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Personnel and Property Services Committee

MINUTE of MEETING of the PERSONNEL AND PROPERTY SERVICES COMMITTEE held in the Town and County Hall, Forfar on Tuesday 28 August 2001 at 4.00 pm.

Present: Councillors BILL MIDDLETON, RON SCRIMGEOUR, ALISTAIR GRAY, ALEX KING, The Hon R J LESLIE MELVILLE, IAN MACKINTOSH, GLENNIS MIDDLETON, PETER MURPHY, PETER NIELD, BILL ROBERTON and DAVID SELFRIDGE.

Apologies: Apologies for absence were intimated on behalf of Councillors BRIAN MILNE and ROB MURRAY.

Councillor BILL MIDDLETON, Convener, in the Chair.

Prior to the commencement of business, the Convener, on behalf of the Committee, welcomed Councillor Ron Scrimgeour to his first meeting of the Committee in his capacity as Vice-Convener.

1. EXCLUSION OF PUBLIC AND PRESS

The Committee resolved, in terms of Standing Order 27(2) that the public and press be excluded during consideration of items 2-4 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 6, 8 and 9.

2. PILOT EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAMME ­ APPOINTMENT OF PROVIDER

With reference to Article 17 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 1 May 2001, there was submitted Report No 967/01 by the Acting Director of Personnel recommending the appointment of the Lancaster Group for the purposes of providing a pilot Employee Assistance Programme within the Council.

The Report indicated that, following press advertisement, presentation to an Officer Group of the Council and review of references, it was considered that the Lancaster Group would best meet the needs of the Council in terms of the programme provision.

The Committee agreed to award the contract to provide a pilot Employee Assistance Programme within the Council to the Lancaster Group for a nine month period covering 950 employees, at a cost of £10,000 allocated through the policy led budgeting process for this specific purpose.

Councillor Nield requested that his dissent be recorded in terms of Standing Order 15(9)(ii).

3. PROPERTY TRANSACTIONS

With reference to Article 5 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 12 June 2001, there was submitted Report No 949/01 by the Director of Property Services advising the Committee of the outcome of negotiations for various property transactions.

The Committee agreed to note the conclusion of negotiations for the items contained in Appendices 1 and 2 of the Report.

4. PROPOSED DISPOSAL OF THE AULD NICK, 126/128 HIGH STREET, CARNOUSTIE

With reference to Article 3 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 17 October 2000, there was submitted Report No 1019/01 by the Director of Property Services advising the Committee of the outcome of the marketing for sale of the Auld Nick at 126/128 High Street, Carnoustie.

The Committee agreed to the sale of these premises to the persons who had submitted the highest offer, at the price detailed in the Report.

5. MINUTES

(a) Previous Meeting

The minute of meeting of this Committee of 12 June 2001 was approved as a correct record and signed by the Convener.

(b) Appeals Sub-Committees

The minutes of the following meetings of the Appeals Sub-Committees, copies of which are appended hereto, were submitted and noted:-

  1. 14 June 2001 (APPENDIX I);
  2. 11 July 2001 (APPENDIX II);
  3. 23 August 2001 (APPENDIX III).
(c) Executive Sub-Committee

The minute of meeting of the Executive Sub-Committee of 11 July 2001, a copy of which is appended hereto, was submitted and noted (APPENDIX IV).

(d) Central Consultative Committee

The minute of meeting of the Central Consultative Sub-Committee of 21 August 2001, a copy of which is appended hereto, was submitted and noted (APPENDIX V).

Angus Council Public Holidays 2002 (para 3 refers)

Arising from consideration of this minute, the Committee agreed that the following dates be set as public holidays for non teaching staff during 2002:-

In addition, the Committee noted that the Government had declared that there would be an additional holiday on Monday 3 June 2002 to celebrate the Queen's Golden Jubilee.

6. LEAVE YEAR

There was submitted Report No 950/01 by the Acting Director of Personnel proposing that the Council's leave year for non-teaching staff be changed from October-September to January-December.

The Report indicated that the timing of the current leave year caused operational problems as employees who had not been able to take their full holiday entitlement earlier in the year required to take these days in September, or seek to carry these forward into the school holiday break in October, being the first month of the next leave year and usually a busy period for Departments.

It was hoped that the proposal would alleviate some of the present problems and also link the leave year in with public holiday arrangements which were already determined on a January-December basis.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to approve the change of the Council's leave year for non-teaching staff from October-September to January-December; and
  2. to approve the necessary transitional arrangements in that, with effect from October 2001, employees should be given a 15 month leave entitlement (1 October 2001 to 31 December 2002), enabling a calendar year leave entitlement to commence in 2003.

7. TRAVEL AND SUBSISTENCE COSTS 2000/2001

With reference to Article 22 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 30 August 2000, there was submitted Report No 951/01 by the Acting Director of Personnel advising the Committee of the level of travel and subsistence costs within the Council during the financial year 2000/2001 and comparisons with last year's costs.

The Committee agreed to note the contents of the Report.

8. OVERTIME AND ADDITIONAL HOURS COSTS 2000/2001

With reference to Article 23 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 30 August 2000, there was submitted Report No 952/01 by the Acting Director of Personnel advising the Committee of the level of overtime and additional hours costs within the Council during the financial year 2000/2001 and comparisons with last year's costs.

The Committee agreed to note the contents of the Report.

9. MONITORING EMPLOYEE TURNOVER 2000/2001

With reference to Article 4 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 3 February 1998, there was submitted Report No 953/01 by the Acting Director of Personnel advising the Committee of the levels of employee turnover within the Council during the financial year 2000/2001.

The Committee agreed to note the contents of the Report.

10. SICKNESS ABSENCE

With reference to Article 8 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 17 October 2000, there was submitted Report No 954/01 by the Acting Director of Personnel advising the Committee of the level of sickness absence within the Council during the period 1 January to 31 March 2001.

The Report summarised information which was submitted by Departments on a quarterly basis and analysed absence data. This showed a slight overall increase in the percentage of working days lost compared with the same period last year.

The Committee agreed to note the contents of the Report.

11. ESTABLISHMENT CHANGES 2000/2001

With reference to Article 24 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 30 August 2000, there was submitted Report No 955/01 by the Acting Director of Personnel summarising the changes to Departments' establishments during the financial year 2000/2001 and detailing personal regrading applications which had been refused by the Committee, relating to JNC posts and posts on APT&C grades.

The Committee agreed to note the contents of the Report.

12. EMPLOYEE DISABILITY UNIT

With reference to Article 12 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 11 June 1996, there was submitted Report No 956/01 by the Acting Director of Personnel, together with a Report by the Manager of the Employment Disability Unit highlighting the activities, performance and outcomes of the Unit for the financial year April 2000 to March 2001.

The Report highlighted the high profile that the Unit now had both nationally and internationally, especially following the 5th European Union of Supported Employment Conference which had been held in Edinburgh earlier this year and had been attended by delegates from thirty five countries.

In this connection, the Committee heard Gary Smith, Assistant Manager of the Unit, who indicated that the Unit was well ahead of its targets originally set.

The Convener, on behalf of the Committee, thanked Mr Smith for his attendance and expressed best wishes to the Unit, especially with fund raising efforts.

Thereafter, the Committee agreed to note the contents of the Report.

13. REPORTING OF PROPOSALS TO CHANGE DEPARTMENTS' ESTABLISHMENTS

There was submitted Report No 1017/01 by the Acting Director of Personnel outlining a suggested change to the way in which proposals to alter Departments' establishments were reported to this Committee.

The Report indicated that instead of receiving Reports which were submitted to service Committees, this Committee should receive one Report from the Acting Director of Personnel summarising all establishment changes contained within the Reports submitted to the service Committees during the particular Committee cycle. This would streamline and improve the efficiency of the reporting system and reduce expenditure on making further copies of Reports after they had been approved by the service Committee.

The Committee agreed to authorise the Director of Personnel to submit a Report, as required, to each meeting of this Committee summarising changes to Departments' establishments, as noted by service Committees during that particular Committee cycle.

14. "A TEACHING PROFESSION FOR THE 21ST CENTURY" ­ APPOINTMENT OF ADDITIONAL SUPPORT STAFF

With reference to Article 9 of the minute of meeting of the Education Committee of 21 August 2001, there was submitted Joint Report No 914/01 by the Director of Education and the Acting Director of Personnel highlighting the additional funding now available to provide greater non-teacher staffing support to schools and proposing specific ways in which this funding should be allocated.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed:-

  1. to the establishment of additional Property and ICT support in the Education Department, subject to the approval of a separate Report to be submitted in due course;
  2. to the establishment of one additional Accounting Technician/Accountant post within the Financial Support Section of the Education Department; and
  3. to the establishment of the undernoted additional posts in schools:-
    · part-time Technician Support (equivalent to 9 hours per week) to each of 8 secondary schools
    · additional clerical support (equivalent to 36.25 hours per week) to each of 8 secondary schools
    · additional Primary School/Clerical Assistant Support of 10 hours per week to each primary school with a pupil roll of less than 29 pupils
    · additional Primary School/Clerical Assistant support of 5 hours per week to primary schools with rolls of between 30 and 49 pupils
    · additional clerical support for primary schools with rolls of more than 50 pupils
    · additional Primary School Assistant support of 21/2 hours per week for primary schools with rolls of 300 pupils or more.

15. PUBLIC BUILDING CLEANING ­ CLIENT MONITORING 2000/2001

With reference to Article 2 of the minute of meeting of the Contract Services Committee of 14 August 2001, there was submitted Report No 861/01 by the Director of Property Services outlining the monitoring of notified complaints in respect of the Public Building Cleaning contract carried out by Contract Services.

The Report concluded that, on the basis of the complaints recorded, it was clear that Contract Services continued to provide a very satisfactory standard of service in accordance with the terms of the contract.

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

16. LADYLOAN PRIMARY SCHOOL, ARBROATH

With reference to Article 10 of the minute of meeting of the Education Committee of 21 August 2001, there was submitted Joint Report No 915/01 by the Director of Education and the Director of Property Services outlining a proposal to use ring-fenced monies provided by the Scottish Executive for pre-school provision at Ladyloan Primary School.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed to approve the recommendations detailed in the Report.

17. ST JAMES HOUSE, FORFAR ­ ROOF REPAIR

There was submitted Report No 957/01 by the Director of Property Services seeking homologation of an urgent property renewal commissioned, under delegated authority, in respect of the office accommodation at St James House, Forfar financed from supplementary funding from the Property Renewal and Repair Fund, at an estimated cost of £16,500.

The Report indicated that, over the past few years, problems had developed with the roofs at St James House and during recent heavy rainfalls, patch repairs which had been undertaken had proved to be inadequate and that the roof coverings needed urgent replacement.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed to homologate the action of the Convener, in consultation with appropriate officers, in authorising the provision of £16,500 from the Property Renewal and Repair Fund in financial year 2001/02 for the execution of an urgent property renewal at St James House, Forfar.

18. WESTERN CEMETERY, ARBROATH ­ HEADSTONE STABILISATION

There was submitted Joint Report No 958/01 by the Director of Property Services and the Director of Recreation Services seeking approval to the provision of supplementary funding from the Property Renewal and Repair Fund to undertake the first phase of urgent safety repairs to various headstones at the Western Cemetery, Arbroath, at an estimated cost of £11,000.

The Report indicated that the condition of headstones in cemeteries managed by the Council was of increasing concern and a risk assessment and survey of all headstones in the Western Cemetery had been undertaken to establish the extent of the necessary safety works.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed:-

  1. to note the requirement for the first phase of urgent safety repairs to various headstones at the Western Cemetery, Arbroath;
  2. to approve a bid for supplementary funding in the sum of £11,000 from the Property Renewal and Repair Fund;
  3. to instruct the Director of Recreation Services to undertake Phase 1 of these urgent repairs immediately; and
  4. to instruct the Director of Property Services to submit further Reports detailing the later phases of this programme.

19. BRECHIN HIGH SCHOOL ­ REMEDIAL REPAIRS TO RETAINING WALLS

There was submitted Report No 959/01 by the Director of Property Services seeking approval to the provision of supplementary funding from the Property Renewal and Repair Fund to cover the cost of urgent repairs to the retaining wall at Brechin High School, at an estimated cost of £40,000.

The Report indicated that, during the course of a recent annual inspection of the school, it was apparent that one of the retaining walls had cracked and, following a structural inspection, it had been recommended that a number of urgent remedial safety works be undertaken.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed:-

  1. to note the requirement for urgent repairs to the retaining wall at Brechin High School;
  2. to approve a bid for supplementary funding in the sum of £40,000 from the Property and Renewal and Repair Fund; and
  3. to instruct the Director of Property Services to undertake these urgent repairs immediately.

20. CROMBIE AND MONIKIE COUNTRY PARKS ­ ADDITIONAL SAFETY WORKS

There was submitted Joint Report No 960/01 by the Director of Property Services and the Director of Recreation Services seeking approval to the provision of supplementary funding from the Property Renewal and Repair Fund to undertake additional safety and infrastructure works at Crombie and Monikie Country Parks, at an estimated cost of £17,300.

The Report indicated that health and safety works recently carried out had identified additional works needed to improve the safety and security of both parks, comprising the erection of additional fencing and upgrading of the car park.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed:-

  1. to note the requirement for urgent works at Crombie and Monikie Country Parks;
  2. to approve a bid for supplementary funding in the sum of £17,300 from the Property Renewal and Repair Fund; and
  3. to instruct the Director of Recreation Services to undertake these urgent repairs immediately.

21. CULTURAL SERVICES PROPERTIES ­ ELECTRICAL WIRING OF DISPLAY CASES

There was submitted Joint Report No 961/01 by the Director of Property Services and the Acting Director of Cultural Services seeking approval to the provision of supplementary funding from the Property Renewal and Repair Fund to undertake the first phase of urgent safety repairs to electrical wiring of display cases, at an estimated cost of £11,000.

The Report indicated that, during the course of portable appliance testing, electrical safety problems had been identified with the display cases currently used by the Cultural Services Department within their museums and urgent repairs were necessary on the basis of a phased and prioritised programme.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed:-

  1. to note the requirement for urgent repairs to the electrical wiring of display cases at various locations;
  2. to approve a bid for supplementary funding in the sum of £11,000 from the Property Renewal and Repair Fund; and
  3. to instruct the Director of Property Services to undertake Phase 1 of these urgent repairs immediately and to submit further Reports detailing the later phases of this programme.

22. MONIFIETH ACCESS OFFICE ­ RENEWAL OF HEATING SYSTEM

There was submitted Report No 962/01 by the Director of Property Services seeking approval to the provision of supplementary funding from the Property Renewal and Repair Fund to undertake the renewal of the heating system at Monifieth ACCESS Office, at an estimated cost of £6,600.

The Report indicated that operating experience had shown that the provision of improved facilities for the disabled and the large automatic opening front door had created difficulties in maintaining satisfactory internal temperatures during the winter period. As a consequence, it had been determined that it would be necessary to install a new low temperature hot water heating system to achieve satisfactory conditions for staff and the public.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed:-

  1. to note the requirement for renewal of the heating system on the Monifieth ACCESS Office;
  2. to approve a bid for supplementary funding in the sum of £6,600 from the Property Renewal and Repair Fund; and
  3. to instruct the Director of Property Services to undertake the urgent renewal immediately.

23. REPLACEMENT OF CATERING EQUIPMENT IN SCHOOLS

There was submitted Report No 963/01 by the Director of Property Services seeking approval to the provision of supplementary funding from the Property Renewal and Repair Fund to undertake the replacement of catering equipment in schools, at an estimated cost of £44,000.

The Report indicated that, while catering equipment was designed to last for lengthy periods, each item would eventually reach the point where, despite regular inspection and maintenance, it required to be replaced either because it had become faulty, or unsafe, or replacement parts were no longer available. During 2001/2002, the scale of replacement was such that it could not be contained within the appropriate budgets and supplementary funding was required.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed:-

  1. to note the requirement for the replacement of catering equipment in schools;
  2. to approve a bid for supplementary funding in the sum of £44,000 from the Property Renewal and Repair Fund; and
  3. to instruct the Director of Property Services to undertake these urgent replacements immediately.

24. PLAYGROUND EQUIPMENT AND SAFETY SURFACING PROGRAMME

With reference to Article 6 of the minute of meeting of the Recreation and Cultural Services Committee of 16 August 2001, there was submitted Joint Report No 885/01 by the Director of Recreation Services and the Director of Property Services updating the Committee on progress in implementing the Risk Assessment Reduction Programme and recommending sites for action within 2001/2002 to further reduce levels of risk in Council owned play areas.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed to approve the recommendations as detailed in the Report.

25. PROGRESS REPORT ON CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS 2001/2002

With reference to Article 14 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 17 October 2000, there was submitted Report No 964/01 by the Director of Property Services reviewing progress on projects up to the end of June 2001, for which funding provision had been made within the 2001/2002 Capital Programme. A full copy of the Report had been placed in the Members' Lounge.

The Committee agreed to note the contents of the Report.

26. END OF YEAR REPORTS 2000/2001

(a) Property Maintenance

With reference to Article 26(b) of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 30 August 2000, there was submitted and noted Report No 965/01 by the Director of Property Services presenting the 2000/2001 end of year status of expenditure on the maintenance of non-housing properties.

(b) Energy Budget

With reference to Article 26(a) of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 30 August 2000, there was submitted and noted Report No 966/01 by the Director of Property Services presenting the 2000/2001 end of year status of expenditure on the individual Council heating fuel and electricity budgets for non-Housing properties.

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