Agenda and minutes

Cabinet Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday, 30th November, 2022 2.00 pm

Venue: Multi-Location Meeting - Council Chamber, Port Talbot and Microsoft Teams

Contact: Charlotte Davies - 01639 763745 

No. Item


Chairs Announcements


The Chairperson welcomed everyone to the meeting.


Declarations of Interests


The Head of Legal and Democratic Services provided the Committee with the following information and advice in regards to interests and predetermination, which related in particular to the School Strategic Improvement Plan report which was included on the Cabinet agenda:

·        The proposal included in the circulated report was a new and fresh decision that Members will need to make; the fact that Members may have voted in a particular way at a previous meeting, will not amount to pre-determination provided Members retain a genuinely open mind in respect of this new meeting.

·        When arriving at decisions relating to any of the Councils business, Members must do so with an open mind and consider all the information before them objectively, having due regard to the advice of Officers. During the decision-making process, Members must act fairly and in the public interest. Members were required to make their decisions on the basis of the facts in front of them, and not to have made their mind up in advance of the meeting.

·        If Members consider that they have come to a settled view or decision in respect of this matter, and were unable or unwilling to take into account any other representations or advice, or a member of the public may feel that in taking into account all matters there was a risk, Members would in all likelihood have predetermined the matter. Accordingly if Members feel they have predetermined their position, they should not be taking part in any vote. Pre-determination could not only invalidate the decision, it could lead to proceedings being brought against the Council and it may also amount to a breach of the Members Code of Conduct. This would be the opportunity for Members to declare that

·        Members were entitled to hold a preliminary view about a particular matter in advance of a meeting (otherwise known as pre-disposition) as long as Members keep a genuinely open mind and were prepared to consider the merits of all the arguments and points made about the matter under consideration before reaching their decision.

·        It should be noted that the determination here was one for Members to decide.

·        For the sake of clarity, manifesto commitments and policy statements which were consistent with a preparedness to consider and weigh relevant factors when reaching the final decision, were examples of legitimate predisposition, not predetermination. In addition, previously expressed views on matters which arise for decision in the ordinary run of events were routine provided, Members were able to approach this particular decision with an open mind.


The following Members made declarations of interest at the start of the meeting:

Cllr A.Llewelyn

Agenda Item 6 on the Cabinet Agenda - Strategic School Improvement Programme - Proposal to Establish and English-Medium 3 - 11 School to Replace Alltwen, Godre'rgraig and Llangiwg Primary Schools as he is a school governor at Ysgol Gymraeg Ystalyfera – Bro Dur but has dispensation to speak and vote.

Cllr J.Henton

Agenda Item 6 on the Cabinet Agenda - Strategic School  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2.


Pre-decision Scrutiny

·        To select appropriate items from the Cabinet agenda for pre-decision scrutiny (cabinet reports enclosed for Scrutiny Members)


The Committee chose to scrutinise the following item on the Cabinet agenda:

Strategic School Improvement Programme - Proposal to Establish an English-Medium 3 - 11 School to Replace Alltwen, Godre'rgraig and Llangiwg Primary Schools

The circulated report provided detail regarding the proposal for a new consultation around the proposal for school reorganisation in the Swansea Valley; the proposal was to establish an English-medium 3-11 school with a specialist learning support centre, in new build premises to accommodate pupils from the current catchment areas of Alltwen Primary, Godre’rgraig Primary and Llangiwg Primary Schools.

It was explained that the Cabinet of the previous administration approved the former decision in relation to this matter; however, the decision had since been challenged and a judicial review took place which saw the decision be overturned. Members were informed that the new administration had committed to reviewing the decision taken in respect of the Swansea Valley School reorganisation proposal, which required the Council to start a new consultation for the proposal.

If Members approved the recommendation detailed in the circulated report, Officers stated that they will be highly encouraging members of the interested communities to take part in the consultation in order to provide their views.

A discussion took place in regards to the involvement of the Education, Skills and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee in this process, and the function of Joint Scrutiny Committees. The Chief Executive indicated that it was for Scrutiny Members to decide how scrutiny carries out its functions; there was a meeting scheduled with Scrutiny Chairs to remind them of their provisions within the Constitution, which include calling Joint Scrutiny Committee meetings in order for other Elected Members to attend specific Committees. It was noted that it would be useful to have a more in depth discussion with the Members of the Education, Skills and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee in regards to this matter, if they felt it was important that they be present when future reports, relating to this proposal, were brought back to Cabinet Scrutiny Committee.

Members queried if public meetings would form part of the consultation process; it was mentioned that the previous administration weren’t able to hold face-to-face public meetings during the initial consultation of this proposal due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Officers explained that they would be following the consultation requirements as necessary, and confirmed that there will be elements of the consultation undertaken face-to-face with the public.

Officers were asked to explain the consequences of any potential changes to the main proposal, if the consultation period was to go ahead and the feedback provided good reason to change that proposal. It was also asked that if a new business case was to be produced for any alternatives that may seem feasible, how long would the process of drawing up the business case take and when would there be another opportunity to submit that business case to Welsh Government for funding. It was noted if Cabinet decided not to progress with the proposal that was being consulted on,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


Urgent Items

Any urgent items (whether public or exempt) at the discretion of the Chairman pursuant to Section 100B (4) (b) of the Local Government Act 1972


Because of the need to deal now with the matter contained in Minute No. 5 below, the Chairman agreed that they could be raised as urgent items pursuant to Statutory Instrument 2001 No. 2290 (as amended).


Reason for Urgency:


Due to the time element.





Pontardawe Swimming Pool -Emergency Works


Members were provided with a report which sought approval for the allocation of funds for emergency works to be carried out at Pontardawe Swimming Pool.

The circulated report highlighted that contractors ARUP were commissioned to carry out a building review of Pontardawe Swimming Pool. Officers were asked if they could provide detail in regards to the costings of the condition survey that was carried out by ARUP. The Director of Education, Leisure and Lifelong Learning explained that they didn’t have the information at hand, however would be able to provide the costings to the Committee outside of the meeting.

A discussion took place in regards to the nature of the works that were proposed to be carried out to the swimming pool. It was noted that the works listed within the circulated report were very much temporary in nature and was a short term option in order to keep the facility open; the remedial work carried out will be sufficient for a maximum of a two year period, and after this time there will only be two choices to determine between. The first choice mentioned was substantial refurbishment work, the cost of which was likely to be more than the value of the asset; and the second choice would be to replace the swimming pool.

It was queried whether Officers were seeking funding for a new swimming pool. It was explained that Officers weren’t aware of any grant that would fund a replacement swimming pool at this time; Sport Wales capital fund limit was noted to be around £50k, which wouldn’t cover the full costs of funding a new swimming pool. Officers agreed to make some enquiries into this query, and would inform Members if there was any new funding streams available. 

Members asked for reassurances that the swimming pool would re-open as soon as possible for public use. It was highlighted that the remedial work was required to be undertaken in order to re-open the swimming pool and maintain the facility. Officers had received assurances from the contractor that it would take 3 weeks to carry out the remedial work; however, this didn’t include the time needed for the planning and design work, and the Christmas period would also come in between the pool re-opening. It was mentioned that the proposed date for re-opening was the end of January 2023.

Concerns were raised in regards to the extent of deterioration of the structure, and that there were recommendations still outstanding from the 2014 report on Pontardawe Swimming Pool. The Chief Executive explained that the Council had a large infrastructure and insufficient funds to be able to maintain all of those structures to the preferred standard; this had generally been the position for a number of years. It was noted that most often when the Council received grant funding, it was directed towards new infrastructure; there wasn’t enough investment funding available to invest in the existing structures, therefore there was deterioration in a lot of those structures. In terms of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Forward Work Programme 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 405 KB


The Forward Work Programme was noted.