Agenda and minutes

Venue: Lavery Room - City Hall

Contact: Mrs Sara Steele, Democratic Services Officer  90320202 x6301

No. Item




            No apologies were reported.  





            The minutes of the meeting of 7th and 13th February, 2023 were taken as read and signed as correct. 


            It was reported that the minutes had been adopted by the Council at its meeting on 1st March.



Declarations of Interest



            Councillor Verner declared an interest in agenda item 4 (a) Timeframe for Reviews (Strategic Partners and Fuel Hardship) as she worked for one of the Strategic Partners but as the report was for noting she was not required to leave the meeting.



Update on Committee Schedule pdf icon PDF 130 KB


            The Committee approved the change in date of the People and Communities Committee from Tuesday, 6th to Tuesday, 13th June 2023.





            The information contained in the reports associated with the following three 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 on the following 4 items as, due to their nature, 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 3 2022/23

Additional documents:


            The Committee noted the contents of a report which summarised the Quarter 3 financial position for the People and Communities Committee, which had an under-spend of £1.05m (1.6%), with the forecast year end position being a balance position after adjustments.


            The Committee noted that the main reasons for the quarter 3 Committee under-spend related to vacant posts across a number of services, the receipt of additional income and the timing of grants and programmes.


            The Committee noted the Quarter 3 financial position and the associated financial reporting pack.



Belfast Citywide Tribunal Service - in year update

Additional documents:


            The Committee considered a report which provided an update on the 2022/23 position for the Belfast Citywide Tribunal Service.


            The Committee agreed to defer the report and refer it to the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee and that, in the interim, officers would contact the Department for Communities and, if necessary, TEO to further discuss additional funding options.  The Committee further agreed to invite representatives from the Belfast Citywide Tribunal Service to make a presentation to a future meeting of the Committee to update the Members on its work and to present its 5-year business case proposal. 



GLL Leisure Management Contract - Six monthly update on contract compliance and performance

Additional documents:


            The Partnership Manager provided the Board with a comprehensive update on the contract compliance assurances and key performance indicators for the GLL Leisure Management Contract, specifically regarding the following key areas:


·        Contract compliance;

·        Key Performance Indicators;

·        Facility Asset Management monitoring; and

·        Health and Safety Compliance assurances


            During discussion the Partnership Manager addressed a query in relation to building maintenance and repairs, he advised that the Council had a Division of Labour contract which dealt with these matters, and he undertook to circulate a copy to the Members for information.


            The Members also discussed the Loughside Recreation Centre, Shore Road and noted that it was currently only partly open as the building required a significant amount of work to make it fit for purpose.  


            The Committee noted the six-monthly update in respect of the GLL Management Contract.



Community Support Programme Additional Funding 2022/23


            The Committee considered a comprehensive report which provided detail in respect of additional funding awards from the Department for Communities (DfC) via the Community Support Programme 2022/23.


            The Director of Neighbourhood Services reminded the Members that the DfC provided an annual grant to the Council to help deliver the Council’s Community Support Programme (CSP).  He continued that, during February 2023, the Council received two additional requests from the DfC to facilitate the allocation of additional monies to those VCSE groups that the Council was already providing support to via the CSP allocation. 


            The awards were as follows:


·        Mitigating the impact of cost-of-living increases; and

·        Additional Payment for Salaries.


            The Members were provided with a detailed update in terms of the additional funding and the proposed funding allocation models for both additional measures and asked to note that the additional funding required committed spend by the 31st March 2023, which was an extremely tight deadline.


            The Committee noted the additional funding and conditions for the allocation, as outlined in the report.



Matters referred back from the Council/Motions


Imagination Library NoM pdf icon PDF 308 KB


The Committee agreed to defer the report to enable the proposer of the motion to liaise further with Council officers regarding the proposal and the anticipated costs in advance of a report being submitted to a future meeting.



Committee/Strategic Issues


Timeframe for Reviews (Strategic Partners and Fuel Hardship) pdf icon PDF 328 KB


            The Committee considered the following report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1       The purpose of this report is to update members on timeframes for, and/or progress to date, re. taking forward reviews of funding awarded to Strategic Partners for Covid Response/Recovery (20/21 and 21/22) and for Fuel Hardship Fund (22/23).


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to note the update in relation to:


·        timescales for, and current work being undertaken, in relation to the review of funding allocated to Strategic and Thematic Partners (20/21 and 21/22) – with a final paper planned to come through to committee in August 2023,

·        anticipated timescale for receipt of final monitoring returns from delivery partners in relation to implementation of the Fuel Hardship Fund scheme,

·        officer recommendation that the All Party Cost-of-Living Task Group (to be established and which will include member and officer representation) should review relevant collated information regarding same and make recommendations on next steps as to any further review and verification that might be required.


3.0       Main report


3.0       Background


3.1       It was agreed at P&C committee in August 2022 (ratified at Council in September) that ‘a review of strategic and thematic partners’ would be undertaken and within the minute ‘that a list of the current/proposed Strategic Partners be circulated to the Members of the Committee.’


3.2       It was then further agreed at SP&R committee in November 2022 when the Fuel Hardship Fund scheme was being developed that ‘a report be submitted to the Committee within the next two months providing an update on the work being undertaken to review the strategic and thematic partners.’  Then in December 2022, members requested that ‘the report on the use of strategic partners, which was due to be presented to the Committee early in the new year, would also include information on the oversight measures in place for the Fuel Poverty Hardship Scheme.’ Furthermore, in January 2023, SP&R committee agreed that ‘an All-Party Cost-of-Living Task Group be established, to discuss the challenges and learnings of the scheme, that would be considered should a similar scheme be required in winter 2023.’


            Strategic and thematic partners


3.3       Following the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and the associated pressure to readily respond to the needs of communities and communities of interest, Party Group Leaders identified and agreed a number of area-based strategic partners, and thematic partners, that Council would award relevant DfC/central government and BCC funding to, and work in partnership with, to address the needs of local residents during the initial lockdown period(s). Tables 1A and 1B provide a summary of the funding allocations to the respective partners.


            Table 1A - 2020/21 – Strategic (area) Partners including allocations made)









Crusaders FC






Loughview Community Action Project



North Belfast Advice Partnership



North Belfast Alternatives









Forward South






Southcity Resource and Development Centre









Greater Shankill Partnership



Upper Andersonstown Community  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.


Consultation on a Draft Circular Economy Strategy for Northern Ireland and Operations Update pdf icon PDF 423 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee considered the following report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1       To present to Committee Belfast City Council’s draft response to the recently published Draft Circular Economy Strategy for Northern Ireland.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to:


-       Approve the draft Belfast City Council response to the Draft Circular Economy Strategy for Northern Ireland.

-       Note the recruitment of a Chief Executive by Arc21.


3.0       Main report


            Key Issues


3.1       Members may recall from last month’s meeting (7th February 2023) that the Department for the Economy (DfE) has recently launched a public consultation on the draft Circular Economy (CE) Strategy for Northern Ireland.  This draft strategy sets out the Department’s vision to create an innovative, inclusive and competitive economy, with responsible production and consumption at its core.


3.2       The main goal of the CE Strategy is to adopt a circular model and reduce our material footprint to live responsibly, build resilience, exploit new opportunities and to secure future prosperity for businesses, people and the planet.


3.3       DfE has worked together with all government departments to develop the draft strategy, in collaboration with external stakeholders from local government, the private sector, academia, the voluntary and community sectors and others. 


3.4       The overarching target is to halve Northern Ireland’s annual material footprint per person to 8 tonnes by 2050. Our material footprint is the total volume of material embodied within the whole supply chain to meet our demands.  It measures the global (domestic and foreign) extraction of raw materials required for goods and services used by the residents of Northern Ireland.


3.5       The draft CE Strategy sets out how this can be achieved through; switching to materials that can be reused, increasing use of fuels that can be replenished, designing things to be kept in use for longer and reducing waste.  


3.6       The draft Strategy is set out in two parts: the Executive Summary and first four chapters provides an outline of the Circular Economy and the second part covers proposals for initiating change and how this can be monitored and measured.


3.7       The draft CE Strategy focuses on four business sectors:


-       Construction and the built environment

-       Bioeconomy

-       Advanced manufacturing

-       Tourism and Hospitality


3.8       It focuses on four types of materials:


-       Textiles

-       Food

-       Packaging

-       Electricals


3.9       To help create more sustainable production and levels of consumption, the CE Strategy presents twelve proposals for change:


1.      Develop and implement a programme to support and promote behaviour change.


2.      Create clusters and networks to raise awareness and assist collaboration.


3.      Develop an outcome-focused Circular Economy monitoring framework.


4.      Embed Circular Economy principles in public procurement.


5.      Work with businesses to increase circular design.


6.      Create and support platforms and hubs to share goods and materials.


7.      Maximise the value of materials locally.


8.      Establish a Circular Economy funding programme.


9.      Create a regulatory framework that supports and incentivises greater circulation of goods and materials.


10.   Invest in research  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.


More Circularity Less Carbon pdf icon PDF 304 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1       To present the ‘More Circularity Less Carbon’ report for Belfast City Council’s waste management activities.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to:


·        Note the contents of the report and it is envisaged that the key findings and recommendations will be integrated into the next Council waste plan and contribute to the Council’s climate change actions.


3.0       Main report




3.1       The ‘More Circularity, Less Carbon’ (MCLC) campaign was launched by the Association of Cities and Regions Plus (ACR+) in November 2019, to help its members in addressing the carbon footprint of their waste. ACR+ has partnered with its constituent member Zero Waste Scotland to assess how individual territories can reduce the carbon impact of municipal waste by 25% by 2025.


3.2       Zero Waste Scotland’s Carbon Metric International (CMI) tool, enables cities or regions to measure the carbon impact of their municipal waste, take effective actions to reduce it, and track their progress towards the 2025 target.  Belfast is one of the ACR+ members which benefited from this project and received support to use the CMI to quantify the whole-life carbon impacts of its household waste.  The results are summarised in the attached report (Appendix 1 – The Carbon Footprint of Waste - Belfast), which has three main objectives:


·        Provide a detailed breakdown of waste carbon impacts by materials and management/treatment process;

·        Enable Belfast to establish its 2025 waste carbon reduction target;

·        Assess several carbon reduction scenarios that can help Belfast achieve its target.


3.3       The Carbon Metric provides policymakers and stakeholders with an alternative to weight-based waste measurement, allowing them to identify and focus specifically on those waste materials with the highest carbon impacts and greatest potential carbon savings.  The whole-life carbon impacts of household waste in Belfast were quantified in the report and based on 2020 data.


            Key findings


3.4       The carbon impacts of household waste in Belfast in 2020 were approximately 360,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2eq.), or 1.05 tCO2eq./capita.


3.5       The graphic below shows that the carbon saved through recycling was slightly more than the carbon impacts of landfilling and incineration, meaning Belfast’s household waste management activity is net carbon negative.  However, whenever the embodied carbon impacts of the waste material (i.e. the emissions generated by the extraction of resources, production, manufacturing, etc. of the corresponding products, labelled as ‘Generated’) are considered this tips the scales into a carbon positive picture.  These ‘generated’ emissions are always the highest contributor to the net carbon impacts of waste, which is why waste prevention, in accordance with the waste hierarchy, offers the greatest carbon savings. Accounting for the full lifecycle impacts, Belfast’s waste carbon intensity is 2.4 tCO2eq./tonne of waste collected


3.6       The report included a breakdown graph demonstrating the whole-life carbon impacts of waste by stage (tCO2eq) available here


3.7       The different  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.


Belfast Boxing Strategy 2022-2023 Quarter 3 - Update and extension of programme for 2023-2024 pdf icon PDF 238 KB

Additional documents:


The Director of Neighbourhood Services drew the Members’ attention to the contents of a report which provided an update on the implementation of the Belfast Boxing Strategy, for the period October to December 2022 (Quarter 3).  The report noted that the Irish Athletic Boxing Association Ulster Branch (IABA) had advised that it anticipated that all the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) would be achieved by the end of 2022/23.


            The Committee was advised that, pending the development of Council’s Physical Activity and Sports Development Strategy, the IABA had asked the Council to extend the current strategy and related level of annual support for a further twelve-month period. 


            The Committee:


·        noted the progress to date of the strategy annual work plan for the current year 2022/23;

·        agreed to extend the Belfast Boxing Strategy and delivery of the related programme from 1st April 2023 to 31st March 2024, pending the production of the new Physical Activity and Sports Development Strategy for Belfast; and 

·        agreed that annual update reports on the Boxing Strategy be submitted annually to the March meeting of the People and Communities Committee instead of quarterly updates.



Stadia Community Benefits Initiative 2022-2023 Quarter 3 Update pdf icon PDF 256 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1       To advise Committee of progress with the Stadia Community Benefits Initiative (SCBI) for Quarter 3 of the current financial year and to provide an update on the action plan.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to:


·        Note progress to date.


3.0       Main report


3.1       The Council has been undertaking the Leisure Transformation Programme to renew its Leisure facilities across the City. This Programme has been influenced by the Partnership opportunities presented by the NI Executive Stadia Programme.


3.2       The Council, Department for Communities (DfC) and the Irish Football Association (IFA) have recognised the opportunities presented by the Stadia Programme, have committed to work together to maximise these benefits and have agreed to establish a Stadium Community Benefits Initiative as part of the Belfast Community Benefits Initiative (‘the Project’) to implement and deliver agreed objectives including promoting equality, tackling poverty, and tackling social exclusion within the Belfast area.


3.3       In March 2016 the Council, DfC and IFA signed an agreement which sets out their respective commitments to the project. As other major stadia are developed in Belfast, it is anticipated that other sports governing bodies shall become parties to the agreement. At its April 2018 meeting People and Communities committee agreed that Council would work with the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) within the Stadia Community Benefits Initiative and recognised their significant planned investment in Gaelic Games in the city to support their Gaelfast strategy. GAA activities became fully incorporated into the action plan at the start of financial year 2019-2020, with Gaelfast staff imbedded into the governance structure at the Delivery Board and the Policy and Performance Group.


3.4       The agreement is for a period of ten years with financial commitment from Council and IFA in place to the end of March 2026. Delivery is managed through monthly meetings of the Delivery Board, which reports quarterly to the Policy and Performance Board. Financial and performance reports will be presented to Council and other partners’ Boards as necessary.


3.5       The Policy & Performance Group is responsible for agreeing the Benefits Realisation Plan and associated annual targets. Work was undertaken to ensure the end benefits/outcomes are aligned to partners’ strategies. To measure the progress of this the Council and the IFA have developed a range of indicators/intermediate benefits which are monitored through programme delivery:


a.      Number of coaching sessions provided

b.     Number of coaches engaged in delivering coaching

c.      Number of sessions improving club governance

d.     Number of volunteering opportunities

e.      Participation opportunities for under 16s

f.       Female participation rates

g.     Number of people completing skills development programme

h.     Number of sessions for under-represented groups

i.       Number of sessions for school and youth groups

j.       Community group usage of stadia

k.      Number of clubs attaining club-mark

l.       Educational opportunities

m.    Number of programmes targeting ASB

n.     Improved collaborative working

o.     Number of disabled participants

p.     Number of older people participating


3.6       The policy and performance group held  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.


Community Infrastructure Pilot Update pdf icon PDF 267 KB


            The Committee considered the following report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1            The purpose of this report is to update members on work undertaken by officers in the last few months to identify issues and needs within the Community Infrastructure Pilot areas previously approved by Committee on 9th November 2021.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       Members of the Committee are asked to note the update, and


·        To liaise with the relevant Neighbourhood Integration Manager should they require more information, and/or if they would like to contribute to the ongoing mapping and engagement exercise, and

·        To agree that more detailed reports (on mapping, engagement and delivery in each of the pilot areas) are presented to the next round of Area Working Groups planned for August/September 2023, and

·        To agree that a composite report will then be brought to P&C committee in October 2023.


3.0       Main report




3.1       Committee (alongside Area Working Groups) previously considered reports in May and November 2021 which agreed the approach proposed within them (namely the development of Community Infrastructure Pilots) to help address weak community infrastructure in targeted localities, with members subsequently deciding that there should be 8 pilot projects developed (2 per area – N, S, E & W, rather than the 4 – one per area of the city initially proposed).  With each pilot area being supported with a £15k per annum budget for a 2-year period.


3.2       It was further agreed that Neighbourhood Integration Managers (NIMs), supported by the Neighbourhood Services Manager aligned with community planning and the community provision review within Neighbourhood Services/CNS, would lead on developing and delivering the approach, working alongside identified internal and external stakeholders, and key communities/community groups within the 8 areas selected.  The table below, outlines the NIM for each area, as well as the areas chosen by members for targeting.


3.3       Table 1 – Neighbourhood Integration Managers by area/Areas identified for targeting


East Neighbourhood Integration Manager – Kathy Watters

·        Ormiston DEA – Braniel

·        Lisnasharragh DEA – Clonduff

South Neighbourhood Integration Manager – Denise Smith

·        Botanic DEA – Ballynafeigh

including Annadale)

·        Balmoral DEA – Finaghy

North Neighbourhood Integration Manager –


·        Oldpark DEA – Mid Antrim Road (Limestone/Glandore)

·       Castle DEA – Lower Shore Road

West Neighbourhood Integration Manager –

Alice McGlone

·        Colin DEA – Black’s Gate

(former Visteon site)

·        Court DEA – Glencairn


3.4       The update report tabled at P&C Committee in November 2022, highlighted that this work had been significantly delayed as a result of staffing issues and competing service demands on the within CNS, and in particular, on the team tasked with leading this piece of work.  The report also noted that the additional budget had also been impacted and was no longer available.


3.5       Following this update, members requested that ‘a meeting be convened between officers and Elected Members to further explore any short-term actions that could be taken to support the participating areas identified in the Community Infrastructure Pilot.’


3.6       In the interim  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17.


Partnership Agreements 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 573 KB

Additional documents:


            The Committee considered a report regarding the existing Partnership Agreements that were currently in place to deliver services aligned to Neighbourhood Services activity. 


            The Members were reminded that an extensive review of the first six Partnership Agreements listed below had been undertaken in 2021/22.  In line with the review findings, the Council had agreed that these partnership funding arrangements would continue at the same level to deliver services in 2022/23.


            The Director of Neighbourhood Services advised that, at the start of 2023, a desktop review of the last two agreements listed below, which had not formed part of the original review, had been undertaken.  At this stage it had been agreed that these funded programmes would be considered as part of the overall departmental partnership arrangements, and they were now being presented for consideration. He continued that, in line with any decision to extend the funding arrangements, officers would agree specific deliverables with the organisations in advance of next year’s programme and events.  It was noted that these were likely to include information in relation to economic impact, visitor numbers and increased audiences, and increased cultural diversity and awareness.




Belfast Hills Partnership


Lagan Valley Regional Park


Outdoor Recreation NI (promotion of mountain bike trails)


Keep NI Beautiful (Live Here Love Here and Eco Schools Project)


Mary Peters Trust


Bryson Energy (previously Play Resource) *


Belfast Mela


Belfast International Arts Festival





* Note – Play Resource Warehouse is no longer in existence and instead has merged with Bryson Energy.


            The Director advised that the review had recognised the annual nature of budgeting within local government, however, it highlighted that forward planning and service delivery could be improved if a longer-term funding cycle could be provided to the partner funding arrangements.  He continued that, whilst this was recognised as desirable, given the wider financial support provided to the community/voluntary sector on an annual basis and the challenges to financial planning, currently it was not recommended that funding be allocated beyond the 2023/24 financial year to the Partners.


The Committee:


·        agreed to continue funding to each of the partners at the same level for the 2023/24 financial year (£240,109); and

·        to enhance the promotion of partnership efforts to increase public awareness of activity delivered through these funding agreements.



Physical Programme and Asset Management


Pitch Partner Agreements Update pdf icon PDF 255 KB


            The Committee noted the quarterly progress report in relation to Partner Agreements at seven sites and that all Partners had been compliant on reporting matters and financial checks for October – December 2022/23.


            The Director of Neighbourhood Services then referred to a request to extend all existing agreements.  He advised that, as the Committee was aware, the Council was currently developing a new policy regarding the management of assets within the community with a pilot being delivered across a number of sites. One of the sites included in the initial pilot was Ulidia Playing Fields and this site had been assessed using the pilot approach. At its meeting in October, the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee had endorsed the recommendation from the People and Communities Committee to transfer the existing Partner Agreement at Ulidia to a long-term lease.


            The Director continued that it was anticipated, following review of the Community Asset Transfer pilot process, a number of the sites might also be made available for consideration under new management arrangements, therefore, to ensure continuity of service provision, it was proposed that the existing Partner Agreements would continue until any new arrangements had been put in place.


            The Committee:


·        agreed to extend all current partner agreements until 31st March 2024 or until new arrangements were put in place following completion of the Community Asset Transfer Pilot; and

·        noted the progress to date at Partner Agreement sites for quarter 3 (October to December) 2022/23 and agreed that going forward annual update reports on the Pitch Partner Agreements be submitted to the March meeting of the People and Communities Committee instead of quarterly updates.



Operational Issues


Proposal for Dual Language Street Signs pdf icon PDF 175 KB


            As at least fifteen percent of the total numbers of persons surveyed in the street were in favour of the proposal to erect a second street nameplate in Irish at La Salle Drive, Hopefield Avenue and Suffolk Parade the Committee approved the applications.



Dog Warden Service Update pdf icon PDF 397 KB


            (Ms. K. Jackson, Dog Warden Supervisor, attended in connection with this agenda item.)


            The Committee considered the following report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1       To provide members of the People and Communities Committee with an update on the Dog Warden Service and in particular: Responsible Dog Ownership; our Internal Review and Proposed Changes to Fixed Penalty Fines for dog fouling offences. The proposed changes to the Fixed Penalty Fines also apply to littering offences.


            The Committee noted the previous update at the meeting on 11 October 2022 and agreed that a follow up report would be submitted to a future meeting which would consider, amongst other issues:


·        Enhancing and localising the dog foul media campaign.

·        Developing a further stencilling campaign (including liaison with DfI in this regard.

·        Increasing the use of signage.

·        Consideration of the use of the Customer Hub in identifying ‘hotspots’.

·        Linking directly with the Elected Members for identified hotspot areas.

·        The provision of free dog foul bags in problem areas.

·        Ensuring adequate bins for disposal were available.

·        The development of responsible dog ownership campaigns in the Council’s parks and playing field locations.


2.0       Recommendation


2.1       The Committee is asked to:


·        Note the update on Responsible Dog Ownership.

·        Note an Internal Review is underway.

·        Consider Options 1 – 3 in relation to the new fixed penalty limits for dog fouling  and agree a preferred option.

·        Consider Option 4 - applying any changes made to the fixed penalty limits for dog fouling offences to littering offences.


3.0       Main Report


3.1       Dog fouling and irresponsible dog ownership go hand in hand and can impact the quality and amenity of our neighbourhoods. Clearly, whilst the majority of dog owners exercise responsible dog management, there are a small number of owners who have less regard for this and this can have an impact on areas in the city. This requires on-going re-direction of our resources to address in terms of its removal from the streets, as well as providing a wide range of education and awareness programmes together with the use of fines where infringements are detected.


3.2       The Dog Warden Service as part of their role deploy routine monitoring patrols, to detect dog fouling incidents. However, it is widely recognised that the problem of dog fouling cannot be addressed solely by enforcement intervention.


3.3       To encourage a change in behaviour, a wider programme supporting responsible dog ownership is an essential element of the Council’s approach to reducing levels of dog fouling throughout the city. Part 1 of this report summarises the activities undertaken to address the issue of dog fouling and encourage Responsible Dog Ownership.






3.5       Enforcement and visibility of same is an integral part of dealing with dog fouling. Councils are required to provide the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) with statistical information on a wide range of dog control service areas and enforcement for example: dog licences, complaints regarding stray dogs, dog attacks  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23.


Attendance at Welcoming Interactive Conference pdf icon PDF 171 KB


            The Committee was advised that, as part of the Inclusive Cities Project, an invitation had been extended to the Council to attend a conference presented by Welcoming America in San Jose, California from 26th – 28th April 2023. 


            The Members noted that this was an annual conference that highlighted successful practices and inspiring stories about immigrant inclusion, programmes, policies and partnerships.  Given the strategic importance of the issue of inclusion, along with the fact that the Council had signed up to be a City of Sanctuary and its wish to see Belfast as a welcoming safe and inclusive city, this would be an opportunity for the Good Relations Officer, as a lead officer for the Inclusive Cities Project within the Council, to feed the learning into the Council’s own Race Equality Plan, the Belfast Agenda on Good Relations, the TEO Dispersal Fund for Asylum Seekers, the PEACE PLUS Local Action Plan, the District Council Good Relations Plan and as facilitator of the Migrant Forum for Belfast to share good practice with the members of that Forum and the Shared City Partnership.


            The Committee noted that the Good Relations Officer would be attending the Conference in San Jose, California and that the only cost to Council would be the return travel from Belfast to Dublin, visa costs and the associated subsistence costs on the two days of travel.



Port Health Update pdf icon PDF 247 KB


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:


a)     Provide a brief update on current Port Health operations; and

b)     to seek approval to sign a number of operational Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) that clarify the roles and responsibilities of the Council, Food Standards Agency and DAERA in respect of joint working arrangements.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to:


i)       Note the update on Port Health operations

ii)     Agree to sign the draft Operational MOUs to clarify roles and responsibilities of BCC and DAERA for joint working arrangements.


3.0       Main report


3.1       Port Health operations


            Members will be aware that Belfast City Council’s Port Health service have been working jointly with DAERA at Belfast Port for many years, and this has continued since the UK’s exit from the European Union. Members will also be aware that since the beginning of 2021, the Port health function services an increased volume of food consignments entering via Belfast Port, ensuring that food is fit and safe to eat.


3.2       Funding: The service is currently funded on an annual basis via the Central Competent Authorities for the respective food policy areas (Food Standards Agency for fish, high risk food and plastics/kitchenware from China/Hong Kong and DAERA for organic products and Illegal Unreported and Unregulated Fishing). Bids have been submitted by FSA and DAERA to Department of Finance for 2023/24 and FSA and DAERA have indicated they anticipate that these will be successful. It is also anticipated that a longer term financing model for the service will need to be considered and agreed following the final and agreed outcome of the recent UK/EU discussions.


3.3       Staffing: To facilitate increased service levels, the Port Health team was expanded in late 2020, however recruitment and retention challenges prompted an interim review of staffing structure to rebalance the number of Environmental Health Officers required. This resulted in a small increase in support roles to offset a similar small reduction in EHO numbers. Recruitment campaigns have reduced the number of vacant posts. Staff wellbeing and health and safety is a key issue and improved welfare facilities on site, additional health and safety training and equipment have been provided.


3.4       Facilities: Belfast City Council’s port health function continues to operate from the inspection facility at Corry Place, which is shared with DAERA for some inspections. To ensure the facility is fit for purpose to meet the required standards, DAERA invested in upgrades at the site, providing additional office accommodation, food storage facilities and security measures. An MOU to clarify DAERA responsibilities for these upgrades, together with the practical arrangements for managing use of the facility has been prepared.


3.5       IT systems: Officers are engaging with DAERA and FSA  and DEFRA on emerging developments at regional, national and global levels, to ensure that IT systems used by the Council are fit for purpose and effectively integrated to ensure a more  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24a