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ENVIRONMENTAL AND CONSUMER PROTECTION

MINUTE of MEETING of the ENVIRONMENTAL AND CONSUMER PROTECTION COMMITTEE held in the Town and County Hall, Forfar on Tuesday 23 May 2000 at 4.00 pm.

Present: Councillors SHEENA WELSH, STEWART McGLYNN, FRANK ELLIS, ALISTAIR GRAY, JOHN HENDERSON, IAN MACKINTOSH, JOY MOWATT, PETER MURPHY, ROBERT MYLES, PETER NIELD and BILL ROBERTON.

Apologies: Apologies for absence were intimated on behalf of Councillors IAN ANGUS and BILL CROWE.

Councillor WELSH, Convener, in the Chair.

1. EXCLUSION OF PUBLIC AND PRESS

The Committee resolved, in terms of Standing Order 27(2) that the public and press be excluded from the meeting during consideration of items 2 and 3 below so as to avoid the disclosure of information which was exempt, in terms of Part 1 of Schedule 7A of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, paragraphs 6, 8 and 9.

2. VEHICLE TENDER ­ SOCIAL WORK DEPARTMENT

With reference to Article 2(b) of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 11 April 2000, there was submitted Report No 550/00 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection seeking approval for exemption from the normal tendering requirements under Financial Regulation 14.1.3f, for the procurement of three cars under contract hire (with maintenance) for the Social Work Department.

The Committee agreed to exempt the procurement from normal tendering procedures and extend the tenders previously approved by this Committee, to include the procurement through a contract hire (with maintenance), of a further three Ford Fiesta (Finesse) cars with power assisted steering from Lex Vehicle Leasing, Stirling on the terms detailed in the Report.

The following matter was, on the determination of the Convener, dealt with as a matter of urgency in order to incorporate the relevant details in Best Value Benchmarking.

3. PERFORMANCE NETWORKS

With reference to Article 5 of the minute of meeting of the Contract Services Committee of 30 May 2000, there was submitted Joint Report No 562/00 by the Contract Services Manager, the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection, the Director of Recreation Services and the Chief Executive advising the Committee of the outcome of the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) (formerly ADLO) Performance Networks which would now be used in Best Value Benchmarking of Sports and Leisure Management, Parks and Open Spaces and Building Cleaning.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the contents of the Report; and
  2. to instruct the relevant Chief Officers to ensure that the benchmarking information provided was utilised to improve Angus Council's performance, where necessary.

4. MINUTE OF PREVIOUS MEETING

The minute of meeting of this Committee of 11 April 2000 was approved as a correct record and signed by the Convener.

5. ENVIRONMENTAL AND CONSUMER PROTECTION SERVICE PLAN 2000/2001

With reference to Article 4 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 10 August 1999, there was submitted Report No 542/00 (7k) by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection outlining the Service Plan of the Environmental and Consumer Protection Department for the year 2000/2001.

The Service Plan had been updated to reflect alterations and improvements to the aims of the Department, including future plans beyond the year 2001. Further priority objectives had been introduced to the Plan following an Accounts Commission Audit of the Department. The Plan would be used to help focus all staff in the Department to develop high quality services. Personal Action Plans for Senior Officers, along with targets, would be developed within the Plan.

The Committee agreed to approve the Environmental and Consumer Protection Department's Service Plan for 2000/2001.

6. BEST VALUE SERVICE REVIEW ­ PUBLIC CONVENIENCES

There was submitted Report No 543/00 (20k) by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection advising that a Best Value Service Review to examine the issues related to Public Conveniences had been completed.

The Report indicated that with the continuing improvement in the general quality of life in Angus, the requirement to provide higher standards of public toilet provision and management was increasing, not only from the general public, but from those groups of Angus citizens who had special needs, health care professionals and the tourist industry. The present Public Convenience Service was provided through the provision of a 24 hour service through the lease of Automatic Public Conveniences (APCs) which was augmented by the provision of manned Superloos and unmanned facilities during the day.

The Review had concluded that, whilst the Superloo aspect of the service had gained support from customers and staff, the other two types of facilities failed to gain substantial positive support. It appeared from the consultation exercise that the public had an aversion to using the APCs. Although this type of facility provided a 24 hour service, it was expensive. The Review had therefore recommended the closure of the following APCs:-

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the content of the Best Value Service Review Team Report;
  2. to support the initiative by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection to seek corporate spend funding to close four of the least used Automatic Public Conveniences by buying out the remaining portion of the lease agreements;
  3. that a further Report into rationalisation of provision of the unattended basic toilet blocks be submitted to the Committee prior to the 2001/02 Budget exercise; and
  4. to support the continued provision of attended Superloos in each of the town centres.

7. BENCHMARKING REFUSE COLLECTION ­ ACCOUNTS COMMISSION REPORT

There was submitted Joint Report No 544/00 (33k) by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection and the Contracts Services Manager advising that the Accounts Commission wished to assist Councils to achieve Best Value in their refuse collection services and had provided all Councils in Scotland with operational and financial benchmarking information. Councils would be expected to use this information to challenge the current levels of performance and take action to achieve best standards.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the contents of the Report; and
  2. to instruct the relevant Chief Officers to ensure that the benchmarking information provided was utilised to improve Angus Council's performance, where necessary.

8. THE TRANSPORT AND ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE ­ THIRD REPORT

With reference to Article 6 of the minute of meeting of the Development Control Committee of 4 May 2000, there was submitted Report No 545/00 (32k) by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection advising that the Transport and Environment Committee of the Scottish Parliament had recently published a Report on the future development of Telecommunications in Scotland, and had recommended the introduction of full planning control for future telecommunication developments.

The key areas of the recommendations were amenity, health and policy framework and guidance. The Report concluded that, if implemented by the Scottish Parliament, the recommendations of the Transport and Environment Committee would have considerable impact on the work of the Environmental and Consumer Protection Department and would, inter alia, require the Planning and Transport Department to consult with the Environmental and Consumer Protection Department and work with Tayside Health Board in the assessment of the health impact of the proposed telecommunications developments.

Having heard Councillors Ellis and Nield express concerns regarding potential health risks arising from the proposed developments, the Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the contents of the Report;
  2. to inform COSLA of the requirement of additional funding, should the recommendations of the Transport and Environment Committee Report be implemented by the Scottish Parliament,
  3. to support the conclusions and recommendations contained within the Report; and
  4. to instruct the Chief Executive to write to Gordon Brown, Chancellor of the Exchequer seeking proper funding for Angus Council towards the cost of implementing the recommendations set out in the Report.

9. UPDATED ENFORCEMENT POLICY

There was submitted Report No 546/00 (10k) by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection seeking the Committee's approval of the content of an updated Enforcement Policy, a copy of which was appended to the Report and seeking agreement that the document be published and made available to interested parties. The policy would be reviewed annually to take into account changing circumstances such as the Human Rights Act.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to approve the content of the Enforcement Policy document as appended to the Report; and
  2. to instruct the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection to publish the document and make it available to interested parties.

10. LICENSING OF BUTCHERS' SHOPS

There was submitted Report No 547/00 (11k) by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection advising that the Food Safety (General Food Safety Hygiene) (Butchers' Shops) Amendment (Scotland) Regulations 2000 had been laid before the Scottish Parliament on 30 March 2000. The amended Regulations would require butchers' shops handling and selling ready to eat foods and raw meats to be licensed by food authorities as from 2 October 2000.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the contents of the Report;
  2. to welcome this limited use of licensing to control food safety; and
  3. to ask the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection to forward a copy of this Report No 547/00 (11k) to the Food Standards Agency, expressing concern at the failure to issue adequate guidance to food authorities, prior to the Regulations becoming law.

11. NATIONAL FOOD SAFETY WEEK

The Committee agreed to note that this year's National Food Safety Week would be held on 12-18 June. As in previous years, the Environmental and Consumer Protection Department would have food safety stands in Supermarkets and other premises throughout Angus, where leaflets and other information on keeping food safe could be obtained.

12. WASTE TO ENERGY FOR HOUSEHOLD WASTE STREAM

There was submitted Report No 549/00 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection advising that, following extensive periods of testing and proving, the Dundee Energy Recycling Limited Waste to Energy Plant (DERL) had now become fully commissioned. This would allow the greater proportion of the Angus household waste stream to be incinerated with heat recovery and electricity generation. In order to get the full benefit, it was important that non-incinerables were removed from the household waste before it was placed in wheeled bins, and it was therefore proposed that an awareness campaign be established.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to support the initiative to boost the awareness of all household waste customers on the improvements in waste disposal practices as waste became a feedstock for electricity generation; and
  2. to welcome the increased recycling levels that Waste to Energy now brought to the Municipal Waste stream.

The following matter was, on the determination of the Convener, dealt with as a matter of urgency in order to facilitate the necessary investigations by Trading Standards Officers.

13. INTERNET USAGE ­ TRADING STANDARDS OFFICERS

With reference to Article 5 of the minute of meeting of the Finance and Information Technology Committee of 2 May 2000, there was submitted Joint Report No 552/00 by the Director of Information Technology and the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection seeking approval to exempt, under controlled conditions, nominated Trading Standards Officers from some aspects of the Council Internet and E-mail Usage Policy, to facilitate necessary investigative procedures.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to exempt nominated Trading Standards Officers from the filtered Internet access provisions of the Council's Internet and E-mail Policy, in the execution of investigative processes; and
  2. to instruct the Director of Information Technology and the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection to instigate monitoring procedures for unfiltered access to the Internet.
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