Agenda, decisions and minutes

Cabinet - Wednesday, 13th October, 2021 4.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 1 - Civic Centre

Contact: Anne Jenkins, Governance Team Leader  Email:

No. Item


Declarations of Interest




Minutes of the Last Meeting pdf icon PDF 369 KB


The Minutes of the meeting from 8 September 2021 were recorded as a true and accurate record.


Corporate Annual Report 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 394 KB

Additional documents:


The Leader presented the report to Cabinet.


This was the fourth Annual Report of the Council’s five year Corporate Plan.


The purpose of the report was to reflect on 2020/21 assessing the achievements this Council made, where we could improve and looking forward for the remainder of this Corporate Plan.


2020/21 was one of the most challenging that this Cabinet and officers across the Council had to manage as we responded to the Covid-19 pandemic and supported Newport’s communities.


Despite these challenges, Newport’s communities came together to support our public services, reaching out to their neighbours and helping our local businesses to recover and thrive again.


The report provided an overview of what Newport Council and its partners have delivered against this Cabinet’s mission of ‘Improving People’s Lives’ and the four Wellbeing Objectives


1.        Improve skills, educational outcomes and employment opportunities

2.        Promote economic growth and regeneration whilst protecting the environment

3.        Enable people to be healthy, independent and resilient

4.        Build cohesive and sustainable communities


Throughout the pandemic, many Council services were impacted by the restrictions and the Council committed to four Strategic Recovery Aims to support the response and recovery of services, Newport’s communities and businesses.  The Strategic Recovery Aims were:


1.        Understand and respond to the additional challenges which Covid-19 has presented including loss of employment, impact on businesses and on the progress, achievement and wellbeing of both mainstream and vulnerable learners.


2.        Understand and respond to the impact of Covid-19 on the city’s economic and environmental goals to enable Newport to thrive again.


3.        Promote and protect the health and wellbeing of people, safeguarding our most vulnerable and building strong, resilient communities.


4.        Provide people with the resources and support they need to move out of the crisis, considering in particular, the impact that Covid-19 has had on our minority and marginalised communities.


The Annual Report was presented in September to the Council’s Overview and Management Scrutiny Committee.  Detailed discussions on the Council’s Covid-19 response and feedback were in the contents of the Annual Report.  The Committees recommendations were considered and updated in the final version of this report presented today.


Following the Cabinet’s endorsement, the Annual Report would be published and made available in Welsh. 


In the last year, Newport Council had to adapt to deliver its services and have had to change long established habits and practices to meet the urgent needs of the crisis.  Services switched incredibly quickly wherever possible to remote ways of working, video calls, and wearing protective clothing to minimise the spread of the virus.


From the start of the pandemic, this Council’s priority was to protect the most vulnerable across our communities.


This could not have been achieved without the collaborative approach that Newport Council, public and third sector organisations took to achieve this and it was hoped that this was one of the legacies of this experience that could be sustained and built upon for the future.


The Annual Report demonstrated that the Council continued to make good  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


Replacement Local Development Plan (LDP) pdf icon PDF 1 MB


The Leader presented the report to Cabinet.


Full Council endorsed the review of Newport’s Local Development Plan in May earlier this year.  The Council’s process for review also received formal approval from Welsh Government. 


A call was put out for candidate sites and the Council also consulted on an Integrated Sustainability Appraisal Scoping Report.  This report would help to ensure that sustainability was at the heart of the replacement LDP.  It would include assessments on equality, language, health and well-being and would be key to assessing candidate sites and all proposed replacement LDP policies.


The proposed Integrated Sustainability Appraisal Scoping Report included a framework which focuses on ten themes:


·        Economy and employment

·        Population and communities

·        Health and well-being

·        Equality, diversity and inclusion

·        Transport and movement

·        Natural Resources

·        Biodiversity

·        Historic Environment

·        Landscape

·        Climate Change


Proposed sites and draft policies would all need to be considered against these themes.  The themes had a number of assessment questions associated with them which could be viewed in Appendix A of the Cabinet Report.  In summary, sites and policies that received positive answers to these assessment questions would have a greater chance of making it into the adopted replacement LDP.


The Integrated Sustainability Appraisal Scoping Report and framework was subject to public consultation.  Comments received could be viewed in Appendix B along with the changes made following consultation.


Issues covered in the responses included:


·        Importance of green infrastructure

·        Welsh Governments declaration of a Nature Emergency

·        Investment in the City Centre

·        Further protection of the Gwent Levels


In summary, Cabinet were being asked to consider the responses received and approve the Integrated Sustainability Appraisal Scoping Report and Framework which were updated following consultation.  If this was approved, the Council was also being asked to agree that officers could move to the next stage of the replacement LDP preparation.  This involved engaging with stakeholders in order to prepare a draft vision and proposed objectives for the replacement LDP, plus discussing the level of growth, particularly in terms of housing and employment land that we may wish to deliver in Newport. 


All proposals and feedback on this next engagement stage would be returned to Cabinet for further discussion and consideration in the future.


Comments from Cabinet Members

·        Councillor Hughes picked up on consultation comments within the report by the Council’s partners and stakeholders, such as Friends of the Gwent Levels and many others.  Councillor Hughes welcomed the need to protect rural landscape and that the work being done was recognised more nationally and picked up by the BBC which highlighted that Newport was ahead of the game in several areas regarding conservation.


·        Councillor Davies supported Councillor Hughes comments on the Gwent Levels focussing on the biodiversity and birdlife.  This was also fundamental to LDP for the future wellbeing for Newport residents and was therefore pleased that LDP was taking this into consideration.





1.      Noted and considered the consultation comments received on the ISA Report along with the proposed officer responses.

2.      Approved the ISA Framework and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Strategic Equality Plan Annual Report 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 409 KB

Additional documents:


The Leader presented the report to Cabinet.


Under the Equality Act (2010) the Council was required to report annually on the progress it made against the strategic equality objectives contained within its Strategic Equality Plan. The Equality Act also required Local Authorities to publish staff equalities data, which this report also contained. This Annual Report related to the first year of delivery against the Council’s new Strategic Equality Objectives, published on 31 March 2020.


The new Objectives were developed in partnership with key internal and external stakeholders and were subject to extensive community engagement. The involvement of grassroots communities ensured that whilst the Plan delivered a strategic vision for equality in Newport, it also ensured tangible outcomes for communities on the ground.


The pandemic presented significant challenges in delivering against some areas of work, for example, in relation to customer services. However, other areas had gained traction as a direct result of the impact of COVID-19.  The Council’s equality work this year had to be flexible, responding to emerging challenges, particularly around access to information, education and addressing race-based hate crime.


The impacts of the UK leaving the EU was deeply felt by our EU migrant communities this year, and our focus on supporting people to remain in Newport and protect their rights and entitlements continued. The Council had also taken stock of the effectiveness of its monitoring arrangements throughout the year and taken steps to improve them.


Highlights from the past year included:


·        The council signed up to Race Council Cymru’s Zero Tolerance to Racism Policy for Wales and Victim Support’s Hate Crime Charter 

·        The council Leader has established a Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority community roundtable which meets on a quarterly basis

·        Significant dates, including Pride Month, Black History 365, Refugee Week, Holocaust Memorial Day and Hate Crime Awareness Week were recognised and promoted across the city, including within our schools 

·        Themed delivery groups were established to deliver against each Equality Objective

·        The Terms of Reference and membership of the council’s Strategic Equalities Group (SEG) was reviewed and updated and the Group now received quarterly progress reports

·        Responsibilities under the Socio-economic Duty were embedded in council processes, including strategic decision-making

·        The council had a Diversity (ethnic minority) LGBTQ+ and Disability staff network, all of which were now represented at SEG

·        £100,000 of funding was distributed to grassroots community projects, overseen by Newport’s Fairness Commission and a representative community steering group

·        An Accessibility Stakeholder Group was established and was advising on council projects with a focus on access for disabled people

·        Equality support has been provided to all Test, Trace, Protect staff to ensure COVID-19 response was culturally and linguistically sensitive

·        A review of the council’s complaints policy is complete, providing clearer guidance on how the council would respond to complaints relating to discrimination

·        Partnership programme delivered with Ffilm Cymru encouraged under-represented groups to learn more about careers in the film sector 

·        Representative workforce group established and updates made to application forms (removal of personal details) and exit  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Covid-19 Response and Recovery Update pdf icon PDF 491 KB


The Leader presented the report to Cabinet.


The Report provided an update on the Council’s and its partners’ response to the Covid-19 crisis supporting the City (Residents and Businesses) to comply with the current restrictions and progress in the Council’s Strategic Recovery Aims and Corporate Plan. 


More up to date information was available from Public Health Wales Covid-19 Dashboardson the latest figures and also Welsh Government on restriction changes. 


Since the last Cabinet meeting in September, case rates for Newport and other areas in Wales remained high as restrictions were eased allowing people to socialise more and undertake more normal routines.


The Leader reminded those present that it remained important for people to continue to adhere to the Welsh Government guidelines wearing face coverings, maintaining social distancing (where possible) and being aware of people whether that was friends or family, that there are still vulnerable people who are susceptible to the virus.


Hospitals in Newport and Gwent were continuing to see people being treated for Covid and while the numbers were not as high as those experienced during the last winter, they remained significant enough to impact on other NHS services. To reiterate the Welsh Government’s position, additional restrictions could be reimposed if the NHS and new variants of concern emerged. 


For people over 50 and the most vulnerable, boosters were now being offered as well as the seasonal flu jab.


12 to 15 year olds were being offered to receive the vaccination.


It remained very important for residents to take up these offers and for those still unvaccinated in the other age groups, they too could still receive the vaccine. 


Communities were also facing wider economic impacts as the economy was recovering from Covid.  As highlighted in the Brexit report to this Cabinet, this winter period would be seeing increasing household costs due to food and energy prices increasing as well as supply issues.  This would impact many low income households in Newport and place further demand on Council and third sector support. 


Newport City Council Update


Front line services continued to be delivered and the Council continued to follow the Welsh Government’s advice for staff (where they could) to continue to work from home. 


This equally applied to Members and access to the Civic Centre and democratic functions would continue to be undertaken virtually.


The Council has also been finalising the technology requirements and the necessary protocols for hybrid meetings to take place in the Council.


The Council’s New Normal report would be reporting back to this Cabinet in November regarding the policy changes, building utilisation along with the associated benefits, risks and impacts. 

Schools returned in September and the rate of attendance was lower than anticipated due to positive covid cases, asymptomatic pupils kept at home and parents not sending pupils into school due to Covid-19


All Community Hub and libraries were open and available for people to access services, training and other council services.


Newport Council launched £300,000 Newport Business Fund for new and emerging  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Post Brexit Update pdf icon PDF 410 KB


The Leader presented the report to Cabinet.


The next Cabinet Report was an update on the post EU Transition arrangements since the UK left the EU in December 2020.


Progress to Date

·      Since the previous report in September, Wales and the wider UK economy encountered several disruptions which impacted households and businesses across Newport.

·      We have seen the impact that the labour market was having across different sectors such as logistics disrupting food and fuel supply, social care, construction, farming and hospitality. 

·      This was also impacting Council services with disruptions to City Services and social care. 

·      The cost of energy (electric and gas) had increased which would see households on standard and pre-payment tariffs see an increase in the energy costs.  For low income households in Newport this would have a significant impact and would put further pressure on those vulnerable households.

·      Food prices were increasing as well as disruptions in supply resulting in certain foods not reaching supermarkets and impacting on food banks across Newport and Wales.

·      Whilst these issues were solely attributed to the UK leaving the EU and the impact of Covid was a significant contributor, it was becoming clearer about the impact that Brexit was having on businesses to be able to function as effectively prior to leaving.

·      The Council’s Civil Contingencies team, were supporting the Council’s Gold team to respond to these issues and collaborating with other local authorities as part of its wider Local Resilience Forum.

·      The Council’s Finance teams were also monitoring the situation as part of its monthly monitoring and revenue planning. 

·      It was over three months since the deadline passed for EU/EAA citizens to apply for EU Settled Status. 

·      In Newport 10,990 applications were received since this process started. 

·      5,410 EU/EAA citizens received full Settled Status while 3,620 citizens received Pre-settled status. 

·      There were however over 1,000 residents still awaiting a decision.

·      Cabinet wanted to reiterate its support for EU/EAA citizens living and working in Newport and that they all had a part to play in making Newport a great city to live and work in.  The Leader encouraged anyone who was still awaiting a decision or having difficulties to conclude their application to contact the Council and other organisations such as Citizens Advice Bureau. 

·      Newport Council was continuing to work with community groups and third sector organisations to ensure EU citizens had access to the services and support they need.

·      The Council was working with GAVO to make arrangements to support further food poverty work.

·      Community Cohesion officers were now focusing on post Brexit rights and making sure EU citizens, businesses and services understand their obligations to access services.


Comments from Cabinet Members


·        Councillor Harvey reiterated her previous comments as mentioned on the previous agenda item.


·        Councillor Davies agreed with Councillor Harvey’s comments and expressed concern regarding winter fuel crisis and the impact of main Newport employers such as the local steel plant.  With a potential lack of fuel in the supply chain this could have a significant impact on  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


PSB Summary of Business


The link to the summary of business was noted by Cabinet.



Work Programme pdf icon PDF 393 KB

Additional documents:


This was the regular monthly report on the work programme. 



Cabinet noted and accepted the updated programme.