Agenda and minutes

Performance and Overview Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday, 22nd November, 2023 10.00 am


No. Item


Declarations of Interest


Councillor Fookes declared a non-prejudicial interest as a Governor of Monmouth Comprehensive School. 


Public Open Forum




Month 5 Budget Monitoring pdf icon PDF 313 KB

To scrutinise the budgetary position (revenue and capital) for services falling within the committee's remit at Month 5.

Additional documents:


Cabinet Member Ben Callard and Peter Davies introduced the report and answered the members’ questions with Jonathan Davies, Frances O’Brien, Paul Griffiths, Jane Rodgers and Nikki Wellington. 


Key Questions from Members: 


·        How are the responsibilities split between the two Cabinet Members for Resources? 

·        Pressures on providing accommodation for homeless are increasing and the costs seem to be reactive – are there plans to mitigate this and be more proactive?– ACTION (provide members with trend data and information on B&Bs and Homelessness) 

·        There are shortfalls in Social Care and Health because of complex demand and children with ALN provision – what implications are there for users of these services and what plans are in place to manage these factors? 

·        The report indicates a target of £550k savingsrelating to continuing healthcare (p22); we’ve achieved£141k at Month 5, so falling short of the target. Is there a power imbalance between MCC and the health board?Are we doing enough to equip our staff to challenge the health board? 

·        Has the reduction in the hours of unmet care need been because we had more carers and hours provided or have people who would have qualified for care packages in the pastbeen ruled out? If so, are we failing to serve the most vulnerable people? 

·        We hear anecdotally that smaller care packages go to full panels, and social workers are tied up for hours in panel meetings rather than being out on the frontline – is that the case? 

·        Is the overspend of £111k related to Castle Gate business park an actual loss? 

·        Item 3.12, why has there been a delay in resourcing the team to meet the energy targets reduction and when can we expect to see the reduction? 

·        Are the shortfall in mileage reduction and delays to the rollout of the pool car scheme now being addressed? 

·        Note that in regard to homelessness (p27), it’s important for people recovering from addiction to stay in their networks of support 

·        Can we be reassured that there won’t be a reduction in the Housing Support Grant and that the charities that benefit from it, such as Mind Monmouthshire, won’t be affected? 

·        What’sthe latest indication on the likelihood of the unbudgeted grant of £1m being awarded? 

·        How is funding from Welsh Government that is not materialising e.g. for universal free school meals for primary pupils being followed up? 

·        Regarding the Housing Support Grant, would it be constructive to send a letter to the Welsh Government director reiterating the importance of knowing MCC’s funding allocation as soon as possible? ACTION 

·        The forecast overspend for services is £6.2m, the recovery to bring that down to a pressure of £124k are to be met by -related items, of which some are ‘one-off’ – would we expect plans to come  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


Strategic Risk Register pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To agree any future risks for scrutiny. 


Richard Jones introduced the report and answered the members’ questions with Peter Davies and Jane Rodgers. 


Key Questions from Members: 


·        Can you clarify the categories of risk and what they mean? 

·        Why has the new risk of legal challengebeen added? 

·        Risk 12: when is the next Poverty Working Group and when was the last? How are we progressing on the Poverty Action Plan? ACTION (check when is the next meeting of the working group and send written response about the poverty working group to members)  

·        It would be helpful if risk registers couldbe RAG-rated. Could high risksbe put in red? It would be good to standardise RAG-ratings across the council and also introduce arrows indicating trajectory ACTION (for officers to take away and consider)  

·        Risk 8: can you explain in more detail how a risk level of 16 can be mitigated down to 12? 

·        Risk 2, sustainability of services: how would we mitigate down from 16 to 12 when elsewhere in the report a budget shortfall of £14.4m is indicated? 

·        Have we given enough training to all our staff on a regular basis and to counsellors to reduce the level of risk around ?– ACTION (written response to members about the risk of cyberattack and further training) 


Chair’s Summary: 

Thank you to the officers. Should members think of future risks that should be included, they are encouraged to contact the Chair or officers. The report is moved. 



LDP Annual Monitoring Report pdf icon PDF 353 KB

To scrutinise prior to Cabinet Member sign off for dispatch to Welsh Government.


Additional documents:


Craig O’ Connor introduced the report and answered the members’ questions with Cabinet Member Paul Griffiths and Daniel Fordham. 


Key Questions from Members: 


·        P3- is our plan moving forward to increase the level of affordable homes delivered from 22% of the total achieved to 50%? 

·        Would the phosphates improvements not clash directly with the intention to progress significant housing deliveries in the LDP as currently drafted? And do we know what level of improvements they would be? 

·        Have we considered what our bordering counties have in their LDPs in relation to the level of affordable homes? 

·        P94, reference to A48 rather than M48 – is that a typo?– ACTION (officers to correct in report) 

·        There is huge pressure on the B4245, with two sites set to increase it – what progress is being made in discussions relating to the link down to Severn Tunnel Junction and the linkup to the M48? 

·        As this is a 10-year plan from 2011-21 why isn’t there a line drawn under this as a final report? 

·        3.8, what is being done to combat the high shop vacancy rate in Monmouth? Does the figure include banks? 

·        3.18 mentions an audit of high street vacancies in Monmouth – can members see that report?– ACTION (officers to share with members) 

·        There is no further work on Monmouth Coach but it would be of great benefit ifthe National Express could stop in the town. Why is there no further work on that? 

·        A site for homeless people called Wheatfield was vacated during the pandemic – what’s happening with that? 

·        To clarify, Wheatfield could not be rebuilt on the existing site? 

Chair’s Summary: 

Thank you to officers and the Cabinet Member. The report was moved. 



Schools Funding Formula pdf icon PDF 350 KB

To scrutinise the funding formula prior to Cabinet’s decision. 

Additional documents:


Nicola Wellington introduced the report and answered the members’ questions. 

Key Questions from Members: 

·        Councillor Fookes wished to thank officers for listening to Monmouth Comprehensive governorsregarding concerns over the funding formula, with a solution now in place for 25/26 

·        The report contains a formula relating to maintenance of the new building – was that put in place before the experience of Caldicot and Monmouth schools were taken into account? 

·        Do we have a reasonable figure of how many people had access to the consultation? 

Chair’s Summary: 

Thank you to officers. The report was moved. 



Performance and Overview Scrutiny Committee Forward Work Programme and Action List pdf icon PDF 378 KB

Additional documents:


School attendance and exam performance items have been added tentatively to 20th February (assuming the timely release of data). The items from the cancelled 29th November will move to 15th January, which will be arranged. 30th January will be for budget scrutiny. 

Councillor Fookes proposed addingthe Poverty Action Plan to the March agenda; the committee agreed– ACTION  



Council and Cabinet Work Plan pdf icon PDF 380 KB


To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 24th October 2023 pdf icon PDF 631 KB


The minutes were confirmed. 


Next Meeting: 29th November 2023 (Special) and 30th January 2024


29th November is cancelled the items will go to a meeting on 15thJanuary.