Agenda and minutes

Strong Communities Select Committee - Thursday, 7th November, 2019 10.00 am

Contact: Democratic Services 

No. Item


Declarations of Interest


Public Open Forum


Public open Forum


Mr Sullivan attended on behalf of Llanbadoc Community Council to raise 2 issues to the select committee and to request a meeting with officers to resolve them:


           Monkswood and signage regarding speed limits

           Parking outside St Marks Church for funerals


Mr Sullivan also advised that Church View cottages Llanbadoc had been subjected to flooding the previous night and expressed thanks to the council officer for visiting.  He also expressed thanks on behalf of Llanbadoc Community Council for the regeneration works undertaken in Usk.



Reducing Child Poverty and social inclusion and improve economic inclusion: Scrutiny of the Wales Audit Office Report and its recommendations pdf icon PDF 63 KB

Additional documents:


WAO report.


The report context was outlined, members being advised that from the 79 steps outlined in the Corporate Plan, the step on child poverty and economic inclusion had been chosen against which to apply the ‘sustainable development principle’.  The Well-being of Future Generations Act 2015 requires public bodies to apply the ‘sustainable development principle’ to their activities.  The Wales Audit Office (WAO) explained that the report had focussed on the application of the sustainable development principle in reducing child poverty and promoting economic inclusion, as opposed to conducting a review of how the council is performing in those areas. The WAO advised that this was the first review of its kind and that the application of the principle through the ‘long term’ lens had enabled them to assess how well the council was applying the requirements of the act.  The WAO reported that when they assess ‘long term’, they are looking to identify activities that span generations and to see evidence of plans for a 25-year timeframe. The primary finding was that the council has a good understanding if the requirements of the act and the key issues, but doesn’t have a sufficiently ‘long term’ plan in place.


The committee heard that the 5-year Social Justice Strategy will help to deliver a coordinated approach and that exploratory work is being undertaken by the Public Service Board to gain a deeper understanding of factors related to wellbeing. However, officers acknowledged that a key area for improvement is developing a long term approach and a means by which to meaningfully measure performance outcomes. Whilst there is no specific budget to deliver the Social Justice Strategy, grant funding opportunities are being explored that could assist in developing longer term interventions and we have positive collaborative arrangements.  For example, we are working with town and community councils and the business sector on initiatives to help alleviate holiday hunger. The Public Service Board also has established an Early Intervention Panel that can identify the most appropriate partners to help families. We need to access more innovative funding streams to do things differently.


The act applies different lenses to its requirements and one of the lenses is the ‘involvement lens’. The council recognises that it needs to work closely with communities in order to identify who needs more support to assist them out of poverty.   Officers advised that the council is developing its awareness around social isolation in rural and farming communities and is trying to identify the people for whom Brexit will have the most implications, acknowledging that links to its communities is crucial in developing the insight.  The Department for Work and Pensions is undertaking a piece of work around universal credit and how data can be used to target those who need the most support and the council is similarly focussing on how data can be used to gain a better understanding of who needs help.


The committee were advised that unlike other WAO reports, this report did not provide ‘proposals  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


Green Infrastructure Strategy: Pre-decision scrutiny of the strategy pdf icon PDF 121 KB

Additional documents:


Pre-decision Scrutiny of the Green Infrastructure Strategy


The committee were presented with the draft strategy which is due to be considered by Cabinet on 20th December 2019, full details contained within the presentation attached as Appendix 1.  The officer explained that the strategy is a live document which will be updated to reflect emerging priorities, but intends to provide an overarching framework for green infrastructure and provide a framework that will be helpful for stakeholders and the authority in managing the approach to green infrastructure.






·         We recognise there is a substantial element of volunteering which supports what you intend to achieve. Please can you expand on the volunteer base and how actions will be carried out to support this strategy? 

Volunteering is an integral element and is very much appreciated. The action plan is the critical part that will implement the strategy and needs the ownership of communities and the various groups involved.

·         You refer to the Gwent Levels project and we feel this is very important in terms of the success in implementing this. How deeply you are involved in partnership working with the project?

That is a very important point ~ we are highly involved. We lead on some of the key projects and the proposal is that the strategy will add value to the work of the Gwent Levels Project. The work is fully integrated and we know we are adding value. We are very sure of this and that makes it more rewarding.

·         Please can you explain how the funding streams work?

There wider project is grant funded through a combination of European Union funding monies and Heritage Lottery Funding and is centred around making the Gwent Levels a more attractive place to visit.  There are key elements on the natural environment and community involvement, volunteers and specific events. In the primary hubs, visitors will find some consistent information. Initially, some criteria are set, but then communities are able to input what is required to enhance it.  The projects delivered are legacy projects, for which funding can be sought.

·         We feel it’s vital that the public are aware of the project, even in areas such as the Brecon Beacons National Park. Do you ensure they are updated and can signpost visitors?

Yes, they were involved in the workshops and have inputted into the strategy and we work closely together.

·         We notice that other groups play their part and an example is Llanbadoc Community Council who have produced a good footpath leaflet and the work of their volunteers is to be commended.

Yes, we recognise the need to raise awareness, so the intention is to take the strategy to Cabinet and hopefully it will be approved and then we intend to produce some material to distribute within communities. 

·         How does this integrate with other policies?

This isn’t a separate planning policy, it is part of our overall framework, providing critical information at strategic level but also for the public who may  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


To confirm minutes of the previous meetings:


Approval of the Minutes of Previous Meetings


The minutes of the meetings on the10th September, the 26th September and 15th October were approved subject to amendments relating to attendance. The Scrutiny Manager will ask Democratic Services to check the attendance register and make the necessary adjustments.




Minutes of the Special Meeting held on 10th September 2019 pdf icon PDF 83 KB


The minutes were approved subject to the addition of apologies for absence from County Councillor J. Treharne, and the removal of Squires and N. Vincent from the list of Councillors present.


Minutes of the meeting held on 26th September 2019 pdf icon PDF 86 KB


The minutes were approved subject to the removal of County Councillor J. Pratt from the list of Committee Members as she was in attendance in her capacity as Cabinet Member.


Minutes of the meeting held on 15th October 2019 pdf icon PDF 119 KB


Strong Communities forward work programme pdf icon PDF 293 KB


The Forward Work Programme was received.


Cabinet & Council forward work programme pdf icon PDF 298 KB


The Cabinet and Council Forward Work Programme was received.


Date and time of next meeting to be confirmed