To receive a report by the Head of Profession, HR and Transformation.
Councillor R. Meirion Jones, Portfolio Member for Education, Libraries, Youth and Culture presented the report by the Director of Education, Skills and Young People which incorporated the Strategic Outline Case and Outline Business Case (SOC/OBC) to secure 65% of the finance under the Welsh Government’s 21st Century Schools and Colleges Programme for a new Foundation Phase block at Ysgol Y Graig.
Councillor R. Meirion Jones recapped on the background up to this point whereby a statutory consultation on the future of Ysgol Y Graig and Ysgol Talwrn was held between 6 February and 20 March, 2020 following consideration of the proposal paper by the Corporate Scrutiny Committee and the Executive in January, 2020. The report on the outcome of the statutory consultation was presented to the Corporate Scrutiny Committee on 10 December, 2020 which having considered the information presented and the representations made, resolved to recommend to the Executive that it proceed with the original proposal as the most appropriate way forward namely, to increase capacity of Ysgol Y Graig to accommodate pupils from Ysgol Talwrn, close Ysgol Talwrn and review the catchment area of Ysgol Y Graig and Ysgol Talwrn. This proposal was subsequently approved by the Executive on 17 December, 2020.
The Programme, Business Planning and Performance Manager reported that the development of the Strategic Outline Case and Outline Business Case marks a specific point in the process of bringing the schools’ modernisation process to a conclusion in this part of Llangefni. Following the Executive’s decision on 17 December, 2020 to proceed with increasing the capacity of Ysgol Y Graig to accommodate pupils from Ysgol Talwrn and to close Ysgol Talwrn, a statutory notice to this effect was issued. The Outline Business Case sets out the expected investment in Ysgol Y Graig on the part of Welsh Government which will provide 65% of the cost of the project and on the part of the Council which will contribute the remaining 35%.The Council’s investment will be through a mix of unsupported borrowing, capital receipts and housing developer funds from housing developments within the Ysgol Y Graig catchment area. The Business Case also includes an analysis of the alternative options for delivering the investment objectives in line with Welsh Government’s Business Case methodology. The Programme, Business Planning and Performance Manager highlighted that the project as well as delivering all-important educational benefits will eliminate the current and projected maintenance spend at Ysgol Y Graig and Ysgol Talwrn and contribute to revenue savings.
The SOC/OBC will be subject to scrutiny and challenge by two Welsh Government panels – the Business Case Scrutiny Group meeting on 16 September, 2021 and the Programme Investment Panel meeting on 14 October, 2021 following which the Full Business Case will be submitted to the Executive at a later date.
The Executive thanked the Officers, specifically the staff of the Transformation Service for the work that had gone into producing such a detailed document and commented that this matter has long been under consideration. In discussing the report, the Executive sought clarification on two points the one being in relation to pupil places and the other in relation to the Welsh Government’s panels meeting schedule on which the Programme, Business Planning and Performance Manager was able to provide assurance.
The Portfolio Member for Education, Libraries, Youth and Culture confirmed that the Chair of the Council had on 3 September, 2021 acceded to the request made to him on 1 September, 2021 that should the recommendations be approved, the decisions arising therefrom be exempted from the scrutiny call-in procedure due to the requirements of the Welsh Government’s timetable for considering the matter.
It was resolved –
· To approve the Strategic Outline Case and Outline Business Case (SOC/OBC) for the new Foundation Phase block at Ysgol Y Graig.
· To approve the submission of the SOC/OBC to Welsh Government.
· To approve ring fencing capital receipts for the construction of the new school building Foundation Phase block at Ysgol Y Graig.
· To delegate authority to the Director of Education, Skills and Young People in consultation with the Head of Function (Resources/Section 15 Officer and the Director of Function (Council Business/Monitoring Officer) to amend the SOC/OBC if necessary – if the changes dos not result in material changes (in terms of policy, principles, financial contribution, risks and harm to third parties).
· To ring fence developer funds from housing developments within the Ysgol Y Graig catchment area to contribute towards the cost of the project.
· With the prior agreement of the Council Chair, to exempt Scrutiny’s right to call in the decision, as Welsh Government needs to consider the Strategic Outline Case/Outline Business Case at its meeting on 16 September, 2021.Any delay in delegating the funding would be detrimental to how quickly the project could be implemented.