Agenda item

Agenda item


Notice of items which, in the opinion of the Chair, should be considered at the meeting as a matter of urgency pursuant to Section 100B(4) of the Local Government Act, 1972.


No urgent matters.


At this juncture, the Chair, on behalf of Full Council, offered congratulations to Ann Jones, Member of Senedd and a former Denbighshire Councillor on being awarded an OBE.



Question put forward by Ceri Mair Davies on behalf of Friends of the Earth Ruthin:


“Could Denbighshire County Council provide a full list of all properties, land, rooms, assets owned by Denbighshire Town and County Councils that are currently under-utilised or un-occupied?


Could Denbighshire County Council outline exactly what is the process involved in a Community Asset Transfer and what is the remit for organisations who can apply? (we would be happy to be sent a copy of this document after the meeting if you would like to put us in touch with the department and persons in charge of this)”


The Lead Member for Finance, Performance and Strategic Assets, Councillor Julian Thompson-Hill, responded as follows:


“A schedule of vacant premises in our property portfolio and a current list of vacancies within the commercial portfolio can be provided.

Our Asset Strategy ris not to hold any building or property that is not required for our operational or commercial reasons.

Town and Community Council buildings - we cannot provide those as we do not have that data.  There is only data on Denbighshire County Council assets.


Underutilisation re: office portfolio - we are aware where we have vacancies and have been working with partners.  NHS and the Coroner work from County Hall and we are in the process of moving other groups into County Hall also.  All buildings are under-utilised at the moment due to Covid and change in working patterns during the last 12 months.  This will be reassessed when get back to some sort of normality.


In terms of the Commercial portfolio which includes things such as farms and industrial units, these are  run on a commercial basis  for generating income.  There is a high rate of occupancy.


Second question regarding policies – there is no formally adopted policy for this.  They are dealt with on a case by case basis, working with Town and Community Councils and local groups.  Normally it is a case of the Council being approached by organisations to buy a property.  It would be based upon a business plan to clarify how buildings are utilised, maintenance and running costs and generally done on a long term transfer.


There is an entire process we go through to make sure people have applied with Local Government Act disposal consent and an internal process to make decisions.




The Lead Member for Waste, Transport and the Environment, Councillor Brian Jones gave a statement regarding the recent flooding as follows:


“Flooding last week by storm Christophe was devastating for everyone affected and we want to express our sympathies to those people who are now undertaking the long journey to recover.


I have been out to the various areas affected by flooding and next week going to see rural areas affected by flooding.


I want to pay tribute to the highways staff who put in a lot of hours and work in preparing before the flood and in some cases, councillors and all those who were involved.


We need to look at what we can do as a local authority and how best to protect communities going forward.


At a recent Scrutiny Committee meeting it was mentioned about a Task and Finish Group to look at flood areas.   We have already had an agreement for NRW and Welsh Water to be part of the Group and also want involved land and farm owners, and relevant local county councillors.  This Group will be a good tool and mechanism.


Thank you to all involved from all Full Council members.”




Question put forward by Councillor Emrys Wynne:


“At the weekend there were reports in the press saying that Denbighshire County Council staff had received Covid 19 vaccines even though not entitled to have one.  Why weren’t councillors told about this?  When did this become apparent to you?


Leader, Councillor Hugh Evans – From my perspective on this occasion this information was not shared with any members of the council and only officers were familiar with the situation prior to it breaking out in the press.  Due to the seriousness, we did hold a special Cabinet on Sunday evening to try and understand what was happening, and another on Monday morning with officers.  It was unclear as to what had happened and we have called for an internal investigation. This was for three main considerations.


First point, while things are highlighted in the press, officers and members need to be familiar with all the facts before we take any action, and therefore, responding to the press is not ideal way to reach conclusion.


Second point - We have brilliant staff within the Local Authority and the work they have done during Covid has been unbelievable.  We do not want all the staff painted with the same brush with the possible actions of a small minority.


Third point – it is important that we as a Local Authority, give assurance, that our relationship with BCU is open and transparent and it is important to them that everything the local authority does is open and transparent and we will not support anyone to jump the queue and will be in line with guidelines of Welsh Government.


Chief Executive, Judith Greenhalgh – Denbighshire County Council has submitted a list to Besti Cadwaladr of our staff who were eligible for a vaccine in line with guidelines.  Those staff were sent an email by BCU inviting them to book an appointment for a vaccination. What became apparent recently was the possibility that if eligible staff had forwarded that email, there was a glitch in the BCU system that may have allowed non eligible staff to book a vaccination appointment.  When this became apparent to us we instructed all staff not to forward the e-mail and our IT team are currently investigating what action, if any, has occurred with those staff. We have completed the first phase of that investigation. There is certainly no evidence of mass sharing of the email.  Once the investigation is complete if there is any evidence that any staff have acted improperly it will be followed up with disciplinary action.  At this time, there is no evidence staff have used this loop hole.  As the Ledaer said our staff have worked incredibly hard during the pandemic and I have the utmost confidence in their integrity and honesty. If anyone has taken this action, it will be a very small number of staff and we will update members when the investigation has concluded.  The press statement was inaccurate and at this time, we are not aware of any member of staff who had the vaccine when they should not have done so.”


 Cllr Emrys Wynne asked a supplementary question which was when did it become apparent to officers that this situation might exist and when it became apparent that this was likely to appear in the press?


The Chief Executive responded that on 14 January 2021 it became apparent to us that there may be a loophole in the  booking system of BCU and we then sent an email to all staff that this was not allowed and the press picked up from that.