Agenda and minutes

Special, People Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday, 6th February, 2024 10.00 am

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


No. Item


Declarations of Interest




Public Open Forum

Scrutiny Committee Public Open Forum ~ Guidance



Our Scrutiny 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



If you would like to share your thoughts on any proposals being discussed by Scrutiny Committees, you can submit your representation in advance via this form

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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. 


If representations received exceed 30 minutes, a selection of these based on theme will be shared at the Scrutiny Committee meeting.  All representations received will be made available to councillors prior to the meeting.

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The amount of time afforded to each member of the public to speak is at the chair’s discretion, but to enable us to accommodate multiple speakers, we ask that contributions be no longer than 3 minutes. 

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Development of Residential Provision: Accommodation and Delivery Model for Care pdf icon PDF 708 KB

To scrutinise a model to increase in-county placement options and provide care without profit.

Additional documents:


Cabinet Member Ian Chandler andJane Rodgers introduced the report and answered the members’ questions with Peter Davies and Nicholas Keyse. 

Key points raised by members: 

·        The level of demand and the basis for the 6 bespoke children’s placements, Members questioning whether there is historical low demand and whether the number will be sufficient long-term. Questions also asked as to why it will be 3 separate dwellings, rather than have the placements under one roof. 

·        The report mentions securing grants from Welsh government in relation to the acquisition of suitable properties Members asked how confident the council is in meeting objectives in this area and how far along the discussions are, so that the councildoesn’t have to utilise more of the Children’s Services budget. 

·        The number of young people from Monmouthshire being looked after by other local authoritiesand vice versa and whether the provision would lead to some of the young people being moved back into Monmouthshire. 

·        With joint projects like Myst with Torfaen, given the boundaries are so close between local authorities, whether there are any plans to buy properties with other authorities, as a partnership. 

·        Whether individual business cases for large spending on assets that the Cabinet wishes to repurpose will be brought back to scrutiny (the report notes post-decision scrutiny). 

·        The comparison with other authorities and any learning from them. 

·        Whilst children’s placement numbers are low, would the provision lead to an increase 

·        The suitability of properties in terms of urban/rural and how accommodation spaces would be built around the 16–25-year-olds category. 

·        Whether consultation with young people in residential provisionor ex-care leavers has informed the proposals. 

·        Whether vacancies in a property would be rented to neighbouring authorities. 

·        Whether there will be discussions with local ward members on any asset reprovision.  

·        A member suggested the policy needed to state that fostering would be the initial option, as it’s better for children to be with a family. 

·        How much consideration has been given to the revenue implications and whether there would be independent inspectors. 

Chair’s Summary: 

Thanks were given to the Cabinet Member and officers for attending. Discussions focussed on the sufficiency and suitability of bespoke placements, how adequate and flexible they would be, the likelihood of securing Welsh Governmentgrants and the exchange of placements with other local authorities. Membersasked questions around the possibility of joint projects for neighbouring authorities and asked about the learning from other councils. Questions were asked around the issue of sibling room sharing, the impact of bringing young people back to their communities, and property type and location. The Committee also asked how consultation hadbeen held with young people and there were questions about the types and numbers of placements needed, the revenue  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


Scrutiny of the Strategic Equality Plan pdf icon PDF 665 KB

Scrutiny of the Strategic Equality Plan following the consultation period. 

Additional documents:


Cabinet Member Angela Sandles andMatthew Gatehouse introduced the report and answered the members’ questions. 

Key points raised by members: 

·        Whether it was premature to endorse the Council sets its budget and the implications for the budget.  

·        Members asked about the risks and challenges that the Council may face in delivering the strategy. 

·        Its vitally important to recognise that all residents face difficulties of some sort and that there should be recognition of this, particularly in relation to the rural problems and associated hardship.  

·        Acknowledgement that protected characteristics can often overlap and the need to refer to the effect of raising the state pension age in terms of employment. 

·        In relation to the protected characteristic of sex, perhaps there could be the inclusion that we are working with partners to reduce sexual violence and that it’s not an issue solely for women and the importance of engagement with boys and young men. 

·        The strategy may benefit from including how women undergoing the menopause are supported at work 

·        There is a need for consistency within the strategy in terms of the protected characteristics. 

·        There can be tensions between protected characteristics, with the ideal of equality can be being lost on occasions, members questioning whether this had had sufficient consideration. 

·        In terms of the LGBTQ+ section of the document, there may be a need to include under the curriculum, that teaching in this area needs to be critical and pluralistic according to case law ~ it is important to note that there is now case law that gender critical views are recognised as a philosophical conviction protected in law. 

Chair’s Summary: 

The report was scrutinised in depth, discussion focussing on rural poverty and the implications for our future economy, particularly for farmers. Members recognised that the document is a live document and that there will be opportunities to consider progress and revise the document to reflect the nature of Monmouthshire and gather more evidence. Members acknowledged there will be a need to align the document with the budget. The committee agreed that plan was well drafted and offered a clear vision, but there were some points for officers and cabinet to reflect on, in particular the protected characteristic of sex. There were some comments around particularly sexual violence and how we work with boys and young men on issues related to personal safety. Sexual harassment reports in schools were discussed and members felt it was important to maintain single sex spaces. Members raised the need to consider how women going through the menopause are supported and the raising of state pension age and the implications of that were also highlighted. Members recognised the conflicts and tensions between different groups and the idea of equality for all and suggested there may be a need to check some of the terminology and the consistency within the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Next Meeting: 5th March 2024