Agenda and draft minutes

Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Conference Room 1a, County Hall, Wynnstay Road, RUTHIN, LL15 1YN

No. Item


The Chair paid tribute to the late Councillor Raymond Bartley, a member of the Committee and the task and finish group, who had passed away recently. Condolences were conveyed to his family and as a mark of respect all in attendance stood in silent tribute. 





Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Colin Hughes and Geraint Lloyd-Williams


Councillor Julian Thompson-Hill (Lead Member for Finance, Performance and Corporate Plan) for business items 6 and 8.




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


Councillor Bobby Feeley declared a personal interest in Agenda item 5.




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 Performance Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 29 September 2016 (copy attached).


The minutes of the meeting of the Performance Scrutiny Committee held on 29 September 2016 were submitted:-


RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 29 September 2016 be received and approved as a correct record.




To consider the results of the analysis undertaken with respect to potential for future provision of the services at the Awelon site in Ruthin.


9.35am – 10.20am

Additional documents:


Councillor Win Mullen-James, Chair of the Task and Finish Group who had been tasked with reviewing the Council’s in-house social care provision, in introducing the Group’s findings with respect to the future use of Awelon paid tribute to late Councillor Raymond Bartley, who had been a dedicated member of the Task and Finish Group and the Committee.  Councillor Bartley had worked tirelessly to safeguard the rights and welfare of the elderly and vulnerable in the county throughout his career, and would be greatly missed.


In her introduction the Chair of the Task and Finish Group informed the Committee that the Group was of the view that the recommendation contained in the report (previously circulated) would meet the demand for both care and support in the preferred Extra Care arrangements as well as support community activities for residents and the wider community within the new community facilities.  The Task and Finish Group was also of the view that the entire project would benefit from being managed by the 3 current users of the site – the Council, Grŵp Cynefin and the Committee of Canolfan Awelon - coming to a mutually beneficial agreement.  Hence the reason why the Group was recommending that they work together to implement the best configuration for the site based on Options 2a, 2b and 3a in the report.  By adopting this approach individuals currently living in the residential part of the site would be able to remain there for as long as their needs could still be met.

The Chair welcomed Rhys Dafis, Grŵp Cynefin’s Regeneration Services Director, to the meeting for the discussion on the proposals and feasibility study.


The Corporate Director:  Communities and the Head of Community Support Services detailed the feasibility study undertaken by Grŵp Cynefin, which respected the spirit of the Cabinet resolution in May 2016, and outlined the conclusions drawn at the end of the study. 


Responding to the Committee’s questions the Corporate Director:  Communities, Head of Community Support Services, Lead Member for Social Care (Adults and Children’s Services), Chair of the Task and Finish Group and Grŵp Cynefin’s Regeneration Services Director:


·         confirmed that Option 3 put forward by Cabinet in May 2016, relating to engaging with the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) to investigate the feasibility of developing additional nursing care capacity in Ruthin, was still being pursued.  However, the schools site, adjacent to the present hospital in the town would not become vacant for some time.  The proposals for consideration at the current meeting related to the Awelon site, which was a separate entity.  Any future proposals which may be put forward, either separately or in conjunction with BCUHB for the former schools site, could potentially further enhance health and social care provision in the Ruthin area;

·         explained the Council and the Regulators roles in inspecting and monitoring care and support both in care establishments and in people’s own homes. This was a multi-layered approach, the quality of care and support provided was closely monitored as were safeguarding arrangements.  Contracts for the provision of care were regularly monitored to ensure that all contract specifications were being met.  A quarterly report on quality monitoring of external care services was provided to the Scrutiny Chairs and Vice-Chairs Group (SCVCG);

·         advised that, with a view to enhancing the Council’s contract monitoring capacity, a recruitment exercise would be undertaken in the new financial year for an additional contract management post within the Council’s Contracts Management and Review Team;

·         confirmed that the majority of the Council’s arranged social care placements were within the independent sector in the county;  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.



To consider a report (copy attached) on how the Strategy is being implemented, its impact on the Authority’s finances and on the local economy, and an assessment on whether all services are consistently applying and adhering to the Strategy and CPRs.


10.20am – 10.50am

Additional documents:


In the Lead Member for Finance, Corporate Plan and Performance’s absence the Facilities, Assets and Housing Programme Manager – Business Change introduced the report (previously circulated) which outlined the progress to date with the Procurement Transformation Programme, specifically the impact of the implementation of the Procurement Strategy and the revised Contract Procedure Rules.  In his introduction he detailed the contents of the report and advised that the actual impact of the new strategy on the local economy had been slower than anticipated.  Nevertheless, the Service was working closely with the Economic and Business Development Team with a view to co-ordinating attendance at events to promote the benefits to businesses of trading with the Council, and in a bid to assist small and medium sized businesses to consider tendering for contracts or for supplying goods to the Council, by helping them to register with the Authority as potential suppliers for specific types of contracts or provisions. 

Members were advised that the ‘Commissioning Form’, a copy of which was attached to the report, had proved extremely useful in identifying problems at an early stage for contracts over £25K in value.  All contracts over £10K in value were now required to be entered on to the Proactis system.  There were benefits to the Council of using this system for procurement as the purchaser could not proceed to award the contract unless all required stages and checks had been completed.  This ensured compliance with the Strategy and with Contract Procedure Rules (CPRs). 


One specific area of procurement arrangements which had been identified for improvement was the recording of the percentage spent with local businesses.  The figures for 2015/16 seemed low despite the fact that the County was spending a significant amount of capital expenditure on the new Rhyl High School project.  The reason for this was that the main contractor, Willmott Dixon’s, invoicing address was outside the area.  Nevertheless, the Council was aware that a significant amount of the work on the site and been sub-contracted to local tradespeople and that goods had been purchased locally. Potential solutions for accurate geographical apportionment of the Council’s contract expenditure were currently being explored.  Gwynedd Council seemed to have an effective method for capturing local spend, although fewer large contractors from the North West of England or the West Midlands tended to tender for contracts in North West Wales due to the distances involved with delivering the work.

Responding to members’ questions officers advised that:

·         ten people were employed in the Procurement Team which undertook procurement work for both Denbighshire and Flintshire County Councils.  The team was currently being re-structured.  However, the number of members in the team would remain as at present;

·         the Procurement Team was currently working closely with the Economic and Business Development Team with a view to establish a good knowledge base on small businesses in the area with a view to encouraging them to tender for smaller contracts, or working together to bid for larger contracts;

·         every effort was made to simplify the wording of tender documentation and make it accessible and less time consuming for small and medium sized businesses, who did not employ dedicated contract bidding officers, as the Council as part of its corporate priority of developing the local economy was keen to work with local businesses to encourage them to bid for contracts etc.;

·         the Procurement Team were planning to provide training to new councillors following May’s local elections on how they could help local businesses to interact and do business with the Council;

·         the Council had not set a specific ‘percentage spent with local businesses’ target when  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

As a number of members had to leave the meeting at this juncture the remaining members agreed to continue to transact the business on an informal basis for the remainder of the meeting.


With members’ consent the order of business was varied at this juncture.




To scrutinise information (report attached) on Services’ performance in complying with the Council’s complaints procedure.


11.30am – 12pm

Additional documents:


The Lead Member for Customers and Libraries introduced the report (previously circulated) which gave an overview of the Council’s performance in dealing with complaints, compliments and suggestions received under the corporate ‘Your Voice’ customer feedback policy during quarter 2 of the 2016/17 year.  The report detailed performance in relation to complaints received in respect of council delivered services and services commissioned from external providers.

The Customer and Quality Manager, deputising for the Interim Principal Manager (Support Services), detailed the contents of the report and advised that the Council was looking to do more work around learning from complaints, with a view to improving services, during the forthcoming year.  It was pleasing to report that there had been fewer complaints and more compliments during quarter 2 than in the first quarter.  There had been a concerted effort within services to deal with complaints on time.  There had been a steady improvement in dealing with complaints within the expected timescale as illustrated in the graph on page 223 of the committee papers.

Responding to members’ questions the Lead Member and Customer and Quality Manager undertook to establish the specific nature of the ‘workload pressures’ experienced in both the Children’s Service and the Highways and Environmental Service which had resulted in response times for complaints not being met.  It was emphasised that the Social Services Department acknowledged receipt of any complaint within 48 hours of its receipt.  Members expressed their concern that workload pressures was being highlighted as a factor and wanted assurances that individuals’ workloads were not excessive and consequently affecting service delivery or the welfare of staff members.  It was:


RESOLVED- subject to the provision of the requested information that the Council’s performance in dealing with Customer Feedback be received.



CORPORATE PLAN (Q2) 2016/17 pdf icon PDF 86 KB

To consider a report (copy attached) monitoring the Council’s progress in delivering the Corporate Plan 2012-17.


11am – 11:30am

Additional documents:


In the Lead Member for Finance, Corporate Plan and Performance’s absence the Strategic Planning Team Manager introduced the report (previously circulated) detailing the Council’s performance in delivering its Corporate Plan 2012-17 during quarter 2 of the 2016-17 year.  She drew members’ attention to a number of areas in the Executive Summary (Appendix 1), these being:


·         the effectiveness of the new approach for handling investment enquiries which had secured the investment by Wagg Foods in Bodelwyddan;

·         the lack of capacity identified for businesses who wanted to expand and grow in the county;

·         that asbestos checks in the Council’s housing stock would only be required to be undertaken once; and

·         the increase in the number of exclusions from the county’s schools and school absenteeism.


Members regarded the increase in school exclusions and absenteeism as a cause for concern.  The Scrutiny Co-ordinator informed the Committee that Communities Scrutiny Committee had examined school absenteeism at a meeting in the autumn of 2016 and undertook to circulate the report presented to that Committee and the associated minute of the discussion to enable members to determine whether they should examine the statistics and reasons behind then in more detail.  Members therefore:


RESOLVED- that subject to the above observations and the provision of the requested information, to receive the report on the Council’s overall performance in improving outcomes for citizens and delivering its Corporate Plan.




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.

Additional documents:


A copy of a report by the Scrutiny Coordinator (SC), which requested the Committee to review and agree its forward work programme and which 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 SC requested that any proposals be submitted to herself. 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 as Appendix 4.


The Committee considered its draft Forward Work programme for future meetings, Appendix 1, and discussed whether the meeting scheduled for 27 April if viable could be incorporated with the meeting scheduled on the 16 March and subsequently the meeting on the 27 April be cancelled. This was suggested due to proximity of the County Council Elections which were due to be held at the beginning of May to the April meeting.


The Scrutiny Coordinator agreed to enquire if proposed item scheduled for the 27 April would be available for the March meeting and communicate with the Committee after her enquires.


The Committee:


RESOLVED- subject to the above enquiries being made that its Forward Work Programme be confirmed.




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


Councillor Gareth Sandilands advised that he had recently attended a meeting of the Council’s Strategic Investment Group (SIG) at which a number of long-term funding investment bids had been discussed.


Meeting concluded at 13:00 p.m.