Agenda and minutes

Contact: Mr Henry Downey, Democratic Services Officer  028 9027 0550

No. Item




An apology for inability to attend was reported on behalf of Alderman Haire.




            The minutes of the meeting of 22nd October were taken as read and signed as correct.  It was reported that those minutes had been adopted by the Council at its meeting on 1st November, subject to:


                             i          the omission of those matters in respect of which the Council had delegated its powers to the Committee; and


                            ii          the omission of the minute under the heading “Update on Draft Amenity Bye Laws for the City Centre”, which, upon being amended to reflect that the Committee had noted, rather than approved, the draft Bye Laws, had been referred back to the Committee for further consideration and would be placed on the agenda for a future meeting once all Parties briefings had been completed.



Declarations of Interest


            No declarations of interest were reported.



Restricted Items


            The information contained in the reports associated with the following ten 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 meeting during discussion of the following 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.



Revenue Estimates and District Rate 2022/23


            The Head of Finance drew the Committee’s attention to a report which provided an update on the development of the Revenue Estimates and the setting of the District Rate for 2022/23.


            The report outlined the six key elements involved in the annual setting of the District Rate and provided details of the main business as usual cost pressures, priority growth proposals, the Capital Programme, the Estimated Penny Product, inflation rate, general reserves and the current rates position.


            After discussion, the Committee noted the contents of the report.



Financial Reporting – Quarter 2 2021-22


            The Head of Finance reminded the Committee that, at its meeting on 20th August, it had, in noting the financial position for Quarter 1 of 2021/22, agreed that the five step Finance Strategy which had been approved to manage the impact of Covid-19 upon the Council’s finances be extended to the remaining three quarters of the current financial year. 


            Accordingly, he drew the Members’ attention to the financial position and forecast for Quarter 2 of 2021/22, which had been based on that Strategy. The financial position for the Council had shown an underspend of £4,206, 841 (5.5%), which included absorbing Covid-19 expenditure and income losses of £4,204,818. The key contributory factors related to the under occupancy of office buildings, underspends in employee budgets and additional expenditure controls, which had helped to offset income losses. The Quarter 2 forecast had shown an underspend of £3.5m, which represented 2.3% of the net expenditure budget.


            He went on to provide an update on the forecast reserves position, rates finalisation and the overall Investment Programme.


            At this point, a Member confirmed that a requisition calling for a Special meeting of the Council to be held to consider the provision of emergency funding to the Council’s strategic community partners for food and fuel vouchers would be forwarded to the Chief Executive after the meeting.


            After discussion, the Committee noted the information which had been provided.



Neighbourhood Regeneration Fund – Programme Framework and Next Steps


            The Director of Physical Programmes submitted for the Committee’s consideration a report on the delivery of the £8m Neighbourhood Regeneration Fund, which had been established in 2019 to support the delivery of capital projects in local areas.


            After discussion, the Committee:


                                      i.          approved the project pathway proposal, including the open call application process, due diligence arrangements and project delivery model;


                                    ii.          approved the introduction of an Outcomes Based Accountability approach to monitoring outcomes; and


                                   iii.          noted the proposed timeframe for the launch of the Fund in January/February, 2022 and that each stage of the process would be timebound to help ensure deliverability of projects.



Organisational Reviews and Change Programme


            The Committee was reminded that, at its meeting on 22nd October, it had, in addition to approving a staffing structure resulting from the review of Corporate HR (Phase 1), agreed that a report be submitted to its next meeting providing information on other organisational reviews which were currently being undertaken across the Council, including an indicative timeframe for their completion.


            The Director of City and Organisational Strategy explained that the Covid-19 pandemic had had a significant impact upon the completion of reviews and the wider change programme, in that the majority of work had been paused from July 2020 onwards, to allow staff to focus on organisational recovery.  He drew the Committee’s attention to a list of ongoing organisational reviews, together with their initial projected completion date, and pointed out that, in some cases, a date had not been agreed prior to work being paused, due to a project being at an early stage in the overall lifecycle and the scope not yet being fully agreed and/or fully funded.


            He confirmed that officers in the Continuous Improvement Team were currently reassessing the status and priority of the organisational review projects and had begun to develop an updated and prioritised plan, using an agreed process, to quickly evaluate and prioritise each project.  This process would ensure that the business need for the project was fully up-to-date and that the resources required to successfully deliver it was available within the required timescale.  Consideration would also be given to how Departments could progress elements of this work with less hands-on support from the Continuous Improvement Unit, where appropriate.  


            He added that officers would then prioritise the programme of work, based upon available resources from across the relevant support services, and seek the necessary approvals at a Corporate level in early December, 2021.  A further report on organisational reviews and the change programme, including timelines, would be presented to the Committee in December.


            After discussion, the Committee noted the information which had been provided.   



Employees on Temporary Contracts


            The Committee was reminded that, at its meeting on 22nd October, it had, in addition to adopting a motion relating to staff on temporary contracts, agreed that a report be submitted to its next meeting providing a breakdown, on a Departmental and unit basis, of the number of staff currently employed on temporary contracts and the length of time on which they had been on them.


            Accordingly, the Director of City and Organisational Strategy submitted for the Committee’s consideration a report which confirmed that, at 1st November, 279 staff were filling posts on a temporary basis. 158 of those were permanent staff who had been recruited internally and would return to their substantive post when no longer required. A breakdown of that figure had been provided by Department, section and category and duration of contract.    


            The remaining 121 staff had been recruited externally on a fixed-term contract basis to fill temporary posts which were primarily specialist/technical or at basic entry level and could not be filled by an internal Council-wide trawl.


            The Director went on to point out that considerable work had been undertaken to address the issue of temporary posts across the Council and highlighted the fact that, between June, 2018 and November, 2021, those had been reduced by 186.


            After discussion, the Committee:


                               i.          noted the contents of the report; and


                             ii.          agreed that a report be submitted to its next meeting:


a.     on the total number of staff employed in those sections which had been identified as having staff in temporary posts;


b.     on the actual length of time that those staff who had been identified as being in a temporary post for more than five years had been in that post; and


c.      accounting for the 186 staff who had vacated temporary posts between June, 2018, and November, 2021. 



Review of 2021 Bonfire Approach


            (Mr. R. Black, Director of Neighbourhood Services, attended in connection with this item.)


            The Committee was reminded that the Council, at its meeting on 4th October had amended as follows a motion on Bonfire Procedures which had been passed by the Committee at its meeting on 24th September:


“This Council will conduct an immediate review of the 2021 bonfire season, to be completed in time for the Committee meeting in November, to include Elected Representatives, statutory agencies, and bonfire builders, in order to highlight issues which will need to be addressed. The Council agrees to write to the Executive Office asking for the FICT report to be published, along with an action plan, as this will help inform the Council’s view moving forward.”


            He reported that an external consultant had since been engaged by the Council to undertake the review and had been in contact with all of the Political Parties seeking their input into the review process. Based upon the feedback received, the consultant had drafted the following proposed review framework for consideration:


                                     i.          a review of the Council’s governance, policy and procedures relating to all bonfires and bonfire-related matters in Belfast during 2021;


                                    ii.          a review with Council staff to consider whether the current bonfire governance framework meets the operational requirements pertaining to bonfires and bonfire related issues;


                                   iii.          a review of the relationship between the Council and its statutory partners, in terms of responding to bonfires and bonfire-related issues, which will include the Memorandum of Understanding with the Permanent Secretary’s Working Group; and


                                  iv.          a process which highlights the Council’s response to bonfires and bonfire-related issues over the last decade.


            The Director pointed out that, in order to deliver on this framework, the consultant would analyse Council documents and correspondence and host discussions with officers, statutory organisations, Elected Members and community groups/non-Governmental organisations with experience and understanding of bonfire builder’s needs, concerns, and aspirations. The consultant had indicated that a draft report would be submitted to the Council in January 2022. The Chief Executive had also written to the Executive Office asking for the FICT report to be published, along with an action plan, as called for in the aforementioned amendment.



It was then


Moved by Councillor Beattie,

Seconded by Councillor Lyons,


      That the Committee agrees that the Council will regulate illegal and toxic bonfires.


            On a vote, twelve Members voted for the proposal and five against, with one “no vote”, and it was declared carried.


            The Committee agreed to endorse the proposed review process and noted that the Bonfire Panel would be reconvened to move that forward and address the issues which had been raised in relation to the decision to regulate illegal and toxic bonfires.



Update on Physical Programme


            The Committee:


                            i.      agreed that the ‘Connectivity - Access to the Hills Programme’ be added to the Capital Programme as a Stage 1 – Emerging project, with those projects identified in section 3.5 of the report to be brought forward to Stage 2 and worked up in greater detail; and


                          ii.      noted the update on the Belfast Destination Hub/Belfast Stories project and agreed that any necessary procurement processes (including the invitation of tenders and/or the use of appropriate ‘framework’ arrangements) for the next phase of the project (up to the sign off of Outline Business Case 2) be progressed at risk ahead of the receipt of Belfast Region City Deal funding, in order to ensure that the opening date of early 2028 remained on programme.



City Hall Recovery Plan - Update on Progress


            The City Solicitor submitted for the Committee’s consideration a report providing an update on the progress being made across each of the operational areas in implementing the City Hall Recovery Plan. The report highlighted also a request by the NOW Group for the franchise fee for the Bobbin Cáfe to be reduced between November, 2021 and February, 2022, in light of the economic challenges which it was facing around the ongoing pandemic and the Christmas Market.  


            During discussion, a Member pointed out that the requirement for van drivers to still book into Household Recycling Centres was creating difficulties both for them and other users, in terms of traffic congestion and delays. It was likely that those difficulties would increase over the Christmas period. A further Member stated that he had been made aware of confusion amongst staff working in community centres around the granting of access, in the context of Covid-19 requirements.



            After further discussion:


                                      i.          the Committee noted the contents of the report;


                                    ii.          approved an appropriate reduction in the franchise fee for the Bobbin Cáfe between November, 2021 and February, 2022; and


                                   iii.          agreed that a report be submitted to its next meeting addressing the issues which had been raised around access to Household Recycling Centres and community centres and providing details of Covid-19 restrictions which were still in place across the Council and their impact upon service delivery.



Update on Future of the Brexit Committee


            The City Solicitor drew the Members’ attention to a report which provided an update on discussions which had taken place on 11th November at the meeting of the Brexit Committee on extending the remit of that Committee to include responsibility for the oversight of climate and resilience strategies for the City. 


            He reviewed the draft purpose which had been presented to the Committee at that meeting and pointed out that the following Terms of Reference had been presented for consideration:


i.            Political oversight of the Resilience Strategy for Belfast including liaising with Belfast Resilience and Sustainability Board


ii.           influencing and contributing to regional considerations of the implications of climate change on both the work of the Council and on the city;


iii.          understanding the economic risks to the city associated with climate change –including how it might impact the ability of Belfast to continue to attract and retain investment and grow the rate base;


iv.         monitoring the particular implications of climate change for vulnerable and disadvantaged communities across the city and to actively plan with them under the principles of a Just Transition;


v.           to consider public campaigns/public education programmes which the Council may wish to deliver to change behaviour among residents and businesses;


vi.         to take account of the Council’s statutory responsibilities on sustainable development and relevant Programme for Government commitments; and to hear evidence from other parties;


vii.        to consider good practice from other cities and local authorities from the UK, Ireland and internationally;


viii.      The continuous monitoring of progress and announcements around Brexit;


ix.         Influencing and contributing to regional considerations of the implications of Brexit on both the work of the Council and on the district;


x.           to foster and maintain positive relations and cultural links with the European Union, post Brexit;


xi.         Identifying any actions the Council may take to mitigate any adverse impacts arising and capitalising on any opportunities as a result of Brexit;


xii.        establishing links and collaborating with relevant authorities and organisations on a North/South and East/West basis and connections with Europe; and


xiii.      to work collaboratively with the Shared Island Unit to avail of funding opportunities and deal with strategic issues and challenges to the benefit of our citizens.


            The City Solicitor reported that the Brexit Committee had broadly welcomed the proposal to extend the remit of the Committee and had made a number of additional suggestions around the Terms of Reference, such as building in oversight of environmental issues and adding organisational carbon neutrality, elements of inclusive growth and wider economic considerations. It was suggested also that the work of the Working Group on the Climate Crisis be subsumed into the new Committee, that additional resources be allocated and that discussions be held around the name of the Committee and the potential for all-Party representation.


            After discussion, it was


Moved by Alderman Kingston,

Seconded by Councillor Pankhurst,


      That the Committee agrees to remove point xiii. from the Terms of Reference and include it within point xii., on the basis that working  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2i


Weavers Cross Regeneration Project and Hope Street Car Park


            The Director of City Regeneration and Development submitted for the Committee’s consideration a report which provided an update on Translink’s Weavers Cross Regeneration Project, following which the Committee:


                             i          noted the progress made to date, including Translink’s procurement of a development partner for its scheme;


                            ii          noted the proposed approach at the next stage of Translink’s competitive dialogue process for including third party landowners within the scheme, to include the Council’s land at Hope Street; and


                           iii          noted that a report would be submitted to a future meeting for relevant approval, when additional detail of the proposed disposal terms had been established through Translink’s Development Agreement process.




Matters referred back from Council/Motions


            Apologies were reported on behalf of Councillors Beattie, Keenan and Kennedy.



Motion: Triple Lock Guarantee - Response from HM Treasury pdf icon PDF 237 KB

Additional documents:


The Committee was reminded that the Council, at its meeting on 1st September, had passed the following motion, which had been proposed by Alderman Copeland and seconded by Councillor Hutchinson:


"As the Chair of the Reference Group on Older People, I am deeply concerned at the consequences for local pensioners, should the Government move to end the State Pension “Triple Lock Guarantee”, which was introduced in 2010 to inflation proof the UK state pension.


Accordingly, the Council agrees to write to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, requesting him to honour the “Triple Lock Guarantee”, thereby ensuring the real time, real value of the State Pension.


The Council is aware of other proposed reforms which may be used to camouflage a diluting of the “State Pension Triple Lock Guarantee”.    This is not acceptable.


The Council also notes the Government’s decision to cut the Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit uplift and reiterates its call for the uplift to be retained.”


            The City Solicitor informed the Committee that a response had been received from the Rt. Hon. Simon Clark M.P., the Minister responsible for public spending.


            The Minister had begun by pointing out that the Government was committed to ensuring that older people were able to live with the dignity and respect which they deserve and that the State Pension was the foundation of state support for older people.


            He had explained that, since 2010, the State Pension had been uprated by the highest of average earnings growth, price inflation or 2.5%, an approach known as the Triple Lock. The full basic State Pension in 2021/22 was, compared to 2010, over £2,050 a year higher in cash terms and over £875 a year higher in real terms.


            The Minister had then made reference to other support available beyond the State Pension, such as Winter Fuel Payments and free eye tests, NHS prescriptions and bus passes. Some pensioners might also qualify for means tested benefits, including Pension Credit and Housing Benefit.


            Last year, the Government had delivered primary legislation to increase State Pensions by 2.5%, at a time when earnings had fallen and price inflation had increased by half a percentage point. If this action had not been taken, State Pensions would have been frozen.


            Due to the effect of the pandemic and furlough on the labour market, reported average wage growth had increased markedly to above 8% which was an anomaly. Increasing pensions by more than 8% this year would be unfair, unsustainable and hugely costly.


            That, he had pointed out, was the reason why the Government was taking the responsible and fair decision to temporarily move to a double lock this year. That meant that the State Pension would rise next year by the higher of inflation or 2.5%, thereby ensuring that pensioners were protected against the rising cost of living.


            The Minister had confirmed that this was a temporary change and that it would be for one year only and had added that the Government remained committed to implementing the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3a


Motion: NHS Pay - Response from Minister of Health pdf icon PDF 228 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee was reminded that the Council, at its meeting on 1st September, had passed the following motion, which had been proposed by Councillor Matt Collins and seconded by Councillor Michael Collins:


“This Council notes with concern the 3% pay offer set to be made to health workers. This offer falls way short of satisfying the health unions’ demands for a substantial pay uplift.


Our health workers deserve a real pay increase for their efforts throughout the pandemic. A 3% pay increase is only 1% above the UK inflation rate and is not nearly enough recognition for health staff and their efforts in these difficult times.


The Council notes that this offer comes at a time when health workers are under considerable strain, with Northern Ireland currently struggling with one of the highest Covid-19 death rates across the world.


The Council also notes with concern the recent reports of understaffing in our health service, with 1,800 nursing positions currently vacant in the North, while a further 1,000 vacancies exist in the social work and domiciliary care sector.


In order to retain a vibrant and world class health service, we must reward staff for the vital work which they carry out. Pay disparity with other jurisdictions has left many seeking employment elsewhere and low pay has contributed to staff resigning from the profession altogether.


The pandemic has shown how vital our health service is. Yet many NHS staff still suffer poverty wages and continue to be paid less when compared with other regions in the UK.


The Council resolves to write to the Health Minister, Robin Swann, calling upon him to refuse to bring forward the 3% pay offer, urging him, alongside the First and Deputy First Ministers, to lobby the British Government to award a substantial offer and asking him to bring forward proposals on safe staffing.


The Council also resolves to convene a cross-party meeting with Political Parties in Belfast City Council and Trade Unionists in the Health service, to discuss the urgent need for a more substantial pay uplift for NHS staff, and the practical steps which can be taken to achieve this.”


            The City Solicitor drew the Committee’s attention to a response which had been received from Mr. Robin Swann MLA, Minister of Health.


The Minister had begun by stating that the Department of Health was in receipt of the 34th NHS Pay Review Body Report and the 49th Report of the Review Body for Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration, both of which recommend a 3% uplift in the salaries of relevant staff from April, 2021. He had already written to Trade Unions to confirm that he had fully accepted the pay recommendations set out in those reports.

The Minister had pointed out that the funding held by his Department did not go far enough to meet the recommendations of the Pay Review Bodies. Furthermore, the Treasury had confirmed that it would not be providing any additional funding for the pay uplifts to NHS England. As a result,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3b




Change of Date of Council Meeting – January, 2022 pdf icon PDF 467 KB


            The Committee approved the change of date of the Council meeting in January from Tuesday 4th to Monday 10th, with proceedings to commence at the usual time of 6.00 p.m.



Schedule of Meetings 2022 pdf icon PDF 61 KB


            The Committee approved the following schedule of meetings for 2022, with all meetings to commence at 9.30 a.m.:


·        Friday, 14th January (Rate setting, if required)


·        Friday, 21st January


·        Friday, 18th February


·        Friday, 25th March


·        Friday, 15th April


·        Friday, 20th May


·        Friday, 17th June


·        Friday, 19th August


·        Friday, 23rd September


·        Friday, 21st October


·        Friday, 18th November and


·        Friday, 16th December.


            The Committee agreed to refer to the Party Group Leaders a request from a Member to move the monthly meeting of the Council on 1st July to another date in those years in which it would coincide with commemorative events taking place within the City, which some Members might wish to attend.



Belfast Agenda/Strategic Issues


Update on Urban Innovation Programme pdf icon PDF 169 KB


            (Mrs. D. Colville, City Innovation Manager, attended in connection with this item.)


            The Committee considered the following report:


“1.0     Purpose of Report/Summary of Main Issues


1.1       To seek approval for a number of new Smart Belfast initiatives and to provide an update on the work currently underway to review and refresh the Smart Belfast Framework – (to be known as the Urban Innovation Framework) and plans for engagement on that framework with Members and city stakeholders.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is requested to:

1.          note the work underway on a refreshed Urban Innovation framework (2022 to 2027);


2.          note the work underway to develop a £30 million Belfast Region City Deal business case to stimulate investment in advanced wireless infrastructure;


3.          grant retrospective approval for a Council-led partner application to the Dept. for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) for a £500,000 Digital Connectivity Infrastructure Accelerator pilot; and


4.          note the Council’s participation in a £400,000 programme with the city of Sejong to develop approaches for international procurement of innovation.


3.0       Main Report


            Smart Belfast Framework Refresh


3.1       Over the past four years, the Council’s Smart Belfast programme has encouraged city institutions together on maximising the potential of urban innovation to help tackle major urban challenges while at the same time helping to grow our economy.


3.2       Developed and managed by the Council’s City Innovation team, Smart Belfast has attracted over £10 million of investment to Belfast and delivered a range of successful projects with industry, SMEs and our universities. Furthermore, the Smart Belfast approach directly contributed to the design of the £120m Digital pillar of Belfast Region City Deal. And its concept of collaborative urban innovation has shaped the ambition and programme of the city’s new innovation partners – Innovation City Belfast (ICB).


3.3       The development of a refreshed Urban Innovation framework is being developed in a changing strategic environment that includes the implications of Covid on the future of the city and its economy and the Council’s commitment to addressing the climate emergency. It also sits against a backdrop of the establishment of ICB, the city deal and the opportunities they represent.  The aim of the updated framework will be to identify how emerging technological innovation can best contribute to addressing the many urban priorities and challenges that Belfast now faces and lays out the plans for a Smart District within the city to trial and test new ways of working and delivering services.


3.4       The City Innovation Team is currently completing a draft framework which will be presented to Members at the December SPR Committee meeting. Alongside the development the team is delivering a 2-phase approach to an engagement and consultation programme to ensure Members and city stakeholders have the opportunity to inform the framework and its programme of work.    Phase 1 is  focussing on Members, our 2 Universities and the Belfast Met, public sector departments and industry  as the key stakeholders required to make the innovation ecosystem work across the city.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5a


Review of Belfast Agenda (Engagement Findings and Bringing Focus to Delivery) pdf icon PDF 766 KB

Additional documents:


            The Director of City and Organisational Strategy submitted for the Committee’s consideration the following report:


“1.0     Purpose of Report/Summary of Main Issues


1.1            The purpose of this report is to update the Committee on the emerging findings from the Continuing the Conversation engagement programme to date and outline the proposed approach for taking them forward during the next stage in the review of the Belfast Agenda which seeks to co-design underpinning delivery plans with a focus of collaborative gain.


2.0            Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to:


                                                 i.        consider the emerging findings and recommendations from the initial phase of the Continuing the Conversation Engagement programme outlined in section 3.7;


                                                ii.        note the proposed approach, structure and timeline for the development of the refreshed Belfast Agenda Strategy document and supporting four-year Delivery Action Plans in section 3.8;


                                              iii.        note the plans for continued Elected Member engagement, including the date and time for the forthcoming meeting of the All-Party Working Group on Community Planning, detailed in section 3.9; and


                                              iv.        note the delivery and timetabling for the 2021 Belfast Residents’ Survey.


3.0       Main Report

3.1       The Committee, at its meeting on 18th June, received a report on the Continuing the Conversation engagement programme, the initial phase of which revisited the priorities to deliver the vision, outcomes and ambitions in the Belfast Agenda, seeking stakeholder views on what the Community Planning Partnership (CPP) should focus on over the period 2022-26.


3.2       A range of engagement tools were utilised including an online survey, call for evidence, idea generation and comments and suggestion tool. It was recognised that the lockdown highlighted and intensified the digital divide that exists within the city and as a result shorter paper-based surveys were developed and distributed by Libraries NI across the network of 18 libraries in the Greater Belfast area and the council’s 28 community centres. The views of communities were obtained via five independently facilitated workshops sought to understand what the priorities looked like in all areas and for all communities in Belfast.


Feedback from Engagement Workshops


3.3       A total of 130 participants from 63 organisations attended the events and told us what the priorities meant for them and their community. The workshops also provided an opportunity to check that the long-term vision and outcomes are still relevant and meaningful. Participants were asked to respond to a simple poll and provided clear support that these should remain unchanged.


Responding to the question, ‘Are the vision and outcomes still very relevant, fairly relevant, or no longer relevant’, 57% felt they were still very relevant, 40% felt they were fairly relevant and 3% of respondents felt that the visions and outcomes are no longer relevant.


The main substantive discussion of the workshops focussed on the priority themes which had been introduced and explained during the session. The discussion was structured in two parts, asking participants questions on the priorities and what they mean for their communities. Feedback from participants suggests that the emergent priorities are a valid framework to progress  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5b


Belfast Agenda - Statement of Progress pdf icon PDF 151 KB

Additional documents:


            The Director of City and Organisational Strategy submitted for the Committee’s consideration the following report:


“1.0     Purpose of Report/Summary of Main Issues


1.1            The purpose of this report is to update the Committee on the development and publication of a Belfast Agenda Statement of Progress in November 2021, which is a legislative requirement for the Council and its community planning partners.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is requested to:


i.       note the statutory requirement for the Council and its community planning partners to publish a second Statement of Progress in November 2021;


ii.     note the process of engagement and input from community planning partners which has led to the development of the Statement of Progress;


iii.    approve the draft Statement of Progress, a copy of which is available on the Council website,and


iv.    agree that the Statement of Progress be published in compliance with legislative requirements, with any revisions made by the Committee being included.


3.0       Main Report


3.1     Members will be aware that The Local Government Act (NI) 2014 requires the Council and its community planning partners to make arrangements to monitor progress against meeting the objectives of the Belfast Agenda and the effectiveness of the actions taken in aiming to achieve these objectives. The legislation also requires the Council to publish a report (Statement of Progress) assessing progress towards the outcomes and actions taken every two years.


3.2       The second statement of progress is due to be published by the end of November 2021. In recognition of the pressures which local Councils, and community planning partners, have faced over last 18-24 months in responding to Covid-19 the Department for Communities have indicated that they are content that Community Planning Partnerships adopt a light touch approach when producing their statement of progress reports.


3.3       Nevertheless, the statement of progress provides an opportunity for partners to update the public on the actions that have been undertaken or are ongoing through the community planning process. In addition, it demonstrates the impact of such actions on communities and local people as well as their contribution to the achievement of the ambitions and outcomes outlined in the Belfast Agenda.


3.4       The draft statement of progress (SOP) has been developed in association with and input from all community planning partners and highlights a number of case studies and noteworthy achievements showcasing the work of partners over the last 24 months including responding to the Covid-19 pandemic. It should be noted that any additional feedback received on the draft SOP will be reflected in the document prior to publication.


3.5       While the Covid-19 pandemic has adversely impacted many of the targets and further widened inequalities in the city, there are several successes worth communicating to the public. It also helps identify key challenges and opportunities facing the city and helps shape the focus of refreshed Belfast Agenda.


3.6       The key elements of the statement of progress (in line with DfC guidance) include a restatement of the vision, a short narrative provided on what  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5c


Physical Programme and Asset Management


Assets Management pdf icon PDF 242 KB

Additional documents:


            The Director of Physical Programmes submitted for Committee’s consideration a report seeking approval in relation to the following asset related disposal, acquisition and estate matters:


                  i.         Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park


The Committee granted approval for the Council to enter into a new five-year Lease with Belfast City Marathon Limited for 100 m2 of office space at Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park.


                 ii.         Cathedral Gardens


The Committee granted approval for the Council to enter into a Service Level Agreement with the Turnaround Project (t/a Big Loop Bikes) for the use of two shipping containers at Cathedral Gardens as a temporary Active Travel Hub, prior to the redevelopment of Cathedral Gardens.



Update on Area Working Groups pdf icon PDF 160 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee approved and adopted the minutes of the meeting of the East Belfast Area Working Group of 4th November, including the following recommendations:


                             i          TAGIT Boxing Club - that £9,000 of LIF funding be allocated towards the purchase of equipment; and


                            ii          Westbourne Presbyterian Church/Titanic People – that the original project proposal, which had received an in-principle allocation of £250,000 and which is no longer viable, be removed from the LIF project list, with the monies to be reallocated and officers to continue to work with the group to identify other opportunities for funding.



Finance, Procurement and Performance


Update on Contracts pdf icon PDF 66 KB

Additional documents:


The Committee:


·        approved the public advertisement of tenders, as per Standing Order 37a, as detailed in Table 1 below;


·        approved the modification of the contract, as per Standing Order 37a, as detailed in Table 2 below; and


·        noted the award of retrospective Single Tender Actions, in line with Standing Order 55 exceptions, as detailed in Table 3 below.





Table 1: Competitive Tenders


Title of Tender

Proposed Contract Duration

Estimated Total Contract Value


Short description of goods / services

Test and Train environment for the Customer Hub telephony environment

Up to 3 months


R Cregan

At present, there is only a ‘live’ system and there is no capability to test new functions, and train new users without considerable risk to ‘live’.

Cloud backup services for Microsoft Office 365 and Dynamics users

Up to 3 years


R Cregan

The default backup and recovery functions provided by Microsoft are severely limited.  This presents a significant risk to Council data should data be lost or corrupted.  This project seeks to overcome this and bring the Office/Dynamics environment in line with the existing on-premises backup protection as agreed by SP&R.

Planned preventative maintenance to thermostatic mixing valve (TMV) including minor remedial repairs at various Council properties

Up to 5 years


S Grimes

Statutory compliance requirement

PEACE IV Traveller Support - Capacity Building Project

Up to 8 months


R Black

To meet deliverables with the PEACE IV Programme and BPR5 Traveller project.

Rescope of project is required following nil submissions to previous tender competitions

Consultancy services to undertake analysis, evaluation and provide financial assurance to the Council in respect of land and site proposals

Up to 1 year


A Reid

Suitably qualified professional consultancy required to progress the Strategic Sites Assessment and Belfast Destination Hub work-streams and aligned with the Covid-19 Recovery Plan. Replacement tender for T2135 using new Crown Commercial Service framework



Table 2: Modification to Contract Term


Title of Contract





T1911 - Administration and provision of a suite of First-aid training courses for delivery to Council staff (including organisations delivering Services for and on behalf of the Council)

Up to 3 years

Additional 6 months

J Walsh


T2013 - Provision of technical expertise to support the development of the Employability and Skills Programme for the Belfast Region City Deal

Up to 2 years

Additional 3 months

R Cregan

Locus Management

T2135 - Consultancy services to undertake analysis, evaluation and provide financial assurance to the Council in respect of real estate proposals

Up to 6 months

Additional 6 months (Retrospective approval May 21 to Nov 21)

A Reid

Cushman and Wakefield

T2181 - Development of economic strategy for Belfast - Position Belfast and BCC in context of emerging regional strategy positions


Up to 1 year

Requesting term be amended to include a further 7-month extension option.

A Reid

Tender not yet awarded. Previously approved in May 2021 for a period of 5 months.




Table 3: Retrospective Single Tender Actions


Title of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7a


Equality and Good Relations


Minutes of Meeting of Shared City Partnership pdf icon PDF 185 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee approved and adopted the minutes of the meeting of the Shared City Partnership of 8th November, including the following recommendations relating to the ongoing delivery of the Good Relations Action Plan to:


                             i          note all updates in relation to the PEACE IV Programme;


                            ii          make a request to SEUPB for a formal reduction of CYP targets by 10% - 460 participants, which would reduce project targets for CYP3 by 260 and CYP5 by 200;


                          iii          agree the narratives and locations of the 7 panels for Section 1 of Forth Meadow Community Greenway (FMCG);


                          iv          agree the design and layout of information panels for FMCG;


                           v          agree that the panels and narratives would be subject to equality screening;


                          vi          agree (i) to delegate authority to the Capital Project Board to agree,at its meeting on 17th November, on the design of the panels around the Parks along FMCG, with a further report to be submitted to Partnership meeting in December and  (ii) that the contractor be advised to engage with the organisers of established local food banks in terms of organising a potential fundraising event in association with the project;


                         vii          extend the delivery timeframe for BPR5 LINCS to 30 September 2022, to increase the capacity building and further develop the Inclusion Forum;


                       viii          delegate authority to the PEACE IV Programme Board to agree the rescope of the Traveller Support Hub to a Capacity Building programme, subject to SEUPB approval;


                          ix          extend the participant groups for the BPR5/Roma Advocacy and Advice Skills training to the wider community;


                           x          amend the format of six hard copy interpretative panels for BPR6/St. Comgall’s to be replaced with an online digital resource to enable the content to be more accessible;


                          xi          extend the delivery timeframe for the Cinematography contract with Morrow Communications to October 2022, to include the BPR6 St Comgalls and to increase the contract award by £5,750, subject to agreement by SEUPB;


                         xii          agree funding support of £2,500 for Black Mountain Shared Spaces to deliver a cross community Christmas fair at the Springmartin Interface through the Strategic Intervention Programme within BCC10 of the DCGRP Action Plan;


                       xiii          agree funding support of £1,000 for NI Community of Refugees and Asylum Seekers (NICRAS) to deliver translation support in relation to the High Street Voucher Scheme through the Strategic Intervention Programme BCC10;


                       xiv          agree that a further update report on gaps in Youth Provision be presented to the Living Here Board;


                        xv          agree that a representative from the Youth Council be invited to join the Shared City Partnership on an advisory capacity. As per the terms of reference, the representative would have the right to participate fully in the discussions of the SCP and to offer advice but would not have any voting rights; and


                       xvi          agree to the development of a project for young people on the understanding of politics is progressed.



Operational Issues


Minutes of the Meeting of the Party Group Leaders' Consultative Forum pdf icon PDF 393 KB


            The Committee approved and adopted the minutes of the meeting of the Party Group Leaders’ Consultative Forum of 11th November.



Requests for the use of the City Hall and the Provision of Hospitality pdf icon PDF 145 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee agreed to adopt the recommendations made in respect of those applications received up to 5th November, as set out below:












Northern Ireland Alternatives


19 January 2022


STARS Celebration Ceremony (Striving Towards a Restorative Society)

celebrating participants in the STARS Programme which covers Shankill, North Belfast and East Belfast involved in positive community initiatives.


Numbers attending – 90


* Numbers and room layout will be reviewed and revised in line with COVID19 social distancing guidelines at the time of this event.






No hospitality



No Charge

No hospitality


European Youth Parliament

21 March 2022

NI Regional Session of Youth Parliament - teams of secondary students debate and present their ideas and solutions on current topics.


Numbers attending – 130


B & D

No (Charity)

No (they provide their own lunches for attendees)


No charge

No hospitality




Funding for Changing Places Toilet Facilities – Response from Minister of Finance pdf icon PDF 237 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee was reminded that, at its meeting on 24th September, it had approved a draft response to the Department of Finance’s public consultation on updated building control advice on the fitting of changing places toilet facilities. The response had confirmed the Council’s support for the mandatory provision of changing places toilet facilities under Building Regulations, as a positive way of increasing inclusion for service users and their carers.


            The Committee had been informed that, following the introduction of similar regulations in England and issues which had been raised around the financial challenges associated with voluntarily providing changing places toilet facilities in existing premises, a £30 million fund had been launched in July, to be distributed through local authorities.


            Accordingly, it had agreed that a letter be forwarded to the Minister of Finance requesting that a similar fund be established in Northern Ireland for retrospective installations in existing premises.


            The City Solicitor drew the Members’ attention to a response which had been received from the Minister of Finance.


            The Minister had begun by acknowledging the Council’s response to the important consultation on changing places toilet facilities and had stated that the Building Standards Branch was currently analysing the responses and working to publish a summary document in due course.


            He had confirmed that he was aware that £30 million of funding for changing places toilet facilities had been launched earlier this year in England and that he would be very supportive of a proposal being put to the Northern Ireland Executive to establish a similar fund to support retrofitting facilities here.


            He had pointed out that the Department for Communities led on disability policy and strategy and that it had a track record of establishing and administering grant funding in this area. He was very sympathetic to the dignity issues arising from the limited provision of changing places toilet facilities and would continue to support an equitable and accessible built environment for everyone. The Minister had concluded by recognising that the Council was keen to do so as well and had wished it every success in its work to expand the provision of changing places toilets in the Belfast area. 


            The Committee noted the response.



Minutes of the Meeting of the Active Belfast Limited Board pdf icon PDF 1 MB


            The Committee noted the minutes of the meeting of the Active Belfast Limited Board of 25th October and, in so doing, noted concerns which had been expressed by a Member on the outcome of a legal opinion which had ruled that GLL was automatically entitled, under the contract  arrangements, to  increase leisure charges in line with the annual increase in Consumer Price Index, without seeking approval from the Board.



Motion – Centenary of the Ulster Memorial Tower pdf icon PDF 305 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee granted retrospective approval for a Member to attend the Centenary Commemoration of the opening of the Ulster Memorial Tower in France on 18th November and authorised the payment of the associated costs. 



Human Rights Day 2021 pdf icon PDF 483 KB



            The Committee granted approval for the Human Rights campaign flag and the United Nations flag to be flown on the City Hall on 10th December to mark Human Rights Day 2021.



Issues Raised in Advance by Members


Publication of Information on Members' Attendance at Meetings (Councillor O'Hara to raise)


            The Committee agreed, at the request of Councillor O’Hara, that, in order to improve transparency in Local Government and give the citizens of Belfast confidence in their Elected Members, the Council would, commencing in April, 2022,  publish on an annual basis details of Members’ attendance at meetings of the Council, Committees and Working Groups, as well as attendances for each year since the commencement of the current Council term. 



Illumination of a Council Building


            The Chairperson (Councillor Groogan) informed the Committee that she had received a request for a Council building to be illuminated in green on the night of Tuesday, 21st December, in support of the Samaritans organisation’s Longest Night event.


            The Committee agreed, on the basis that the City Hall would be unavailable on that night due to the Christmas lighting, that officers examine the potential for illuminating another Council building.