Agenda and draft minutes

Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, County Hall, Ruthin and by video conference


Webcast: View the webcast

No. Item



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Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Diane King and Andrea Tomlin.


The Scrutiny Co-ordinator informed the Committee that the Leader of Independent Group had resigned his position on the Committee and appointed Councillor Bobby Feeley to serve in his place as one of the Group’s representatives.



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

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No interests of a personal, or a personal and prejudicial nature, were declared.



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.

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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 meeting held on 28 September 2023 (copy enclosed).

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The minutes of the Performance Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 28 September 2023 were submitted.


Matters arising:

Business item 5, ‘Christ the Word Catholic School Inspection Report Update’ – the Chair confirmed that a progress report would be presented to the Committee in July 2024 for further scrutiny.  The Vice-Chair emphasised the importance of Performance Scrutiny Committee examining and monitoring education related matters across the Council, particularly the local education authority’s provision of services and support to schools.


Business item8, ‘Denbighshire’s Housing and Homelessness Strategy Action Plan’ – members were advised that further scrutiny of the action plan’s delivery would take place in November 2024.


 It was:


Resolved:  that the minutes of the Performance Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 28 September 2023 be approved as a true, accurate and correct record of the proceedings.




To consider a report on the Corporate Risk Register from the Strategic Planning and Performance Officer reviewing the risks facing the Council and the Council’s risk appetite statement (copy enclosed).

10.10am – 11am

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The Lead Member for Corporate Strategy, Policy and Equalities introduced the report (previously circulated) reminding members that the purpose of the Corporate Risk Register was to identify the potential future events that might have a detrimental impact on the Council’s ability to achieve its objectives and delivery of the Corporate Plan 2022 – 2027.


The  Head of Corporate Support: Performance, Digital & Assets advised members that the Corporate Risk Register update report had been compiled following a review in September where a number of changes had been made. Appendices to the report highlighted:


1.     Appendix 1 – summary of significant changes

2.     Appendix 2 - table and trend analysis of the Corporate Risks

3.     Appendix 3 – detailed information on the 13 Corporate Risks

4.     Appendix 4 – a reminder of the Risk Appetite Statement - agreed November 2022 to be reviewed in February 2024.


The Committee were asked to use appendices 2 and 3 as a tool to identify areas for further scrutiny to inform their forward work plan.


The Strategic Planning and Performance Team Leader explained that the review had been comprehensive to reflect the change in the structure and circumstances of the Council. It had also been an opportunity to merge and de-escalate some risks.


At the last review in February 2023 there were 20 Corporate Risks. Of those 9 had been amalgamated / de-escalated to a Service level (para 4.5 of the report referred). Two new risks – 51 and 52 - had been added to the Register to reflect the financial situation of the Authority, culminating in a total of 13 identified risks. Seven of those risks were inconsistent with the Risk Appetite Statement i.e. serious enough to be on the Register.


Responding to the Committee’s questions Officers advised:

·       The Strategic Planning Team (SPT) were actively engaged with officers, the Corporate Executive Team (CET) and service management teams to address risk and performance management issues.

·       Risk around capacity had increased under the budget pressures, that risk was common across all services.

·       The SPT were also supporting the budget process by collating information around the impact of budget cuts on wellbeing and future generations by focussing the WBIA on key cohorts in the communities and wellbeing goals.

·       The budget process was comprehensive and underway, working via workshops for proposals to deal with major savings. In addition the proposals were circulated to members and Teams meeting arranged for their consideration. Whereas the Budget used to be an annual ‘event’ moving forward it would be an ongoing process.

·       The Strategic Direction paper previously shared with members indicated that the direction of travel was a Council that transforms what / how it worked rather than chipping away at services on an incremental basis.

·       Information on proposals had been circulated to members (workshops and Teams meetings for questions and answer (Q&A) sessions with the Head of Service). Members were able to raise concerns on any proposals at those briefings.

·       All proposals subsequently had to go through the open and transparent decision making democratic process e.g. Cabinet. If members were unhappy with the decision made there was an opportunity to call the decision in for scrutiny.

·       The law provided that decisions made by Local Authorities were divided into executive functions (under the Cabinet, Lead Member Delegated Decision or Lead Officer Delegated Decision) and non-executive functions (Council). Council could not overturn a Cabinet decision. Scrutiny could challenge a decision and ask for it to be reconsidered but Cabinet was the ultimate decision maker.

·       The Risk Appetite indicated the level that the Council would like the risk to be rather than where it  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

At this juncture the Committee adjourned for a 15 minute break.

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To consider an update report on the Council’s performance against its functions, including Corporate Plan and Strategic Equality objectives from the Planning and Performance Officer (copy enclosed).

11.15am – 12pm

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The Lead Member for Finance, Performance and Strategic Assetes and the Head of Corporate Support Service: Performance, Digital & Assets introduced the report (previously circulated) that provided an update on the Council’s performance against the Corporate Plan up to the end of quarter 2, September 2023.


There were changes in the presentation of the Performance Update Report compared to that in quarter 1, the changes were highlighted under section 4.4 of the report to more easily identify corporate successes and areas of improvement.


Cabinet had considered the Performance Update Report the previous week and identified two performance areas for improvement which had been added to the Q2 report:


·       Housing and Environmental Services – to provide an update on the performance against the indicator relating to the percentage of damage to roads and pavements made safe in target times.

·       For the Organisation to provide an overview of the cultural offer provided across Council services as part of the plan to develop setting out the Cultural Strategy and how that would connect with personal and economic wellbeing.


It was anticipated that sustaining performance was likely to be challenging going forward given the financial pressures and subsequent unavoidable service reductions.


The Planning and Performance Officer gave an overview of the report explaining that the objective was to identify where the performance measures were at within each of the nine Corporate Plan Themes, projects and activities.


Overall the performance ratings were for:

·       Measures – orange (acceptable) and

·       Projects – yellow (experiencing obstacles) apart from the theme of A Fairer, Safer Denbighshire where the rating was red (priority for improvement) due to the ongoing problems relating to poverty and worklessness.


Summarising the position on the various Corporate Themes the Planning and Performance Officer advised:


A Denbighshire of quality housing that meets people's needs -

·       The new ‘My Home Denbighshire’ intervention had resulted in fewer individuals as presenting as homeless. There were fewer numbers on the Single Access Route to Housing (SARTH) waiting list, but the numbers were still higher than the Authority wished to see on the list.

·       Financial pressures and lack of capacity had proved challenging in the energy efficiency projects for council homes in preparation for the new Welsh Housing Quality Standards (WHQS).


A prosperous Denbighshire -

·       Still some challenges around the larger projects in Denbigh and Rhyl due to delays and funding shortages. It was anticipated that the recent announcement of Levelling Up 3 award would address those problems.

·       Tourism and associated spending had increased.

·       Incomes and employment remained a priority for improvement. An economic strategy had been developed, utilising external expertise and capacity from the Wellbeing and Future Generations Commissioner’s Office.


A healthier and happier, caring Denbighshire -

·       Some challenges around embedding the whole school approach to mental health.


A learning and growing Denbighshire –

·       Still waiting for attainment measures from Welsh Government to be able to understand the performance of schools within the given context.

·       The Modernising Education Programme was still experiencing delays – specific updates were included within the content of the report.

·       Early Years support, Llwybrau and Working Denbighshire were achieving some positive outcomes.


A better connected Denbighshire –

·       Repair of damage to roads and pavements remain a cause for concern.

·       The 20mph speed limit had now been implemented.



A greener Denbighshire –

·       Still looking at methodology around measuring the carbon tonnage reduction from supply chains.

·       Preparation was underway for reviewing the strategy.


A fairer, safe, and more equal Denbighshire –

·       The free school meals programme was expanding.

·       There had been an increase in figures received from North Wales Police (NWP) around domestic violence and repeat offending. It  ...  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.

12pm – 12.20pm

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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.


The next meeting of the Performance Scrutiny Committee was scheduled for the 25 January 2024, proposed for that meeting were two agenda items.


       I.          Library Service Standards 2022/23 and

     II.          Ensuring Engagement in Education.


The report on the Economic and Business Development Strategy due to come to January’s meeting had been moved with the permission of the Chair to March’s meeting.


The Scrutiny Coordinator reminded the Committee that if there was anything in the reports presented at the current meeting which in their view merited further scrutiny they should complete the form in appendix 2 for the next Scrutiny Chairs and Vice-Chairs Group (SC&VCG) who would next meet in January.


At the recent meeting of the SC&VCG they had considered a proposal to consider the processes/procedures for applying for grant funding e.g. Levelling Up Fund/Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) to ensure the Authority was able to respond and submit applications at short notice if necessary. More work was required in relation to scoping out the purpose of the report and the outcomes of examining the matter, but it was anticipated that it would be added to the forward work programme, probably in the spring 2024.


An information report regarding the Management of Council House Stock was listed on the forward work programme for the submission to the Committee in March 2024. The topic was closely related to an item on the Communities Scrutiny Committee’s agenda on 1st February and would therefore be included in that report.


It was:


Resolved:  subject to the above to confirm the Committee’s forward work programme as set out in Appendix 1 to the report.



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

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The Chair, Councillor Hugh Irving, informed the Committee that he had been unable to attend a recent meeting of the Queen’s Building Project Board as he was away on holiday.  The Board would be holding its next meeting the following week and he would be attending that meeting.


The Vice-Chair, Councillor Gareth Sandilands, reported on a recent meeting of the Capital Scrutiny Group (CSG) which he had attended.  At that meeting the Group had considered financial bids for the Ruthin Velodrome Project, school building extension works, financial bids for minor adaptations work, along with how capital funds would be spent in future. 


The Committee:


Resolved:  to receive the verbal reports provided.



Meeting concluded at 12.20pm