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Agenda, decisions and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, County Hall, Mold CH7 6NA

Contact: Sharon Thomas 01352 702324  Email: sharon.b.thomas@flintshire.gov.uk

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Items
No. Item

88.

Presentations

Recognition of the success of Custom House Court in the New Development Category of the Chartered Institute of Housing Welsh Housing Awards.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed Melville Evans, Denise Naylor, Darren Brimble and Ian Edwards (Council employees), together with Michael Cunningham (Wates Residential) and congratulated them on the recognition of Custom House Court in the ‘New Development’ category of the Chartered Institute of Housing Welsh Housing Awards.  This was the first development from the Council’s ambitious Strategic Housing and Regeneration Partnership (SHARP) programme to build 500 council and affordable homes in five years across the county, using the Council-approved Flintshire Housing Standard comprising a high quality design and layout specification.

 

Councillor Aaron Shotton thanked all those involved from teams across the Council and the appointed partner, Wates Residential, with whom there was an excellent relationship.  He had been proud to attend the Housing Awards ceremony where Flintshire was the only local authority new build to be recognised in the awards and said that this project was the start of the significant SHARP programme to regenerate communities across Flintshire.

 

Councillor Helen Brown extended her thanks to the team of officers and Tenant Federation representatives for their work on the Flintshire Housing Standard, and Councillor Paul Shotton welcomed the new use of the site from that of the former school.

 

As local Member, Councillor Brian Dunn said that positive feedback had been given by new tenants living in the new scheme and he praised the level of consultation throughout the process.

89.

Declarations of Interest

Purpose:       To receive any Declarations and advise Members accordingly.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Agenda item 11 ‘Trade Union (Wales) Bill’ - a personal interest was declared by Councillors Bernie Attridge, Peter Curtis, Derek Butler, Mike Lowe, Mike Reece, Ian Roberts, Aaron Shotton andIan Smith as members of various Trade Unions.  The Chief Executive and Chief Officer (Governance) also declared a personal interest.

 

Agenda item 15 ‘Pooling of Pensions Investments in Wales’ - a personal interest was recorded for Councillors Chris Bithell, Paul Cunningham, Peter Curtis, Cindy Hinds, Nancy Matthews, Ian Roberts and Ian Smith.

 

On agenda item 8 (iii) ‘Notice of Motion’ submitted by Councillor Helen Brown, Councillor Dennis Hutchinson declared a personal and prejudicial interest as the owner of a mini-coach operation providing school transport in the county.

Minutes:

Following advice given by the Chief Officer (Governance), the following declarations were made:

 

Agenda item 11 ‘Trade Union (Wales) Bill’ - a personal interest was declared by Councillors Bernie Attridge, Peter Curtis, Derek Butler, Mike Lowe, Mike Reece, Ian Roberts, Aaron Shotton andIan Smith as members of various Trade Unions.  The Chief Executive and Chief Officer (Governance) also declared a personal interest.

 

Agenda item 15 ‘Pooling of Pensions Investments in Wales’ - a personal interest was recorded for Councillors Chris Bithell, Paul Cunningham, Peter Curtis, Cindy Hinds, Nancy Matthews, Ian Roberts and Ian Smith.

 

On agenda item 8 (iii) ‘Notice of Motion’ submitted by Councillor Helen Brown, Councillor Dennis Hutchinson declared a personal and prejudicial interest as the owner of a mini-coach operation providing school transport in the county.

90.

Petitions

Purpose:       To receive any Petitions.

Additional documents:

Decision:

None were received.

Minutes:

None were received.

91.

Public Question Time

Purpose:       To receive any Public Questions.

Additional documents:

Decision:

None were received.

Minutes:

None were received.

92.

Questions

Purpose:       To note the answers to any questions submitted in accordance with County Council Standing Order No. 9.4(A).

Additional documents:

Decision:

None were received.

Minutes:

None were received.

93.

Questions from Members on Committee Minutes

Purpose:       The Minute Book, Edition 5 2016/17 has been circulated to Members.  Members are now entitled to ask questions on these minutes, subject to certain limitations, and answers will be provided at the meeting.  Members are requested to bring to the meeting their copy of the Minute Book.  Any questions must have been received by the Democratic Services Manager prior to the close of business on 23 February 2017.

Additional documents:

Decision:

None were received.

Minutes:

None were received.

94.

Notice of Motion

Purpose:       To consider the following Notices of Motion.

 

(i)         Councillor Andy Dunbobbin

 

Making the next Census count for our Armed Forces community.  Draft Motion in Support of ‘Count Them In’.  This council notes:

 

1.     The obligations its owes to the Armed Forces community within Flintshire County Council as enshrined in the Armed Forces Covenant; that the Armed Forces community should not face disadvantage in the provision of services and that special consideration is appropriate in some cases, especially for those who have given the most.

2.     The absence of definitive and comprehensive statistics on the size or demographics of the Armed Forces community within Flintshire County Council. This includes serving Regular and Reserve personnel, veterans, and their families.

3.     That the availability of such data would greatly assist the Council, local partner agencies, the voluntary sector, and national Government in the planning and provision of services to address the unique needs of the Armed Forces community within Flintshire County Council.

 

In light of the above, this Council moves to support and promote The Royal British Legion’s call to include a new topic in the 2021 Census that concerns military service and membership of the Armed Forces community. We further call upon the UK Parliament, which will approve the final Census questionnaire through legislation in 2019, to ensure that the 2021 Census includes questions concerning our Armed Forces community.

 

(ii)        Councillor David Roney

 

In recognising the fantastic Council house building programme where Flintshire County Council will be building 200 homes over 5 years,

I ask that this Council installs Solar Panels to all of the houses currently being constructed and all future constructions to make these homes even better, and set an example to the building trade.

I also ask that this Council requests the present and future Westminster Governments to increase the feed-in tariff to encourage more use of this clean and renewable source of energy.

 

(iii)       Councillor Helen Brown

 

We Flintshire County Council call upon the National Assembly for Wales and Parliament to ensure legislation is put in place to ensure every child's safety is put first when travelling to and from school.

 

We want peace of mind that our children are safe when travelling to and from school. We want designated school buses with appropriate funding so that entitled children can travel safely to and from school, each with a seat belt, with no child forced to travel on overcrowded public buses. Children's safety must come first.

 

Our children have the right to feel safe. Public buses can become overcrowded and children do not always feel safe. Public buses are for public use not for dedicated school use. Local Councils cannot currently run appropriate safe dedicated services for children along commercially operated public bus routes.

 

We ask for this Council to work with both Governments to bring about the necessary changes to the current legislation and provision.

Additional documents:

Decision:

(a)       That the Notice of Motion on supporting the national ‘Count Them In’ campaign be supported;

 

(b)       That the amended Notice of Motion to call upon Cabinet to consider installing solar panels be supported; and

 

(c)       That the Notice of Motion on funding for designated school transport be supported.

Minutes:

(1) Notice of Motion received from Councillor Andy Dunbobbin

 

‘Making the next Census count for our Armed Forces community.  Draft Motion in support of ‘Count Them In’.  This council notes:

 

(i)    The obligations it owes to the Armed Forces community within Flintshire County Council as enshrined in the Armed Forces Covenant; that the Armed Forces community should not face disadvantage in the provision of services and that special consideration is appropriate in some cases, especially for those who have given the most.

 

(ii)   The absence of definitive and comprehensive statistics on the size or demographics of the Armed Forces community within Flintshire County Council. This includes serving Regular and Reserve personnel, veterans, and their families.

 

(iii)  That the availability of such data would greatly assist the Council, local partner agencies, the voluntary sector, and national Government in the planning and provision of services to address the unique needs of the Armed Forces community within Flintshire County Council.

 

In light of the above, this Council moves to support and promote The Royal British Legion’s call to include a new topic in the 2021 Census that concerns military service and membership of the Armed Forces community. We further call upon the UK Parliament, which will approve the final Census questionnaire through legislation in 2019, to ensure that the 2021 Census includes questions concerning our Armed Forces community.’

 

This was seconded by Councillor Bernie Attridge.

 

The importance of the Motion was acknowledged by Councillor Aaron Shotton who spoke about the Council’s established support for the Armed Forces community through the Covenant and the annual Armed Forces Day event.  The highest proportion of Armed Forces veterans in North Wales resided in Flintshire and the approach set out in the ‘Count Me In’ national campaign would help to provide accurate data on other members of the Armed Forces communities who could benefit from the work of the Covenant.  Councillor Shotton acknowledged that the sharing of information in the Census was subject to personal choice and went on to refer to national discussions on the need to identify Armed Forces communities to enable targeted support.

 

Councillor Hilary McGuill agreed with the need for accurate data recording to target support for those in the military and for those leaving service.  However, she currently had reservations if the identification and locations of such individuals on the Census were mandatory due to concerns about the security of this information.  She stated her intention to abstain from the vote unless it was clarified that responses to the Census were optional.

 

Speaking in support of the Motion, Councillor Nigel Steele-Mortimer paid tribute to the work of the Royal British Legion.  Councillor David Evans spoke about the range support available to individuals leaving the Armed Forces, suggesting that a future item on this could be useful.

 

The Chairman felt that culture change was the most significant challenge in leaving the Armed Forces, particularly for those leaving long-term service.  He indicated his support for the Motion and the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 94.

95.

Council Tax Setting for 2017-18 pdf icon PDF 94 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

(a)       That the 2017-18 Council Tax be set as detailed in Appendix 1 to the report;

 

(b)       That the continuation of the policy of not providing a discount in the level of Council Tax charges for second homes and long-term empty homes be endorsed.  Also where exceptions do not apply, to also charge from 2017-18 the Council Tax Premium rate of 50% above the standard rate of Council Tax for second homes and long-term empty dwellings; and

 

(c)       That approval be given for designated officers to issue legal proceedings and appear on behalf of the Council in the Magistrates’ Court for unpaid taxes.

Minutes:

The Revenues Manager presented the report to formally set the Council Tax for 2017-18 within the required timescale.  The Council Tax resolution included the County Council’s precept of £70,122,877 in addition to precepts collected on behalf of the Police & Crime Commissioner (P&CC) for North Wales and Town/Community Councils.  The Council Tax charges/levels detailed in the report had been approved as part of the final budget proposals on 14 February 2017, with the proposed 3% increase in the County Council precept equating to £1,103.55 per year on Band ‘D’ properties.  As agreed in March 2016, the Council Tax premium scheme would also apply, where applicable, to help bring empty homes back into use.

 

Councillor Mike Peers felt that the Council should be recompensed by the P&CC for resources used in collecting that annual precept amount.  The Revenues Manager advised that the Council had a statutory duty to collect the three elements of Council Tax and that legislation did not permit a charge to be levied to do so.  He noted the typographical error in the breakdown of resolutions/decisions appended to the report which should have referred to 2017-18.

 

The recommendations in the report were formally moved by Councillor Aaron Shotton and duly seconded.

 

On the P&CC precept, Councillor Carol Ellis said there was disappointment amongst some residents at the level of service received from the Police and the lack of Police presence; an issue which had been raised by Buckley Town Council.  The Chief Executive suggested that Members may wish to invite the P&CC and the Chief Constable of North Wales Police to a meeting of the Council early in the new term to discuss any concerns.

 

This suggestion was welcomed by Councillor Tony Sharps who spoke in support of the comments by Councillors Peers and Ellis.  In response to a query, the Revenues Manager advised that the new framework policy approved by Council introduced from 2017/18 included a requirement for all charitable, voluntary and not-for-profit organisations to make a 20% contribution towards their business rate liability.  Councillor Sharps felt that this was unfair to those small organisations, particularly in rural areas, and should be reviewed.  The Revenues Manager clarified that the adopted framework allowed for the application of discretionary rate relief by small businesses, however this was only partly funded by the Welsh Government.  The Council’s website also provided details of the hardship rate relief scheme.

 

RESOLVED:

 

(a)       That the 2017-18 Council Tax be set as detailed in Appendix 1 to the report;

 

(b)       That the continuation of the policy of not providing a discount in the level of Council Tax charges for second homes and long-term empty homes be endorsed.  Also where exceptions do not apply, to also charge from 2017-18 the Council Tax Premium rate of 50% above the standard rate of Council Tax for second homes and long-term empty dwellings; and

 

(c)       That approval be given for designated officers to issue legal proceedings and appear on behalf of the Council in the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 95.

96.

Regional Working and the White Paper ‘Reforming Local Government: Resilient and Renewed’ pdf icon PDF 118 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

(a)       That the Council shares a draft response to the White Paper with Group Leaders before making a formal response; and

 

(b)       That the Council notes the current arrangements for regional working in North Wales.

Minutes:

The Chief Executive introduced a report on the White Paper published by Welsh Government (WG) which was a statement of intent for the future of local government in Wales to replace the earlier Local Government (Wales) Bill of the previous WG.  He gave a presentation covering the following areas:

 

·         background

·         over-riding points

·         White Paper contents

·         critique of the White Paper

·         reminder of what we said in response to the last Bill

·         Part 2: Regional Working

·         Part 3: Voluntary Mergers

·         Part 4: Local Leadership

·         Part 5: Leading Localities

·         Part 6: Community Councils

·         Part 7: Elections and Voting

·         other proposals

 

The Chief Executive commended the positive working relationship with the current Cabinet Secretary for Finance & Local Government.  On the White Paper, he shared concerns on the questionable mix of issues, the lack of detail and absence of funding necessary to support resilience and sustainability in local government.  Members’ views would be collated within the draft response and shared prior to submission by the deadline of 11 April 2017.

 

Councillor Aaron Shotton described the provisions within the White Paper as far-reaching.  In acknowledging the need for different ways of working and appropriate regional collaboration, he gave a reminder of the Council’s significant progress and stated the importance of achieving the right balance between regional working and localism.  Whilst he supported a uniform approach to election voting systems, he spoke against the idea of future regionalisation of housing.  To enable an informed debate including newly elected Members, he felt that the Council should seek an extension to the consultation deadline.

 

Councillor Owen Thomas commented on the importance of progress on the Northern Powerhouse and BT broadband programme to strengthen the local economy.  The Chief Executive gave a brief update on the positive development of the regional growth strategy for North Wales and the proposed North East Wales metro system.

 

Councillor Mike Peers supported the suggested extension to the consultation deadline.  On the provisions of the White Paper, he called for more details behind the Joint Planning Boards and referred to the environmental impact from the movement of vehicles between counties to deliver joint working on waste.  He pointed out that additional resources were necessary to address Consultation Question 6 and sought rationale behind the aim to seek ‘a more diverse range’ of councillors, also commenting that surgeries should be replaced by more modern means of communication.  He added that more funding from WG would help to reduce ‘unnecessary burdens’ and that the lack of focus on cross-border collaborative working did not recognise Flintshire’s position.  In response to comments, the Chief Executive gave clarification on the four terms used for the current economic partnerships shown on the map which showed areas under WG control.  He also pointed out that funding for the North Wales growth strategy was reliant on cross-border working.

 

Councillor Arnold Woolley spoke in support of the critique of the White Paper and the proposed deadline extension.  He felt that WG had not given any indication of the best method of governance locally,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 96.

Item 10 - Presentation Slides pdf icon PDF 532 KB

Additional documents:

97.

Trade Union (Wales) Bill pdf icon PDF 104 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

That the Council supports the Trade Union (Wales) Bill, on the recommendation of Cabinet and recognising established Council policy as set out in the Notice of Motion.

Minutes:

The Chief Executive introduced a report on the Trade Union (Wales) Bill which sought to dis-apply certain provisions of the Trade Union Act 2016 in Wales.  An initial response by Cabinet in support of the Bill had been provided to the Equalities, Local Government & Communities Committee of the National Assembly for Wales.  A response by full Council was now invited in view of the Notice of Motion considered in March 2016.

 

In summarising the reasons for maintaining current arrangements, the Chief Executive spoke about the effective working relationship between the Council and recognised Trade Unions, with the Facilities Agreement providing clarification on roles.

 

Councillor Aaron Shotton urged Members to endorse the Cabinet response which followed up on the Notice of Motion and showed support for the Bill.  This was duly seconded.

 

In supporting the recommendations, Councillor Paul Shotton paid tribute to the positive joint working between officers and Trade Union officials.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Council supports the Trade Union (Wales) Bill, on the recommendation of Cabinet and recognising established Council policy as set out in the Notice of Motion.

98.

Pay Policy Statement pdf icon PDF 75 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

That the annual Pay Policy Statement for 2017/18 be approved and adopted.

Minutes:

The Senior Manager, Human Resources & Organisational Development presented the annual report which sought approval of the Council’s Pay Policy Statement to enable its publication by 1 April 2017.  Whilst the contents met legal requirements, additional information had also been included as good practice and to make the document more meaningful; these related to bonus payments and performance related pay, salary sacrifice schemes and the approach to talent management.

 

The Chief Executive said that the Statement summarised the organisation’s approach to current pay and remuneration arrangements and he reported on legislative changes which now required more public bodies to publish their arrangements.

 

Councillor Richard Jones referred to the criteria for awarding annual increments in the case of Chief Officers, and felt this should only apply where all appraisals had been completed within their respective teams.  As a further incentive, he said that a partial increment could be given until such time when a Chief Officer had completed a satisfactory appraisal.  The Chief Executive spoke about a clear expectation for Chief Officers to oversee the completion of appraisals in their teams as a key part of their own appraisals.  He said that the suggestions could be given consideration at a later stage and spoke about the work undertaken on appraisals to improve both quality and completion rates.

 

In response to a query by Councillor Gareth Roberts on the ‘IR35’ rule, it was explained that this only applied to a minority of individuals currently engaged with the Council and that work was underway to deal with this.

 

Councillor Mike Peers stated the importance of appraisals in helping to drive performance.  On the performance related pay section of the Statement, he said it should be clarified that the appraisal system linking to pay only applied to Chief Officers.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the annual Pay Policy Statement for 2017/18 be approved and adopted.

99.

Annual Review of Code of Corporate Governance pdf icon PDF 109 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

That the updated Code of Corporate Governance be endorsed for adoption as part of the Council’s Constitution.

Minutes:

The Chief Officer (Governance) presented the updated Code of Corporate Governance which formed part of the Council’s Constitution.  Following a review by the Corporate Governance Working Group, the document had been endorsed by the Audit Committee and Constitution Committee.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the updated Code of Corporate Governance be endorsed for adoption as part of the Council’s Constitution.

100.

Amendments to the Constitution pdf icon PDF 70 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

(a)       That, where any future changes are solely to officer designations arising out of restructuring, the Chief Officer (Governance) and the Democratic Services Manager be authorised to have those changes made to the Constitution; and

 

(b)       That Members be kept informed and updated about any future changes to officer designations arising out of restructuring.

Minutes:

The Chief Officer (Governance) presented a report which sought approval for himself and the Democratic Services Manager to make administrative changes to the Constitution, such as updating job titles following structural changes.  No changes would be made to the scope of delegations and all structural changes would continue to be subject to Cabinet approval.

 

RESOLVED:

 

(a)       That, where any future changes are solely to officer designations arising out of restructuring, the Chief Officer (Governance) and the Democratic Services Manager be authorised to have those changes made to the Constitution; and

 

(b)       That Members be kept informed and updated about any future changes to officer designations arising out of restructuring.

101.

Pooling of Pensions Investments in Wales pdf icon PDF 101 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

(a)       That the content of the draft Inter Authority Agreement attached at Appendix B to the report be noted and authority delegated to the Chief Executive in consultation with the Chair of the Clwyd Pensions Committee and the Monitoring Officer to:

 

·         agree any further minor amendments to the IAA; and

·         approve and sign the final version of the IAA.

 

(b)       To establish a joint committee (hereinafter referred to as the Joint Governance Committee) on the basis of the terms of reference attached to the report within the proposed Constitution amendments;

 

(c)       That the exercise of certain functions be delegated to the Joint Governance Committee as detailed within the proposed Constitution amendments;

 

(d)       That the functions reserved to Council be noted, and all matters delegated to the Clwyd Pension Fund Committee apart from the termination or significant amendment of the Inter Authority Agreement;

 

(e)       That the appointment of the Chair of the Clwyd Pension Fund Committee to the Joint Governance Committee as the Flintshire County Council representative and the Vice-Chair of the Clwyd Pension Fund Committee as his/her nominated Deputy, be approved;

 

(f)        That delegation be provided to the nominated representative and his/her Deputy to act within the terms of reference of the Joint Governance Committee to enable the exercise of any delegated function;

 

(g)       That Carmarthenshire County Council (Dyfed Pension Fund) acts as the host authority with the responsibilities set out in the Inter Authority Agreement; and

 

(h)       That the amendments to the Constitution as set out in Appendix A to the report, be approved.

Minutes:

The Chief Executive presented the report on the Inter Authority Agreement setting out appropriate governance arrangements for the pooling of pensions investments with the other seven Wales Local Government Pension Schemes (LGPS), with responsibilities to be delegated to a Joint Governance Committee.

 

Due to the pace of the issue, the recommendations of a verbal report had been supported by the Constitution Committee to seek endorsement at Council.  The Chief Executive expressed appreciation for the work of the Clwyd Pension Fund Manager and Pensions Finance Manager, along with the decision by Carmarthenshire Council to take on the role as host authority for the Wales Investment Pool.

 

As Chair of the Clwyd Pension Fund Committee, Councillor Alan Diskin confirmed that the recommendations had been supported.

 

RESOLVED:

 

(a)       That the content of the draft Inter Authority Agreement attached at Appendix B to the report be noted and authority delegated to the Chief Executive in consultation with the Chair of the Clwyd Pensions Committee and the Monitoring Officer to:

 

·         agree any further minor amendments to the IAA; and

·         approve and sign the final version of the IAA.

 

(b)       To establish a joint committee (hereinafter referred to as the Joint Governance Committee) on the basis of the terms of reference attached to the report within the proposed Constitution amendments;

 

(c)       That the exercise of certain functions be delegated to the Joint Governance Committee as detailed within the proposed Constitution amendments;

 

(d)       That the functions reserved to Council be noted, and all matters delegated to the Clwyd Pension Fund Committee apart from the termination or significant amendment of the Inter Authority Agreement;

 

(e)       That the appointment of the Chair of the Clwyd Pension Fund Committee to the Joint Governance Committee as the Flintshire County Council representative and the Vice-Chair of the Clwyd Pension Fund Committee as his/her nominated Deputy, be approved;

 

(f)        That delegation be provided to the nominated representative and his/her Deputy to act within the terms of reference of the Joint Governance Committee to enable the exercise of any delegated function;

 

(g)       That Carmarthenshire County Council (Dyfed Pension Fund) acts as the host authority with the responsibilities set out in the Inter Authority Agreement; and

 

(h)       That the amendments to the Constitution as set out in Appendix A to the report, be approved.

102.

Comments from the Chairman

Additional documents:

Minutes:

As this was the final meeting of County Council before the Elections, the Chairman took the opportunity to extend his good wishes to all Members.

103.

Members of the Press and Public in Attendance

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There was one member of the press and two members of the public present.

 

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