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 Councillor Merfyn Parry.





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

Additional documents:


No interests of a personal or a personal and prejudicial nature were declared in any of the matters under discussion at the meeting.


Prior to commencing the meeting’s business, the Chair paid tribute to the late Councillor Brian Blakeley, a valued member of the Committee, who had passed away recently.  In extending the Committee’s condolences to his daughter Councillor Michelle Blakeley-Walker, also a member of the Committee, and the rest of the family he referred to Councillor Blakeley’s devoted public service to the residents of Rhyl and of Denbighshire.





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 urgent matters had been raised with the Chair of the Committee prior to the meeting’s commencement.




MINUTES pdf icon PDF 297 KB

To receive the minutes of the Communities Scrutiny Committee held 8 September 2022 (copy enclosed).



Additional documents:


The minutes of the Communities Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 8 September 2022 were submitted.  The Committee:


Resolved:  that the minutes of the meeting held on 8 September 2022 be received and approved as true and correct record of the proceedings.


No matters were raised in relation to the contents of the minutes.





To receive a presentation and discuss with representatives from the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust matters relating to ambulance response times in Denbighshire.


10.05am – 11am


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The Chief Executive of the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust (WAST), alongside the Director of Partnerships and Engagement of the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust, provided members with a presentation highlighting matters relating to ambulance response times, including various emergency response data for callouts in Denbighshire.


During the presentation WAST representatives highlighted Emergency Medical Services Performance.  It was only ‘red calls’ that had a set performance indicator (PI) target, which was that 69% of calls should be responded to within 8 to 10 minutes.  The graph for this PI indicated that performance had generally declined since November 2020.


The Service’s main aim was to ensure patient safety.  With a view to securing patient safety in the face of increase demand on WAST’s services a collaborative independent demand and capacity review, focussing on Amber level calls and patient safety concerns had been instigated.  This review predicated on the level of hospital handover lost hours of 6,038 (December 2018), considered high at the time.  By October 2022, the Trust lost 28,937 hours due to waiting for hospital handover - 36% of its capacity or 65 shifts a day. This situation was likely to worsen in the winter significantly. It was emphasised that the concern about patient demand data was not the fundamental issue concerning patient safety; the fundamental problem was capacity, particularly the number of hours lost waiting to handover patients at hospitals and to a lesser extent sickness absence levels amongst WAST personnel.


In October-22, due to a number of factors e.g. sickness absence, CoVID-19, annual leave, training etc. the number of staff available on WAST rosters was down 40%.  The roster review used a benchmark of 30%. Pre-CoVID-19 WAST had started to deliver the 30% benchmark. Unfortunately, although sickness absence was coming down training commitments were high currently due to internal movements linked to recruitment and this had an adverse effect on roster availability.


In relation to data on National Reportable Incidents (NRI) (avoidable deaths/serious avoidable harm) WAST was considered a “high reporting” organisation.  This was regarded as a good approach because it meant a culture of openness and transparency, an essential aspect of a patient safety culture. WAST referred patient safety incidents to health boards where the primary cause was considered to be hospital handover lost hours. It was a health board responsibility to review and report these incidents, where appropriate, as NRIs.


An independent strategic review had been undertaken by Operational Research in Health on behalf of the Emergency Ambulance Services Committee (EASC). EASC was made up of the seven health boards, which have a responsibility for commissioning ambulances. The basis of the Review was Amber patient incidents (serious, but not immediately life-threatening).  This represented the largest patient incident category accounting for 70% of patient incidents, compared to Red (immediately life-threatening) which accounts for 10% of patient incidents.  It was felt that Amber waiting times were too long, and there was some concern about the number of serious adverse incidents for patients (SAIs) in the Amber category.


The findings of this Review identified that the WAST had a gap between the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) staff budgeted to fill its Response rosters and the FTEs required to fill the rosters of 263 FTEs.  As a result of this review EASC agreed to invest in WAST and close this gap, known as the “relief gap”.  Consequently, WAST delivered an uplift in FTEs of 136 FTEs in 2020/21 and was on target to deliver a further uplift of 127 FTEs in 2021/22, which would close the “relief gap”. This has been achieved despite the pandemic.


The Response Roster Review  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.



To consider a report by the Traffic, Parking and Road Safety Manager (copy enclosed) which details the principles behind the default 20mph limit, the criteria for making exceptions to the default limit and seeks the Committee’s observations on the work undertaken to date in preparation for its implementation.


11am – 11.30am


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The Lead Member for Environment and Transport, Councillor Barry Mellor, alongside the Head of Planning, Public Protection and Countryside Services, the Traffic, Parking and Road Safety Manager (TPRSM) and the Senior Engineer Road Safety and Sustainable Transport (SERSST) introduced the Introduction of 20 mph Speed Limit on the County’s Road Network report (previously circulated).


The report aimed to explain the background to the forthcoming 20 mph limit in towns and villages across Wales, including the Welsh Government’s criteria for identifying exceptions to the default speed limit. The report also provided an overview of the tasks that the Council was required to undertake in preparation for the introduction of the default speed limit on 17 September 2023.


The TPRSM provided some background to the new policy advising that in 2020 the Welsh Government (WG) accepted all 21 of the recommendations made in a report by a Task Force it had commissioned to look at the case for making 20 mph the default speed limit in towns and villages across Wales.  In July 2022, the Senedd passed the main Statutory Instrument to amend Section 81 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1988 as it applied to Wales so that 20 mph will become the mandatory speed limit for ‘restricted roads’.  ‘Restricted Roads’ being roads that have street lights.  This legislative change will come into force on the 17th of September, 2023.


The TPRSM informed the Committee that the WG had developed exception criteria to the default 20moh limit based on the likelihood of “significant numbers of pedestrians and cyclists travelling along or across the road”. To help local authorities make this assessment, it had also developed the following “place criteria”:


(i)    Was the road within 100 metres of a school or other educational establishment?

(ii)  Was the road within 100 metres of a community centre?

(iii) Was the road within 100 metres of a hospital?

(iv) Did residential or retail properties front the road and exceed 20 properties per kilometre of the road (i.e. five or more properties every 250 metres of the road)


The TPRSM then outlined the list of proposed exceptions to the default 20 mph speed limit in Denbighshire, as listed in Appendix C to the report.


During the ensuing discussion:

·         the Committee queried whether the 20mph limit would have to be introduced in Denbighshire, as some members had experience of the trial areas in the Buckley area and were concerned about the impacts the implementation could have. The TPRSM clarified that the change was a legislative change by the WG which Denbighshire was obliged to implement.  As a result of this legislative change almost all of the current 30mph roads in DCC required to be changed to 20mph. The TPRSM stated there would be a significant cost implication if the work was not carried out, as all exemptions agreed post the new default limit’s introduction would require to be funded by the local authority, whilst work relating to the default speed limit’s introduction was funded by WG. The Committee was advised that the objective of the new default speed limit’s implementation was to reduce collisions and serous injuries.  Data highlighted that by reducing speed collisions would be reduced.

·         Officers clarified that policing and enforcement relating to the default speed limit would remain a Police matter when the changes were implemented.

·         the Committee queried what consultation had been carried out in relation to the proposed changes to the speed limit, especially with city, town and community councils. The TPRSM informed the Committee that as the change related to national WG policy, any consultation would have been undertaken by  ...  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.

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The Scrutiny Coordinator introduced the report (previously circulated) seeking members' review of the Committee’s work programme and providing an update on relevant issues.


Discussion focussed on the following:


·         The Mistreatment of Dogs report would be submitted to the Committee for consideration at its meeting on the 19th January.  No other items were currently scheduled for presentation.

·         for the 9th March meeting two substantial items were currently listed for discussion.


The Committee:


Resolved:  to receive the report and confirm the Committee’s forward work programme as detailed in Appendix 1 to the report.





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

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Meeting concluded at 12.35pm.