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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 1 December 1998 at 4.00 pm.

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

Apology: An apology for absence was intimated on behalf of Councillor IAN HUDGHTON.

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 2-14 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, 9 and 12(a).

2. APPLICATIONS FOR REGRADING - CONTRACT SERVICES DEPARTMENT

There was submitted Report No 1254/98 by the Director of Personnel concerning an application for regrading of Clerical Assistant posts within the Contract Services Department.

The Committee agreed that the Clerical Assistant Post Nos 01/05, 02/07, 02/08, 02/09, 02/10, 02/11 and 02/16, within the Contract Services Department be redesignated and regraded Senior Clerical Assistant grade GS3.

3. STRUCTURE AND ESTABLISHMENT REVIEW - DEPARTMENT OF LAW AND ADMINISTRATION

With reference to Article 6 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 16 June 1998, there was submitted Joint Report No 1228/98 by the Director of Law and Administration and the Director of Personnel proposing changes to the structure and establishment of the Law and Administration Department following a review of the roles and responsibilities of posts within the Central Services Section and in consideration of the Administration and Elections Officer post falling vacant.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed:-

(i) to the deletion of Post No 05/04, Administration and Elections Officer, grade AP5;

(ii) to the establishment of a post of Projects Assistant, grade AP3;

(iii) to the redesignation and regrading of Post No 05/02 from Administration Assistant, grade AP2 to Administration Supervisor, grade AP3;

(iv) to the redesignation and regrading of Post No 05/05 from Typing and Filing Supervisor, grade AP2 to Administration Supervisor, grade AP3; and

(v) to the establishment of a post of Administration Assistant, grade AP1, this post to be advertised internally with the resultant vacant post deleted from the establishment.

4. SCHOOL LIBRARIAN POSTS - BRECHIN HIGH SCHOOL AND ARBROATH ACADEMY

With reference to Article 2 of the minute of meeting of the Education Committee of 24 November 1998, there was submitted Joint Report No 1198/98 by the Director of Education, the Director of Cultural Services and the Director of Personnel proposing a number of staffing alterations to library staff at Arbroath Academy and Brechin High School.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed:-

(i) to approve the establishment of the posts of:-

(a) School Librarian (Arbroath Academy) grade AP2/AP3;

(b) School Librarian (Brechin High School) grade AP2/AP3;

(ii) to the deletion of the posts of Library Assistant (part-time) (Arbroath Academy) and Library Assistant (part-time) (Montrose Academy) from the establishment of the Education Department;

(iii) to approve the formal transfer of two part-time Library Assistants to the Educational Resource Service of Cultural Services, in order to fill the full-time post of Library Assistant which had been frozen since 1996; and

(iv) to note the position of the current holder of the post of part-time Library Assistant in Brechin High School and to delegate to the Director of Education in consultation with the Director of Personnel, the responsibility for filling the posts of School Librarian in Brechin High School, in accordance with the terms of the Report.

5. WARDEN/AUXILIARY - SUPERVISION AND MANAGEMENT

With reference to Article 15 of the minute of meeting of the Social Work Committee of 6 October 1998, there was submitted Joint Report No 972/98 by the Director of Housing, the Director of Social Work and the Director of Personnel updating members on the transfer of Warden and associated services from the Social Work Department to the Housing Department from 1 October 1998 and detailing the proposed action on various anticipated and emerging issues.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed:-

(i) to note the issues arising from the transfer of the Warden and associated services, and in particular the measures in place to enhance the good neighbour role, and to reiterate the agreed social hours involvement of Wardens and Relief (or part-time) Wardens;

(ii) to note the requirement for a Food Safety Plan to be prepared and submitted to Committee, in due course, and that short term guidance would be issued in relation to each Sheltered Housing Scheme; and

(iii) to formalise the establishment proposals detailed in the Report, in view of the new sheltered scheme at Cliffburn, in Arbroath and the extended provisions outlined, to bring the schemes concerned up to normal Warden services standards/requirements.

6. HOUSING DEPARTMENT STRUCTURE

With reference to Article 15 of the minute of meeting of the Social Work Committee of 6 October 1998, there was submitted Joint Report No 973/98 by the Director of Housing, the Director of Finance and the Director of Personnel proposing changes to the Housing Department’s structure. The Report indicated that the proposals were being made as a consequence of the Council’s decision to transfer management responsibility and funding of the Sheltered Housing Scheme Warden and associated services and also in light of the substantially increasing caseload complexity of homelessness cases, legislation and guidance in recent years.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed to approve the revised Housing Department staff structure, as detailed in the Report, to reflect the transferred responsibilities and increased workload.

7. ROADS DEPARTMENT: REVIEW OF STRUCTURE AND ESTABLISHMENT

There was submitted Joint Report No 1227/98 by the Director of Roads and the Director of Personnel detailing proposed amendments to the Roads Department organisational structure which were deemed appropriate in light of the removal of CCT and the introduction of Best Value, in order to maximise the operational efficiency and flexibility in the delivery of roads related services to the Council. The Report indicated that one of the principal objectives of the proposals was to target and allocate resources to known areas of under resource, particularly where those areas encompassed day-to-day responsibilities.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed:-

(i) to the deletion of Post No 03/14, Roads Supervisor, grade Tech 3;

(ii) to the establishment of a post of Roads Maintenance Engineer, grade AP5/6;

(iii) to the establishment of two posts of Design Engineer, grade AP5/6;

(iv) to the establishment of two posts of Senior Technician, grade Tech 5, one post within the Traffic Section and the other post within the Design and Engineering Services Section;

(v) to the establishment of two posts of Traffic Engineer, grade AP5/6;

(vi) to the redesignation and regrading of Post No 06/17, Harbourmaster, grade AP3 to Harbourmaster and Coastal Protection/Flood Prevention Officer, grade AP4;

(vii) to the redesignation and regrading of Post No 05/01, Finance Manager, grade AP5/6 to Finance and Operational Systems Manager, grade AP8; and

(viii) that the posts in (ii) to (v) above would be filled from within the current staffing complement of the Department, with the resulting vacant posts deleted from the establishment.

8. REVENUES DIVISION - COUNCIL TAX AND HOUSING BENEFIT STRUCTURE AND ESTABLISHMENT REVIEW

With reference to Article 7 of the minute of meeting of the Finance and Information Technology Committee of 10 June 1997, there was submitted Joint Report No 1258/98 by the Director of Finance, the Director of Housing and the Director of Personnel proposing the deletion of the current Council Tax and Housing Benefit structures together with the establishment of a new structure designed to deliver the merged Council Tax, Council Tax Benefit and Housing Benefit service at Invertay House and Area Offices.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed:-

(i) to note the terms of the Report;

(ii) to the deletion of the current Council Tax structure as detailed in Appendix 1 to the Report;

(iii) to the deletion of the current Housing Benefit structure, as detailed in Appendix 1 to the Report; and

(iv) to the establishment of a new Council Tax and Benefits structure, as detailed in Appendix 2 to the Report.

9. DEVELOPMENT SITE - ARBROATH HARBOUR

There was submitted Joint Report No 1275/98 by the Director of Property Services and the Director of Roads advising the Committee of the offers received for the lease of a site at Arbroath Harbour.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed:-

(i) to note the result of the marketing exercise carried out to establish the level of interest in the development site at Arbroath Harbour;

(ii) to approve Tayside Marine Services being awarded the status of preferred developer/lessee and that a request be made for additional information in support of their offer; and

(iii) to note that a further Report would be submitted when all relevant information had been provided.

10. PROPOSED ACQUISITION OF DEVELOPED PROPERTIES AT 2-8 OSNABURG STREET, FORFAR

There was submitted Report No 1259/98 by the Director of Property Services outlining the opportunity to acquire two properties at 2-8 Osnaburg Street for use as office accommodation by the Council.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to authorise the Director of Property Services to enter into detailed negotiations based on the provisional main terms and conditions contained in the Report, for the acquisition of the properties to be redeveloped at 2-8 Osnaburg Street, Forfar;

(ii) to note that a further Report on the result of the negotiations would be brought to the Committee for their consideration;

(iii) to note the estimated total cost of £810,000 (at out-turn prices);

(iv) to note that an allowance of £800,000 for the project had been made in the Property Services Department's bid for 1999/2000 for the General Fund Capital Programme and that additional provision would be required;

(v) to note that a Report on the review of the accommodation strategy would be submitted at the next cycle of Committee meetings;

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

11. HILLSIDE PRIMARY SCHOOL, HILLSIDE, MONTROSE - TENDER LIST

With reference to Article 33 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 16 June 1998, there was submitted Report No 1260/98 by the Director of Property Services proposing, subject to financial assessment, a list of contractors for the works comprising the construction of a new building to accommodate a single stream primary school with nursery at Hillside, Montrose.

The Committee agreed that the following six contractors named in the Report be invited to tender, subject to any financial assessment deemed to be necessary by the Director of Finance, in consultation with the Director of Property Services.

12. APPOINTMENT OF ESTATES CONSULTANTS

There was submitted Report No 1272/98 by the Director of Property Services advising the Committee on the outcome of provisional negotiations for an extension to the existing contract for the provision of external estates consultancy services.

The Committee agreed to approve the extension of the existing contract with the present estates consultants for a period of a further 2 years on the terms and conditions as outlined in the Report.

13. MONTROSE INNER RELIEF ROAD: LAND COMPENSATION (SCOTLAND) ACT 1973, PART 1 CLAIMS

There was submitted Joint Report No 1240/98 by the Director of Property Services and the Director of Roads summarising the current position on claims arising from Part 1 of the Land Compensation (Scotland) Act 1973 in relation to the use of the Montrose Inner Relief Road and making recommendations for the provision of funds for the settlement of such claims.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed:-

(i) to note that the potential payments arising from Part 1 Claims had been reported to the Policy and Resources Committee at the meeting held on 8 September 1998;

(ii) to note the current position as contained in the Report on the submission of claims arising from the use of the Montrose Inner Relief Road;

(iii) to note that the costs of the legitimate claims and Council agent fees would be contained within the Council's overall Capital Programme for the current financial year, and that specific provision would also be made in the Financial Plan for 1999/2000 and beyond; and

(iv) to note that details of the settlement of individual claims would continue to be reported to the Council by the Director of Property Services as they arose and were settled.

14. LEASE OF BOWLING FACILITIES AT BRECHIN PUBLIC PARK - BRECHIN PARKVIEW BOWLING CLUB

With reference to Article 11 of the minute of meeting of the Recreation and Cultural Services Committee of 19 November 1998, there was submitted Joint Report No 1195/98 by the Director of Recreation Services, the Director of Law and Administration and the Director of Property Services advising the Committee of the Council's endeavours to conclude a lease agreement between the Council and Brechin Parkview Bowling Club.

The Director of Property Services updated the Committee on the latest developments in connection with concluding the agreement.

The Committee agreed, in the absence of a signed Lease and payment of rent due, to approve the recommendation in the Report.

15. MINUTES

(a) Previous Meeting

The minute of meeting of this Committee of 20 October 1998 was approved as a correct record and signed by the Convener.

(b) Executive Sub-Committee

There was submitted and noted the minute of meeting of the Executive Sub-Committee of the Personnel and Property Services Committee of 5 November 1998 (APPENDIX).

16. 1999/2000 REVENUE BUDGET

There was submitted Report No 1279/98 by the Director of Finance advising the Committee of the latest position with regard to the preparation of the Personnel and Property Services Departments and Local Offices 1999/2000 revenue budgets and associated issues. Given that the 1999/2000 base budgets were still subject to the budget review process, figures shown in the summaries for 1999/2000 were provisional in nature and were subject to alteration as the budget process moved forward. Any alterations considered necessary would be brought before the Committee for consideration.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the contents of the Report for its interest; and

(ii) to note that more detailed Reports with specific recommendations would be brought forward later in the budget cycle.

17. LONG SERVICE AWARD SCHEME

There was submitted Report No 1231/98 by the Director of Personnel outlining a proposed Long Service Award Scheme for employees of Angus Council. The Report indicated that Long Service Award Schemes were operated by employers primarily to offer recognition and appreciation of employees who had given a period of long and continuous service to the organisation. As the remit had been to develop a Long Service Award Scheme which would apply to all employees, no consideration had been given to any type of scheme which would incorporate additional annual leave, as this was not an option which could be applied to teachers. The proposed scheme had therefore been developed on the basis that long service should be recognised by a recognition award.

The Committee agreed to approve the Long Service Award Scheme as detailed in the Report, for employees of Angus Council.

18. SICKNESS ABSENCE

With reference to Article 25 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 16 June 1998, there was submitted Report No 1255/98 by the Director of Personnel advising the Committee of the level of sickness absence within Angus Council for the period 1 April to 30 June 1998.

The Committee agreed to note the terms of the Report.

19. EMPLOYMENT OF TIME SERVED APPRENTICES

With reference to Article 7 of the minute of meeting of the Contract Services Committee of 17 November 1998, there was submitted Joint Report No 1176/98 by the Contract Services Manager and the Director of Personnel detailing a proposed policy on the employment of time served apprentices within Contract Services. The Report indicated that, at present, Angus Council had no current policy in relation to continuous employment for staff who had completed recognised apprenticeships.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed that the employment contract of apprentices within Angus Contract Services be extended, on completion of the three year apprenticeship, to include a period of up to six months to allow the opportunity of gaining permanent employment with the authority.

20. THE YEAR 2000 PROBLEM - IMPLICATIONS FOR THE PERSONNEL DEPARTMENT

With reference to Article 14 of the minute of meeting of the Finance and Information Technology Committee of 16 June 1998, there was submitted Report No 1232/98 by the Director of Personnel advising the Committee of detailed preparations to tackle the possible implications of the Year 2000 problem for the Personnel Department in the run up to 1 January 2000 and beyond. The Report indicated that the Personnel Department had independently, and in conjunction with the Corporate Y2K Group, identified the risks associated with the Year 2000 problem.

The Personnel Department was fully committed to ensuring that all its services were maintained to the highest level and would continue to do so, with the steps outlined in the Report designed to meet the issues which were likely to arise.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the actions taken by the Director of Personnel to date; and

(ii) to authorise the Director of Personnel to continue with current and planned actions and to keep the Committee informed of further developments in this matter.

21. PROPERTY SERVICES DEPARTMENTAL BUDGET - REQUEST TO VIRE EXCESS FEE INCOME TO STAFFING

There was submitted Report No 1261/98 by the Director of Property Services seeking approval to vire excess fee income to the staffing element of the Departmental budget to allow the appointment of temporary staff to assist with the workload of the Department. The Report indicated that, in the last two years of the operation of the Department, the budgetary savings required had been met mainly through the non-filling of staff vacancies. It was now proposed to use additional fee income to engage staff on a temporary basis between now and the end of the financial year to support capital and revenue projects and to help ensure the delivery of respective programmes.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed to the virement of excess fee income to the staffing element of the Property Services Departmental budget, to allow the appointment of temporary staff and to assist with the workload of the Department.

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

With reference to Article 17 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 5 May 1998, there was submitted Report No 1262/98 by the Director of Property Services seeking approval of the updated Lists of Contractors for Several Works and Individual Trades Works which he would maintain and update.

The Committee 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 with all amendments being reported to Committee for subsequent approval at six monthly intervals.

23. PROGRESS REPORTS

(a) Property Maintenance

With reference to Article 16 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 1 September 1998, there was submitted Report No 1263/98 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) Energy Budget

With reference to Article 16 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 1 September 1998, there was submitted Report No 1264/98 by the Director of Property Services setting out the current status of expenditure on the individual Council heating fuel and electricity budgets for non-housing properties.

The Committee noted the contents of the Report.

(c) Delegated Building Works - Quarterly Report

With reference to Article 16 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 1 September 1998, there was submitted Report No 1265/98 by the Director of Property Services giving details of tenders accepted and orders placed by the Director of Property Services, under the Scheme of Delegation to Officers and Financial Regulations.

The Committee agreed to note the contents of the Report.

(d) Construction Projects 1998/99

With reference to Article 16 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 1 September 1998, there was submitted Report No 1266/98 by the Director of Property Services summarising the current position of contracts for which funding provision had been made within the Capital Programme for 1998/99.

The Committee agreed to note the contents of the Report.

24. SUPPLEMENTARY FUNDING PROVISION FOR ATTIC ACCESS - ALTERATIONS TO NON-HOUSING COUNCIL BUILDINGS

The Committee agreed to defer consideration of this matter to the next meeting of the Committee.

25. SUPPLEMENTARY FUNDING PROVISION FOR THE RENEWAL OF STAGE TECHNICAL EQUIPMENT IN SCHOOLS

There was submitted Report No 1268/98 by the Director of Property Services seeking approval for the provision of supplementary funding from the Property Renewal and Repair Fund to allow the renewal of stage technical equipment in schools. The Report indicated that a recent inspection of stage technical equipment had identified that equipment in certain schools had not been subject to regular maintenance, was not compliant with current Regulations and did not meet current Health and Safety requirements. As a consequence, it had been determined that such equipment required to be renewed.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed:-

(i) to note the requirement for the renewal of stage equipment in schools;

(ii) to approve the bid for supplementary funding in the sum of £30,000 from the Property Renewal and Repair Fund for Phase 1 of the renewal programme; and

(iii) to instruct the Director of Property Services to progress the renewal immediately and submit a further Report detailing the later phases of this programme.

26. PROGRESS REPORT ON ACCESS FOR DISABLED PEOPLE TO COUNCIL PROPERTIES

There was submitted Report No 1269/98 by the Director of Property Services outlining the approach taken to date to implement a programme of works for the adaptation of Council properties to meet the needs of disabled people.

In accordance with the Council's key theme of equality of opportunity, provision had been made within the Composite Capital Plan of a sum of £60,000 per annum to cover the costs of adaptation of Council properties for the needs of the disabled. Following a survey undertaken by the Property Services Department, the highest priorities within each property had been collated to form a programme of works in the current financial year to match the total funding available. Details of the programme being undertaken this year were set out in Appendix 1 to the Report. In addition, given that Local Government and European elections were due to take place the following year, a number of small scale works totalling in excess of £20,000 had been prepared and was being implemented, with details of the works at polling stations shown in Appendix 2 to the Report.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the strategy adopted to identify a programme of property adaptations to meet the needs of disabled people;

(ii) to note the progress on implementing the strategy;

(iii) to adopt the strategy as a policy on Access for the Disabled to Council properties; and

(iv) to note the resource allocation as detailed in the Report.

27. PROPOSALS TO ADD A FIRST FLOOR OFFICE TO THE PROPERTY AT RAVENSWOOD, NEW ROAD, FORFAR

There was submitted Report No 1270/98 by the Director of Property Services seeking approval to provide an additional floor of office accommodation at Ravenswood for the Property Services Department. The Report indicated that, as a result of a review of office accommodation, it had emerged that it was possible to build a second storey on the rear wing which would add 200 sq m of office accommodation to the building. Such a provision would enable the whole of the Forfar based Property Services staff to be located in the one office.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the proposal to provide additional office accommodation at Ravenswood;

(ii) to approve the procurement of competitive tenders for the project;

(iii) to note that a further Report would be brought to the Committee after receipt of tenders; and

(iv) to note that a Report on the review of the accommodation strategy would be submitted in the next cycle of Committee meetings.

28. PROPERTY RENEWAL AND REPAIR FUND - FUNDING ARRANGEMENTS AND PROGRAMME OF URGENT REPAIRS - PHASE 6

With reference to Article 30 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 16 June 1998, there was submitted Report No 1271/98 by the Director of Property Services advising the Committee on the sixth phase of budgetary provision from the Property Renewal and Repair Fund and the programme of urgent repairs to be undertaken. The Report indicated that the programme of urgent repairs, detailed in Appendix 1 to the Report, had been prepared following detailed consideration of the five year costed and prioritised programme of planned maintenance work. The proposed repairs had been discussed and agreed with the respective Departments as being their highest priorities for this funding and the proposed expenditure had been agreed with the Director of Finance.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed:-

(i) to approve the provision of £150,000 from the Property Renewal and Repair 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 upon these funding arrangements.

29. DEPARTMENTAL STRATEGY FOR MANAGING THE "YEAR 2000" PROBLEM

With reference to Article 14 of the minute of meeting of the Finance and Information Technology Committee of 16 June 1998, there was submitted Report No 1276/98 by the Director of Property Services outlining the strategy adopted by the Property Services Department in response to the Departmental and corporate aspects of the Year 2000 problem and detailing project plans for addressing the issues arising. Risk assessments had been undertaken and issues of concern prioritised, with the majority of these issues related to information technology.

A Department Project Plan and associated Programme had been prepared and implementation was under way. It was anticipated that most, if not all, issues of concern would be resolved timeously with the assistance of the Information Technology Department.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed:-

(i) to note the actions taken to date by the Director of Property Services;

(ii) to endorse the Departmental and Corporate Project Plans and associated Composite Programme; and

(iii) to instruct the Director of Property Services to submit regular progress reports.