Agenda and minutes

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

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

            No apologies were reported.

 

2.

Minutes

Minutes:

            The minutes of the meeting of 23rd October, omitting those matters in respect of which the Council had delegated its powers to the Committee, were taken as read and signed as correct.  It was reported that those minutes had been adopted by the Council at its meeting on 2nd November, subject to the omission of the decision under the heading “Bilingual Street Signage”, which had been called in.

 

3.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

            No declarations of interest were reported.

 

4.

Restricted Items

Minutes:

            The information contained in the reports associated with the following seven 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 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.

 

5.

Medium Term Financial Plan and Efficiency Programme

Minutes:

            The Director of Finance and Resources drew the Committee’s attention to a report which provided a further update on the assessment of the key financial factors which would influence the development of the Council’s Medium Term Financial Plan for 2021/22 - 2023/24 and the rate setting process for 2021/22, together with an overview of the priorities and work in progress to establish the 2021/22 – 2023/24 Efficiency Programme.

 

            The report set out the six key elements involved in the annual setting of the District Rate and provided details of the main business as usual cost pressures, licences/support costs, rates scenarios, growth proposals and the Efficiency Programme. It provided also details on the forecast non-recurrent impact of Covid-19 on 2020/21 income and expenditure levels.

 

            The Committee noted the contents of the report.

 

6.

Finance Update

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            The Committee was reminded that, at its meeting on 23rd October, it had received an update on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the Council’s financial position and on a strategy to address the forecast deficit and the mitigation measures which had and would be taken as the situation evolved.  Accordingly, the Director of Finance and Resources submitted a further report which provided the latest forecast update, as well as the outturn report and Treasury Management Report for Quarter 2 of 2020/21.

 

            The Committee noted the information which had been provided.

 

7.

Unit Fees for St George’s Market

Minutes:

            The Committee agreed to defer until the special meeting being arranged to allocate funding for food poverty, a report in response to a request from Councillor Gormley to waive, for a three-month period, rental fees for those businesses operating from the units in St. George’s Market, in light of the trading difficulties which they were experiencing as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The report had included also a request from stallholders within the market to waive rental fees for a further three months for the same reason.

 

            The Committee agreed also that the report should include details of the cost to the Council of waiving, for a two-week and a four-week period, the rental fees for those businesses within its estate which would be adversely affected by the imposition of the further restrictions which had been announced by the Northern Ireland Executive on 19th November and how that cost would be met.

 

8.

Update on the Operational Recovery of Council Services

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            The Committee considered a report which provided an update on the recovery of Council services and the response to and ongoing management of the second wave of Covid- 19 .

 

            The Chief Executive reported that, in terms of service recovery, the Council continued to adhere to its six guiding principles for sustaining its services and pointed out that, over the past month, officers had been collating information for use in the event of a second lockdown or further restrictions being imposed, with the aim of trying to maintain operational status for as many services as possible. The Council was continuing to work closely with the Public Health Agency and was engaging with key services and had processes in place to quickly access and implement any changes to services, following any amendment to regulations. It was also working closely with the Executive Office to foster a culture of compliance and adherence to the current restrictions, with enforcement teams playing a key role.

 

            She provided an update on the current operational status of Belfast Castle and Malone House and referred to a Memorandum of Understanding between the Council, the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the Belfast Harbour Commissioners (in respect of its Police Force) and, which set out an agreed framework for the enforcement of Covid-19 related regulations.

 

            She highlighted the Covid-related guidance for staff which was being provided through the Council’s internal communication channels and, finally, reviewed the work which was being undertaken in response to the Chancellor’s decision to extend the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until 31st March, 2021.

 

            The Committee noted the information which had been provided.   

 

9.

Destination Hub – Update on Outline Business Case

Minutes:

            (Ms. W. Langham, Programme Director, attended in connection with this item.)

 

            The Chief Executive informed the Committee that the Belfast Destination Hub represented the key project under the tourism and regeneration pillar of the Belfast Region City Deal.

 

            She reminded the Committee that, at its meeting on 21st June, 2019, it had granted approval to proceed to the next stage in the development of the Hub, which would comprise a number of work strands and involve the production of a Treasury compliant Outline Business Case, which would require approval by the Department for the Economy before funding could be allocated.

 

            She explained that the final draft of the Outline Business Case had been prepared and that it was currently under review, with advice and feedback having been requested from the Departments for Communities, the Economy and Finance, as well as Tourism NI, prior to it being submitted to the Belfast Region City Deal Executive Board for consideration.

 

            The Programme Director provided a brief overview of the Belfast Destination Hub, including its primary objectives, the draft programme and timescale and the direct and indirect benefits to the City and provided additional information on the strategic, economic, commercial financial and management elements reflected within the Outline Business Case.

 

            The Committee noted the information which had been provided and granted approval for the Destination Hub Outline Business Case to be submitted to the Belfast Region City Deal Executive Board by the deadline date of 8th December. 

 

10.

Recruitment of Senior Posts

Minutes:

            The Committee noted the timeline for the recruitment of the post of Strategic Director of City and Neighbourhood Services, following the retirement in September of Mr. Nigel Grimshaw from the Council, and agreed that the selection panel should comprise the Chairperson and the Deputy Chairperson of the Committee (or their nominees), together with Councillor Groogan.

 

            The Committee noted also that a request to appoint a selection panel for the new post of Head of Climate, which had been created due to the forthcoming departure of Ms. Grainia Long from the Council, had been withdrawn to allow for additional work to be undertaken. The matter would now be considered at the special meeting which was being arranged to allocate funding for food poverty.  

 

            The Committee agreed also that the potential for appointing a Council officer to deal specifically with the increasing issues of poverty and deprivation should be examined.

 

11.

Inner City Kerbside Sort – Update on APSE Review

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            (Mrs. S. Toland, Director of City Services, attended in connection with this item.)

 

            The Committee considered a report which provided an update on the findings to date of a review which had been undertaken by the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) of a waste collection options appraisal for inner Belfast, which the Committee had requested at its meeting on 21st August.

 

            After discussion, the Committee:

 

                         i.        noted the content of the report, including the need for APSE to undertake further in-depth research to build upon its findings;

 

                        ii.        noted that Council officers, with support from the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP),  would run a detailed collections modelling on emerging proposals, details of which would be presented to the Committee within a composite report in the New Year; and

 

                       iii.        agreed to support an invitation being extended to the Collaborative Circular Economy Network, which represented businesses in Northern Ireland which utilise recycled products collected by councils, to make a future presentation, with the People and Communities Committee meeting on 8th December being suggested and all Members to be invited to attend.

 

12.

Matters referred back from Council/Motions

13.

Motion - Secured Serviced City Centre Civic Bicycle Parking Facilities pdf icon PDF 358 KB

Minutes:

            The Committee was reminded that, at the Council meeting on 2nd November, the following motion on Secured Serviced City Centre Civic Bicycle Parking Facilities had been proposed by Councillor Smyth and seconded by Councillor McKeown:

 

“The coronavirus pandemic has forced us all to rethink how we live our lives. However, as we seek to build back better, it is essential that we do this in a safe, sustainable way.

 

Supporting cycling infrastructure in Belfast is key to this, enabling people to get around our city in a way which is good for health and good for the environment.

 

However, given the regular theft of bicycles in the city centre, it is important that we take steps to provide facilities to enable people to feel secure when they travel there by bicycle.

 

Therefore, the Council agrees to the creation of secured, serviced city centre civic bicycle parking facilities, and will reallocate car parking space or other appropriate property in the city centre for this purpose, and work with partners to enable this to happen.”

 

            In accordance with Standing Order 13(f), the motion had been referred without discussion to the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee.

 

            Councillor Smyth informed the Committee that the increasing number of bicycle thefts in the City centre, as had been confirmed recently by the Police Service of Northern Ireland, had highlighted the need for secure facilities to be provided for cyclists in that area and had given rise to his motion.

 

            He pointed out that the significant growth in cycling, together with the likely increase in the number of e-bikes over the coming years, reinforced this need and he suggested that a vacant retail unit or units within the City centre be used for that purpose. He, therefore, urged the Committee to adopt his motion and, in so doing, agree that Council officers work with the Belfast Community Safety Partnership, the Belfast Chamber of Commerce, the Police Service of Northern Ireland, Sustrans and other stakeholders to produce, within a three-month timescale, a report on the feasibility of putting in place, preferably by the spring of 2021, a secure facility for bicycle storage in the City centre.

 

            In response to a request from a Member, Councillor Smyth agreed to amend his motion to provide for the inclusion of e-bikes and e-scooters.

 

            During discussion, clarification was sought on current bicycle storage provision in the City centre and the need for improved cycling infrastructure in the west of the City and to extend the Belfast Bikes scheme into that area was highlighted. The point was made that storage facilities should be covered and that the use of Section 76 Developers’ contributions and the acquisition of funding from other sources should be explored.

 

            In response, the Strategic Director of Place and Economy pointed out that the Council had, as part of its response to Covid-19, secured funding from the Department for Infrastructure to increase bicycle storage facilities across the City and that a number of potential sites were being assessed. It was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.

14.

Motion: Climate Change Act - Further Response from Minister of Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs pdf icon PDF 239 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            The Committee was reminded that the Council, at its meeting on 1st September, had passed the following motion on a Climate Change Act, which had been proposed by Councillor Flynn:

 

“This Council welcomes the environmental commitments in the New Decade New Approach Deal. This council is deeply concerned that the Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs did not support an Assembly Motion to develop a Climate Change Act for Northern Ireland.

 

This Council notes that Northern Ireland has fallen behind other parts of the UK in progressing reduction of emissions. A Climate Change Act can help us realise the ambition of the Belfast Agenda to create an environmentally sustainable City. This Council calls on the Minister to immediately prioritise the development of a Climate Change Act with legally binding and ambitious sectoral emission-reduction targets and a just transition to protect jobs through upskilling in less carbon intensive sectors.”

 

            The City Solicitor reminded the Committee that, at its meeting on 23rd October, it had considered a response from the Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs. The Minister had confirmed that he had written to the UK Climate Change Committee for advice on what Northern Ireland’s equitable contribution to the UK’s net zero emissions target would be, to ensure that its greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets were credible and evidence-based. Unfortunately, the Committee had not been in a position to respond to his request until after it had provided advice on the UK’s sixth carbon budget, which would be published in December, 2020.

 

            In the interim, his officials had provided him with proposals on an options appraisal for a Climate Change Bill in Northern Ireland. The Minister would consider those options, along with the advice provided by the Climate Change Committee, and would present his findings to the Northern Ireland Executive to agree a way forward.

 

            The Committee, on 23rd October, had noted the Minister’s response and had agreed that a further letter be forwarded to him seeking an update on the work which was being undertaken by his Department to address increasing carbon emission levels, including the mechanisms for monitoring, reporting and enforcement, the role of the Chief Inspector of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency in that work, and any assessment of carbon emissions which had been undertaken at a local level.

 

            The Minister, within his response to that letter, had pointed out that reducing carbon emissions required a collective approach from Government and society and that it was the responsibility of Northern Ireland Departments to take action to reduce emissions in those areas under their control. He had explained that the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs was responsible for emissions in the Agriculture, Land Use and Land Use Change and Forestry and Waste sectors and that it was taking forward or supporting a number of programmes of work which would directly contribute towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

 

            He had gone on to review the latest greenhouse gas emission figures for Northern Ireland and for its proportion  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.

15.

Motion: Moratorium on Licences for Fracking and Exploration and Extraction of Fossil Fuels - Response from Ministers for the Economy and Infrastructure pdf icon PDF 221 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee was reminded that the Council, at its meeting on 1st October, had passed a motion on Licences for Fracking and Exploration and Extraction of Fossil Fuels, which had been proposed by Councillor Baker:

 

“This Council recognises that we are in a climate emergency and, being aware of the environmental and public health damage caused by fracking and the exploration and extraction of hydrocarbons, agrees to write to the Minister for the Economy and to the Minister for Infrastructure to establish their respective intentions regarding (i) the issuing of exploratory licences and (ii) the removal of Permitted Development Rights for hydrocarbon exploration which are currently provided for under Part 16 of the Planning Order (Northern Ireland) 2015.

 

The Council also calls upon the Northern Ireland Executive to place an immediate ban on all petroleum licensing and deny permitted development rights to any company seeking to prospect for oil and or/gas.”

 

            The City Solicitor informed the Committee that responses have now been received from the Minister for the Economy and the Minister for Infrastructure.

 

            The Minister for the Economy, within her response, had confirmed that the policy governing the issue of Permitted Development Rights for hydrocarbon exploration was the responsibility of the Department for Infrastructure and that she had, therefore, no comment to make on that matter. However, that section of the motion dealing with the issuing of exploratory licences and calling upon the Northern Ireland Executive to place an immediate ban on all petroleum licensing did fall within her remit.

 

            She had explained that, on 13th October, in response to a Private Member’s motion on Onshore Petroleum Licensing and Drilling, she had outlined in the Northern Ireland Assembly her position on a moratorium or ban on petroleum development, as well as her intentions regarding the handling of two current petroleum licence applications. The full transcript of that debate can be accessed by clicking on the following link and scrolling down to page 28: http://data.niassembly.gov.uk/HansardXml/plenary-13-10-2020.pdf

 

            The Minister for Infrastructure, within her response, recognised, like the Council, that there was a climate emergency and had stressed that she was continually examining ways in which to address it. She referred to the fact that, on 5th October, she had announced her intention to bring forward a package of changes to permitted development rights, including the removal of permitted development rights for petroleum (oil and gas) exploration. Her proposals would be presented to the Infrastructure Committee in the coming weeks for scrutiny.

 

            The Minister had then pointed out that her Department also had a responsibility for regional planning policy, including the Strategic Planning Policy Statement provisions that “there should be a presumption against the exploitation of unconventional hydrocarbon extraction until there is sufficient and robust evidence on all environmental impacts.” She confirmed that her position on this issue, like those of her predecessors, remained unchanged, and that, in her view, that remained an appropriate precautionary approach.

 

            The Minister had then highlighted the need to note that any proposals for development, involving unconventional hydrocarbon  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.

16.

Motion - Funding for the Arts and Creative Industries - Response from Ministers for Communities and Finance pdf icon PDF 246 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            The Committee was reminded that the Council, at its meeting on 1st October, had passed the following motion on Funding for the Arts and Creative Industries, which had been proposed by Councillor Mulholland:

 

“This Council acknowledges the contribution of those employed in the Arts, Events and Creative Industries. It understands the impact that lockdown has had on these sectors; on theatres, museums, live music venues, comedy clubs, freelancers and individual artists and all other creative outlets that have been in the dark since March, with most having no finite indication of when their activities can recommence safely. 

 

The Council welcomes the allocation of £29million by the Northern Ireland Executive to the Arts, Culture and Heritage sectors, as part of a £1.57 billion investment from the UK Government, purposefully designed to protect these world class industries across the UK.

 

The Council agrees to write to the Communities Minister, Carál Ní Chuilín, in support of the direct allocation of funds to those within these industries who have been most impacted. The Council agrees also to write to the Finance Minister, Conor Murphy, to encourage any further measures that can be taken to support and protect the creative sectors going forward.” 

 

            Mr. J. Ball, Head of Arts Branch, who had responded on behalf of the Minister for Communities, had stressed that the Minister placed great value on the role of arts and culture and that she had been engaging with representatives from across the sector and was fully aware of the significant impact which the Covid-19 restrictions were having on them. The Minister had welcomed the £29m of funding which had, in September, been allocated by the Northern Ireland Executive across the arts, language, culture and heritage sectors and the wider creative economy. On 28th October, she had allocated the first £3m of that to the Individual Emergency Resilience Programme, which was administered on her Department’s behalf by the Arts Council for NI. This, Mr. Ball had pointed out, had built upon the Department’s earlier investment in the Fund and had allowed for further grants totalling £3.85m to be made to 1,089 people in the sector who contributed significantly to the economy and the lives of many people here. The Programme was open to all those working across the creative economy and in many other categories and he had provided examples of those who had benefitted from it.

 

            Mr. Ball had concluded by providing details of a series of further allocations from the Executive’s funding package and by confirming that the Minister would announce shortly how the remaining £8m would be distributed.

 

            The Minister of Finance, within his response, had referred to his lead role in liaising with the Treasury, and had addressed also another motion which had been passed by the Council on 1st October, calling upon the Minister for the Economy to undertake an investigation into how the Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme could be retained at pre-October 31st levels, including the earmarking of funds to minimise  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.

17.

Proposed Approach for the Strategic Consideration of Motions and Issues Raised in Advance by Members pdf icon PDF 282 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee deferred consideration of a report seeking approval to implement a proposed strategic approach for monitoring and tracking motions and issues raised in advance by Members to allow it to be considered in the wider context of a review of Standing Orders and the remit of the new Standards Committee.

 

18.

Review of Active Motions pdf icon PDF 167 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            The Committee was reminded that, at its meeting on 25th October, 2019, it had considered the following motion which had been proposed by Councillor Nicholl and which had been referred to it by the Council on 1st October:

 

“This Council notes that other councils produce a monthly status report in relation to Notices of Motion and agrees that the Council adopts a similar practice and produces a monthly update which will be brought to each Council Meeting, detailing the following:

 

1. Date received

2. Notice of motion title

3. Submitted by which Councillor

4. Council meeting date

5. Committee motion is referred to

6. Outcome of committee where Notice of Motion will be debated

7. Month it will be reported back to committee

8. Other action to be taken.”

 

            The Committee had agreed that a report on the future management of motions be presented to the Committee at a future date.

 

            The City Solicitor reported that, since 2016, the Council had considered over 300 motions and issues raised in advance by Members, over 100 of which had yet to be considered in terms of their resource implications. Typically, fifteen motions were now being presented each month to the Council.

 

            He explained that, up to February, 2020, 101 motions were still open.  Those had been reviewed by officers and had been categorised and numbered as follows:

 

1.     Motions which contained an action which has been completed and were being recommended for closure – 39;

 

2.     Motions which had been incorporated into Council policy and were being recommended for closure – 30; and

 

3.     Motions which were continuing to progress – 32.

 

            He drew the Committee’s attention to a list of motions which had been placed under each category and, in terms of future management arrangements, confirmed that a live database had been developed, which would be managed jointly by the Democratic Services and Strategy and Policy Units. The database would, on a quarterly basis, be filtered according to Committee and a report would then be presented to that Committee summarising the main issues and making recommendations regarding closures.  

 

            After discussion, the Committee:

 

                              i.        approved the recommendations relating to those motions listed within categories 1 – 3 above and agreed, at the request of a Member, to move the motion under the heading “Belfast Energy Transition Strategy” from category 2 to category 3, given that it remained an priority area for the Council; and

 

                             ii.        approved the arrangement for the future management of motions, as outlined.

 

19.

Motion - Belfast Leisure Centres - Proposed Redundancies_ pdf icon PDF 377 KB

Minutes:

The Committee was reminded that, at the Council meeting on 2nd November, the following motion on Belfast Leisure Centres – Proposed Redundancies had been proposed by Councillor Matt Collins and seconded by Councillor Ferguson:

 

“This Council notes with deep concern recent moves by GLL to cut jobs in Belfast leisure centres through proposed redundancies.

 

The Council greatly appreciates the role of all leisure workers who have made a positive contribution to our services and our community over many years, and the need for fully staffed and funded leisure centres as a vital resource for the physical and mental health of communities emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Therefore, the Council opposes the proposed job losses and calls on GLL to immediately cease any moves toward redundancies; tasks the Chief Executive and the Officer team to engage with relevant trade union representatives; seek an urgent meeting with GLL management to put firmly on the record the Council's opposition; and work toward a financial package that addresses the jobs under threat and ensures no leisure worker loses their job in the weeks and months ahead.”

 

            In accordance with Standing Order 13(f), the motion was referred, without discussion, to the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee.

 

            Councillor Collins welcomed the extension of the furlough scheme until 31st March, 2021. He referred to the fact that GLL was in the process of implementing yet another voluntary redundancy scheme and highlighted at length the detrimental impact which that would have upon the terms and conditions of staff and service provision moving forward. He pointed out that the Committee had, during previous GLL voluntary redundancy schemes, sought the views of the Trades Unions and he stressed that it would be beneficial to do so again.   

 

            During discussion, several Members pointed to the fact that Elected Members on the Active Belfast Limited Board had been unaware of GLL’s intention to implement a voluntary redundancy scheme and pointed to issues around communication and the operation of the Board generally. That led to a review of the Board being requested.

 

            Other Members highlighted the need for information on, for example, the furloughing of staff, to be provided for specific categories, rather than on an overall basis, and deficiencies in GLL’s marketing strategy, compared to other leisure providers, was raised.

 

            The Chief Executive reminded the Committee that the relationship between the Council and GLL was set out in a number of agreements and that the formal contract needed to be respected. However, there was scope for a review of the Active Belfast Limited Board.

 

            The Committee noted the motion and agreed that a report be submitted to a future meeting setting out the terms of reference for a review of the Active Belfast Limited Board, including its membership and governance arrangements.

 

20.

Belfast Agenda/Strategic Issues

21.

Update on City Region Growth Deal pdf icon PDF 335 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            The Committee considered the following report:

 

“1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of Main Issues

 

1.1       This report is to provide the Committee with an update on the progress of the Belfast Region City Deal (BRCD).

 

2.0       Recommendations

 

2.1       The Committee is asked to note:

 

                                    i.    the programme overview, the update in respect of each of the pillars , the progress that has been made in Outline Business Case (OBC) development and the important stage that the programme is now approaching;

 

                                  ii.    the update in respect of the BRCD Council Panel and the minutes of the BRCD Council Panel held on 30th September 2020; and

 

                                 iii.    the recent successful bid to the Apprenticeship Challenge Fund and approve the approach to work in partnership with BRCD partners to deliver this collaborative project as outlined in section 3.14.

 

3.0       Main Report

 

            Programme Overview

 

3.1       In September, the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee was advised of work completed by the BRCD partners to review their projects in the context of the Covid-19 crisis and also received an update on the work of the Executive and Advisory Boards to ensure that the Programme is aligned with the Economic Recovery Strategy.  In addition, the Committee received an update on the digital task and finish group which had been set up to identify short-term measures to boost digital skills and support digital transformation as an immediate response to the crisis; a further update on this work is included in this report.

 

3.2       OBCs are now progressing towards completion. In light of the difficult financial climate facing all public bodies, and the importance of ensuring that the scale of ambition aligns with affordability and available finances, the focus at this stage is on resolving key issues and challenges particularly in respect of budget profiling and scalability. Robust financial planning will be critical and will need to include consideration of plans for long-term revenue financing, so that the transformative investments included within the BRCD can proceed with confidence. 

 

3.3       As previously reported, the timeline for developing OBCs for all the capital projects that were outlined in the Heads of Terms has understandably had to be reviewed. Work on Draft OBCs is continuing at pace and will be considered by respective Advisory Boards in advance of consideration of the Executive Board in December.  Partners remain determined to have a deal in place so that funding can begin to flow from 1st April 2021 and discussions are ongoing between Partners and the NI and UK Governments in relation to agreeing a ‘phased’ deal to enable a ‘Deal Document’ to be signed off by the end of the financial year.

 

3.4       Communication and engagement continues to be a priority both at a project and programme level. The Committee was advised in February this year that specialist support was being commissioned to assist with strategic engagement activity - including both business and political engagement.  Although this work was delayed somewhat due to the Covid crisis it is envisaged that, given  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.

22.

Inclusive Growth - Social Value Policy pdf icon PDF 399 KB

Minutes:

            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 provide an update on the development of a Social Value policy for the Council, as part of the Inclusive Growth Strategy.

 

2.0       Recommendations

 

2.1       The Committee is recommended to:

 

                                    i.   note the work in relation to social value that is currently being undertaken;

 

                                  ii.   note the date for the forthcoming Members’ Social Value Working Group engagement workshop (section 3.6); and

 

                                 iii.   ensure that a representative is nominated from each political party to the task and finish Social Value Working Group for Members.

 

3.0       Main Report

 

3.1       Members agreed a Notice of Motion proposed by Councillor Beattie in January 2019 on the development of a social value strategy to further social, environmental and economic goals of Belfast City Council and subsequently in January 2020 to establish a task and finish Social Value Working Group.

 

3.2       Since Members received the last update in January 2019, work has been progressing, led by a cross departmental officer working group to develop a social value policy and supporting framework. Whilst seeking to achieve a best value outcome for the ratepayer, from our procurement activities, the policy also aims to maximise the impact of council’s expenditure to get the best possible social outcome thereby making a positive difference to the people and communities in Belfast.

 

3.3       There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to deliver and achieve social value. Research shows that even in cities and regions where social value considerations in procurement have been applied for some time, providers and commissioners continue to learn about how best to achieve and evidence it. The emerging approach that officers have been developing includes a Toolkit to determine appropriate and proportionate social value criteria within a contract. The toolkit also provides a consistent approach to enable the measurement, monitoring and reporting of social value commitments within Council contracts and to, in as far as possible, deliver social value at scale. It is being designed to align with the five long-term outcomes or ‘conditions of wellbeing’ and associated commitments within the Belfast Agenda that people identified that they wanted by 2035. 

 

3.4       The scope of the policy also reflects council’s wide ranging role and recognises that social value can be delivered not solely through its procurement power. Other aspects to the policy, which will also contribute towards social value objectives include:

 

·         Transparency & pre-market engagement - We will publish and regularly update our procurement pipeline to help suppliers prepare for future tendering opportunities;

 

·         Supplier Guidance & Training – We will develop detailed guidance for potential bidders to Council contracts so that they are better able to accommodate social value commitments and to identify ways in which they can increase the economic, social and environmental value of their work;

 

·         Reserved contracts – We will use reserved contracts, where appropriate, to support social enterprises and co-operatives;

 

·         Economic development function – We provide support to local businesses, particularly social enterprises whose primary objective  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.

23.

Final Resilience Strategy for Belfast pdf icon PDF 331 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            (Ms. G. Long, Commissioner for Resilience, attended in connection with this item.)

 

            The Committee considered the following report:

 

“1.0      Purpose of Report

 

1.1          To provide the Committee with an overview of conclusions arising from the public consultation and engagement on the draft Resilience Strategy, to outline the changes made to the document as part of the finalisation process and seek its approval for the document. 

 

2.0       Recommendations

 

2.1       The Committee is asked to note the changes made to the document taking account of the public consultation, and consider for approval, to enable it to proceed to full Council, in advance of a virtual launch in December. 

 

            (Members should note that as a city-wide document containing commitments from external partners, the document has already been considered and endorsed by the Resilience and Sustainability Board.) 

 

3.0       Main Report

 

3.1       The Belfast Agenda commits the city to the development of a Resilience Strategy to ‘take a targeted approach to addressing those issues which pose the greatest risk to the city and its economy’.  The commitment aligned Belfast with a number of cities globally, who are invested in long-term risk management.  A highly inclusive process, involving over 1000 individuals was commenced eighteen months ago, and a draft Resilience Strategy was published for formal consultation in January 2020.  Importantly, the workstreams arising through the strategy process were co-designed by city partners as part of their work on the Resilience and Sustainability Board. 

 

3.2       An extension to the consultation was agreed due to the effect of Covid-19 on partner organisations and their staff.  Between January 2020 and July 2020, a period of formal consultation was entered into, incorporating a number of elements:

 

-         an online survey on the Belfast City Council consultation portal;

 

-         standalone submissions forwarded to the Resilience Unit; and

 

-         and a citywide and thematic engagement undertaken on our behalf by Urban Scale Interventions. This included on street engagement at a kiosk in Castle Place, workshops in local neighbourhoods, an interactive ‘resilience tree’ located in public places, and online thematic workshops with young people and older people.

 

3.3       Over 1,300 people took part, 75 written submissions were received. The consultation was almost complete when the lockdown began, at which point all engagement activity moved online, and the completion for the online consultation was extended.

 

3.4       Following the consultation, two workshops were held with members of the Resilience and Sustainability Board, with the aim of discussing feedback, shaping the strategy and aligning with member’s programmes. Members of the R&S board met on 10th November and formally endorsed the strategy.

 

 

            Main Themes arising from the Public Consultation

 

3.5       The draft Strategy was developed through an inclusive process, whereby we spoke with over one thousand people, and was based on huge amounts of publicly available data and evidence.  Unsurprisingly therefore, the public consultation found a high level of agreement with the shocks and stresses identified;

 

-         Consultees welcomed the principle of a resilience strategy; a document that sets out long term risks for the city,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23.

24.

Update on Consultation and Engagement pdf icon PDF 473 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            The Committee considered the following report:

 

“1.0      Purpose of Report

 

1.1       To update the Committee on progress with deployment of the Council’s new digital civic engagement platform and the supporting framework for consultation and engagement.

 

2.0       Recommendations

 

2.1       The Committee is asked to:

 

                                  i.        note the update on proposed civic engagement (with immediate emphasis on obtaining citizen input on city recovery from Covid-19) utilising the new online Engagement HQ platform;

 

                                 ii.        agree that the biennial doorstep resident survey planned for this winter, be deferred for at least 6 months; and

 

                               iii.        agree the revised consultation and engagement framework.

 

3.0       Key Issues

 

            Background

 

3.1       The Local Government (NI) Act 2014 reinforced the Council’s duty to consult, and since then the Council has been working hard to improve its approach to consultation and engagement and has made considerable progress in terms of capacity building and ICT. This work has included procurement of a new digital engagement platform and further development of a revised Corporate Consultation and Engagement Framework to support our approach.

 

            New Engagement Platform and Civic Engagement on City Recovery

 

3.2       To enhance the Council’s capabilities to utilise more innovative participatory tools using online/digital engagement with citizens, at earlier stages and on a more ongoing basis, we have invested in a new digital platform. The formal procurement stage has now been completed and the ‘Engagement HQ’ platform is currently being configured for Council use, (alongside development of necessary management and operational protocols) in advance of going live by early December 2020.  This platform will provide a number of new tools to support early, transparent and ongoing dialogue, and will help address areas identified for improvement that have emerged from associated work on the corporate Consultation and Engagement Framework to underpin Council’s approach. 


 

 

            Roles of Elected Members in supporting deployment of the new platform

 

3.3       Elected Members are asked to note that the following support will be required in deployment and future development/roll out of the new digital platform:

 

·         Fronting engagement projects through short introductory video clips/soundbites

 

·         Promoting and profile raising of the platform and current projects through Members own networks and communication channels in communities

 

 

·         Inputting to the design of engagement activities at development stages (e.g. via Party Leaders forum, Area Working Groups, SP&R Committee as appropriate)

 

            Proposals for Platform Launch and Next Steps

 

3.4       The new platform will be launched publicly in early December, with the focus on the first engagements on the city’s recovery from Covid-19 creating new opportunities for dialogue with citizens, to input their comments, ideas and views on what they think is needed for the city and its communities to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

3.5       The topics/areas of engagement, and tools for citizen participation, being worked up as part of the platform’s early deployment include:

 

·         A stronger future Belfast (city recovery)

 

o    A featured set of engagement activities will seek citizen participation and engagement on city recovery. This will form the main emphasis of communications activity promoting the initial launch of the new platform.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.

25.

EU Successor Funding Northern Ireland - Position Paper for SOLACE NI pdf icon PDF 256 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            The Committee considered the following report:

 

“1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of Main Issues

 

1.1       To update Members on a position paper produced for the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives in Northern Ireland (SOLACE NI), in relation to EU Successor Funding in Northern Ireland and the Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF).

 

2.0       Recommendations

 

2.1       The Committee is asked to:

 

a)    note this update on the Ekosgen/SOLACE NI position paper on EU Successor Funding; and

 

b)    promote this work across Political networks supporting the need for a partnership approach, which involves local government, in co-designing and shaping the SPF, which will address local needs.

 

3.0       Main Report

 

3.1       Ekosgen was commissioned in early 2020 by SOLACE NI to undertake a research study to explore the future of EU Successor Funding in Northern Ireland. The purpose of this study was to develop a local government sectoral position, to use as a basis for discussion and influence with central government departments, regarding the local introduction of the SPF.

 

3.2       Alongside the full report, a stand-alone Executive Summary has been produced, a copy of which has been circulated. This document sets out the key principles and recommendations identified by local government, and will be used to engage the NI Executive Ministers, MLAs, MPs and relevant departments in terms of the future local design of the SPF.

 

3.3       As the UK has left the EU, the UK Government has begun the process of developing a replacement investment mechanism for the EU Structural Funds. The SPF will address regional disparity and structural economic challenges, and drive innovation, productivity, and sustainable economic development.

 

3.4       Northern Ireland has been a net beneficiary of the EU Structural funds and their impact on economic development has been significant – indeed in Northern Ireland we receive approx. 5% of the total UK allocation, while only representing 2.8% of the population.It is crucial that the spending power provided by EU funding is preserved through the SPF, and that the UK Government respects Northern Ireland’s previous status as a transition area for the purposes of EU funding in this new funding regime. This will ensure that our proportionate allocation of funding will continue and can be concentrated in areas to increase productivity and lessen economic inactivity. Such a commitment would also acknowledge and support Northern Ireland in moving forward as a post-conflict society.

 

3.5       The future scope and operation of the SPF as EU successor funding, will be crucial in shaping the future economic and social prosperity of Northern Ireland – by providing funding to support the foundations of prosperity, and contributing to eliminating inequalities and promoting inclusive growth for our local communities.

 

3.6       Members should note that, during engagement with local EU funded delivery organisations who manage and deliver programmes across our council areas, extreme concern exists regarding the lack of information and engagement undertaken to date in relation to the SPF. However, they were appreciative of the fact that local government are undertaking this work, and engaged them on  ...  view the full minutes text for item 25.

26.

Update on Community Planning Partnership pdf icon PDF 251 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            The Committee considered the following report:

 

“1.0      Purpose of Report

 

1.1       This report provides the Committee with an update on the recent meeting of the Belfast Community Planning Partnership held on 27th October.


 

 

2.0       Recommendation

 

2.1       The Committee is asked to note the key areas of work currently being progressed by the Community Planning Partnership (CPP), as outlined in the attached note of the CPP meeting.

 

3.0       Main Report

 

            Background

 

3.1       The Belfast CPP (Strategic Board), chaired by the Council’s Chief Executive, comprises the Council and its Community Planning Partners including a range of statutory and support partner organisations, including VCSE and business sectors.   The Partnership’s strategic level board provides joint oversight and leadership for the community planning process in the city, and for the delivery of the Belfast Agenda with partners.

 

3.2       Focused work on progressing action plans and their delivery is jointly managed with partners through 4 delivery sub Boards, namely:

 

- Growing the Economy and City Development Board

 

- Living Here Board

 

- Working & Learning Board

 

- Resilience & Sustainability Board.

 

3.3       Belfast City Council is currently represented on the Partnership (at strategic board level) by the Chair of the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee, along with Elected Members nominated from each party (who are also members of an internal Council Community Planning Working Group), and the Council’s Chief Executive, who chairs CPP meetings.

 

            Belfast Community Planning Partnership meeting 27th October 2020

 

3.4       Following the postponement of a scheduled CPP meeting in March 2020 due to the Covid pandemic, the Community Planning Partnership met in an online meeting format on Tuesday 27 October 2020. This was therefore an especially important meeting at a crucial time in the community planning process, particularly in light of the Covid-19 impacts on the city and the publication of Council’s Recovery Framework. A summary note of the meeting, outlining the items discussed and the decisions taken, is attached. Important points for Members to note from the discussion include:

 

                                i)      Aligning focus on city recovery from Covid-19 alongside longer term Belfast Agenda Outcomes

 

3.5       Partners were briefed on the evolving context for City Recovery, including the Council’s recent work to develop the Belfast: Our Recovery Framework. The Partnership agreed to progress key city priorities through the Delivery Boards and relevant task groups. Members will recognise that many of these areas of focus reflect the Belfast Agenda priorities that were previously identified for immediate focus in the Statement of Progress published by Council in November 2019. These key areas of work are now being adapted to take account of the impacts and new context due to the Covid-19 Pandemic i.e:

 

·         Health inequalities – including drugs, alcohol and mental health, and work to address excess winter deaths (Warm and well programme)

·         Educational inequalities

·         Employability and skills

·         Neighbourhood regeneration – including focus on local area planning and engagement to support community recovery

·         Housing

·         Sustainability and resilience, including addressing climate challenge

·         Creating a shared, safe and inclusive city, including development of an inclusive growth city charter

 

                               ii)      Enhancing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 26.

27.

Physical Programme and Asset Management

28.

Update on Area Working pdf icon PDF 406 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            The Committee considered the following report:

 

“1.0      Purpose of Report or Summary of Main Issues

 

1.1          To seek the Committee’s approval of the minutes of the most recent round of AWGs and any additional recommendations to this Committee arising from those meetings.

 

 

 

2.0       Recommendations

 

2.1       The Committee is asked to:

 

·         AWG Minutes - Approve the most recent round of AWG minutes (South – 26th October, West – 29th October, East – 5th November);

·         Physical Programme – Agree the recommendations on allocations under the BIF Programme from the South AWG to three projects as laid out below in 3.2; and

 

·         Locality Planning - Agree the recommendation that the remaining budget in West Belfast is allocated to two projects as laid out below in 3.3.

 

3.0       Main Report

 

            KEY ISSUES

 

            Area Working Group Minutes

 

3.1       Members agreed in June 2016 that the Area Working Group minutes would be taken into the SP&R Committee for approval going forward, in line with the Council’s commitment to openness and transparency and to ensure a consistent approach with other Member-led Working Groups. Members are asked to approve the most recent round of AWG minutes (South – 26 October, West – 29 October, East – 5 November) as attached.

           

            Project Updates

 

3.2       South AWG - Members are asked to approve the following allocations as recommended by the AWG at its meeting on 26th October.

 

            BIF Programme

 

            Allocation of the ringfenced BIF allocation for projects within the Sandy Row area (£1.35m) that had been previously aligned to Gilpins to the following project proposals:

 

·         Café Culture project in partnership with Urban Villages,

·         Sandy Row Open Space project and;

·         BSCR IT Exam Centre project.

 

            The AWG recommended that these three projects are added to the BIF Programme as Stage 1 – Emerging.

 

3.3       West AWG - Members are asked to note the following project updates and agree the movements as recommended by the AWG at its meeting on 29th October.

 

            BIF Programme

 

            Note the update provided on the Greater Shankill Community Council - Royal British Legion project proposal.

 

            Locality Planning Pilot Project

 

            Allocation of the remaining budgets within the Whiterock Locality Planning Pilot Project as follows:

 

Project

Group

Amount

Access to Hills Scoping Exercise

Upper Springfield Development Trust

£15,000

Housing Social Innovation Scoping

Falls Community Council

£15,000

 

3.4       East AWG - Members are asked to note the following project updates as recommended by the AWG at its meeting on 5th November.

 

            BIF Programme

 

·         Lisnasharragh and Cregagh Community Schools project - Note the progress to date from the Education Authority and that the project can be progressed.

·         Castlereagh Presbyterian Church – Note the progress to date and that a report will be brought to a future meeting in relation other funding streams, project outcomes and community benefits and congregation fundraising towards the project.

·         Strand Arts Centre and Bloomfield Community Association – Note that an update report will be submitted to a future meeting to include details on when DfC can make a funding decision and other possible funding streams  ...  view the full minutes text for item 28.

29.

Assets Management pdf icon PDF 344 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            The Committee approved the following:

 

                   i.    Ormeau Park – Contractor’s Compound

 

the granting of a lease to GEDA Construction for a contractor’s compound in Ormeau Park in connection with the Flood Alleviation Project works being carried out on the Ravenhill Road and surrounding areas;

 

                   ii.    Local Full Fibre Network Programme – Transfer of Fibre Ducting Assets

 

the transfer of additional fibre ducting assets/infrastructure from the Department for Communities to the Council to enhance the existing ducting network as part of the Public Sector Asset Reuse project under the overall Local Full Fibre Network Programme;

 

                 iii.    Grant of lease to Northern Ireland Electricity Networks

 

the granting of a lease to NIE Networks for c.24 square metres of land at Templemore Baths, for a term of  99 years from the date of the agreement at a peppercorn rent of £1 pa.  The lease will also grant NIE Networks a right of way to carry out installation, repairs and maintenance works at the substation site;

 

                 iv.    Port Health Unit, 5 Corry Place – Licence for Works

 

a Licence for Work at the Port Health Unit to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA). The Licence is required to facilitate DAERA’s proposed construction works to the building to accommodate food checks required under NI protocol contingency plans.

 

            The Committee noted that the Director of Physical Programmes would, at the next meeting of the South Belfast Area Working Group, provide further information on the proposal to place a construction compound in the Ormeau Park.

 

30.

Finance, Resources and Procurement

31.

Update on Contracts pdf icon PDF 66 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            The Committee:

 

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

 

·         approved the award of Single Tender Actions, in line with Standing Order 55 exceptions, as detailed in Appendix 1 – Table 2 of the report; and

 

·         noted the award of retrospective Single Tender Actions, in line with Standing Order 55 exceptions, as detailed in Appendix 1 – Table 3 of the report; and

 

 

Table 1 – Competitive Tenders

Title of Tender

Proposed Contract Duration

Estimated Total Contract Value

Senior Responsible Officer

Short description of goods/ services

Development of a virtual apprenticeship platform for the Belfast Region City Deal

 

Up to 16 months

 

£65,000

 

A Reid

Development of a new online platform for apprenticeship provision across the Belfast City Region

Receipt, stock control and delivery of waste containers (T2134)

Up to 4 years

£520,000

S Toland /

R Black

Support waste management section with distribution of bins and waste containers to rate payers.

Removal, transportation and emptying of skips and hooklift containers  (T2074)

Up to 5 years

 

£1.2M

S Toland /

R Black

Support service required at Council amenity sites.

Appointment of food samples Public Analysts. (Multi council framework contract) 

Up to 4 years

£1.3M (covers all 11 NI councils)

S Toland /

R Black

Legislative requirement for the purpose of examining and analysing food samples to determine compliance with food safety, compositional and labelling requirements.

Current estimated BCC spend £300,000 however this may significantly increase due to Brexit.

Other council estimated spend is £1m.

Research to undertake business surveys to support and influence future policy interventions across arrange of stakeholders

Up to 3 years

£150,000

A Reid

This is a longitudinal survey of businesses in Belfast to take place every six months. This work is being brought forward in conjunction with the Business Improvement Districts and Belfast Chamber who are making a financial contribution to the research. The survey will provide empirical data to understand what challenges Belfast based businesses are facing. The survey will also ask Businesses to provide a measure of their confidence around future investment and recruitment to gauge Business Sentiment. The fact that it is longitudinal allows to test broadly establish the efficacy of policies and interventions that have been brought to bear in the relevant timeframe.

 

 

 

Table 2- Direct Award Contracts (Single Tender Action)

 

Title of Tender

Supplier

Total Value

Provision of home security/ hazard assessment and repair service for elderly & vulnerable (fully funded)

Bryson Energy

£120,000

Provision of a case management system for City and Neighbourhoods Department

Civica UK Ltd

£113,878

 

Table 3 Retrospective Direct Award Contracts (Single Tender Actions)

 

Title of Tender

Supplier

Total Value

Consultancy support for Innovation and Inclusive Growth commission Growth report

MCE Public Relations 

£5,000

Occupational Health Service Software upgrade

Digital Scanning Services Ltd

£5,430

Continued hire of temporary accommodation, toilets and associated electrical generators and cabling at Roselawn Cemetery

Norespace

£109,852

 

Provision of animation as an alternative to the traditional Christmas market

Lumiere Ltd  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31.

32.

Commercial and Procurement Service - Pricing Policy pdf icon PDF 191 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            The Committee considered the following report:

 

“1.0      Purpose of Report or summary of Main Issues

 

            The 3-year Transformational Strategy prepared by the Commercial and Procurement Service (CPS) is due to be presented to the Strategic Policy and Resources (SP&R) Committee in November.

 

1.2       This Strategy includes details of our first Commercial Plan, which formalises our future ambitions relating to commercialisation and income generation.

 

1.3       To support our specific ambition to generate additional income, the Commercial team within the CPS has developed:

 

·         A corporate Pricing Policy; and

 

·         A framework document, 'Setting Prices - Getting it Right', to guide Council officers when introducing pricing or increasing/decreasing prices.

 

1.4       The above policy and framework was presented to the SP&R Committee on 23rd October.

 

1.5       At that meeting, the Committee agreed to defer any decisions relating to the above in order to allow the policy and framework to be considered alongside the Commercial Plan.

 

1.6       The purpose of this report is to:

 

·         provide members with an update on the pricing policy and framework;

 

·         provide further details on the rationale for selecting the four priority projects in order to support the decision-making process; and

 

·         obtain approval on related actions (detailed below).

 

2.0       Recommendations

 

2.1       The Committee is asked to:

 

1.     approve the Commercial Plan and Pricing Policy, as detailed in Appendices I – III; and

 

2.     agree that the  following priority areas be researched in line with the above policy and framework (all findings and proposals to come back to the SP&R Committee).

 

a.     Malone House - explore possible alternative commercial uses for the building to maximise asset and reduce annual operating costs;

 

b.    Events - develop a Council-wide events policy & procedures to include establishing transparent, fair and consistent pricing options;

 

c.     Bulky waste - explore potential pricing options for the bulky waste service to reduce annual operating costs; and

 

d.    Pest control - explore potential pricing options for the pest control service to reduce annual operating costs.

 

3.0       Main Report

 

            Introduction

 

3.1       The Commercial Plan detailed at Appendix I formalises our future ambitions relating to commercialisation and income generation.

 

3.2       Fundamentally, this is about integrating commercial activities and a commercial mind set into the core of how we operate as an organisation.

 

3.3       The overarching aim of our Commercial Plan is to generate a greater financial return that contributes to the Council’s investment plans and its efficiency programme, and assists to safeguard services that are delivered in our local communities.

 

3.4       To support our specific ambition to generate additional income, the Commercial team, in partnership with relevant individuals/departments, has commenced a strategic programme of work that includes (amongst other things):

 

·         Preparing a Corporate Pricing Policy and associated procedures;

 

·         Developing a  Council-wide Advertising and Sponsorship Strategy;

 

·         Supporting the development of an agreed Asset Management Strategy;

 

·         Identifying commercial best practice across other local authorities and organisations; and

 

·         Creating a framework to identify, develop and deliver existing and new (and innovative) income generating opportunities across the Council’s commercial operations.

 

3.5       Alongside this, work  ...  view the full minutes text for item 32.

33.

Equality and Good Relations

34.

Minutes of the Meeting of the Shared City Partnership pdf icon PDF 265 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            The Committee approved and adopted the minutes of the meeting of the Shared City Partnership held on 9th November, including the recommendations:

 

            Peace IV

 

            To submit a request to SEUPB to:

 

                 i.        reduce the contact hours for all projects as outlined in the modifications in Appendix 2, with no impact on the allocated budget;

 

                ii.        extend the Letters of Offer for all themes to 31st December 2022, with an extended delivery timeframe for project activity to September 2022;

 

               iii.        reduce participant numbers as outlined and to delegate authority to Good Relations Manager and PEACE IV Manager to agree appropriate targets and proportionate budget amendments for projects; and

 

               iv.         realign KPIs and budgets in line with modifications requested.

 

            Good Relations Action Plan 2020/2021

 

                      i.        that a budget of up to £10k be set aside for a diversionary programme in North Belfast and a budget of £5k for citywide initiatives which seek to inspire people from across the city to transform it for the peace and prosperity of all and need to move online with authority on spend in regard to the programmes being delegated to the Director of Neighbourhood Services or his nominee; and

 

                     ii.        that the budget of £5,000 would be set aside in relation to the Clean Space and Green Initiative

 

            Refugee Transition Guide

 

·         to approve the update, reprint, translation and digital upload of the Refugee Guide along with the associated expenditure of £15,000.

 

            Notice of Motion – Racism Free Zone

 

·         that a report on the motion be submitted to a future meeting.

 

 

35.

Equality and Diversity - Equality Screening and Rural Needs Outcome Report pdf icon PDF 145 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            The Committee noted the contents of a report which provided a summary of equality screenings and rural needs impact assessments for the period from July till September, 2020.

 

36.

Diversity Action Plans pdf icon PDF 153 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            The Committee was informed that the Council’s Equality and Diversity framework, which ran from April, 2017 till March, 2021, set out the way in which the organisation would tackle inequalities and promote diversity in the City. The framework had been built around four key priorities, namely, leadership, partnership and organisational commitment, understanding our communities through data and consultation, delivering services accessible to all and developing a skilled and diverse workforce. In terms of the leadership, partnership and organisational commitment key priority, the Council had committed to developing and delivering a Gender Action Plan, an LGBT+ Action Plan and a Race Action Plan.

 

            It was reported that, in May, 2018, the Women’s Steering Group had agreed a three-year Gender Action Plan, to be delivered between April, 2018 and March, 2021. Refinement of the 2020/21 Action Plan had, however, been delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and ongoing recovery. As a result, the Steering Group had drafted a scaled back version of the plan, which was being presented to the Committee for approval.  Those elements of the 2019/20 plan which had yet to be delivered, such as the joint senior officer and Elected Member leadership programme and an event to bring together male and female staff to discuss gender issues in the workplace and how those might be addressed, had been carried forward into 2020/21. It was hoped that these would, where feasible, be delivered remotely.

 

            It was reported further that the development of an LGBT+ Action Plan for 2020/21 had also been delayed as a result of Covid-19. A draft plan had now been developed by the staff network, “Proud” and was also being presented to the Committee for approval.

 

            The cost of delivering the Gender Action Plan was approximately £30,000, whilst the LGBT+ Action Plan would cost £5,000 to deliver. Those costs would be met from the existing Organisational Development budget.

 

            The Committee approved the Gender Action Plan and the LGBT+ Action Plan for 2020/21, as set out hereunder, together with the associated costs. 

 

GENDER ACTION PLAN 2018 – 2021

Year 3 (Year 2020-2021)

WOMEN IN THE COUNCIL

-to ensure that BCC organisational culture, policies and practices empower talent development at all levels, for elected members and officers and remove any form of discrimination

 

Action

Who

Cost

Hold annual  IWD event   /  celebrations for staff

 

 

 

HR

IWD working group

WNG

£6000

Deliver Women Leaders Programme (members and officers)

WSG

HR

External facilitator

£12000

Participate in NI Gender  Diversity Charter assessment against  annual targets and activities to obtain Silver accreditation

 

CX

HR

£2500

Develop/ agree transgender guidance document for staff

HR

LGB&T Network

Staff resources

Ensure effective promotion of BCC as an employer that values and supports equality and diversity (external website, job info to potential applicants, press releases etc.) 

HR

MarComms

Staff network

Staff Resources

Develop and agree Menopause guidance for staff

HR

 WNG

Staff resources

Hold event/ workshop for both male and female staff to jointly explore/ discuss gender issues and identify any issues to be addressed

HR  ...  view the full minutes text for item 36.

37.

Operational Issues

38.

Minutes of the Meeting of the Party Group Leaders' Consultative Forum pdf icon PDF 302 KB

Minutes:

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

 

            Illuminate Process

 

            The Committee was reminded that, at its meeting on 31st July, it had agreed not to accommodate a request from Councillor Nicholl to illuminate the City Hall in red on Tuesday, 1st December to mark World Aids Day, on the basis that it would coincide with the Christmas lighting and that other requests covering December/early January had, in the past, been refused for that reason.

 

            A Member highlighted the significance of World Aids Day and urged the Committee to reconsider Councillor Nicholl’s request on a one-off basis.

 

            The Committee agreed to accede to the request and agreed further that a review be undertaken of the current policy of declining requests to illuminate the City Hall in December/early January,  with the potential for illuminating other Council facilities, such as Belfast Castle, to be considered.  

 

39.

Minutes of the Meeting of the Working Group on the Climate Crisis pdf icon PDF 244 KB

Minutes:

            The Committee approved and adopted the minutes of the meeting of the Working Group on the Climate Crisis of 9th November.

 

40.

Minutes of the Meeting of Active Belfast Limited Board pdf icon PDF 593 KB

Minutes:

            The Committee approved and adopted the minutes of the meeting of the Active Belfast Limited Board of 9th November.

 

41.

Schedule of Meetings 2021 pdf icon PDF 61 KB

Minutes:

            The Committee approved the following schedule of meetings for 2021, with all meetings to commence at 9.30 a.m:

 

·         Friday, 15th January (Rate setting, if required)

·         Friday, 22nd January

·         Friday, 19th February

·         Friday, 19th March

·         Friday, 23rd April

·         Friday, 21st May

·         Friday, 18th June

·         Friday, 20th August

·         Friday, 24th September

·         Friday, 22nd October

·         Friday, 19th November and

·         Friday, 17th December

 

            The Committee approved also the holding of any additional meetings which might be required as part of the rate setting process, with the dates and times to be determined in consultation with the Chairperson.

 

42.

Change of Date of Council Meeting pdf icon PDF 211 KB

Minutes:

The Committee approved the change of date of the Council meeting in January from Monday 4th to Thursday 7th, with the meeting to commence at the usual time of 6.00 p.m.

 

43.

Governance

43a

Appointment of Members to the BCC-BHC Joint Consultative Forum pdf icon PDF 146 KB

Minutes:

            The Committee was reminded that, at is meeting on 21st June, 2019, it had granted approval for the Council to enter into a strategic partnership arrangement with the Belfast Harbour Commissioners, through a Memorandum of Understanding, to realise their shared ambitions for the strong growth, regeneration and prosperity of the City. 

 

            The City Solicitor reported that a Project Board, chaired jointly by the Chief Executive of each organisation, had been established and that it had met for the first time in January. However, due to the ongoing difficulties arising from Covid-19, it was unable to meet again until December.

           

            In addition, both parties had agreed to establish a Joint Consultative Forum in order to inform projects and test the collective willingness to explore projects at the concept stage. The Forum, which would consist of four Elected Members and four Harbour Commissioners, would not be a decision-making body, and decisions would only be taken through each parties’ formal governance arrangements. It would be responsible for appointing its Chairperson and secretariat arrangements for both the Project Board and the Joint Consultative Forum would be shared. The place of any member on the Forum could be taken by a nominee of that member. 

 

            In terms of the Council’s representation on the Forum, the Committee had, in approving the Memorandum of Understanding, agreed to use the d’Hondt process, which was based upon the overall strength of the Political Parties immediately following the 2019 Local Government Elections. The application of the d’Hondt or the Sainte-Laguë process on a one-off basis had resulted in the following order of choice:

 

1

SF

2

DUP

3

ALLIANCE

4

SF

 

            The Committee agreed that Members be nominated to the Joint Consultative Forum on the basis of the order of choice set out above.  

 

44.

Issues Raised in Advance by Members

45.

Illumination of Belfast Castle

To consider a request from Councillor Murphy to illuminate Belfast Castle in blue on Sunday 29th November, as part of a weekend of events being planned to mark the 15th birthday of Noah Donohoe.

Minutes:

            The Committee agreed, at the request of Councillor Murphy, to illuminate Belfast Castle in blue on Sunday, 29th November, as part of a series of events being held over that weekend to mark the 15th birthday of Noah Donohoe.

 

46.

Other Business

47.

Casement Park – Notice of Opinion pdf icon PDF 230 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            The Committee was reminded that the planning application for the redevelopment of Casement Park, which had been submitted to the Council initially, had in 2017 been called in by the Department for Infrastructure, on the basis that it was considered to be of regional significance.

 

The City Solicitor reported that the Minister for Infrastructure had, on 13th October, announced her intention to recommend that planning approval be granted for the project. As part of that process, her Department had served on the Council a Notice of Opinion, which allowed the Council to request that the application be determined by the Planning Appeals Commission or another person so appointed.

            He explained that the Council had informed the Department for Infrastructure previously that it had no objections to the planning application being approved and he drew the Committee’s attention to a proposed response to the aforementioned Notice of Opinion. That response had stated that the application had been subject to a full and considered assessment by the Department for Infrastructure and that there was, therefore, no reason for it to be referred elsewhere.

 

            The Committee approved the response for submission to the Department for Infrastructure and agreed, given the limited timeframe for submissions, that, in accordance with Standing Order 47 (a) (2) (c), the decision would not be subject to call-in, on the basis that an unreasonable delay could be prejudicial to the Council’s or the public’s interest.