(i) Mayor (or person presiding)
(ii) Members of the Cabinet
(iii) Chief Executive
(i) Maer (neu’r person sy’n llywyddu)
(ii) Aelodau’r Cabinet
(iii) Prif Weithredwr
The Mayor announced that it has only been three weeks since his official inauguration as Mayor, though he and his Consort have hit the ground running. They had already attended sixteen “official” engagements, all very different but in their own way very interesting and enjoyable.
They had been fascinated by the Young Carers’ book launch, with young people having collaborated to produce a children’s story book to help raise awareness in primary school children, of some of the issues confronting young carers. This was a very moving and inspiring event and it was fantastic to meet everyone who made the book a reality he explained.
The Mayor also had the honour of meeting His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent during his visit to Sony last week. He/his Consort were treated to an interesting and informative tour of the factory, where we watched the production of the Raspberry Pi - a fantastic example of UK innovation, design and engineering.
The opening of the Maesteg Festival was also a most enjoyable evening, with the group Collabro providing superb musical entertainment. He also wished to mention about the wonderful art exhibition by children of several Maesteg primary schools. The exhibition used very unusual materials, and was aided and inspired by the young Welsh artist Nathan Wyburn.
Another extremely interesting event was the Young Enterprise regional finals, which were held at the Cardiff Business School. Teams of young entrepreneurs from all over Wales were competing for a place in the All Britain finals, and Brynteg School took part and won the award for the best trade stand. Their excellent project uses recycled carrier bags to make shoes for people in third world countries; unfortunately they lost out to Haberdashers’ School in Monmouth, but he had been very impressed with our local team.
Besides these events, the Mayor had attended a store opening, a Freedom of the Borough presentation in RCT, the volunteer day at the Cats Protection League, Tondu Art Society awards, Tenovus Choir 5th birthday event, Carers’ Week event , a British Citizenship ceremony, Wartime Bridgend, Cefn Cribwr Open Gardens, YMCA visit, and ‘Equaliteas’ event celebrating 100 years of votes for women with our local Guide company.
Lastly but not least, the Mayor confirmed that he had the pleasure of announcing that Lewis David Pilliner will be the new Youth Mayor for the year 2018 -19, Lewis is a pupil of Bryntirion Comprehensive School and he looked forward to working with him during the coming year.
The Deputy Leader asked Members to continue to encourage their constituents to sign for the Council’s recently launched ‘My Account’ service.
Along with the all-new website, My Account is designed to make it far easier and simpler for people to access council services, and has the potential to deliver big savings for the authority.
My Account is a round-the-clock online hub that lets people carry out council-related tasks quickly and easily, 24 hours a day. The initial stage lets you do things such as view a council tax bill, apply for housing benefit, request discounts and exemptions, make online payments, set up and manage direct debits, subscribe to e-billing and more.
As My Account develops, it will be expanded to enable people to do things like report potholes, apply for places at local schools, pay for school meals or let the authority know about faulty street lights.
To use the new service, residents simply visit the council website and register for an account using their email address.
The repeated session of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) awareness training is being held in the Council Chamber on Wednesday 27th June 2018 starting at 9:00 am. All Councillors have been registered as Data Controllers and this training has been identified by the Democratic Services Committee as essential for all Elected members to attend.
Elected Member Role descriptions have been created and tailored for each individual Councillor. The Head of Democratic Services has requested that you check and sign the copies of your individual role descriptions that have been placed on your desks. These will be collected at the end of the meeting and will be used to support the achievement of the WLGA Charter for Member Support and Development. If any amendments are required to your role descriptions please let the Democratic Services Team know and they will update the documents accordingly.
Members are requested to leave their Surface Pro devices in their desks in the Council Chamber on conclusion of today’s meeting. This will enable the ICT Department to carry out necessary Microsoft upgrades to the devices and to allow for the Modern.gov restricted App to be installed, which when installed, will give Members access to Exempt papers for Committees they are members of.
The upgrades will take place on Thursday 21st and Friday 22nd of June. The Democratic Services Team will contact you to arrange for you to pick up your device and to take Members through the registration process for the Restricted App.
Cabinet Member – Communities
The Cabinet Member – Communities announced that Porthcawl’s iconic Jennings Building has been recognised with another award after the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors applauded the way in which the Grade-II listed structure has been brought back into public use.
He was sure that Members will have noted how the first of the new terraced sections have been installed at the town beach, and with developments such as an overhaul of the harbour kiosk that is set to provide marina users with new facilities or the new water sports centre that is being developed at Rest Bay, exciting times lay ahead. Salt Lake was now back in the Council’s hands, and he was am hoping that we will have fresh news soon on the seafront site formerly occupied by the old Dunraven Flats.
In other Porthcawl news, some work is set to take place at the breakwater wall to check that the structure still remains sound. The breakwater has done a fantastic job, and has even found itself making international news thanks to some stunning views of huge waves crashing over its iconic lighthouse. Further details would follow as the work takes place.
The 2018 ‘Year of the Sea’ is underway, and Bridgend County Borough has already marked it by holding an ‘aquathlon’, a bay swim and voluntary beach-cleaning events.
The Council is planning lots of other summer activities with partners such as Awen Cultural Trust and Credu Charity Ltd, so Members should not be surprised if they see giant sea creatures roaming along the promenade, street theatre or a modern twist on traditional seaside postcards. The Year of the Sea will also be marked in a range of interesting ways at other popular events over the next few months, so he urged Members to look out for more news on this soon.
Elsewhere in the County Borough, six-year-old Cwmfelin pupil Thomas Lewis has won a County Borough-wide competition to come up with a fitting name for our new CCTV patrol car which is tackling dangerous and illegal parking outside schools.
The car has now been fitted with livery featuring its new name, which is Roly Patrolly.
Roly Patrolly uses CCTV automatic number plate recognition, and is designed to record any inconsiderate motorists who park their cars illegally on school ‘keep clear’ zones, bus stops, pedestrian crossings with zig-zags and other restricted areas that put children at risk.
Cabinet Member – Social Services and Early Help
The Cabinet Member – Social Services and Early Help, confirmed that the new Bridgend MASH multi-agency safeguarding hub recently moved into Ravens Court and is continuing to establish itself.
By early autumn, the MASH will feature around 85 members of staff from adult and children’s social care, South Wales Police, education, housing, substance misuse, probation, health, early help services and the Wales Community Rehabilitation Company.
They will work together as part of a multi-agency team to provide effective safeguarding services for children, young people and adults.
The establishment of the Bridgend MASH coincides with the implementation of the Social Services and Well Being (Wales) Act 2014, and will enable earlier, higher-quality information sharing, analysis and decision-making to take place.
An official launch is being planned for early autumn, and the Cabinet Member – Social Services and Early Help, was looking forward to bringing to Council further details on this in due course.
He also wanted to mention that Carer’s Week 2018 was marked in Bridgend County Borough with a series of information events, stands, drop-in centres and more.
Set up under this year’s theme of ‘helping carers to stay healthy and connected’, the events took place at venues ranging from Sainsbury’s to the Princess of Wales Hospital where they received a lot of attention.
As a final related point of interest, one of our young carers has written an illustrated book in conjunction with Bridgend Carers Centre.
It’s called ‘The Bear Who Cared’ and is designed to educate small children about what it means to be a carer.
The Cabinet Member – Social Services and Early Help found this to be a very touching and informative insight, and he hoped that Members would too. More could be found out about this book via Bridgend Carers centre.
Cabinet Member – Wellbeing and Future Generations
The Cabinet Member – Wellbeing and Future Generations, advised that Members will be aware that Welsh Government has set an affordable homes target of 20,000. One of the ways in which Bridgend County Borough is contributing towards this is through the delivery and installation of brand new ‘modular’ housing.
These are made up of individual factory-built sections which come complete with fitted appliances, heating and electrics. They are being constructed locally at a Kenfig factory, so that each section or module can be fitted on-site to form a complete house.
The beauty of the scheme is that it provides high-quality, low-cost housing very, very quickly, reducing the construction period to as little as three weeks per home. This means that when compared with traditional construction methods, modular homes can be delivered at a rate which is 50 per cent faster and has less impact upon the environment.
The scheme is being provided as part of a partnership with Valleys to Coast and specialists Wernick Buildings. It will establish eight new modular homes in Sarn and Tondu, and has been funded by Welsh Government.
Our longstanding partnership with Valleys To Coast Housing has been hugely productive in providing local communities with high-quality homes, and she was sure that the new modular units will prove to be another big success.
The Cabinet Member – Wellbeing and Future Generations, also briefly mentioned the forthcoming summer reading challenge. This year, the scheme will have a ‘Beano’ theme as children get involved with a treasure hunt led by none other than Dennis The Menace.
Every child who participates will receive a map of Beanotown, and each book they read will reveal clues about where the hidden treasure is buried.
She was sure that Members will want to encourage their younger constituents to take part, and more about this event could be found by visiting the summer reading challenge website.
The Chief Executive announced that the Cabinet Secretary with responsibility for local government recently issued a Green Paper called Strengthening Local Government. Though there was reference to wanting to explore the role and purpose of local government there was of course a lot of emphasis placed on redrawing the boundaries and merging Councils. It didn’t seem to have much connection to the previous exercise by his predecessor which had focused on regional working.
The five group Leaders have submitted a joint response from BCBC. He was going to share this with all Members, but summarised herewith the main points that were made by BCBC.
Firstly, our response endorsed and supported the submission by the WLGA. That submission dealt at length with the inappropriateness of looking at redrawing lines on maps at this stage so we didn’t repeat that but instead made the point that there is no clear business case that demonstrates that performance or opportunity is proportionate to size of authority, there is still no clear indication that the costs of change are fully understood or deliverable.
The group Leader’s response instead focused on giving some suggestions on what stronger local government might look like, which was the actual title of the green paper after all. The submission suggested that the Welsh Government should build on the strengths of local government, namely direct democratic accountability and an understanding of and focus on community and citizens.
It went on to suggest that WG might give additional responsibilities to local government such as the commissioning and co-ordination of community based health currently led by the NHS, so that we could better integrate that with Social Services and overcome the NHS understandable but ultimately narrow focus on hospitals and waiting lists. The big prize here being early help and prevention.
We also similarly suggested a role for local government in public health and in the commissioning of Higher education.
BCBC also made the point that this should probably be carried out through existing regional partnerships rather than by 22 individual Councils.
These were intended as examples of the type of debate that would be more constructive and meaningful in making local government more effective than simply playing with lines on maps.
The BCBC submission also identified a number of additional powers that would help make local government more effective. These included greater control over the use of school premises, schools of course are the Council owned assets that have the greatest potential to meet a variety of needs in our communities not just education. Plus greater control over the financing of social care.
Finally, we called on Welsh government to be more co-ordinated in its dealings with local government, noting that this Green Paper came from one Cabinet Secretary but that we deal with different cabinet secretaries and their departments on education, social care, planning, regeneration, finance, environment and culture.
As eluded to earlier, the Chief Executive would circulate that letter to all Members for their information.
Finally, Members were no doubt aware that our current Head of Democratic Services, Gary Jones, will soon be leaving the authority to take up a new position with Cardiff City Council.
Gary has been with Bridgend for 14 years, and the Chief Executive knew that he will be missed by both Members and fellow Officers.
As today marked Gary’s last meeting of Council, the Chief Executive was sure that Members would wish to take this opportunity to thank Gary for all his help and support, and wish him well for the future, both personally and in his new role.
The Leader echoed the Chief Executives sentiments on behalf of all Members of the Council.
The Chief Executive concluded his announcements by confirming that recruiting a new Head of Democratic Services was in its final stages, and he would provide Members with a further update, once this process had been completed.
The Monitoring Officer announced that the Conservative group had put forward a change in respect of its membership on the Audit Committee, namely that Councillor Altaf Hussain comes off the Committee and is replaced by Councillor Tom Giffard, with immediate effect.