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Agenda, decisions and minutes

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

Contact: Nicola Gittins on 01352 702345  Email: nicola.gittins@flintshire.gov.uk

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73.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 90 KB

To confirm as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 19 November 2019.

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

That subject to the amendment, the minutes be approved as a correct record.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 19th November were submitted.

 

The Deputy Monitoring Officer advised that the word ‘which’ should say ‘who’ on the bottom of page 5.

 

In response to a question from Councillor Phillips on voting being introduced for 1617 year olds, the Chief Executive advised that the proposed had to go through the Overview and Scrutiny process in Welsh Government and the Bill would not be enacted before September/October 2020.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That subject to the amendment, the minutes be approved as a correct record.

74.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any Declarations and advise Members accordingly.

Additional documents:

Decision:

None were received.

Minutes:

None were received.

75.

Chair's Communications

To receive the communications as circulated.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

In presenting her communications, which had been circulated prior to the meeting, the Chair highlighted a number of events, commenting in particular on the visit from John and Roma Gray from Connah’s Quay Nomads Football Club, and the Pride of Flintshire Awards which had taken place at Deeside Leisure Centre.

76.

Petitions

This is an opportunity for Members of Council to submit petitions on behalf of people in their ward. Once received, petitions are passed to the appropriate Chief Officer for action and response.

Additional documents:

Decision:

None were received.

Minutes:

None were received.

77.

Armed Forces Presentation

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Corporate Business and Communications Executive Officer introduced the item and paid tribute to everyone who had been involved in the achievements celebrated through the Armed Forces Covenant.  The team had been successful in winning the Gold Award for the Employee Recognition Scheme from the Ministry of Defence.  Mike Dodd, who worked for the Council as a Social Enterprise Development Officer, was invited to address Members about his time spent in the Armed Forces, and the importance of the Covenant for veterans. 

 

            A presentation followed on the “Talacre Now and Then” project which helped locals, visitors and school children to visualise how it would have looked and what it would have been like during World War 2.

 

            Lord Barry Jones thanked officers for the presentation which was a credit to the work undertaken by the Council, and he paid tribute to Mike Dodd for his involvement from a veteran’s perspective.

 

            Councillor Andy Dunbobbin also thanked everybody involved and for the support provided to him as the Council’s Armed Forces Champion.

 

            Councillors Banks, Roberts, Butler and Legg also expressed their appreciations to Councillor Dunbobbin and the team of internal and external officers, and the school children for their involvement in local history.

78.

Council Fund Revenue Budget 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 129 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

(a)       That the updated forecast for 2020/21 be noted.  The forecast included the cost pressures which had been reviewed and endorsed by the respective Overview and Scrutiny Committees;

 

(b)       That the completed first stage of solutions to meet the budget requirement which totalled £8.164m be noted.  The specific service portfolio and corporate financing solutions had been reviewed and endorsed by the respective Overview and Scrutiny Committees (the first stage of solutions includes a provisional Council Tax rate of 5%.  The level of Council Tax was a reserved matter for full Council and would not be decided until the February meeting.  The recommended level of Council Tax could vary depending on the budget requirement outstanding at the final stage of the budget);

 

(c)        That the arrangements for the announcement of the Provisional Welsh Local Government Settlement be noted;

 

(d)       That Council notes the limited range of local options which were available to reach a balanced budget alongside the outcome of the Settlement;

 

(e)       That the timetable for the closing stages of the annual budget setting process be noted; and

 

(f)        That thanks be expressed for the work undertaken by those involved in the Clwyd Pension Fund Committee for the tremendous achievement in bringing the funding up to the level they have.

Minutes:

The Chief Executive introduced the Council Fund Revenue Budget 2020/21 report which set out the following:

 

·         the latest local financial forecast for 2020/21;

·         the work to date to develop and agree local solutions to meet the projected ‘gap’ in the budget requirement for 2020/21 within the forecast;

·         the arrangements for and expectations around the Welsh Government Budget and the Provisional Local Government Settlement which were due to be announced in tandem on 16th December;

·         the remaining local options to achieve a legally balanced budget for 2020/21 alongside the Settlement; and

·         the timetable to complete budget closure by March 2020.

 

Since publication of the report, the final two Overview and Scrutiny Committee consultation meetings had been held and an updated appendix had been provided to Members which detailed the responses of each of the six Overview and Scrutiny Committees.  Each Committee had received a breakdown of the cost pressures by service portfolio.  It was emphasised that there was nothing being presented to Members, following the more recent Overview and Scrutiny Committee meetings that was different to the recommendations before Council. 

 

Table 1 of the report provided the latest financial forecast which had been revised to take into account changes to the pressures included in the original April forecast and new pressures which were not previously known or fully understood and calculated.  The impact of the changes had been to increase the budget gap by £0.181m to £16.355m at December.

 

The solutions available to the Council to balance the 2020/21 budget had been grouped as follows:

 

·         National Funding;

·         Portfolio Business Plans and Corporate Finance;

·         Local Taxation and Income; and

·         Organisational Change.

 

The Corporate Finance Manager commented on the annual teachers’ pay award and said it was the Council’s expectation that Welsh Government (WG) should pay for the 2020/21 pay award in full.  On that basis, the forecast could be adjusted by £0.726m to a revised figure of £15.629m.  Confirmation would be sought from WG on their plans for annual pay awards between now and the final stage of budget-setting.

 

He provided full details of portfolio business plan efficiencies and income, corporate finance efficiencies, local taxation and income and organisational change.

 

A combination of corporate finance portfolio efficiencies and income, the income derived from an indicative level of Council Tax increase, and the ‘dividend’ from the actuarial review of the Clwyd Pension Fund summarised in the report would generate a significant contribution to the budget of £8.164m.

 

The only remaining local options which could be reviewed to build on the contribution, dependent on the outcome of the WG budget were (1) further review of the Clwyd Pension Fund employer contributions in liaison with the Fund Actuary; (2) sharing of schools cost pressures with schools themselves; (3) a limited set of other corporate finance provisions such as the Council Tax predicted yield and Single Person Discount recovery rates; (4) a reduction in the provision for the uplift in commissioning fees for social care providers as annual negotiations continued; and (5) a higher level  ...  view the full minutes text for item 78.

79.

Overview & Scrutiny Annual Report 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 76 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

That the Overview and Scrutiny Annual Report be received.

Minutes:

The Democratic Services Manager introduced the Overview and Scrutiny Annual Report 2018/19 report which provided the Council with assurance that the Overview and Scrutiny function was fulfilling its constitutional role.

 

            The report had been submitted to Constitution and Democratic Services Committee on 27th November where it was supported.

 

            Councillor Attridge moved the recommendation of the report, which was seconded by Councillor Heesom.

 

            On being put to the vote, the recommendation was carried.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Overview and Scrutiny Annual Report be received.

80.

Anti-Fraud and Corruption Strategy and Fraud Response Plan pdf icon PDF 97 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

(a)       That the revised Corporate Anti-Fraud and Corruption Strategy be approved; and

 

(b)       That the revised Fraud Response Plan be approved.

Minutes:

The Chief Officer (Governance) introduced the Anti-Fraud and Corruption Strategy and Fraud Response Plan report which had been written for the benefit of employees, Members, the public, organisations and businesses dealing with the Council who were also expected to act with integrity.

 

            The Strategy outlined the Council’s commitment to the prevention and detection of fraud and its zero tolerance of such acts of fraud and corruption.

 

            The report had been submitted to Constitution and Democratic Services Committee on 27th November where it was supported.

 

            Councillor Heesom moved the recommendations of the report, which was seconded by Councillor Hardcastle.

 

            On being put to the vote, the recommendations were carried.

 

RESOLVED:

 

(a)       That the revised Corporate Anti-Fraud and Corruption Strategy be approved; and

 

(b)       That the revised Fraud Response Plan be approved.

81.

Whistleblowing Policy pdf icon PDF 94 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

That the revised Whistleblowing Policy be approved.

Minutes:

The Chief Officer (Governance) introduced the Whistleblowing Policy report which explained how the Policy enabled employees, Members and third party individuals (partners, consultants, volunteers, suppliers, contractors, including their employees) of the Council to raise any concerns that they had, and gave assurance about confidentiality and protection.

 

            It detailed the procedure to follow in raising a concern and detailed how the Council would respond.  The policy provided examples of the types of concerns that could be raised.

 

            The report had been submitted to Constitution and Democratic Services Committee on 27th November where it was supported, with an amendment of including local Members as a ‘prescribed person’ for reporting a concern.  Training will be provided in the New Year in relation to that.

 

            Councillor Rosetta Dolphin suggested that the training could take place prior to scheduled Overview and Scrutiny Committee meetings which would help with attendance. 

 

            Councillor Jones asked for clarification that the Police were not a ‘prescribed person’, which was confirmed.  The Chief Officer (Governance) explained that the Whistleblowing Policy was a broad policy and there may be a matter which would need to be reported to the Police.  However, in the first instance it would be appropriate to raise those matters with the people named within the policy as there may be matters that need to be addressed within the Council. 

 

Councillor Attridge moved the recommendation of the report, which was seconded by Councillor Kevin Hughes.

 

On being put to the vote, the recommendation was carried.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the revised Whistleblowing Policy be approved.

82.

Notice of Motion pdf icon PDF 81 KB

This item is to receive any Notices of Motion. 

 

During the pre-election period, it is necessary to restrict the subject of Notices of Motion.  The attached Notice of Motion has been cleared as non-political and therefore acceptable by the Statutory Officers.

Additional documents:

Decision:

That the Notice of Motion from Councillor Rosetta Dolphin be supported.

Minutes:

Prior to the commencement of the item, Councillor Attridge sought clarification on the rules around debate in the pre-election period.  He said that a Notice of Motion had been submitted by his group a couple of months previous but it had been put on hold due to the nature of the topic being Betsi Cadwaladar University Heath Board (BCUHB) and it being of a political nature in the middle of a national election campaign.  He asked if the same rules applied to Welsh Government (WG) as they had debated BCUHB on a number of occasions recently.  He also said other Councils in Wales also appeared to debate political issues.

 

The Chief Executive explained that the advice given to Members had been sound and the legal restrictions specific to local government were enshrined in local government legislation.  Welsh Government (WG) was a sitting government with a different set of restrictions and it was allowed to carry on its normal business.  The Notice of Motion being referred to was not included as it touched on areas that were major areas of manifesto commitments in the NHS. 

 

He added that he had raised in Wales that good practice sharing would be beneficial as people did make different judgements but ultimately, the advice given to Members was done so to protect them.   Discussions were underway with BCUHB to ask them to attend a meeting of Social and Health Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee in January and this had been instigated because of the delay in the debate on the Notice of Motion, for the reasons explained.

 

            Councillor Heesom thanked the Chief Executive for the advice and passed on his thanks to officers for the way in which a winter election was being managed.

 

Councillor Rosetta Dolphin spoke in support of her Notice of Motion, which was:

 

“This Council resolves:

 

To require all public firework displays within Flintshire to be advertised in advance of the event, allowing residents to take precautions for their animals and vulnerable people.

 

To actively promote a public awareness campaign about the impact of fireworks on animal welfare and vulnerable people.  Including the precautions that can be taken to mitigate risks.

 

To write to Welsh Government (WG) urging them to utilise any powers at their disposal to mitigate any negative impacts on the hosting of fireworks displays on animals and vulnerable people.

 

To encourage local displays to use quiet fireworks for public displays, Ban the Bang”.

 

            She said the Notice of Motion was brought in conjunction with the RSPCA and their national campaign.  There had been an increase of over 12% in calls around Bonfire Night and it was believed that tightening restrictions on the sale of fireworks in the run up to 5th November would help significantly.  New Zealand only sold fireworks a week before Bonfire Night.

 

            She would like to see a reduction in the maximum level of noise from 120 decibels to 90 decibels which would be consistent with the approach of other countries and would encourage  ...  view the full minutes text for item 82.

83.

Public Question Time

This item is to receive any Public Questions.

Additional documents:

Decision:

None were received.

Minutes:

None were received.

84.

Questions

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.

85.

Members of the Press and Public in Attendance

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no members of the press in attendance, and 18 members of the public in attendance.

 

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