County Council

 

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

 

 

PRESENT: Councillor K. Madge (Chair)

 

Councillors:

 F. Akhtar

S.M. Allen

L.R. Bowen

K.V. Broom

C.A. Campbell

J.M. Charles

D.M. Cundy

S.A. Curry

C.A. Davies

W.R.A. Davies

T.A.J. Davies

G. Davies

H.L. Davies

I.W. Davies

J.A. Davies

S.L. Davies

E. Dole

J.S. Edmunds

P.M. Edwards

H.A.L. Evans

R.E. Evans

W.T. Evans

A.L. Fox

S.J.G. Gilasbey

C.J. Harris

T.M. Higgins

J.K. Howell

P. Hughes-Griffiths

P.M. Hughes

A. James

J.D. James

R. James

D.M. Jenkins

J.P. Jenkins

G.H. John

C. Jones

B.W. Jones

D. Jones

G.R. Jones

H.I. Jones

T.J. Jones

A. Lenny

M.J.A. Lewis

S. Matthews

A.S.J. McPherson

E. Morgan

S. Najmi

D. Nicholas

B.D.J. Phillips

J.S. Phillips

J.G. Prosser

B.A.L. Roberts

E.M.J.G. Schiavone

H.B. Shepardson

A.D.T. Speake

L.M. Stephens

B. Thomas

D. Thomas

E.G. Thomas

G.B. Thomas

J. Tremlett

A.Vaughan Owen

D.T. Williams

D.E. Williams

J.E. Williams

 

 

 

 

Also Present:

W. Walters, Chief Executive

J. Morgan, Director of Community Services

C. Moore, Director of Corporate Services

Mrs R. Mullen, Director of Environment

G. Morgans, Director of Education & Children's Services

L.R. Jones, Head of Administration and Law

P.R. Thomas, Assistant Chief Executive (People Management & Performance)

S. Pilliner, Head of Transportation & Highways

I.R. Llewelyn, Forward Planning Manager

K. Thomas, Democratic Services Officer

 

 

Chamber, County Hall, Carmarthen, SA31 1JP - 10.00  - 11.05 am

 

<AI1>

1.            APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

 

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors K. Davies, D.C. Evans, L. Evans, D. Harries, K. Lloyd, A.G. Morgan, D. Price and G. Thomas

 

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2.            DECLARATIONS OF PERSONAL INTERESTS.

 

There were no declarations of personal interests.

 

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3.            CHAIR’S ANNOUNCEMENTS.

 

·         The Chair extended his condolences to the family of the late Martin Morris who had been a member of both Carmarthenshire County Council and the former Dyfed County Council. Both the Chair and Councillor Rob James (Leader of the Labour Party) paid tribute to Mr Morris who had been the Leader of the Labour Group, Deputy Leader of the Council and the Executive Board Member for Customer Focus/Equality during his period as an elected member for Carmarthenshire

 

The Council stood in silent tribute to Mr Morris.

 

·         The Chair welcomed Wendy Walters to her first meeting of the Council following her appointment to the post of Chief Executive.

·         The Chair thanked all those who had attended his civic service, in particular, his chaplain the reverend Dr Caroline Jones, the Right Reverend Joanna Penberthy and also Mr Mark Drakeford , the Welsh Government’s first Minister.

 

He also thanked all those who had contributed to his charity, raising the sum of £806.76 for the food banks.

·         The Chair advised on the numerous events both he, and his vice-chair, had recently attended particularly, the mayoral installation ceremonies at a number of Town and Community Councils throughout the authority’s area.

·         The Chair referred to his recent visit, with Councillor Irfon Jones, to Mr and Mrs Jones of Bwlchnewydd, Carmarthen who had recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary

·         Cllr Hazel Evans paid tribute to Dorian Lewis and Mark Allen of the Council’s Environment Department whose selfless actions during the recent Storm Callum had saved the life of a lorry driver whose vehicle had been swept into the swollen river by the landslide at Cwmduad. Their actions had also been recognised at the West Wales Community Awards Evening on the 24th May where they had been awarded the Community Bravery Award.

 

The Chair presented Dorian and Mark with a gift from the Council in recognition of their bravery.

 

·         Congratulations were extended to:-

-       Councillor Elwyn Williams on his appointment as Vice-Chair of the Mid and West Wales Fire Authority, for 2019/20,

-       Councillor Rob Evans on receiving an award under the ‘Charity Fundraiser’ category in the West Wales Community awards 2019 for his work in driving forward the Llanelli Food Bank and in supplying it with a van to serve all communities. Councillor Evans had also created a War Memorial Garden at Dafen, Llanelli,

-       Councillor Jim Jones on his recent birthday,

·         Councillor Gary Jones advised on the following establishments in Llangennech which had achieved success in the recent Food Awards Wales:-

 

The ‘Bridge’ – Restaurant of the Year (South West Region)

 

‘Tafarn y Morlais’ Gastro Pub of the Year (South East Region)

 

South Wales Touring Park, off Trosserch Road – Best Caravan Site in Wales.

 

·         Councillor P. Hughes Griffiths, Executive Board Member for Culture, Sport and Tourism, extended his appreciation to all those from Carmarthenshire who had participated in the recent Urdd Eisteddfod in Cardiff including school pupils, teachers, volunteers and craftspersons etc

·         The Council received an update from Councillor Cundy on the recent TB screening exercise undertaken in the Bynea and Llwynhendy wards, which saw the largest ever mass screening undertaken in Wales attended by around 1400 people, 900 more than anticipated. He expressed his appreciation to all the medical staff involved in the screening and requested the Council send a letter of thanks to the medical teams via Dr Brendan Mason, Head of the screening team, to show them its gratitude for all their work.

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that Council send a letter of thanks to Dr Brendan Mason and his team expressing its gratitude for all their hard work during the recent TB screening undertaken in the Bynea and Llwynhendy Wards.

 

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4.            TO APPROVE AND SIGN AS A CORRECT RECORD THE MINUTES OF THE COUNCIL MEETING HELD ON THE:-

 

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4.1.       10TH APRIL, 2019

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on the 10th April, 2019 be signed as a correct record.

 

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4.2.       1ST MAY, 2019

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on the 1st May, 2019 be signed as a correct record.

 

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5.            PUBLIC QUESTIONS (NONE RECEIVED).

 

The Chair advised that no public questions had been received.

 

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<AI8>

6.            QUESTIONS BY MEMBERS:-

 

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<AI9>

6.1.       QUESTION BY COUNCILLOR ROB EVANS TO COUNCILLOR EMLYN DOLE, LEADER OF THE COUNCIL

 

“Carmarthenshire County Council along with the Welsh Government advocate that “Every Child Matters”. We are also informed that under every “Fair Funding Formula” there are always winners and losers. However, if the same schools are losing out, year on year, how can this be fair. What can be done to reduce this inequality?”

 

Response by Councillor Emlyn Dole, Leader of the Council:-

 

Firstly I would like to thank Cllr Rob Evans for his question.

 

I agree that ‘Every Carmarthenshire Child Matters’ and that we do our best for each child and young person- at the last count there were nearly 28,000 of them across the County. However, we have to work within the Revenue Support Grant that’s provided by Welsh Government. Now, what would be nice, would be to have a fair budget to start with, as well as a timely budget. For the last two years, there’s been no protection from Welsh Government for education. At the WLGA meetings and in consultations with the Welsh Labour Government we’ve asked for that but, we’ve been told that we have to prioritise education. Some people will consider that a hospital pass. It is, in the sense that it’s up to us to find that within a reducing budget in a time of austerity. So, it was only last week, actually, as far as timely goes, that we received £1.9m that we should have got right at the beginning but, three months into the financial year we got that. That has repercussions as well as to the way that we set the budget.

 

This administration has worked hard to protect school funding and we haven’t reduced the funding that we allocate to schools, unlike many other County Councils have had to do. That’s not been the case for other service areas where the impact of the budget cuts have been deeply felt.

 

Under the School Funding Regulations Pan Wales 2010, which applies to all County Councils in Wales, all authorities, the individual schools budget is allocated to schools in the form of budget shares, using a locally determined funding formula. The content of the formula is dictated by legislation from Welsh Government, with many aspects common to all Councils however there is some flexibility to reflect local circumstances and priorities.

So, a local authority must determine, before the beginning of a funding period, the formula that they will use to determine the schools' budget shares during that funding period, having regard to the factors, the criteria and the requirements as set out in the Regulations.

In determining budget shares for schools, a local authority must ensure that their formula provides that at least 70% of the funding be allocated on the basis of pupil numbers.  Authorities then have discretion to distribute the remaining 30% on the basis of a range of factors so that they can take account of individual school circumstances.

God forbid that Welsh Government devolved too much responsibility down to local government. So, in Schedule 3 of the 2010 Regulations, they then go onto detail the additional criteria that you might be able to take into account as a Local Authority setting that formula for that 30%, and they include areas such as Special Education Needs, Utilities, NNDR (National Non Domestic Rates), premises, school size, split sites, cleaning, language and others where pupil numbers would not be an appropriate distribution factor. They are the same for all authorities across Wales. However there will be differences in the importance and the emphasis placed on them and their value as every County Council area is different. In the same vein, all schools are different and therefore it is logical that two schools would not attract the same funding due to that local circumstances and the local criteria factor.

 

With reference in your question to ‘winners and losers’, the formula we use to fund schools is a fair and equal distribution mechanism because it is used to fund all of our schools- all schools are treated in the same way. However, when you change a distribution basis or amount within the same total amount, the movement in the share per school will be a combination of increases and decreases. In other words the cake stays the same, but the size of the slice might vary. The reason for changing the distribution basis is to reflect current need, developments and pressures across the school sectors. 

Now, the most significant movement in the primary sector is caused by pupil number increases or decreases.  The main reasons for this are the decline of pupil numbers, the number of schools available in a relatively small geographical area as well as parental choice.

I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the work of our Headteachers, finance officers and School Governors who have been working hard to manage within their allocated resources, and I acknowledge that it is a challenging time for all schools and all County Council services. However, during a time of austerity we have to make difficult decisions and try to operate within the resources that we have given to us”.

There was no supplementary question.

 

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<AI10>

7.            TO CONSIDER THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE EXECUTIVE BOARD IN RESPECT OF THE FOLLOWING ITEMS:-

 

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<AI11>

7.1.       SUPPLEMENTARY PLANNING GUIDANCE WIND AND SOLAR ENERGY AND DRAFT HIGHWAYS DESIGN GUIDE - ADOPTED CARMARTHENSHIRE LOCAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN

 

The Council was informed that the Executive Board, at its meeting held on the 1st April, 2019 (minute 9 refers) had considered a report on both the adoption of the draft Wind and Solar Energy Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) into the Carmarthen District Local Plan and for a draft Highways Design Guide SPG to be subject for formal consultation prior to inclusion within the Plan.

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that the following recommendations of the Executive Board be accepted:

 

“That the responses to the consultation exercise be noted and the draft Wind and Solar SPG be approved and adopted subject to the conditions as detailed in the report;

 

That the draft Highways Design Guide SPG be published for formal public consultation for a six week period;

 

That delegated authority be granted to the Head of Planning to correct typographical, cartographical or grammatical errors and to make amendments in order to enhance accuracy and clarity of meaning.”

 

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<AI12>

7.2.       CORPORATE STRATEGY 2018-23 UPDATE JUNE 2019

 

The Council was informed that the Executive Board, at its meeting held on the 3rd June, 2019 (minute 6 refers) had considered an update report on the Council’s Corporate Strategy 2018, adopted in June 2018, following a review of the Well-being Objectives. It was noted that the update report had been considered by the Council’s scrutiny committees and amended where appropriate to reflect their views.

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that the following recommendations of the Executive Board be accepted:

 

“that the Corporate Strategy, adopted in June 2018, be re-affirmed;

 

that the same set of Well-being objectives for 2019/20 be retained subject to some corrective adjustments.”

 

 

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<AI13>

8.            TO RECEIVE THE REPORT OF THE MEETINGS OF THE EXECUTIVE BOARD HELD ON THE:-

 

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<AI14>

8.1.       1ST APRIL 2019

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that the report of the meeting of the Executive Board held on the 1st April, 2019 be received.

 

</AI14>

<AI15>

8.2.       7TH MAY 2019

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that the report of the meeting of the Executive Board held on the 7th May, 2019 be received.

 

</AI15>

<AI16>

8.3.       13TH MAY 2019

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that the report of the meeting of the Executive Board held on the 13th May, 2019 be received.

 

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CHAIR                                                                                   DATE

 

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