The Director of City Services drew the Members’ attention to the mid-year report and progress against the agreed actions within the 2022-23 People and Communities Committee Plan.
The Director advised that the plan detailed the priorities within the framework of the relevant Belfast Agenda themes (Our Services; Economic Recovery; Community Recovery; Environmental Recovery; Strategic Planning Frameworks; and Organisational Foundations) and the CNS Departmental key priority areas (Open Spaces and Streetscene; Community Provision; City Protection and Bereavement; and Resources and Fleet). She highlighted that, as detailed in the plan, it was likely that many of these areas of focus would take several years to deliver, however, this update clearly detailed the key deliverables and priorities for 2022-23.
The Director drew the Members’ attention to a table attached as an appendix that provided detail and commentary on the progress of all 33 actions. This set out the work undertaken by the Department to deliver the key priorities, to the end of Quarter 2 2022/23, 6 months into the year. 33 actions had been identified across the Department’s three Directorates. Of these, 1 had been completed, 22 were currently on track, 5 were considered at risk and were slightly delayed, while a further 5 actions were considered to be behind schedule and would require additional resources to ensure their completion.
The Committee was reminded of the current resource and capacity and resilience pressures on the City and Neighbourhood Services Department. She stated that it was anticipated that recent recruitment exercises would provide additional resources in Quarter 4, and going forward, to assist with the progress of those actions currently considered to be delayed.
The Members were also asked to note that many of the commitments would continue to be delivered with further progress into Quarter 4 and she undertook to keep the Committee updated with the progress.
A Member referred to the glass recycling expansion scheme, expressing disappointment in the ongoing disparity with the scheme as constituents from the former Castlereagh Borough Council still did not have access to the scheme whilst others in the same District Electoral Area did. He also referred to the Responsible Dog Ownership Scheme and stated that he would welcome an update on the proposed pilot in Ormeau Park for a dog run. He also commended the work relation to tree surveys that had been undertaken to identify diseased and damaged trees. The Member concluded by referring to the five-year action plan for the Belfast Open Spaces and Street Scene Plan and stated that he would be keen to see this plan being progresses, along with the required works within the plan.
A Member referred to the work being undertaken by Port Health in relation to the delivery of regulatory functions regarding the NI Protocol. Following discussion in relation to a proposal made by Councillor Bunting that was deemed not competent by the City Solicitor, it was
Moved by Councillor Bunting,
Seconded by Councillor Verner,
That the Committee agrees to defer the report to enable a further report to be submitted to the next meeting which would consider the work of Port Health in the context of the Court Judgement that had been issued in December in relation to legal action against Mr. Edwin Poots MLA.
Moved by Councillor Garrett,
Seconded by Councillor M. Donnelly,
That the Committee agrees to note the Committee Plan update.
On a vote on the amendment, 11 Members voted for the proposal and 3 against and it was declared carried.
The Committee therefore noted the content of the mid-year report and the progress against the agreed actions within the 2022-23 People and Communities Committee Plan.
Following further discussion, the Director of City Services agreed to liaise with Councillors Bunting and Verner directly in regard to a query over the Port Health operational update in regard to the sustainability of the financial model and future arrangements to be agreed nationally that were referenced in the report.