Agenda and minutes

Public Services Scrutiny Committee - Monday, 27th July, 2020 10.30 am

Venue: Remote Microsoft Teams Meeting

Note: Please note that in order to watch this meeting online via Microsoft Teams you may need to download the Teams app to your device. The meeting will be available to watch after the event on our youtube channel. 


No. Item


Election of Chair


Councillor Tudor Thomas was elected the chair for the meeting.


Declarations of Interest


No declarations of interest were received.


Public Open Forum


There were no members of the public present and no notice of any requests to speak at the Select Committee meeting.


Confirmation of Minutes pdf icon PDF 468 KB


The minutes of the Select Committee meeting held on 11th March 2020 were approved as a true and accurate record of the meeting.


Pre-decision Scrutiny of the Draft Public Service Board Annual Report pdf icon PDF 256 KB

Additional documents:


The Head of Performance and Improvement presented the PSB’s second draft Annual Report which provided an overview of the performance of the board during April 2019-March 2020 on the objectives set in its wellbeing plan, in line with the requirements of the WFG Act legislation and statutory guidance.  He explained that the report covered the steps the PSB had chosen to deliver its objectives and the reasons why those were set and also how the board had applied the 5 ways of working outlined in the WFG act in its working throughout the year. The officer explained that the report also provided an overview of progress on all 19 steps against the four wellbeing objectives the board had chosen and it included an in-depth case study of work undertaken by the Children and Young People’s Strategic Partnership to provide young people with the best possible start in life.  It also summarised the scrutiny that has been undertaken throughout the year and provided and overview of the regional working that has taken place and also the evidence and information that is used to measure progress such as national indicators outlined in the act.


The officer commented that public services have been at the forefront of efforts in responding to the covid 19 pandemic and some mention of the emerging evidence is provided in this report, however, more detailed evidence on well-being impacts will be provided in further reports. Members were advised that the report had been contributed to by all partners and would be approved by the Public Service Board at their next meeting prior to publication on their website.


The Partnerships Manager joined in the presentation of the report and explained that whilst the report is a light touch document, given how involved all partners are in responding to the covid 19 pandemic, hopefully it has still captured the headline information on behalf of the PSB and efforts can now be focussed on how the board can respond to the challenges collectively.  


Key points to highlight are:


·         The report only provides a snapshot of the work undertaken by town council partners and there is much more work which sits behind it, if members are interested in a more in depth understanding. 


·         One area of good practice is that over the last 12 months, the town councils that fall under the duties of the legislation have been included into the PSB structure, so representatives now sit on the programme board and are involved in early discussions on developing activities to responding to the challenges collectively.


·         There has been extensive work being undertaken in town councils over a number of years which has come the forefront and this is their financial contribution and recognition of the work of the open access and fully inclusive play provision in the county.  This is something that the PSB has invested in over a number of years, through grant monies and also officer time and town councils have contributed towards that work, recognising that value of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Scrutiny of a Performance Report on COVID-19 Risks and Public Service Emergency Response Structure pdf icon PDF 1001 KB

Additional documents:


The Committee were presented with a report detailing the risks relating to the coronavirus pandemic in the county, outlining those that may require a public service response in addition to a response to by the Council together with an overview of the regional multi-agency structure for emergency response and recovery. Members were asked to consider whether they felt that the key risks have been identified, that risk levels were proportionate and whether the right mitigating actions were in place, making any relevant recommendations to Cabinet or the Public Service Board.


Just to set the context for why the committee is receiving the multi-agency response today. Members will recall that we changed the terms of reference of this committee last year to enable this committee to look at broader multi-agency responses to matters faced by our residents. It is not the role of this committee to scrutinise the structure per se, as these are set up as part of national civil contingency legislation, however, it is important that the committee understand those structures. In terms of the risk assessment itself, given the range of partners involved, it felt pertinent to involve you in this prior to Cabinet considering it. 


The report provided an overview of the emergency response arrangements in place and Appendix 1 provided a diagram of the reporting structures. Prior to May, it was explained that there was an Emergency Response Team in place, however, these usually deal with short term emergencies, so it felt appropriate to stand this group down and establish the Covid 19 Coordination group which comprises the Chief Officer for Resources, the Emergency Planning Lead Officer and the Head of Resources who report to the Senior Leadership Team and feed into the Gwent Strategic Coordinating Group. There are further appendices on the risks and the two plans on a page, which have been widely shared in the organisation by the Chief Executive and the letter from the minister Julie James who has asked the PSB to reconsider their objectives in light of the covid pandemic. These will be considered by the PSB at their meeting, but we are bringing this to you in advance to ask you whether this feels right and whether you have any feedback to pass on to the PSB.


Members attention was drawn to Appendix 4 where risk 3 was highlighted in terms or the risk to the economic well-being of the county, risk 6 in terms of harm to vulnerable children and adults, risk 8 in relation to the risks in failing to meet the needs of learners including vulnerable learners. Attention was also drawn to the four specific risks numbered 15-18 as being specifically related to the pandemic, risk 17 having an economic impact resulting in job losses and risk which referred to the risk of the virus increasing poverty in communities.





·         In terms of risk 8 and learning, something that has arisen through discussions I’ve had with constituents and family and friends is the disparity between  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Discussion on early thinking on a Regional Public Service Board pdf icon PDF 152 KB


This report was brought to the committee to inform them that discussions have been taking place on the feasibility and desirability of moving to a Gwent-wide Public Service Board. The Public Services Select Committee had in previous meetings supported the idea of a regional PSB to reduce duplication of efforts, to improve governance and to ensure a consistent approach for services operating under a regional footprint. 


Members heard that there are clear advantages in terms of economies of scale for partners who would only need to attend 1 PSB, as well advantages for the delivery of shared projects such as the Gwent Green Grid and other projects such as those around obesity.  There would also be advantages in terms of shared regional priorities on issues such as violence and domestic abuse, however, there would be a need to see tangible outcomes locally.  A key thing to consider would be how to retain sight of the things that matter most to Monmouthshire and how to champion the local agenda. We would also need to consider how officers would be deployed across a regional structure and at programme board level. There isn’t a significant amount of detail on this proposal at present, however, the report had been brought to the committee to ensure members were kept abreast of discussions taking place on a collaborative arrangement and to offer the opportunity to offer any feedback if the committee wished to do so.


Chair’s Conclusion:


There was support from the committee for the move towards a regional PSB for the reasons explained in the report’s introduction. Members requested a list of collaborative projects that are overseen by the Public Service Board, accepting that there are many other services delivered collaboratively and recognising that these are likely to be overseen by the other select committees.