Agenda and draft minutes

Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Conference Room 1A, County Hall, Ruthin

No. Item





To elect the Committee’s Vice-Chair for the municipal year 2019/20 (copy of the role description for Scrutiny Member and Chair/Vice-Chair attached)


In accordance with the Council’s Constitution, nominations were requested for the office of Vice-Chair of the Partnerships Scrutiny Committee.


Councillor Rhys Thomas nominated Councillor Emrys Wynne, seconded by Councillor Jeanette Chamberlain-Jones.


RESOLVED that Councillor Emrys Wynne be appointed Vice-Chair of Partnerships Scrutiny Committee for the ensuing year.




Members to declare any personal or prejudicial interests in any business identified to be considered at this meeting.






Notice of items which, in the opinion of the Chair, should be considered at the meeting as a matter of urgency pursuant to Section 100B(4) of the Local Government Act 1972.


No urgent matters had been raised.




To receive the minutes of the Partnerships Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 4 April 2019 (copy attached)


The minutes of the Partnerships Scrutiny Committee held on 4 April 2019 were submitted.


Matters Arising – Page 10, Item 5 Denbigh Infirmary – the Chair suggested that the eight options put forward should be separated to ensure there was no confusion and that these were eight separate options.


Councillor Emrys Wynne suggested that part of the translation be amended as the wording was incorrect.  For clarity in the Welsh version the final word of the second paragraph ‘sef’, should form the final part of the preceding sentence, “...gwasanaethau yn yr Ysbyty, sef:”


Page 11 – Item 5 - The Head of Community Support Services confirmed that a meeting between Denbighshire County Council and Grŵp Cynefin was to take place in the next 14 days to discuss the future vision for health and social care provision in Denbigh.


RESOLVED that, subject to the above, the minutes of the Partnerships Scrutiny Committee, held on 4 April 2019, be received and confirmed as a correct record.




To consider a joint report by the Principal Manager and Service Manager:  Community Support Services (copy attached) seeking the Committee’s views and support for the Council’s corporate approach towards preventing homelessness


10.10am – 10.45am

Additional documents:


The Lead Member for Well-being and Independence introduced the report and appendices (previously circulated) the purpose of which was to outline the progress made to date with the new corporate approach to dealing with homelessness in the county.  The report included the new draft Corporate Homelessness Action Plan along with details of the recent restructure of the Homelessness Prevention Team which formed part of the Council’s Community Support Services.  Also detailed in the report was the Council’s corporate approach towards preventing homelessness, providing emergency/temporary accommodation to individuals and families who presented themselves as homeless, and how the Council then worked to move those in emergency/temporary accommodation on to long-term sustainable housing solutions.  During her introduction the Lead Member emphasised that homelessness was an increasing problem across Wales and as a result the Welsh Government (WG), similar to Denbighshire and other local authorities, had identified the need to address the matter as a priority. 


The Lead Member explained that part of Denbighshire’s solution for addressing homelessness issues involved the establishment of a partnership with Conwy County Borough Council to trial a pilot project across both counties called Housing First.  Details of the project were contained in Appendix 6 to the report.  Grant funding from the WG’s Housing First Trailblazers fund, totalling £330K, had been awarded to the pilot project which had resulted in the establishment of a new team to assist homeless people with high and complex needs.  The Team’s aim was to ensure people were settled as quickly as possible into their own home and provided with the relevant support.  Support would be available to them for as long as they needed it in order for them to be able to sustain their tenancy.  Evidence gathered from across the UK and other parts of the world indicated that this type of innovative approach had the potential to deliver a sustainable way out of homelessness, improve health and well-being and enable social integration.  Housing First in Conwy and Denbighshire expected to welcome its first tenants before the end of July 2019. 


Denbighshire’s decision to adopt a corporate approach towards tackling homelessness and appointing a Corporate Director to lead that work underlined its commitment to reducing the number of individuals and families presenting themselves as homeless in the county.  In future the delivery of the Homelessness Strategy Action Plan would be led by the Housing Strategy Group.  The focus of the Action Plan was early intervention and prevention.  The introduction of the Single Access Route to Housing (SARTH) had assisted the authority and registered social landlords (RSLs) to prioritise applicants for social housing, however, the majority of the homeless households were currently sitting in Band 2 and were not in the high priority banding.  Both the local authority and RSLs were in the process of co-ordinating the building and purchase of approximately 370 affordable/social housing units.


Councillor Brian Blakeley informed the Committee that, in his capacity as the Council’s Homelessness Champion, he had witnessed first-hand the excellent work the Homelessness Team undertook under very difficult circumstances at times, and was confident that the Council was moving forward in its aims of addressing the county’s homelessness issues.


Responding to members’ questions the Lead Member, Corporate Director:  Economy and Public Realm, Head of Community Support Services and the Principal Manager:  Support Services:

·         provided clarity on who was classed as ‘homeless’ – Denbighshire had a very limited number of people sleeping rough.  Its ‘homeless’ individuals and families tended to be:

Ø  staying with friends on a temporary basis (sofa surfers);

Ø  tenants whose landlords wanted to sell the property where they lived;

Ø  victims of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.



To consider a report by the Ecology Officer (copy attached) which seeks the Committee to examine and make recommendations in relation to the draft Biodiversity Duty Delivery Plan prior to its submission to Cabinet for endorsement and adoption


10.45am – 11.15am

Additional documents:


In the absence of the Lead Member for Housing and Communities, the Head of Highways and Environment presented to the Committee the Ecology Officer’s report and the Council’s draft Biodiversity Duty Delivery Plan and Well-being Impact Assessment (previously circulated).  He advised that the report was being presented to the Committee to seek members’ views on the Plan and its contents ahead of seeking the Lead Member’s approval for the plan via the delegated decision process.  The Head of Service explained that Section 6 of the Environment (Wales) Act 2016 required all local authorities to embed the consideration of biodiversity and ecosystems into their early thinking and business planning and to publish a plan on how they proposed to maintain and enhance biodiversity and promote ecosystem resilience.  He advised the Committee that in drawing up the Plan, identifying key actions, and performance indicators, significant engagement and consultation had taken place with officers across all Council services as in order for the Plan to be delivered all services needed to be engaged and willing to deliver their part of it.  The Plan itself and a progress report on the actions contained within it required to be published by the end of 2019.


Responding to members’ questions the Head of Highways and Environment and the Ecology Officer:

·         confirmed the cost of delivering the Plan presented to the Committee was based on the Service’s current budget, making small changes to existing working practices etc. and the availability of external grant funding which the Service had a proven track record of securing.  However, as a result of the recent Notice of Motion to Council on the Climate Change Emergency, dependent upon the recommendations of the proposed working group, additional resources may be required for biodiversity work in future and the Plan may need to be re-drafted;

·         confirmed the Service worked closely with Natural Resources Wales (NRW) on a number of projects, via the Public Services Board (PSB) and the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB); 

·         advised the Service used volunteers for various projects, including monitoring the Little Tern colony.  Bangor University was also involved with the Little Tern project and was studying the colony’s behaviour;

·         advised various Council services supported and contributed towards the delivery of biodiversity initiatives as part of their Service team building away days;

·         confirmed ecological enhancements for planning applications had changed and the Service now routinely fed into the work involved with developing the Local Development Plan (LDP) and provided ecological observations on individual planning applications;

·         advised seagulls were a protected species and that the Council had a separate action plan on how to manage seagulls and reduce the nuisance they caused.  Communities Scrutiny Committee at its meeting the previous week had examined the effectiveness of this plan;  

·         advised the Council’s policy on highways grass verge maintenance was, in the Council’s opinion, the best in Wales in relation to promoting and supporting biodiversity;

·         referred to a number of wildflower meadow biodiversity projects with which the Council was involved and how they were sourcing native seeds and plants for these meadows in a bid to ensure their sustainability;

·         advised work was currently underway with the Council’s Facilities, Assets and Housing Service to draw up biodiversity plans for green areas within the Council’s housing estates;

·         confirmed every effort was made with city, town and community councils in the county to promote the Council’s biodiversity ambitions and the reasons underpinning its highways and grass maintenance policies.  However, some community groups had previously sown some resistance to the Council’s approach;

·         advised they were of the view that the Council had now struck the right balance  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.



To consider a joint report by the Built Environment and Public Protection Manager & the Public Protection Business Manager (copy attached) which seeks the Committee to examine and support proposals for the future introduction of ‘No Cold Calling Zones’ in the county


11.30am – 12pm

Additional documents:


The Lead Member for Planning, Public Protection and Safer Communities introduced the report and appendices (previously circulated) which outlined how the No Cold Calling Zones in the county were currently administered.  The report also sought members’ views on new proposals for the process of introducing such zones in future.


During his introduction the Built Environment & Public Protection Manager emphasised that the Authority was not proposing to do away with ‘no cold calling zones’ or to prohibit the designation of new ‘no cold calling zones’, but due to pressures caused by diminishing financial resources North Wales Police no longer had the capacity to undertake the public engagement and consultation to establish new zones or to support the re-invigoration of established zones.  They would, however, continue to respond to complaints in relation to cold calling.  With a view to facilitating current zones to continue and new zones to be established the Council proposed that in future residents/communities who were interested in establishing ‘no cold calling zones’ would be expected to arrange the public engagement and consultation exercise themselves and that the costs of associated signage etc. would also have to be borne by the individuals or community groups instigating the application.  The Council would, however, support them with the process and provide them with a self-help toolkit, which would contain template documents for consultation, voting, launching the zone and evaluating its effectiveness.  The Council would also be willing to identify local businesses that may be willing to help with the costs of signage etc., whilst North Wales Police was willing to continue to supply window stickers, raise awareness at community events and via social media channels.   Between 2007 and 2016 circa 355 ‘no cold calling zones’ had been established in Denbighshire.  All zones had been established at the request of residents and/or the Police.  In 2017 a part review of the effectiveness of zones had been undertaken, the outcome of which had indicated that some residents were not aware that they lived in a ‘no cold calling zone’.  Nevertheless, the majority of those surveyed were of the view that deterrents such as ‘no cold calling zones’ were useful.


In response to members’ questions the Lead Member, Built Environment & Public Protection Manager, and the Public Protection Officer (Trading Standards):

·         advised that the prices quoted in the report for external signage informing people that they were entering a ‘no cold calling zone’ cost in the region of £200 per sign.  This was the price the Council had paid to its internal Sign Shop, prior to its closure.  It had won the contract at that time following a tendering process;

·         confirmed that the Council was willing to engage with any agency or organisations who wanted to support work relating to ‘no cold calling zones’ i.e.  OWL (operated by North Wales Police);

·         advised that the Council did not have any formal contract or service level agreement (SLA) in place with respect of a ‘No Cold Calling Zone’;

·         confirmed that traders were liable for prosecution if they made unsolicited visits to properties in ‘no cold calling zones’.  However, the Council’s Trading Standards Service initially preferred to undertake prevention work, including leafleting every home in the area with a view to protecting residents, especially vulnerable residents from cold callers and scammers;

·         advised that individuals and groups who wanted to establish a ‘no cold calling zone’ would generally have a vested interest in establishing the zone.  Once steps had been taken to establish a zone Trading Standards officers would check that all necessary measures had been taken in order to formally establish it within six months of the original  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.



To consider a report by the Scrutiny Coordinator (copy attached) seeking a review of the committee’s forward work programme and updating members on relevant issues.


12pm – 12.20pm

Additional documents:


The Scrutiny Co-ordinator submitted a report (previously circulated) seeking members’ review of the Committee’s work programme and provided an update on relevant issues.


During the ensuing discussion –

·         It was noted that the meeting scheduled for 23 May 2019 had been cancelled due to the European Parliamentary Elections.

·         The Scrutiny Co-ordinator confirmed to members present that the meeting due to be held on 16 September, 2019 would take place in Russell House, Rhyl.

·         Single Access Route to Housing (SARTH) would be moved from the 16 September 2019 meeting to the 7 November 2019 meeting.

·         The next Scrutiny Chairs and Vice-Chairs meeting would take place on 31 July 2019.


RESOLVED that, subject to the above, the forward work programme as detailed in Appendix 1 to the report be approved.




To receive any updates from Committee representatives on various Council Boards and Groups





The meeting concluded at 12.45 p.m.