Agenda and draft minutes

Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, County Hall, Ruthin


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No. Item



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Councillor Merfyn Parry




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

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Councillor Brian Blakeley declared a personal interest in agenda item 5 – Llantysilio Mountain Fire, Summer 2018 because he was a member of the North Wales Fire and Rescue Authority.




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.


[At this point the Chair indicated his intention to vary the order of the agenda and bring forward the main business item on Llantysilio Mountain Fire, Summer 2018]




To consider a report by the Scrutiny Co-ordinator (copy attached) which presents the Committee’s draft report for approval following its review of the fire on Llantysilio Mountain during the summer of 2018 and its impact on the area.  The report also seeks the Committee to instigate discussions with partner organisations and stakeholders on a way forward with a view to reducing the risk of similar incidents occurring in future.


10.10am – 11.45am

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The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting including representatives of partner organisations and members of the public present.


The Chair and Vice-Chair Councillor Graham Timms jointly presented the Committee’s draft report on its review of the fire on Llantysilio Mountain during the summer of 2018 and its impact on the area.  The report also sought the Committee to instigate discussions with partner organisations and stakeholders on a way forward with a view to reducing the risk of similar incidents occurring in the future.


The Chair reported upon the aims and objectives of the meeting to debate the draft report and recommendations and present its findings and conclusions to the public.  He emphasised that the purpose of the review was not to apportion blame but to better understand what happened to help improve the response and management of similar incidents and reduce the risk of similar fires occurring in the future.  Reference was made to the comprehensive process undertaken in terms of evidence gathering and detailed work by the Committee during which it examined the fire incident and multi-agency response to it, and its impact on the local area, environment and businesses, culminating in the Committee’s findings and recommendations on the way forward which involved working collaboratively with multiple agencies on a collective solution.  The Chair took the opportunity to thank all those involved within that process and production of the final draft report.


The Vice-Chair provided an overview of the Committee’s findings and recommendations.  A number of common themes had come to light, the main ones being Communication, Wildfires – their management and how best to reduce the risk of them occurring through effective Land Management.  In summary –


Communication –


·         Communication between various agencies could, at times, have been better.  Whilst acknowledging that those responding to the fire were working under extremely difficult conditions and that sudden changes in weather conditions meant that different tactics had to be applied, it was concluded that had the incident been designated a ‘Major Incident’ and a Tactical Co-ordinating Group established this would have aided better, more effective communication between the various agencies and ensured those affected by the fire were regularly updated on the developing situation.  Effective communication, between those dealing with incidents such as this and those affected by it were key, in order for all responders to understand each other’s capabilities and resources available to them and to ensure that the general public were given regular, consistent and credible information with a view to combating misinformation which could readily reach an extended audience via social media.  Therefore it was recommended that a Tactical Co-ordinating Group be established as early as possible during the response stage to an incident in future to aid communication and understanding.  If it became clear as the incident progressed that the Group was no longer required, it could quite easily be stood down.  Establishing this Group to communicate strong, clear, co-ordinated messages during the early stages of an incident would help all concerned.


·         Estate owners, farmers and graziers expressed concern about the lack of communication that took place with them during the fire incident.  They knew the mountain and local areas well and were ideally placed to advise fire and rescue service personnel about the terrain and potentially hidden dangers.


·         It was also important to emphasise that no lives were lost, neither were any properties lost to the fire.  However, with some refinements communication and co-ordination could be improved.


Wildfires –


·         Given the occurrence of particular conditions these types of wildfires would continue to happen and it was important all agencies were prepared for them.


·         Due  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


MINUTES pdf icon PDF 563 KB

To receive the minutes of the Communities Scrutiny Committee held on 4 July 2019 (copy attached).


10.05am – 10.10am


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The minutes of the Committee’s meeting held on 4 July 2019 were submitted.


Accuracy – Councillor Rachel Flynn advised that her apologies for non-attendance at the last meeting had been omitted from the minutes.


RESOLVED that, subject to the above, the minutes of the meeting held on 4 July 2019 be received and approved as a correct record.




To consider a report by the Scrutiny Coordinator (copy attached) 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 Coordinator submitted a report (previously circulated) seeking members’ review of the Committee’s work programme and provided an update on relevant issues.


Discussion focused on the following –


·         the reasoning behind proposed changes to the work programme as detailed in the report to ensure items were considered in a timely manner to better inform debate and scrutiny of particular topics was discussed and the changes agreed

·         the inclusion of the progress report on the recommendations in the Llantysilio Mountain Fire report in approximately six months’ time as agreed earlier on the agenda was reaffirmed

·         Councillor Andrew Thomas queried progress made with the siting of brown visitor signs on the A55 as previously discussed by the Committee and the Scrutiny Coordinator agreed to seek an update for members on the current position

·         following a scrutiny request from Councillor Rachel Flynn, an item relating to the Children and Adult Mental Health Service (CAMHS) would be considered by Partnerships Scrutiny Committee on 16 September 2019

·         following an issue raised by Councillors Brian Blakeley and Rachel Flynn and subsequent scrutiny request from Councillor Brian Blakeley regarding the capacity of schools in the county’s coastal area, the Scrutiny Chairs and Vice Chairs Group had considered that information provided by the Modernising Education Team had addressed the issue raised and therefore detailed scrutiny was not required – the Scrutiny Coordinator agreed to re-circulate the outcome

·         members were encouraged to submit any proposal forms regarding topics for scrutiny for submission to the next meeting of the Scrutiny Chairs and Vice Chairs Group on 11 September

·         with regard to the item on the Cabinet work programme relating to the Alternative Delivery Model for leisure related functions/activities and Board Membership, it was confirmed that following consideration of the item at Cabinet in September, the intention was for the matter to be submitted to full Council in October

·         details of the Infrastructure to make it easier to stage events project had been provided within the report and a nomination to serve on the Project Board to aid engagement and a cross county approach to decision making was discussed together with the merits of appointing a substitute representative

·         the Committee had also been asked to appoint two representatives on the School Standards Monitoring Group (SSMG) and details of the Group’s terms of reference and meeting dates for 2019/2020 had been previously circulated to which members gave due consideration

·         members were also advised of changes to the Service Challenge Process which had been referenced within the Committee’s information brief and agreed that the previously appointed representatives be retained for the individual service areas for the forthcoming year whilst acknowledging some realignment may be needed in light of restructures.  The Chair urged members to advise him or the Scrutiny Coordinator if they were unable to attend a service challenge meeting and indicated that he would be willing to deputise where possible

·         the Scrutiny Coordinator advised that no nominations had been forthcoming for a fifth representative to serve on the Learner Transport Working Group.  Councillor Rachel Flynn expressed an interest on the understanding that meetings would need to fit around her family commitments.




(a)       subject to the above, the forward work programme as detailed in Appendix 1 to the report be approved;


(b)       Councillor Anton Sampson be appointed to serve on the ‘Infrastructure to make it easier to stage events Project Board’ and Councillor Brian Blakeley be appointed substitute representative in the event substitutes were permitted;


(c)        Councillors Rachel Flynn and Graham Timms be appointed to serve on the Schools Standards Monitoring Group (SSMG);


(d)       the Committee’s previously appointed representatives  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.



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


12.20pm – 12.30pm

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No reports from committee representatives had been received.


The meeting concluded at 11.50 a.m.