Venue: Council Chamber, County Hall, Ruthin and by video conference
Webcast: View the webcast
Members to declare any personal or prejudicial interests in any business identified to be considered at this meeting.
Councillor Gareth Sandilands declared a personal interest in business items 5 and 6, as a trustee of Denbighshire Voluntary Services Council (DVSC).
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 raised with the Chair or the Scrutiny Co-ordinator prior to the commencement of the meeting.
To receive the minutes of the Performance Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 29th September 2022 (copy enclosed).
10.05am – 10.10am
The minutes of the Performance Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 29 September 2022 were submitted. It was:
Resolved: - that the minutes of the meeting held on 29 September 2022 be received and approved as a true and correct record of the proceedings.
No matters were raised in relation to the contents of the minutes.
To consider a report by the Strategic Planning and Performance Team Leader (copy enclosed) which provides an update on the Council performance against its functions at the end of quarter 2, 2022/23 and seeks members’ observations on performance related matters.
10.10am – 10.40am
The Lead Member for Finance, Performance and Strategic Assets, Councillor Gwyneth Ellis, introduced the Performance Self-Assessment Update Quarter 2 report (previously circulated).
The report presented an update on the Council’s performance against its functions as at the end of quarter 2, 2022 to 2023, including Corporate Plan and Strategic Equality objectives, and the seven key areas of governance.
Regular reporting was an essential monitoring requirement of the council’s Performance Management Framework. Quarterly performance reports were routinely shared with the Senior Leadership Team, Cabinet and Performance Scrutiny Committee to support constructive discussion regarding performance and the identification of interventions where necessary.
The report was presented in two parts to outline progress against the following key areas –
· Performance Objectives – comprised of the Corporate Plan / Strategic Equality Objectives
· Governance Areas – Seven governance areas predetermined by the Statutory Guidance on performance under the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Act 2021.
The summary evaluation provided had been determined by the status of measures and projects for each of the following priorities: the following projects –
· Housing: Everyone was supported to live in homes that met their needs
· Connected Communities: Communities were connected and had access to goods and services locally, online and through good transport links
· Resilient Communities: The Council worked with people and communities to build independence and resilience
· Environment: Attractive and protected, supported well-being and economic prosperity
· Young People: A place where younger people would want to live and work and had the skills to do so
Corporate Health: The Council was efficient, well-managed and environmentally sustainable
Members were advised that the report presented to them was the final report on the 2017 – 2022 Corporate Plan. From now on the performance reports would be focussing on the introduction and implementation of the new Corporate Plan, from 2022 – 2027.
The following were summarised during the discussion –
· A large number of the housing units earmarked for development under the 2017-22 Corporate Plan were now nearing completion towards the end of the Plan’s lifespan.
· Damaged roads and pavements were not within the report as the issue was to be addressed by the relevant service.
· Domestic Abuse – Denbighshire saw a 34.3% decrease in the number of repeat victims of domestic crime for July, August and September 2022 in comparison to the same period last year. Figures reduced from 405 to 266. As a whole, North Wales had seen a 7.5% decrease in repeat victims of domestic violence for July to September. The number of repeat offenders of Domestic Abuse had also decreased in Denbighshire from 33 this time last year to 28 this year, equating to a 15.2% reduction. The overall picture for North Wales was a reduction of 8.1% for same period.
· 100 carer assessments had taken place between July and September, bringing the financial year total to 197 (cumulative since April). The figure was, however, a decrease of 11% for the same period last year (221). Officers advised that members may wish to consider scrutinising this particular area in the near future.
· Data for the average length of time adults (aged 65 years or over) were supported in residential care homes had decreased from 1,059 (April to June) to 1,043 for July to September. This figure was 1,050 days for the same period last year.
· Recently published data for the total economic impact of tourism in Denbighshire had seen a dramatic increase from £213m in 2020 to £432m in 2021. This remained lower than pre-pandemic figures (£552m in 2019), but this increase was encouraging and indicated the resilience of the tourism ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
To consider a joint report by the Strategic Planning and Performance Team Leader & Strategic Planning and Performance Officer (copy enclosed) which seeks the Committee to discuss and comment on the risks, scores and controls included in the Corporate Risk Register and Council’s approach towards risk management.
10.40am – 11.10am
The Lead Member for Corporate Strategy, Policy and Equalities, Councillor Julie Matthews introduced the report to provide an update on the Corporate Risk Register Review, September 2022.
The Corporate Risk Register was developed and owned by the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) and Cabinet. It was reviewed twice every year by Cabinet at Cabinet Briefing.
Following each review, the revised register was presented at Performance Scrutiny Committee, and once every year, to Corporate Governance and Audit Committee. Officers explained each Committee’s different role and focus in relation to the Risk Register.
The Strategic Planning and Performance Officer, Emma Horan, summarised the risks within the report as follows -
· Risk 01: The risk of a serious safeguarding or practice error, where the Council had responsibility, resulting in serious harm or death, had increased in both its inherent score (A1 – Critical Risk Almost certain / Very high impact) and residual score (A1 – Critical Risk Almost certain / Very high impact). The risk score had been increased on the basis of an assessment that the chance of this occurring was currently higher than it was previously. Although the Council did not regard the likelihood as “almost certain to occur in most circumstances” (which was the definition of Risk Likelihood A in the authority’s risk methodology), the risk had certainly increased. It therefore felt appropriate to increase the Risk Likelihood score, this meant increasing it from B to A. Increasing the risk score enabled the risk to be further prioritised and escalated, which felt appropriate and necessary at this time.
It was noted that the Corporate Executive Team (CET) had undertaken a review of Risk 01. CET were to review this risk monthly, and Cabinet would be receiving a verbal update every month at Cabinet Briefing.
· Risk 12: The risk of a significantly negative report(s) from external regulators. The risk score had increased to C3 – Moderate Risk: Possible / Medium Impact.
· Risk 36: The risk that the economic and financial environment worsened beyond current expectations, and had a detrimental impact on local businesses and economic hardship for the local community. The inherent and residual scores had been increased.
· Risk 43: The risk that the Council did not have the funds or resources to meet its statutory obligations under the Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Act 2018. The proposal highlighted in the September 2022 review was to de-escalate this risk for it to be managed by Children’s and Education Services – had been agreed by Cabinet at Cabinet Briefing on November 14, 2022.
· Risk 44: The risk of Ash Dieback Disease (ADB) in Denbighshire leading to significant health and safety issues that represented a potential risk to life. The risk owner was now the Head of Planning, Public Protection and Countryside Services. On the basis of better intelligence, inherent and residual risk scores had decreased (but remained outside the council’s risk appetite).
· Risk 47: The risk that the new North Wales Corporate Joint Committee (CJC) resulted in the Council having less influence and control at a local level. The proposal was to de-escalate this risk for it to be managed by Service(s). The proposal highlighted in the September 2022 review - to de-escalate this risk for it to be managed by Legal, HR and Democratic Services – had been agreed by Cabinet at Cabinet Briefing on November 14, 2022.
During discussions the following points were made –
· The cumulative impact of recruitment and retention issues in social care was significantly impacting on the Council’s ability to deliver statutory social care functions. There was a national recruitment and retention crisis in social ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
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.
11.10am – 11.25am
The Scrutiny Coordinator introduced the report (previously circulated). There were three items listed for the next Performance Scrutiny Committee on 26 January 2023 –
(i) Christ the Word – Response to Estyn Inspection
(ii) Cefndy Health Care and Options Appraisal for future business delivery
(iii) Library Service Standards 2021/2022
It was suggested that as items (i) and (ii) would be substantial discussions, item (iii) Library Service Standards 2021/2022 be deferred to the meeting taking place on 16 March 2023. All members present agreed to this amendment to the Forward Work Programme.
The next meeting of the Scrutiny Chairs and Vice-Chairs Group was to take place on 24 November 2022.
Appendix 2 contained a copy of the Member Proposal form
Appendix 3 to the report was the Cabinet’s forward work.
Appendix 4 – informed members of the recommendations made at the previous Scrutiny meeting.
Resolved: - subject to enquiries being made with the County’s Library Service, on the feasibility of rescheduling the presentation of its Annual Service Standards report from January to March 2023, to confirm the Committee’s forward work programme, attached as Appendix 1 to the report.
FEEDBACK FROM COMMITTEE REPRESENTATIVES
To receive any updates from Committee representatives on various Council Boards and Groups
The Chair, as the Scrutiny Committees’ representative on the Queen’s Building Project Board, advised that construction work had recently commenced on the foundations for the new facility.
Resolved: - to receive the feedback provided.
Meeting concluded at 12.05pm