Agenda and minutes

Performance Scrutiny Committee - Place and Corporate - Monday, 8th October, 2018 4.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 1 - Civic Centre. View directions

Contact: Meryl Lawrence  Scrutiny Adviser

No. Item


Declarations of Interest




Minutes of the Meeting held on 9 July 2018 pdf icon PDF 367 KB


The minutes of the meeting held of 9 July were approved as a true and accurate record.


Recommendations Monitoring - Budget Proposals 2018-19 pdf icon PDF 258 KB

Additional documents:



·        Bev Owen – Strategic Director – Place

·        Paul Jones – Head of City Services

·        Alastair Hopkins – Senior Finance Business Partner


The Head of City Services presented an overview of the report providing an update on the recommendations made by the Committee on the Budget Proposals for 2018-19 at its meeting on 22 January 2018.



SS181902 – Closure of Public Conveniences


The Head of Service advised that a full years savings had been achieved. The public convenience in Caerleon had been reopened, which had been funded by the Caerleon Pavilion. There had been no evidence to show that the closures had had an impact on disabled users. Most toilets needed further work to be brought back to standard, whereas 3 toilets had been temporarily close due to antisocial behaviour. Correspondence with business regarding advertising alternative provision was carried out; however no positive responses had been received.


Members asked the following:


·             Members felt that the reopening of one of the sites (Caerleon) while the remaining 5 facilities had been lost was unfair.  Members also commented that within the report, the Officer’s response to the Scrutiny’s Comment ‘Has the locality and distance to alternative facilities been advertised?’  was weak. This response should have listed what the Council actually did to consult with local businesses.  Consultation should have started earlier, and with those who would be effected the most.  This was a lesson for the Council to take forward in this year’s consultation on the budget round.


The Head of City Services advised the Committee that while consultation could have been completed earlier, the responses may not have been more positive. Actions from recommendations made by the Scrutiny Committee in January had also been undertaken.


The Strategic Director advised that the Tourism Team had been active in consulting with local businesses, with further activity following the letters sent and there had been more response, however more communication was needed on how the community could themselves respond to long term provision in the area.


·             Was there confidence that the savings would be achieved? The Committee was advised that the savings would be achieved and there was just an overlap in business rate rebate the cost of which was a few hundred pounds.


WS181904 – Reducing telephone and face to face services within Customer Services


The Head of Service advised that this was delayed although recommendations from Scrutiny had been taken to look at working with Newport City Homes and other agencies. Conversations had been held all across City Services and were especially helpful with cleansing and water issues. The Newport City Council app would be released soon which would make accessing services online more easily along with amended web forms.


Members asked the following:


·             Was work on the Council app on track, and how would people be encouraged to download the app? Members were advised that discussions were currently being held regarding how to get people to download the app. It was advised that the app would be cost neutral.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


All Wales Performance Analysis 2017-18 - Year End Summary pdf icon PDF 254 KB

Additional documents:



·        Bev Owen – Strategic Director - Place

·        Rhys Cornwall – Head of People and Business Change

·        Keir Duffin – Head of Regeneration, Investment and Housing

·        Paul Jones – Head of Streetscene and City Services

·        Gareth Price – Head of Law and Regulations


The Head of People and Business Change presented an overview of the report to the Committee and reminded Members that all the Performance Indicators for the Year-End had been reported to the Committee in July. He explained that the Local Authority submitted data to Data Cymru and benchmarked 26 performance measures across Wales. There were two differences this year: the Council rather than Data Cymru had undertaken the benchmarking this year, and the Social Services Well-being Act (Wales) had resulted in indicators being deemed invalid and removed so there was a limited amount of public accountability measures. The report showed a small number of indicators comparing relative performance against the rest of Authorities in Wales. This year the All Wales SSA (Standard Spending Assessments) data has also been added to show Newport’s funding position compared to other authorities.


Members asked the following:


·        Members made comment that it was disconcerting that the number of indicators had decreased.  It was advised that the comparative data was a small sample so it was difficult to make an assessment. It was advised that the Data Unit were in constant conversations about what measures should be stopped and what should continue.


·        It was queried whether the ranking on page 30 of the report; 21st position in Wales 2015/16 and 16th in 2017/18 was comparable.  It was clarified that it not comparable, as there had been a change in public accountability measures. Local authorities would be ranked in different ways depending on what measure was chosen. It is difficult to make any judgement without related performance with 18 measures that were not the same as the previous year.


PAM/013: Percentage of empty private sector properties brought back into use during the year through direct action by the local authority

·        Concern was raised about empty properties and it was asked what progress had been achieved. Members were advised that during the second half of this financial year we will be looking to bring forward a number of proposals for empty homes to make a positive impact. The Chair reminded the Committee there would be a Scrutiny briefing to be held regarding Housing which would include Empty Properties.


·        Who sets the targets, and were Officers able to raise the target? Members were advised that the Performance Management Strategy sets out criteria for setting the target, is it; better than last year? Better than the Welsh average? Will it take you to the next quartile? The last measure was new so there was no history. The Service Plan includes targets and come to Scrutiny in performance reports.


·        It was questioned whether the target for this measures should be higher than 2%? It was explained that there was no direct correlation between the number of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Scrutiny Adviser Reports pdf icon PDF 262 KB

a)       Forward Work Programme Update (Appendix 1)

b)       Action Sheet (Appendix 2)

c)       Information Reports

d)       Scrutiny Letters




Additional documents:


a)     Forward Work Programme Update


The Scrutiny Adviser presented the Forward Work Programme Update to the Committee and outlined the reports for the next two meetings. It was explained that the Performance Update Mid Year 2018-19 would be split across two meetings to enable sufficient time for the Members to scrutinise each of the five service areas within its portfolio.


The Scrutiny Adviser confirmed that the Condition of the Highway Network presentation would be circulated to Members of the Committee.  If the Committee wished to be consulted upon the Highways Asset Management Plan subsequently, it may wish to add it to its Forward Work Programme (FWP) for early 2018.


A Performance Briefing would be held arranged before the November meeting when the Service Plan Mid-Year Performance Updates are scheduled to be considered by the Committee.


A Housing Briefing would be arranged in December, following which the Committee could consider whether it wished to add an aspect of Housing in its Forward Work Programme as a report to Committee; request for more information, or; a Policy Review Group.


b)     Action Sheet


The Scrutiny Advisor presented the Action Sheet, and advised that that the first 3 items had been actioned and information circulated to Members accordingly and that


Item 4 – a request for the latest monthly breakdown from SRS regarding system and equipment failures would be provided shortly and remain on the Action Sheet until Members received the information.


c)     Information Reports

There were no Information Reports to bring to the Committee’s attention.


d)     Scrutiny Letters

The Scrutiny Adviser explained the use of Scrutiny Letters, which would formalise the forwarding of comments from the Committee be a formalised letter sent to a Cabinet Member to send comments. Letters would be appended here for Members information when received.