Committee bulletin: Finance, Policy and Resources

Council aims for Living Wage accreditation

Aberdeen City Council is moving forward with plans to become an official Living Wage employer, with an application for the nationally recognised accreditation to be submitted to the Poverty Alliance.

Members of the Finance, Policy and Resources Committee today (20 September 2017) approved an increase in the pre-parity rate for all agency workers to at least the current Living Wage figure of £8.45 to pave the way for the application to be drafted.

Following the agreement of the national pay award for local government employees, the minimum hourly rate paid to employees of the Council has been £8.51 since 1 April 2017.

Tall Ships plans postponed

Committee members also agreed not to proceed with a bid for the 2022 Tall Ships Race. The idea was first considered by the committee in March 2017 but subsequent discussions with Aberdeen Harbour Board confirmed that the Board was not in a position to accommodate the event for a variety of operational reasons.

Councillors have instructed officers to continue to explore options for a future bid for the Tall Ships Race or similar maritime event following wider consultation with the Aberdeen Harbour Board and other partners.

Twinning grants awarded

At today’s committee meeting grants totalling more than £6,000 were approved from the International Twinning Budget.

A contribution of £2,280 towards the cost of three Education and Children’s Service staff members visiting Clermont Ferrand in France later this year, a return visit following one by French counterparts in 2016, was one of three applications considered by members.

It was also agreed to contribute £4,002 to support the visit by a group from Regensburg in Germany to Kincorth Academy, with a return visit by staff and pupils from the Aberdeen school planned in 2018.

A contribution of £150 has also been made towards a visit by a Gray’s School of Art lecturer to the Symposium of Contemporary Photography in Regensburg.

Crowdfund Aberdeen set to go from strength to strength

A crowdfunding platform established to help community groups in the city fulfil their goals has received a funding boost.

The Council was one of a number of partners which helped establish Crowdfund Aberdeen and there have been notable successes since it went live earlier this year. The Tuk In mobile community food project received pledges of £12,300 whilst Junior Parkrun Aberdeen raised £1,500 and the Mastrick Summer Club £1,100. The Active Girls Committee in the city also received pledges of £875.

All projects appearing on Crowdfund Aberdeen must satisfy specific criteria and be considered by a steering group before being brought forward on the platform.

At today’s committee meeting councillors agreed to a commitment of £10,000 from existing Council budgets within the Economic Development service. The funding will enable Aberdeen City Council to make small pledges in support of projects, which in turn will help to encourage financial support from the public and other organisations.

Policy on balloon and lantern releases approved

A policy prohibiting the release of balloons, lanterns and other similar items at events run by or endorsed by the Council has been agreed.

Committee members supported the recommendation by officers that the policy should be implemented in line with the existing Environmental Management Policy.

The decision is based on the hazards posed to wildlife and livestock by the uncontrolled release of items into the environment. Lanterns have also caused injury to members of the public and damage to buildings as well as interfering with Coastguard and Civil Aviation Authority activities. Clean-up costs were also stated as a factor.

Similar policies are already in place in neighbouring authorities and it was stressed at today’s meeting that the policy only applies to Aberdeen City Council staff and events hosted or endorsed by the Council.

Wallace Tower to be placed on the market

The Category B listed Wallace Tower in Tillydrone is to be re-advertised for sale or lease as efforts to bring the building back into use continue.

The Tillydrone Community Development Trust has been working on plans for community use since 2013, when it was granted an initial 12-month period to produce and fund a development scheme.

Despite considerable efforts by the Trust, funding for the project is not in place and at today’s committee meeting it was decided to place the building back on the open market.

Wallace Tower originally stood in St Nicholas Street, on part of the site presently occupied by Marks & Spencer. When the store was built in the 1960s, the tower was dismantled and rebuilt on its current site on the edge of Seaton Park – an exercise funded by the retailer. Ownership passed to the Council at that stage.

The full agenda and reports for today's Finance, Policy and Resources Committee are available to view here: https://goo.gl/ga4fGB .