Agenda and minutes

Performance Scrutiny Committee - Place and Corporate - Monday, 15th January, 2024 12.00 pm

Venue: Council Chambers - Civic Centre. View directions

Contact: Neil Barnett  Scrutiny Adviser

No. Item




Councillor Linton


Declaration of Interest




Minutes of the previous meetings held on 27th November 2023 and 11th December 2023 pdf icon PDF 149 KB

Additional documents:


The Minutes of the previous meetings held on 27th November 2023 and 11th December 2023 were held as a true and accurate record with the following amendment:


27th November 2023 – page 8, point 6 – “The Strategic Director noted that bringing all unadopted roads up to standard would cost £12 million, which is not viable considering the current financial position.” The Committee wished to include more detail from the discussion in the minutes so residents are aware of the road adoption process. The Scrutiny Adviser advised the Committee that this would be amended.



2024-25 Budget and Medium Term Financial Projections pdf icon PDF 146 KB

Additional documents:



-       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


The Head of Finance introduced a brief overview of the budget process.


Budget Pressures and Investments

The following was discussed:


Housing and Communities

Shortfall in Housing Benefit subsidy arising from increasing demand for temporary accommodation

  • The Committee raised concerns about the reduction in the Communities for Work grants by the Welsh Government and its impact on homelessness services. They questioned if the proposed additional funding of £600,000 would be sufficient, considering the £1 million overspend from the previous year. They also enquired about strategic asset investment to address the reliance on bed and breakfast accommodations for temporary accommodation and homelessness. The Head of Housing and Communities advised ongoing work with Registered Social Landlord partners to develop more social and transitional accommodations and emphasised the focus on homelessness prevention. The Strategic Director acknowledged the increasing pressures and the need for a long-term plan to address homelessness, while also highlighting the need to monitor the impact of grant changes and refine the financial position accordingly.


Environment and Public Protection

Costs associated with increasing requirement for tree maintenance

  • The Head of Environment and Public Protection explained that the ongoing costs associated with tree maintenance, including the need for intervention in various tree species, are separate from the specific project addressing ash dieback. The maintenance costs are attributed to the ongoing need to manage and maintain trees on public land, adopted highways, schools, and other areas due to issues causing structural damage and the need to increase tree cover. This ongoing maintenance proves to be quite costly in terms of resources.
  • The Committee  asked about the projected costs for tree maintenance in the next few years, and the Head of Finance confirmed the figures. The Committee expressed the need for clearer communication regarding such budget items. The Head of Finance acknowledged the suggestion of aligning budget reports for better clarity.
  • The Committee asked about the Council's equipment and capabilities for tree maintenance in relation to ash dieback and whether any of the allocated £115,000 would go towards plant and equipment. The Strategic Director explained that the majority of tree maintenance work is outsourced to contractors due to the need for specialised machinery, such as cranes, which would not be cost-effective for the Council to own.
  • The Committee questioned whether the allocated budget of £115,000 for tree maintenance in subsequent years could vary, and the Strategic Director confirmed that it could fluctuate based on historic performance and the identification of tree defects.


Landfill site closure – associated loss of income.


Scrutiny Adviser Reports pdf icon PDF 135 KB

a)      Forward Work Programme Update (Appendix 1)

b)      Actions Plan (Appendix 2)




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 committee meeting:


Monday 19th February 2024, the agenda item;

  • Highways Asset Management Plan
  • Flood Risk Management Strategy


b)    Action Sheet


The Scrutiny Adviser presented the action sheet to the Committee and advised of the completed and the actions that are still outstanding.