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ANGUS COUNCIL

MINUTE of MEETING of the PERSONNEL AND PROPERTY SERVICES COMMITTEE held in the Town and County Hall, Forfar on Tuesday, 11 June 1996 at 4.20 pm.

Present: Councillors ROB MURRAY, WILLIAM MIDDLETON, GEORGE ALLAN, JOHN GIBB, ALEX KING, Mrs RENATE LAMONT, GLENNIS MIDDLETON, BRIAN MILNE, STEWART MOWATT, RICHARD SPEIRS and THOMAS I N YOUNG.

Apologies: Apologies for absence were intimated on behalf of Councillors IAN HUDGHTON and Mrs KATHLEEN RITCHIE.

Councillor MURRAY, Convener, in the Chair.

1. MINUTE OF PREVIOUS MEETING

The minute of meeting of this Committee of 30 April 1996 was approved as a correct record and signed by the Convener.

2. APPOINTMENT OF EXECUTIVE SUB-COMMITTEE

With reference to Standing Order No 32(3), the Committee appointed Councillors Murray, William Middleton and Young as members of an Executive Sub-Committee to take urgent decisions during the annual recess of the Council.

The Committee also agreed that the Sub-Committee should be given delegated powers throughout the year to consider and accept tenders, which could not conveniently be submitted to ordinary meetings of the Personnel and Property Services Committee.

PERSONNEL

3. MINUTE OF MEETING OF APPEAL SUB-COMMITTEE

The minute of the meeting of the Appeals Sub-Committee held on 17 May 1996, a copy of which is appended hereto as Appendix 1, was submitted for information and noted.

4. SMOKING AT WORK POLICY

There was submitted Report No 509/96 by the Director of Personnel on the medical and legal issues to be considered in the adoption of a policy on smoking at work and recommending the adoption of such a policy prohibiting smoking in all Council premises.

Trade Union representatives of all categories of employees within the Council, including teachers, had been consulted on the policy. During the implementation period, these consultations would continue in order to address any problems which arose and to arrive at joint solutions.

The Committee noted the terms of the Report and of the smoking policy shown in Appendix 1 to the Report, and agreed:-

(i) to continue further consultation with staff with a view to introducing the policy from 1 November 1996; and

(ii) to instruct the Director of Personnel to submit a further Report to this Committee on the outcome of the staff consultation.

5. LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND HOUSING ACT 1989 - POLITICALLY RESTRICTED POSTS

There was submitted Report No 494/96 by the Director of Personnel setting out the restrictions imposed by the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 on public political activity by employees holding certain posts within the Council and their rights of appeal etc including a suggested appeals procedure.

After members had expressed general concern at the restrictions imposed on staff freedom, the Committee agreed:-

(i) to note this Council's Lists of Politically Restricted Posts (as at 1 May 1996) as detailed in Appendix 1 to Report No 494/96;

(ii) to note that the Director of Personnel would maintain and update these Lists;

(iii) to note that the Director of Personnel would submit such Lists as required to the Local Government Adjudicator for Scotland;

(iv) to issue the Personnel Advisory Note as outlined in Appendix 2 to Report No 494/96 to applicants for posts which were categorised as politically restricted;

(v) to issue the Personnel Advisory Note as outlined in Appendix 3 to Report No 494/96 to employees who were subject to restrictions on public political activity; and

(vi) to consider appeals from employees who were politically restricted because their post carried an annual salary equivalent to or in excess of the specified salary level as outlined in the Local Government and Housing Act 1989.

6. DEPARTMENTAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN 1996/97

There was submitted Report No 510/96 by the Director of Personnel on the Department’s Development Plan for 1996/97.

After hearing the Director, the Committee agreed:-

(i) to approve the Personnel Department’s Development Plan for 1996/97;

(ii) to authorise the Director of Personnel to consult with Chief Officers on the content of the Service Profiles to ensure that the service offered by the Personnel Department met departmental requirements; and

(iii) to authorise the Director of Personnel to amend the Development Plan in response to consultation with Chief Officers and, if appropriate, to re-submit an amended version to a future meeting of this Committee.

7. APPEALS PROCEDURES

There was submitted Report No 492/96 by the Director of Personnel outlining proposed procedures to be adopted by the Appeals Sub-Committee and also detailing Notes of Guidance which it was proposed would be issued to appellants prior to an appeal hearing.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) that the procedures as outlined in Appendices 1 and 2 to the Report be adopted by the Appeals Sub-Committee of this Committee for the purposes of hearing dismissal and grievance appeals;

(ii) that the Notes for Appellants as outlined in Appendix 3 to the Report be issued to appellants prior to the date of the appeal hearing; and

(iii) that a further report be submitted with regard to grading appeals.

8. CONDITIONS OF SERVICE

With reference to Article 1 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 4 April 1996, there was submitted Report No 493/96 by the Director of Personnel on minor amendments to the terms of the Council's Car Leasing Scheme, Maternity Scheme and Assistance with Removal and Relocation Scheme.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the amendment to the Car Leasing Scheme, namely that the Council's contribution be based on a 1.6L saloon car without optional extras;

(ii) to include the following paragraph in the Maternity Scheme:-

"If the employee indicates that they would not be returning to work once the baby is born but the baby dies either before or during the period of maternity leave the employee may return to work. The return to work is subject to a suitable vacancy existing and there is no entitlement to return to the same job or the same grade and salary as before." and

(iii) that the lodging allowance aspect of the Assisted Removal and Relocation Scheme apply to all employees who qualified for assistance under the terms of this Scheme.

9. REVIEW OF PRINTING, GRAPHICS AND DESIGN SERVICES

With reference to Article 5 of the minute of meeting of Angus Council of 6 December 1995, there was submitted Report No 513/96 by the Director of Personnel on the outcome of an O & M Study carried out in respect of the operation of the Design Unit within the Department of Cultural Services and the Print and Graphics Unit within the Department of Law and Administration.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to authorise the Director of Cultural Services:-

(a) to support a full review of the operations of the Design Unit in 1-2 years time;

(b) to direct any spare capacity to the corporate print facility unless departmental priorities suggested otherwise, and to pursue a programme of improvements to increase the scope for corporate work;

(c) to instruct the Design Unit staff to complete timesheets;

(d) to support a co-ordinated approach to the procurement of hard/software; and

(e) to support a programme of on-going development of skills and expertise in computer-aided graphics and design techniques.

(ii) to authorise the Director of Law and Administration:-

(a) to support a full review of the Print and Graphics Unit's operations in 1-2 years time;

(b) to re-examine the current cost and charging system in association with the Finance Department; and

(c) to instruct the Unit staff to record work on their timesheets in greater detail.

10. DIRECTOR OF PERSONNEL - INVITATION/ELECTION TO OFFICIAL ROLES

There was submitted Report No 512/96 by the Director of Personnel advising that she had received an invitation from COSLA to become an Adviser to the Scottish Councils and also of her election on to the Executive Committee of the Society of Directors of Personnel, Scotland.

The Committee agreed that the Director of Personnel:-

(i) accept the invitation to become an Adviser to the Scottish Councils; and

(ii) accept the position on the Executive Committee of the Society of Directors of Personnel, Scotland.

The Director was congratulated on her appointments.

11. TRAFFIC SURVEY STAFF

With reference to Article 10 of the minute of meeting of the Roads Committee of 6 June 1996, there was submitted Report No 466/96 by the Director of Roads on the setting up of a pool of casual staff to carry out traffic survey work.

The Committee agreed, for its interest, to authorise the Director of Roads to advertise for and set up a pool of casual staff to carry out traffic survey work.

12. EMPLOYMENT DISABILITY UNIT

With reference to Article 4 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 20 March 1996, there was submitted Report No 511/96 by the Director of Personnel on proposals for overseeing the work of the Employment Disability Unit.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to delegate authority to the Director of Personnel to oversee the operation of the Employment Disability Unit in association with the Director of Human Resources in Perth and Kinross Council and the Chief Officer of Personnel and Management Services in Dundee City Council; and

(ii) to request the Director of Personnel to report on developments within the Employment Disability Unit through this Committee as appropriate.

PROPERTY SERVICES

13. PROPERTY SERVICES DEVELOPMENT PLAN

There was submitted Report No 495/96 by the Director of Property Services along with the Department's Draft Development Plan.

The Committee noted and approved the terms of the Development Plan.

14. ASSOCIATION OF CHIEF ARCHITECTS OF SCOTTISH LOCAL AUTHORITIES

There was submitted Report No 496/96 by the Director of Property Services intimating that he had been invited to serve, as Treasurer, on the Executive Committee of the Association of Chief Architects of Scottish Local Authorities.

The Committee authorised the Director to attend meetings as necessary and congratulated him on his appointment.

15. MANAGEMENT OF OPERATIONALLY SUPPORTIVE HOUSING

With reference to Article 10 of the minute of meeting of the Housing Committee of 21 May 1996, there was submitted Joint Report No 345/96 by the Directors of Housing and Property Services on the proposed standardisation of the management of housing utilised to support departmental operations within the Council and the transfer of responsibilities from the Director of Housing to Director of Property Services.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed:-

(i) to note the contents of the Report;

(ii) to approve the transfer of responsibilities, where appropriate, from the Director of Housing to the Director of Property Services; and

(iii) to authorise the Director of Property Services to rationalise the procedures for the management of operationally supportive housing and to report back to this Committee on the action taken.

16. NEW HOUSING DEVELOPMENT, CLIFFBURN, ARBROATH - ALTERNATIVE HEATING STRATEGY - HEAT PUMPS

With reference to Article 11 of the minute of meeting of the Housing Committee of 21 May 1996, there was submitted Report No 357/96 by the Director of Property Services outlining proposals for discussions with Hydro Electric with regard to the possibility of heat pumps being installed in a new housing development, on a trial basis.

The Committee agreed, for its interest, to authorise the Director of Property Services to enter into discussions with Hydro Electric to consider appropriate terms for the trial of heat pump installations in a number of houses at the new sheltered housing development at Cliffburn, Arbroath and to report back on the outcome of the discussions.

17. FORFAR DAY CARE CENTRE - LEASE FOR EXTENSION

With reference to Article 14 of the minute of meeting of the Social Work Committee of 28 May 1996, there was submitted Joint Report No 423/96 by the Directors of Social Work and Property Services seeking approval to lease ground to the Forfar Day Care Centre to enable its extension.

The Committee, for its interests, agreed:-

(i) to note that the Social Work Committee had agreed to lease ground at Beechhill Residential Home to the Forfar Day Care Centre; and

(ii) to instruct the Director of Property Services, in consultation with the Director of Social Work, to formalise the leasing arrangements to allow the Forfar Day Care Centre to be extended.

18. 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 the following items to avoid disclosure of information which was exempt in terms of Paragraphs 6, 8, 9 and 11 of Part I of Schedule 7A to the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973.

19. PROPOSED LEASE OF SITE TO THE NORTH OF BRECHIN HIGH SCHOOL

With reference to Article 19 of the minute of meeting of the Education Committee of 4 June 1996, there was submitted Joint Report No 367/96 by the Directors of Education and Property Services seeking approval to the granting of a lease to the Brechin Civic Trust for a part of a disused railway line to the north of Brechin High School.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed:-

(i) to note the contents of the Report;

(ii) to note that the Education Commitee had declared the site surplus to requirements; and

(iii) to approve the lease of the site to the Brechin Civic Trust on the provisional terms and conditions contained in the Report.

20. PROPOSED DISPOSAL OF 0.469 HA OF GROUND AT SHIELHILL ROAD, KIRRIEMUIR

There was submitted Report No 366/96 by the Director of Property Services on the outcome of negotiations with the Angus Housing Association for the disposal of 0.469 ha of ground at Shielhill Road, Kirriemuir.

The Committee heard Councillor Ian Mackintosh, the local member, speak on the problems associated with congestion caused by cars parking to drop off, and waiting to pick up, children attending both the school and nursery at Northmuir Primary School. He therefore proposed, in order to alleviate the congestion, that a strip of ground, 11 metres wide be retained by the Council for the provision of access to the school.

The Committee agreed to defer consideration of the Report until its next meeting, in order to allow the Director of Property Services to investigate further the financial, legal and safety aspects of Councillor Mackintosh's proposal.

21. TENANTED RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY

There was submitted Report No 369/96 by the Director of Property Services on the present position with regard to tenanted residential property transferred from Tayside Regional Council to Angus Council and not held on the Housing Revenue Account.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the contents of the Report;

(ii) to approve the proposals for the former Tayside Regional Council Category 1 and Category 3 rent reviews for the financial year 1996/97;

(iii) to approve the ring fencing of the increased rentals for maintenance in the financial year 1996/97;

(iv) to approve the proposal for rent reviews and maintenance for future years; and

(v) to approve a review of Category 1 type tenancies transferred from both of the former Councils.

22. PROPOSED APPOINTMENT OF OUTSIDE CONSULTANTS

There was submitted Report No 370/96 by the Director of Property Services on the appointment of outside consultants for various property valuations and negotiation matters.

The Report advised that the provision of estates services was the responsibility of the Director of Property Services, who had to decide whether the Council's interests would be best served by having estates services work carried out either by in-house staff or by external consultants, within the limits of available resources. Accordingly, in order to permit a necessary degree of flexibility, the Director proposed to continue with arrangements inherited from Tayside Regional Council and Angus District Council and where appropriate to review them as soon as possible.

The Committee noted the contents of the Report.

23. SURPLUS VACANT PROPERTIES

There was submitted Report No 371/96 by the Director of Property Services on the position with regard to vacant Council owned properties declared surplus by the appropriate Committees of the former Tayside Regional Council. The Report proposed that, subject to there being no suitable alternative use identified and no legal impediment, these properties be sold in accordance with paragraphs 14.2 and 14.3 of the Financial Regulations.

The Committee agreed to defer consideration of the matter to its next meeting to allow the Director to make amendments to details of certain properties listed in the Schedule to the Report.

24. SCHEDULE OF PROPERTY TRANSACTIONS

There was submitted Report No 368/96 by the Director of Property Services detailing the outcome of negotiations for various acquisitions and rent reviews in schedules attached to the Report.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to approve the conclusion of the items contained in the Schedule of Acquisitions as appended to the Report; and

(ii) to note the conclusion of negotiations for the items contained in the Schedules of New Leases/Lease Renewals and the Schedule of Rent Reviews, as appended to the Report.

25. PROVISION OF PROPERTY SERVICES TO EXTERNAL BODIES

There was submitted Report No 373/96 by the Director of Property Services reviewing the range of services provided by his Department to statutorily permitted external bodies.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the contents of the Report;

(ii) to authorise the Director of Property Services to enter into contractual agreements for the provision of property services with statutorily permitted external bodies for individual projects where the total fees, excluding VAT, did not exceed the sum of £25,000 and to report retrospectively to the Committee; and

(iii) to note that the Director of Property Services would seek Committee approval to enter into contractual agreements for the provision of property services with external bodies for individual projects where the total fees, excluding VAT, exceeded the sum of £25,000.

26. GROUND FLOOR, MARKET STREET BUILDING, FORFAR - ALTERATIONS TO ACCOMMODATE INFOMRATION TECHNOLOGY

There was submitted Report No 502/96 by the Director of Property Services on the placing of orders under the Schedule of Rates Contract 1994/97 in respect of alterations to the ground floor, Market Street building, Forfar.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the placing of orders under the Schedule of Rates Contract 1994/97 for the alterations necessary to accommodate Information Technology at the ground floor, Market Street building, Forfar at an estimated cost of £35,800;

(ii) to note that the estimated total cost of the project including fees, etc, was £57,250; and

(iii) to note that allowance for this expenditure had been made in the approved 1996/97 Capital Programme.

27. PROPERTY IMPLICATIONS OF OTHER COMMITTEE DECISIONS

There was submitted Report No 503/96 by the Director of Property Services on property implications in respect of matters considered by the Education Committee.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the implications of Reports Nos 398/96 and 397/96 and the decisions made by the Education Committee at its meeting on 4 June 1996; and

(ii) to approve the action as detailed in the appendix to the Report.

28. ST JAMES HOUSE, FORFAR - ALTERATIONS TO ACCOMMODATE PRINT AND GRAPHICS UNIT

There was submitted Report No 490/96 by the Director of Property Services on the placing of orders under the Schedule of Rates Contract 1994/97 in respect of alterations to accommodate the Print and Graphics Unit at St James House, Forfar.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to approve the placing or orders under the Schedule of Rates Contract 1994/97 for the alterations necessary to accommodate the Print and Graphics Unit at the lower ground floor, St James House, Forfar at an estimated cost of £63,500;

(ii) to approve the estimated total cost of the project including fees, etc at out-turn prices at £78,000; and

(iii) to note that allowance for this expenditure had been made in the approved 1996/97 Capital Programme.

29. ANGUS COUNCIL OFFICE ACCOMMODATION

There was submitted Report No 516/96 by the Director of Property Services on proposals to provide additional office space to accommodate satisfactorily Council departments which were to be located in Forfar and Arbroath.

The Committee approved Option 2 as detailed in the Report and authorised the Director of Property Services to negotiate the property leases associated with that option.