Agenda item

Corporate Recovery Objectives

To note progress made against the Corporate Recovery Objectives.


That the Committee is assured by progress in meeting the recovery objectives.


The Chief Executive introduced the update on progress with the corporate objectives in this second phase of recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic where the Omicron variant was starting to impact on services.  Whilst the report focussed on recovery, its future emphasis was likely to be substantially impacted by the need to implement response actions throughout January and February 2022.


The overall recovery aims of the Council were as agreed previously and senior officers provided an update on each of the corporate recovery objectives within their areas of responsibility, as set out in the report.




The Corporate Finance Manager advised that a report on the implications of the Welsh Local Government Provisional Settlement would be considered by the Corporate Resources Overview & Scrutiny Committee prior to Cabinet submitting detailed budget proposals to Council in February.  Despite the positive Settlement, an increase in the additional budget requirement would be required to meet the impacts of pay awards and the Real Living Wage along with continued extra costs and lost income arising from the pandemic following the cessation of the Welsh Government (WG) Hardship Fund at the end of this financial year.  Maintaining levels of reserves would be a key consideration of budget setting for 2022/23 and for the Medium Term Financial Strategy.


Councillor David Healey asked whether WG had agreed to fund national decisions such as the proposed uplift in teachers’ pay.  The Corporate Finance Manager confirmed that WG had been clear in advising that the impact of all pay awards would need to be met in full from within the Settlement.  Councillor Ian Roberts said that recommendations had been submitted to the Minister by an independent pay review body and that the position would be carefully monitored in discussion with the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA).


Following questions by Councillor Marion Bateman and the Chairman, the Corporate Finance Manager said that the £20.696m additional budget requirement reported in December was being reviewed in order to share an update.




The Chief Executive spoke about the impact of changing regulations and gave examples of measures introduced to continue to support and ensure the safety and well-being of the workforce, particularly in adapting to remote working.  The development of a draft protocol to support the principles of hybrid working was likely to exceed the WG aspirational target for remote working.  Whilst organisational redesign was heavily influenced by technical solutions, it was important to maximise flexibility to ensure that services continued to operate effectively.


The Chief Officer (Governance) acknowledged the challenges in working from home and gave assurance of flexibility to meet the needs of employees whilst ensuring their safety.


In thanking all staff, Councillor Ian Roberts paid particular tribute to those in Social Services, Streetscene, Housing and civic amenity sites for their work over the Christmas period.  This was echoed by the Chairman and Councillor Christine Jones who paid tribute to teams within her portfolio.


The Chairman asked whether teachers and support staff were included in the flu vaccination programme.  Later in the meeting, the Chief Officer (Education & Youth) was able to confirm that all school staff had been offered the flu vaccine and that she would remind Head Teachers at a forthcoming meeting.




The Chief Officer (Governance) reported on improved recovery rates for Council Tax and National Non Domestic Rates which had been influenced by the pandemic and the extra workload of the Revenues team in distributing WG grants.  Additional capacity to work with tenants had been agreed to help address the increase in rent arrears.  The update also included progress with the ongoing expansion of digital means of service delivery.


In response to comments from the Chairman and Councillor Clive Carver, the Chief Officer provided clarification on the process for remote meetings which formed part of the multi-location policy due to be considered by the Council.


Information was shared with Councillor Hilary McGuill on the Winter Fuel Support Scheme which was being managed by the Benefits team.  The Chief Executive also spoke about the Council’s approach to managing its own energy costs and the element of support for businesses through the UK Government.


Service Recovery/Community Recovery/Regional Recovery


The Chief Executive advised that business continuity plans had been refreshed and that priorities were now focussed on response to align with the current stage of the pandemic.  A detailed report on economic recovery was included on a later agenda item.  On regional recovery, the Recovery Co-ordinating Group had been reinstated to deal with the current situation and the Deeside Leisure Centre continued to be used as a vaccination centre.


In response to comments by the Chairman, the Chief Executive said that the response had been altered to reflect the Omicron variant.  He also responded to Councillor Marion Bateman’s point about the impact of a reduced period of isolation on the workforce and economy.


The recommendation was moved and seconded by the Chairman and Councillor Hilary McGuill.




That the Committee is assured by progress in meeting the recovery objectives.

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