Agenda and minutes

Performance Scrutiny Committee - People - Tuesday, 24th January, 2023 10.00 am

Venue: Hybrid Meeting

Contact: Samantha Schanzer  Scrutiny Adviser


No. Item



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Declarations of Interest

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There were no declarations of interest.


Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 107 KB

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The minutes of meetings held 29th November 2022 and 6th December 2022 were accepted as a true and accurate record


2023-24 Budget and Mid Term Financial Plan pdf icon PDF 144 KB

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The Assistant Head of Finance gave a brief overview.




A member questioned why the forecast for inflation is higher than has previously been anticipated for the next coming years.


·       The Assistant Head of Finance noted that inflation is forecast in recognition that it is still likely to be higher than in the previous year. The Assistant Head of Finance added that the issue of high inflation will be compounded beyond a single year as there will likely be further cost increases and funding decreases.

A member asked whether there had been any consultations with the schools regarding proposals.

·       The Assistant Head of Finance informed the member that an overview of the budget was given to schools and members of the unions in the prior week at the School Budget Forum. This forum includes a wide cross-section of stakeholders that will formally input to the consultation if they wish, however any school or individual can also add to the consultation as part of the process.

The member followed on to ask about the different pressures faced by schools such as energy costs increases, and if any in-year budget gaps would be remunerated.

·       The Assistant Head of Finance noted these points were also discussed in the aforementioned School Budget Forum. Schools understand which elements are being funded in the proposals, and which would be absorbed by schools. These in-year increases would not be remunerated, however Cabinet would decide on the costs that will be met on an ongoing basis.

A member asked if Heads of Service could give context regarding the expected impact of the proposals for residents in Newport.

·       The Strategic Director of Social Services outlined that there will inevitably be impacts from savings proposed, but the focus is to ameliorate the impact of these savings that we need to make whilst working as effectively as we possibly can.

Investment Proposals: 


A member queried the funding gap in relation to the Aspire Project.

·       The Head of Prevention and Inclusion detailed the plans to remodel and re-establish the aspire project to progress from the current legacy arrangement, and to make it more secure by identifying funding streams with Education. Currently, there is an adhoc arrangement between education and youth service but that there needs to be a more robust arrangement in place including looking at an alternative provider who can oversee the contract in its entirety, rather than the current ad-hoc arrangement.

A member asked for more information about the proposal concerning Additional Learning Need staff, and how this would affect ALN places in Newport schools.

·       The Assistant Head of Education informed the member that funding is sourced through grants however it is unclear how much they grant funding will be available in the next year.


A member asked if there was a reduction of ALN places, then where those children would be placed.

·       The Assistant Head of Education confirmed that there were no plans to reduce ALN places.


A member asked for clarification regarding the Housing Benefit technical overpayments.

·       The  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Conclusions of Committee Reports

Following the completion of the Committee reports, the Committee will be asked to formalise its conclusions, recommendations and comments on previous items for actioning.

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The committee appreciated that there were hard decisions to be made given the current climate.


The committee asked for further information explaining the lag between costs incurred and DWP payments received by the Council be provided.


The committee stressed the importance of Growing Spaces and strongly raised its concern on the impact of limiting the service would have on residents who need to access these services. The committee further raised concern on the impact reducing the service would have on future finances and services such as the health and care sectors. The committee recommended that these cuts be reviewed and reconsidered.


The committee expressed strong concern on the impact on residents due to the reduction of services in the Oaklands and short break services savings proposal. The committee were concerned about the impact not only directly on the residents who accessed this service, but on foster carers who played an important role with the assistance of this service and felt that it could have a detrimental impact on the number of foster carers within Newport. The committee also felt that there would be a resulting financial impact due to increasing pressures in other areas such as care services and the health service. The committee recommended that this be reviewed and reconsidered.


The committee were very concerned about the saving proposal regarding the short breaks service for older adults (formerly known as day opportunities). The committee felt that the reduction would have a severe impact on the service and all those who access it. The committee recommended that this be reviewed and reconsidered as the saving proposal was too large.


Scrutiny Adviser Reports pdf icon PDF 140 KB

a)    Actions Arising (Appendix 1)

b)    Forward Work Programme Update (Appendix 2)



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The Chair raised to the Strategic Director that there were outstanding actions from previous meetings and that the committee required the information they asked for before the end of the meeting term.


The Strategic Director agreed to provide it as soon as possible.


The Scrutiny Advisor presented the Action Plan and Forward Work Programme.


The date of the next meeting was agreed as the 28th February 2023 at 10am.


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