Agenda and minutes

Venue: Remote Microsoft Teams Meeting

Contact: Democratic Services 

Note: Click here to watch livestreamed meeting 

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Appointment of Vice-Chair

Minutes:

Councillor Louise Brown was proposed by Councillor Maureen Powell and seconded by Councillor Sheila Woodhouse. Councillor Brown accepted the nomination.

 

2.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

 

3.

Public Open Forum

Minutes:

No members of the public were present.

 

4.

Monmouthshire Track, Trace and Protect Service Position report - Scrutiny of a position report following scrutiny on 2nd July 2020 pdf icon PDF 238 KB

Minutes:

Officers David Jones and Richard Drinkwater presented the report and responded to the members’ questions.

Challenge:

How much difficulty is there in reaching people, when trying to trace them?

Our rates are extremely high, in excess of 80%. It is different in England, as they tried to do it through a form of call centre arrangement. We have approached it more locally. The initial call therefore, where the person answering knows the locations very well, is more constructive. We have utilised our own staff with those skills to make it successful.

There is a concern, mainly in restaurants, that people can give false information. Is there the possibility of people showing I.D.?

This requirement is a legal one. There are QR codes now, which are effective. We are making proactive visits to ensure places are doing this. There is the possibility of false information being given, unfortunately. There have been very few cases of people being obstructive (e.g. in Newport); in those rare cases, the Police are to intervene.

Pupils aren’t allowed into school if they have a symptom, until they have had a test. But in Monmouthshire we don’t have a testing site.

We are liaising with schools directly. Testing is certainly done as a priority but sometimes it is too much, based on a very mild ‘symptom’. Testing locations is a big problem. Arranging testing through the UK portal does tend to send people in lots of different directions, which has been reported as an issue. Cluster events are tending to be prioritised, with individual cases therefore being pushed back, and individuals potentially being sent far afield. We have fed back that the process could be more streamlined and user-friendly. We are nowhere near the point at which Welsh Government would impose a local lockdown.

Does ‘contact’ not have to be for 15 minutes?

If someone is within 1 metre of someone else for 1 minute, that is a contact, then 2 metres for 15 minutes. We are asking with tracing whether people have been in this type of contact. Tea breaks and car sharing often trigger a ‘contact’.

What if not everyone has a phone capable of using the app, whether because of bad signal or the hardware?

10m people have subscribed across the UK, but it doesn’t replace TTP. That system is still in place for anyone without a smartphone who becomes a contact.

What turnaround should we expect on testing for someone in Monmouthshire?

It can be as quick as 24 hours. They are prioritising residents in Care Homes (not so much the staff.) There have been some difficulties with staff, with delays of perhaps 3 or 4 days, which causes a staffing problem and knock-on effects, especially as the contacts also have to isolate until the result comes back. Gwent is struggling with particular clusters, which exacerbate the problem. Aneurin Bevan is aware of the situation and doing what they can to speed things up.

Is it correct that people have been paying for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Monmouthshire County Council's Public Protection response to the Covid-19 pandemic - April to September 2020 - Scrutiny of the progress report and any implications arising pdf icon PDF 373 KB

Minutes:

Officers David Jones, Linda O’Gorman and Gareth Walters presented the report and responded to members’ questions.

Challenge:

Have animal markets now reopened, and was the Council reimbursed for feed during the period when we were caring for cattle?

Yes, we stopped attending the markets early on, out of health and safety concerns for our staff. Gradually, complaints came through, with the number of animals that normally wouldn’t have got through creeping up (not necessarily at Raglan), so Welsh Government was quick to approach us on an all-Wales basis for buyers and sellers to resume attendance. We ensured that proceeds from the sales came to us, and we deducted costs of the time for the officers who looked after the animals.

Since pubs re-opened, the safety and security has differed amongst them, with some not enforcing social distancing. Is your team able to discern where your efforts are needed more?

There will always be variety between good and bad venues. We now have a programme to target town centres in the coming weeks, with visits to all establishments. Any which are deemed to be not meeting the requirements are issued improvement notices, and we have Closure powers after that. There has been a learning curve in terms of getting the message out, but we have ensured that every licensed premises is aware of the requirements, and knows that there are no grey areas. We follow up every complaint, so we will certainly target those places that aren’t following the procedures.

Would it be useful if there were pressure on other places selling alcohol to also close at 10pm, or even slightly earlier? Could politicians help to pressure Welsh Government on this point?

Initially, off-licenses and home deliveries were going to continue but, following much lobbying from officers, shops and off-licenses cannot now sell alcohol after 10pm. This also applies to home deliveries and hotels offering room service. Mingling outside is a problem. Wales introduced a 20-minute ‘drinking up’ period, to try to stagger people gathering when they leave. There could in fact be more gathering because of the 10pm curfew. We raised that with the Gwent Regional Group last week; it has been escalated to the Strategic Coordinating Group, and has gone back to Welsh Government. The Licensing Act of 2003 was brought in precisely to avoid people congregating at the same time. House parties are another concern, as some will want to continue the night after 10pm in this way.

Another step is being considered in the coming weeks for take-away venues. The difficulty is that a take-away venue only requires a licence if they serve hot food and drink after 11pm. But as pub patrons are coming out at 10pm, we wouldn’t have any powers in licensing to deal with those take-aways. Government would therefore have to rule on, say, take-aways also shutting at 10pm; this is something that they are considering now.

Are there enough staffing and resources to cope with the work that needs  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

To confirm the minutes of the previous meeting. pdf icon PDF 245 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the previous meeting held on 2nd July 2020 were confirmed and signed as an accurate record.

 

7.

Adults Select Committee Forward Work Programme. pdf icon PDF 512 KB

Minutes:

The Committee agreed that the Chair and officers would discuss the briefing report from Tony Crowhurst on the pandemic’s impact on disability with him, bringing any salient points to the next meeting in October.

Councillor Pavia suggested that the committee include in the forward work programme a discussion with the Health Board about their Q3 and Q4 recovery plans, with an emphasis on possible harm from a reduction in non-Covid 19 activities.

On the topic of community ‘champions’, Councillor Brown suggested that a Health Board representative come to the committee.

Councillor Edwards raised the topic of the implications of a pneumonia vaccination on Covid-19, but direction will need to be given to Public Health Wales.

 

8.

Council and Cabinet Forward Work Planner. pdf icon PDF 171 KB

9.

Next Meeting

Minutes:

The next meeting is on Tuesday 20th October. It was proposed that the start time be moved to 10:30am, with a pre-meeting at 09:45.