Agenda and minutes

Public Services Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday, 1st March, 2023 10.00 am

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


No. Item


Declarations of Interest




Public Open Forum

Select Committee Public Open Forum ~ Guidance


Our Select 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


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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 Select Committee meeting.  All representations received will be made available to councillors prior to the meeting.

If you would like to suggest future topics for scrutiny by one of our Select Committees, please do so by emailing



No submissions were received.


Draft Gwent Wellbeing Plan pdf icon PDF 278 KB

Consultation with the Scrutiny Committee on the draft Gwent Well-being Plan following feedback from the committee at its last meeting.

Additional documents:


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?

Officer Response:

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  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


Stagecoach Bus Services

Invitation to Stagecoach to attend to discuss service provision in Monmouthshire.


The chair advised that unfortunately Stagecoach had declined to attend meetings of the Public Services Scrutiny Committee.  The Chair advised that as the Scrutiny Committee’s role was to serve the community, with Stagecoach are providing services to the community, it was very disappointing that they weren’t willing to have an open conversation about the challenges being faced by a commercial provider in providing transport in a rural county amidst decreasing funding by Welsh Government. It was noted that Stagecoach was happy to answer any questions in writing and the committee agreed that they will pursue this option.

The Transport Manager for Monmouthshire Council advised members that there were both short and long-term issues with transport provision, the short-term issue being that the additional funding provided to them by Welsh Government during the pandemic to fund services was due to end and the longer-term issue being that Monmouthshire as a rural county had transport concerns even prior to the pandemic. The officer agreed to prepare a report for a future committee meeting to inform the Committee so that they could subsequently convey their concerns to Stagecoach in writing (Action: Christian Schmidt).



Hate Crime in Monmouthshire

Discuss the data for Monmouthshire.


The Community Safety Team presented the data for hate crimes committed in Monmouthshire, highlighting that:

·         There has been a slight decrease reported hate crime this year on comparisons with last year.

·         Our data shows fewer reported crimes in comparison with neighbouring authorities

·         In terms of the areas where the crimes are taking place, there is an even spread across the county.

Officers provided additional context to the figures given, explaining that they are relative to the overall population figures in each of the counties, so for example, whilst the population of Monmouthshire is 93k and Torfaen is 92.3k, our reported hate crime numbers are half of those reported in Torfaen, despite having similar population levels and in comparison with the other Gwent authorities, our numbers are relatively low.

The Community Safety Team explained that monthly meetings are held with a wide range of partners, ranging from education, safeguarding, police, probation, the South Wales Ambulance Trust and many others and that the Police haven’t highlighted hate crime to be an emerging issue. Also at their weekly meetings with crime and reduction officers, it hasn’t been raised as a concern. They acknowledged however that the data lone does not give the full picture, due to underreporting of hate crime due to fear of retribution and a lack of awareness as to what constitutes a hate crime. They advised that an awareness event is due to be held for taxi drivers, who may be experiencing hate crime but are not aware of the need to report it or how to report it. They also explained that hate crime often doesn’t sit on its own but sits alongside other offences.


I am interested in how we can evolve the conversation around this and increase awareness as well as gain more specific context as to where incidences are happening.

If the figures only show the hate crimes that have been reported and we know some people are not reporting, then we don’t have a full picture. What are we doing with schools to ensure they are reporting it?

We work with schools on the bullying agenda and how they record incidences and hate is one of the categories, so we can work with schools to understand what is happening and support them in tackling it. 

Do you think there is significant underreporting of hate crime, in your opinion?

It’s difficult to say that specifically about hate crime, as you could argue there is underreporting with all crime. When we speak to the community, we ask if they are speaking to the police about incidences and they ask “what’s the point?” so public engagement with the police feels like a theme. The data presented is merely showing the people who had the courage to report it, so the chances are that hate crime is very underreported.

I understand that people may be frightened and want to be anonymous. If you look at other areas like Newport, that are more culturally diverse, it would be interesting  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Public Services Scrutiny Committee Forward Work Programme and Action List pdf icon PDF 351 KB

Additional documents:


The work programme was noted and invitations for the next meeting were agreed for County Lines and Hate Crime. 



Cabinet and Council Work Planner pdf icon PDF 265 KB





Minutes of the previous meeting held on 28th November 2022 pdf icon PDF 341 KB


The minutes of the previous meeting were agreed.



To note the date and time of the next meeting: 24th April 2023


24th April 2024