Agenda and minutes

Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 21st July, 2022 09:30

Venue: remotely - via Microsoft Teams. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services 


No. Item


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)



Cllr Heidi Bennett declared a personal interest in the report on Budget Monitoring 2022-23 - Quarter 1 Revenue Forecast as the organisation she works for was noted as a virement at paragraph 4.1.10 of that report


Councillors Alex Williams, Heidi Bennett, Paul Davies and Martyn Jones declared personal interests in the report on Council Performance Against its Commitments for the year 2021-22, as private landlords in the County Borough.


Councillor Tim Thomas declared a prejudicial interest in the report on Council Performance Against its Commitments for the year 2021-22, as a campaigns and public affairs officer for the National Residential Landlords' Association.


Councillor Freya Bletsoe declared a personal interest in the report on Council Performance Against its Commitments for the year 2021-22, as a family member of hers worked for the National Residential Landlords Association.


Budget Monitoring 2022-23 - Quarter 1 Revenue Forecast pdf icon PDF 361 KB



Councillor Huw David - Leader of Council

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

Councillor Hywel Williams - Cabinet Member for Resources 

Councillor Jon-Paul Blundell - Cabinet Member for Education

Councillor John Spanswick - Cabinet Member for Communities

Councillor Neelo Farr - Cabinet Member for Regeneration

Councillor Rhys Goode - Cabinet Member for Wellbeing and Future Generations


Mark Shephard - Chief Executive

Carys Lord - Chief Officer - Finance, Performance and Change

Lindsay Harvey - Corporate Director - Education and Family Support

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 for Finance, Performance and Change presented the report the purpose of which was to provide the Committee with an update on the Council’s revenue financial position as at 30th June 2022.


A Member queried an underspend of £459,000 in the Communities Directorate as she was concerned that most constituent complaints arose in the that Directorate and that replies to Member Referrals commonly stated there was insufficient budget to undertake the works required. She also queried how there was a £95,000 shortfall on budget reductions in Communities when an underspend of £459,000 was envisaged.


The Cabinet Member for Communities advised that the underspend was projected not confirmed.


The Corporate Director for Communities clarified that for  2021-22 there were delayed budget savings of £160,000, including  a £100,000 saving for the  Permitting Scheme, which had been proposed to  charge utility companies that dig up roads, however Welsh Government had not endorsed the Scheme or responded to its proposal.


In relation to the Community Recycling Centre (CRC) in Pyle, the Director confirmed that a licence had not been received from Natural Resources Wales (NRC) and that it had been raised politically in view of the operational issues being caused.


She confirmed that with regard to the £150,000 in year budget reductions, £55,000 had been achieved but  £95,000 could not be met due to two areas. 


She advised that the first was the unsuccessful replacement of biodegradable food waste bags with plastic bags. She explained that food digested at a much faster rate than the biodegradable bags and that the company had therefore been taking the food out of the bag, putting it into the digester and throwing the bag away. She confirmed that the current bags cost £35,000 more than the single use bag but that a national debate about the micro particles that might be present have prevented the switching and the saving.


She advised that the second area where a saving of £60,000 had been unsuccessful was the commercial letting of a wing in Ravens Court, due to the continued occupation of the vaccination centre and Council occupied parts of the building itself. She advised that they were undertaking a future services model however until it was clear that the Council no longer required the accommodation, the wing could not be let.


The Corporate Director for Communities confirmed that the Quarter 1 projection was an underspend of £459,000. She referred the Member to page 17 of the Report pack which provided the breakdown of where potential under and overspends might occur in the Directorate to achieve the position of £459,000 underspend. She cautioned that the figure would change each Quarter.

She confirmed that that there were current underspends on waste, with a 3.9% reduction on the monies paid for the material recycling centre. However, as the tonnage of waste collected was increasing, she anticipated that the underspend could be cancelled out during the year.


She highlighted that there had also been savings in the streetlighting budget from the introduction  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.


Council Performance Against its Commitments for the Year 2021-22 pdf icon PDF 144 KB

As above for Item 3.

Additional documents:


Chief Officer for Finance, Performance Monitoring and Change presented the report the purpose of which was to provide the Committee with an overview of the Council’s performance for the year 2021-22 and compared performance against the commitments made to deliver the well-being objectives in the Corporate Plan 2018-23, reviewed for 2021-22.


A Member was concerned about the things the framework did not measure and highlighted that there were very few measures noted in relation to the Council’s response to climate emergency. He was also concerned that the report did not provide sufficient detail regarding staffing vacancies or the responses of staff to the engagement survey. He was also concerned that the report did not measure resident satisfaction to the services provided by the Council. He confirmed that he had 39 areas which he felt needed to be addressed but given the brevity of time, proposed to submit those in writing. However, he asked what could be done to reflect the views of residents in the performance indicators.


Chief Officer for Finance, Performance Monitoring and Change confirmed that the report measured performance against the previous year’s Corporate Plan and that some issues raised had become more important for residents since then and which would take a stronger place in Corporate Plan being drafted. She confirmed that the way in which performance was measured was being reviewed to consider wider issues. Self-assessment was being introduced which would be subject to engagement by Members and people in Bridgend. She also highlighted that financial and workforce issues impacted on the Council’s performance and hoped to bring all strands together to provide Members with an overview of all factors impacting on performance.


The Member encouraged Officers to consider Future Generation Commissioner’s recommendations for local authorities for potential future commitments and performance indicators.


The Chairperson underlined that where there was new legislation which put additional pressure on service demand, it was crucial that consequential funding from central government followed. He asked what the Executive what the immediate priorities were and what areas they would be prepared to suffer if funding was no forthcoming. 


The Deputy Leader confirmed that it was not her intention for any service provision to suffer and that she would continue to lobby for fair funding. She reiterated that non-statutory provisions saved money in the long term and whilst the funding position was unknown advised that further cuts were unacceptable for residents and workforce.  


In relation to the percentage of people presenting as homeless or potentially homeless, for whom the Local Authority has a final legal duty to secure suitable accommodation being 19.2%, a Member asked what the percentage represented in terms of the number of people. In addition, she noted the percentage of households threatened with homelessness successfully prevented from becoming homeless was 30.5% and queried why the target was 60%.


The Head of Partnerships confirmed that, during the pandemic, WG guidance around homelessness changed. Before Covid-19, the DOPS39 indicator was expected to be as low as possibly as it was hoped  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.


Nomination to the Public Service Board Scrutiny Panel pdf icon PDF 24 KB


The Scrutiny Officer presented the report, which requested the Committee to nominate one further Member to sit on the Public Service Board Scrutiny Panel, in addition to Councillor Freya Bletsoe and Councillor Simon Griffiths who were nominated at the previous meeting of the Committee held on 30 June 2022.


The Chairperson invited nominations, following which it was:


RESOLVED:     That Councillor Graham Walter be nominated

                          by Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee to sit on

                          the Public Service Board Scrutiny Panel.


Forward Work Programme Update pdf icon PDF 38 KB

Additional documents:


The Senior Democratic Services Officer – Scrutiny presented the Committee with the proposed draft outline Forward Work Programme (FWP) in Appendix A for discussion and consideration, requested any specific information the Committee identified to be included in the items for the next two meetings, including invitees they wished to attend, requested the Committee to identify any further items for consideration on the Forward Work Programme having regard to the selection criteria in paragraph 4.6 and asked the Committee to note that the Forward Work Programme for the Subject Overview and Scrutiny Committees would be reported to  a meeting of COSC, following consideration in the recent cycle of SOSC meetings.


The Committee requested the following reports be added to the Committee’s Forward Work Programme:


  1. Homelessness, Housing and Empty Properties to include Housing Options for Care Leavers


2.    Progress on the Performance of Disabled Facilities Grants, including the support arrangements provided by Neath Port Talbot due to end at the end of 2022.

3.    Cost of Living Payment Scheme - once concluded a report on the operational delivery of the scheme / lessons learned.

4.    Workforce Recruitment and Retention




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.