Agenda and minutes

Public Services Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday, 14th March, 2017 10.00 am

Venue: Council Chamber, County Hall, The Rhadyr USK. View directions

No. Item


To elect a Chair


The committee elected County Councillor Simon Howarth as Chair of today’s meeting.


Apologies for absence


County Councillor A. Webb.


Declarations of Interest




Public Open Forum


There were no members of the public wishing to address the committee.


Minutes of the previous meeting held on 16th February 2017 pdf icon PDF 158 KB


The minutes of the 16th February were confirmed and signed by the Chairman with the following amendments;



County Councillor F. Taylor commented that with reference to the Committee’s conclusion, the discussion picked up points that the committee weren’t utterly clear where the conclusions of the assessment had been drawn from and that they genuinely reflected the whole of the assessment and she felt this was not reflected in the minutes.  There was an acknowledgment that there was an enormous amount of work carried out but the committee felt that there was a need to be a little clearer on some of the asset bases in some of our communities.


County Councillor S. Jones asked that we continue to invite the Well-being Commissioner to attend the Committee. There was disappointment that she had been invited to every committee meeting but to date had been unable to attend.






Reflections on the feedback from Welsh Government and the Future Generations Commissioner to the Public Service Board: Paul Matthews, Chair of the Public Service Board




The Chair of the Public Service Board spoke of being pleased with the feedback from both Welsh Government and the Future Generations Commissioner and explained the reasons why;


Both bodies felt that we are following the correct path with the approach taken to build this piece of work being deliberately inclusive.


Officers of the Council and its partners are going out to engage and encourage participation with the community.


In regard to the feedback from the Future Generations Commissioner is was felt that the vast majority of the points made could and would be accommodated, as they were not considered to be too challenging. The one issue which we cannot pick up in real time is the point regarding the scenario for the futures work, for which we are commissioning for another programme of work entitled Future Monmouthshire.


The Chair mentioned that he was concerned that we would receive feedback that would take us in a direction inconsistent with our evidence as with national feedback it was important that evidence from the locality was given priority. The Chair spoke of being reassured that there is evidence that we are getting better and understanding the principles surrounding this fundamental legislation.


The Chair felt it important that when the piece of work was finished it was useful and as outgoing Chair, when gifting it to his successor, how would his successor check that all the bodies which have engaged in the work to date are committing to actions which will take the work forward. If the wellbeing plan needs to be written in a way that allows the Chair to check his own organisation, checking goals, actions and priorities. Similarly The Chair would expect with partner organisations and ask them to show where they have committed to the wellbeing goals and how they have used their resources to do this.


Member Scrutiny:


A Member commented that at the wellbeing assessment workshop the comment was made that there was no economic representation on the PSB and wondered how that had been addressed. In answer we were told that at present the PSB membership had not been changed to date as they have been focussed on this current piece of work. They will look to find individual(s) that are genuinely representative of the community, it is a dynamic we are also playing through the Cardiff Region City Deal agenda.


It was asked what feedback Welsh Government had given in regard to a collaborative working approach and in respect of making it a civic endeavour, rather than a council led process it needs to be a PSB partnership approach. We were told that in terms of Welsh Government feedback nothing explicit had been commented on which implies that they are happy with the level of working they have seen.


A comment was made about the PSB feeling ‘top heavy’ with council officers and we were told that at present the council’s representatives on the PSB are Paul Matthews and Peter Fox with many council  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Presentation of the Draft Well-being Assessment for the Public Service Board pdf icon PDF 187 KB




To provide members with an opportunity to revisit the draft well-being assessment ahead of its approval by the Public Service Board on 29th March 2017.


Key Issues:


1. The Well-being of Future Generations Act should ensure that public bodies think more about the long term, work better with people and communities and each other, look to prevent problems and take a more joined-up approach. The production of a well-being assessment is a key part of identifying the priorities for the area. The assessment is evidence based and draws on a range of sources, in particular: data;

the views of local people; information about future trends and academic research.


2. Public Service Boards should expect to be scrutinised on the process of how they agreed their priorities. At the PSB Scrutiny Committee on the 17th February members considered the draft assessment, questioned officers about its production and indicated areas where it was felt improvements could be made.


3. In addition to the comments received from the committee, consultation responses been received from a wide range of partners, groups and citizens including the Future Generations Commissioner, Welsh Government, Aneurin Bevan University

Health Board, The Royal British Legion, Arts Council for Wales and more than 20 responses from residents.


4. The Welsh Government graded their feedback as A (Significant issues to be addressed prior to publication of the well-being assessment); B (matters which are important and would support a better informed well-being plan) and; C (matters which would strengthen the assessment but could be addressed over time). Monmouthshire received no category A recommendations.


5. At the time of writing this feedback is still being used as part of the process of redrafting the assessment. Key issues that are being addressed are shown in appendix 2 along with an indication of how they have been considered within the assessment.




Members are invited to consider the feedback that has been received in response to consultation and seek assurances that this has been used to refine and improve the well-being assessment.


Member Scrutiny:


The Armed Forces Champion asked if officers were confident that they had taken into consideration the views of armed forces veterans in the county and the future of refugee’s status. In response we were told that we have visited the barracks where the consultation was led by a discussion on housing. We also received a consultation contribution from the Royal British Legion covering issues for serving and ex-servicemen which we incorporated into the final draft.


Members voiced their disappointment that they had not seen the document prior to the meeting and were informed that they would receive it with the papers for the Council meeting on the 20th March 2017. A Member questioned how the committee were expected to scrutinise the amendments without sight of the document. In answer we were told that a copy of the document with the amendments highlighted was available and would be emailed to the members to the committee.


In respect of cross boarder  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Key emerging issues for Monmouthshire that Public Service Board partners will be involved in addressing via the Public Service Board

Public Health Wales ~ Dr Sarah Aitken

Natural Resources Wales ~ Bill Purvis and Christopher Rees



Natural Resources Wales


“To make sure that the environment and natural resources of Wales are sustainably maintained, sustainably enhanced and sustainably used, now and in the future.”






       Statutory Consultee

       Manager Operator

       Partner, Educator and Enabler

       Evidence Gatherer



Natural Resources Wales is the largest Welsh Government Sponsored Body - employing 1,300 staff across Wales with a budget of £180 million. We were formed in April 2013, largely taking over the functions of the Countryside Council for Wales, Forestry Commission Wales and the Environment Agency in Wales, as well as certain Welsh Government functions.


We receive a remit letter at the start of each financial year setting out what the Welsh Government wants us to achieve during that year.


Adviser: principal adviser to Welsh Government, and adviser to industry and the wider public and voluntary sector, and communicator about issues relating to the environment and its natural resources


Regulator: protecting people and the environment including marine, forest and waste industries, and prosecuting those who breach the regulations that we are responsible for.


Designator: for Sites of Special Scientific Interest – areas of particular value for their wildlife or geology, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), and National Parks, as well as declaring National Nature Reserves


Responder: to some 9,000 reported environmental incidents a year as a Category 1 emergency responder


Statutory consultee: to some 9,000 planning applications a year


Manager/Operator: managing seven per cent of Wales’ land area including woodlands, National Nature Reserves, water and flood defences, and operating our visitor centres, recreation facilities, hatcheries and a laboratory


Partner, Educator and Enabler: key collaborator with the public, private and voluntary sectors, providing grant aid, and helping a wide range of people use the environment as a learning resource; acting as a catalyst for others’ work


Evidence gatherer: monitoring our environment, commissioning and undertaking research, developing our knowledge, and being a public records body


Employer: of almost 1,300 staff, as well as supporting other employment through contract work.




State of Natural Resources report


This is the FIRST product that NRW have been required to produce in accordance with the WBFGA and EA. It is a technical Assessment of the Sustainable Management of Natural Resources of Wales. It outlines our purpose as a business and as a partner delivering public services across Wales.


It’s a big moment – not simply because it is the FIRST real product of the Environment Act and sets out our analysis of the contribution that natural resources make across the seven well-being goals but more importantly because it represents the start of a conversation about the key risks we all face as a society if we fail to recognise the importance of ecosystems.


We can’t do all of this in isolation and we need a step change in our approaches if we are to build up the resilience of our ecosystems. This report provides us with the information to start the journey and conversations –  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


Minutes of the Public Service Board Meeting pdf icon PDF 215 KB


The minutes from the Public Service Board meeting dated the 8th February 2017 were noted however members requested that in future more detail was included in the minutes and they would like an action list to be made available.


Public Service Board Select Committee Forward Work Programme pdf icon PDF 213 KB


Members asked that the work programme for the Public Service Board was made available to them.


It was requested that members of the Programme Board and Public Service Board were invited to speak at the Public Service Board Select Committee so that members of the committee were able to have a greater understanding of the work of both boards.


It was also requested that the Well-being Commissioner was sent the list of dates for future meetings in the hope she would attend the Select Committee.


To note the date and time of the next meetings:

PSB DATES:                                                 PSB SELECT:


Tuesday 25th July 2017 2pm                         Monday 17th July 2pm

Wednesday 8th November 2017 2pm           Monday 23rd October 2pm

Tuesday 30th January 2018 2pm                   Monday 22nd January 2pm

Wednesday 4th April 2018 2pm                     Monday 26th March 2018 2pm





Tuesday 25th July 2017 2pm

Wednesday 8th November 2017 2pm

Tuesday 30th January 2018 at 2pm

Wednesday 4th April 2018 at 2pm





Monday 17th July 2017 at 2pm

Monday 23rd October 2017 at 2pm

Monday 22nd January 2018 at 2pm

Monday 26th March 2018 at 2pm