Agenda, decisions and draft minutes

Cabinet
Tuesday, 8th October, 2019 10.30 am

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Hanbury Road, Pontypool, NP4 6YB

Contact: Rachel Beale  Senior Business Support Officer (Democratic Services)

Items
No. Item

1.

Attendance / Presenoldeb

Minutes:

            Executive Members (with Portfolios):

            Councillors:

            Anthony Hunt - Leader

Richard Clark – Deputy Leader
Fiona Cross – Executive Member for Environment 

           David Daniels – Executive Member for Adult Services & Housing

           Joanne Gauden – Executive Member for Corporate Governance & Performance

            Mandy Owen – Executive Member for Children, Families and Communities

           Kelly Preston – Executive Member for Resources

           David Yeowell – Executive Member for Education

 

           Officers:

           Nigel Aurelius – Assistant Chief Executive (Resources)
Rachel Beale – Senior Business Support Officer (Democratic Services)

           Caron Davies - Complaints & FOI Manager
James Griffin - Head of Transformation and Improvement

            Delyth Harries – Monitoring Officer and Assistant Chief Legal Officer
Stephen Jarrett –
Assistant Chief Officer, Environment and Technical
Dermot McChrystal – Chief Officer, Education

           Jason O’Brien - Head of Children's Services

 

2.

Apologies for absence / Ymddiheuriadau am absenoldeb

Minutes:

2.1       There were no apologies received.

3.

Declarations of Interest / Datganiadau o fudd

Minutes:

3.1       Councillor Fiona Cross declared a personal and prejudicial interest as her children attend Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw.

4.

Confirmation of Cabinet minutes - 10/09/2019 / Cadarnhau cofnodion y Cabinet - 10/09/2019 pdf icon PDF 431 KB

Minutes:

4.1       The minutes of the meeting held on the 10th September 2019 were confirmed as an accurate record of the meeting.

5.

Updates on actions / Y diweddaraf ar y camau gweithredu pdf icon PDF 85 KB

Minutes:

5.1       It was noted that there were no outstanding actions.

6.

Annual Letter 2018/19 - Public Services Ombudsman for Wales / Llythyr Blynyddol 2018/19 - Ombwdsmon Gwasanaethau Cyhoeddus Cymru pdf icon PDF 232 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Cabinet agreed to note the Annual Letter of the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, attached as appendix one to the report.

 

REASON FOR DECISION: As set out in the report.

 

CONSULTATION: As set out in the report.

 

MEMBERS’ INTERESTS: None declared.

Minutes:

6.1       The Executive Member for Corporate Governance & Performance introduced the report commenting on the following:

·         It was the second year that the Public Service Ombudsman for Wales had asked Local Authorities to provide confirmation of their annual letter being presented to Cabinet.

·         The Ombudsman has the legal powers to look in to complaints against Public Services and Independent Care Providers in Wales. They also investigated complaints when members of Local Government breached their authorities’ code of conduct.

·         The information in the letter was intended to be considered and used to inform and make improvements to complaint handling and the services provided.

·         The Executive Member gave thanks to the Complaints & FOI Manager and her team, the annual letter was evidence that the complaints team were operating a robust system for complaint handling.

 

6.2       The Complaints & FOI Manager added the following further information:

·         A detailed review of the service complaints received by the Council during the last financial year was discussed at the Corporate Performance Session on 01 October 2019.

·         The Ombudsman has requested that the Annual Letter be presented to Cabinet to assist Members in their review of the Council’s performance in relation to other public authorities.

·         The letter contained a fact sheet giving a breakdown of complaints and a set of statistics regarding Ombudsman interventions and the outcomes.

·         A new Public Services Ombudsman for Wales Act had been introduced this year which gave the Ombudsman new powers including launching a Complaints Standards Authority for Wales. The Act also stated that complaints no longer had to be in writing and the Ombudsman would have the authority to undertake its own initiative investigations and the opportunity to cover third parties such as private health care when investigating complaints that have crossed over.

·         Local Authorities had been chosen as the first Public Service to be involved in the new Complaints Standards Authority and have been asked to provide the number, nature and outcome of all complaints, which would allow better bench marking in the future.

·         The issues identified in the letter showed that Torfaen Council had a lower than average number of complaints when the figures were adjusted for population and decreased from 15 in 2017/18 to 12 in 2018/19. Due to the varying size in Welsh Local Authorities figures were adjusted to reflect the population.

·         The number of complaints adjusted for population distribution in Torfaen was 26 which was the fifth lowest figure out of all the Welsh Local Authorities. Torfaen had 8% of complaints with Ombudsman intervention which equated to only one complaint which was the joint second lowest in wales.

·         The Ombudsman’s reported complaints that Torfaen received in the following categories:

-       Four in Adult Social Services

-       Two in Children’s Social Services

-       Two in Housing, however one of those complaints related to Streetscene in Neighbourhood Services

-       Three in Planning and Building Control

-       One various other complaint

·         The letter also reported the level of Ombudsman involvement within the following categories:

-       Out of Jurisdiction

-       Premature

-  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Proposed Diversion of Public Footpath No. 19 (part) at Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw, Trevethin / Cynnig i Ddargyfeirio Llwybr Troed Cyhoeddus Rhif 19 (rhannol) ger Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw, Trefddyn pdf icon PDF 519 KB

Decision:

Cabinet agreed after taking into consideration all the evidence which had been provided to:

 

(i)        Approve the proposed Diversion of the public path as shown on the map in appendix 2.

(ii)        Approve confirmation of the order, provided no objections were received within 28 days from the publication of the notice.

 

REASON FOR DECISION: As set out in the report.

 

CONSULTATION: As set out in the report.

 

MEMBERS’ INTERESTS: Councillor Fiona Cross declared a personal and

prejudicial interest as her children attended Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw.

Minutes:

7.1       The Executive Member for Education introduced the report and highlighted the following points:

·         Torfaen Council had made an application to request the diversion of the public right of way, following concerns about security on site raised by the school.

·         The current public right of way went up the driveway, straight through the centre of the site with no separation between learners and anybody choosing to use the path including people walking dogs.

·         The application would have been made regardless of the work to add a primary provision on the site, however the fact that a primary school was going to be erected on the site added to the need.

·         By diverting the path to the proposed location it would help the school without stopping people from being able to get from the bottom of the site to the gateway on the perimeter of the top of the site.

·         The work would be incorporated as part of the primary school development in the coming months.

 

7.2       The Assistant Chief Officer, Environment and Technical added the following comments:

·         Originally the public footpath skirted the eastern boundary of the school, however with developments to the Life Station the path now passed through the middle of the school grounds which caused security concerns.

·         Pre-consultation was carried out and two objections were received. The first objection was from Welsh Water who had raised concerns that the proposed new route would have an effect on its apparatus. However following a site meeting Welsh Water have withdrawn their objection and now have no concerns. The second objection was from the Open Spaces Society who raised concerns with the width of the path and future maintenance. The Open Spaces Society were concerned that the path could become an alleyway if it was not a certain width and they requested that the path be 3m wide, however the Council were proposing that the path be 2m wide. The Open Spaces Society have asked that they be engaged in the Planning Process of the new development which Officers would look to do, to allay any concerns that they had.

·         The risk of not making the order was that the safety and safeguarding of the pupils, staff and members of the public could be compromised in the future.

·         The risk of making the order was that the objector may lodge a further objection to the order, which would lead to an appeal process which would result in the matter being passed to the Planning Inspectorate of the Welsh Government.

 

7.3       Cabinet agreed after taking into consideration all the evidence which had been provided to:

(i)       Approve the proposed Diversion of the public path as shown on the map in appendix 2.

(ii)       Approve confirmation of the order, provided no objections were received within 28 days from the publication of the notice.