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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, 21 October 1997 at 4.00 pm.

Present: Councillors ROB MURRAY, WILLIAM MIDDLETON, GEORGE ALLAN, JACK GIBB, IAN HUDGHTON, ALEX KING, Mrs RENATE LAMONT, GLENNIS MIDDLETON, STEWART MOWATT and THOMAS I N YOUNG.

Apologies: Apologies for absence were intimated on behalf of Councillor BRIAN MILNE and Mrs KATHLEEN RITCHIE.

Councillor MURRAY, Convener, in the Chair.

1. EXCLUSION OF PUBLIC AND PRESS

The Committee resolved in terms of Standing Order No 27(2) that the public and press be excluded during consideration of items 2-7 below, so as to avoid the disclosure of information which was exempt in terms of Part 1 of Schedule 7A to the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, Paragraphs 1, 6, 8 and 9.

2. APPLICATIONS FOR REGRADINGS - SOCIAL WORK DEPARTMENT

(a) Administrative Assistant

There was submitted Report No 1055/97 by the Director of Personnel in connection with an application for regrading in respect of Post No 02/05.

The Committee agreed that the post be regraded AP3.

(b) Development Officer (Adoption & Fostering)

There was submitted Report No 1056/97 by the Director of Personnel in connection with an application for regrading in respect Post No 06/09.

The Committee agreed that the post be regraded AP8.

3. ENVIRONMENTAL AND CONSUMER PROTECTION DEPARTMENT - TRADING STANDARDS SECTION - RESTRUCTURE

With reference to Article 6 of the minute of meeting of the Environmental and Consumer Protection Committee of 11 November 1996, there was submitted Joint Report No 1079/97 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection and the Director of Personnel regarding a proposed restructuring of the Environmental and Consumer Protection Department’s Trading Standards Section to harmonise geographical operational areas within the Department and to address staff recruitment and retention problems.

The Committee, for its interest, approved the terms of the Report and agreed:-

(i) that one post of Principal Trading Standards Officer, graded AP10, be established;

(ii) that one additional post of Senior Trading Standards Officer, graded AP8, be established;

(iii) that one post of Trading Standards Officer, graded AP5/6, and one post of Trading Standards Trainee, graded SCP13-30 be deleted from the establishment; and

(iv) that one of the two remaining Trading Standards Officer posts be filled by a Trainee, graded SCP13-30, with the trainee to be appointed as Trading Standards Officer upon successful completion of training - the remaining post to be filled either by an Officer or a Trainee subject to funding being available.

4. TRADE DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES - PROPOSED STRATEGY

With reference to Article 3 of the minute of meeting of the Economic Development Committee of 9 October 1997, there was submitted Report No 958/97 by the Director of Planning, Transport and Economic Development regarding the staffing implications arising from the Council’s trade development activities.

The Committee, for its interest, approved the terms of the Report and agreed that a new post of Trade Development Officer be established and graded AP5/6.

5. RAVENSWOOD, NEW ROAD, FORFAR - LEASE/PURCHASE

There was submitted Report No 1089/97 by the Director of Property Services advising on the outcome of negotiations for the lease of part, and subsequent purchase of the entire office block known as Ravenswood, New Road, Forfar which had transferred to the North of Scotland Water Authority (NoSWA) on local government reorganisation on 1 April 1996, subject to a condition that the first floor accommodation be leased to Angus Council for a period of ten years at no rent with a sub-lease on the same terms and conditions to Tayside Health Board. NoSWA had now taken the decision to relocate staff currently housed in the ground floor of the building and had indicated a willingness to lease the vacant accommodation to the Council, on a short term basis, to enable staff to be decanted from St James House while refurbishment works were carried out. NoSWA were also willing to dispose of the building to the Council, subject to continued occupation by Tayside Health Board and their own continued occupation until relocation.

The Committee approved the terms of the Report and agreed:-

(i) to note the conclusion of a short term lease of the office suite located on the ground floor (rear) of Ravenswood, New Road, Forfar on the terms and conditions set out in the Report;

(ii) to approve the acquisition of the office block known as Ravenswood, New Road, Forfar on the provisional terms and conditions set out in the Report; and

(iii) to approve the subsequent short term lease to NoSWA of the office suite located on the ground floor (front) of Ravenswood, New Road, Forfar on the provisional terms and conditions contained in the Report.

6. TENDERS

(a) St James House, Forfar - Refurbishment Works

Alterations and Installation of Ventilation

With reference to Article 6 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 2 September 1997, there was submitted Report No 923/97 by the Director of Property Services indicating that there were a number of rooms at St James House which lay within the centre of the building and which did not have the benefit of direct lighting or natural ventilation. It was proposed to provide a new ventilation system and, in addition, to introduce a point of entry for the public via the main entrance, to provide a first aid/rest room and to relocate the Planning, Transport and Economic Development Department reception to the main entrance.

Tender documents had been issued to six contractors selected from the appropriate standing list of contractors and it was recommended that the lowest tender received be accepted.

The Committee, for its interest, approved the terms of the Report and agreed:-

(i) to approve the acceptance of the lowest tender for the several works, being that submitted by R S Hill, Forfar in the sum of £100,678.66;

(ii) to approve the estimated total cost of £102,697 (at out-turn prices);

(iii) to note the proposed funding arrangements as detailed in the Report and to approve the additional capital expenditure proposed; and

(iv) to note the additional revenue expenditure arising from the project.

(b) County Buildings, Forfar - Alterations to Form New Main Entrance

There was submitted Report No 1091/97 by the Director of Property Services indicating (a) that tender documents had been issued to six contractors selected from the appropriate standing list of contractors in respect of works for the construction of a new two storey extension at County Buildings to form a new entrance area, reception and additional office accommodation, the provision of a lift and sundry alterations to the existing structure and boiler house and (b) recommending acceptance of the lowest tender received.

The Committee approved the terms of the Report and agreed:-

(i) to approve the acceptance of the lowest tender for the several works being that submitted by Inwood (Builders) Ltd, Forfar in the sum of £178,303.87;

(ii) to approve the estimated total cost of £212,113 (at out-turn prices);

(iii) to note that a revised bid for this project had been made in the Capital Monitoring-Composite Capital Programme - 1997/98 (Report No 1096/97) submitted for approval to the Finance and Information Technology Committee and that additional provision would be required; and

(iv) to note the additional revenue expenditure arising from the project.

(c) Installation of Safety Surfacing at Various Sites

With reference to Article 20 of the minute of meeting of the Recreation and Cultural Services Committee of 9 October 1997, there was submitted Report No 1127/97 by the Director of Property Services indicating that the tender figures reported to the Recreation and Cultural Services Committee had exceeded the available budget and accordingly new tenders had been sought for a revised scheme to bring the cost of the works within the available budget.

The Report indicated that tender documents had been issued to four of the five contractors who had originally priced the work, the fifth contractor having declined to submit a new tender, and recommended acceptance of the lowest offer received.

The Committee approved the terms of the Report and agreed to accept the lowest tender for the several works, being that submitted by Angus Council Contract Services in the sum of £127,407.86.

7. PROPERTY TRANSACTIONS

There was submitted Report No 1085/97 by the Director of Property Services regarding the outcome of negotiations in connection with various property transactions, details of which were set out in the Appendices to the Report.

The Committee agreed to note the conclusion of the negotiations for new and existing leases and rent reviews as set out in Appendices 1, 2 and 3 to the Report.

8. MONTROSE SEAFRONT CAFE DEVELOPMENT

The Committee agreed that consideration of this matter be deferred pending receipt of further information.

9. MINUTE OF PREVIOUS MEETING

The minute of meeting of this Committee held on 2 September 1997 was approved as a correct record and signed by the Convener.

10. GUIDELINES FOR THE RETENTION OF EMPLOYEES WITH DISABILITIES

There was submitted Report No 1054/97 by the Director of Personnel proposing guidelines to assist with the retention of employees with disabilities which would conform, not only with the Council’s own Code of Practice on the employment and retention of people with disabilities, but also with the recognised symbol awarded by the Employment Service in recognition of this Council’s positive approach towards disabled people.

The Committee approved the terms of the Report and the guidelines set out therein for adoption within Angus Council and remitted responsibility to the Director of Personnel for their implementation.

Councillor Stewart Mowatt declared an interest and took no part in the discussion of the following item.

11. BRECHIN DAY CARE CENTRE - REQUEST TO ACT AS GUARANTOR

There was submitted Joint Report No 1118/97 by the Director of Finance and the Director of Personnel indicating that Brechin Day Centre Committee had asked Angus Council to act as guarantor for their application for "Admitted Body Status" with the Local Government Superannuation Scheme. The Report also set out information on voluntary organisations funded or partly funded by Angus Council which might also wish to make such an application.

It was indicated that there were growing concerns regarding the possible impact on local authority pension funds of the trend of Councils expanding their contingent liability commitments in respect of superannuation schemes and the Accounts Commission were presently undertaking a study focusing on the planning and control of employees’ contribution rates. In these circumstances, it was suggested that it would not be prudent to widen the Council’s contingent liability.

The Committee approved the terms of the Report and agreed that the request from Brechin Day Care Centre Committee that Angus Council act as guarantor against financial shortfalls arising as a result of their membership of the Local Government Superannuation Scheme ,be declined for the reasons outlined in the Report.

12. PUBLIC HOLIDAYS 1998 - OBSERVANCE BY EMPLOYEES

With reference to Article 2(1) of the minute of meeting of the Personnel and Property Services Committee of 3 September 1996, there was submitted Report No 1076/97 by the Director of Personnel indicating that discussions had been taking place with trade unions regarding the fixing of the seven public holiday dates to be observed by employees of the Council during 1998.

Agreement had been reached on the setting of six of the seven holidays and the trade unions had requested time to enable them to consult the members regarding the proposal for the seventh.

The Committee approved the terms of the Report and agreed:-

(i) to adopt the following six holidays to be observed in 1998 by employees of the Council, with the exception of certain employees in the Contract Services Department and teachers who had separate holiday arrangements, viz:-

1/2 January
6 April
4 May
25/28 December; and

(ii) to await the outcome of further consultation before fixing the seventh holiday date.

13. PENNINGTON REPORT - ADDITIONAL FUNDING

With reference to Article 7 of the minute of meeting of the Environmental and Consumer Protection Committee of 30 September 1997, there was submitted Joint Report No 980/97 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection and the Director of Personnel indicating that, in recognition of the resource implications of the Pennington Report recommendations for Environmental Health Departments, the Scottish Office Minister for Health had announced additional funding for Scottish Local Authorities of some £5.8 m commencing on 1 September 1997 until 1999/2000. It was proposed that additional staff be appointed to ensure the efficient implementation of the Pennington Report recommendations.

The Committee, for its interest, approved the terms of the Report and agreed:-

(i) that one post of Principal Environmental Health Officer, graded AP10, be established;

(ii) that one post of Clerical Assistant part-time (18 hours), graded GS1/2, be established; and

(iii) that the necessary professional training and development of staff engaged on food premises inspection be funded.

14. RURAL CHALLENGE FUND AWARD - RURAL RIGHTS OUTREACH WORK PROJECT

With reference to Article 8 of the minute of meeting of the Social Work Committee of 19 August 1997, there was submitted Joint Report No 1088/97 by the Director of Social Work and the Director of Personnel regarding the establishment of a Rural Rights Outreach Worker post following the award of Rural Challenge funding for the Angus Rural Rights Outreach Work Initiative.

The Committee, for its interest, approved the terms of the Report and agreed that the post of Welfare Rights Officer, graded SCP27-30, be established for the duration of the Rural Challenge funding.

15. SELF-MANAGED PERSONAL ASSISTANCE SCHEME - ESTABLISHMENT OF PART-TIME POST

With reference to Article 8 of the minute of meeting of the Social Work Committee of 7 October 1997, there was submitted Joint Report No 1010/97 by the Director of Social Work and the Director of Personnel outlining proposals to change a full-time post, presently Voluntary Services Officer, to two part-time posts to enable the Self-Managed Personal Assistance Scheme to be further developed and to enable the Social Work Department to implement the Community Care (Direct Payments) Act 1996 through a pilot scheme in Angus.

The Committee, for its interest, approved the terms of the Report and agreed:-

(i) that Post No 06/10, full-time Voluntary Services Officer, be deleted;

(ii) that a part-time Voluntary Services Officer Post (18.5 hours) be established; and

(iii) that a part-time Welfare Rights Officer post (18.5 hours) be established.

16. CAIRNGORM PARTNERSHIP INITIATIVE - PROVISION OF COUNTRYSIDE SERVICES IN THE ANGUS GLENS

With reference to Article 11 of the minute of meeting of the Recreation and Cultural Services Committee of 9 October 1997, there was submitted Report No 1028/97 by the Director of Recreation Services regarding a proposal to develop a Countryside Ranger Service in the Angus Glens.

The Committee, for its interest, approved the terms of the Report and agreed that a post of Senior Countryside Ranger, graded AP3, and a post of Countryside Ranger, graded AP1/2, be established, subject to funding being received.

17. GENERAL PRACTITIONER REFERRAL SCHEME (GP REFERRAL SCHEME)

With reference to Article 4 of the minute of meeting of the Contract Services Committee of 7 October 1997 and Article 13 of the minute of meeting of the Recreation and Cultural Services Committee of 9 October 1997, there was submitted Joint Report No 1003/97 by the Contract Services Manager and the Director of Recreation Services advising members of the current position with regard to the operation of the GP Referral Scheme Pilot Programme operating in the Arbroath area and outlining the possible staffing implications associated with the programme.

The Committee, for its interest, noted the terms of the Report and in particular that it was proposed that a post of GP Referral Consultant be established on the basis of a fixed term contract on terms directly related to the period over which funding was available, subject to funding for the Referral Scheme being confirmed by the relevant practice or Health Board.

18. SICKNESS ABSENCE

With reference to Article 1 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 4 April 1996, there was submitted Report No 1053/97 by the Director of Personnel advising on the level of sickness absence within Angus Council for the period 1 April to 30 June 1997.

The Committee noted the terms of the Report.

19. COLLECTION OF COUNCIL TAX AND COMMUNITY CHARGE AND NON DOMESTIC RATES ARREARS

With reference to Article 96 of the minute of meeting of the Finance and Information Technology Committee of 2 September 1997, wherein it was indicated that the Scottish Office proposed to make £30,000 available to Angus Council by way of a special grant to assist with the collection of outstanding local taxes, there was submitted Report No 1111/97 by the Director of Finance setting out the proposed measures to maximise arrears collection.

The Committee, for its interest, noted the terms of the Report and agreed that three posts of Clerical Assistant, graded GS1/2, be established within the Revenues Division of the Finance Department for a period of no more than one year.

20. CAPITAL PROJECT APPRAISAL - EXTENSION/MODERNISATION OF LETHAM PRIMARY SCHOOL

With reference to Article 5 of the minute of meeting of the Education Committee of 14 October 1997, there was submitted Joint Report No 1042/97 by the Director of Education and the Director of Property Services regarding the extension and modernisation of Letham Primary School.

The Committee, for its interest, approved the terms of the Report and agreed:-

(i) to approve the improvement to Letham Primary School to provide accommodation for a maximum of 231 pupils and a nursery class at an estimated cost of £850,000 at outturn prices; and

(ii) to note that the amended costs and phasing shown in the Report would be reflected in the Capital Programme for 1998/99 and beyond.

21. INVERKEILOR PRIMARY SCHOOL, ARBROATH - TOILET ALTERATIONS TO COMPLY WITH CURRENT HEALTH AND SAFETY REGULATIONS

There was submitted Report No 1080/97 by the Director of Property Services indicating that to allow the works to commence during the October holiday period and be completed at an early date, an order had been placed for the replacement of the existing temporary toilet accommodation at Inverkeilor Primary School, Arbroath with a traditional permanent structure.

The Committee, for its interest, approved the terms of the Report and agreed to homologate the action taken by the Convener and the Director of Property Services in approving the placing of an order under the Schedule of Rates Contract 1994/99 for alteration works necessary to comply with current Health and Safety Regulations at Inverkeilor Primary School, Arbroath, at an estimated cost of £69,000.

22. "GOWANLEA", SEATON ROAD, ARBROATH - ALTERATIONS TO PROVIDE OFFICE ACCOMMODATION AND A DAY SERVICES FACILITY

With reference to Article 15 of the minute of meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee of 9 September and Article 13 of the minute of meeting of the Social Work Committee of 7 October 1997, there was submitted Joint Report No 943/97 by the Director of Social Work and the Director of Property Services regarding the design costs for alterations to Gowanlea, Seaton Road, Arbroath to provide office accommodation and a day services facility.

The Committee, for its interest, noted the terms of the Report.

23. PROGRESS REPORTS

(a) Property Maintenance

There was submitted Report No 1081/97 by the Director of Property Services setting out the current status of expenditure on the maintenance of non-housing properties.

The Committee noted the contents of the Report.

(b) Delegated Building Works - Quarterly Report

There was submitted and noted Report No 1082/97 by the Director of Property Services giving details of tenders accepted and orders placed by the Director under the Scheme of Delegation to Officers and Financial Regulations in the period 7 April 1997 to 10 October 1997.

(c) Energy Budget Progress Report

There was submitted Report No 1083/97 by the Director of Property Services on the current status of expenditure on the individual Council heating fuel and electricity budgets for non-housing properties.

The Committee noted the terms of the Report.

(d) Construction Projects 1997/98

There was submitted Report No 1084/97 by the Director of Property Services on progress on construction projects up to the end of September 1997.

The Committee noted the terms of the Report.

24. PROPERTY RENEWAL AND REPAIR FUND 1997/98 - FUNDING ARRANGEMENTS AND PROGRAMME OF URGENT REPAIRS - PHASE 3

There was submitted Report No 1102/97 by the Director of Property Services giving details of the third phase of budgetary provision for the 1997/98 Property Renewal and Repair Fund and the programme of urgent repairs to be undertaken and seeking approval for the provision of funding for urgent property repairs.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed:-

(i) to approve the provision of £28,000 from the Property Renewal and Repair Fund in financial year 1997/98 for the execution of urgent property repairs; and

(ii) to note and approve the programme of urgent repairs being undertaken by the Director of Property Services in agreement with the Director of Finance, based on these funding arrangements set out in the Report.

25. STANDING LISTS OF CONTRACTORS FOR COUNCIL BUILDING CONTRACTS (UP TO £200,000)

With reference to Article 3 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 11 March 1997, there was submitted Report No 1086/97 by the Director of Property Services indicating that action had been taken to review and update the approved Standing Lists of Contractors for Several Works and Individual Trades Works for property related construction works and that a copy of the updated lists had been made available in the Members’ Lounge.

The Committee approved the terms of the Report and agreed:-

(i) to approve the updated Standing Lists for Several Works and Individual Trades Works; and

(ii) to note that the lists would be subject to regular review and updating and that all amendments would be reported to Committee for subsequent approval at six monthly intervals.

26. ST JAMES HOUSE, FORFAR

(a) Basement Stores

There was submitted Report No 1087/97 by the Director of Property Services regarding the provision of additional storage in the basement at St James House at an estimated cost of £13,000.

The Committee approved the terms of the Report and agreed:-

(i) to approve the provision of racking in the basement stores at St James House; and

(ii) to note that a bid for funding from the Renewal and Repair Fund was being made to the Finance and Information Technology Committee.

(b) Extension at St James House

With reference to Article 28 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 11 June 1996, there was submitted Report No 1098/97 by the Director of Property Services regarding the possibility of building a new extension to St James House at an estimated cost of £1.4m on the site of the Engineering Workshop at present leased by the Council to Don and Low.

It was proposed that provision be made in the Composite Capital Plan over the required development period with provision for a feasibility study to be undertaken over the next six months.

The Committee approved the terms of the Report and agreed:-

(i) to approve the provision for additional office accommodation within the Composite Capital Plan;

(ii) to authorise the Director of Property Services to carry out a feasibility study of the proposal to provide an extension to St James House; and

(iii) to note that further Reports would be submitted to Committee for approval to proceed to the next stages.

27. ARBROATH COURTHOUSE

There was submitted Joint Report No 1112/97 by the Director of Law and Administration and the Director of Property Services indicating that the main Sheriff Court Building located in High Street, Arbroath was held on the Arbroath Common Good Account. Since 1975, the building had been occupied by the Scottish Court Service and was used for the Sheriff Court for four days of the week and for the District Court on a Friday of each week.

It had become apparent that one courtroom was insufficient for a town the size of Arbroath and, recognising the difficulty, the Director of Property Services and the Scottish Courts Administration had been attempting to identify alternative premises within Arbroath to establish another courtroom.

The premises adjacent to the Sheriff Court Building had recently become available to let and the Scottish Courts Administration Service had prepared plans to utilise these premises which would be leased from a private landlord.

The Court Service would require to spend consider capital sums in making appropriate alterations and had asked the Council to formally confirm that it would continue to use the Sheriff Court premises at a similar rental to that currently received, plus a share of maintenance costs.

The Committee approved the terms of the Report and agreed:-

(i) to note that the Scottish Courts Administration were prepared to provide an additional court facility within Arbroath; and

(ii) to instruct the Director of Property Services to negotiate, and the Director of Law and Administration to conclude, an agreement for the lease of the additional courtroom to be occupied by the District Court exclusively on Friday of each week.