Agenda and minutes

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

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

          An apology for inability to attend was reported on behalf of Councillor Pankhurst.

 

2.

Minutes

Minutes:

            The minutes of the meeting of 21st October were taken as read and signed as correct.  It was reported that those minutes had been adopted by the Council, at its meeting on 1st November, subject to the omission of those matters in respect of which the Council had delegated its powers to the Committee.

 

3.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

            Councillor Groogan declared an interest in respect of agenda items 2d – Fuel Poverty Hardship Fund and 8a – Minutes of the Meeting of the Shared City Partnership, in that she had recently accepted an offer of employment from an organisation referred to within each report and left the meeting whilst they were under consideration.

 

4.

Restricted Items

Minutes:

 

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

 

      Resolved – That the Committee agrees to exclude the members of the Press and public from the meeting during discussion of the following eight 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.

Financial Reporting – Quarter 2 2022/23

Minutes:

            The Director of Finance submitted for the Committee’s consideration a report which provided information on the financial position for Quarter 2 2022/23, based upon the five step Finance Strategy which had been formulated to protect the financial sustainability of the Council, in what was a difficult period of unbudgeted pressures.

 

            He reported that, at the end of Quarter 2, the financial position for the Council had shown an underspend of £4.4m (5.6%), which included absorbing Covid-19 expenditure and income losses of £2.1m. The underspend could be attributed to the under occupancy of office buildings, underspends in employee budgets and the additional expenditure controls which continued to offset income losses. The Quarter 2 Departmental forecast was an underspend of £3.3m (2.1%) and there was also a forecast underspend of £1.2m in the Covid-19 reserve fund and an unallocated balance of £2.3m from the 2021/22 underspend.

 

            He stressed that the Quarter 2 forecast did not include the significant pressures caused by the current rate of inflation and made specific reference to the 2022/23 pay award, cost of living support and a community centre utility overspend.

 

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

 

            The Committee noted the information which had been provided.

 

6.

Revenue Estimates and District Rate 2023-24

Minutes:

            The Director of Finance drew the Committee’s attention to a report which provided an update on the development of the Revenue Estimates and the setting of the District Rate for 2023/24.

 

            The report outlined the six key elements involved in the annual setting of the District Rate and provided an update on uncontrollable cost pressures and on ongoing considerations, such as inflation and the Estimated Penny Product.

 

            He went on to confirm that each Political Party would, during November, be briefed on the rate setting process and recommended that representatives of Land and Property Services be invited to attend the Committee meeting in January to provide a presentation on the outcome of the non-domestic revaluation exercise.

 

            After discussion, the Committee noted the contents of the report and adopted the recommendation.

 

7.

Update on NI Council Strategic Waste Management Arrangements

Minutes:

            The Committee agreed to defer until its meeting in December a report providing an update on joint working between councils on Waste Management issues to enable Party briefings to be held.

 

8.

Fuel Poverty Hardship Fund

Minutes:

            The Committee was reminded that, at its meeting on 21st October, it had adopted a motion calling for the establishment of a Fuel Poverty Hardship Fund of £500k for households in most need in Belfast, which had been proposed by Councillor Groogan and seconded by Councillor Ferguson, on behalf of Councillor Flynn.

 

            The Committee had agreed that a report be submitted to its meeting in November on the funding, design and delivery of the scheme.

 

            Accordingly, the Director of Neighbourhood Services submitted for the Committee’s consideration a report which proposed that, given the scale and complexity of the challenges being faced by households across the City, the Council adopt a phased approach to delivery. Phase 1 would focus upon the urgent distribution of £100 fuel vouchers to households in most need, with Phase 2 being developed in tandem, in order to provide a broader range of support over a longer-term period, in collaboration with key voluntary, community and social enterprise and city partners and would be dependent on additional resources becoming available.

 

            The Director then drew the Committee’s attention to an initial set of draft design principles, eligibility criteria and delivery and funding allocation models to be considered, following which it was

 

Moved by Councillor Murphy,

Seconded by Councillor McLaughlin,

 

      That the Committee agrees, in terms of the delivery model, to adopt Option 2 within the report, to use the Local Strategic Partners, and agrees also that the Ashton Centre replace Intercomm as a Strategic Partner in North Belfast.

 

            The proposal was subsequently amended to include Alderman Dorrian’s proposal that the Greater Shankill Community Council replace the Greater Shankill Partnership as a Strategic Partner in West Belfast.

 


 

Amendment

 

            Moved by Councillor Ferguson,

            Seconded by Councillor Long,

 

      That the Committee agrees to adopt Option 5, to use Advice Services to deliver the scheme.

 

            On a vote, seven Members voted for the amendment and eleven against and it was declared lost.

 

            On a recorded vote, twelve Members voted for the original proposal, as amended, and six against and it was declared carried.

 

For 12

Against 6

 

Aldermen Dorrian and Haire; and

Councillors Beattie, Bradley, Bunting, Ferguson, Garrett, McLaughlin, Murphy, Spratt, Verner and Walsh.

Councillor McDonough-Brown (Chairperson);

The Deputy Lord Mayor (Councillor M. Kelly); and Councillors Heading, Long, Lyons and McMullan.

 

 

            The Committee agreed further:

 

                                      i.          to increase the Hardship fund to £1m, with this allocation to be met, in the first instance, from Departmental underspends and from the realignment of specified reserves, if required;

 

                                    ii.          that the Scheme should, if possible, be implemented before Christmas;

 

                                   iii.          to endorse the Design Principles set out within paragraph 3.7 of the report;

 

                                   iv.          to endorse the recommendation to establish a Cost-of-Living Task Group, with membership to be confirmed but to include, as a minimum, representatives from the Council, the Department for Communities, the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and the Belfast Area Partnerships, to ensure that effective referral pathways are created to support the most vulnerable within the City;

 

                                    v.          to endorse the eligibility  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Inquiry into Funding for Levelling Up

Minutes:

            The Director of City and Organisational Strategy reminded the Committee that the Levelling Up Fund had been launched early in 2022 as a means of investing in infrastructure across the United Kingdom to support local transport projects, town and high street regeneration and cultural and heritage assets.

 

            He reported that the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee had, on 20th October, launched an inquiry into Funding for Levelling-Up, in order to review the funds available for levelling-up and how effectively resources had been directed to those areas most in need. The inquiry was examining questions around the allocation of levelling-up resources and the aim, size and focus of the many different funds available, as well as exploring how far the Government’s approach to funding for levelling up and proposed initiatives, such as Investment Zones, contributed to its objective of levelling up across the United Kingdom, including devolved administrations.  The Committee was also seeking to understand how the Government was ensuring that such funds strengthened communities and boosted local economies. 

 

            He explained that the Council had been invited to contribute to the inquiry and presented for the Committee’s approval a draft response for submission to the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee.

 

            The Committee approved the draft response.

 

10.

Update on Special Meetings of the Area Working Groups – Neighbourhood Regeneration Fund Stage 1 Applications

Minutes:

 

            The minute for this item has been restricted on the basis of commercial sensitivity and an ongoing competitive process. The minute will be published in due course.

 

11.

Special Meeting

Minutes:

            It was agreed that, in future, a special meeting of the Committee would be held to enable Members to be fully briefed on those projects which were being recommended by the Area Working Groups to proceed to the next stage in the Neighbourhood Regeneration Fund process.

 

12.

Update on Research into the Lived Experiences of Minority Ethnic Communities in Belfast

Minutes:

            The Committee was reminded that the Council, the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and the Public Health Agency had jointly commissioned research in order to obtain a more comprehensive understanding of the range of experiences of minority ethnic populations in Belfast and help inform policy making and service provision.

 

            The Director of Neighbourhood Services reviewed the methodology which had been used in the research and pointed out that the interviews and focus groups which had been held over the past six months had examined how minority ethnic populations in Belfast experienced everyday issues, such as employment, accessing housing, healthcare, education, leisure services, civic engagement, community safety and cultural integration.

 

            That research had now been completed and a draft report, entitled “Inequalities experienced by Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Traveller People residing in Belfast” had been produced, which set out a number of recommendations for the commissioning organisations. The draft findings had been presented to the Shared City Partnership on 10th October and the report was due to be launched on 1st December. It was envisaged that the findings would be disseminated to ensure that relevant strategies and programmes, including the Belfast Agenda Refresh, the Good Relations Action Plan and the PEACE PLUS Action Plan, would take into account the lived experience of ethnic minority groups within the City.

 

            The Committee noted the information which had been provided.

 

13.

Minutes of the Meeting of the Language Working Group

Minutes:

            The Committee approved and adopted the minutes of the meeting of the Language Strategy Working Group of 11th November, including the recommendation to approve the Language Strategy Action Plan for pre-consultation engagement with the newly established Irish and Ulster-Scots stakeholder forums and existing Council language engagement forums. The Committee would receive an update on the outcome of that engagement in advance of the launch of a public consultation. 

 

14.

Matters referred back from Council / Motions

15.

Motion - Rates Freeze pdf icon PDF 237 KB

Minutes:

            The Committee was reminded that the Standards and Business Committee, at its meeting on 25th October, had considered the following motion which had been received for submission to the Council on 1st November:

 

“This Council recognises the impact the rising cost of living crisis will have on Council expenditure, and the pressure this will put on our existing budgets to deliver the same high-quality services.

 

The Council also recognises the crisis we face will demand a heightened and increases response from local government.

 

At a time when many people are struggling to heat their homes, or put food on the table, the Council and its partner organisations must be adequately equipped to help navigate this crisis and provide the increased support that is needed for those struggling.

 

During the Covid pandemic, local Councils were allocated a financial package to help them manage the additional pressures the pandemic presented.

 

The cost-of-living crisis is a crisis on a similar magnitude and will require additional support to be provided to local Councils, to ensure they are adequately equipped to help mitigate the impact of this crisis on communities.

 

The Council views any effort to increase rates as a response to these financial pressures as counter intuitive. Any move to increase rates during a cost-of-living crisis will only exacerbate problems for working class communities. It would lead to a further hike in already mounting household bills and could force more people into poverty.

 

The Council acknowledges the need to avoid another rates increase during the cost-of-living crisis.

 

As a first step toward avoiding this, the Council will write to Stormont Ministers, the Secretary of State, and the Treasury, urging them to support a financial package of additional funding to be allocated to local Councils to help them manage the cost-of-living crisis.

 

The Council also commits to writing to all other councils across the north, asking them to adopt a similar position of calling for an increase of government support.

 

This will help to ensure that all Councils are adequately equipped to provide support to communities, to pay fair wages to its employees, and deliver high quality services during the cost-of-living crisis.”

 

            The motion had been proposed by Councillor Michael Collins and seconded by Councillor Matt Collins.

 

            The Interim City Solicitor and Director of Legal and Civic Services had advised the Standards and Business Committee that those parts of the motion in italics, relating to a Council rates freeze, were not competent, as setting the rate was a legal obligation and must go through a process.

 

            Accordingly, the Committee had agreed that those paragraphs of the motion, deemed competent, in relation to writing to Stormont Ministers, the Secretary of State and the Treasury, urging them to support a financial package of additional funding to local councils and writing to all other councils asking them to adopt a similar position, be referred, in the first instance, to the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee.

 

            Councillor Michael Collins referred, amongst other things, to the pressures being faced by  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.

16.

Governance

17.

Schedule of Meetings 2023 pdf icon PDF 61 KB

Minutes:

            The Committee approved the following schedule of meetings for 2023, with all meetings to commence at 9.30 a.m.:

 

·        Friday 13th January (Rate setting, if required)

 

·        Friday 20th January

 

·        Friday 17th February

 

·        Friday 24th March

 

·        Friday 14th April

 

·        (No meeting in May - Local Government Elections)

 

·        Friday 16th June

 

·        Friday 18th August

 

·        Friday 22nd September

 

·        Friday 20th October

 

·        Friday 24th November

 

·        Friday 15th December

 

18.

Change of Date of Council Meeting pdf icon PDF 381 KB

Minutes:

            The Committee approved the change of date of the Council meeting in January from Tuesday, 3rd to Monday, 9th, with proceedings to commence at the usual time of 6.00 p.m.

 

19.

Renewal of the Scheme of Delegation for Planning pdf icon PDF 281 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            The Committee considered the following report:

 

“1.0      Purpose of Report/Summary of Main Issues

 

1.1       The Council must prepare a Scheme of Delegation for planning which sets out which decisions on Local and minor planning applications are delegated to officers. The current Scheme of Delegation was implemented in January 2020. In accordance with legislation, the Council is required to review the current Scheme of Delegation no more than every 3 years, i.e. it is next due to be reviewed by January, 2023.

 

1.2       This report essentially proposes to renew the existing Scheme of Delegation, subject to two minor changes, with a view to a more in-depth review at some point in the future. 

 

1.3       The proposed amendments to Scheme of Delegation were noted by the Planning Committee on 18th October with no specific comments made. The Strategic Policy and Resources Committee is asked to agree the amendments to the Scheme as set out in this report. Under the legislation, the Scheme of Delegation must be agreed by the Department for Infrastructure.

 

2.0       Recommendation

 

2.1         The Committee is asked to approve the two minor changes to the current Scheme of Delegation for Planning, with a view to it being sent to the Department for Infrastructure for approval.

 

3.0       Main Report

 

3.0       Background

 

3.1       Section 31 of the Planning Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 requires a council to prepare a Scheme of Delegation which enables a person appointed by the Council to determine applications for Local development, consents, agreements or approvals required by condition. All Major applications must by law be considered by the Planning Committee.

 

3.2       Article 9 of the Planning (Development Management) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015 states that a council must not adopt a Scheme of Delegation until it has been approved by the Department for Infrastructure.  Article 11 states that a council must prepare a Scheme of Delegation at intervals of no greater than three years.

 

3.3       Development Management Practice Note 15: Councils Schemes of Delegation provides Departmental guidance. It advises that the main benefits of delegation are:

 

·        to enable the Planning Committee to devote its finite time to determining applications that present issues that the Committee are best served to determine; and

 

·        delegation of planning applications to officers is critical to affecting the overall performance of the development management process as it helps to ensure that decisions are taken at the most appropriate level, costs are minimised and members have more time to concentrate on the most complex cases.

 

3.4       The Council first published a Scheme of Delegation in March 2015 ahead of transfer of most planning powers to councils. It was then amended in June 2017 following a review (and updated in March 2019 to take account of the Council’s new departmental structure). Further amendments were made in January 2020.

 

3.5       The Scheme of Delegation sets out a range of planning functions which are delegated to officers. These include:

 

·        Decisions on certain types of Local application;

·        Decisions on other forms of consent and approval;

·        Preservation of trees;

·        Determinations under  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.

20.

Belfast Agenda/Strategic Issues

21.

Update on City Region Growth Deal pdf icon PDF 437 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            The Committee considered the following report:

 

“1.0      Purpose of Report/Summary of Main Issues

 

1.1       This report provides 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:

 

                                        (i)     note the update on progress being made now that the Deal is in the delivery phase, including in relation to:

 

·        agreeing the Contracts for Funding which are required for each of the capital projects delivered through the Deal; and

·        project development and delivery across the pillars of investment; and

 

                                       (ii)     note the update on the BRCD Council Panel.

 

3.0       Main Report

 

            Deal Delivery

 

            Contracts for Funding

 

3.1       Before funding can flow to projects for which Outline Business Cases (OBCs) have been approved, Contracts for Funding need to be agreed between departments and the Accountable Body and Funding Agreements agreed between the Accountable Body and Project Sponsors.

 

3.2       Since the last update to the Committee and following the signing of the first individual Contract for Studio Ulster in July, progress has continued to prepare and agree a number of contracts.  As previously noted by Members, the Framework Contract was agreed by the BRCD Executive Board and it was agreed that subsequent agreements would be made between the relevant parties without needing specific individual Board approvals. It was also noted that the Committee would be advised of progress to agree the funding agreements for each project.

 

3.3       The Contract for the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre (AMIC) is nearing completion with the Contract now finalised and agreed with the relevant department and partners and is expected to be signed during December following University approvals.  Draft Contracts for the Institute for Research Excellence in Advanced Clinical Healthcare (iREACH) and Momentum One Zero (formerly the Global Innovation Institute) have been shared by the Department for Economy and are being considered.

 

3.4       Following agreement of the Contract with the Department for Communities, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council received approval to sign the Carrickfergus Contract for Funding at its Council meeting on 7th November and this will be signed by the middle of November. Three of the Contracts for projects within the Tourism and Regenerations pillar, namely Newry City Centre Regeneration, Bangor Waterfront and Mourne Mountain Gateway, are also now being actively progressed.

 

            Progress across BRCD Pillars

 

3.5       Innovation

 

            Following signing of the Contract for Funding for Studio Ulster in July, construction at the site in Belfast Harbour commenced on 3rd October, following a media launch.  When complete in July 2024 it will include world-class commercial Virtual Production stages, fully supported by an integrated R and D and Innovation Centre of Excellence in real-time and virtual production. In the coming months Ulster University are due to complete the Pre-Qualification stage for the Studio Ulster Operator and Delivery Partner.

 

3.6       The Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre (AMIC) has been advanced by Queen’s University through to the detailed design stage and it was recently announced that Sam Turner, Chief Technology Officer at the High Value Manufacturing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.

22.

Leisure Management Contract Governance and Performance Reporting pdf icon PDF 331 KB

Minutes:

            The Committee considered the following report:

 

“1.0      Purpose of Report/Summary of Main Issues

 

1.1       To present proposals for the future governance of the leisure management contract, including contract compliance and performance reporting.

 

2.0       Recommendations

 

2.1       The Committee is requested to consider:

 

                                        (i)     the recommendation that the People and Communities Committee is the most appropriate route for future Council reports; and

                                       (ii)     the proposed contract compliance and performance report schedules presented below in paragraphs 3.5 and 3.6.

 

3.0       Main Report

 

3.1       Background

 

            The Committee is reminded that, in November 2020, it agreed to review the tri-partite leisure model and the ABL Board, including its membership and governance arrangements.  Terms of Reference were approved in June 2021 and First Point Management and Consultancy Limited was appointed to conduct the review. 

 

            The final review report was presented to this Committee on 25th March 2022.  After consideration, the Committee approved Option 3 as the preferred way forward, namely, to bring Contract Compliance and Performance Monitoring of GLL back into the Council and commence the winding up of ABL.  That decision was subsequently ratified by the Council on 4th April.

 

            ABL has been dormant since 6th June and will remain so until formally dissolved.

 

            Contract compliance, performance management and financial transactions have been managed through the City and Neighbourhood Services Department (CNS) since 6th June.  This will continue until new mechanisms for direct Council governance are agreed.

 

            Propoals for Committee consideration include general oversight arrangements, periodic reports, key performance indicators, budgets and financial transactions and audit/risk assurances.

 

3.2       Outcomes and Proposals

 

            This report sets out options and proposals for the future governance of the leisure management contract.  CNS will continue to gather and collate contract compliance evidence and performance data as previously required for reporting through Active Belfast Limited.

 

3.3       Committee Reporting and Governance Overview

 

            Following the decision to bring management of the GLL leisure contract back under direct Council control, an agreed reporting mechanism is now required.  It is recommended that CNS prepares contract compliance and performance monitoring papers to:

 

a)     Report directly into Committee.  People and Communities is recommended as the most appropriate Committee.

 

            It is anticipated that, within the first Committee report, report formats and frequencies, together with specific performance measures, will be presented for consideration.

 

3.4       Contract Compliance

 

            Contract compliance assurances are already well established.  CNS takes a central role in collating information and works with Corporate H and S, Corporate finance, Audit, Governance and Risk Services and Legal Services to review and present assurances.

 

            Contract compliance requirements are set out within the legally binding contract with GLL.  As these contractual requirements will remain unchanged, it is proposed that the same suite of check mechanisms and assurance reports be retained as part of direct Council governance procedures.  For example, existing mechanisms include:

 

b)     Assurances on key BCC/GLL policy alignments

c)     Health and Safety (including Safeguarding) reporting

d)     Timelines for submission of key annual proposals around, pricing, programming, marketing and promotion, sports development, community engagement, etc.

 

3.5       Performance Reporting

 

            Periodic performance report  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.

23.

Belfast City Council Safeguarding All Ages Policy pdf icon PDF 166 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Neighbourhood Services submitted for the Committee’s approval the Council’s revised Safeguarding All Ages Policy. The revised Policy had been designed to improve the safety and minimise the risk of harm of people of all ages living in Belfast, including staff, with whom the Council might come into contact and was aligned with the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety’s 2016 “Co-operating to Safeguard Children and Young People” framework document and with the Northern Ireland Adult Safeguarding Partnership’s 2016 Adult Safeguarding Operational Procedures.

 

The Committee approved the Policy, a copy of which can be accessed here, and noted that a launch was planned for 15th February, 2023.

 

24.

Smart Belfast Urban Innovation Framework 2022 - 2026 pdf icon PDF 182 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            The Committee considered the following report:

 

“1.0      Purpose of Report/Summary of Main Issues

 

1.1       To present the refreshed Smart Belfast: Urban Innovation framework, which sets out the objectives and programme of work from 2022 to 2026. This report outlines the purpose of the refreshed framework; the wider conditions necessary to support urban innovation in Belfast; and details of the Smart District and the associated programme of work being led by the Council.

 

1.2       In addition, the report seeks the Committee’s approval for a number of the programme’s first initiatives.

 

2.0       Recommendations

 

2.1       The Committee is asked to:

 

1.      approve the Smart Belfast urban innovation framework 2023 to 2026;

 

2.      approve (subject to a successful award) the Council’s active participation in the Ulster University-led E-Huub bid to EPSRC;

3.      note the work under way with Queen's University Belfast and Ulster University on Belfast City Council’s partnership on a potential £5m bid to EPSRC’s Place-based Innovation Impact award programme in the Smart District;

 

4.      note Nesta’s engagement with communities and institutions on proposals for the Citizen Opportunity for Digital Innovation (CODI) programme;

 

5.      note that a Hub-IN project roadmap is due to be published in December, which include proposals for a £100,000 Challenge Fund and the project’s contribution of £10,000 to the city’s Waterfront Task Group; and

 

6.      approve the appointment of a member of the City Innovation Office to be part of the advisory board to the new Northern Ireland Public Data panel.

 

3.0       Main Report

 

3.1       The Smart Belfast urban innovation framework (final draft attached) is designed to stimulate collaborative innovation between the industry, innovative SMEs, academia, government and communities to help grow our economy and achieve our shared ambitions. It is based on the understanding that many of Belfast’s complex urban challenges are not readily amenable to traditional public policy interventions but require novel solutions involving the co-operation of many innovation actors. In achieving these goals, the framework seeks to maximise investment opportunities, particularly those represented by the Belfast Region City Deal innovation and digital pillars.

 

3.2       Following approval by the Committee in December 2021, the City Innovation Team consulted widely on a draft of the framework from January to March 2022. The findings and recommendations from this consultation, and from further engagement with Members and city partners, have now been incorporated into this final draft.

 

3.3       The final framework is structured around three main elements:

 

3.4      

                                             (i)          The first is the Urban Innovation ecosystem. The eight ‘pillars’ of the ecosystem represent the conditions necessary for innovation to flourish. Belfast already has strengths in many of these pillars, but some are at a comparatively formative stage. Responsibility for growing the urban innovation ecosystem is an ongoing and collective effort among many city partners and does not rest exclusively with Belfast City Council. Our analysis of the ecosystem, its pillars, and our recommendations for action, are the basis upon which Belfast City Council will continue to engage with other innovation partners. As such the analysis will inform the Council’s  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.

25.

Response to Consultation on Department of Education’s Draft Corporate Plan 2023 – 2028 – Every Child pdf icon PDF 436 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            The Committee was informed that the Department of Education had, on 20th September, published for consultation its draft Every Child: Corporate Plan for 2023 – 2028. The Plan proposed a new vision of “every child and young person being happy, learning and ready to succeed”, with the vision to be underpinned by the following five Strategic Priorities:

 

·        championing all children and young people and the positive impact of education on all aspects of life;

 

·        helping all children and young people where they need support for their learning and well-being;

 

·        inspiring all children and young people to make a positive contribution to society;

 

·        meeting the learning needs of children and young people and developing their knowledge and skills, enabling them to fulfil their potential; and

 

·        delivering an effective, child-focused, collaborative, high-quality education system.

 

            These Strategic Priorities would, in turn, be supported by the following enablers, which described how the Department would achieve the desired outcomes:

 

·        COLLABORATING – partnering with stakeholders to support co-production and the achievement of shared outcomes;

 

·        OPTIMISING – prioritising, modernising and making most efficient use of resources to achieve the greatest impact, including stopping or changing activities which do not make the desired difference;

 

·        RESPONDING – addressing the long-term impacts of the pandemic and other emerging challenges and needs faced by children and young people and the education workforce; and

 

·        ENGAGING – communicating and consulting with stakeholders to help shape future services.

 

            Council officers had forwarded a draft response to the Department of Education by the closing date of 15th November, with the proviso that it would be subject to approval by the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee and ratification by the Council.

 

            The Committee approved the draft response, a copy of which can be accessed here.

 

26.

Physical Programme and Asset Management

27.

Alleygating Programme: Phase 5 Funding – Response from Department of Justice pdf icon PDF 321 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            The Committee was reminded that, at its meeting on 23rd September, it had approved a list of streets to be taken forward under Phase 5 of the Council’s alleygating programme, with £500k to be allocated under the Capital Programme for delivery. The Council, at its meeting on 3rd October, in ratifying that decision, had agreed that a letter be forwarded to the Justice Minister requesting that the Department of Justice match the Council’s allocation. 

 

            The Director of Physical Programmes informed the Committee that a response had been received from Mr. R. Pengelly, Permanent Secretary in the Department of Justice.


 

 

            The Permanent Secretary had begun by acknowledging the important work being undertaken by the Council around alleygating and the significant level of its investment.

 

            In terms of the Council’s request for match funding, he had confirmed that, given the ongoing priorities within the remit of the Department of Justice and the extraordinary constraints on its budget, the Department was not, at this time, in a position to provide funding. The Department had, in the past, used its powers to assist the Council when alley gates had been sought by residents to prevent access due to anti-social behaviour. However, this had usually been limited to interface areas and had preceded adoption of the gates by the Council. On a small number of occasions, it had agreed to fund such measures, albeit that this had usually been on the recommendation of Policing colleagues for express and pressing community protection needs.

 

            He had gone on to state that the Department of Justice fully recognised the negative impact which antisocial behaviour could have on communities and that it was currently leading on a review of the legislation to ensure that the relevant authorities, such as councils, had effective and proportionate enforcement powers in place to tackle the issue.

 

            The Department of Justice, in partnership with the Northern Ireland Policing Board, provided £826,516 annually to Policing and Community Safety Partnerships, which led on the Department’s response to community safety issues at a local level. That funding was, he had pointed out, used by the Policing and Community Safety Partnerships across Belfast’s districts to fund a range of projects and initiatives to address antisocial behaviour, including supporting the important work being delivered via the Holyland Intervention Project. 

 

            The Permanent Secretary had concluded by again stating that the Department of Justice was not in a position to providing funding on this occasion and by wishing the Council every success with the Programme.

 

            The Committee noted the response.

 

28.

Update on Physical Programme pdf icon PDF 478 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            The Committee considered the following report:

 

“1.0      Purpose of Report/Summary of Main Issues

 

1.1             The Council’s Physical Programme currently includes 170 capital projects with investment of £150m+ via a range of internal and external funding streams, together with projects which the Council delivers on behalf of external agencies. The Council’s Capital Programme forms part of the Physical Programme and is a rolling programme of investment which either improves existing Council facilities or provides new facilities. This report requests a movement on the Capital Programme for the Carson Tile project which is part of the City Hallprogramme. This report also provides an overview of recently completed capital projects, funding secured and contracts awarded.

 

2.0       Recommendations

 

2.1       The Committee is asked to:

 

§  Capital Programme - agree that the City Hall Statues City Hall Grounds - Carson Tile project is moved to delivery stage i.e. Stage 3 – Committed on the Capital Programme;

 

§  Physical Programme Update - note the update on projects that have been completed recently and projects currently in construction; and

 

§  Contracts Awarded in Q2 and Q3 2022/23 – note the update in relation to contracts awarded.

 

3.0       Main Report

 

3.1       Members will be aware that the Council runs a substantial Physical Programme. This includes the rolling Capital Programme – a multimillion regeneration programme of investment across the city which improves existing Council assets or provides new council facilities. The Council also delivers externally focused funding streams such as BIF, LIF and SOF, as well as numerous capital programmes that we deliver for central government. Our funding partners include NHLF, SEUPB Peace IV, the Executive Office via Social Investment Fund and Urban Villages, DfC, DfI, DAERA, Ulster Garden Villages and others.  When appropriate, the Physical Programmes Department is happy to arrange site visits to any projects that have been completed.

 

3.2       Proposed Movement Capital Programme

 

            Members have previously agreed that all capital projects must go through a Three Stage process where decisions on which projects progress are taken by Strategic Policy & Resources Committee. This provides assurance on the level of financial control and will allow Members to properly consider the opportunity costs of approving one capital project over another capital project.


 

 

            The Committee is asked to agree to the following movements on the Capital Programme:

 

Project

Overview

Stage movement

City Hall - Carson Tile

Installation of Carson Tile

Move to Stage 3 - Committed

 

            Carson Tile

 

3.3       In November 2012, the Council received an independent Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) relating to the City Hall and City Hall grounds. This EQIA was carried out in accordance with Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and the Council’s Equality Scheme. This EQIA underpinned the decision to relocate memorabilia into the exhibition, allowing it to be seen and understood in a different way. Whilst the relocation of the artefacts and memorabilia from various parts of the City Hall into the exhibition space addressed the issue of the City Hall itself, in terms of the EQIA,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 28.

29.

Asset Management pdf icon PDF 252 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            The Committee:

 

Lands adjacent to Lisnasharragh Leisure Centre

 

·        agreed to extend, until 11th September, 2023, the tri-partite licence between the Council, the Northern Ireland Housing Executive and Piperhill Construction Limited for a portion of Council land adjacent to Lisnasharragh Leisure Centre to be used as a contractor’s compound, with the Council to receive a fee of £100 (plus VAT) per week;

 

Corporation Square Car Park, Girdwood Hub, Grove

            Playing Fields, Kent Street Car Park, Loughside

            Recreation Centre and Northumberland Street Car Park

 

·        granted approval to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with Northern Ireland Water to enable it, in the event of a major incident, to be granted licences to use the six sites for community water provision;

 

Picardy Avenue

 

·        approved the disposal of a strip of land adjoining number 1 Picardy Avenue to the occupier, with the Council to receive a single premium payment of £4,000;

 

Ormeau Park

 

·        granted approval to extend for a further nine months, from 1st April, 2023, the existing licence agreement with GEDA Construction for the use of contractor’s compound at Ormeau Park in connection with the Flood Alleviation Project works currently being undertaken on the Ravenhill Road and surrounding areas, with the Council to receive a further licence fee of £7,575; and

 

            Duncrue Estate

 

·        approved the extension of the current term of the ground lease at Plot 27 and 41 Duncrue Estate to 125 years, from 2022, with the Council to receive a premium of £5,000.

 

30.

Finance, Procurement and Performance

31.

Update on Contracts pdf icon PDF 178 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            The Committee:

 

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

 

·        approved the award of Single Tender Actions, in line with Standing Order 55 exceptions, as detailed in Table 2 below;

 

·        approved the modification of the contract, as per Standing Order 37a, as detailed in Table 3 below;

 

·        noted the award of retrospective Single Tender Actions, in line with Standing Order 55 exceptions, as detailed in Table 4 below; and

 

·        noted the award of contracts by arc 21, on behalf the Council, as detailed in Table 5 below.

 

Table 1 - Competitive Tenders

Title of Tender

Proposed Contract Duration

Estimated Total Contract Value

SRO

Short description of goods / services

Dynamic purchasing system ‘DPS’ framework to supply a range of food products for Belfast Zoo and other Council catering operations

Up to 5 years

£1,530,000

J Greer

The DPS will provide a flexible, compliant and quicker solution to source a wide range of food products to support Belfast Zoo and internal catering team(s).

The appointment of delivery agent for Gateway to Choices service as part of Belfast Labour Market partnership

*Previously approved Oct 21 for 4y&6m at £800k.  Now reviewed due to £1.45m funding from DFC and DFE.

Up to 3 years and 3 months

£2,000,000

J Greer

The purpose of the partnership is to make employability and skills interventions more effective and support an inclusive approach to growth in the city.

Procurement of a Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) for Enterprise and Business Growth Framework

Up to 6 years

£6,000,000

J Greer

The DPS will be developed to complement and enhance the Enterprise and Business Growth ‘EBG’ Framework by providing additional, specialist support for businesses.  The EBG framework has already been approved.

Supply, delivery and off-loading of rubber crumb for 3G and 4G pitches

Up to 3 years

£120,000

D Sales

To ensure 3G/4G pitches continue to meet all required H and S legislative requirements.

Consultancy for City Centre Residential Development 

Up to 2 years

£160,000

C Reynolds

The continuation of consultancy services which was initially required to progress the Strategic Sites Assessment and Belfast Destination Hub work-streams and aligned with the Covid-19 Recovery Plan. The Strategic Sites Assessment has now progressed to real estate consultancy advice in relation to procuring an investment/development partner through a Competitive Dialogue Process.

West Belfast District Policing and Community Safety Partnership Network Support Project

Up to 3 years and 6 months

£135,000

S Toland

West DPCSP has articulated that they want the contractor in place for 3 years, but the funding is in year so needs to be subject to annual approval.

To appoint an Integrated Design Team (IDT) to provide design development services to support The Business Cluster and Community Grant Programme

Up to 10 months

£60,000

C Reynolds

It is proposed to commission an IDT will work with grant recipients to develop concept designs, provide advice regarding statutory approvals (Pavement Café Licence, Planning, utility connections) procurement and pricing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31.

32.

Equality and Good Relations

33.

Minutes of the Meeting of the Shared City Partnership pdf icon PDF 262 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            The Committee approved and adopted the minutes of the meeting of the Shared City Partnership of 7th November, including the recommendations:

 

PEACE IV

 

Secretariat

 

·     that any further programme underspends be redirected into the SSS theme to cover increased costs of construction for Forth Meadow Community Greenway.

 

CYP1 Tech Connects

 

·     to approve the approach to redistribute the project equipment (Lego We Do kits, Laptops and iPads) via EOI to community organisations.

 

CYP 5 NIHE

 

·     to extend NIHE projects (CYP5 and BPR1) to 31st March 2023, to allow additional time to meet revised targets; and

 

·     to formally note the alternative training option to OCN and online delivery for the Foster Carers Network.

 

BPR 1 – NIHE

 

·     to approve, in principle, the request for procurement of quantity surveyors for four CCANS place shaping plans, subject to further information and clarification being provided to support the viability of the plans.

 

BPR 4 - Corrymeela Facilitation

 

·     to note that the final study visit was not viable, due to levels of participation.

 

BPR 5 – FSP – Roma

 

·     to note a further request to modify the English language classes delivery and to amend Intercultural Navigator Advocacy Project (INAP) targets, noting that four participants of a proposed ten completed, subject to approval by SEUPB.


 

BPR6 – St. Comgall’s

 

·     to approve an extension to 28th February 2023, to allow for changes to materials to be implemented; and

 

·     to note the exhibition materials (oral histories) and educational resources (worksheets for schools) were being reviewed via an Equality Screening.

 

SSS Theme

 

·     to approve, in principle, an extension of the Youth Civic Education project to 28th February 2023, subject to the submission of an implementation plan.

 

GOOD RELATIONS

 

·     to note the award, under the delegated authority of the Director of Neighbourhood Services, of £700 to Shankill Women’s Centre for its Christmas Market at Lanark Way on 1st December;

 

·     to approve the use of the additional funding of £7,050 from The Executive Office for programming and animation at the new Urban Villages Colin Park, Páirc Nua Chollann;

 

·     to note that a draft report on the Good Relations Audit and its draft findings would be discussed at its meeting in December, with Mr. Peter Osborne, who was developing the Audit, to be invited to the meeting, to enable Members to feed into the report prior to it being finalised in advance of the January meeting; and

 

·     to note forthcoming events in which the Good Relations Team was involved.

 

Peace Plus

·        to note that the Partnership:

 

o   agreed the proposed methodology for completing Stage 1 of the co-design process;

 

o   provided feedback on the process for the residents’ survey to inform Stage 1 and agreed that SCP members would become involved in designing the survey; and

 

o   noted that, given the current resource needs, an exercise to recruit a PEACE Programme Manager had commenced, in accordance with Council procedures, with the associated costs being able to be claimed retrospectively from SEUPB, as part of the Action Plan submission.

 

34.

Seachtain na Gaeilge/Irish Language Week 2023 pdf icon PDF 313 KB

Minutes:

            The Committee agreed to defer until its meeting in December a report providing details of the events being planned to mark Seachtain na Gaeilge/Irish Language Week in March 2023, to enable consultation to take place with Irish Language groups.  

 

35.

Operational Issues

35a

Minutes of the Meeting of the Party Group Leaders' Consultative Forum pdf icon PDF 379 KB

Minutes:

            The Committee approved and adopted the minutes of the meeting of the Party Group Leaders' Consultative Forum of 10th November and agreed that further discussions take place with the Knockagh Monument Joint Committee on how the Council could contribute, at no cost, to the work of the Joint Committee.

 

36.

Requests for Use of the City Hall and the Provision of Hospitality pdf icon PDF 162 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            The Committee adopted the recommendations in respect of those applications received up to 4th November, as set out below:

 

NAME OF ORGANISATION

FUNCTION DATE

FUNCTION DESCRIPTION

CRITERIA MET

ROOM CHARGE

HOSPITALITY

OFFERED

CIVIC HQ RECOMMEND

2023 EVENTS

City Site Seeing Tours and City Tours

11th February 2023

City Site Seeing Tours and City Tours Celebration – Reception and Dinner to thank and celebrate staff over recent years

 

 

Numbers attending – 250 – 300

 

 

B and C

Charge £825

No hospitality 

 

 

Approve

Charge £825

No hospitality

 

Institute of Irish Studies, Queen’s University Belfast

 

24th August 2023

European Federation of Associations and Centres of Irish Studies (EFACIS)Conference Welcome Reception forguests attending their 3-day conference taking place in Queens.

 

Numbers attending – 200

 

 

A &B

No

(waivered as linked to Visit Belfast and Charity)

 

No hospitality

 

Approve

No Charge

No hospitality

 

Ulster Journals

Ltd.

 

14th September 2023

Ulster Tatler Awards

2023

Drinks Reception,

Awards, Dinner and

entertainment.

 

Numbers attending - 350 - 400

 

B & C

 

Charge £825

No hospitality 

 

 

Approve

Charge £825

No hospitality

 

Political Studies Association of Ireland, QUB

21st October 2023

Political Studies Association of Ireland Annual Conference 2023

Dinner for guests attending their 3-day conference taking place in QUB.

 

Numbers attending – 90

A &B

No

(Waivered as linked to Visit Belfast)

 

No hospitality

 

Approve

No Charge

No hospitality

 

UK Space Agency

22nd November 2023

UK Space Agency Conference

Dinner for guests attending their 3-day conference taking place in ICC 

 

Numbers attending – 400

A &B

No

(Waivered as linked to Visit Belfast)

 

No hospitality

 

Approve

No Charge

No hospitality

 

2024 EVENTS

British Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society

7 March 2024

BOFAS Annual Scientific Meeting Conference Gala Dinner for guests attending their 3-day conference taking place in ICC Belfast.

 

Numbers attending – 250

A &B

No

(Waivered as linked to Visit Belfast and Charity)

 

No hospitality

 

Approve

No Charge

No hospitality

 

British Thoracic Oncology Group

18 April 2024

BTOG Conference Gala Dinner for guests attending their 4-day conference taking place in ICC Belfast.

 

Numbers attending – 300

 

A &B

No

(Waivered as linked to Visit Belfast and Charity)

 

No hospitality

 

Approve

No Charge

No hospitality

 

 

37.

Minutes of the Meeting of the City Hall/City Hall Grounds Installations Working Group pdf icon PDF 224 KB

Minutes:

            The Committee approved and adopted the minutes of the meeting of the City Hall/City Hall Grounds Installations Working Group of 26th October.

 

38.

Building Regulation Fees for Applications including Insulation pdf icon PDF 53 KB

Minutes:

            The Committee considered the following report:

 

“1.0      Purpose of Report/Summary of Main Issues

 

1.1       At the People and Communities Committee meeting on 22nd September, it was requested that a report be brought back regarding the potential to waive Building Regulation inspection fees for applications which included the provision of insulation. A report was taken to that Committee on 8th November and was deferred for consideration by the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee.

 

2.0       Recommendations

 

2.1       The Committee is asked to consider the report and the potential to waive fees.

 

3.0       Main Report

 

            Key Issues

 

3.1       The installation of loft insultation under the Northern Ireland Building Regulations is considered a controlled element and, therefore, requires a Building Regulations application. As such, there is typically a £60 chargeable fee for each application.

 

3.2       Cavity wall insulation is also a controlled element and requires a Building Regulations application but is specifically exempt from fees under the Building Regulations fees legislation. These are statutory fees set by the Department of Finance and collected by local councils to cover the cost of administration and facilitating the enforcement of Building Regulations

 

3.3       The processes involved in the administration and enforcement of Building Regulations involves processing applications and also the carrying out of Inspections to ascertain compliance with regulations. In reality fees collected for these types of works do not currently cover the costs involved in these processes.

 

3.4       In relation to both loft and cavity wall insulation, inspections are carried out by the Building Control Service to ascertain compliance with the regulations. For example, to ensure that there is adequate ventilation to the roof void to prevent condensation issues.

 

3.5       The Service has carried out some general analysis of the applications received over a four-year period (01/04/2018 - 31/03/2022) to include those which are solely for or include loft insulation as part of a range of measures. Over this period, it is estimated that on average approximately 1350 applications have been received per year which have included works and fees for loft insulation. Based upon the £60 fee due for these applications, this would equate to an annual fee income of £81,000.

 

3.6       Much of the works being carried out to insulate properties is done as part of government funded schemes.  For example, the Department for Communities (DfC) Affordable Warmth Scheme involves BCC working in partnership with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) to provide efficiency measures based upon referral criteria.  For this scheme, the Building Regulation fees are covered within the grant funding provided, so the homeowner or tenant is not out of pocket.  The same would apply to other schemes and where maintenance contracts are in place.

 

3.7       Having analysed the applications received over the four-year period, it is estimated that over 90%of the applications relating to loft insulation are carried out within funded schemes or contracts.

 

3.8       As such, it is understood that in these circumstances the burden of paying the Building Regulations fees is not borne by the homeowner and they  ...  view the full minutes text for item 38.

39.

A Future Network For All - NIE Networks RP7 Price Control Consultation pdf icon PDF 330 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            The Director of City and Organisational Strategy submitted for the Committee’s approval a draft response to the consultation on NIE Network’s RP7 Price Controls. NIE had stated that the RP7 period, covering 2025 to 2031, would be critical in enabling the changes in the electricity network necessary to achieve the goals set out in the Department for Economy’s Energy Strategy and the recently enacted Climate Change Act (Northern Ireland) 2022 and had set out a series of proposals for consultation, which would be submitted to the Utility Regulator in March 2023 to inform the budget setting process.

 

            The Committee approved the draft response      , a copy of which can be accessed here.

 

40.

Minutes of the Meeting of the All-Party Working Group on the City Centre pdf icon PDF 397 KB

Minutes:

            The Committee approved and adopted the minutes of the meeting of the All-Party Working Group on the City Centre of 2nd November.

 

41.

Issues Raised in Advance by Members

42.

Memorial to Baroness May Blood

(Councillor Murray to raise)

Minutes:

            The Committee agreed to refer to the City Hall/City Hall Grounds Installations Working Group a request from Councillor Murray for the creation of a permanent memorial to the late Baroness May Blood.

 

43.

Use of the Ceremony Room, City Hall

(The Deputy Lord Mayor, Councillor M. Kelly to raise)

Minutes:

            The Committee agreed, at the request of the Deputy Lord Mayor, Councillor M. Kelly, that a report be submitted to a future meeting on the potential for the Ceremony Room in the City Hall, which was being used to accommodate staff, as part of the Covid-19 arrangements, to be reinstated for marriage and civil partnership ceremonies.