Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee - Friday, 9th July, 2021 10.00 am

Venue: Virtual Meeting

Contact: Connor Hall  Scrutiny Adviser

No. Item


Declarations of Interest




Minutes of the previous meeting held on 11 June 2021 pdf icon PDF 119 KB


It was flagged up that the apologies were not recorded for Councillor M Evans. The Democratic Services team advised that this would be amended retrospectively to reflect this.


The minutes of the meeting held on 11 June 2021 were accepted as a true and accurate record.



Annual Corporate Safeguarding 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 114 KB

Additional documents:



Sally Ann Jenkins – Head of Children and Young People Services

Mary Ryan – Head of Corporate Safeguarding


The Head of Corporate Safeguarding provided a brief overview of the report to the committee and explained that the service area had taken up the Welsh Audit amendments that were suggested for 2021. It was stressed that it has been an unusual year which has had an impact on all service areas with challenges but the department remained committed to the work plan of 2021 despite it being an odd time in terms of remote working.


The e-learning for safeguarding was launched in May 2020, it was anticipated to be launched in March 2020 but the pandemic delayed this. The team hoped for 90% of staff and volunteers to complete the course but noted that this was not attainable due to COVID, however the e-learning still had a good uptake and good feedback from those who attended.


The officer explained that some of the challenges were due to the reduced face to face training, it was explained that the safeguarding team would use such training to ensure the council remained compliant. Back in September 2020, they hoped to put that back in place but this that did not happen due to more things being delayed against of the backdrop of the pandemic. Despite this, the officer assured the committee that there was a lot in place to ensure that staff are aware of their safeguarding responsibilities.


The Volunteer and Chaperone Register was created following a recommendation by the Welsh Audit Office. The lead officer advised that this put them in a better position now and that it is going fine despite not having as many volunteers purely because of the way of the services being delivered. The committee were advised that this would eventually pick up and the team would review the volunteering policy with registration completed and the relevant updates.


The Committee was advised that all the Newport.Gov website legacy records had all been removed and were correct. This was mainly to assist citizens as the safeguarding partners across the region were accordingly updated and decimated within the council through different communication means such as the newsletter and readily available information on the internet. From this, the officer highlighted that the motive was to ensure that access for citizens to safeguarding information was much easier to locate.


It was mentioned to the Members that there had been the abolition of reasonable punishment, known as the smacking ban. The members were referred to the end of the report should they wish to read the briefing which will be in the director’s report in terms with compliance.


The Head of Corporate Safeguarding noted that the team launched the Newport Council Safeguarding Self-Assessment Audit Talk. This brought reassurance to the service areas of the council on where they are in terms of safeguarding and gave lots of support to the departments.


Part of the annual plan was designed to support certain sections within  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


Annual Information Risk Report pdf icon PDF 88 KB

Additional documents:



Rhys Cornwall – Head of People and Business Change

Mark Bleazard – Digital Services Manager

Tariq Slaoui – Information Manager


The Head of Business and People Change provided the committee with a brief overview of the report and stated that it is the ninth annual Information Risk Report, which is not a statutory report but is done every year as a best practice approach to information management and security, fundamental for transparency. The report provided an overview of arrangements and highlights importance of information governance.


The Digital Services Manager acknowledged that the context of said report is at an unprecedented time where risk management is mainly from working from home which presents different challenges. For instance, the blurring of work and personal lives could increase the risk of staff being targeted by cyber criminals due to the unique circumstances that people find themselves in.


The officer went through specific highlights of the report and what they are required to deal with in terms of certain elements of compliance. The Public Services Network enables them to connect the network to manage their information and security appropriately, managed by the cabinet office. It was indicated that they had made two submissions that have bene unsuccessful which was a challenge and has been escalated with SRS.


The GDPR Data Protection Regulation is guidance for the council on how to handle the data. Members were advised that the council are comfortable that they are managing this information as an organisation should, it was mentioned that there are clear privacy notices on the website detailing how the council holds its data for openness and transparency.


A further element of compliance was the payment card facility, the council are compliant but they had some challenges a few years back. In order to resolve this, the team are working through a procurement exercise to work with experts and are confident that they are doing things well in terms of progress but will do things slightly differently over the next couple of months, this is an ongoing process which has been delayed due to a bereavement but the members were assured that the team are back and working on the project.


With regard to the data standards, the officer assured the committee that the Council is well tried and tested in terms of arrangements within the staff, for example, Head of Law and Regulation is the Senior Information Risk Owner, Head of People and Business Change is the operational head of team, an information governance group that they meet up with and the Digital Services Manager is the Protection Data Officer.


The officer explained that for 2021, they undertook a staff survey on GDPR and the results included within the report provided, noted that there is more work to follow up on and actions that will be taken from that.


The committee was advised of a positive mention that the digital team had a two years of service level agreement with local primary schools which was very  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Annual Digital Report pdf icon PDF 117 KB

Additional documents:



Rhys Cornwall – Head of People and Business Change

Mark Bleazard – Digital Services Manager


The Head of People and Business Change gave a brief overview and stipulated that this was the first digital report to come into scrutiny as the previous one came through during lockdown period of the pandemic. It complements the risk report information so it may duplicate some of the information discussed on the previous item. It is something critically important over the last 18 months for us as an organisation.


The purpose of the report is for views on the digital response and how it comes together to work, the officer then reminded the committee that this is not for performance data from Shared Resources Services. That is reviewed by the Partnership Committee and asked the members to steer away any questions from the performance review of SRS staff as it would be unfair due to them not being in the meeting today.


The Digital Services Manager noted the number of similarities with the risk report against the backdrop of a pandemic, technology has been of great importance to organisations as it highlights the importance of security and technology in the democratic process by keeping it going.


Members were advised that in hindsight, in order to facilitate more flexible and remote working, the council had laptops in the facility for long period of time. Admittedly they did have to scale up a bit to log in remotely in council – with previous logged issues with heavy snow so less people could log in at the time, but the digital services team were able to put things in place to facilitate working remotely quite seamlessly from past experiences.


The Committee was informed that the digital team are strategic in forward thinking and Sam Ali and the Digital Services team lead on this. They have internal engagement with Heads of Service of what their problems may be and as previously discussed, the website outage being minimised as much as possible so in all looking to increase their resilience in the strategy.


There will be external stakeholders working with Sam Ali in the Digital Team which is linked with other areas such as Shared Resource Services and how the council secures its data and the processes with keeping it secure and mobile with accessing systems from remote locations and handheld devices.


The Officer stated that in terms of governance, the partnership with Shared Resource Services is key to delivering service as the digital team require the SRS staff to undertake technical work for us. The SRS team are vital to the delivery of the service and additional funding has been provided for the digital team. Last year it was reported that this funding assisted the team with the replacement of equipment, such as the new laptop replacements for staff and now there is money allocated for migration to the cloud. Additional posts have made a difference to the team as their newcomer has been making positive contributions  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Scrutiny Adviser Reports pdf icon PDF 120 KB

a)      Forward Work Programme Update (Appendix 1)

b)      Actions Arising (Appendix 2)


Additional documents:



Connor Hall – Scrutiny Adviser

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

The officer advised the committee that they will be adding the City Centre PSPO to the meeting on 30 July 2021 for the Parks PSPO with the possibility for a further meeting on 23 September to further discuss the City Centre PSPO.

The officer queried who the members would like to invite any certain bodies in particular for this, committee explained they were reluctant to invite just one isolated group of people.

The officer then asserted that with recommendations, it would go through and then further queries for the police would make it go through the police consultation for the council to possibly revisit on 23 September 2021.

Discussion ensued and the officer reminded the committee that due to the length of meetings, an additional date was added and proposed 23 September reason being that the PSPO runs out on 23 August and would like to bring it to the committee before that.

The Committee came to an agreement to do both Parks and City Centre PSPOs on the 30 July 2021 meeting.

The Scrutiny Adviser thanked the members of the committee for their attendance.


Meeting terminated at 12:51pm