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PowerPoint presentation promotes leisure plans

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sirgarppTHE HERALD has been forwarded a copy of a presentation given to Executive Board members which sets out the way in which the local authority intends to divest itself of its leisure holdings and associated staff on to a third party.

In a series of graphics which our mystery correspondent referred to as ‘ripping off the work of LS Lowry’, the Council sets out that it fully intends to shuffle all leisure staff on to a third party, while making sure that senior officers are cushioned from market pressures and retained in house.

The presentation purports to show an employee on a journey via a ‘manager/change agent’ starting with anxiety, progressing through happiness, fear, threat, guilt, depression, gradual acceptance, moving forward, disillusionment, hostility, denial, anger, complacency towards either resignation or success.

The bones of the proposals behind the presentation are clear:

Carmarthenshire County Council seeks to enter into a partnership with an existing or hybrid Not for Profit Distributing Organisation (NPDO or Trust) through a procurement process using competitive dialogue, which has the key parameters set out in the procurement strategy within the main report, and which will seek to deliver the relevant services’ 3 year PBB savings, in line with the affordability levels set out in the report.

The procurement process would not include a bid submission from a newly establish ‘internal’ NPDO.

The Herald has seen a further internal document which suggests that decision has been taken in order to avoid a lengthy tendering process.

The partnership’ initial scope of the partnership would be for the Sports and Leisure portfolio (including facilities from Llanelli, Carmarthen, Ammanford, Newcastle Emlyn, St. Clears and Llandovery), plus Theatres services (from Llanelli, Carmarthen and Ammanford), with further consideration of other services by Council at a later date after the contract has been operational for a period of time.

If there is no interest in some or all of the services, Carmarthenshire County Council should then seek to develop a business case to consider establishing a new NPDO for the services to deliver the financial savings;

The tender specifies that the partner organisation has to apply for admitted body status to the Dyfed Pension Fund, closed to existing employees at the point of transfer;

Importantly the tender will include a requirement that the tendering parties cost for the replacement of Llanelli Leisure Centre through a Design, Build, Operate and Maintain Model (DBOM) and that officers pursue the opportunity to align any new Leisure Centre in Llanelli with a potential “Wellness” development as part of the major “ARCH” City Region project.

The County Council will place an advert and find potential partners (anyone can submit). The designated timescale for the advert is Nov 2015 – Jan 2016. In other words over the Christmas and New Year’s vacations.

A senior employee has told the Herald that they had already submitted during the first attempt at tendering out leisure services and that their attempt, although rated highly by the Welsh Assembly’s Tendering Monitors, was rejected and has not seen the light of day since.

An evaluation of the proposals will take place in the first six months of 2016, with a further winnowing process taking place through to November next year.

Having identified its preferred partner, the Council is looking to award the contract shortly thereafter.

While staff will be transferred on the same terms and conditions as they have presently, the presentation goes on to state ‘Organisations cannot simply harmonise T’s & C’s with existing employees. Must be an economical, technical or operational business reason to undertake an organisational change’.

That means changes to terms and conditions of employees transferred and to get around the law relating to the transfer of employees, recommends that these changes ‘would not happen within the first year of transfer’.

From April 2017, staff payslips will come from a different organisation

While pensions will continue as existing arrangement with Dyfed Pension Fund, it remains to be seen what the effect of changing other terms and conditions of employment (including pay and grading) will have on staff.

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Station Road: Off-licence refused alcohol licence

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AN OFF-LICENCE on Llanelli’s Station Road has been refused an alcohol licence by Carmarthenshire County Council after councillors decided it could add to the area’s crime and disorder problems.

The Licensing Committee’s decision has been upheld after the applicant, who runs the shop Kubus, appealed to the courts.

The applicant, Aram Mahmood, had asked the council for permission to sell alcohol at his shop between 9am and 9pm Monday to Sunday.

However councillors felt that granting the licence would contravene the authority’s Cumulative Impact Policy, which creates a presumption against the granting of premises licences in the Station Road area, due to anti-social behaviour and alcohol-fuelled crime issues.

A Dyfed Powys Police representative said Station Road is still identified as a crime and disorder hot spot, and a Drinking in Public Places Order (DPPO) is in place.

During April 2017 and March 2018, 164 anti-social behaviour incidents were recorded in Station Road, over a quarter having occurred within licensed premises.

A fifth of all related crime and 13 per cent of all alcohol related anti-social behavior incidents recorded in Llanelli town occurred in Station Road.

Over 40 alcohol related violent crimes were also recorded there during the same period.

Although there are now fewer premises selling alcohol in Station Road, statistics show there is still a high level of alcohol related crime and disorder in the area.

The applicant told the committee that his main customers were families wishing to buy Polish and European foods and products.

He told councillors he had ordered a CCTV system and assured them that the management of alcohol would be well controlled by staff, though believed that his customers would not cause problems.

The licensing committee’s decision was upheld following the applicant’s appeal to Llanelli Magistrates Court.

Justices found that there was no evidence of exceptional reasons to justify departing from the Cumulative Impact Policy and were satisfied with the committee’s decision.

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Cllr Kevin Madge elected as new county council Chairman

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THE new chair of Carmarthenshire County Council said he will work tirelessly during his term of office.

Cllr Kevin Madge, member for Garnant, takes the chain of office whilst celebrating 40 years as a councillor.

Taking the chair, Cllr Madge paid tribute to outgoing chairman Cllr Mansel Charles, member for Llanegwad, saying he had fulfilled his duties with passion.

Cllr Madge will chair the council for the next 12 months, with Cllr Ieuan Davies, member for Llanybydder, as his vice chair, and his wife Catrin as his consort.

“I’m very much looking forward to the year ahead, I will do my best for everyone. I will work tirelessly,” he said.

Cllr Madge has chosen the Trussell Trust, which supports a nationwide network of food banks and emergency food provision for people in crisis, as his Chairman’s Charity of the Year.

The Chair is the first citizen of Carmarthenshire County Council, and is elected at the Annual General Meeting.

Duties include chairing full meetings of the council, representing the council at formal and ceremonial occasions, welcoming visitors to the county, and attending and supporting events organised by local people and organisations.

Cllr Madge has been a county councillor since 1996, and a member of Cwmaman Town Council since 1979.

He also serves as chairman of the Royal British Legion Garnant branch, Garnant Family Centre and Cwmaman Meals on Wheels, and is a member of Amman Valley League of Friends.

He represents the county council on the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, and the Mynydd y Betws Wind Farm Community Fund, and is on the governing body of Ysgol Y Bedol.

A former pupil of Amman Valley School, Cllr Madge has worked in the Amman Valley throughout his life, most recently as agent and researcher to Dr Alan Williams MP until 2001.

A keen football supporter, he has served as chair and president of Cwmaman Football Club and spent 25 years as a Welsh League and Neath and District football referee.

He is married with two children and three grandchildren.

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‘UK Government should work with the Welsh Labour Government on Tata’

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LOCAL Assembly Member Lee Waters and Nia Griffith MP have called on the UK Government to work with the Welsh Labour Government to come up with a deal to protect steel making at Trostre, and across Wales and the UK.

Lee Waters AM met with representatives from Tata Steel on Wednesday to discuss the future for steel making at the plant following the reported collapse of the proposed joint venture with Thyssenkrupp.

During the meeting he stressed the need to protect the entire steel supply chain in Wales, including the high quality jobs at Trostre, and those that depend on its presence in Llanelli.

Lee Waters AM said “It’s clear that the support Welsh Government provided during the crisis of 2016 has been critical in getting extra investment into Port Talbot which will secure the works for years to come. However, Tata is a company run from India, and we simply don’t know what the board will decide about its future strategy. They may well be looking for a new joint venture partner, so we’ll have to vigilant about the implications for our local plants.”

“Tata has said it intends to continue with its existing business plan, and honor commitments made to the Trade Unions, so Nia and I will be keeping a close eye to make sure that happens.”

Welsh Government has been in active discussions with Tata steel following the collapse of the merger with Thyssenkrupp. In a written statement and during questions on Wednesday, the Welsh Government committed to invest in Welsh steel to protect its future and is looking at a range of measures to assist on energy costs, business rates and procurement of steel for public sector contracts.

Lee Waters AM said “The Welsh Government have given significant support to the steel industry here but it can’t do everything, and we now need the UK Government to work with them to ensure a future for skilled work in the steel industry in Llanelli and elsewhere in Wales.”

Nia Griffith AM said ““This latest news from Tata means yet more uncertainty for steelworkers. Their announcement about keeping Port Talbot is a start, but now we need real commitment from Tata on Trostre.

“We also need close cooperation from the company with the Trade Unions. Lee Waters AM and I will be urging the UK Government to follow Welsh Government in doing everything possible to secure the future of our steel industry.”

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