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Council Run Music Service Retained

The Council’s Cabinet has rejected proposals to withdraw the Council funded music service and voted to retain this much valued service.

After strong and constructive feedback from those involved in the music service, Members agreed to instead review the staffing arrangements which will deliver similar important savings for the Council.

Council Leader County Borough Councillor Andrew Morgan, Leader of the Council said: “We have responded to the 900 plus responses the consultation process received by recognising the value people place upon this service and the opportunities it provides for young people.

“By agreeing, in effect, an amalgamation of the options the Council consulted upon we can deliver the very necessary savings the Council needs to deliver to bridge the initial £30M budget gap faced while at the same time protecting and retaining this valued service for our young people.

“Constructive discussions have already been undertaken with the appropriate trade unions around the development of this model. While this model will require changes to how the service is staffed the decision taken by Cabinet today protects the interests of Children and music as a cornerstone of our culture moving forward.

“As the Friends of Music in RCT have very effectively demonstrated and communicated; it is the children who will be supported by this service who have the potential to be future talented individuals and I would like to thank this group for the constructive way in which they have engaged with the Council during this consultation.”

County Borough Councillor Eudine Hanagan, Cabinet Member for Education & Lifelong Learning said: “Following the comprehensive consultation process undertaken by the Council and the constructive dialogue established by the Friends of Music in RCT, Cabinet agreed an alternative delivery model for the Music Service based on an amalgamation of the options which we consulted upon which, subject to Trade Union and Staff agreement,  will see the current music service retained for young people in Rhondda Cynon Taf.

“The consultation has demonstrated loud and clear what a valued service this is not only to those who currently enjoy it but to those who have benefited personally from it in the past and to those who care passionately about music.

“Constructive discussions have already taken place with trade unions around the necessary changes to staff terms and conditions which are required to retain this service and deliver the very necessary savings the Council requires. I hope by continuing this constructive dialogue we can deliver this option which puts the future of our talented young people first.” 

Recommendations moved at the meeting include: 

That following consideration of the outcomes of the Consultation and the Equalities Impact Assessment and the further information presented today that the alternative option, as outlined by officers, is implemented with the Music Service re-launched based on: -

All the music teachers and instructors will be offered the opportunity to be re-engaged on local terms and conditions on a term time basis (36 weeks) only for instrumental and whole class provision

The management arrangements will be reduced utilising existing Education Department management arrangements and introducing a Senior Tutor in the structure supported by an administrator

There will be an increase in the instrumental fee charged to schools of £2 per hour, increasing the rate from £26 to £28 per hour. Whole class tuition would remain at £33 per hour.

Extra-curricular provision will be charged at a rate of £2 per hour. The average session is 2 hours. For parents with more than 1 child accessing the extra-curricular activity, the subsequent children are charged at a rate of £1 per hour. Children that access more than one ensemble, the additional ensembles will be charged at the rate of £1.50

There will be a hardship fund of £20,000 to enable pupils on free school meals to access the extra-curricular provision, and support multiple sibling families.

Continued support to pupils within the County Borough through funding arrangements for the provision of the 4 Counties Youth Music and the Welsh Youth Arts, which includes the National Orchestra for Wales.

The alternative option will require discussion and agreement with staff and Trade Unions. Implementation of the new arrangements outlined in 1.1 above will be from the 1st September 2015 and as such allow a timeline for these negotiations through to the end of March 2015. The alternative option will deliver £230k savings for 2015/16 (£400k full year savings).

If agreement cannot be reached via negotiation in respect of the new arrangements outlined in 1.1 above the alternative will be the discontinuation of the music service (in line with the original proposal) in order for a 1st of September implementation date to be achieved.

 

Photograph by paulabecker.com