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Appointment of Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson
was proposed and seconded and agreed that Cllr Rebecca Phillips be the
Chairperson for this meeting.
was proposed and seconded and agreed that Cllr Phil Rogers be the
Vice-Chairperson for this meeting.
Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting.
Declarations of Interest
The Head of Legal and Democratic Services provided advice to
members on this item.
As you will know, when arriving at decisions relating to any
of the Councils business, you must do so with an open mind and consider all the
information before you objectively, and have due regard to the advice of your
Council’s officers. During the decision-making process, you must act fairly and
in the public interest. You are required to make your decisions on the basis of
the facts in front of you, and not to have made your mind up in advance of the
If you consider that you have come to a settled view or
decision in respect of this matter prior to the meeting on the 19th April 2023
and are will be unable or unwilling to take into account any other
representations or advice, you will
in all likelihood have predetermined the matter. Whilst it
is expected that this is unlikely, should you find or consider yourself to have
predetermined the decision, please declare this at the earliest opportunity to
the Monitoring Officer. If you have pre-determined this matters you will be
unable to take any part in this decision and are unlikely to be able to
participate if any further decisions fall due to be made.
The proposal which falls due to be considered on the 19th
April 2023 is a new and fresh decision that members will make, so the fact that
you may have voted in a particular way at a previous meeting, will not amount
to pre- determination provided you retain a genuinely open mind in respect of
this new meeting.
You are also entitled to hold a preliminary view about a
particular matter in advance of a meeting (otherwise known as pre-disposition)
as long as you keep a genuinely open mind and are prepared to consider the
merits of all the arguments and points made about the matter under
consideration before reaching your decision.
Pre-determination, on the other hand, as I have indicated
earlier would be where you have clearly decided on a course of action in
advance of a meeting and are totally unwilling to consider the evidence and
arguments presented on that matter during the meeting. Accordingly if you feel
you have predetermined your position you should not be taking part in any
decision making process. Pre-determination could not only invalidate the
decision, lead to proceedings being brought against the Council and it may also
amount to a breach of the Members Code of Conduct.
To make you aware there are two different types of
predetermination you must consider:
Actual predetermination – this is when a person has closed their mind to all
considerations other than an already held view.
· Apparent predetermination – this is where a fair-minded and well- informed observer, looking objectively at all circumstances, considers that there is a real risk that one or more of the decision-makers has refused even to consider a relevant argument or would refuse to consider ... view the full minutes text for item 3.
Pre-Decision Scrutiny - Strategic Schools Improvement Programme - Proposal to Establish An English - Medium 3-11 School to Replace Alltwen, Godre'rgraig and LLangiwg Primary Schools (enclosed within Cabinet Papers)
Officers provided a brief overview on the report outlined
within the circulated agenda. This included an outline of the process and
options available to Cabinet when considering the report.
Members of the scrutiny committee first considered the consultation
process. Members referred to the risk outlined within the report concerning the
staff and community resisting any change to education as a result of any
decision made. Officers advised that the Risk Assessment contained mitigations
around this and officers also emphasised their knowledge and experience in
delivering school reorganisation across the borough.
Officers confirmed that there were 13 different face to face
meetings with various representatives from the community. There was also one
face to face public meeting and one online public meeting. Members had been
provided all the consultation responses received. Where possible, the
consultation report had outlined facts and evidence to respond to comments
It was confirmed that the political aspects of any
correspondence that was sent out during the consultation period, had nothing to
do with officers.
Officers outlined that the intention of consultation was to
assist with shaping a proposal and to ensure that officers have thought of
everything to assist with formulating recommendations for Cabinet to consider.
From officers’ experience, the majority of consultation responses usually
received are against a proposal.
It was confirmed that the £14.7million capital grant from
Welsh Government has been ring fenced for school reorganisation within Neath
Port Talbot. However, members could not determine where this money could be
spent if the proposals were not agreed by Cabinet. A further satisfactory grant
funding application would have to be made to access any money from Welsh
As part of the process, officers are obliged to undertake a
community impact assessment. It was undertaken and included as part of the
consultation documentation. That concluded that there was very little use of
the schools by the community. The use that is being made by the community is
mainly by parents or family groups. It was confirmed that new schools are
obliged to have properly considered and thought out community access. Members
were concerned that the new facilities would not be within the same communities
that they are currently situated.
With regards to the playing fields, it was confirmed that
the new site does have sufficient room for the school and to maintain the
current number of playing fields. Further that they would be compliant with
requirements of various sports.
Welsh Government are keen to promote community use of new
school provisions. It would be incumbent on the governing body of the school to
ensure that this happens.
Officers outlined that the LDP is currently undergoing a review. The LDP has to ensure that sustainable communities are delivered going forward and has to be aligned with various other policies and strategies. It was acknowledged that the site identified for the potential new school is a difficult site. However, a long list of sites was considered prior to this one being agreed and the identified site ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
urgent items at the discretion of the Chairperson pursuant to Section 100BA(6)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended)
were no urgent items.