Agenda and minutes

Performance Scrutiny Committee - Place and Corporate - Monday, 23rd January, 2023 2.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 1 - Civic Centre. View directions

Contact: Neil Barnett  Scrutiny Adviser


No. Item



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Councillor Linton.


Declaration of Interest

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2023-24 Draft Budget Proposals and Medium Term Financial Plan pdf icon PDF 145 KB

Additional documents:


Draft Budget Proposals 2023-24 and Medium Term Financial Plan


-       Meirion Rushworth – Head of Finance

-       David Walton – Head of Housing and Communities

-       Silvia Gonzalez-Lopez – Head of Environment and Public Protection

-       Stephen Jarrett – Head of Infrastructure

-       Elizabeth Bryant – Head of Law and Standards

-       Tracey Brooks – Head of Regeneration and Economic Development

-       Tracy McKim – Head of People, Policy and Transformation

-       Alastair Hopkins – Senior Finance Business Partner


The Head of Finance introduced a brief overview of the budget process and advised that at the moment there had been a change to reflect the level of savings. There was a £2million budget gap last year. In February 2022 the MTFP showed a £2million budget gap, in Spring 2022 inflation increased as well as food and fuel cost increases along with emerging budget challenges around Housing and Homelessness with Social Care also a big issue which moved the position.


The Cabinet Member report showed the movements with pay being increased by £6 million. There was an £18 million increase in contract inflation where energy was a big part of that, with Gas prices rising as well as Social Care contract inflation. There were budget pressures in Social Care with £3.5 million needed for Housing Area and Homelessness. There were budget targets for each area and there was a £12million of budget savings presented here to Committee. The Revenue Support Grant (RSG) was confirmed in December 2022 and the budget gap was £16 million where the increase in RSG was about 9%. 50% of the budget proposals have been consulted and the other 50% was done under Delegated Authority.


HC2324/01 - Library and Adult Community Learning Services

The Head of Housing and Communities gave a brief overview of the proposal to the Committee, which included a change to services with a saving of £110,000 for the first financial year and £15,000 the following year. It is also proposing to reduce library opening hours, particularly a one-day closure at Rogerstone and Betts Libraries. A reduction in Malpas Library opening hours and to refashion Pill Library with a smaller library space and other areas of saving such as a reduction of staffing hours and a greater investment in digital borrowing.


Members asked the following:

·         What will the function of Central Library be, and would other services be integrated?


It was confirmed that the Central Library would become a community hub and a coordination point, although those wider changes are former decisions to change services, not related to these proposals.


·         What will happen to the staff affected, and would they be engaged with other services?


It was confirmed that this proposal was just about changing the way the building is used and using the staff in a more flexible way.


·         A Member referred to Appendix 10 where there was a £110,000 saving in year 1 with £88,000 worth of costs in that saving. What is the net amount?


The Head of Housing and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


Scrutiny Adviser Reports pdf icon PDF 134 KB

a)      Forward Work Programme Update (Appendix 1)

b)      Actions Plan (Appendix 2)





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-       Neil Barnett (Scrutiny Adviser)


The Scrutiny Adviser presented the forward work programme, and informed the Committee of the topics due to be discussed at the meeting:


Monday 20th March 2023

-       Retention and Recruitment Report


Minutes of the previous meetings held on 28th November 2022 and 5th December 2022 pdf icon PDF 205 KB

Additional documents:


The minutes of the previous meetings held on 28th November 2022 and 5th December 2022 were accepted as a true and accurate record, with the following amendments and comments:


28th November 2022

-        Page 116 of the agenda - • Query was made about the pavement parking regulation and whether this would be City wide. It was also noted that in some cases pavement parking had been done to allow space for emergency vehicles.


-        The Strategic Director stated that this had come from Welsh Government which they will be enforcing to prioritise pedestrians. A committee member noted that there is an issue with pavement parking during school pick up and drop off times which would block the access of emergency vehicles. The Strategic Director stated that they had some powers of enforcement with this however as it happens over such a large area at specific times it is hard. The Head of Service added that they were waiting on guidance on how it will be implemented.


Members queried if the guidance has come through yet for this to implemented? The Scrutiny Adviser advised the Committee this will be chased up.


Page 116 of the agenda - • A committee member asked about digital timetables at bus stops and noted that the target date had already passed.


The Head of Service stated that they were working with Newport Transport to provide digital information in shelters.


Members queried if there were any updates on this query yet? The Scrutiny Adviser advised this will be chased up.



-        Page 118 – Conclusions for Environment and Public Protection Service Plan 2022-24. Committee made comment that there should be a target when clearing through the backlog in HMO inspections that was caused by the pandemic.

Members queried if there are any updates with this comment yet. The Scrutiny Adviser advised this will be chased up.

5th December 2022

-        Page 123 – Reference was made in the minutes about Newport looking to become a “Marmot” city. Members wished to receive information on this. The Scrutiny Adviser advised the Committee that this was referenced also in a recent PSC – Partnerships meeting and a document had been sent to that Committee explaining the Marmot principles. This would also be sent to the Place Committee for reference.


-        Page 125 – Members requested an update on the management situation with the Coroners and the Police. The Scrutiny Adviser advised this will be chased up.


-        Page 127 – Members requested information on the call wait times in the City Contact Centre. The Scrutiny Adviser advised this will be chased up.


-        Page 127 - Points 4 and 5 have a duplicate answer. The Scrutiny Adviser advised the minutes would be amended.


-        Page 129 – The Action Plan needs to be updated with the Law and Standards request for updates on the Coroners management situation. The Scrutiny Adviser advised the action sheet would be updated to show this.