Agenda, decisions and draft minutes

Cabinet
Tuesday, 7th July, 2020 10.30 am

Venue: The meeting will be held remotely via Microsoft Teams

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

Items
No. Item

1.

Attendance / Presenoldeb

Minutes:

           Executive Members (with Portfolios):

            Councillors:

            Anthony Hunt – Leader & Executive Member for Strategic Leadership

            Richard Clark – Deputy Leader & Executive Member for Education

           David Daniels – Executive Member for Adult Services & Housing

           Joanne Gauden – Executive Member for Economy, Skills & Regeneration

           Mandy Owen – Executive Member for Environment

            Kelly Preston – Executive Member for Resources

            David Yeowell – Executive Member for Corporate Governance & Performance

 

           Officers:

           Nigel Aurelius – Assistant Chief Executive (Resources)

           Rachel Beale – Senior Business Support Officer (Democratic Services)      Dave Congreve - Assistant Chief Executive (Strategy)

           James Griffin - Head of Transformation and Improvement

           Delyth Harries - Monitoring Officer

           Tim James – Chief Legal Officer 

           Rachel Jowitt – Chief Officer Neighbourhoods, Planning and Public Protection

           Jason Lewis - Head of Strategic Human Resources

           Dermot McChrystal - Chief Officer, Education

           Gill Pratlett – Head of Adult Services

           Lyndon Puddy – Head of PSSU

           Nansi Salkeld – Acting Head of Democratic Services

           Chris Slade - Senior Business Support Officer (Democratic Services)

           John Tushingham - Head of Access & Engagement

           Alison Ward – Chief Executive

           Lynne Williams - Head of Business Support & Intelligence

2.

Apologies for absence / Ymddiheuriadau am absenoldeb

Minutes:

2.1         Apologies were received from Councillor Fiona Cross.

 

3.

Declarations of Interest / Datganiadau o fudd

Minutes:

3.1       Councillor Richard Clark declared a personal interest as an Independent Member of the Aneurin Bevan Health Board.

 

3.2         Councillor David Daniels declared a personal interest in agenda item 10 as a Council appointed governor at Maendy Primary School.

 

4.

Confirmation of Cabinet minutes - 19/05/2020 / Cadarnhau cofnodion y Cabinet - 19/05/2020 pdf icon PDF 419 KB

Minutes:

4.1       The minutes of the meeting held on the 19th May 2020 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.

Financial Position and Outlook - 2020/21 / Sefyllfa Ariannol a Rhagolwg - 2020 / 21 pdf icon PDF 279 KB

Decision:

Cabinet agreed to:

 

Note the report, the financial challenges that the authority is facing and the initial response to those challenges.

 

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 Resources introduced the report which presented the financial challenges the Council was facing as a result of Covid-19. The Executive Member gave thanks to the Finance Officers for their calm approach to these challenges during the unpresented situation and added the following comments:

·         As a result of the pandemic the Council had experienced an increase in costs and a loss of income in areas such as the closure of the Community Farm and the loss of fees from Planning and Building Control.

·         There had been constructive work undertaken between the Council and the Welsh Government to mitigate the challenges which has been very welcome.

·         The Leader was in regular contact with Welsh Government Ministers to ensure the resilience of Local Government was protected as much as possible.

·         Welsh Government have allocated extra resources to Local Authorities to help with the additional costs in areas such as Homelessness, Social Care and Free School Meals.

·         Local Authorities were asked to administer the Welsh Government Business Support Grant Package and Torfaen had administered approximately £17million to over 1442 local businesses to assist during the pandemic.

·         The recovery phase of the pandemic would increase the financial pressures of the Council with continued pressure in Children’s Services and a significant loss of income across a number of areas.

 

6.2       The Assistant Chief Executive (Resources) outlined the following additional information:

·         Local Authorities had taken a proactive approach of working with Welsh Government during the pandemic.

·         The Council has continued to make payments to suppliers to ensure their survival after the crisis.

·         The Council administered the Non-Domestic Rates rate relief scheme which had been positive.

·         The Council had submitted three hardship claims to Welsh Government to date.

·         All Authorities have experienced significant income loss and Welsh Government have announced funding to support Local Authorities.

·         There has been an increase in the Council Tax Reduction Scheme, Local Authorities were assured by Welsh Government that there would be support available to help with the extra costs, it was anticipated that there will be a further spike when the furlough scheme comes to an end.

·         Council Tax Income was much more difficult to quantify at this early stage in the year, however Council Tax collection had been affected.

·         A Covid-19 Reserve had been developed through capitalising redundancy costs, vacancy savings and through reviewing existing budget allocations that would not be required in 2020/21 including the school leaver scheme.

·         Whilst the immediate impact of the lockdown was severe in many respects, financially it represents the easiest part, the restart and recovery phase would be more problematic with increased costs and continued loss of income.

·         The Council has assumed funding of £2.9million from Welsh Government from the hardship fund for expenditure and £1.5million in relation to income loss which both relate to quarter 1.

·         The T22 work needed to continue, in particular the work around Children’s Services.

·         The Council needed to continue to work with Welsh Government and make a case for additional financial support going forward.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Financial Implications Domiciliary Care Transfer / Goblygiadau Ariannol Trosglwyddo Gofal Cartref pdf icon PDF 150 KB

Decision:

Cabinet agreed that:

a.    The external provider staff are TUPE transferred over to TCBC personal care service

b.    For 2020/21 the cost of the proposal is underwritten and financed from the Social Care and Housing service specific reserve as outlined in 5.2 of the report

c.    The on-going base budget pressure and funding will be a consideration for the 2021/22 budget

 

REASON FOR DECISION: As set out in the report.

CONSULTATION: As set out in the report.

MEMBERS’ INTERESTS: None declared.

Minutes:

7.1       The Executive Member for Adult Services and Housing highlighted the key areas of the report and made the following comments:

·         The Council were served notice by a domiciliary care provider, Hafod Care of their intentions to cease trading by 31 July.

·         Hafod Care had been very cooperative throughout the process which gave the Council time to consider all options which included looking at other providers to take over, it was concluded that the staff would be taken in house.

·         All staff would be offered TUPE which would be funded out of the Social Care and Housing reserve budget this year and would need to be built into the budget next year.

·         There was a correction to the report, the report started that there were 33 staff to be transferred over, however it should state that there were 23 staff.

 

7.2       The Head of Adult Services added the following:

·         The Council had worked with Hafod Care and their staff to look at all options available.

·         It was pleasing to hear comments from the frontline staff around their concerns about how they would continue to support their clients which showed their commitment.

·         All staff would be offered Torfaen set contracts, if the staff choose not to accept the contract the Council would honour their existing set working patterns.

·         The transfer would take place on 1 August 2020.

 

7.3       Cabinet agreed that:

a.    The external provider staff are TUPE transferred over to TCBC personal care service

b.    For 2020/21 the cost of the proposal is underwritten and financed from the Social Care and Housing service specific reserve as outlined in 5.2 of the report

c.    The on-going base budget pressure and funding will be a consideration for the 2021/22 budget

 

8.

Llanfrechfa Grange Campus Medi Park Strategic Outline Case / Achos Amlinellol Strategol Parc Meddygol Llanfrechfa Grange pdf icon PDF 679 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Cabinet agreed to:

a.    Approve the Strategic Outline Case and associated masterplan for the Llanfrechfa Grange Campus Medi Park as set out in the report

b.    Note that a brief will now be produced for an Outline Business Case for which match funding may be required. Any request for funding to support the OBC will be subject to a further report.

c.    Approve the commencement of funding discussions with partners for both capital and OBC development costs.

d.    Note that a Memorandum of Understanding will be produced and submitted to the Executive Member for Economy and Skills for approval.

 

REASON FOR DECISION: As set out in the report.

CONSULTATION: As set out in the report.

MEMBERS’ INTERESTS:

 

Councillor Richard Clark declared a personal interest as a Local Authority appointed member of Aneurin Bevan Health Board.

Minutes:

8.1     The Executive Member for Economy, Skills & Regeneration presented the key areas of the report commenting on the following:

·         The Strategic Outline Case was a result of extensive partnership working between Council Officers, the Health Board, Welsh Government, the Life Science Hub and Regional Universities.

·         It was an exciting opportunity to progress with and was a significant project.

·         The Medi Park was suggested several years ago as a way of securing economic benefits for residents from the building of the new Grange Hospital. At that stage there were lots of questions as to whether there was enough demand and who would be involved in running the Medi Park. The Strategic Outline Case thoroughly assessed those issues and concluded that a Medi park was a possibility.

·         The masterplan presents a vision on how the Medi Park could be part of an innovation campus.

·         At a time when the economy around the world was facing the impact of the Coronavirus the medical manufacturing sector had the potential for growth.

·         The Medi Park proposals were based on innovation that would lead to improved health outcomes.

·         Should the Medi Park proceed it has the potential to contribute over £59million in GVA for the region and provide over a 140 high quality jobs.

·         The Strategic Outline Case had given a good foundation for the Project however there was much more work needed to make it a reality and the project would need to progress through the business planning stages. 

 

8.2       The Chief Officer Neighbourhoods, Planning and Public Protection added the following further detail:

·         The project had the potential to harness the strengths of the medical technology sector.

·         There was 4.5 hectares of the site allocated for the Medi Park to be built on over two phases and 12.35 hectares for residential development of 318 homes.

·         An Innovation hub building was critical to the proposal and would bring together clinicians, academia and industry in a space specifically designed to support innovation and would cost in the region of £10.7million. The business model of the hub did not include pay back of the capital construction cost and Officers would be looking for a grant to cover the costs.

·         The Health Board had indicated the need to have a presence on site which would offer opportunity for commercial enterprises.

·         There were further works to be done on the electrical substation.

·         The total value of capital costs was in the region of £60million however this excluded contingencies, the high level costs would be worked through more fully in the Outline Business Case.

·         The cost benefit ratio was 2.47 to 1 which was considered high value for money.

·         There were risks to be considered that would need to be carefully managed including the costs, Officers would need to scope out funding packages with a mixture of grants and commercial loans.

·         If MPIM had not been cancelled in March, City Deal were going to be promoting the Medi Park as one of its strategic projects.

·         The funding in order to take  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Local Sustainable Transport Measures in Response To Covid 19 / Mesurau Cludiant Cynaliadwy Lleol mewn Ymateb i Covid 19 pdf icon PDF 459 KB

Decision:

Cabinet agreed to approve the proposed scheme of works as outlined in the report for the local sustainable transport measures in response to Covid 19 and also for use of the framework if and when required.

 

REASON FOR DECISION: As set out in the report.

CONSULTATION: As set out in the report.

MEMBERS’ INTERESTS: None declared.

Minutes:

9.1       The Executive Member for Environment presented the report and highlighted the following points:

·         One of the positive aspects to emerge from Covid-19 was the reduction in vehicles on the road and the increase in people walking and cycling.

·         There was a risk when moving to the new normal that car journeys would increase with people being reluctant to use public transport.

·         The Welsh Government invited expressions of interest from Local Authorities to introduce measures to ensure the safety and reliability of sustainable transport during and following the Covid-19 crisis.

·         Welsh Government were looking for low cost high impact measures and asked Councils to focus on measures which would most assist people to move around safely on bike or foot.

·         One of the key requirements was that existing travel routes should be prioritised partially those nearest schools

·         Officers identified 64 site specific schemes plus measures for bus infrastructure improvements for social distancing and to promote the continued use of public transport, in total Torfaen’s bid amounted to £2million.

·         Ideally consultation would have formed a key part of this process, however Officers only had 10 working days to put a bid together, however engagement would take place on the scheme delivery to ensure the schemes were effective.

·         Torfaen were successful in receiving £1.37million and one of the largest bids to be supported, however not all 64 schemes were supported.

·         As it was only an expression of interest the schemes were not completely designed or costed therefore there would be changes to what was proposed.

·         The report seeks approval to use the footpath hierarchy contained in the highway asset management plan as a basis for improving the scheme should it be determined that there was not enough money to do all the schemes.

·         There was alignment between the funding and the Council’s strategy in supporting town centres with the adaptations needed to ensure social distancing, supporting local businesses and protecting the economy.

·         The work was a strategic priority for the team to get in place as soon as possible given to assist with living in a pandemic.

 

9.2       The Chief Officer Neighbourhoods, Planning and Public Protection provided the following additional information:

·         Officers were really focused on getting the projects in place to support social distancing.

·         The three temporary crossing would be completed in the next four weeks.

·         The pavement widening schemes were being finalised with engagement with local communities.

·         The School temporary measures would be in place for September. All schools welcomed the work.

·         It was not planned to over engineer the town centres and the work would be done in a phased approach, Officers would be monitoring the town centres as they start to get busier to identify what works were required.

·         M&G have informed the Council that they did not require any support as their local solutions had worked effectively.

·         Normally an engagement process would be carried out prior to submitting a bid however time scales did not allow this, however engagement would be carried out on the scheme  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Report On Consultation - Proposal to Expand Maendy Primary School / Adroddiad ar Ymgynghoriad - Cynnig i Ehangu Ysgol Gynradd Maendy pdf icon PDF 480 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Cabinet agreed:

a.    To consider the Consultation Report

b.    To the publication of statutory notices

c.    If no objections are received, the proposal will be determined by the Executive Member for Education

d.    To receive a further report when the statutory notice period ends and determine the next steps, should any objections be received.

 

REASON FOR DECISION: As set out in the report.

CONSULTATION: As set out in the report.

MEMBERS’ INTERESTS:

 

Councillor David Daniels declared a personal interest as a Council appointed governor at Maendy Primary School.

Minutes:

10.1    The Deputy Leader introduced the report commenting on the following:

·         The report sets out the results of the consultation exercise carried out for the proposal to build a new low carbon, Passivhaus design school to replace the current Maendy Primary School with a new entrance off Maendy Way. 

·         It would be a new 420 place primary school with 30 nursery places.

·         If it was agreed to progress the school would be scheduled to open in autumn 2023.

·         If Cabinet were minded to progress with the proposal the statutory process would commence in September.

·         Appendix 1 included the responses to the consultation and the Local Education Authority replies. The vast majority of people who responded were supportive of the proposal. There were some issues raised from Pontnewydd Governors who were seeking parity for the schools. However Maendy Primary School had been identified in Category B of the 21st Century Schools Programme and Pontnewydd Primary School was in Category C.

·         Estyn was confident that the teaching and learning in the new school building would be as it was currently if not better.

 

10.2    TheHead of Access & Engagement added the following:

·         The report provided the responses to the questions and comments made during the consultation process. There had been a delay in the process due to Covid-19 and the next stage could not be progressed until September when the schools were back open.

·         The Chair of Governors and Governing Body at Pontnewydd Primary School had been clear that they did not object to the proposal for Maendy, but were looking for their school to be treated equally. The HoA&E advised that it was not possible to deliver all schemes at once, and Pontnewydd were in a later band of the programme.

·         The current buildings required replacement, and the capacity of the school needed to be increased to cater for new demand in the area coming from the South Sebastopol housing development. The formula used to assess likely pupil growth indicated that 348 pupils could be generated as a result of the South Sebastopol development.

 

10.3    Members commented:

·         That it was a very exciting project which was overdue.

·         The new entrance would resolve a number of local issues.

·         They would encourage parents and residents to participate in the consultation when it opened in September.

 

10.4    Cabinet agreed:

a.    To consider the Consultation Report

b.    To the publication of statutory notices

c.    If no objections are received, the proposal will be determined by the Executive Member for Education

d.    To receive a further report when the statutory notice period ends and determine the next steps, should any objections be received.

 

11.

Chief Officer Decisions Taken During the Initial Covid-19 Outbreak / Penderfyniadau a Gymerwyd gan Brif Swyddogion yn ystod Achos Cychwynnol Covid-19 pdf icon PDF 129 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Cabinet agreed to confirm the decisions made by Chief Officers during the Covid-19 outbreak.

 

REASON FOR DECISION: As set out in the report.

CONSULTATION: As set out in the report.

MEMBERS’ INTERESTS: None declared.

Minutes:

11.1    The Executive Member for Corporate Governance & Performance presented the report commenting on the following:

·         The report and appendix outlined in detail the key decisions taken by Chief Officers since the start of the pandemic.

·         The decisions had been taken in consultation with Leader or relevant Executive Member.

·         The Covid-19 outbreak required the Council to respond at pace and take the necessary decisions to ensure compliance with National and Devolved Government advice and to support and protect the NHS, ensuring front line services and priorities were maintained

·         The Executive Member thanked Officers and Member for working in tandem throughout the pandemic.

 

11.2    Members stated their thanks to Officers for acting quickly in order to protect the public and for all their hard work throughout the Pandemic which came on the back of the extreme flooding the borough faced at the start of the year.

 

11.3    Cabinet agreed to confirm the decisions made by Chief Officers during the Covid-19 outbreak.