Agenda and minutes

Public Services Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday, 11th March, 2020 10.00 am

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

No. Item


To elect a Chair.


County Councillor L. Dymock was elected Chair for today’s meeting.


Declarations of Interest.


No declarations of interest were made.


Public Open Forum.


No members of the public were present.


Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Abuse (VAWDASV)

The Regional VAWDASV team to present how they deliver the legislative responsibilities on behalf of the Public Service Board and to report their progress on delivering the regional VAWDASV strategy.


Additional documents:


Janice Dent, Regional Advisor for the Gwent VAWDASV team, and Mary Ryan, Corporate Safeguarding Lead for Newport City Council, presented their update report on delivering the regional VAWDASV strategy. This is an interim report, as the principal one comes at the end of the financial year. The Officers drew attention to funding, the structure of the Partnership Board, the 2018-23 strategy and delivery plan, progress to date, and wider responsibilities. The Home Office has been very impressed by the engagement with Monmouthshire for the DH-APR pilot project, which has led to the HO considering devolving governance of the review process to Welsh Government. The Regional team is working with the Gwent Safeguarding Board to see how communication can improve, and VAWDASV can be embedded fully into safeguarding procedures – this is one of the main foccal points leading into the next financial year. A proposal has been submitted for capital funding, to increase refuge provision for Monmouthshire. Two open days will be held at the end of March to engage with citizens.


Could clearer information about the impacts and outcomes of the team’s work be given?

The Needs Assessment is currently being updated. One of the key things about it this year is looking at progress between 2015 and now. This will include reports to Police, how many people have been supported, how many refuge spaces do we have, etc. That assessment is due to be completed at the end of the financial year, and will include the information requested. We are also awaiting the national indicators from Welsh Government, which is a suite of outcomes that each local authority will be required to report on. In addition, the regional Independent Domestic Violence Adviser has a reporting mechanism in terms of how many people have accessed the service; this data will tie in with the end-of-year report. We are working with Safer Monmouthshire to determine which specific measures and outcomes Monmouthshire would like to see. We are working on datasets and a benchmark to properly measure things moving forward.

Why do we not have Independent Domestic Violence Adviser data at this stage?

One of the reasons is timing, as we aren’t at the end of the financial year yet. We are also identifying what Members would like to see – that is the basis for the Needs Assessment work, and the work with Safer Monmouthshire.

Is there no baseline on which we can work, while we await that data and information?

The Needs Assessment which was completed in 2015-16 is our benchmark. The Assessment currently being worked on will allow us to identify the difference between 2015-16 and now. This is renewed every three years. In terms of impact, we’ve worked to understand how people have felt about the service they’ve received, and consulted with frontline members and citizens. For example, it wasn’t clear to people that the same services for women are available for men – consultations such as this are being fed into the Needs Assessment.

Is  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Scrutiny of Regional Partnership Boards

To consider any future scrutiny on the work of Regional Partnership Boards, possibly in conjunction with other local authorities (Background paper provided to committee members).


Councillor Roden noted that currently there is inadequate scrutiny of the RPB and supports co-scrutinising it with other PSBs. Councillor Taylor noted that Adults Select Committee has discussed the Intermediate Care Fund; it would be helpful to set out for members how the funding allocation for Gwent is scrutinised, and how it comes in to the county and is distributed to the delivery bodies. It would be helpful to understand what function the 1% ‘top-slicing’ for management, co-ordination and oversight is playing, and what part Monmouthshire Council has in the oversight function.

Councillor Treharne requested that when joint scrutiny takes place, that further information be given on the funding breakdown, as well as the bullet points that the RPBS are required to provide (Population Needs Assessment, Area Plan, Annual Report, Integrated Market Position Statement, Established Pooled funds for Care Homes and family support members).

Scrutiny Manager Hazel Ilett noted that the Population Needs Assessment and Area plan have been scrutinised previously in other committees. Caerphilly Council has invited them to attend Caerphilly sessions to present information on the points just mentioned. In the meantime, while we wait to organise joint scrutiny, it would perhaps be worthwhile for those committees to come to Public Services to present that information.




Minutes of the previous meeting held on 11th July 2019. pdf icon PDF 87 KB


The minutes of the previous meeting held on 11th July 2019 were confirmed and signed as an accurate record.


To consider the Select Committee's forward work programme. pdf icon PDF 276 KB


Given that Public Services is a new committee, there is an opportunity to look beyond simply scrutinising the work of the PSB. Different work streams have been considered, including scrutinising the RPBs and Shared Resource Service. There is also the opportunity to call in partners who receive public money, and the precept. Any services which are delivered jointly, which don’t neatly fall into the remits of other Select Committees would merit being placed under this committee. Matthew Gatehouse, Head of Policy and Governance, responded to the members’ questions:

Regarding organisations in receipt of the precept – the Police and Crime Commissioner, for example – could clarification be given around this?

It doesn’t give us more powers to scrutinise any partners than we currently have. In reshaping the committee it’s that statement of intent, that a great deal of activity happens in the footprint of Monmouthshire, which currently is not effectively scrutinised by the elected politicians who are tasked with representing the communities and people of Monmouthshire. Historically, we have not had the powers to scrutinise all public services, and we still don’t. Nonetheless, there is a lot of collaborative activity that happens on this footprint, and there are a lot of issues raised with the Members as ward representatives where, potentially, further opportunities to scrutinise would be beneficial. The other aspect is that we’re increasingly seeing activity undertaken collaboratively, and through different vehicles. We’re expecting an announcement fairly soon about Corporate Joint Committees as part of the new Local Government Elections bill, which could see the emergence of new delivery vehicles for certain services. This committee gives us the opportunity to ensure that those don’t fall through the cracks of the other committees.

Are there concrete examples of this collaboration, and of a positive impact being achieved as a result?

The original purpose of this committee was to hold the Public Services Board to account for its activity. The first phase of that work was focused on the processes and mechanisms of undertaking the wellbeing assessments: gathering the evidence, and producing the plan. One of the challenges for that has been that scrutiny has largely been on process because the challenges the PSB was looking at are those complex issues that don’t necessarily have immediate short-term solutions. If we knew exactly how to solve them, we would already be doing them within our own organisation. It’s too early to speak of impacts yet, but some of the work we’re starting to see emerge are collaborative endeavours such as the joint work on the promotion of the agenda around VAWDASV. There’s been involvement from Aneurin Bevan Health Board on the work of the Early Help panel, which is a multi-agency partnership and one of the PSB priorities. But in terms of outcomes, we’re not going to see the impact of that for many years, if not generations. We’re looking at long-term issues, and there are not many measurable outcomes yet that have come before this committee.

There’s still a concern though  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Date and time of next meeting: To be confirmed.