Venue: Committee Room 1 - Civic Centre. View directions
Contact: Elizabeth Blayney - Senior Overview and Scrutiny Officer
Declarations of Interest
The following interests in the Revenue Budget and Medium Term Financial Plan 2018-19 Draft Proposals were declared by Members, as listed:
- Councillor M Al-Nuaimi declared an interest due to his association with the Belle Vue Bowling Club;
- Councillor C Evans declared an interest due to his business association with Belle Vue Café;
- Councillor G Berry declared an interest due to his association with Friends of Newport Ornamental Parks and the Woodlanders Association.
The Minutes were accepted as an accurate record of the meeting.
· Owen James – Assistant Head of Finance
· Joanne Gossage – Green Services Manager, Streetscene & City Services
· Leanne Rowlands – Customer Services Manager, Streetscene & City Services
· Keir Duffin – Head of Regeneration, Investment and Housing
· Gareth Price – Head of Law and Regulation
· Rhys Cornwall – Head of People and Business Change
The Assistant Head of Finance provided an overview of the budget proposals within the Committee’s portfolio and advised that since the Draft Budget had been published, the final settlement from Welsh Government had been received, which was slightly better than anticipated. However, due to in-year pressures and the Local Government Pay Award, the Authority was not in a better position overall.
Note: Due an emergency, the Head of Streetscene was not able to attend the Scrutiny Committee. The Strategic Director – Place was also not able to attend.
The Committee received Apologies that the Strategic Director - Place and the Head of Streetscene and City Services were unable to attend the meeting and was advised that the Green Services Manager and Customer Services Manager would be presenting the draft budget proposals for Streetscene and City Services and receiving Members’ questions.
SS181902 - Closure of Public Conveniences
The Green Services Manager provided an overview of the proposal to the Committee, to close 6 public convenience sites across the city as listed in the report. Members were advised of the costs of maintaining and servicing the toilets on an annual basis, the high level of vandalism that occurred and that the usage of the public conveniences had declined. It was proposed that people could be offered alternative conveniences nearby with buildings in Council ownership or linked to the Council.
The Members asked the following:
Members queried in terms of distance how far away were the conveniences as even 100 yards may be too far for some people. Due to the emergency short notice of attending the Committee, the Officer was not sure of actual distances but could find out.
Members had concern with this this proposal regarding how the decline in use had been measured, attracting visitors to the city, as well as potential issues for the elderly and disabled. Members queried what the alternative suggestions were for people and were advised that in Caerleon village there are discussions open with a local group, while the suggestion for the city centre was for people to use local shops and the Newport Centre.
Members enquired if there had been any consultation work with other authorities to see how they have dealt with similar proposals and whether any businesses had been consulted yet, as nearby alternative facilities should be signposted to meet the needs of disabled people. The Green Services Manager was unsure whether businesses in the Business Improvement District had been consulted yet, but there had been discussions with Cardiff Council and other authorities.
WS181904 - Reducing telephone and face to face services within Customer Services
The Customer Services Manager provided an overview of the proposal to the Committee, to reduce ... view the full minutes text for item 3.
The Overview and Scrutiny Officer presented the report to the Members and outlined the purpose of the report in seeking the Committee’s approval for items on its work programme for the next two meetings including: the information requested; invitees, and; any additional information or research required. The Scrutiny Officer clarified that there had been no information reports circulated since the last Committee.
The Committee approved the work programme for the next two meetings on 5 March and 9 April 2018.