Venue: The Council Chamber, County Hall, The Rhadyr, Usk, NP15 1GA and remote attendance
Declarations of Interest
The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting, particularly the members of the public who had attended to take part in the Public Open Forum. She asked the Scrutiny Manager to briefly explain the call-in process that would be followed at the meeting.
The Context for the Call-in:
The meeting had been scheduled to debate a decision that had been made but had not taken effect. On 30th November, a decision had been made to decommission the property on Tudor Street as an accommodation base for day support services for adults with learning disabilities in the north of Monmouthshire. The decision had not affected the ongoing provision of the service that had been operating throughout the pandemic. The strategic direction for learning disability services had been in place since 2014, seeking to support people with a learning disability to pursue their individual interests and aspirations within community settings. This had led to a reduction in the number of people accessing Tudor Street Day Centre and a gradual reduction in opening hours before it closed temporarily in 2020. A wider review of the service was underway, and it had been determined that the building on Tudor Street was no longer fit for purpose and could be sold.
The decision had been called in to be scrutinised by the People Scrutiny Committee in accordance with the Council’s Constitution the reasons given being:
· “There has been no scrutiny and it was not included on the planner”.
The Chair explained that the Committee would hear from members of the public before beginning the Call-in Process. Whilst the scrutiny process usually allowed for a 15-minute Public Open Forum, given the significant interest in speaking at the meeting, the Chair advised that the Public Open Forum would be extended to enable anyone who had notified the Council of their wish to speak in advance of the meeting to be able to do so.
Public Open Forum
The recording of the meeting is publicly available and provides the individual views expressed by the public at the meeting. In addition, a detailed report would be prepared following the scrutiny meeting to provide a full account of the substantial public contributions to the meeting, to be tabled to Council on 19th January 2023, Report of the Chair of People Scrutiny Committee Call-in of Tudor Day Centre Decision.pdf (monmouthshire.gov.uk) . The following are views expressed by members of the public. The minutes cannot comment on the accuracy of any of the statements, which have been summarised under headings for reference.
What People suggested Tudor Street Day Centre offered them
How People reported feeling about the Day Centre’s closure
To consider a ‘Call-In’ request for the Individual Cabinet Member Decision taken on 30th November 2022 in relation to use of the property located in Tudor Street ahead of the outcomes of the wider review of My Day My Life Services which is currently being undertaken.
The Chair asked the members who had called in the decision to present their reasons for calling in the decision, as stated previously.
Key points raised by the ‘Call-in Members’
Members who had called in the decision raised their concerns relating to the lack of pre-decision scrutiny. They questioned the quality and robustness of the integrated impact assessment, and they expressed their concern about the thoroughness of the consultation process undertaken with service users.
The Chair asked the Committee for questions and views.
Key points raised by the Committee Members
Members spoke at length on their views on the matter but highlighted that Tudor Street Day Centre wasn’t viewed by the public as just a building or a facility, but as a community, a community that people felt was being taken away from them. A committee member highlighted how day centres provide much more than a building and stated that the needs of people are far more important than the achieving of housing targets or the realising of a financial gain.
The Chair advised that she would sum up the formal outcome of the Call-in meeting.
The Chair advised the Committee that they had three options available to them, which were:
1) To accept the decision
2) To refer the decision to the Cabinet Member for reconsideration (with reasons)
3) To refer the decision to full Council
The Committee asked for a recorded vote on the above options, the result as follows:
Councillor Rachel Buckler: Refer to full Council
Councillor Maureen Powell: Refer to full Council
Councillor Jane Lucas (for C Edwards): Refer to full Council
Councillor Jayne Mckenna: Refer to full Council
Councillor John Crook: Refer to full Council
Councillor Tony Easson: Refer to the Cabinet Member
Councillor Jackie Strong: Refer to the Cabinet Member
Councillor David Jones: Refer to full Council
Councillor Sue Riley: Refer to the Cabinet Member
agreed to refer the decision for reconsideration, following a recorded vote:
Following the recorded vote, the majority agreed to refer the decision to full council, giving the following reason:
Much greater clarity is needed on future provision. Robust engagement needs to be undertaken with service users and thorough pre-decision scrutiny should be conducted prior to any decision-making.
To confirm the date of the next meeting as 26th January 2023.