Agenda and minutes

Contact: Mr Jim Hanna, Senior Democratic Services Officer  028 9027 0549

No. Item




            An apology was reported from Councillor Long.





            The minutes of the meeting of 19th June were taken as read and signed as correct.



Declarations of Interest


            Councillors Black, Bunting and Murphy declared an interest in agenda item 3b – Micro Grant Funding, in so far as they either worked for or were associated with Groups which had applied for funding, and left the meeting whilst this item was under consideration.





St George's Market Traders Committee - Re: St George's Market Update pdf icon PDF 430 KB


            It was reported that Ms. C. Laverty, Chairperson, Mr. M. Graham, Vice Chair, and Ms. H. Sharkey, Secretary, St. George’s Market Traders Committee were in attendance and outlined the current position in relation to the Market and requesting the Committee to consider the waving of the stall fees for a period of time.


            Subsequent to the presentation, the Committee considered the following report.


“1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1  The purpose of this report is to update members on:


·         The financial implications of any decisions to waive the stall fees for market stall holders at St. George’s Market

·         The ongoing work between the Markets Team and the Traders’ Committee to assist with the economic recovery of the market.


2.0        Recommendations


2.1  The Committee is asked to:


·         Note the costs of waiving stall fees at St George’s Market – based on figures for three and six month periods

·         Note the ongoing work between the Traders’ Committee and the Markets Management team to support the recovery of the market.


3.0  Main report


3.1  At the July meeting of Council, members agreed that the decision of the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee of 19th June, under the heading ‘Recovery Programme’, be amended in relation to the decision not to waive the stall fees for market stall holders at St. George’s Market. 


3.2  Members asked that a report be brought back on the cost of waiving the stall fees for market stall holders at St George’s Market and to enter into discussions with the stall holders around their proposals to assist with the economic recovery of the market.  They also agreed that the Council should invite a deputation of Market Stall Traders to discuss the issue at the next Committee.


3.3  Both Smithfield Market and St George’s Market closed to the public due to COVID-19 on 22 and 23 March 2020 respectively.  In line with NI Executive guidance, both markets have since re-opened, with St George’s Market re-opening to the public on 3 July 2020.  In preparation for re-opening, officers developed mobilisation plans and risk assessments, These took into consideration a number of factors to ensure the safety of staff, traders and customers and critically to give assurances to the public that the markets are safe buildings to enter.  This includes arrangements to manage social distancing in open areas, engagement with traders to support them in ensuring compliance within their stalls and provision of additional equipment such as hand washing facilities and hand sanitisers as well as signage and messages to provide appropriate levels of assurance to the public.  Staff also developed guidance for traders and customers and worked with the Facilities team to ensure that social distancing can be maintained within staff and office areas. 


3.4  Engagement with the National Market Traders’ (NMTF) Committee was central to informing decisions around the operational elements of the re-opening of the market.  This included discussions on the reduced level of capacity and how this could be managed; revised layouts to manage social  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2a


Restricted Items


            The information contained in the reports associated with the following 4 items is restricted in accordance with Part 1 of Schedule 6 of the Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 2014.


      Resolved – That the Committee agrees to exclude the members of the Press and public from the Committee meeting during discussion of these items as, due to the nature of the items, there would be a disclosure of exempt information as described in Section 42(4) and Section 6 of the Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 2014.



Finance Update

Additional documents:


            The Committee was reminded that, at its meeting on 19th June 2020, an update was provided on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the Council’s financial position and a strategy to address the forecast deficit and the mitigation measures which had and will be taken as the situation evolves. Going forward it was agreed to provide Members with a monthly update on the financial position and specifically for the special July Committee meeting to provide further information on ongoing work in the following areas:


1.     the financial impact of the re-opening of leisure centres;

2.     the employee savings arising from the review of vacant posts;

3.     the additional expenditure controls to be exercised by the Council as part of the financial strategy adopted at the June meeting; and

4.     the specified reserve allocations which have previously received Committee approval.


            In addition, in order to provide all Members with up-to-date financial information it was beingrecommended that Financial Regulation G12 was enhanced to provide monthly updates to Standing Committees for the 2020/21 financial year.


            Accordingly, the Director of Finance and Resources submitted a report in this regard.


            The Committee:


1.     Noted the contents of the report; and


2.     Agreed that financial information be reported to the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee on a monthly basis, with the same report going to subsequent standing committees for noting only for the 2020/21 financial year.



Micro Grant Funding

Additional documents:


            The Committee was reminded that, at its meeting on 19th June, it had agreed to establish a two strand funding programme (strategic funding and micro funding) which would be aimed at supporting both strategic community partners and grassroots organisations.  This programme would be using the £636,097 of community provision funding not being distributed up to the end of September, 2020.


            The Director of City and Neighbourhood Services submitted a report which provided an update for Members with regards to the current position concerning the £150,000 micro funding programme which opened on 6 July.  The report sought approval for groups that had been assessed as meeting the criteria being recommended for funding, agreeing that the deadline for activities be extended and seeking delegated authority for any future applications being assigned to the Director of City and Neighbourhood Services Department for approval.


            The Committee:


·         approved the current applications which have been assessed as meeting the criteria (as set out in appendix 1 to the report);

·         approved an extension of the programme until the end of October;

·         agreed, given the importance of timely awarding of funding to enable summer activity to take place, to assign delegated authority, under the Council’s scheme of delegation, to the Director (Operational) City and Neighbourhood Services for future authorisation of funding allocations and extensions to the proposed October deadline under this scheme; and

·         agreed that any future Department for Communities funding through the Community Support Programme, in support of COVID recovery, could be allocated to this programme.



Revised District Council's Good Relations Action Plan 2020/21

Additional documents:


            The Committee was informed that the Council had received a Letter of Offer from The Executive Office (TEO) towards the 2020/21 District Council Good Relations Programme (DCGRP) based on the action plan which had been submitted to TEO in February, 2020.


            As a result of the impact from the COVID pandemic, a draft Revised Good Relations Action Plan for 2020/21 and associated programme budget had been drawn up and submitted to TEO by its stipulated deadline of 24th July 2020, with the caveat that Council approval was required.


            This was the first of a series of revisions to the Belfast City Council Good Relations Action Plan in line with the direction of travel which had been agreed by the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee on 19th June, 2020 and ratified at the Council meeting on 1st July, 2020.  Specifically, the revision included the Good Relations contribution to the new Support to Community Partners Fund Summer 2020 and the continuation of support to thematic communities of interest which had been funded by the Council as part of the first tranche of COVID-19 emergency thematic funding.


            Further revisions to the plan would take in to account emerging community need as part of overall community recovery across Belfast and would be brought forward in due course in that context.


            The Committee:


·         noted the award of £571,893.01 from The Executive Office towards the District Council Good Relations Programme 2020/21 and approved the associated draft Revised Action Plan;


·         agreed the Revised Action Plan, with the following awards being allocated retrospectively from 1st July 2020:


o    Roma Helpline Project - up to £12,000 until 31st December, 2020 to Forward South, with the option to extend to March 2021 pending evaluation and funding being available;


o    Race Relations Coordinator Project – up to an additional £18,000 towards the cost of the Race Relations Coordinator post until 31st March, 2021 to East Belfast Community Development Association; and


o    Support to Refugee and Asylum Seekers Project – up to £15,000 to Embrace NI towards the provision of a bi-lingual helpline and outreach service to enhance and support the integration of refugee and asylum seeker communities in Belfast.


·         Agreed that briefings be provided to those Parties who so wished on the Action Plan.



Department for Communities Covid-19 Town Centre Revitalisation Fund


            The Committee considered a report which provided an update on the recent announcement by the Department for Communities (DFC) to bring forward a Town Centre Revitalisation Fund and to obtain approval for priority areas to be considered for support under the programme.  The report highlighted the background and purpose of the Fund, the proposed areas for support and the delivery arrangements/next steps.


            Moved by Councillor Groogan.

            Seconded by Councillor Beattie,


            That the Committee agrees that a review of the Stakeholder Group be undertaken with a view to broadening the membership to include such groups/organisations as the Public Health Authority, Sustrans, Trade Unions, the Federations of Small Businesses and community and residents groups.


            During a lengthy discussion on the matter, several amendments and suggestions were made by both Members and officers as a means to progress the matter. 


            However, as there was no consensus, these were subsequently withdrawn and the Committee agreed to vote on the proposal standing in the name of Councillor Groogan, when ten Members voted for and nine against and it was declared carried.


            The Committee also:


(1)  noted the work underway in support city recovery including the introduction of a DFC Town Centre Revitalisation Fund; and


(2)  agreed the priority areas and associated proposed budget allocations that will be supported through the Town Centre Revitalisation Fund subject to Department of Finance business case approval.



Minutes of Party Group Leaders Consultative Forum


            The Committee approved and adopted the minutes of the meeting of the Party Group Leaders’ Consultative Forum of 24th July, 2020.




Strategic Issues/Belfast Agenda


Leisure Services Reopening Update pdf icon PDF 412 KB


The Committee considered the following report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1          The purpose of this report is to update Members’ on the remobilisation of GLL staff and the reopening of Leisure Services as permitted by the Executive Office (TEO) within the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is requested to:


·         Note the information provided below and the centre re-opening plans as detailed.


3.0       Main report


            Key Issues


3.1       All BCC indoor leisure centres and associated outdoor facilities closed on 16th March 2020 due to the Covid-19 outbreak and in response to government restrictions.


3.3       The easing of TEO Covid-19 restrictions has been delivered in phases with announcements relating to different aspects of leisure services released continuously since mid-June 2020.


3.3       Reopening approval has been built around a large number of TEO and industry/sport National Governing Body (NGB) guidelines.  The key measures required include revised protocols and assurances in relation to:


1.     Social distancing (reduced capacities)

2.     Enhanced air handling and fresh air intake levels (indoor spaces)

3.     Hand sanitising and enhanced cleaning regimes

4.     Customer behaviour instructions and enforcement

5.     Track and trace data capture


3.4       To date TEO has approved the reopening of:


3.4.1     Outdoor pitches


            BCC pitches opened for booking on 29th June and have been available for use since 6th July.  This has included synthetic pitches at eight leisure centres (see table below) managed by GLL.


            The service currently allows for pitch hire only with no changing or toilet facilities available.


            Use is restricted to club and community sports programme use and is subject to compliance with TEO approval and team sport NGB Covid-19 secure guidelines.


            Pitches are open at peak hours only.  Typically 5.00pm – 10.00pm Monday to Friday and 10.00am – 3.00pm Saturday and Sunday.  Opening hours remain under review and will be amended on a site by site basis subject to demand and further easing of Covid-19 restrictions and associated operating guidance.


3.4.2     Fitness suites and studio classes


            Fitness suites and group exercise classes opened on 14th July at nine leisure centres (see table below) managed by GLL.  Fitness suite opening hours are typically as they were before lockdown.


            Group exercise class timetables have been amended and in most cases reduced to comply with social distancing protocols and permitted ‘Covid secure’ activities/exercises).


            Access is restricted to registered members only and on a pre booked basis.  This is essential to comply with TEO track and trace data capture requirements.


            Booking slots are currently restricted to one hour to allow for 50 a minute workout


            A rolling entry system is in place controlled by ‘queue marshals’.  Reception desks have been closed but a welcome host/queue marshal is on duty in each reception area.


            All bookings and payments must be made online (mobile App, PC or at the ‘in centre’ kiosks)


            Machines/exercise station availability has been reduced to comply with social distancing guidance.  This, along with customer behaviour changes, has significantly reduced gym capacities.


            Significant capacity reductions are in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4a


Open Ormeau and Temporary City Centre Road Closure Proposals pdf icon PDF 359 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report


1.1       Belfast City Council have received a proposal entitled Open Ormeau. The aim of the proposal is to provide sufficient space for people to walk on the pavements whilst socially distancing, provide space for queues outside shops at peak times and to provide space for businesses/organisations, particularly restaurants, cafes and bars to expand outside so that it is viable for them to open on a table-service-only model whilst upholding social distancing requirements.   In order for this proposal to be fulfilled, a number of temporary road closures will be required. A further revised proposal was received on 27th July (Appendix 1).


            At its meeting on 19th June this Committee and as ratified by Council on the 1st July:


           agreed to write to the DfI seeking it to expedite the temporary closure of the following roads under the Road Traffic Legislation Order (3A):


-          Donegall Place;

-          Castle Place;

-          Church Lane;

-          Brunswick Street; and

-          James Street South.


            And to also seek the weekend closure of Ormeau Road and to further explore the weekend closure of other arterial routes throughout the city to enable hospitality and assist retailers. It was agreed that the proposals on road closures would be subject to consultation with stakeholders including at the Stakeholders Group Meeting on Friday, 26th June. The correspondence would also include consideration of resident’s car parking permits;’


            Council further agreed that the list of temporary road closures be amended to also include Union Street.


            The purpose of this report is to update members on Belfast City Council’s financial and regulatory position in regard to the proposed road closure on Ormeau Road.   The report will also provide information on the timelines and requirements associated with an application for an event road closure licence. 


            The report also provides an update on the other temporary road closures as proposed by Committee and Council.


2.0       Recommendations



·         Note receipt of the proposal for Ormeau Road with amendment submitted on 27th July

·         Note the time implications for applying for a licence for the required road closures and the consequent resource implications of the current proposals.

·         Agree that officers continue to work with Open Ormeau promoters to aid the design and facilitation of a singular future trial recognising the significant lead time and consultation demanded by the legislation, subject to council approval and budgets constraints and consideration of a satisfactory approach to road closure.

·         To note concerns expressed by business community representatives around further temporary pedestrianisation in the city centre and to note that officers will continue to work with DfI and stakeholders to seek to bring forward satisfactory proposals in a future report.

·         Note the status and stakeholder feedback on the temporary city centre road closure and pedestrianisation proposals as ratified by Council on the 1st July 2020 and to note that officers will continue to work with DfI and stakeholders on these, with a future report to be brought back to Committee.

·         On the basis  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4b


Physical Programme and Asset Management


Physical Programme Update pdf icon PDF 327 KB


              The Committee considered the following report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of Main Issues


1.1          The Council’s Physical Programme covers over 200 projects under a range of funding streams together with the projects which the Council delivers on behalf of external agencies. This report outlines a proposed movement under the Capital Programme together with a proposed realignment of BIF funding.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is requested to –


-       agree to the inclusion of a new IT project under the council’s IT Programme due to business criticality– Enhanced, additional telephony licensing for telephony environment - and move to Stage 3 Committed with a maximum £80,000 budget allocated.

-       Note the reduced scope of the Royal British Legion BIF proposal (from £500k to £300k) and to agree, in the absence of the West AWG, to reallocate £115,000 of this reduced scope towards two previously agreed LIF projects which have significant funding deficits (Berlin Swifts – additional £65,000 and St. James’s Farm – additional £50,000) in order to allow these projects to be fully delivered.  Both projects are at/nearing contract award stage 


3.0       Main report


            Capital programme 2020/21 - Project movements


3.1       IT Programme – Additional licensing for telephony environment


            Under the Council’s IT Programme of work, additional licensing for the telephony environment has been identified as being business critical and opportunity to ensure continuity of service provision. With almost all staff home working as a result of Covid 19, one of the key lessons learned from a business continuity perspective, is the need to extend and enhance telephony features for remote workers to allow operations to continue unhindered.


3.2       The Council is already in the process of upgrading the telephone system, as part of programme of work to improve the system in terms of resilience but also introduce enhanced features and services being delivered as part of the council’s extensive Customer Focus Programme. The go-live is expected in coming months.  The new telephony system will allow contact centre and switchboard features to be made available remotely, but it requires further licensing for increased numbers of home workers.  This will support a sustained period of home working / recovery plans and provide improved business continuity while overall recovery and continued service delivery management takes place. Members are asked to note that this is required to be undertaken now as part of the ongoing Customer Service Programme as this will save significant time and effort by procuring and applying the licenses in advance of the upgrade work already in motion. 


3.3       Members are asked to agree that this project moves to Stage 3 Committed in order to expedite the necessary procurements and it is recommended that a maximum budget of £80,000 is allocated.  The Director of Finance & Resources has confirmed the affordability of these projects due to the corporate criticality requirements and to ensure business continuity is maintained.


            Area Working Groups - BIF realignment


            Members will be aware that the Area Working Groups are currently not sitting due to the ongoing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5a


Finance, Resources and Procurement


Contracts Update pdf icon PDF 242 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee:


·         Approved the public advertisement of tenders as per Standing Order 37a detailed in Appendix 1 (Table 1)

·         Approved the addition to table1 and the use of Standing Order 56 for internal internet provision;

·         Approved the award of Single Tender Actions in line with Standing Order 55 exceptions as detailed in Appendix 1 (Table 2)


Table 1 – Publically Advertised Tenders


Title of Tender

Proposed Contract Duration

Estimated Total Contract Value

Senior Responsible Officer

Short description of goods/ services

Measured Term Contract for building repairs including plastering & brickwork

Up to 3 years


S Grimes

Building repairs including plastering & brickwork

Measured Term Contract for new metal fencing installations

Up to 3 years


S Grimes

New metal fencing installations

Measured Term Contract for new soft flooring installations

Up to 4 years


S Grimes

Soft flooring installations

Measured Term Contract for swimming pool filtration & Ozone generation, callouts, repairs, planned maintenance & minor works

Up to 4 years


S Grimes

Swimming Pool maintenance

Measured Term Contract for mechanical services, callouts, repairs & planned maintenance

Up to 4 years


S Grimes

Mechanical services, callouts, repairs &maintenance

Measured Term Contract for pitch lighting callouts, repairs & planned maintenance

Up to 3 years


S Grimes

Callouts, repairs & planned maintenance for pitch lighting

Measured Term Contract for building repairs including plastering & brickwork

Up to 3 years


S Grimes

Building repairs including plastering & brickwork

Brook Changing Pavilion, Existing pitch lighting LED replacement

Up to 3months


S Grimes

Replacement of pitch lighting

Duncrue Complex, Building Energy Management System Trend IQ installation for unsupported Software - All sites

Up to 3months


S Grimes

Building Energy Management System - All sites

Henry Jones Changing Pavilion, upgrading pitch lighting including columns

Up to 3months


S Grimes

Pitch lighting including upgrade columns

Tender for the procurement and implementation of enhanced used licensing on the corporate telephone system

One off Purchase


R Cregan

Licensing on the corporate telephone system

Peace IV Delivery of Events as part of wider Peace IV Programme 

Up to 2 years


N Grimshaw

Delivery of events as part of the Peace IV programme of work

Procurement Cards

Up to 2 years


R Cregan

Use of CPD framework for the use of procurement cards for lower value transactions not covered by SRM ordering system.



Addition to Table 1 – Tenders:


Title of Tender

Proposed Contract Duration

Estimated Total Contract Value

Senior Responsible Officer

Short description of goods/ services

Internet Service Provision

1 year


R Cregan

Internet Service Provision for internet connectivity for the council.



Table 2- Direct Award Contracts (Single Tender Action)


Title of Tender


Total Value

Event management and support services to deliver a collaborative PPP programme to attract real estate investors, developers, occupiers and funders & provide sustainable inclusive growth.

Lanyon Communication


Specialist advice on rating matters including  a review of the Council’s Assessments in the Valuation List

Institute of Revenues Rating and Valuation (IRRV






Issues raised in advance by Members


Light up the City Hall Request - World AIDS Day, 1st December (Councillor Nicholl to raise)


            The Committee noted the request by Councillor Nicholl to light up the City Hall on World Aids Day on 1st December, noted that request would coincide with the Christmas lights and that such requests could not normally be accommodated at that time and agreed that the City Solicitor explore how the Council could facilitate some type of lighting up or recognition and report back to the Committee.



Roselawn Cemetery (Councillor McLaughlin to raise) pdf icon PDF 100 KB


            The Committee agreed that a further equality screening be undertaken in relation to the proposed new 2 chapel crematorium and refurbishment of the existing crematorium at Roselawn refurbishment, with the outcome reported back to the Cemeteries and Crematorium Working Group in the first instance.



Frederick Douglas Statue (Councillor Beattie to raise)


            The Committee agreed that a letter be forwarded to the Department for Communities requesting it to consider the installation in Rosemary Street of a statue in remembrance of Frederick Douglass, a slavery abolitionist.



New Lodge Bonfire (Councillor Beattie to raise)


            The Committee agreed that Council officers examine alternative means to manage the New Lodge bonfire site and to report back to a special meeting of the Committee to be held the following week.