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28th June 1999
Minutes of Special Meeting of the Council held in the Council Chamber, Council Offices, 47 Derry Road, Strabane on Monday 28 June 1999 at 7.30 pm
Present:- In the Chair:- Councillor I Murtagh Other Members:- Councillors I Barr, J Donnell, D Hussey, T Kerrigan, J McNulty, J OíKane Total = 7
In Attendance:- Clerk & Chief Executive, Chief Technical Officer,
Suspension of Standing Orders
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor Murtagh, seconded by Councillor Murtagh, that Standing Orders be Suspended.
It was further agreed, on the proposal of Councillor Kerrigan, seconded by Councillor Barr, that the meeting go "Into Committee".
Councilís Proposed Corporate Strategy
The Chairman, on behalf of the Council, welcomed Mr Hugo Boylan, Consultant, to the meeting and invited him to make his presentation.
With the aid of a multi-media presentation, Mr Boylan advised Members that the Corporate Strategy had been compiled together with a summary which would be distributed to the public. It was recommended that the Council adopt the Corporate Strategy as a basis for the Councilís plans for next year.
In order to make progress, these high level strategies required to be broken down into specific objectives and actions which should be realistic and measurable with an agreed time limit for achieving them. This was the first document of its kind which the Council has had to plan its actions. It was not too ambitious and would not require additional expenditure but perhaps result in savings. The timetable is achievable and it was beneficial for people to work towards the achievement of the plan.
Within the Best Value process, the Council is obliged to review all its activities over a five year period. This will result in reviewing part of its activities each year and from that review prepare a Performance Improvement Plan and implement it. A lot of things which impact on the district are the responsibility of other bodies and are not necessarily co-ordinated. It is important, therefore, for the Council to bring on board the numerous Government agencies. This corporate strategy is a long term vision for the Council and should be reviewed annually and there will be a level of external monitoring. Mr Boylan reassured Members that the Corporate Strategy will comply with the Auditorís requirements.
It is proposed to present the Corporate Strategy Summary as part of a news sheet in the same format as the news sheet in previous years, as a glossy full colour broadsheet. Additional suitable news items and illustrations can be incorporated at the design stage.
Strabane District Council will:-
- Be the voice of its people
- Serve its people well
- Conserve and enhance the local environment
- Strengthen local prosperity
- Build the community
Mr Boylan concluded by stating that the Corporate Strategy is a mechanism for delivering the Councilís objectives and would prove extremely beneficial.
The Chairman of the Council commended Mr Boylan on his presentation. He referred specifically to page 6 of the summary "facts about the district of Strabane". He drew attention to the fact that manufacturing in Strabane was higher than the average for Northern Ireland. He commented that the "total population" was in the region of 37,000 and not 36,000 as outlined in the summary. Mr Boylan explained that this information had been taken from the 1991 Census figures. In relation to the "district rate", the Chairman pointed out that this should be £1.02 and not £102. In respect of "current initiatives" he commented that the North West Passage included the hinterland of the A5. He remarked that Derry City Council did not contribute to the NWP concept. Mr Boylan indicated that the points highlighted would be taken on board.
In response to queries by Members, the Chief Executive confirmed that it was imperative that the Council adopt the Corporate Strategy as soon as possible due to the timescale involved and indicated that it would be revised on an annual basis. It was acknowledged that less than half of the Council was present at the meeting, however, any Councillor wishing to submit comments could do so until the end of the month.
Councillor OíKane complimented Mr Boylan on his presentation. In response to a query by Councillor Donnell, Mr Boylan confirmed that the costed programme referred to new play areas. Councillor Donnell remarked that childrensí play areas had been neglected in the past. In relation to play, the Chief Executive stated that a lot of work had been done in partnership with Playboard. Substantial funding may also be forthcoming through the District Partnership. Other funding may also be available through ABSAG.
The Chairman of the Council felt it was prudent to mention that six of the sixteen Councillors were present during the presentation, and seven Councillors were now present. He was concerned at such a small number of Councillors approving an important document such as this.
In commending the presentation and the Corporate Strategy, Councillor Kerrigan welcomed the section "Strabane District Council is not responsible for" which would be extremely beneficial for the ratepayers. Councillor Donnell pointed out that the Council area was also covered by the Rivers Agency in Coleraine.
Councillor Hussey apologised for arriving late in the presentation. He complimented Mr Boylan on the content of the Corporate Strategy which would allow the Council to move forward. He commented that the DOE was due to review the Area Plan and it was essential that documents such as the Corporate Strategy were available to support the Councilís position.
In relation to "some current initiatives", Councillor Barr commented that the Councilís financial contribution to each initiative should be highlighted.
Councillor Barr enquired if the Chief Executive and the Management Team had fully endorsed the Strategy document. In response the Chief Executive explained that the Management Team had worked closely with Mr Boylan in the preparation of the document and he had consulted as widely as possible on the final draft.
Councillor McNulty queried if the Irish translation would be incorporated in the Council logo and the Chief Executive confirmed that the various issues would be taken on board.
It was unanimously agreed, on the proposal of Councillor OíKane, seconded by Councillor Murtagh, that the Council adopt the Corporate Strategy, subject to the above suggested amendments. Members were also unanimous in commending Mr Boylan on the content of the Strategy document. Mr Boylan responded accordingly and left the meeting at this juncture.
The Chairman of the Council informed Members that he had received a letter dated 24 June 1999 from the Duke of Abercorn congratulating him on his appointment as Chairman of the Council and looking forward to continuing the excellent working relationship with the Chamber. Also, since the Hunter proposals will soon be implemented, suggesting that the members of Strabane 2000 and all the Members of the Council should visit Laganside for a comprehensive briefing on the challenges of urban renewal and the importance of such a development being infrastructure led.
It was agreed that this letter be circulated to all Councillors for consideration in due course.
NI Millennium Debate of the Age Document - ĎYour Say in The Futureí
The Chief Executive referred to letter dated 22 June 1999 received from Age Concern, copy of which was previously circulated, setting out the current position with regard to the above document. It was noted that the closing date was the end of June 1999 and any Councillor wishing to submit comments should do so as soon as possible.
International Year of Older Persons - Special Interdenominational
Reference was made by Councillor Hussey to the letter dated 11 June 1999 received from Age Concern regarding the above service to be held in St Anneís Cathedral, Belfast on 26 September 1999 at 3.30 pm. Councillor Hussey proposed, seconded by Councillor Kerrigan that anyone wishing to attend this service should do so. This was agreed.
Select List - Best Value
The Chief Executive remarked that the Council had now reached another important milestone in the Best Value process. Tenders were being sought for Consultancy Services from a Select List of Consultants. Approval was sought to open the tenders which will be received by Thursday 8 July 1999. Nominated consultants are scheduled to make presentations and be interviewed on 14 July 1999. The Management Team will then have an opportunity to prepare for the interviews. A report will be brought to the Council meeting on 14 July 1999.
This was agreed on the proposal of Councillor Barr, seconded by Councillor OíKane.
Omagh Summer School
The Chief Executive reminded Members of the details of the above Summer School from 23 to 25 August 1999. Following the Strabane 2000 Board meeting, the Duke of Abercorn offered to host a reception for the delegation at his Baronscourt residence on the evening of Monday 23rd August. The conference organisers would provide the food and it was being suggested that Strabane District Council join with Omagh District Council in providing refreshments at an estimated cost of £180 to Council.
It was agreed that Strabane District Council jointly promote the conference with Omagh District Council and provide the refreshments, as outlined above. It was further agreed that Strabane District Council ensure that its contribution to the conference be promoted in any associated publicity.
Nominations to Strabane District Partnership
The Chief Executive reminded Members that the issue of nominations onto the Strabane District Partnership had been deferred from a previous Council meeting in order to clarify a number of points. He explained that the Partnership was due to meet on 7 July and it was imperative that those Councillors who were represented on the Partnership and involved in the current funding programme assessment process should continue. The AGM was scheduled for the end of September and it was felt that this would be the most appropriate change-over time for the new nominees to take up their positions. The Council was, therefore, required to take a decision in relation to this.
The Chairman of the Council voiced his support for the continuity of existing Members until the AGM. Councillor Hussey enquired if it was possible for Members newly appointed to the District Partnership Board to "shadow" existing Members so as to gain background knowledge. The Chief Executive indicated that any Member wishing to participate in a "shadow" arrangement, should contact him and he would advise the Project Officer accordingly. This was agreed.
Sister Cities International Annual Conference
Little Rock, Arkansas - 22 to 24 July 1999
The Chief Executive reminded Members of the above conference which was deferred from a previous Council meeting pending clarification on a number of points. He stated that following investigations, no grant support was available to cover the costs of attendance at the conference. A number of authorities in NI were attending. Ballymena Council was sending the Mayor, a Councillor and the Chief Executive. Carrickfergus Council was sending the Mayor and two Aldermen, Moyle Council was sending three Councillors and the Chief Executive, North Down Council was sending the Mayor and Alderman, a Councillor and the Chief Executive.
The Chief Executive indicated that the matter could be brought before the Council meeting the following evening, if Council so wished, given that not all Councillors were present.
Councillor Kerrigan stated that Strabane District Council was the first area to be twinned with Sioux Falls and spoke of the important links which had been established and felt that this conference would be extremely beneficial.
Councillor Hussey proposed that the Councilís Chairman, two Councillors and the Chief Executive or an appropriate Officer attend. He felt that the delegation should represent the full gambit of the political spread within the Chamber. He also suggested that Councillors interested in attending should contact the Chief Executive and the names reported to the Council meeting on 14 July for confirmation.
The Chief Executive stated that he was unable to attend due to work commitments as was the Officer most involved in this area. He therefore suggested that Officers should not attend.
Councillor Hussey proposed, seconded by Councillor OíKane, that the Councilís Chairman and two Councillors attend, one from each tradition, and that an Officer also attend, if felt appropriate.
Councillor McNulty queried the cost of three Councillors attending. The Chief Executive advised that the estimated cost for travel per delegate based on his recent travel cost to Sioux Falls would be at least £640.
Voting took place on the proposal and it was carried with five Members in favour and one Member abstaining.
Review of Acute Hospital Services
The Chief Executive reminded Members that a decision had been taken to set up a small working group between the three Councils to input a joint response for the review of acute hospital services. Fermanagh District Council was being represented by its Chief Executive, Mrs McGinley, and Councillors McCaffrey and Nixon. Mrs McGinley has been liaising with a Consultant in Sheffield to determine the response.
It was intended for the Consultant to meet with the Working Group on 19 July as part of the process in submitting the joint response. In this respect it was now necessary for the Council to agree on representation for the Working Group and also decide in principle to be party to such a response. In addition, it was being recommended that the Western Board be requested to extend the deadline for submissions to the end of September 1999. It was noted that a one month extension had already been granted to the end of July 1999.
Discussion ensued during which the Chief Executive commented that the Councilís response and indeed the overall response needed to recognise that although the majority of people in the Strabane District Council area used the services of Altnagelvin Hospital, a large number also identify with the Tyrone County Hospital and wished this service to be retained. It was, therefore, imperative that this be incorporated in the response to the review.
It was agreed, on the proposal of Councillor Kerrigan, seconded by Councillor Hussey, that the Council seek an extension for submissions to the end of September 1999.
It was also agreed, on the proposal of the Chairman of the Council, seconded by Councillor Kerrigan, that Councillor Hussey serve on the Working Party.
It was further agreed, on the proposal of Councillor Barr, seconded by Councillor Murtagh, that Councillor OíKane and the Chief Executive serve on the Working Party.
The meeting closed at 9.40 pm.