County Council

 

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

 

 

PRESENT: Councillor J.M. Charles (Chair)

 

Councillors:

 H.I. Jones

S.M. Allen

L.R. Bowen

K.V. Broom

C.A. Campbell

D.M. Cundy

S.A. Curry

C.A. Davies

T.A.J. Davies

G. Davies

H.L. Davies

I.W. Davies

J.A. Davies

S.L. Davies

W.R.A. Davies

E. Dole

J.S. Edmunds

H.A.L. Evans

L.D. Evans

W.T. Evans

A.L. Fox

S.J.G. Gilasbey

P. Hughes-Griffiths

A.D. Harries

T.M. Higgins

J.K. Howell

P.M. Hughes

J.D. James

R. James

D.M. Jenkins

J.P. Jenkins

G.H. John

C. Jones

B.W. Jones

D. Jones

G.R. Jones

A. Lenny

M.J.A. Lewis

K. Lloyd

K. Madge

S. Matthews

A.S.J. McPherson

E. Morgan

A.G. Morgan

S. Najmi

D. Nicholas

B.D.J. Phillips

J.S. Phillips

D. Price

J.G. Prosser

B.A.L. Roberts

E.M.J.G. Schiavone

H.B. Shepardson

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:

M. James, Chief Executive;

W. Walters, Director of Regeneration & Policy;

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

R. Mullen, Director of Environment;

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

L.R. Jones, Head of Administration and Law;

I. Jones, Head of Leisure;

G. Morgan, Head of Democratic Services;

J. Morgan, Acting Head of Homes & Safer Communities;

D. Hockenhull, Marketing and Media Manager;

J. Owen, Democratic Services Officer.

Chamber, County Hall, Carmarthen – 9:30am – 11:15am and 11:35am – 12.10pm

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1.            APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

 

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors F. Akhtar, P. Edwards,
C. Evans, R. Evans, C.J. Harries, A. James, T.J. Jones, G. Thomas and
A.D.T. Speake.

 

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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 provided an update on the activities and events that he had attended representing the Council, these included:

Congratulations were extended to Mrs Pat Thomas the current Chair of Dyffryn Cennen Community Council and Mrs Beryl Owens who were nominated for a Jo Cox Cymru Community Champion Award for their work in the Trap / Llandyfan area.

 

Congratulations were extended to Cylch Meithrin Felinfoel who were the first in Wales to be awarded the Safonau Serennog Gold Award by Mudiad Meithrin.

 

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4.            TO APPROVE AND SIGN AS A CORRECT RECORD THE MINUTES OF THE COUNCIL MEETING HELD ON THE 13TH JUNE 2018

 

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting of Council held on the 13th June, 2018 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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6.            QUESTIONS BY MEMBERS:-

 

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6.1.       QUESTION BY COUNCILLOR TINA HIGGINS TO COUNCILLOR PHILIP HUGHES, EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBER FOR PUBLIC PROTECTION

 

The Chair informed the Council that this question had been withdrawn.

 

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6.2.       QUESTION BY COUNCILLOR BILL THOMAS TO COUNCILLOR GLYNOG DAVIES, EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBER FOR EDUCATION AND CHILDREN

 

“Wales’ largest supply teaching provider paid two directors almost £1 million over two years. Yet supply teachers’ pay and conditions are well below those of permanent staff. This unfairness has prompted a demonstration in Cardiff on 7th July. What is the Executive Board member for Education & Children doing to arrange for the commissioning and deployment of supply teachers via alternative arrangements including via direct employment?”

 

Response by Councillor Glynog Davies, Executive Board Member for Education and Children:-

 

I would like to start off by saying that supply teachers are an essential resource for our schools. They of course, step into the breach when teachers are ill and therefore ensure that the teachers continue the absence of the regular teacher at the school.  But of course, we do need supply teachers when our teachers go on courses and those training courses are an essential part of the development of those individuals.  It is important that our teachers develop their skills and therefore you can see that the supply teachers are an essential part of the success of our education system.

 

Finding good individuals, competent and qualified teachers can be very difficult, at times it can be impossible, so it is important to have some kind of system in place.

 

I am ready to admit this morning that there are difficulties, so can I assure Councillor Bill Thomas that myself and the department are taking note of the point and the work of the Welsh Government.  We do want to see an answer to this issue of this difficult position.  We have distributed the documents and guidelines which have been released by the Welsh Government and ESTYN.  You can have copies of those if you would like.  But what is important is that teachers are qualified for the work.

 

What is Welsh Government doing? What is Labour in Wales doing to ensure fair play for supply teachers?  A ministerial workforce was established in June 2016, then there was a report in February 2017 which was updated by Kirsty Williams, the Cabinet Secretary for Education in September of last year.  Welsh Government is looking for alternative models for employing supply teachers. 



It is currently the UK’s government which determines the pay scale and terms of reference for supply teachers.  It could, and I hope it does, become a Welsh Government responsibility.  We have been told that the earliest that this responsibility can be transferred is September of next year.  A year this September. 

 

Here in Carmarthenshire we are currently part of a pilot scheme financed by Welsh Government which helps those teachers that just become newly qualified.  The aim is to give them some help and assistance to get onto the career ladder, to get that first job is so important.  We want to increase our teaching capacity.  There are 11 Counties have shown an interest in this pilot scheme and I am very proud to say that we in Carmarthenshire are one of those.  It is a scheme that we are operating in Coed Cae School in Llanelli. 3 new qualified teachers were employed and these will now be available to supply days according to need.  We specifically, and this was intentional, we did recruit bilingual teachers so they are available to go to Welsh classes or English classes.  It is too early yet to measure the effectiveness of this scheme, but we and the department believe it is a good scheme.  It’s an interesting one, but the question that we all are asking is, ‘is it sustainable’?  I will make sure that there will be a report presented to the Scrutiny Committee on Education.  Also at the request of the Executive Board, the CMT team are looking at our work with agencies.  We as a County, as a department we want to have the best value for money, also we want to have a fair pay for our workers.

 

You have referred to one company, I know who the company is and I am not going to name the company as we are webcasting this morning. They are a third supplier, but it is not mandatory that schools use this company. I’m the Chair of Governors at Brynamman, this company has failed to help us in the past, not one who met our needs was available. But the contract was awarded to them after a thorough tender process.  The technical requirements were met, also the commercial terms that is the price paid for the service was acceptable and therefore that was the most economical tender, that is the one, I take it you are referring to.

 

Their recruiting strategy is comprehensive, it is overarching, I can provide you with those details. Can I just say that our spending on supply teachers currently stands at over £4m. Now around over £930k was paid to that particular company.  I know of 14 companies that are used in Carmarthenshire and they are all private companies and we as an Authority have no control whatsoever over their wages.  No control whatsoever.

 

Can I also say this to close, that we have as a County an insurance scheme which is an extremely good one and we offer this to our schools.  I am very hopeful that the schools will take advantage and do an SLA which would be of benefit to them as schools themselves.  They can then save money, only that they listen to us.  So if you are on a Governing Body in a school, and the majority of you are, can I encourage you all to take advantage of our insurance scheme for supply teachers?  It is of benefit to our schools, I do have information about all the companies here and I am very willing to transfer that information to Councillor Bill Thomas. Thank you very much.


 

Councillor Bill Thomas asked the following supplementary question:-

 

Thank you for a detailed answer to the question.  The question was not intended to criticises supply teachers, I appreciate they are an essential requirement to the school environment.  It doesn’t benefit pupils to have disenchanted teachers going into classrooms.  The maybe disenchanted because as a supply teacher they know they are being paid a fraction compared to the teachers in the next classroom.  So I am pleased that you have said that Carmarthenshire is taking part in the task group that the Welsh Government have set up and also you have taken up the opportunity to take part in the pilot.  You are right there is obviously a benefit to those newly qualified teachers who are then employed as part of that pilot but it is also of benefit to the school as well, because they won’t be paying as what by be described as exorbitant fees to agencies.  Could you tell us what the next 12 months is likely to bring in terms of supply teachers, particularly in Carmarthenshire?

 

Response by Councillor Glynog Davies, Executive Board Member for Education and Children:-

 

As I said, supply teachers are essential and we are doing our best to increase the capacity that is our intention.  That is our vision for the County that this pilot scheme that we have commenced with the support of the Welsh Government succeed.  I hope that it is viable and that we can expand that scheme, because as you say supply teachers have to be good.  We just don’t want any other body walking into a class that doesn’t know the class and has no idea what they have been taught in the past.  We want a system that is thorough.  That is why I want supply teachers also, to go on training courses, they need to be developed so hopefully in the next 12 months we can expand and add on to what we have already commenced.

 

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7.            TOUR OF BRITAIN 2018

 

The Chair welcomed to the meeting Mr Ian Jones, Head of Leisure, who had been invited to give a presentation to Council on the upcoming Tour of Britain.

 

The presentation provided an update on the benefits and opportunities associated with the Tour of Britain 2018 which would be starting in Carmarthenshire on 2nd September 2018. The presentation included an update on the event management plan which aimed to maximise promotional opportunities for the County. 

 

The Head of Leisure explained that the Tour of Britain, known as the Ovo Energy Tour of Britain for sponsorship purposes, was a multi-stage cycling race, conducted on British roads, in which participants race across Great Britain to complete the race in the fastest time.  The route of the Tour of Britain race involved the first stage starting from Pembrey Country Park, onwards to Carmarthen, up the Tywi Valley and from Llandovery on to the end of the stage in Newport, Gwent. 

 

In order to gain a better perspective of what the Tour of Britain involved, Members were afforded the opportunity to watch a short video clip of the 2017 Tour of Britain.

 

Based on 2015 data from the Economic Impact Survey on the stage 1 route from Beaumaris to Wrexham, the potential economic impact of this race could provide an injection of £4.5m into the economy providing an excellent opportunity for the County.  In addition, the event would be broadcasted live throughout 125 countries worldwide.

 

The Head of Leisure provided a detailed account of the Stage 1 route as charted on the map within the presentation.  The event had been communicated to all Town and Community Councils encouraging them to all get involved, which in turn had generated many positive responses and ideas, these would be formalised and entered into the event management plan.  

 

A considerable amount of promotion and activation work had been undertaken within schools and communities in order to raise the awareness and gather momentum in readiness for the start of the event.  Specifically designed t-shirts for volunteers and polo shirts for staff would promote the event.  In addition, a professional cycling shirt, which was on display, had been designed to commemorate the Tour of Britain in Carmarthen and would be available to buy online via the Tour of Britain section of the Council website.

 

The presentation was followed by a question and answer session, following which the Chair thanked the officers for an excellent and informative presentation.

 

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8.            TO CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING NOTICES OF MOTION:-

 

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8.1.       NOTICE OF MOTION SUBMITTED BY COUNCILLOR ANDRE MCPHERSON

 

“I ask this council to ratify this motion that blue recycling bags are upgraded to a thicker more durable type”. This being more cost effective and fit for purpose.

 

The Motion was duly seconded.

 

The proposer of the Motion, supported by his seconder, was afforded the opportunity of speaking in support of the Motion and outlined the reasons for its submission, as set out in the Motion.

 

A number of statements were made against the Motion.

 

Following a vote, it was

 

RESOLVED that the Notice of Motion be not supported.


 

 

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9.            TO CONSIDER THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE EXECUTIVE BOARD IN RESPECT OF THE FOLLOWING ITEMS

 

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9.1.       HIGHWAY ASSET MANAGEMENT PLAN (HAMP)

 

The Council considered the Highway Asset Management Plan (HAMP) 2018 which sets out the objectives, policy and strategy framework for managing the highway network which complies with the recommendations of the new Well-Managed Highway Infrastructure – A Code of Practice.  In addition, in line with the code of practice, the HAMP sets out the adoption of a risk based approach to target resources to areas where they would be most needed and where investment would derive greatest value.

 

The Executive Board Member for Environment explained that the HAMP contained four key parts which included the strategy and policy, a management framework, an annual statement of condition and investment all of which would guide the development of a maintenance manual for the various elements comprising of the highway assets as set out in the report.

 

It was asked, if there was any significant reason why the HAMP had not been to the Environmental and Public Protection Scrutiny Committee?  The Director of Environment explained that Part 4 had yet to be developed as a Maintenance Manual which would detail the way individual elements would be managed and that this area would be more appropriate for scrutiny to get involved in.

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that the following recommendation of the Executive Board be adopted:-

“that the Highway Asset Management Plan 2018 be approved”

 

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9.2.       ANNUAL TREASURY MANAGEMENT AND PRUDENTIAL INDICATOR REPORT 2017-18

 

Council was reminded that at its meeting held on the 22nd February, 2017 (Minute 16 refers) had adopted the Treasury Management Policy and Strategy 2017/18. In line with that policy, the Executive Board at its meeting held on the 2nd July, 2018 (Minute 12 refers) received the Annual Treasury Management and Prudential Indicator Report which outlined the Authority’s Treasury Management activities in 2017/18 and summarised the activities that had taken place during 2017/18 under the headings of: Investments; Borrowing; Treasury Management Prudential Indicators; Prudential Indicators; Leasing and Rescheduling.

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that the following recommendation of the Executive Board be adopted:

 

“ That the Annual Treasury Management and Prudential Indicator Report 2017/18 be received”.


 

 

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10.         TO CONSIDER THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE DEMOCRATIC SERVICES COMMITTEE IN RESPECT OF THE FOLLOWING ITEMS

 

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10.1.    PAPERLESS WORKING

 

At the request of the Chair, this item was deferred to the next Council meeting.

 

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11.         TO RECEIVE THE REPORT OF THE MEETING OF THE EXECUTIVE BOARD HELD ON THE 4TH JUNE 2018

 

In relation to minute 14, School Uniform Grant, it was raised that since the Executive Board meeting held on the 4th June 2018, the Welsh Government had announced a new scheme that increased the allowance from £105 to £125 per pupil in reception year and year 7.  It was asked if the Executive Board Member for Education could ensure that the £15k already allocated was retained to improve upon the WG scheme, by extending the offer to pupils in other years.

 

The Executive Board Member for Education reported that in light of the Welsh Government’s new proposal to increase the grant which would include sport equipment and clothing, the Authority would be withdrawing the original proposal and would be reconsidering the use of this funding.

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that the report of the above meeting be received.

 

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12.         MEMBERSHIP OF COMMITTEES:

 

In accordance with Corporate Procedure Rule CPR 2 (2)(n), the following nominations from the Labour Group had been received and it was

 

RESOLVED to note that Councillor Fozia Akhtar to replace Councillor Andre McPherson on the Licensing Committee.

 

[Note: At this point in the proceedings the meeting was adjourned to enable Mr D. T. Davies OBE MM and his family to enter the Chamber]

 

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13.         CONFERMENT OF THE FREEDOM OF THE COUNTY OF CARMARTHENSHIRE ON MR DAVID TOM DAVIES OBE MM, BERLLAN FACH, DRYSLWYN, CARMARTHEN

 

[Note: Council reconvened in the Chamber at County Hall, Carmarthen at 11:35am]

 

The Chair welcomed to the Council Chamber Mr David Tom Davies OBE, MM, along with his family and friends.  

 

The Chair referred to the unanimous decision made by Council at its meeting held on 13th June 2018 (minute 11 refers) to confer the Freedom of the County of Carmarthenshire on Mr David Tom Davies OBE MM in recognition of his long and distinguished record of public service in Welsh Local Government.

 

Mr David Tom Davies, universally known as ‘D.T.’, served as a Councillor for the Llandeilo and surrounding area from 1970 to 2003.  Mr Davies was first elected as a County Councillor of the former Carmarthenshire County Council in 1969 which continued beyond the local government reorganisation that took place in 1974 with Dyfed County Council officially coming into existence in 1976.

During his period on Dyfed County Council, Mr Davies served as Chairman of the Council in 1981-82 and as Chair of the Education Committee for many years. His career continued through another period from the reorganisation of local authorities twenty years later becoming the first Chair of the current Carmarthenshire County Council in 1996. 

Mr Davies had also been a member of Llangathen Community Council for over 40 years and was a member of the board of governors of Ysgol Tre-gib.   He was instrumental in the establishment of the National Botanic Garden in Llanarthne and subsequently Aberglasney Gardens. 

The Council was apprised of notable events in Mr Davies’ life story which included a period of time when he was captured as a prisoner of war at the Battle of Crete 1941 and spent three years as a prisoner in Austria, then Hungary. He had also been held prisoner at the barbaric concentration camp of Zemun, near Belgrade.

 

Councillor Cefin Campbell, who currently served the Llanfihangel Aberbythych ward, was amongst those who nominated Mr Davies for the Honorary Freedom.  Cllr Campbell spoke of Mr Davies’s selfless commitment to his community and his respectful ability as a Chairman, as well as his remarkable determination and resilience during his wartime service.

 

In addition, it was acknowledged that today, Mr Davies was celebrating his 100th birthday.

 

In order to acknowledge and recognise his huge contribution to public service in Carmarthenshire it was proposed to bestow upon Mr Davies the Freedom of Carmarthenshire.

 

The Chief Executive referred to the scroll which set out the following citation:-

 

“County of Carmarthenshire - In recognition of eminent and outstanding public service rendered to the county, at a meeting of Carmarthenshire County Council held on the 13th day of June, 2018 it was resolved that the Freedom of the County be granted to D.T. Davies in witness whereof the common seal of the Council of the County of Carmarthenshire was hereby affixed this 11th day of July in the presence of Councillor J.M. Charles, Chairman of the Council and Mark James, Chief Executive of the Council.”

 

The Chair thereupon formally bestowed the Freedom of the County of Carmarthenshire upon Mr David Tom Davies OBE, MM.


 

Members paid tribute to Mr Davies acknowledging his commitment and dedication over a period of 50 years to the Council, to his community and to local government in Wales.  He was highly regarded and very well respected by all, his wisdom and experience always valued tremendously. He was congratulated on this unique and outstanding achievement.

Mr Davies thanked everyone for the honour bestowed upon him and for their kind words.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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CHAIR                                                                                   DATE

 

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