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The minutes from the meeting of the Board held on 4 June 2019, were taken as read and signed as a correct record.
The Board was advised that no public questions had been received.
The Board was presented with the Minutes relating to the Corporate Services Portfolio which had been considered by the Executive Board since the last meeting of this Board.
EXB13 – Review of Polling Districts and Polling Places incorporating the Ward Boundary Review – Members discussed the new Ward Boundaries coming into force just 4 months prior to an election. They considered this timeframe too short for many reasons, not least informing the public of the changes to these. It was suggested that the matter be discussed with the MPs’ and a formal letter be sent from the Committee to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England.
RESOLVED: That the minutes and comments made be noted.
A report was presented to the Board by the Strategic Director, Enterprise, Community and Resources, which informed Members of the project delivery of the Local Area Forums for the financial period 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019.
Members were advised that Local Area Forums (LAF) provided a mechanism for Councillors to respond to community needs and aspirations. Community initiatives and projects were generated which were delivered collaboratively with other partner organisations to help secure funding from a variety of sources.
It was reported that in 2018/19, £250,000 was allocated to Area Forums, split on a per capita basis across all seven Forums which covered the Borough. Details of the funding for each of the LAF’s, case study information and resident feedback was provided to demonstrate the impact LAF projects had made for Halton’s communities. Projects funded through the LAFs were categorised into the following key areas:-
· Children and Youth Facilities;
· Community Events;
· Community Resource and Equipment;
· Community Initiatives;
· Improved Parks;
· Pedestrian and Highway Improvements; and
· Community Safety.
It was highlighted that the Area Forum budget had enabled the leverage of other grants and had secured funds from other bodies. Overall, an additional amount of £28,251.56 was ‘levered’ in to support Area Forum projects, providing a total spend of £250,548.36.
Members welcomed the positive report and commented that it was important they were able to encourage and participate in community activities, with the help of Area Forum funding, which was considered a very rewarding part of being a Councillor.
RESOLVED: That the report be received.
The Board considered a report of the Strategic Director, Enterprise, Community and Resources, which provided an update on activities aimed at reducing Co2 emissions in the Borough.
It was reported that the Council’s participation in the Local Authority Carbon Management Programme had resulted in the Council implementing a number of actions to reduce its carbon emissions and the impact on the environment whilst delivering financial savings. A reduction of 43.7% had been achieved from a baseline in 2006/7 to 2015/16, partly due to carbon reduction measures being implemented by the Council and the rationalisation of buildings which the Council occupied. Members noted that some of the initiatives undertaken included conversion of street lighting to LEDs; solar PV on Council buildings; the installation of Biomass boilers at Brookvale Leisure Centre and Norton Priory; construction of a solar farm on the former St Michael’s Golf Course which would provide energy via a private wire to Halton Stadium; and the replacement of the Council’s fleet of vehicles to meet the latest European engine emission standards, as well as two electric vehicles added to the fleet.
In June 2019, the Council facilitated the recent North West Hydrogen event at The Heath Business Park in Runcorn. This event, featured on local and national television, attracted a large audience from across the UK and highlighted the size and scale of the opportunities within the wider hydrogen economy. It was further noted that in May 2019, the Liverpool City Region (LCR) declared a Climate Emergency which cited three hydrogen related targets as set out in the report. A number of LCR Authorities had followed this lead, with Halton considering the adoption of a similar motion. Many of the actions of the previously adopted Carbon Management Plan had been implemented, and although expired, was considered a timely opportunity to build on the successes to date.
After presentation of the item the following queries/points were made by Members:
· With regards to the future of the Hydrogen economy, a request was made for the Board to hear a detailed presentation on this in the future;
· Working within the LCR was identified as being beneficial in addressing climate change;
· The climate crisis was discussed and the Board was supportive of the Council making a statement recognising this at its next full meeting; and
· It was suggested that a topic group be set up on climate change.
1) the report and comments made be noted; and
2) a task and finish group be set up to review further actions the Council could take to address climate change.
The Board considered a report of the Strategic Director, Enterprise, Community and Resources, which provided an analysis of Corporate Complaints received during the 2018/19 financial year.
The report outlined the two stage procedure to deal with corporate complaints; a corporate complaints trend analysis from 2012 to 2019; the nature of those complaints received; and outcomes. In addition, the report also provided a summary on complaints and queries that had been received by the Local Government Ombudsman during 2018/19. It was noted that the Ombudsman had made 40 decisions during the year and undertook 9 investigations, five of which were not upheld. Members noted that these figures provided reassurance that the Council’s internal complaints procedures were robust and effective in resolving fault where it occurred at a local level.
Arising from the report Members discussed:
· The feasibility of Ward Councillors receiving periodic information on corporate complaints being received from their areas. Members were advised that Officers would give consideration to the means of which information could be shared taking account of GDPR legislation;
· The requirement on Members to provide the personal details of constituents when contacting the Council on behalf of a constituent; and
· Issues around the level of detail sometimes provided to Members when they were making enquiries on behalf of constituents.
RESOLVED: That the report and comments made be noted.
Councillor M. Lloyd Jones declared a Disclosable Other Interest in the following item as she was a Governor at Beechwood Primary School, which was referred to in the report under EEP 07d.
The Board received a report of the Strategic Director, Enterprise, Community and Resources, which presented the Performance Monitoring Report for Quarter 1 of 2019/20.
The reports related to the following functional areas which reported to the Board and detailed progress against service objectives and milestones and performance targets, and provided information relating to key developments and emerging issues that had arisen during the period:
· Human Resources and Organisational Development;
· ICT and Administrative Support;
· Legal and Democracy;
· Policy and Performance;
· Property Services; and
· Catering, Stadium and Registration Services.
Members discussed the following:
· The success of the refurbishment of Millbrow Care Home;
· The fees and charges at the leisure centres; their usage; recruitment of staff and challenges experienced in relation to this. It was noted that the situation was now improving; and
· ICT and Administration Revenue Budget and current cost pressures.
RESOLVED: That the Quarter 1 Performance Monitoring reports be received and noted.