COUNCIL leader Ellen ap Gwynn stressed the importance of communication within our communities while delivering the Corporate Strategy 2017-2022 at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday (Oct 17).
The purpose of the report was to present the draft Corporate Strategy 2017-2022, including Well-being and Improvement Objectives 2018-19 which is currently out for consultation.
Councillor Ellen ap Gwynn, Leader and responsibility for Corporate Services, Improvement and Performance Management, said the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 introduced new arrangements for securing continuous improvement in delivery of public services in Wales.
The County Council is under a general duty to ‘make arrangements to secure continuous improvement in the exercise of functions’. The Duty, ‘making arrangements’ to improve, means putting in place arrangements which allow us to understand local needs and priorities, and to make best use of resources to meet these needs.
The duty refers to continuous improvement to ensure that the Improvement Objectives remain relevant; that the best arrangements are in place for delivering improvements and that we are able to understand the impact and the outcomes for citizens.
In discharging its duty, the Authority must each year prepare an Improvement Plan, which outlines high level objectives for the Authority that it seeks to make towards progressing the Council’s Corporate Strategy and other improvement priorities.
Cllr ap Gwynn stated that it is through having plans that the Council can demonstrate it has appropriate arrangements in place to secure improvement across the range of its functions. The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 introduced new governance arrangements for the delivery of public Services in Wales and the Council has a duty to set and publish Well-being objectives that are designed to maximise our contribution to achieving seven National Well-being Goals.
The council must take all reasonable steps towards achieving these Wellbeing Objectives and must publish an annual report outlining our progress in meeting those objectives.
The Act requires public bodies in Wales to carry out sustainable development. Sustainable Development is defined as a process of improving the economic, social, environmental and cultural Well-being of Wales.
This needs to be done by taking action in accordance with the Sustainable Development Principle so that the Well-being Goals are achieved.
The Sustainable Development Principle is made up of five ways of working that are about looking ‘long term’, integrating our approaches with other public or voluntary sector bodies, involving others in decision making, collaborating on shared solutions and a focus on preventing issues by working to understand the root causes.
The Act directs that Public Bodies should not treat the requirement to set well-being objectives as separate from the objectives that guide and steer the actions and decisions of the organisation. Therefore application of the well-being duty should be through a single integrated corporate approach and the setting of well-being objectives could and should be included as part of a Corporate Plan or other similar document.
Following the local elections in May, the Council has prepared a new Corporate Strategy 2017- 2022 setting out its Priorities for the next five years.
The proposed priorities are boosting the economy, investing in people’s Future, enabling Individual and Family Resilience, promoting Environmental and Community Resilience.
Cllr ap Gwynn added in accordance with the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 for each priority area the Council has identified a set of Well-being and Improvement Objectives 2018-19 that will enable the Council to deliver its Priorities as well as maximise the contribution that can be made to the seven well-being goals and seek to provide continuous improvement for the citizens of Ceredigion.
The Corporate Strategy 2017-2022 including Well-being and Improvement Objectives 2018-19 includes an action plan detailing the actions that will be necessary to deliver each of the objectives and therefore the Priorities. The Strategy went out for consultation between the August 14, 2017 and the September 29, 2017.
The consultation documents included the Corporate Strategy 2017-2022 and a summary document detailing the Well-being and Improvement Objectives 2018-19.
Cllr ap Gwynn concluded by saying any impact that the responses have had on the Strategy and/or the well-being objectives will be incorporated into the final document.
The final Corporate Strategy 2017-2022 including Well-being and Improvement Objectives 2018-19 will be presented to Council on October 26, 2017 for approval.
Addressing the cabinet members, Cllr ap Gwynn said that the council needs to provide a service that is fit for the 21st century and communication with communities is important.
Cllr ap Gwynn concluded the report by thanking those involved for their input, and it was agreed that the report will go before the council for confirmation.
Restaurant owner fined over £3000 for ‘significant rodent infestation’
THE FORMER proprietor of a restaurant which had a ‘significant rodent infestation’ pleaded guilty to ten food hygiene offences at Aberystwyth Justice Centre on Monday (Jun 18).
Mr Rysul Asad of Gloster Row, Cardigan, and the former proprietor of Gulshan, Chancery Lane, Cardigan, has appeared before Magistrates.
Four offences related to the presence of a significant rodent infestation at the restaurant, which was under Mr Asad’s control at the time. A further five offences related to the poor standards of cleaning found during the investigation.
Emergency action was taken by Ceredigion County Council Environmental Health Officers in September 2017 following the discovery of an active rodent infestation at the premises, and resulted in the immediate closure of the food business.
Rodent activity, including the presence of droppings, entry points and gnawing, was discovered within food preparation and food storage areas of the premises. Furthermore, Officers also discovered dirty equipment and very poor standards of cleaning.
Rodents carry a number of dangerous microorganisms and pose a significant risk to human health. These can include Salmonellosis, Escherichia coli (E.coli), Hantavirus and Weil’s disease.
The presence of rodents within a food premises can transmit these diseases via contaminated surfaces, equipment and the food itself, to such an extent that it is regarded as an imminent risk to health.
Cabinet Member for Public Protection Services Councillor Gareth Lloyd said: “Food hygiene inspections, and Food Hygiene Ratings shown on the doors of the majority of food businesses in Ceredigion, gives reassurance to the public who live, work and visit the county that the food they eat is safe and has been prepared hygienically. However, on rare occasions the Council must take action to protect public health and the reputation of our excellent hospitality industry who work hard to maintain standards.”
Mr Asad also pleaded guilty to a further offence of failing to register his new food business, namely Shatun Sharha Limited trading as Shampan the Boat Restaurant and Takeaway, River Teifi, Quay Street, Lower Mwldan, Cardigan, for which he is now the proprietor. Mr Asad failed to notify the Commercial Services Team at Ceredigion County Council of this change following his departure from Gulshan in November 2017.
Councillor Lloyd added: “Cases like this underline the importance of the work of our food and safety team and the value of our inspection programme. The food safety team works hard with local businesses to meet and maintain legal food hygiene standards to ensure the best hygiene safety in our county.”
The Magistrates imposed a total financial penalty of £3,107 on Mr Asad for the offences. This included Council costs and victim surcharge.
3,000 Welsh landlords still unregistered
JANET FINCH-SAUNDERS AM has called on the Welsh Government to urgently work to improve landlord registration under Rent Smart Wales, as estimates released indicate around 3,000 remain unregistered.
Ms Finch-Saunders said: “Rent Smart Wales estimates that still 3,000 landlords are unregistered here in Wales.
“Whilst that makes up a small percentage of our total landlords, it is most concerning for those living in properties leased to them by those who have not yet registered.
“The Welsh Government has confirmed that a landlord who is not registered with Rent Smart Wales is unable to serve a valid Section 21 eviction notice – so where unregistered landlords do indicate that they want tenants to vacate a property, this is not recognised by local housing associations, which can cause stress to tenants who may not be aware of their full rights under the law.
“By focusing on ensuring that all landlords are properly registered, the Welsh Government can alleviate such concerns, and I will be urging the Cabinet Secretary to act to ensure all landlords are abiding by this legislation in full.”
The Minister for Housing and Regeneration told Ms Finch-Saunders that the latest figures released by Rent Smart Wales show that 90,812 landlords are now registered. Rent Smart Wales’ latest estimate for the number of unregistered landlords is approximately 3,000.
This is based on the dwelling stock estimates recently published by StatsWales, and an estimation of the average number of properties owned by each landlord.
Public urged to enjoy dolphin sightings at a distance
WITH summer on the way, bringing visitors enjoying Ceredigion’s wildlife rich coastline, the Council is urging members of the public to enjoy coastal activities without disturbing Cardigan Bay’s special wildlife and habitats. The call comes after individuals recently approached and swam with dolphins in Cardigan Bay.
The Ceredigion Marine Code of Conduct asks water users to stay 100 metres away from dolphins and porpoises encountered at sea, and to keep a distance of 50 metres from seals and nesting sea birds.
In no circumstances should the public attempt to feed, swim with or touch the dolphins. These are wild animals. Dolphins are large and powerful and can grow up to four metres long. As well as causing significant disturbance to the animals and pushing them off important feeding sites, close contact can also result in exposure to diseases to both humans and animals.
Repeated disturbance could cause the dolphins to leave important feeding sites to search for quieter areas.
Disruption to feeding, resting and nursing behaviour could have a long-term impact on the health and wellbeing of individual dolphins and populations.
The Cabinet member responsible for Economy and Regeneration, Councillor Rhodri Evans said: “Cardigan Bay’s wildlife is a great asset to the economy of our coastal communities and is also important in its own right. It is because of this that we ask residents and visitors to enjoy dolphin, and other wildlife sightings at a safe distance. Although the temptation to have a close-up view is understandable, we can’t risk disturbing Cardigan Bay’s wildlife and possibly driving them away. It’s the last thing anyone wants.”
The Ceredigion Marine Code of Conduct was established by Ceredigion County Council over twenty years ago, in response to local community concerns that the bottlenose dolphins that use these waters to feed, socialise and breed were experiencing greater pressures from disturbance by those enjoying recreational water-based activities.
The Ceredigion Marine Code of Conduct can be found online on http://www.cardiganbaysac.org.uk/?page_id=583
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