Venue: Council Chamber, County Hall, Ruthin and by Video Conference
Webcast: View the webcast
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Arwel Roberts and David Williams.
Members to declare any personal or prejudicial interests in any business identified to be considered at this meeting.
No interests of a personal, or a personal and prejudicial nature were declared.
URGENT MATTERS AS AGREED BY THE CHAIR
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 matters of an urgent nature had been drawn to the Chair or the Scrutiny Co-ordinator’s attention prior to the commencement of the meeting.
10.05 – 10.15 am
The minutes of the Partnerships Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 18 May 2023 were submitted. The Committee:
Resolved: that the
minutes of the meeting held on 18 May 2023 be received and approved as a true
and correct record of the proceedings.
No matters were raised in relation to the accuracy or the contents of the minutes.
To consider a report (copy attached) from the Corporate
Director: Environment and Economy which details the work of the North Wales Economic Ambition Board (the Board) during
the financial year 2022/23.
10.15 – 10.55 am
Leader of the
Council and Lead Member for Economic Growth and Tackling Deprivation,
Councillor Jason McLellan introduced the annual report (previously circulated)
to the Committee. The report provided members with an opportunity to scrutinise
the work of North Wales Economic Ambition Board (NWEAB) and its progress in
delivering its work. He confirmed quarter 1, 2 and 3 reports were submitted to
members for information with quarter 4 and Annual Report presented to Committee
for further discussion.
He thanked the Head of Operations for the Portfolio
Management Office of Ambition North Wales and Digital Programme Manager for
attending the Committee meeting to present to the Committee.
Hedd Vaughan Evans,
Head of Operations for the Portfolio Management Office of Ambition North Wales,
presented members with a PowerPoint presentation. He introduced to the
Committee Stuart Whitfield the Digital Programme Manager for the Board.
provided with background information on the Board and advised that the
Programme Office reported directly to the Board which set the direction of the
work and took any decisions required. The NWEAB had been in existence since
2016, setting a vision for North Wales. Members
heard the Board had secured £240m investment into North Wales. With a total
investment target of £1billion over a 15 year period, creating 4200 new
jobs. Members were guided through the
aims of the Board including building a more vibrant, sustainable and resilient
economy in North Wales. Building on strengths to boost productivity whilst
tackling long term challenges. It was hoped this would be done in a sustainable
way that was in line with the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act
Members were provided with information on some of the
challenges the Board had faced over the previous 12 months. It was stressed
progress in some areas had not been as quick as had first been hoped. A number
of project delays had been encountered and a number of challenges around cost
inflation had impacted some projects.
cases had initial outline cases approved by the Economic Ambition Board. This
allowed projects to complete procurement processes and return to the Board for
a final investment decision. These were:
funding had been acquired from Welsh Government to deliver Local Area Energy
Plans. The team were co-ordinating the delivery of those plans.
connectivity survey on the quality of 4G connectivity across the region had
been conducted, data received would feed into a digital programme in the plan.
Members were guided through further highlights detailed in the presentation.
funding had been agreed redirecting monies from projects which had been
withdrawn due to a change in Welsh Government (WG) roads infrastructure
policy. This had resulted in an
additional £7million being allocated to some mature projects to support them
with cost associated inflation. The remainder of the funding available for
reallocation was then made available for projects to bid for. A total of 26
project applications had been received, ongoing review of those projects was
Programme Manager provided members with further information on the growth deal
projects under the Digital Connectivity stream. Within the Growth Deal, there were
3 infrastructure based projects that were to be introduced across all counties.
Details of the projects was provided to members. The Digital Signal Processing (DSP)
Centre was the first project that had progressed to the delivery stage. A full
12 months of delivery had been observed with a number of jobs being created
both at the centre and on a wider range.
The Corporate Director Economy ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
To consider a report from the Economic & Business
Development Lead Officer (copy attached) on the Rhyl Business Improvement District’s (BID) proposed second term
10.55 – 11.35 am
Leader of the
Council and Lead Member for Economic Growth and Tackling Deprivation,
Councillor Jason McLellan introduced the Rhyl Business Improvement District (BID)
Re-ballot report (previously circulated).
The report provided
an opportunity for members to scrutinise the proposal for a second term of the
BID. Members were reminded the Rhyl
BID was established in November 2018, following a successful ballot with a
mandate to operate for a maximum of 5 years. In order to continue operating, a new set of proposals were
required to be put to a ballot. The BID provided a form of local democracy, it
gave local businesses the power to collectively raise funds to deliver agreed
improvements to the local area. The BID was funded by local businesses
contributing a small portion of business rateable value levy. A BID could only
be formed following a successful ballot taking place, and any additional monies
levied could only be utilised on items or services not provided by the local
authority. Members heard the proposed
business plan was attached to the agenda papers as Appendix 1.
It was stressed the
BIDs were independent to the Council. Denbighshire County Council were a key
stakeholder and had a statutory duty to conduct any BID ballots and to collect
and enforce the BID levies. The authority was a significant levy payer in the
BID area and therefore had a number of votes within the ballot process.
The Council was
represented on the Rhyl BID Board by the Corporate Director Economy and
Environment, Tony Ward.
The Corporate Director Economy and Environment thanked the Leader
for the overview of the report. He introduced to the Committee Abigail Pilling
who was employed by the Rhyl BID as the Rhyl BID manager and Nadeem Ahmed owner
of Jean Emporium in Rhyl Town Centre and Chair of the Rhyl BID Board.
The purpose of the report was threefold; firstly, to examine
the proposals for a second five-year term for the Rhyl BID, secondly to inform
members about the steps involved in arranging and holding a ballot and finally
to enable the Committee to raise and ask any questions regarding the BID or the
guided members to paragraph 4.11 and 4.12 of the covering report, which
informed members that part of the role of the Council was to decide whether
there were any grounds to veto the BID proposals. The Council could veto the
proposals if they conflicted with any corporate policy of the Council or if it
felt that they placed a significantly
disproportionate financial burden upon any person or class of persons.
Ultimately Cabinet would ask those questions in September 2023, prior to
allowing the BID to take place. Members heard it was officers’ opinion that the
proposals did not fall under either area to veto the proposals.
Abigail Pilling addressed the Committee providing a brief overview of what the BID had been able to facilitate and deliver to date. She stated the original BID identified 4 action areas - safe and welcoming, cleansing and maintenance, marketing and business support. One of the more well-known projects was the Town Ranger Project which crossed over all 4 action areas. She made members aware of the events programme which detailed signature events proposed to take place. Alongside these events a training programme was timetabled to offer in-house training on certain areas for businesses. The BID was also involved in some community initiatives with a number of partnerships developed. The Chair of the BID Board, Nadeem Ahmed, added that the proposed new business plan attached to the report built on what had been established during the ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
At this juncture the Committee adjourned for a 15 minute comfort break.
To consider a report (copy attached) by the Safeguarding Team Manager which presents the annual performance report for Safeguarding Adults in compliance with statutory guidance.
11.45 am - 12.25 pm
The Lead Member for Health and Social Care,
Councillor Elen Heaton introduced the annual report on Safeguarding Adults in
Denbighshire 2022/23 (previously circulated).
The report provided members with data from 1 April 2022 to 31 March
2023. The Lead Member highlighted several achievements made by the team over
the 12-month period. She stressed the team had maintained excellent performance
levels with 99.1% of Section 126 enquiries being completed within the 7 day target period.
Appendix 2 to the report demonstrated the complexity of some of the
cases the team dealt with. It also highlighted the challenging nature of the
Listed in the report were the risks and areas of concern noted by
officers, it was stressed the risks listed were not unique to Denbighshire.
They were national trends observed by other local authorities.
The Service Manager, Adult Social Care & Homelessness Service
provided further summary of the report’s contents. A slight increase had been
observed in the number of alleged adults at risk reports that had been reported
in the 12 month period. There had been a significant
increase in the number of referrals made under Section 5 of the Wales
Safeguarding procedures - Allegations/Concerns about Practitioners and Those in
a Position of Trust. The previous year
25 referrals had been made under this process, this had increased to 46
referrals made the 2022/23 year. Officers were of the view that the increase
had been due to a better understanding and knowledge of that section of the
guidance. Officers when completing referrals under other sections considered if
any other concerns under different sections should be raised.
Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards had also seen an 11%
increase in the number of applications received. Only two members of the team
could authorise referrals for further investigation. It was hoped that further
training and recruitment into roles would allow more team members to authorise applications
in due course. A further 7 applications had
been submitted to Court in relation to Deprivation in Domiciliary Settings.
This was ongoing work that was incorporated within routine casework in Complex
Members were guided through the key performances noted in
the report including the high level of performance completing 99.1% of the Section
126 enquiries within 7 working days. Members heard quarterly random audits were
carried out to ensure work remained at a high standard. Vacant posts within the
team had been filled and the team was currently at its full capacity.
The Section 5 process still proved to be a challenge in many
areas, but specifically in relation to the operational element of this process.
The section 5 National Task and Finish Group had concluded its work and the
team were awaiting to be consulted on the outcome. The initial feedback
suggested that additional clarity may not be available and may now require
further consideration from the regional boards prior to reviewing the principles
to support joint working with partner agencies.
Court proceedings continued to increase and the impact of
this work on the capacity of the Council’s operational teams as well as colleagues
within the legal team could not be underestimated. Often this was further
impacted by requests from the Court to lodge updated information. Updated information
was requested where previous documentation had expired whilst awaiting judicial
consideration. This was a situation experienced by all Local Authorities and
not unique to Denbighshire.
The Chair thanked the Lead Member and officers for the
detailed report and introduction. In response to further discussion the
following points were discussed in greater detail:
To consider a report by the Scrutiny Coordinator (copy enclosed) seeking a review of the committee’s forward work programme and updating members on relevant issues.
12.25 – 12.40 pm
The Scrutiny Co-ordinator introduced the report and
appendices (previously circulated) seeking Members’ review of the Committee’s
work programme and which provided an update on relevant issues.
The next Partnerships Scrutiny Committee meeting was due to
be held on the 14 September 2023. There were 3 substantial items listed for the
next Partnerships Scrutiny Committee:
Confirmation had been received from the Health Board that a
representative would be in attendance to discuss the latter item.
Members agreed that the September meeting was at full
capacity. The Scrutiny Chairs and Vice Chairs Group was due to meet the last week
of July 2023. Committee members were
encouraged to complete a scrutiny proposal form (Appendix 2) in respect of any
topic which in their view merited detailed examination by Scrutiny.
Appendix 3 was the Cabinet’s forward work programme for
Appendix 4 provided the Committee with further information
regarding the recommendations from the previous meeting.
Appendix 5 to the report was the table of members who
represented the Committee on each of the Service Challenges Groups. The
Scrutiny Co-ordinator was seeking nominations to sit on the vacant seats on the
Service Challenge Groups in Housing and Communities, Corporate Support Service:
Performance, Digital & Assets and Corporate Support Service: People. The
Service Challenge Groups meet once a year and the meetings were held remotely.
Councillor Butterfield nominated herself to serve on the Housing and Communities
Service Challenge Group. Councillor Peter Scott put himself forward to attend
the Corporate Support Service: People Service Challenge Group and Councillor
Pauline Edwards agreed to attend the Corporate Support Service: Performance,
Digital and Assets Service Challenge Group.
The Chair thanked all members for agreeing to attend the
Service Challenge Group meetings and emphasised the importance of members attending
and reporting back to the Committee.
Resolved: to –
confirm its forward work programme as set
out in Appendix 1 to the report; and
appoint the following representatives to serve on the respective Service
Councillor Joan Butterfield – Housing &
Councillor Pauline Edwards – Corporate
Support Service: Performance, Digital
Councillor Peter Scott – Corporate Support
FEEDBACK FROM COMMITTEE REPRESENTATIVES
To receive any
updates from Committee representatives on various Council Boards and Groups.
12.40 – 12.45 pm
The following feedback from Committee representatives was received:
Highways and Environmental Services – Councillor Pauline Edwards reported on the recent meeting of this Group during which recycling, environmental enforcement, repair cafes, Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) monies and projects had been discussed. As a result of this meeting improvements to the level and type of information provided to councillors’ enquiries via the C360 system had been realised. This was proving to be extremely helpful to councillors for the purpose of reporting progress on service-related enquiries to residents.
Planning, Public Protection and Countryside Services – Councillor Peter Scott reported on a recent meeting of this Group, advising the Committee that one of the Service’s biggest concern, similar to other services at present, was staff retention. Every effort was being made to recruit staff, but consultant periodically had to be engaged particularly in very specialist areas of work.
Bwthyn y Ddôl Sub Regional Children’s Assessment Unit – Councillor Bobby Feeley, Scrutiny’s representative on the Project Board for this specialist unit informed the Committee that the funding for this scheme had now been confirmed and secured by the Welsh Government. Following a re-tendering process for development of a purpose-built facility the construction contract had been awarded to Wynne Construction. Work had commenced on site and it was anticipated that the facility would be completed by September 2024. Despite the delays encountered with the building the Service itself was up and running, with staff operating from temporary accommodation in the Colwyn Bay area. Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) was expected to certify the service provision by the end of July 2023.
Meeting concluded at 12:55pm