Agenda and minutes

Liaison Meeting with Community Councils - Thursday, 9th December, 2021 6.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 1 - Civic Centre. View directions

Contact: Pamela Tasker  Governance Support Officer

No. Item






Minutes from the Last Meeting: 15 September 2021 pdf icon PDF 321 KB



That the minutes from the last meeting 15 September 2021 were a true record.



Matters Arising

A response has been received from Silvia Gonzalez-Lopez Service Manager Waste and Cleansing in relation to a question posed by the Marshfield Representative at the last meeting about whether fly tipping had increased or decreased as a result of the booking system. The response is as follows:


Regarding the question about fly tipping, we have seen no correlation between fly tipping and changes to our HWRC. We need to highlight that, recent changes to the way the site operates have meant improved conditions and longer opening hours, which has enabled the site to increase its recycling from 65% to 90% and meant NCC has been awarded with the HWRC of the year 2021 award. The new system has eradicated issues with queuing and traffic building up in the SDR and currently there is no waiting time at all, and residents can generally book slots to visit the site from one day to the next.


Fly tipping is a criminal activity that the vast majority of our residents would not entertain. A significant proportion of fly tipping is carried out by commercial operators, who cannot not use the HWRC and have a legal obligation to dispose of their waste in line with relevant legislation.




The Chair noted the written answer from the Service Manager of Waste and Cleansing stating no correlation between fly tipping and changes to the HWRC.



Carbon Literacy Training

Discussion with Nicola Dance- Senior Policy & Partnership Officer and Alun Prescott- Neighbourhood Hub Manager


The community councils received a presentation from the Senior Policy & Partnership Officer. It was explained that this training was an initiative under One Newport Partnership to develop skills and knowledge through the Vale of Usk Leader Programme which was the source of funding for the project.

Main Points:

·       Free carbon literacy training to be offered to community councils in Newport and Monmouthshire as it was a joint initiative between those two areas.

·       Community councils would be learning about the link between human activity and climate change, and that would give them the knowledge to take action to reduce carbon emissions on an individual level or on a community council level.

·       A bid was made to the Rural Development Fund which was successful, and it applied to the Vale of Usk LEADER area compromising Monmouthshire and rural wards in Newport including Llanwern, Marshfield, Graig, Caerleon and Langstone. In terms of community councils training the training is to be extended to all the 14 community councils to be delivered in the new year by Cynnal Cymru.

·       116 free online training places available for members of Community Councils and up to 90 free places available for members of the community in the area.

·       Train the Trainer also applied where people who had received the training can also go on to deliver the training themselves further down the line.

·       Training to run online from January to March 2022 – Two online sessions with one hour of self-directed learning.

·       The training will inform people of the facts and science behind climate change, hear about the impact of different actions and develop actions plans using their knowledge. The course was also accredited with a certificate on completion.

·       4 opportunities to sign up with a course in January, 2 in February and 1 in March 2022.

The next step was that as of next week community councils clerks would be written to, to invite people to pre-register their interest with the booking link. One person can register on behalf of their community council with potential to extend that to more people.

Community councils were also asked to help identify groups looking after community buildings in their area and to also promote this training to residents in their area who might be interested.


The Michaelston y Fedw representative enquired about the 116 places but only one community councils representative from each council to attend the training and the Senior Policy & Partnership Officer confirmed that the 116 places also included Monmouthshire which takes up the bulk of places and it was also available to organisations running community buildings.

The Marshfield representative stated that there would be a lot of groups interested in Marshfield and enquired as to whether there were any posters available to send on to these groups.

The Senior Policy & Partnership Officer confirmed that the information would be sent out via the Governance Support Officer to the Community Council clerks next week.

Community Councils were also encouraged to follow the One Newport Partnership on Twitter for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Customer Complaints- Contact Centre

Discussion with Ceri Foot Service Manager- Customer Services and Karen Gregg Systems Development Manager


The Service Manager Customer Services and the Operations Support Manager attended to speak to Community Councils about issues mentioned in the previous meeting regarding difficulties in how issues were reported, issues with the app and also reports of some customers not being called back. 

Main Points:

·       The Service Manager Customer Services explained that the contact centre has a system where issues get logged and this was the same system that residents use to set up their accounts with 50,000 residents having set up own accounts and this was integrated with the back office system.

·       The contact centre operators operate from a system called A TO Z, which was a massive knowledge database. If you were to call to report a missed waste collection or to report a pothole for example, they would use that database to answer your call. The information that's on that database was owned by the service areas. Service areas give the customer services team information on how they want their calls handled.

·       The agent searches for potholes or missed waste and they have scripting to help with this call.

·       If a call needed to be logged, then it goes to the back office.

·       When the A to Z was set up, the back offices agreed on the information held on that data set, they agreed what information that goes back to the customer, then they agreed with us a level of service agreement e.g., what the time scale is to get back to customers.

·       The contact centre does not receive any information from the service area, once the call has left customer services, it was up to the back office to contact the customer.

·       If the call was logged then it goes to the service area back office, whatever goes on that record was relayed back to the customer via an email.

·       If nothing was being fed back, then it was likely that the back office had not updated the record.



The Marshfield representative asked what back office meant and whether it referred to each individual department such as Planning etc but also that residents have said that they have not received any feedback at all so this was an issue.

The Service Manager Customer Services explained that if a customer rang in to report a pothole, then this was logged under the customer’s name, address, and their email address and this goes through to the Highways system which then created a job for the inspector. The inspector adds a note to their system when then comes back to the customer.

The Operations Support Manager added that if a customer has a registered customer account, the account should be checked. There were about 85,000 registered customer accounts now across Newport. The requests should be in the customer’s account portal and the customer should be able to look at their bookings. It was stated that maybe the customer portal should be looked at and maybe the service areas were logging internal notes rather than for the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Response times from Newport City Council Officers


The Graig representative stated that this agenda item followed on from what was spoken about previously and they had lots of examples where they had emailed officers in the Council and had received no reply. It was promised to them that senior officers would come back to them, and they did not receive an answer.

The Graig representative stated that they had met ten years ago with city council officials regarding a speed sign between The Ruperra and The Friendly Fox. There were meetings where it was agreed for the sign to be moved and would cost the community council £350 and it would not be done until money was paid up front. The Graig representative stated that they had met with services who did not understand why the community council would be asked for payment, but there was still no response regarding this matter.

The Chair reiterated that the community councils needed to come through the Monitoring Officer and the Governance Support Officer if they had not received a response as they were the central point of contact as stated in the Charter.

The Graig representative stated that some of the issues were health and safety issues which were serious and needed to be addressed straight away in July 2021. The Chair stated that if there was no response received then the issues could be brought to the Governance Support Officer and the Monitoring officer to be escalated if necessary.

The Graig representative referred to a letter sent to the Monitoring Officer in January 2019 from Graig Community Council regarding a matter where it was stated that the report would be taken to a Cabinet Member in June. The Chair stated that this would be dealt with but at the moment this was not the forum for this to be discussed.

The Chair stated that the Council had not yet taken a discussion on this matter, and it would be progressed. 

The Chair stated that in relation to the agenda item being discussed and that in relation to individual complaints they would be dealt with by customer services. As a community council raising issues this needed to be sent to the service area.

The Marshfield representative stated that on the matter of communication they enquired if Newport Council had an intranet, so the community councils could have access to this.

The Chair confirmed that it was not appropriate to give out officers numbers etc, especially junior officers and it would not help the community councils as they were not treated any different to the city councillors. Contact details of senior managers could be provided and their service managers could also be contacted.

The Chair noted that the community councils could receive details of Heads of Service, but they should only be contacted if absolutely necessary. If the community council did not know the service area in question, they could go through the Governance Support Officer.



Any Other Business


The Marshfield representative explained that there had been a meeting with Matthew Sharpe Development and Regeneration Manager and Neil Gunther Senior Planning Enforcement Officer which was held this week and was very worthwhile and officers were very helpful.

The Graig representative asked whether Newport City Council had issued any covid guidance on hiring out community halls as Welsh Government guidance was very vague. The Chair confirmed that we did not advise on this for that reason and directed people to the Welsh Government guidance as it was up to them to provide the guidance. However, Newport City Council could help with risk assessments.

The Wentlooge representative stated that their hall had a restriction on it and other halls had small gatherings, so the hall set their own guidelines.

The Graig representative confirmed they had allowed karate classes to continue but did not allow children’s parties as they were difficult to monitor.

The Chair stated that at level 0 it had been pushed back to organisers and managers of the premises to decide.

The Wentlooge representative stated that their hall decided to keep track and trace even though it was not a legal requirement anymore.




Date of the Next Meeting

24 March 2022 at 6pm  


24 March 2022 at 6pm



Webcast of Meeting