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ANGUS COUNCIL

MINUTE of MEETING of the POLICY AND RESOURCES COMMITTEE held in the Town and County Hall, Forfar on Tuesday 6 May 1997 at 4.00 p.m.

Present: Councillors IAN HUDGHTON, ROB MURRAY, HELEN ANGUS, IAN ANGUS, WILLIAM DOIG, FRANK ELLIS, JACK GIBB, ALEX KING, BRIAN MILNE, STEWART MOWATT, GEORGE NORRIE, Mrs KATHLEEN RITCHIE, ALEX SHAND, SANDY WEST and THOMAS I. N. YOUNG.

Also Present: Councillors WILLIAM CROWE and DAVID SELFRIDGE.

Councillor HUDGHTON, Convener, in the Chair.

1. MINUTE OF PREVIOUS MEETING

The minute of meeting of this Committee of 18 March 1997 was approved as a correct record and signed by the Convener.

2. MINUTES

(a) General Purposes Sub-Committee

The minute of meeting of the General Purposes Sub-Committee of 22 April 1997, a copy of which is appended hereto (APPENDIX I), was submitted and approved.

(b) Local Services Contracts Sub-Committee

The minute of meeting of the Local Services Contracts Sub-Committee of 22 April 1997, a copy of which is appended hereto (APPENDIX II), was submitted and approved.

3. ANGUS COUNCIL - THE FIRST YEAR

With reference to Article 3(b) of the minute of meeting of the Council of 27 March 1997, there was submitted Report No 360/97 by the Chief Executive setting out the main achievements of the Council in its first year in office.

The Committee noted, in particular, the work which had been carried out by the Chief Executive’s Department and the Department of Law and Administration and congratulated the staff of these departments on their efforts.

4. CONTINUATION OF THE COUNCIL’S STRATEGIC APPROACH - CUSTOMER CARE

With reference to Article 2 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 7 May 1996, there was submitted Report No 520/97 by the Chief Executive indicating that a short life working group chaired by the Director of Roads had been established to produce a draft Customer Care Model for adoption by the Council and which, it was hoped, would lead to the people in Angus receiving services and customer care of the highest possible standard. There was circulated also a draft publicity leaflet on the Council’s customer care policy.

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

(i) that the proposals put forward for Customer Care be agreed in principle as detailed in the Report in the following areas:-

written communications

reception areas and face to face contact with customers

telephone contact

consumer/market research

customer complaints

training

(ii) that the database/knowledge based Customer Care Model currently being developed by the IT Department should be adopted as the "core" information system on which individual Department’s operational needs for Customer Care could be formulated and developed in a consistent manner;

(iii) that the IT database/knowledge based Customer Care Model be introduced at the earliest opportunity into all departments in the first instance as a written communications management tool;

(iv) that, in parallel with recommendation (iii), further trials be carried out in the following Departments to further develop the IT database/knowledge based Customer Care Model into specific areas of service provision:-

(a) Roads Department - (eg CLARENCE, reporting of road/lighting defects);

(b) Education

(c) Social Work

(d) Planning, Transport and Economic Development - (eg Planning Applications);

(v) that through effective utilisation, departments would gain experience and knowledge of the IT database/knowledge based Customer Care Model in written communications and from other "live" trial developments which would assist in the development, collection and measurement of relevant performance indicators;

(vi) that, within a six month period all departments should work towards specifying levels of Customer Care which customers could reasonably expect in the delivery of services across the full range of individual department’s responsibilities;

(vii) that, in line with recommendation (vi), a further report detailing the areas of service delivery in all departments which could be successfully integrated within the Customer Care Model would be provided at a later date;

(viii) that staff be given training in Customer Care to maximise the realisation of staff potential and development within the correct culture to achieve Customer Care objectives;

(ix) that the Director of Roads be nominated as the Project Manager (Customer Care) for the development and co-ordination of the Customer Care philosophy across all departments;

(x) that the Project Manager (Customer Care) prepare a master plan of activities, timings and costings for the Council’s Customer Care implementation strategy;

(xi) that the Director of Personnel design, develop and implement a series of training modules to meet the specific needs of Customer Care in line with the phased-in approach for the IT Customer Care Model;

(xii) that the Director of IT consider the implications of further development depending on the results of the trials and report back in accordance with recommendation (vii);

(xiii) that the Director of Property Services further look into the recommendations associated with reception areas at Council buildings and within Departments; and

(xiv) that in addition to the proposed Customer Care Model approach, it should be noted that the facilities provided by FACTBANK and within Access Offices would serve as key elements underpinning the Council’s commitment to Customer Care.

5. COMPLAINTS TO THE OMBUDMAN

There was submitted Report No 519/97 by the Chief Executive setting out the procedure for the submission of complaints by the public to the Commissioner for Local Administration in Scotland (the Ombudsman) and providing information on the level of complaints made during the period 1 April 1996 to 31 March 1997 within the Angus area.

Eleven complaints had been made, ten of which had been resolved without formal investigation with the remaining case being still at the initial stage of investigation.

The Committee noted the terms of the Report and, in particular, the relatively low number of complaints which had been made in respect of services provided by Angus Council.

6. LOCAL VOLUNTEERING DEVELOPMENT AGENCY

With reference to Article 2(d) of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 4 February 1997, there was submitted Report No 504/97 by the Chief Executive indicating that the application jointly prepared by officers of Angus Council and Angus Association of Voluntary Organisations for the development of a Local Volunteering Development Agency in Angus had been approved by the Scottish Office.

As a consequence it was proposed that a Management Committee be established comprising two representatives from Angus Association of Voluntary Organisations Management Committee, two representatives from Angus Council, the Director of Angus Association of Voluntary Organisations and a Project Co-ordinator. It was proposed that Angus Council be represented by the Directors of Education and Social Work, or their representatives.

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

(i) to note the approval by the Scottish Office of the Local Volunteering Development Agency proposal; and

(ii) that the Council be represented on a Joint Management Board for the initiative by the Directors of Education and Social Work, or their representatives.

7. FINANCIAL SUPPORT TO INDIVIDUALS

There was submitted Report No 503/97 by the Chief Executive indicating that, over the past year the Council had received approaches from individuals who were undertaking charitable/ voluntary work, often abroad.

It was pointed out that the practices adopted by the former authorities had been that Tayside Regional Council had not provided any support, and Angus District Council had provided support from the appropriate Common Good Fund, if such existed, depending upon the merits of the case.

The Committee approved the terms of the Report and agreed that, given the current financial constraints and in order to provide a consistent approach which was fair to all residents of Angus, the Council should not provide financial support or sponsorship to individuals undertaking voluntary/charitable work unless the work directly related to the functions and services of the Council.

8. CONSULTATION DOCUMENT - SEX OFFENDERS: A BAN ON WORKING WITH CHILDREN

There was submitted Report No 505/97 by the Chief Executive enclosing a copy of a consultation paper, issued jointly by the Home Office and the Scottish Office entitled "Sex Offenders: A Ban on Working with Children" and comments thereon prepared by officers of the Council which had been submitted to the Home Office in order to meet a deadline of 18 April.

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

(i) to note the Home Office/Scottish Office consultation paper entitled "Sex Offenders: A Ban on Working with Children"; and

(ii) that the comments thereon submitted to the Home Office be approved as Angus Council’s response.

9. CHIEF EXECUTIVE’S DEPARTMENT - HEALTH AND SAFETY POLICY

With reference to Article 2 of the minute of meeting of the Personnel and Property Services Committee of 20 March 1996, there was submitted Report No 507/97 by the Chief Executive setting out a Health and Safety Policy for his Department which had been prepared in support of the Council’s General Statement of Health and Safety.

The Committee noted the contents of the Report and the Health and Safety Policy for the Chief Executive’s Department.

10. ANGUS HOMELESS ACTION GROUP

There was submitted Report No 528/97 by the Chief Executive indicating that Angus Homeless Action Group had approached the Council seeking financial assistance in respect of the cost of renting their premises which were located at Arbroath Business Centre, Dens Road, Arbroath.

The Housing Department were fully involved in and fully supportive of the work of the Angus Homeless Action Group and in view of the date of receipt of the application, the Convener and Vice-Convener of this Committee had agreed that a grant of £2,191 be made to the organisation in respect of the rental costs of the premises.

The Committee approved the terms of the Report and homologated the decision of the Convener and Vice-Convener in making available a grant of £2,191 to Angus Homeless Action Group.

11. FUNDING FOR ANGUS CITIZENS ADVICE BUREAU

With reference to Article 9 of the minute of meeting of the Environmental and Consumer Protection Committee of 8 April 1997, there was submitted Report No 383/97 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection indicating that Angus Citizens Advice Bureau had reached agreement with the Council to provide a standard level of service throughout Angus. For the purposes of the agreement drawn up between the parties, the Head of Consumer Protection of the Department of Environmental and Consumer Protection and the Welfare Rights Manager of the Social Work Department would act as the Council’s representatives and monitoring officers. The level of funding to support the standard of service had been agreed also.

The Committee approved the terms of the Report and agreed that Angus Council should support Angus Citizens Advice Bureau during the financial year 1997/98 with funding to the amount of £84,000 to be paid quarterly in advance commencing on 1 April 1997.

12. APPROVAL OF TAYSIDE STRUCTURE PLAN 1993 BY SECRETARY OF STATE

With reference to Article 5 of the minute of meeting of the Planning and Transport Policy Committee of 24 April 1997, there was submitted Report No 443/97 by the Director of Planning, Transport and Economic Development commenting on the terms of the Secretary of State’s approval of the Tayside Structure Plan 1993, including modifications to the Plan of particular significance to Angus.

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

13. ENVIRONMENTAL STRATEGY

There was submitted Report No 529/97 by the Director of Planning, Transport and Economic Development indicating that, at an Earth Summit held in Rio de Janiero in 1992, over 150 world leaders had endorsed an action plan for the 21st century, known as Agenda 21. Chapter 28 of Agenda 21 concerned local government and recognised the special role local authorities had to play, on the basis that two-thirds of the actions contained in Agenda 21 would require the active involvement of local authorities.

Within the Angus context, there was a need for environmental issues to be considered on a corporate co-ordinated basis and, accordingly, a Corporate Officer Group had been established with a view to preparing corporate strategies and initiatives covering environmental issues.

The Corporate Officer Group was seeking to integrate environmental awareness into all areas of policy and practice but had concentrated initially on setting the Council’s own house in order. The Group aimed to produce an initial document setting out a brief declaration of intent including such elements as a commitment to working towards a sustainable development of Agenda 21 and the development of an action plan policy towards the end of 1997.

The Committee noted the contents of the Report.

14. REPORT OF THE SCOTTISH SALMON STRATEGY TASK FORCE

With reference to Article 11 of the minute of meeting of the Planning and Transport Policy Committee of 24 April 1997, there was submitted Report No 449/97 by the Director of Planning, Transport and Economic Development summarising the contents of the recent Report by the Scottish Salmon Strategy Task Force published by the Scottish Office and highlighting areas of interest for Angus Council.

After hearing Councillor Crowe and Councillor West, the Committee, for its interest, approved the terms of the Report and agreed:-

(i) that where Area Fishery Boards were established Angus Council would wish to be represented on the relevant Boards;

(ii) to note that the current proposals would result in two Boards covering the Angus area;

(iii) that where Area Fishery Boards were established these should have statutory consultee status in relation to certain development and planning proposals, and to recommend to the Secretary of State that provision should be made for significant representation from each relevant local authority in the area of each Board;

(iv) to endorse the recommendation calling for clear planning policy guidance on fish farming and to suggest that further consideration should be given to the future role of planning authorities, in consultation with other existing agencies, in controlling the siting of fish farms prior to the Secretary of State determining the range of powers to be granted to any new independent regulatory authority which might be established at a national level;

(v) to oppose any prohibition on the sale of rod caught fish; and

(vi) to oppose any suggestion that Area Fishery Boards should have responsibility for all species of fish in fresh water.

15. SCOTTISH LOCAL GOVERNMENT INFORMATION UNIT - ANNUAL REPORT

There was submitted letter dated 15 April 1997 received from the Scottish Local Government Information Unit referring to the Unit’s 1996 Annual Report, a copy of which had been placed in the Members’ Lounge, and advising that the Council’s subscription to the SLGIU Joint Committee for 1997/98 was due for payment.

The Committee noted the terms of the Annual Report and agreed that the Council renew its subscription to the Scottish Local Government Information Unit Joint Committee at a cost of £2,109.

16. REVIEW OF COSLA’S CONSTITUTION

There was submitted letter dated 25 March 1997 received from the Chief Executive of COSLA reminding the Council that it had been agreed that the constitution of COSLA should be reviewed after a year and that it was his intention to report on the review at the Convention meeting to be held on 27 June 1997. The letter set out the views of the leaders of the political groups on the Convenetion and sought the views of the Council on COSLA’s constitution by the end of May 1997.

The Committee agreed that the Chief Executive should write to the Chief Executive of COSLA seeking clarification of (a) how voting rights of members would be affected by a proposal that the four meetings of the full Convention be replaced with a single annual meeting of the Convention membership and meetings of leaders/conveners and (b) the role of "honorary members of the Convention".

17. COMPOSITE CAPITAL PROGRAMME

(a) Capital Monitoring

With reference to Article 4(a) of the minute of meeting of the Finance and Information Technology Committee of 29 April 1997, there was submitted Report No 497/97 by the Director of Finance setting out details of actual expenditure incurred for the period from 1 April 1996 to 28 February 1997 and measuring projected capital expenditure against budgeted provision for the year.

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

(b) Non Housing Programme - Updated Position for 1997/98

With reference to Article 4(b) of the minute of meeting of the Finance and Information Technology Committee of 29 April 1997, there was submitted Report No 499/97 by the Director of Finance setting out the Scottish Office announcements regarding funding of the non-housing composite capital programme for 1997/98 and identifying the additional funding required to fully fund the 1997/98 non-housing capital programme.

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

18. THE HOUSING REVENUE ACCOUNT CAPITAL PROGRAMME AND THE SCOTTISH OFFICE ALLOCATION OF SECTION 94 CAPITAL CONSENT FOR 1997/98

With reference to Article 3(b) of the minute of meeting of the Finance and Information Technology Committee of 29 April 1997, there was submitted Report No 493/97 by the Director of Finance advising of the recent announcement by the Scottish Office regarding the allocation of Section 94 Capital Consent for 1997/98 on the Housing Revenue Account Capital Programme, indicating that, as a consequence, the total finance available would allow a similar level of expenditure as in 1996/97 and that a detailed capital programme would be prepared and submitted for approval at an early date.

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

19. REVENUE MONITORING STATEMENT

With reference to Article 6 of the minute of meeting of the Finance and Information Technology Committee of 29 April 1997, there was submitted Report No 495/97 by the Director of Finance setting out the actual revenue expenditure incurred and income received in respect of the Council’s departments for the period 1 April 1996 to 28 February 1997.

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

20. COUNCIL DEPARTMENTAL AND COMMITTEE STRUCTURES

With references to Articles 19 and 20 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 18 March 1997, there was submitted Report No 509/97 by the Chief Executive reminding members that when overall departmental management and committee structures had been determined in May 1995 it had been agreed that these structures would be reviewed in two years time, ie after sufficient operational experience had been obtained but before the provisional arrangements had become too firmly entrenched.

The Report suggested that the Council should proceed with its commitment to review the management and committee structures and outlined value for money studies to be undertaken by the Accounts Commission in a context where there was a statutory duty on Councils to make proper arrangements for securing economy, efficiency and effectiveness in their use of resources.

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

(i) to instruct the Chief Executive to bring forward to the June meeting of this Committee a Report which (a) set out the context in which Angus Council was currently operating in financial and political terms, (b) pointed up the potential financial scenario facing the Council and (c) paying appropriate regard to the work of the Accounts Commission, made proposals to develop, in the short and medium term and in a sensitive way, structures which would be compatible with the Council’s Key Themes and its systematic strategic planning approach; and

(ii) to note the value for money studies to be undertaken by the Accounts Commission.

21. LOCAL GOVERNMENT CHRONICLE - MANAGEMENT GAME

There was submitted Report No 533/97 by the Chief Executive indicating that a team of officers from Angus Council comprising Bill Strachan, Chief Executive’s Department; Ken Ritchie, Personnel Department; Jan Denniss, Law and Administration Department; Ian Lorimer, Finance Department; David Valentine, Planning, Transport and Economic Development Department and Mark Henderson, Chief Executive’s Department had taken part in the United Kingdom finals of the Local Government Chronicle Management Game 1997 and had achieved third place.

The Committee congratulated Angus Council’s team on achieving third place in the United Kingdom Final of the Local Government Chronicle Management Game 1997.

22. 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 the following matters so as to avoid the possible disclosure of information which is exempt in terms of Paragraph 1 of Schedule 7A of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 paragraphs 1, 6, 8, 9 and 10.

23. MONTROSE INNER RELIEF ROAD - FINANCIAL UPDATE

With reference to Article 18 of the minute of meeting of the Roads Committee of 24 April and Article 12 of the minute of meeting of the Finance and Information Technology Committee of 29 April 1997, there was submitted Joint Report No 458/97 by the Director of Roads and the Director of Finance summarising the financial position on the capital expenditure associated with the Montrose Inner Relief Road project.

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

24. ANNUAL REPORT AND ACCOUNTS - CONTRACT

With reference to Article 14 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 18 March 1997, there was submitted Report No 508/97 by the Chief Executive (a) indicating that tenders for the design and printing of the Annual Report and Accounts had been invited and (b) that the offer submitted by Catchline Public Relations Limited of Kirkcaldy for the publication of an eighty page Annual Report and Accounts document at a cost of £15,667 exclusive of VAT had been accepted.

The Committee approved the terms of the Report and noted that the contract for the design and printing of the Council’s Annual Report and Accounts for 1996/97 had been awarded to Catchline Public Relations Limited of Kirkcaldy.

25. COUNCIL COURIER SERVICE - TENDERS

With reference to Article 23 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 20 March 1996, there was submitted Report No 521/97 by the Director of Law and Administration indicating (a) that tenders had been invited for the provision of a courier service and Members’ delivery service and (b) that because of the expiry of the existing contract on 31 March 1997 the Convener had authorised the award of the new contract to Tayside Contracts in the sum of £74,880 for the daily courier service and £73 per delivery for Members’ delivery service.

The Committee homologated the decision taken by the Convener and the Director of Law and Administration to award the contract for the period 1997/2000 to Tayside Contracts.

26. FORFAR ALBION JUNIOR FOOTBALL CLUB, GUTHRIE PARK, FORFAR

With reference to Article 15 of the minute of meeting of the Recreation and Cultural Services Committee of 17 April 1997, there was submitted Report No 407/97 by the Director of Recreation Services regarding a proposed sale to Forfar Albion Football Club of ground at Guthrie Park, Forfar currently leased to them.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed that the Directors of Recreation and Property Services enter into detailed discussions regarding the possible sale of Guthrie Park, Forfar to Forfar Albion Junior Football Club, subject to the restrictions set out in the Report.

27. INTEGRATED COUNCIL TAX AND HOUSING BENEFITS SERVICE

With reference to Article 20 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 18 March 1997, there was submitted Joint Report No 522/97 by the Chief Executive, the Director of Finance, the Director of Housing and the Director of Personnel indicating that the administration and processing of Council Tax Benefit in the Finance Department and Housing Benefit in the Housing Department resulted in a significant element of duplication for customers having to deal with both Departments.

This duplication had been recognised and discussions between the Finance and Housing Departments had resulted in the preparation of a joint application form for Council Tax and Housing Benefits which had come into use on 1 April 1997. It was now suggested that the Council Tax Benefit and Housing Benefit administration and information technology applications be integrated under the control of the Director of Finance, but that the present rent accounting arrangements which had been well received by customers, should continue to be the responsibility of the Director of Housing.

Adoption of the proposals would result in the grade for the post of Director of Housing being amended to take this into account.

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

(i) that, in principle, an integrated Council Tax and Housing Benefit Service be created under the control of the Director of Finance;

(ii) that the present decentralised system provided in area offices be extended to encompass the re-organised service;

(iii) that the responsibility for rent accounting and cash collection within Area Offices remain with the Director of Housing; and

(iv) that the post of Director of Housing be advertised at grade CO34.

28. ACCOMMODATION WORKS - ADVANCE FACTORY SITE 4 - ARBROATH ENTERPRISE PARK

There was submitted Report No 511/97 by the Director of Property Services (a) indicating that tender documents had been issued to six contractors selected from the Standing List of Contractors in respect of the above works which comprised the construction of a new office and staff accommodation block within the existing factory unit at Site 4 and (b) recommending acceptance of the lowest offer received being that submitted by R S Hill, Douglastown, Forfar in the amount of £85,125.53.

The Committee approved the terms of the Report and:-

(i) authorised acceptance of the lowest tender subject to the conclusion of a lease of the premises;

(ii) approved the estimated total cost of £93,639 at outturn prices; and

(iii) noted that funding for the project would be met from the sinking fund for the factory.

29. MONTROSE BAY - SHORELINE MANAGEMENT STUDY - SELECTION OF CONSULTANTS

With reference to Article 5 of the minute of meeting of the Roads Committee of 6 March 1997, there was submitted Report No 531/97 by the Director of Roads (a) indicating that applications had been invited from interested parties wishing to be considered for inclusion in a select list of tenderers to carry out a shoreline management study at Montrose Bay, (b) recommending that the list of tenderers set out Appendix 3 to the Report be approved and (c) suggesting, in the light of a proposed investigation of their existing coastal defences by Glaxo Wellcome, that the study investigate the overall coastal processes between Milton Ness and Scurdie Ness and be carried out on a joint basis.

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

(i) that the companies set out in Appendix 3 to the Report be invited to tender for the shoreline management study at Montrose Bay;

(ii) to note that, due to common interest and the benefit of shared costs, Glaxo Wellcome had agreed to a joint study being carried out; and

(iii) to authorise the Director of Roads to negotiate with Glaxo Wellcome to attain the optimum savings on the envisaged cost to Angus Council by the adoption of a partnership approach to the proposed study.

30. CARNOUSTIE HOTEL DEVELOPMENT - PROGRESS REPORT

With reference to Article 23 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 4 February 1997, there was submitted Report No 532/97 by the Director of Planning, Transport and Economic Development advising the Committee of progress made on the development of a hotel at Carnoustie, indicating that heads of development agreement had been concluded and that an application for planning permission had been submitted.

After hearing Councillor Selfridge on the need to take account of the requirements of non-club golfers, the Committee approved the terms of the Report and agreed:-

(1) to note the progress which had been made;

(2) to approve the terms which had been negotiated; and

(3) to authorise the Executive Sub-Committee of the Policy and Resources Committee to conclude the various legal agreements associated with the Hotel Development.