Agenda and minutes

Strong Communities Select Committee - Thursday, 18th November, 2021 10.00 am

Venue: County Hall, Usk - Remote Attendance. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services 


No. Item


Declarations of Interest


There were no declarations of interest.


Public Open Forum

Select Committee Public Open Forum ~ Guidance


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No public submissions were received.


Public Protection 2020/21 Performance Report & Division's response to the Coronavirus pandemic pdf icon PDF 235 KB

To consider the performance report for the service.

Additional documents:


David Jones and Gareth Walters presented the reports and answered the members’ questions with Gillian Dicken.




Regarding pandemic response, would you do anything differently next year from last year?


We are reflecting on our actions via Aneurin Bevan: the 6 Track and Trace teams are asking themselves about lessons learned, etc. We responded very well, the governance was set up very quickly and has gone well. We have fed back that announcements on a Friday afternoon aren’t particularly helpful to the front line as, often, the providers (e.g. schools) are on the backfoot trying to interpret the announcement before the end of the week. Another lesson learned is that it would be useful to co-produce some of the guidance with the frontline officers e.g. the Standard Operating Procedures, of which there have been a huge amount. There will be regional and national reports on lessons learned and what we would have done differently.


How many businesses or individuals did you prosecute in the last 12 months, and what was the outcome?


We took an approach that encouraged business users, rather than focussing on enforcement. Licencing did around 8 improvement notices e.g. for pub customers who were flouting the rules – we went with the designated Premises Supervisor and dealt with those complaints, then followed up with a visit to check that things have improved. In Monmouthshire, compliance has generally been very good. Gwent Police are happy to attend town centres on Saturday nights and address certain pubs, based on our advice. They will be out in force on Black Friday. Due to our focus on working with businesses rather than just on enforcement there have only been a handful of prosecutions.


Were there any prosecutions relating to hand sanitisers that weren’t up to standard?


Fortunately, no-one was manufacturing it in our area, other than a few breweries that diversified. We supported them with advice, to produce it correctly. Everything that wasn’t up to standard was collected and destroyed. The information and intelligence was then passed back to the home authority from which it had originated, for them to take action. We will provide members with the number of prosecutions that have resulted. For other PPE, it is again a business advice approach, working closely with HSE, who were taking the proactive approach to doing stop-checks. Monmouthshire businesses have listened to the advice and followed it. We have had 22 Improvement notices: 9 in Hospitality, 6 in Food Retail, 1 in non-Food Retail and 6 in close personal contact services, mainly barbers and hairdressers.


What effect will Covid passports have on the team’s performance?


We’ve been keen to encourage businesses to comply with passports. Again, compliance has generally been very good. There haven’t been issues with non-compliance relating to the PPE requirements. Passports will be very helpful for any upcoming events e.g. the Christmas meet at Chepstow Racecourse, with 8000+ people. The Police won’t do any enforcement on passports, so the onus goes back on the businesses, now including theatres  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


Strategic Equality Plan pdf icon PDF 136 KB

Scrutiny of the Annual Monitoring Report 2020-2021.

Additional documents:


Alan Burkitt presented the report and answered the members’ questions.




Regarding disability, can we provide employment for people who are coming up to retirement, or have retired?


The question is whether there is a limit on who we would look to employ, within the protected characteristics: age, for example, shouldn’t make a difference to whether someone is employed. An older person will bring a wealth of experience but needs to be balanced against bringing through younger employees. The current situation of working from home has potentially changed matters, as, for example, someone with a physical disability who might have had difficulties in the office can now work from home with fewer limitations. With a recent case of a young person with autism whose employer didn’t know how to work with his needs, we have worked to get him into a placement and mentor him. So, there is a lot of work in this area that goes on in the background.


The term ‘gender pay gap’ is confusing because of the difference between jobs and the difference between those who do the same job. Is it a Welsh Government term?


Yes, the gap doesn’t necessarily concern a difference between those doing the same job, but comparable jobs – levels of comparable responsibility. For example, as a society we currently have the question of how to hire more carers (who tend to be female) – do we need to properly assess the properties and skills needed to be a one-to-one carer, and reconsider what they are paid, given what they contribute and provide? It’s hard to give specifics but it essentially concerns the problem that, historically, a female-dominated career hasn’t been paid the same as a male-dominated career with equivalent skills. There shouldn’t be a gender stereotype now with jobs, which also needs to change. The gender pay gap is something that we need to report on as part of the Equality Act.


The gender pay gap comes down to wording. There used to be a problem of women being paid less for the exact same job. On the other hand, there are now some men who stay at home because their partner is able to earn more, so things are changing.


Yes, there is still a long way to go, but we are working on it.

On p11, objectives 3, there is a reference to the Box Clever Digital platform. Has testing resumed?


At the time of this report being written it was delayed by the pandemic. There isn’t any further information yet, but I can check and update members.


What effect will the socio-economic duty have on these reports?


It’s now a part of our Integrated Impact Assessment process (it came in last March). When officers carry out an Impact Assessment, they have to consider the socio-economic duty i.e. if something in the report might have a financial impact, they have to consider and discuss it. To date, it is more likely to have come up as part of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


To confirm minutes of the previous meeting

Additional documents:


The meeting had to close prematurely because of technical difficulties. This agenda item will therefore be covered at the next meeting.


Strong Communities forward work programme pdf icon PDF 509 KB


The meeting had to close prematurely because of technical difficulties. This agenda item will therefore be covered at the next meeting.


Cabinet & Council forward work programme pdf icon PDF 531 KB


The meeting had to close prematurely because of technical difficulties. This agenda item will therefore be covered at the next meeting.


Date and time of next meeting


25th January 2022.