Decision details

Decision details


Decision Maker: Performance Scrutiny Committee

Decision status: Recommendations Approved


The Lead Member for Corporate Strategy, Policy and Equalities, Councillor Julie Matthews introduced the report to provide an update on the Corporate Risk Register Review, September 2022.


The Corporate Risk Register was developed and owned by the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) and Cabinet.  It was reviewed twice every year by Cabinet at Cabinet Briefing.


Following each review, the revised register was presented at Performance Scrutiny Committee, and once every year, to Corporate Governance and Audit Committee.  Officers explained each Committee’s different role and focus in relation to the Risk Register.


The Strategic Planning and Performance Officer, Emma Horan, summarised the risks within the report as follows -

·         Risk 01: The risk of a serious safeguarding or practice error, where the Council had responsibility, resulting in serious harm or death, had increased in both its inherent score (A1 – Critical Risk Almost certain / Very high impact) and residual score (A1 – Critical Risk Almost certain / Very high impact). The risk score had been increased on the basis of an assessment that the chance of this occurring was currently higher than it was previously.  Although the Council did not regard the likelihood as “almost certain to occur in most circumstances” (which was the definition of Risk Likelihood A in the authority’s risk methodology), the risk had certainly increased.  It therefore felt appropriate to increase the Risk Likelihood score, this meant increasing it from B to A.  Increasing the risk score enabled the risk to be further prioritised and escalated, which felt appropriate and necessary at this time.

It was noted that the Corporate Executive Team (CET) had undertaken a review of Risk 01.   CET were to review this risk monthly, and Cabinet would be receiving a verbal update every month at Cabinet Briefing.

·         Risk 12: The risk of a significantly negative report(s) from external regulators. The risk score had increased to C3 – Moderate Risk: Possible / Medium Impact.

·         Risk 36: The risk that the economic and financial environment worsened beyond current expectations, and had a detrimental impact on local businesses and economic hardship for the local community. The inherent and residual scores had been increased.

·         Risk 43: The risk that the Council did not have the funds or resources to meet its statutory obligations under the Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Act 2018. The proposal highlighted in the September 2022 review was to de-escalate this risk for it to be managed by Children’s and Education Services – had been agreed by Cabinet at Cabinet Briefing on November 14, 2022.

·         Risk 44: The risk of Ash Dieback Disease (ADB) in Denbighshire leading to significant health and safety issues that represented a potential risk to life. The risk owner was now the Head of Planning, Public Protection and Countryside Services. On the basis of better intelligence, inherent and residual risk scores had decreased (but remained outside the council’s risk appetite).

·         Risk 47: The risk that the new North Wales Corporate Joint Committee (CJC) resulted in the Council having less influence and control at a local level.  The proposal was to de-escalate this risk for it to be managed by Service(s). The proposal highlighted in the September 2022 review - to de-escalate this risk for it to be managed by Legal, HR and Democratic Services – had been agreed by Cabinet at Cabinet Briefing on November 14, 2022.


During discussions the following points were made –

·         The cumulative impact of recruitment and retention issues in social care was significantly impacting on the Council’s ability to deliver statutory social care functions.  There was a national recruitment and retention crisis in social care.  Social care frequently lost staff due to the superior pay and conditions offered by recruitment agencies, other local authorities and the Health Board, often for similar but less demanding roles. Social Care services were often only able to replace experienced staff with newly qualified or inexperienced workers that required significant support and were unable to independently work with the increasingly complex cases referred to the service. Many new starters were younger, newly qualified staff and rates of maternity leave in some teams were high.  The impact of Covid-19 was a significant movement of the workforce away from social care and health.  Fewer social workers were entering the profession than were leaving. The market was extremely competitive and there was no national pay structure in place in the sector.

At the same time, caseloads were increasing and becoming more complex.  There was a risk of people not being supported, or not being seen with the right intensity.  This was impacting social care services’ ability to deliver its statutory responsibilities which was placing increased pressure on staff and negatively impacting their well-being and causing increased levels of unplanned absence.  To support discussion of the risk register, officers from Community Support Services and Children’s Services presented a short overview on the number of roles within various teams and some information about vacancies. It was requested that, in future, detailed information about staffing and vacancies within social care teams be split as to Adults and Children’s Services. The issue of recruitment and retention was a nationwide problem.  The problem was outside the control of the Local Authority.  Meetings with Welsh and UK Governments had taken place to discuss the concerns and how the risk had escalated. Internal meetings were taking place involving CET, the Leader and Lead Members. There had been some future movement on a draft memorandum, which was being led by Social Care Wales.  Children’s Services and Adult Services officers outlined the procedures and timescales which they abided by when they received referrals into their Services.  They also outlined all methods that they had utilised to try and recruit workers at all levels and the good working relationships they had with local schools, colleges and universities.  National terms and conditions was a matter within the gift of the WG, who had established a forum to explore the potential of establishing national terms and conditions.

  • Risk 45 – the risk that the Council failed to become a net carbon zero and ecologically positive council by 2030.   As the risk was B2 – Critical Risk: Likely/High, members asked whether robust arrangements were in place to ensure we meet the target Officers explained that we have committed to reviewing our programme after two years to map benefits against resources. This review will provide evidence as to whether, based on the effort we have put in and the progress made to date, we are on track to meet our 2030 target.

·         Risk 36 – the risk that the economic and financial environment worsened beyond current expectations, and had a detrimental impact on local businesses and economic hardship for the local community.  Members asked how the North Wales Economic Ambition Board (NWEAB) was assisting with this.  It was confirmed that a report on the NWEAB’s activities and performance was submitted to Partnerships Scrutiny Committee on a quarterly basis.  If members felt that the NWEAB merited being invited to attend Scrutiny earlier than its annual visit a proposal form should be submitted for the Scrutiny Chairs and Vice-Chairs to assess.

·         Members asked officers to consider ways of presenting a risk summary, which could include trend information and coloured statuses, as part of discussions about the presentation of performance information. We will seek Member input through future reports.


At this juncture, thanks were extended to the Strategic Planning and Performance Team Leader and the Strategic Planning and Performance Officer for their detailed report and presentation and to the Lead Member and Social Services officers for their detailed response to the questions raised.


At the conclusion of an in-depth analysis and discussion the Committee:


Resolved:  - subject to the above observations –


(i)   having discussed the risks, scores and controls included in the Corporate Risk Register (Appendix 1), including the status of each risk against the Council’s Risk Appetite Statement (Appendix 2), and accepting the verbal update provided on recent changes to the risk appetite statement, to receive and endorse the information provided; and

(ii) request that members who have particular concerns about specific risks contained in the Corporate Risk Register along with the controls in place to manage those risks escalate them for detailed examination via the submission of a Member Scrutiny Proposal form to the Scrutiny Chairs and Vice-Chairs Group.


Publication date: 24/11/2022

Date of decision: 24/11/2022

Decided at meeting: 24/11/2022 - Performance Scrutiny Committee

Accompanying Documents: