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PowerPoint presentation promotes leisure plans

Jon Coles

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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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Four charged with conspiracy to supply class A drugs

Carli Newell

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FOUR people have been arrested and charged as part of an investigation into an organised crime gang supplying class A drugs from London to Aberystwyth, Llanelli and Swansea.

Dyfed-Powys Police, with support from The Met Police, carried out warrants at four addresses on July 21, resulting in four arrests.

Mohammed Osman, aged 23, Yonis Mohammed, aged 20, Salman Mohamoud, aged 23 – all from Islington – and Amy Simmons, aged 21, from Dulwich were charged with a total of 12 offences:

  • Mohammed Osman: Two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine,
  • Yonis Mohammed: Two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine.
  • Salman Mohamoud: Conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine
  • Amy Simmons: Conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine.

All four appeared at Llanelli Magistrates’ Court on Friday, July 23, where they were remanded in custody. They are due to appear at Swansea Crown Court for their next hearing on August 20.

The investigation is being carried out by the Ceredigion Serious and Organised Crime Team, Aberystwyth CID and the Operation Orochi command of the Met Police.

Detective Sergeant Steve Jones said: “These four arrests and charges are the result of a coordinated approach to target an organised crime gang we believe is running a county lines operation into the Dyfed-Powys Police force area.

“We will continue to work diligently to disrupt gangs of this kind, to prevent the supply of illegal substances into our community.

“I would like to thank all officers involved, as well as the Met Police for their part in the operation.”

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New children’s play area in Bryn as part of new council housing development

Carli Newell

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A NEW children’s play area has opened in time for the summer holidays in Bryn, Llanelli as part of a new £5.9million council housing development.

Carmarthenshire County Council is building 32 new homes on land close to the Dylan housing estate in Bryn.

The scheme will be made up of 22 two-bedroom homes, four two-bedroom bungalows and six four-bedroom homes and is part of the council’s ongoing drive to deliver more affordable homes across the county. It has been part funded through the Welsh Government’s Affordable Housing Grant.

The development also includes a new children’s play area, funded by the council in partnership with Llanelli Rural Council, which will take over the running and maintenance of the play area on completion.

Executive Board Member for Housing Cllr Linda Evans said: “I am delighted the park has been completed in time for the summer holidays for the local children to enjoy.

“We are committed to delivering more affordable housing across Carmarthenshire and this development will benefit dozens of families in Llanelli, as well as proving much needed facilities for the local community.

“I would like to thank the rural council for collaborating with this us on this and I hope the children are thrilled with it.”

Before designing the play area, the rural council liaised with local schoolchildren to find out what play equipment they wanted at their new park.

Llanelli Rural Council Chairman Cllr Tegwen Devichand said: “The council is delighted to be working in partnership with Carmarthenshire County Council to provide this wonderful new play area for the community.

“The opening of the play area couldn’t have been better timed to coincide with the school holidays. I hope the local children will enjoy the range of challenging play equipment on offer and that they have lots of fun using it over the summer.”

The housing development is due to be completed by the beginning of 2022.

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Burry Port Harbour lighthouse overhaul tops council’s £2million investment

Carli Newell

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A £2MILLION investment in Burry Port Harbour is nearing completion, topped off with the iconic lighthouse getting a fresh lick of paint.

Carmarthenshire County Council is behind a range of improvements to maintain and restore the historic harbour which is one of the county’s most loved and well visited beauty spots.

Restoration of the Grade II listed harbour walls, undertaken under the guidance of CADW, will conclude within the next few weeks.

The council has also been working alongside The Marine Group, which operates the harbour, to improve mooring facilities. They are working closely with fishermen to bid for funding for new commercial pontoon infrastructure.

It will add to investment made over previous years which saw the council spend almost £1.5million on new pontoons, and over £300,000 in maintaining the harbour railings and bridge.

A local operator has agreed a lease for a cafe and public toilets on east side of Harbour, and the refurbishment of the old RNLI harbour office has recently started by The Marine Group (TMG) to create a harbour-side coffee house.

TMG has also invested in a state-of-the-art dredger which arrived at the harbour last autumn. Dredging is well underway and will continue until targeted depths are reached.

Boat lifting equipment and new fuelling points are also planned.

The council has introduced community safety officers to patrol the harbour assisting tourists and local people during the summer months, especially to advise around Covid regulations, as part of a tourism hotspot plan to take care of issues such as parking, litter, street cleansing, enforcement and signage.

Temporary car parking surfacing has also been laid on the east side along with new pay and display facilities ahead of a wider multi-million regeneration plan that will transform the harbour with a mix of housing, commercial and leisure space covering around 13 acres of prime development site.

Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, Executive Board Member for Culture, Sport and Tourism, said: “We are proud of our continued investment in Burry Port Harbour. We are spending millions restoring and maintaining historic features that are much-loved by local people and visitors who come from far and wide to enjoy what the harbour has to offer.

“We continue to work closely alongside The Marine Group and Pembrey and Burry Port Town Council to plan and prioritise works and ongoing maintenance. We are as keen as everyone else to ensure it is well-maintained and continues to be a place people can enjoy.

“We appreciate that there has been some upheaval during these improvement works but we ask people to understand that our investment will make Burry Port Harbour an even better place for the future.”

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