Agenda and minutes

Public Services Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 19th November, 2020 2.00 pm

Venue: Remote Meeting. View directions


No. Item


To elect a Chair.


Councillor Tudor Thomas was nominated by Councillor Batrouni and seconded by Councillor Treharne.



Declarations of Interest.


There were no declarations of interest.


Public Open Forum.


No members of the public were present.


Regional Working: Corporate Joint Committee Consultation. pdf icon PDF 281 KB

Additional documents:


Chief Executive Paul Matthews gave a short introduction. Frances O’Brien and Matthew Gatehouse presented the report, and delivered a presentation. Matthew Gatehouse and Paul Matthews answered the councillors’ questions.


CJCs can determine their own budgets, voting procedure, scrutiny process; they can tell councils what they want for their own functions; they are legally indemnified – so councils would have to pick up the tab if someone sued them; they can ask for extra powers; they have already determined their membership, future membership and that of the subcommittees. Are these statements correct?

Yes. There is a huge amount of flexibility and powers vested within the CJC itself. This CJC is established with 10 representatives who are locally elected – so it is made up of the 10 local authority leaders. In terms of those decisions, they have to be made by the CJC. This is one of the reasons for the higher quorum, ensuring that decisions can’t be made based on a small number of attendees. For example, the matter of finances: we have had the Cardiff Capital Region for 4 years, in which we have put money to operate – this is similar to how the CJC will operate. The council will make funding available to meet the CJC’s needs; it will then make decisions within that budgetary framework. Yes, the CJC appoints its own committees. It has to set up a scrutiny committee. It doesn’t take away the fact that the leader, as representative, would be accountable back to council, and that the CJC can be scrutinised by the individual local authorities.

Realistically, who is going to raise concerns against their own leader – of any political group – if that leader can use their own political powers to ensure they don’t ask awkward questions? The structure seems to cut off the opposition from any of the councils.

These bodies do carry many delegated powers that are passed to them because of these regulations and what will follow. In terms of the powers that are vested in the CJC to carry out these functions, it is accurate to say that yes, they carry a lot of powers, and the leaders are not required to come back to their councils on individual decisions. They are operating under delegated powers.

In terms of being held to account, do the leaders have to do an annual report to their councils or anything like that?

Yes, they will have to do an annual report. They are bound by the same responsibility as in principal councils i.e. this council receives a report every October on the objectives. The CJC will be subject to the same provisions in terms of arrangements for performance and finance as other councils.

These concerns are good responses to this consultation. The leader of a council takes with them to the CJC the powers that the council’s constitution chooses to give to them. There is therefore a conversation to be had at council level about what the constitution affords.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Tackling Poverty through Partnerships. pdf icon PDF 185 KB

Additional documents:


Judith Langdon presented the report, delivered a presentation and answered the councillors’ questions, with additional comments from Matthew Gatehouse and Sharran Lloyd.


Are the Poverty Action Group and the Poverty Steering Group different?

This was a typo: it is the Tackling Poverty Steering Group.

Inequality is a huge piece of work in its own right. Should we not pin it down, for practical reasons?

Primarily, we are talking about income inequality. In terms of near future actions, we are looking to set up an action-focussed working group around that theme specifically. We don’t want to pre-judge what that wider group comes out with. Today was about discussing working in partnership, and I want to tap into that wider partnership view.

The PSB is meant to tackle poverty – why should we ask them to do something they should already be doing?

The appropriate level of member involvement in the Poverty Network Group was debated for the first meeting. The decision taken at that point was to go with the Social Justice Advisory Group members. It is a very fluid group, evolving and dynamic, open to anyone with a passionate interest in that topic. I don’t wish to give the impression that the PSB’s members are not doing anything to address poverty. A parallel with our own organisation might be helpful: if we were to go back two years, there is a huge amount of activity within our own organisation, the effect of which is to reduce poverty, address its causes and effects, but which is not necessarily being drawn under that banner. The same is perhaps true, to some extent, of the PSB, in that there is no shortage of activity but with this piece we are hoping to put some flesh on the bones of that aspiration. Hopefully, by providing a greater degree of coordination across those groups, it can become more than a sum of its parts.

Can we, as a Select Committee, ask the Partners to feed back to us every 6 or 12 months on the progress they’ve made towards tackling poverty, what steps they’ve been taking, etc.?

Typically, when a topic is the subject of partnership activity, it is in the spirit of partnership working to report on that as a partnership. Within that, yes, there would be specific actions that could be attributed to individual partners to see the contribution they have made towards that. We would be very happy to continue to report on that. This committee – in its previous form as the PSB Committee – has brought in partners from Aneurin Bevan Health Board, Natural Resources Wales, etc., to be held accountable for their contributions to PSB commitments, and that would be true for this Public Services Committee as well. We are also looking at this through the lens of where other regional structures play a role in this, that are not necessarily coordinated by MCC, and the impacts of how that work at a regional level plays out in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


To confirm the Minutes of the previous meeting held on 27th July 2020. pdf icon PDF 257 KB


The minutes were confirmed and signed as an accurate record (Councillor Roden abstained as he was not present.)



Date and time of next meeting: To be confirmed.