A committee of councillors have agreed to look further at the Council’s contract with Kingdom enforcement – with potential contractual tweaks and scope to make dog fouling more of a priority on the table, and an ‘alternative’ provider or system not entirely ruled out in the future.
In an unusually and overly long three and a half hour agenda item in a meeting yesterday, members of the Homes and Environment Scrutiny Committee looked through several questions raised before Christmas, and quizzed Council Officers and the relevant Lead Councillor.
Seen by some as a controversial contract between Wrexham Council and Kingdom Environmental Protection Services, the meeting saw a number of challenges made to Cllr David A Bithell, lead member for environment and transport and officers from the council’s environmental department, over his departments policy and how it is executed on the streets of Wrexham.
Cllr Graham Rogers called for the “people involved in the contract to admit they’ve got it wrong” and that once people have been treated, in his opinion, unfairly they can be prosecuted and could end up with a criminal record.
He also made noted that two local authorities in North Wales had already scrapped their contracts with Kingdom.
Cllr Bithell reminded committee members over the low volume of tickets issues for littering and dog fouling when the service was being delivered ‘in house’ by Wrexham Council, adding: Members wanted action and we made the political decision to introduce a private company to deal with, and tackle littering.”
The Council’s Head of Environment and Planning Lawrence Isted said: “We have always been between a rock and a hard place. People abhor litter but don’t like how we are trying to prevent it.
“With the policy we have taken a series of publicity steps encouraging people not to litter. We have previously enforced it ourselves but not as effectively as Kingdom.
“There is no one out there that doesn’t know that Kingdom is taking this approach. We have taken the softly softly approach and it has not been successful, this is.”
With regards to the axing of Kingdom contracts elsewhere in the region, Cllr Bithell noted that Wrexham Council’s contract is ‘not the same’ and that “all contracts don’t apply consistently across the country.”
Officers and Cllr Bithell were also challenged over what classes as a patrol by Kingdom staff, with the meeting told that a ‘drive through’ a ward could be classed as a visit, which came as a surprise to many present.
Cllr Alan Edwards said: “You won’t catch anyone with a drive through. I spoke to them and mentioned New Broughton and they said it was part of Brymbo. It shows officers don’t know what areas they are in.
“I would like to know how much time is spent in each ward, not just a visit.”
It was confirmed to the committee that a visit by Kingdom could be a drive through or a walk through an area, however no time data is shared.
One recurring criticism was the high proportion of Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) issued to people for dropping cigarette butts compared to other types of littering and dog fouling.
Data released since the appointment of Kingdom in the last 12 months (and the pilot scheme in the 12 months prior to that) has typically shown that more notices have been issued for cigarette litter, particularly in the town centre, than for anything else.
Earlier this Wrexham.com reported that figures for March showed that 95 per cent of FPNs issued were for cigarette related litter alone.
Several councillors picked up on the focus on the town centre area and demanded that other wards deserved an “equal slice of the cake” with patrols to tackle litter and dog fouling further afield.
Cllr Kevin Hughes, who represents Ponciau, said: “When Kingdom was first employed a few years ago, I understood as a local member than dog fouling was a priority. That doesn’t appear to be the case.
“If you look at this month’s stats there was 369 FPNs for cigarette butts and just three for dog fouling. The majority of members of the public in my ward are concerned about dog fouling. It has an affect on people’s health and livelihood.
“The company appears to be over zealous and the imbalance needs to be addressed.”
Cllr Derek Wright, who represents Cefn, said: “Litter isn’t any better. Lawrence said we all abhor litter in the town centre. We abhor litter in rural areas as well.
“In Cefn it is ridiculous the amount of litter and fly-tipping. I don’t see many officers giving fines out.
“It’s having easy targets and dropping cigarette ends, when we have hundreds of incidents of fly-tipping and there is nothing being done.”
It was acknowledged by Cllr Bithell that there had been an increase in fly-tipping and littering in recent months, citing the adverse weather and winter months as a potential reason.
It was also noted that removing fly-tipping and littering waste in the county borough costs the council a minimum of £1.2m.
Cllr Bithell added that there has been dialogue with Kingdom with regards to focusing on other areas of Wrexham as well to get better ‘consistency’.
Referencing the visiting figures from Kingdom officers to wards across the county borough over the past month, Cllr John Phillips said that the data for his ward in Penycae suggested that officers had only spent a few minutes patrolling the area.
He continued: “I have regularly contacted Kingdom with hotspot areas, ones you can’t access by car. But we are still having the same visitations month in and month out.
“To go forward there has to be an emphasis on litter, but dog fouling needs to be addressed and quickly. All local members in this room must be constantly contacted.
“There is no evidence that Kingdom are there. If something needs to change, it’s that all wards should have a fairer slice of the cake, rather than just the emphasis on town centre wards as rural wards matter as well.”
Cllr Bithell explained that there had been discussions for more of an emphasis on dog fouling and that he had personally requested a clause in the contract to make it a focus.
Wrexham Council’s Enforcement Services Co-ordinator, Joanne Rogers, added: “Kingdom have been requested to focus on dog fouling. It is harder in the winter as dog walkers are going out when it is dark and hard to witness” and indicated that with the lighter evenings the numbers should rise.
However this was challenged by Cllr Edwards, who pointed out that 12 months ago it was stressed that dog fouling would be made a priority to Kingdom.
He continued: “The figures don’t show that. I will be waiting in anticipation when the light comes and we have better prosecution for dog fouling.”
Acton Cllr Geoff Lowe asked for a breakdown of the £1.2m being spent by the council each year, noting that councillors need to know if that figure is reducing.
He said: “Like Cllr Wright said, Kingdom are missing out on some of the issues in my ward. I look around my ward daily and there is a lot to be desired in terms of litter.
“A few weeks ago MP Ian Lucas was chastising the council and Kingdom. A drive through is not considered a visit.
“I ask in all fairness how that can be a visit? I expect someone to get out and take a walk around. I had no idea that they were driving through and that’s the end. People are paying for more than that and expecting it.
“I want to see littering stopped, but is it not all about the town. It is about our wards and streets. I recall with enthusiasm the idea of pride in our streets, where has it gone? All I see is a black hole and no one doing anything.
“The lead member talks about littering and weather. I saw snow and rain but I didn’t see litter coming down with it. How has it affected fly-tipping?”
Cllr Lowe added: “It is not just about what Kingdom are doing, it is what we are doing. How can people have pride in their streets if we don’t set an example.”
The meeting was told that details of the £1.2m are available and would be circulated after the meeting.
Local business owner Ruth Rees, who cited her position on the Wrexham Business Group and position on the Wrexham Town Centre Steering Group, called for Wrexham Council to consider “reining in” the contract and cancelling it when its up for renewal next year.
During a rarely seen public speaking opportunity in scrutiny meetings, Mrs Rees also made reference to a woman who’s experience with Kingdom involved all correspondence from the company was sent to her old address – meaning she did not know proceedings were being taken against her.
Similar comments about a shopper feeling threatened was made by Cllr Ronnie Prince, who referenced an incident whereby a woman alleged she was accused of throwing litter out of her window and followed by a Kingdom officer around Tesco whilst doing her shopping.
Cllr Prince added that the woman had felt so threatened that she said she would not shop in Wrexham again, an anecdotal response echoed by others.
However such comments were disputed by Cllr Bithell, who said there was evidence to show that the local economy was picking up and that statistics indicated that people are coming to Wrexham more, and that could be due to it being cleaner.
Kingdom was referenced in the report presented to the scrutiny committee, with calls for assurances that issues identified in a BBC Panorama documentary had not taken place in Wrexham.
Jerry O’Keeffe, the Independent Lay Member who also chairs the Audit Committee of Wrexham Council, challenged comments that operations locally are different to other authorities in England and Wales, adding: “This organisation couldn’t give a cast iron guarantee that bullying doesn’t happen in this authority.”
Cllr Rogers added: “I have no evidence to substantiate the behaviour, but I can tell you a fact. I trust people and there is bullying tactics whether you like it or not.”
Such claims were strongly disputed by Cllr Bithell and the officers, who explained that the council’s enforcement services co-ordinator watches CCTV footage recorded by Kingdom and reviews many of the cases – along with being in ‘constant contact’ with the officers.
Cllr Bithell said: “I will reiterate the statement identified in the report. We are not experiencing some of the issues the Panorama has set out. If it does, we have our officer and procurement to monitor the contract.”
Referencing Wrexham.com and comments made on social media after Kingdom articles are posted online, Cllr Bithell invited people to send in their allegations and said that there weren’t many replies to our article stating that such tactics were being used.
Often the debate went around in long drawn out circles, with the crux of the main complaints coming back to the zero tolerance approach and residents ending up with a criminal record due to not paying an FPN.
There were also questions over when the zero tolerance approach was decided, with initial council documentation about employing Kingdom / introducing a new approach to tackling littering not mentioning the phrase.
During the meeting Wrexham.com dug out the old meeting reports to see if and when the term zero tolerance was first used, however could not find the phrase in the executive board report reference during the meeting. Wrexham.com has requested to view the ‘minutes’ of that meeting, that are contained now in the recorded audio/visual webcast archive.
Mr O’Keeffe who strongly challenged Cllr Bithell and the council’s contract with Kingdom in December 2017 offered a similar challenge yesterday, saying he had scrutinised every “document with this contract that has gone to committee and executive board and I can’t see zero tolerance anywhere”.
He later added: “Of course we follow guidance and legislation, it is policy that dictates policy. It is there to ensure high standards of ethic accountability and governance. Policy states the hierarchy to follow.”
Cllr Bithell said: “When I took the original report to executive board it was clear that the executive board did approve contract to seek external partner to carry out enforcement and zero tolerance approach.”
Cllr Carrie Harper: “One of the key issues we were asked to look at is environmental policy and if Kingdom conflicts with that and what is a zero tolerance approach.
“I have had a look at Welsh Government guidance and it says it is important FPNs should be part of the council’s wider enforcement policy. I’m assuming the guidance is why we have the current policy.
“Wrexham’s policy is clear in three stage approach as referenced in report. It is clear an advisory approach should be first and enforcement last step. Is Kingdom in breach of own policy? This suggests it is.”
She continued: “With zero tolerance I know Cllr Bithell mentioned it is in line with what was agreed, but I can’t see it in the report either. Where has it come from? It is crucial we understand where it has come into the process.”
Mr Isted said: “The policy overarching and covers everything. There is the accepted principle that when it get to appeal we need to show done all other means to prevent that.
“It doesn’t prevent council to take zero tolerance approach with litter, litter which has a detrimental effect on town to attract people and tourism.”
A legal officer was also brought into clarify whether or not the zero tolerance policy was in breach of Wrexham Council’s own procedures and the law, and stated it was compliant and such a decision was ‘within the gift of the head officer’ via a delegated decision making power.
Questions were raised over the content of the contract itself, with no clarity publicly given over the financial split between Wrexham Council and Kingdom, and if such a shared pecuniary interest would mean the appeals process could not be seen as totally independent.
The contract was described as ‘zero cost’ to Wrexham Council, and the meeting was told to bring the service in house would cost around £100,000.
Hours deep into the meeting Cllr Skelland said he was ‘losing the will to live’, and looked to move towards wrapping up the meeting by suggesting some outcomes.
Cllr Bithell said: “Before the committee make final recommendations I am happy as lead member and officers for either a Task and Finish Group and audit committee to look at the contract.
“We are about to start year two and I am happy that during the next 12 months to look at revisions to the contract and even alternative issues to tackle litter and dog fouling.”
The committee agreed to recommend that a Task and Finish Group is set up to review the Kingdom contract with Wrexham Council and suggest potential alternatives / revisions to the contract.
It was also requested that officers look at a balancing categories of litter and have more of a focus on addressing dog fouling, as it seems the initial plan was before Kingdom were appointed.
It is likely the Audit Committee, or the Task and Finish Group, will also get to examine the in depth financial process of how tickets are issued and what revenue goes where – and what the implications are for any appeals or legal action subsequently taken.
As readers will be aware, we were live tweeting from the meeting and we have included a quick archive below with the earliest tweets at the bottom and latest at the top…
Recommendations come out of this: Task & Finish Group to review contract / look at alternatives and review ‘zero tolerance’. Officers look at balance on focus on litter, with Penycae’s Cllr Phillips suggesting more focus on dog fouling.
Clr Bithell invites ‘any’ recommendations from committee, says open to proposals for revisions to contracts and even alternative solutions than Kingdom.
Clr Harper says Kingdom issue is ‘private firm doing a public service, motivated by profit’. Suggests Cmte concludes contract is not doing what it was intended, and wants Exec Board to revisit zero tolerance choice.
Clr Prince asks about impact equality statements, Officer says not relevant as not specific protected / identified groups dropping litter. Mr O’Keefe disagrees, his view is vulnerable people often ticketed, mentioned smoking linked to deprivation.
@wrexham how on earth can a discussion on litter take all day
Clr Skelland says he is ‘losing the will to live’ as the meeting goes on, suggests some progression towards a recommendation / output from the meeting. Meeting started at 2pm.
@wrexham But it’s not clean and tidy, there are just less fag stumps. There is still dog shite all over the pavements leading into the town centre
Clr Bithell says ‘social media gets carried away with itself’ over Kingdom (‘I am not having a go at link as they actively report on council matters’) cites our Q other day, says very few direct allegations. Says claims will be investigated if reported.
Clr Rogers says he has no first hand experience but ‘I trust people’, says ‘it is bullying tactics, that is fact’. Clr Prince asks if it is ok to follow someone around tesco as earlier described. Officer says ‘not ok, IF that happened’.
Clr Bithell reiterates written statement that says WCBC are ‘not experiencing’ the issues Panorama saw. Council Officer says Kingdom seen being ‘courteous and following due process’, Kingdom suffering ‘guilt by association’ in Wrexham.
Incidents cited in *that* BBC Panorama undercover TV show on Kingdom now up for debate – apparently some footage available but as been here for hours they wont be played – Mr O’Keefe says ‘strong possibility’ elements did happen in Wrexham
These roadworks in Rhosddu are a joke. Legs about 5 people through then changes back to red 🤬
@wrexham I’m not a fan of Eagles Meadow – wind tunnel, standing water, etc but it is always spotless. Congratulations – now show #wrexhamcbc how it’s done.
@jackwdgj Have been sent the pic by a few people, won’t believe it until its crawling down Brook St after a night out in Atik
Mr O’Keefe points out that police officers can also enforce this litter ticketing process however says he has been told the advice to NWP officers is to ‘tell people to pick it up’ rather than issue FPN’s
Clr Bithell is going to check with WCBC Legal Officer to check the independent nature of the Kingdom / WCBC littering FPN’s appeal process is sound.
Council Officer “we are not here to persecute people, I just wish some would say fair cop guv’nor ” over public dropping litter.
Clr Bithell again says he is not Judge Rinder as question about Kingdom’s prosecutions in court coming up. (Pic: Rinder left, Clr Bithell on right) PIC:
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Mr O’Keefe says the appeals ‘numbered the hundreds’ and two were upheld. Points out there is a pecuniary interest in the process from those involved, says the process is not truly independent.
An angry Clr Rogers points out on fines ‘people can ill afford to go to any additional expense so they take it’. Clr Pemberton says public perception is the appeal process is ‘two departments working together’.
Clr Rogers unhappy about the WCBC / Kingdom appeal process, saying it is not truly independent. Clr Morris says hiring independent service would cost £. Clr Bithell says appeal process first port of call is Kingdom, then WCBC Officer.
Clr Davies says number of private landowners do better clean up operations than WCBC, says fair policy would be to allow an opt out. Clr Bithell says land owners need to notify WCBC if they don’t want Kingdom to operate on their private property.
Clr Pemberton says lorry load of dumped rubbish on private land is not dealt with by WCBC, but dog fouling on private land would be enforced. Clr Bithell says fly tipping not prosecuted on private land. Clr Pemberton says rubbish is rubbish and wants equal policy.
Clr Prince points out cigarette butts are biodegradable ‘its about making as much money as possible to Kingdom’, adds does not want any litter, but targeting is ‘wrong’. Officer says it takes a minimum of 15yrs for a butt to degrade, not counting issues with drains/waterways.
Clr Bithell says £150 fine is legally possible rather than £75, so ‘a tougher stance is possible’ but not happening. Cllr Pemberton says if that happened there would be ‘people with stones outside’.
Phrase “Tough on litter, tough on dog muck and tough on the causes of dog muck” just been used to inject some light political humour to a dragging meeting.
Mr O’Keefe says he has the Kingdom contract infront of him – Clr Bithell jumps in on a point of order saying inappropriate to refer to that in public meeting. Mr O’Keefe reads from part of a public report that notes ‘direction’ can be given by WCBC to Kingdom in the contract.
Officer says Kingdom have been asked to focus on dog fouling, ‘Officers can only enforce what they see’. Seasonal reasons cited to why that has not been reflected in the recent figures link
Clr Morris says WCBC ‘does not look much tidier’ after Kingdom have been working in Wrexham. Adds ‘I have the largest, and probably the filthiest industrial estate in Europe’ says some areas a ‘knee deep in litter’ & Kingdom ignore it. Wants focus on that, not cigarette butts.
Back underway for the second half now, Cllrs attacking the Queens Sq end this half. No subs, but some Cllrs have left the pitch. Currently a no score draw… lets see what happens ⚽️
‘Comfort Break’ called in the meeting as we are about 2.5hrs in – Chair indicates he thinks we are about half way through the debate 👀
Mr O’Keefe says ASDA have ‘banned’ Kingdom, and we had a chat with Eagles Meadow rep outside meeting who said Kingdom not allowed to go there – and said that Eagles Meadow was spotless… and offered WCBC some help to see on how they do it!
Clr Bithell rejects claims Kingdom are turning people away from Wrexham – “I think it is the other way around. People are more likely to come if it is clean and tidy.”
Clr Skelland “How are we going to tidy the town up if we don’t take a strong view?” does invite alternatives from those who are against such a firm position.
Zero sympathy reply, Clr Bithell likens it to speeding tickets ‘we have all been done once or twice’, says after caught speeding people slow down. “It is all about education. Sometimes with education you have pay the hard way’.
Clr Prince says email was signed off calling Kingdom officer ‘knuckle dragging morons who think they are judge, jury and executioner’. Clr Bithell replies ‘evidence to show local economy is picking up’, says he has never been approached by Kingdom ‘I dont drop litter’.
Cartrefle’s Clr Prince gives account he was emailed of Kingdom approaching ex-police officer’s wife – said Kingdom officer followed her to cash machine and then followed her shopping in and around tesco ‘demanding information’. The couple no longer shop in Wrexham.
Clr Davies says ‘cost neutral’ is a ‘misleading phrase’ because of the finances of the Kingdom deal. Clr Bithell says happy to produce a report for Audit with specifics of the finances – would be in ‘Part 2’ aka secret meeting.
Clr Bithell reads Exec Board decision notice that gave delegated decisions over Kingdom – murmurs of ‘no zero tolerance’ from other side of the room.
WCBC’s Officer Isted says ‘whether you use zero tolerance or do not use zero tolerance, everyone is intolerant about litter’. Says WCBC policy is ‘not to swoop’ on people and ‘behaviour change’ is the aim of the exercise.
Free cigarette butt to whoever can point us to where zero tolerance regarding WCBC / Kingdom contract is defined / who made the decision. Would save this committee several hours too! 😂
Clr Cameron effectively re-asks on zero tolerance, ‘in my view it is not part of the policy’ and wants to be shown where it is. Officer says policy is there as a guidance.
Clr Cameron goes on to ask Officer if ‘off the cuff’ mention/policy of ‘zero tolerance’ be used, ‘even if it is not in the contracts’. Officer replies there was delegated powers, then talks about prosecution process – nothing specific on the ‘zero tolerance’ Q.
Clr Cameron points out there may not be a £ cost to WCBC with Kingdom, but there is a reputational cost. Say ‘no mention of zero tolerance’ at Exec Board meeting when this was introduced.
Clr Bithell says he asked for specific mention of focus on dog fouling in Kingdom contract, notes ‘dog fouling is harder to catch than someone flicking a cigarette butt’. (95% of tickets last month were cigarette related.)
@mike_corris Mmmmm! On a plus point there are no more ‘Mic!’ ‘Yes?’ ‘No Mike, your mic!” “I know” “No, your mic is on Mike’ with the new systems, so that saves time….
Interesting bit on open democracy – the committee had a closed private pre meeting – and Clr Bithell has said he had similar pre meeting with ‘his’ officers. Seems various options were debated in them, shame not public!
Clr Bithell responds ‘anything can be improved and done better’. 4 enforcement officers in Wrexham, says cost to council to operate their own service would be £100k and current contract costs WCBC is £0.
Clr Rogers makes progress, wants a Task & Finish Group to be set up to look at ‘injustices’ in the Kingdom contracts. Clr Skelland asks for alternatives to Kingdom ‘that would still get the desired effect’, ‘clearly people should not be going to court over a cigarette butt’.
@wrexham Just as many deterred by filthy streets. Drop litter = get fined, simple. However should be deployed late-night too – probably need bullet-proof vests though!
Officer Isted says ‘this is not the Council doing something to citizens, it is citizens doing it to themselves’ pointing out people have a choice on if they litter or not.
Clr Harper says shes had a ‘quick look’ at Exec Board from 2015 and wants to know where Zero Tolerace came into the process. Clr Bithell says ‘it has been quite clear all along’. Clr Harper points out ‘there is no reference’. Officer asks ‘if it is relevant’, chorus of ‘it is’!
“I am not Judge Rinder” – Cllr Bithell (…. also adds, ‘This Kingdom contract does not cost WCBC any money’) PIC:
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Lots of points made by Mr O’Keefe (Cmte making slow progress) with lots reiterated from December ( link ) Clr Bithell says ‘what happens in courts is for magistrates’ not Scrutiny.
Member of public – Ruth Rees – says runs business on Chester St and on Town Centre Steering Group and Wrexham Business Group to give weight to words. Says ‘people are deterred from spending time in town centre due to Kingdom’.
Just noticed Leader of the Council Clr Mark Pritchard is in the public gallery overseeing the debate this afternoon – the gallery has thinned out since the start of the meeting.
Mr O’Keefe pushing again to locate the ‘zero tolerance’ rule in policies and decisions. Clr Bithell says WCBC are following exec board ‘decision’… that ‘quite clearly states zero tolerance’
Clr O’Keefe back speaking as meeting makes progress, giving examples of vulnerable people who have ended up in court over litter FPN’s – including for dropping cigarette butt.
Clr Geoff Lowe asks for break down of often quoted £1.2m littering cost to WCBC – Clr Bithell says happy to circulate that after the meeting.
@wrexham So why don’t they work on a Friday & Saturday night when most rubbish is dropped.
Ponciau’ Clr Hughes unhappy he understood when contract was first brought in it would targeted to dog fouling, however the stats show cigarette litter is 90%+ of the FPNs. Others echo view.
This is our agenda item report from the Exec Board back in Dec 2015 – mentions questions over uniform, but nothing on zero tolerance. Obviously not verbatim transcript etc. link
Clr Rogers firmly says those who drew up the Kingdom contract need to ‘admit they got the contract wrong’. Cites Daily Post report that quotes Kingdom employee saying they had minimum 4 ticket a day target.
Clr Bithell says Wrexham’s Kingdom Officers ‘do wear uniforms’ , although notes it is not a legal requirement – a position backed up by Council Officer
Clr Alan Edwards says he was speaking to someone, who turned out to be Kingdom, as they were in plain clothes. Asks for uniformed deterrent, and says he was told Kingdom told him they would not catch as many people if uniformed.
Further to the comment earlier from Clr Bithell about it being clear ‘zero tolerance’ was specific mention when initial report was brought to the Exec Board – think this is the report, zero mentions of er, zero link Might have been verbal in debate?
Officer replies on age ‘Kingdom do not issue to under 18s’ says Kingdom ask for ID to prove age, if can’t be proved a FPN is issued and then cancelled afterwards if age evidence is provided.
Clr Davies asks why FPNs have been issued to under 18’s , despite contract between WCBC/Kingdom says not to issue to under 18s. Says that data came from Kingdom’s own reports, however that dataset is no longer circulated to Cllrs.
Clr Bithell cites £1.2m cost to WCBC of litter, asks why taxpayers should pay to clear up peoples litter. Gives the recent A483 clean up as an example – basically drivers chucking stuff out of windows, WCBC foot the bill.
A helpful Clr Benbow-Jones pours a Council Officer a drink after a mini cough. We were told that Officers were not allowed drinks in Scrutiny etc (unless offered) even though hot and cold provided for Councillors – hopefully not the case as seems quite a petty edict !
Mr O’Keefe says that if Kingdom stop someone after dropping a cigarette end they issue a FPN & wont allow litter to be picked up. He says result is 1,000 people convicted, with the litter remaining.
Clr Bithell reiterates WCBC follows legislation, Officer backs that up, adds ‘and pay due regard to Welsh guidance’. Mr O’Keefe says ‘it is the policy that dictates the procedure’, and zero tolerance bit breaches the policy.
Clr Bithell ‘clarifies’ says when he took the initial report to the Exec Board ‘am sure was quite clear when they approved contract to seek external partner…we would carry out zero tolerance approach’
Mr O’Keefe enquires where ‘the council’ have directed a ‘zero tolerance approach’ to be taken. Cites several docs inc. Kingdom contract says term is ‘not there’. Also asks how many warnings have been given.
Mr O’Keefe (lay member from Audit Cmte here) disagreeing with Head of Environment and Planning Lawrence Isted over the council’s own policy – reading out WCBC’s own words, says enforcement is only due after ‘very serious’ breaches.
Clr Bithell responds saying ‘WG does not run WCBC’, points out that WG are reviewing their own policies on this type of enforcement. Officer says WCBC policy is overarching rather than specific to FPNs on litter etc.
Clr Harper reads Welsh Gov guidance, says advisory warning should be first step. Says she believes WCBC’s Kingdom policy is in breach of their own policy, as well as WGs. Says plan to construct new FPN policy ‘does not get to the crux of the problem’.
Officer explains will be explanatory note in future as tables are not meant to match as it is different data. Adds a visit ‘can be a drive through’ or a ‘walking 30 minutes’.
Clr Alan Edwards asks about Kingdom data mismatch, asks is a ‘visit’ by officers a drive through or 5mins. Also asks on geography – cities Gwenfro as stated as zero visits but three fines.
Lead Member Clr Bithell incharge of the Kingdom area of WCBC work, says happy to take any Q’s on top of answers given in writing already to the Cmte. (some on link )
Chair Clr Paul Pemberton says two public speakers requested to speak over Kingdom, only one has turned up. He is going to allow their address to be as open as possible. Unusual for public to address Cmte.
Clr Ronnie Prince has query over minutes of last meeting, wants link to EU doc (5 liner!) on glyphosate based herbicide in minutes to be agreed to be more transparent/readable for people. Will be added in work programme later it seems.
@wrexham A horse, a horse a kingdom for a horse – scrutiny with entertainment value!
@ArfonJ Kingdom mounted division… now there is an idea!
Scrutiny about to start – you know it is a popular topic when the public gallery seats have a welcome guide on chairs! PIC:
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