Venue: Council Chamber - Port Talbot Civic Centre. View directions
The following Members made declarations of interest at the commencement of the meeting:
Councillor M.Harvey - Re: Min No. 3 – Capital Programme 2019-2020 to 2021-22; Revenue Budget 2019-20; Treasury Management 2019-20; Revenue Budget Monitoring 2018/19 and Further Responses to the Welsh Government White Paper – Reform of the Fire and Rescue Authorities in Wales, as he is Chair of Governors at Abbey Primary School and is also employed by South Wales Police.
Councillor L.Jones - Re: Min No. 3 – Revenue Budget 2019-20 – Report of the Director of Finance and Corporate Services, as her father is employed as security by the Authority.
Councillor A.Llewelyn - Re: Min No 3 – Further Responses to the Welsh Government White Paper – Reform of the Fire and Rescue Authorities in Wales, – Report of the Assistant Chief Executive and Chief Digital Officer, as he is a Member of Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Authority.
Councillor A.N.Woolcock - Re: Min No 3 – Further Responses to the Welsh Government White Paper – Reform of the Fire and Rescue Authorities in Wales, – Report of the Assistant Chief Executive and Chief Digital Officer, as he is a Member of Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Authority.
That the Minutes of the previous meetings of Cabinet Scrutiny Committee, held on 17 December, 2018 and 16 January, 2019, be approved.
The Committee scrutinised the following Cabinet items:
Capital Programme 2019-20 to 2021-22
The Director of Finance and Corporate Services provided Members with an overview of the circulated report.
Members felt that huge credit should go to Officers who contributed to the report, as they manage the budget skilfully by utilising match funding to deliver innovative schemes. Cefn Coed Colliery Museum was discussed and clarity was sought over when the restoration project would begin. Officers confirmed that discussions had taken place with Welsh Government regarding identifying the site as one of the Valleys’ Regional Park Gateways, as well as handing the site over, possibly with a dowry as well as funding. There had been a commitment made by Welsh Government that the first headgear would be restored by May 2020, with the second being completed May 2021.
Members queried where ideas for the projects listed in the Capital Programme came from, and noted that all assets were regularly risk assessed in terms of need. Decisions were then taken as to where investment could best be used in terms of outcome. The Valleys’ Task and Finish Group had helped to feed into these decisions, as well as asset management plans.
It was noted that no money had been directed toward public transport. Officers explained that while there was no quick fix to the issues around transport in valleys communities, the Welsh Government was currently consulting on Improving Public Transport. The white paper sought views on how local bus services were planned and delivered as well as the reform of taxis and private hire vehicle licensing. The Local Authority would fully engage in the consultation, including feeding in the relevant outcomes of the Valleys Task and Finish Group. Members were pleased to see that so many of the projects listed in the circulated report related to the valleys.
Officers explained that the monies allocated to town centres would be used as ‘seed core’ monies to attract match funding for further regeneration work. The importance of ensuring the brown signage was up to date and displayed the correct information was discussed.
The Strategic Schools Improvement Programme was discussed, specifically the funding for Band B schools. Members noted that the same processes would be followed as with the Band A schools, including full and thorough consultation.
Members queried whether the purchase of the old Metal Box site in Neath was fully complete. Officers explained that the process had taken longer than expected as thorough due diligence on this site had been necessary, owing to its many former uses. A very competitive price had been negotiated and the matter was now being finalised.
Following scrutiny, the Committee was supportive of the proposals to be considered by Cabinet.
Revenue Budget 2019-20
Members received an overview of the circulated report, and noted that following feedback from the public consultation, various amendments had been made to the original budget savings proposals, including withdrawing the proposals for reducing funding to the music service and welfare rights, and identifying alternative service ... view the full minutes text for item 3.
The Committee noted the Forward Work Programme 2018/19.