IRVINE, 20 October 2010 - At a Meeting of North Ayrshire Council at 2.00 p.m.
Pat McPhee, Ian Clarkson, Robert Barr, Tom Barr, John Bell, Matthew Brown, Andrew Chamberlain, Margie Currie, Anthea Dickson, John Ferguson, Alex Gallagher, William Gibson, Tony Gurney, Jean Highgate, Alan Hill, John Hunter, Ruby Kirkwood, Margaret McDougall, Elizabeth McLardy, Peter McNamara, Ronnie McNicol, Elisabethe Marshall, John Moffat, David Munn, Alan Munro, David O'Neill, Ryan Oldfather, Robert Rae, John Reid and Joan Sturgeon.
E. Murray, Chief Executive; I. Colvin, Corporate Director (Social Services & Health); A. Herbert, Corporate Director (Finance & Infrastructure); I. T. Mackay, Solicitor to the Council (Corporate Services); M. Armstrong, Head of Service (Logistics and Infrastructure (Education & Skills); J. Montgomery, General Manager (Policy and Service Reform); M. McKeown, Committee Services Manager, L. McEwan, Communications Manager and K. Dyson, Communications Officer (Chief Executive's Service).
Also In Attendance
Chief Superintendent John Thomson and Chief Inspector Jeanette Dillon, Strathclyde Police.
Provost McPhee in the Chair.
1. Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations by Elected Members in terms of Standing Order 16.
The Minutes of the previous meeting of the Council held on 8 September 2010 were signed in accordance with Paragraph 7 (1) of Schedule 7 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973.
3. Presentation: Changes in Policing
The Council received a presentation by Chief Superintendent John Thomson and Chief Inspector Jeanette Dillon of Strathclyde Police on the introduction of a new approach to frontline policing delivery arising from a review commissioned by the Chief Constable to see if there was anything that could be done to further re-organise the Service to deliver a better service to local communities in the face of tightening resources.
The review highlighted an opportunity to strengthen the focus on Community Policing, while at the same time making sure that resources were better allocated to meet demand. The new Integrated Service Delivery Model (ISDM), will be introduced across Ayrshire from 25 October 2010, and will represent one of the biggest changes to the way communities are policed since the formation of the Force nearly 40 years ago.
It is expected that the impact will be significant. The new approach is about putting the right officers in the right place at the right time. It is about equipping these officers with appropriate training, vehicles and equipment and deploying them intelligently into the area where they are needed most to deliver high quality policing to communities. The ISDM will maximise the ability of the Police to respond to emergencies wherever and whenever they occur, while also enhancing capacity to deliver consistent, accessible and visible community-based policing services. Response Teams will continue to operate across the Division focusing on attendance at emergency and other high priority calls, with Community Policing Teams deployed locally in multi-member wards, primarily on high visibility foot and bicycle patrols.
The allocation of resources between community policing and rapid Response Teams will be approximately 60:40, with greater coordination across each area. There will be three main operational bases located in Ayrshire at Irvine, Kilmarnock and Ayr, supported by satellite facilities operating from Kilbirnie, Saltcoats, Girvan and Cumnock.
Members asked questions and received clarification in respect of the expected impact of the new arrangements in North Ayrshire. The importance of community police officers engaging with local communities, including local Elected Members, and the continuity of staffing, were highlighted and discussed. Members sought assurances that there would be no deterioration in response times as a result of the changes.
4. Change Programme: Appointment of Strategic Partner
Submitted report by the Chief Executive on the outcome of the tendering and evaluation processes for the provision of the consultancy services of a Strategic Partner to support the Council's Change Programme and seeking approval to award a contract.
During the 2010/11 budget setting process, Members were alerted to the substantial financial pressures the Council faces over the next three years and beyond. Services are having to meet a rise in demand for services with fewer resources with which to meet the demand. The Change Programme will be required to secure savings of circa £64m over the next three years. This will only be achieved by making radical changes to the way in which Council services are delivered.
To assist with the overall Change Programme, the Chief Executive obtained permission from the Executive on 1 June 2010, to tender for a Strategic Partner. The Strategic Partner will help to build the Council of the future, assisting with the Council's capacity and capability for change. The benefits of working with a Strategic Partner include:
developing the skill set required to manage through a period of retrenchment;
helping gain momentum for the Change Programme to ensure the targeted savings are achieved and assist in changing the mind set and culture;
providing a skills and knowledge transfer to allow the Council to be self-sufficient in continuing with change after the necessary savings have been achieved;
applying a level of challenge to the senior manager and officers about current thinking;
using the wealth of experience and best practice from other Councils to avoid similar mistakes being repeated here;
having more detailed, specialist, technical knowledge in some areas to complement the general expertise Council officers have;
ensuring an independent view to allow difficult decisions to be taken based on impartial advice.
On 12 October 2010, the Executive considered a report which outlined the outcome of the tendering and evaluation processes undertaken. The report recommended that iMPOWER be appointed as the Strategic Partner. Given the importance of the Strategic Partner to delivering the Council's Change Programme, the Executive agreed that a report be remitted to the Council with a recommendation that it accept the tender submitted by iMPOWER to become the Council's Strategic Partner for Phase 1 of the Change Programme lasting 12 months, with an option of extending the contract for a further two years.
Members asked questions and received clarification in relation to a number of areas, including the role of the Change Sounding Board in the evaluation process and the degree of consultations with other Elected Members; the level of financial information on the bids received included in the report; and the business case for engaging a Strategic Partner, rather than the Council taking forward the change programme solely in-house. The Chief Executive responded to the issues raised.
Following discussion, Councillor Hunter requested that the matter be continued to a future meeting to allow the Chief Executive to come forward with a detailed business case for engaging a Strategic Partner. The Solicitor to the Council advised that the decision to engage a Strategic Partner had already been taken by the Executive on 1 June 2010. As the Executive took the decision to engage a Strategic Partner within the last 6 months any move to reconsider that decision would require suspension of Standing Order 20.
Councillor Hunter, seconded by Councillor McNicol, moved in terms of Standing Order 19, that the Council suspend Standing Order 20, to allow the decision taken by the Executive to engage a Strategic Partner to be revisited and a business case brought forward. As an amendment Councillor O'Neill, seconded by Councillor Reid moved that the Council did not suspend Standing Orders.
On a division there voted for the amendment 18, and for the motion 6, and accordingly the amendment was declared carried.
At this stage Provost McPhee proposed that the Council adjourn consideration of this item of business until all other business had been concluded. The Council agreed.
Following the adjournment, the Council resolved in terms of Section 50(A)4 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, to exclude from the meeting the press and the public on the grounds indicated in terms of Paragraph 8 of Part 1 of Schedule 7A of the Act.
The Chief Executive provided details of the offers submitted by iMPOWER and PWC, including information on daily rates. This information was not disclosed in the report due to commercial confidentiality. It was noted that iMPOWER's offer was considerably less than that submitted by PWC. Members asked questions in relation to the differences between the two offers.
Councillor Gurney, seconded by Councillor R. Barr, moved that the Council reject the report. As an amendment, Councillor O'Neill, seconded by Councillor Reid, moved that the Council accept the report and its recommendations.
On a division, there voted for the amendment 17, and for the motion 7, and the amendment was declared carried.
Accordingly, the Council agreed, with Councillors Gurney, McNicol, R. Barr and Hunter dissenting, to accept the Executive's recommendation that it accept the tender submitted by iMPOWER to become the Council's Strategic Partner for Phase 1 of the Change Programme lasting 12 months, with an option of extending the contract for a further two years, on the terms and conditions reported.
5. Leader's Report
The Leader of the Council reported on the following items:-
On Monday 18 October, the first of the “Straight Talking” sessions was held at Ardrossan Civic Centre where the Leader, the Chief Executive, and the Corporate Director (Finance and Infrastucture) met initially with members of the Council's workforce, and then with representatives from a wide range of organisations, to outline the financial challenges facing the Council over the next three years and beyond. Similar sessions were held in Brodick, Isle of Arran, on Tuesday 19 October and will be followed up with sessions in Irvine, Kilbirnie and Largs. While the input from these sessions has still to be analysed, the initial response from the first two sessions would suggest that the they have been well received.
Customer Service Excellence (CSE) is the UK Government standard for customer services and is made up of five criteria. The Council's Benefits Service was independently assessed against each of the 5 criteria on 28 June 2010 by SGS UK Ltd working on behalf of the Cabinet Office and was successfully awarded Customer Service Excellence accreditation in July 2010. Over the next three years the Benefits Service will once again be assessed against each of the criteria to maintain the accreditation. CSE puts the customer at the heart of everything that the Benefits Service delivers and ensures that all stakeholders that come into contact with the Benefits Service receive a quality standard of service from its dedicated and professional staff working on behalf of the Council.
The Benefits Investigation Team entered the IRRV UK Performance Awards for 2010 under the category “excellence in anti-fraud.” The IRRV visited the Council in July and the investigation Team was short-listed for the UK award along with English authorities. The Team, along with Councillor Reid, attended the IRRV conference and award ceremony held in Harrogate on 30 September 2010. The Team had a display stand at the conference which was open to all conference delegates from across the UK. Sutton London Borough Council won the award. This is the second time in four years that the Team has been short-listed for the IRRV UK award.
The Investigation Team was also automatically entered into the IRRV Scottish Performance Awards for 2010. The Team attended the Scottish Conference held in Crieff on the 1 September 2010 and displayed their work to all Scottish conference delegates. The Benefits Investigation Team won the top prize for the best entrant in the open category event.
The Team has also submitted an entry for the 2011 COSLA excellence awards under category 1 – service innovation. A long leet of ten submissions for this category will be announced in November 2010. If successful a further short leet will be announced in January 2011. The short leet organisations will be invited to Edinburgh to present their entry in February 2011. Winners will be announced at the Awards Ceremony in St. Andrews on 10 March 2011.
6. Committee Minutes
Submitted reports of Committees, being the Minutes of the Meetings held on the following dates:-
Garnock Valley and West Kilbride Area Committee: 1 September 2010
Moved by Councillor R. Barr, seconded by Councillor McLardy (pages 1-4).
Planning Committee: 7 September 2010
Moved by Councillor Currie, seconded by Councillor R. Barr (pages 5-9).
Local Review Body: 7 September 2010
Moved by Councillor Currie, seconded by Councillor R. Barr (pages 10-12).
Ardrossan and Arran, Saltcoats and Stevenston Area Committee: 8 September 2010
Moved by Councillor Gurney, seconded by Councillor Currie (pages 13-14).
Licensing Committee: 14 September 2010
Moved by Councillor R. Barr, seconded by Councillor Gibson (pages 15-19).
Education Executive: 21 September 2010
Moved by Councillor Bell, seconded by Councillor Reid (pages 20-28).
The Executive of North Ayrshire Council: 21 September 2010
Moved by Councillor Reid, seconded by Councillor McDougall (pages 29-41).
Irvine Area Committee: 22 September 2010
Moved by Councillor Moffat, seconded by Councillor T. Barr (pages 42-44).
Scrutiny Committee: 27 September 2010
Moved by Councillor Hunter, seconded by Councillor Dickson (pages 45-51).
Planning Committee: 28 September 2010
Moved by Councillor McLardy, seconded by Councillor Currie (pages 52-59).
Local Review Body: 28 September 2010
Moved by Councillor McLardy, seconded by Councillor Currie (pages 60-66).
Scrutiny Committee (Special): 4 October 2010
Moved by Councillor Hunter, seconded by Councillor Dickson (pages 67-68).
Licensing Committee: 5 October 2010
Moved by Councillor R. Barr, seconded by Councillor Gibson (pages 69-73).
Kilwinning Area Committee: 6 October 2010
Moved by Councillor Ferguson, seconded by Councillor Chamberlain (pages 74-77).
Planning Committee (Special): 7 October 2010
Moved by Councillor McLardy, seconded by Councillor Currie (pages 78-79).
North Coast Area Committee: 7 October 2010
Moved by Councillor Gallagher, seconded by Councillor Marshall (pages 80-84).
Scrutiny Committee: 11 October 2010
Moved by Councillor Hunter, seconded by Councillor Dickson (pages 85-91).
The Executive of North Ayrshire Council: 12 October 2010
Moved by Councillor O'Neill, seconded by Councillor Reid (pages 92-105).
7. Magnum Leisure Centre, Irvine: Replacement
Submitted report by the Chief Executive on progress with the project to replace the Magnum Leisure Centre, Irvine, and to seek agreement on the way forward.
On 22 April 2008, the Executive agreed to establish an Elected Member Working Group to examine options for the future of the Magnum Leisure Centre in Irvine. At its special meeting held on 12 February 2009, the Executive considered a report by the then Corporate Director (Educational Services) on the initial conclusions of the Review Group and agreed (a) to approve in principle the way forward set out in the report; (b) that a funding regime be established as part of the current budget [2009/10] decision-making process; (c) that a Member/Officer Steering Group be established to take the overall project forward in detail, to include a representative of NALL; (d) that a Project Manager be designated to lead the project; and (e) that progress reports be submitted to the Executive on a regular basis. Subsequently on the same day, the Council approved the minutes of the special meeting of the Executive and allocated funding to allow the project to proceed.
Following the special meetings held on 12 February, a Steering Group consisting of Councillors Reid (Chair), Brown, Chamberlain, Gibson, McPhee and O'Neill was formed to take the project forward. To date, the Steering Group has met on 8 occasions to progress the two aspects of the project, namely (i) the refurbishment of the ice rink and associated works at Auchenharvie Leisure Centre, Stevenston, and (ii) to examine options for the replacement of the Magnum.
At its meeting on 1 June 2010, the Executive approved the acceptance of a tender submitted by Central Building Contractors of Glasgow in the sum of £3,140,395.47 for the works to upgrade Auchenharvie Ice Rink. The refurbishment of the ice rink at Auchenharvie Leisure Centre is progressing well and is on track for completion by April 2011, with the new facility due to open in May 2011.
In relation to replacement of the Magnum Leisure Centre, the Steering Group has considered various options for the siting of a new Leisure Centre in Irvine, and also potential delivery models.
At its meeting held in June 2010, the Steering Group received a presentation by the Chief Executive of Irvine Bay Urban Regeneration Company (URC) on preliminary work undertaken by the company at the Steering Group's request, on possible options for the siting of the new Leisure Centre. The sites considered by the company were detailed in the report.
The Steering Group discussed the pros and cons of each of the potential locations and indicated a preference for further investigating the sites at East Road and the Townhouse. The Steering Group agreed that the URC investigate these sites in more detail and report to a future meeting. Irvine Bay URC made a further presentation on these options at the meeting of the Steering Group in August when it was agreed that the URC should conduct a Cost Benefit Analysis on the options and report to the next meeting.
At its October meeting, the Steering Group received a presentation from Irvine Bay URC on the conclusions of a Cost Benefit Analysis undertaken by Ekos Limited. Given the potential regeneration and economic benefits it could bring, Ekos recommended that the option of developing a new Leisure Centre on the site of the Townhouse, Irvine, should be taken forward for further detailed appraisal and analysis. Following discussion on the further appraisal and analysis required, the Steering Group agreed to recommend to the Council that both the Townhouse and East Road sites be subject to further detailed investigation and analysis, with the Townhouse site as the preferred way forward. The option of developing on the East Road site will be left on the table until the results of the detailed appraisal and analysis of both sites is concluded.
At the August and October meetings, the Steering Group also considered reports by the Solicitor to the Council on possible delivery/procurement models for the new Leisure Centre. The options considered included (i) a Design and Build Model, where the Council simply procures a contractor to design and build the new Leisure Centre; and (ii) a Design, Build, Fund and Operate (DBFO) model, where the Council seeks to secure a consortium to undertake the whole project, as a stand alone project or otherwise. Whilst not ruling anything in or out at this stage, the Steering Group requested that the DBFO model be investigated further and a report brought back to its next meeting in December 2010.
Members discussed the proposals and the need for Elected Members to be kept up to date with developments.
Councillor R.Barr, seconded by Councillor Gurney, moved that in the current economic climate and in light of the financial challenges facing the Council, that the project should be delayed to later years.
As an amendment Councillor O'Neill, seconded by Councillor Reid, moved that the Council accept the recommendation contained in the report.
On a division there voted for the amendment 18, and for the motion 6, and the amendment was declared carried.
Accordingly, the Council agreed (a) to accept the recommendation from the Magnum Steering Group that both the Townhouse and East Road sites be subject to further detailed investigation and analysis, and note that the Townhouse is the preferred way forward; and (b) that Elected Members be kept up to date with the progress of the replacement project.
8. Eglinton Tournament Trophy
Submitted report by the Solicitor to the Council on a request from East Ayrshire Council to take on loan the Eglinton Tournament Trophy to form part of an exhibition in Kilmarnock from 30 April to 27 August, 2011, celebrating the Eglinton Tournament.
The Eglinton Tournament Trophy is the property of the Earl of Eglinton who, for many years has agreed that the Trophy be held by North Ayrshire Council (and its predecessor Cunninghame District Council) and displayed in the Council's offices. The Trophy depicts the Eglinton Tournament held in 1839. The Council is currently responsible for the security and insurance of the Trophy.
A request has been received from East Ayrshire Council to take the Trophy on loan. East Ayrshire Council propose to mount an exhibition to celebrate their purchase of the Eglinton Water Colours and Shields and it is intended that the Trophy will form a centre piece to the exhibition to be held jointly in the Dick Institute and Dean Castle in Kilmarnock. East Ayrshire Council has consulted Lord Eglinton whose support for the exhibition has been given along with consent to move the Trophy to Kilmarnock.
It was proposed that the Council agree to the request from East Ayrshire Council subject to agreement being reached regarding the transportation and security of the Trophy and cabinet. Early indications are that it will take a specialist removal company to safely remove and transport the Trophy.
The Trophy is covered by a security system within Cunninghame House and is specifically insured to a value provided by experts. Any arrangements for insuring the Trophy will have to be agreed with the Council's insurers and any special requirements will be the responsibility of East Ayrshire Council. East Ayrshire Council will be expected to assume responsibility for the Trophy from the moment it is moved out of Cunninghame House until its safe return, as well as its ongoing security while in Kilmarnock. A contract setting out the terms of the loan will be put in place prior to the Trophy being moved.
The Council agreed to the request from East Ayrshire Council to take the Eglinton Tournament Trophy on loan, subject to East Ayrshire Council fully indemnifying North Ayrshire Council in respect of the transportation and security of the Trophy.
9. Annual Accounts 2009-10
In terms of Section 6(1) of the Local Authority Accounts (Scotland) Regulations 1985, submitted certified Annual Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2010.
The independent auditors opinion is that the financial statements give a true and fair view of the financial position of the Council as at 31 March 2010 and its income and expenditure for the year then ended, and have been properly prepared in accordance with the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973.
10. West Sound Community Awards
The Provost paid tribute to local nominees for the West Sound Community Awards, which were held earlier in October.
Arran Pinto (Winner, Child Bravery Award), Sharon Lutomski (Finalist, Good Neighbour Award), Karen McGhee (Unsung Hero Award), and Alanna Howie (Finalist, Best Teacher Award) were present at the meeting. The Provost paid tribute to their efforts and presented gifts on behalf of the Council. Charlie Fisher (Finalist, Up and Coming Youngster), and North Ayrshire Cancer Care (Winner, Best Local Charity) were not in attendance. The Provost paid tribute to them in their absence and agreed that gifts be forwarded to them.
The Council recorded its appreciation of the efforts of all local finalists and winners.
11. Urgent Item
The Provost agreed that the undernoted item be considered as a matter of urgency to allow changes to be made to the committee memberships.
12. Committee Memberships
Submitted report by the Chief Executive on proposed changes to the SNP Group representation on the Planning Committee and Local Review Body.
The Council (a) noted that Councillor Gibson would replace Councillor Rae as a member of the Planning Committee and the Local Review Body; and (b) recorded their appreciation of the contribution made by Councillor Rae to the work of both.