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Agenda and minutes
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Venue: Multi-Locational Meeting - Penallta House and Via Microsoft Teams. View directions
Contact: Joanne Thomas
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.
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.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.