Agenda item

To consider the Select Committee's forward work programme.


Given that Public Services is a new committee, there is an opportunity to look beyond simply scrutinising the work of the PSB. Different work streams have been considered, including scrutinising the RPBs and Shared Resource Service. There is also the opportunity to call in partners who receive public money, and the precept. Any services which are delivered jointly, which don’t neatly fall into the remits of other Select Committees would merit being placed under this committee. Matthew Gatehouse, Head of Policy and Governance, responded to the members’ questions:

Regarding organisations in receipt of the precept – the Police and Crime Commissioner, for example – could clarification be given around this?

It doesn’t give us more powers to scrutinise any partners than we currently have. In reshaping the committee it’s that statement of intent, that a great deal of activity happens in the footprint of Monmouthshire, which currently is not effectively scrutinised by the elected politicians who are tasked with representing the communities and people of Monmouthshire. Historically, we have not had the powers to scrutinise all public services, and we still don’t. Nonetheless, there is a lot of collaborative activity that happens on this footprint, and there are a lot of issues raised with the Members as ward representatives where, potentially, further opportunities to scrutinise would be beneficial. The other aspect is that we’re increasingly seeing activity undertaken collaboratively, and through different vehicles. We’re expecting an announcement fairly soon about Corporate Joint Committees as part of the new Local Government Elections bill, which could see the emergence of new delivery vehicles for certain services. This committee gives us the opportunity to ensure that those don’t fall through the cracks of the other committees.

Are there concrete examples of this collaboration, and of a positive impact being achieved as a result?

The original purpose of this committee was to hold the Public Services Board to account for its activity. The first phase of that work was focused on the processes and mechanisms of undertaking the wellbeing assessments: gathering the evidence, and producing the plan. One of the challenges for that has been that scrutiny has largely been on process because the challenges the PSB was looking at are those complex issues that don’t necessarily have immediate short-term solutions. If we knew exactly how to solve them, we would already be doing them within our own organisation. It’s too early to speak of impacts yet, but some of the work we’re starting to see emerge are collaborative endeavours such as the joint work on the promotion of the agenda around VAWDASV. There’s been involvement from Aneurin Bevan Health Board on the work of the Early Help panel, which is a multi-agency partnership and one of the PSB priorities. But in terms of outcomes, we’re not going to see the impact of that for many years, if not generations. We’re looking at long-term issues, and there are not many measurable outcomes yet that have come before this committee.

There’s still a concern though that there is rhetoric involved with the PSB – it would be good to see some metrics at some point.

Yes, that is a fair challenge. The broader remit of this committee doesn’t preclude it from identifying some of those areas within the wellbeing plan, and asking for reports and updates so that metrics can be seen, and officers (not just from Monmouthshire County Council) can be held to account. In the last 12-15 months, this committee has had presentations from the lead agencies for the six areas that the PSB has prioritised in its wellbeing plan. That work continues, so the committee can add any of those matters to its work programme at any point. The terms of reference have been revised and broadened because there were a lot of matters which the PSB legally discharges the duty for, which weren’t coming to this committee. Today’s topic of VAWDASV is one such example.

As an example of a topic for which the PSB has responsibilities, in terms of Future Generations, where does the Climate Emergency sit? And what about other pieces which are delivered in partnership?

The Council’s declaration of a Climate Emergency (back in May 2019), and the resultant action plan which was devised, sits within the remit of the Strong Communities Select Committee. Given the increase in extreme weather impacts and desire from the public for action in the three years since the wellbeing plan was published, the PSB has asked officers to escalate its work; National Resources Wales have the lead on that. That work would therefore sit very well with this committee, as that’s the collaborative activity.


Supporting documents: