agenda - Ards and North Down Borough Council

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agenda - Ards and North Down Borough Council
ARDS AND NORTH DOWN BOROUGH COUNCIL
16 September 2015
Dear Sir/Madam
You are hereby invited to attend a meeting of the Ards and North Down Borough
Council which will be held in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, The Castle,
Bangor on Wednesday, 23 September 2015 commencing at 7.00pm.
Yours faithfully
Stephen Reid
Chief Executive
Ards and North Down Borough Council
AGENDA
1. Prayer
2. Apologies
3. Declarations of Interest
4. Mayor’s Business
5. Mayor and Deputy Mayor Engagements for the Month (To be tabled)
6. Minutes of Meeting of 26 August 2015 (Copy attached)
7. Minutes of Committees (Copies attached)
7.1. Planning Committee dated 1 September 2015
7.2. Environment Committee dated 2 September 2015
7.3. Regeneration and Development Committee dated 3 September 2015
7.4. Corporate Services Committee dated 8 September 2015
7.5. Community and Wellbeing Committee dated 9 September 2015
7.5.1. Matters Arising – Antisocial Behaviour at Conlig Playpark (Copy report
attached)
8. Requests for Deputation
8.1. The Rowan (Correspondence attached)
8.2. Include Youth (Correspondence attached)
9. Consultation Documents
9.1. Department of Justice – Code of Practice Issued Under the Proceeds of
Crime Act 2002 – Comments to be submitted by 2 November 2015 (Copy
information attached)
9.2. Northern Ireland Assembly, Committee for Social Development – Houses in
Multiple Occupation (HMO) Bill – Comments to be submitted by 6 October
2015 (Copy information and report attached)
9.3. Department for Employment and Learning – New Further Education Strategy
for Northern Ireland - Comments to be submitted by 2 October 2015 (Copy
information attached)
10. Setting Budgets and District Rates for 2016/17 (Copy report attached)
11. Community Planning - The Big Conversation (Copy report attached)
12. Bangor Shared Space - A Request for Support (Copy report attached)
13. Conferences, Invitations etc.
13.1.
13.2.
13.3.
NILGA/APSE Regional Elected Member Development ‘ The New
General Power of Competence’ 28 and 29 October 2015 (Copy
information attached)
Meet-the Buyer Event – CityWest Hotel, Dublin 21 October 2015 (Copy
report attached)
Social Enterprise NI Conference and Awards 2015 (Copy report
attached)
14. Transfers of Rights of Burial
15. Sealing Documents
16. Notices of Motion
16.1.
Notice of Motion submitted by Councillor T Smith
"The haunting pictures of Alan Kurdi have shocked the world and focused attention
on the growing EU refugee crisis. We must make sure that , as a country, we fulfil
not only our legal obligations but also our moral obligations to those in need. While
this council welcomes recent moves by the Government to do more to assist those
fleeing in fear of their lives, we will write to the Foreign Secretary calling on
Westminster to take a leading role in addressing this humanitarian disaster. We also
as a Council must stand ready to work with Government and play whatever part we
can to ensure refugees who come to our Borough will have the support and
assistance they need. And finally, as a community we must be prepared, by word
and by deed, to welcome those who may come to Ards and North Down - so they
can be helped to rebuild their lives in safety and security."
16.2.
Notice of Motion Submitted by Councillor Cummings
“That this Council acknowledges the endeavours of the newly formed Edmund De
Wind VC Centenary Committee who are raising funds to purchase a WW1 Field
Gun, identical to that which was gifted to the people of Comber post WW1 and was
subsequently removed during the governments WW2 scrap iron appeal.
Further, the Council tasks an officer to complete a report into the feasibility of
permanently positioning the Field Gun back in the Memorial Garden, The Square,
Comber in time to coincide with and to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the
death of Second Lieutenant Edmund De Wind, VC of the Royal Irish Rifles who was
posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for acts of gallantry at Thiepval, France in
1918.”
16.3.
Notice of Motion Submitted by Councillor Cooper
“That this council recognises the startling level of suicides in N.I. and asks officers to
bring back a report outlining all aspects of suicide prevention adopted by other UK
councils with a view to producing and adopting a policy specifically aimed at
reducing the risk of further suicides in our borough.”
16.4.
Notice of Motion Submitted by Councillor Martin
“That this Council requests a report on the feasibility of rolling out a pilot scheme to
local Primary schools in our Council area which would provide the opportunity for
school children to learn basic computer programming techniques.”
***IN CONFIDENCE***
17. Business Case – Voluntary Severance (Item Withdrawn)
18. Bangor Sportsplex Ground Settlement – Legal Case (Copy report attached)
19. Tender for the purchase of 2 No. Replacement 8x4 Hook Loader Skip Collection
Vehicles (Copy report attached)
19.1.
Ards and North Down Village Plans (Copy report attached)
20. Exploris – Update on Operational Agreement (Copy report to follow)
21. Land at Lough Cowey (Copy report attached)
22. Land at Former Bus Station, Donaghadee (Copy report to follow)
Circulated for Information
(a)
(b)
(c)
(d)
(e)
(f)
(g)
(h)
(i)
Notification of New PSNI Postholders (Correspondence attached)
Woodland Trust – Letter of Thanks (Correspondence attached)
Debt Management Advice Service (Correspondence attached)
Minutes of Meeting of South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust 24
June 2015 (Correspondence attached)
Housing Executive 44th Annual Report (Correspondence attached)
DVA – Introduction of the new Commercial Bus Service Permit System
(Correspondence attached)
Department of Culture, Arts & Leisure – Appointments to Arts Council NI &
Sport NI (Copy correspondence attached)
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment – Appointment of Five
New Board Members to the Board of the Consumer Council for Northern
Ireland (Copy correspondence attached)
Birthday Honours 2016 (Copy correspondence attached)
MEMBERSHIP OF ARDS AND NORTH DOWN BOROUGH COUNCIL
Alderman Angus Carson
Alderman Alan Chambers
Alderman Robert Gibson
Alderman Deborah Girvan
Alderman Alan Graham (Mayor)
Alderman Ian Henry
Alderman Wesley Irvine
Alderman Bill Keery
Alderman Alan McDowell
Alderman Marion Smith
Councillor Adair
Councillor Allen
Councillor Anderson
Councillor Armstrong
Councillor Armstrong-Cotter
Councillor Barry
Councillor Boyle
Councillor Brooks
Councillor Cathcart
Councillor Cooper
Councillor Cummings
Councillor Dunne
Councillor Edmund
Councillor Ferguson
Councillor Fletcher
Councillor Gilmour
Councillor Kennedy
Councillor Leslie
Councillor Martin
Councillor McClean (Deputy Mayor)
Councillor McIlveen
Councillor Menagh
Councillor Muir
Councillor Roberts
Councillor Robinson
Councillor Smart
Councillor T Smith
Councillor Thompson
Councillor Walker
Councillor Wilson
ITEM 6
ARDS AND NORTH DOWN BOROUGH COUNCIL
A meeting of the Ards and North Down Borough Council was held in the Town Hall,
The Castle, Bangor on Wednesday, 26 August 2015 commencing at 7.00 pm.
PRESENT:
In the Chair:
The Mayor Alderman Graham
Other Members:
Deputy Mayor Councillor McClean
Aldermen Carson
Chambers
Gibson
Girvan
Irvine
Keery
McDowell
M Smith
Councillors
Adair
Anderson (7.30pm)
Armstrong
Armstrong-Cotter
Barry
Boyle
Brooks
Cathcart
Cooper
Dunne
Edmund
Ferguson
Fletcher
Gilmour
Leslie
Martin
McIlveen
Menagh
Muir
Roberts
Robinson
Smart
T Smith
Thompson
Walker
Wilson
Officers: Chief Executive, Director of Community and Wellbeing, Director of
Environment, Director of Organisational Development and Administration,
Director of Regeneration, Planning and Development, Head of
Regeneration, Procurement Officer, Corporate Communications Manager,
Democratic Services Manager and Democratic Services Officer.
1.
PRAYER
The Chief Executive commenced the meeting by reading the Council prayer.
NOTED.
2.
APOLOGIES
Apologies were received from Alderman Henry and Councillor Cummings.
Apologies for lateness were received from Councillor Anderson.
NOTED.
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3.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
The Mayor (Alderman Graham) asked for any declarations of interest.
Councillor Muir declared an Interest in Item 29.4 – Notice of Motion submitted by
Councillor Roberts as he was an employee of Translink.
NOTED.
4.
MAYOR’S BUSINESS
The Mayor offered his condolences to Alderman McDowell on the passing of his
sister Laura the previous week. Continuing, he then offered his congratulations to
Councillor Anderson on the birth of his baby boy and indicated that perhaps a letter
of congratulations could be sent to the family. The Mayor then noted that Councillor
Fletcher was in attendance with the aid of crutches and indicated that if at any point
he wished to speak during the meeting he would waive the requirement for him to
stand to address the Council.
NOTED.
Referring to the Council’s Schedule of Meetings, the Mayor informed members that
the October meeting of the Regeneration and Development Committee scheduled to
meet on 8 October 2015 coincided with the Bangor Business Awards. Therefore
permission was sought to reschedule the committee meeting to 15 October 2015.
RESOLVED, on the proposal of Councillor Adair, seconded by Alderman
Keery, that the October meeting of the Regeneration and Development
Committee be rescheduled to take place on 15 October 2015.
The Mayor informed members that correspondence had been received from the ABF
Soldiers Charity detailing an event to take place on Saturday, 19 September 2015 at
7.00pm. Tickets for the event were priced at £35 per person, with a Beating of the
Retreat to take place at 8.15pm followed by an official ceremony at 9.30pm.
RESOLVED, on the proposal of Alderman Keery, seconded by Councillor
Barry, that up to two representatives of the Council attend the event.
5.
MAYOR AND DEPUTY MAYOR ENGAGEMENTS FOR THE
MONTH (Appendix I)
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- List of Mayor and Deputy Mayor engagements for
the month of August 2015.
RESOLVED that the information be noted.
(Councillor Roberts left the meeting at this stage – 7.15pm)
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6.
PRESENTATION
6.1.
Damian Mulholland DSD – Queen’s Parade
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report dated 19 August 2015 from Director of
Regeneration, Development and Planning stating that following the presentation
from DSD, members would be aware that the following issues required Council
attention:
1. Impact of Transferring Functions legislation.
2. Development of the concept for the ‘Destination Building’
3. Future development of the Marine Gardens.
In order to address those in a timely manner it was recommended that a special
workshop supported by DSD be held for all Elected Members which would
specifically address the issues above.
RECOMMENDED that approval is given to hold a workshop supported by DSD for
all Elected Members to consider the Queen’s Parade and Marine Gardens project
from a Council perspective.
The Mayor welcomed Mr Damian Mulholland from the Department of Social
Development (DSD) to the meeting, and invited him to make his presentation.
(Councillor Roberts entered the meeting at this stage – 7.16pm)
Mr Mulholland thanked members for the opportunity to address them and referred to
his previous presentation made to the Regeneration and Development Committee in
May 2015 and provided a brief overview of the history of the Queen’s Parade site
and to the report which had been circulated to members.
The site at Queen’s Parade had been vacant for approximately twenty years and in
2003 had been purchased by a private developer. Some years later additional land
had been acquired for a much larger development following which the Department
had become involved in 2008. In 2012 the Masterplan had been published which
included plans for Queen’s Parade to be developed further. In 2013 DSD became
involved and purchased the Queen’s Parade site with two aims in mind, those being
to obtain Planning Permission within two years and commence site assembly.
Continuing, Mr Mulholland stated that in 2013 a team of consultants had been
appointed and in the two years since then, intense negotiations had been
undertaken in respect of the eleven properties required for the scheme. In October
2014 a Development Scheme for the site had been published which offered
opportune benefits to the town centre. He reported that two objections to the scheme
had been received and representatives had met with those objectors, following which
the Department had made its decision on how to progress the scheme forward. On
17 August 2015 the Department had issued a Notice to Vest which had appeared in
the local press giving all interested parties one month to respond. He added that if
objections were lodged representatives of the Department would meet with those
objectors to see if they would be prepared to withdraw and a Public Inquiry would
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also be undertaken. It was noted that responsibility for the scheme would transfer to
the Council in April 2016.
Mr Mulholland commented that the Department was keen to ensure that mistakes
made in the past would not be repeated adding that the scheme would be phased.
Plans were also underway to involve elected representatives by way of workshops. It
was also planned that by June 2016 development proposals could be put to the
Council for consideration, following which contractors could be appointed in
September 2016. He added that the scheme had the potential to be a huge asset.
That concluded the presentation.
Members were then invited to raise any queries and the following responses were
received as a result: Overall responsibility for the scheme would transfer to the Council subject to
the passing of legislation in April 2016 and the Minister was keen for that to
take place.
 Legal advice had been sought and consultants put into place to ensure the
mistakes made in other projects would not be repeated.
 Land and Property Services (LPS) were the agents appointed on behalf of the
Department who would be responsible for carrying out negotiations with
property owners.
 A Public Inquiry would take two to three days and provide objectors with an
opportunity to respond to the scheme proposals.
 Mr Mulholland confirmed there was interest in the site.
 Four properties still needed to be acquired for the scheme and of those four,
two objections had been received.
 No changes were anticipated to the plans at this stage and two years had
been allocated for site assembly to be undertaken and completed.
(Councillor Anderson entered the meeting at this stage – 7.30pm)
 The Department’s intention to vest was published on17 August 2015 and
following the Public Inquiry the Department would either make changes to its
plans or assume that it had made the right decision in respect of its plans.
(Councillor Dunne left the meeting at this stage – 7.31pm)
 The Department would fully consider any commercial interests in respect of
any properties it wished to acquire.
(Councillor Dunne entered the meeting at this stage – 7.32pm)
 Mr Mulholland acknowledged that the Department’s plans needed to be viable
with Planning Permission already secured. He added that he was confident
what was planned would appeal to those in the private sector.
(Councillor Muir entered the meeting at this stage – 7.35pm)
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 Mr Mulholland undertook to provide members with a one page summary of
the plans for Queen’s Parade from this point onwards.
 Plans for the development of a ‘Destination Building’ would be considered
fully as part of the proposed workshops for elected members.
The Mayor thanked Mr Mulholland for his presentation and subsequent remarks.
Alderman Chambers proposed, seconded by Alderman Keery, that the
recommendation in the report be adopted.
At this stage the Mayor advised that it was proposed to hold the workshop on 28
September 2015 at Signal Business Centre, Bangor.
Members were asked to indicate their preference for a daytime or evening workshop
and the majority indicated their preference for an evening workshop.
RESOLVED, on the proposal of Alderman Chambers, seconded by Alderman
Keery, that the recommendation be adopted.
7. MINUTES OF MEETING OF 22 JULY 2015
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Copy of the above minutes.
Item 21- Members’ Robes
Councillor Roberts referred to Item 21 Members’ Robes and expressed the view that
the opposition to the purchase of the robes had not been accurately reflected in the
minutes.
Councillor Roberts proposed an amendment, seconded by Councillor Barry, that the
opposition of the Green Party to Borough Status and the proposed purchase of the
members’ robes in the current financial climate had not been accurately reflected in
the minutes.
The amendment was put to the vote and with 2 voting For and 27 voting Against, the
amendment Fell.
NOTED.
RESOLVED, on the proposal of Alderman Keery, seconded by Councillor
Thompson, that the minutes be agreed as a correct record.
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8.
MINUTES OF COMMITTEE
8.1.
Planning Committee dated 4 August 2015
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Copy of the above minutes.
Alderman Gibson proposed, seconded by Councillor T Smith, that the minutes be
agreed as a correct record.
Alderman Chambers referred to the list of officers in attendance at the meeting and
suggested that officers’ names be listed rather than their titles, particularly those of
the Democratic Services Officers. He suggested that the matter was sent to the
appropriate committee for consideration.
Alderman Chambers proposed, seconded by Councillor Boyle, that the matter of
officers’ names being listed in minutes be referred to the Corporate Committee for
consideration.
Item 4.1 – W/2015/0060/F – Single and two storey rear extension to dwelling
house with balcony area at first floor to rear
Alderman Chambers wished to be recorded as being against the decision to grant
planning permission.
NOTED.
RESOLVED, on the proposal of Alderman Gibson, seconded by Councillor T
Smith, that the minutes be noted.
FURTHER RESOLVED, on the proposal of Alderman Chambers, seconded by
Councillor Boyle, that the matter of officers’ names being listed in minutes be
referred to the Corporate Committee for consideration.
9.
CONSULTATION DOCUMENTS
9.1.
Northern Ireland Assembly – Justice (No 2) Bill: Future Amendments
(Comments to be submitted no later than 18 September 2015)
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Consultation details from the Northern Ireland
Assembly about the Justice No.2 Bill from the Department of Justice and four likely
amendments to be brought forward.
RESOLVED, on the proposal of Councillor Muir, seconded by Councillor Barry,
that the Consultation Document be noted.
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9.2.
House of Lords Select Committee on Social Mobility – Call for Evidence
(Comments to be submitted no later than 14 September 2015)
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Consultation details from the House of Lords Select
Committee on Social Mobility inviting the submission of evidence to this inquiry.
RESOLVED, on the proposal of Councillor Muir, seconded by Councillor Barry,
that the Consultation Document be noted.
9.3.
Proposal for Secondary Legislation under the Human Trafficking and
Exploitation (Criminal Justice and Support for Victims) Act (Northern
Ireland) 2015 and the Modern Slavery Act 2015
(Comments to be submitted no later than 22 October 2015)
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Consultation details from the Department of Justice
in respect of secondary legislation under the Human Trafficking and Exploitation
(Criminal Justice and Support for Victims) Act (Northern Ireland) 2015 and the
Modern Slavery Act 2015).
RESOLVED, on the proposal of Councillor Muir, seconded by Councillor Barry,
that the Consultation Document be noted.
(Councillor Cathcart left the meeting at this stage – 7.51pm)
9.4.
Northern Ireland Information Sharing Agreement for Safeguarding
Children (Appendix II)
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report dated 11 August 2015 from the Director of
Organisational Development and Administration stating that the Council had
received a consultation document from the Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland
on an Information Sharing Agreement for Northern Ireland (‘The Agreement’).
The purpose of the Agreement was to provide clarity on the procedures for the
lawful, secure and effective exchange of information between named partners. It
had been recognised that it was only when relevant information from a number of
sources was put together that it became clear that a child was at risk of, or was
suffering significant harm, or was in need of support. The Agreement provided a
formal arrangement between the named partners, and set out the framework and
minimum standards required to implement an effective and consistent approach to
information sharing.
A response to the consultation was attached at Appendix A.
RECOMMENDED that the Council agrees the consultation response in Appendix A
and submits it to the Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland.
RESOLVED, on the proposal of Councillor Thompson, seconded by Councillor
Boyle, that the response to the Consultation Document be approved.
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9.5.
Department of the Environment – Proposed Changes to the Unladen
Weight for Mobility Scooters and Power Wheelchairs
(Comments to be submitted no later than 16 September 2015)
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Consultation details from the Department of the
Environment detailing the launch of its consultation on a proposal to increase the
unladen weight for mobility scooters and powered wheelchairs (mobility vehicles).
RESOLVED, on the proposal of Councillor Muir, seconded by Councillor Barry,
that the Consultation Document be noted.
9.6.
Department of Justice – Proposals for the Mines Regulations (Northern
Ireland) 2015
(Comments to be submitted no later than 4 November 2015)
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Consultation details from the Health and Safety
Executive for Northern Ireland in association with the Department of Justice detailing
its proposals of the “The Mines Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015”.
RESOLVED, on the proposal of Councillor Muir, seconded by Councillor Barry,
that the Consultation Document be noted.
9.7.
NIHE Community Cohesion Strategy 2015-2020 (Appendix III)
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report dated 12 August 2015 from the Director of
Community and Wellbeing stating that the Northern Ireland Housing Executive
(NIHE) was currently undergoing an eight week consultation exercise on their
Community Cohesion Strategy 2015-2020.
A copy of the strategy could be accessed at:
http://www.nihe.gov.uk/index/corporate/consultation.htm
The strategy detailed how the NIHE aimed to contribute to a more peaceful society,
by supporting local people and communities to take action and work with others in a
spirit of neighbourliness, thus promoting strong, vibrant and united communities’.
In response to the consultation exercise it was recommended that the attached letter
from Council was submitted by the closing date of 4 September 2015.
RECOMMENDED that that the Council approves the attached consultation
response, which will be submitted to the Community Cohesion Unit by the closing
date of 4 September 2015.
RESOLVED, on the proposal of Councillor Muir, seconded by Councillor Barry,
that the response to the Consultation Document be approved.
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9.8.
Government Proposal to Cap Severance Costs (Appendix IV)
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report dated 12 August 2015 from the Director of
Organisational Development and Administration stating that HM Treasury issued a
consultation on 31 July 2015 proposing legislation to cap the total value on exit
payments in public sector employment at £95,000
The proposal was the cap would cover payments made in relation to leaving
employment, including:





voluntary and compulsory exits
other voluntary exits with compensation packages
ex gratia payments and special severance payments
monetary value of any extra leave, allowances or other benefits granted as
part of the exit process which are not payments in relation to employment
payments or compensation in lieu of notice and payments relating to the
cashing up of outstanding entitlements (such as outstanding leave or
allowances that are cashed up and added to the value of the sum)
The consultation document was available at www.gov.uk/government/consultationon-a-public-sector-exit-payment-cap
There were twelve questions and the response was largely political, so there was no
officer response proposed other than to Question 10 : Do you agree with the
proposed approach for waivers to the cap on exit payments?
It was proposed that the Council responded to say that the agreed Local
Government Reform Voluntary Severance Scheme should be honoured until
December 2019 with waivers automatically approved until that time to allow for the
reorganisation and transformation of services required.
The twelve questions in full were as follows:







Question 1: What other forms of exit costs do you think are relevant in this
context?
Question 2: Do you agree that the government should introduce a cap on the
value of public sector exit payments on the basis set out above?
Question 3: Do you agree that the payments listed above should be subject to
a cap on exit payments under the terms set out above? If you believe certain
payment types should be excluded please provide a rationale and examples.
Question 4: Are there further payments that the government should include?
Question 5: Do you agree that a cap on exit payments should be set at
£95,000? If you think an alternative level would be more appropriate, please
provide evidence and analysis to support your proposal.
Question 6: Are there other ways to ensure such arrangements are consistent
with the cap on lump sum payments?
Question 7: Do you agree with the proposed approach of limiting early
retirement benefits with reference to the cost for the employer? What
alternative approaches would you suggest and why?
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




Question 8: Do you agree that the government has established the correct
scope for the implementation of this policy?
Question 9: How do you think the government should approach the question
of employees who are subject to different capping and recovery provisions
under TUPE rules following a transfer to (or from) the private sector and
whether there should be consistency with public sector employees in general?
Question 10: Do you agree with the proposed approach for waivers to the cap
on exit payments?
Question 11: Are there other impacts not covered above which you would
highlight in relation to the proposals in this consultation document?
Question 12: Are you able to provide information and data in relation to the
impacts set out above?
A copy of a letter from NILGOSC in relation to the matter was attached.
RECOMMENDED that the consultation is noted and that the council makes the
comment above in relation to waiving of payments but that any other comments are
made by political parties and/or individual elected members.
RESOLVED, on the proposal of Councillor Muir, seconded by Councillor Barry,
that the recommendation be adopted.
10.
PROPOSED EXTENSION TO SHARED PEDESTRIAN
FOOTWAY/CYCLE TRACK AT GRANSHA ROAD, BANGOR
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report dated 5 August 2015 from the Chief
Executive stating that correspondence has been received from Transport NI
regarding a proposed extension to the shared Pedestrian Footway/Cycle Track at
Gransha Road, Bangor.
Members’ comments were sought on this issue.
RECOMMENDED that Council considers the proposals from Transport NI and
prepares a response.
Alderman Irvine expressed his support for the proposals adding that work was
already underway at the Gransha Road roundabout in respect of safety
improvements.
RESOLVED, on the proposal of Alderman Irvine, seconded by Councillor
Roberts, that the recommendation be adopted.
11.
NAC CERTIFICATE FOR COUNCILLORS COURSE
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Correspondence dated 17 June 2015 from the
National Association of Councillors (NAC) detailing its intention for a further intake of
students for the Certificate for Councillors course in conjunction with Sunderland
University. The Council was invited to nominate Councillors/students to participate.
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A recently completed intake would shortly be attending their graduation ceremony to
receive their certificates. This was a major step forward in training for Councillors
which had been well received across the UK and Europe. The programme leader
was Dr Simon Heing.
The dates for the first sessions were 19 and 20 September 2015 and would be held
at Hartlepool Civic Centre.
RESOLVED, on the proposal of Councillor T Smith, seconded by Councillor
Thompson, that the correspondence be noted.
12.
NILGA GROWING FRAGILITY OF THE LOCAL DAIRY AND
RELATED MILK PRODUCTION INDUSTRY
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Correspondence dated 30 July 2015 from NILGA
referring to the fragility of the local dairy and related milk production industry, worth
£1billion to Northern Ireland’s economy.
Following consideration by NILGA, including elected members participating in the
Association’s Rural Development Working Group, it had been requested that NILGA
wrote to all Northern Ireland Councils so that each may consider the following
proposal.
“This Council supports all creative, political and practical efforts to sustain the 3,000
plus jobs, community wellbeing and over £1 billion economic gain provided by the
Dairy Farm and Milk Production industry. We support the development of dynamic
research to consider the viability of intervention:
(i)
(ii)
Legislative regulation of retailers for milk supplier and consumer
protections such as that which prevails in other EU nations, and
Price branding to provide commodity security for dairy farms together with
the fair and transparent transfer of any resulting benefits to farmers.”
The Council’s response was sought as soon as possible in view of the all Council,
socio-economic importance of the matter.
NILGA’s Rural Development Working Group would convene in August and take
cognisance of the views of all responding local authorities.
Alderman Gibson rose in support of the comments adding that the dairy industry was
the backbone of the agricultural industry, operating seven days a week. He
acknowledged the huge losses currently being sustained by dairy farmers who were
largely the only full time farmers remaining, therefore support for them at this time
was crucial.
Alderman Gibson proposed, seconded by Councillor Adair, that Council support
NILGA’s stance in respect of the fragility of the local dairy and related milk
production industry.
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(Councillor Cathcart entered the meeting at this stage – 7.56pm)
Councillor Fletcher commented that it was not only the dairy industry which was
suffering but also the beef, sheep and agricultural machinery industries. Therefore
he asked the proposer to consider the inclusion of the words ‘and other sectors of
the industry’.
(Councillor T Smith left the meeting at this stage – 7.57pm)
At this stage the seconder, Councillor Adair, expressed his concern particularly given
the large numbers of dairy farmers residing on the Ards Peninsula. He
acknowledged that farmers were being paid a lower price for milk than what it
actually cost and therefore he encouraged the Council to support NILGA’s stance on
this matter.
RESOLVED, on the proposal of Alderman Gibson, seconded by Councillor
Adair, that Council supported NILGA’s stance in respect of the fragility of the
local dairy and related milk production industry and those other sectors of the
industry.
13.
SAFEGUARDING BOARD FOR NORTHERN IRELAND –
COUNCIL REPRESENATION ON LOCAL SAFEGUARDING
PANEL
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report dated 5 August 2015 from the Director of
Organisational Development and Administration stating that the Council had
received correspondence dated 24 July 2015 from the Safeguarding Board for
Northern Ireland seeking the nomination of an officer to sit on the local Safeguarding
Panel by the end of August 2015.
The Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland (SBNI) was established by the
Safeguarding Boards (NI) Act 2011 (the Act). The duties placed on the SBNI were
stipulated in the Act.
Section 1(2) of the Act outlined the prescribed membership of the Board which
included representation at Chief Executive Levels from the Councils in Northern
Ireland (currently Theresa Donaldson from Lisburn and Castlereagh and Liam
Hannaway from Newry & Mourne, with remaining Chief Executives receiving regular
briefings).
In addition to membership of the Board, Section 7(5) of the Act stated that each
Safeguarding Panel shall include an appropriate manager from the Councils on the
Panels. The SBNI was seeking the nomination of a manager, who had overall
responsibility for Safeguarding and who could make decisions on behalf of the
Council, to sit on the local panel. There were currently five local panels which were
co-terminus with the Health and Social Care Trusts. Representation on those panels
was at Assistant Director level within the Trust.
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RECOMMENDED that the Council’s Policy Officer be nominated to sit on the local
Safeguarding Panel as she has responsibility for Safeguarding across the Council,
as well as considerable experience in this area.
RESOLVED on the proposal of Alderman Carson, seconded by Councillor
Armstrong, that the recommendation be adopted.
14.
ARDS AND NORTH DOWN SPORTS ADVISORY PANEL
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report dated 6 August 2015 from the Director of
Community and Wellbeing stating that at the meeting of the Strategic and Services
Committee on the 9 March 2015 it was agreed that the Council would support the
development of a new sports partnership body within the Borough and part of its
remit would be to assist the Council in the administration of sports grant funding.
This budget was to remain within Council its disbursement would adhere to the
Council’s financial governance arrangements. £25,000 had been allocated to the
sports development budget for 2015/2016.
The approved name of the body was the Ards and North Down Sports Advisory
Panel. Officers believed that the name ‘Sports Forum’ was more in line with its
conceived ethos, in that it suggested to potential affiliates true partnership, and not
just a group that would provide advice to the Council.
Council recognised the important part a vibrant sports and leisure environment
played in the wellbeing of the community and the need for strong communication and
partnerships between sports clubs and organisations and the Council. The
development of the Ards and North Down Sports Forum potentially provided an
excellent platform to achieve that. The forum would be set up as a voluntary
organisation, supported by the sports development officer with representation from
six elected members (appointed at the March General Meeting of the Council).
An already approved core function of the forum would be to support the
administration of a comprehensive grants programme on offer to any affiliated sports
clubs, organisations and athletes within the Borough. Officers believed that this
would encourage sports clubs organisations and individuals to affiliate to the forum
and assist Council in delivering some of its key Sports and Leisure Service
objectives, such as the on-going development of self-sustaining, quality clubs. The
grant programme would be open all year round and grant categories would include
the following:







Coaching,
Sports events,
Travel assistance to competitions (individuals and club),
Equipment purchase,
Seeding funds,
Gold card (use of Leisure Facilities by Elite Athletes) and
Sports club special anniversary celebrations.
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The list was not exhaustive and Council would reserve the right not to fund any
project which it deemed unsuitable. Clubs and organisations who wished to join the
forum would be required to complete an affiliation application and pay a fee of £25
per annum. The fee would be retained within the Council within the sports
development budget in order to support the administration of the forum. Clubs or
sporting organisations must be affiliated for a minimum of three months before
applying for funding. Application forms, information on the forum, and grant
information would be available on the Councils website.
The Forum would have a working group which would include elected members, the
sports development officer, volunteers and administrative support. It would be that
working group that would deal with grant applications. The working group would
meet on at least on a monthly basis, and sought authority to award grants of up to
£250, based on approved criteria. All grants awarded would be tabled to the
Community and Well Being Committee for notification on a quarterly basis. Grants
above £250 would be recommended, and only awarded following Council approval.
The Forum would at all times adhere to the Councils financial and governance
procedures. In addition, Council should be reassured that if there was a conflict of
interest between any individual on the forum or working group, they would have no
voting powers or any right to contribute to any debate on a related application,
except to be called upon to inform the Forum on level or status of any competition
under consideration.
It was envisaged an AGM would be held in September 2015, Office Bearers,
Volunteers and Elected Members already elected to sit on both the Forum would be
appointment to the working group. It was proposed that in the first year an Elected
Member would be Chair of the forum and a vice chair would be appointed from a
sport club. A draft grant policy, criteria, cash limits and application forms had been
developed and would be considered by the forum at the AGM in September and
equality screened in advance. Officers would be actively raising the profile of the
new forum via social media, press release, public notices and email notification to all
sports clubs and organisations over the next few months.
RECOMMENDED that Council approves the name ‘Ards and North Down Sports
Forum’ and the proposed operating model for grant allocation as identified within this
report.
RESOLVED, on the proposal of Councillor Boyle, seconded by Councillor
Menagh, that the recommendation be adopted.
(Councillor T Smith entered the meeting at this stage – 7.58pm)
15.
FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE REQUESTS (Appendix V)
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report dated 4 August 2015 from the Director of
Community and Wellbeing and Head of Leisure and Amenities stating that it was
previously agreed that a new sports body would be formed with a remit of
administering small sports grants on behalf of Ards and North Down Borough
Council. The body was in the early stages of formation, however in the interim
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Council had continued to receive requests for financial assistance to attend sports
competitions.
So as not to compound the financial burden for athletes travelling to competitions,
officers had continued to process grant applications with Council approval in keeping
with previous legacy arrangements (procedures & criteria) until new arrangements
were in place. During July 2015, 19 grant applications were received and seven
applications failed to meet the specified criteria. A summary of the grant
applications were detailed in Appendix 1. The reasons for the unsuccessful
applications were listed below.
1. Michael Robson (Hockey) applied for assistance in covering costs to attend
the Four Nations Tournament in Glasgow, Scotland from 10 – 12 July 2015.
Michael Robson’s application did not meet all the necessary criteria as his
application form was received after the event took place and grant funding
was not paid retrospectively.
2. Bailey Hunter, Luke Hunter, Ryan Tedford, Kris Leckey, Jack Cairnduff and
Gail O’Neill (Trampolining) applied for assistance in covering costs to attend
the National Development Pathway Trampoline and Tumbling Finals at the
Telford International Centre, West Midlands from 20 – 24 June 2015. Bailey
Hunter, Luke Hunter, Ryan Tedford, Kris Leckey, Jack Cairnduff and Gail
O’Neill’s applications do not meet all the necessary criteria as they were not
representing Ulster, Ireland or GB.
The annual Representative Honours budget amounts to £14,000.00. Spend to date
totals £5,735.00, with a remaining budget of £8,265.00.
RECOMMENDED that as the criteria for financial assistance for sporting purposes
has been fulfilled, the sports grants outlined within this report are approved by
Council.
Councillor Boyle referred to the unsuccessful applications submitted by the
trampolinists and sought clarification on why they had not obtained funding.
The Director of Community and Wellbeing advised that there was criteria to be
followed in respect of the award of grants and one of those was the requirement for
applicants to represent a country. In this case they had only represented their club
as opposed to their country hence their unsuccessful bid.
RESOLVED, on the proposal of Councillor Menagh, seconded by Councillor
Armstrong, that the recommendation be adopted.
16.
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT SERVICE DELIVERY (Appendix
VI)
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report dated 31 July 2015 from the Director of
Community and Wellbeing stating that in May 2015 members were provided with an
update on progress regarding the development of a report detailing the
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recommended approach for the delivery of the Council’s Community Development
Services.
Members would recall that Community Places were appointed to facilitate a process
of community consultation and engagement initially with the three main Networks
operating within Ards and North Down; Ards Community Network, County Down
Rural Community Network and North Down Community Network.
Five workshops had been held, along with a number of meetings, which resulted in
the attached recommended approach to Community Development Service Delivery,
for 2015-2016. All parties, Council’s Community Development Officers and Network
staff (including one board member) co-authored and agreed the attached delivery
approach.
Following consideration by Members, the delivery approach would be subject to an
eight week period of community consultation commencing in September 2015,
following which the delivery approach would be reviewed and presented to Council
for approval
RECOMMENDED that following consideration by Members, the Council approves
the eight weeks consultation process, commencing in September 2015.
Councillor Robinson sought clarification on the length of the consultation process.
The Director of Community and Wellbeing confirmed that the consultation would be
undertaken over an eight week period.
Councillor Robinson then asked what methodology would be used as part of that
process.
In response the Director of Community and Wellbeing confirmed that a range of
methods would be used including surveys and online questionnaires as well as face
to face meetings held with individuals and groups.
Councillor Robinson expressed concern that community services were being kept
separate from other parts of Council business and suggested that a more joined up
approach needed to be adopted.
In response the Director of Community and Wellbeing agreed that should be the
case going forward.
Councillor Barry acknowledged that consultation would be undertaken online
however he encouraged officers to go out to the community and have one to one
meetings with individuals and groups.
Councillor Muir sought clarification that the outcome of the consultation process
would be reported back to Council.
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The Director of Community and Wellbeing commented that the language used
throughout the consultation process was vital to encourage people to discuss all
issues. He confirmed that a report would be brought back to Council in due course.
RESOLVED, on the proposal of Alderman Carson, seconded by Councillor
Armstrong, that the recommendation be adopted.
17.
SOCIAL ENTERPRISE SATURDAY 2015
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report dated 12 August 2015 from the Director of
Regeneration, Development and Planning stating that in May 2015, Council ratified a
request from the Regeneration and Development Committee that officers sought
ways to support the increasing numbers of Social Enterprises within the Borough.
Officers had subsequently identified an opportunity for the Borough to participate in a
nationwide campaign which highlighted the range of social enterprise organisations.
The aim of Social Saturday 2015 was to raise awareness of just how easy it was to
support businesses that trade quality items and services and invest profits in projects
supporting the local community, international development, the environment,
charities and a wealth of other progressive schemes. Otherwise known as Social
Enterprises.
Social enterprises operated in and supported a variety of sectors. In Ards and North
Down that ranged from training for people with learning difficulties to brewing
companies to electrical appliance refurbishment and resale and more.
The inaugural Social Saturday took place in 2014 across the UK and was deemed a
success consequently, 10 October 2015 had been nominated as Social Saturday
2015. The day would demonstrate the strengths and influence of the social
enterprise movement. The aim was to create a more physical presence throughout
the UK, and promote individual areas through activities, engagement, use of media
so that the general public could identify social enterprises operating in their area and
buy the products and services they provided.
The 2013 State of Social Enterprise Survey showed that social enterprises primarily
traded with the general public and whilst three quarters of the public supported the
idea of social enterprise, awareness remained low.
Ards and North Down Borough Council had been invited to become involved and
support Social Saturday through a sponsorship package which would:
•Support the Growth of Social Enterprise in the Borough
•Assist the creation of sustainable jobs
•Raise the profile of Council support
•Help to build resilient communities that retain wealth locally and tackle social
inequality
••Develop Stakeholder Engagement
•Provide media coverage
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•Offer a dedicated social media campaign
•Create staff engagement and support
•Demonstrate leadership in a fast growing and vital sector
The cost of participating as a sponsor was £2,500 which could be met from existing
budgets.
RECOMMENDED that Council approves support and participation in the Social
Saturday 2015 initiative.
Alderman Girvan requested a list of social enterprises currently across the Ards and
North Down Borough.
The Director of Regeneration, Development and Planning confirmed that such a list
would be made available to members at the September meeting of the Regeneration
and Development Committee the following week.
In response to a query from Councillor Leslie about the sponsorship of £2,500, the
Director confirmed that was the national level of sponsorship which was required and
that it had been accounted for in budgets.
Councillor Leslie then asked for an explanation of how Social Enterprises could be
encouraged.
The Director stated that help would be provided in the following areas:-
Completion of application forms
Marketing
Finance
Procurement
RESOLVED, on the proposal of Councillor Thompson, seconded by Alderman
Girvan, that the recommendation be adopted.
18.
REDEVELOPMENT OF LAND ADJACENT TO HIBERNIA
STREET, HOLYWOOD (Appendix VII)
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report dated 11 August 2015 from the Director of
Regeneration, Development and Planning stating that the Council had been advised
by the Department for Social Development (DSD), in conjunction with Transport NI,
that it had been working with a local developer to redevelop the land mentioned
above for a mixed use site. The land in question was partly owned by the developer,
with the remainder being under the control of Transport NI and used as public
carparks. From discussing the proposal with DSD officials, a summary would be that
following lengthy negotiations with the developer and Transport NI an agreement
was reached which would see the redevelopment of the entire site, but with
Transport NI retaining land which accommodated 140 car parking spaces, which was
approximately the number currently present. However, the process took much
longer than expected and the agreement was never completed. In April 2015 the
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land in question was transferred to the Council and therefore the former agreement
was no longer applicable. However, there was still planning permission in place for
that scheme. The area, which was still used as public car parks, was now under the
Council’s control and was shown highlighted on the attached map marked Appendix
One.
The Masterplan for Holywood, which was launched some months ago, showed this
area as a prime site for redevelopment. In recent discussions with the
representatives of the Chamber of Commerce, it became clear that at present there
were no vacant units available for renting in the Town centre. That was excellent for
Holywood, but it also clearly demonstrated that there was a need for additional units
for retail. The redevelopment of the site could help deliver this.
DSD officials had been in discussions with the Council’s officers to ascertain whether
the Council would be keen to work in association with DSD and prepare a
Development Brief for the area. This could then be put to the market to ascertain
what interest there may be. In discussing the proposal in general with colleagues
from the Environmental Services Department, it was clear that any redevelopment
would need to include public car parking, with at least the same number of spaces
and the replacement of the amenity block.
It was believed that if the Council agreed to offer the land for redevelopment, it
should do so in association with DSD as it had experience of delivering those types
of large scale mixed use developments and it also had specific knowledge of the
site. The fact that the land would be offered to the open market would satisfy the
Council’s statutory requirements. Land and Property Services would also comment
on and be part of overseeing the market testing exercise, which would then ensure
the Council’s assessment of ‘Best Value’ was being achieved.
If the Council agreed to offer the land to the market for redevelopment with mixed
site usage, it would show a clear intention of continuing with the delivery of the
Holywood Masterplan, but at the same time keeping and enhancing local amenities.
If the Council now agreed in principle to the proposal, a Development Brief would be
prepared which would be in keeping with the aspirations contained within the
Masterplan, but also ensured the public amenities were retained. Once that was
agreed it would be issued to the market. It was anticipated that the process would
be concluded by December and the costs of undertaking this, which would be no
more than £8,000, would be borne by the Council and could be accommodated from
existing budgets.
It was indeed timely that the Council considered the proposal as it was about to start
the concept plan development stage of phase two of the Holywood Public Realm
works, which was in the vicinity of Redburn Square and Hibernia Street.
RECOMMENDED that after considering the above and the aspirations contained
with the Holywood Masterplan for this area, it was recommended that the Council
agrees to:
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1. prepare a Development Brief and tests the market to seek proposals for the
redevelopment of the land identified in Appendix One, but in doing so requires a
similar level of public amenities which are currently present to be replaced. This
would only be actioned once the Council had undertaken a title audit to the land
in question and no legal impediments had been identified and
2. work in conjunction with the Department for Social Development in the issuing
the Development Brief and the assessment of any proposals. Land and Property
Services would also be tasked with assisting with this.
RESOLVED, on the proposal of Councillor Dunne, seconded by Councillor
Barry, that the recommendation be adopted.
19.
NORTHERN IRELAND RURAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME
2014-2020 (Appendix VIII)
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report dated 11 August 2015 from the Director of
Regeneration, Development and Planning stating that the Department of Agriculture
and Rural Development (DARD) acted as the managing authority for the Northern
Ireland Rural Development Programme and was responsible for its implementation.
The Rural Development Programme was jointly funded through the European
Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and DARD.
DARD had invited the approved Ards and North Down Local Action Group (LAG) to
develop an Interim Local Rural Development Strategy for the delivery of the
LEADER schemes of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme 20142020 across all the rural areas of the Ards and North Down Borough Council area.
The purpose of the attached Service Level Agreement (SLA), Appendix 1, was to
formalise the arrangement between DARD and Ards and North Down Borough
Council to deliver administration services and advisory support services to Ards and
North Down Local Action Group. A budget of £55,000 had been allocated by DARD
to commence the process and further details were contained within the SLA. It was
envisaged that the work would be undertaken by staff from the current Down Rural
Area Partnership, assisted by a consultant.
The SLA would cover the period of strategy development and application animation
prior to the signing of a formal programme contract.
RECOMMENDED that the Council agrees to deliver administration services and
advisory support service to Ards and North Down Local Action Group as outlined in
the attached LEADER Animation Service Level Agreement.
Councillor Adair welcomed the recommendation contained in the report as it would
enable funding to be awarded to rural communities.
Alderman Gibson advised that the Minister had allocated £23.5M to the programme
for the period 2015-2020.
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RESOLVED, on the proposal of Councillor Adair, seconded by Alderman
Gibson, that the recommendation be adopted.
20.
USE OF BANGOR CASTLE LEISURE CENTRE FOR FILMING
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report dated 14 August 2015 from the Director of
Organisational Development and Administration stating that the Council had
received a request from Mr Andrew Wilson, Location Manager for a new film called
“The Lost City of Z”. Mr Wilson was seeking permission to use the former diving
pool in Bangor Castle Leisure Centre on 13 September for filming (there would be
set up time prior to this.)
Whilst the centre and diving pool had been used in the past for filming, a building
condition review was currently being undertaken by Council staff, and any
agreement to proceed should be subject to the outcome of this review and any
exemptions or conditions recommended by this review.
RECOMMENDED that the Council grants permission to Mr Wilson subject to the
following conditions:



LPS determining a suitable consideration for filming and set up time.
A suitable location agreement being drawn up.
All electricity and water charges being met by Mr Wilson.
The organiser also agreeing to:










Provide evidence of relevant insurances and fully indemnify Council against
all risks associated with the use of land or property.
Make good any damage caused during the use.
Arrange for the collection and subsequent removal of all litter and other debris
from the main event and adjacent areas during the event, as well as once the
event had concluded. Also, should the Council have to do any additional
cleaning the costs would be recovered from the Organiser.
Arrange for the prompt removal of any items used in connection with the
usage
Agree to provide site maps or any other document deemed appropriate by
Council officers.
Provide evidence of permits/licences/registrations and approvals where
relevant.
Indemnify the Council against all and any claims which may result from the
event or use of the area, and provide the Council with a copy of the relevant
insurance policy.
Ensure that only the designated area, or areas specified by Council officers
are used for the event.
Comply with any other relevant legislative provision.
No petrol generators were to be used.
RESOLVED, on the proposal of Councillor Gilmour, seconded by Councillor
Muir, that the recommendation be adopted.
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21.
LAND FOR DISPOSAL UNDER D1 PROCESS (Appendix IX)
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report dated 11 August 2015 from the Director of
Organisational Development and Administration stating that the Council had
received correspondence from LPS advising that the following pieces of land (as
shown on the attached maps) were currently being disposed of through the D1
process. LPS had asked for expressions of interest in any of those pieces of land by
1 September 2015.



87 Moat Street, Donaghadee
5 Ballymullan Road
Craigdarragh Road
Council officers had been consulted and no strategic use for any of those portions of
land had been identified.
RECOMMENDED that the Council advises LPS that it has no interest in the
purchase of any of the above portions of land.
RESOLVED, on the proposal of Councillor Smart, seconded by Councillor
Edmund, that the recommendation be adopted.
22.
RESCHEDULING OF COUNCIL MEETING – JANUARY 2016
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report dated 14 August 2015 from the Director of
Organisational Development and Administration stating that a request had been
received for the Council Meeting to be rescheduled in January 2016, from
Wednesday, 27 January to Tuesday, 26 January. This was to facilitate a Holocaust
event to be held in the Council Chamber on Wednesday 27, January.
RECOMMENDED that the Council agrees to set aside Standing Orders and
reschedule the Council Meeting from Wednesday, 27 January to Tuesday, 26
January 2016.
RESOLVED, on the proposal of Councillor Thompson, seconded by Councillor
Barry, that the recommendation be adopted.
23.
COMMUNITY PLANNING (Appendix X)
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report dated 20 July 2015 from the Chief Executive
detailing Community Planning throughout Ards and North Down.
RECOMMENDED the Council
1. Approved the initial plans as set out in this report for the management and
delivery of the Ards and North Down Community Plan
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2. Nominated four Members, preferably from the Council Corporate Services
Committee to join the Strategic Community Planning Partnership
3. Approved, in principle, participation in the data hub
4. Supported the launch of the BIG CONVERSATION
Councillor Irvine proposed, seconded by Councillor Muir, that the recommendation
be adopted.
RESOLVED, on the proposal of Councillor Irvine, seconded by Councillor Muir,
that the recommendation be adopted.
Nominations were then sought to join the Strategic Community Planning Partnership
and the following nominations were made.
Councillor Adair proposed, seconded by Councillor Muir, that Alderman Girvan be
appointed.
Councillor Armstrong-Cotter proposed, seconded by Councillor T Smith, that
Councillor McIlveen be appointed.
Councillor Roberts proposed, seconded by Councillor Robinson, that Councillor
Barry be appointed.
Alderman Carson proposed, seconded by Councillor Smart, that Alderman Henry be
appointed.
Councillor Cooper proposed, seconded by Councillor Menagh, that Councillor
Robinson be appointed.
Councillor Menagh proposed, seconded by Councillor Robinson, that Councillor
Boyle be appointed.
(Alderman Carson left the meeting at this stage – 8.20pm)
As there were six nominations for four places a paper vote was undertaken at this
stage.
The result of the vote saw Aldermen Girvan and Henry and Councillors McIlveen and
Robinson appointed to the Strategic Community Planning Partnership.
RESOLVED that Aldermen Girvan and Henry and Councillors McIlveen and
Robinson be appointed to the Strategic Community Planning Partnership.
24.
ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR AT BALLYGOWAN PLAYPARK
AND DAMAGE TO PRIVATE PROPERTY
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report dated 17 August 2015 from Director of
Community and Wellbeing stating that over a period of time, the Councils playpark at
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Ballygowan had been attracting youths, usually at night, resulting in general
disturbance and other forms of antisocial behaviour. Part of the playpark tapered off
into a small ‘triangle’ of land to the rear of houses at Prospect Cottages. When
antisocial behaviour took place in that hidden area the impact was particularly
detrimental to the individual occupants of some houses at Prospect Cottages. This
included damage to property and youths gathering at night playing music.
The Antisocial behaviour team had been investigating the matter for a period of time,
but had been unsuccessful in abating the problem through the enforcement route.
Consequently, the feasibility of erecting a fence was undertaken. This work if carried
out would isolate access to the small area under question and prevent individuals
engaging in antisocial behaviour directly behind the complainant’s homes and from
causing further nuisance or damage. Approximate cost for supply and installation
was £2,700 plus VAT.
RECOMMENDED that given that antisocial behaviour had been witnessed and
recorded in this location, that a fence was erected at the back of the Ballygowan
Playpark to prohibit individuals using the small area of land to the rear of No. 2
Prospect Cottages and from causing further damage and general antisocial
behaviour in this location.
Councillor Cooper noted that antisocial behaviour at this location had been an
ongoing problem for a considerable length of time and expressed his thanks to
officers for their prompt action and liaising with the local residents.
(Councillor Dunne left the meeting at this stage – 8.21pm)
Councillor Fletcher remarked that antisocial behaviour had been ongoing since the
redesign of the playpark and recalled that following previous site meetings it had
been agreed that thorny bushes would be planted in an attempt to act as a deterrent.
However he noted that had yet to take place and therefore agreed that action
needed to be taken.
Alderman Chambers while appreciative of the problems which were occurring at that
location noted that it was the policy of the former North Down Borough Council not to
erect fences between Council and privately owned property. Therefore he urged
caution with the recommendation contained in the report as it could be seen to be
setting a precedent.
(Alderman Keery and Councillors Carson & Dunne entered the meeting at this stage
– 8.26pm)
Alderman Gibson commented that he knew the area very well, adding that the
playpark had been there long before the residential dwellings. He added that he had
visited the area in question on many occasions and acknowledged and agreed with
the concerns raised by Alderman Chambers. He expressed the view that the real
problem for the Council was how to deal with vandalism and questioned the
effectiveness of the Council’s own Antisocial Behaviour Team(ASBT).
(Councillor Leslie left the meeting at this stage – 8.27pm)
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(Councillor Muir entered the meeting at this stage – 8.27pm)
Councillor Adair referred to a number of playparks throughout the Ards Peninsula
which had recently been targeted by vandals and suggested that the Council was too
reactive rather than proactive in respect of dealing with vandalism. He too
questioned the effectiveness of the ASBT and suggested that a more joined up
approach was required with the PSNI.
RESOLVED, on the proposal of Councillor Cooper, seconded by Councillor
Fletcher, that the recommendation be adopted.
25.
REQUEST FOR DELEGATED POWERS
25.1. Corporate Services Committee – 8 September 2015 – Award of Tender
for Provision of Corporate Uniform, Casual Uniform and Protective
Workwear
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report dated 19 August 2015 from the Director of
Finance and Performance stating that a tendering opportunity was advertised in the
Belfast Telegraph, on the Council website, Official Journal of the European Union
and on the eSourcingNI website with a closing date of 19 August 2015.
The evaluation of the tender would take place on Monday 24 August and Tuesday
25 August therefore delegation of powers to Corporate Services Committee on 8
September to award the tender for Provision of Corporate Uniform, Casual Uniform
and Protective Workwear was requested.
RECOMMENED that powers were delegated to Corporate Services Committee on 8
September to award the tender for Provision of Corporate Uniform, Casual Uniform
and Protective Workwear.
Councillor Smart sought clarification on the reasoning behind the report.
In response the Chief Executive stated that following the review of public
administration it had been necessary to undertake a rebranding exercise and part of
that involved the provision of corporate uniforms, casual uniform and protective
workwear. He added that provision had already been made within budgets for this
expenditure.
RESOLVED, on the proposal of Alderman Chambers, seconded by Councillor
Smart, that the recommendation be adopted.
25
C.26.8.15
26.
CONFERENCES, INVITATIONS ETC
26.1. AGE NI /ARK Conference – 22 October 2015
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Copy correspondence dated 2 July 2015 from AGE
NI and ARK providing details of its conference to be held at Riddel Hall, Queen’s
University, Belfast on Thursday, 22 October 2015 at 9.30am.
RESOLVED, on the proposal of Councillor Anderson, seconded by Councillor
Muir, that Councillor Armstrong be appointed to attend.
(Councillor Boyle entered the meeting at this stage – 8.31pm)
26.2. Planning for Climate Change Conference Series 21 December 2015
London and 28 October 2015 Dublin
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Copy correspondence detailing the two conferences
to take place in Dublin and London.
RESOLVED, on the proposal of Alderman Carson, seconded by Councillor
Boyle, that the conference be noted.
26.3. Street Pastors Initiative - 12 September 2015
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Copy correspondence from Jim Shannon MP
detailing the Street Pastors Initiative to take place on 12 September 2015 at 7.00pm
in the Queen’s Hall, Newtownards. Street Pastors was an initiative in the Ards and
North Down area which aimed to take care of those leaving clubs and bars at the
weekends who were a bit under the influence of alcohol and required assistance.
RESOLVED that the event be noted.
26.4. Assisi Animal Sanctuary – Artworks for Assisi
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Copy invitation from Assisi Animal Sanctuary to its
launch of its Artworks for Assisi, an exhibition and sale of artwork by local artists in
aid of the sanctuary to be held at North Down Museum, Bangor Castle, Thursday 1
October 2015 at 7pm.
RESOLVED that the event be noted.
26.5.Ards Battalion The Boy’s Brigade – Annual Church Service and Parade
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Copy letter dated 7 August 2015 from the Ards
Battalion Boys Brigade inviting members of the Council to attend its annual Church
Service and Parade on Sunday, 4 October 2015 to 1 Newtownards Presbyterian
Church for 3.30pm. It was also customary for the Mayor to “take the salute”.
RESOLVED that the event be noted.
26
C.26.8.15
26.6. NILGA LGA Workforce Team to consider the Trade Unions Side Pay
Claim for 2016
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report dated 5 August 2015 from the Director of
Organisational Development and Administration stating that NILGA had organised a
consultative session with the LGA Workforce Team for Elected Members and
Officers in Northern Ireland to consider the Trade Unions Side pay claim for 2016.
Details of the claim were included in the attached letter from NILGA.
The meeting would take place on Monday 21 September 2015 at 11.30am in Antrim
Civic Centre.
The Director of Organisational Development and Administration would be attending
and up to two Elected Members were also invited in order to set out the Council’s
views. Nominated representatives’ names must be forwarded to NILGA by 11
September.
RECOMMENDED up to two Elected members were nominated to attend the
consultation session on 21 September 2015 and noted that this Northern Ireland
consultation event was a very small element of the UK wide consultation and that a
formal view from Ards and North Down Borough Council was deferred pending
feedback from the overall consultation across the United Kingdom.
RESOLVED, on the proposal of Councillor T Smith, seconded by Councillor
Dunne, that Alderman Keery be appointed to attend.
27.
TRANSFERS OF RIGHTS OF BURIAL
The Chief Executive advised members there were no transfers of rights of burial.
NOTED.
28.
SEALING DOCUMENTS
RESOLVED: -
(On the proposal of Alderman Carson,
seconded by Councillor Thompson)
THAT the Seal of the Council be affixed to the following
documents:(a)
(b)
(c)
Car Loan Agreement – Samuel Jordan
Lease between Ards and North Down
Borough Council –and- Mr and Mrs
MacDougall, 34 Harbour Road, Portavogie
Licence with FP McCann to Use Part of
Marina Car Park, Donaghadee
27
C.26.8.15
(d)
(e)
(f)
(g)
29.
Licence with the Diocese of Down and
Connor Trustee re Access over lands at
Parkway, Comber, Co Down
Grant of Right of Burials – 11817 to 11834
inclusive and 19982, 19984,19987,19992,
19993, 19996, 19997,20010, 20011,
20012, 20017 and 20021
Grant of Easement at Castle Park Road,
Bangor with Education Authority
Grave Transfer –Clandeboye Cemetery
AP5068
NOTICES OF MOTION
29.1. Notice of Motion Submitted by Councillor Barry (Referred from Council
meeting on 29 April 2015)
"To ask officers to draft a Community Charter for the new council setting out the
value basis upon which council-community relations can be built. This Charter
should be based on extensive community participation, given the process by which
such a document is developed is as important as the final product".
RESOLVED, on the proposal of Councillor Barry, seconded by Councillor
Roberts, that officers draft a Community Charter for the new council setting
out the value basis upon which council-community relations can be built. This
Charter should be based on extensive community participation, given the
process by which such a document is developed is as important as the final
product.
(Councillor McClean left the meeting at this stage – 8.36pm)
29.2. Notice of Motion Submitted by Councillor Martin and Councillor Cathcart
Councillor Cathcart proposed, seconded by Councillor Martin, that this Council notes
the important role that the community and voluntary sector plays across the Borough
in providing effective, efficient and value for money frontline services to address
educational underachievement. It is however disappointed at the poor management
of the recent European Social Fund Programme by the Department of Employment
& Learning. It further notes the DEL Ministers own recent admission of the "poor
performance" of his Department and that these failings have caused "a lot of pain
and grief". It requests that the DEL Minister comprehensively details in writing to this
Council exactly what impact (if any) these failings have had on any applicants to the
recent tranche of the ESF in the Ards and North Down Council area and what he is
doing to ensure these failings are now rectified.
Councillor Cathcart explained that the aim of the European Social Fund (ESF) was to
help reduce economic inactivity and increase workforce skills. The fund was a
mixture of European, Stormont and private and charitable funding which was
managed in Northern Ireland by the Department of Employment and Learning (DEL)
and Minister Farry. ESF projects received 40% European funding, 25% DEL and
28
C.26.8.15
match funding from public/private sources totalling 35%. ESF was divided into a
number of priorities.
Priority one was provided mainly by voluntary and community groups and sought to
improve the employment opportunities for those unemployed by addressing under
lying causes of their unemployment. ESF to date had made real and sustained
changes to people’s lives, while at the same time contributing to the growth of the
local economy.
Continuing Councillor Cathcart commented that the statistics were considered for the
new council area, it scored well on employment, earnings and life expectancy,
however one figure which stood out and gave cause for concern was the shortfall in
educational attainment. Just 59.6% of Year 12 pupils achieved five or more A*-C
grades (including English and maths) coming second last out of the 11 council areas.
Therefore educational underachievement and a lack of skills were a considerable
barrier to employment for many in our Borough. Voluntary and community
organisations were well placed to engage people who were excluded from or at a
disadvantage in the labour market. ESF should provide the funding to allow those
groups to tackle the issue. However the ESF process had been plagued with
problems both with the 2007-13 and 2014-2020 programmes for which Minister Farry
had since apologised. Councillor Cathcart commented that he would deal with each
in turn.
Firstly regarding the 2007-13 ESF, after a number of temporary interruptions in
February 2015 the European Commission stopped the payments to the ESF due to
audit concerns related to the management and control of project expenditure under
the programme’s priority one call for applications from voluntary and community
sectors. He stated that he understood that was because the Department’s
procurement monitoring was not robust enough and also due to issues with staff
knowledge and handling times. No further priority one expenditure could be included
in claims to the commission.
In order to address this the Minister planned to switch some of the departmental
spending to ESF and use departmental funds to reimburse all outstanding eligible
priority 1 expenditure. It remained unclear at this stage whether the commission
would accept that or not. What was clear was that the mismanagement and the
delays in payments had resulted in considerable difficulties for organisations across
the community, voluntary and women’s sectors that had faithfully carried out ESF
funded project. Those groups had not received a penny of the money owed to them
in many months or longer in some circumstances. Staff had not been paid, indeed
redundancy procedures had begun in some cases nor had the resources been
provided to allow projects to close up on time. The latest figures from DEL was that
£5.7M was still owed to voluntary groups, with some claims dating back to the 20132014 financial year (although that was disputed by some as they believed it was
much higher).
Although Minister Farry had not accepted full responsibility for his departmental
mess, his apology had been welcome. It was also critical that he explored every
avenue of possibility to alleviate the extreme pressures now placed upon those
organisations through no fault of their own.
29
C.26.8.15
Turning to the new ESF, Councillor Cathcart stated that many community and
voluntary groups had found the 2014-2020 ESF Programme application process
difficult and confusing as well as restrictive to what programmes they could offer.
Firstly applicants must have 10% cashflow and many organisations would not have
that as they were likely to be running on a not for profit basis. Secondly applicants
must get 35% match funding from another source. That was extremely difficult in
today’s funding climate and those that could not, would not be legible. However, DEL
had over the years match funded ESF projects themselves alongside its 25%
contribution. He stated that was however only open to a select group of
organisations. It was estimated that around £6M had been allocated this way.
Thirdly, the ESF guidelines stated that only level one projects could be supported.
Level one was grade D GCSE and students achieved grade C or above (level two
grades) they may not be funded. That was penalising those who achieved higher
and contradicted the purpose of the ESF since most places of work required a C
grade or above for maths and English. Fourthly, confusion around what information
was required when submitting managing accounts. 43 organisations which applied
were rejected due to failure to submit the correct information. The organisations
sighted the lack of clarity in the guidance notes concerning what constituted
management accounts. Even a body such as the SEHSCT was rejected which
showed the confusion around the process. As a result DEL had allowed those
organisations an opportunity to submit those documents. However that had caused
considerable delay of up to four months to the start of the programme. There was
concern amongst community and voluntary groups that they would face financial
penalties for failure to meet targets as they were starting four months behind
schedule. The Minister must ensure that voluntary and community groups were not
penalised for that delay.
Lastly, despite there being more money available in the latest ESF, there were some
40 fewer approved projects and he questioned why that had been the case. Whilst
DEL had not been forthcoming, it was estimated that around 27 projects had
switched from full departmental funding to ESF funding. Previously funded projects
including those in Ards and North Down despite having successful projects and
meeting all of the criteria had missed out as a result.
(Alderman Gibson left the meeting at this stage – 8.41pm)
Councillor Martin indicated that he was happy to support his colleague as it was an
issue which directly affected the residents of the Ards and North Down Borough and
other communities throughout Northern Ireland. He stated that educational under
achievement was a real issue and one group in particular which needed help were
young mothers who perhaps had childcare responsibilities. Training for Woman’s
Network worked across Northern Ireland and was the umbrella for a range of
excellent community groups which helped disadvantaged women and minority
groups. One such group was Kilcooley Women’s Centre (KWC) based exclusively in
the Council’s own Borough. They had applied for ESF, met the qualifying score but
because ESF was ‘oversubscribed’ the score was raised and they were excluded.
Councillor Martin commented that the reasonable thing to have done would have
30
C.26.8.15
been to slice a couple of percent off all the projects and funded all that met the
original qualifying score.
(Alderman Gibson entered the meeting at this stage – 8.46pm)
On 1 July 2015 the DEL Minister had admitted that past and current ESF tranches
had their problems and challenges. However the harsh reality was that for those
groups who had not yet received the money owed to them by DEL, were having to
let staff go because of the mess. Councillor Martin indicated that it was his
understanding that KWC was owed £100,000 by DEL. It had entered 48 women into
GCSEs and 43 had passed. They also provided the only childcare supported training
programme in the whole of County Down and provided 2,585 childcare slots during
2014/2015,whilst the child’s parent was being taught or trained.
It was noted that Peter Weir, MLA had facilitated a meeting with the DEL Minister
Stephen Farry which had been unsuccessful in resolving the issue. Councillor Martin
stated that it was also his understanding that the Minister was now refusing to meet
representatives from KWC. He added that it was imperative to address the issue of
educational underachievement within the Borough.
Councillor Walker commented that the Council had no say over educational matters
and suggested that Stormont was where the matter should be debated, not the
Council chamber. He added that it was a nonsense for it to be discussed in this
manner.
Alderman Smith stated she was pleased the matter had been brought forward for
discussion and questioned whether or not the Minister could refuse to meet with
representatives.
Alderman Smith proposed, seconded by Councillor Boyle that the Council wrote to
the Minister expressing his support for KWC and requesting a meeting with him.
Councillor Boyle expressed shock on learning that up to £100,000 of funding
remained outstanding. He agreed that the Council should write to the Minister in
order to establish what the problems were and how they could be addressed.
Councillor Cathcart indicated that he was content to add that into his proposal.
Councillor Muir noted how £1/2M of funding had been sent back to the Treasury
because it could not be spent and also reminded members that it had been the First
and Deputy First Ministers who had agreed the operational plan for the ESF funding
programme. He also referred to the continual delays in respect of peace programme
monies by the DUP Minister. Continuing, Councillor Muir stated that the issue was
the Notice of Motion and the fact that KWC had not even submitted an application for
funding. He acknowledged that not all projects could be funded and proceeded to
detail a number of projects which had been successful including GEMS, Ards Mental
Health, the Princes Trust and Women in Business.
31
C.26.8.15
Councillor Menagh stated that the Minister should be meeting those people who
elected members worked with on the ground in local communities. He acknowledged
the good work carried out to date by KWC.
Councillor T Smith concurred with those comments adding that the matter should not
be made into a political issue as some members had tried to do and instead
encouraged members to consider and support those people in the community who
were carrying out such valuable work.
Several members agreed with those comments and welcomed the proposal for a
meeting with the Minister to consider the matter further.
Supporting the motion, Alderman Chambers expressed disappointment with how the
matter had been managed by the Executive and the Minister, particularly as the
largest party on the Council was having to go about having the issue addressed and
heard by the Minister in this manner.
Councillor Armstrong indicated that she could not support the motion and asked how
many applicants had applied for funding. She acknowledged that the Civil Service
was currently struggling and the Department had done its best and therefore the
proposal would only serve to tie up already stretched civil servants who could
otherwise be getting on with the job of dealing with ESF applications.
In summing up Councillor Cathcart thanked all of the speakers for their comments
particularly as educational underachievement was such a major issue and a barrier
to employment for so many. He did however express disappointment with those
Alliance Party members who had referred to the proposal as a nonsense as it was
the duty of elected members to represent those organisations which were making a
real difference in the Borough. At this stage he also referred Councillor Walker to
Standing Order 17(II) which dealt with Notices of Motion. He stated that this funding
could make a real difference to people’s lives and while disappointed with the current
situation he felt it was reflective of mis-management and therefore the Council was
doing the right thing pursuing this course of action.
On the proposal being put to the meeting, with 29 voting For, 7 voting Against, 0
Abstaining and 4 Absent, it was DECLARED CARRIED.
RESOLVED, on the proposal of Councillor Cathcart, seconded by Councillor
Martin, that this Council notes the important role that the community and
voluntary sector plays across the Borough in providing effective, efficient and
value for money frontline services to address educational underachievement.
It is however disappointed at the poor management of the recent European
Social Fund Programme by the Department of Employment & Learning. It
further notes the DEL Ministers own recent admission of the "poor
performance" of his Department and that these failings have caused "a lot of
pain and grief". It requests that the DEL Minister comprehensively details in
writing to this Council exactly what impact (if any) these failings have had on
any applicants to the recent tranche of the ESF in the Ards and North Down
Council area and what he is doing to ensure these failings are now rectified.
32
C.26.8.15
Furthermore that the Council wrote to the Minister expressing its support for
KWC and requesting a meeting with him.
Councillor Cathcart having requested a recorded vote, the voting was as follows:FOR (29)
Aldermen
Graham (Mayor)
Carson
Chambers
Gibson
Irvine
Keery
Smith M
Councillors
Adair
Armstrong-Cotter
Barry
Boyle
Brooks
Cathcart
Cooper
Dunne
Edmund
Ferguson
Fletcher
Gilmour
Leslie
Martin
McIlveen
McClean
Menagh
Roberts
Robinson
Smart
Smith T
Thompson
AGAINST (7)
Alderman
Girvan
McDowell
Councillors
Anderson
Armstrong
Muir
Walker
Wilson
ABSTAINING (0)
ABSENT (4)
Alderman
Henry
Councillors
Allen
Cummings
Kennedy
COMFORT BREAK
The meeting stopped at this stage for a comfort break and recommenced at 9.30pm.
(Councillors Fletcher and T Smith left the meeting at this stage – 9.30pm)
29.3. Notice of Motion Submitted by Alderman Irvine
“That this Council notes with concern the ongoing anti-social behaviour at Conlig
playpark and asks for officers to bring back a report to include costings for potential
fencing to be erected along properties adjoining the Conlig playpark.”
33
C.26.8.15
RESOLVED, on the proposal of Alderman Irvine, seconded by Councillor
Dunne, that the Notice of Motion be referred to the appropriate Committee.
(Councillor Muir left the meeting at this stage – 9.34pm)
29.4. Notice of Motion Submitted by Councillor Roberts
“That Council notes the high number of complaints of anti-social behaviour in
Windsor Gardens / Railwayview Street area of Bangor due to the congregation of
groups of young people at the wooded area at the bottom of these two streets and
asks that a report be brought back to assess the cost and effectiveness of:
1. clearing the dense conifers and replacing with native broad leave trees to improve
visibility whilst also enhancing biodiversity, and
2. fencing the area off to prevent groups from congregating in the area."
Councillor Roberts proposed, seconded by Councillor Barry, that the Notice of
Motion be referred to the appropriate Committee.
Alderman Leslie sought clarification on whether or not the Council owned the land in
question.
The Mayor indicated that information was not available at this time and instead it
would be considered by the appropriate Committee.
RESOLVED, on the proposal of Councillor Roberts, seconded by Councillor
Barry, with 13 voting For and 10 voting Against, that the Notice of Motion be
referred to the appropriate Committee.
(Councillor Muir entered the meeting at this stage – 9.37pm)
29.5. Notice of Motion Submitted by Councillor Boyle and Councillor Menagh
Councillor Boyle proposed, seconded by Councillor Menagh, that this Council
recognises the tremendous success of the Portavogie Pipe Band at the recent World
Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow – World Champions – Winning 1st Place in
Grade 4B.
At this stage the Mayor commented that this was the type of event which the Mayor
would normally host a reception for in the Town Hall.
Councillor Boyle stated that it gave him great pleasure in bringing forward the motion
for something which had brought great pride and honour to the community of
Portavogie and indeed the wider Ards Peninsula. At this stage he referred to the
recent adverse publicity in the local press which had highlighted Portavogie and
while he had his own views on press releases he was of the opinion that a
continuous chain of supply of negative publicity ran the risk of even further damaging
a community.
34
C.26.8.15
Therefore he believed that the recent success of Portavogie Pipe Band winning a
World Championship title was a timely positive boost for everyone within the
Portavogie community and indeed throughout the Ards Peninsula and across the
entire Ards and North Down Borough. Having had conversations with those
associated with the band along with the benefit of social media, he was aware
members of the band were a dedicated and committed group who aspired to be the
best that they could. Practising up to five hours a week was certainly testimony to
their commitment and no doubt to their ongoing success.
It had been within the past year or so that Portavogie Pipe Band had excelled
having won many awards including Ulster Champions 2015, All Ireland Champions
2015, Champions of Champions as a Band 2015, Champions of Champions Drum
Corps 2015 and their ultimate achievement of becoming World Champions.
Councillor Boyle believed that the Portavogie Pipe Band should be recognised by the
Council in some way, perhaps a suggestive report could be brought back by officers
on the way forward or perhaps the Mayor would like to do something. Either way for
such achievements throughout the last year and in particular this year becoming
World Champions on 15 August 2015 at the World Pipe Band Championships in
Glasgow, it was his firm opinion that as a Council their success should be
acknowledged.
The seconder indicated that he concurred with all of the comments which had been
made by the proposer.
At this stage the Mayor stated that he would be happy to host a reception for
Portavogie Pipe Band in order to acknowledge their success.
Councillor Ferguson welcomed that adding that she knew many members of
Portavogie Pipe Band and was aware of the amount of effort which had gone in to
making it the success it was.
Councillor Adair noted that Portavogie Pipe Band had been reformed approximately
two years ago and acknowledged that through sheer hard work and dedication they
had achieved World Champion status. He added that both Malcolm and Louise
Wallace had been instrumental in making the band the success it was.
Concurring with those comments, Councillor Edmund agreed that the band’s
success was testament to the dedication of all of its members and in particular
Malcolm Wallace.
(Councillor Gilmour left the meeting at this stage – 9.43pm)
Echoing all of the previous comments, Alderman Carson recalled how the band in its
early days had met in Portavogie Community Hall with six members. He added that
its current success was richly deserved and a fantastic achievement for all of those
involved.
Councillor Thompson welcomed the Motion and endorsed all of the comments
previously made. He added that he was also aware that last week the band had
35
C.26.8.15
been successful at a further competition held in Portrush and he offered his
congratulations to all of those involved.
Alderman Irvine added his congratulations to the band and noted its connection with
Cottown Pipe Band.
The Mayor took the opportunity to comment that it had been a great achievement for
the band and an excellent social aspect of many people’s lives which provided them
with a very disciplined pastime.
RESOLVED, on the proposal of Councillor Boyle, seconded by Councillor
Menagh, that this Council recognises the tremendous success of the
Portavogie Pipe Band at the recent World Pipe Band Championships in
Glasgow – World Champions – Winning 1st Place in Grade 4B.
30.
EXCLUSION OF PUBLIC AND PRESS
AGREED on the proposal of Councillor Barry, seconded by Alderman Carson,
that the public and press be excluded from the meeting for the undernoted
items of business.
The Mayor stated that as the meeting was going into committee and the public and
press were being excluded from the meeting, in line with Section 47 (1) of the Local
Government Act (Northern Ireland) 2014, the audio recording would be stopped.
30.1. OFFICIAL OPENING OF LONDONDERRY PARK
*** NOT FOR PUBLICATION ***
Schedule 6 – Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular
person (including the Council holding that information).
(Alderman Keery left the meeting at this stage – 9.49pm)
(Councillor T Smith entered the meeting at this stage – 9.49pm)
31.
EXPLORIS – PRESENTATION FROM STEVE LAIRD V4
(Appendix XI)
*** NOT FOR PUBLICATION ***
Schedule 6 – Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular
person (including the Council holding that information).
(Councillor Martin entered the meeting at this stage – 10.23pm)
36
C.26.8.15
32.
TENDER FOR PROVISION OF MOBILE TELEPHONY
*** NOT FOR PUBLICATION ***
Schedule 6 – Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular
person (including the Council holding that information).
33.
LOUGH COWEY
*** NOT FOR PUBLICATION ***
Schedule 6 – Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular
person (including the Council holding that information).
33.1. RE-ADMITTANCE OF PUBLIC AND PRESS
AGREED, on the proposal of Councillor Adair, seconded by Councillor
Cathcart, that the public and press be re-admitted to the meeting.
Members were advised that in line with Section 47 (1) of the Local Government Act
(Northern Ireland) 2014 the audio recording would now recommence.
Circulated for Information
(a)
Entrust Annual Report 2014-2015 (Copy attached)
(b)
BBC Northern Ireland Annual Review 2014/15 (Copy attached)
(c)
NILGA and APSE – Emerging Issues from Events, Moving Beyond the First
Hundred Days (Copy attached)
(d)
Translink Annual Review 2014/15 (Copy attached)
(e)
Housing Market Review and Perspectives 2015-2018 (Copy attached)
(f)
Post Office – Changes to Lisbane Post Office (Copy attached)
(g)
Post Office – Update on West Winds Post Office (Copy attached)
NOTED.
34.
TERMINATION OF MEETING
The meeting terminated at 10.56pm
37
ITEM 7.1
ARDS AND NORTH DOWN BOROUGH COUNCIL
A meeting of the Planning Committee was held in the Council Chamber, 2 Church
Street, Newtownards on Tuesday, 1 September 2015 at 7.00pm.
PRESENT:In the Chair:
Alderman Gibson
Aldermen:
Carson
Girvan
Graham
Irvine
Keery
McDowell
Smith
Councillors:
Barry
Dunne
Fletcher
McClean
McIlveen
Thompson
Walker
Officers:
Director of Regeneration, Development and Planning (C Mahon),
Head of Planning (A McCullough), Principal Professional and Technical
Officer (G Kerr), Senior Planner Ards (C Smyth), Senior Planner North
Down (A Todd), Democratic Services Manager (J Wilson) and
Democratic Services Officer (E Erwin)
WELCOME
The Chairman (Alderman Gibson) welcomed everyone to the September meeting of
Ards and North Down Borough Council’s Planning Committee. For the benefit of those
present in the Public Gallery the Chairman introduced the Director of Regeneration,
Development and Planning, Head of Planning, Principal Professional and Technical
Officer, Senior Planning Officers and Democratic Services Officers in attendance.
NOTED.
1.
APOLOGIES
The Chairman (Alderman Gibson) welcomed everyone to the meeting and noted that
there were no apologies.
NOTED.
2.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
The Chairman (Alderman Gibson) requested Members to advise of any declarations
of interest.
P.C.01.09.15
Alderman Gibson declared an interest in Planning Application Item 4.3 X/2013/0259/F – Lands 322m SE of 7 Lough Cowey Road, Portaferry – Full
permission was sought for the erection of a single wind turbine.
Alderman Smith declared an interest in Planning Application Item 4.1 W/2014/0432/F – Lands to rear of 9 and 11 Raglan Road, Bangor – Full permission
was sought for 2 detached dwellings.
NOTED.
3.
MATTERS ARISING FROM MINUTES OF PLANNING COMMITTEE
MEETING DATED 4 AUGUST 2015
The Chairman (Alderman Gibson) advised that the Minutes of the above meeting
had been noted by the Council on 26 August 2015, however, this item was on the
Agenda to provide an opportunity for Members to raise any outstanding issues.
Members indicated that there were no matters arising from the previous meeting of
the Planning Committee held on 4 August 2015.
NOTED.
4.
PLANNING APPLICATIONS
4.1 Application No. W/2014/0432/F – Lands to rear of 9 and 11 Raglan Road,
Bangor – Full permission is sought for 2 detached dwellings
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Copy overview of application, location maps of the
site and copy drawings of proposed elevations. (Appendix I).
The Senior Planning Officer guided Members through a PowerPoint presentation
which included a detailed summary of the application and location maps of the site:
 DEA: Newtownards.
 Committee Interest: Application had six or more separate objections.
 Proposal: Full permission is sought for two detached dwellings.
 Site Location: Lands to rear of 9 and 11 Raglan Road, Bangor.
 Recommendation: Grant Planning Permission.
The Senior Planning Officer provided a detailed overview of the planning application
as detailed below.
Aerial View – the aerial view showed the site in its central context. The site occupied
the large rear garden areas of two existing semi-detached dwellings at 9 and 11
Raglan Road. The area was an attractive, long established low density residential
area which had been designated as Bangor West ATC in BMAP. As well as usual
evaluation of planning permission for residential development, the proposal had also
been assessed against Addendum PPS6 which stated that proposals must maintain
the existing character of the area.
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P.C.01.09.15
Site Location Plan – the SLP identified the extent of the site and gave a good
indication of the existing pattern of development within the immediate area and
context in which the proposal must be assessed. The area had some examples of
large detached dwellings set in large plots, however, there were also examples of
smaller dwellings in smaller plots as well as a number of examples of back-land
development.
Photographs – a series of slides showed views of the entrance to the site on
Raglan Road approaching from both directions, one to the location of the site to the
rear and the significant reduction in ground levels to the rear. The development
would not be visible from Raglan Road or indeed any other public viewpoint within
the ATC. The proposal would have minimal impact on the character and
appearance of the ATC as a whole. The underlying aim of both the relevant policies
PPS7 and Addendum to PPS6 was to ensure that new developments would not
harm the character or appearance of an ATC and in this case for the reasons
outlined, it was considered that the two detached dwellings proposed would cause
no demonstrable harm. Whilst the proposal involved back-land development that
was not at odds with the existing pattern of existing development in the area. The
plot sizes and density of the development was comparable with other existing
dwellings within the area. The separation distances between existing and proposed
dwellings and amount of private amenity space provided were in accordance with
guidelines and the statutory consultees had raised no objections in terms of road
safety or sewerage infrastructure.
The Senior Planner concluded that having carried out a very careful assessment of
the proposal against all the relevant planning policies, on balance it was considered
that the proposal would result in no demonstrable harm to the character of the ATC.
The Chairman (Alderman Gibson) invited Mr Stephen Robinson to speak for five
minutes on behalf of the residents in objection to the application.
Mr Robinson advised that he was a local resident and his concerns with the
application related to road safety issues as there was only a single footpath and it
was already difficult to exit from Raglan Road, Bangor. Mr Robinson drew attention
to existing sewerage and drainage issues, also the loss of green space and
increased housing density in the area as a result of this planning proposal. Mr
Robinson explained that the residents had a difference of opinion in regard to BMAP
of the impact of development on this Area of Townscape Character. Mr Robinson
referred to regional targets for housing on brown-field sites; Paragraphs 6, 2.7, 2.8 of
Planning Policy Statement PPS6 and ATC protection for this established residential
area, which could be affected by this application. Mr Robinson indicated that there
had been a recent pattern of overdevelopment with twelve houses built in former
garden space within the previous ten years and permission for a few more in the
pipeline. Mr Robinson concluded that this application should be overturned due to
the proposal not meeting at least three essential planning criteria as he had detailed
above.
In response to queries from Councillor McIlveen, Mr Robinson advised that in his
opinion recent gradual development had impacted on the townscape character of the
area as BMAP 2004 did not provide adequate protection. Also the loss of private
3
P.C.01.09.15
green space had an impact on wildlife and natural flora. Mr Robinson provided
clarification that Raglan Road was an adopted road.
Alderman Smith declared an interest in the above Planning Application and left at
this stage of the meeting (7.20pm).
In respect of queries from Alderman Girvan, Mr Robinson responded that although a
traffic survey had been conducted by Transport NI, normally cars were parked on a
bend which would make it difficult to exit from 9/11 Raglan Road and although car
parking was made available for five cars, a total number of seven cars would be
expected. Mr Robinson outlined that the vast majority of objections were from the
residents of Downshire Road due to the potential visual impact to the rear of those
properties. Mr Robinson indicated that in his opinion the most critical aspect of the
application was the increased over-intensification of the area due to the gradual
increase of a number of houses being built in recent years and plans for at least four
more in the near future.
In response to queries from Councillor Fletcher, Mr Robinson outlined that as a
resident of No. 15 Raglan Road, he had personally lost his sea view as well as losing
the amenity of being able to sit in his back garden due to exacerbated drainage and
sewerage problems. He continued that nature and wildlife had been lost due to the
reduction in the amount of green space and trees, which had previously added a
great deal to the amenity and beauty of the area.
In respect of queries from Alderman Carson, Mr Robinson responded that he had
resided at Raglan Road since 2003 and seven planning applications had been
subsequently approved despite in his opinion not meeting BMAP, PPS 6 and 7. Mr
Robinson advised that although No.15a had been built at a lower level similar to the
current application that property could still be seen from the road.
In response to a query from Councillor McClean regarding the assessment of density
of development within the Area of Townscape Character, the Senior Planning Officer
advised that the policy test of the Addendum to PPS7 was whether or not the density
of the development would be significantly higher than that found within the
Established Residential Area. The Officer explained that when assessing density, the
density of different developments and areas of existing housing within the area was
considered rather than the overall density of the whole Area of Townscape
Character. In this case, the density of the proposed development would be
comparable with or even less than the density of some existing areas/developments
within the ATC. The Officer went on to advise that while a number of permissions
had been granted in recent years, they did not have a detrimental cumulative impact
on the character of the area. The current planning proposals met the criteria of
Addendum to PPS6 in respect of the character of the area being maintained. Mr
Robinson indicated that harm had already been allowed to happen and it was his
belief that the current planning application would only cause further damage to the
local area.
The Chairman (Alderman Gibson) invited Mr David Donaldson to speak for 5
minutes on behalf of the applicant in favour of the application.
4
P.C.01.09.15
Mr Donaldson referred to the concise report from the Council’s Planning Officer and
the recommendation for approval, which his client supported as the correct decision.
Mr Donaldson provided background information that planning permission was
already in place for a new dwelling at 9 Raglan Road, therefore only one additional
dwelling was currently being dealt with rather than two dwellings. Mr Donaldson
detailed how the current proposal fitted in with Regional Policy as detailed in PPS6
Addendum and BMAP 2015. Mr Donaldson pointed out that this was not a proposal
to demolish existing properties for the purposes of erecting a number of apartments
therefore it was not a case of overdevelopment. Mr Donaldson concluded that the
current proposal met planning requirements and in his view one additional dwelling
was not potentially harmful to the area.
In response to a query from Alderman Irvine, Mr Robinson gave an overview of how
the amended proposal for No.9 Raglan Road dealt with potential overlooking onto 5
Downshire Road in respect of site elevation, no gable windows, boundary planting,
and also ensuring that separation distances had been met in the current proposal. In
response to a query from Councillor Barry, Mr Robinson outlined the detailed
landscaping proposal including reinstatement of the existing hedge boundary, and
planting of mature trees and shrubs.
Proposed by Alderman Irvine, seconded by Councillor McIlveen, that consideration
of the application be deferred to allow a site visit to be arranged.
Councillor McIlveen pointed out that road safety was a key aspect on the adopted
Raglan Road which should be investigated further by Transport NI. In respect of
queries from Councillor Fletcher, the Senior Planning Officer provided examples of
housing density in the area being measured against a detailed analysis and advising
that the current proposal met planning criteria. Councillor Barry indicated his support
for the proposed site meeting being expedited as soon as possible and that
Transport NI and NI Water should be represented for discussion of existing drainage
and sewerage issues. Councillor Walker expressed that a site meeting was an
unnecessary waste of Council Officers time and that he was satisfied with the Senior
Planning Officer’s concise report.
In response to a query from Alderman McDowell, the Director of Regeneration,
Development and Planning (C Mahon) advised that it was an appropriate protocol for
Members to request a site meeting and a subsequent vote should be conducted in
order to proceed.
Alderman Graham indicated his support for a site meeting in order for Members to
have the opportunity of gaining further knowledge of the area. Councillor McClean
advised that he was familiar with the area concerned and indicated that he concurred
with Councillor Walker that he was satisfied with the information provided. In respect
of a query from Councillor McClean, the Senior Planning Officer responded that in
regard to the potential effect of the application on the Area of Townscape Character
(ATC), case law had been established through previous Planning Appeals. It was
the impact of a development on the character of the ATC as a whole that must be
assessed and not the impact of the development on individual streets or areas.
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P.C.01.09.15
RESOLVED, on the proposal of Alderman Irvine, seconded by Councillor
McIlveen, with 12 voting For and 1 voting Against, 1 Abstaining and 1 Absent
that the planning application be deferred for a Site Meeting. The voting was as
follows:FOR 12
Aldermen
Carson
Graham
Girvan
Irvine
Keery
McDowell
Councillors
Barry
Dunne
Fletcher
McClean
McIlveen
Thompson
AGAINST 1
Councillor
Walker
ABSTAINED 1
Alderman
Gibson
ABSENT 1
Alderman
Smith
(Alderman Smith entered the meeting at this stage – 7.50pm)
4.2 Application No. X/2014/0128/F – 173m SE of 11 Balligan Road, Kircubbin –
A single wind turbine
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Copy Addendum to Deferral Report for application
and location maps of the site. Also copy additional Addendum to application dated
25.08.15 (Appendix II).
The Senior Planner (Ards) provided a PowerPoint presentation that included a
detailed summary of the application along with maps and drawings of the existing
site and proposed plans:


DEA: Ards Peninsula.
Committee Interest: Application has more than 6 objections – 22 objections
received.
 Proposal: A single wind turbine with a hub height of 40m and a blade length of
19.5m.
 Site Location: 173m South East of 11 Balligan Road, Kircubbin
 Recommendation: Grant Planning Permission.
The Senior Planning Officer provided an overview of the planning application as
detailed below.
This application sought permission for a single turbine with a hub height of 40m and
an overall height of 59.5m on lands 173m south-east of 11 Balligan Road, Kircubbin.
The application was appearing before the Committee as 22 objections had been
received contrary to the recommendation to grant planning permission.
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P.C.01.09.15
Members would have already read the PCOR in respect of this application along with
the benefit of viewing the site on Friday, 28 August 2015. The site location plan and
google earth image showed the location of the site in relation to surrounding public
roads: Ballyhemlin Road to the South, Balligan Road to the east and the location of the
listed Church was to the south-east. Wind turbines were highly visible and would
introduce a new and distinctive feature into any landscape. However, it was
considered that the site had the capacity to accommodate the proposed turbine
without causing an unacceptable adverse impact on landscape character or visual
amenity. In terms of cumulative impact, greater weight had been given to previously
approved applications and those made valid prior to the submission of this application.
It was considered that the proposed site was located a significant distance away and
was visually separate to other sites for wind energy development in the area. It was
important to highlight that NIEA Historic Buildings Unit had advised that the proposed
turbine would impact the setting of Ballyhemlin Church due to its scale, height and
proximity to the listed building. The Council’s Planning Section had special regard to
that potential impact and numerous site visits had been carried out by a number of
professional Officers. It should be noted that the weight attached to advice from a
consultee was a matter of planning judgement which rested with the Council. The site
was located on farm land on the opposite side and approximately 300m from the
grounds of Ballyhemlin Church.
The slides showed the main critical viewpoints of the turbine in relation to the listed
building along Nursery Road and Ballyhemlin Road:Photo 1 – when travelling north towards the Church along Nursery Road views of the
turbine would be largely screened by intervening vegetation and the presence of the
Church itself. Photo 2 showed glimpsed views of the turbine, filtered through roadside
vegetation and would be apparent from Nursery Road close to the junction with
Ballyhemlin Road. Due to the fleeting nature of that view and the separation distance it
was not considered that the proposal would cause any harm to the setting of the listed
building. Photos 3 and 4 showed views along Ballyhemlin Road. Significant roadside
vegetation, and the winding nature of the road restricted long range views of the listed
building. When travelling north-east, views of the listed building became apparent on
immediate approach. When travelling south-west views of the Church opened up
along the section of the road immediately north-east of the site. Whilst views of the
turbine would also be apparent at those points, due to the separation distance, it would
appear visually separate in the landscape on the opposite site of the road. It was
considered that the proposal would not directly impinge on views of the Church.
Views of the turbine would also be evident from the front of the listed building. From
that viewpoint and others, the proposal would not be seen in isolation and would be
closely associated with a group of large agricultural buildings. Those man-made
structures already broke the skyline, helping to absorb the turbine into the
landscape. It was not considered that a single vertical element to the foreground of
those buildings would cause any additional harm to the setting of the listed building.
PPS18 – SPG indicated that a relationship between a turbine and farm buildings
helped to reduce visual impact. Moreover it was not considered that the proposal
would appear as a dominant or overbearing structure when viewed from the grounds
of the Church or surrounding viewpoints.
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P.C.01.09.15
In terms of residential amenity, a shadow flicker assessment had demonstrated that
the proposed turbine would not cause unacceptable adverse impacts on residential
amenity, in terms of shadow flicker, as levels fell within the limits recommended in
PPS18 BPG. A noise impact assessment, including a cumulative assessment, had
been submitted in respect of this application and had been reviewed by the Council’s
Environmental Health Section with no objections being provided, subject to a number
of conditions to protect the noise amenity of nearby residential properties. NIEA
Natural Heritage had provided no objection in relation to nature conservation
interests.
The Council’s Planning Officers consulted widely to assess the potential impact of
the proposal in relation to telecommunications and aircraft safety and were content
that the proposal would not result in any unacceptable adverse impacts. A condition
requiring the turbine to be fitted with a red hazard warning light would be attached to
any approval of this application. Concern had been expressed in relation to potential
health impacts, however the Public Health Agency had advised that provided
turbines were sited in accordance with published guidance there was minimal to no
risk to the health of the population. PPS18 required Planning Officers to support
renewable energy proposals unless they had an unacceptable level of adverse
impacts that were not outweighed by wider environmental, economic and social
benefits that must be given significant weight. Such benefits included the contribution
to renewable energy targets and reduction in greenhouse gases.
The Senior Planner concluded that taking account of all material planning
considerations, on balance it was considered that this proposal should proceed by
way of approval by the Planning Committee.
The Chairman (Alderman Gibson) invited Mr Billy Carlisle to speak for 5 minutes on
behalf of Ballyhalbert Residents Association in objection to the application.
Mr Carlisle advised that he was representing over fifty-five objectors including the
congregation of Ballyhemlin Church which had the same listed architectural/historic
building status as Scrabo Tower, Newtownards and had no water or electricity.
Mr Carlisle outlined that the wind turbine did not fit in with the character of the area,
which was also the opinion of the NIEA. The proposal was also contrary to BH11
PPS6 in detracting from the historic nature of the area and being in close proximity to
the Church. Mr Carlisle indicated that the proposal was contrary to draft PPS18 and
LC100 in being pre-dominant, overwhelming and intrusive to the landscape of the
local farming area. Mr Carlisle added that the final version of PPS18 had
subsequently been withdrawn by the NI Assembly Environmental Committee and the
new ethos of community planning was to implement cycling routes and encourage
the tourist and film industry. Also as a parent, Mr Carlisle voiced his concerns
regarding potential health implications of wind turbines on autistic children. Mr
Carlisle reiterated NIEA’s concerns regarding the listed Church building and referred
to the Council ethos of Ards and North Down being a great place to live and visit.
The Senior Planning Officer advised that the section to which he referred was not
carried forward from draft PPS 18 BPG into the final adopted version and therefore
was not a material consideration.
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P.C.01.09.15
In respect of a query from Councillor Barry, Mr Carlisle responded that existing farm
buildings on a nearby hill had been there for a long time and the location of the wind
turbine was on a flat field which would make it a more dominant feature.
In response to a query from Alderman Carson, the Senior Planning Officer detailed
that LCA 99 and 100 had been applied to the proposal, which were available on the
planning website. Mr Carlisle advised that Ballyhalbert Residents Association in
general was not opposed to renewable energy.
In response to queries from Alderman Girvan, Mr Carlisle advised the church was
only open for services twice a month and that the Church had been built in 1834. A
lot of tourists visited this unique setting from as far away as New Zealand and
Canada but statistics of exact numbers of people visiting were not kept by the
Church. Mr Carlisle indicated that there was one visible wind turbine in the area,
adding that he did not object to domestic turbines but had issues regarding wind
farms and future plans for nine more in the area.
The Chairman (Alderman Gibson) reminded that this application required to be
considered on its own merit. The Chairman invited Ms Cliona Gormley (Renewables
NI) to speak for 5 minutes on behalf of the applicant in favour of the application.
Ms Gormley advised that there had been extensive pre-planning works and the
proposal complied with relevant guidance including correct distances being met in
compliance with NIEA Natural Heritage. Also there was no loss of local amenity and
all concerns raised, including noise levels and shadow flicker had been seriously
considered. Ms Gormley concluded that there had already been a number of site
visits with Planning Officers and this was the fourth application since deferral of the
first proposal in October 2014.
In response to a query from Alderman Irvine, Ms Gormley advised of a number of
contributing factors for the appropriate location of the wind turbine. In respect of
queries from Councillor Barry, Ms Gormley responded that it was up to objectors to
directly contact Renewables NI. Ms Gormley explained the intention for the
temporary turbine to be removed in 25 years time or if wind generation ceased for a
period of six months, then the structure would be removed. Ms Gormley advised
that OFTEL regulations applied legally binding planning conditions which required to
be adhered to and due to wind speeds available, Renewables NI was committed to
resourcing that energy.
In respect of queries from Councillor McClean, Ms Gormley responded that the
character of the area was protected as full visuals had been taken and the Church
and wind turbine could not be viewed together. The previous planning proposals
had been amended in order to maximise the potential wind energy and reach a
solution for future resourcing of renewable energy which was more acceptable than
alternative fracking methods.
In response to a query from Alderman Smith, Ms Gormley detailed potential wind
speed statistics which would power 192 houses per year, which met PPS18 RE1.
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P.C.01.09.15
The Head of Planning provided clarification with regard to the existing farm buildings
advising that they were built under agricultural PD and that the proposal would be
seen as a vertical element against the backdrop of those agricultural buildings and
all material considerations had been taken on board by Planning Officers.
In respect of queries from Councillor McIlveen, the Senior Planning Officer explained
the process in balancing all material considerations stressing that it was the
professional planning judgment that the proposal would not have an adverse visual
impact or cause harm to the setting of the listed building and that views of the turbine
would not directly impinge upon views of the Church. Councillor McIlveen indicated
that that was professional planning judgement and the role of the Planning
Committee was to assess the overall proposal. In response to feedback from
Councillor Barry, Ms Gormley advised that PPS6 had been met with regard to
skyline views. Alderman Graham pointed out that the proposal was not for a
domestic wind turbine as it was a commercial generating facility in the countryside.
Alderman Graham advised that he had found the recent tour of wind turbines useful,
however, he was unsure that adequate policies were in place for the protection of
rural areas such as Ballyhalbert and he would veer towards refusing this application.
In respect of queries from Alderman Carson, the Senior Planning Officer responded
that the role of the consultees was to provide advice on planning applications but
that the weight to be attached to this advice was a matter of planning judgment
which rested entirely with the planning authority. The Head of Planning reiterated
that Planning Officers initially considered PPS1 General Principles in weighing up
this proposal and PPS 18 which was permissible policy in terms of renewable energy
instead of fossil fuel. The Planning Officer could provide NIEA advice to the PAC
including PSE in terms of impact, historic and listed building regarding this
application. In respect of further queries from Alderman Carson, the Senior Planning
Officer advised that all seven conditions of this application required to be complied
with including time limit of the temporary structure. Any noise complaints would be
addressed by the Council’s Environmental Health Section.
Proposed by Councillor Barry, seconded by Councillor Fletcher, that the
recommendation to approve the application be adopted.
With 6 voting For, 8 voting Against, 1 Abstaining and 0 Absent the proposal
FELL.
FOR 6
Aldermen
Irvine
Keery
McDowell
Councillors
Barry
Fletcher
Walker
AGAINST 8
Aldermen
Carson
Graham
Girvan
Smith
Councillors
Dunne
McClean
McIlveen
Thompson
ABSTAINED 1
Alderman
Gibson
10
ABSENT 0
P.C.01.09.15
The Chairman (Alderman Gibson) sought comment from Council Officers. The
Director of Regeneration, Development and Planning advised that if the Planning
Committee rejected the application there was a risk that it could be overturned by the
PAC and the Council would be responsible for associated costs of the appeal. The
Head of Planning outlined that the appeal could be made on the basis of comments
from NIEA on the potential impact of the listed Church building. Alderman Graham
referred to planning consideration for the benefit of the rural area being taken on
board in conjunction with this proposal for a commercial enterprise.
Councillor Barry voiced his opinion that it was regrettable for the application to be
denied on the basis of one material concern being brought to the PAC. In response
to feedback and queries from Alderman McDowell and Alderman Gibson, the
Director of Regeneration, Development and Planning suggested that a ‘cooling off’
period could be implemented by the Committee and legal advice could be sought on
the decision to defer this application. In respect of a query from Alderman Irvine, the
Head of Planning indicated the impact of the application if taken before PAC.
Proposed by Alderman McDowell, seconded by Councillor Barry, that the
recommendation to approve the application be deferred and that a cooling off period
be implemented until legal advice was sought on the matter of deferral.
In respect of feedback and queries from Councillors McIlveen and Barry, the Head of
Planning indicated that the potential outcome of legal advice could be to proceed to
PAC and it was impossible to predict the outcome of any planning appeal.
RESOLVED, with 10 voting For, 2 voting Against, 3 Abstaining and 0 Absent
that the recommendation to approve the planning application be deferred and
that a cooling off period would be implemented until legal advice was sought
on the matter of deferral. The voting was as follows:
FOR 10
Aldermen
Girvan
Irvine
Keery
McDowell
Smith
Councillors
Barry
Dunne
Fletcher
McClean
Walker
AGAINST 2
Councillors
McIlveen
Thompson
ABSTAINED 3
Aldermen
Carson
Gibson
Graham
ABSENT 0
The Chairman (Alderman Gibson) adjourned the meeting at 8.55pm for refreshments.
The Chairman reconvened the meeting at 9.15pm.
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P.C.01.09.15
Alderman Gibson declared an interest in the next Planning Application and left at this
stage of the meeting (9.15pm). The Deputy Chairman (Councillor Dunne) assumed
the Chair.
4.3 Application No. X/2013/0259/F – Lands 322m SE of 7 Lough Cowey Road,
Portaferry – Full permission is sought for the erection of a single wind turbine
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Copy overview of application, location maps of the
site and copy drawings including existing and proposed elevations. (Appendix III)
The Senior Planning Officer guided Members through a powerpoint presentation
which included a detailed summary of the application and location maps with
accompanying drawings of the existing site and proposed plans:



DEA: Ards Peninsula
Committee Interest: More than 6 objections received
Proposal: Proposed Installation of a Wind Turbine on a tubular tower of 41.5m
height with blades up to 55m to tip height
 Site Location: Lands 322m South East of 7 Lough Cowey Road, Portaferry
 Recommendation: Approve Planning Permission
The Senior Planning Officer advised Members of the undernoted detail.
The application sought permission for a single turbine with a 41.5m hub height and
an overall height of 55m to blade tip on lands 322m south-east of 7 Lough Cowey
Road, Portaferry. The application was appearing before the Committee as a total of
forty-seven (47) objections had been received.
Members had had the opportunity to read the PCOR in respect of this application
and had viewed the site as part of a capacity building exercise on Friday, 28 August
2015.
The site location plan and Google earth image showed the location of the site in
relation to surrounding roads including Mountain Road – West, Lough Cowey Road –
North, and Deer Park Road – East. The photographic images showed the position of
a number of critical viewpoints of the proposal.
The site was located in an Area of Natural Beauty (AONB) and the overall sensitivity
of that area to wind energy development was considered high. Consequently
considerable time had been spent in assessing the potential impact of the proposal
on visual amenity and landscape character particularly in relation to what was
considered the most sensitive features of the AONB.
The first photomontage depicted the turbine from the junction between Deer Park
Road and Lough Cowey Road. The turbine would also be visible from a greater
distance to the north of that junction. When travelling further south, views would be
largely restricted by strong roadside vegetation. The second viewpoint looked west
along Deer Park Road. Whilst clearly visible along significant sections of this part of
the road it was important to note that the turbine would not be viewed at that point, in
12
P.C.01.09.15
conjunction with the highly sensitive coastline. Along the southern section of
Mountain Road, mature dense trees and vegetation would serve to restrict views of
the proposal and the third viewpoint looked north-east along Mountain Road.
Members noted an old windmill stump in close proximity to the site. NIEA Historic
Monuments Unit had been consulted and provided no objection to the application.
Beyond that point a highly sensitive view of the coastline opened up, however, the
turbine could only be seen for a short time to the far right and would not interrupt
views across the fields towards the coast. The fifth viewpoint showed the turbine
looking south-east along the lower section of Mountain Road. The final viewpoint
was from Lough Cowey Road. Views of the turbine would be largely screened along
much of that road due to intervening vegetation and undulations.
In terms of the wider landscape whilst additional views of the turbine might at times
be apparent, the prominence of the turbine would diminish at greater distances from
the site. From the highly sensitive Lough Shore Road intervening higher drumlin
topography, roadside trees and vegetation would restrict views. From the west
across the lough, long distance views in clear visibility might be apparent, however, it
was considered that the turbine would not appear as a prominent feature from that
distance and could be readily absorbed into the landscape. To the south, across the
lough, the turbine would be largely screened by higher drumlin topography and
clumps of dense vegetation. That area was explored in detail by the Principal
Planning Officer and Officers were satisfied that the proposal would not cause an
unacceptable adverse impact from that location. The site was located in a highly
sensitive area, however, that in itself did not preclude wind energy development.
Planning Officers considered that there would be no significant views in relation to
the most sensitive features of the AONB, namely the coastline.
In terms of residential amenity, PPS18 Best Practice Guide stated that problems
relating to shadow flicker were rare and beyond 10 times rotor diameter, the potential
for shadow flicker was very low. There were no neighbouring dwellings within 10
times rotor diameter of the turbine, which was 270m. The nearest property was
located 328m from the site. A noise impact assessment had been submitted in
respect of the application and had been reviewed by the Council’s Environmental
Health Section who had provided no objection to the proposal, subject to a number
of conditions to protect the noise amenity of nearby residential properties. NIEA
Natural Heritage had provided no objection to the proposal in terms of local nature
conservation interests. Planning Officers had consulted widely to assess the
potential impact of the proposal in relation to telecommunications and aircraft safety
and were content that the proposal would not result in any unacceptable adverse
impacts. A condition requiring the turbine to be fitted with a red hazard warning light
would be attached to any approval of this application. PPS18 required Planning
Officers to support renewable energy proposals unless they would have adverse
impacts that were not outweighed by wider environmental, economic and social
benefits that must be given significant weight. Such benefits included the contribution
to renewable energy targets and reduction in greenhouse gases.
The Senior Planner concluded that in taking all material planning considerations into
account, on balance, it was considered that this proposal should proceed by way of
an approval.
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P.C.01.09.15
The Chairman (Alderman Gibson) invited Councillor Adair to speak for 5 minutes in
objection to the application.
On behalf of local constituents, Councillor Adair advised that the two main issues of
concern were the total number of 47 objections and the visual impact of the above
application. Councillor Adair outlined that Lough Cowey was an unspoilt beautiful
area and was situated on relatively high ground. The proposal for a wind turbine
was located in close proximity to Abbacy Church. Also the proposal was detrimental
to the tourist industry which the Legacy Council had heavily invested in the area
including implementation of Christian Heritage and the Mourne routes. Councillor
Adair requested the Planning Committee to consider the visual impact as a wind
turbine would not be in keeping with the local area.
In respect of feedback and comment from Councillor Barry, Councillor Adair
reiterated that the proposal could have a visual impact in changing the whole
character of the area, as well as a potential impact on tourists visiting this unspoilt
natural landscape. Councillor McIlveen concurred with Councillor Adair that the area
had been designated as an area of natural beauty which should not be spoilt by a
wind turbine.
Proposed by Alderman Carson, seconded by Councillor McClean, that the
recommendation to approve the application be deferred to enable an enhanced
visual impact assessment to be carried out.
Alderman Carson provided feedback on the recent tour of wind turbines, stressing
the importance of the topography and visual impact of the area being taken into
consideration and including the tourism impact on views across Strangford Lough.
Alderman McDowell indicated that he was not in favour of a deferral of the
application. In respect of Members feedback, the Senior Planning Officer pointed
out that although it was a sensitive site there was no specific planning policy
precluding wind turbines being located in areas of natural beauty and there were
numerous turbines erected across Northern Ireland.
Alderman Graham referred to the amount of pre-application work conducted and
suggested that visual impact assessment of wind turbines could be conducted by
way of assessment by use of a hot air balloon being located in place with a light on
top. Councillor Walker indicated that although he understood the reasons for
deferring the application, it was frustrating for everyone. Alderman Irvine responded
that forty-seven objections required consideration.
RESOLVED, on the proposal of Alderman Carson, seconded by Councillor
McClean, with 10 voting For, 3 voting Against, 1 Abstaining and 1 Absent that
the recommendation to grant approval for the planning application be deferred
to enable an enhanced visual impact assessment to be carried out. The voting
was as follows:
FOR 10
Aldermen
Carson
Graham
AGAINST 3
Aldermen
Girvan
McDowell
ABSTAINED 1
14
ABSENT 1
Alderman
Gibson
P.C.01.09.15
Irvine
Keery
Smith
Councillors
Barry
Fletcher
McClean
McIlveen
Thompson
Councillor
Walker
Councillor
Dunne
Alderman Gibson entered the meeting at this stage 9.40pm and re-assumed the
Chair.
4.4 Application No. W/2013/0458/DCA and No. W/2013/0459/F – 16 and 18 Victoria
Road, Holywood
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Copy overview of application and location maps of
the site. (Appendix IV)
The Senior Planning Officer had previously provided a powerpoint presentation that
included a detailed summary of the application, accompanying maps and drawings
of the existing site and proposed plans:



DEA: Holywood & Clandeboye
Committee Interest: Applications have 6 or more separate objections
Proposal: Demolition of existing dwellings and erection of 5 no. detached
dwellings, landscaping and associated site and access works
 Site Location: Lands at 16 - 18 Victoria Road, Holywood
 Recommendation: Grant Planning Permission and Conservation Area Consent
The Head of Planning provided an overview of the Victoria Road Application as
detailed below.
Item 4.2 had been deferred from 4 August 2015 Planning Committee Meeting:W/2013/0458/DCA and W/2013/0459/F (Same address) – Demolition of existing
properties on site. Demolition of existing dwellings and erection of 5 no. detached
dwellings, landscaping and associated site works.
At the Planning Committee Meeting on 4 August 2015, concerns had been raised
that the proposal was contrary to the ‘exceptional circumstances test’ contained in
paragraph 3 of Policy QD1 within PPS 7: Quality Residential Environments which
stated that, in the primarily residential parts of designated areas, proposals involving
intensification of site usage or site coverage would only be permitted in exceptional
circumstances. It had been argued that the approval of the above applications would
set a dangerous precedent for similar developments within the Conservation Area.
Also highlighted by objectors was that pre-1 April 2015, the test was only that of ‘no
harm’ and that the Planning Act had introduced a further test in addition to that since
then. Particular reference was made to the test introduced in April 2015 under
15
P.C.01.09.15
Section 104 of the Planning Act which stated that within Conservations Areas,
special regard must be had, with respect to any buildings or other land in that area,
to the desirability of:
a) Preserving the character or appearance of that area in cases where an
opportunity for enhancing its character or appearance did not arise;
b) Enhancing the character or appearance of that area in cases where an
opportunity to do so did not arise.
While the Council’s Planning Section was satisfied that the proposed development
had been assessed rigidly against the legislative tests and prevailing policy and in
Officer’s planning judgement, would not only preserve but enhance the character of
the area, Planning Committee Members had resolved that consideration of the
application be deferred to allow legal advice to be sought in order to establish
whether appropriate tests had been applied in the assessment of the application.
The Head of Planning updated that Council had sought legal advice from its
appointed legal firm (Carson McDowell) who had confirmed contentment that the
legislative requirements as set out in the Planning Act (NI) 2011 and Planning Policy
had been adequately addressed by the Planning Officers.
Furthermore it advised that as regards the exceptional circumstances test, it was a
material consideration; however, it was a long established principle of planning law
that a material consideration could be outweighed by other material considerations in
the exercise of planning judgment by a decision maker when determining an
application. As Girvan J (as he then was) stated in the Bow Street Mall case:
“In relation to statements of planning policy they are to be regarded as guidance on
the general approach. They are not designed to provide a set of immutable
rules. The task of formulating, co-ordinating and implementing policy for the orderly
and consistent development of land may require the resolution of complex problems
produced by competing policies and their conflicting interests. Planning policies are
but some of the material considerations that must be taken into account by the
planning authority.”
Additional request from objectors:
Further to the meeting of 4 August 2015, a further request had been received from
the Objectors to the scheme that Planning Officers seek an independent view from a
qualified Conservation Architect. The legal response was that: as regards the issue
of seeking the opinion of a Conservation Architect, the acquisition of such advices
would assist in making the decision more robust in the event of a challenge
especially in circumstances in which the architectural merit of the proposed new
buildings were in dispute together with their impact on the conservation area.
In response to that the Head of Planning advised that the professional/technical staff
in the Historic Buildings Unit were all qualified registered architects with post
graduate qualifications in building conservation. The Unit’s consideration of the
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P.C.01.09.15
application W/2013/0459 was managed by a senior conservation architect from
receipt to ‘sign off’ following revisions to the original proposals in October 2014.
Following a re-consultation by Planning Service in March 2015, which had drawn
attention to the objections raised, the assessment and consultation responses were
reviewed by senior architectural staff. The review concluded that the opinion stated
in its response dated October 2014 should stand, that is that the proposal, as
amended, was compliant with policy BH11 (Development affecting the setting of a
listed building) of PPS6 and a response was sent to that effect on 15 April 2015.
Prior to formal submission of the amended scheme an independent report was
prepared and submitted by a well renowned architect Alan Jones, a Senior Lecturer
within the School of Planning and Architecture at Queens University. He had been in
practice since 1989 and had received a number of RIBA and RSUA awards for
architectural design including schemes adjacent to listed buildings in Conservation
Areas. He was President of the RSUA from May 2012 to May 2014 and had been an
expert adviser to the Ministerial Advisory Group since 2007.
As such the Planning Section saw no merit in seeking another opinion and was
satisfied that its judgement in respect of application of the relevant legislative and
policy tests was robust. Therefore the opinion to approve remained unchanged.
Proposed by Councillor Walker, seconded by Councillor Thompson, that the
recommendation to grant approval of planning permission for the above application
be adopted.
Councillor Walker stated his appreciation of the above report and Councillor
Thompson encouraged Members to grant approval of this planning application.
RESOLVED, on the proposal of Councillor Walker, seconded by Councillor
Thompson, that the recommendation to approve the planning application be
adopted.
5.
UPDATE ON LEGAL SERVICES (Appendix V, Annex 1)
It was noted that the above item would be considered later in the meeting in
committee.
NOTED.
6.1
PLANNING COMMITTEE WORKSHOP AND PRESENTATION
BY LEGAL SERVICES
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report dated 25 August 2015 from the Head of
Planning stating the undernoted detail.
1.
The purpose of this paper was to outline proposed arrangements for a
training/capacity building event that would take place in September 2015 to
17
P.C.01.09.15
provide refresher training on processes associated with the operation of the
Planning Committee.
Background
2.
We were now nearly six months past 1 April 2015 having successfully held six
Planning Committee meetings (including September’s). Ahead of information
events proposed under Item 6.1, it would be beneficial to revisit the operating
parameters of the Planning Committee to include:
o Scheme of Delegation;
o Speaking Rights;
o Deferrals;
with a view to finally agreeing a Protocol for the Operation of the Planning
Committee which could then be published on the Council website for public
access.
3. Such a workshop would be useful to assess what was working well and what
could feasibly be improved. It was then intended to include training/capacity
building on the other elements of planning which were proposed to be delivered
within the public events to take place in October 2015, subject to Planning
Committee agreement.
Presentation by Legal Services
4.
Now that the Council had awarded a legal tender for provision of advice on
legal matters, it was intended to also provide a presentation from Carson
McDowell Solicitor’s to Planning Committee Members and other elected
Members within the Council to recap on Member responsibilities vis a vis
planning, and to include a planning law update.
RECOMMENDED that Members note the report and agree a date/time to suit
regarding both proposals.
The Head of Planning outlined the details of the above report.
Proposed by Alderman Graham, seconded by Councillor Fletcher, that the
recommendation be adopted.
Alderman Girvan welcomed the above and sought feedback that it would not place
an undue additional workload on Planning Officers. In response to feedback from
Councillor McIlveen, the Head of Planning recognised that Members could not be
expected to have knowledge of planning law but some training could be provided on
implementation of planning policy. Councillor Barry suggested that Members could
benefit from learning resources rather than a series of workshops. Alderman
McDowell welcomed any training pointing out that workshops should be utilised as a
method of generating ideas, and any decisions required should be subsequently
reported to the Planning Committee. The Director of Regeneration, Development
and Planning assured Members that any decisions would be brought back to the
Committee. Councillor McClean indicated that he concurred with Councillors Barry
and McIlveen that the Committee required some knowledge in order to deal with
18
P.C.01.09.15
planning applications. Alderman Graham recommended that training on renewable
energy and area planning was required to be taken on board. Councillor Barry
suggested that fracking also required consideration. The Chairman (Alderman
Gibson) responded that current policies were being adhered to and area planning
could be taken on board in regard to a new plan being implemented in the next few
years. Alderman Keery supported the provision of training which should be made
available to all Council Members as a new Planning Committee would be put in
place at subsequent Annual Meetings.
The Director of Regeneration, Development and Planning responded that all Elected
Members would be invited to avail of training on planning policy and workshop
sessions would be organised in tandem with developing the new Area Plan. The
Director assured Alderman Carson that regular updates covering all aspects of the
Area Plan would be reported to the Planning Committee. The Director outlined the
process for implementation of Area and Community Planning which was due to
commence following the recent appointment of the Council’s Community Planning
Manager. The Director concluded that a potential date for a workshop would be
forwarded to Members.
RESOLVED, on the proposal of Alderman Graham, seconded by Councillor
Fletcher, that the recommendation be adopted.
6.2
PROPOSED PLANNING WORKSHOP – ENGAGEMENT WITH
AGENTS, DEVELOPERS AND THE PUBLIC (Appendix VI, Annex 1
and Annex 2).
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Copy Schedule of Top 50 Agents and Indicative
Agent Event Programme with covering report dated 25 August 2015 from the Head
of Planning stating the undernoted detail.
1.
The purpose of this paper was to outline proposed arrangements for a number
of events that would take place in late September, early October 2015 to
encourage engagement with the Council following transfer of planning powers.
Background
2.
Planning functions transferred from central government to local government on
1 April 2015. Councils were now responsible for drawing up local development
plans, making the majority of planning decisions, and shaping how their area
grows and develops in ways that respond to the needs of the communities they
serve.
3.
Now that the planning function was beginning to bed down within the Council, it
was considered that, in order to further facilitate the smooth transition of the
planning function, it would be most beneficial to arrange a number of
workshops targeted at particular groups to better encourage and enable
effective participation within the planning process. Such workshops would
provide an opportunity for focussing on relevant topics including rural planning,
19
P.C.01.09.15
renewable applications (turbine, solar), and urban development type
applications.
4.
The following groups had been identified as contributing to the planning
process and who would most likely benefit from such workshops:
a.
b.
c.
d.
Agents who submit planning applications on behalf of applicants;
Applicants submitting small scale applications e.g. Domestic extensions;
Local Farmers
Objectors to both Rural applications and Urban applications
5.
A new planning performance management framework for Councils would come
into effect following the transfer of planning powers in April 2015. Three
statutory standards had been proposed in respect of processing times for major
and local applications, and enforcement cases. Those were included within the
Draft Local Government (Performance Indicators and Standards) Order
(Northern Ireland) 2015 which was currently out to consultation.
6.
In order to comply with those, as yet, draft processing times, it was critical that
staff were in full possession of all relevant information prior to making a
recommendation on a planning application. It was envisaged that workshops
which explain the change in the planning process and the new requirements
brought about by the enactment of the Planning Act (NI) 2011 and subordinate
legislation, would therefore contribute to a smoother system, which would
facilitate investment within the Borough as well as protect the environment from
inappropriate development.
7.
The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) promoted planning as a profession
and built links with other built environment professions and Organisations
throughout the United Kingdom. Over 500 planners from central and local
government, private consultancies, community, education and voluntary sectors
and other Organisations were chartered members of the RTPI Northern Ireland.
8.
Whilst the Council’s Planning Officers would be developing the content and
delivering the events, the RTPI had offered to assist in developing those and
assist in identifying relevant speakers on particular topics, if required.
Agents
9.
Applications were often submitted by an agent on behalf of an applicant, and it
was normally the agent that the Planning Officer would liaise with on any
proposal.
10. For the purposes of the Agent event, it was proposed that the top 50 Agents
(ranked in accordance with the number of applications submitted) would be
invited to attend the event. A list of Agents to be invited was set out in the
attached Annex 1.
20
P.C.01.09.15
Applicants – Rural
11. A large number of smaller applications, such as proposals for domestic
extensions, were submitted by applicants without an agent.
12. A large volume of applications within the new Borough Council area were
situated within the countryside and fell to be determined under Planning Policy
Statement 21: Sustainable Development in the Countryside.
Applicants – Urban
13. Within the larger settlements in the Borough a large number of proposals were
submitted, including applications for domestic extensions which could be
controversial, and fell to be considered under Planning Policy Statement 7:
Quality Residential Environments amongst other policies and design guidance.
Objectors
14. Representations were invited in respect of any planning application, but often
did not focus on matters which constitute material planning considerations and
therefore could not be taken into account. Many people were also unaware of
what development could be undertaken without the need for planning
permission.
Building Control
15. Given that the new arrangements within the Council offer a joined up approach
between Planning and Building Control Sections, colleagues from Building
Control would also attend the events to present an overview and advice on how
building regulations applied and the processes involved.
Date/Timing of Event
16. In order to attract and communicate key messages to as many agents as
possible, a lunchtime and late afternoon event would be organised. It was
considered that the other workshops should be run early evening to facilitate as
many people as possible, but an afternoon session could also be facilitated.
17. It was proposed that the events would take place in Signal, Bangor, the
Londonderry Room in Newtownards Town Hall, and the Market House in
Portaferry. Events would be scheduled to run for approximately 1 and 1/2 hrs.
18. It was considered that the events could also be tailored to provide further
training for Planning Committee Members particularly in the context of policy
and planning guidance.
21
P.C.01.09.15
Event Structure
19. It was envisaged that the Agent Event would provide the Council with an
opportunity to outline its key expectations for planning going forward. It would
also enable it to highlight its renewed efforts and focus on the active
management of caseloads with the view to improving the efficiency of the
process and provide greater certainty about timescales in order to meet the
challenging performance management standards included within legislation.
20. Participating agents would be reminded of the important role that they would
play in helping the Council to deliver the quality, sustainable development
needed to support economic growth within the wider Council area.
21. The other events would focus on the reformed planning system to include an
overview of the Scheme of Delegation, the role of the Planning Committee,
differentiate between major and local applications, provide guidance on
requirements within the process, and provide a detailed overview of how
recommendations were made, balancing material planning considerations in
the context of planning policy and guidance. Particular focus on relevant
policies would be applied in relation to urban and rural proposals.
22. An indicative event programme, based on an Agent audience was set out in the
attached Annex 2. The content would obviously be tailored to the appropriate
audience.
23. Letters would be posted to agents and adverts inviting interest for the other
events would be placed in the Newtownards Chronicle and Bangor Spectator in
the week beginning 31 August 2015 pending agreement from the Planning
Committee.
RECOMMENDED that Members note the content of the report and
(1)
Agree:
(a)
(b)
(c)
(d)
(2)
Parties identified as target audience;
Proposed locations;
Date/timing of event;
Event structure.
Advise:
(a) on any changes required to proposed arrangements;
(b) appropriate date for further Planning Committee training.
The Head of Planning outlined the details of the above report.
Alderman McDowell welcomed the planning workshop events suggesting that
information should also be posted on the Council’s website in order for everyone to
have a better understanding of the planning process in anticipation of creating fewer
problems in the longer term. Councillor McIlveen indicated his support for Council
22
P.C.01.09.15
Officers to engage with agents, developers and the public. The Head of Planning
confirmed that the above matters would be taken on board. Councillor Fletcher
suggested that planning limitations on solar panels and wind turbines should also be
specified in order not to raise public expectations.
RESOLVED that the recommendations be adopted.
7.1
EXCLUSION OF PUBLIC AND PRESS
AGREED, on the proposal of Alderman Graham, seconded by Councillor Barry,
that the undernoted Items be taken in the exclusion of the public and press.
(Councillors Dunne, McIlveen and McClean left the meeting at this stage – 10.17pm).
7.
UPDATE ON PLANNING APPEALS AND ASSOCIATED
ENFORCEMENT CASE
*** NOT FOR PUBLICATION ***
Schedule 6 – Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular
person (including the Council holding that information).
PAC APPEAL DECISION
*** NOT FOR PUBLICATION ***
Schedule 6 – Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular
person (including the Council holding that information).
5.
UPDATE ON LEGAL SERVICES (Appendix V, Annex 1)
*** NOT FOR PUBLICATION ***
Schedule 6 – Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular
person (including the Council holding that information).
7.2
RE-ADMITTANCE OF PUBLIC AND PRESS
AGREED, on the proposal of Alderman Graham, seconded by Councillor
Dunne, that the public and press be re-admitted to the meeting.
Circulated for Information
COUNCIL PLANNING OFFICERS
On behalf of Members, Councillor Barry thanked the Planning Officers for provision
of all their presentations and reports.
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P.C.01.09.15
8.
TERMINATION OF MEETING
The meeting terminated at 10.36pm.
24
ITEM 7.2
ARDS AND NORTH DOWN BOROUGH COUNCIL
A meeting of the Environment Committee was held in the Council Chamber, 2
Church Street, Newtownards on Wednesday, 2 September 2015 at 7.00 pm.
PRESENT:
In the Chair:
Councillor Boyle
Councillors:
Armstrong
Armstrong-Cotter
Barry
Cathcart
Cummings
Edmund (7.49 pm)
Ferguson
Others:
Councillor Brooks
Officers:
Director of Environment, Head of Building Control, Licensing
and Neighbourhood Environment, Head of Waste and Cleansing
Services, Head of Assets and Property Services, Building
Control Services Manager, Neighbourhood Environment
Services Manager and Member Services Officer
Fletcher
Leslie
Martin
Muir (7.20 pm)
Roberts
Smart
Wilson
WELCOME
The Chairman (Councillor Boyle) extended a warm welcome to everyone in
attendance, particularly the team of officers present and members of the public
seated in the gallery.
1.
APOLOGIES
An apology for inability to attend was received from Alderman Henry.
Apologies for lateness were recorded for Councillors Edmund and Muir.
2.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
The Chairman asked Members to advise of any declarations of interest.
No declarations were made.
NOTED.
EC.2.9.15
3.
PRESENTATION – RICHARD BRITTAIN – THE ROLE OF THE
BUILDING CONTROL, LICENSING AND NEIGHBOURHOOD
ENVIRONMENT DEPARTMENT (Appendix I)
ATTACHED:- Copy of Powerpoint presentation.
The Head of Building Control, Licensing and Neighbourhood Environment thanked
the Chairman (Councillor Boyle) for affording him the opportunity to provide a
summary of the three service units encompassed within his section. He introduced
the Building Control, Licensing and Neighbourhood Environment team in attendance
and following his Powerpoint presentation, invited questions from Members.
Councillor Fletcher expressed his interest in the licensing and regulatory role
undertaken by Council and noted the healthy surplus pertaining to that budget. To
that end, he enquired about the implementation of a car park strategy and
emphasised the importance of that issue for town centres. He suggested that
Officers examine possible approaches to reducing parking tariffs for the public,
perhaps with no charges at weekends, as he believed that would draw increased
visitors into the towns and increase business for local traders. As an example he
referred to the car park in Newtownards situated behind Wardens, which at times,
could be empty of cars. Consideration needed to be given on how best to utilise that
space to encourage shoppers and a reinvigoration of Ards town centre.
The Head of Building Control, Licensing and Neighbourhood Environment gave an
assurance that that aspect would be part of the consultation process as the strategy
developed.
Councillor Cathcart made reference to the high hedges legislation and wondered if
Officers had found that to be effective in an operational context.
The Head of Service advised that when the weather was good, there appeared to be
an upsurge in complaints. In the first instance, he stated that any grievances
regarding hedges should be addressed by the parties involved, as this often helped
to reduce the height of hedges and resolve the matter. There had been no formal
complaints lodged with Council recently as the associated costs did tend to dissuade
people from taking such action.
In relation to a query raised by Councillor Cathcart about Animal Welfare Officers,
the Head of Service confirmed that one Officer was authorised to work in this
Borough but a total of nine were employed throughout Northern Ireland. If a difficult
situation was encountered, additional Animal Welfare Officers could therefore be
called upon to lend assistance. However, he reported that on a day to day basis,
Council’s Neighbourhood Environment Team could undertake an initial inspection.
The Animal Welfare Officer would be contacted should that level of expertise be
required.
With regard to Building Control fees, Councillor Cathcart queried if those were set by
Council. He also highlighted that whenever he had had a requirement to raise an
issue with that section it had always been handled promptly and effectively.
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EC.2.9.15
The Head of Service explained that the majority of fees were set by statute
legislation.
Bearing in mind the new configuration of Councils, Councillor Barry was of the view
that attention should be given to holding joint workshops for Officers and Members.
He felt that that arrangement would permit the opportunity for everyone to offer input
and work together as colleagues to tackle significant issues such as car parking and
the regeneration of town centres. The Member also pointed out that despite the
massive changes and anxiety experienced by employees; they had consistently
delivered a high level of service. He commended the good team in place and wished
them continued success.
The Head of Service agreed that there was indeed value in holding such workshops
Councillor Smart mentioned Minister Kennedy implementing the £1 parking charge
for five hours, which he had observed as being very successful for Ards town centre
having gained good feedback from ratepayers. In light of that, he wondered if that
practice would remain unchanged.
The Head of Service hoped that that would be the case but clarified that budget
reports were currently being progressed. A further report would be presented to the
Committee once income trends had been identified.
That concluded the presentation.
The Chairman (Councillor Boyle) thanked the Head of Building Control, Licensing
and Neighbourhood Environment for his interesting presentation and informative
responses.
4.
PLANNED ELECTED MEMBER WORKSHOP OF A FUTURE
STRATEGY FOR WASTE RESOURCES MANAGEMENT – FILE
40001
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report from the Director of Environmental detailing
that Members would recall from the June 2015 Environment Committee meeting that
an undertaking was given to move forward with the process of developing a more
sustainable waste management model for the new Borough, focussed upon
maximising the important resource value of our municipal waste.
Officers had been researching key aspects of the subject and a workshop for all
Elected Members was planned in the near future, details to be advised. It was
proposed to use the workshop to facilitate an interactive discussion of this highly
significant service area between officers and Members, with the aim of moving
towards a model for future service delivery that could then be formally agreed and
adopted by Council.
RECOMMENDED that members note the report.
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EC.2.9.15
The Chairman (Councillor Boyle) informed Members that the above workshop had
now been scheduled for Thursday, 17 September 2015 commencing at 6.00 pm in
the Signal Centre of Business Excellence.
The Director of Environment indicated that the event should last approximately two
hours and an invitation would be extended to all Members.
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Barry, seconded by
Councillor Fletcher, that the recommendation be adopted.
5.
ENERGY SAVING INITIATIVES – FILE 50002
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report from the Director of Environment detailing
that the estimated annual utilities consumption of the new Council was expected to
be in the region of £2M. Part of the remit of the Property Services team was to
monitor that consumption and actively seek out poorly performing properties and
identify options for improved efficiency. Members would be aware that £30,000 was
included in this year’s Capital budget for those energy saving initiatives.
Potential projects were highlighted during our routine condition surveys, then
shortlisted based on their feasibility and potential payback period.
Projects were then prioritised and scheduled for completion. Previous projects under
this scheme include LED lighting at Depots and a solar PV array at Comber Leisure
Centre.
The next potential project was the replacement of electric heaters with gas fired
combination boilers at a number of sites. Electricity was an inefficient and expensive
method of heating. By introducing gas fired boilers for heating and hot water we
expected to realise a number of benefits:




Lower running costs
Greater control (avoid over/under heating)
Safer environment (reduced fire risk)
A reduction in the Council’s CO2 footprint
We intended to seek quotations for installing those boilers at 3 sites – North Road
Depot Portacabin, West Winds Community Centre and The Glen Community Centre.
By grouping three sites together in that way we hoped to avail of economies of scale
and secure very competitive rates. However, due to the nature of this project it was
quite difficult to ascertain exact costs. We estimated £10k per site but that would
vary depending on the location of nearby gas mains and the ease of installation. We
were confident however that £35k would be the maximum spend for the project and
that any spend over the £30k budget could be met by utilising unspent monies for
Capital projects that did not proceed as planned this year.
The expected reduction in electricity consumption should mean payback was
achieved in around 4.5 years (subject to weather conditions and Centre utilisation). It
should also result in a marked improvement in the sites’ performance rating under
the “Energy Performance of Buildings – European Directive 2002”, meaning the sites
4
EC.2.9.15
must display a Display Energy Certificate (DEC) highlighting their energy
performance, to be assessed every year.
It was anticipated that following this year’s condition surveys, more sites across the
new Borough would be highlighted for similar projects next year.
RECOMMENDED that Council approves the expenditure of a maximum of £35k for
energy saving initiatives in the form of 3 no. gas fired combi boilers for the
aforementioned locations.
Councillor Armstrong-Cotter proposed, seconded by Councillor Barry, that the
recommendation be adopted.
Councillor Armstrong referred to the proposal to introduce gas boilers at the three
above-mentioned sites and wondered if other energy alternatives had been
investigated.
In response, the Technical Operations Manager indicated that other possibilities
such as Solar PV had been examined but gas was selected as the primary option at
this point in time.
Councillor Armstrong maintained that the replacement of boilers would cause
disruption and a potential loss of income for the centres and asked that local
communities be kept updated as those works progressed.
In connection with issues raised by Councillor Roberts about the use of greener
wood pellet boilers, the Technical Operations Manager outlined that such boilers
required additional maintenance as a dedicated employee was required on site to
remove the build-up of ash.
Councillor Roberts proposed an amendment, seconded by Councillor Barry, that a
report be brought back to the Committee regarding the utilisation of wood pellet
boilers.
Responding to queries from Councillors Cathcart and Leslie, the Technical
Operations Manager highlighted that condition surveys had shown there remained
several facilities in both the former Ards and North Down estates which were heated
by electric boilers. However, he was keen to point out that it was the intention to
phase in gas boilers. In view of the expected reduction in electricity consumption, it
was anticipated that payback would be achievable in approximately 4.5 years. Once
12 months data of costs was available, a further analysis report would be brought to
the Committee.
The Director of Environment reiterated that Officers would furnish Members with the
relevant empirical data once obtained, the outcome of which would help inform
Council’s future energy related decisions. He gave an assurance that the objective
was to incorporate ‘green’ technology to provide an effective and sustainable energy
for facilities throughout the Borough. Officers were proactively examining all options,
alongside compilation of at least 12 months of data to allow for prudent investment.
5
EC.2.9.15
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, with 12 voting For and 2 voting Against, that the
recommendation be adopted. Further that a report be brought back to the
Committee regarding the utilisation of wood pellet boilers.
6.
CAPITAL REFURBISHMENT PROGRAMME – COMMUNITY
CENTRES – FILE 65021
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report from the Director of Environment detailing
that in 2013 Ards Borough Council had introduced a system where each building
was subject to a condition survey every 3 years. The recommendations of the
survey were then costed and a three year capital expenditure plan was produced.
It was anticipated that that approach would be rolled out across the portfolio of
properties within the new Borough in time for next year’s budget allocation.
By proactively maintaining the Council’s assets in that way it would:





Maximise their lifespan
Mitigate the risk of personal injury caused by defects
Reduce the amount of reactive maintenance required
More accurately estimate maintenance costs when setting budgets
Be more aware of the condition of our estate
Funds were added to this year’s Capital budget in order to complete the works
highlighted in the 3 year plan.
They included:
Expenditure
£ 10,000
£ 3,500
£ 10,000
£ 20,000
£ 7,000
£ 5,000
£ 8,750
£ 6,650
Ballygowan VH
Glen Community Centre
West Winds Community Centre
Portaferry Market House
Comber Adult Learning Centre
Kircubbin Community Centre
Donaghadee Community Centre
Carrowdore Community Centre
Queens hall
Portavogie Community Centre
£ 5,600
£ 3,500
£ 80,000
Whilst this selection of Capital projects referred to the legacy Ards Council area only,
necessary refurbishment of the legacy NDBC estate would continue to be funded
this year from existing revenue budgets. Going forward, it was planned that from
next year all property across the new Borough would be surveyed with a view to
producing a 3 year rolling refurbishment schedule that would be funded from an
appropriately identified and approved Capital budget.
6
EC.2.9.15
RECOMMENDED that Capital refurbishment works at the above locations be
approved.
Councillor Fletcher drew attention to two community centres situated in Greyabbey
and Killinchy which were privately managed and enquired if they could be given
assistance through the capital refurbishment programme.
The Head of Assets and Property Services indicated that a budget had been set
aside solely for upgrading Council properties.
Following on, the Director of Environment added that Officers could perhaps
investigate the funding arrangements of those centres and the possibility of obtaining
grant assistance.
Although believing the assessment process to be a worthwhile task, Councillor
Smart suggested that the focus for refurbishment should comprise the fabric of the
building, if it was deemed fit for purpose and its overall suitability.
(Councillor Muir left the meeting at this stage – 7.39 pm)
The Head of Assets and Property Services informed the Member that he was
cognisant of the necessity of that requirement but at present, there was no such
procedure in place. Undoubtedly an estates management process was needed, with
Officers across the Council working collaboratively as a team.
Councillor Smart requested that the issue be kept on the agenda and relevant
information sought from different community groups to formulate a facts based
assessment.
In terms of the former North Down Council area, Councillor Leslie wondered if there
were facilities within North Down needful of similar investment.
(Councillor Muir re-entered the meeting at this stage – 7.43 pm)
The Head of Assets and Property Services reported that recent works in the Ards
area were the outcome of surveys carried out three years ago. Additional surveys
were planned to be rolled out across the entire Borough from next year and a further
three year plan produced.
(Councillor Edmund entered the meeting at this stage – 7.49 pm)
In relation to a question from Councillor Edmund about works at the community
centre in Portavogie, the Head of Assets and Property Services verified that those
would include the repainting of both fascias and soffit boards.
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Fletcher, seconded
by Councillor Smart, that the recommendation be adopted.
7
EC.2.9.15
7.
CHRISTMAS LIGHTING SCHEMES 2015 – FILE 65281
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report from the Director of Environment detailing
that Members would be aware that the Holywood Public Realm scheme was now
completed. The scheme had brought about significant changes to the locations and
quantities of street lighting columns. Those significant changes, coupled with the
age and condition of the existing equipment meant it was necessary to provide a
new Christmas Lighting scheme.
A similar issue existed in Comber and Members may note that a scheme to the value
of £16k was approved in February this year. It was therefore proposed that a
scheme of a similar scale and value was approved for Holywood, to be funded from
within the £40k identified for Christmas Lighting within this year’s Capital budgets.
It was also worth noting that the public realm schemes within Newtownards and
Bangor would be ongoing during the Christmas period. It was not known at this
stage which lighting columns would be operational, meaning it was difficult to
establish the extent of the potential for Christmas lighting schemes within those town
centres.
Officers were aware that traders had been disrupted due to the public realm works
and would like to ensure that the Christmas lighting schemes maximised their
potential to draw shoppers into the town centres over the festive period.
It was therefore proposed that the Council consider an expenditure of approximately
£24k for additional Christmas features in each of the two main town centres.
Bangor: The nativity scene located at the Danske Bank was at the end of its usable
lifespan and was in need of replacement. Our initial thoughts would be to replace
that well-known feature of the town with a modern alternative, whilst still maintaining
the important Christmas message.
Newtownards: Conway square was now fitted out with up-lit box trees and colour
changing LEDs to wash the front façade of the Town Hall with vibrant, preselected
colours. Those additions provided some much needed ambiance to that location.
Christmas trees at Conway square had come under criticism in recent years and that
may be an opportunity to consider substituting the real tree for an imitation, sectional
tree. Sectional imitation trees had been installed in many towns and cities in recent
years. They offered a number of advantages over traditional trees in the form of:




More cost effective over their lifespan
Safer; less likely to break or fall over
More sustainable; many considered the use of real trees unsustainable as it
took around 20 years for a tree to grow to the height of 40ft
More consistent; it would always look attractive, natural trees varied greatly in
quality
Both of those options were in the early stages of development and further research
would need to be undertaken to assess their viability. However, procuring and
importing goods such as those could be a time consuming exercise that may take
8
EC.2.9.15
several months to complete. It would therefore be necessary to agree this course of
action in principle at this stage, to enable the process to begin.
RECOMMENDED that Council approves the expenditure of £16k for a new
Christmas Lighting Scheme in Holywood, and a further £24k expenditure on new
Christmas features for Bangor and Newtownards.
On behalf of Councillor Dunne, Councillor Leslie spoke of his delight at the proposed
expenditure for revamped Christmas lighting in Holywood.
Whilst supporting the recommendation, Councillor Armstrong was hopeful that the
substitute for the crib would be in keeping with plans for Holywood and suggested
that local crafts people could become involved.
In a differing stance, Councillor Fletcher expressed some reservations particularly
about the suggestion of an artificial Christmas tree in Conway Square. He said the
tree would eventually become brittle, liable to breakages and would not be
recyclable. Instead his preference would be to retain a real tree at that location and
he asked Officers to reconsider their choice.
Councillor Martin thought it was disappointing to note the end of the existing nativity
scene but accepted that a modern alternative could still support a Christian ethos.
The Head of Assets and Property Services took on board Members’ comments,
advising that approval in principle had been sought in order to investigate a variety of
options.
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Leslie, seconded by
Councillor Barry, that the recommendation be adopted.
8.
BOROUGH CLEANLINESS SURVEY PROGRAMME – FILE
74001
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report from the Director of Environment detailing
that the Council had received a proposal from Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful to join
their Borough Cleanliness Survey Programme. The programme would involve Keep
NI Beautiful carrying out 100 random surveys across the Council area four times
annually. The surveys were carried out by trained assessors and without prior
notification to the Council to ensure realistic results. The annual cost of the service
was £7,500 per annum.
Ards BC was a member of the programme prior to RPA and had used the results to
refine and improve street cleansing services, and to more effectively make use of
limited resources. The programme also provided benchmarking information against
other participating NI councils and the NI averages. Following each survey a
quarterly report was issued to allow Councils to monitor trends. Member Councils
were also provided with an annual report which also provided more detailed
benchmarking data for participating NI Councils.
9
EC.2.9.15
In view of the new duties on the Council in respect of performance improvement and
being able to demonstrate continuous improvement, the Keep NI Beautiful
programme represented a useful and independent method of validating the Council’s
performance in terms of street cleansing.
RECOMMENDED that the Council joins the Keep NI Beautiful Borough Cleanliness
Survey Programme, at a cost of £7,500 per annum.
In reply to an enquiry from Councillor Cummings, the Head of Waste and Cleansing
Services stated that no additional members of staff would be employed.
The Director of Environment outlined how external independent assessors would be
more objective than any employee and would be extremely beneficial in providing a
focus on areas for improvement.
(Councillor Brooks entered the meeting at this stage – 7.55 pm)
Councillor Roberts sought further details as to what the 100 random surveys would
entail.
The Head of Service confirmed that eight specific area types would be surveyed
such as industrial, parks, open spaces etc, with every cigarette butt, piece of dog
waste, chewing gum, litter, etc presented in a detailed report to Council to allow
identification of problematic locations.
Councillor Fletcher was conscious of the fact that Council’s vehicle fleet would
eventually be repainted and suggested that those vehicles could be utilised as a
medium to remind ratepayers to keep the Borough tidy.
The Director conveyed to the Member that a multi-faceted education programme
was already in place for schools, community groups, etc. to raise awareness of the
public’s environmental responsibilities. Work was ongoing to develop and augment
this education programme.
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Barry, seconded by
Councillor Armstrong, that the recommendation be adopted.
FURTHER AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Smart,
seconded by Councillor Ferguson, that Council forwards a letter to Keep NI
Beautiful, thanking the volunteers for their worthy efforts.
9.
DISPOSAL OF STREET SWEEPINGS – FILE 74001
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report from the Director of Environment detailing
that as Members may be aware there had been an ongoing issue regarding the
disposal of the “dirty” water from street sweepings discharged at Balloo Waste
Transfer Station (WTS). Officers had sought proposals to rectify the problem and
enable the run-off to be discharged to foul sewer. The estimated cost of the civil
works was in the region of £170,000.
10
EC.2.9.15
The Council’s Depot in Newtownards had an area set aside for sweeper emptying
and consent to discharge agreement in place. With some minor improvements and
rescheduling, Officers felt that the facility could in the future handle all sweeper
waste and therefore avoid the need for further expenditure at the Balloo facility.
The solid residue from the discharged sweepings was currently sent to landfill with
the residual household waste. On the basis that in future all the residues were
collected at one point (Newtownards Depot), Officers had been looking at alternative
methods of treatment to avoid landfill costs and had identified a possible treatment
route that would allow up to 99% of the material to be recycled/recovered. It was
estimated that the Council sent 2500 – 3000 tonnes of street sweeping residues to
landfill annually at a cost of approximately £100 per tonne.
It was proposed that the Council undertook a 6 month pilot trial with ReCon Waste
Management for the treatment of street sweepings at a gate fee of £50 per tonne
plus delivery, and provided results were positive then sought tenders for the future
treatment of street sweepings.
RECOMMENDED that the Council agrees the proposals outlined above for the
future handling and treatment of street sweepings.
Councillor Cathcart welcomed the report and commended Officers for examining
alternative methods for disposing of residues, resulting in anticipated annual savings
in landfill costs.
In concurrence, Councillor Barry emphasised that landfill was a serious issue and
praised Officers for aiming to recycle 99% of the residue material. He questioned
what that specific treatment route would entail.
The Head of Waste and Cleansing Services explained that after screening the
residues, the coarse and finer gravel could be used for concrete products, organic
matter utilised as a soil substitute, waste water recycled etc and the resultant
outcome was that a minimal 1% would end up as landfill.
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Cathcart, seconded
by Councillor Barry, that the recommendation be adopted.
10.
DRAFT POLICY ON THE PROVISION OF LITTER AND DOG
WASTE BINS – FILE 74010 (Appendix II)
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Draft Policy and accompanying report from the
Director of Environment detailing that the draft policy set out proposals for the
provision of litter and dog waste bins in the future, with the key aims as follows:


Ensure that new requests for the provision of litter and dog waste bins were
dealt with in a timely manner
Ensure litter and dog waste bins were of the right design and in the right
location
11
EC.2.9.15



Deliver litter and dog waste bins that were fit for purpose and supported the
street cleansing needs across the Borough
Outline the placement requirements for litter and dog waste bins so they were
provided in the correct locations and did not provide a hazard to pedestrians
Develop standards of constancy for location, facilitate servicing and
maintenance across all service areas
RECOMMENDED that the Council adopts the attached Draft Policy on the provision
of Litter and Dog Waste Bins to ensure the consistent application of the policy
through the Council.
Councillor Barry voiced his support for the draft policy and described the bin
installation scoring system as being both an objective and transparent model offering
an excellent start to making key decisions.
With regard to the size of litter bins, Councillor Fletcher was mindful that in some
busier areas those could be filled to overflowing and he queried if perhaps larger
replacements could be considered. In addition, he believed it would be favourable
for dog waste bins to be supplied with biodegradable waste bags to prevent an
accumulation of plastic waste bags in hedges, etc where irresponsible dog owners
decide to dump them.
Councillor Roberts was keen to point out that the vast majority of dog owners
actually lifted and disposed of dog waste in a responsible manner.
However, Councillor Wilson expressed unease about the system being open to
abuse and perhaps leading to the Council having to supply hundreds of bins.
In response, the Head of Waste and Cleansing Services alluded to the new scoring
matrix and reiterated that following assessment the vast majority of existing pending
requests would not qualify.
On a positive note, Councillor Muir highlighted the importance of having the draft
policy in place for providing Officers with guidelines for evaluating requests, enabling
Council to be recognised as acting impartially.
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Barry, seconded by
Councillor Fletcher, that the recommendation be adopted.
11.
MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING AND SERVICE LEVEL
AGREEMENT – FILE 90001 (Appendix III)
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Memorandum of Understanding, Service Level
Agreement and accompanying report from the Director of Environment detailing that
since the introduction of the Welfare of Animals (NI) Act 2011, a regional approach
had been adopted for the delivery of the Council’s enforcement functions and in
particular the employment and management of the Animal Welfare Officers (AWOs).
Such an approach was required by DARD, which provided the relevant funding, and
12
EC.2.9.15
preferred by the Councils as providing the most effective and efficient use of the
limited resources available.
With the implementation of Local Government Reform, the Councils’ Project Board
had reviewed, along with DARD, the existing arrangements and developed a new
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
The MOU established a framework through which the delivery of the service would
be managed by one Regional Lead Council, presently Fermanagh and Omagh
District Council. Furthermore the MOU clarified the co-operative approach to
monitoring the implementation and enforcement of the Act, detailed the financial
arrangements and clarified the relevant roles undertaken by the Lead Council.
As part of the structures it detailed that the Regional Lead Council would be
supported by four regional groups one of which would be the Eastern Region
consisting of Belfast City Council, Lisburn and Castlereagh Council and Ards and
North Down Borough Council. To support the work of each sub-regional group, a
draft Service Level Agreement had been developed, see Appendix two, within which
one of the three councils would take the sub regional lead role and subsequently
liaise closely with the Regional Lead Council in the delivery of services, manage
performance, oversee expenditure and manage the day today work of the AWOs.
Belfast City Council was likely to take that role subject to approval from its Corporate
Management Team and Council.
Comments
The MOU supported by the SLA provided a good framework for the management of
the Animal Welfare Service ensuring good lines of communication between local
government and DARD whilst ensuring suitable governance and monitoring
arrangements were in place.
DARD had committed to providing £1.1million for the delivery of the animal welfare
service across Northern Ireland in 2015-16 but had made it clear that any
subsequent overspend must be met by the Councils. It was also noted that within
the SLA that should the sub regional budget (£339,779) be exceeded then the
Councils within that region would be required to cover the cost of any subsequent
overspend and therefore share the liability equally.
The likely reason for an overspend would be as a consequence of having to seize
animals and subsequently looking after them, including veterinarian costs, prior to
the issue of a disposal order or pending the result of a court case. Costs particularly
in relation to looking after equines can be high and budgets could be exceeded. To
date that has not been an issue for the Eastern Councils and although it was unlikely
to occur, there was a potential for the situation to arise. Although efforts would
undoubtedly be made to secure additional funding from DARD, it was unlikely to be
successful leaving the Councils’ liable.
RECOMMENDED that the Council notes the MOU and subject to there being no
significant change to the details contained within the SLA authorises its approval.
13
EC.2.9.15
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Barry, seconded by
Councillor Cathcart, that the recommendation be adopted.
12.
LONDONDERRY PARK – DOG CONTROL ORDERS – FILES
DC1245/90001 (Appendix IV)
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Responses to Consultation, Plan of Londonderry
Park and accompanying report from the Director of Environment detailing that in May
2015 the Council agreed to propose to introduce the following Dog Control Orders
for Londonderry Park, Newtownards, namely:
1. The Dogs Exclusion (Londonderry Park, children’s play area and sports
pitches etc) Order 2015
2. The Dogs on Leads (Londonderry Park, path networks and car parks etc)
Order 2015
3. The Dogs on Leads by Direction (Londonderry Park) Order 2015
In order to introduce Dog Control Orders, the Council was required to enter into a
specified consultation process involving the publication of public notices in the press
inviting representation concerning the proposed orders. Notices were placed in the
local press along with articles and details contained within the Council’s Facebook
page.
Three responses to the consultation which was open for over 28 days were received
and were attached, see appendix one. As noted from the three comments there was
some acceptance that there needed to be measures to control dogs particularly in
some sensitive areas such as the play park and sports pitches. Concerns were
raised however that dogs would not be able to be exercised off lead to the same
degree as at present. Comment had also been made concerning facilities for dog
walkers such as bins and improved paths. The Head of Leisure had confirmed that
additional bins had been installed in the park and the path network upgraded making
it easier for all to walk around the park.
Following the minimum 28 day period to make representations the Council must
consider the comments received and then publish a further notice confirming its
decision. If an order was made signage should be displayed in the area confirming
details of the Order.
As Members would be aware the Council did receive many complaints each year
concerning dog control related matters including dog fouling, attacks on people and
other animals and inadequate control. In particular complaints and comments were
made about dog fouling on sports pitches and public parks and despite increased
patrols and the number of fines being issued that remained the case.
As previously reported in developing Londonderry Park the Council hoped to provide
a first class sporting and community recreational facility that encompassed a wide
range of activities that included those who walked and exercised their dogs. As part
of the proposal, the Council had indicated that it wanted to manage that shared
space by introducing a traffic light type scheme as summarised below;
14
EC.2.9.15
1. dogs would be excluded from entering sensitive areas such as sports pitches
and children’s play area (marked red on the attached map, see appendix 2)
2. dogs to be kept under control (ie on a lead) in areas where other members of
the public were likely to be, namely the path network and car park (marked
orange), and
3. to provide an area/s where dogs could be exercised off the lead (marked
green)
In order to further assist staff to manage the park it was also proposed that the
introduction of a Dogs on Leads by Direction Order would be appropriate. That
Order provided authorised officers of the Council the power to direct members of the
public to place their dog/s on a lead in the green zone. That power would be
appropriate if it appeared to an officer that a dog was not being controlled and may
pose a danger or nuisance to other park users.
An exemption to the dog exclusion order applied to an assistance dog being used by
person with a disability within the meaning of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.
RECOMMENDED in view of the above and taking into consideration the responses
to the consultation, it is recommended that the Council agrees to the introduction of
the three specified Dog Control Orders.
Councillor Armstrong-Cotter made reference to the report and the concerns raised
by a number of users of Londonderry Park. She expressed the viewpoint that the
matter required further discussion to alleviate those concerns and satisfy the needs
of everyone.
Councillor Armstrong-Cotter proposed, seconded by Councillor Barry, that the matter
be deferred and a site meeting held at Londonderry Park in order for Members to
view the new facility and discuss concerns regarding implementation of the Dog
Control Orders, lighting, pathway and toilets.
Councillor Smart agreed that further consideration was essential and was of the
opinion that the land in question should be available for all to use i.e. responsible
dog owners, children, local sports teams, etc. He said that the surfacing of the path
was good in the majority of places but in others he observed a liability towards
flooding. He also thought that the vandalism of the new toilet block was disgraceful.
Councillor Barry concurred with those comments and emphasised the importance of
balancing the needs of dog walkers and children. He regretted that the consultation
period fell during the summer when most people were on holiday and therefore, the
three responses received did not fully reflect the depth of feeling on the issue.
The Chairman (Councillor Boyle) informed Members that he had walked around
Londonderry Park earlier that day and it was indeed a tremendous facility that
deserved credit. He reiterated that a few minor improvements would allow everyone
to enjoy the amenity and anticipated that the site meeting would provide an
opportunity to relay all concerns raised.
15
EC.2.9.15
Having listened to the debate, the Head of Building Control, Licensing and
Neighbourhood Environment remarked that the five letters submitted to Council
predominately referred to the Dog Control Orders. Ultimately, it had been Council’s
intention to create a shared space for families, dog walkers and sports users. He
advised that he would be in attendance at the site meeting together with Leisure
Services Officers.
Responding to an enquiry from Councillor Ferguson, the Head of Service confirmed
that appropriate signage in relation to the Dog Control Orders had been erected and
further information had also been placed in local newspapers and social media.
Enforcement Officers had been patrolling the area to give advice and warnings with
the result that one fixed penalty notice had been served. It was anticipated that staff
would be on site on a more permanent basis and be authorised to enforce the
legislation.
AGREED TO RECOMMEND that the matter be deferred and a site meeting held
at Londonderry Park in order for Members to view the new facility and discuss
concerns regarding implementation of the Dog Control Orders, lighting,
pathway and toilets.
13.
PROPOSED IMPLEMENTATION OF THE LICENSING OF
PAVEMENT CAFES ACTT – FILE 90001 (Appendix V)
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Letter from Department for Social Development,
Draft Licensing Guidance and accompanying report from the Director of Environment
detailing that the Department for Social Development had written to the Council
seeking Council support to fully implement the Licensing of Pavement Cafés Act (NI)
2014 (the Act) with effect from 1 April 2016 and seeking comments on draft
guidance.
The Act was made in 2014 but implementation was delayed to allow issues raised in
its passage through the Assembly relating to scheme implementation, including the
drafting of a guide to the Act, model terms/conditions, transitional arrangements and
initial funding, to be considered further.
The licensing scheme would allow owners of cafés, restaurants, pubs, or other
premises selling food or drink, to apply to their local council for a pavement café
licence. The Act placed an onus on a Council to grant a licence unless it had a good
reason to refuse an application. When considering applications, Councils would be
required to consult with Transport NI and, where the associated premises was a
public house, with the PSNI, before coming to a final decision. Councils would be
able to impose a range of licence conditions, charge a reasonable fee and may vary,
suspend or revoke the licence in certain circumstances. The Act provided Councils
with the power to remove facilities at unlicensed pavement cafés and created several
new offences to aid enforcement by Council officers.
The Act could be found at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/nia/2014/9/contents.
In response to the matters raised by NILGA during the passage through the
Assembly, DSD had given a response and had asked for comments from the Council.
16
EC.2.9.15
1. Draft Guidelines
The Department had given a commitment to work with local Councils and other
bodies in drafting appropriate guidance on implementing the legislation. To date there
had been minimal contact with Councils but it had taken advice from Inclusive Mobility
Transport Advisory Committee (Imtac) about issues relating to pedestrian access and
had now issued draft guidance; see appendix B.
IMTAC raised concerns that district Councils would not enforce the scheme robustly
and had asked that the current working draft of the scheme guidelines be
strengthened to protect pedestrians. In particular, they would like a minimum of 2m
unobstructed width around a pavement café. That was dealt with in more detail in
Para. 4.11 of the guidelines.
The Act did not specify minimum standards in terms of the size, layout or design of a
pavement café. However, the Department believed the licensing scheme itself and
measures incorporated in the Act, provided sufficient safeguards to ensure that
authorised pavement cafés would be safe, well managed and sensitive to the needs
of street users and the surrounding area. The most significant safeguard was the
statutory requirement for Councils to consult with Transport NI on individual
applications. Transport NI was considered best placed to advise Councils on the
needs of pedestrians and access issues in relation to applications for a pavement
café. Whilst the draft guidelines stated that a clear pedestrian route must be
maintained at all times, it was considered that each pavement café application would
need to be assessed on a site by site basis, having regard to the existing streetscape,
traffic volume and the level of footfall.
Officer Comment
It was considered that IMTAC’s concerns that Councils would not enforce that
legislation robustly should be allayed as Councils had a long history of implementing
and enforcing such licensing regimes fairly and robustly.
Council should however support IMTAC’s call for the guidelines to be strengthened as
the current draft guidance did not provide sufficient direction for Councils.
Also whilst there was a requirement to consult with Transport NI, it would be for the
Council to deal with applications, give informal help and advice (both before and
during the application process), make the final decision on an application and defend
that decision potentially in Court. Should Transport NI have guidance which they
proposed to use that needed to be available to the Council and must be an integral
part of the guidance document.
Guidance notes were there for the benefit of the Council, applicants and persons who
wished to know the grounds on which to object to a licence application. Whilst not
prescriptive the guidance needed to be clear and offer advice/reasons why the
Council could go against the guidance to meet special circumstances.
17
EC.2.9.15
The current draft guidance did not provide sufficient guidance and was only a slightly
amended draft of the guidance notes issued with the legislation.
It was recommended that the Department established a working group to develop the
necessary guidance and that group needed to include Council officers, disabled
groups, business leaders, Transport NI and the PSNI.
2. Model Terms and Conditions
NILGA also asked the Department to consider establishing a working group to look at
this issue of ‘model’ terms and conditions for grant of a pavement café licence, in line
with those applying for entertainment licences.
The Department questioned the need to establish such a group for pavement cafés
as the conditions of a licence were likely to vary, depending on factors such as site
location and nature of the associated premises. Establishing such a group would also
have resource implications. The Department was however, currently drafting the
‘form of licence’ regulations which it was believed should provide a ‘template’ for
considering specific terms and conditions to be included in a licence.
Officer Comment
NILGA requested the establishment of a working group to try to ensure that the
legislation was enforced in a similar manner across all 11 Councils and that premises
would be set similar requirements by each Council. There was a demand to reduce
red tape on businesses. It was noted that there was a growing number of businesses
operating from a multiple premises across Northern Ireland and it was therefore
important that there was a reasonably uniform approach to licensing conditions. It
was also considered that there would not be a big resource implication for the
Department or Councils in establishing such a group.
Council should request the Department to establish a working group to produce
model licence conditions.
3. Volume of Applications
NILGA had expressed some concerns about the volume of first-time applications and
the cost of administering the scheme, which may exceed what a Council would be
comfortable charging businesses.
In their response the Department considered that the majority of initial applications
would be made in response to pro-active enforcement by Council officials and as
such the scheme could be rolled-out as resources were deployed. As regards initial
funding support, the Department believed that would be difficult to justify in the
current economic climate, as the facility to apply for a licence did present an
opportunity for a business to add to its profits. Ultimately, it would be for local
businesses to decide whether or not to make an application, having regard to
licensing and operational costs and the expected commercial benefits.
18
EC.2.9.15
Officer Comment
It was considered that that approach was not realistic and was at odds with the
statement that Councils and businesses had been calling for and waiting for the
introduction of this Act. It was considered that once that legislation was publicised
businesses would be keen to regularise existing street pavement furniture; it was
considered that many other premises had been waiting for the legislation before
placing furniture on the pavement legally.
There was expected to be a high demand in the first 6 months and that would put
considerable demands in terms of staffing on the Councils to deal with applications in
a reasonable time. It should also be noted that under the EU Services Act should a
Council not determine a licence application within a given time, then it was
considered that the application was granted.
Resources would need to be found to meet this high initial demand both in terms of
establishing the appropriate licensing processes, training officers and carrying out all
of the necessary inspections.
An initial estimate indicated that potentially over 100 premises in the Borough would
require a licence following the introduction of the Act.
4. Implementation
The Department was now looking to district Councils to make the preparations
necessary to administer the new licensing scheme. The Department would, in due
course, finalise the draft guidelines and technical regulations and update Councils on
progress. It was seeking confirmation that arrangements could be made by Councils
to bring the Act into operation on 1 April 2016.
Comment
Provided that the Department can finalise the guidance and implement the
outstanding legislation early in the New Year then the Council should be able to
meet the 1 April 2016 implementation date but the following should be noted:
1. It was considered likely that the level of application would be high in the
first months/year for the reasons identified above. As an early estimate,
there could be around 100 premises applying for licences in the Borough.
That would mean additional resources in terms of administration and
Licensing Officers to meet that demand and expectation, as yet
unquantified
2. The Department should be asked to support a period of grace eg for
applications to be processed without enforcement action
3. Officers would need time to be trained and familiarised with the process to
undertake the licensing work
19
EC.2.9.15
RECOMMENDED that the Council considers the letter from the Department for
Social Development dated the 3 July 2015 and forward its comments based on those
made by officers in this report.
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Cummings,
seconded by Councillor Armstrong, that the recommendation be adopted.
(Councillor Armstrong-Cotter left the meeting at this stage – 8.33 pm)
(Councillor Martin left the meeting at this stage – 8.33 pm)
14.
RESULT OF COURT PROCEEDINGS – FILES DC1328/
CG2557/A488/90001
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report from the Director of Environment detailing
the undernoted information:
Bye-laws Prohibiting the Consumption of Alcohol in Public Places
At Newtownards Magistrates Court in May 2015, Mathew Murphy of 41 De Wind
Drive, Comber was convicted of consuming intoxicating liquor in a designated place,
namely Gibson’s Lane, Newtownards, contrary to Council byelaws. Mr Murphy was
fined £10 and ordered to pay £132 costs and a £15 offender levy.
Dogs NI Order 1983
At Newtownards Magistrates Court in June 2015, Sonia Stirrup of 22 Blackstaff
Road, Kircubbin was convicted of keeping a dog without a licence. Ms Stirrup was
fined £75 and ordered to pay £166 costs and a £15 offender levy.
Welfare of Animals NI Act 2011
At Newtownards Magistrates Court in August 2015, the Council case against Ms
Elizabeth Dunbar of 58 South Street, Newtownards was heard. Ms Dunbar was
charged with being a keeper of a dog which she caused to suffer unnecessarily and
for failing to take reasonable steps to ensure that the needs of the said dog were met
to the extent required by good practice.
Following consideration of the defendant’s personal circumstances, it was agreed
that the summons would be withdrawn but that Ms Dunbar would be bound over to
keep the peace. As this was deemed a conviction, the Court also made a lifetime
Disqualification Order under section 33 of the above Act.
Ms Dunbar had owned two dogs both of which had been seized by the Animal
Welfare Officers. The first dog seized was, following the issue of a Disposal Order,
rehomed while the second dog seized in July 2015 was presently in the Council’s
care and would be rehomed following the completion of a voluntary surrender form
which Ms Dunbar’s solicitor had undertaken to obtain.
RECOMMENDED that members note the report.
20
EC.2.9.15
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Armstrong,
seconded by Councillor Barry, that the recommendation be adopted.
15.
ENERGY PERFORMANCE OF BUILDING REGULATIONS
ENFORCEMENT PROTOCOL AND SERVICE LEVEL
AGREEMENT WITH BELFAST CITY COUNCIL 2015 – FILE
90002 (Appendix VI)
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Enforcement Protocol, Service Level Agreement and
accompanying report from the Director of Environment detailing that since the
introduction of the Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificate and Inspections)
Regulations in 2009, the regulations had been enforced with the assistance of a
central EPB Team employed by Belfast City Council and supported by DFP funding.
The DFP had confirmed further funding of £150,000 for the year 2015/2016 based
on the primary stipulation that the centralised EPB Team, and the existing
mechanisms put in place by the Enforcement Protocol were the basis on which that
funding was secured.
The attached Enforcement Protocol and Service Level Agreements had been
updated to reflect Local Government reform.
The Council was asked to note the contents of the updated Enforcement Protocol,
support the continuation of the EPB Team under the employment of Belfast City
Council, and to the approve the Service Level Agreement for the year to 31 March
2016.
RECOMMENDED that the report be approved.
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Leslie, seconded by
Councillor Roberts, that the recommendation be adopted.
16.
BUILDING CONTROL ACTIVITIES MAY – JULY 2015 – FILE
90002)
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report from the Director of Environment detailing
that this report provided information on the principal activities of the Building Control
Section in relation to the enforcement of the Building Regulations.
21
EC.2.9.15
(a)
Number of Applications Received
No of Applications
Full Plan Applications Received 2015/2016
100
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
Apr
May
June
July
Aug
Sept
Oct
Nov
Dec
Jan
Feb
Mar
Full Plans Applications
Building Notice Applications
Regularisation Applications
(b)
May
June
July
210
49
257
51
183
40
Fee Income
Total Monthly Income from Building Control Fees
90000
80000
70000
Income
60000
50000
40000
30000
20000
10000
0
Apr
May
June
July
Aug
Sept
Oct
Nov
Dec
Jan
Feb
Mar
2015/2016
Total monthly fees received May - July 2015
Cumulative monthly income to date
Forecast Income to date
22
£182,037.00
£242,486.00
£241,200.00
EC.2.9.15
(c)
Department Output May – July 2015
Full Plans Approvals issued
Full Plans Rejections Notices issued
Building Notices certificates issued
Regularisation Certificates issued
(d)
219
218
485
134
Inspections
Total Inspections
(e)
4016
Dangerous Structures
Initial Inspections
Re-inspections
Recommended for Legal Action
(f)
4
2
0
Property Certificates
Income
Property Certificate Income 2015/2016
20000
18000
16000
14000
12000
10000
8000
6000
4000
2000
0
Apr
May
June
July
Aug
Sept
Oct
Nov
Dec
Jan
Feb
Mar
2015/2016
Received
May – July 2015
Processed
Building Control Average Response Time
Monthly fee income
Monthly fee forecast
787
646
0.2 Days
£47,220.00
£37,050.00
RECOMMENDED that the report be noted.
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Barry, seconded by
Councillor Muir, that the recommendation be adopted.
23
EC.2.9.15
17.
NON STATUTORY BUILDING CONTROL FEES – FILE 90002
(Appendix VII)
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Appendix 1 – Schedule of legacy and proposed non
statutory Building Control fees and accompanying report from the Director of
Environment detailing that the fees charged for Building Regulation applications was
set down in legislation and applied across all eleven Councils.
The Building Control service provided some services however for which there was
no legislated fee. Whilst each of the legacy Councils charged as it felt appropriate in
order to cover the cost of providing those services, those charges varied from
Council to Council. Through BCNI(Building Control Northern Ireland) a standard set
of charges had been determined, and it was proposed that the attached Schedule of
Non-Statutory Fees be adopted and added to the Councils published list of charges.
RECOMMENDED that the fees as per the attached schedule be adopted and added
to the Councils published list of charges.
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Cummings,
seconded by Councillor Edmund, that the recommendation be adopted.
(Councillor Martin re-entered the meeting at this stage – 8.40 pm)
(Councillor Fletcher left the meeting at this stage – 8.40 pm)
18.
PROPOSED STREET NAMIN – FILES RD(A)579/RD(A)580/
FP2015/2183MAST/FP2015/2429/MAST/90002
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report from the Director of Environment detailing
the undernoted:
Proposed Street Naming – The Mill Village Comber
A large development comprising of 60 dwellings was currently under construction on
lands in The Mill Village, Comber and required three new street names to serve the
new development. The developer had requested the names Mill Court, Mill Place
and Mill Manor. The three proposed names were in accordance with the Council
policy on street naming and postal numbering, and it was appropriate to the general
neighbourhood.
RECOMMENDED that the new names of Mill Court, Mill Place and Mill Manor be
adopted.
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Armstrong,
seconded by Councillor Roberts, that the recommendation be adopted.
24
EC.2.9.15
ORDER OF BUSINESS – ITEM 19
The Chairman (Councillor Boyle) advised that Item 19 – Environmental Warden
Scheme would be discussed ‘In Committee’ at the end of the meeting.
(Councillor Fletcher re-entered the meeting at this stage – 8.44 pm)
20.
UPDATE – RESPONSIBLE DOG OWNERSHIP EVENTS – FILE
90003
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report from the Director of Environment detailing
that as part of an ongoing programme to promote responsible dog ownership, the
Neighbourhood Environment Team had sought community support in delivering local
responsible dog ownership events/fun days. The programme was open to all
constituted community groups which were offered up to £200 to organise local
events which promoted responsible dog ownership and in particular highlighted
issues such as dog fouling, dog welfare, licensing and general dog control. Four
groups had sought the Council’s support with two events running over the summer
whilst a further two were scheduled for September.




7 June 2015 – Groomsport & District Community Association
18 July 2015 – Millisle & District Community Association
19 September 2015 – West Winds Association Development
September 2015 (date to be confirmed) – Cherryvalley Residents Association
The scheme was part of the Council’s ongoing responsible dog control
education/awareness programme which also included the Green Dog Walkers
scheme, Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Training days, outreach events and general
promotional work.
RECOMMENDED that Members note the report.
Councillor Muir commented on the usefulness of furnishing Members with a
summary of the overall strategy for dog control in the new Council.
The Director of Environment undertook to bring back a report encapsulating all
duties that Officers were carrying out in relation to the matter.
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Muir, seconded by
Councillor Armstrong, that the recommendation be adopted.
21.
NOTICE OF MOTION RELATING TO SPRING CLEAN – FILE
90005
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report from the Director of Environment detailing
that at the meeting of the Environment Committee held on 3 June 2015,
consideration was given and subsequently approved to the Notice of Motion detailed
below.
25
EC.2.9.15
“That while this Council recognises the valuable year-round service provided by
frontline staff within the Waste Management Department, it also acknowledges the
potential positive impact on our communities of a scheduled Spring-Clean. Officers
are therefore asked to come back with a report on how this might be accomplished
involving as many local organisations as possible including schools, statutory and
voluntary organisations, service organisations, business and commercial
organisations and local residents with a view to making it part of the annual presummer schedule”.
Background
Both the legacy North Down and Ards Borough Councils had for many years
promoted community clean up events often during the April to May period. Those
events were primarily supported by local schools, youth groups and community
associations. Level of participation varied from year to year but was reasonably
successful and proved positive.
Much of the legacy Councils’ efforts to promote clean-up activities, particularly that in
Ards supported and complemented the National Spring Clean scheme run by Keep
NI Beautiful (previously Tidy NI). Linking with Keep NI Beautiful’s campaign had
however proved problematic in that it had led to confusion as local groups had
registered online with Keep NI Beautiful, which had subsequently failed to notify the
Council or acknowledge arrangements. Promotion of the event at a local level by
Keep NI Beautiful had also been patchy and it had not been able to target effectively
the groups and organisations likely to participate.
Way forward
Undertaking clean ups and litter picks can be a rewarding experience for all
participants whether they be young people from schools or youth groups/
associations or adults connected to a community/ residents groups. Clean up events
could help improve civic pride, promote awareness of littering/illegal dumping and
the environment, whilst also improving the visual amenity of the Borough by the
removal of litter from verges, school grounds, streets and beaches. With that in
mind, developing and promoting clean up events as part of a wider environmental
education and awareness raising programme would be seen as a valuable and
worthwhile initiative.
The Neighbourhood Environment Team was developing an environmental
education/information programme aimed at promoting awareness including topics
such as littering, illegal dumping, dog fouling, biodiversity, environmental respect and
recycling. The programme, which would dovetail with schemes/programmes offered
by the Council’s recycling and waste minimisation officers, was likely to consist of a
menu of activities and services including initiatives such as school talks and
presentations, community outreach events and local environmental improvement
programmes. (A report on the full environmental education programme offered would
be brought back to Council in due course). The running of clean up events would be
seen as an element of that programme which, although promoted throughout the
year, would be prioritised in the spring.
26
EC.2.9.15
Promoting a Borough wide Spring Clean
The Environmental Education/Awareness programme would be promoted through
the normal channels such as social media, press coverage, leaflets and general
correspondence. In order however to ensure a good level of participation across the
Borough for a Spring Clean event, the following additional activities would be
planned.
Action
Publicise decision of Council to run a Spring Clean Event
Write to relevant groups, schools (including those involved
in the eco school programme) and other organisations
providing early notification of spring clean event
Launch registration programme
Issue further reminders seeking participation including,
press releases, general correspondence and social media
Hold Spring Clean Events over two week period with
resulting press coverage
Seek press coverage and feedback through the issue of
feature articles, general correspondence and social media
on the efforts of those involved and impact.
Timescale
October 2015
January 2016
February 2016
March to April 2016
April/May (date to be
confirmed)
On conclusion of
event
Additional resources would be required in order to deliver the programme including
the following:




Tabards for participants
Additional litter pickers, gloves and bags
Refreshments for participants
Additional staff time from the Neighbourhood Environment team in managing
and supporting events, from the Council’s Cleansing section which, where
appropriate, would be required to remove collected material and the Council’s
Corporate Communications Team who would assist in promoting the event
before, during and afterwards
The estimated cost for holding the Spring Clean event primarily due to the purchase
of equipment, advertising and refreshments was estimated to be £5,000 which could
be met from within existing budgets.
As already noted Keep NI Beautiful held an annual Spring Clean which had been
largely managed by its staff. The planned Ards and North Down event would be run
and managed by Council staff but would where possible utilise the national publicity
generated by Keep NI Beautiful and would not be run in competition with its
programme but as a locally managed element of it.
RECOMMENDED that the Council delivers a Borough wide Spring Clean in 2016
and the promotional campaign outlined above is developed and delivered.
In welcoming the report, Councillor Muir thanked Officers for their cohesive approach
which would allow communities to engage and collaborate with the Council for the
good of the Borough.
27
EC.2.9.15
Councillor Armstrong was also delighted with the planned working partnerships to
enhance the existing programme and she paid tribute to Officers for their positivity
and focus which ably displayed the Council’s commitment.
In terms of insurance, the Head of Building Control, Licensing and Neighbourhood
Environment stressed that that cover would be dependent on who was organising an
event. If it was Council led, then our insurance would be in place but if Council was
facilitating a school or community group, they would apply their own coverage for the
event.
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Muir, seconded by
Councillor Wilson, that the recommendation be adopted.
23.
LIST OF CONSULTATION DOCUMENTS
23.1
Consultation on Geological Storage of Carbon Dioxide in Northern
Ireland – Access to Infrastructure Regulations and Licensing Etc.
Regulations Comments to be submitted no later than 17 September 2015.
Document available at http://www.detini.gov.uk/index/deti consultations
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Barry, seconded by
Councillor Cummings, that the consultation document be noted.
24.
NOTICES OF MOTION
24.1
Notice of Motion submitted by Councillor Brooks and Alderman
Chambers
“The Council in reflecting and taking into account the fact that substantial areas of
Ards and North Down Borough are tourist destinations and that greater demands are
made on Council provided services at holidays and weekends, should ensure that
elected members have access to a point of contact officer at all reasonable times to
highlight any emergencies or unforeseen circumstances. Officers on a rota basis
could perform this duty with a dedicated mobile telephone number given to members
for their use only.
The recent Easter holiday period when large numbers of the public visited our
Borough and used our facilities exposed a weakness and fault line in communication
at ground level particularly regarding the high volume of litter created. In adopting the
above notice greater communication will enable an appropriate response to
emergencies to be set in place."
Proposed by Councillor Leslie, seconded by Councillor Fletcher that the Notice of
Motion be adopted.
Councillor Brooks thanked Members for permitting him to speak to his Motion. He
recounted how a communication fault line had been exposed during the Easter
holidays, when a high volume of visitors to the Borough resulted in overflowing litter
bins at various locations. Having received complaints from the public, he expressed
28
EC.2.9.15
dissatisfaction that he had had to wait until the Council offices reopened before he
could report that situation. On that basis, he put forward the suggestion that
Members should be able to avail of a mobile number of an Officer on duty at
weekends and holiday periods who could react to such issues. The Borough was
tourism oriented and he therefore requested a report on the costs and implications of
providing that extended service.
(Councillor Smart left the meeting at this stage – 8.50 pm)
The Head of Waste and Cleansing Services firstly commented that he was unaware
of those problems. He highlighted the proposed introduction of Town Centre
Wardens which may help to assuage such glitches, as their duties would be directed
towards the public toilets, litter and flyposting.
Councillor Leslie urged a cautionary approach as a precedent could be set, as staff
working throughout holiday times would be entitled to enhanced payments. He
reminded Members of how quickly the town centres were cleaned after holiday
periods or events by the cleansing section, when in actuality litter and rubbish would
be removed early the following morning.
Several Members echoed those sentiments acknowledging the hard work of staff
that cleaned the streets to a high standard. It was also mentioned that employees
were entitled to holidays and how helpful would an ‘on call’ officer be if they could not
empty bins or sweep streets. Nevertheless, it was established that an emergency
contact number for Members would definitely be advantageous in certain
circumstances. They awaited the findings of the Officer’s report to provide clarity on
associated costs and believed that a better informed decision could be taken at that
stage.
In summing up, Councillor Brooks thanked Members for their constructive
comments. He concluded that the main symptom of the problem was the waiting
time until the Council office resumed business. As elected representatives, they
were answerable to ratepayers and it was important to have a readily accessible
contact number to deliver that service.
(Councillor Smart re-entered the meeting at this stage – 9.00 pm)
(Councillor Armstrong left the meeting at this stage – 9.00 pm)
AGREED TO RECOMMEND that the Notice of Motion be adopted and that a
report be brought back.
EXCLUSION OF PUBLIC/PRESS
AGREED, on the proposal of Councillor Edmund, seconded by Councillor
Barry, that the public/press be excluded during discussion of the undernoted
items of confidential business.
(Councillor Armstrong re-entered the meeting at this stage – 9.02 pm)
29
EC.2.9.15
19.
ENVIRONMENTAL WARDEN SCHEME – FILE 90003)
*** NOT FOR PUBLICATION ***
Schedule 6 – Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular
person (including the Council holding that information).
25.
WEST STREET CAR PARK, NEWTOWNARDS
*** NOT FOR PUBLICATION ***
Schedule 6 – Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular
person (including the Council holding that information).
26.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS
(a)
Recycling Centres
Councillor Wilson had noticed that the recycling centre at Balloo in Bangor was
closed during holiday periods and highlighted the detrimental effects of that decision.
Rubbish had been dumped at the gates and upon re-opening, cars and trailers were
seen queued for up to 45 minutes.
The Head of Waste and Cleansing Services stated that CCTV cameras were erected
at the gates and persons responsible could be liable to prosecution. No member of
staff had made him aware of that state of affairs in Bangor but the matter of opening
hours would be addressed in a future report.
The Director of Environment elaborated further intimating that differing ways of
addressing the problems in a flexible and affordable manner were being
investigated. The opening hours of the recycling centres would be deliberated upon
within the context of the overall review of waste management services.
NOTED.
(b)
Whitespots Country Park
Councillor Boyle made mention of a complaint he had received from a constituent
regarding vandalism, graffiti, broken glass and scrambler motorcycles in the vicinity
of the Somme Heritage Centre and Helen’s Tower. He had since passed the issue
onto relevant Officers.
The Head of Building Control, Licensing and Neighbourhood Environment was fully
acquainted with the problems surrounding that particular location. A management
plan for Whitespots Country Park had been formulated and a separate area for trial
bikes had been designated which would hopefully assist in controlling those activities
and the level of anti-social behaviour. A future report would be brought back to the
Committee.
NOTED.
30
EC.2.9.15
Circulated for Information
(a) DETI Response to NIRO Closure Grace Periods Proposals in relation to NonWind Renewable Technologies (Document attached)
27.
TERMINATION OF MEETING
The meeting terminated at 9.12 pm.
31
ITEM 7.3
ARDS AND NORTH DOWN BOROUGH COUNCIL
A meeting of the Regeneration and Development Committee was held in the Council
Chamber, 2 Church Street, Newtownards on Thursday, 3 September 2015 at
7.00pm.
PRESENT:
In the Chair:
Councillor T Smith
Aldermen:
Girvan (Vice Chairman)
M Smith
Councillors:
Adair
Allen
Armstrong-Cotter
Cathcart
Cooper
Ferguson
Officers:
Gilmour
Leslie
Menagh
Roberts
Walker
Director of Regeneration, Development and Planning, Head of Regeneration
and Head of Economic Development and Tourism
Others in Attendance: Councillor Anderson
1.
APOLOGIES
Apologies were received from Alderman McDowell, Councillor McClean (Deputy
Mayor) and Councillor Cummings.
2.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
The Chairman (Councillor T Smith) requested any declarations of interest.
Councillor Adair declared an interest in Item 5 – Northern Ireland Rural Development
Programme 2007–13.
NOTED.
3.
ARDS AND NORTH DOWN VILLAGE PLANS
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report from the Director of Regeneration,
Development and Planning detailing that at the last meeting of the Committee it was
agreed that the Council would facilitate the production of Village Plans for villages
which had gone out of date or had no village plan at all. These villages were
Kircubbin, Ballyhalbert, Ballywalter, Greyabbey, Portaferry and Conlig.
RDC.04.06.15
Following consultation with representatives from those areas and feedback from
other groups, a desire was also expressed to have an overarching Strategic Plan for
the Ards Peninsula Villages, with an aim to establish a more collective and strategic
approach to regenerating the area.
The Regeneration Unit had therefore sought quotations from six qualified
organisations to undertake the development of five individual village plans and an
overarching strategic plan for the Ards Peninsula.
The deadline for receipt of submissions was 1 September 2015. A report would be
brought to the Council in September 2015 for consideration. The budget for the
project had been set at £30,000 and this could be met from existing budgets.
RECOMMENDED that the Committee notes the above.
Councillor Adair commended officers on the excellent report. He spoke of the
funding of £3.85 million which had been made available for rural areas which would
make a significant difference locally. There had been a need for village plans to be
up to date, realistic and deliverable. He hoped that these plans would engage
residents to shape the future of their own villages. He stated that he had also been
encouraged by the work of the Rural Development Programme to date.
Councillor Ferguson stated that she was looking forward to viewing the plans and
hoped that future development would encourage tourists to make more visits to the
Peninsula.
The Director advised that consultation would take place with all those who could
potentially benefit from the proposals and it was hoped to have all of the 16 village
plans ready by the end of the financial year.
The inclusion of Conlig in the proposal pleased Councillor Menagh who believed that
the town was often overlooked due to its close proximity to both Bangor and
Newtownards.
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Adair, seconded by
Councillor Ferguson, that the recommendation be adopted.
4.
ATTENDANCE AT 20TH ANNUAL NORTHERN IRELAND
ECONOMIC CONFERENCE
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report from the Director of Regeneration,
Development and Planning detailing that Agenda NI would stage the 20th Annual
Northern Ireland Economic Conference at the Culloden Hotel, Belfast on Tuesday 20
October 2015.
2
RDC.04.06.15
The title of the conference was „A new era of economic responsibility?” This event
would consider the performance of, and prospects for, Northern Ireland‟s economy
through an expert panel of local and visiting speakers. There would also be a
political panel discussion providing an opportunity for debate with representatives
from the main political parties on their economic priorities ahead of the next
Assembly election. Key issues would include:









Increasing productivity
Enhancing competitiveness
Impact of Brexit
Northern Ireland as an economic brand
Skills and economic inactivity
Implications of public sector reform
The living wage
Local enterprise development
Promoting innovation
RECOMMENDED that Council nominates the Mayor and the Chief Executive to
attend the Annual Northern Ireland Economic Conference at a cost of £165 + VAT
per delegate.
Members were asked to note that the Mayor would attend the event representing the
Borough due to the fact that the event would take place within the Borough
boundary.
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Ferguson, seconded
by Councillor Allen, that the recommendation be adopted.
(Councillor Adair left the meeting at 7.06pm)
5.
NORTHERN IRELAND RURAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME
2007-2013
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report from the Director of Regeneration,
Development and Planning detailing that Ards Borough Council was the lead partner
in the administration of the Down Rural Area Partnership Rural Development
Programme. As part of the contractual arrangements, it was required to securely
retain all documentation gathered over the life of the programme, for a period until
2021.
An internal trawl for suitable storage facilities had now been completed, but
unfortunately no facility was identified. A quotation had been obtained from Ards
Business Centre for the rental of a small unit, which could be easily fitted out and
which would be easily accessible. The cost per year for the unit would be £1,152 +
VAT. Any costs of fitting out the facility, which was anticipated to be less than
£2,000, could be claimed via the current administration budget from Department of
Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD). The easy access to this building would
meet the requirements of DARD, as its auditors would continue to undertake spot
checks in relation to monitoring the outputs of projects.
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The annual cost of renting the facility, or any facility, could not be claimed from the
new Rural Programme, but would have to be met by the Council. This was currently
being challenged with DARD and a response was awaited.
RECOMMENDED that the Council rents the unit from Ards Business Centre for a
period of two years, at a cost of £2,304 + VAT. Following this a review of internal
facilities could again be undertaken.
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Roberts, seconded
by Alderman Smith, that the recommendation be adopted.
(Councillor Adair re-entered the meeting at 7.09pm)
6.
SIGNAL BUSINESS ASSIST PROGRAMME 2014 – 2015
EVALUATION AND OUTPUTS
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report from the Director of Regeneration,
Development and Planning detailing that the SIGNAL Business Assist Programme
2013-15, part-funded by the European Sustainable Competitiveness Fund for
Northern Ireland 2007-2013, had assisted local businesses address barriers to
growth and to create action plans to develop their business through a dedicated
website, peer learning and one-to-one support.
The Programme consisted of 3 tiers of business support - Tiers 1 and 2 delivered by
SIGNAL and Tier 3 by Core Consulting. Tier 1 support consisted of a business
registering on the Programme website. The businesses were then contacted by the
Programme Officer and support was provided in the form of advice, signposting to
partner Programmes and/or use of the business research facility at SIGNAL. Tier 2
support was the same as Tier 1 but with the additional offering of an online business
diagnostic, which was integrated into NIBusinessInfo.co.uk.
Support at Tier 3 incorporated a series of group workshops and one-to-one
mentoring to address specific issues faced by small to medium sized enterprises
(SMEs) looking to grow and provided intensive capacity building for 40 companies
across Ards and North Down. Businesses for Tier 3 were selected from Tier 1 and 2
on their potential and ambition for growth. Each business on Tier 3 received 22
hours mentoring and attended 6 interactive workshops.
The Programme was funded 50% under the European Sustainable Competitiveness
Programme for Northern Ireland and a further 25% from Invest NI and the remaining
25% by the Council.
A summary of the Programme Outputs were shown below:
KPI
1
2
3
4
Programme Performance Indicators
180 businesses to be engaged
80 business diagnostics
40 Businesses to receive 1:1 mentoring
An increase of at least 5% in the cumulative
4
Target
180
80
40
5%
Achieved
106*
56*
40
13%
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turnover of the participating businesses.
5
At least 10 new jobs to be created in participating
10
23
businesses
6
4 new export businesses to be identified
4
10
*These targets were not achieved due to delayed programme approval from the
Managing Authority and subsequent shorter programme timeframe and issues with
data protection and data sharing from linked sites.
Overview of Project Performance Indicators
Businesses Engaged
A total of 106 businesses were engaged in the Programme. As per targets, 40 of
these businesses progressed onto Tier 3 to each receive 22 hours one-to-one
mentoring. The target of 180 could not be achieved within the timeframe as the
Programme had a delayed start due to a delayed and lengthy approval process by
the Managing Authority with no changes being made to reflect the reduced
timeframe and on-going issues over data sharing. At the beginning of the
Programme, technical difficulties with the website delayed the launch of the
Programme and subsequently the timeframe to engage businesses. The website
served as portal for businesses to register and as an entry point for businesses to
receive further support from the Business Assist Programme Officer, services at
SIGNAL and programme mentors.
Business Diagnostics
A total of 56 business diagnostics had been completed. All the businesses that
engaged with the Programme were encouraged to complete the diagnostic. Once
they registered on the Programme website they were prompted to click on a link
which would bring them to the NIBusinessInfo diagnostic (this was stipulated in the
Invest NI Letter of Offer). The Programme Officer also sent them a link via email as a
reminder to complete the diagnostic.
Unfortunately the target of 80 could not be achieved in the timeframe as the
Programme had a delayed start and there were difficulties linking the website to the
diagnostic on Invest NI‟s NIBusinessInfo website. Issues over data sharing had
prevented the tracking of completed diagnostics. In addition, a number of
businesses also reported that the diagnostic did not provide them with any new
information or value and that the questions weren‟t relevant to their business sector
so preferred to talk directly with the Business Assist Officer to health check the
business.
One-to-one Mentoring
By 30 June 2015, 40 businesses had received their allocated 22 hours mentoring
which resulted in a total of 880hrs one-to-one mentoring being delivered through the
Programme. The Programme had been divided into two separate cohorts of 20
businesses each. The 40 companies had also developed 40 action plans with their
mentor.
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Participants had also been required to attend at least 5 interactive workshops and
each attended the 6 workshops outlined below:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
Innovation and Collaboration
Setting Priorities and Business Direction
Implementation and Engagement
Operations & Monitoring Performance
Site visit to Whale Pumps
Final Workshop and Networking event
Company Turnover
On-going advice and support regarding the increase of sales had been provided
throughout the mentoring sessions. Benchmark data had been collected during the
initial audit and again in the final audit completed during the mentoring sessions.
When this report had been generated the businesses had an increase in cumulative
turnover of 13% (£661,465 est.) which exceeded the Programme target of 5%. This
was a good reflection of the calibre of businesses on the Programme and how the
mentoring had helped each business to grow.
Jobs Created
A total of 23 jobs had been created among the companies that received mentoring
which exceeded the Programme target of 10. Many of the participant companies
were also provided with information on and signposted to the employment
Programmes funded through the Department of Employment and Learning and
Invest NI.
Referrals to Invest NI
The target had been exceeded as a total of 11 companies had been identified as
having export potential and therefore the potential to become an Invest NI client
company. Ten of the companies identified participated in the one-to-one mentoring
and the other one had received advice from the Programme Officer and had been
referred to Invest NI.
Knowledge/Capacity
A key quantitative output of the Business Assist Programme was knowledge. More
specifically, the programme sought to improve the knowledge, skills and attitudes of
the participants in the 4 key strategic business management areas highlighted in the
SIGNAL Business Model.
1. Innovation
2. Sales and Marketing
3. People
4. Finance and Operations
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In order to measure the knowledge (along with skills and attitudes) of programme
participants, the participating companies undertook a KSA (Knowledge, Skills &
Attitude) assessment to score their own levels of knowledge, skills and attitudes both
before and after the programme.
Overall, across all the areas benchmarked, participants showed an average
improvement of their KSA scores of 17%. In Innovation, there was an average
increase in knowledge of 11%, in Sales and Marketing the average increase was
19%, in People Development the increase was 22% and in Finance and Operations
participants increased their knowledge by an average of 16%.
Collaborative Partnerships
Out of the 40 companies that received mentoring, 10 of them had developed
collaborative partnerships with organisations to help grow their business. These
innovative partnerships ranged from partnering with other companies to submit
government tenders, partnering with colleges using Innovation Vouchers to extend
product shelf life and partnering with companies outside of Northern Ireland to reach
new markets.
Conclusion
Overall the Business Assist Programme had performed well against the Programme
targets and objectives. It should be noted that, as the programme had just come to
an end, it may take further time for the processes and lessons learnt to be
embedded and further impact and sustained businesses growth to become apparent.
While the number of businesses engaged and the diagnostics completed fell below
the target, the remaining targets (jobs, turnover and knowledge) which were direct
measurement of the economic impact were exceeded. This programme had
demonstrated that this model of business support had a significant positive impact
on the growth of the economy. These positive results would demonstrate a strong
rationale for running a similar mentor based programme in the future but with a
different business diagnostic.
RECOMMENDED that the report is noted and that approval is granted to develop a
new mentor-based growth programme which would be funded from existing budgets.
Members welcomed the positive outcomes outlined in the statistics. They queried if
these jobs were sustainable and were advised that the jobs created would be
monitored after 1 and 3 years.
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Cooper, seconded
by Councillor Walker, that the recommendation be adopted.
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7.
SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAMME
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report from the Director of Regeneration,
Development and Planning detailing that following the transfer of certain economic
development and related powers from regional to local government, in April 2015,
Ards and North Down Borough Council was now responsible for developing and
implementing its own Social Entrepreneurship Programme. This programme was
previously managed and run regionally by Invest NI and fully completed in July 2015.
The responsibility for designing and implementing a new and locally tailored social
entrepreneurship programme formed part of the statutory duties of the Council under
transferring functions and it now sought to provide a programme of support for new
and existing Social Enterprises across the Borough.
Social entrepreneurship was a term which could apply to locally based initiatives and
organisations commercially improving the wellbeing of their community through one
or more commercially oriented projects whose gain was, in whole or in part, reinvested in the area benefiting from the ideas, improvements, or products. This did
not mean that social entrepreneurs did not consider profitmaking value propositions.
Ventures created by social entrepreneurs could certainly generate income, and they
could be organised as either not-for-profit or for-profits. What distinguished social
entrepreneurship was the primacy of social benefit.
In order to explore the needs of those interested in creating and running social
enterprises SIGNAL ran an “Exploring Social Enterprise” workshop in May 2015 and
also conducted more general research with individuals using Council‟s business
support services. This identified that the following issues needed to be addressed:





Bringing investment due to a clear lack of available finance;
Bringing learning - limited awareness of the support available for social
entrepreneurs applying this in terms of innovative financial modelling;
Bringing acumen - not having a business plan and not knowing how to create
one;
Bringing acumen - not having a business plan and not knowing how to create
one;
Bringing simple but good governance - lack of knowledge about the most
appropriate legal structure;
Bringing new and necessary professionalism - lack of appropriate skills within
the existing staff including financial forecasting, tendering/procurement,
marketing;
In order to assist individuals and groups across the Borough to achieve these aims it
was proposed to create and deliver a new programme that would:



Give support for social economy business start-ups at pre and post start
stages;
Provide guidance and business development support;
Clearly identify financial sustainability attainment for social enterprises
through traditional and innovative means;
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




Build capacity and skills of the entrepreneurs in areas such as marketing,
procurement and making funding applications;
Provide post start-up mentoring to ensure optimum economic impact on the
community and increase survival rate;
Link social entrepreneurs with appropriate networks and hubs, including but
not restricted to, the Social Enterprise Hub in Lisburn which currently had
responsibility for the Ards and North Down area.
Evaluate Strategic Added Value of projects in the area;
Create an easily accessible multi-media tool box for applicants which could
be used during all phases of the programme and beyond and would draw
from existing toolkits and work done to support social entrepreneurship in
Ards and North Down.
The programme would be open to existing and potential social enterprises in Ards
and North Down Borough Council within the timescale and resources of the
programme.
It would be proposed to run a new programme over 3 years, the delivery of which
would be agreed through a tender process and it was estimated that the programme
cost would be up to £70,000 over this period which would be met from the
transferring functions budget.
RECOMMENDED that the Council approves the creation of a Social
Entrepreneurship Programme.
Councillor Cooper asked if the funding of £70,000 for the Programme would be
guaranteed into the future considering the unstable position which currently existed
at Stormont. The Head of Economic Development and Tourism informed the
Members that this funding came from a block grant from DOE which had already
been ring-fenced.
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Alderman Smith, seconded by
Councillor Girvan, that the recommendation be adopted.
8.
TRANSFERRING FUNCTION: BUSINESS START
PROGRAMME OPTIONS
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report from the Director of Regeneration,
Development and Planning detailing that from 1 April 2015, responsibility for the
Business Start programme had transferred to Councils. In order to give Councils
time to prepare and create a programme, fit for purpose, it had been agreed with
Invest NI to extend the contract for the current programme, which was initially two
years, for a further period up to 22 October 2015. For the period April to October
2015 Councils had signed a Service Level Agreement with Invest NI for the delivery
of the programme. Previous reports on the status of the transfer of the business
start function and options had previously been brought to Council. This report
provided the current status and options going forward.
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A working group, with representation from each of the eleven councils, continued to
meet to assess options and to progress the task of creating a new programme which
met the needs of each of the areas and to optimise funding opportunities.
To this end a scoping document, which was the first stage of the application process
to draw down ERDF funds, had been submitted to Invest NI, as the Managing
Authority, in mid-August 2015 and officers were awaiting its response before being
able to proceed to a full application.
Officers had been informed that the application process and process of approval for
a full application would take a minimum of 18 weeks. The timeline, in addition to
being advised not to go to tender for programme delivery before approval was
granted, meant that it was unlikely that it would be possible to run an ERDF funded
business start programme within this financial year.
Councils were now drawing up contingency plans to ensure that they would continue
to have a business start support post October 2015 and were considering the
options below in order of preference:1. Extension of the current contract and subsequent SLA with Invest NI to continue
to deliver the RSI Programme until March 2016. That required all 11 Councils
making a formal request to DETI and in turn Invest NI and would be funded from
transferring functions budgets.
It in turn would require a new agreement with Invest NI to deliver and manage a
new marketing campaign associated with the programme.
2. On the basis that Option 1 was not possible, the Councils of the SEED area (Ards
and North Down, Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Newry Mourne and
Down) plus Lisburn City and Castlereagh were working to create terms of
references to go out to tender for the delivery of an interim Business Start
programme across the area until 2016 which would be funded from transferring
functions budgets.
Either option would also require marketing activity to promote the programme and it
was envisaged that in order to secure that targets were achieved that the Council
would continue with a marketing plan similar to the one being run for the period of
the current SLA with Invest NI. That would require a budget up to £10,000 which
would be met from the transferring functions budgets.
RECOMMENDED that Council approves that Ards and North Down Borough Council
works with the 10 other Councils to pursue the ERDF Application for a Regional
Business Start Programme but that approval was also granted to pursue and
proceed with Option 1 or 2 as necessary, including marketing costs, to ensure
continuity of support.
Councillor Gilmour proposed, seconded by Councillor Cooper, that the
recommendation be adopted.
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Councillor Allen proposed an amendment, seconded by Councillor Ferguson, that
the investment was welcomed from external sources but that Ards and North Down
Borough Council meets with Invest NI to view the plans and advertisement campaign
before making a commitment to funding.
(Councillor Anderson left the meeting at 7.29pm)
Replying to this, the Director of Regeneration, Development and Planning said that
the proposal was part of an 11 Council programme and that it was acting with every
other Council across Northern Ireland. The proposed amendment could delay the
programme going forward and working together with the other Councils was viewed
as being best value for money.
Councillor Gilmour noted that this was an important programme and that the Council
should not put itself in a position of potentially losing out and being left in the cold.
For that reason she could not support the amendment put forward by Councillor
Allen.
Other Members stood to agree with the view above stating that the proposed
marketing plan was in the best interests of Northern Ireland as a whole. Placing
constraints such as this would not help in moving forward.
Councillor Leslie asked the Director for assurances on the way forward and for the
sharing of any information which was available.
On the amendment being put to the meeting, with 3 voting For and 11 voting
Against, it FELL.
(Councillor Anderson re-entered the meeting at 7.32pm)
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Gilmour, seconded
by Councillor Cooper, that the recommendation be adopted.
9.
PUBLIC ART (BANGOR ABBEY) UPDATE
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report from the Director of Regeneration,
Development and Planning stating that further to the report to the Council dated 29
April 2015 regarding the Christian Heritage feature, originally planned to be installed
in the grounds of Bangor Abbey in November, the following actions had now been
undertaken.
Once confirmation had been received that the proposed site was acceptable to the
representatives of the Abbey, the information had been passed to the Northern
Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA). The NIEA had objected to the proposed
location as it was too close to “Malachy‟s Wall.” A site meeting had been held and a
new location within the general area had been proposed. A further meeting with
representatives of the NIEA had been held and it had imposed the requirement to
undertake an archaeological investigation of the suggested area, as the entire
Bangor Abbey site was deemed a historic monument.
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Works would begin soon on an archaeological investigation and assuming that the
NIEA was satisfied with the results, consent would follow. The cost of that would be
in the region of £900 which could be met from current budgets. When consent was
given, a planning application would be made and once approved the Bangor Bell
could be installed.
The Council, when considering the previous report, expressed some concerns over
the design of the six small statuettes which were to be placed around the base of the
Bell. The Sculptor had considered that and the proposal was amended. At a recent
meeting with representatives of the Abbey, the new proposal was favourably
received.
A concern was also raised about the Bell and the six smaller sculptures being
positioned at the one location. That too was an issue that the NIEA had raised. A
solution that had been proposed was that the six sculptures would be evenly placed
between the Bell and the Museum. In doing this it linked the story of the creation of
the Bell back to the other artefacts in the Museum. This solution was also agreeable
to the representatives of the Abbey and the NIEA and as the various locations for the
siting of these was on Council land, it should not pose a problem. If planning
permission was required an application could be made as part of the application for
the Bell. The Sculptor had confirmed that these changes could be accommodated
with the agreed tendered price.
Given the difficulties in gaining approvals, it was envisaged that if possible the Bell
could be cast prior to the celebrations in November and located at a temporary site
at the Abbey and then installed in the New Year.
The representatives of the Abbey were aware of the situation and were favourably
disposed to siting the Bell temporarily and to extending the celebrations of St.
Columbanus with a dedication and launch in the New Year.
RECOMMENDED that the Committee agrees to the above.
Members were pleased with the new proposal which appeared to tick „all the boxes‟,
while also satisfying the church authorities. They thanked the architect and designer
for the revised design. The Christian Heritage link between Bangor Abbey and the
North Down Museum would be enhanced when the work was completed.
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Leslie, seconded by
Councillor Roberts, that the recommendation be adopted.
10.
QUAY MARINAS FIRST QUARTER REPORT – APRIL TO JUNE
2015
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report from the Director of Regeneration,
Development and Planning detailing that Quay Marinas operated Bangor Marina on
behalf of Council. As part of the agreement Quay Marinas provided a quarterly and
annual report which was presented to Committee as received.
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The report for the first quarter was furnished to members for 2015/16. The report
covered the entire range of activities that were undertaken in the Marina.
RECOMMENDED that the report is noted.
The Director reported that Captain Kevin Baird from Quay Marinas had recently sent
an invitation to her inviting Members to visit the operation there. She said that a visit
would be arranged for Members in the coming months. Alderman Smith suggested
that a visit to the Lifeboat Station, situated beside the Marina, could also be
incorporated on the same date.
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Girvan, seconded by
Alderman Smith, that the recommendation be adopted.
11.
THEATRE PROVISION FEASIBILITY STUDY
This item was withdrawn.
NOTED.
12.
NOTICE OF MOTIONS
12.1
Notice of Motion Submitted by Councillor Cathcart
Councillor Cathcart proposed, seconded by Councillor Leslie, that
the Council notes that the Ards and North Down area continues to achieve low
numbers of new jobs supported by Invest NI, requests a deputation from Invest NI
outlining the underlying causes and plans to address this issue, further notes the
Council‟s new powers over economic and tourism development, as well as planning
and community planning, commits to use these powers in conjunction with Invest NI,
businesses and other relevant agencies to boost job creation in the Borough.
Councillor Cathcart put his Motion in context and highlighted his concerns that the
Borough was not seeing the levels of job creation witnessed in other Council areas.
While it had been difficult to calculate figures it was clear that Ards and North Down
had consistently remained at the bottom of the job creation table.
In June 2015 the figures had been released on the 2014/15 financial year. The year
saw Invest NI help promote 397 new jobs and offer over £3 million of support to
businesses in the Borough. In addition to securing new jobs for the future, Invest NI
support resulted in 286 new jobs actually created in the region during 2014/15.
That was the lowest figure for actual jobs created out of the all the Council areas.
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He reported that in total over the last four years 945 jobs had been created in the
combined Strangford and North Down area compared to 8,500 in Belfast. The
Borough‟s proximity to Belfast was of benefit to many residents and every time jobs
were created in Belfast it was likely that at least some of those would be filled by
people who lived in the Borough. He said that while the Council should not compare
itself with Belfast it could compare the Borough to other Boroughs surrounding the
Greater Belfast area.
One example was Antrim and Newtownabbey. That was also a commuter Borough
with large numbers working in Belfast yet it had managed over the years to achieve
far greater numbers of new jobs. The same situation existed in other locations such
as Lisburn and Castlereagh.
Ards and North Down Borough had the third lowest business rates in Northern
Ireland, significantly lower than Belfast and indeed Antrim and Newtownabbey and
yet there were very high levels of educational achievement in this area compared to
other parts of Northern Ireland. The Borough was beautiful and was considered to
be a desirable place to live with excellent transport links, so he questioned why this
situation had arisen.
As a Councillor he needed to be aware of these reasons and work to address them.
Council now had enhanced powers over local enterprise and tourism and would be
creating development plans to boost job creation and conditions that would allow
local businesses to grow by encouraging new investment. In order to achieve this,
strong effective partnerships needed to be created with Invest NI, businesses and
other relevant agencies.
Members wholeheartedly agreed with the Motion and stood in turn to support it.
Councillor Adair suggested that Invest NI be invited to come to Council to formulate
a plan for the future and to explain how they viewed the Ards and North Down area
in terms of investment. He referred to the Portavogie area and said that the fish
processing factory there had at one point employed in the region of 300 people. It
was the only major harbour in Northern Ireland which could no longer process its
own fish. He queried how that situation had been allowed to occur. The figures
were indeed worrying and he commended the Committee in its work to address this.
Councillor Girvan thanked the Member for bringing the Motion and stated that the
area could only prosper as a region if it could export. She referred to what had been
Comber Whiskey and would love to see that business being resurrected in her home
town.
Councillor Gilmour welcomed the opportunity to meet with Invest NI and urged
caution when looking at statistics since it was important to note that these were not
always comparable. The meeting should focus on how Invest NI and Ards and North
Down could work together most effectively.
There were numerous examples of successful businesses in the area such as
Pritchitts, Denmans and Whale Pumps who were keen to work with Council.
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The Director informed Members a representative of Invest NI could attend the next
Committee meeting and added that she would be happy to have questions and
comments from Members put forward to Invest NI in advance of the proposed
meeting.
In summing up Councillor Cathcart said that he was pleased to observe the positive
new era of good partnerships around business and thanked Members for showing
considerable support to his Notice of Motion.
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Cathcart, seconded
by Councillor Leslie, that the Council notes that the Ards and North Down area
continues to achieve low numbers of new jobs supported by Invest NI,
requests a deputation from Invest NI outlining the underlying causes and
plans to address this issue, further notes the Council’s new powers over
economic and tourism development, as well as planning and community
planning, commits to use these powers in conjunction with Invest NI,
businesses and other relevant agencies to boost job creation in the Borough.
12.2
Notice of Motion Submitted by Councillor Anderson
Councillor Anderson proposed, seconded by Councillor Walker, that the Council, in
recognition of its commitment to enterprise would wish to explore the possibility of
hosting and facilitating an “Enterprise Week” as a pilot initiative for the 2016 financial
year, with the aim of promoting, developing, and assisting entrepreneurship within
the Borough.
The initiative would include a series of events ranging from interactive workshops,
informative talks and networking opportunities. We hereby call upon the officers to
bring back a report on the feasibility of such a project, taking account of the views of
relevant stakeholders, including but not limited to statutory agencies and local
business representatives.
Councillor Anderson thanked Members for the opportunity to attend the
Regeneration and Development Committee adding that it was a privilege to be there.
In the past he had had experience of working with business start-ups and was
passionate about the nurturing of the entrepreneurial spirit even though he admitted
that it was a talent which he did not share. He suggested that Council had an open
ear to business and facilitated its development in any way possible.
Members supported the Notice of Motion and wished to make it clear to businesses
that the Council would work to support them.
The Director added this was work could be incorporated into other projects which
were ongoing within Council. Developing an „Enterprise Week‟ project would involve
a media drive and could potentially attract stand-alone finance.
In summing up Councillor Anderson thanked everyone for their kind comments and
support. He was happy that social and business entrepreneurship could be
encouraged and that work for Council would not necessarily need to be replicated.
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AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Anderson, seconded
by Councillor Walker, that the Council, in recognition of its commitment to
enterprise would wish to explore the possibility of hosting and facilitating an
“Enterprise Week” as a pilot initiative for the 2016 financial year, with the aim
of promoting, developing, and assisting entrepreneurship within the Borough.
The initiative would include a series of events ranging from interactive
workshops, informative talks and networking opportunities. We hereby call
upon the officers to bring back a report on the feasibility of such a project,
taking account of the views of relevant stakeholders, including but not limited
to statutory agencies and local business representatives.
12.3 EXCLUSION OF PUBLIC AND PRESS
AGREED, on the proposal of Councillor Armstrong-Cotter, seconded by Councillor
Cooper, that the public and press be excluded from the meeting.
13.
PICKIE FUN PARK QUARTER 1 2015-16
*** NOT FOR PUBLICATION ***
Schedule 6 – Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular
person (including the Council holding that information).
(Councillor Gilmour left the meeting at 8.54pm)
(Councillor Gilmour returned to the meeting at 8.55pm)
13.1 RE-ADMITTANCE OF PUBLIC AND PRESS
AGREED, on the proposal of Councillor Gilmour, seconded by Councillor Cathcart,
that the public and press be re-admitted to the meeting.
14.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS
14.1
Council’s Event Calendar
Councillor Ferguson stated that she had been unaware of some events which were
being undertaken by Council and had been informed of them by some of her
constituents. The Director advised that Members were given lists of events in
advance and that the content of those were also approved by Council.
NOTED.
14.2
Development of Cloughey Beach as an Amenity Beach
Councillor Adair said that he would like to see this as a top issue in the village plan
for Cloughey. Improved access to the beach was a priority and he was concerned at
how long it appeared to be taking for this to be resolved.
16
RDC.04.06.15
NOTED.
14.3 Investment in Green Energy
Councillor Leslie asked Council to explore the possibility of working with Invest NI to
develop Green Energy within the Borough and make it a hub for future business
opportunities.
NOTED.
15.
TERMINATION OF MEETING
The meeting terminated at 9.06pm
17
ITEM 7.4
ARDS AND NORTH DOWN BOROUGH COUNCIL
A meeting of the Corporate Services Committee was held in the Council Chamber, 2
Church Street, Newtownards on Tuesday, 8 September 2015 at 7.02pm.
PRESENT:
In the Chair:
Alderman Carson
Aldermen:
Alderman Gibson
Alderman Keery
Councillors:
Anderson (Vice-Chairman)
Barry
Brooks
Gilmour
Kennedy
Muir
McIlveen
Smart
Smith
Officers:
Director of Organisational Development and Administration,
Head of Administration, Head of Finance, Head of Performance
and Projects, Head of Human Resources, Compliance Manager
and Democratic Services Officer
1.
APOLOGIES
Apologies were received from the Mayor (Alderman Graham) and Alderman
Chambers.
The Chairman (Alderman Carson) took the opportunity to enquire about the Director
of Finance and Performance, following his recent time of ill health.
The Director of Organisational Development and Administration advised Members
that the Director of Finance had undergone some tests, which had not indicated any
further depreciation in his health, and further tests were planned. She continued that
she planned to visit the Director later that week and would pass on Members‟ best
wishes to him.
The Chairman (Alderman Carson) also took the opportunity to thank the Vice
Chairman (Councillor Anderson) for chairing the previous meeting of the Committee
on his behalf, during his period of ill health.
2.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
The Chairman (Alderman Carson) asked for any declarations of interest.
CSC.08.09.15
Councillor Muir declared an interest in Item 7 – Former Donaghadee Bus Depot as
he was an employee of Translink.
3.
DEPUTATIONS
3.1
Rivers Agency – Flood Maps of Northern Ireland
The Chairman (Alderman Carson) welcomed Mr Malcolm Calvert and Mr Jim Martin,
Rivers Agency NI, to the meeting and invited them to make their presentation.
Mr Calvert thanked Members for the opportunity to present on flood hazard and risk
mapping. He proceeded to take Members through a PowerPoint presentation and
made the following salient points:
The European Union had issued a directive on the assessment and
management of flood risks, titled The Floods Directive.

The Directive covered all sources of flooding including: fluvial (river)
 coastal
 pluvial (surface water)
 impoundments (dam failure)
 groundwater

The Directive aimed to manage flood risk to reduce the effects of flooding on: human health
 economic activity
 the environment
 cultural heritage

A higher priority would be given to human health and economic activity
concerns.

The Directive had a three stage approach:a) Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment
Significant Flood Risk Areas
b) Flood Hazard Maps and Flood Risk Maps
c) Flood Risk Management Plans

Public access to information, participation and communication had been
established.
The Directive required that detailed maps be developed in order to identify those
areas for which potential significant flood risks existed or might be considered
likely to occur
Areas of Study in the North East FRMP District had concluded that parts of
Newtownards and Bangor had significant flood risk areas.


CSC.08.09.15
At this stage of the presentation, Mr Calvert talked Members through several slides
showing maps of Northern Ireland. The maps gave an overview of settlements and
rivers, flooded properties (since 2007), and significant flood risk areas and areas for
further study. A further two maps focussed on the Ards and North Down Borough
and highlighted Ballygowan, Comber and Holywood as areas for further study.

Flood hazard maps had to cover the geographical areas which could be flooded
according to the following scenarios:a) floods with a low probability, or extreme event scenarios
b) foods with a medium probability (likely to return period ≥ 100 years)
c) floods with a high probability, where appropriate
At this stage of the presentation, Mr Calvert talked Members through several slides
giving examples of flood hazard and showing elements of the flood extent; water
depths or water level, as appropriate; and where appropriate, the flow velocity or the
relevant water flow.

Flood risk maps had to show the potential adverse consequences associated
with flood scenarios and expressed in terms of (a) the indicative number of
inhabitants potentially affected and (b) type of economic activity of the area
potentially affected.
Mr Calvert then showed Members several maps of Comber illustrating the damages,
inhabitants affected and other things in the event of low, medium and high probability
flood risk. He then went on to make the following remarks about the Northern
Ireland Mapping Agreement (NIMA):








Rivers Agency and LPS were in partnership for licensing Flood Mapping
products.
The Flood Mapping products were now included in the NIMA, which meant they
were available to NIMA customers or those working on behalf of NIMA
customers (this included all Northern Ireland Civil Service Departments,
Agencies, Non Departmental Public Bodies and Councils).
Flood Mapping had been provided to Planning NI and had now been included on
the Planning Portal.
Flood Mapping had been provided to Spatial NI; in the future the detail flood
mapping would be readily available to Planning staff in Councils, for use within
their desktop GIS systems, for example, in developing Area Development Plans.
Licensed Flood Mapping services were now available via Flood Maps (NI).
Outputs from the Flood Models could also be used to create animations of flood
events.
They could also be useful for understanding flooding mechanisms and as an aid
in developing emergency plans.
Animations were on FloodRiskManagementNI Vimeo website.
In respect of reservoir flood mapping, Mr Calvert reported that: Detailed Reservoir Flood Maps were being produced for approximately 130
reservoirs
CSC.08.09.15
 Models and Maps were to a similar specification to those produced in England
and Wales
 Planning considerations fell under PPS15 (FLD 5)



„Flood Re‟ was a UK Scheme to provide affordable flood insurance and it
replaced the „Statement of Principles‟. The objective was to ensure domestic
properties in the UK at the highest risk of flooding could receive affordable cover
for the „flood‟ element of the household property insurance. It only applied to
domestic properties; commercial properties were excluded.
New housing developments should be located to avoid flood risk and therefore
properties built after 1 January 2009 would be excluded from the scheme.
Secondary Legislation (Scheme Regulations) had been laid before UK
Parliament in April 2015.
In concluding, Mr Calvert stated that flood risk management was about prevention,
protection and preparedness: Prevention - preventing future development that may be at risk of flooding.
 Protection - taking measures (both structural and non-structural) to reduce the
likelihood of floods and/or their impact of floods in a specific location
 Preparedness - raising awareness of flood risk and planning for emergency
response and recovery.
The Chairman (Alderman Carson) thanked Mr Calvert for his informative
presentation and invited questions from Members. The following responses were
given: Alderman Gibson raised a query about planning approval being granted for
building on flood plains as had been the case for lands adjacent to Meadow
Brook, Comber. In response, Mr Martin advised that according to Planning
Policy this could not be ruled out, however Planning Officers would assess all
risks as part of the process and it was unlikely planning approval would be given
to flood plain areas in the future.
 Mr Martin advised that most areas in Comber were protected by flood defences
and as such Comber was not deemed to have a significant flood risk.
 The timespan for issuing flood warnings was only hours, as oppose to days as
was the case in England. Weather and flood risk would be issued via the media
– the warnings would be given a colour depending on the predicted severity of
the event.
 Mr Calvert confirmed that Rivers Agency was responsible for coastal defences.
 Members discussed flood defences and the protection of property at length. Mr
Martin advised that Rivers Agency would provide flood defences where there
were cost benefits to do so and where the investment could be justified. He
continued assessments could be carried out on individual properties to ascertain
whether the benefit of providing flood defences outweighed the costs but
sometimes this was not the case.
(Councillor Anderson left the meeting at this stage – 7.20pm)
 Rivers Agency was responsible for river erosion but not coastal erosion; however
the cost benefit issue was still a factor in what action was taken. He added that
CSC.08.09.15
Rivers Agency would not intervene with properties built „in harms way‟ in recent
years.
 Councillor Barry commented it was regrettable that the Agency‟s financial
restraints meant it could not help vulnerable individual properties.
In concluding, Mr Martin hoped that Members would find the presentation useful
when advising constituents on the role of the Rivers Agency and what services were
available.
(Councillor Anderson entered the meeting at this stage – 7.27pm)
DECLARATION OF INTEREST
At this stage in the meeting, Alderman Keery declared an interest in Item 3.2 - NIHE
– Ards and North Down Housing Investment Plan 2015-2019 as he was a member
of the Board.
It was agreed that, as it was just a deputation and no decisions were being made,
Alderman Keery could remain in the meeting.
3.2
NIHE – Ards and North Down Housing Investment Plan 2015-2019
The Chairman (Alderman Carson) welcomed Mr Trevor McCartney, Mr Owen Brady,
Ms Pamela Warnock and Ms Esther Christie, Housing Executive, to the meeting and
invited them to make their presentation.
(Councillor Kennedy left the meeting at this stage – 7.35pm)
Mr McCartney thanked Members for the opportunity to present on the Ards and
North Down Housing Investment Plan for 2015-2019. He also took the opportunity to
thank Alderman Keery for his service on the Board. He then proceeded to take
Members through a PowerPoint presentation and made the following salient points:
New Housing Investment Plans (HIP) replaced the District Housing Plans. They
had two main purposes:1. The Housing Executive was statutorily required under the 1981 Housing Order
to report to councils on its past year‟s performance and following year‟s
proposals
2. The HIP would inform Community Planning



In preparation of the HIP, best practice examples had been researched and
information gathering and consultation with a range of stakeholders had been
undertaken. Stakeholders included Housing Associations, NIFHA, DSD, DOE,
Land and Property Services, Estate Agents and others.
The HIP provided an overview of the housing market in the Ards and North
Down Borough.
The HIP examined cross tenure housing issues and would be a „comprehensive
conversation piece‟ for housing.
CSC.08.09.15



It was a four year plan with an annual update in intervening years. The plan
would be reviewed to reflect Community Planning priorities against five themes
and ten outcomes.
There would be detailed social housing investment at local level.
The Housing Executive was named as a Community Planning Partner and the
HIP would be an evidence base for the community plan. The HIP would initiate
discussion amongst partners on the shape of future housing in the Ards and
North Down Borough.

The HIP contained five themes:1.
2.
3.
4.
5.



Identify and meet housing need and demand
Improve people‟s homes (current stock and stock not its own)
Transform people‟s lives
Enable sustainable neighbourhoods
Deliver quality services
Each theme was a section within the HIP. Challenges, opportunities and actions
were discussed under each theme
Key actions to achieve each outcome were detailed and showed the previous
year‟s performance, actions for the coming five years and a longer term outlook
Key housing issues for the Ards and North Down Borough and their implications
were discussed within the HIP, and included: an aging population
 energy efficiency
 there were 65,054 homes in the Borough, of which the Housing Executive
owned 6,381 units (10%) (7,911 sold)
 3,570 total applicants were on the waiting list – 2,064 (58%) in housing
stress (March 2015)
 1,566 households had presented as homeless – 67% were accepted as
homeless during 2014/15, which was a 9.5% increase on the previous
year
 728 social allocations were made in 2014/15
 1,334 new social housing units would be needed up to March 2019
 in 2014/15 there were 448 new build starts (313 general needs social)
and 110 new general needs social homes completed
 future housing issues included 2015/18 SHDP – 634 (gross) new general
needs social housing units programmed, mixed tenure developments and
affordable housing (Rathgill Phase 2), availability of land in smaller
settlements for housing and the impact of welfare reform



Progress against the HIP objectives would be regularly monitored and would
be reported on annually.
Feedback was welcomed on what the report should contain and who should
be consulted.
The HIP, the Community Plan and the new Local Development Plan should all
fit together, as part of the Housing Executive‟s Corporate Plan.
CSC.08.09.15
The Chairman (Alderman Carson) thanked Mr McCartney for his informative
presentation and invited questions from Members. The following responses were
given: In response to a query from Councillor Barry about the capital spend, Ms
Warnock stated that proposals were currently being drawn up and would include
recommendations from the Savills Report and a strategy would be developed
based on those recommendations. She confirmed the results would be reported
back to the Council in due course.
(Councillor Kennedy entered the meeting at this stage – 7.48pm)
 Reference was made to how much was spent on cavity wall insulation. Mr Brady
reported that in properties where there had been no cavity wall insulation, it was
possible to inject insulation beads. However, where cavity wall insulation had
previously been installed and had since dropped down the cavity, beads could
not be pumped in until the old insulation was removed. This had to be carried
out by a licensed operator and because it was a common problem across much
of the housing stock, it would be a costly operation.
 Mr McCartney reported that adapting housing stock in light of an aging
population would be an on-going process. Ms Warnock added that the NIHE
would assess the need of applicants and would work closely with Housing
Associations in order to provide appropriate housing. Housing Associations built
to the „Lifetime Homes‟ standard and this enabled homes to be more adaptable
through a person‟s life cycle. This meant that adaptation would be less costly.
The DSD, NIHE and the Health Service had joined together to develop an
Accessible Housing Register (AHR) for social housing. The register was an
information tool to enable housing authorities to identify specific properties that
may meet the needs of a particular group of applicants on the social housing
waiting list. The AHR would help to minimise waste by assisting social landlords
to make more effective use of their existing adapted stock.
(Councillor Smith left the meeting at this stage – 7.55pm)
 Reference was made to the NIHE making vesting orders in respect of land and
the disposal of land held. Mr McCartney advised that the NIHE would be
working closely with the planners going forward to identify potential
opportunities.
 In respect of the pilot loans scheme due to be introduced in 2015/16, Mr
McCartney advised that the tactical details were still being worked out. Matters
such as how eligibility would be assessed still had to be agreed and finalised.
 The NIHE had transfer schemes whereby it transferred land to Housing
Associations. This facilitated a housing mix and enabled Housing Associations
to build to the Lifetime Homes standard.
At this stage in the meeting, Alderman Gibson paid his respects to Mr Jim Thompson
(NIHE) who had recently passed away following a short bout of illness.
(Councillor Smith entered the meeting at this stage – 8.05pm)
CSC.08.09.15
4.
BUDGET REPORT – JULY 2015 – FILE: FIN 45
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report dated 28 August 2015 from the Director of
Finance and Performance covering the period 1 April 2015 to 31 July 2015.
The Net Cost of Services at the end of July had been £11,323,049 compared with a
budget of £11,655,307 giving an under spend to date of £332,258 (2.9%). The
Revenue Budget Report by Directorate was set out below.
Service budgets were requiring alignment to the Council‟s organisational structure.
A lot of this work had been completed but more had to be carried out. Hence, some
of the variances reported at July 2015 would be due to this realignment process not
being complete. In addition there may be budget profiling issues whereby the timing
of actual expenditure and income did not quite match with budget. It was planned
that both the budget alignment and profiling issues would be further addressed over
the coming months so that a more detailed budget report could be presented at
future Corporate Committees.
The overall Council favourable variance was £332,258 with the bulk of this being
payroll related (£254,806 – note that £77,024 of this was due to Exploris. An
operational budget for Exploris had been included within the overall Council budget
as at budget setting time it had been expected to be operational during 2015/16).
Period 4 - July 2015
Year to Date Year to Date Variance
Actual
Budget
£
£
£
Annual
Budget
£
Variance
%
100 Community & Wellbeing
2,141,051
2,289,155
(148,104)
9,170,400
6.5
200 Environment
5,401,555
5,521,926
(120,371) 16,728,700
2.2
993,506
1,053,626
(60,120)
3,981,700
5.7
400 Finance & Performance
1,107,090
1,074,300
32,790
5,292,700
3.1
500 Org Development & Administration
1,508,112
1,551,700
(43,588)
4,005,500
2.8
171,734
164,600
7,134
512,600
4.3
11,323,049
11,655,307
(332,258) 39,691,600
2.9
300 Regen, Development & Planning
600 Chief Executive
NET COST OF SERVICES
Councillor Smith commented that the budget reports produced by the legacy Ards
Council had contained far greater detail and asked that more information be provided
in future reports.
CSC.08.09.15
In response, the Head of Finance advised that this was the first budget report by the
new Council and that future reports would contain an increasing amount of detail.
He added that the rate estimating process was on-going and budgets were being realigned to fit into the Council structure and that going forward, as more information
became available through this, it would be included in the budget report.
RECOMMENDED that the Council notes the report.
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Smith, seconded by
Councillor Barry, that the report be noted.
5.
LEASE OF LAND AT MILLISLE FROM CROWN ESTATE –
FILE: OS 2108
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report dated 11 August 2015 from the Director of
Organisational Development and Administration stating that the Council had
received a notice from the agent acting on behalf of the Crown Estate
Commissioners advising that a rent review was required for the above as at 1 July
2014 in accordance with the five yearly rental reviews allowed for in the lease. The
review had been delayed by a year due to a related land transaction. The lessor had
proposed an increase from £4,350 to £4,950 per annum with effect from the review
date.
LPS had been instructed to act on the Council‟s behalf, and correspondence had
now been received from LPS advising that it had negotiated a reduced increase in
the rental to £4,550 per annum.
In response to a query the Compliance Manager confirmed that the land comprised
Millisle Beach Park.
RECOMMENDED that the Council accepts the proposed increased rental to £4,550
per annum for the above.
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Alderman Keery, seconded by
Councillor Barry, that the recommendation be adopted.
6.
MILL DAM, COMBER – FILE: M25576 (Appendix I)
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report dated 27 August 2015 from the Director of
Organisational Development and Administration stating that in 2003 Legacy Ards
Borough Council had entered into a long term lease (999 years) with WAD
Developments Ltd for lands at Mill Dam, Comber. Two of the covenants contained
within the lease had been as follows:
1. The Lessee shall not assign, charge, underlet or otherwise share or part with
possession of the demised premises and shall not hold the demised premises
on trust for any person without first obtaining the Lessor‟s written consent.
2. The Lessee shall not use or permit the demised premises to be used for any
purpose other than as an access road to the adjoining premises of the
Lessee.
CSC.08.09.15
It had recently come to the attention of Council officers that WAD Developments Ltd
had gone into administration, and a search at Land Registry indicated that a Transfer
for the land had been lodged on behalf of Halftown Limited in September 2013. The
Council had not granted consent to this transfer. Subsequently, a letter had been
sent to the solicitor acting on behalf of Halftown Limited putting them on notice of the
provisions of the lease and seeking their proposals.
Correspondence had been received from Halftown Ltd‟s legal representatives
apologising for overlooking the provisions of the lease and seeking retrospective
consent to the transfer. The correspondence had also set out that Halftown Ltd
intended to use the land as a mix of access road and amenity use including car
parking, pond preservation, walkways and landscaping (as detailed on the attached
plan). This proposed usage was different from the provisions of the lease, and
therefore required consent to a change of use from the Council.
Photographs of the site had been provided to the Council in June showing that no
breach of the lease had taken place, and a site meeting had been held in July with
officers. It had been suggested that officers should seek legal advice on attaching
conditions to any consent to ensure that the property (including the pond) was kept
in good and substantial condition and that there should be no detrimental impact
from the change of use to the Council‟s adjacent land at Laurel Bank. Subsequent
legal advice had approved such a condition being added.
It should be noted by Members that there was a current planning application in
relation to this site, however this report did not in any way impact that application,
and the two matters should be regarded as separate.
In response to a query from Councillor McIlveen, the Compliance Manager reiterated
that the Council would deal with the landlord and planning matters as separate
issues and confirmed she had consulted with the Head of Planning about the current
planning application.
RECOMMENDED that the Council provides retrospective consent to the transfer
from WAD Developments Ltd to Halftown Ltd, and provides consent to the change of
use from an access road to „mix of access road and amenity use including car
parking, pond preservation, walkways & landscaping as detailed on the attached
plan‟, subject to:






the relevant planning approval being obtained;
the property being maintained in good and substantial repair, order and
condition including the pond which should be retained as a water feature, and
should be dredged regularly, be free flowing and kept free from weeds;
the free flow of water being maintained from the pond to the Council‟s
adjacent land at Laurel Bank;
any other relevant conditions deemed prudent by the Council‟s solicitor;
Land and Property Services determining a suitable consideration;
Halftown Ltd agreeing to pay the Council‟s reasonable legal and agents fees.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED that Halftown Ltd is advised that its planning
application in relation to the site is a totally separate matter and is in no way
CSC.08.09.15
impacted upon by this consent, and no guarantees or assurances should be inferred
from this consent.
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor McIlveen, seconded
by Alderman Keery, that the recommendation be adopted.
ORDER OF BUSINESS – ITEM 7
The Chairman (Alderman Carson) advised Members that Item 7 – Former
Donaghadee Bus Depot would be dealt with „In Committee‟.
8.
RISK MANAGEMENT STRATEGY – FILE: HR (Appendix II)
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report dated 25 August 2015 from the Director of
Organisational Development and Administration stating that risk management was
an integral part of good management and corporate governance. It was essential to
the Council‟s ability to deliver public services and as a custodian of public funds.
Ards and North Down Borough Council was legally required to have risk
management arrangements in place and the Council‟s approach to managing risk
was explained in the Risk Management Strategy (attached) which set out the
Council‟s objectives for the management of risk at a strategic and operational level,
within projects, within partnerships and by its suppliers.
Arising from this would be two types of risk register:


Corporate Risk Register. This was one register to record the strategic risks
emanating from the Corporate Plan. The identification and assessment of
these risks would be performed by the Corporate Leadership Team.
Departmental Risk Registers. These would be compiled by the responsible
Directorate (one per directorate) and were likely to be a compilation of
strategic and operational risks.
The risk registers would be examined by the Audit Committee on a quarterly basis
and an Annual Risk Management Report would also be presented to the Corporate
Committee and Council.
RECOMMENDED that the Risk Management Strategy is adopted by the Council and
the Corporate and Departmental Risk Registers be drawn up.
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Smart, seconded by
Councillor Gilmour, that the recommendation be adopted.
9.
LETTER FROM UNA NORTHERN IRELAND – FILE: HR (Appendix
III)
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report dated 31 August 2015 from the Director of
Organisational Development and Administration stating that a letter had been
received from the United Nations Association, Northern Ireland (UNA – NI), asking
CSC.08.09.15
the Council to consider participating in marking the 70th anniversary year of the
founding of the United Nations organisation.
The request was that the Council would host a small reception for UNA-NI members
and local school representatives at which the Mayor would be presented with a
commemorative copy of the UN Charter.
RECOMMENDED that the Council agrees to host a reception as detailed above.
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Muir, seconded by
Councillor Anderson, that the recommendation be adopted.
10.
EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY – ACTIONS AND INITIATIVES
(Appendix IV)
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report dated 24 August 2015 from the Director of
Organisational Development and Administration providing an update on the
Council‟s Equality and Diversity – Actions and Initiatives.
Quarterly Report on Equality and Good Relations (Section 75 of The NI Act
1998) – September 2015
Within the Council‟s Equality Scheme an undertaking had been given to report
quarterly to the Council to allow Members to continuously monitor how the Council
was meeting its equality and good relations duties and responsibilities, as identified
in Section 75 of The Northern Ireland Act 1998.
For the quarter commencing 1 June 2015, the Council had taken the following
actions to meet its statutory duties and responsibilities:




Following the Equality Commission Northern Ireland‟s (ECNI) approval of the
Council‟s Draft Equality Scheme on 25 March 2015, the Equality Scheme and
Action Plan had since been finalised, together with the Council‟s Disability
Action Plan. These documents were attached and referred to in more detail
below.
Ards and North Down Borough Council‟s Screening and Sustainability Group
continued to meet as required to screen and review Council policies. To date
any policies that had been identified as having an adverse impact or potential
adverse impact had been revised and subsequently “screened out”.
The Council was committed within the Equality Scheme to publish screening
reports quarterly. The first quarterly report had been uploaded onto the
Council‟s website on 6 July 2015, and the next quarterly report on the
outcome of screened council policies would be uploaded to the website and
issued to consultees by Monday, 5 October 2015.
The external Ards and North Down Consultative Panel on Equality and Good
Relations had held its first meeting on Wednesday, 3 June 2015 in the Marine
Court Hotel, Bangor. The meeting had begun with training on Section 75 and
the role of the panel in relation to screening of Council policies. The next
meeting of this group would be at 5.00pm on Tuesday, 29 September 2015 in
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


the Marine Court Hotel, Bangor when a challenge workshop would scrutinise
the screening outcome of further policies.
Officers were currently planning an event to mark World Mental Health Day on
10th October (details below point 5).
The Inclusive Mobility and Transport Advisory Committee (IMTAC) continued
to circulate its relevant reports to the Council for information or consultation,
as appropriate. These were available from the Policy Officer.
Councillor Brooks and Councillor Robinson had recently been appointed
Diversity Champions by the Council and training had been provided on the
role on 1 July 2015. The Diversity Champions and officers had subsequently
met to discuss a suitable way of raising awareness of Diversity and it had
been proposed that an Annual Event be held, commencing in November 2015
(details below Point 4).
Ards and North Down Borough Council Audit of Inequalities and Draft Equality
Action Plan
On 25 March 2015 the ECNI had adopted the draft Equality Scheme for North Down
and Ards District Council (now Ards and North Down Borough Council). The
Equality Scheme had required the Council to produce an Audit of Inequalities and an
associated Equality Action Plan.
The Shadow Council had agreed on 30 March 2015 to carry out a twelve week
public consultation on the Audit of Inequalities and draft Equality Action Plan. This
consultation period had closed on Friday 10 July 2015.
Details on the Audit of Inequalities and draft Equality Action Plan had been
forwarded to all those on the Council‟s consultee list, and the Policy Officer had held
a consultation event with representatives from a local interest group. All attendees
had endorsed the actions the Council had included in the draft plan to address the
identified potential inequalities and subsequent potential adverse impact for
employees, residents and visitors to the Borough. No further comments had been
received.
The Action Plan would be regularly monitored and reviewed and outcomes of the
actions would be reported upon annually in the Annual Report to the Council and
ECNI.
RECOMMENDED that the Council adopts the Equality Action Plan, and includes it
as part of the Equality Scheme, forwarding same to the ECNI.
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Barry, seconded by
Councillor Brooks, that the recommendation be adopted.
Ards and North Down Borough Council Disability Action Plan
In April 2015, the Council had agreed to carry out a twelve week public consultation
on the draft Disability Action Plan for Ards and North Down Borough Council. This
consultation period had closed on 31 July 2015.
CSC.08.09.15
The Disability Action Plan (DAP) detailed the Council‟s commitment to promote good
practice and ensured the Council met its statutory obligations to promote equality of
opportunity for people with a disability. The Plan outlined identified actions and
processes with timescales and measurable outcomes which ensured that issues
facing people with disabilities were effectively mainstreamed within the Council
decision making processes and service delivery. The Plan also complemented the
Council‟s Equality Scheme under Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998.
The Draft Plan had been available on the website throughout the consultation period,
and North Down Community Network had advertised the consultation through its
Community Newsletter. Consultees had also been informed that the DAP would be
made available in a range of formats for any representative group or individual that
would require an alternative format. No requests had been received on this occasion.
One focused consultation event had been held with representatives from a local
interest group which had stated that it was pleased to see the practical and positive
actions the Council had included in the Disability Action Plan and in particular, the
arrangements to convene a Disabilities Forum.
A representative from Autism NI had contacted the Policy Officer to record that they
were pleased with the work the Council intended to carry out. The representative
had asked to become a member of the Disability Forum.
The Council had received a response from the ECNI with a number of
recommendations in relation to monitoring the Action Measures and ensuring the
DAP is made available to a broad range of service users. The ECNI response had
also requested that the Disability Forum considered including in its role the remit to
monitor the DAP. This positive action had been included within the final Plan.
Other comments received from consultees had included;



that the range of actions showed a commitment to meeting the needs of all
those who received or had the potential to receive Council services;
that a Disability Forum would ensure good practice both for service users and
employees;
a call for the DAP to be widely published.
The final Disability Action Plan which incorporated the responses received during the
consultation period was attached. It would be regularly monitored and reviewed by
officers and the Disability Forum, and outcomes of the actions would be reported
upon annually in the Annual Progress Report to the Council and ECNI.
Diversity Awareness Event – Tuesday 3 November 2015 and Thursday 5
November 2015
The Council had appointed two Diversity Champion Elected Members and one
officer to promote diversity across the Council, both internally and in the external
customer focused services it provided.
CSC.08.09.15
The role had been determined by the Local Government Staff Commission and
training had been provided on the legislation and practice to assist champions in
fulfilling their role effectively.
To promote the role and the Council‟s commitment to promoting diversity, it was
proposed that an event be organised annually to raise awareness of diversity to
different audiences, with the first event being targeted at Elected Members and
employees and focusing on the diverse range of customers to whom the Council
provided services, their varied needs and perspectives.
It was considered appropriate that a wide range of employees and all Elected
Members were offered the opportunity to attend. For this reason two events on the
same theme were proposed. These would be held in the Somme Heritage Centre,
Newtownards, on two afternoons – Tuesday 3 November 2015 and Thursday 5
November 2015. A further event could be arranged if required.
The programme would include a welcome from the Council‟s Chief Executive, an
introduction from the Chief Executive or Chairman of Local Government Staff
Commission to the role of Diversity Champions and an opportunity for attendees to
network. This would be followed by talks from representatives of S75 groups and
general equality practitioners. It was envisaged that the events would last two hours
and be interactive, giving those present the opportunity to meet and work with new
colleagues and consider service delivery from different perspectives. Each session
would explore at least three Section 75 themes.
The cost of the event would be met from the Equality budget and an application
would be submitted to the Local Government Staff Commission for part funding.
World Mental Health Day – 10 October 2015
The Council was represented on the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust
World Mental Health Committee by the Council‟s Policy Officer. This Committee had
been set up to highlight and promote the importance of mental health wellbeing.
World Mental Health Day was recognised nationally on 10 October each year. Both
legacy Councils had been proactively involved in raising mental health awareness
through a range of events and initiatives.
This year the theme for World Mental Health Day was „Being and Staying
Connected‟. The group was promoting the theme across the Trust area to show how
small actions could help people connect, build and retain relationships, befriend and
support one another, to help maintain and improve mental health.
Officers were currently considering some options to mark this initiative and would
circulate information to the Elected Members in due course.
Councillor Barry asked how the pricing structure would be agreed established in the
Borough‟s leisure centres.
CSC.08.09.15
In response, the Director of Organisational Development and Administration advised
that the Council would be asked to approve the pricing policy suggested by any
contractor involved with the leisure centres.
Councillor Barry referred to Page 15 of the Equality Action Plan attached to the
report. In particular he quoted the Performance Indicator that stated „Development
of the economic profile of the Council in comparison to the profile of the Council
area‟ and asked for further information on this.
The Director of Organisational Development and Administration advised that going
forward more clarity would be provided on this by the Development Directorate.
RECOMMENDED that the Council:1. notes the above Quarterly Report.
2. adopts the attached Equality Action Plan and includes it as part of the Equality
Scheme, forwarding same to the Equality Commission Northern Ireland
(ECNI).
3. adopts the attached Disability Action Plan, and forwards it to the ECNI before
30 September 2015.
4. approves and supports the above proposals to hold an Annual Diversity
Event, with the first event being held in November 2015.
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Barry, seconded by
Councillor Brooks, that the recommendation be adopted.
11.
GIFTS AND HOSPITALITY POLICY (EMPLOYEES)
The Chairman (Alderman Carson) advised Members that this item had been
deferred to the October meeting of the Committee.
12.
PROPOSED CORPORATE PROJECT MANAGEMENT
APPROACH (Appendix V)
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report dated 26 August 2015 from the Director of
Finance and Performance detailing the proposed corporate project management
approach.
Introduction
The Council was engaged in many projects ranging from minor revenue funded
initiatives to major capital investment schemes. In order to ensure that key projects
were delivered efficiently and within an effective governance framework this Report
set out a proposed approach to the management of agreed projects. This approach
had been endorsed by the Corporate Leadership Team (CLT) and was now reported
for consideration and adoption, or otherwise, by the Corporate Committee and
Council.
The approach would be of particular relevance to the delivery of the Council‟s Capital
Investment Programme; the current iteration of which ran from 2014 to 2018 and
CSC.08.09.15
amounted to net Council planned expenditure circa £70M. The approach detailed in
this report had been devised by the Finance and Performance Directorate, within
which a Project and Capital Unit (PCU) had been established as a component of the
Performance and Projects Service. The approach proposed followed best practice
espoused by the Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP).
It was anticipated that routine revenue and lower value projects would be delivered
by sponsoring Directorates with minimal input from the PCU. Where required the
PCU would however give advice and support to Directorates to ensure effective
delivery of such schemes.
Where it was determined by a Director and agreed by CLT and the Council that a
project should have the full involvement of the PCU it would be added to the
„Corporate Projects Portfolio‟ (CPP). The remainder of this report dealt exclusively
with the delivery of projects to be named on the CPP.
Corporate Project Governance Structure: Roles, Responsibilities and
Reporting
A summary pictorial version of this could be seen in the attachment to the report.
INVESTMENT LEVEL
Council
The Council was the investment decision making body and was responsible for
changes to budget, programme, and general scope, unless authority was delegated.
All changes to a project‟s status had to be considered by the Council in order to
ensure accountability and effective Corporate Governance.
Corporate Committee
It was assumed that a sponsoring Directorate and their parent Committee would
have developed a project to the end of the „analysis‟ stage inclusive of economic
appraisal where required, at which time projects agreed for inclusion on the CPP
would be reported (updates and change requests) to Council via the Corporate
Committee. This was to ensure that a consistent approach was taken to the
management of those projects named in the CPP.
Corporate Project Portfolio Board
Comprising of the following standing members, the Corporate Project Portfolio Board
(CPPB) would meet on a monthly basis (at least initially), and additionally as
required.





Chief Executive
Director of Finance and Performance
Project Senior Responsible Owners (SROs) – typically Directors
Head of Performance and Projects
Project and Capital Manager
CSC.08.09.15


Capital Accountant
Corporate Project Support Officer (Minutes)
This group would consider all significant change requests made by Project Sponsors
to a project‟s budget, programme and scope. The Minutes of each meeting along
with the latest CPP version and a covering „highlights‟ Report, would then be
presented for consideration by the Corporate Committee, and subsequently by the
Council. The „highlights‟ Report would inform the Council of key issues and seek
decisions where required.
PROJECT DIRECTION LEVEL
Project Direction would be the responsibility of the Project Board (PB) for each
project. Each PB would be comprised of relevant key Officers who would consider
their respective project, normally meeting monthly. Key roles would include the
Senior Responsible Owner and the Senior Service User, as well as the Capital
Accountant, Project Sponsor and Project Manager.
Senior Responsible Owner
Each project named on the CPP had to have an agreed Senior Responsible Owner
(SRO). The SRO would typically be the Director or Head of Service to which the
project related.
Senior Service User
Each project named on the CPP had to have an agreed Senior Service User (SSU).
This person would typically be the Head of Service or Service Unit Manager to which
the project related. SSUs would attend Project Board meetings and advise the SRO
and Project Sponsor of the detailed end-user needs that had to be met through
delivery of the project.
Corporate Project Assurance Group
This group would consist of relevant representatives from across every Directorate.
Its primary role would be to review and to input information as relevant to all projects
on the CPP. It would meet monthly or as required, but in advance of each CPPB. It
would aim to improve the design quality of each scheme, consider wider implications
of each project, identify opportunities i.e. funding, and it would increase awareness
across the organisation of the CPP with a view to gaining buy-in and organisational
ownership.
PROJECT DELIVERY LEVEL
At the operational level project delivery would be led by the Project Sponsor named
against each project on the CPP, along with a supporting Project Team (PT). It
would meet monthly or more frequently if required in advance of each PB. Key
stakeholders for each PT would be identified at project initiation stage.
CSC.08.09.15
Senior Project Supplier – Project Sponsor
Each project named on the CPP had to have an agreed Project Sponsor (PS) who
would „supply‟ the project to meet the agreed objectives of the scheme. The PS
would lead the Project Team and would attend and report in to the PB. Typically this
would be the Project and Capital Manager.
Project Manager
Each project named on the CPP had to have an agreed Project Manager (PM).
Typically this would be a Corporate Project Officer, but could be a Service Unit
Manager or Officer, or it could be an independent external consultant. The key role
of the PM would be to support the PS in the day to day delivery of a project.
RECOMMENDED that the Council adopts the Corporate Project Management
approach as detailed in the report.
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Muir, seconded by
Alderman Keery, that the recommendation be adopted.
WORD OF CONGRATULATIONS
At this point in the meeting, the Chairman (Alderman Carson) took the opportunity to
congratulate the Head of Performance and Projects on the recent birth of his
daughter.
EXCLUSION OF PUBLIC AND PRESS
AGREED, on the proposal of Councillor Smith, seconded by Councillor Barry,
that the public and press be excluded from the meeting for the undernoted
items of business.
(Councillor Muir left the meeting at this stage – 8.05pm)
7.
FORMER DONAGHADEE BUS DEPOT – FILE: OS11585
(Appendix VI)
*** NOT FOR PUBLICATION ***
Schedule 6 – Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular
person (including the Council holding that information).
(Councillor Muir entered the meeting at this stage – 8.17pm)
13.
AWARD OF TENDER FOR PROVISION OF CORPORATE
UNIFORM, CASUAL UNIFORM AND PROTECTIVE
WORKWEAR – FILE: 400381
*** NOT FOR PUBLICATION ***
CSC.08.09.15
Schedule 6 – Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular
person (including the Council holding that information).
14.
OVERTIME AND ABSENCE FIGURES – FILE: FIN45 (Appendix
VII)
*** NOT FOR PUBLICATION ***
Schedule 6 – Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular
person (including the Council holding that information).
15.
HUMAN RESOURCES POLICIES REVISION – FILE: HR
(Appendix VIII)
*** NOT FOR PUBLICATION ***
Schedule 6 – Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular
person (including the Council holding that information).
16.
EMPLOYEE MOBILE PHONE/DEVICE POLICY – FILE: 287109
(ICT POLICY AND SECURITY POLICY) (Appendix IX)
*** NOT FOR PUBLICATION ***
Schedule 6 – Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular
person (including the Council holding that information).
17.
BUSINESS CASES – VOLUNTARY SEVERENCE (Appendix X)
*** NOT FOR PUBLICATION ***
Schedule 6 – Information which is likely to reveal the identity of an individual.
18.
SOLACE CONFERENCE 2015
*** NOT FOR PUBLICATION ***
Schedule 6 – Information which is likely to reveal the identity of an individual.
RE-ADMITTANCE OF PUBLIC AND PRESS
AGREED, on the proposal of Councillor Smith, seconded by Councillor Barry,
that the public and press be re-admitted to the meeting.
Circulated for Information
(a) Action Cancer „Paint the Town Pink‟ Campaign (Copy attached)
CSC.08.09.15
In response to a query from Councillor Smith about lighting up Council offices, the
Director of Organisational Development and Administration reported that a policy in
respect of this was currently being developed and would be brought to the next
meeting of the Committee.
At this stage in the meeting, Councillor Smith proposed, seconded by Councillor
Barry, that the Chairman (Alderman Carson) dressed up „pretty and pink‟ to raise
funds for Action Cancer.
In response, the Chairman (Alderman Carson) expressed his willingness to agree to
this proposal.
AGREED, on the proposal of Councillor Smith, seconded by Councillor Barry,
that the Chairman (Alderman Carson) dressed up ‘pretty and pink’ to raise
funds for Action Cancer.
CLOSING COMMENTS
Councillor Kennedy took the opportunity to welcome the Chairman (Alderman
Carson) back to the Committee after his recent bout of ill health.
Alderman Carson expressed his appreciation to Members and Officers who had
phoned or emailed him to wish him well during that time.
19.
TERMINATION OF MEETING
The meeting terminated at 8.30pm
ITEM 7.5
ARDS AND NORTH DOWN BOROUGH COUNCIL
A meeting of the Community and Wellbeing Committee was held in the Council
Chamber, 2 Church Street, Newtownards on Wednesday, 9 September 2015 at 7.00
pm.
PRESENT:
In the Chair:
Councillor Armstrong
Alderman:
Alderman Irvine
Councillors:
Adair
Allen
Anderson
Boyle
Cooper
Dunne
Kennedy
Martin
Menagh (Vice Chair)
Roberts
Smart
Thompson (7.45 pm)
Wilson
Officers:
Director of Community and Wellbeing, Head of Community and
Culture, Head of Leisure and Amenities, Head of Environmental
Health Protection and Development, and Member Services
Officer
Others:
Richard Hudson (Service Delivery Manager, Translink)
Arthur Hamilton (NE Area Manager, Translink)
Peter Wray (Manager, Bangor Alternatives)
Debbie Watters (Deputy Director, NI Alternatives)
WELCOME
The Chairman (Councillor Armstrong) extended a warm welcome to those present at
the first meeting of the Community and Wellbeing Committee following summer
recess.
1. APOLOGIES
Apologies for inability to attend were received from Alderman Chambers, Councillor
Brooks and Councillor Edmund. An apology for lateness was recorded from
Councillor Thompson.
CW.09.09.15
2. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Alderman Irvine declared an interest in Item 3.1 – presentation from Bangor
Alternatives being a board member for that organisation. He also declared an
interest in Item as a trustee for the NCLT.
3. DEPUTATIONS
3.1
TRANSLINK
The Chairman (Councillor Armstrong) welcomed and introduced Arthur Hamilton (NE
Area Manager) and Richard Hudson (Service Delivery Manager) from Translink to
the meeting and invited them to commence their presentation.
Mr Hamilton thanked Members for affording him and his colleague the opportunity to
furnish the Committee with an update on the ongoing development of bus services,
passenger numbers, schools involvement and the contribution that Translink made
to the local region. He made reference to the recent changes in the structure of
Councils adding that Translink was also undergoing similar adjustments with three
areas of management merging into two. As an organisation, Translink was losing
20% of Government funding which equated to a reduction of £13M per annum.
Subsequently, an action plan was prepared to minimise the impact on frontline
services and although there would be no compulsory redundancies, streamlining of
managerial and administrative posts would achieve savings worth £3.1M and a fares
increase would realise an amount of £4M. Mr Hamilton was mindful that Translink
had maintained two price freezes during the past five years and therefore a price rise
had been overdue.
Having gone out to public consultation and the various stakeholders, the plan had
been presented to the Minister and held for three months to allow discussions with
the Trade Unions to take place. He informed Members that that plan was released
at the end of August for implementation in September and the Consumer Council
had highlighted it as being one of the best in recent times. Further consultation with
passengers was undertaken to advise of those amendments, to bed in the changes
and to counter feedback on any issues. Mr Hamilton was pleased to report that
generally there had been no mass public reaction; nonetheless those variations
within the organisation were pertinent to achieve savings and enable Translink to
reach the position of being able to grow a bus business plan. It was also deemed of
vital importance to integrate bus and rail services to attain overall transport benefits.
Following on, Mr Hudson confirmed that no major issues had been raised so far. He
alluded to Members that as part of the streamlining process changes had been
implemented to a selection of bus routes as undernoted:
Bangor Area
Service 3 to Donaghadee, slight adjustments to evening services
Service 3C to Ballywalter, removal of two return services
Service 303a Donaghadee Town Service removal of two return journeys per day,
route shortened as result of public consultation, additional 4 journeys per day to
Aurora Leisure Centre from Bus Station
2
CW.09.09.15
Late Sunday services from Belfast withdrawn after 6.00 pm
Saturday service from Bangor to Belfast reduced to hourly frequency
Intend to look at improving rail to bus connections within the area
Newtownards Area
Service 5A additional service
Service 5B additional services to Ballygowan
New route from Scrabo Estate to Tesco Castlebawn
Ringhaddy area to also to service to Tesco Castlebawn
Late Sunday service from Belfast withdrawn after 6.00 pm
Some adjustments to Saturday Belfast timings
Some adjustments to Sunday Belfast timings
Councillor Adair took the opportunity to pay tribute to Mr Hudson and Mr McMaster
for their conscientious efforts at a local level to improve the bus services to outlying
areas. He believed the plan represented a good initial start in helping schoolchildren
located along the Ards Peninsula. However, he brought attention to the limited
service for Carrowdore whereby it was easier to catch a bus out of the village but
buses were infrequent for the homeward journey. He wondered if that service could
be enhanced.
In response, Mr Hudson explained that such resources were unavailable at present
for the 4.10 pm slot needed for Carrowdore but he would certainly keep that matter
on the agenda.
Alderman Irvine welcomed the four new journeys from the bus centre to Bangor
Aurora as a much needed route for the town centre. He was also of the viewpoint
that integration of bus and rail services was critical for long term viability.
Mr Hudson asked Members to inform him of any problems with services as
improving bus connections remained a priority.
On behalf of constituents, Councillor Menagh expressed his appreciation for the new
service from Scrabo estate to the Tesco store at Castlebawn. However, he queried
what time the shutters were now closed at Ards bus depot.
Taking account of anti social behaviour, Mr Hudson clarified that once the Inspector
finished his shift at 6.00 pm, the new recently installed roller shutters were lowered.
He noted that the bus services would be relocated to Gibson‟s Lane, which could be
utilised after 7.00 pm from 5 October 2015.
Councillor Boyle wished to place on record his gratitude for the now extended bus
service for the Ards Peninsula. He also thought it important to pay tribute to the staff
and drivers as their courteous behaviour had not gone unnoticed. With regard to the
20% funding cut, he questioned if that had to come from this area.
In reply, Mr Hamilton stated that should some aspect of the local service be seen as
not operating effectively and changed accordingly, that saving was still required to be
found elsewhere. Even with budgetary constraints, in comparison to other locales
3
CW.09.09.15
such as Ballymena and Larne, a good broad service was operated within this
Borough.
Councillor Boyle also enquired about the percentage of take-up for free bus and rail
passes amongst OAPs who lived in the Ards Peninsula.
As there had been a slight decline in usage figures, Mr Hudson felt that that was a
resultant outcome of the poor weather this summer.
In terms of rural areas, the Chairman (Councillor Armstrong) questioned if those had
been awarded priority and if an equality impact assessment had been initiated.
Mr Hamilton verified that to be the case and a Bus Business Plan to include rural
services had been presented to the Department of Regional Development. As part
of that consultation process, 5,000 responses were received outlining concerns
about not cutting the villages off from larger towns and the preference of reducing a
service rather than losing it completely. As a consequence, those issues were taken
into account to avoid excluding rural communities.
Mr Hamilton concluded the presentation by informing Members that as part of the
voluntary access scheme, Mr Hudson would be leaving the employment of Translink
in December of this year.
Members offered their congratulations to Mr Hudson and wished him well for the
future.
Mr Hudson indicated that he had worked at Bangor bus depot for 10 years and said
it had been a pleasure working with Members during that period.
The Chairman (Councillor Armstrong) thanked Mr Hamilton and Mr Hudson for their
interesting and informative presentation and they withdrew from the meeting.
NOTED.
3.2
BANGOR ALTERNATIVES (Appendix I)
ATTACHED: Copy of presentation.
The Chairman (Councillor Armstrong) welcomed and introduced Mr Wray and Ms
Watters to the meeting and invited them to commence their presentation.
Ms Watters was grateful for the opportunity to address the Committee and at the
outset conceded that NI Alternatives had been viewed as a somewhat contentious
organisation when formed in 1997, as it had dealt with paramilitary punishment
attacks. Considerable work had occurred in those 12 years and hence, the umbrella
body of NI Alternatives and its other offices including Bangor were now accredited by
the Department of Justice. That accreditation in conjunction with inspection by the
Criminal Justice Inspectorate provided a safeguard of its status as a professionally
documented organisation.
4
CW.09.09.15
In continuance, Mr Wray referred Members to his presentation circulated prior to the
meeting, commenting that Bangor was one of five sites within the Province and
comprised four staff based in Kilcooley estate. The main aims were to provide
mediation, advocacy, negotiation and community support for all age groups.
Examples included neighbour disputes about noise, anti-social behaviour and
adherence to flag protocol. Their office also encompassed an intensive youth
support worker who engaged with young people to aid their re-integration back into
their communities, as well as allowing them to give back to those communities by
forming positive relationships and helping the vulnerable.
Mr Wray emphasised the value in building up those young people to become more
confident and attain a positive outlook. In terms of the Start Programme, he
articulated that it was held in 13 week cycles encompassing a small group of 10
young people. There were many strands to that programme such as personal
development and mentoring, the chance to gain OCN qualifications and becoming
employable.
Bangor Alternatives also facilitated young people to converse with the PSNI in
challenging and enterprising group sessions, one of which had recently been held in
Bangor Aurora and involved 60 persons. He was of the opinion that that was exactly
the type of community work that the PCSP should be funding.
Undoubtedly, the face of Kilcooley had changed for the better as 15 years ago,
nobody wanted to live there, whereas currently there was a waiting list as that vibrant
community spirit within the estate was now clearly observed. Alternatives was
growing and he would be delighted to see that great work extending out further in
Bangor and being delivered on a wider scale in Newtownards and the Ards
Peninsula.
Responding to a question from Councillor Roberts about young vulnerable people
with learning disabilities, Mr Wray verified that the Start Programme often consisted
of those expelled from school at an early age and that a high fraction of those had
mental health issues.
On that same point, Ms Watters described how international research had
discovered that those with learning difficulties were more liable to end up in the
criminal justice system. It was definitely a dilemma for community organisations, the
justice family and PSNI to collaboratively resolve.
Councillor Martin remarked upon the 431 young people who had benefitted from
projects to promote personal and social development from April 2014 to March 2015,
which displayed the commendable efforts of Bangor Alternatives. He also
mentioned the challenges pertaining to restorative justice in the next few years.
Mr Wray indicated that it was a necessity to engage with young disadvantaged
people from a wider area but that needed to be in partnership with community
groups/associations. Often there were no premises readily available in other
neighbourhoods that could be used for that purpose.
5
CW.09.09.15
Additionally, Ms Watters underlined the funding challenges to be encountered by the
organisation as a whole. She put it in context by illustrating that the cost of sending
a person into the criminal justice system was £78K per year. Conversely, working to
support a young person holistically through NI Alternatives amounted to £2,000
annually. If placed in the justice system, there was an 80% chance that in all
likelihood that person would reoffend. Those offered support and assistance were
least likely to do so with some committing lower level offences; proof that community
based initiatives were the way forward.
As he worked with autistic children under 18, Councillor Cooper queried who set the
criteria of eligibility for people to apply to the Start Programme.
In response, Mr Wray reported that anyone aged 16-24 and not in education or
employment could avail of the service. For the reasons of practicality, it would be
difficult to organise if 1 person lived in Donaghadee, 1 in Portavogie, 1 in
Newtownards etc.
Councillor Cooper accepted that it would be advantageous for a group of interested
young people to be from a specific area, with the onus resting with elected
representatives to liaise and gather a group together, provide Bangor Alternatives
with background information and premises which would allow them to visit that area
for deliverance of the programme.
Mr Wray fully concurred with those comments, indicating that as the organisation
had to operate within the confines of a tight budget, they would greatly appreciate if
premises, heating and electricity were made accessible.
Councillor Menagh praised the brilliant efforts of the team based in Kilcooley and
was aware that they had even supported a group of young people in Ballygowan. In
that regard, he recognised the requirement for another office to be set up at another
location in the Borough as there was still a lot of work to be done. Even more crucial
now that funding cuts in the PSNI had eliminated neighbourhood policing.
That concluded the presentation.
The Chairman (Councillor Armstrong) thanked Mr Wray and Ms Watters for their
interesting and comprehensive presentation and they withdrew from the meeting.
4. ROAD SAFETY QUERY AT CLOUGHEY PLAYGROUND
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report from the Director of Community and
Wellbeing detailing that Members may recall that the Community and Wellbeing
Committee at its meeting in June raised the issue of a potential risk to children at
Cloughey playground from road traffic leaving the road and entering the park. It was
agreed that Council staff would assess the situation and ask Transport NI for their
views on the matter in order to come to an informed decision on taking any particular
action. Transport NI was contacted in writing and following a visit to the site they had
concluded as follows in a response forwarded on 2 July.
6
CW.09.09.15
1. Speed Limit. Data indicates that there was one vehicle incident in recent
times, in 2011. This was not related to speed nor did it involve any
pedestrians. Ongoing and recent speed surveys carried out adjacent to the
playpark show that the highest daily average speed was 33.4mph and
therefore they conclude that the 40mph limit is appropriate.
2. Transport NI noted that there were no playground warning signs covering the
frontage of the site, and stated that they would install two warning signs on
yellow backing boards as soon as possible.
3. They advise that crash barriers would only be installed where there is a visible
drop from the road and a history of related accidents, and that a risk
assessment should be undertaken. The Councils Head of Assets and
Property Services has evaluated the site and concluded that the cost of
installing crash barriers at the location in question is likely to be in the order to
£8000 to £13000 depending on the specification required.
A subsequent letter from the Minister‟s private secretary dated 4 August confirmed
that the signage was to be provided, that a risk assessment was to be carried out by
DRD on the possibility of installing crash barriers at the site, and that Council would
be informed on the outcome of that when it was completed.
RECOMMENDED that the Council notes the above.
(Councillor Thompson entered the meeting at this stage – 7.45 pm)
Councillor Boyle proposed, seconded by Councillor Smart, that the recommendation
be adopted.
Councillor Adair proposed as an amendment, seconded by Councillor Thompson,
that this Council, in the absence of movement from the Department of Regional
Development, approves expenditure to install a crash barrier in the interests of safety
at the children‟s play area, Main Road, Cloughey.
In speaking to his amendment, Councillor Adair brought attention to what had been a
long standing matter of concern stretching over the duration of 10 years. Throughout
that period of time, he had consistently lobbied for a reduction in the speed limit from
40 mph to 30 mph for that road which comprised both a playground and a primary
school. He reminded Members that in 2011, a speeding car had careered off the
road landing in the play area and in that instance, it was extremely fortunate that no
children were present. He considered it disgraceful that the DRD had failed to rectify
that problem which should have been immediately addressed in 2011. In 2012 an
impact assessment was carried out which resulted in basic warning signs being
erected. The play area was positioned on a busy main road merely protected by
wooden fencing which compromised child safety; a robust crash barrier was
imperative. In light of that, he would not relax until he had exhausted every possible
avenue to secure a resolution and underlined the Council‟s duty of care towards the
protection of children. To that end, he encouraged Members to evaluate the
situation and support his amendment.
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CW.09.09.15
Councillors Armstrong and Thompson offered their full support agreeing that
TransportNI had been disregarding what was potentially a life threatening incident
waiting to happen.
Councillor Boyle noted how long the matter had been ignored and he wondered how
best the Council could help deliver a resolution for the constituents of Cloughey,
given that budgets were restricted. On that basis, he suggested that a report be
brought back or if the amendment was agreed put an action plan in place. e
advocated the sentiments of the amendment and as part of the due process was
happy to await a report.
The Director of Community and Wellbeing advised if the Council wished to carry this
work out it would first need to ascertain the feasibility of instigating works which fell
within the remit of TransportNI both in terms of statutory responsibility and an
installation potentially on the public footpath which was DRD property, and report
back to the Committee.
Although frustrated by the decisions of Central Government and understanding of
the Members‟ unease about the play area, Councillor Anderson urged a cautionary
approach. He voiced concern that a precedent could be set and it was crucial to
examine all the legalities and follow Council protocol. Furthermore he believed that
bringing a report back implied that unanimous approval had been received.
Councillor Martin offered his backing to the amendment as it had the potential to
save children‟s lives. He wondered if the matter could be expedited but accepted
that TranportNI held statutory responsibility in that realm of works and in reality the
money should be coming from their budgets.
In concurrence, Councillor Cooper was also in favour of safeguarding the play area
but stressed the need for the Council to abide by protocol and advance via the
proper channels.
In order to provide clarity on the issue, Councillor Adair informed Members that he
wished to include at the end of his amendment …‟subject to relevant approval‟. He
asked if Members were committed to proceeding as ample reports had already been
presented on the matter. He concluded by asking why delay this serious decision
any longer as what price could be placed on a child‟s life.
On being put to the meeting, the amendment FELL, with 6 voting for and 8 against.
Councillor Adair requested a recorded vote which resulted as follows:
FOR (6)
Alderman
Irvine
Councillors
Adair
Dunne
Kennedy
Martin
AGAINST (8)
Councillors
Allen
Anderson
Armstrong
Boyle
Cooper
Menagh
ABSTAINED (0)
8
ABSENT (4)
Alderman
Chambers
Councillors
Brooks
Edmund
Roberts
CW.09.09.15
Thompson
Smart
Wilson
However, it was the viewpoint of Councillor Cooper that Members had in principle
agreed to the amendment but wished the precise protocol to be followed.
Councillor Cooper proposed as an amendment, seconded by Councillor Allen that
this Council, in the absence of movement from the Department of Regional
Development, approves expenditure to install a crash barrier in the interests of safety
at the children‟s play area, Main Road, Cloughey, and an initial report from the
Director be presented to outline the appropriate protocol and legal parameters to
execute this project.
AGREED TO RECOMMEND that the Council, in the absence of movement from
the Department of Regional Development, approves expenditure to install a
crash barrier in the interests of safety at the children’s play area, Main Road,
Cloughey, and an initial report from the Director be presented to outline the
appropriate protocol and legal parameters to execute this project.
5. GROUNDS MAINTENANCE CARRIED OUT ON BEHALF OF
TRANSPORTNI
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report from the Director of Community and
Wellbeing detailing that Members would be aware of the ongoing debate around the
lack of maintenance currently being carried out by TransportNI on their property,
such as grass verges etc, which was due they stated to a removal of funding for that
activity.
For Member‟s information, the Council had for many years carried out such
maintenance on the Department‟s behalf, which in recent years involved work at the
following locations.
Bangor Ring Road four major roundabouts
Ballygowan Roundabout
Balloo Cross Roads
Carnasure Terrace Comber
Belfast Road Entrance, Comber
Killinchy St and Newtownards Road roundabouts, Comber
Ards Shopping Centre Roundabout
Scrabo Road roundabout, Newtownards
Frederick St Roundabout and railing planters
9
CW.09.09.15
Comber Road Roundabout, Newtownards
Portaferry Road Roundabout, Newtownards
Zion Place roundabouts and railing planters, Newtownards
Shore Road Junction, Newtownards
Hightrees Junction, Donaghadee
Planters at the Parade Donaghadee
Planters at Donaghadee Road, Millisle
Ballyhalbert Harbour Road
Main Road, Portavogie
Main Road, Cloughy
Watsons Corner, Cloughy
Shore Road, Kircubbin and
Entrance verges to Greyabbey village.
Annually, work that had been undertaken by the Council included weekly grass
cutting, litter picking, seasonal bedding provision and maintenance, tree, shrub and
rose bed maintenance and weed control.
That was a significant ongoing level of activity. Based on the maintenance
requirements costs were typically in the region of £40 – 50k per year. Those costs, if
work was continued may increase as legal requirements for roadside working, and
changes in other legislation come to bear, due to further enhanced traffic
management measures being required in the future.
Up until 31 March 2015, Council received just under £4000 from DRD Roads for the
maintenance of those areas, ie less than 10% of cost. That figure was based upon
what DRD Roads would have spent on maintaining the areas at their determined
standard, which was three cuts of grass per year only. However, to promote civic
pride and enhance the amenity of the areas, Council agreed to provide for the
continued additional maintenance as described above. From 1 April 2015, no
funding from DRD had been received and so the current costs were being borne by
the Council completely.
The Council had been approached by TransportNI to ascertain its appetite for further
work to be carried out on other DRD property by the Council or community groups,
such as road side verges. Given that the safety requirements were onerous for that
hazardous activity Council staff were not minded to put such a request to community
groups, nor suggest, at this point in time, that we take on any further additional areas
10
CW.09.09.15
in excess of the significant work that was already been undertaken on the
Department‟s behalf.
RECOMMENDED that the report be noted and that for now no further additional
work is considered by Council without the necessary additional funding.
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Wilson, seconded
by Councillor Irvine, that the recommendation be adopted.
(Councillor Allen left the meeting at this stage – 8.20 pm)
6. DONAGHADEE SPORTS HUB (Appendix II)
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Appendix 1 – Donaghadee Sports Hub Scoping
Report, Appendix 2 – Donaghadee Sports Hub Feasibility Study and accompanying
report from the Director of Community and Wellbeing detailing that Members may be
aware that Council Officers had been engaged with four outdoor sport clubs in
Donaghadee concerning the ongoing provision of facilities in the town for their
sports. With the current provision for soccer, hockey, rugby and cricket in need of
substantial investment it was felt that it was an appropriate time to consider the
merging of that provision into one site which would provide for those four sports in a
more sustainable efficient manner. That was supported by the recently produced
Ards and North Down Pitch Strategy (2014). Council should be aware that those
four clubs hired or leased the facilities that they currently used from the Council, thus
that initiative also concerned the potential upgrading and modernisation of Council
sports estate.
An initial scoping exercise funded by the former Ards Borough Council was carried
out by Strategic Leisure Limited earlier this year with a view to identify the key
facilities, land requirements and key issues in developing a potential multi „sports
hub‟. The report took into account national, regional and local policies and strategies
and the views of the four stakeholder clubs. The scoping report had now been
produced and was included in the Appendix.
In summary the scoping report made two main recommendations; the establishment
of a formal working group which was representative of each sport and the production
of a full feasibility study to consider a number of options for provision with a view to
identifying the best option to take forward. The feasibility study also considered if
any other sports in the town could be provided for within the Hub. The report also
identified the relevance of the project within a regional and local policy strategy
context (see pp 2-9) and as such provided some assurance that subject to a positive
outcome from a feasibility study, potential financial support could be favourable.
Consequently, the proposed working group had now been established and they were
keen to retain the current momentum. They had submitted a request to Council for
funding of up to £13k towards the production of a full feasibility report (Appendix 2).
They had also stated that if they were successful in securing the funding the report
would remain in the ownership of the Donaghadee Sports Hub Committee.
11
CW.09.09.15
Other essential objectives of the report would include consideration of the future
management arrangements of the potential facility, the potential sources of funding,
and a business plan.
RECOMMENDED that Council agrees to fund the production of the feasibility report
to a maximum of £13k on the following conditions, namely that
1. Normal Council processes are followed in the procurement of a suitable
consultant to carry out the study
2. Council becomes joint owners of the report
3. Senior Council officer involvement and support on the groups committee, in
order to represent the Councils interest and deal with Governance issues
concerning the use of Council funds. In addition this support will allow further
advice concerning specialist functions such as procurement to be drawn upon
from the Council
Councillor Martin proposed, seconded by Councillor Menagh, that the
recommendations be adopted.
(Councillor Allen re-entered the meeting at this stage – 8.23 pm)
Councillor Martin voiced his delight and satisfaction at reading the positive report and
progress towards the commissioning of a feasibility study. He underlined the
massive amount of work entailed to open what was essentially a centre of excellence
in Donaghadee. In that regard, he made mention of the future economies of scale
and development of greater sporting skills.
(Councillor Dunne left the meeting at this stage – 8.24 pm)
Councillor Menagh endorsed those sentiments noting that Donaghadee was
continuing to expand. He determined that other sports could utilise the facility and it
was a wonderful amenity for the town and indeed the wider community.
In welcoming the comprehensive report, Councillor Boyle enquired as to the costs for
implementation of a formal feasibility study.
(Councillor Dunne re-entered the meeting at this stage – 8.26 pm)
(Councillor Adair left the meeting at this stage – 8.26 pm)
(Councillor Martin left the meeting at this stage – 8.26 pm)
The Head of Leisure and Amenities estimated that to be in the region of £10 - £13K,
up to a maximum of £13K only.
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Martin, seconded by
Councillor Menagh, that the recommendation be adopted.
12
CW.09.09.15
7. BANGOR DRAMA CLUB REQUEST FOR FUNDING (Appendix III)
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Letter dated 18 May 2015 from Bangor Drama Club
and accompanying report from the Director of Community and Wellbeing detailing
that Council had received the attached letter from the Bangor Drama Club in May
2015, which requested that consideration be given to providing the Club with a grant
of £17,265 to purchase and install retractable seating for the Good Templar Hall.
Bangor Drama Club had expressed an interest in purchasing the Council facility, the
Good Templar Hall and the final contract was currently being prepared. The contract
would be subject to the Club meeting the purchase price of £150,000 and having the
sufficient reserves to carry out the necessary refurbishment of the building.
Officers had met with representatives of the Drama Club to advise that the Council
had not made provision for capital Arts Grants. However, officers would continue to
support and advise the Club and that would include signposting the Club to
alternative sources of capital funding from other sources, should they become
available.
RECOMMENDED that Council notes the report.
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Boyle, seconded by
Councillor Allen, that the recommendation be adopted.
8. NON COUNCIL OWNED COMMUNITY FACILITIES GRANT – FILE
CG10685 (Appendix IV)
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Former Council Policy document, LLCA
Maintenance Needs 2015 and accompanying report from the Director of Community
and Wellbeing detailing that correspondence had been received from
Lisbarnett/Lisbane District Community Association (LLCA) requesting funding under
the Legacy Ards Borough Council‟s Capital Grant for Non-council owned Community
Halls Policy for a series of maintenance required to their community buildings.
Members may be aware that a policy existed from the Legacy Ards Council
(appendix I) which enabled the Council to award capital grants to constituted bodies
charged with managing those local community facilities which were not part of its
estate or operational undertaking. The grants were up to and including £25,000 in a
rolling ten year period. Award of the grants was contingent upon:
1. a robust purchasing procedure, consistent with the Council‟s procedure being
employed in the procurement of goods and services
2. a suitable security being available for the Council‟s protection
The Group had requested that it draws down £17,461.60 of that grant. In
accordance with the Council‟s procurement policy they had sought the following
quotes.
a)
Quotations for the replacement soffit and fascia with PVA
13
CW.09.09.15
GS Joinery & Property Maintenance
£1,050.00
b)
Quotations for replacing the two central heating boilers
AJC Building Services
£2,550.00 each
Bentley Plumbing Solutions
£2,250.00 each
Orcas Systems Ltd
£2,340.00 each
c)
Quotations for replacement of window sills x3 and replacement of the
existing oil tank
S. Scott and son
£1,344 for both
d)
Quotations for new back and front doors plus replacement of 20 windows
Mourne Windows and Doors
£7,820.00
Brown Conservatories
£7,095.60
Joseph Long & Son
£8924.40
e)
Quotation for replacement carpet
Martin Philips
£1182.00
Quotation for redecorating
Steve Molyneux
£2990.00
The group wished to proceed with the contractors who had submitted the lowest
prices which were:
Sofit and facia- GS Joinery
Central heating boilers – Bentley Plumbing
Window sills x 3 – S Scott and Son
Back and front door and 20 windows
Brown Conservatories
New carpet – Martin Philips
Redecorating – Steve Molyneux
£1,050.00
£4,500.00
£1,344.00
£7,095.60
£1,182.00
£2,290.00
Total
£17,461.60
Attached in the appendix was a list provided by LLCA of quotations for each element
of the work needed for the community buildings.
To date LLCA had not received any of this grant.
RECOMMENDED that the Council awards a grant of up to £17,461.60 to
Lisbarnett/Lisbane Community Association for the maintenance required to the
community buildings on the previously agreed terms and conditions.
Furthermore, it was recommended that the existing policy is reviewed with a further
report being brought back considering the possible extension of the scope of the
former Ards policy to the whole of the new Borough.
(Councillor Adair re-entered the meeting at this stage – 8.28 pm)
14
CW.09.09.15
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Cooper, seconded
by Councillor Menagh, that the recommendation be adopted.
9. MULTI ANNUAL ARTS GRANTS – FILE CG10685
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report from the Director of Community and
Wellbeing detailing that in February 2015 the Shadow Council agreed to offer a two
year Multi-Annual Arts Fund for the period from April 2016 – March 2018 with a total
budget of £22,000 per annum. The maximum available grant per organisation/
application was £5,000 per annum.
Grant applications would be publically advertised and would open on 1 October 2015
with a closing date of 30 October 2015. Following the closing date, applications
would be assessed by the Arts and Culture Advisory Panel and their
recommendations would be brought to Council for consideration. That timeframe
would allow successful applicants sufficient lead in time to plan their 2016-2018
programmes.
The Multi-Annual Arts Fund was designed to enable constituted arts and special
interest groups from the Borough to enhance existing arts provision, or undertake
new larger scale arts initiatives over a two year period.
RECOMMENDED that Council approve the attached draft criteria for the Multiannual Arts Funding programme to enable the application process to open on 1
October 2015.
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Thompson,
seconded by Councillor Smart, that the recommendation be adopted.
10.
GOOD RELATIONS BONFIRE MONITORING 2015-2016 – FILE
GREL242 (Appendix V)
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- GRO Monitoring Report Prior to 11&12 July, VMS
Independent Monitoring Report, Summary of Applicant Evaluations and report from
the Director of Community and Wellbeing detailing that Council‟s Cultural Expression
programme supported inclusive local events and festivals that enabled communities
and groups to celebrate their culture and identity through grant aid. 75% of that
financial support was provided through OFMDFM and 25% was provided by the
Council. When bonfires were associated with those local events and festivals,
Council support was only available where communities agreed to core conditions
which aimed to lessen the negative social and environmental impact of community
bonfires.
Those festivals approved by the Council were attended by the Council‟s Good
Relations Officers (GROs) and the associated bonfires were monitored against the
core conditions by the GROs and Enforcement Officers over the four weeks leading
up to the 11 and 12 July. Council officers along with independent mediators also
monitored the associated bonfires on 11 and 12 July. Where possible, the GROs
and independent mediators kept a watchful brief on all bonfires not supported by
Council in the lead up to and on 11 and 12 July 2015.
15
CW.09.09.15
Local events and festivals supported by Council were monitored by officers on the
day and evaluated with the applicant after the event. A series of questions
determined the success of the festival.
Mediators and Council staff monitored the lighting of the associated supported and
non-supported bonfires on 11 July 2015. A further four bonfires were monitored on
12 July.
In the lead up to 11 and 12 July, the GROs worked in partnership with a range of
statutory agencies to address issues as they arose ie the Council‟s Enforcement
Officers, Safer Ards, Council‟s Parks Officers, NIHE, PSNI, the Education Authority
and NIFRS. Following the 12 July representatives re-convened to review lessons
learnt from the Cultural Expressions programme and to make recommendations for
improvements to the scheme. The key recommendations were:

Collaborative working between the agencies worked well and should be built
upon for 2016/2017

PSNI reports indicated a relatively quiet night across the Borough with
approximately 12 calls mainly in connection with noise and ASB. Apart from
the uncertainty of the lighting date/time of the Strand in Holywood, the calls
mainly related to bonfires not in the programme

NIHE expressed concern about the number of additional wildcat bonfires
across the Borough and did not want those encouraged or institutionalised

NIHE reported that bonfires in the programme complied with the core
conditions, however concern was expressed about the increasing cost of clear
up

NIHE and Council‟s Parks officers had requested “no glass” to be introduced
as a condition grant. It was noted that glass and nails from pallets were
extremely difficult to clear. If a bonfire was located on a playing field, it
rendered the pitch unsuitable for community use for a considerable period
until all glass could be cleared form the site and the pitch safely reinstated

NIFRS advised there were no bonfire related call outs over the 11 and 12
July. However there was a significant increase in call outs prior to that period,
due to material being collected from early May. NIFRS had requested
material should not be collected until closer to 11 July

NIFRS also advised the core conditions should stipulate “no huts” and the
requirement of a 5:1 ratio regarding the size, height and location of a bonfire
from property, such as houses and/or hedges

Safer Ards advised the 11th night itself was very quiet although they dealt with
a significant number of complaints in the lead up to 11 and 12 July. Officers
recommended that the core conditions of the programme should be more
robust and agreed by April 2016. It was noted that the wildcat bonfires led to
more complaints
16
CW.09.09.15

The Council‟s Parks officer advised that clear up worked relatively well. The
run up caused more problems with regards to removing unsuitable material
from the bonfires and the cost involved

It was collectively agreed that the terms and conditions of the Cultural
Expression programme needed to carefully consider respecting the views of
all members of communities in which bonfires are built. It was noted that
many of the complaints received from the public were in relation to wildcat
bonfires which although they were not in the programme, members of local
communities strongly objected to them.
In summary, over the next few months officers would review the information collated
through the above monitoring and evaluation processes, to identify key core
conditions for any future programme, to ensure that Council could support the
celebration of community culture in a safe and respectful manner. Officers would
also be meeting with key influencers and community representatives to consult upon
the core conditions, in an effort to improve the programme for 2016.
In addition to the above work, the Council‟s GROs had identified a number of key
areas of work which related to the Council‟s Good Relations Action Plan and would
be delivered over the incoming months. Those included:














Celebration of World Culture: Belfast Mela, 30 August 2015
Commemoration of the Battle of the Brittain, Ballyhalbert 12 September
2015
Marking of the International Day of Peace; Ards Visitor Information Centre;
18-21 September 2015
Support for Holywood Culture Night; 18 September 2015; Holywood Town
Centre
Support for the Intercultural Forum and a story telling initiative to coincide
with Community Relations week; 28 September – 4 October 2015; details
TBC
Commemoration of the Holocaust; January 2016, TBC
Intergenerational Project; details TBC
Community Leadership Programmes and young leaders project; details
TBC
Diversity Awareness Training for community groups; details TBC
Training for community groups for delivering family friendly events; details
TBC
Establishment of a Good Relations Forum
Good Relations Small Grants Programmes
Good Relations and Equality Training for Council staff
Sharing best practice with other GROs on a Regional basis
All of the above work areas were currently subject to the availability of funding from
OFMDFM and Members would be notified of public events via email. All public
events had been and would be promoted widely through the Council‟s website, email
and flyers.
RECOMMENDED that Council notes this report.
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CW.09.09.15
Councillor Menagh proposed, seconded by Councillor Kennedy, that the
recommendation be adopted.
Councillor Anderson expressed his discontentment that bonfires with early collection
had been included and emphasised the significance of discussions with relevant
stakeholders at an early date to circumvent that practice.
The Head of Community and Culture indicated that early collection was an issue
already raised with statutory agencies and that had prompted a meeting to be held
as soon as possible to improve the programme for 2016. There had been extensive
monitoring for non-compliance; nevertheless all applicants had complied and upon
submission of invoices and receipts, full grants had been awarded.
Councillor Wilson spoke of numerous complaints he had heard from residents in the
Balligan Gardens area of Kilcooley who detailed that collection had commenced as
early as March. Apparently, sofas had been hidden in trees, rubbish had been
dumped, tyres burnt and no appropriate Council signage had been erected.
The Head of Service clarified that signage would not have been available at such an
early stage. She recounted that negotiations encompassing community
representatives had been held with those responsible for that site and others and
they had been co-operative in lifting undesirable material. In terms of a report on
clean-up costs, she advised Councillor Wilson that some figures were not yet
available as they were not all through the system.
(Councillor Martin re-entered the meeting at this stage – 8.30 pm)
Councillor Boyle observed that the majority of complaints appeared to relate to the
Clandeboye Road and Willowbrook estate, as residents were clearly opposed to the
siting of those bonfires. He welcomed progress being made albeit not in all areas,
as upon reading the documentation, it was evident that 50% of those involved
seemed to behave as they chose to. He recognised that people wanted to celebrate
their culture but pointed out that a structure should be adhered to.
In agreement, the Head of Service notified Members that those districts were
probably the two most challenging sites. Willowbrook was not included in the
programme and had caused local consternation due to the „wildcat‟ bonfire being
located in the vicinity of gas and power lines. Moreover, this year had proven to be
more problematic with the merger of Councils and subsequent knock on effect of
aligning two different bonfire policies. It was anticipated that through early
community engagement in tandem with a review of the information collated for this
year, collective agreement could be reached going forward into the wider community
in 2016 and beyond.
Councillor Cooper was mindful that Officers encountered a difficult task as it was an
emotive subject for all concerned. The key aspect was that those participating in the
scheme were least bothersome and in that regard, he felt it was incumbent on
Council to reach out and use their influence on all pertinent sections of the
community. He also noticed that most of the trouble was faced before 11th July and
earlier engagement may assist in alleviating that.
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CW.09.09.15
To summarise, Councillor Menagh established that most of the trouble was created
by those not participating in the Council‟s Cultural Expression Programme. Bonfires
played a significant role in community culture and were not going to be eliminated.
He realised there was still work to be done and reiterated the merit in talking to local
communities as early as this month.
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Thompson,
seconded by Councillor Smart, that the recommendation be adopted.
11.
BANGOR AND ARDS DRAMA FESTIVAL – FUNDING
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report from the Director of Community and
Wellbeing detailing that in December 2014 legacy North Down Borough Council
agreed to extend the recipients of their Multi-Annual Arts Grants by 1 year to cover
three organisations for 2015/16, and budget provision was made through the
estimates process.
The three organisations were:



Holywood Music Festival – £4,500 p.a.
Seacourt Print Workshop – £5,230 p.a.
Bangor Choral Festival – £8,900 p.a.
Legacy Ards Borough Council‟s did not offer Multi-Annual Arts Grants, however a
comparable grant of £2,500 was awarded Bangor & Ards Drama Festival which took
place annually in March. That grant was applied for annually and appropriate budget
was ring-fenced specifically for the delivery of the festival following its relocation to
Newtownards from Bangor in 2010/11 financial year.
Until now officers were unsure as to the future of the festival due to a number of
changes to their management committee. However, a request had been received
from Bangor and Ards Drama Festival for support for their week-long festival taking
place in March 2016.
In anticipation of that request for financial support and in the interest of equality, the
appropriate budget provision was made through the estimates process, to ring- fence
£2,500 to support the Bangor and Ards Drama Festival in March 2016.
Members should note that the above support was an interim measure until the next
round of Multi-Annual Funding was available for 2016/17. Subject to Council
approval of the Multi-Annual Arts Fund Criteria all four organisations named above
would be required to apply through a competitive process for future financial support.
RECOMMENDED that Council approves an award of £2,500 to Bangor and Ards
Drama Festival in support of their Festival taking place in March 2016.
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Dunne, seconded by
Councillor Boyle, that the recommendation be adopted.
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CW.09.09.15
12.
SOUTH EAST COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT NETWORK
BUSINESS PLAN (Appendix VI)
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Copy of SECD Business Plan and covering report
from the Director of Community and Wellbeing detailing that Each of the three
Community Networks: Ards Community Network, North Down Community Network
and County Down Rural Community Network previously received grant aid (£10,000
each) from the legacy Councils to assist each Network to deliver a range of
community support and provide added value to their core funding secured from DSD
and other funders eg the Public Health Agency, OFMDFM and other local and
regional agencies.
All three Networks had worked collaboratively since 2009, under the name of South
East Community Development Networks (SECDN). The joint boards produced the
Working Together Strategy which aimed to provide community support across the
majority of towns, villages and estates in Ards and North Down, providing one single
point of contact for communities. SECDN directly supports 300+ groups across the
Borough.
Members would be aware that the Council was working collaboratively with all three
local Networks: Ards Community Network, North Down Community Network and
County Down Rural Community Network, to produce a draft report proposing how
Council‟s Community Development services will be delivered across the Borough
from April 2016. The Council‟s eight key work areas identified in the report, support
and compliment the work currently being carried out by the three Networks.
It was recommended that Council continued to provide that level of financial support
for each Network in the current year. To facilitate that, the SECDN had produced the
attached joint business plan, which detailed the activities and community support to
be delivered through their partnership arrangements.
Subject to Council approval SECDN‟s business plan would be monitored on a
quarterly basis. 50% of funding would be awarded upon approval and all
subsequent grant claims would be subject to normal verification procedures. It
should be noted that support for SECDN may be subject to review in advance of
DSD‟s Transferring Functions in April 2016.
RECOMMENDED that Council approves grant aid of £10,000 for each Network
working in partnership as the South East Community Development Network, to
deliver the joint Business Plan, which will be subject to normal monitoring and
verification procedures.
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Boyle, seconded by
Councillor Irvine, that the recommendation be adopted.
13.
GOOD RELATIONS AND PCSP BUDGET CUTS
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report from the Director of Community and
Wellbeing detailing that following a period of robust community consultation in the
20
CW.09.09.15
Autumn of 2014, Members would be aware that Council approved its Good Relations
Strategy and Action Plan in March 2015 and also approved the Ards and North
Down PCSP Strategy and Action Plan in February 2015.
Both strategies and associated Action Plans and budgets were submitted to the
relevant Departments ie OFMDFM and the DOJ by the required submission dates.
The budget required to deliver each Action Plan had been carefully considered, and
included a detailed breakdown of administration costs and project costs to support
each plan.
In June and July 2015 both the DOJ and OFMDFM respectively, advised Council
that due to Central Government budget restrictions that only 50% of each Councils
requested costs could be awarded. The Council was also advised that the release of
the remaining 50% of each budget may be reviewed later in the financial year,
subject to central funding becoming available.
Over the last number of weeks officers had been reviewing their Action Plans and
associated budgets and had re-submitted the necessary supporting paperwork,
prioritising contractual and inescapable spend for the both PCSP and Good
Relations.
In real terms, that meant that each programme would have to operate within the
following total restricted budgets, which included both Central Government and the
Council‟s matched funding contributions:
Programme
Good Relations
PCSP
Total Budget Required
218,000
333,688
Total Budgets Available
103,250
166,844
Members should be aware that the current restrictions and uncertainty in relation to
the availability of the total budget requested, for the current financial year would
undoubtedly, negatively impact on the delivery of both the PCSP and Good
Relations Actions Plans. In addition, it would be necessary that community
expectations were managed appropriately and services could be delivered within the
current constraints.
RECOMMENDED that the Council formally writes to both Departments, highlighting
its disappointment regarding the current financial situation and outlines the negative
impact this may have across the Borough with regard to promoting confidence in
policing, addressing anti-social behaviour and promoting Good Relations.
Councillor Cooper proposed, seconded by Councillor Menagh, that the
recommendation be adopted.
Councillor Cooper voiced disappointment that funding would be drastically reduced
by 50% which would create a ripple effect on the efficiency of the PCSP. Ultimately,
the upshot of that would mean a curtailment of some activities and projects and a
cancellation of others. He had spoken to Officers about that unfortunate state of
affairs and been told that other sources of funding were being investigated.
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The Head of Community and Culture updated Members with information she had
received earlier that day. A letter of offer from the OFMDFM relating to the Good
Relations budget had detailed a variance; therefore apart from £500 almost all of the
full amount would be awarded. However, no variance in the PCSP budget had been
obtained.
Given the change in circumstances, Councillor Thompson proposed, seconded by
Councillor Adair that the wording of the recommendation …outlines the negative
impact this may have across the Borough be amended to read „outlines the negative
impact this will have across the Borough‟. Furthermore that OFMDFM did not need
to be included in the recommendation as the required Good Relations funding had
now been offered more or less in full.
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Thompson,
seconded by Councillor Adair, that the recommendation stating that the
Council formally writes to the Department of Justice, highlighting its
disappointment regarding the current financial situation concerning PCSP
funding and outlines the negative impact this will have across the Borough
with regard to promoting confidence in policing and addressing anti-social
behaviour be adopted.
14.
AFFORDABLE WARMTH UPDATE
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Report from the Director of Community and
Wellbeing detailing that the Department of Social Development introduced the Warm
Homes Scheme in 2001 and until late 2014, that was the main process employed by
the DSD to address fuel poverty, by offering grants to certain households to finance
home improvements such as cavity wall insulation and boiler replacements.
The Warm Homes Scheme had assisted over 150,000 homes and spent over £120
million on improving energy efficiency in this way. It was a very successful and
popular scheme, but as the scheme developed and was evaluated it became clear
that it presented number of issues.

The scheme relied on self-referral, meaning that only people, who knew of the
scheme and were capable of referring themselves, availed of it. Therefore
many elderly or isolated individuals did not self-refer

The scheme relied on applicants being in receipt of a qualifying benefit.
Therefore those on low incomes who were not in receipt of benefits, could not
apply for the Warm Homes Scheme

The Warm Homes Scheme did not take into consideration the age or
condition of the property. Therefore, many of the worst performing properties
(in terms of thermal insulation) occupied by some of the lowest income
households were unable to avail of the Warm Homes Scheme
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Affordable Warmth Scheme
The DSD sought to address the issues above through the introduction of a new
„Affordable Warmth Scheme’. That scheme operated as a partnership between
the DSD, the NIHE and District Councils. The overall aim of the Affordable Warmth
Scheme was to help alleviate fuel poverty in targeted vulnerable households in the
owner-occupied and private rented sector (it did not apply to NIHE or Housing
association property) using an area based approach.
The targeting methodology was formulated by the University of Ulster and used an
algorithm that combined data from 12 data sources including income estimation,
benefits data, house condition, and weather data to target homes that might benefit
from energy efficiency measures.
During 2012 to 2014 three pilots were set up (based on some new Council areas) to
test the effectiveness of this approach and it was found that in 80% of cases targeted
in this way, the households were in fuel poverty and in 64% of cases, severe fuel
poverty.
In 2013-14 the DSD approached the remainder of the then Council Clusters to work
in partnership with the DSD and NIHE to roll the scheme out to all council areas, and
in 2014 both Ards and North Down legacy Councils agreed to participate in the
scheme.
In August 2014 the funding for the scheme was secured from the DSD and a list of
4,400 targeted properties, identified using the Ulster Universities algorithm were
supplied to the Council Cluster to be surveyed. That funded staff to administer the
scheme, ( a project co-ordinator, three surveyors and one administration officer).
The staff were in place by the end of October 2014. In addition, 10 of the then
cluster Councils representing all of the new councils (except Belfast) entered into a
joint procurement exercise to buy an IT system for the scheme which allowed
Councils to send completed surveys into the NIHE IT system for grant processing.
Ards and North Down Borough Council’s role:
Our role was to survey all 4439 homes supplied to us by the DSD and screen the
properties to see if they may be eligible for an Affordable Warmth Scheme grant.
The eligibility criteria were as follows:
For homeowner or Private Sector tenants
 Household Income must be less than £20,000
For private Rented property



Landlord permission is required for works
Landlords must be registered with Landlord Registration Scheme
Landlords must contribute 50% of total costs
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When the Council then surveyed the property and passed the information to the
NIHE, grant could be offered to assist in delivery of the following measures (in order
of preference). In addition, NIHE applied for any necessary building control approval
on behalf of the householder.
1
Insulation/Ventilation
Loft Insulation
Eaves Insulation
Hot Water cylinder jacket
Cavity Wall insulation
2
Heating
Installing a heating system
Conversion of heating system
Boiler Replacement/system upgrade*
3
Windows
Replacement of single glazed windows
with double glazed;
Repair of defective double glazed units;
Draught proofing
4
Sold Wall Measures
Provision of solid wall insulation (where
there is no cavity wall)
Funding for cavity construction houses was up to £7,500 – in order of priority that
was for:
1.
2.
3.
4.
Loft Insulation
Cavity Wall Insulation
Heating
Windows
Funding for solid construction houses was up to £10,000 – in order of priority that
was for:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Loft Insulation
Cavity Wall Insulation
Solid Wall Insulation (Where technically feasible)
Heating
Windows
The process for engaging with the targeted households was as follows:



Council was supplied with addresses provided by Department of Social
Development, from the University
Letters were sent to the targeted households advising of their eligibility and
that a visit was being planned
Project Officers targetted wide areas at a time to engage with householders
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Surveys were then completed in targeted households obtain the following
information which was passed onto the NIHE if the survey identified that the
household was potentially eligible:









Income
Tenure
Current Measures
Issues or concerns
Income Assessment
Benefits check requested
Other Agencies/Council services
Consent to share information
Information pack
An opportunity was taken during the visit to refer the householder for a benefits
check if they wished, referral for a home safety check, and/or for landlord rented
property, referral to a housing officer for a visit to address disrepair or unfitness.
Finally:

Completed surveys were stored on the Affordable Warmth IT system and
transferred to Northern Ireland Housing Executive electronically

We maintained a database of activity and outcomes of each visit for reporting
back to DSD
Whilst the scheme was targeted there was a mechanism for non-targeted referrals
by health professionals. The DSD specification for the scheme allowed a number of
professionals (ie Doctor, District Nurse, Health visitor, Environmental Health Officer
or Home Safety check visitor) to refer clients onto the scheme.
Affordable Warmth Update Statistics

To date, 4581 addresses were now on the list of households to be visited
(including 142 that we had added that should have been included following
officers assessment)

Over 9000 visits had been carried out since 22/10/2014

792 surveys were completed (that included 100 heath professional referrals)

As of 17 July, 667 surveys had been validated and exported to the NIHE. A
backlog of surveys developed due to the NIHE only accepting a maximum
number of surveys in a given period from each Council and the NIHE data
handling systems coming on line after the Councils did. Soon that backlog
would be cleared meaning that we would be able to export survey data as
soon as visits had been completed and uploaded.

As of 17 July 2015, 51 Building Control applications had been received from
NIHE
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
The Council‟s affordable warmth team had already carried out 657 4th visits
and that had resulted in an additional 36 referrals; ratio 1:18

We still had 1700 addresses where a visit had been attempted with no
outcome to date, and therefore we would continue our efforts to contact those
people
RECOMMENDED that the report be noted.
Councillor Adair proposed, seconded by Councillor Dunne, that the recommendation
be adopted.
Councillor Adair took the opportunity to commend Officers for ensuring the
information about the affordable warmth scheme reached the relevant people, as he
knew many constituents had since availed of that scheme.
Responding to a question from Alderman Irvine about timescales, the Head of
Environmental Protection and Development confirmed that despite initial delays in
the NIHE becoming ready to receive referrals from Council staff, causing a backlog
at the NIHE end, by and large grants were now awarded 6-10 weeks after a visit to
the property.
In terms of privately rented properties, Councillor Thompson sought details about the
uptake for the scheme.
In response the Head of Service commented that it had been fairly poor in
comparison as landlords were required to make a 50% contribution to the cost of
works.
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Adair, seconded by
Councillor Dunne, that the recommendation be adopted.
15.
SERVICE LEVEL AGREEMENT WITH LISBURN AND
CASTLEREAGH CITY COUNCIL CONCERNING AIR QUALITY
MANAGEMENT (Appendix VII)
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Copy of SLA agreement with Lisburn and
Castlereagh City Council and covering report from the Director of Community and
Wellbeing detailing that prior to 1 April 2015, Councils were grouped by statute and
managed through joint members committees in relation to the Environmental Health
functions and some services were shared between Councils.
One of those services was air quality monitoring which was a statutory function by
way of the Environment Order (NI) 2002. The Technical Officer that carried out that
monitoring function and the preparation of annual reports to the DOENI as required
by the legislative framework was seconded to the post based at Eastern Group
Environmental Health Committee, from North Down Borough Council and had been
transferred as a result of LGR to Ards and North Down Borough Council. Lisburn &
Castlereagh City Council (LCCC) had expressed a desire to retain the services and
26
CW.09.09.15
expertise of this Officer for their monitoring and reporting work under the legislation
in a manner similar to that which occurred under the grouping arrangement.
To that end, a Service Level Agreement had been drawn up with LCCC to share the
Officer; with 2/5 of the Officer‟s time spent in LCCC and 3/5 of the time spent in Ards
and North Down and the costs associated with the post shared pro-rata.
RECOMMENDED that the Council agrees to the sharing of its Technical Officer (Air
Quality) resource in accordance with the terms of the appended Service Level
Agreement with Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council until 31 March 2016 and with the
agreement of both parties beyond this date.
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Martin, seconded by
Councillor Thompson, that the recommendation be adopted.
16.
SERVICE LEVEL AGREEMENT WITH THE NORTHERN
IRELAND HOUSING EXECUTIVE (Appendix VIII)
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Copy of draft SLA with the NIHE and covering report
from the Director of Community and Wellbeing detailing that prior to 1 April 2015,
Group Environmental Health Committees and Belfast City Council had service level
agreements with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive to conduct fitness
inspections of properties to determine whether the properties should be subject to
closing orders and or demolition orders under housing legislation.
Given that group committees no longer existed and in order to ensure that that
service was continued, the Northern Ireland Housing Executive wished to enter into
service level agreements with each of the eleven councils on the same basis as that
with the Group Committees. The Environmental Health Officers within Ards and
North Down Borough Council had the requisite skills and expertise to carry out that
function on behalf of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.
RECOMMENDED that the Council agrees to continue to carry out fitness inspections
on behalf of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive under the terms of the service
level agreement.
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Cooper, seconded
by Councillor Irvine, that the recommendation be adopted.
17.
SERVICE LEVEL AGREEMENT WITH BELFAST CITY
COUNCIL (Appendix IX)
PREVIOUSLY CIRCULATED:- Copy of draft SLA with Belfast City Council, copy of
the Tobacco Retailers Act (NI) 2014 and accompanying report from the Director of
Community and Wellbeing detailing that the Tobacco Retailers Act (Northern Ireland)
2014 required that all tobacco retailers were registered. It made provision for dealing
with the persistent commission of tobacco offences. It amended the Health and
Personal Social Services (Northern Ireland) Order 1978 and conferred additional
powers of enforcement to Councils in relation to offences under that Order and the
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CW.09.09.15
Children and Young Persons (Protection from Tobacco) (Northern Ireland) Order
1991.
In the interests of economy and efficiency, the Department of Health, Social Services
and Public Safety (DHSSPS) had commissioned Belfast City Council to manage the
processing of information and personal data relating to the legal obligations
associated with Sections 1-4 of the Tobacco Retailers Act (Northern Ireland) 2014,
for all eleven local authorities in Northern Ireland.
Belfast City Council would develop a secure electronic information system to process
the information and personal data of tobacco retailers when they registered. It would
also provide limited access to members of the public to that data, and fuller access
to identified staff from all of the Councils in Northern Ireland, the Public Health
Agency and DHSSPS.
All tobacco retailers would be required to register for the sale of tobacco or tobacco
papers. It would be an offence not to register and tobacco control officers acting on
behalf of each of the Councils would enforce the legislation.
In order to process the data on behalf of the eleven Councils, the Public Health
Agency and the DHSSPS, Belfast City Council had produced a service level
agreement outlining the service that they would provide, how data would be
processed and the rights and responsibilities of signatories to the service level
agreement.
The agreement allowed for the service level that Ards and North Down Borough
requires and made provision for the protection of personal data by Belfast City
Council, Ards and North Down Borough, the Public Health Agency and DHSSPS.
RECOMMENDED that the Council agrees to sign the data processing and sharing
agreement with Belfast City Council, in order to fulfil the Councils statutory
obligations under the Tobacco Retailers Act (Northern Ireland) 2014.
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Thompson,
seconded by Councillor Smart, that the recommendation be adopted.
EXCLUSION OF PUBLIC/PRESS
Councillor Boyle proposed, seconded by Councillor Smart and
AGREED that the public/press be excluded during discussion of the
undernoted items of confidential business.
(Councillor Cooper left the meeting at this stage – 8.55 pm)
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CW.09.09.15
18.
LEISURE FACILITIES MANAGEMENT DISCUSSIONS UPDATE
*** NOT FOR PUBLICATION ***
Schedule 6 – Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular
person (including the Council holding that information).
19.
INCREASED HEIGHT BALL STOP FENCING AT SPAFIELD
FOOTBALL PITCH, HOLYWOOD – FILE 142000
*** NOT FOR PUBLICATION ***
Schedule 6 – Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular
person (including the Council holding that information).
20.
BURIAL CHARGES AND BOUNDARY CHANGE
CONSIDERATIONS – FILE BG15167
*** NOT FOR PUBLICATION ***
Schedule 6 – Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular
person (including the Council holding that information).
21.
WARD PARK IMPROVEMENT PROJECT – FILE 62031 (Appendix
X)
*** NOT FOR PUBLICATION ***
Schedule 6 – Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular
person (including the Council holding that information).
RE-ADMITTANCE OF PUBLIC/PRESS
Councillor Boyle proposed, seconded by Councillor Anderson and
AGREED that the public/press be re-admitted to the meeting.
22.
NOTICES OF MOTION
22.1. Notice of Motion submitted by Councillor Cathcart
Councillor Irvine proposed, seconded by Councillor Martin, that this Council
recognises that excessive noise can constitute a real nuisance to residents of this
Borough, further notes that latest statistics show that noise complaints increased in
both Ards and North Down legacy Councils, tasks officers to explore all powers
available under the Noise Act 1996 and the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment
Act (NI) 2011 to help tackle nuisance noise within the Borough.
29
CW.09.09.15
(Councillor Menagh left the meeting at this stage 9.02 pm)
Councillor Cathcart was encouraged to bring this motion to Council following a
constituent case he had worked on. The lady was tormented by noise caused by her
neighbour late into the night and was in tears describing how it was ruining her
domestic/work life as she could not get the sleep she needed. It also prevented her
from spending time with her children, as she had separated from her partner but felt
she could not bring her children to stay with her, especially on school nights. She
had filled in noise log books in the past and contacted PSNI but the gentleman was
nice when the PSNI and Council were there but turned nasty when they left, so the
noise kept occurring. She was so exhausted with the process she just wanted to
move but with a shortage of social housing in Bangor felt trapped. He therefore
began exploring if there was anything else Council could do in such cases.
The Member explained that noise was commonly defined as „sound which was
undesired by the recipient‟ and any sound that was intrusive, disturbing or annoying.
It was one of the most widespread pollutants and the World Health Organisation
(WHO) stated that noise could seriously harm human health and interfere with
people‟s daily activities at school, at work and during leisure time.
(Councillor Menagh re-entered the meeting at this stage – 9.04 pm)
Councillor Cathcart indicated that domestic noise remained the largest source of
noise in our Council area accounting for 83% in Ards and 88% of complaints in North
Down. Tackling domestic noise was the focus of his motion and sources most
complained about were loud music, television, parties, and animal noise. The latest
Noise Complaint Statistics Report published by the DOE took figures from 2013/14;
Ards received 340 noise complaints and North Down 301. In Ards, complaints
increased by 7.9% and North Down by 34% that year. The figures from 2014/15
showed that in North Down the complaints increased to 389 with Ards staying
roughly the same at 333, so as a combined Council that amounted to over 700
complaints a year.
Environmental Health Officers were responsible for investigating noise complaints
and many could be dealt with informally as people often reduced the noise once they
realised it was causing annoyance. However, if it was not resolved, Officers could
take action if they believed a statutory nuisance had occurred. A Noise Abatement
Order could be issued against a person who was persistently noisy. If that Order
was broken, Council could take the person to Court where they could be fined up to
£5,000. In North Down last year 9 notices were served with 1 prosecution and in
Ards 2 notices were served with 1 prosecution, out of a total of 722 complaints.
(Councillor Boyle left the meeting at this stage – 9.06 pm)
The Noise Act 1996 allowed Council officers to issue warnings and fixed penalty
notices and it also gave powers of entry to premises to disable alarms. When the
Act came into operation, Councils had discretion as to whether they would adopt the
provisions of the Act and Belfast City Council was the only Council in Northern
Ireland who did so. In 2012/13 Belfast City served 554 warning and 23 fixed penalty
notices. In 2013/14 they served 396 warning and 7 fixed penalty notices, indicating
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CW.09.09.15
a 29% decrease in the use of those powers. The figures from Belfast suggested that
warning notices were a successful enforcement tool with the threat of a £100 fine
acting as an effective deterrent.
As Council issued fixed penalty notices for other offences such as litter/dog fouling,
Councillor Cathcart was of the view that set up costs should not be significant. His
only concern was that as the overwhelming majority of cases, two thirds in fact,
related to animal noise, would fines encourage owners to get rid of their dog. He did
feel it was worth exploring whether fixed penalty notices offered Council a simpler,
more cost effective and stronger deterrent in tackling nuisance noise.
In summing up, he asked Officers to carry out a cost/benefit analysis regarding its
implication along with any other parts of the legislation that could assist in tackling
noise nuisance. The DOE were keen for those powers to be rolled out by other
Councils. This Council had a duty to tackle this issue and it was important to review
our operations to ensure we were providing the best service to our constituents and
he urged Members to support his motion.
(Councillor Boyle re-entered the meeting at this stage – 9.08 pm)
Members proceeded to discuss the content of the motion and recognised the clear ill
effects relentless noise could impose on a person‟s health. However, many shared
the opinion that handling the problem required a collective approach comprising
Council, community groups and the PSNI.
Although accepting of the intent and spirit of the motion, Councillor Anderson
proposed as an amendment, seconded by Councillor Wilson that Officers bring back
a report on the current service provided to date and the related costs of potential
improvements.
Councillor Cooper was supportive of the original motion and the amendment, he was
perturbed that out of 9 notices served in North Down, only 1 resulted in a successful
prosecution. He sought further clarification about the use of fixed penalties.
The Head of Environmental Health Protection and Development confirmed that
Council was hesitant about issuing fixed penalties due to the fact that that would
require two Officers out working together late at night on response as this provision
related to a night time reactive response. A prevalence of complaints originated
around noisy parties taking place between 11.00 pm – 2.00 am and with attendees
partaking of drugs or alcohol, it posed a health and safety predicament for Officers.
He recalled that Belfast City Council had funded a full time evening noise team due
to the high volume of complaints pertaining to student houses at this time of the
night.
Having had some experience of living near students, Councillor Wilson claimed that
they were given advance warning of when noise levels would be monitored. He
reflected upon the possibility of the Council implementing a Service Level Agreement
with Belfast City Council.
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Councillor Kennedy considered the motion to be constructive and practical but on the
other hand indicated that the system for dealing with noise by Councils was
ineffective. He concurred with previous comments that a fundamental flaw with the
present system was that Officers were obliged to inform noisy neighbours when
complaints had been received and when monitoring of their property would
commence. He believed that that action placed immense pressure on the
complainant. It had been found that a noise nuisance would abate for a short
interval during monitoring but start up again soon after. Furthermore, the monitoring
equipment did not do justice to the disturbance from noise. He wholly supported the
Council taking suitable measures to invest in an improved service to manage such
occurrences.
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Anderson as an
amendment, seconded by Councillor Wilson that Officers bring back a report
on the current service provided to date and the related costs of potential
improvements.
22.2. Notice of Motion submitted by Councillor Muir
“That this Council requests officers to bring back a report on current provision of
allotments across our new Borough by the Council and other organisations, plus
opportunities for further expansion”.
AGREED TO RECOMMEND on the proposal of Councillor Wilson, seconded by
Councillor Anderson that the Notice of Motion be deferred to the Community
and Wellbeing Committee meeting in October.
(Councillor Kennedy left the meeting at this stage – 9.22 pm)
22.3 Notice of Motion Submitted by Alderman Irvine
Alderman Irvine proposed, seconded by Councillor Martin that this Council notes
with concern the ongoing anti-social behaviour at Conlig play park and asks for
officers to bring back a report to include costings for potential fencing to be erected
along properties adjoining the Conlig play park.
In speaking to his motion, Alderman Irvine highlighted that constituents felt
tormented in their homes because of frequent anti-social behaviour predominantly
relating to objects being thrown from the playground into their gardens. Officers from
the Community Safety Team had conversed with inhabitants at that location and they
favoured the construction of a fence as a means of easing that harassment.
As seconder for the motion, Councillor Martin acknowledged that constant anti-social
behaviour could become debilitating to endure. Many such incidences seemed to
occur around play parks which were often vandalised and he agreed that fencing at
Conlig would mitigate against that distress.
Councillor Menagh had also visited the residents in question and he said it was
incredulous that a play park had ever been constructed at a site surrounded by
houses. People were frightened by the anti-social behaviour and besides the objects
32
CW.09.09.15
thrown; there was a noise nuisance which he insisted the proposed fencing would
not eradicate.
Councillor Allen echoed those comments adding that the fence would create a
deterrent but on a broader point in connection to anti-social behaviour; he worried
that it may just transfer that conduct from one area to another.
The Director of Community and Wellbeing confirmed that the complainants were
particularly concerned about objects being hurled into properties and youths jumping
easily over a low wall between the park and private gardens to retrieve items.
AGREED TO RECOMMEND, on the proposal of Councillor Martin, seconded by
Councillor Anderson, that this Council notes with concern the ongoing antisocial behaviour at Conlig play park and asks for officers to bring back a
report to include costings for potential fencing to be erected along properties
adjoining the Conlig play park.
23.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS
(a)
North Pier, Bangor
Councillor Cooper drew attention to the above-mentioned location which came to
light at a meeting of the Regeneration and Development Committee. Regrettably,
the Harbour Master had reported a suicide and an attempted suicide and those had
not been the first incidences. In his capacity working as a mental health
representative, he was conscious of the fact that the North Pier could now appear
more attractive for those deliberating upon such a tragic end to their lives. He further
advised that since the Belfast Agreement came into effect in 1998, a larger
proportion of people had died through suicide than as a result of the troubles. Those
percentages attributed to 77% of males and 58% of persons within the 30-50 age
group. He had studied how towns with piers such as Southend and Brighton had
tackled the problem by utilising concrete bollards and good lighting. As he had
decided to bring forward a Notice of Motion to Council on that crucial issue, he
thought it beneficial to flag up the subject to Members.
Bearing in mind that World Suicide Prevention Day was 10 September, the
Chairman (Councillor Armstrong) thought it a very poignant concern. She was
certain that following discussion of the Notice of Motion, Officers would present a
report to a future meeting of the Committee.
NOTED.
(b)
NI Pensioner’s Parliament
The Chairman (Councillor Armstrong) made mention of the above event which would
take place over two days in Belfast, namely 24-25 September 2015. An invitation
had been received for two Council representatives to attend and witness
proceedings whilst keeping in mind the Council‟s considerations.
33
CW.09.09.15
Councillor Boyle proposed, seconded by Councillor Dunne that information about the
NI Pensioner‟s Parliament event be circulated to all Members.
The Director of Community and Wellbeing undertook to do so.
AGREED that information about the NI Pensioner’s Parliament event be
circulated to all Members.
24.
TERMINATION OF MEETING
The meeting terminated at 9.27 pm.
34
ITEM 7.5.1.
Ards and North Down Borough Council
Council/Committee
Council Meeting
Date of Meeting
23rd September 2015
Responsible Officer
Director of Community and Wellbeing
Date of Report
11th September 2015
File Reference
Legislation
Section 75 Compliant Yes
Subject
x
No
Not Applicable
Antisocial Behaviour at Conlig Playpark
Attachments
Following on from the Community and Wellbeing Committee on 9th September, the
following notice of motion was moved and agreed.
That this Council notes with concern the on-going anti-social behaviour at Conlig
playpark and asks for officers to bring back a report to include costings for potential
fencing to be erected along properties adjoining the Conlig playpark.
The Councils community safety team have been dealing with a complaint about
antisocial behaviour at the play park, which appears to be restricted to one property
in particular being affected. The complaint concerns youths gathering in the park
and throwing items into the complainant’s property, and sometimes climbing the wall
to enter the complainant’s property.
At a site meeting in response to this complaint attended by Alderman Irvine, the
Councils Parks Superintendent and a member of the community safety team, it was
suggested that the erection of a fence in at this location would have the potential to
resolve the matter.
Following the committee meeting on 9th September, a further site visit was carried
out on 11th September to allow an estimation of costs to be made should a fence be
agreed to be erected. The area of concern is at the back of the play park where the
low wall and fence is allowing youths to climb over into gardens adjoining the site to
take a shortcut or to retrieve objects as shown in the photograph below.
ITEM 7.5.1.
The estimated costs are between £2650 for a 2.4 metre and £2800 for a 3 metre
high paladin fence, of the same type already installed on the other side of the park.
The fence could be erected on the inside of the existing wooden fence and wall as
shown in the above picture.
RECOMENDATION
It is recommended that a fence is erected in front of the existing wall and wooden
fence subject to agreement with occupants of the adjoining properties affected on
the height that would be acceptable to them.
ITEM 9.2.
Ards and North Down Borough Council
Council/Committee
Council Meeting
Date of Meeting
23 September 2015
Responsible Officer
Director of Community & Wellbeing
Date of Report
14 September 2015
File Reference
Legislation
Houses in Multiple Occupation Bill
Section 75 Compliant Yes
Subject
No
Not Applicable
X
Consultation on Houses in Multiple Occupation
Legislation, to be regulated by District Councils.
Attachments
Background.
The Houses in Multiple Occupation Bill was formally introduced to the Northern
Ireland Assembly on 7 September 2015. The Committee for Social Development
has requested written submissions to the Bill by 6 October 2015 including response
to specific clauses.
Subject to approval by the Assembly at Second Stage, the Bill will then be referred to
the Committee for Social Development which has responsibility for the Committee
Stage of the Bill.
The purpose of the Bill is to enable better regulation of Houses in Multiple
Occupation (HMO), by streamlining the definition, introducing licensing, promoting
effective housing management and clarifying the existing law. The eleven Local
Councils in Northern Ireland will be responsible for these functions.
The new proposals to improve upon the current HMO Registration legislation will
(among other things) introduce:






A new HMO definition;
a licensing scheme;
a fit and proper person test;
new enforcement powers;
new powers to issue a prohibition notice; and
powers to allow information sharing to assist in the identification and
regulation of HMOs.
ITEM 9.2.
All of these improvements are welcome and necessary for the protection of tenants
in HMO’s.
When the legislation comes into force and Councils are responsible, local knowledge
can be used to identify HMO’s (Environmental Health Officers working in Housing
are aware of HMO’s which have been referred to the current NIHE HMO unit in
Coleraine).
Implications of the Bill for Ards and North Down Borough Council.
Figures obtained in 2013 From the Department of Social Development indicate that
there were approximately 216 registered HMO’s in the Ards and North Down area.
District Council
Belfast City
North Down and Ards
Antrim and Newtownabbey
Lisburn City and Castlereagh District
Newry City, Mourne and Down
Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon District
Mid and East Antrim District
Causeway Coast and Glens District
Mid Ulster District
Derry City and Strabane
Fermanagh and Omagh
Totals
Categorised as HMOs
4151
216
299
47
170
188
174
789
172
526
138
6870
The vast majority of these are in Bangor, with smaller, but significant, numbers in
Newtownards and Holywood. A few others are scattered throughout the Borough.
In 2012 the NIHE who currently operate the HMO registration scheme indicated that
the number of registered HMO’s should be at least a 1/3 larger based on their own
evidence in relation to housing benefit applications. Accordingly, it is probable that
there are currently 300-350 HMO’s within the Ards and North Down area of which
perhaps 100 remain unregulated. Therefore, there is going to be a requirement for
significant officer time to ensure that tenants in HMO’s are protected by the new
legislation.
The EXPLANATORY AND FINANCIAL MEMORANDUM accompanying the bill
indicates that:FINANCIAL EFFECTS OF THE BILL
It is not anticipated that the Bill will give rise to any significant additional expenditure.
Figures obtained at 2013 indicated that a potential income of £26,000 would be
realised in Ards and North Down, as a result of regulating the official numbers of
ITEM 9.2.
HMO’s mentioned above from a total potential income of £673,000 across all of
Northern Ireland (around half this sum would be realised in the Belfast Area)
The current charges for HMO registration as follows.
3 occupants
4 occupants
5 occupants
6 occupants
7 occupants
8 occupants
9 occupants
10 occupants or more
£375
£500
£625
£750
£875
£1,000
£1,125
£1,250
Regulation 84 of the new Bill allows fees to be set by the Department. It is as yet
unclear whether the fees listed above will be increased.
Welfare Reform Implications
Proposed welfare reform in Northern Ireland will place restrictions on the amount of
Housing Benefit that individuals will be able to claim. Potentially, this may mean a
greater demand for rooms in shared houses and an increase in the number of
HMO’s in the borough.
Conclusion.
The improvements to the regulatory system in relation to HMO’s are to be welcomed
and should serve to ensure greater protection for those who live in HMO’s and those
who may live in HMO’s in the future.
The charges currently levied would not enable the Council to self-finance the
legislative regime particularly as it is more exhaustive and involved than previously
and there are potentially more HMO’s that require regulation than are currently
regulated.
The current regime administered by the NIHE from offices in Belfast and Coleraine is
not currently self-financing and it would be assumed that portions of this excess
budget would be transferred to Councils to enable the function to be effectively
administered.
RECOMMENDATION
It is recommended that the Council responds to the Committee for Social
Development consultation with the conclusions drawn above, welcoming the
enhanced protections for the public included in the Bill and requesting further
clarification of the financial implications for the Council.
From: Claire Bradley <[email protected]>
Date: 14 September 2015 12:09:33 BST
To: Dr Theresa Donaldson <[email protected]>, "Mr Anthony Tohill"
<[email protected]>, Mr Brendan Hegarty
<[email protected]>, Mr David Jackson
<[email protected]>, Mr John Kelpie
<[email protected]>, Mr Liam Hannaway
<[email protected]>, Mr Roger Wilson
<[email protected]>, Mr Stephen Reid
<[email protected]>, Mrs Jacqui Dixon
<[email protected]>, Mrs Suzanne Wylie <[email protected]>,
Ms Anne Donaghy <[email protected]>
Cc: "Anderson, David" <[email protected]>
Subject: Response Sought: Further Education Strategy consultation
Dear Council Chief Executive,
RE: NEW FURTHER EDUCATION STRATEGY FOR NORTHERN IRELAND
The Department for Employment & Learning has issued a consultation on the New Further
Education Strategy for Northern Ireland, and are inviting responses by 5pm on 2nd October
2015.
http://www.delni.gov.uk/index/consultation-zone/new-further-education-strategy-for-northernireland.htm
The consultation seeks the views of stakeholders on a series of policy commitments that will
establish the future direction of Further Education in NI.
The vision for the strategy is that “further education colleges will be recognised locally,
nationally and internationally for high quality and economically relevant education and
training provision. Colleges will be focused on achieving excellence in delivering the skills
needed for the economy of today & tomorrow, and will be ambitious for their learners, and
for the contribution they make to improving the competitiveness of the economy of NI.” The
strategy is separated into a number of key themes, including economic development and
social inclusion.
If your council is intending to respond to this consultation, I would be grateful to receive a
copy of the response or any comments that could be fed into the NILGA response by this
Friday, if possible (18th September 2015).
I look forward to hearing from you.
Kind Regards,
Claire Bradley
Claire Bradley
Regional Policy & Co-ordination Officer
Northern Ireland Local Government Association (NILGA)
Bradford Court
Upper Galwally
Castlereagh
BT8 6RB
Tel: 02890 798972
Mob: 07896 466763
Email: [email protected] www.nilga.org
Consultation document on
July 2015
the development of a new
Further Education Strategy
for Northern Ireland
Consultation document on the development of a new
Further Education Strategy for Northern Ireland
Consultation Document
July 2015
1
Consultation document on the development of a new
Further Education Strategy for Northern Ireland
Foreword
04
Executive Summary
06
Section 1
Introduction
14
Section 2
Strategic Context for Further Education
18
Section 3
Further Education: Achievements
20
Section 4
Vision for Further Education in Northern Ireland
22
THEMES
Section 5
Economic Development
24
Section 6
Social Inclusion
32
Section 7
Curriculum Delivery
38
Section 8
Excellence
44
Section 9
Internationally Connected
52
Section 10
Governance
54
Section 11
College Partnerships
56
Section 12
Funding Model and College Sustainability
60
Section 13
Promoting the Further Education Sector
62
Section 14
Consultation Questions
64
ANNEXES
Annex A
Shared Future Policy Proofing
77
Annex B
Qualification Levels
81
Annex C
Glossary
82
Annex D
Bibliography
84
Annex E
Definitions
87
3
Foreword
I am pleased to launch this consultation on the further education sector
in Northern Ireland, and the central role which it has in our education and
training landscape.
Our further education system has a proud
tradition, going back over a hundred years,
of providing a wide range of learning
opportunities for an equally wide variety of
learners, and of supporting employers and
the economy of Northern Ireland. At no
time in colleges’ history is their role more
important. The Northern Ireland Executive
acknowledges the critical importance of
skills to developing a vibrant knowledge
based economy here. The Economic
Strategy for Northern Ireland, the Skills
Strategy, ‘Success through Skills –
Transforming Futures’ and the Innovation
Strategy all point to the growing need for
higher level skills, with a particular focus
on the subjects of Science, Technology,
Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
4
There are drivers for change at a national
and international level and the pace
and complexity of this change is both
a challenge and an opportunity. The
challenge is for our colleges to use
digital technologies to transform the way
professional and technical education
is delivered. The rapid pace of change
means that business models and the skills
that go with them will need to be renewed
continually. The opportunity for colleges
is to take centre stage as they prepare
those entering work and those who need
retraining not only to know and do, but
also to learn how to learn. Those about to
enter the workforce will have many jobs in
their lifetime and a key requirement will be
the ability to adapt and learn new skills.
Consultation document on the development of a new
Further Education Strategy for Northern Ireland
It will be important for further education
to have an identity which is distinct and
sets it apart from the other education
sectors, promoting professional and
technical learning pathways and skills
development which the sector is
uniquely placed to provide. This can be
achieved through further education’s
passion for learning and ambition for
its learners. Internationally, there is a
desire for professional and technical
education and training to be valued
equally to academic education by learners,
employers and wider society. This has
been achieved more in some countries
than in others, and is something which I
and my Department aspire to for Northern
Ireland. The high quality professional and
technical provision that colleges deliver,
the proposed changes to apprenticeships
and the youth training system, and the
development of a new qualifications
strategy, will all be key drivers in achieving
this for the people of Northern Ireland.
It is against this wider background that
further education will be recognised as an
equal and valuable pillar of the education
system in Northern Ireland, alongside
higher education and the statutory school
system.
support local businesses to enable them
to keep one step ahead, whilst at the
same time having the foresight to seize
the opportunity presented by emerging
technologies to build and attract new
business. That is why the skills agenda,
and the critical role that colleges play in it,
is so fundamental.
I look forward to receiving your views
on the policy commitments in this
consultation document; they will help to
inform the development of the strategy for
further education in Northern Ireland which
will be published in the autumn.
Building on their considerable
achievements in recent years, colleges
need to excel and provide Northern Ireland
with a highly-skilled workforce which can
compete at a global level. They must build
on areas of competitive advantage to
become the foremost experts. We need to
5
Executive Summary
The vision is that further education colleges will be recognised locally,
nationally and internationally for high quality and economically relevant
education and training provision. Colleges will be focussed on achieving
excellence in delivering the skills needed for the economy of today
and tomorrow, and will be ambitious for their learners, and for the
contribution they make to improving the competitiveness of the economy
of Northern Ireland.
The need for a new further education
strategy is a reflection of the
unprecedented state of change that we
face now and in the future. The impact
of digital technologies, access to content
online, challenges to government funding,
global mobility and increased economic
competition all require a strategy to give
direction and ensure that further education
adds value to individuals, society and the
economy.
6
As the statutory providers of education
and training, further education colleges,
working in partnership with others, will
be at the heart of delivering the vision of
a strong knowledge based economy in
Northern Ireland. International evidence
confirms that the strategic direction of our
further education sector in recent years
is the right one; in particular, colleges’
strong economic focus, their ability to
help employers to embrace innovation,
Consultation document on the development of a new
Further Education Strategy for Northern Ireland
their involvement with employers to design
curriculum and qualifications to meet their
needs, and their ability to use technology
to deliver programmes and services in
flexible and innovative ways. Colleges also
have a strong role in supporting diversity
and social inclusion by encouraging
participation from the most deprived
areas of Northern Ireland and ensuring
access for those with barriers to learning.
With their already strong relationship
with employers in their areas, and with a
deep understanding of the skills needs of
individual learners, the economy and the
local community, colleges are uniquely
placed to drive a skills revolution in
Northern Ireland. As part of this, colleges,
with key partners, will be major providers
of the new apprenticeships and youth
training systems in Northern Ireland.
This consultation document seeks views
on a series of policy commitments that
will establish a world class system of
further education in Northern Ireland.
These commitments are set out under
the following themes.
The need for a new
further education strategy
is a reflection of the
unprecedented state of
change that we face now
and in the future.
7
themes
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT:
with colleges at the centre of skills delivery for professional and technical occupations
Policy Commitment 1 –
Priority Skills
Colleges will have a crucial role working
with employers and other key stakeholders
to ensure that the professional and
technical qualifications and curriculum
they provide support the rebalancing
and rebuilding of the Northern Ireland
economy.
Policy Commitment 2 –
Levels of College Provision
Further education colleges will have a
particular focus on further developing
provision at level 3 (A level equivalent)
and above in areas that will support the
rebalancing and rebuilding of the Northern
Ireland economy. Progression for learners
who wish to study at higher levels will
be encouraged and facilitated through
the qualifications system, and through
innovative delivery and clear pathways.
Policy Commitment 3 –
Up-skilling the Existing Workforce
Colleges will support indigenous
companies and new companies which are
being established in Northern Ireland, to
ensure that employees have the required
knowledge, skills and qualifications. In
doing this, colleges will operate in flexible
8
ways in terms of where, when, and over
what period of time up-skilling activities
are provided, so that the needs of
employers can be met effectively and in a
manner which suits business needs.
Policy Commitment 4 –
Support to Employers
Colleges will be at the forefront of
providing support to employers to enable
them to innovate, to grow, to operate more
effectively and efficiently, to develop new
products and to identify new markets for
their products.
Policy Commitment 5 –
College Specialism and
Regional Capacity
Centres of specialism and expertise will
be developed in each college to enable
the further education sector as a whole
to deliver high quality professional and
technical provision to employers. Through
a collaborative approach, individual
colleges will have identified sectors where
they will be recognised for their expertise
and specialism. As well as identifying
specialisms, all colleges will develop
networks of experts who will share the
latest developments in curriculum and
skills training across Northern Ireland.
Consultation document on the development of a new
Further Education Strategy for Northern Ireland
SOCIAL INCLUSION:
driven by improved job skills and
capabilities
CURRICULUM DELIVERY:
the engine of high quality further
education delivery
Policy Commitment 6 –
Increasing Economic Participation
through Engagement
Policy Commitment 8 –
Using Technology to
Enhance Learning
Colleges’ distinctive contribution to
social inclusion will be to provide
learners with the knowledge, skills
and qualifications required to find, or
progress within employment, in order
to avail of the benefits of economic
participation. Working in partnership with
others, colleges will support diversity
and social inclusion through widening
access to provision for those with barriers
to learning. They will work with other
organisations in the voluntary, community
and private sector to strengthen pathways
for learners that can open up their
ambition and develop their talents.
Colleges will adopt international best
practice in the use of technology
enhanced learning to support and improve
their teaching and learning, and will adopt
flexible approaches to learning to meet the
needs of learners and employers.
Policy Commitment 7 –
Improving Literacy,
Numeracy and ICT
Colleges will raise the level of literacy,
numeracy and ICT competence in Northern
Ireland by adopting the new qualifications
that are being developed through the
refreshed Essential Skills strategy and
the reviews of GCSEs in English and
mathematics.
Policy Commitment 9 –
Developing Employability
and Enterprise Skills
A distinctive element of provision delivered
by colleges will be the development of
employability skills, through high quality
and relevant work placements and
the use of virtual reality technology to
simulate work placements in innovative
and effective ways. Through their teaching
strategies and approaches, colleges will
also seek to develop enterprising learners,
who are innovative and creative, and are
able to adapt to change.
9
EXCELLENCE:
to achieve the highest possible quality standards
10
Policy Commitment 10 –
Embedding High Quality Teaching
Policy Commitment 11 –
Improving Performance
Through a new teacher education
framework there will be a renewed focus
on high quality initial teacher education
and continual professional development for
all lecturing staff, with minimum standards
for pedagogy and subject qualifications
put in place. College staff will also have
the opportunity to undertake relevant
and good quality industrial placements to
ensure that they understand the needs of
employers and workforce development.
The quality improvement process,
including the inspection regime, will be
reviewed to ensure that it is appropriate
for all aspects of delivery in colleges.
The Department will support the
development of research in pedagogy
to inform best practice in professional
and technical education and training
to establish Northern Ireland as an
internationally renowned centre for
excellence in teacher education in
professional and technical subjects.
Standardised approaches to receiving
and analysing feedback from learners
and from employers will be developed
and introduced. Additional performance
measures will be adopted to enable
colleges and the Department to monitor
colleges’ performance more effectively
as part of quality management,
including learner progression and
learners’ destinations after leaving
further education. Colleges will publish
information on learner retention,
achievement, progression and destinations
on their web sites in such a way as to
inform learners’ choice of courses on
which to enrol.
International evidence
confirms that the strategic
direction of our further
education sector in recent
years is the right one...
Consultation document on the development of a new
Further Education Strategy for Northern Ireland
INTERNATIONAL DIMENSION:
to learn from best practice outside
Northern Ireland
Policy Commitment 12 –
Operating Internationally
Colleges will enhance the learner
experience, and the professional
development and industrial knowledge
of their staff, through placements and
exchanges with similar institutions in
other countries. They will also build on
the excellent partnerships that have
already been created across the world
to share best practice with, and to learn
from others. In addition, colleges will,
with the Department, explore commercial
opportunities to deliver more services in
the international market.
GOVERNANCE:
to maximise the benefits of colleges’
Non Departmental Public Bodies
(NDPB) status while also addressing
any challenges posed
Policy Commitment 13 –
Further Education Governance
and Business Model
Colleges and the Department will work
together to maximise the benefits to
colleges and their customers of the
NDPB status, while also addressing
any challenges posed.
COLLEGE PARTNERSHIPS:
to maximise efficiency and
effectiveness
Policy Commitment 14 –
Sectoral Efficiency through
Collaborative Working
In order to ensure that their services
are delivered with maximum efficiency,
colleges will operate more collectively
in the delivery of their corporate
services through a more rigorous
and comprehensive approach to
collaborative (shared services) working.
Where appropriate, the colleges will
take advantage of their NDPB status
by adopting collaborative working
opportunities that are available across
the public sector in Northern Ireland.
Policy Commitment 15 –
Sectoral Effectiveness by
Sharing Best Practice
Colleges will share best practice, and learn
from each other, in the innovative and
imaginative delivery of services to learners
and employers. In particular, colleges will
work together to ensure that technology
can be developed and used in the most
cost efficient and effective way to support
learning.
Policy Commitment 16 –
Delivery Mechanism to Drive
Efficiency and Effectiveness
A mechanism will be established
to stimulate, manage and oversee
collaboration and sharing of best practice
between colleges to ensure efficiency and
effectiveness in the delivery of services,
and to maximise the level of resource that
is available to fund front line services.
11
FUNDING MODEL AND COLLEGE
SUSTAINABILITY:
to underpin priorities
12
PROMOTING THE FURTHER
EDUCATION SECTOR:
with colleges ambitious for learners,
employers and the wider region
Policy Commitment 17 –
Reviewing the Further
Education Funding Model
Policy Commitment 18 –
Promoting Further
Education Provision
In partnership with colleges, the funding
model will be reviewed to ensure that
it supports and incentivises colleges
to deliver this strategy, that it supports
a sustainable further education sector
and that it aligns with the funding
models that will be developed for other
departmental programmes that further
education colleges will deliver, in particular
apprenticeships and youth training.
Colleges Northern Ireland, individual
colleges and the Department will work
together to demonstrate and explain the
distinctive role that the further education
sector has, as part of the wider education
system, and the role that the sector plays
in strengthening the Northern Ireland
economy. More generally, the benefits
and status of professional and technical
qualifications will also be promoted.
Consultation document on the development of a new
Further Education Strategy for Northern Ireland
Structure of the Document
Screening
Section 1 explains the statutory
A Section 75 Equality of Opportunity
Screening exercise has been undertaken.
This has concluded that the proposals
set out in this document will not lead to
discrimination against any of the Section
75 categories, and will not have a negative
differential impact on these categories.
basis for the further education sector in
Northern Ireland, outlines the rationale
for the new further education strategy
and describes the approach that has
been taken to evidence gathering
to inform the new strategy’s policy
commitments.
Section 2 examines the strategic,
economic and labour market context
within which colleges operate.
Section 3 summarises the
achievements of the current further
education system.
A Shared Future Proof screening exercise
has also been conducted. It demonstrates
the strong contribution that colleges
already make to the provision of education
in a shared and integrated environment,
and indicates that the proposed new
strategy for further education will
strengthen this further. The outcome of
the shared future screening exercise is
included at Annex A.
Section 4 sets out the vision for the
further education sector in Northern
Ireland.
Sections 5 to 13 set out policy
commitments, based on the evidence
that has been gathered to support the
review, through which the vision for
further education in Northern Ireland will
be implemented.
Section 14 asks a series of related
consultation questions on the new
strategy.
13
1
Introduction
The current strategy for further education in Northern Ireland, ‘Further
Education Means Business’, has had a range of highly successful
outcomes, with colleges now focused strongly on meeting the economic
and workforce development needs of Northern Ireland. However, the
Northern Ireland economy has changed considerably in recent years, with
current and future jobs requiring increasingly high levels of skills and a
breadth of knowledge across many occupational areas. Over the next
ten years the pace of change will accelerate, driven by globalisation,
advances in technology, new business models and rapidly changing
consumer needs. One of the major results of this will be substantial
changes to the world of work.
Further education has a clear and
unrivalled role to respond to the changes
in work through the development of
innovative, flexible and economically
beneficial programmes that will both
meet the requirements for new ways of
learning and adaptable skills and lead the
development of a ‘learning to learn’ culture
in Northern Ireland.
One of the key features and strengths of
the further education sector over the years
is that it is accessible to a wide variety
of learners, for example in terms of the
14
level and type of learning required (from
those with no, or very few qualifications
to those who are following higher
education provision), and in terms of the
different age groups of learners. Further
education students come from a variety of
backgrounds and have a range of learning,
work, and life experiences. This diversity
strengthens and enhances the learning
experience.
Education has become one of the
clearest indicators of life outcomes, with
participation in further education delivering
Consultation document on the development of a new
Further Education Strategy for Northern Ireland
many benefits, at an individual, economic
and societal level. Along with access to
employment, education is the best way to
support social and economic participation
and is vital in supporting the achievement
of Northern Ireland’s economic goals.
Increasingly, countries are recognising
that good initial vocational education and
training has a major contribution to make
to economic competitiveness.1
Learners in Northern Ireland colleges
currently study a variety of courses, in a
variety of ways, including by:
where they live, can learn in vibrant and
well equipped learning environments.
Under the Further Education (Northern
Ireland) Order 1997, colleges are the
statutory providers of further education
and training in Northern Ireland, a position
that has been consolidated further by
the classification of colleges as NDPBs
of the Department for Employment and
Learning since October 2010. They are
the providers of choice for skills delivery
in Northern Ireland, and deliver education
and training to a wide variety of learners
and in many settings, including in college
campuses, in the community and on
employers’ premises.
„
level, from courses in basic literacy and
numeracy to degree level programmes;
„
subject area, with courses from
accountancy to animal care and
management;
Going forward, colleges will continue to
deliver provision of a broad nature to meet
the needs of a wide variety of learners and
will be open and available to all.
„
levels of engagement, from modules
lasting a few hours to courses lasting up
to three years and delivered on a parttime or full-time basis; and
The figure overleaf illustrates the
number and breadth of enrolments
within the further education sector in
the 2013/14 year.
„
finance, with some learners paying full
costs and others paying no fees.
A number of recent strategies within
the department will be instrumental in
determining the nature and content of
a significant proportion of the provision
to be delivered by colleges in the future,
in particular, the new apprenticeships
system and the youth training system
at level 2. Further education colleges,
along with universities, will be the primary
deliverers of the new apprenticeships
system in Northern Ireland which will
commence in 2016, and which will see
apprenticeships commence at level 3
The college estate has seen a major
programme of improvement in recent
years. Most of the colleges are now
operating out of state-of-the-art campuses
containing the latest technology and
industry-standard equipment. There is still
significant work to be done in some areas
and, subject to the availability of capital
funding, the Department is committed to
ensuring that all students, regardless of
1
OECD Learning For Jobs www.oecd.org/education/innovation-education/learningforjobs.htm
15
Further
Education
71%
Provision
Area
e
69% Male
31%
Female
Science
Technology
Engineering
Mathematics
Enrolements = 63,043
141,778
Further Education
2103/14 Enrolments
on Regulated Courses
Further Education Activity in FE Colleges in Northern Ireland 2013/14 http://www.delni.gov.uk/fe-infographic.pdf
8%
-Tim
Par
t
82%
15%
SWC
12%
NWRC
19%
SRC
20%
SERC
22%
BMC
13%
NRC
7%
Male
0
6%
18
%
7%
9%
10%
12%
32%
5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40
10-24
Female
49% 51%
Engineering and
Manufacturing
Technologies
Health, Public
Services and Care
Retail and Commercial
Enterprise
Information and
Communication Technology
Preparation for Life and work
40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5
3
3%
Top 5
Most Popular subject areas
Share of Enrolments
across FE Colleges
in Northern
Ireland
11%
2
Higher
Education
21%
Essential
Skills
e
Ful
l-Ti
m
18%
3 out of 4 (78%)
gain a qualification
Figure 1: Key Statistics and College Enrolments 2013/14 (All Enrolments at All Levels)2
19
a
n
d
un
de
r
25%
16
+
25
Consultation document on the development of a new
Further Education Strategy for Northern Ireland
with progression possible up to level 8.3
Colleges, with other training providers, will
be key deliverers of the new Youth Training
System at level 2.
„
desk research of key literature and
research papers, in particular recent
OECD publications, as set out in the
bibliography;
Further education college staff will have
a critical role to play in working with
employers and other key stakeholders with
regards to qualifications and programmes
of learning. They will be representatives on
the Strategic Advisory Forum, and will have
a particularly prominent role in working
with employers and other stakeholders on
the Strategic Partnerships which are being
set up as part of the new apprenticeship
system to design and develop high quality
and economically relevant qualifications
and curriculum.
„
an analysis of the best practice that is
present in our own further education
colleges, and in other parts of the world;
„
a detailed statistical analysis of further
education activity in terms of enrolments
and learner retention and achievement;
„
evidence compiled through the reviews
of apprenticeships and youth training,
which is relevant to the wider vocational
education and training (VET) system
within which further educational
colleges operate;
„
consultation with a range of key
stakeholders; and
„
use of specific forums and further
engagement with the sector.
The development of qualifications for use
in the new apprenticeships and youth
training systems will be part of a new
qualifications strategy that is currently
being developed by the Department.
The aim is that further education
colleges and other training organisations
deliver qualifications that are valued by
employers and learners, and other users of
qualifications, particularly in terms of their
high economic relevance.
In taking forward the new further education
strategy, a range of information has been
considered and used to inform the policy
commitments, including:
An accompanying Supporting Evidence
document has been produced to provide
more detailed information on areas such
as the strategic context, related strategies,
and recent reforms and developments
which impact on the work of the colleges.
Furthermore, the document presents a
summary of the findings from research on
international policies and practices, case
studies of best practice in the Northern
Ireland further education colleges,
and statistical information on college
enrolments, and performance in terms
of learner retention, achievement, and
success.
„
the development of an underlying
evidence base setting out the economic
and social context that is most relevant
to the further education sector;
3
Securing our Success: the Northern Ireland Strategy on Apprenticeships: http://www.delni.gov.uk/securing-our-success-the-nistrategy-on-apprenticeships.pdf
17
2
Strategic Context for Further Education
This section summarises the wider strategic context for the new further
education strategy.
The Northern Ireland Executive has taken the step of making the economy
the top priority in its Programme for Government4 for 2011-2015. The key
strategic priorities of the Programme for Government are:
„
growing a sustainable economy and
investing in the future;
„
creating opportunities, tackling
disadvantage and improving health and
wellbeing;
„
protecting our people, the environment
and creating safer communities;
„
building a strong and shared community;
and
The economic and innovation strategies
set out a clear vision of a successful
Northern Ireland economy and provide a
pathway for achieving that vision based
around investment in skills and innovation.
The skills strategy and related strategies
are similarly clear about the priority actions
that are required to deliver the economic
vision. The skills strategy points to the
need for transformational change with
people being encouraged and facilitated to
move up the skills ladder.
„
delivering high quality and efficient
public services.
In Northern Ireland there is a particular
focus on STEM, management and
4
18
Northern Ireland Executive Programme for Government 2011-2015 www.northernireland.gov.uk/pfg
Consultation document on the development of a new
Further Education Strategy for Northern Ireland
leadership, and on the development
of higher level skills. Furthermore, the
new apprenticeships and youth training
systems, when implemented fully from
2016, will make a significant contribution
to the skills base in Northern Ireland.
The further education sector is a key
economic driver for Northern Ireland and
plays a central role in the implementation
of the Programme for Government and in
delivering on all of the strategies referred
to above.
Alongside economic growth, there is
a need to support social inclusion by
ensuring that those who have barriers
to learning or who are unemployed or
economically inactive are encouraged
to participate in education and training
provision that will help them to secure
employment and to improve their life
chances. The economic downturn has had
a detrimental social impact in Northern
Ireland in areas such as health, crime,
social mobility, and youth unemployment.
Furthermore rates of economic inactivity
have been stubbornly higher than in
the rest of the United Kingdom over
a prolonged period of time. Further
education colleges have a strong track
record of engaging with those who are
furthest from the labour market, and
they will have an important part to play in
‘Enabling Success’, the strategy to tackle
economic inactivity in Northern Ireland
which was published in April 2015.
The main Departmental strategies that will
have an impact on further education are
as follows:
„
Securing our Success: The Northern
Ireland Strategy on Apprenticeships
http://www.delni.gov.uk/securingour-success-the-ni-strategy-onapprenticeships.pdf;
„
Generating our Success: The Northern
Ireland Strategy for Youth Training
http://www.delni.gov.uk/youth-trainingstrategy-pdf;
„
The Professional and Technical
Qualifications Strategy
(currently under development);
„
Graduating to Success: A
Higher Education Strategy for Northern
Ireland
http://www.delni.gov.uk/graduating-tosuccess-he-strategy-for-ni.pdf
„
Access to Success: An Integrated
Regional Strategy for Widening
Participation in Higher Education http://
www.delni.gov.uk/access-to-success.pdf;
„
Preparing for Success
2015-2020: Careers Strategy
(currently under development);
„
Enabling Success: A Strategy to
Address Economic Inactivity
http://www.delni.gov.uk/economicinactivity-strategy;
„
Refresh of Essential Skills for Living
Strategy and, in conjunction with the
Department of Education in Northern
Ireland, The Review of GCSEs in English
and Mathematics (currently under
development).
19
3
Current Further Education System:
Achievements
Under “Further Education Means Business”, the strategic aim for the further
education sector is that colleges should “be at the heart of lifelong learning
in order to strengthen economic development, enhance social cohesion,
and advance the individual’s skills and learning”. Since the publication
of “Further Education Means Business”, the sector has undergone a
remarkable evolution and transformation, and colleges have much of which
to be proud.
The main achievements in recent years are
summarised below:
20
„
the re-structuring of the further
education sector from 16 colleges to the
current six large regional colleges;
„
economically focused curriculum around 97% of the funding provided by
the Department to further education
is now directed at provision that leads
to qualifications on the regulated
qualifications frameworks;
5
For definitions of learner achievement and success see Annex E
„
learner achievement and success5 there has been a dramatic improvement
in the rates of learner achievement and
success over the four academic years
from 2010/11 to 2013/14;
„
further education colleges have worked
in strong and effective partnerships
with many post primary schools across
Northern Ireland in the delivery of the
Entitlement Framework, which requires
school pupils from year 11 upwards
to have access to a mixed curriculum
of academic and professional and
technical subjects;
Consultation document on the development of a new
Further Education Strategy for Northern Ireland
„
the further education sector has
responded positively and very effectively
to the need to strengthen economic
development by supporting business
and innovation, and colleges are now
the Department’s providers of choice
to support inward investment and local
employers;
„
colleges have provided access to
further education to those with barriers
to learning, those with no or low
qualifications, those who are furthest
from the labour market, and those with
learning difficulties and/or disabilities;
„
the further education sector has
developed extensive experience of
international working, co-operation and
delivery;
„
the drive by colleges to further improve
the excellence and quality of provision
they deliver has continued, and this
is shown through the increased levels
of learner achievement and success
referred to above. A strong contributory
factor in the drive to improve standards
is the quality of teaching in our colleges
in terms of pedagogy and up to date
industrial knowledge; and
„
the further education sector has been
operating with increasing efficiency over
recent years.
The sector has
undergone a
remarkable
evolution and
transformation...
21
4
Vision for Further Education in
Northern Ireland
Vision
The vision is that further education colleges will be recognised
locally, nationally and internationally for high quality and
economically relevant education and training provision. Colleges will
be focussed on achieving excellence in delivering the skills needed
for the economy of today and tomorrow, and will be ambitious for
their learners and for the contribution they make to improving the
competitiveness of the economy of Northern Ireland.
To achieve this vision the key objectives
that set the future direction for further
education are as follows:
„
22
ensuring high quality provision for
learner education and training;
„
developing the talents of those already
in work and those seeking to enter
employment in order to provide a
pipeline of suitably skilled and qualified
individuals at all levels to meet
employers’ needs, including indigenous
companies and inward investment
projects;
Consultation document on the development of a new
Further Education Strategy for Northern Ireland
„
supporting employers to become more
innovative and competitive, and to
source new markets; and
„
economic development, with colleges
at the centre of skills delivery for
professional and technical occupations;
„
encouraging and supporting the
economic participation of those who
have barriers to learning and who are
furthest from the labour market, to the
benefit of individuals, the economy and
wider society.
„
social inclusion, driven by improved
job skills and capabilities;
„
curriculum delivery, the engine of high
quality further education delivery;
„
excellence, to achieve the highest
possible quality standards;
„
international dimension, to learn from
best practice outside Northern Ireland;
„
governance, to maximise the benefits
of colleges’ NDPB status while also
addressing any challenges posed;
„
college partnerships, to maximise
efficiency and effectiveness;
„
funding model and college
sustainability, to underpin priorities;
and
„
promoting the further education
sector, with colleges ambitious for
learners, employers and the wider
region.
In essence, the further education system
has two core purposes. These are:
1. taking a pivotal role in developing a
strong and vibrant economy through
the development of professional and
technical skills, increasingly at higher
levels, and by helping employers to
innovate; and
2. supporting social inclusion by providing
those who have low or no qualifications,
or who have barriers to learning, with
the skills and qualifications needed
to find employment and to become
economically active.
This dual role is reflected in the themes
and policy commitments in this strategy.
Themes
This review of further education is based
around a number of themes and policy
commitments, incorporating evidence
gathered, examples of best practice
in Northern Ireland and best practice
internationally. The themes, which aim to
deliver the vision and the key objectives
outlined above, are set out as follows:
These themes are discussed in more
detail in the sections that follow.
23
Themes
5
Economic Development
This section outlines the first part of the dual role referred to in section 4,
namely the key role colleges will play in identifying and meeting the skills
and qualification needs of employers via a more economically focused
curriculum, providing direct support to employers by upskilling employees
and supporting employers to become more competitive and innovative.
The further education sector is a key
economic driver for Northern Ireland and
plays a central role in the implementation
of the Programme for Government, and
in particular delivering on the Northern
Ireland Economic Strategy, Skills Strategy,
the STEM Strategy and the Innovation
Strategy. Colleges make a significant and
high quality contribution to addressing the
current and future skills needs of Northern
Ireland and have an increasingly important
role in attracting inward investment
companies. The policy commitments under
this theme will strengthen colleges’ role in
this important strategic area, and will see
colleges gaining an even more in depth
24
understanding of the needs of employers,
and how these needs can be met most
effectively.
The further education curriculum must
be shaped to support the needs of
learners and to support employers and
the wider economy by matching vocational
education and training provision to the
needs of industry. Evidence suggests this
can be achieved through a collaborative
process of employer engagement, a strong
focus on employability skills, and an
effective careers service embedded within
the curriculum.
Consultation document on the development of a new
Further Education Strategy for Northern Ireland
The introduction in recent years of a new
economically focused curriculum is crucial
to learners, and has offered a curriculum
with clear pathways to professional and
technical qualifications while continuing
to address issues of social inclusion.
This refocused curriculum is aligned
to the economic vision for Northern
Ireland, as outlined in the Programme for
Government.
Going forward, the sector needs to be
increasingly agile and responsive to the
changing needs of employers to meet
short-term skills pressures, but also to
remain focused on meeting long term
challenges and economic goals.
Role of Further Education in
Economic Development
The diagram below sets out the role
of further education in economic
development; it also demonstrates
how skills availability drives economic
development. Colleges develop skilled
individuals, to the benefit and satisfaction
of their students and employers, enabled
by excellent lecturers and physical
resources. These skills are the engine
of economic development. A virtuous
feedback loop is, therefore, established.
Figure 2: Skills Availability Drives Economic Development
OUTCOME
FE delivers high
quality professional
and technical
education and training
to fulfil this need,
supported by
independent
careers advice
Through highly
skilled staff who
are experts and
develop their
competences
along with first
class facilities
Employer
satisfaction
and
Student
satisfaction
PLUS
Driven by the
availability of the
skills pipeline
ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT
Economic
growth
and
Individual Skills
25
Themes
Identifying Future Skills and
Qualifications Needs of Employers
With the substantial capital investment
in further education in recent years,
colleges are well placed to support the
development of skills in the private
sector in Northern Ireland. They will
provide tailored solutions to the skills
needs of employers based on regulated
qualifications and industry standard
training. Projects will be developed to
meet the specific needs of individual
employers or, where numbers are small,
clustered projects will be developed to
accommodate a group of companies
requiring similar training.
Ensuring that the skills and qualifications
provided to individual learners, including
employees, meet the requirements
of employers in Northern Ireland is of
paramount importance. In broad terms,
there need to be more higher level skills
(at level 3 and above), a strong focus on
STEM and other areas that will help to
rebalance and rebuild the local economy,
and more involvement of employers in
the process of designing and developing
qualifications and curriculum.
Research shows that labour productivity
in Northern Ireland remains well below
the UK average, with low productivity
seen across a number of sectors. Higher
skills levels are associated with higher
productivity, higher wage levels, higher
employment rates and increased economic
growth. Consequently, there is an
increasing need for higher level skills and
6
26
a reducing demand for lower level skills.
The proportion of those in employment
with qualifications at level 4 to level 8 will
need to rise from 33% in 2008 to 52%
in 2020,6 while the proportion of those
in employment with low qualifications is
forecast to fall to 10% by 2020. Evidence
regarding the importance of training and
educating people to level 3 and above has
also been demonstrated in “Securing our
Success – the Northern Ireland Strategy
for Apprenticeships”.
Further education colleges will meet
the need for higher level skills in three
main ways: (i) their mainstream further
education provision will be focused
increasingly at Level 3, (ii) they will
continue to be the sole providers of
intermediate level (levels 4 and 5)
higher education provision in Northern
Ireland, and (iii) they will, together with
universities, be key providers of the new
apprenticeship programme at level 3
and above, and will have a particular
role in ensuring pathways from lower
to higher levels.
As well as being extremely valuable in
its own right, level 3 further education
provision also offers progression to
higher education either in a college or at
university. In 2013/14 there were 11,576
higher education enrolments in further
education colleges. Intermediate level
higher education is essential to the future
development of the economy, as there is
strong evidence to suggest that the current
skills gaps are most acute at a level
that is represented by higher education
Taken from The Skills Strategy for Northern Ireland “Success through Skills – Transforming Futures”, 2011 www.delni.gov.uk/
success-through-skills-transforming-futures
Consultation document on the development of a new
Further Education Strategy for Northern Ireland
qualifications below degree level. The new
apprenticeships system will also make
a significant contribution, and higher
level apprenticeships, which colleges are
already piloting, will complement more
traditional forms of higher education
provision. While colleges will begin
to refocus at level 3 and above, it is
recognised that there remain skills needs
below level 3 and that colleges will still
have a role in delivering and developing
quality curriculum at this level.
The growing sectors of the Northern
Ireland economy will also require an
increasing number of skilled workers with
qualifications in STEM subjects, and other
priority areas that are essential to the
rebalancing and rebuilding of the economy.
A local workforce equipped with these
skills is hugely important in supporting and
developing our indigenous companies,
in attracting direct foreign investment
to Northern Ireland and in driving future
competiveness and economic growth. The
skills barometer that is being introduced as
part of the new apprenticeship system will
help to ensure that the current and future
needs of the economy are identified.
The identification of skills requirements
cannot be left to government alone.
Employers need to be at the heart of
identifying the skills they need both
now and in the future. Many of the
recommendations in the OECD’s “Skills
beyond Schools” review of postsecondary
vocational education and training indicate
that vocational qualifications stand the
best chance of being relevant to employers
7
8
Northern Ireland is a
small business economy.
Figures show that small
businesses (fewer
than 50 employees)
account for 98.2% of all
businesses...
and being valuable to students when they
are developed, updated and delivered with
the full engagement of all relevant labour
market stakeholders.
In addition to qualifications development,
there is compelling evidence to show
that curriculum development and design
should be a collaborative process so
that colleges, training providers and
employers are directly involved in shaping
programmes that reflect up to date
needs of occupations and workplaces,
and which are based on a broader, more
aspirational concept of competence.7
This in turn provides a clear line of sight
to work on all vocational programmes for
learners, employers and providers.8 Such
engagement with employers sends a
signal to the learner (and his/her parents
who often have an important role in the
learner’s choice of pathways) that the
programme has value in the labour market.
There is also a need to rationalise and
simplify the professional and technical
qualification landscape to make it easier
to navigate and understand by users of
Commission on Adult Vocational Teaching and Learning: It’s About Work – Excellent Adult Vocational Teaching and Learning 2013,
Page 14. http://www.excellencegateway.org.uk/node/26611
Ibid Page 15.
27
Themes
qualifications including employers,
learners and providers.
This approach to qualifications and
curriculum design and development
is being adopted in the Department’s
new apprenticeships and youth training
systems. In particular, the Strategic
Advisory Forum and the Sector
Partnerships that will be established
as part of the implementation of the
apprenticeship programme will be
instrumental in identifying skills demand
and in ensuring that professional and
technical qualifications meet the needs
of employers and the economy. Further
education colleges will be represented on
the Strategic Advisory Forum, and will have
a particularly prominent role in working
with employers and other stakeholders on
the Strategic Partnerships to design and
develop high quality and economically
relevant qualifications and curriculum.
These qualifications will not only form the
basis for apprenticeships by occupation,
but will also be the basis for professional
and technical qualifications that are
delivered through mainstream further
education provision.
Through the annual College Development
Plans, which set targets and budgets for
individual colleges, colleges will increase
the proportion of their provision that is in
Northern Ireland’s identified priority skills
areas, and this is monitored closely by the
Department each year.
9
28
Gateway to Growth: CBI/Pearson Education and Skills Survey 2014
Up-skilling the Workforce
The further education sector has a
pivotal role in up-skilling and re-skilling
the workforce to meet the skills needs
of employers, and as a result make a
significant contribution to the growth of
the economy. Northern Ireland is an
economy with a preponderance of small
businesses. Figures show that small
businesses (fewer than 50 employees)
account for 98.2% of all businesses,
with medium sized businesses (50249) accounting for 1.5%, and large
businesses (250+) accounting for
0.3% of total business within Northern
Ireland. Micro businesses (fewer than
10 employees) account for 89.1% of
the total business in Northern Ireland.
The role of small to medium enterprises
(SMEs) is, therefore, vital in improving
the economic competitiveness of
Northern Ireland, and it is important that
the colleges work with them to deliver
the support they need.
Employers do not always recognise
the further education sector as a first
choice training provider. Findings
from a 2014 survey conducted by
the CBI9 show that private providers
are the most common choice for
employers using external training and
development provision. Consequently,
there is scope for the colleges to build
upon their current excellent practice
in supporting business and economic
development. For many employers,
the priority is tailored training which
develops key and specific competencies
Consultation document on the development of a new
Further Education Strategy for Northern Ireland
within their businesses. Employers seek
training which is flexible and can be
delivered on their own premises, and often
out of standard working hours. Flexible,
short-cycle and distance learning will be
fundamental to meeting the changing
requirements of employer training needs.
Much good practice exists within the
sector, but there is a perception that some
college training activities are restricted to
term time and business hours.
It will be important for the sector to
raise awareness amongst the business
community about the type, range, quality
and flexibility of the support and services
the colleges provide, so that they can
become the training provider of first choice
for Northern Ireland employers. The
Department has developed the Employer
Support Programme, consisting of ‘Skills
Focus’ and ‘Innovate Us’, specifically to
enable colleges to support employers.
The new ‘Skills Focus’ programme, is
being introduced to support, promote,
and facilitate collaborative working
between business and colleges; through
the programme, colleges will provide
tailored skills provision to small to medium
enterprises to increase the skills levels
of their workforce to level 2 and above.
Colleges will manage, and will be the sole
providers of, this programme, and will be
the first point of contact for employers
who can benefit from participation on the
programme.
The further education sector plays an
increasingly important role in attracting
inward investment, particularly through
delivery of the Assured Skills programme
which is a joint initiative between DEL and
Invest Northern Ireland. This programme is
designed to help attract new foreign direct
investment companies to Northern Ireland
by assuring them that the skills they need
to be successful are available here. The
colleges will work with key partners in
government, including Invest Northern
Ireland and other economic development
agencies, to attract and support inward
investment, particularly in high value
added sectors.
Flexibility of delivery is paramount
in meeting the up-skilling needs of
employers, and key issues to be
considered are flexibility within college
management, the skills sets and contracts
of college staff, and the innovative and
imaginative use of technology.
Innovation
The further education sector has a
proven track record in delivering a range
of programmes to Northern Ireland
businesses, in areas such as product
design, research and development,
business incubation, innovation and
knowledge transfer, and is a key delivery
partner for a number of DEL initiatives.
The Northern Ireland Innovation Strategy
states that the further education sector
(along with our universities) will play a
vital role in the aspiration for Northern
Ireland to be recognised as an innovation
hub and one of the UK’s leading highgrowth, knowledge-based regions. There
29
Themes
is considerable scope for further education
colleges and the university sector to
develop stronger partnerships in order
to collaborate in identifying and meeting
the innovation and knowledge needs of
Northern Ireland businesses.
In particular, colleges will use the ‘Innovate
Us’ strand of the Employer Support
Programme to increase and develop small
employers’ ability to innovate, and they will
increase their research and development
and knowledge transfer activities to
complement and work in partnership with
universities in these areas.
Organisational Arrangements
30
There is a need for the colleges
to collaborate and provide a more
synchronised approach to how they
engage with employers in providing
the types of support outlined above.
Colleges have agreed to create a model
for excellence based on the two pillars of
(i) business engagement and (ii) subject
specialisms, under the term Specialist
Provision for Industry using College
Expertise (SPICE). In effect, each college
will have identified sectors where they will
have a lead role and will be recognised
for their expertise and specialisation;
individual colleges will be identified as the
first point of contact for Invest Northern
Ireland and for local employers. The areas
of specialism identified will be aligned
to the priority skills areas. In addition,
colleges will further build their own
regional capacity in all priority areas by
developing networks of experts across the
regional colleges who will share the latest
developments in curriculum and skills
training across Northern Ireland.
Policy Commitment 1 –
Priority Skills
Colleges will have a crucial role working
with employers and other key stakeholders
to ensure that the professional and
technical qualifications and curriculum
they provide support the rebalancing
and rebuilding of the Northern Ireland
economy.
Policy Commitment 2 –
Levels of College Provision
Further education colleges will have a
particular focus on further developing
provision at level 3 (A level equivalent)
and above in areas that will support the
rebalancing and rebuilding of the Northern
Ireland economy. Progression for learners
who wish to study at higher levels will
be encouraged and facilitated through
the qualifications system, and through
innovative delivery and clear pathways.
Policy Commitment 3 –
Up-skilling the
Existing Workforce
Colleges will support indigenous
companies and new companies which are
being established in Northern Ireland, to
ensure that employees have the required
knowledge, skills and qualifications. In
doing this, colleges will operate in flexible
ways in terms of where, when, and over
what period of time up-skilling activities
are provided, so that the needs of
employers can be met effectively and in a
manner which suits the business needs.
Consultation document on the development of a new
Further Education Strategy for Northern Ireland
Policy Commitment 4 –
Support to Employers
Colleges will be at the forefront of
providing support to employers to
enable them to innovate, to grow, to
operate more effectively and efficiently,
to develop new products and to identify
new markets for their products.
Policy Commitment 5 –
College Specialism and
Regional Capacity
Centres of specialism and expertise will
be developed in each college to enable
the further education sector as a whole
to deliver high quality professional
and technical provision to employers.
Through a collaborative approach,
individual colleges will have identified
sectors where they will be recognised
for their expertise and specialism.
As well as identifying specialisms,
all colleges will develop networks
of experts who will share the latest
developments in curriculum and skills
training across Northern Ireland.
The growing sectors of
the Northern Ireland
economy will also require
an increasing number
of skilled workers with
qualifications in STEM
subjects, and other priority
areas that are essential
to the rebalancing and
rebuilding of the economy.
31
Themes
6
Social Inclusion
This section outlines the second part of colleges’ dual role, namely the
distinctive contribution they make to providing learners with the knowledge,
skills and qualifications required to avail of the benefits of economic
participation; and their role in supporting diversity and social inclusion by
encouraging participation from the most deprived areas of Northern Ireland
and ensuring access for those with barriers to learning.
The global economic downturn impacted
significantly on the Northern Ireland
economy, and this compounded a number
of longer term structural challenges
including high youth unemployment, high
inactivity rates, low levels of productivity,
low employment rates, and reliance on the
public sector. A poor level of educational
achievement in some of the population,
including in the important skills of literacy,
numeracy and ICT, is a contributory factor
which reduces access to employment and
other life chances. Access to education
and employment is the best way out of
poverty and social exclusion, and towards
social and economic participation. This
is best achieved by providing people with
the confidence, skills and qualifications
to engage with the labour market. The
32
further education sector is critical to
this process.
A key feature and strength of the further
education sector is that it is accessible
to all, both in terms of reaching all levels,
types and age of learners, and also the
fact that further education colleges are
locally based and their reach extends
into both urban and rural communities.
Further education students come from a
variety of backgrounds and have a range
of learning, work, and life experiences.
For many people further education
provides a second chance to obtain the
education, skills and qualifications that
they did not obtain through their formal
education.
Consultation document on the development of a new
Further Education Strategy for Northern Ireland
The policy commitments under this theme
will ensure that colleges continue to
address the issue of social inclusion by
widening participation in further education,
including from learners with barriers,
those who have learning difficulties and/
or disabilities, and those who are furthest
from the labour market. There will be
strong linkages with other departmental
programmes and policies, including
NEETs, provision at level 1 and below and
economic inactivity.
Benefits of Further Education
Participation in further education delivers
many benefits, at an individual, economic
and societal level. Professional and
technical qualifications are strongly
associated with improved labour market
outcomes, in terms of the likelihood
of being in employment and the
associated wage premium. Research
shows that the impact of education
and training on earnings increases over
time and increases with higher levels of
qualifications achieved. The same holds
true for the impact of education and
training on employment prospects.10
The Department of Business Innovation
and Skills (BIS) in England commissioned
Ipsos MORI and London Economics to
undertake a detailed analysis of the
benefits associated with further education
and skills11. The research focussed
particularly on the economic impact and
wider benefits associated with learning
and qualification attainment. The following
benefits for the individual were identified:
Figure 3: Benefits of Further Education
Increased
responsibility
at work
Improved pay/
promotion
Improvements
in health and
wellbeing
outcomes
Reduced
interactions
with the criminal
justice system
Improved self
confidence/
self esteem
BENEFITS
OF FURTHER
EDUCATION
Improved Job
Satisfaction
Social capital
and cohesion
Better Job
Intergenerational
transmission
of skills
10 Department for Employment and Learning, Further Education Review - Background Evidence Presentation, February 2015
11 BIS Research Paper No.104, January 2013 – The Impact of Further Education
33
Themes
Further Education and
Economic Participation
Education has become one of the
clearest indicators of life outcomes,
along with, employment, income, and
social status, and is a strong predictor of
attitudes and wellbeing. It is also a vital
means to supporting the achievement of
Northern Ireland’s economic goals.
It is fundamental that Northern Ireland
utilises all of its human capital resources,
including those currently excluded from
the labour market, to attain enhanced
productivity, employment and international
competitiveness.
The further education sector engages
with students with a wide variety of
needs, many of whom have barriers to
participating in learning such as: health
and disability issues; accessibility of
course provision; personal circumstances
including caring responsibilities and exconvictions; family or peer pressures and
attitudes to learning; those who have low
levels of qualifications or, in some cases,
no qualifications at all; those with literacy
and numeracy problems, or those in need
of English language skills. The gaining of
skills and qualifications, including in the
important areas of literacy, numeracy
and ICT, helps individuals to secure
employment and/or to move up the
skills ladder.
34
In the most recent academic year,
2013/14, there were 141,778
enrolments on courses that potentially
lead to regulated qualifications. Of these
enrolments, around 23.0% were at level 1
and below, 46.0% were at level 2, 23.0%
are at level 3 and 8.2% were at level 4
and above. Also, of these enrolments,
58.0% were in respect of those aged
19 and under, 13.4% were aged between
20 and 24, and 28.6% were aged
25 and over.12
Importantly, colleges’ enrolments are
spread across the five recognised
groupings of deprivation and, as
demonstrated in the figure below,
they deliver strongly to the two most
deprived quintiles.
12 Further Education in Northern Ireland: 2009/10 to 2013/14 http://www.delni.gov.uk/annex-a-fe-activity-statistical-bulletin-0910-to-1314-december2014-revised-as-at-24th-april-2015.pdf
Consultation document on the development of a new
Further Education Strategy for Northern Ireland
Figure 4: Regulated enrolments by deprivation quintiles13
2009/10
21.4%
21.7%
2010/11
21.3%
21.7%
2011/12
21.1%
22.4%
20.9%
18.1%
13.6%
2012/13
20.6%
22.5%
20.9%
18.6%
14.1%
*2013/14
21.0%
22.5%
20.8%
18.6%
13.8%
0%
10%
20%
Group 1 Most Deprived
30%
20.6%
20.6%
40%
Group 2
50%
Group 3
60%
70%
Group 4
18.2%
14.4%
18.4%
13.8%
80%
90%
100%
Group 5 Least Deprived
Bars will not total 100% as the proportion of unknown postcodes are not presented here
Students with Learning Difficulties
and / or Disabilities (SLDD)
The Department for Employment and
Learning is currently developing a new
Disability Employment and Skills Strategy,
to ensure that disability support and
the associated resources are focused
on those people with more significant
disability-related barriers to work, and
who, therefore, need additional specialist,
flexible and personalised support. The
strategy presents an opportunity to take
a collaborative and cohesive approach to
creating a clear pathway from education
through to sustained employment for
those young people who have significant
disability-related barriers, but who want to
work and are capable of doing so. Further
education colleges will be key providers for
this important group of learners.
A move to further education for those
students, who range from 16 years
upwards, also offers highly significant
opportunities to become more
independent, integrate with the wider
community, and gain valuable life skills.
13 Table derived from: Further Education in Northern Ireland: 2009/10 to 2013/14 http://www.delni.gov.uk/annex-a-fe-activity-statistical-bulletin-0910to-1314-december-2014-revised-as-at-24th-april-2015.pdf
35
Themes
This provision, therefore, provides a vital
stepping stone for people to progress
beyond statutory schooling, and to gain
the additional skills, qualifications and
life experience which will enable them
to progress within further education and
into employment, or, if appropriate, to
independent living.
Entry level and level 1 provision is crucial
to those with moderate to severe learning
difficulties, those who are disengaged
from education, and many of the groups
identified as having barriers to learning.
Essential Skills
Improving the level of literacy, numeracy
and ICT skills in Northern Ireland has been
a top priority for the Northern Ireland
Executive and for this Department, and
further education colleges have been
the major providers of essential skills
since that strategy was introduced in
2004. The results of the International
Survey of Adult Skills (ISAS) 201214
provided the Department with a clear
indication of progress in improving literacy
and numeracy skills. While the survey
confirmed that Northern Ireland has made
progress since the previous survey in 1996
it also indicated that more needed to be
done to raise the standard of achievement
in English, Mathematics, and Problem
Solving in a Technology Rich Environment
for our young people and adults.
Consequently, the Essential Skills strategy
is currently being refreshed, alongside a
separate piece of work being carried out
by the Department of Education to review
GCSEs in English and mathematics. The
outcomes of these reviews will help to
determine the role that colleges will play
in the future delivery of literacy, numeracy,
and ICT as part of their wider programme
delivery, including the implications for
the reviews of apprenticeships and
youth training.
Partnerships
Community based education provides
a first point of access for many adults
who missed the opportunity of education
and training the first time round and,
subsequently, became disengaged from
the education system and the labour
market. Colleges are committed to their
work in this area, and they partner with
numerous external bodies, including
statutory agencies, private training
organisations and the voluntary and
community sector, to target and deliver
training to those learners who are hardest
to reach. There are many examples of
high quality provision within the voluntary
and community sectors, and many
courses are provided in response to
requests from local groups, and are
provided in informal venues which are
close to home for the students.
Partnerships with the voluntary and
community sectors and other organisations
will be considered further to improve levels
of participation (college partnerships are
developed further in section 11). The
Department is committed to enabling and
14 International Study for Adult Skills 2012, led by the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), OECD
36
Consultation document on the development of a new
Further Education Strategy for Northern Ireland
facilitating the progression of learners from
education delivered in community and
other settings to mainstream accredited
further education delivered at main
college campuses.
Policy Commitment 6
– Increasing Economic
Participation through
Engagement
Colleges’ distinctive contribution to
social inclusion will be to provide
learners with the knowledge, skills
and qualifications required to find, or
progress within, employment in order
to avail of the benefits of economic
participation. Working in partnership with
others, colleges will support diversity
and social inclusion through widening
access to provision for those with barriers
to learning. They will work with other
organisations in the voluntary, community
and private sector to strengthen pathways
for learners that can open up their
ambitions and develop their talents.
Policy Commitment 7 –
Improving Literacy,
Numeracy and ICT
Colleges will raise the level of literacy,
numeracy and ICT competency in Northern
Ireland by adopting the new qualifications
that are being developed through the
refreshed Essential Skills strategy and
the reviews of GCSEs in English and
mathematics.
For many people
further education
provides a second
chance to obtain
the education,
skills and
qualifications that
they did not obtain
through their
formal education.
37
Themes
7
Curriculum Delivery
Section 5 emphasises the importance of the content of college provision
meeting the needs of the economy. This section details how colleges will
deliver future provision, making use of technology to engage learners and
enhance the teaching and learning experience. It will also explore the
importance of developing employability skills through work based learning
and by developing enterprising students.
There is a need for innovative curriculum
delivery, making imaginative and effective
use of technology enhanced learning
to support both classroom teaching
and blended/distance learning. Where
possible, work placements will be a part
of all learning, as this is recognised widely
as the best way to develop individuals’
employability skills. Gamification and
virtual reality technology will be used
as part of teaching and learning and to
simulate work placements where they are
not available or suitable. Delivery needs
to be flexible, accommodating different
learning styles and developing enterprising
students through various methods of
teaching.
38
Greater use will be made of competitions
such as WorldSkills to showcase the high
standards of professional and technical
training within Northern Ireland’s colleges,
and to stimulate individual learners.
Over the past number of years colleges
have developed the arena of skills
competitions across a number of skill
areas to excellent effect; for example,
automotive, construction, engineering,
creative and professional services. This
has resulted in an excellent record of
achievement for Northern Ireland in
skills competitions at regional, national
and world level and has placed Northern
Ireland as the top UK region in relation to
the number of competitors taking part and
medals awarded in the last two WorldSkills
competitions.
Consultation document on the development of a new
Further Education Strategy for Northern Ireland
There will be a strong emphasis on learner
progression, which should be monitored
closely. Progression pathways will be
underpinned with good quality career
guidance and information available to
learners both before entering and during
professional programmes.
Teaching staff will be highly skilled and
have up to date industrial knowledge in
their respective areas of expertise, in order
to deliver provision effectively as set out
above.
Use of Technology to
Enhance Learning
Professional and technical learning has
always involved technologies. However,
the challenge for vocational teachers and
trainers now is that the speed at which
businesses and learners will adapt to, and
adopt, new technologies is outstripping
the way that teaching and learning
changes. This is happening on three
fronts: in information technology, which is
increasingly used to communicate across
time and space; in learning technologies,
for instance supporting blended learning
and digital simulations; and in workplace
technology, which supports and transforms
working practices. Technological advances
in the workplace need to be brought
together with those in teaching and
learning to drive forward leading edge
vocational practice.
Student expectations of how they wish
to learn have changed over the past
ten years, due to the widespread use of
digital technologies. An approach that
incorporates the use of technology to
enhance learning will help to address
the changing learning environment; for
example the “flipped classroom”, which
creates a greater focus on activity based
learning. Access to interactive online
resources helps to develop self-paced,
independent learning opportunities.
Students respond positively to online
assessment due to the immediacy of the
feedback and the opportunities it provides
for them to review and improve.
Collaborative learning develops peer
to peer learning opportunities, and
enhances communication, team working
and other enterprise skills. The challenge
for colleges, because of the breadth of
provision that is offered from entry level
to level 7, is to develop a differentiated
approach that addresses the needs of
diverse groups of learners. Expanding
access to technology ensures that all
students can engage with learning
resources. This will require strategic
planning, by colleges, of the network
infrastructure. Tutor created content,
alongside authored content, provides
students with a range of interactive
resources to engage them in
their learning.
39
Themes
As the curriculum continues to innovate
to meet the changing needs of diverse
learning groups, colleges will examine
methodologies for curriculum delivery.
The growth of blended learning and
e-learning options will be exploited fully
to ensure colleges’ programmes remain
relevant to learners and supports the
complexity of their lifestyles.
Teachers and trainers in professional and
technical areas also have the opportunity
to harness technology for pedagogical
purposes, particularly because in future
many more of their learners are likely to
be distributed at different workplaces,
at home or on the move, reflecting how
people work and live. The Commission on
Adult Vocational Teaching and Learning
notes that vocational teachers and trainers
should embrace the fact that their learners
will be using technology as part of their
every day and working lives, and will have
things to teach their teachers.15
Developing Employability Skills –
Work Placements
Work-based learning (WBL), whether
through an apprenticeship-style
programme or through a structured
work placement, is a crucial element
of effective professional and technical
training. The review of youth training at
level 2 has provided strong evidence of
the benefits to learners and employers
of well managed and relevant work
40
placements. In particular, the review
identifies the important role that work
placements play in the development of
employability skills that are so important
to employers. WBL contributes to the
quality of initial VET and ensures that
the skills young people acquire are those
needed in the labour market.16 The
OECD recommends that all professional
education and training programmes should
involve WBL as a mandatory condition of
receiving government funding, and that
it should be systematic, quality assured
and credit-bearing.17 A recent European
Commission report states there is “ample,
long-standing and consistent evidence
that educational systems which combine
theoretical study with practical, workrelated training are more effective in
easing young people’s school-to-work
transition”.18 Mandatory WBL is associated
with improving the linkages between
educational institutions and employers.
Managed effectively, WBL delivers a
strong learning environment for students
to gain practical and up-to-date technical
skills and soft skills associated with
employability. More widely, it provides
a signal of the labour market value of
a programme by ensuring employer
involvement, which can be used as a
recruiting tool for both students and
employers. It can also result in production
benefits to employers and as a cost saving
measure for public authorities, particularly
in terms of costs of bespoke equipment
15 Commission on Adult Vocational teaching and learning: Its About Work – Excellent Adult Vocational Teaching and Learning 2013, Page 14. http://
www.excellencegateway.org.uk/node/26611
16 European Commission, Work-Based Learning in Europe: Practices and policy Pointers, June 2013, Page 45. http://ec.europa.eu/education/policy/
vocational-policy/doc/alliance/work-based-learning-in-europe_en.pdf
17 OECD, Skills Beyond Schools: A Review of Postsecondary Vocational Education and Training, April 2014, Page7.
18 EC, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, Study on a comprehensive overview on traineeship arrangements in
Member States: Final Synthesis Report, Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, May 2012, http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.
jsp?catId=738&langId=en&pubId=6717, p. 114.
Consultation document on the development of a new
Further Education Strategy for Northern Ireland
and trainer expertise.19 In the case of
SMEs, while time and costs constraints
can limit their engagement with WBL, in
sectors with skills shortages it can provide
a bespoke method of meeting the specific
needs of the company at that time.20
The OECD21 notes that, outside of
apprenticeships, work-based learning
is limited in training programmes within
Northern Ireland, but it is difficult to
quantify accurately how many young
people are currently receiving it. Part of
the reason for this is that the current
delivery model is largely led by supply
rather than by demand, with training
providers playing the lead role in managing
relationships with employers and training
programme participants, and being solely
responsible for maintaining records of
employer engagement and placements.
There are presently no mechanisms in
place to allow work placements to be
centrally recorded and for employers to
be able to promote placement vacancies,
or for young people to be given the
opportunity to consider all available
options in order to make better-informed
decisions. However, a number of the
proposals in the review of youth training
will address these issues; in particular,
the proposals to establish a process to
facilitate the sourcing and advertising of
work-based learning opportunities, and
to have dedicated industry consultants
who will source and manage work-based
learning opportunities, and encourage
employers to recruit young people from the
youth training system.
Many learners on mainstream further
education programmes will also benefit
from a period of work placement. Providing
work placements in sufficient numbers
and of the required quality will be a
considerable challenge. To address this
challenge, colleges will take advantage of
the processes being established as part
of the youth training system to source
work placements. Colleges will also
accelerate the innovative work they are
doing to develop and use virtual reality
environments to simulate work placements
in effective and stimulating ways.
Technology can help to compensate for a
lack of job based training by allowing the
learner to practise in virtual environments.
It helps the learner integrate practical
job-based experience with theoretical
learning or assessment, by giving more
on-the-job access to these materials.
Access to practical experience is a key
component of vocational learning but in
certain circumstances can be dangerous.
Simulations, using digital technologies,
can be an important part of enabling
access to practical experience in a safer
environment. They are also an ideal way
to learn how to complete tasks where
mistakes would be expensive.22
19 Ibid
20 European Commission, Study on a comprehensive overview on traineeship arrangements in Member States, May 2012, http://ec.europa.eu/social/
main.jsp?catId=738&langId=en&pubId=6717 10 and 72
21 Alvarez-Galvin, J., OECD Reviews of Vocational Education and Training – A Skills Beyond School Commentary on Northern Ireland, OECD, January
2014. http://www.oecd.org/edu/skills-beyond-school/ASkillsBeyondSchoolCommentaryOnNorthernIreland.pdf
22 City & Guilds: Culture, Coaching and Collaboration – How to Unlock the Potential of Digital Technology in Vocational teaching and Learning, Page
11. http://www.cityandguilds.com/~/media/Documents/about-us/Broadsheet-news/Culture%20coaching%20and%20collaboration%20pdf.ashx
41
Themes
Developing Enterprising Students
with Strong Employability Skills
One of the key drivers of Northern Ireland’s
economic success identified by the
Executive is the promotion of enterprise.23
The promotion of an enterprise culture as
a means of stimulating economic growth
and improving economic prosperity is a
key focus of government and industry.
The promotion of enterprise-related skills
and entrepreneurial capability among
young people entering the workforce has
been seen as central to this. The further
education sector has a major role in
helping to foster an enterprise culture.24
A European study on traineeships
found that professional and technical
training contributes to innovation within
business, as young people bring with them
“new ideas and fresh thinking”.25 The
development of enterprising individuals
with positive attitudes and a range of
employability skills sought by employers is
a key aspect of professional and technical
education and training programmes.
Attitudes and skills may also prepare some
individuals to proceed to become self
employed or to start their own businesses.
The Department for Employment and
Learning recently commissioned research
into “left brain/right brain thinking”, the
proposition being understanding students’
learning preferences and learning styles
has implications for teaching and learning,
particularly in the fields of enterprise and
entrepreneurship.
42
The research was undertaken in the
context of the development of enterprise
and entrepreneurship in further education
colleges. The research identified a
clear pattern of Right Brain Dominance
learning preference amongst a sample
of 55 Northern Ireland entrepreneurs.
The research suggested that in order
to foster entrepreneurship in Northern
Ireland, Right Brained Dominance must
be recognised and valued as the spark
for entrepreneurship; that learning
preferences should be taken more into
account in curriculum delivery; and that
those students with entrepreneurial
characteristics should be encouraged to
achieve success with tailored learning
solutions.
The proposed approach to embedding
this research into practice in Northern
Ireland is through initial teacher education
programmes and continual professional
development opportunities. It is the
intention that colleges will seek to develop
enterprising learners who have the
confidence, attitude and employability
skills to make them attractive to
employers, and to equip them to adapt
to changes in the labour market that will
inevitably occur during their working lives,
including the need to change jobs
and the possibility of self-employment.
To do this, colleges will, for example, make
increased use of work placements, project
based learning, and competitions, which
can be extremely valuable in motivating
learners. Colleges will also take account
of different learning styles and adopt
23 Department for Employment and Learning, Further Education Review - Background Evidence Presentation, February 2015
24 Ofsted – Promoting Enterprise in Vocational Courses for 16-19 Year Old Students in Colleges – A Good Practice Guide, November 2012. http://
dera.ioe.ac.uk/16049/1/Promoting%20enterprise%20in%20vocational%20courses%20for%2016-19-year-old%20students%20in%20colleges.pdf
25 EC, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, Study on a comprehensive overview on traineeship arrangements in
Member States: Final Synthesis Report, Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, May 2012, http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.
jsp?catId=738&langId=en&pubId=6717
Consultation document on the development of a new
Further Education Strategy for Northern Ireland
flexible approaches to meet the needs
of individual learners. In short, colleges
will develop an “enterprising culture”
that fosters innovation, creativity and
entrepreneurship.
Careers
A well developed and comprehensive
system of career guidance is vital to
provide learners with the relevant tools and
knowledge to plan their career pathway.
Good career guidance based on labour
market outcomes can help align the mix
of provision to the needs of employers.26
A framework currently exists in Northern
Ireland to ensure all learners in education
have access to high quality careers
education, information and advice to
enable them to become effective career
decision makers.
A joint review of the careers system in
Northern Ireland has recently been carried
out by the Department for Employment
and Learning and the Department of
Education. This report was published in
December 2014 and makes a number
of recommendations, which, when
implemented, will bring about significant
change to the careers landscape in
Northern Ireland. Recommendations
such as gaining relevant work experience
and a central system to advertise these
opportunities will be aligned to the
system being taken forward in the
Apprenticeships and Youth Training
strategies. An e-portfolio has also been
recommended, and this will need to
align with the Individual Learning Plan
approach currently used by colleges in
Northern Ireland.
Policy Commitment 8 –
Using Technology to
Enhance Learning
Colleges will adopt international best
practice in the use of technology
enhanced learning to support and improve
their teaching and learning, and will adopt
flexible approaches to learning to meet the
needs of learners and employers.
Policy Commitment 9 –
Developing Employability
and Enterprise Skills
A distinctive element of provision delivered
by colleges will be the development of
employability skills, through high quality
and relevant work placements and
the use of virtual reality technology to
simulate work placements in innovative
and effective ways. Through their teaching
strategies and approaches, colleges will
also seek to develop enterprising learners,
who are innovative and creative, and are
able to adapt to change.
26 OECD Reviews of Vocational Education and Training – Skills Beyond School Synthesis Report
43
Themes
8
Excellence
This section describes how colleges will deliver excellence by embedding
high quality teaching and by enhancing how performance is monitored.
Excellence will be at the heart of
everything that colleges do, particularly
in terms of improving the quality of
provision that is delivered, and monitoring
and evaluating the outcomes that have
been achieved. The latest reports by the
Education and Training Inspectorate (ETI),
and recent performance in terms of learner
retention, achievement and success,
indicate the high quality standards that
most colleges are now achieving. In the
most recent Chief Inspector’s report27,
achievements and standards are described
as consistently good with the quality of
teaching and learning listed as good or
better in 84% of the lessons evaluated
in the colleges observed. Self evaluation
and quality improvement planning at an
44
individual college level are building the
capacity of each college to identify and
take ownership of their own areas for
improvement. The policy commitments
under this theme will strengthen further
colleges’ performance in a number of
key areas; in particular, the Department
and colleges will focus on the continued
professionalism of the college staff, the
collection and analysis of feedback from
students and employers on the quality of
their experiences, a rigorous inspection
regime, and the promotion of improvement
through the sharing of best practice both
at a national and international level.
27 Education and Training Inspectorate Chief Inspector’s Report 2012-2014 www.etini.gov.uk/index/inspection-reports/the-chief-inspectors-report/cireport-2012-2014.htm
Consultation document on the development of a new
Further Education Strategy for Northern Ireland
Teacher Qualifications
The policy commitments outlined
in sections 5, 6 and 7 will only be
implemented effectively by a highly
qualified workforce who have access to
on-going and relevant continual
professional development. In Northern
Ireland, the Department for Employment
and Learning has made significant strides
over the past few years in enhancing
teacher education for college lecturers.
In 2009, the Department extended the
requirement for initial teacher education
for full-time and associate college lecturers
from the one year, in-service, Postgraduate
Certificate in Further and Higher Education
to the two year Postgraduate Certificate in
Education (Further Education) (PGCE(FE)
Level 7), to be completed within the first
three years of appointment.
The aim of the increased requirement was
to align the pedagogical qualifications
held by further education lecturers with
those of teachers in schools. In order to
ensure that all staff delivering regulated
qualifications are trained at least in
basic pedagogical skills, during 2014
the Department also developed and
piloted, very successfully, with Ulster
University (UU), a module for part-time
staff. Continuing professional development
courses have also been developed in
conjunction with UU, for example
“a Lecturers into Industry” module relating
to industry placements, and advanced
essential skills teaching.
The Department will, as part of this new
further education strategy, build on this
good work and seek to make Northern
Ireland a centre of excellence in teaching
and learning in further education. It will
seek to establish a new framework for
teaching qualifications that are recognised
by all providers of teacher education. The
framework will include both initial teacher
education and continuing professional
development qualifications. Teacher
education and development will also be
linked to initial and continuing registration
with the General Teaching Council for
Northern Ireland (GTCNI) and to the latest
developments in research pedagogy.
Pedagogical knowledge and skills will
also be underpinned by recent, relevant
industrial experience to ensure that all
lecturers are confident and competent
practitioners.
This will be taken forward in conjunction
with further education colleges’ existing
and prospective providers of teacher
education and the General Teaching
Council as the representative voice of the
profession, once it has been established
as the regulator for the further education
teaching profession. This will ensure that
a new framework for further education
teacher education is created with the
agreement of the key players and should
ensure ownership and common purpose.
The possibility of colleges delivering some
teacher education will also be explored.
The intention is to seek proposals from
both of the regional universities on how
best to realise this ambition before
developing specific proposals.
45
Themes
There is also a real opportunity, given
Northern Ireland’s size and the coherence
of the further education sector, to develop
new pedagogical practice in conjunction
with providers of teaching qualifications
and the General Teaching Council by
encouraging research that takes place
on-site to develop, identify and share good
and developing practice. The Department
also recognises the value of developing
communities of practice across the sector
to improve the sharing of research and
expertise, and will support this approach
where appropriate.
Lecturer Registration and the
Professional Voice
Plans are already underway to establish
the GTCNI as the independent regulator
and professional voice of further education
lecturers. This will enable a system of
registration and professional support to
be established that recognises the unique
status of further education lecturers in the
education system as dual professionals
who are committed to delivering the best
professional and technical education and
training they can to their learners.
Staff in colleges who are delivering
regulated qualifications will be registered
on the basis of professional standards,
including the accreditation of teaching
qualifications appropriate for registration,
along the lines already set out above.
The GTCNI will also be empowered to
take action when lecturers’ conduct and
competence falls short of those standards,
46
with the ultimate sanction of removal from
the register and consequent removal from
the teaching profession. The way in which
the register is drawn up will be the result of
wide consultation with stakeholders, but it
is expected that the teaching qualifications
system set out above will underpin the way
in which registration criteria will be applied.
A role for the GTCNI in the recognition
of continuing professional development
activities is also envisaged, with the use
of ‘active registration’ available to it to
ensure that members of the profession
are keeping their skills and knowledge
up-to-date. As such, the GTCNI will help
to cement a lot of the actions set out in
the foregoing section through a system of
professional recognition and support for all
its members.
Work Placements
Occupational expertise is the defining
characteristic of effective vocational
teachers.28 Teachers and trainers are ‘dual
professionals’; they are both vocational/
subject specialists and teaching experts,
committed to maintaining and developing
their expertise in both aspects of their
role to ensure the best outcomes for
their learners.29 This expertise also needs
to be continuously updated in response
to ever-changing working practices and
advances in technology as a prerequisite
to maintaining high quality provision.
There can be no standard approach to
doing this, and it is recognised that it is a
challenge for further education colleges,
and particularly for full-time teaching
28 Commission on Adult Vocational teaching and learning: It’s About Work – Excellent Adult Vocational Teaching and Learning 2013, Page 14. http://
www.excellencegateway.org.uk/node/26611
29 Taken from the introduction to The 2014 Professional Standards for Teachers and Trainers in the Education and Training sector http://www.etfoundation.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/4991-Prof-standards-A4_4-2.pdf
Consultation document on the development of a new
Further Education Strategy for Northern Ireland
staff; however, placements in business
and industry are a very effective means
of keeping lecturers’ skills and knowledge
up to date. Contacts with business and
industry also promote better relationships
between colleges and the workplace, and
encourage more effective curriculum and
resource planning.
In Northern Ireland, the “Lecturers into
Industry” scheme, which dates back a
number of years and which was refreshed
in January 2015, provides college
lecturers with an opportunity to undertake
a placement in industry, with the support
of a continuous professional development
module provided by UU. The activities
supported through the programme are
seen as a means of improving the quality
and relevance of further education
provision by ensuring that colleges’
curriculum offer meets the needs of
the modern workplace. Participation in
the programme by individual lecturers
is deemed to be an important element
of colleges’ commitment to continuous
professional development and quality
improvement. Consequently, Lecturers
into Industry will form a key part of
individual college self-evaluation processes
and whole college quality improvement
planning.
Leadership and Management Skills
It is generally recognised that leadership
and management skills are integral to the
success of any organisation, and colleges
are no exception. The Department has
previously supported the development of
management and leadership programmes
for managers across the sector and
has encouraged the sector to develop a
common framework which recognises the
diverse programmes that are delivered to
staff in this area. Colleges will continue to
support the development of these critical
skills through the lifetime of this strategy,
and the Department will consider how this
activity can be best supported in future
years.
Inspection Process
Inspection is an important part of the
quality improvement process. The
inspection process for further education
provision (i.e. up to level 3) is carried
out by the Education and Training
Inspectorate, and there are well defined
procedures in place ensuring ongoing
inspection and a rigorous follow up
process to ensure quality improvement
takes place. The Quality Assurance Agency
for higher education in the UK currently
has a role in quality assurance of higher
education provision delivered in further
education colleges. The current quality
improvement strategy in further education,
including the inspection regime, will be
reviewed to ensure that it is appropriate
for all aspects of delivery in colleges, that
it meets the needs of all key stakeholders,
and that it is consistent with proposals in
the apprenticeship strategy and the review
of youth training.
47
Themes
Monitoring to Improve Performance
Colleges in Northern Ireland, working
closely with the Department for
Employment and Learning’s statisticians,
now have extremely reliable and very
comprehensive data to inform policy and
operational decisions. In particular, there
is detailed data on students who are
enrolled with colleges, on the courses
they are following and on performance in
terms of learner retention, achievement
and success. This informs key aspects of
colleges’ quality improvement planning
processes.
However, it is also important to
understand the extent to which learning
and qualifications can have an impact on
the job prospects and potential earning
power of learners, and the likelihood
of learners progressing to higher levels
of study. It could be argued that the
real value of professional and technical
education is whether learners make
progress into or within employment or
further learning. Therefore, as outlined
below, we will identify ways to collect
information on the destinations of
students when they finish their courses
of study, and to capture feedback from
students and employers on their levels of
satisfaction with the services provided by
colleges.
48
Outcome Monitoring/Student
Destination Data
The progression of learners, either into
employment or on to higher levels of
learning, following their programmes
of study has been identified in this
document as a distinctive role for further
education colleges. Consequently,
measuring student destinations is an
important aspect of assessing the quality
of further education. In particular, the
extent to which students are provided
with the relevant skills and attributes to
enter the world of work or to progress to
further study. There is much international
experience with leavers’ surveys, typically
in higher education. According to a report
by UKCES, 157 Group and Gazelle Group,
a college’s credibility is tied increasingly
to the relevant destinations of its
students, tracking them and using those
who embark on successful careers as
“advocates” for the college and courses30.
It is, therefore, important that in Northern
Ireland, student destination data is also
tracked. The Department for Employment
and Learning and the Northern Ireland
Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA)
have recently carried out a pilot exercise
into destinations of leavers from one
further education college, which involved
400 students. Following an evaluation,
the pilot approach was extended in early
2015 to the 2013/14 cohort of leavers
from all colleges. This first full cohort
exercise will also be evaluated with a view
to making any necessary amendments in
future years.
30 UKCES, 157 Group, Gazelle colleges; A new conversation: Employer and college engagement https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/
uploads/attachment_data/file/306968/A_New_Conversation.pdf
Consultation document on the development of a new
Further Education Strategy for Northern Ireland
Excellence will be at the
heart of everything that
colleges do, particularly
in terms of improving
the quality of provision
that is delivered,
and monitoring
and evaluating the
outcomes that have
been achieved.
The Department will also consider with
colleges how the information gathered
in this way can be used to improve
performance, and will consider meaningful
targets that could be set in this area.
Information on the performance and
destination of students from different
types of college courses is potentially very
valuable to individuals who are considering
their career options, including whether
they should enrol at a college and, if so,
what programme of study they should
follow. This type of information would also
be very helpful to those who are offering
careers guidance to potential learners.
Therefore, to enable this to happen,
alongside information on the courses
that they provide, colleges will also
publish information on learner retention,
achievement and success, and on
learner destinations.
Employer and Student Satisfaction
Fundamental to the drive for quality
improvement will be a greater emphasis
on feedback from employers and from
students. The Department and colleges
will seek to use a standardised approach
to receiving and analysing feedback
from each of these key stakeholder
groups across a number of criteria and at
frequent intervals to facilitate improved
benchmarking across the Northern Ireland
further education sector and more widely.
This will provide invaluable information on
the relevance of qualifications and skills
to employers and on the wider support
provided by colleges.
It is proposed that colleges will develop
a standardised approach to capturing
feedback from employers on all aspects of
the services provided to them by colleges,
including the relevance and quality of
the skills learnt in further education by
new employees. As well as enabling local
benchmarking, this will help to strengthen
49
Themes
curriculum design and delivery, and may
create opportunities for work placements
in future.
Policy Commitment 10 –
Embedding High Quality
Teaching
Capturing and analysing feedback
from students on their experience of
participating in further education is
a crucial aspect of colleges’ quality
improvement processes. This can include
feedback on a variety of dimensions
including the delivery of their programmes
of study, the use of technology, the
flexibility of provision to meet their
needs, the support they received from
college staff, the extent to which their
expectations were met, the facilities
available at the college, etc.
Through a new teacher education
framework there will be a renewed focus
on high quality initial teacher education
and continual professional development for
all lecturing staff, with minimum standards
for pedagogy and subject qualifications
put in place. College staff will also have
the opportunity to undertake relevant
and good quality industrial placements to
ensure that they understand the needs of
employers and workforce development.
The quality improvement process,
including the inspection regime, will be
reviewed to ensure that it is appropriate
for all aspects of delivery in colleges. The
Department will support the development
of research in pedagogy to inform best
practice in professional and technical
education and training to establish
Northern Ireland as an internationally
renowned centre for excellence in teacher
education in professional and technical
subjects.
Capturing this sort of information in a
standardised way that enables effective
and meaningful analysis, and which
facilitates benchmarking with other
colleges in Northern Ireland, and beyond,
would add value to the information that is
available to college management.
Therefore, it is proposed that a
standardised approach to collecting and
analysing feedback from learners will be
introduced, which will enable colleges
to benchmark against high performing
colleges, and to identify and learn from
good practice in Northern Ireland and in
other parts of the UK and beyond.
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Consultation document on the development of a new
Further Education Strategy for Northern Ireland
Policy Commitment 11 –
Improving Performance
Standardised approaches to receiving
and analysing feedback from learners
and from employers will be developed
and introduced. Additional performance
measures will be adopted to enable
colleges and the Department to monitor
colleges’ performance more effectively
as part of quality management,
including learner progression and
learners’ destinations after leaving
further education. Colleges will publish
information on learner retention,
achievement, progression and destinations
on their web sites in such a way as to
inform learners’ choice of courses on
which to enrol.
51
Themes
9
Internationally Connected
This section details how colleges will learn from best practise outside of
Northern Ireland by maximising student and staff exchange opportunities
and continuing to develop partnerships internationally.
Over recent years, colleges in Northern
Ireland have become increasingly focussed
on the need to operate in an international
arena and to equip their students and
staff with the skills required to work and
compete in the global economy. Colleges
will expand this aspect of their operations
in ways that will support their own staff
and students and will enable them to
share and benefit from best practice
in similar institutions in other parts of
the world.
International experience is invaluable in
today’s interconnected world. Colleges
will use international visits to further
develop staff and to provide learners
with the opportunity to undertake work
and educational placements, particularly
across the EU, supported by the
Erasmus+ programme.
52
Across the colleges, learners have good
opportunities to apply and enhance
their learning through participation in
international exchanges, and staff have
the opportunity to develop their industrial
and pedagogical skills through the sharing
of knowledge, expertise and best practice.
Colleges will build on partnerships already
developed in a wide range of countries
across Europe and also in Japan, the USA,
India, China and Brazil.
International exchanges also provide an
opportunity for the colleges to showcase
their work and facilities, and the high
standard of the professional and technical,
education and training that is provided
in Northern Ireland. Colleges will further
explore ways in which to promote their
work to support foreign direct investment
into Northern Ireland. Colleges have been
Consultation document on the development of a new
Further Education Strategy for Northern Ireland
participants on Invest Northern Ireland
trade missions in the past and they will
continue to be involved in this area. In
addition to the benefits outlined above,
international activity promotes less
tangible benefits such as awareness of
other cultures and their working methods,
and wider global issues, all of which help
to develop citizenship skills.
The Department already supports a range
of EU-led mobility initiatives in the sphere
of professional and technical education
which, taken together, make it easier for
learners, employees and job-seekers to
undertake learning in other EU countries,
and to have their qualifications recognised.
Northern Ireland has had an excellent
record of participation in EU mobility
programmes which support learner and
staff exchanges, and promote cross-border
projects and network-building.
Policy Commitment 12 –
Operating Internationally
Colleges will enhance the learner
experience, and the professional
development and industrial knowledge
of their staff, through placements and
exchanges with similar institutions in
other countries. They will also build on
the excellent partnerships that have
already been created across the world
to share best practice with, and to learn
from others. In addition, colleges will,
with the Department, explore commercial
opportunities to deliver more services in
the international market.
The Department and further education
colleges will, therefore, take full advantage
of existing and new sources of funding
available from Europe to support the
different aspects of colleges operating in
an international context as outlined above.
A further element of international activity
relates to the creation of commercial
opportunities to sell educational
services in other countries. As part of
the implementation of this strategy, this
opportunity will be scoped and evaluated.
The international market for education and
training is a complex one, which needs
careful balancing of risk and opportunity
alongside the core purpose of further
education.
53
Themes
10
Governance
This section summarises the governance arrangements in further
education colleges.
Governing bodies play an extremely
important role in the strategic leadership of
colleges. In particular, they are responsible
for ensuring the effective management
of colleges’ education and training
provision, and for planning colleges’ future
development. Governing bodies exercise
both a support and a challenge function
in respect of college principals and their
executive teams, ensuring that colleges
implement government priorities for the
further education sector. Good governance
adds real value and supports effective
decision making within individual colleges,
and the role of chairs and governors,
and the standards they are expected to
maintain, are set out in the Guide for
Governors and in the Code of Governance.
The power to provide suitable and efficient
further education to students in the areas
54
in which colleges are situated, having
regard to the educational needs of industry
and commerce, is derived from the Further
Education (Northern Ireland) Order 1997.
The Order also enables the Department
to put in place Articles and Instruments
of Government, which support and enable
governing bodies to operate.
Since October 2010 the six further
education colleges in Northern Ireland
have been classified as NDPBs by the
Office of National Statistics, and this
is the overarching business model
under which colleges now operate.
Consequently, the Department has had
to review the Management Statement/
Financial Memorandum (MS/FM) which
sets out reporting arrangements and
the parameters under which the further
education colleges operate. The MS sets
Consultation document on the development of a new
Further Education Strategy for Northern Ireland
out the broad framework within which
colleges operate, and the associated FM
sets out aspects of the financial provisions
which colleges shall observe. In particular,
the MS/FM has to be consistent with the
model financial memorandum prescribed
by the Department of Finance and
Personnel (DFP) for all NDPBs.
The MS/FM does not convey any legal
powers or responsibilities. However, it
does set out the framework under which
colleges should utilise funding provided
by the Department, how the institution
should be governed, and how that funding
should be accounted for. This document
is supported by the Audit Code, College
Development Plans, accounts direction,
annual assurance statements and
accountability meetings.
Policy Commitment 13 –
Further Education
Governance and
Business Model
Colleges and the Department will work
together to maximise the benefits to
colleges and their customers of the
NDPB status, while also addressing any
challenges posed.
While NDPB status has presented colleges
with a number of organisational issues to
address, for example in terms of budgeting
and funding arrangements, one of the
most strategically important issues to
address is to ensure that colleges are
able to generate income outside of the
funding provided by the Department.
This is something that the Department is
keen to encourage colleges to continue
to do. However, it is equally important
that colleges are able to retain income
generated in this way, and that an entirely
literal interpretation of NDPB status does
not inhibit colleges’ desire and ability to
be innovative and flexible in the delivery of
services to learners and employers.
55
Themes
11
College Partnerships
This section details the two aspects of partnership through which
colleges will deliver their services to learners, employers and
communities more effectively and efficiently; these are partnerships
between colleges, and colleges working in partnership with others.
College to College Partnerships
The rationalisation of further education
colleges that took place in 2007 has
been a strong enabling factor in colleges’
successful delivery, in subsequent
years, of the “Further Education Means
Business” strategy. In particular, the six
large area based colleges have played
an increased leadership role in local and
regional planning, and in the delivery of
economically relevant qualifications and
skills at all levels across Northern Ireland.
In the “OECD Reviews of Vocational
Education and Training – Skills Beyond
School Synthesis Report”, the authors
state that “professional education and
training needs an institutional base that:
......consolidates training providers into
56
institutions of adequate size”.31 The report
goes on to state that “in many countries,
mergers have encouraged institutions of
efficient size”, and that “mergers can be
managed successfully, particularly when
it does not involve closure of campuses”.
The report references the merger of
Northern Ireland’s 16 further education
colleges down to six colleges as an
example of good practice. The Northern
Ireland college merger process was
also highlighted in the Northern Ireland
commentary that was produced by the
OECD as part of their wider “Skills Beyond
School” exercise.32
Within the current structure there are
opportunities for colleges to work together
in partnership:
31 OECD Reviews of Vocational Education and Training: Skills Beyond School Synthesis Report http://www.oecd.org/edu/skills-beyond-school/SkillsBeyond-School-Synthesis-Report.pdf
32 OECD Review of Vocational Education and Training: A Skills Beyond School Commentary on Northern Ireland – January 2014 http://www.oecd.org/
edu/skills-beyond-school/ASkillsBeyondSchoolCommentaryOnNorthernIreland.pdf
Consultation document on the development of a new
Further Education Strategy for Northern Ireland
„
„
through the use of collaborative working
to enable colleges to operate with
maximum efficiency; and
through colleges sharing best practice
to enable services to be delivered to
learners and employers most effectively
and to the highest standards of quality.
Efficient Operations
The use of a collaborative working
approach to deliver greater efficiencies
within the sector, to reduce duplication
and to enhance cooperation between
colleges is a policy which the Department
has been promoting and supporting
in recent years. The extension of
shared services is one of a number of
strategies that are identified as part of
a “comprehensive programme of Public
Sector Reform and Restructuring”, which
the Northern Ireland Executive adopted
in January 2015. Also, government
departments, and their NDPBs, are
required to work with Enterprise Shared
Services, which provides a range
of services to all Northern Ireland
departments, to consider the extension
of shared services coverage.
Early work on collaborative working
has focused on colleges’ procurement
activity, on college advertising, and on
the development of a new management
information system for use by colleges.
Considerable progress has been made
in these areas; for example, in the joint
procurement of banking and insurance
services and the printing of prospectuses.
In addition, other areas of collaboration
such as energy provision and facilities
management are subject to existing
contracts which will be considered
within the context of future collaborative
procurement as the contracts end.
However, the current tight financial climate
provides an imperative to re-energise this
work, and to take it to the next level.
The sector’s total income in 2013/14 was
£254million, with significant variances in
the administrative and processing costs in
each of the six colleges. Therefore, to drive
this work forward, a range of innovative
collaborative projects will be taken forward
across the six colleges. A strategically
significant project is where all six colleges
have agreed a shared vision for the
provision of Management Information
Systems (MIS) and Information Learning
Technology (ILT) services for use by
colleges. The vision commits all colleges
to “the provision of MIS/ILT systems and
supporting processes that facilitate delivery
of high quality teaching and learning,
meeting the needs of staff and
students both now and in the future”.
At the heart of this vision is the provision
of a common unified information systems
platform for colleges, ensuring common
reporting and business intelligence
capability, a consistent approach to data
capture and validation, harmonisation and
standardisation of all associated business
processes, and a standardised platform
supporting access for all stakeholders.
57
Themes
Other areas identified include payroll,
human resources, IT support, finance,
the efficient use of the available estate
across the sector to minimise duplication
of service and the considerable expertise
that colleges have in the procurement and
management of their estate.
pastoral care arrangements. However, not
all colleges exhibit best practice in all areas
of activity. Therefore, colleges will make use
of the considerable potential that exists to
learn from each other to create a further
education sector here which is genuinely
world class.
In addition to collaborative working
approaches, colleges, using their NDPB
status, will explore, where appropriate,
adopting corporate systems that are
used by Northern Ireland Civil Service
Departments such as Account Northern
Ireland (budgeting and accounting
system), and to use IT Assist (hardware
and software IT support) to procure and
support a range of computer hardware.
Also, as set out in section 5, a process is
in place through which individual colleges
can be identified as specialists in key
sectors of the economy. This approach to
specialism will be extended to include other
key areas of colleges activities; for example,
qualifications and curriculum design and
the development or acquisition of on-line
learning materials. Specialist colleges will
take the lead in these areas also, and then
share the outcomes and products across
the sector.
The further education sector has been
operating with increased levels of
efficiency in recent years, with colleges
consistently meeting efficiency targets
set by the Department. However, in the
tightening budgetary environment, colleges
have been exploring how this can be
taken to the next level by collaborating
to share a range of corporate services.
Colleges will implement the projects
identified above, and will seek to identify
further opportunities to secure efficiencies
through sharing services.
Effective Service Delivery
Individual colleges have demonstrated
excellent practice in areas as diverse
as engagement with employers, the
development and use of learning
technologies, innovative and flexible
qualifications and curriculum design,
working with disadvantaged learners, and
58
Therefore, as well as seeking increased
organisational efficiency through
partnership, colleges will also work together
to increase the effectiveness of the services
they provide to learners and employers.
Delivery of College Collaboration
It is important that the development
and operation of college partnerships as
described above are championed at senior
management level and that they lead to
the optimum use of resources, and deliver
maximum benefit to colleges’ customers.
Therefore, a process will be established,
involving the Department and the further
education sector, to drive forward and
oversee in a holistic way collaborative
working, the sharing of best practice, and
the application of the specialist colleges
approach in relevant areas of activity.
Consultation document on the development of a new
Further Education Strategy for Northern Ireland
College Partnerships with Others
In supporting employers and the wider
economy, colleges have worked with
government departments, Invest Northern
Ireland and a range of local economic and
enterprise organisations.
In curriculum design, colleges have worked
in partnership with our universities and
employers, and they have also partnered
with training organisations in the private
and voluntary and community sectors
to create flexible delivery models that
benefit certain learner groups. Colleges
have also worked very successfully
with government departments and the
voluntary and community sector to deliver
innovative and effective programmes, and,
in partnerships with schools, colleges have
been important providers of professional
and technical qualifications as part of the
curriculum made available to school pupils
under the Department of Education’s
Entitlement Framework.
Working in partnership with others will
be increasingly important to colleges
in delivering the challenging vision
that is set out in this consultation
document. New partnerships will have
to be formed – in particular, to ensure
effective implementation of the new
apprenticeships and youth training
systems, and to ensure that colleges can
complement the work of the new district
councils in their respective economic and
community development roles.
Policy Commitment 14 –
Sectoral Efficiency through
Collaborative Working
In order to ensure that their services
are delivered with maximum efficiency,
colleges will operate more collectively
in the delivery of their corporate
services through a more rigorous
and comprehensive approach to
collaborative (shared services) working.
Where appropriate, the colleges will
take advantage of their NDPB status
by adopting collaborative working
opportunities that are available across the
public sector in Northern Ireland.
Policy Commitment 15 –
Sectoral Effectiveness by
Sharing Best Practice
Colleges will share best practice, and learn
from each other, in the innovative and
imaginative delivery of services to learners
and employers. In particular, colleges will
work together to ensure that technology
can be developed and used in the most
cost efficient and effective way to support
learning.
Policy Commitment 16 –
Delivery Mechanism to Drive
Efficiency and Effectiveness
A mechanism will be established
to stimulate, manage and oversee
collaboration and sharing of best practice
between colleges to ensure efficiency and
effectiveness in the delivery of services,
and to maximise the level of resource that
is available to fund front line services.
59
Themes
12
Funding Model and
College Sustainability
This section details how the current funding model will be reviewed to
underpin future priorities.
60
The current Funded Learning Unit (FLU)
Funding Model is a distributive funding
mechanism through which the annual
recurrent grant for further education is
distributed between the six colleges.
A single FLU equates approximately to
one full-time enrolment, and part-time
enrolments are calculated as a proportion
of a FLU depending on the number of hours
studied. The FLU model also has a small
number of weightings to take account of
course level and subject and of the
overall deprivation measure of the
college catchment area.
Consequently, the funding model will have
to be reviewed to ensure that it supports
and incentivises colleges to deliver the
strategy in a sustainable way. Account will
also have to be taken of the new funding
models that will be developed for the
new apprenticeships and youth training
systems, particularly as these systems will
constitute a considerable proportion of the
provision delivered by colleges.
The value of the FLU has not been
increased since the model was first
used in the 2007/08 academic year, to
coincide with the introduction of the six
college structure. In addition, the model
distinguishes, in financial value, between
full-time and part-time provision; this could
act as a disincentive to colleges to deliver
part-time provision, even though parttime delivery is important in up-skilling the
workforce. Increasingly, these issues are
having an impact on colleges’ sustainability.
In partnership with colleges, the funding
model will be reviewed to ensure that
it supports and incentivises colleges
to deliver this strategy, that it supports
a sustainable further education sector
and that it aligns with the funding
models that will be developed for other
departmental programmes that further
education colleges will deliver, in particular
apprenticeships and youth training.
Policy Commitment 17 –
Reviewing the Further
Education Funding Model
Consultation document on the development of a new
Further Education Strategy for Northern Ireland
61
Themes
13
Promoting the Further
Education Sector
This section details how colleges will work together and with
the Department to identify ways in which to promote the further
education sector.
While esteem for professional and
technical education is growing in some
of the newer EU member states, albeit
from a low starting point, it is declining in
Western Europe. In countries where it is
held in relatively low esteem compared
with general education, such as Ireland,
Lithuania and Sweden, vocational policies
tend to focus on the basics such as
reducing the early drop-out rate from
education and making sure courses are
linked to the jobs market.33
In countries where vocational education
is held in high esteem, such as Austria,
Finland and Hungary, more advanced
initiatives are improving areas such as
guidance and counselling for students, as
well as marketing campaigns and skills
competitions.34
62
In research carried out by Cedefop
on policy measures used to raise the
attractiveness of initial VET for students
across a number of countries, the
following measures were most frequently
mentioned: improved permeability and
diversity of pathways and programmes;
campaigns to raise awareness (internet,
TV and media); improvements to guidance
and counselling; financial incentives;
improved quality of teachers and trainers;
and use of skills competitions.35 Other
measures mentioned included improving
the infrastructure of VET providers,
revising and modernising the curriculum,
improvements to the apprenticeship
system, and increasing the involvement of
employers, the labour market and social
partners.36 A high quality further education
estate with state of the art facilities also
enhances the image of the sector.
33 Cedefop Attractiveness of Initial Vocational Education and Training: identifying what matters: Research Paper No.39 http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/
EN/Files/5539_en.pdf
34 Ibid
35 Ibid
36 Ibid
Consultation document on the development of a new
Further Education Strategy for Northern Ireland
Many of these measures are already in
practice within the further education sector
in Northern Ireland, and the Department
will work with the colleges to market more
effectively the benefits of professional
and technical education to learners and
employers, and the benefits of pursuing
these types of courses in further education
colleges. Particularly important in this
regard is the ambition for professional
and technical education and training to be
valued equally to academic education by
learners, employers and wider society; and
for further education to be recognised as
an equal and valued pillar of the education
system in Northern Ireland, alongside
higher education and the statutory school
system.
Policy Commitment 18 –
Promoting Further Education
Provision
Colleges Northern Ireland, individual
colleges and the Department will work
together to demonstrate and explain the
distinctive role that the further education
sector has, as part of the wider education
system, and the role that the sector plays
in strengthening the Northern Ireland
economy. More generally, the benefits
and status of professional and technical
qualifications will also be promoted.
63
Themes
14
Consultation Questions
Economic Development
Policy Commitment 1 – Priority Skills
Colleges will have a crucial role working with employers and other key stakeholders to
ensure that the professional and technical qualifications and curriculum they provide
support the rebalancing and rebuilding of the Northern Ireland economy.
Question 1
Do you agree that colleges should focus provision on those areas that
contribute to rebalancing and rebuilding the economy?
Strongly
agree
Agree
Neither agree
nor disagree
Disagree
Strongly
disagree
�
�
�
�
�
Please explain the reasons for your answer and provide any supporting comments:
64
Consultation document on the development of a new
Further Education Strategy for Northern Ireland
Policy Commitment 2 – Levels of College Provision
Further education colleges will have a particular focus on further developing provision
at level 3 (A level equivalent) and above in areas that will support the rebalancing and
rebuilding of the Northern Ireland economy. Progression for learners who wish to study
at higher levels will be encouraged and facilitated through the qualifications system, and
through innovative delivery and clear pathways.
Question 2
Do you agree that colleges should focus on developing provision at level 3 and
above in areas that will support the economy and encourage progression for
learners to study at higher levels?
Strongly
agree
Agree
Neither agree
nor disagree
Disagree
Strongly
disagree
�
�
�
�
�
Please explain the reasons for your answer and provide any supporting comments:
Policy Commitment 3 – Up-skilling the Existing Workforce
Colleges will support indigenous companies and new companies which are being
established in Northern Ireland, to ensure that employees have the required knowledge,
skills and qualifications. In doing this, colleges will operate in flexible ways in terms of
where, when, and over what period of time up-skilling activities are provided, so that the
needs of employers can be met effectively and in a manner which suits business needs.
Question 3
How can colleges build on the support they provide to employers with regards
to up-skilling the workforce whilst ensuring they deliver services to employers
in a flexible way?
65
Themes
Policy Commitment 4 – Support to Employers
Colleges will be at the forefront of providing support to employers to enable them to
innovate, to grow, to operate more effectively and efficiently, to develop new products
and to identify new markets for their products.
Question 4
How can colleges build on the support they provide employers to enable them
to innovate, to grow, to operate more effectively and efficiently, to develop new
products and to identify new markets for their products?
Policy Commitment 5 – College Specialism and
Regional Capacity
Centres of specialism and expertise will be developed in each college to enable the
further education sector as a whole to deliver high quality professional and technical
provision to employers. Through a collaborative approach, individual colleges will have
identified sectors where they will be recognised for their expertise and specialism. As well
as identifying specialisms, all colleges will develop networks of experts who will share the
latest developments in curriculum and skills training across Northern Ireland.
Question 5a
Do you agree that individual colleges should be identified as specialists
in key sectors of the economy?
Strongly
agree
Agree
Neither agree
nor disagree
Disagree
Strongly
disagree
�
�
�
�
�
Please explain the reasons for your answer and provide any supporting comments:
66
Consultation document on the development of a new
Further Education Strategy for Northern Ireland
Question 5b
Do you agree that colleges should develop networks of experts to enable
the sharing of latest developments across Northern Ireland.
Strongly
agree
Agree
Neither agree
nor disagree
Disagree
Strongly
disagree
�
�
�
�
�
Please explain the reasons for your answer and provide any supporting comments:
Social Inclusion
Policy Commitment 6 – Increasing Economic Participation
through Engagement
Colleges’ distinctive contribution to social inclusion will be to provide learners with the
knowledge, skills and qualifications required to find, or progress within employment,
in order to avail of the benefits of economic participation. Working in partnership with
others, colleges will support diversity and social inclusion through widening access to
provision for those with barriers to learning. They will work with other organisations in
the voluntary, community and private sector to strengthen pathways for learners that can
open up their ambition and develop their talents.
Question 6a
In what other ways can colleges support those with barriers to learning?
Question 6b
How can colleges increase participation in further education, particularly those
who are hardest to reach?
67
Themes
Policy Commitment 7 – Improving Literacy Numeracy and ICT
Colleges will raise the level of literacy, numeracy and ICT competence in Northern Ireland
by adopting the new qualifications that are being developed through the refreshed
Essential Skills strategy and the reviews of GCSEs in English and mathematics.
Question 7
In what other ways can colleges assist in raising the level of literacy and
numeracy competency in Northern Ireland? In particular, how can colleges
encourage participation on literacy and numeracy programmes?
Curriculum Delivery
Policy Commitment 8 – Using Technology to Enhance
Learning
Colleges will adopt international best practice in the use of technology enhanced
learning to support and improve their teaching and learning, and will adopt flexible
approaches to learning to meet the needs of learners and employers.
Question 8a
Do you agree that colleges should use technology to support and
improve their teaching and learning?
Strongly
agree
Agree
Neither agree
nor disagree
Disagree
Strongly
disagree
�
�
�
�
�
Please explain the reasons for your answer and provide any supporting comments:
Question 8b
What are the main barriers to achieving this, and how could these be overcome?
Question 8c
What types of flexible approaches can be used to meet the needs of learners
and employers?
68
Consultation document on the development of a new
Further Education Strategy for Northern Ireland
Curriculum Delivery
Policy Commitment 9 – Developing Employability and
Enterprise Skills
A distinctive element of provision delivered by colleges will be the development of
employability skills, through high quality and relevant work placements and the use of
virtual reality technology to simulate work placements in innovative and effective ways.
Through their teaching strategies and approaches, colleges will also seek to develop
enterprising learners, who are innovative and creative, and are able to adapt to change.
Question 9a
Do you agree that work placements are the best way to develop
employability skills in learners?
Strongly
agree
Agree
Neither agree
nor disagree
Disagree
Strongly
disagree
�
�
�
�
�
Please explain the reasons for your answer and provide any supporting comments:
Question 9b
Where work placements cannot be provided, do you agree that college based
and simulated work placements are effective alternatives to employer based
work placements?
Strongly
agree
Agree
Neither agree
nor disagree
Disagree
Strongly
disagree
�
�
�
�
�
Please explain the reasons for your answer and provide any supporting comments:
Question 9c
In what way can colleges develop enterprising learners who are innovative and
creative, and who can adapt to change?
69
Themes
Excellence
Policy Commitment 10 – Embedding High Quality Teaching
Through a new teacher education framework there will be a renewed focus on high
quality initial teacher education and continual professional development for all lecturing
staff, with minimum standards for pedagogy and subject qualifications put in place.
College staff will also have the opportunity to undertake relevant and good quality
industrial placements to ensure that they understand the needs of employers and
workforce development. The quality improvement process, including the inspection
regime, will be reviewed to ensure that it is appropriate for all aspects of delivery in
colleges. The Department will support the development of research in pedagogy to
inform best practice in professional and technical education and training to establish
Northern Ireland as an internationally renowned centre for excellence in teacher
education in professional and technical subjects.
Question 10a
Do you agree that a strong focus should be placed on continual
professional development, including industrial placements across the
further education sector?
Strongly
agree
Agree
Neither agree
nor disagree
Disagree
Strongly
disagree
�
�
�
�
�
Please explain the reasons for your answer and provide any supporting comments:
Question 10b
Do you agree that minimum standards for pedagogy and qualifications
should be put in place for all lecturers?
70
Strongly
agree
Agree
Neither agree
nor disagree
Disagree
Strongly
disagree
�
�
�
�
�
Please explain the reasons for your answer and provide any supporting comments:
Consultation document on the development of a new
Further Education Strategy for Northern Ireland
Question 10c
Do you agree that the quality improvement process, including the
inspection regime, should be reviewed to ensure that it is appropriate for
all aspects of delivery in colleges?
Strongly
agree
Agree
Neither agree
nor disagree
Disagree
Strongly
disagree
�
�
�
�
�
Please explain the reasons for your answer and provide any supporting comments:
Policy Commitment 11 – Improving Performance
Standardised approaches to receiving and analysing feedback from learners and from
employers will be developed and introduced. Additional performance measures will be
adopted to enable colleges and the Department to monitor colleges’ performance more
effectively as part of quality management, including learner progression and learners’
destinations after leaving further education. Colleges will publish information on learner
retention, achievement, progression and destinations on their web sites in such a way
as to inform learners’ choice of courses on which to enrol.
Question 11a
Do you agree that standardised approaches to receiving and analysing feedback
from learners and employers should be introduced across all colleges?
Strongly
agree
Agree
Neither agree
nor disagree
Disagree
Strongly
disagree
�
�
�
�
�
Please explain the reasons for your answer and provide any supporting comments:
Question 11b
Do you agree that additional performance measures should be introduced
to take account of learners’ progression into employment or further study,
and that colleges should publish this information on their websites?
Strongly
agree
Agree
Neither agree
nor disagree
Disagree
Strongly
disagree
�
�
�
�
�
Please explain the reasons for your answer and provide any supporting comments:
71
Themes
International Dimension
Policy Commitment 12 – Operating Internationally
Colleges will enhance the learner experience, and the professional development and
industrial knowledge of their staff, through placements and exchanges with similar
institutions in other countries. They will also build on the excellent partnerships that have
already been created across the world to share best practice with, and to learn from
others. In addition, colleges will, with the Department, explore commercial opportunities
to deliver more services in the international market.
Question 12a
How might colleges maximise placements for learners and the use of
secondments and exchanges for staff outside of Northern Ireland?
Question 12b
How might colleges develop further partnerships with international
organisations, including educational institutions and employers?
Question 12c
Do you agree that colleges should explore opportunities to sell their
education and training expertise internationally?
Strongly
agree
Agree
Neither agree
nor disagree
Disagree
Strongly
disagree
�
�
�
�
�
Please explain the reasons for your answer and provide any supporting comments:
72
Consultation document on the development of a new
Further Education Strategy for Northern Ireland
Governance
Policy Commitment 13 – Further Education Governance and
Business Model
Colleges and the Department will work together to maximise the benefits to colleges and
their customers of colleges’ NDPB status, while also addressing any challenges posed.
Question 13
In what ways can colleges create income outside of funding provided by the
department and wider public sector?
College Partnerships
Policy Commitment 14 – Sectoral Efficiency through
Collaborative Working
In order to ensure that their services are delivered with maximum efficiency, colleges
will operate more collectively in the delivery of their corporate services through a more
rigorous and comprehensive approach to collaborative (shared services) working.
Where appropriate, the colleges will take advantage of their NDPB status by adopting
collaborative working opportunities that are available across the public sector in
Northern Ireland.
Question 14
Do you agree that colleges should operate more collectively in their
delivery of corporate services by adopting shared services through their
NDPB status?
Strongly
agree
Agree
Neither agree
nor disagree
Disagree
Strongly
disagree
�
�
�
�
�
Please explain the reasons for your answer and provide any supporting comments:
73
Themes
Policy Commitment 15 – Sectoral Effectiveness by Sharing
Best Practice
Colleges will share best practice, and learn from each other, in the innovative and
imaginative delivery of services to learners and employers. In particular, colleges will
work together to ensure that technology can be developed and used in the most cost
efficient and effective way to support learning.
Question 15
In what way can colleges share best practice in the efficient and effective
delivery of services to learners and employers, including the use of
technology?
Policy Commitment 16 – Delivery Mechanism to Drive
Efficiency and Effectiveness
A mechanism will be established to stimulate, manage and oversee collaboration and
sharing of best practice between colleges to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in the
delivery of services, and to maximise the level of resource that is available to fund front
line services.
Question 16
Do you agree that a mechanism should be established to manage and
oversee collaboration and sharing of best practice between colleges?
Strongly
agree
Agree
Neither agree
nor disagree
Disagree
Strongly
disagree
�
�
�
�
�
Please explain the reasons for your answer and provide any supporting comments:
74
Consultation document on the development of a new
Further Education Strategy for Northern Ireland
Funding Model and College Sustainability
Policy Commitment 17 – Reviewing the Further Education
Funding Model
Jointly with colleges, the funding model will be reviewed to ensure that it supports
and incentivises colleges to deliver this strategy, that it supports a sustainable further
education sector and that it aligns with the funding models that will be developed for
other departmental programmes that further education colleges will deliver, in particular
apprenticeships and youth training.
Question 17
Do you agree that the further education funding model should be reviewed to
take account of the new further education strategy and the funding models
for other DEL programmes, including apprenticeships and youth training?
Strongly
agree
Agree
Neither agree
nor disagree
Disagree
Strongly
disagree
�
�
�
�
�
Please explain the reasons for your answer and provide any supporting comments:
75
Promoting the Further Education Sector
Policy Commitment 18 – Promoting Further Education
Provision
Colleges Northern Ireland, individual colleges and the Department will work together to
demonstrate and explain the distinctive role that the further education sector has, as
part of the wider education system, and the role that the sector plays in strengthening
the Northern Ireland economy. More generally, the benefits and status of professional
and technical qualifications will also be promoted.
Question 18a
What measures need to be taken to demonstrate and explain the distinctive
role that the further education sector has as part of the wider education
system, and the role that the sector plays in strengthening the Northern
Ireland economy?
Question 18b
How could the benefits of professional and technical qualifications be
promoted to the users of qualifications?
76
Annex A - Shared Future
Policy Proofing
Consultation document on the development of a new
Further Education Strategy for Northern Ireland
1. Does the proposed policy promote individuals from different religious, political, racial or
other Section 75(1) backgrounds sharing or engaging together?
Impact
Positive
negative none
Positive impact
Qualitative
Evidence
The further education colleges in Northern Ireland are designated as public
authorities, for the purposes of Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act, and all six
have their Equality Schemes approved by the Equality Commission for Northern
Ireland. The colleges therefore have a legal obligation to promote equality of
opportunity and good relations within the various Section 75 categories including
religious belief, political opinion, race, sexual orientation, marital status, those with
or without a disability and those with or without dependents. All of the colleges’
activities including teaching and business and community engagement activities are
undertaken within this context.
Under the new strategy, the further education sector will continue to be open to
people throughout Northern Ireland regardless of religious belief, political opinion,
racial group, marital status and sexual orientation.
The further education colleges will continue to deliver a wide range of professional
and technical education and training across a wide range of occupations to ensure
appeal to both male and female students.
Quantitative
Evidence
Widening participation in education is an essential factor in promoting social
inclusion, combating poverty, and helping people from disadvantaged backgrounds
and those with other barriers to learning, including those with learning difficulties
and/or disabilities to become engaged with society in general. A wider impact of
participation in further education is social integration and interaction, developing
independence and self esteem.
Students within the further education sector interact and learn from, and with,
others from all areas and cultures and the environment is carefully nurtured to be
welcoming and all-inclusive. In doing this the sector has made and continues to
make a significant contribution to breaking down barriers and supporting social
cohesion.
In terms of gender profile, the proportion of females enrolled in regulated courses at
further education colleges decreased from 50.9% in 2009/10 to 49.1% in 2013/14,
while male regulated enrolments increased from 49.1% to 50.9% over the same
period37. The 2013/14 figures for enrolments are therefore broadly equivalent on a
gender basis.
There is existing provision via the colleges for young people who require assistance
with childcare, to allow them to start or continue their education, in the form of
financial support under the Department’s Care to Learn scheme. The scheme is
aimed at those aged under 20 at the time of enrolment. In the 2013/14 academic
year 95 students were supported under the Scheme. There are no plans to change
this under the new strategy.
Figures for 2013/14 indicate that 36.1% of total regulated enrolments at further
education colleges were from a Catholic background while 31.2% were from a
Protestant background. However, it should be noted that the community background
was not stated or unknown for 23.5% of total regulated enrolments in 2013/1437.
Possible
Mitigating
Measures
None required.
37 Further Education Activity in Northern Ireland: 2009/10 to 2013/14, Department for Employment and Learning http://www.delni.gov.uk/fe-activity-infe-colleges-ni
38 Further Education Statistical Return and Consolidated Data Return
77
Annex A - Shared Future
Policy Proofing
2. Does the proposed policy inadvertently create a situation where people categorised in
different groups under Section 75(1) backgrounds will be accessing services or facilities
on a segregated or separate basis?
Impact
Positive
negative none
Positive impact
Qualitative
Evidence
Under the new strategy access to further education will continue to be open to and
inclusive of: religious belief; political opinion; racial group; marital status; sexual
orientation; disability; those with dependants; and men and women.
The future further education provision will continue to be offered via the existing six
colleges and their various campuses which provide geographic cover across Northern
Ireland.
The colleges will continue to be fully integrated and ensure the promotion of equality
of opportunity by welcoming students from all backgrounds regardless of religious
belief, political opinion, sexual orientation, gender, marital status, whether they have
dependents or not, age, race or disability.
78
Quantitative
Evidence
See number 1 above.
Possible
Mitigating
Measures
None required.
Annex A - Shared Future
Policy Proofing
Consultation document on the development of a new
Further Education Strategy for Northern Ireland
3. Does the proposed policy remove or address any barriers to people sharing?
Impact
Positive
negative none
Positive impact
Qualitative
Evidence
One of the key strengths of the further education sector is that it is accessible to
all, both in terms of reaching all levels, types and age of learners, and also the fact
that the colleges are locally based and their reach extends into both urban and rural
communities. Students within the sector come from a variety of backgrounds and
have a range of learning, work and life experiences and the sector plays a valuable
role in bringing together a wide cross-section of the community within Northern
Ireland.
The new Strategy will ensure that the further education sector continues to deliver a
wide range of professional and technical education and training across a wide range
of occupations to ensure appeal to both male and female students.
Quantitative
Evidence
Under the Special Educational Needs and Disability (Northern Ireland) Order
2005 colleges are required to provide accessibility to both their premises and the
curriculum to all disabled/prospective students with disabilities. The Department
assists the six colleges fulfil this obligation by making £4.5 million per annum
funding available to support students with disabilities through the Additional Support
Fund. This funding includes two elements, £2.5 million helps FE colleges provide
technical and personal support for these students and £2 million to help meet the
cost of providing tailored discrete courses for students with learning difficulties and/
or disabilities for whom mainstream courses are not appropriate due to the nature/
degree of their disability/learning difficulty.
In 2013/14, there were 1,299 students in regulated FE discrete provision. These are
students with more severe learning difficulties and / or disabilities who are unable
to participate in mainstream courses and therefore participate in discrete provision
which has smaller class sizes and additional in built support as standard. A move to
FE for these students, who range from 16 years upwards, offers highly significant
opportunities for them to become more independent, integrate with the wider
community and gain valuable life skills.
Deprivation has been measured on the official Northern Ireland Multiple Deprivation
Measure (NIMDM), which categorises areas across the region into five groups,
termed ‘quintiles’. Quintile 1 is the most deprived group of areas while quintile 5 is
the least deprived or most affluent group of areas. Almost half (43.6%) of regulated
enrolments are from the two most deprived quintiles. Just over a fifth (21.0%) of
regulated enrolments in 2013/14 came from the most deprived quintile, compared
to 13.8% from the least deprived or most affluent quintile39.
In 2013/14, females accounted for the vast majority of further education
enrolments in ‘Health, Public Services and care’ (84.3%) and in ‘Retail and
Commercial Enterprise’ enrolments (77.8%). Male-dominated subject areas included
‘Construction, Planning and the Built Environment’ (96.8%) and ‘Engineering and
Manufacturing Technologies’ (93.3%).However, it is interesting to note, that there
is a fairly even gender split in part-time provision regulated enrolments in 2013/14
while males are the majority (56.9%) in full-time regulated provision40.
Possible
Mitigating
Measures
None required.
39 Further Education Activity in Northern Ireland: 2009/10 to 2013/14, Department for Employment and Learning http://www.delni.gov.uk/fe-activity-infe-colleges-ni
40 Ibid
79
Annex A - Shared Future
Policy Proofing
4. Does the proposed policy inadvertently erect any barriers to people sharing?
Impact
Positive
negative none
Positive impact
Qualitative
Evidence
Under the new strategy access to further education will continue to be open to and
inclusive of: religious belief; political opinion; racial group; marital status; sexual
orientation; disability; those with dependants; and men and women.
The future further education provision will continue to be offered via the existing six
colleges and their various campuses which provide geographic cover across Northern
Ireland.
The colleges will continue to be fully integrated and ensure the promotion of equality
of opportunity by welcoming students from all backgrounds regardless of religious
belief, political opinion, sexual orientation, gender, marital status, whether they have
dependents or not, age, race or disability.
80
Quantitative
Evidence
See number 1 above.
Possible
Mitigating
Measures
None required.
Annex B – Qualification
Levels
Level
Consultation document on the development of a new
Further Education Strategy for Northern Ireland
National Qualifications
Framework (NQF)
Examples
Qualifications and
Credit Framework (QCF)
Examples
Framework for
Higher Education
(FHEQ) Examples
City and Guilds Institute
Fellowship
Diplomas in strategic
direction
Doctorates
Post-graduate certificates
Advanced professional
and diplomas
certificates
6
National Diploma in
Professional Production
Skills
BTEC Advanced
Professional Diplomas
Bachelor Degrees
5
Higher National Diplomas
Foundation Degrees
Diplomas of Higher
Education
4
NVQs at level 4
BTEC Professional
Diplomas
Certificates of
Higher Education
3
A-levels
BTEC Nationals
2
GCSEs at grades A*-C
BTEC diplomas at level 2
1
GCSEs at grades D-C
BTEC Level 1
Certificate/Award
Entry
Level
Entry Level Certificates
and Awards
Entry Level VQs
8
7
Masters Degrees
81
Annex C - Glossary
82
BIS
Department for Business, Innovation & Skills
BTEC
Business and Technology Education Council
CBI
Confederation of British Industry
CEDEFOP
European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training
DE
Department of Education
DEL
Department for Employment and Learning
DETI
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment
DFP
Department of Finance and Personnel
EC
European Commission
ESP
Employer Support Programme
ETI
Education and Training Inspectorate
EU
European Union
FDI
Foreign Direct Investment
FE
Further Education
FHEQ
Framework for Higher Education Qualifications
FLU
Funded Learning Unit
GCSE
General Certificate of Secondary Education
GTCNI
General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland
HE
Higher Education
ICT
Information and Communications Technology
ILP
Individual Learning Plan
ILT
Information Learning Technology
IPPR
Institute for Public Policy Research
ISAS
International Survey of Adult Skills
IT
Information Technology
MIS
Management Information Systems
MPMNI
Managing Public Money Northern Ireland
MS/FM
Management Statement / Financial Memorandum
NIMDM
Northern Ireland Multiple Deprivation Measure
Annex C - Glossary
Consultation document on the development of a new
Further Education Strategy for Northern Ireland
NDPB
Non-Departmental Public Body
NEET’s
Not in Education, Employment, or Training
NISRA
Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency
NQF
National Qualification Framework
NVQ
National Vocational Qualifications
OECD
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
OEE
Overall Equipment Efficiency
OFSTED
Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills
PGCE
Postgraduate Certificate in Education
PIAAC
Programme for International Assessment of Adult Competencies
PLAQ
(The Department’s) Prescribed List of Approved Non NQF/QCF
Qualification
QCF
Qualifications & Credit Framework
RRQ
Register of Regulated Qualifications
SENDO
Special Educational Needs and Disability (Northern Ireland) Order 2005
SLDD
Special Learning Difficulties and Disabilities
SME
Small to medium-sized enterprise
SPICE
Specialist Provision for Industry Using College Expertise
STEM
Science, technology, engineering and mathematics
UKCES
UK Commission for Employment and Skills
UU
Ulster University
VET
Vocational Education and Training
VLE
Virtual Learning Environment
VQ’s
Vocational Qualifications
WBL
Work based learning
83
Annex D – Bibliography
Alvarez-Galvin, J., Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
(2014), Reviews of Vocational Education and Training - A Skills Beyond School
Commentary on Northern Ireland.
http://www.oecd.org/edu/skills-beyond-school/
ASkillsBeyondSchoolCommentaryOnNorthernIreland.pdf
City & Guilds (2014), Culture, Coaching and Collaboration - How to Unlock the
Potential of Digital Technology in Vocational Teaching and Learning.
http://www.cityandguilds.com/~/media/Documents/about-us/Broadsheet-news/
Culture%20coaching%20and%20collaboration%20pdf.ashx
Commission on Adult Vocational Teaching and Learning (2013), It’s About Work Excellent Adult Vocational Teaching and Learning.
http://www.excellencegateway.org.uk/content/eg5937
Confederation of British Industry (CBI) (2014), Gateway to Growth: CBI/Pearson
Education Skills Survey 2014.
http://www.cbi.org.uk/media/2809181/embargo_00.01_4_july_cbi_pearson_
education_and_skills_survey_2014.pdf
Department for Business, Innovation & Skills Research (BIS) (2013), The Impact of
Further Education Learning – Research Paper No.104.
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-benefits-of-further-education-learning
Department for Employment and Learning (2015), Further Education Activity in
Northern Ireland: 2009/10 to 2013/14.
http://www.delni.gov.uk/fe-activity-in-fe-colleges-ni
Department for Employment and Learning (2015), Further Education Statistical
Return and Consolidated Data Return.
Department for Employment and Learning (2014), Securing our Success:
The Northern Ireland Strategy on Apprenticeships.
http://www.delni.gov.uk/securing-our-success-the-ni-strategy-on-apprenticeships.pdf
Department for Employment and Learning (2011), Success through Skills Transforming Futures: Skills Strategy for Northern Ireland.
http://www.delni.gov.uk/success-through-skills-transforming-futures.pdf
84
Annex D – Bibliography
Consultation document on the development of a new
Further Education Strategy for Northern Ireland
Education and Training Foundation (2014), Professional Standards for
Teachers and Trainers in Education and Training – England.
http://www.et-foundation.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/4991-Profstandards-A4_4-2.pdf
Education and Training Inspectorate (2014), Chief Inspector’s Report
2012-2014.
www.etini.gov.uk/index/inspection-reports/the-chief-inspectors-report/cireport-2012-2014.htm
European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop) (2014),
Attractiveness of Initial Vocational Education and Training: identifying what
matters: Research Paper No.39.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/EN/Files/5539_en.pdf
European Commission, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and
Inclusion (2012), Study on a comprehensive overview on traineeship
arrangements in Member States: Final Synthesis Report.
http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=738&langId=en&pubId=6717,
European Commission (2013), Work-Based Learning in Europe: Practices and
policy Pointers.
http://ec.europa.eu/education/policy/vocational-policy/doc/alliance/work-basedlearning-in-europe_en.pdf
Northern Ireland Executive (2015), Programme for Government 2011-2015.
www.northernireland.gov.uk/pfg
Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) (2012),
Promoting Enterprise in Vocational Courses for 16-19 Year-Old Students in
Colleges - A Good Practice Report.
http://dera.ioe.ac.uk/16049/1/Promoting%20enterprise%20in%20vocational%20
courses%20for%2016-19-year-old%20students%20in%20colleges.pdf
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) as part of the
Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC)
(2013), Survey of Adult Skills.
http://www.oecd.org/site/piaac/surveyofadultskills.htm
85
Annex D – Bibliography
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (2010),
Learning For Jobs.
www.oecd.org/education/innovation-education/learningforjobs.htm
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (2014),
OECD Reviews of Vocational Education and Training: A Skills Beyond School
Commentary on Northern Ireland.
http://www.oecd.org/edu/skills-beyond-school/
ASkillsBeyondSchoolCommentaryOnNorthernIreland.pdf
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (2014),
OECD Reviews of Vocational Education and Training: Skills Beyond School –
Synthesis Report.
http://www.oecd.org/edu/skills-beyond-school/Skills-Beyond-School-SynthesisReport.pdf
UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) (2014), 157 Group and
Gazelle colleges (2014), A New Conversation – Employer and College
Engagement.
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/
file/306968/A_New_Conversation.pdf
86
Annex E – Definitions
Consultation document on the development of a new
Further Education Strategy for Northern Ireland
Professional and Technical:
Professional and Technical provision is regarded as Regulated provision without
Academic provision.
Regulated:
From academic year 2013/14, only those courses which appear on the Register of
Regulated Qualifications ((RRQ) or the Department’s Prescribed List of Approved Non
NQF/QCF Qualification (PLAQ) list (for level 3 and below) or are Higher Education (HE)
in FE courses (level 4 and above), will be deemed as ‘regulated’ by the Department.
Anything which falls outside this definition is not considered, in Departmental terms, as
‘regulated’ regardless of whether it is considered to produce “outcomes” e.g. internal
college certification.
The term ‘regulated’ will be used from 2013/14 on, in regard to this type of provision
within further education. This cohort of further education provision is comparable with
the previous figures for Professional and Technical.
FE enrolment publications between 2003/04 and 2012/13 have used the term
‘Professional and Technical’ to describe this cohort of FE provision. ‘Professional and
Technical’ were identified as any enrolment not coded as qualification aim ‘999’, ‘599’
or ‘199’ i.e. recreational and Keyskills provision are excluded. In each academic year
students can be enrolled in multiple course and therefore the same individual can have
enrolments in regulated and non-regulated courses within the one academic year.
Academic:
Academic provision is taken to mean A Levels and GSCEs.
Retention:
Retention rate is defined as the proportion of the number of enrolments who complete
their final year of study to the number of final year enrolments. Since 2012/13, those
who complete their course early (and recorded in the data as a withdrawal) and
who have subsequently achieved their programme of study qualification have been
regarded as a ‘completer’. This may inflate the retention rate from 2012/13 onwards in
comparison to earlier academic years.
Retention rate =
Number of non-withdrawals plus Number of withdrawals who
achieve (both full and partial)
Number of enrolments
87
Annex E – Definitions
Achievement:
Achievement rate relates to the percentage of the number of enrolments who complete
their final year of study and achieve their qualification to the number of enrolments who
complete their final year of study.
Achievement rate = Number of achievements
Number of non-withdrawals plus Number of Withdrawals who
achieve (both full and partial)
Success:
Success rate is the overall measure of performance, which is the proportion of
the number of enrolments who complete their final year of study and achieve their
qualification to the number of final year enrolments.
Success rate =
Number of achievements OR Retention rate x Achievement rate
Number of Enrolments
STEM:
STEM provision is identified by the subject code entered by the FE college. If the subject
code starts with a letter between A and K (Medicine, Dentistry and Allied Subjects;
Biological and Physical Sciences; Agriculture, Building and Planning) then it is regarded
as ‘Broad’ STEM. ‘Narrow’ STEM is those enrolment records with a subject code
starting with the letter C, F, G, H or J (Biological and Physical Sciences; Mathematics
and IT; Engineering and Technology).
88
The Department:
Our aim is to promote learning and
skills, to prepare people for work
and to support the economy.
This document is available in other
formats upon request.
Further Information:
Department for Employment and Learning
Adelaide House
39-49 Adelaide Street
Belfast
BT2 8FD
telephone: 028 9025 7630
e-mail: [email protected]
delni.gov.uk
website: www.delni.gov.uk/new-furthereducation-strategy-for-northern-ireland
Item 10
Ards and North Down Borough Council
Council/Committee
Council
Date of Meeting
23rd September 2015
Responsible Officer
Director of Finance and Performance
Date of Report
17 September 2015
File Reference
FIN44
Legislation
Section 3 Local Government Finance Act 2011
Sections 11 & 13 Local Government Act 2014
Section 75 Compliant Yes
Subject
X
No
Not Applicable
Setting Budgets and District Rates for 2016/17
Attachments
BACKGROUND
The Council is required by the Local Government Finance Act to prepare its budgets
and district rates in the context of a Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP). This plan
is prepared in line with the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy
(CIPFA) Prudential Code which requires expenditure plans to be affordable, prudent
and sustainable.
The Rates Regulations 2007 require the Council to strike its district rates for the next
following year by the 15th February.
Sections 11 & 13 allow the Council to establish sub-committees.
Proposed Rate Setting Process for 2016/17
As with the first financial year it is proposed to establish a Rates Sub-Committee
(terms of reference set out in appendix A). The table below sets out a similar
committee process as for 2015/16 for reviewing the strategic issues affecting the
Council’s budgets and district rates. This will commence in detail with Members in
mid-October and continue through to February 2015.
1
Item 10
Proposed Rate Setting Process for 2016/17
(with indicative dates)
15 Oct 15
Rates Sub-Committee
Detailed review of:
a) internal and external pressures;
b) projected outturns for 2015/16; and
c) the impact on the level of reserves.
Members’ expectations.
16 Dec 15
Rates Sub-Committee
Discuss and finalise options for rates
position taking into account the Medium
Term Financial Plan, Capital Financing
Strategy and Treasury Management
Strategy.
19 Jan 16
Special Corporate Services Recommendation to Council on District
Committee
Rate for 2016/17 and Medium Term
Financial Plan
9 Feb 16
Council Meeting
Agree the District rate for 2016/17
Recommendations:
1. It is recommended that Council form a Rates Sub-Committee for the purposes
of undertaking the work in setting the district rates for 2016/17 and making
recommendation to the Corporate Services Committee.
2. It is further recommended that the Council nominates ten Elected Members to
the Rates Sub Committee 2016/17.
3. It is further recommended that members note the report on the rate setting
process for 2016/17 and agree the timetable for reporting as outlined above.
2
Appendix A
Rates Sub-Committee
Authority
Under the Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 2014 11 (1) “for the purpose of
discharging any functions in pursuance of arrangements made under this part…
(c) Any such committee may appoint one or more sub-committees...
… Subject to this Act the number of members of a committee appointed under
subsection (1), their term of office and the area (if restricted) within which the
committee is to exercise its authority must be fixed by the appointing council ...”
Overall Purpose and Objectives
The Rates Sub-Committee will assist Corporate Services Committee in fulfilling its
role in the area of Finance as follows:






Medium Term Financial Planning
Revenue Budgeting
Capital Budgeting
Setting of District Rates
Associated business
Anything else appropriate delegated to it by
Committee
In reaching its decisions the Rates Sub-Committee will have due regard to its impact
on, and implications for the Council’s commitment to ensuring equality of opportunity
and, where possible and practicable, to ensure that the actions of the Committee are
proactive in this respect.
The Sub-Committee is a sub-committee of the Committee and will report to it and
accordingly Council authorises the Sub- Committee, within the scope of its
responsibilities, to:



Seek any information it requires from any Council employee or external party;
Obtain external legal or professional advice as appropriate; and
Ensure the attendance of Council Officers at meetings as appropriate.
Correspondingly, all employees are directed by Council to co-operate with any
request made by the Sub-Committee.
3
Appendix A
Membership
The Sub-Committee will comprise 10 members who are appointed by the Council.
The Sub-Committee will appoint its own Chair.
Meetings
The Sub-Committee will meet in Church Street, Newtownards at 7.00pm as required,
on dates agreed with the Chair, during the Rates setting process.
The Sub-Committee will comply with the Council’s standing orders.
4
ITEM 11
Ards and North Down Borough Council
Council/Committee
Council Meeting
Date of Meeting
23rd September 2015
Responsible Officer
Chief Executive
Date of Report
10th September 2015
File Reference
700028
Legislation
Local Government (Northern Ireland) Act 2014
Section 75 Compliant Yes
Subject
No
Not Applicable
Community Planning – The BIG CONVERSATION
Attachments
Members will be aware of the Council’s responsibilities with regard to the preparation
and publishing of a Borough-wide Community Plan, along with its partners.
The BIG CONVERSATION is a concept to be used to encourage the community to
engage with the Council and its partners about the Ards and North Down area with
regard to the Community Plan.
Community planning is a new function for the Council and the legislation requires the
Council and its statutory partners to produce a long term plan for the area with
extensive community input and consultation. In order to generate enthusiasm and
excitement within the community our engagement activities will be marketed by
encouraging people to join Ards and North Down’s BIG CONVERSATION about
community planning.
The BIG CONVERSATION will include initiatives such as:
- Postcard commentary to give people a platform to let us know what they like
and dislike about the Ards and North Down area and what issues they think
should be prioritised in the community plan
- Questionnaires (online and hardcopy)
- Events and workshops
- Newsletter, web and social media presence
- Consultation initiatives
- Reports to keep people informed of progress and how we are using the data
and information they have fed back
Where appropriate it will be beneficial for Community Planning to utilise the contacts
Elected Members have within local communities. This may include inviting Elected
Members to participate in BIG CONVERSATION events, especially if they are in a
relevant DEA. Encouraging constituents to complete BIG CONVERSATION
1
ITEM 11
feedback postcards, to help identify the priority issues our Community Plan should
seek to address, will also be beneficial.
To maximise exposure to the BIG CONVERSATION the Community Planning
Manager will promote the postcard commentary initiative at events within each of the
Council’s DEAs, as already organised by the Community Development team. These
are scheduled for September and October. Participants will be encouraged to
complete A5 postcards with feedback on what they like and dislike about the Ards
and North Down area. They will also be asked for their opinion on the issues they
think our Community Plan needs to prioritise. Postcards can be completed at the
event as well as online. Postcards are confidential but participants are asked for the
name of their nearest town or settlement to allow for more accurate analysis of the
feedback provided.
From November postcards will also be available from Council buildings that are
publically accessible. This includes:
- Town Hall, Bangor
- Church Street, Newtownards
- Ards Arts Centre, Conway Square
- Tower House, Bangor
- Ards Visitor Centre, Bangor
Collection style post-boxes for the postcards will be on permanent display in the two
main civic buildings and will rotate around other locations.
The BIG CONVERSATION postcard commentary campaign will also visit all libraries
and sports facilities within the Borough via a published schedule.
To keep people who have participated in the BIG CONVERSATION engaged with
the development of the Community Plan, and for them to see progress being made,
the initiative will be supported by an ongoing engagement campaign. Via a digital
engagement campaign the key issues the public would like to see addressed will be
communicated and then further consulted on. The BIG CONVERSATION is going to
have a twitter presence @ANDbigconversation and use #myvoicemyAND
RECOMMENDATION
It is recommended that the Council approves the plans for the BIG CONVERSATION
community engagement programme.
2
REGIONAL ELECTED MEMBER DEVELOPMENT
“The new General Power of Competence”
28th October 2015
Glenavon Hotel, Cookstown
29th October 2015,
Lough Neagh Discovery Centre, Craigavon
The Local Government Act 2014 introduced a new General Power of Competence in Northern
Ireland. This Power gives councils the ability to do anything an individual can do (subject to restrictions),
rather than only being able to do what they are directly empowered to do.
This FREE one day course, hosted by NILGA and supported by the Local Government Training
Group, will be led by the Association of Public Service Excellence (APSE). It will seek to
provide information on the Power, what it means, and how Northern Ireland councils can learn from
Councils’ experiences elsewhere. It will also discuss what steps Northern Ireland councils need to
take in order utilise the General Power to deliver real, tangible benefits to citizens and
communities.
The course is designed for council elected members, and will also be of major interest to senior
officers in Councils.
AGENDA
9.30 am
10.00am
Registration and tea / coffee
Introduction— NILGA Office Bearer
Session Leaders: Jan Kennedy & Andrew Uprichard on behalf of APSE
10.00am
I’ve Got the Power! What is the General Power of Competence?
Overview / Policy and in Practice (followed by refreshment break)
11.35am
Why do Councils need it?
Usage / Need / Policy Illustrations
11.30am
What happens in other jurisdictions?
Lessons from neighbouring Councils
12.45pm
Lunch
1.30pm
How is it working out?
Good Outcomes / Matters Arising
2.00pm3.15pm
Discussion on making use of the General Power in Northern
Ireland
These FREE events are open to a maximum of 35 Members / Officers per session. Councils
should complete the booking form on the reverse and return it to NILGA by emailing
[email protected], at least 5 working days before your chosen event.
“The new General Power of Competence”
28th October 2015
Glenavon Hotel, Cookstown
29th October 2015
Lough Neagh Discovery Centre, Craigavon
Registration for both events - 9.30am
BOOKING FORM
PLEASE NOTE:
Places at these events are limited so early booking is recommended.
Contact name of person responsible for bookings ________________________________
Council: _________________________________________________________________
Email: ___________________________________________________________________
Contact telephone number: __________________________________________________
Council nominations
Full Name
Title
Preferred
Venue (s)
Dietary / Special requirements
Please return to Sarah Little at the NILGA offices at least 5 working days before
your chosen event, email: [email protected] or by post:
Sarah Little
NILGA
Bradford Court
Upper Galwally
Castlereagh
BT8 6RB
ITEM 13.2.
Ards and North Down Borough Council
Council/Committee
Council
Date of Meeting
23 September 2015
Responsible Officer
Head of Performance and Projects
Date of Report
9 September 2015
File Reference
231239
Legislation
Section 75 Compliant Yes
Subject
X
No
Not Applicable
Intertrade Ireland Meet the Buyer Event
Attachments
A Meet-the-Buyer event hosted by Intertrade Ireland will be held in the CityWest
Hotel, Dublin on 21 October 2015. As with previous events, the aim is to bring
together public sector buyers and potential suppliers in a mutually supporting and
beneficial environment. It is hoped that this event will assist in better preparing
potential suppliers in bidding for public sector contracts and can be used as a
platform to inform suppliers of the changes following local government reform. At the
same time buyers would be afforded the opportunity to learn of new goods and
services that might be relevant to their business needs.
The Procurement Manager and Procurement Officer have been invited to attend to
represent Northern Ireland local government procurement. The event and
accommodation costs will be met by Intertrade Ireland.
RECOMMENDATION
It is recommended that approval be given for the Procurement Manager and
Procurement Assistant to attend the event and that travel and subsistence be paid in
accordance with Council policy.

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