentation to Council from Valleys To Coast and to inform Members of the programme of future presentations to Council.  

 

The Mayor introduced to the meeting Jo Oak, Chief Executive of V2c together with colleagues to give a presentation on the work of V2c and how they integrate with partners such as BCBC and others.

 
The Chief Executive of V2c, thanked Members for the opportunity to come and speak with them today and hoped this will be the start of BCBC and V2c forging stronger relationships, not just at a senior level but across all parts of its organisations.

She advised that she had been in conversation with the Chief Executive of the Council, in order to develop an understanding of the pressures, priorities and common goals we share as organisations and she felt confident that the levels of collaboration and engagement would be increased in the future, in order to reap the benefits of a fresh approach, a fresh start.

The Chief Executive V2c stated, that just like the local authority, the Housing Association were planning for a future it did not foresee at the beginning of this year. Now more than ever collaborative working together was required, in order to recognise the areas where we can add value, the areas where we can signpost people to others who can too, and find ways to empower ourselves and others to help us with the transformation, due to the untimely pandemic. 

V2c saw now as the right time for that organisation and the Council to work closer together and be seen as a partner of choice by BCBC. She did not want V2c to be known as just a housing association, but also to be recognised for building homes and communities too.

 

The relationship between the two, was starting now from a position of strength, though she acknowledged that there is more that could be achieved to be more closely joined-up and more that could be done, to ensure that we make ourselves part of the conversations and move towards being planned and not reactive in their responses.

 

The Chief Executive of V2c stated, that as an organisation they were listening, learning and responding and there was a willingness to improve and grow. Of equal importance, there was an enthusiasm and desire to do this too. Whilst she conceded that V2c were not fully where they wanted to be yet with the organisation being no means perfect, she had been encouraged by the collective response from her colleagues to this difficult year and she felt, that V2c were coming into this second phase of the pandemic, much stronger than they had started it.

She advised that she, together with colleagues, wanted to talk through the key areas where it was felt with BCBC it could work together to both add value and also demonstrate some developing areas, where progress was being made.

 

She wished to take a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 464.

465.

Annual Report 2019-20 pdf icon PDF 78 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chief Executive submitted a report, the purpose of which, was to present the Council’s Annual Report 2019-20 (at Appendix A) for Council to consider and approve.

 

The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change stated that, in accordance with the Shared Purpose Shared Future statutory guidance (SPSF: 2) for the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, individual public bodies must annually review the progress of their well-being objectives and publish a report to assess the extent to which these objectives contribute to the 7 wellbeing goals in accordance with the sustainable development principal.

 

Under section 15 of the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 and in accordance with the related statutory guidance issued by the Welsh Government, the authority must also publish its assessment of performance for the previous financial year before 31 October.

II She explained, that in March 2019, the Council published its Corporate Plan 2018-22, revised 2019-20. The Plan sets out its vision, which is, always to act as ‘One Council working together to improve lives’, and its three well-being objectives. The Plan also reiterates the well-being objectives for 2019-20.

The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change, stated that the Plan defined 41 commitments to deliver the three well-being objectives and set out 56 outcome focused indicators to measure the progress for the financial year.

Overall, the Council performed very well in 2019-20, she advised. Of the 41 commitments 34 (82.9%) were completed successfully with 3 (7.3%) achieving most of their milestones and 4 (9.8%) missing most of their milestones. There were justifiable reasons why some targets were missed.

Of the 56 indicators identified for the Corporate Plan, 52 can be compared against their target:  35 (67.3%) met their target, 9 (17.3%) were off target by less than 10% and 8 (15.4%) missed the target by more than 10%.  Detailed information about the Council’s performance was included in Appendix A to the report.  

The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change, explained further, that due to Covid-19, Welsh Government confirmed that there would be no data collection of Public Accountability Measures (PAMs) for 2019-20 therefore no analysis has been undertaken in relation to these indicators.

A summary of funding and financial performance for the year, regulators’ findings and themes that underpin the Council’s work were also set out in the report, which due to the pandemic had looked forward as well as back, something which had not been custom and practice for the Annual Report, in the past.

A Member referred to page 11 of the Annual Report and the Aim to create successful town centres. He noted the number of visitors to the town centre of Bridgend in terms of its target of 7.2m for 2019/20 had not been achieved and by quite some margin. He further noted whereby, that the footfall in Porthcawl town had actually increased from 2018/19. He asked for some clarification why this was the case, particularly given that GFK had increased in all areas of the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 465.

466.

Capital Programme Update - Quarter 2 2020-21 pdf icon PDF 142 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Interim 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 of the Capital Programme for the period 1 April to 30 September 2020 (Appendix A to the report);

 

           seek approval for a revised capital programme for 2020-21 to 2029-30 (Appendix B);

 

           note the projected Prudential and Other Indicators for 2020-21 (Appendix C)

 

She reminded Members, that on 26 February 2020, Council approved a capital programme covering the period 2020-21 to 2029-30 as part of the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS). The capital programme was last updated and approved by Members on 22 July 2020. This report provided an update on the following areas:

 

Capital Programme 2020-21 Quarter 2 update;

Capital Programme 2020-21 Onwards;

Prudential and Other Indicators;

Capital Strategy monitoring

 

Turning to the Capital Programme, the Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change, referred to paragraph 4.1 of the report. This section of the report provided Members with an update on the Council’s

capital programme for 2020-21 since the budget was last approved by Council and incorporates any new schemes and grant approvals. The revised programme for 2020-21 currently totals £53.541 million, of which £27.850 million is met from Bridgend County Borough Council (BCBC) resources, including capital receipts and revenue contributions from earmarked reserves, with the remaining £25.691 million coming from external resources, including General Capital Grant.

 

Table 1 in this section of the report, showed the capital programme for each

Directorate from the July 2020 (Quarter 1) approved Council position to quarter 2.

 

Table 2, then summarised the current funding assumptions for the capital

programme for 2020-21. The capital resources are managed to ensure that

maximum financial benefit for the Council is achieved. This may include the

re-alignment of funding to maximise government grants, she explained.

 

The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change, then referred to Appendix A of the report, which provided details of the individual schemes within the capital programme, showing the budget available in 2020-21 compared to the projected spend.

 

A number of schemes had already been identified as requiring slippage of

budget to future years (2021-22 and beyond). At quarter 2 the total requested slippage was £13.875 million. Details of these schemes were shown at paragraph 4.4 of the report.

 

She advised that since the last capital report in July 2020, there have been a number of new externally funded schemes approved and internally funded schemes, which have been incorporated into the capital programme. These were included on page 123/124 of the report, with a Revised Capital Programme included at Appendix B (to the report).

 

In February 2020, Council approved the Capital Strategy for 2020-21, which

included the Prudential Indicators 2020-21 to 2022-23 together with some local indicators.

 

Appendix C to the report, detailed the actual indicators for 2019-20, the estimated indicators  ...  view the full minutes text for item 466.

467.

Information Report for noting pdf icon PDF 78 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

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.

 

RESOLVED:                That Council acknowledged the publication of the document listed in the report.

 

468.

To receive the following Question from:

Councillor A Hussain to the Cabinet Member Communities

 

In UK about 11 billion wet wipes are used every year - causing 93 percent of blockage in UK sewers. In Wales, Welsh waters deals with around 2,000 sewer blockage every month and the major cause of which are wipes.

Knowing that 90 percent of wipes contain more than ¾ plastic and since we are doing well with our recycling waste collection, should we not be the first Council to introduce separate collection for these wet wipes as any other single use plastic?

Minutes:

Councillor A Hussain to the Deputy Leader/Cabinet Member – Communities:

 

In UK about 11 billion wet wipes are used every year - causing 93 percent of blockage in UK sewers. In Wales, Welsh waters deals with around 2,000 sewer blockage every month and the major cause of which are wipes.

Knowing that 90 percent of wipes contain more than ¾ plastic and since we are doing well with our recycling waste collection, should we not be the first Council to introduce separate collection for these wet wipes as any other single use plastic?

 

Response:

 

Bridgend Council is already proudly amongst the top recycling authorities in Wales. Well ahead of the statutory 64% recycling target set by Welsh Government. Thanks to the public’s commitment and engagement with our leading recycling service.

On the 1st April of 2024 two important milestones will be passed in terms of our waste and recycling services. Firstly the Welsh Government statutory recycling target will rise to 70% recycling and secondly, our current contract which defines our service collection methodology with Kier will expire.

Officers are already working on the options for the service post 2024, and over the coming months and years, engagement with council members and the public will be carried out to define the next phase of our service provision.

A process that will include reviewing strategically and holistically what the future range of materials we recycle is composed of. Ensuring we achieve maximum environmental benefit in a cost effective way. Guaranteeing that BCBC remains a leader in this field of protecting the environment and surpassing statutory targets.

With respect to the specific request to recycle wet wipes, whilst it is possible to recycle them (not with our normal kerbside plastic) but with our outlet for Absorbent Hygiene Products (AHP) who can take them from us, it is not recommended at this time.

In order to recycle the wet wipes the AHP service would need to be extended to all household to collect a relatively small extra tonnage of material separately. This would be both prohibitively expensive and questionable in terms of environmental benefit when taking into account the carbon impact of sending vehicles to every household for such limited quantities of recyclable material.

To summarise and conclude, we will continue to provide a market leading recycling service, actively promote and engage with the public in regards to the current service. Whilst undertaking a wholescale review of the provision in readiness for implementation of a revised collection regime in April 2024. Mid-term contract and service changes are not recommended.

Supplementary question from Councillor A Hussain

Wipes at present are either used for land fill or are incinerated which contributes to more carbon emissions and poor air quality than vehicular  which is avoidable and let us hope and wait for our electric fleet for waste collection.

We are putting tea bags in our food waste bin as marked on our household food waste caddy, knowing that the skeleton left behind however is the non-biodegradable polypropylene  ...  view the full minutes text for item 468.

469.

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:

The Mayor accepted the following question as an urgent item, in accordance with Part 4 (paragraph 4) of the Council Procedure Rules in the Constitution. 

 

Question from Councillor MC Voisey to the Leader

 

Could the Leader outline the discussions he has had with the First Minister and other Welsh Government officials before the announcement of the 'circuit-breaker' lockdown. What evidence was he provided with to ensure that this was the only necessary course of action and does he support it?"

 

Response

 

All Leaders of local authorities in Wales met with the First Minister on 15 October 2020, regarding the above proposal. Similarly, all Leaders met with the Local Government Minister on 16 and 18 October. Welsh Government officials as they had made publically, then made a compelling case based on scientific and medical information produced by the Chief Scientific and Chief Medical Officer in Wales and following the holding of Covid-19 Specialist Advisory Groups that considered this information. The circuit-breaker decision was subsequently made, due to the increase in coronavirus cases across Wales, which confirmed in turn, that hospital admissions were rising and would continue to do so in the immediate future, if no action was taken. If no action had been taken, then a loss of further lives would have taken place, together with a risk of the NHS in Wales being overwhelmed by an increase in hospital admissions as a result of increased Covid-19 cases. This case was made to all Leaders of welsh local authorities and the Leader confirmed, that he had not heard an alternative set of measures being proposed, including by an opposition party, to the one suggested by the First Minister. This action was required, in order to stem the rise and spread of Covid-19 cases within our welsh communities. Our Instant Management Team, a Multi-Agency group for the Cwm Taf Morgannwg region, that includes Bridgend, Merthyr and Rhondda Cynon Taf local authorities, have agreed with the recommendation made by Welsh Government that urgent action is required at this time, in order to stem the tide of the virus in order to ensure any loss of life as a result of the pandemic, is as limited as possible.

 

Supplementary question from Councillor MC Voisey

The national lockdown will have the danger of damaging the economic and health wellbeing of more people, than the potential effects of Covid-19. I understand all 22 Local Authority leaders requested secondary schools remain open, and that greater use of regional lockdowns, in hot spots be used. Clearly your voices were ignored by the First Minister. We now have businesses like gyms (now open in Liverpool) important to the wellbeing, physical and mental health of our citizens, closed, without evidence of them being of danger of spreading Covid, likewise hairdressers etc. When the two week lockdown is reviewed, what will you as Leader do to support the unheard voices of the people and businesses you represent, to ensure they get a fair hearing.

 

Response

 

The Leader stated that he was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 469.