Venue: via Video Conference
Given that the meeting was the first of Conwy and Denbighshire Public Services Board Joint Overview Scrutiny Committee following the Authorities’ AGMs, the Scrutiny Coordinator (Rhian Evans) sought nominations for a Chair of the Joint Committee for the term 2021/2023. The Committee were advised that in accordance with the Terms of Reference of the Committee it was Denbighshire County Council’s turn to Chair the Committee.
Councillor Brian Cossey was thanked for his hard work in establishing and guiding the Committee during his tenure and Councillor Don Milne welcomed as his replacement for Conwy County Borough Council. Councillor Meirick Lloyd-Davies was welcomed to the committee replacing Councillor Peter Scott for Denbighshire County Council.
APPOINTMENT OF VICE CHAIR
Nominations were sought for appointment to serve as Vice-Chair of the JOSC. Members were advised that in accordance with the Committee’s terms of reference the Vice-Chair should be appointed from amongst committee members representing the local authority who did not hold the Chair of the Committee. Councillor Nigel Smith was nominated and seconded. No other nominations were received and it was:
RESOLVED: that Councillor Nigel Smith be elected as Vice-Chair of the Conwy and Denbighshire Public Services Board Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee for the 2021/22 and 2022/23 municipal years.
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies were received from Councillors Geoff Corry, Harry Saville and David Gwyn Williams.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING
The minutes of the Conwy and Denbighshire Public Services Board Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 8 January 2021 were submitted for approval.
Councillor Rachel Flynn apologised for her absence due to a bereavement.
RESOLVED that the minutes of the Conwy and Denbighshire Public Services Board Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 8 January 2021 be approved as a correct record.
WELL-BEING ASSESSMENT AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT UPDATE
The Strategic Planning Team Manager (Nicola Kneale) presented the report (previously circulated) providing an update on progress to develop the Conwy and Denbighshire Well-being Assessment (WBA). An update was also provided on the North Wales Public Service Board (PSB) support grant.
The Committee were reminded of the statutory nature of the WBA, acknowledging that it was a situational analysis that would underpin the future service planning for the PSB and public bodies that covered the two county areas.
The WBA needed to be produced by May 2022 in order that the PSB could produce its Well-being Plan by May 2023. It was anticipated that the first draft would be available for resident consultation by October 2021.
Two key work-streams were involved in the production of the WBA, data research based situational analysis and engagement work – incorporating the general public, councillors and employees. Conwy and Denbighshire undertook their own engagement processes.
The need to engage with people with protected characteristics was highlighted. The Welsh Government PSB support grant for 2021/22 was £87,000 for the North Wales region. It would be utilised addressing gaps in research. Working in conjunction with organisations who work with people with protected characteristics, to ascertain their aspirations in the community in future, the challenges they face and the corrective actions that could be undertaken. It was hoped that research would conclude in September 2021.
Responding to members’ questions the Strategic Planning Team Manager advised:
· They were not anticipating major changes to the previous WBA, however the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit would have an impact on some areas e.g. young people, work and economy goals.
· Glyndŵr University was a key partner who was constantly reviewing and advising on the impact of the pandemic on communities.
· City, Town and Community Councils engagement was beginning with Clerks being alerted to the ‘County Conversation’ and asking them to encourage residents to participate.
· Housing services were being consulted to contact people who were at a social economic disadvantage for feedback.
· It was unlikely that the Census data for 2021 would be released in time to be incorporated in the first draft of the WBA.
· Research around Welsh language and culture were predominantly undertaken at national level, but the PSB would also source local data if available.
· The purpose of the research was to identify pressures and it was in all the public bodies’ interest to be transparent; and
· The data being collected was being interpreted by professionals within the different organisations that were represented on the PSB.
The Chair thanked the Strategic Planning Team Manager for the comprehensive report and acknowledged the importance of the wellbeing assessment which would underpin public bodies’ strategic planning for the next few years.
RESOLVED that the Well-being Assessment and Community Engagement Update be noted and agreed that the draft Well-being Assessment be presented to the Joint-Committee for consultation at its November 2021 meeting.
CONWY AND DENBIGHSHIRE PUBLIC SERVICES BOARD ANNUAL REPORT 2020/2021
The Corporate Performance and Improvement Officer (Fran Lewis) gave a brief overview of the report (previously circulated).
The year had been dominated by the Covid-19 pandemic resulting in meetings being held virtually and re-opened to the public as soon as the translation facility became available.
The Committee were reassured that whilst some PSB meetings had been cancelled it had still been a collaborative year, responding to the pandemic through the remit of the North Wales Local Resilience Forum in accordance with the Civil Contingencies Act 2004. Collaborative actions undertaken were listed on page 36 of the report.
Once the PSB resumed, priorities were reviewed to ensure they were still relevant.
1. People – Supporting Good Mental Well-being.
Work had been partially paused owing to pressures of the pandemic on the lead body – Public Health Wales. Reassurance was given that work was ongoing in rural areas within the farming community.
A sub-group had been set up to restart the mental health theme and would resume as soon as information on the lead officer had been received from Public Health Wales.
2. Communities – Supporting Community Empowerment
Denbighshire Voluntary Service Council had made good progress in relation to Dementia Aware programme. Network meetings had gone from strength to strength online.
Digital connectivity was being assessed regionally via the North Wales Economic Ambition Board. The increase in homeworking and schooling had highlighted its importance.
3. Place – Supporting Environment Resilience.
· The Community Green Pledge programme was launched in January 2020 with an initial submission of 4 community pledges. Paused throughout lockdown the programme had resumed and received its 5th green pledge.
· Developing common goals for PSB organisations to address carbon reduction.
· Build upon the reconnection that communities made on green and blue spaces during lockdown.
· Promotion of two well-being projects – sustainable travel and community access to green spaces – funded by a Natural Resource Wales’ Public Service Board grant.
Other area of work included:
· Reviewing key risks.
· Ensuring the Conwy and Denbighshire PSB website was now accessible to people with sensory loss.
· Addressing recommendations from Audit Wales in terms of reviewing PSBs and
· Contributed to the Welsh Parliament Public Accounts Committee review into the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.
Looking forward the PSB will continue to work collaboratively across North Wales and especially with Glyndŵr University and Co-production Network for Wales to maximise partnership, reduce duplication, and engage communities and implement the responsibilities of the WBA.
Members encouraged PSB officers to make contact with community and voluntary organisations with a view to increasing the number of ‘Green Pledges’ across the PSB’s area.
RESOLVED that the Conwy and Denbighshire Public Services Board Annual Report 2020/2021 be noted.
PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE - DELIVERING FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS: THE STORY SO FAR
Nicola Kneale introduced the report (previously circulated) advising that many of the recommendations therein related to the support that the Welsh Government and the Future Generations Commissioner’s Office could give to aid the implementation and effectiveness of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.
The report had been produced in March 2021 – prior to the Welsh Government elections. They therefore committed to review the recommendations in the report within 6 months of the new administration.
Members of the Committee commented:
· It was disappointed by the lack of responses received from educational establishments who had been consulted and the low number of students within those establishments who were aware of the Act’s existence and its purpose.
· That the younger generation were more inclined to use Apps on their IT devices, which might be the way forward for surveys in future.
· People, particularly in areas of deprivation, become accepting of non-standard parameters of life believing it to being the ‘norm’.
RESOLVED that the Public Accounts Committee - Delivering For Future Generations: The Story So Far report be received.
DISCUSSION PAPER: SIX THEMES TO HELP MAKE SCRUTINY 'FIT FOR THE FUTURE'
Fran Lewis reminded the Committee that a draft action plan responding to the Welsh Audit Office’s (now Audit Wales) review of Public Services Boards had previously been presented to the Committee. The action plan made 2 recommendations specifically for the Joint Scrutiny Committee to undertake:
1. To review the six themes that make scrutiny fit for the future in relation to the JOSC (page 177 listed potential actions) and
2. Consider co-option of non-elected members to the JOSC.
The Committee requested that an informal workshop be held to discuss the actions and the item be brought back to the next PSB JOSC on 12th November 2021.
I. the Discussion Paper: six Themes to Help Make Scrutiny ‘Fit For The Future’ be noted
II. An informal workshop to discuss the actions be held prior to the next PSB JOSC meeting and
III. The item be tabled on the Public Services Board Joint Overview Scrutiny Committee on 12th November 2021
FORWARD WORK PROGRAMME
The Chair introduced the Committee’s draft forward work programme for the 2021/22 (previously circulated). They agreed that the following items be included on the Committee’s forward work programme for the forthcoming year.
1. Well-being Assessment and Community Engagement update.
2. BCUHB - Contribution to the work of the PSB and the benefits of the PSB to it as a partner.
3. Six Themes to Help Make Scrutiny ‘Fit for the Future’.
RESOLVED that subject to the above inclusions to approve the Committee forward work programme for 2021/22
CONFIRMATION OF MEETING SCHEDULE
12th November 2021
11th March 2022
21st October 2022
The Chair requested that all the dates for the PSB Committee be circulated to members of the Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
The meeting concluded at 12:00pm