Venue: Council Chamber, County Hall, Ruthin and by video conference
Webcast: View the webcast
Apologies for absence had been received from Councillor Hugh Irving (Chair) and Councillor Paul Keddie, along with Co-opted Member Kathleen Jones (Catholic Church Education Scrutiny Member). Councillor Elen Heaton, Lead Member for Health and Social Care had also tendered her apologies for business item 6, in her role as Lead Member she had been required to attend a national conference relating to her portfolio.
In the Chair’s absence the Vice-Chair, Councillor Gareth Sandilands, chaired the meeting.
Councillor Andrea Tomlin was welcomed to her first meeting as one of the Independent Group’s representatives on the Committee.
Members to declare any personal or prejudicial interests in any business identified to be considered at this meeting.
The following Committee members and Lead Members/observers declared a personal interest in business item 5 in their capacities as governors on the following school governing bodies:
Councillor Ellie Chard Ysgol Tir Morfa, Rhyl
Councillor Carol Holliday Ysgol Clawdd Offa, Prestatyn
Mr Neil Roberts Ysgol y Parc, Denbigh
Councillor Gareth Sandilands Ysgol Clawdd Offa, Prestatyn
Councillor Emrys Wynne Ysgol Brynhyfryd and Ysgol Borthyn, Ruthin
The Monitoring Officer confirmed that their interests were solely personal as business item 5 referred to the county’s schools and education provision in general.
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 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 held on 14 July 2022 (copy enclosed)
The minutes of the Performance Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 14 July 2022 were submitted. It was:
Resolved: - that the
minutes of the meeting held on 14 July 2022 be received and approved as a true
and correct record of the proceedings.
No matters were raised with regards to the contents of the minutes.
consider a report (copy attached) by the Head of Education outlining the conclusions of the recent
Welsh Government consultation on Language Categorisation and its implications for Denbighshire
Schools and pupils.
10:10 – 11:00
The Lead Member for Children, Education and Families
introduced the report (previously circulated) on the Welsh Government consultation
on Welsh Language categorisation in line with its ambition for a million Welsh
speakers by 2050, outlining the potential implications for Denbighshire’s
schools and pupils.
The Head of Education explained that since 2007 schools in
Wales had been designated into five categories, ranging from English medium,
English medium with significant use of Welsh, dual language and Welsh medium.
There would be three new categories under the proposed new system in the
primary sector. It was recognised that
the categories could be confusing:
New category 1: English
language (historically category 5)
New category 2: Dual language
category 3: Welsh medium (previously category 1)
There would be a sub-category between each of those
categories for schools to use for a transitional period. The majority of
schools within Denbighshire already fitted into those three categories.
In line with Welsh Government’s Welsh language ambition even
schools in category 1 (English medium) would be expected to provide 15% of
education curricular and extra curricular) through the medium of Welsh as a
The few schools which previously fitted into category 4 –
provided between 20% and 50% of education in Welsh - would be placed into a
transitional category for up to 6 years whilst they prepare to become a dual
One of the core principles in introducing
the new arrangements was that schools should not offer less Welsh-medium
provision in the future than had been
In the secondary sector there would also be
3 new categories, but Category 3 Welsh medium would be divided into two
3P: Designated Welsh Medium
It was anticipated that by January 2024 the
categories in the Pupil Level Annual School Census (PLASC), a statutory return
that schools needed to complete for Welsh Government, will have changed and
existing categories would no longer exist.
If there were any substantive changes under
the reorganisation process – regulated alteration under section 42 of The
School Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act 2013 – the proposals would have
to go out to consultation. The plans would be monitored as part of the Welsh
Education Strategic Group’s (WESG) work.
This Group comprised of the two lead members and two representatives
from Scrutiny Committees.
The Lead Member for Welsh Language, Culture
and Heritage reiterated the importance of the measure to reach the goal of a
million Welsh speakers by 2050. Resources had been implemented to assist
teaching staff to improve their Welsh language skills, including a 12-month
Welsh language sabbatical course provided by Bangor University that not only
taught the Welsh language but also the methodology for teaching Welsh in
schools, and for using conversational Welsh as part of normal daily life in
The Minister for Education and Welsh
Language had announced that Welsh lessons for teachers in Wales were to be
provided free of charge in addition to young people aged 18 to 24 who wished to
continue to improve their language skills.
An experienced head teacher had been
seconded for the academic year to work on the Welsh Education Strategic Plan
(WESP), which included the re-categorisation of schools, and further posts had
been funded by the seclusion of grant funding to assist in the transition
arrangements for schools.
It was recognised that there were instances where parents of children did not have any knowledge of the Welsh language but it was important to share communication from the Welsh Education Strategic Group (WESG) which highlighted the requirement by many organisations (e.g. North ... 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.
11:30 – 11:45
The Scrutiny Coordinator introduced the report (previously
circulated). There were four items listed for the next Performance Scrutiny
Committee on 24th November:
Council Performance Update (quarter 2)
Corporate Risk Register (September review)
Cefndy Healthcare, options appraisal for future
business delivery and
The Word – response to Estyn inspection.
It was suggested that the fourth item could be quite an
in-depth discussion which would benefit from a pre-meeting to discuss a
A progress report on Denbighshire’s Housing and Homelessness
Strategy Action Plan had been deferred to spring 2023 at the behest of the
Service pending the conclusion of a review of the Strategy by the Strategic
Housing and Homelessness Group.
The next meeting of the Scrutiny Chairs and Vice-Chairs
Group was scheduled for 24th November.
The Committee were referred to appendix 3 of the report –
Cabinet’s forward work programme – should they identify an item that required
scrutinising and appendix 4 progress with Committee resolutions for
Resolved: - subject to
the above inclusions and amendments to confirm the Committee’s draft forward
work programme, attached at Appendix 1, to the report.
The Committee retired for a break at
10.55am prior to reconvening at 11.05am
To consider a report (copy
attached) by the Service Manager
Business Support & Communities,
effectiveness of the transfer of the facility and services to an external
provider, KL Care, including the provider’s progress in growing and expanding
the services available at the centre, and the lessons learnt from Covid-19.
11:00 – 11:30
The Service Manager, Business Support and Communities
introduced the report (previously circulated) which was an update on the
effectiveness of the transfer of the facility and the services provided at Hafan Deg day centre to an
external provider, focussing on the position post pandemic recovery and looking
for scrutiny to support continuing with plans for the Service and the practice
of regular monitoring.
The Committee heard that Hafan Deg had closed for business during the pandemic but was now
back open, fully operational and had a good attendance by citizens. There were
some areas identified for improvement in line with other social care settings.
The Council intended to work with the provider to improve and develop the
service. Meanwhile, the Contract Team
continued its ongoing monitoring of the KL Care Ltd. service provision at Hafan Deg.
The service provider representative in attendance informed
the Committee that due to illness attendance numbers were slightly lower than
usual at present. Work was ongoing to re-engage with local supermarket eateries
to offer lunch trips and afternoon teas for clients and arrangement for a
Christmas Dinner was anticipated shortly.
Responding to the Committee’s questions officers advised
The day centre was originally outsourced in 2018
due to concerns over its cost effectiveness as the building was deemed to be
under used and required maintenance. It was agreed that whoever took over the
service would also take over the lease of the building and use it as a
community hub in addition to the day care service.
The day centre was currently open on Tuesday,
Wednesday and Friday – 10:30am to 3:30pm.
The centre had a minibus that was used to pick
citizens up for attendance at the day centre, free of charge.
The minibus service was working at full
capacity. It picked up clients from Rhyl and Prestatyn. Dial a ride was
recommended for their service if seats were unavailable on the minibus.
The centre did offer the facility to bathe clients but the service was not often utilised.
The day centre could accommodate 25 clients
comfortably without requiring extra staff, at that time there were on average
10 clients attending the day centre.
The contract for the day care centre was for 5
years initially, work was ongoing to expand its use throughout the community. A
decision would be made within the next 6 months on how to move forward with the
Prior to Covid leaflet
drops were undertaken at GP surgeries to promote the service at the day care
centre, it was agreed to restart the leaflet distribution.
There was an agreed set price for day care
service, £54.60 per person, per day plus £6.00 for meals and refreshments. This
formed part of the contract between the Council and the provider and was in
line with fees set regionally for day care services.
At the conclusion of the discussion the Committee thanked
the representative from KL Care for attending the meeting and for answering
their questions. Members then:
Resolved: - subject to
the above to –
receive the information provided;
that elected members be provided with an information report on the background
to the decision to outsource the delivery of day care services at Hafan Deg; and
support the continuation of the practice of
quarterly monitoring, with a view to securing that plans for the Centre are
delivered and key milestones achieved.
FEEDBACK FROM COMMITTEE REPRESENTATIVES
To receive any
updates from Committee representatives on various Council Boards and Groups.
Meeting concluded at 11.35am