Agenda and draft minutes
Venue: Council Chamber, Russell House, Rhyl
DECLARATION OF INTERESTS
Members to declare any personal or prejudicial interests in any business identified to be considered at this meeting.
No Members declared any personal or prejudicial interests in any business identified to be considered at the meeting.
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 items were raised 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.
To receive the minutes of the Performance Scrutiny Committee meeting held on the 24th September, 2015 (copy attached).
The Minutes of a meeting of the Performance Scrutiny Committee held on Thursday, 24th September, 2015 were submitted.
4. Provisional Examination Results - The Scrutiny Coordinator confirmed that, as agreed at the previous meeting, an information report on the retention and progression of Denbighshire Sixth Forms had been circulated to Members of the Committee.
In reply to a question from Councillor M.Ll. Davies, the Scrutiny Coordinator explained that the Monitoring Officer had confirmed that the relevant Regulations did not permit, Committee Members who chaired meetings in the absence of the Chair of a Committee, to be eligible for payment of an allowance for undertaking such duties.
The Scrutiny Co-ordinator informed members that Councillor Arwel Roberts had chaired the above meeting in the absence of the chair and that this should have been reflected in the minutes.
RESOLVED – that, subject to the above amendment, the Minutes be received and approved as a correct record.
To consider a report by the Principal Manager: Business Support, Community Support Services, which details the key issues arising from the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) evaluation of Denbighshire Social Services performance for 2014-15, had been circulated previously.
A copy of a report by the Principal Manager: Business Support, Community Support Services (PM: BS - CSS) had been circulated with the papers for the meeting.
The Corporate Director: Communities (CDC) introduced the report and explained that the evaluation was based on a wide-range of evidence from the Council, regulators and service users. On the whole the Regulator’s evaluation of the Council’s Social Care Services was a positive one, with just a few areas for improvement identified. The main areas on which the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) would be regularly liaising with the Council on during the current year with a view to ensuring they would be strengthened or progressed were:-
· The changes to the senior management infrastructure for the delivery of social care and their impact upon children and adults;
· Protection of Vulnerable Adults (PoVA) – improving the timeliness and engagement of PoVA and undertaking a review of threshold levels
· Quality monitoring of all domiciliary care providers (including obtaining service users’ views and experiences of the services); and
· Integrated partnership working with the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB)
The CSSIW’s Regional Director for North Wales outlined to the Committee the main points highlighted in the Regulator’s report. In addition to the areas listed above which required strengthening she advised that:-
· A recent Wales Audit Office (WAO) national study had concluded that greater use of Telecare and assistive technology was needed across Wales, therefore the Regulators would be monitoring the situation across the country;
· With respect to the need to improve the quality monitoring of domiciliary care providers, the Council would need to have regard to a national report due to be published in the spring of 2016 when developing this aspect of its work;
· The 38% increase in the uptake of direct payments for people with learning disabilities or mental health needs was commendable;
· Profiling of people with mental health was an area for improvement across the North Wales region. Clarity was required around the identification, assessment and commissioning of services;
· Denbighshire had an exceptionally high number of people with learning disabilities, often with complex needs, from outside the county living within its boundaries. They mainly resided in accommodation run by independent providers, a number of which had been established following the closure of the former North Wales Hospital. As a number of the residents were from outside Denbighshire there was a risk that they were not at present known to either health or social care services, but there was likely to come a time when they would need to access primary health and social care services and require the protection of the Council’s safeguarding services. There was therefore a need for the Council and its partners to assess potential future pressures on their services;
· The Council’s prevention and early intervention approach through various teams working within the Children and Family Services had resulted in a significant drop in referrals and re-referrals to the Service. Nevertheless there was a need to track ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
To consider a report by the Strategic Planning and Performance Officer, which provides an update on the delivery of the Corporate Plan 2012/17 as at the end of quarter 2 of 2015/16, had been circulated previously.
The Lead Member for Finance, Corporate Plan and Performance introducing the Quarter 2 2015/16 report (previously circulated) on the Council’s performance in delivering its Corporate Plan:-
· advised that the indicators which relied on either the residents or business surveys, were historical in nature and would be updated next quarter with the most recent data.
· highlighted the key areas of performance listed in the report and advised that the Council was proposing to delete performance indicator (PI) QSCC013ai – ‘the percentage of open cases on the child protection register who have an allocated social worker’ as it was no longer a statutory indicator and officers had agreed that it was not a meaningful PI for measuring intended outcomes. They felt that the intended outcomes could be better managed and achieved in other operational ways;
· whilst corporate sickness absence levels were continuing to improve this area remained a priority for improvement;
· the decrease in the number of staff who had received a performance appraisal was at least in part attributable to the i-Trent recording software system. The Lead Member and officers were monitoring this aspect closely;
· the Council’s inability to provide information for carbon emissions at present was due to an issue relating to its energy provider’s billing system. This problem was not unique to Denbighshire, a high number of local authorities were affected and the company was working on solutions to rectify the problem. However, the Council was due to change its energy provider from April 2016 and the new provider could provide all the required information in due course;
· none of the Council’s Corporate Projects were registering a ‘red’ status.
Responding to members’ questions the Lead Member and officers confirmed that:-
· the decision to change energy provider from April 2016 had been taken on commercial grounds;
· both littering and dog fouling could only be measured for performance purposes within 30 mile per hour (mph) zones. However there were methods of tracking such activity outside 30mph areas;
· officers from all Council departments were now familiar and confident in using the Verto system for the purpose of recording performance and project related information;
· they were confident that the actual number of performance appraisals undertaken across the Council was likely to be in the high eighty percent range. With a view to obtaining a correct assessment of the Council’s performance in this area the Chief Executive had asked all Heads of Service to check that they had inputted all the required information into the i-Trent system. He had also asked the Head of Legal, HR and Democratic Services to review the system in order to determine the cause of the reporting problem;
· the Tackling Poverty Working Group had commenced its study. It was an ambitious Group and would soon have a number of PIs which could be scrutinised;
· scrutiny had no powers to compel the Council’s energy provider to attend a meeting to discuss its inability to provide carbon emissions information. It could ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
To consider a report by the Strategic Planning Team Manager, which provided an update on the Council’s Corporate Risk Register, had been circulated previously.
A copy of a report by the Strategic Planning Team Manager (SPTM) which detailed the October, 2015 formal revision of the Corporate Risk Register (CRR), had been circulated with the agenda.
A formally updated version of the CRR had been agreed at Cabinet Briefing in October, and presented to the Corporate Governance Committee on the 18th November. The current report presented the opportunity for Performance Scrutiny Committee to comment on the formal revision.
Introducing the report the Lead Member for Finance, Corporate Plan and Performance made particular reference to the following revisions to the CRR:-
· DCC007 – the risk that critical or confidential information is lost or disclosed: due to the introduction of a number of risk reduction actions, the introduction of the information security policy and e-learning package it was now felt that this risk could be managed at a service level. Therefore it would be deleted from the CRR;
· DCC013 – the wording for this risk had been changed to ‘the risk of significant liabilities resulting from external models of delivery’ to encompass the variety of service delivery models either in operation or being explored. Until the Framework for Governance Arrangements was fully implemented and embedded the residual risk score would remain the same;
· DCC021 - the residual risk score for ‘the risk that effective partnerships and interfaces between Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) and Denbighshire County Council (DCC) do not develop, leading to significant misalignment between the strategic and operational direction of BCUHB and DCC’ had been increased to reflect the serious concerns the Council had for this particular area, despite the fact that a number of control measures had been put in place;
· A new risk had been entered on to the register – DCC030 ‘the risk that appropriate capacity and skills to sustain service and corporate performance is not available’. This risk related to succession planning work which was currently underway. Some control measures were already in place and others were planned with a view to managing this risk; and
· There was also another emerging risk, this related to Protection of Vulnerable Adults (PoVA) arrangements which had been raised by the CSSIW. Scoping work was currently underway on this risk and therefore more detailed information on it and the measures to manage it would feature in the next version of the CRR.
Responding to Members’ questions the Lead Member and officers:-
· Advised that with respect to risk DCC016 ‘the risk that the impact of welfare reforms is more significant than anticipated by the council’ and in particular the risk associated with closure of the Welfare Rights Unit and the transfer of its work to an external provider, the Cutting Our Cloth Task and Finish Group had recently reviewed this cut and concluded that the new service provided by the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) was working well and delivering as expected. Assurances were also given by the Scrutiny Co-ordinator that the Task and Finish Group would ... view the full minutes text for item 7.
To consider a report by the Principal Librarian / Customer Service Business Partner, which outlines the Library Service’s performance against Welsh Government’s Framework of Public Library Standards 2014-17, and considers this in the context of Denbighshire’s new Face to Face Customer Service Delivery Framework, had been circulated previously.
A copy of a joint report by the Principal Librarian (PL) and the Customer Service Business Partner (CSBP), which outlined the Library Service’s performance against the Welsh Government’s Framework of Public Library Standards 2014-17, and seeking the Committee to consider this in the context of Denbighshire’s new Face to Face Customer Service Delivery Framework, had been circulated with the papers for the meeting.
Details of the statutory duties of Library Authorities in Wales had had been outlined in the report, particular reference being made to the requirements of the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964. The Frameworks of Welsh Public Library Standards enabled MALD (Museums Archives and Libraries Division of Welsh Government, previously CyMAL) to measure and assess how Authorities were fulfilling their statutory duties. The Fifth Framework had been launched on the 1st May, 2014.
The Lead Member for Customers and Communities introduced the report on the WG’s Assessment of the Library Service’s performance for 2014/15, which also informed members of the work undertaken and planned with a view to developing libraries into community hubs. The Principal Librarian detailed the report’s contents with respect to the Library Service’s performance against WG standards, whilst the Customer Service Business Partner explained the work in relation to developing libraries into community hubs and the Framework associated with that work.
Members were advised that:-
· 17 out of the 18 Core Entitlements in the Frameworks of Welsh Public Library Standards had been met, the only one not achieved related to the availability of the Service’s Strategy and Vision. This had not been met because the Service, as part of the Freedoms and Flexibilities process had been restructuring. This final core entitlement would be met by March 2016 as the vision would be available in bilingual format on-line and printed by then;
· With respect to the Quality Indictors (QI) contained in the Standards Framework, and listed in the report, the Council had only partially met the QI relating to access to up-to-date reading materials and would not be meeting it in the current year either. The Council was not unduly worried about this as book loans across the county was high, which in itself was an indicator that the Service was purchasing what readers wanted to read;
· The QI relating to appropriate spend on reading materials had also only been partially met – this was due to the County taking the approach to give priority to purchasing books for children. The Council was spending above the WG target on children’s books with a view to improving basic reading and literacy skills, and was pursuing this approach during the current year. Officials had met with the WG’s Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism to emphasise this approach;
· Another QI which had only been partially met was the one relating to staffing levels and qualifications – this would be looked at again in the light of the staffing restructure to see what could be met in relation to ... view the full minutes text for item 8.
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.
A copy of a report by the Scrutiny Coordinator (SC), which requested the Committee to review and agree its Forward Work Programme and provided an update on relevant issues, had been circulated with the papers for the meeting.
A copy of the ‘Member’s proposal form’ had been included in Appendix 2. The Cabinet Forward Work Programme had been included as Appendix 3, and a table summarising recent Committee resolutions and advising on progress with their implementation, had been attached at Appendix 4.
The Committee considered its draft Forward Work Programme for future meetings, Appendix 1, and the following amendments and additions were agreed:-
28th January, 2016: at the request of the Scrutiny Chairs and Vice Chairs Group, following their meeting held on the 15th October, 2015, the Committee agreed to include a business item in the forward work programme on the Primary School Transport Policy.
The Committee agreed that Lead Members Councillors E.W. Williams and H.C. Irving be invited to attend the meeting.
14th July, 2016: following the receipt of a request from the Scrutiny Chairs and Vice Chairs Group, emanating from their meeting held on the 3rd December 2015, Members agreed that a business item be included in the forward work programme with a view to monitoring the Local Housing Strategy, particular reference being made to Theme 2 which incorporated Affordable Housing.
The Committee’s representative on the Corporate Equalities Group (CEG), Councillor C. Hughes, had recently requested that a new Member be appointed as the Committee’s representative. Councillor Hughes had indicated that he was willing to be the Committee’s substitute representative on the CEG. A copy of the Group’s terms of reference had been included as Appendix 5.
As the Committee was unable nominate a representative Councillor Hughes agreed to continue in post, with Councillor G.Lloyd-Williams as a substitute, until a greater compliment of Committee Members were in attendance and the Committee was in a better position to nominate a new representative.
RESOLVED – that, subject to the above amendments and agreements, the Work Programme as set out in Appendix 1 to the report be approved.
FEEDBACK FROM COMMITTEE REPRESENTATIVES
To receive any updates from Committee representatives on various Council Boards and Groups.
The Committee were informed by Councillor M.Ll. Davies that he had attended the Planning and Public Protection Service Challenge meeting, held on the 25th November, 2015. Councillor Davies advised that a representative from National Resources Wales (NRW) was present at the meeting. He proceeded to provide a brief summary of the following business items which had been considered at the meeting:-
· Planning charges
· Dangerous buildings
· Public Realm issues
The Scrutiny Coordinator informed Members that the Partnerships Scrutiny Committee would be considering a business item relating to CCTV at its meeting in January, 2016.
RESOLVED – that the report be received and noted.
Meeting ended at 12.55 p.m