Agenda and minutes

Public Services Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday, 8th February, 2022 10.00 am

Venue: County Hall, Usk - Remote Attendance


No. Item


To elect a Chair.


Councillor Thomas was proposed by Councillor Roden and seconded by Councillor Jordan.


Apologies for Absence.


Declarations of Interest.


There were no declarations of interest.


Public Open Forum.

Select Committee Public Open Forum ~ Guidance


Our Select Committee meetings are live streamed and a link to the live stream will be available on the meeting page of the Monmouthshire County Council website


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·      Please submit a written representation (via Microsoft Word, maximum of 500 words)


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The deadline for submitting representations to the Council is 5pm three clear working days in advance of the meeting.


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No public submissions were received.


Population Needs Assessment

To scrutinise the assessment of the care and support needs of the population carried out jointly by the Local Authority and Local Health Board as required by The Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 ahead of approval by the Gwent Public Service Board.


Additional documents:


Phil Diamond delivered the presentation and answered the members’ questions, with additional comments from Councillor Penny Jones and Richard Jones.




Regarding Disabled Facilities Grants and their take-up, can you further explain the diagrams on p49?


We have been guided by elected members to look at the regional impact of the DFGs, which are available to any resident to adapt their home to enable people to live in their own home longer. But the cost of building materials has increased, while their availability has decreased. We’ve also seen the effect of fewer Occupational Therapists, who normally visit people in their own home to assess what modifications are needed. Again, this is an impact on the workforce; with fewer OTs available, we have seen increased waiting times for those assessments.


Recent Welsh Government guidance has introduced a financial assessment. Unfortunately, this is putting some people off – they feel that the assessment might affect them in other ways. But it is just meant to ensure that the right people have access to the DFGs. All of this compounds the issue and leads to a fear that fewer people will apply for the grants. It will be harder for those who don’t apply to live in their own homes, possibly leading to increased falls and hospital admissions. Across the region we are linking in with the 5 commissioning leads within social services and looking at the Welsh Government funding available to us to help with the larger homes’ adaptations i.e. those in excess of £36k. Because the pandemic is a backdrop to this work, other issues and challenges are likely to come to the fore over the next 12-18 months. Once mapping and impact analysis has been conducted across the 5 authorities, that could come back to this committee for a wider discussion.


One of the emerging priorities in Item 6, under Mental Health, includes “an increased understanding and awareness of mental health among the public to reduce stigma and help to seek support earlier.” How do you propose to achieve this?


Following publication of the PNA, we will be required to produce an action plan response, so all of the emerging needs will be highlighted and through an area plan we will set the actions to address them. The first place to start is children and young people – educating and informing at an early age about mental health. So, there is a huge amount of work going on in schools, particularly in Monmouthshire through the healthy schools agenda. In general, it is a case of public awareness. We have developed a website with the health board, called Melo, with information for the public about services and steps that they can take. Increasingly, people are more comfortable admitting that they are struggling with their mental health – a charity working with the Welsh Dragons is an example of a positive shift. We are working with schools and the third sector to get out as much information as possible and convey the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Gwent Well Being Assessment pdf icon PDF 812 KB

To conduct pre-decision scrutiny of the Gwent Well-being Assessment ahead of consideration by the Gwent Public Service Board.

Additional documents:


Richard Jones and Sharran Lloyd delivered the presentation and answered the members’ questions:




Monmouthshire’s rurality makes it different from the other 4 counties. In Appendix 3, in Q3, “What things are important for you and your family”, broadband is a low priority. Does this indicate that there should be separate rural and town data, reflecting different priorities?


While the Gwent assessment will look at well-being across Gwent as a whole, there is also the duty to assess local areas within Gwent. Hopefully, how we have assessed the five areas within Monmouthshire, and assessed well-being in the county as a whole, will give some assurance that we are considering evidence at a more local level. This can influence and feed into how the PSB takes that into account in its Gwent well-being assessment and taken into account, where needed, within the local delivery group and partnerships that have been mentioned. A key reason behind completing the Monmouthshire level assessment was to understand those differences between and within communities for well-being.


We know that broadband is an issue. Although we worked very hard to get as many engagement responses as possible, we recognise that there were some limitations. We got over 500 responses, which is a strong evidence base, but it’s important that we consider them alongside other feedback, evidence, data and information that we have about the county. So, people’s views are important, but in the case of broadband we will also look at things like what the coverage is, who has access to super-fast broadband, in what areas, etc., which we can put alongside what people are saying. In the assessment we have looked in more detail at this matter.


The least important thing in Q3 is Welsh, which is remarkable, given the 10% spoken rate across the county as a whole (higher in particular areas such as Abergavenny). Why does the data not reflect the efforts made with the language in Monmouthshire? Does the way we gather the data need to change?


While the great deal of work that has been done to promote the language has not come through so strongly in the responses to Q3, there were some responses relating to it when asked what they would like their community to look like in the future, for example. Again, we will sit the evidence from this exercise alongside feedback from other consultations with community groups and other organisations working in the county. In the assessment you will see that we have drawn on other evidence and data concerning the role played by the Welsh language in our communities, and the role it could play in the future.


Chair’s Summary:


Thank you for the work that has gone into this. Welsh is slowly increasing, with 16% now in Abergavenny (some of whom moved in from elsewhere) and the school burgeoning. It takes time, and the third school coming in Monmouth will move things along further. I would have expected more about broadband too, given that it  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Minutes of the previous meeting held on 5th July 2021. pdf icon PDF 448 KB


The minutes were confirmed and signed as an accurate record, proposed by Councillor Roden and seconded by Councillor Woodhouse.



To consider the Select Committee's Forward Work Programme. pdf icon PDF 485 KB


Date and time of the next meeting: to be confirmed