Agenda item

Pre-decision Scrutiny of the Public Service Board Annual Report


Richard Jones and Sharran Lloyd presented the report and answered the members’ questions with Matthew Gatehouse.




Are these established objectives likely to be carried forward to the new regional objectives?


The alignment between local and regional is clear. Our priorities are informed by our local data and evidence, which has helped to inform the regional plan. The themes that they are looking at are completely aligned to those that we have in Monmouthshire.


Can members signpost people to the social workers performing triage in the community?


There is an email address, which will need to be supplied later, for a central point to which people can be referred.


In the table on p9, what are the criteria for the identification of links between these steps? Do ACEs have an intergenerational link?


This brings up an important point about Integration, one of the 5 ways of working set out in the Future Generations Act. The table quickly demonstrates how a particular step might contribute to, or work alongside, another step, so that work isn’t being done in isolation. Taking the ACEs example, mental health is a very important part of the underlying causes. So, the leads of those steps should work together to maximise the contribution that they can make to improving wellbeing in that area. That then runs through the rest of that table, trying to show the most significant integrations.


How do the icons relate to the 4 Objectives?


A key will be added in to make it clearer. It’s to succinctly show integration between the goals at a higher level than steps. Behind this work there will be more detailed plans about that integration and how it works.


Is there anything that can be done at an adult level, before adverse experiences for children are created?


This year the PSB endorsed an early years transformation programme. Also, as part of the ACEs step in this Wellbeing plan, we have been looking at the first 1000 days, thinking about the formative years from pregnancy to starting school. It hasn’t been fully referenced in this report but will come through in the work going forward.


Is there scope to look at doing something to benefit fledgling businesses, local entrepreneurs struggling to get a foothold in Chepstow, particularly following Covid and given the town’s large business rates and rents?


This is probably not relevant to this committee or this particular report, despite being of great importance.


How will we identify and deliver the government’s pledge to deliver 50% affordable housing on all new sites? How are we working towards filling empty homes and addressing homelessness?


The PSB focusses on collaborative things i.e. challenges that a single agency couldn’t consider in isolation. Therefore, most of the work concerning town centres sits with MCC as a single agency, so wouldn’t normally be looked at by the PSB. Housing becomes more of an issue across multiple partners; for example, there is a role for Natural Resources Wales when considering the problem of phosphates and housing sites.


Under Objective 3, is there an opportunity to look at role-modelling behaviours e.g. going plastic-free in County Hall, and culture change targets in schools?


This is very important. There is already no plastic in County Hall, due to an earlier initiative, and there are numerous initiatives in our towns to work with businesses to reduce the use of single-use plastics, though these haven’t yet reached full fruition. Through the PSB we need to get all public service bodies to commit to this.


What does Monmouthshire get out of the Cardiff Capital Region?


Essentially, CCR is a collaboration across 10 local authorities to raise the economic output of the region as a whole. Economic benefit in one part of south Wales will tend to benefit all parts, especially as most people don’t live and work in one county. If we can raise prosperity in the region as a whole, then all parts benefit. but further detail would rest with the joint scrutiny committee which is in place for the CCR.


MCC is looking at the environmental impact of people commuting out of county, has bringing larger businesses into areas of southern Monmouthshire been considered?


Certain industries naturally sit in certain areas but Monmouthshire does have high levels of out-commuting. One of the challenges there is public transport. Under the CCR, the huge investment in the South Wales Metro should make it easier for people to move around the region. One of the challenges for the CCR is how communities such as Monmouthshire can access and benefit from it. Tied in is the development of remote working and ensuring that our communities have access to high-speed broadband.


How do town and community councils share best practice? Why aren’t Magor and Undy included?


There is fantastic learning from the town and community councils. We are in the process of strengthening how we collaborate with them. We are strengthening their role, establishing quarterly meetings to share best practice and provide more information than previously. They are required to report how they have delivered against our objectives, with the work done under their autonomy to align to the needs of the county. Magor and Undy aren’t under the duties of the legislation to report against this plan – only the 4 town councils are currently required under the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act. But we still link with them in the Partnership space and keep the relationships going. There’s a financial threshold for being covered by the Act: town and community councils with an annual turnover of £100k or more.


Why does the order of the list of towns change throughout the report?


The running order is probably just an error.


Under ‘How are we doing’, is quoting the ONS average for national wellbeing measures useful?


The ONS data is included to try to demonstrate the effect on personal wellbeing. Although Monmouthshire is very diverse it helps to give us some context by comparing the county to Wales and the UK. But we do need a deeper understanding, which is where the updated Wellbeing Assessment comes in, looking at Gwent, Monmouthshire, and Monmouthshire’s 5 areas in detail. The data available at the more local level isn’t as comprehensive as that at county level but we also undertook an engagement exercise to ask residents about their areas to supplement this. The assessment should help the committee to understand the strengths and weaknesses and will be used to inform the next Wellbeing Plan at Gwent level as well as our more local activities; within that we have identified key emerging issues.


Is the reason for percentages to fit in with the national survey for Wales and/or DEFRA?


Yes, in those cases we are using data from the Welsh Government survey and other available statistics. But indicators are used cautiously in cases of small sample sizes, for example.


Under Objective 3, is JBA Consulting looking at everything related to the list of project objectives? Is there an Action Plan? When might it be completed?


JBA were used to look at some of the PSB objectives on Climate Change and Decarbonisation. They were tasked with writing a report on how to raise our level of ambition across Gwent and what steps can be taken as a PSB to demonstrate our own commitments. They came up with things like sharing fleets and buildings, sharing technology to reduce the carbon footprint. JBA’s work was handed to PSB partners to progress and taken through the Environment Partnership Board, chaired by NRW. There will be an action plan, though the full details aren’t to hand, but some of the things are more difficult than might be imagined e.g. to share desk booking across different organisations, the systems need to be able to talk to each other. So, more work needs to be done to carry the ideas forward in practice. The committee can be given an update on the current state of the proposed actions.


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