Council and democracy > Agenda and minutes

Agenda and minutes

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Contact: Joanne Thomas 

No. Item




The Chair reminded those present that the meeting was being live-streamed and a recording would be made available to view via the Council’s website, except for discussions involving confidential or exempt items. Click Here to View. 





Apologies for absence were received from Councillors, D. T. Davies, N. Dix, C. Elsbury, C. Gordon, D. Harse, M. James, L. Jeremiah, B. Owen, T. Parry, D. Price, J. Rao, J. Reed, S. Skivens and C. Wright.




Councillors and Officers are reminded of their personal responsibility to declare any personal and/or prejudicial interest(s) in respect of any item of business on this agenda in accordance with the Local Government Act 2000, the Council’s Constitution and the Code of Conduct for both Councillors and Officers.


No declarations were received.




Additional documents:


Following an introduction from the Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance, Committee Members received a presentation from the Business Improvement Manager. Members were given an overview on the statutory requirement for the Council to carry out a process of self-assessment. This was undertaken via the Performance Management  Framework and a key component was the Corporate Performance Assessment.


One Member requested a response to the increase in sickness days, breaches of data requests and asked if there were sufficient resources in areas receiving the most number of complaints such as refuse collection, recycling and highway maintenance. The Cabinet highlighted that the pandemic had an impact on staff absence due to sickness. The Corporate Director for Education and Corporate Services also advised that a report had come before the Policy and Resources Scrutiny Committee outlining a series of measures designed to improve the situation regarding sickness rates. The Head of People Services outlined the national nature of increased sickness levels and provided assurances that is was being reviewed alongside other Local Authorities and external partners. On the issue of sufficient resources, the Corporate Director for Economy and Environment observed that some areas had adequate funding but others did not. Members also heard about problems with recruitment to certain positions.


A Member asked for more information on the effects of the Well-being Initiative, requested figures based on gender for those appointed to high positions within the Council, questioned if outside appointments were made for such roles and queried whether the Council was actually responsible for some of the achievements in the report or was just claiming credit for the work of others. The Corporate Director for Education and Corporate Services advised that putting all the information contained within Directorate Performance Assessments into one report would produce too lengthy a document for one meeting. Members heard how information on issues such as gender balance did form part of the Directorate Performance Assessment. The Director suggested that a Member Seminar be organised so that the full range of information could be assessed. The Corporate Director for Social Services and Housing provided assurances that the achievement raised by the Member related to additional income brought about due to the intervention of Council staff. On the issue of recruitment the Head of People Services assured Members that appointments were made on both an internal and external basis and that the process was based on the Council’s Safer Recruitment procedure.


One Member welcomed the report but questioned the objectivity as it was a self-assessment. The Corporate Director for Education and Corporate Services reiterated that the report was a snapshot and that a future Seminar would allow Members to drill down more deeply into all corporate priorities. The Business Improvement Manager also highlighted that an independent panel review fed into the assessment process.


A Committee Member asked if there were any comparisons with other Local Authorities. The Business Improvement Manager observed that making comparisons was challenging as the Welsh Government had suspended data reporting to maximise resources during the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.



Additional documents:


Following an introduction from the Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance, Committee Members received a presentation from the Corporate Policy Manager. Members were given an overview of the statutory requirements and key points from the Self-Assessment Report were also highlighted.


One Member asked why grant funding was underspent and also enquired if grant money received is now being spent on the intended uses or had it been returned. The Head of Financial Services and S151 Officer outlined that the underspend related to money received specifically during the pandemic such as the Covid-19 hardship fund which had now ceased. So, it was money which had been directed at addressing Covid-19 challenges rather than funding which had not been spent. Members heard how no grant money had been returned. The Member also sought clarification on a sentence under Equalities and Welsh Language and suggested the report is properly proof-read before publication. A further question on the low level of Welsh learners was also put to officers. The Head of Transformation outlined how the paragraph in question would be checked for clarity and the whole document would be test checked again. On the issue of Welsh learners, the officer advised that the training programme was relaunched following the pandemic and would offer courses ranging from beginner to advanced learner. The Corporate Policy Manager added that the Council also offered confidence building classes to encourage staff to use existing Welsh skills.


A Member highlighted the projected occupancy rate of less than 40% at Ty Penallta over the coming years and asked about future usage. He believed that some of the space could be used to help the homeless. The Corporate Director for Education and Corporate Services highlighted a section of the report that referred to the opportunity to rationalise the Council’s estate and therefore reduce associated expenditure such as rent, heating and lighting. Members heard how due to the Agile Working Policy it would be possible to increase occupancy at Ty Penallta above 45% as part of a review of what happens to outlying buildings.


One Member observed that the Voluntary Sector should be included as part of partnership working towards a single public estate. On the issue of equality, the Member highlighted that many elderly residents did not access online services, and this should be factored into future planning. The Member also queried the running of food cooperatives as depicted in the report as she felt the role of voluntary organisations had been overlooked. On the issue of working with the Voluntary Sector the Corporate Policy Manager advised that the current policy on the development of Community Hubs involved partnership working with this sector. The officer also stressed that the Council acknowledged that not everyone was digitally enabled and therefore face-to-face services would also be available in the Hubs. The Corporate Policy Manager also observed that she would check the wording of the food cooperatives section of the self-assessment. The Member also raised hospital discharge challenges due to a lack of adequate  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.