Agenda item

Monmouthshire County Council Self-Assessment 2021-2022 - To scrutinise the Council's performance during 2021-2022 against the goals outlined in the Corporate Plan 2017-2022, agreeing any areas for future scrutiny


Richard Jones presented the report and answered the members’ questions with Matthew Gatehouse and Emma Davies.




In the work to reduce our carbon footprint and waste, is there scope for looking towards new behaviours, e.g., soaps instead of gels, emphasis on non-use rather than recycling, the understanding that plastics ultimately come from oil? Has that been considered?


We declared a Climate Emergency and put together a related Action Plan, but the report recognises that there is more to do; we are looking towards how to achieve more with our resources. The member has given some excellent suggestions for us to follow.


How are Area Committees doing, and what is their setup? Is there feedback from communities about how MCC is doing?


The key thing to recognise is that they haven’t been meeting recently. There have been a number of evaluations of them in recent years. Cabinet Member Fookes will commence a piece of work on public participation soon that will incorporate work with the area committees.


Is there a difference between this version 1.0 and the 2.0 circulated for G&A committee next week?


There haven’t been major changes between 1.0 and 2.0, it is more about reflecting that this report looks back on 21-22. Finalisation of some data and evidence has continued, and some performance indicators have been updated. One significant change is the addition of timescales to action plans. The vast majority of conclusions and detail are unchanged. We can set out the changes subsequently e.g., in the report that will go to council in September. For clarity, a ‘.0’ is used when something is in the public domain, and even a minor change can see something updated from Version 1.0 to 2.0.


Do we capture staff feedback to understand the nuances of the collaboration between local authority, Social Care departments and Health?


We are very proud of our record of joint working between Health and Social Care, which goes back to 2005-6. There are clearly huge challenges in this interface. Feedback is captured in the professional supervision that social workers and others have with their immediate managers, which then informs the conclusions that the Chief Officer for Social Care puts together in their annual report. There are sometimes sensitivities, and this is how we would see that information coming through. The Care Inspectorate Wales report, produced at the end of 2021, might be useful: a lot of work was done with staff and there was a lot of feedback from them noted in it.


Do we review the questions in the Social Services user questionnaire before it is issued to ensure that we’re asking the right things?

These are national questions. The design has been informed by involvement from service areas themselves, our performance team and customer relations team. It is a long-standing survey of Adult Social Care users, giving us a rich picture of trends and changes – in suggesting any changes we have to be mindful of how that would affect our ability to monitor trends over time. There is an emphasis on how we use qualitative information to inform our performance framework as well as metrics and performance measures. All of the evidence comes together in the Chief Officer for Social Care’s report, which might come to this committee in due course.


The focus includes agreed outcomes but there is little explicitly assessing the impacts on residents and communities. Would it be a stronger assessment if this was included?


The self-assessment is ultimately about the effect on communities. As we develop the report further, we will look at how we strengthen when we assess the delivery of a service or policy priority, specifically demonstrating the ultimate impact that it will have on the service user – and throughout the report, not just separately at the end. The second aspect is involvement i.e., the views of residents and service users via engagement etc., especially with the duty in the act to strengthen that involvement.


Under Goal A, the rise in the percentage of Year 11 NEETs is a concern, having gone up from 0.4% to 2%. Can you comment on that?


Yes, the rise is important, albeit a relatively small number. The Employment & Skills team has more granular detail about the children’s experiences and outcomes, and are working with them to support them into education and training opportunities. They would be best placed to comment further.


The 20mph scheme seems like the single measure in Goal C for keeping roads and areas safe? What other options might there be e.g., speed ramps, cameras, a greater enforcement of measures?


20mph is one measure but there is a range of issues to ensure road safety. We need to consider a range of factors as to whether we’ve been successful. There was a lot of work previously in a task and finish group under another scrutiny committee, and a policy is going to come to the Place Committee. So, there will be the opportunity to scrutinise some of the detail before the policy is adopted but there isn’t detail to hand today.


Chair’s Summary:


The committee welcomes the report in terms of providing valuable context for new members and assisting the committee in the development of its forward work programme. The committee acknowledges a rise in the number of young people not in employment or education and are advised that there is a strategy in place which may be of further interest to the committee. Members advocate the need for the council to have demonstrable climate reduction plans across all services. The committee will await the development of the new Corporate Plan which will be brought to the committee for pre-decision scrutiny in due course and suggests that consideration be made as to how resident feedback and response could be built more strongly into the outcomes. The recommendations were moved and agreed.


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