Agenda and minutes

Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday, 2nd March, 2022 09:30

Venue: remotely - via Microsoft Teams. View directions


No. Item


Appointment of Chair for the Meeting


The Senior Democratic Services Officer - Scrutiny advised that the Chair was unable to attend the meeting, so in accordance with the Council’s Constitution requested nominations from the Committee for a Chairperson for the meeting.


RESOLVED:     That Councillor Blundell be nominated as Chairperson             

                          for the meeting.


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)




Approval of Minutes pdf icon PDF 213 KB

To receive for approval the minutes of 19 01 2022 and 01 02 2022


Additional documents:


RESOLVED:     That the Minutes of the meetings of the Corporate Overview

                          and Scrutiny Committee dated 19 Jan and 1 Feb 2022 be

                          approved as a true and accurate record.


Budget Monitoring 2021-22 - Quarter 3 Revenue Forecast pdf icon PDF 396 KB



Councillor Huw David - Leader

Councillor Hywel Williams - Deputy Leader

Councillor Stuart Baldwin - Cabinet Member for Communities

Councillor Jane Gebbie - Cabinet Member for Social Services and Early Help

Councillor Dhanisha Patel - Cabinet Member for Future Generations and Wellbeing

Councillor Charles Smith - Cabinet Member for Education & Regeneration


Mark Shephard - Chief Executive

Lindsay Harvey - Corporate Director - Education and Family Support

Carys Lord - Chief Officer Finance, Performance and Change

Claire Marchant - Corporate Director - Social Services and Wellbeing

Janine Nightingale - Corporate Director - Communities

Kelly Watson - Chief Officer Legal and Regulatory Services, HR & Corporate Policy


Additional documents:


The Chief Officer - Finance, Performance and Change presented the report which provided the Committee with an update on the Council’s revenue financial position at the end of 31 December 2021. She drew the Committee’s attention to the fact that the report did not reflect potential impact on reduction in council tax income, as people had suffered financial hardship and measures had been put in place to support those who had faced difficulty in paying their council tax. However, it was still likely to be a lower collection rate than usual, and this will continue to monitor as the   year progressed. She advised that along with the impact on council tax, the ending of the furlough scheme and the potential for new restrictions to address the Omicron Covid variant could both manifest themselves with an increased eligibility for council tax support, but this would be monitored by themselves and Welsh Government. She concluded by referring to the recommendation as detailed in section 9 of the report.


The Chair thanked the Chief Officer - Finance, Performance and Change for her presentation, following which Members of the Committee asked the following:


 A Member commented that the report had been written in advance of January Cabinet up to the end of quarter 3 and it seemed late for it to be considered by Scrutiny in this meeting. He asked that the Authority consider in future the Committee receiving the report at an earlier stage, to enable Cabinet to consider recommendations going forward.


A Member stated it would have been better if they were looking at Quarter 4 rather than retrospectively looking at Quarter 3. He thought scrutiny could be more impactive and supportive to Cabinet if they could provide views, and representations when Cabinet received the report.


A Member proposed that the reports could be timed with Cabinet to enable pre-decision scrutiny, to make recommendations upon performance and finance reports.


The Chief Executive advised that he understood the idea in principle of having up-to-date information, but it may have been more down to the practicality of logistics.


The Chief Officer - Finance, Performance and Change agreed it was something they could take forward and look at what period they reported to the Committee on the financial position.


A Member referred to paragraph 4.1.4 of the report regarding home to school transport and the additional budget pressure from the year before, but that it could not be sustained.  He asked about the link to school catchment areas and where they stood moving forward with long term planning and review of school catchment areas and the timeline.


The Corporate Director - Education and Family Support advised that work had been undertaken by the Directorate on this and it was an issue that all local authorities were wrestling with. He advised they had looked at a variety of methods of reduction, such as effective tracking of vehicles to make sure the routes are minimised as well as working with parents to see whether they can support  ...  view the full minutes text for item 68.


Employee Wellbeing pdf icon PDF 260 KB



Councillor Hywel Williams - Deputy Leader

Mark Shephard - Chief Executive

Kelly Watson - Chief Officer Legal and Regulatory Services, HR & Corporate Policy


Debra Beeke - Group Manager - Human Resources and Organisational Development

Angela Farrow – HR Business Development Manager

Ann Stewart – Health and Wellbeing Officer


The Chief Officer Legal and Regulatory Services, HR and Corporate Policy introduced the report and asked the new Health and Wellbeing Officer to introduce herself and some of the initiatives she had introduced.


The Health and Wellbeing Officer introduced herself to the Committee advising she had joined the Authority following recommendations that health and wellbeing needed to be more cohesive across the Authority, as there had been lots of good practice, but having somebody to head it up and promote the resources that they had within the Council to support the staff. She gave an overview of her background in occupational health and experience to date. She had started to familiarise herself with how the Authority worked and had made a few changes to some of the procedures to support managers with sickness absence. She had been involved with Human Resources surgeries on managing absence and had looked at introducing more guidance for the stress risk assessment. She advised she was currently engaged with Halo Leisure in looking at the Halo at Home app as a pilot study for the newly formed Health and Wellbeing Group. She explained they were also trying to look at how they could develop the intranet so that they could collate all the health and wellbeing resources in one place and provided wellbeing information to promote wellbeing when recruiting, as she thought pay was not always the issue when people were looking for a job, it was actually the services that support you in the workplace. She had also engaged with the Employee Assistance Programme, provided by Care First where they had a lot of quantitative data but not a lot of qualitative data which more information was needed. Lastly, she advised she was going to engage with employees who are non-office based to provide wellbeing support and information/advice.  She concluded that they had an action plan in place which they were addressing some of which some would be quick wins and others would take longer to provide.


A Member referred to sickness absence monitoring over the year, that non-work-related absence due to stress had been higher in the Social Services and Wellbeing Directorate and in Schools and queried why non-work-related absence would not be similar across all Directorates. He also referred to a newly published report on a Future Fit for Wales and a road map to a shorter working week and advised that they were looking for organisations for a pilot and he thought maybe that was something the Council may start to consider looking at for the future.


The Group Manager, Human Resources and Organisational Development advised the reports on stress related absences were provided following a previous report to the Committee looking at absence across the Council and as a direct recommendation from this Committee, they had started recording the information differently and took it back to the beginning of the financial year. She was confident that the information was being input correctly and advised they had mechanisms to check that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 69.


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.