Venue: Civic Centre
Contact: Anne Jenkins Governance Team Leader
Members were reminded that they could invite the Mayor to any events within their ward.
The Mayor also hoped that he might be able to help to promote and celebrate the work being done by foster carers.
The Mayor was also planning a visit to waste recycling centre to promote the excellent work being undertaken by staff in Newport.
To confirm and sign the minutes of the last meeting.
The Minutes from 29 June 2021 were submitted for approval.
That the minutes were approved as a true record.
To consider any proposed appointments.
To consider the proposed appointments set out in the report
Councillor Harvey moved the appointments set out in the report, as agreed by the Business Managers, subject to the additional appointments set out below.
Resolved: That the following appointments be agreed.
Governing Body Appointments
In addition to the appointments within the report, Cabinet recommended that Sarah Morgan be appointed as the Board Member for the Strategic Partnership Board of Welsh Educational Partnership – WEPCo Ltd.
Before presenting the report, the Leader asked colleagues to accept apologies on behalf of herself and the Head of Finance as the Members Agenda pack had the mid- year position and not the outturn report. The website version was correct. The Leader had prepared a comprehensive briefing for councillors on the outturn and therefore continued to explain what the outturn position was and what had happened throughout the 2020/21 year on Treasury Management.
The report fulfilled the Councils responsibility to receive and approve an annual treasury management outturn report each year. The report dealt with the outturn for 2020/21 and was reviewed by both Audit Committee and Cabinet where no comments were made.
The report presented the following information:
· details of capital financing, borrowing, debt rescheduling and investment transactions
· reports on the risk implications of treasury decisions and transactions
· details the outturn position on treasury management transactions in 2020/2021 which confirms compliance with the treasury limits set by Council.
The Covid pandemic had an impact on Treasury Management during 2020/21. Since the early days of the pandemic the Council had to monitor a significant increase in cash-flow activities throughout 2020/21, from the making of business grants and the Business Rates Relief Scheme in particular, and also by its own increased costs and lower income level. The Welsh Government provided significant up-front cash-flow support to ensure Councils were adequately financed to administer the business rates and business grants scheme, reimbursed Councils throughout the year for their increased costs and reduced income. Alongside the slippage in the delivery of its own capital schemes and underspending on its revenue budget, this meant cash-flow was more positive than a ‘normal year’ which gave rise to lower borrowing activity and much more short term investing activities.
This did not however, reduce the need of the borrowing commitment the Council had, but did slow down the pace at which that borrowing was taken up towards that commitment level.
Notwithstanding the above, in line with the agreed Treasury Management Strategy, the Council still continued to be both a short-term investor of cash and borrower to manage day-to-day cash flows in 2020/21.
Turning to borrowing activities specifically, the financial year was relatively quiet, as shown in Appendix B to the report:
· The Council repaid a short-term loan taken out in March 2020 to specifically cash-flow and facilitate early payments of business grants in April. This was reimbursed by the Welsh Government and the loan repaid, as planned in June 2020.
· In March 2021 the Authority undertook borrowing on a short term basis in order to cover normal day to day cash flow activities.
· Lastly, a minimal amount of new long-term borrowing was required to be taken out in the second half of the financial year totalling £94k. This borrowing was from ‘Salix’ which was interest free and was linked to a specific energy efficiency project.
Whilst the Council had significant long-term borrowing requirements, the Council continued to follow its current strategy of funding capital expenditure through ‘internal ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
The Leader Presented the report to Council. The report, which was being received by all local authorities in Gwent, updated members on the formation of a regional ‘Gwent’ Public Services Board and on the next round of the Assessment of Local Well-being and Local Well-being Plans.
Members would be aware of the ‘OneNewport’ Public Services Board or ‘PSB’ and the important role of this partnership. To date each local authority area in Gwent had its own PSB.
The Well-Being of Future Generations Act 2015 enabled two or more Public Services Boards (PSBs) to be able to merge if it would assist them in contributing to the achievement of well-being goals.
Partners across Gwent recognised the benefits of working together as a region and building on the existing informal ‘G10’ partnership, proposed that we worked together as one, Gwent PSB. This meant one Well-Being Assessment for the region, and one Well-Being Plan. The footprint of the regional body would be better aligned to a range of existing partnerships in an increasingly complex landscape.
The report outlined the arrangements for the formation of a Gwent PSB from September this year and whilst this was a decision for the individual PSBs, there were also changes for Newport City Council as a key partner. Council was therefore asked to note the changes, and to approve the necessary governance and constitutional changes, to implement these proposed arrangements.
The appended report was being presented in each of the five local authority areas in the Gwent region. Our ‘OneNewport’ PSB was consulted on and agreed the proposed change with effect from September. We would continue to work closely with our OneNewport partners to ensure that our strong local partnership continued, and this included the ongoing delivery of the current Well-Being Plan (2018-2023).
The Council would also be reviewing the arrangements for local Partnership Scrutiny and would continue to work with Scrutiny members on this important aspect. This included Regional Scrutiny for the new PSB but locally there remained the task of scrutiny of Newport’s partnership work.
PSBs across the region also considered the importance of maintaining the existing strong local partnerships in each area to support delivery of the Well-being Plan and other partnership work.
The existing individual Well-being Plans across Gwent would continue to be delivered through local partnerships and be overseen by the current local scrutiny arrangements until spring 2023.
As outlined in the report the proposals that Council was required to note and approve were:
1. The merger of the Public Services Boards and the establishment of a regional Gwent PSB;
2. The proposed governance arrangements and terms of reference for the regional PSB;
3. The development of a single regional Well-Being Plan;
4. The establishment of a regional Joint Scrutiny Committee to review and scrutinise the work of the Gwent PSB;
5. Authorisation for the Proper Officer to make the necessary amendments to the Council’s Constitution to reflect these changes in governance arrangements and terms of ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
Questions to the Leader of the Council
To provide an opportunity for Councillors to ask questions to the Leader of the Council in accordance with the Council’s Standing Orders.
No more than 15 minutes will be allocated at the Council meeting for questions to the Leader of the Council.
The question must be addressed through the Mayor or the person presiding at the meeting and not directly to the person being questioned.
Before Questions to the Leader commenced, the Leader updated Council on the following announcements:
· City of Culture
Newport City Council was committed to ensuring that people feel good about living, working, visiting and investing in our city.
The Council looked to seize all opportunities to promote confidence and pride within its communities as well as showcasing Newport to the wider world.
On 19 July the Council submitted an expression of interest to become the UK City of Culture 2025.
Newport was a city with a proud cultural tradition and heritage, the gateway to south Wales, with communities diverse and rich in culture and language.
Newport was also part of a wider region, formerly known as Gwent, where the past, present and future are inextricably linked. Newport shared a social, cultural and economic history underpinned by our internationally recognised heritage.
This expression of interest was about embracing the opportunity to highlight what the city and region had to offer and use it as a driver for change.
It was hoped that this would challenge and shape people’s views about Newport and to tell the world about Newport’s unique culture and long history, including the Chartist march for democracy. To also tell the stories of people from around the world who chose Newport as their home throughout the centuries.
The estuary and levels would be celebrated, as by those in whose footprints we follow and can still see preserved in the estuary mud today.
It would help reignite the city’s passion for music, art and homegrown talent, to hear poetry, performance and music emanating from all establishments, large and small.
The Council also wanted to create a stronger platform for organisations with mutual interests to co-operate rather than compete for resources. To develop a shared programme of action, planning together to promote the importance of Newport’s cultural wealth to residents and the wider world.
Newport had a strong track record of partnership working and delivering improvements to its environment and communities, and of course, major events on an international scale.
If the bid progressed to the next stage, the Council would develop and submit a detailed bid. If successful, this would see Newport delivering a year-long programme of events, activities and projects – with the support of wonderful partners across the city and region – that would celebrate Newport’s diverse culture and help open it up to even more people – locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.
· Transporter Bridge – additional funding
The Leader was pleased to report that an additional £80,000 grant from the Wolfson Foundation had been secured to help fund the Transporter Bridge transformation project.
The grant complemented the previous £8.75m awarded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the £1.5m from Welsh Government and the £1m capital funding that the Council also committed to the project.
The Foundation recognised the cultural and historical significance of the Transporter Bridge, and that the transformation project would bring this significance to life through improved public access and engagement.
· HWRC award
The city’s household ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
Questions to the Cabinet Members
To provide an opportunity to pose questions to Cabinet Members in line with Standing Orders.
No more than 10 minutes will be allocated at the Council meeting for questions to each Cabinet Member.
Members must submit their proposed questions in writing in advance in accordance with Standing Orders. If members are unable to ask their question orally within the allocated time, remaining questions will be answered in writing. The question and response will be appended to the minutes.
The question must be addressed through the Mayor or the person presiding at the meeting and not directly to the person being questioned.
Questions will be posed to Cabinet Members in the following order:
i. Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for City Services
ii. Cabinet Member for Education and Skills
iii. Cabinet Member for Assets
iv. Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development
v. Cabinet Member for Community and Resources
vi. Cabinet Member for Streetscene
vii. Cabinet Member for Licensing and Regulation
viii. Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure
There are four written question to the Cabinet Members:
Question 1 – Cabinet Member: Licensing and Regulation
In Councillor Truman’s absence the following written response was provided to the question from Councillor J Watkins.
Councillor J Watkins:
Given the unacceptable levels of Nitrous Oxide and poor air quality across the one-way system in Caerleon, can the Cabinet Member explain why there is no monitoring of the air quality outside Charles Williams Primary School? A school which sits on this system therefore exposing young children to health issues caused by poor air quality?
Environmental Health are very much aware of the concerns of the local community in Caerleon regarding air quality and have been engaging with the head teacher and PTFA for Charles Williams Primary School. This has resulted in diffusion tube monitoring being deployed at the school from July 14th 2021. This will provide data that clarifies the school’s position within the spectrum of air quality that is observed across Caerleon.
However, given the nature of air quality data obtained at the nearest monitoring locations to the school it is not anticipated that any breaches of the air quality objective for nitrogen dioxide will be observed at Charles Williams School.
Question 2 – Deputy Leader/Cabinet Member: City Services
My question is on road safety and whether Newport City Council plans to roll out further 20MPH restrictions on our roads?
On 7 May 2019 the First Minister in the Senedd, Mark Drakeford said –
‘We know that 20mph zones reduce speed of traffic, reduce accidents –particularly accidents to children–and we want to see that become the default position right across Wales.’
No doubt he was not the first person to ever utter these words of wisdom about the dangers associated with speeding traffic. In the Langstone Ward we have been seeking such speed reductions for years.
Could the cabinet member update the council on the roll out of 20 mph zones in Newport and clarify what local consultation is being planned to support any decisions taken locally?
Does the Cabinet member consider that roads and school entrances regularly used by children should be amongst the highest priority for imposing speed reductions?
Welsh Government has recently announced that the role out of 20mph limits will form part of its initial programme of work. This is a national policy change and as such consultation is being led by Welsh Government. This was launched last week and can be found on the Welsh Government website. Locally consultation is held through the statutory TRO process.
Newport has already rolled out trial areas across the city and we are awaiting the detailed guidance from Welsh Government to conclude the full roll out. The current anticipated timeline for completion is 18 months.
Safety at schools will continue to be a priority for both Welsh Government and the Newport City Council under this legislative change.
The Member will be aware that the Langstone Primary School learner entrance is already traffic calmed and ... view the full minutes text for item 7.