Agenda and minutes

Public Services Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday, 11th October, 2016 10.00 am

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

No. Item


To elect a Chair


County Councillor Penny Jones was elected as Chair.


Apologies for absence


Apologies were received from County Councillor J. Prosser and A. Webb.


Declarations of Interest




Public Open Forum


No members of the public were present.


Minutes of the previous meeting held on 28th June 2016 pdf icon PDF 200 KB


The minutes of the Public Service Board Select Committee meeting held on 28th June 2016 were confirmed as an accurate record and signed by the Chair with one addition; County Councillors S. Jones and F. Taylor’s apologies were not recorded.


Discussion with the Chair of the Public Service Board (Paul Matthews) pdf icon PDF 19 KB


·         The powers afforded to scrutiny to hold the PSB to account


·         The capacity of the Public Service Board to deliver the well-being assessment


·         Recommendations made by the Select Committee to the PSB on their governance arrangements (letter to the PSB attached)



The Chair invited the Chief Executive Officer to take the committee through the bullet points on the agenda, taking into account the letter sent to the Chair of the Public Service Board. It was noted that the Public Service Board has only met a few times and is still a young entity from previous Local Service Board.


Key Issues:


·         The powers afforded to scrutiny to hold the PSB to account


·         The capacity of the Public Service Board to deliver the well-being Assessment.


·         Recommendations made by the Select Committee to the PSB on their governance arrangements.


Member Scrutiny:


During discussion following the Chief Executive Officer’s overview the following points were noted:


It was asked if at future Public Service Board meetings to ensure attendance levels remain good, that members of the board appointed a designated deputy who appreciated the complexity of the work to allow for continuity and informed discussion.


It was felt important that action points from the Public Service Board meetings were carried forward to Select Committees and it was agreed that the Public Service Board needs to be focused on the business so that the Select Committee can be reassured that the expected disciplines will be in place.


We were told that Monmouthshire County Council were looking at commissioning some futures work. This would add validity to the Public Service Board to supplement the work already being done.


Public service reform was discussed and we were told that we should expect collaboration of a different, more systematic order. The Committee heard outlines of two different footprints for the region and whichever the outcome, the Minister expects to see more collaboration.


With reference to a comment made, a member asked for reassurance that the PSB will be a forceful and driven committee. In response we were told that the Chair was a fan of intent, but a bigger fan of evidence and as a new committee its purpose had not been proven, in time the Select Committee will be able to scrutinise the Public Service Board on evidence.


In answer to a member asking if the cluster we are developing with the five main towns was the right direction we were told that the perfect architecture did not exist.


It was commented how important engagement from the Future Generations Commissioner Sophie Howe was. The Chair told the committee that the Commissioner had been invited to this meeting but had declined. It was felt important that she was invited again.


A Member sought reassurance that the council had sufficient resourcing to support and service a Public Service Board.  The Chief Executive Officer explained that whilst the council is leading on the organisation side, this is a typical pattern across Wales and commitment from each of the partners will be sought to implement the priorities.  The Programme Board was felt to be strong and well attended by partners who take responsibility for delivering its work.  The Chief Executive Officer acknowledged that the PSB is operating at the edge of capacity and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Scrutiny of the community engagement activity being undertaken in preparation for the Well-being Assessment pdf icon PDF 604 KB

Report on the emerging findings, the academic research and future trends that will inform the well-being.




To provide members with an update on progress to date and planned activity to prepare the Well-being Assessment for publication in March 2017.


Key Issues:


1. The Well-being of Future Generations Act is a ground-breaking piece of legislation that 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. It sets out in law a definition of sustainable development.


2. The sustainable development principle is made up of five ways of working that we are required to take into account. These are: Looking to the long term so that we do not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their own needs; Taking an integrated approach so that public bodies look at all the well-being goals in deciding on their well-being objectives; Involving a diversity of the population in the decisions that affect them; Working with others in a collaborative way to find shared sustainable solutions; Understanding the root causes of issues to prevent them from occurring.


3. The Act highlights the importance of balancing short-term needs with the need to safeguard the ability to meet long term needs. It is expected that public bodies and public services boards will look at least 10 years ahead, although best practice would be to look 25 years ahead.


4. The production of a well-being assessment is a key part of identifying the priorities for the area. The assessment will be evidence based and draw on a range of sources, in particular: data; the views of local people; information about future trends and academic research.


5. The statutory guidance states that a deeper examination of the information and data from sources like these will help the PSB prepare a more rigorous product. They will have to look at the long term, consider what the evidence tells them about how to prevent problems from happening or getting worse, and involve other people with an interest in the well-being of the area. Collecting and analysing good evidence is integral to this process.


6. The process of engaging people in the development of the well-being assessment is currently underway. A brief synopsis of the process is shown at appendix 2. To date we have received around 800 responses from members of the community. These have been drawn out from extensive public engagement grounded in some of the key data items that we would expect to form part of the well-being assessment. At this stage some of the most commonly raised issues are about the affordability of housing in the county, problems with public transport and the vibrancy of local retail centres, particularly in the south of the county


7. Engagement will continue through October into early November. The well-being assessment will be available for scrutiny when he committee meets in February 2017 before being presented to the PSB for a decision in March.



Member Scrutiny:


·         The Committee were reminded that the well-being assessment is  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Terms of Reference for the PSB Select Committee pdf icon PDF 188 KB

To agree the draft terms of reference and forward work programme for the PSB Select Committee.



No debate was required on this item as the committee intends to work with the draft terms of reference.


To consider the Select Committee's forward work programme pdf icon PDF 191 KB


Members discussed the Work Programme for the Public Service Board Select Committee. In doing so, the following points were noted:


The meeting on the 18th January 2017 will be postponed to end of February 2017.


To note the date and time of the next meeting:

18th January 2017 at 10am (pre-meeting 9.30am)


The meeting on the 18th January 2016 will be postponed to allow the Committee to scrutinise the results of the Well Being Assessment with a date mid/end of February planned.