Agenda item

Agenda item


To consider a confidential joint report by the Commercial Services Manager and Production Manager (copy attached) of Cefndy Healthcare’s performance in 2017-18 and the 2018-22 Business Plan.

12.30 p.m. – 1.00 p.m.


The Lead Member for Well-being and Independence had been unable to attend the meeting but the Lead Member for Finance, Performance & Strategic Assets attended in her place.


The Lead Member for Finance, Performance & Strategic Assets introduced the confidential report by the Commercial Service Manager – Cefndy and the Operational Services Manager (previously circulated) which presented the Committee with information on Cefndy Healthcare’s performance during 2017-18 and its business plan for 2018-22.


The report was presented to the Committee for it to examine Cefndy Healthcare’s performance and future strategic direction following the disbanding of the Advisory Board which had overseen its work in the past.  Members were advised that the purpose of the business was “to provide meaningful well paid employment to disadvantaged members of the community”.   The loss of the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) Work Choice funding on 31 March 2019 would affect Cefndy’s financial standing going forward.  With a view to mitigating the risks associated with the loss of DWP funding the Council’s Community Support Services (CSS) had assumed the management of the Gwent Wide Integrated Community Equipment Services (GWICES), a social enterprise comprising five local authorities and the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (ABUHB) in the Newport area, which operated on a similar basis to Cefndy Healthcare.  By operating both enterprises CSS could reduce unnecessary administration costs whilst expanding its product lines and potential to generate sufficient income to continue to provide valuable, meaningful, well-paid employment to disadvantaged individuals on a cost neutral basis.


Responding to members’ questions the Lead Member, Head of Community Support Services and Cefndy’s Commercial Services Manager:

·         described the competitive market within which Cefndy operated, in particular the difficulties encountered when competing against cheaper imports from developing economies across the world;

·         confirmed that Cefndy’s operating costs were slightly higher than a number of its competitors as its priority was to keep disadvantaged people in productive employment rather than claiming benefits;

·         advised that Cefndy Healthcare was a department within Community Support Services, consequently it was not permitted to make a significant profit nor apply for social enterprise funding/investment;

·         advised that no employees had been made redundant during 2017-18, the reduction in employee numbers were due to retirement, leaving for other employment etc.;

·         confirmed that Cefndy Healthcare was tendering for new contracts on a monthly basis;

·         advised that a number of Cefndy’s employees had been with the ‘company’ for 30 years or more which was a testament to the business’ community value.  Similar to all Council employees those that worked at Cefndy were subject to the local government staff terms and conditions of employment and, therefore, entitled to sickness and pension schemes, which in turn gave them long-term financial security;

·         advised that Cefndy’s involvement with GWICES had opened up new marketing opportunities and access to marketing forums which would hopefully benefit the business in the long-term by enabling it to expand and diversify its business with a view to securing its long-term sustainability; 

·         confirmed that the investment made five years ago in specialist bending machinery had enhanced the business’ manufacturing ability and would benefit the work undertaken in partnership with GWICES;

·         outlined the membership of the former advisory board advising that the business had originally been established by the former Clwyd County Council and transferred to Denbighshire County Council on local government reorganisation due to the location of its factory being in Rhyl.  Denbighshire County Council established the advisory board to monitor the business’ performance etc. because it provided a subsidy to the business.  That subsidy had ceased some years ago therefore a decision was taken by the Head of Service, under powers delegated to him, to disband the Board and seek Scrutiny to monitor the business’ performance in future;

·         confirmed that the Commercial Service Manager and the Operational Services Manager were responsible for the day to day running of the business and any operational and business decisions taken;

·         advised that it was envisaged that the benefits to Cefndy Healthcare of the CSS’s assuming the management of GWICES would be fully realised in 2019 when the DWP Work Choice funding ceased; and

·         advised that the ratio of disadvantaged employees to other employees at Cefndy was 70:30.  This ratio included management and manufacturing staff as the business developed career pathways for its staff to enable them to realise their full potential


Committee members congratulated the Council on making sure that the business continued to operate for the purpose of securing positive life outcomes for its employees.  Members suggested that all county councillors should be invited to attend Cefndy Healthcare to see the work undertaken at the factory and that the Council’s Customers, Communications and Marketing Team be informed of the visit to enable a press or media release to be issued highlighting the business and its purpose.  It was:


RESOLVED that subject to the above observations that

(i)            the Annual Report on Cefndy Healthcare’s Performance during 2017-18 (Appendix 1) and its Business Plan for 2018-2022 (Appendix 2) be received;

(ii)          Cefndy’s Annual Performance Report and Annual Plan be presented to the Committee on an annual basis, with a half-yearly performance report being provided to the Scrutiny Chairs and Vice-Chairs Group (SCVCG) for information purposes unless circumstances necessitated an earlier report to the Committee; and

(iii)         a visit be arranged for all county councillors to Cefndy Healthcare to familiarise them of the business and its aims