Agenda and draft minutes

Corporate Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday, 21st June, 2022 10.00 am

Venue: Hybrid - Neuadd Cyngor Ceredigion, Penmorfa, Aberaeron / remotely via video conferrence

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

Councillor Endaf Edwards, Paul Hinge together with Councillor Gareth Davies (Cabinet Member) apologised for their inability to attend the meeting.

 

2.

Disclosures of personal interest (including whipping declarations) Members are reminded of their personal responsibility to declare any personal and prejudicial interest in respect of matters contained in this agenda in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Act 2000, the Council's Constitution and the Members Code of Conduct. In addition, Members must declare any prohibited party whip which the Member has been given in relation to the meeting as per the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011.

Minutes:

Councillor Elaine Evans and Eryl Evans declared a personal and prejudicial interest in item 4, prior to the vote being taken on this item.

 

3.

Draft Hybrid Working Strategy and Interim Hybrid Working Policy pdf icon PDF 278 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council, Councillor Bryan Davies presented the report upon the Draft Hybrid Working Strategy and Interim Hybrid Working Policy. It was reported that the Covid-19 pandemic saw the abrupt enforcement of a national lockdown that included the requirement to remain at home and work from home wherever possible. These measures necessitated that the majority of the office staff work within the Council in a significantly different way. Staff responded quickly and positively to this change. In the main, the positive response was as a result of steps already taken towards a more agile and smarter way of working, including the investment in digital equipment and software, and the enhancement of the existing flexible working arrangements already in place.

 

It was reported that having responded well to the initial challenges posed by the pandemic, focus shifted to how the Council could learn and build from the experience. The ’Way We Work’ project was established to review the remote working practices adopted during the pandemic. The project aimed to explore the appetite for long-term change within the workforce whilst ensuring that service delivery remained the primary focus. The project allowed the opportunity to explore the extent of a shift in the wider strategic vision of where, when and how the organisation undertook work.

 

As part of the project, a significant staff engagement exercise was undertaken to gather feedback, experiences, ideas and future workplace requirements in order to support strategic decision-making. An estimated 74% of the working from home workforce participated in at least one of these engagement activities. Themes emerging from the staff engagement exercise and national research, trends and highlights had informed the development hybrid working strategy.  

 

The staff engagement exercise indicated that there were many benefits from home-working but also recognised that there were challenges for some staff. The benefits reported included virtual meetings, increased productivity, improved collaboration, elimination of office distractions and interruptions. The identified challenges included poor broadband connectivity, training and inducting new staff, a lack of separation between work and home living in the office”, feelings of isolation due to less social encounters, and inadequate workspace in their home.

 

Using research findings and staff engagement evidence the Hybrid Working Strategy was developed setting out the principles and implementation process of a hybrid working model that maintains the required high level of service delivery whilst also providing employees with greater flexibility in balancing their work and home lives. The needs of the service would always be the over-riding priority when considering any hybrid working possibilities. It was recognised that this level of flexibility, due to the nature of some roles or other constraints, would not be achievable for all staff but that there would remain a commitment to explore how a level of flexibility can be built into roles across the organisation. During the initial stages of implementation, Customer Contact services would remain online and over the phone. The reception desks at Canolfan Rheidol and Penmorfa would also remain closed initially whilst other face-to-face services  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

Corporate Bonds and Sureties Policy pdf icon PDF 197 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was proposed that the Council introduced a corporate bonds policy in order for officers to have a clear, fair and consistent approach to approving and entering into bonds with third parties. The report had been presented to ensure that bonds could be easily accessed and utilised if necessary and that bonds secured with third parties were only entered into with third parties with high credit ratings to protect the Council’s position.

 

It was AGREED:-

(i) a bond received in cash was the Council’s preference:

(ii)a bond which was secured by a third party requires the third party to have a credit rating Moody’s of A3 or a credit rating with Standard & Poor’s or Fitch of A-.

(iii) to recommend to Cabinet to approve the Bonds and Sureties

 

5.

To confirm minutes of the previous meeting and to consider any matters arising from those Minutes. pdf icon PDF 206 KB

Minutes:

It was AGREED to confirm the minutes of the previous meeting.

 

6.

Forward Work Programme pdf icon PDF 263 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Forward Work Plan was agreed as presented subject to the following items to be considered at future meetings

  • Community Housing Proposal- to proceed with its implementation and to consider Council land available to provide housing
  • Council Tax Second Homes   Premium – To receive an update on the Council decisions, 03 March 2022:

“4.a) The level of Council Tax Second Homes Premium charged to be  set at 25% (with effect from 1 April 2017);  and,

b) that all monies raised from the 25% Council Tax Second Homes Premium  (net of the Council Tax refunds),  be ring -fenced and used  to support  the Community Housing Scheme.”

b)  That all monies raised from the 25% Council Tax Second Homes Premium between the period 01/04/2017 to 31/03/2022 (net of Council Tax refunds), to be ring-fenced and used to support the Community Housing Scheme.

c)  That all monies raised from the 25% Council Tax Second Homes Premium from 01/04/2022 (net of the Council Tax refunds), to be ring-fenced and used to support the Community Housing Scheme.

d)    That from 01/04/2022, all monies raised from the 25% Council Tax Empty Homes Premium (net of the Council Tax refunds), be ring-fenced and used to support the Community Housing Scheme

e)    That Council decision 16/03/2017 minute 8.b) Council Tax Premiums on Second Homes, be revoked

  • County Farms
  • An update on the use of empty properties within the Authority
  • A report upon the recruitment policy/process of the Authority in appointing and making the Council an “employer of choice”
  • The efficiency of ICT and software within the Authority