Agenda and minutes

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

No. Item




            No apologies were reported.



Declarations of Interest


            Councillor McDonough-Brown declared an interest in respect of item 3 (a) Recovery Programme during discussion in respect of the possible weekend closure of the Ormeau Road, in that his employer RSUA had been lobbying for the closure of the Ormeau Road and he left the meeting whilst the item was under discussion.



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.



Financial Reporting - Quarter 4 2019/20

Additional documents:


            The Committee considered a report which presented the 2019/20 year end management accounts position for the Council, it included a detailed explanation of each of the relevant indicators and the outturn for the year.


            The Director of Finance and Resources reported that the departmental year-end forecast was an underspend of £304k which represented a variance of 0.2% of the annual net expenditure budget.  The district rate forecast from Land and Property Services (LPS) was a clawback of £1.1 million. 


            The Director reported that, in financial terms, it had been another difficult year for the Council.  In the previous quarterly update, departments had forecast an underspend of £764k.  Continuing budgetary pressures on cleansing, waste management and the Zoo and the impact of Covid 19 had all led to additional funding requirements which had significantly reduced this forecast.


            As a result of the Covid 19 pandemic, the Council had made a number of operational decisions.  The Director explained that whilst departments had absorbed some costs, a further £234k had been identified that would need to be funded from available balances.


            In terms of the District Rate, the outturn was a clawback of £1.13m. The Director explained that whilst the impact of Covid19 on the 2019/20 rate income had been minimal, the impact on 2020/21 and future years was likely to be significant. In addition, the economic uncertainty facing each of the sectors making up the Council’s rate base made forecasting rate income difficult. He confirmed that Council officers would work with the LPS throughout 2020/21 to carry out ongoing analysis of rate income forecasts as information became available and would continue to provide Members with regular updates on the progress.


            The Director detailed that the general reserves balance at the end of 2019/20 was £12.90m and the specified reserves year-end balance was £14.7m.  He added that prudent levels of reserves for the Council was considered to be about £13m.  He explained that the specified reserves presented were as at 31st March 2020 and that adjustments would be made at the start of the new financial year, therefore, the revised specified reserves would be presented to committee at its meeting in July 2020.


            The Director further advised that, having received more detail on REVAL2020 and the Executive striking its budget and setting the Regional Rate at the end of March 2020, the Council now estimated that the actual bills would be approximately £400k higher than had been included in the Council’s estimates.  As a result, the Members were asked to approve the creation of a specified reserve of £400k to offset the increase which would then be factored into the estimate process for 2021/22.


            The Committee agreed the 2019/20 balances and the creation of a specified reserve to meet the shortfall in the budget for the Council’s rates bill of £400k.



Finance Update


            The Committee received a presentation from the Director of Finance and Resources on the Council’s reserves and the financial sustainability of the Council in light of the Covid 19 pandemic.  This provided a more detailed explanation in respect of each of the relevant indicators and considered the potential long-term implications for the Council.  It also included detail in respect of the mitigation measures that had already been implemented and included information in respect of the following proposed Finance Strategy which recommended an approach to securing the finances of the Council, with general reserves only to be used as a last resort:


·         To secure financial support from central government through:


- DFC support for income (loss £4m secured for Q1);

- DFC Covid-19 community support funding;

- Claim for increased waste costs from DEARA;

- Use of Scheme of Emergency Financial Assistance;

- Use of Covid-19 Job Retention Scheme; and

- Lobby DOF for rates income guarantee based on the EPP.


·         To balance the deficit as far as possible through savings in the 2020/21 budget by:


-       Identifying and capturing savings associated with the closure of facilities and withdrawal of services;

-       Assessing the financial impact of re-opening facilities and re-instating services;

-       Re-alignment of budgets to revised priorities;

-        Implementing strict vacancy control measures;

-       Exercising stringent expenditure controls; and

-       Reviewing capital expenditure.


·       Through the use of balance sheet funds (CCIF £14.35m, Neighbourhood Regeneration    Fund £8m);

·      The use of specified reserves (14.7m); and

·      The use of general reserves (£12.9m).


            The Committee was provided with a detailed analysis of the gross loss of income from across the Council’s various revenue streams.  It included specific detail in respect of a 3  month rent holiday that had previously been agreed for all Council tenants for Quarter 1 (April – June), a loss of income of £1.5m.  The Members were asked to note that the majority of other public and private sector landlords had continued to require payment in full, unless agreement had been reached on deferring payment.  The Director reported that this was not a sustainable position for the Council and it was therefore recommended that from Quarter 2 the Council would resume full invoicing for rents.


            The Director also drew the Members’ attention to specific detail in respect of the additional expenditure associated with the Council’s response to the Covid 19 pandemic.  At this stage, the expenditure related to the additional costs associated with the delivery of critical services, the establishment of the community hub and the facilitation of home working. The Director explained that, as the Council moved to re-opening, additional costs would be incurred to secure a safe and secure working environment and to facilitate a sustained period of a significant number of staff home working. As a result, a further estimated £1m would be required for digital support to enable continued service delivery both on site and remotely.


            The Members also were presented with the current cost of the Community Response to date and the potential cost  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2b


Core Multi Annual Funding - Events and Festivals

Additional documents:


            The Committee considered a reportwhich detailed the current status of events and festivals, as funded through the Core Multi Annual Grants, in the context of Covid-19 and which provided additional information in order to agree an approach to funding for the remainder of the financial year, taking into consideration the following factors:


·         Health and Safety: The 5 step pathway to recovery published by the NI Executive;

·         Financial: the implications of Covid-19 on Council’s financial position and need to make savings where possible;

·         Strategic: Immediate impact and long-term resilience of the festival and events sector especially in relation to their role in city recovery; and

·         Reputational: Council response in the context of other public funder and approaches in other cities.


            The Director of Economic Development outlined the important role that Events and Festivals would play in contributing to the city’s recovery.  He advised that Council officers would work with city partners, including Visit Belfast to ensure that the proposed investment was maximised with this activity marketed as part of the re-opening and recovery of the city. In effect, this would become the cultural strand of the recovery programme, with opportunities to enhance animation of city centre and neighbourhoods.


            The Committee was advised that current projections indicated that key tourism markets would return by 2023 and there was therefore a need to ensure that the city could deliver highly visible and strategic activity to attract the market.


            Several Members referred to the arts and culture sector and noted the valuable contribution it made to Northern Ireland and the need to support it over this difficult period.  It  was noted that the arts sector often contributed to the health and wellbeing of the community and helped to bring people together.  The Members expressed their desire to provide assistance to the sector, to help organisations to find different ways of engaging with their audiences and to ensure that arts services were not withdrawn from the public at this crucial time.


            The Economic Development Officer provided an assurance that Council officers would continue to work with the sector and where possible would involve them in Council events. 


            The Committee noted the potential financial implications and agreed the allocation of funding and the recommended contribution towards programming based on the assessment of the information provided by each organisation, as detailed at Appendix 1.



Support to Community Partners Summer 2020


            The Strategic Director of City and Neighbourhood Services presented the Committee with a report that considered the realignment of staff resources and funding streams in order to better meet the emerging community need over the summer period.


            The Director referred to the valuable work already undertaken, with Council officers having worked directly with local and city wide organisations to ensure that those who were most vulnerable had been assisted.  He advised that there had been significant learning as a result of the COVID-19 Emergency response both internally within Council and based on feedback from community partners and advised that this had been and would continue to be factored into any future decision making. 


            The Committee then considered the previously scheduled summer 2020 community provision grants programmes and activities and the associated funding.  It was noted that due to the current situation that the proposed programmes and activities would not be able to take place in their current form.  The Members also noted that many of the programmes and activities were match funded by central government and that there had been very positive engagement with central government funders in supporting continuing this approach and they were awaiting a formal request from the Council to proceed.  


            The Committee also considered in detail the many emerging needs within communities and how these could best be addressed.  The Director detailed that it was proposed that a two strand grand programme (strategic funding and micro funding) would be immediately established, it would be aimed at supporting both strategic community partners and grassroots organisations. This programme would be funded using the £636,097 of community provision funding not being distributed up to end September 2020.


            The Committee agreed:


·         to use the available £636,097 from previously scheduled grant programmes for 01/04/20 – 30/09/20 to meet ongoing emerging needs as part of the COVID 19 recovery;

·         to grant delegated authority to the Strategic Director of City and Neighbourhood Services to liaise with and make the necessary proposals to the Policing and Community Safety Partnership and the Shared City Partnership to secure their buy-in; and

·         that allocation of the funding would be as follows:


Strand 1 – Strategic Funding of Key Area Based Organisations


Budget: £486,000

·         50% by population to reflect that Covid-19 need can be measured through deprivation; and

·         50% by Super Output Area 2017 Measures of Multiple Deprivation.



-       Allocated to those key organisations, who had shown a track record of managing similar work;

-       This would be a direct award (not an open call);

-       Organisations would be required to submit proposals based on the identified priority areas above;

-       Organisations who received funding would provide strategic leadership and support to local groups in the planning and delivery of services in the identified areas above; and

-       Support from Area Support Teams within Council with documentation, delivery and evaluation.


Note: To facilitate agility in supporting the community Strand 1 would work with the 9. community partners previously identified as part of the COVID-19 Community Support  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2d


Strategic Issues/Belfast Agenda


Recovery Programme pdf icon PDF 337 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee received a presentation from the Chief Executive which detailed the key elements of the Council’s recovery plan in response to the Covid 19 Pandemic, the details of which had also been included in the following report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1  The purpose of this report is to inform Elected Members of the high level proposals that the Council is both delivering and coordinating on behalf of other partners in order to support the city and its communities to recover from the Covid - 19 pandemic.


2.0  Recommendations


2.1  The Committee is asked to: 


(i)        note that the Committee will receive a presentation on the key elements of the Council’s recovery plan for the city as set out within this report;

(ii)       note the immediate focus and energy on supporting the safe reopening of the city

(iii)      note the reopening of St George’s Market on Friday 3rd.  July and Smithfield Market on Monday 22 June; and

(iv)      note work is underway with central government to identify potential funding available to support recovery efforts.


3.0  Main report




3.1        In the midst of the pandemic, authorities are rightly focused on minimising the human cost, providing relief to their communities and delivering essential day-to-day services.  Another major challenge for the Council and city partners is to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on their local economies, so that businesses can once again thrive and provide employment opportunities and vibrancy to local communities and the city centre.


3.2        It is evident that there will be lasting structural changes to the city’s economy, its infrastructure, its environment and to its communities, and will likely result in financial and economic uncertainty for some time. To thrive, we must reimagine the future now and act together to deliver it. 


3.3        It is important that we understand what these are, and how feasible it is to sustain these behaviours, appropriately, and over time.


3.4        The Covid 19 crisis presents a reset moment for Belfast’s economy and society, and whilst we will seek to build upon our strengths as a city, we will seek to be innovative, explore the art of the possibility and try to mobilise and reposition for a sustainable and inclusive future.


3.5        The Covid-19 crisis has mobilised and energised the community and voluntary sector who have been providing community support over the past 12 weeks. Knowledge of the sector, relationships and networks have strengthened significantly in a short space of time and there is a real opportunity to build upon this and reimagine our neighbourhoods as the city plans its response, rebuild and recovery.



            NI Executive – five phase plan 


3.6       The overarching context for the council interventions is the ‘Pathway to Recovery’ issued by the Northern Ireland Executive on 12 May 2020.  This incorporates a five step decision-making framework towards relieving all of restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic.  The framework covers a number of areas including retail; work; education, family and community; travel and sport, culture  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3a


City Region Growth Deal pdf icon PDF 429 KB


The Committee considered the following report:


“1.0   Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1     This report is to provide an update to Committee on the progress of the Belfast Region City Deal (BRCD) in the context of the Covid-19 emergency and the importance of the Investment Programme to the region’s long-term recovery plans.


2.0     Recommendations


2.1     The Committee is asked:


·         Note the announcement of the £350m match funding for BRCD from the Northern Ireland Executive.

·         Note the update in respect of each of the pillars and the governance and resourcing arrangements in light of the Covid-19 emergency.

·         Note the update in respect of the BRCD Council Panel.

·         Note the key strategic challenges ahead when the immediate crisis has passed its peak and the importance the BRCD Programme will play in the region’s recovery from the Covid-19 emergency.


3.0     Main report


         Programme Update


3.1     Due to the emergency pandemic and the increased pressure on partners, in particular local councils, in the early stages of the response to the pandemic the meetings of the BRCD Executive Board, Advisory Boards and the BRCD Council Panel were cancelled.  Plans for enhanced stakeholder engagement were also postponed.


3.2     The BRCD Team however continued to engage with partners virtually to understand the immediate implications for progressing work relating to the BRCD and to seek to support continued progress in the development of business cases where practicable. Virtual meetings have now resumed although the BRCD team is mindful of the significant pressures still faced by partners in ensuring the continuation of essential services, supporting the emergency response to the crisis and ensuring the safety of their staff, customers and citizens. 


3.3     The Covid-19 pandemic has had a monumental impact on people all across the world. Beyond the immediate impacts, the widespread societal and economic impact, the full extent of which isn’t fully known at this stage, will create a number of challenges for the BRCD, including in relation to timelines and some areas of planned investment.  However, the BRCD was developed based on a robust industrial strategic framework which aligns key economic strengths with resilient and growing areas of the economy. The BRCD is therefore well positioned to play a key role in supporting long-term economic recovery across Northern Ireland. 


3.4     The aim of developing OBCs for all the capital projects that were outlined in the Heads of Terms document by end of May 2020 has understandably had to be reviewed and will be addressed as the situation evolves and greater clarity is known. Discussions are ongoing with the NI and UK Governments and BRCD Partners in relation to the timeline to sign a ‘Deal Document’, with previous target being to have a Deal Document ready by end September 2020.


         NI Funding and Governance Arrangements


3.5     On 4th May 2020 the NI Executive announced £350m match funding for the BRCD, confirming the commitment to an overall investment package from the UK and NI Governments and the BRCD partners of £850M.  This was a clear recognition  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3b


SMART Belfast Update pdf icon PDF 336 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1.0   Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1     ‘Smart Belfast’ encourages city partners to work together to exploit leading-edge technologies (such as AI, robotics, wireless networks, data science and industrial service design) in order to address urban challenges in more innovative ways. And at the same time, fostering a creative environment in which start-ups and established businesses can adopt digital technologies to create new products and services.


         The approach is likely to become increasingly important as Belfast emerges from the Covid-19 crisis. As a powerful contributor to increased productivity, digital innovation will be vital to Belfast’s economic recovery. Smart Belfast will have a role to play in this. This paper sets out the current work of the team and a number of forthcoming opportunities.


2.0     Recommendations


2.1     The Committee is asked:


1.     To note the launch of the Covid Connect platform and that proposals for future developments will be presented to Committee in August.

2.     To note the award of €680,431 to Belfast under Horizon 2020’s ‘Entrepreneurship for the Transformation of Historic Urban Areas’ project, and the commencement date of autumn 2020.

3.     Members are asked to note the contents of the attached Smart District booklet.

4.     To approve Belfast City Council’s membership of the World Economic Forum & G20’s Smart Cities Alliance.

5.     To approve the Council’s participation in the ESCR/IRC Data Driven Societies project application.

6.     To note the award of £100,000 for Phase Two of Amazing Spaces: Smart Places.

7.     To approve the Council’s participation in a €250,000 bid to Horizon 2020’s nature-based solutions call to address urban air pollution.

8.     To approve the Council’s support for a £500,000 Urban Mobility project bid to Innovate UK’s Smart Grant.


3.0     Main report


3.1     Covid Connect platform


         During the first phase of the Covid-19 crisis, the City Innovation team were approached by a number of digital companies seeking to offer help in response to challenges faced by government and community and voluntary sector organisations. And at the same time the team had also been approached by organisations, including teams within the Council, seeking technical support.


3.2     In response the team rapidly established the online brokerage platform over a three-week period. (It was officially launched by the Lord Mayor on 18th May and received publicity locally and nationally.) The platform connects companies offering mainly digital support (often on a pro bono basis) with public, community and voluntary sector bodies. The platform builds on a European funded project the team had already been part of, led by local SME Xpand Group.


3.3     To date, over 80 organisations have signed up to the platform (including EY, Deloitte, Amazon, BT, Microsoft, Kainos, etc.) The brokerage service has already led to a number of projects including data analysis on business sectors in the city; solutions for organisations seeking to engage remote with vulnerable client groups; and using sentiment analysis tools to track the update of social distancing guidance to support health organisations.


3.4     The  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3c


Update on Dublin - Belfast Economic Corridor pdf icon PDF 327 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee was reminded that a partnership had been established which was made up of four councils in Northern Ireland and four in the Republic of Ireland to support the development of the Dublin-Belfast Economic Corridor.  In order to shape the future direction of the partnership and in an attempt to identify economic opportunities along the corridor, Dublin City University and Ulster University Economic Policy Centre had been commissioned to carry out research on behalf of the councils.


            The research paper had now been completed and the partnership had agreed that it be forwarded to the North South Ministerial Council for its consideration and to enable further discussion.  The report detailed the current economic performance of the Corridor and the future prospects for the region based on current trends. It also initiated the work of identifying potential areas for cooperation which could create a stronger trajectory for growth.


            The report highlighted a number of population and employment forecasts which had been based upon ‘baseline’ or ‘current trends’ assumptions, while adjusting for potential impacts of Brexit, although it should be noted that it had been prepared prior to Covid 19. The. ‘baseline’ scenario to 2040 pointed to the current divergence in growth rates between Northern Ireland and Ireland continuing. It also found that the Corridor would continue its trajectory to becoming the location for a third of the island’s population, perhaps reaching a total of 2.5 million people by 2040.


            The report also identified the general strengths of the Corridor as it currently functioned, highlighting demographic trends, skills levels and connectivity. These strengths remained, even in light of the current Covid 19 event and the associated public health crisis. Sectoral concentrations and strengths included tradeable services (including ICT, Professional Services and Financial Services), as well as high tech Manufacturing and Construction. Another sector that was important in every Council area was tourism with 68,000 jobs across the Corridor. It was noted that over 10 million trips had been made in the Corridor in 2017, with access onto the island being especially beneficial. A high proportion of these numbers had been in Belfast and Dublin.


            The report concluded by proposing a number of broad areas for government-led collaboration which aimed to deliver additional economic value to the region and the island more generally.  These included promotion of the corridor area to attract investment from both inward private and domestic and public sources, in addition to investment in infrastructure in areas such as transport connectivity as well as research and innovation centres, Smart Cities initiatives, and investment in environmental and energy management projects.


            The Committee noted the outcomes from the research paper undertaken by Ulster University and Dublin City University in respect of the Dublin – Belfast Economic Corridor.



Invitation to join UK100 Resilient Recovery Taskforce pdf icon PDF 419 KB


            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1.0   Purpose of Report


1.1     To seek committee approval for Belfast City Council to accept an invitation to join the UK100 Resilient Recovery Taskforce, and agree that the Chair of Strategic Policy & Resources Committee should represent Council on the Taskforce, with officer support from the Commissioner for Resilience. 


2.0     Recommendations


2.1     The Committee is asked to


·         Approve BCC membership of the Resilient Recovery Taskforce, and that the Chair of the Strategic Policy & Resources Committee represents Council.


3.0        Main Report


            Key points to note


3.1     UK100 is the network for UK local authorities, urban, suburban and rural, focused on climate and clean energy policy. It connects local leaders to each other, to business and to national government, enabling them to showcase their achievements, learn from each other and speak collectively to accelerate the transition to clean energy.  It works closely with elected representatives, policy experts and grassroots campaigners to make the clean energy transition a reality. This involves developing solutions to challenges faced by each and all of our local leaders, whatever their geography, history or makeup, so as to influence national government and building public support for clean energy solutions.  It has a close working relationship to ‘Core Cities’ of which Belfast is an active member. 


3.2     UK 100 has written to Belfast City Council to invite it to join a newly formed Resilient Recovery Taskforce.  The Taskforce is ‘designed to bring the expertise and experience of local leaders to bear on how to rebuild our economy in a way that meets the challenges of climate change.’  It follows guidance written to government from the.  UK.  Committee on Climate Change on a resilient recovery, which highlighted the importance of accelerating action on de-carbonisation and adaptation, given the lessons learned from Covid. - 19. 


3.3     While the specific actions will be agreed by the Taskforce over the coming months, it is expected that it’s programme of work will include, action to:


·         Communicate the opportunities of placing the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change at the heart of resilient recovery, by using our collective voices and individual actions to ensure that the UK Government supports local government and the investments needed locally.

·         Establish a process of engagement with national government that enables local leaders to help develop constructively the design, format, content and delivery of an economic recovery package, or packages that create resilience in our communities and reduce carbon emissions. This should be complementary to any existing engagement that exists currently.

·         Agree a shared set of broad priorities, in the form of a declaration, that reflects how we want to achieve collective goals and that helps Task Force members in securing support for specific projects and programmes for their local areas.


3.4     In the first instance UK100 have agreed to perform the necessary secretariat duties, with the support of Core Cities, and there is no expectation of a financial contribution for participation.


3.5     Belfast City Council has already undertaken to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3e




Annual update of the Scheme of Delegation pdf icon PDF 317 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee approved the amendments made under the delegated power to the City Solicitor to make minor amendments to the Scheme of Delegation and noted that the Scheme had been amended to reflect the following, which were all noted in the version control section of the document:


·         powers relating to the termination of service in respect of persons declared medically unfit (and the amended terminology) transferred from the Director of Finance and Resources to the Director of City and Organisational Strategy;

·         following the retirement of the Director of Property and Projects, the transfer of those delegated powers to the Chief Executive;

·         the addition of The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations 2020 to Appendix B, which had been made pursuant to the minor amendment power delegated to the City Solicitor in Section 3.3.13.



Physical Programme and Asset Management


Physical Programme Update pdf icon PDF 421 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee considered the following report:


“1.0   Purpose of Report or Summary of Main Issues


1.1      The Council’s Capital programme is a rolling programme of investment which either improves the existing Council facilities or provides new Council facilities. This report provides:


-         An overview of capital projects recently completed

-         An update on Covid 19 implications and key actions

-         Capital programme 2020/21 project update movements


2.0     Recommendations


2.1     The Committee is requested to –


-         note the update on the Physical programmes completed projects as at 3.1 below and in Appendix 1.  When appropriate, as per Covid 19 public health guidance, the Department is happy to arrange site visits to any projects that have been completed.

-         note the update on impact of Covid 19 on the capital programme for 2020/21

-         agree to include 2 new IT projects under the council’s IT Programme due to business criticality and to ensure ongoing business continuity – a new Backup platform infrastructure, and new Uninterruptible Power Supply - and move to Stage 3 Committed with a maximum £100,000 and £150,000 (respectively) budget allocated.

-         Agree that the Belfast Zoo Health and Safety project is moved to Stage 3- Committed with a maximum £1.6m budget allocated.


3.0     Main report


         Physical programmes update


3.1     The Council’s Physical Programme includes Council’s rolling Capital Programme is a significant regeneration programme of investment across the city which improves the existing Council assets, or provides new council facilities; it also includes funding streams (BIF, LIF and SOF) and acting as a delivery agent for other government departments (UV, SIF, DfC). 3.2 below provides an update on the current impacts of Covid 19 on the delivery of physical projects, however over the last 6 months a number of projects have been completed including: 


-         Leisure and sports facilities: The new Andersonstown Leisure Centre (LTP); 3G carpet replacement at LORAG Shaftesbury centre and Cregagh; 3G pitch at Hanwood (BIF); new MUGA and outdoor facilities at John Paul Youth Club (LIF/UV);

-         Upgrades to parks, open spaces and playgrounds - playground refurbishments at Ormeau Park (lower Ormeau/Ravenhill playground), Geeragh Community Centre at Finaghy; Rev. Robert Bradford playground and new MUGA (UV/DfC);

-         Community facilities: Cancer Life line facility (BIF/DfC); PIPS Suicide prevention facility refurbishment (SIF); New Diamond project facility (UV).


         Photos of the completed projects are attached in Appendix 1. When appropriate, as per Covid 19 public health guidance, the Physical Programmes Department is happy to arrange site visits to any projects that have been completed.


3.2     Covid – 19 impact update


         In the April Physical Programmes update report, Members were advised that an analysis and ongoing monitoring exercise on the impact of the pandemic on the delivery of the Council’s wider Physical Programme was being carried out by the Physical Programmes Department, working closely with Financial Services and Legal Services.  Some 24 projects were at an On Site stage of delivery when Covid 19 restrictions took effect in March. Almost all projects temporarily ceased works - with the exception  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5a


Asset Management pdf icon PDF 242 KB

Additional documents:


Lock Keepers Cottage Visitors Centre –

Lagan Valley Regional Park Lease Renewal


            The Committee granted a renewal of the lease for the offices occupied by LaganValley Regional Park at the Lock Keepers Cottage Visitors Centre for a term of 3 years from 1st April 2020 at a rent of £ 5,000 per annum.


Ulster Hall - BBC Recording Studio Lease Renewal


            The Committee approved the renewal of the lease of c. 350 sq ft of accommodation situated on the third floor of the Ulster Hall to the BBC for a term of 5 years from 1st July 2020 at a rent of £3,500 per annum.



Finance, Procurement and Performance


Contracts Update pdf icon PDF 247 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1.0   Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1      The purpose of this report is to:


·         seek approval from members for tenders and STAs over £30,000


2.0     Recommendations


2.1     The Committee is asked to:


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


·         Approve the award of STAs in line with Standing Order 55 exceptions as detailed in Appendix 1 (Table 2)


·         Note the award of contracts by Arc 21 on behalf the council (Table 3)


3.0     Main report


3.1     Publically Advertised Tenders


         Section 2.5 of the Scheme of Delegation states Chief Officers have delegated authority to authorise a contract for the procurement of goods, services or works over the statutory limit of £30,000 following a tender exercise where the council has approved the invitation to tender


         Standing Order 60(a) states any contract that exceeds the statutory amount (currently £30,000) shall be made under the Corporate Seal.  Under Standing Order 51(b) the Corporate Seal can only be affixed when there is a resolution of the Council.


         Standing Order 54 states that every contract shall comply with the relevant requirements of national and European legislation.


3.2     Single Tender Actions (STAs)


         The following STAs are being submitted for approval:


·         Provision of consultancy services to provide a five year strategic plan, including creative programming approach, for the Belfast Titanic Maritime Festival.  The tender was publicly advertised in October 2019 but all suppliers who submitted a response failed the evaluation.  This work aligns with the Council’s new ten-year cultural strategy for Belfast, approved by Members in August 2019.  Urban Scale Intervention were identified as a supplier that can complete the work

·         Delivery of Research to Inform Provision of Enterprise Support.  This tender exercise approved in October 2019 resulted in no suitable bidder being appointed.

·         12 month extension of contract with BT for data connectivity for remote sites. This extension is required to assist with the implementation and handover of the new data connectivity service provider which has been impacted by COVID-19.

·         15 month extension of contract with Bryson Recycling from 1st August 2020 until 31st October 2021 for the continued provision of kerbside collections. This extension is required until a strategic decision on the future of the service is finalised and a procurement strategy developed in line with the Waste Framework 2017.

·         12 month extension of T1612 contract with Signtime for the provision a wide variety of signage (information and H&S) that the Council requires in parks, open spaces, depots, recycling centres etc from 1st April 2020 to 31st March 2021. This STA will regularise this expenditure whilst a formal procurement exercise is completed.

·         12 month contract with an approved contractor for the removal, treatment and disposal of seasonal/contentious waste during this 2020 financial year as agreed at the Bonfire Project Board in February 2020.


3.3     The Committee is also asked to note that a 6 month extension of contract has been agreed with our supplier for the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6a


Equality and Good Relations


Dual Language Street Signs Policy pdf icon PDF 256 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee considered the following report which considered a motion previously raised seeking to amend the Council’s existing Irish language street naming policy:


“1.0   Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1     The purpose of this report is for Members to consider the Notice of Motion in relation to the Dual Language Street Signs Policy.


2.0     Recommendations


2.1     The Committee is asked to:


·         Consider the Notice of Motion in relation to the Dual Language Street Signs Policy. 

·         Consider a minimum response threshold in respect of the survey requirement.  If Members are minded to change the policy, a revised policy will be drafted in accordance with your decision and presented for adoption with an equality screening carried out at your next meeting.   Committee to note that other revisions could be made to the current policy to address issues which have arisen since it was first adopted, for example new streets or streets which have no occupiers, and accordingly these revisions could be incorporated within any new policy should you choose to adopt one.

·         Following discussions at Party Group Leader’s Consultative Forum a protocol for managing engagement with consultees will be developed for consideration by members at a subsequent meeting


3.0     Main report


3.2     Background


3.1     The Council adopted a Street Naming and Buildings Numbering Policy in February 2009 which incorporates a Dual Language Street Signs Policy. At Council on 3 February 2020, Councillor Walsh proposed the following Notice of Motion:


         ‘This Council has one of the most restrictive policies of any council in the North in regards to Irish Language Street Signage Policy.


         Currently, the policy is that you need a 1/3rd of the eligible electorate in a street to sign a petition which starts the process. Once the process has been initiated, a letter is sent to everyone in that street who is on the electoral register asking if they consent to have bilingual signage installed. The resident has three options, namely, Yes, No and Don’t Care. For the process to come to a successful conclusion, 2/3rds of the total electorate in the street need to consent to yes. If a letter is not returned, it is considered by the Council as saying that they don’t consent for the bilingual signage. Furthermore, where residents send the survey back saying ‘Don’t Care, this is also considered to be a negative response.


         If we, as Elected Members were held to the same standard as this policy in the Local Government elections, not one Member would have been returned to serve on this Council, as we would not have met those restrictive parameters. The Council’s Language Strategy refers to increasing the visibility of the Irish Language in our City. However, it is essential not to impose the Irish language on residents if the majority of them in a street do not consent to it.


         Therefore, this Council will amend its Irish language street signage policy to the following:


                              i.        continue with the 1/3rd of the eligible electorate in the street to initiate  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7a


Operational Issues


Minutes of Party Group Leaders Consultative Forum pdf icon PDF 199 KB


            The Committee approved and adopted the minutes of the meeting of the Party Group Leaders’ Consultative Forum of 12th June, 2020.



Issues Raised in Advance by Members


Race Equality Champion for Belfast City Council - Councillor Nicholl pdf icon PDF 340 KB


            In accordance with notice on the agenda, the Committee considered a report which had been requested by Councillor Nicholl who, in light of current events following the death of George Floyd in America, had requested that the Council would give consideration to the appointment of a Race Equality Champion.


            The Committee agreed that a further report would be submitted to a future meeting of the Committee which would summarise the existing structures, internal policies and action plans relating to addressing equality of opportunity and promoting the inclusion of Black Asian and Minority Ethnic communities (BAME). The report would also include options which Members could consider to enhance its current arrangements with the purpose of promoting the equality and inclusion of BAME communities, their access to Council services and participation in civic life. It would also take into consideration the review of the Council’s wider approach to championing diversity and give consideration as to how the valuable views and opinions of the Shared City Partnership and Migrant Forum could be better fed into the Council decision making process.



Disabled People and Older People - Councillor McMullan pdf icon PDF 216 KB


With the permission of the Chairperson, Councillor McMullan addressed the Committee and proposed the following motion:


“This Council commits to delivering a Covid-19 pandemic response and long-term recovery that is inclusive of disabled people and older people. We further commit ourselves to put the resources required behind a further commitment to become a global leader in inclusion and accessibility in the delivery of our previous commitment in the Belfast Agenda to be an accessible for all by 2035 and no one is left behind.


This Council recognises that lockdown has created severe impacts on the day to day lives of many disabled people, older people, and carers, for example, the removal or reduction of access to key services and support for independent living and the impact of self-isolation on health and wellbeing.  Social distancing will be with us for the foreseeable future and presents additional and serious challenges that need to be addressed in the measures taken by this Council and other stakeholders.  As we consider how we will reopen our City, we need to ensure that social and physical distancing does not lead to social and physical barriers. This Council believes we need to ensure that our short term response in the decisions made on measures to adapt to social distancing are taken through direct engagement with disabled people, older people and carers.


This Council also recognises that for many disabled people, older people and carers the ‘old normal’ often did not work for them. We want to ensure that the long-term recovery of Belfast leaves no one behind and to ensure that the ‘new normal’ aspires to address the concerns and lessons of the ‘old normal’. We recommit ourselves to the commitment made in the Belfast Agenda to be an accessible city for all by 2035, and to build back better than there was before in a way that is inclusive, accessible and sustainable.


To achieve these short and long term objectives, this Council believes we need a common, strategic vision of disability-inclusion and accessibility across all of our strategies and plans as we respond and recover from the Covid-19 pandemic through our functions and through our influence with our partners and other stakeholders. We call on Belfast City Council to:


1.   Ensure disabled people, older people and carers are consulted as part of the ‘Reopening the City’ strategy and are active participants in the planning and delivery of this strategy, particularly through the Belfast City Council’s Disability Advisory Panel.


2.   Create a Reference Group for Disabled People. This will provide a forum for councillors, our Disability Advisory Panel, council officers as well as other relevant stakeholders and experts from time-to-time, to discuss and progress actions on Belfast City Council’s commitment to becoming an accessible city for all by 2035.


3.   Create an ‘Access and Inclusion’ senior staff role. This role would act as both an internal focal point for council staff to improve access and inclusion in the delivery of Council services and have a key  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9b


Celebration of Donar's Day - Councillor McLaughlin

This council wishes to acknowledge the fantastic work done by many families and individuals in relation to blood/platelet donation, stem cell donation and organ donation across Belfast and beyond. On January 31st 2020 Belfast City Hall hosted events for the first ever Donor’s Day, which was celebrated across the North. Following on from the great success this Council will agree to light the City Hall in pink on the 31st January to celebrate Donor’s Day. Furthermore this council will work with the Blood Transfusion Service, NHS Organ Donation Service, Public Health Agency and Anthony Nolan Trust to host an information and donation session in Belfast City Hall on Donor’s day. Finally this council will also write to the Assembly Commission to request that Stormont is also lit pink to celebrate Donor’s Day.



            In accordance with notice on the agenda, Councillor McLaughlin proposed the following:


“This council wishes to acknowledge the fantastic work done by many families and individuals in relation to blood/platelet donation, stem cell donation and organ donation across Belfast and beyond. On January 31st 2020 Belfast City Hall hosted events for the first ever Donor’s Day, which was celebrated across the North. Following on from the great success this Council will agree to light the City Hall in pink on 29th January, 2021 to celebrate Donor’s Day. Furthermore this council will work with the Blood Transfusion Service, NHS Organ Donation Service, Public Health Agency and Anthony Nolan Trust to host an information and donation session in Belfast City Hall on Donor’s day. Finally this council will also write to the Assembly Commission to request that Stormont is also lit pink to celebrate Donor’s Day.”


            The Committee acceded to the request to light the City Hall pink on Friday, 29th. January, 2021 to mark Donor’s Day and agreed that the Council would work with the Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service, NHS Organ Donation Service, Public Health Agency and the Anthony Nolan Trust to host an information and donation session in Belfast City Hall on Donor’s day. It was further agreed that a letter would be forwarded to the Northern Ireland Assembly Commission requesting that Parliament Buildings would also be lit pink.