Agenda and minutes

Performance Scrutiny Committee - Place and Corporate - Monday, 11th December, 2023 2.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 1 - Civic Centre. View directions

Contact: Neil Barnett  Scrutiny Adviser

No. Item




Councillor A Pimm and Councillor J Cleverly



Declaration of Interest


Councillors Reeks and Horton declared an interest in relation to the Regeneration and Economic Development Mid-Year Review.



2023/24 Service Plan Mid-Year Reviews pdf icon PDF 147 KB

Additional documents:




-       Meirion Rushworth (Head of Finance)

-       Emma Johnson (Revenue and Benefits Manager)

-       Robert Green (Assistant Head of Finance)

-       Richard Leake (Service Manager Procurement & Payments)

-       Rhys Cornwall (Strategic Director for Transformation and Corporate)


The Strategic Director for Transformation and Corporate introduced the report and the Head of Finance provided a summary.


The following was discussed:


  • The Committee received an update on the Audit Team, including the recruitment of two Auditors, the creation of a Senior Auditor position through team restructuring, and the close completion of fourteen individual audit assurance jobs by the South Wales Auditor Partnership (SWAP). They are also exploring a longer-term partnership with SWAP. The progress is expected to be in place by April 2024, with a reduction in the initial risk score due to mitigation measures. The role of Auditors in facilitating improvements in poor audit reports was discussed, with assurance that the workload is manageable and additional audits are conducted in case of poor results.


  • The Committee enquired about the progress of self-service functions and the My Council Services (MCS) app, as well as reassurances for non-IT literate residents. The Customer Services team are working on expanding the system across other Council departments. The system has been rolled out to further service areas, with a particular focus on three-weekly bin collections. Face-to-face assistance is available at the Central Library, and customers can still call the City Contact Centre.
  • The Committee asked about the progress and challenges of the new finance IT system. Testing of the system would resume in mid-December, and the expected completion date has been pushed back to April 2024. Major issues have been identified and resolved, with a focus on addressing smaller issues as they arise.
  • The Committee enquired about the completion of the dashboard and reports. The majority of works on the dashboard will be completed by the end of December 2023, and around 80% of reports have been completed. Testing is expected to commence by the end of December 2023 or the start of January 2024.
  • The Committee emphasised the importance of ensuring that vulnerable citizens can contact the Council and acknowledged the need for transitioning to online services.
  • The Committee enquired about the rate of citizen adoption of online services. The Head of Finance advised that they don't have the data but will pass the request to the Customer Services Manager. The Revenue and Benefits Manager advised a significant increase in residents using the online change of address form, and the Committee noted a 9% increase in Newport citizens utilising online services.
  • The Committee enquired about the progress of the City Contact Centre and the Capita Portal. The Revenue and Benefits Manager advised that the Capita Portal went live earlier this year, with over 2000 people using the online change of address form. The rollout of payment management features has been delayed but is being resolved through collaborative work. The Head of Finance assured the Committee that positive progress is being made.
  • The Committee  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


Scrutiny Adviser Reports pdf icon PDF 134 KB

a)      Forward Work Programme Update (Appendix 1)




Additional documents:



  • Neil Barnett – Scrutiny Adviser


a)    Forward Work Programme Update


The Scrutiny Adviser presented the Forward Work Programme, and informed the Committee of the topics due to be discussed at the next two committee meetings:


Monday 15th January 2024, the agenda item;

  • 2024-25 Draft Budget Proposals and Medium Term Financial Plan


Monday 19th February 2024, the agenda item;

  • Highways Asset Management Plan
  • Flood Risk Management Strategy


It was suggested by the Committee that the Monday 15th January 2024 meeting start earlier than the current 2pm start time. The Scrutiny Adviser noted the request and advised the Committee that once agreed, the Committee and officers would be notified.


Meeting ended at 17:26.