Consultation with the Scrutiny Committee on the draft Gwent Well-being Plan following feedback from the committee at its last meeting.
Officers presented the draft Gwent Well-Being Plan and explained that the plan had been revised following earlier scrutiny at the previous meeting.
and that each of the five Councils in the Gwent area were being asked to endorse it, whilst only Monmouthshire had chosen to scrutinise it prior to adoption.
· This document reads like any other generic document and doesn’t feel like it has any relevance to the Gwent region. It feels like a statement of strategic intent, because the objectives could be found anywhere.
· If this is a plan, why are there no actions or timescales included for us to monitor the delivery of the objectives? This feels very light in substance and it’s questionable how it could be used to evaluate the performance of the board in meeting the objectives.
· To what extent have all officers in the partnership been involved in this and in terms of the governance process, where is this to be tabled and have the other councils scrutinised it?
· There isn’t any reference to recent factors that are having a major effect on people, such as the rise in energy costs and the increased costs of living. When was this drafted? Will these factors be taken into account in order to make it more relevant and realistic?
· The eight Marmot principles are very significant, but to what extent does the plan encompass the spirit and ethos of them and on what basis will they be measured?
· How does this plan align with our Community and Corporate Plan, to ensure alignment of objectives and delivery?
Thank you for the feedback which we will feed back, understanding that you wish to formally convey this to the Leader and the PSB. The Marmot principles are part of a wider piece of work ongoing with the Institute of Health and Equity to understand the actions the board can take to improve equality in the region, so there will be specific recommendations arising from that report which should then be embedded into this plan. There will be further delivery plans which should take account of those recommendations with specific actions for the PSB to focus on. This Committee may scrutinise those delivery plans in order to hold the PSB to account for the delivery of this wider plan.
In reference to the questions around the evidence that has informed this plan, the Gwent Well-being Assessment which was developed by officers across the partnership and has been scrutinised, was used to inform this plan. The work being undertaken by Professor Marmot to address equity will bring the expertise and insight to the PSB to inform the delivery plans. The experts have been present in each of the counties speaking to people to use the intelligence to inform their work.
In terms of the extent to which there will be alignment between our Community and Corporate Plan and this plan, given that the evidence base for both is the Well-being Assessment, there should be a clear link between the actions in the Monmouthshire delivery plan with the objectives in our Community and Corporate Plan.
In respect of the governance process, this draft plan is being taken to each of the five Councils for them to endorse, however, Monmouthshire is the only Council that is conducting pre-decision scrutiny. It was also sent to all town and community councils during the consultation period. Ongoing scrutiny via the regional PSB scrutiny function will be crucial and also scrutiny by this committee on the delivery of the Monmouthshire delivery plan.
We have scrutinised this on two occasions and we are disappointed that the plan still reads as a generic plan in too little depth, that could apply to anywhere, with no sense of place or local context. We feel there is a lack of reference to the current economic climate and the difficulties faced by people due to the increase in energy costs and the cost of living crisis.
We are concerned about the extent to which this plan has been drafted by the partnership. This plan feels like a plan developed in isolation by one authority, as opposed to there being a collective agreement on the future strategic direction. We have concerns that if the plan hasn’t been jointly developed by partners, there may not be joint ownership across the board and that may impact on the delivery of its objectives.
We are also highly concerned that it hasn’t been subject to any scrutiny by the other Gwent partner authorities and has not been scrutinised by the Gwent Regional PSB Scrutiny Committee that has yet to hold its first meeting, therefore questioning the legitimacy of both the plan and the governance process. As the sole Scrutiny Committee undertaking pre-decision scrutiny of this plan, we feel it is too one-sided if we are the only check and balance, although we note that the five Councils will be asked to endorse it. In conclusion, we question the value of ‘cooperation’, if we are not in practice ‘cooperating’.
The Committee agreed to write to the Leader to highlight the committee’s concerns.