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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 17 March 1998 at 4.00 pm.

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

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 2-6 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 REGRADING

(a) Housing Department

There was submitted Report No 314/98 by the Director of Personnel concerning an application for regrading of the post of Senior Finance Officer within the Housing Department.

The Committee agreed that the post of Senior Finance Officer, post No 08/02, be temporarily regraded AP5, until no later than 31 March 1999.

(b) Recreation Services Department (Client)

There was submitted Report No 316/98 by the Director of Personnel concerning an application for regrading of a post of Clerical Assistant within the Recreation Services Department.

The Committee agreed that the post of Clerical Assistant, post No 02/16, be redesignated and regraded Senior Clerical Assistant, grade GS3.

(c) Law and Administration Department

There was submitted Report No 315/98 by the Director of Personnel concerning an application for regrading of a post of Senior Clerical Assistant within the Law and Administration Department.

The Committee agreed that the post of Senior Clerical Assistant, post No 02/06, be redesignated and regraded Licensing Assistant, grade AP2.

3. ARBROATH HARBOUR - PROPOSED LEASE

With reference to Article 7 of the minute of meeting of the Roads Committee of 12 March 1998, there was submitted Joint Report No 285/98 by the Director of Property Services and the Director of Roads advising the Committee of the outcome of negotiations to lease a site at Arbroath Harbour to McKay Boatbuilders. The Director of Roads had confirmed that the site was surplus to requirements and that it was available for use by the firm.

The Committee agreed, for its interest, to approve the lease of a site measuring 0.20 hectare or thereby at Arbroath Harbour to McKay Boatbuilders on the provisional terms and conditions contained in the Report.

4. PROPERTY TRANSACTIONS

With reference to Article 6 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 3 February 1998, there was submitted Report No 309/98 by the Director of Property Services advising the Committee of the outcome of negotiations for the transactions detailed in Appendices 1, 2 and 3 to the Report.

The Committee agreed to note the outcome of negotiations for various property transactions, as set out in Appendices 1, 2 and 3 to the Report.

5. TERM CONTRACT FOR MINOR PROJECTS BASED UPON SCHEDULE OF RATES FOR 1998/2001

There was submitted Report No 312/98 by the Director of Property Services giving details of the tenders received in respect of term contract for minor projects, based upon a schedule of rates for 1998/2001.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to accede to the request by George Mackie, Monikie to withdraw the tenders submitted by that firm;

(ii) to approve the placing of orders, in the most advantageous manner, with the contractors listed above the line for each trade and area shown in Appendix A to the Report, for the period 1 May 1998 to 31 March 2001;

(iii) to authorise the Director of Property Services, where it was considered to be in the best interests of the Council, to review as necessary, the limiting values of contractors;

(iv) to authorise the Director of Property Services to negotiate with, and appoint contractors from other contract areas where a deficiency of contractors arose in a given trade and area due to circumstances outwith the control of the Council, and to empower the Director of Property Services, where appropriate, to recover all additional costs incurred as a result of such action from any defaulting contractor who had contributed towards such a deficiency, on the understanding that the outcome of all such negotiations was subsequently reported to Committee;

(v) to note that the maximum value of any individual order issued by the Director of Property Services would be restricted to £50,000, and that the option to issue orders with a value between £50,000 and £100,000 would only be exercised with prior Committee approval; and

(vi) to note that, notwithstanding the wording contained in Report No 1240/97, the Director of Finance had examined the proposed list of contractors and considered that, given the normally relatively low value of individual orders, in this instance it was not necessary to carry out financial assessments on the selected contractors, as the risk to the Council was generally small, but that in instances where the value of a proposed order fell within the £50,000-£100,000 range, the advice of the Director of Finance would be sought with regard to financial assessment.

6. "GOWANLEA", ARBROATH - ALTERATIONS TO PROVIDE OFFICE ACCOMMODATION AND DAY SERVICES FACILITIES

With reference to Article 5 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 2 December 1997 and Article 7 of the minute of meeting of the Social Work Committee of 3 March 1998, there was submitted Report No 307/98 by the Director of Property Services reporting on tenders received for alterations to provide office accommodation and day services facilities at "Gowanlea", Arbroath.

The Committee agreed;

(i) to approve the acceptance of the lowest tender for the several works, being that of Muirfield (Contracts) Ltd, Dundee, in the amount of £418,824.20, subject to the transfer of resources;

(ii) to approve the estimated total cost of £498,886 (at out-turn prices);

(iii) to note that this project was to be wholly funded by resources transferred from Tayside Health Board and Angus NHS Trust to Angus Council and ring fenced for this purpose and that the project, which had no financial effect on the Capital Programme, had been included in the 1997/98 Capital Estimates and the future years Financial Plan;

(iv) to note that the terms of the resource transfer would be addressed in a written agreement between Tayside Health Board and Angus Council;

(v) to note that the costs of the project would be monitored and if it appeared that the costs could be contained within the £500,000 available fund, a further report would be brought before Committee;

(vi) to note the additional revenue expenditure arising from this project of £51,000 running costs per annum; and

(vii) to note that the additional revenue expenditure detailed in (vi) above, was in respect of the additional costs incurred in converting Gowanlea from a vacant property to an operational base, and that these costs would be allocated to the organisations accommodated in the building, according to their usage of the facility, with Angus Council's allocated running costs being contained within the available Revenue Budget provision.

7. MINUTES

(a) Previous Meeting

The minute of meeting of this Committee of 3 February 1998 was approved as a correct record and signed by the Convener.

(b) Central Consultative Committee

There was submitted and noted the minute of meeting of the Central Consultative Committee of 23 February 1998.

PERSONNEL

8. SICKNESS ABSENCE

With reference to Article 16 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 3 February 1998, there was submitted Report No 317/98 by the Director of Personnel advising the Committee of the level of sickness absence within Angus Council for the period 1 October to 31 December 1997.

The Committee noted the terms of the Report.

9. PERSONAL SAFETY - VIOLENCE AT WORK

There was submitted Report No 320/98 by the Director of Personnel outlining the growing problem of violence to employees at work and the Council's legal obligations in this respect. The definition, by the Health and Safety Executive, of violence at work allowed for incidents "related" to work including those outwith working hours. The Report proposed the adoption of a policy to address the issue of violence at work and a series of actions to implement that policy.

Having heard from Councillor Middleton who wished to reassure all Council employees that reporting incidents of violence at work against them would be treated with the utmost sympathy, the Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the terms of the Report;

(ii) to approve the proposed policy statement on violence to employees at work;

(iii) to approve the actions described as being necessary to implement the terms of the policy; and

(iv) to note that further Reports on measures necessary to eliminate or reduce risks to employees, might be required.

10. EMPLOYEE BENEFITS PACKAGE

With reference to Article 3(c) of the minute of meeting of Angus Council of 19 February 1998, there was submitted Report No 196/98 by the Director of Personnel setting out proposals for the introduction and launch of an Employee Benefits Package, which in the first instance would cover personal accident insurance, personal loans, car and home insurance, legal services and dental services.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to approve the introduction and launch of an Employee Benefits Package as outlined in the Report;

(ii) to authorise the Director of Personnel to review the Package on an annual basis by entering into discussions with other companies who had expressed an interest in being included in the Package and who offered similar or other products/services, and to make subsequent recommendations to the Personnel and Property Services Committee; and

(iii) to note that all costs associated with this initiative would be underwritten by the participating companies.

11. THE NEW PENSION REGULATIONS 1998 - DISCRETIONS

There was submitted Joint Report No 318/98 by the Director of Personnel and the Director of Finance proposing a response to Dundee City Council's proposals, as administering authority, on the application of the discretions available in the New Pension Regulations 1998 which were to be implemented on 1 April 1998.

The Committee agreed to the response outlined in the Report to Dundee City Council's proposals on the application of the discretions allowed in the New Pension Regulations 1998.

12. SINGLE STATUS EMPLOYMENT - JOB EVALUATION

There was submitted Report No 313/98 by the Director of Personnel outlining the current position regarding Job Evaluation at national level and proposing that Angus Council be represented on a consortium to develop an existing Job Evaluation Scheme for recommendation to Scottish Councils.

The Committee agreed that the Director of Personnel represent Angus Council on a consortium to develop a Job Evaluation Scheme for recommendation to Scottish Councils.

13. PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

With reference to Article 12 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 21 October 1997, there was submitted Report No 319/98 by the Director of Personnel detailing the results of a consultation exercise which had been carried out by individual trade unions with their members and recommending that the Committee give consideration to the options outlined in the Report, along with the trade union responses and agree to fix the seventh public holiday.

The Committee agreed to fix the seventh public holiday for 1998 as St Andrew's Day (30 November).

14. DEVOLVED SCHOOL MANAGEMENT - IMPLEMENTATION OF FINAL PHASE

With reference to Article 7 of the minute of meeting of the Education Committee of 10 March 1998, there was submitted Report No 281/98 by the Director of Education seeking approval for the implementation of the devolved school management scheme in the nine remaining schools and for the establishment of nine additional part-time clerical posts, as outlined in the Appendix to the Report.

The Committee agreed, for its interest, to approve the establishment of nine additional part-time clerical posts (or additional hours for current postholders as appropriate) as outlined in the Appendix to the Report.

15. FINANCE DEPARTMENT STAFFING ADJUSTMENTS - INTERNAL AUDIT/REVENUES

There was submitted Joint Report No 321/98 by the Director of Finance and the Director of Personnel proposing the establishment of a full-time Fraud Officer within the Audit, VFM and Risk Management Section of the Finance Department, specifically to investigate both housing and Council Tax benefit fraud.

The Committee agreed, for its interest:-

(i) that a full-time Fraud Officer post at a salary of AP2, be established within the Audit, VFM and Risk Management Section from 1 April 1998;

(ii) that the current incumbent of the Revenues Division seconded at present on a part-time basis to the Audit Section be transferred into this new post; and

(iii) that the funding for the post be by part transfer from the Revenues Division's base budget and utilisation of specific finance funds within the 1998/99 government financial settlement.

16. CONTRACT SERVICES - RESTRUCTURE OF LEISURE MANAGEMENT

With reference to Article 20 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 28 January 1997, there was submitted Joint Report No 322/98 by the Contract Services Manager and the Director of Personnel advising members of the current situation regarding the restructure of leisure management. The Report indicated that consultations had taken place with staff and unions regarding changes to the structure, but that after considerable deliberations, the staff and unions had rejected the proposal. Accordingly, the existing structure would continue to operate.

The Committee agreed, for its interest, to note and approve the contents of the Report.

17. TRAINING SERVICES - REVENUE BUDGET 1997/98

With reference to Article 10 of the minute of meeting of the Economic Development Committee of 5 March 1998, there was submitted Report No 278/98 by the Director of Planning, Transport and Economic Development detailing the projected outturn for the Training Services Revenue Budget for the 1997/98 financial year and setting out proposals to address the issues raised.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note that there was a projected overspend in the Training Services Revenue Budget for the 1997/98 financial year of £103,000 and that it would be contained within the overall Planning, Transport and Economic Development Departmental budget allocations;

(ii) to note the reasons that had led to the current financial position and the steps being taken to address the situation; and

(iii) to note that the Director of Personnel would address the issues highlighted in the Report and bring forward proposals to the Personnel and Property Services Committee, based upon the 1998/99 budget for Training Services.

PROPERTY

18. SURPLUS PROPERTY - HILL STREET, MONTROSE

With reference to Article 7 of the minute of meeting of the Planning and Transport Policy Committee of 12 March 1998, there was submitted Joint Report No 305/98 by the Director of Property Services and the Director of Planning, Transport and Economic Development advising the Committee that the site at Hill Street, Montrose was vacant and surplus to Council requirements.

The Committee agreed to declare surplus to requirements, the site measuring 600 sq metres or thereby, at Hill Street, Montrose and to instruct the Director of Property Services to arrange for the marketing and disposal of the site.

19. PROPERTY RENEWAL AND REPAIR FUND: UPDATE OF FUNDING ARRANGEMENTS AND PLANNED PROGRAMME OF URGENT REPAIRS

With reference to Article 24 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 21 October 1997, there was submitted Report No 311/98 by the Director of Property Services giving details on the next phase of programmes of urgent repairs to be undertaken using the Renewal and Repair Fund, and also providing an update, for homologation, of additional repairs carried out in 1997/98.

The Committee agreed, for its interest:-

(i) to note the changes in the estimated cost of projects reported previously;

(ii) to homologate the decision of the Director of Property Services, in consultation with the Director of Finance, to provide £25,600 from the Property Renewal and Repair Fund in the Financial Year 1997/98, for the execution of additional urgent property repairs; and

(iii) to approve the next phase of planned programme work at an estimated cost of £775,000 from the Property Renewal and Repair Fund, for the execution of urgent property repairs.

20. PROPOSED DISPOSAL OF LAND AT WELLINGTON PARK, MONTROSE

With reference to Article 13 of the minute of meeting of the Recreation and Cultural Services Committee of 5 March 1998, there was submitted Joint Report No 262/98 by the Director of Property Services and the Director of Recreation Services advising the Committee of a proposal to declare a site at Wellington Park, Montrose, surplus to the requirements of the Council and to dispose of the site on the open market.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) that the site at Wellington Park, Montrose, measuring 0.25 ha or thereby, be declared surplus to the requirements of the Council;

(ii) that the Director of Property Services be authorised to market the property for sale on the open market; and

(iii) that, as Trustees for the Ancient Hospital Fund, the Council had no objections to the site being used for uses other than stated in the original title deeds and that the Director of Law and Administration be instructed to complete the relevant Minute of Waiver.

21. PROPOSED DISPOSAL OF LAND AT BEECHHILL HOUSE, LOUR ROAD, FORFAR

With reference to Article 6 of the minute of meeting of the Social Work Committee of 3 March 1998, there was submitted Joint Report No 242/98 by the Director of Property Services and the Director of Social Work proposing the disposal of land at Beechhill House, Lour Road, Forfar to the KirkCare Housing Association Limited, for the construction of a very sheltered housing project.

The Committee agreed, for its interest:-

(i) to approve the disposal of a site measuring 0.66 ha or thereby at Beechhill House, Lour Road, Forfar to the KirkCare Housing Association Ltd; and

(ii) that the Director of Property Services enter into negotiations with KirkCare Housing Association Ltd to agree provisional terms and conditions for the disposal and report back to Committee, in due course.