Venue: Council Chamber, County Hall, Ruthin and by video conference
Webcast: View the webcast
POINT OF NOTICE - WEBCAST
Due to technical issues the Council was unable to broadcast live or record the early part of the meeting. However, those issues were resolved and the Committee’s business and discussions from the commencement of business item 5 onwards were available on the Council’s website.
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Chris Evans and Diane King.
Members to declare any personal or prejudicial interests in any business identified to be considered at this meeting.
No interests of a personal or 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 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 16 March 2023 (copy attached)
10.05am – 10.10am
The minutes of the Performance Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 16 March 2023 were submitted. It was:
Resolved: that the
minutes of the meeting held on 16 March 2023 be received and approved as a true
and correct record of the proceedings.
In response to an enquiry arising from the minutes on whether representatives had been appointed to serve on all Service Challenge Groups the Scrutiny Co-ordinator drew members’ attention to business item 6 on the current meeting’s agenda, the Scrutiny Work Programme report. This report included a request for the Committee to appoint to all vacant positions on the Service Challenge Groups.
To consider a report (copy attached) by the Strategic Planning and Performance Officer which seeks the Committee to consider and comment on the amendments to the Corporate Risk Register resulting from the recent review of the Register.
10.10am – 10.40am
The Lead Member for Corporate Strategy, Policy and Equalities introduced the report and appendices (previously circulated) which presented the Committee with the revised Council Corporate Risk Register following the six-monthly review undertaken in February 2023.
During her introduction the Lead Member informed the Committee that whilst a number of amendments had been made to the register in relation to risk owners, titles, description and actions, there had been no changes to risk scores as a result of the latest review. By the next scheduled review of the Risk Register, in September 2023, the recruitment exercises for the vacant Heads of Service posts should have been concluded. This would most likely result in changes to ‘risk owner’ names again, once the new Heads of Service assumed their roles.
The Interim Head of Corporate Support Service: Performance, Digital and Assets along with the Strategic Planning and Performance Officer guided members through the report, highlighting the changes made to the report’s format as a result of feedback made by the Committee and by the Governance and Audit Committee. They advised that, during the last 12 months, whilst the severity of a number of the risks had escalated the amendments made during the current review related to named ‘risk owners’, this was to reflect the Council’s new managerial structure. It was emphasised that whilst the risk scores had not changed following this review and the risk register seemed a little more settled that did not mean that the risks themselves were not as severe or serious. The objective of the colour chart at the beginning of Register itself (Appendix 1) was to clearly illustrate to the reader the severity of each risk before and after the implementation of mitigation measures. It also illustrated each risk’s ‘trend’ since the previous review, and indicated whether as a result of the application mitigation measures the risk was now within the Council’s ‘risk appetite’ threshold. Despite the fact that a number of mitigation measures had been implemented with a view to managing the risks the ‘trend’ for a number of them remained the same as under the previous review. In the case of over half the corporate risks the ‘risk appetite’ was greater than the Council’s tolerance level, this was due to the complexities involved with individual risks. However, the Council’s aim was to continually drive down the risks.
The Strategic Planning and Performance Officer provided the Committee with an overview of the most significant changes detailed in the report. These included:
Risk 01 – Safeguarding: the governance relating to this risk was now extremely tight with regular reports being provided to the Corporate Executive Team (CET) and to Cabinet Briefing. As well as Scrutiny the Governance and Audit Committee had also highlighted its concerns regarding this risk, particularly with regards to staff recruitment and retention pressures in social care. As a result, the Council’s Internal Audit department were undertaking a review of recruitment and retention matters.
Risk 21 – the development of effective partnerships and interfaces between Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) and the Council: the current review of the Risk Register had been undertaken prior to the Health Board being placed back in special measures. Nevertheless, following the Welsh Government’s (WG) decision to place BCUHB back in special measures officers discussed the situation with the ‘risk owner’. As a result of those discussions it was decided not to revise the risk score at present, but that CET would closely monitor developments at the Health Board having particular regard to their potential impact on this risk.
Risk 36 – the risk associated with the economic and ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
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.
10.40am – 10.55am
The Scrutiny Co-ordinator introduced the report and appendices (previously circulated) the purpose of which was to seek the Committee to review its programme of future work.
Members were guided through the draft forward work programme in Appendix 1. They were advised that the draft programme of work for their next meeting on 8 June included a fairly substantial report on ‘Recruitment, Retention and Workforce Planning, along with the Quarter 4 report on the Council Performance Self-Assessment. Enquiries recently made in respect of provisionally listed item on the ‘Learner Travel Measure (Wales)’ had revealed that this report would not be available until the autumn at the earliest, as the Welsh Government (WG) had recently indicated that it would be seeking further information from authorities regarding school transport prior to reporting the conclusions of its review. However, the Committee was informed that the Scrutiny Chairs and Vice-Chairs Group (SCVCG), at its meeting later that day, was likely to seek the Committee to consider a report on the forthcoming ‘Review of the Climate and Ecological Strategy’ at its June meeting.
Committee members were also advised that the SCVCG would also be considering a number of requests for education related topics to be scrutinised within the next municipal year. If these request were approved for scrutiny they would most likely feature on the Committee’s forward work programme in the near future.
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.
Prior to seeking nominations for Committee members to serve on the remaining vacant Service Challenge Groups the Scrutiny Co-ordinator outlined the contents of Appendices 3 and 4 to the report.
In seeking nominations to serve on the vacant Service Challenge Groups the Committee was requested to consider appointing members who had not already been appointed to serve on any of the other Service Challenge Groups. Adopting such an approach would ensure that every Committee member had an opportunity to serve on at least one Group and would therefore share the workload fairly between all members.
Councillor Andrea Tomlin registered her interest in becoming the Committee’s representative on the Housing and Communities Service Challenge Group, with Councillor Jon Harland indicating his interest in being appointed as the representative on the Corporate Support Service: People Service Challenge Group. As a number of Committee members were absent and no expressions of interest were forthcoming for the remaining Service Challenge Group – Corporate Support Service: Performance, Digital and Assets, it was:
(i) subject to the amendments and potential inclusions outlined above, to confirm the Committee’s Forward Work programme as set out in Appendix 1; and
(ii) to appoint the following members to serve as the Committee’s representatives on the named Service Challenge Groups:
Housing and Communities - Councillor
Corporate Support Service:
People – Councillor Jon Harland
Corporate Support Service: Performance, Digital and Assets – to be appointed at the next meeting.
FEEDBACK FROM COMMITTEE REPRESENTATIVES
To receive any
updates from Committee representatives on various Council Boards and Groups.
10.55am – 11am
Councillor Gareth Sandilands, the Committee’s representative on the newly formed Capital Scrutiny Group (CSG), provided a brief overview of the proceedings at the Group’s inaugural meeting. During the meeting the CSG had approved its terms of reference and discussed capital bid applications from the Housing Service and the Heritage Service.
Councillor Hugh Irving, in his capacity as Scrutiny’s representative on the Queen’s Building Project Board, advised that at a recent meeting of the Board discussions had taken place on the process for appointing an operator for the facility. The Project was currently on target to be delivered on time and within budget.
Meeting concluded at 11.10am