Venue: Conference Room 1a, County Hall, Ruthin
The Chair extended a warm welcome to Alan Smith, Head of Business Improvement & Modernisation and also Charlotte Owen from the Welsh Audit Office.
Apologies were received from Councillor Martyn Holland and the Chief Executive Mohammed Mehmet.
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.
There were no urgent matters.
To receive the minutes of the Performance Scrutiny Committee meeting held
on 28 September 2017 (copy attached).
The minutes of the meeting of the Performance Scrutiny Committee held on 28 September 2017 were submitted.
Matters Arising –
Page 3 – (Information sheet) Teacher Assessments and Provisional Examination Results – The Scrutiny Co-ordinator confirmed she and the Chair had met with the Head of Education and Children’s Services to discuss ways going forward of inviting individual secondary schools to future Committee meetings. It was confirmed a training session had been scheduled for 29 January 2018 to enhance members understanding of their role in relation to all aspects of performance monitoring of schools. The training session would be facilitated by GwE and Education Department senior officers.
Item 6 – The New GwE Challenge and Support Programme – The Chair requested clarity if Estyn had re-inspected GwE as stipulated in the minutes. Officers confirmed that they believed a re-inspection had taken place and that the Regulator was pleased with the progress made to date. The Scrutiny Co-ordinator agreed to source the latest report and circulate it to Committee members.
RESOLVED that, subject to the above, the minutes of the Performance Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 28 September 2017 be received and approved as a correct record.
To consider a report (copy enclosed) illustrating trends in road conditions
since the start of the previous Corporate Plan (2012 – 2017), and to give an
understanding of the way the service proposes to use the available budget
during the period of the next Corporate Plan (2017 – 2022).
The Lead Member for Highways, Planning and Sustainable Development and the Head of Highways and Environmental Services, introducing the Highways Asset and Risk Manager’s report (previously circulated), advised that they wanted to share with the Committee the effectiveness of the investment made to improve and maintain the county’s road network under the previous Corporate Plan and their proposed strategy for continuing to invest in the network during the term of the new Corporate Plan. The Lead Member advised that since being appointed to his Cabinet role he had visited all areas of the county to discuss with residents and businesses their concerns regarding specific highway matters in their areas.
By means of a PowerPoint presentation the Highways Asset and Risk Manager briefed members on the current state of the county’s highways and the Service’s proposed strategy for its future maintenance. During the presentation members were:
· advised of the length of Class A, Class B, Class C and unclassified roads that made up the 1415.7Km of Denbighshire’s highway network (the three trunk roads that traversed the county were not included as the Welsh Government’s (WG) Transport Division was responsible for their maintenance costs);
· informed of the various methodologies for assessing and reporting on the condition of the carriageway, the causes of highway failures and the intervention/prevention work that was used to address failures and safeguard against further deterioration. It was emphasised that the national indicator relating to carriageway condition assessments, undertaken via the Scanner method, only covered 32% of Denbighshire’s road network. Consequently the Authority had developed its own visual method of evaluating the condition of all roads across the county. This method was found to be particularly useful for roads not covered by the Scanner method. Examples of this visual method were displayed as part of the presentation and statistics were given to illustrate how the condition of the network had improved year on year between 2011 and 2017;
· advised that now the condition of the highway across the county had improved the concern going forward would be the Council’s financial ability to continually invest in highway improvement and remedial work, drainage work projects, and the sustainability of improvement works for the medium to long-term. The risk posed by financial constraints had the potential to jeopardise the authority’s performance in relation to road condition national Performance Indicators (PIs) going forward;
· informed that the approach proposed for the term of the new Council would be to attempt to sustain and at least maintain the current condition of the network. This approach was based on the assumption that the current levels of both capital and revenue funding would be maintained at current levels. Roads, due to usage levels and the effect of the weather would continually deteriorate. However, it was envisaged that by adopting a prevention approach to remedial work, innovative use of revenue funding available, closer working with other services and organisation in order to realise maximum benefits from any available funding and grants, the Council could at least maintain the network in in its current condition; and
· Welsh Government (WG) funding would be sought for large scale highways capital projects.
Responding to members’ questions the Lead Member and relevant officers:
· explained the technical difficulties involved with setting the correct levels when re-laying gulleys as part of highways maintenance work;
· emphasised that the Council would need to invest in its highways network or all the improvements realised under the 2012-17 Corporate Plan would be lost;
· confirmed that they would continue to lobby WG for funding for major highways capital projects. In the meantime the Council had a duty to keep the ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
At this juncture (10:45 a.m.) there was a 15 minute break
The meeting reconvened at 11:00 a.m.
To scrutinise information (copy attached) on Services’ performance in complying with the Council’s complaints procedure.
The Statutory and Corporate Complaints Officer introduced the report and appendices (previously circulated) in the absence of the Lead Member for Developing Community Infrastructure, who had to leave the meeting early in order to attend a meeting with the Welsh Government’s Leader of the House and Chief Whip - the Minister responsible for digital infrastructure, to discuss poor Broadband coverage in parts of Denbighshire.
The report and appendices provided an overview and analysis of the complaints, compliments and suggestions received by the council under its ‘Your Voice’ Customer Feedback policy during Quarter 2 of the 2017/18 reporting year. During the introduction the Service Improvement Manager drew the Committee’s attention to the fact that some councillors had inadvertently been utilising the ‘Your Voice’ customer feedback mechanism for reporting service enquiries/requests. Consequently the Head of Customers, Communication and Marketing had re-issued guidelines to councillors on how to submit service requests/enquiries, stressing the importance of following the agreed procedure in order to ensure that there was a complete audit trail relating to each request/enquiry received. If the correct procedure was followed elected members could track their request/enquiry’s progress via the EMMA system – the system which had been devised and introduced for elected members’ benefit and ease of reference. The Service Improvement Manager confirmed that discussions were continuing with respect to the roll-out of a new Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) System. An implementation plan was being drawn up by the Project Group, on which the Council’s Corporate Communications Team were represented. It was anticipated that more information would be available early in the New Year on the proposed roll-out process for the new CRM system.
Members were informed by the Statutory and Corporate Complaints Officer that for the second quarter of 2017-18 reporting year the Council had attained the ‘excellence threshold’ in relation to dealing with Stage 1 and Stage 2 complaints, as all complaints had been transacted within the target timescales despite there being more complaints lodged than in the previous quarter. It was also pleasing to report that during quarter 2 more compliments and suggestions for service improvements had been received from the public. Examples of how complaints had been used constructively to improve services were included in the report. Whilst it would prove nigh on impossible to maintain performance at 100% for dealing with both Stage 1 and Stage 2 complaints throughout the year officers were confident that the Council would achieve circa 98% for Quarter 3, and an annual average attainment rate of around of 98% throughout the 2017-18 year.
Appendix 1 to the report contained details of the number of Stage 1 and 2 complaints received against individual services along with the Council’s performance in dealing with them during quarter 2, as well as an analysis of its performance in dealing with complaints at both stages over a four year period.
Appendix 2 to the report contained a proposed format for the presentation of the statistical report to the Committee in future. Whilst there were still some issues which required to be resolved with the proposed new format, the main one relating to how graphs etc. could be produced in both English and Welsh and the information imported into the body of the report has been resolved.
Appendix 3 to the report contained the results of the independent analysis undertaken of residents and customers’ satisfaction on their interaction with the Council and accessing the required services. The information gathered as part of this exercise was proving to be extremely valuable to Council Services to enable them to improve their services and strengthen their communication channels with residents. The ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
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.
The Scrutiny Co-ordinator presented the report (previously circulated) seeking
Members’ review of the Committee’s work programme and providing an update on relevant issues.
A copy of the “Member’s proposal form” had been included in Appendix 2. The Scrutiny Co-ordinator requested that any proposals be submitted to herself. The Cabinet Forward Work Programme had been included as Appendix 3, the table summarising recent Committee resolutions, advising on progress with their implementation, had been attached as Appendix 4.
The Scrutiny Co-Ordinator informed members that a training session on the scrutiny of education matters had been scheduled for the 29 January 2018 and encouraged those available to make every effort to attend.
The Committee was asked to nominate a member to serve on the Schools Standards Monitoring Group (SSMG). Information regarding the Group’s terms of reference was attached as Appendix 5. Councillor Ellie Chard proposed Councillor Arwel Roberts represent the Committee at the group’s meetings. Councillor Ann Davies also registered an interest in serving on the SSMG. Both nominations were seconded and on being put to the vote Councillor Arwel Roberts was appointed the Committee’s representative on the SSMG, with Councillor Ann Davies acting as the Committee’s substitute representative if Councillor Roberts were unable to attend a meeting.
RESOLVED that –
(i) subject to the above observations and amendments, the Forward Work Programme be approved; and
(ii)Councillor Arwel Roberts be appointed as the Committee’s
representative on the School Standards Monitoring Group (SSMG)
with Councillor Ann Davies acting as Councillor Roberts’ substitute
on SSMG if he was unavailable to attend a meeting.
FEEDBACK FROM COMMITTEE REPRESENTATIVES
To receive any updates from Committee representatives on various Council
Boards and Groups
Councillor Ann Davies informed Committee Members that she had recently attended a ‘lines of enquiry meeting’ to prepare for the forthcoming Community Support Services’ Service Challenge meeting. Councillor Davies informed the Committee that Carers in Wales, the Single Point of Access (SPoA) Service and discharge times from hospitals would be explored further at the Service Challenge meeting. The Head of Business Improvement and Modernisation informed Councillor Davies that Carers, featured in the new Corporate Plan and work was currently underway regarding carers in Denbighshire.
The Scrutiny Co-ordinator informed members that the notes from Service Challenge meetings would in future be a regular feature in the Information Brief document circulated to members ahead of committee meetings.
The Chair thanked Members and Officers for their work and wished all present a peaceful Christmas and all the best for the New Year,
The meeting concluded at 11:55 a.m.