Agenda and minutes

Extraordinary Meeting of Subject Overview and Scrutiny Committee 3, Subject Overview and Scrutiny Committee 3 - Tuesday, 25th July, 2023 16:00

Venue: Hybrid in the Council Chamber - Civic Offices, Angel Street, Bridgend, CF31 4WB. View directions


No. Item


Apologies for Absence

To receive apologies for absence from Members.







Councillors Paul Davies and Melanie Evans.

Councillor Norah Clarke advised that she would need to leave the meeting early.


Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations of personal and prejudicial interest (if any) from Members/Officers in accordance with the provisions of the Members Code of Conduct adopted by Council from 1 September 2008 (including whipping declarations)




Councillor Ian Williams declared a personal interest as a Member of Bridgend Town Council and a Governor of Oldcastle Primary and Brynteg Comprehensive Schools.


Update on Communities Directorate Position and Challenges pdf icon PDF 769 KB



Councillor Huw David – Leader of Council

Councillor Jane Gebbie - Deputy Leader of Council and Cabinet Member for Social Services and Health

Councillor Hywel Williams - Cabinet Member for Finance, Resources and Legal

Councillor John Spanswick – Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment

Councillor Jon-Paul Blundell - Cabinet Member for Education

Councillor Neelo Farr - Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Wellbeing

Councillor Rhys Goode - Cabinet Member for Housing, Planning and Regeneration


Mark Shephard - Chief Executive

Carys Lord - Chief Officer Finance, Performance and Change

Janine Nightingale - Corporate Director, Communities



The Chief Executive presented the report, the purpose of which was to update the Committee on the current position with the Communities Directorate in terms of budget and resources and future performance.


The Chairperson thanked the Chief Executive and Members discussed the following with Invitees:


·       The Authority’s vacancy level in comparison with other authorities’ rates, the innovative ways of moving some vacancies forward being explored, and the restructure being undertaken in the planning department.

·       The level of funding for Net Carbon Zero 2030 and the cost of the Directorate work towards it, having regard to the recent announcement by UK Government easing back.

·       With regard to a question whether any benchmarking had been done in terms of the budget per head of the population in the Authority in comparison with other authorities in South Wales of a similar size, Officers advised a piece of work through the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) would provide benchmarking information across selected authorities in Wales across certain services.

·       Whether the Authority could explore ways to invest money to generate revenue that could be invested back into service provision.

·       The high expectation of the frontline services provided to communities by the Directorate including statutory responsibilities, looking ahead exploring different ways of operating and what could be delivered aligning with the resources and budget within the Directorate in a new Target Operating Model.


·       Exploring a renewed and different relationship with Town and Community Councils, which was being raised in the Town and Community Council Forum and could be shared with the Committee. 


The Chairperson advised that there were no further questions for the Invitees, thanked the Invitees for their attendance and, advised that they may leave the meeting.

RESOLVED:            Following detailed consideration and discussions with Cabinet Members and Officers, the Committee made the following Recommendations:


1.     That the Update on Communities Directorate Position and Challenges report be made available to all Committee Members. 


  1. The Committee welcomed the proposal of a plan over the next five years to develop a new Target Operating Model (TOM) as explained by the Corporate Director of Communities, of what the Communities Directorate can deliver in alignment with their resources and budget. Looking at all the services they deliver, statutory responsibilities and the communities’ expectations.  The Committee recommended that at the opportune time when the Target Operating Model (TOM) draft becomes available it is added to the Forward Work Programme for review by the Committee.

  2. That the Town and Community Council Forum consider the current model of partnership working between the Local Authority and the local Town and Community Councils and explore options for better communication, more collaborative working and whether the Authority can assist Town and Community Councils take on leadership of certain service provisions. The Members requested that the outcome of this discussion be provided back to Committee as an information report.



Forward Work Programme Update pdf icon PDF 179 KB

Additional documents:


The Committee discussed the draft outline FWP and Members expressed concern in relation to the Communities Directorate having sufficient resources, commenting upon the level of Directorate budget savings made over the last 10 to 12 years, the level of unfilled vacancies, the outstanding responses to Scrutiny Recommendations, information requests and delays in reports being available. The Committee stressed that this was not a criticism of the Director or any staff.


Following detailed discussions, the Committee made the following recommendations:



1.     The Committee discussed the Communities Directorate operating with a £31m budget allocation in the financial year 2023/2024 and it is representing 9% of the authority’s budget. They considered whether any benchmarking had been done in terms of budget per head of population in the authority for Communities versus those of other authorities in South Wales of a similar size. The Chief Executive advised a piece of work had been commissioned through the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) which they intend to share in the next Budget Research and Evaluation Panel (BREP).


RESOLVED:   The Committee approved the FWP in Appendix A,

                                 subject to the above, noted the Recommendations

                                 Monitoring Action Sheet in Appendix B and noted that                    

                                 the FWP, Recommendations Monitoring Action Sheet

                                 and any updates from the Committee would be

                                 reported to the next meeting of COSC.


Urgent Items

To consider any item(s) of business in respect of which notice has been given in accordance with Part 4 (paragraph 4) of the Council Procedure Rules and which the person presiding at the meeting is of the opinion should by reason of special circumstances be transacted at the meeting as a matter of urgency.