Venue: Virtual Meeting
Contact: Connor Hall Scrutiny Adviser
Declarations of Interest
Cllr Ferris declared an interest as a Patron of the Friends of Newport Ship and stated the intention to raise a related issue during the meeting.
A committee member asked that in the first paragraph of page 10 it be clarified that the attending Police Officer, Sergeant Butt agreed that a blanket ban on begging would assist in tackling the issue.
A committee member asked to amend page 11 of the minutes to add “frequently” when discussing the advertisement of the PSPO consultation being done on social media to express the expectation that it being an ongoing campaign to include the public.
A committee member asked for a note to be made regarding the agenda being changed to ensure consistency.
The minutes of the meeting held on 30 July 2021 were then accepted as a true and accurate record.
The Leader welcomed the committee to the presentation and proposed to begin this item by presenting an overview of the report. The Leader began by expressing her pleasure to present the 4th Corporate Annual Progress Report 2020-21 on Newport City Council’s progress against the Corporate Plan 2017-22. The Leader reminded committee that the purpose of the report is to reflect on previous year, and asses the achievements made, the improvements to be made and to look forward to the remainder of the term. The Leader informed committee that a more detailed analysis of the Council’s performance across the 8 service areas was reported to the Performance Scrutiny Committee in June and the report presented to committee today summarises the Council’s overall delivery against service plans and reflects on other statutory requirements that the Council delivers.
The Leader welcomed the opportunity to for the committee to provide feedback, recommendations on improving the important and any considerations that the Cabinet and Senior Officers had not taken into account. The Leader advised committee that the final report would be taken to Cabinet in October and published on the Council’s website in both Welsh and English.
The Leader stressed that it was important to be mindful that this reflection was undertaken during the pandemic, and not all data was available due to the Welsh Government and the Welsh Local Government Association suspending some benchmarking across authorities during 2020-21. The Leader acknowledged the limited benchmarking data available for the 2020-21 period as the focus for all 22 authorities was on maintaining essential service provision during this period.
The Leader reminded committee that in 2017, 4 wellbeing objectives were set to improve constituent’s lives; these being to improve skills, educational outcomes and employment opportunities; to promote economic growth and regeneration while protecting the environment; to enable people to be healthy, independent and resilient; and to build cohesive and sustainable communities. The Leader noted that these objectives were at the core of the Council’s Corporate Plan and delivery over this term.
The Leader acknowledged that the last 18 months had been challenging for the Council, the communities, and the Council’s partners, and that the pandemic had and would continue to have an impact on communities and the economy in Newport. The Leader further acknowledged that over this period, the Council have had to make difficult decisions to ensure that services were maintained for the city’s most vulnerable people, that staff and Members were protected and ensuring that services, businesses and people adhered to restrictions and guidance. The Leader stated that they have taken this opportunity to reflect on what has been learned and to recognise the Council’s partners and Newport’s communities for their efforts.
The Leader highlighted the inequality that the crisis has emphasised and that they were fully aware of the challenges and further work needed to be overcome this gap but also wanted to ensure services would be sustainably delivered in the long term for these communities.
The Leader stated that Cabinet endorsed 4 ... view the full minutes text for item 3.
Councillor Mayer presented the
report. Councillor Mayer reminded committee that under the Equality
Act 2010, the Council is required to report annually on its
progress made under the strategic equality objectives and are also
required as a Local Authority to publish staff equalities data.
Councillor Mayer highlighted new partnerships were developed with
external and internal stakeholders and were subject to community
engagement. Councillor Mayer noted that the involvement of
grassroots communities ensured that the plan provides tangible
outcomes for communities. Councillor Mayer acknowledged that there
were significant challenges against delivery in some areas of work,
but others had gained traction. Councillor Mayer noted that
equality work had to be flexible while addressing emerging
challenges. Councillor Mayer explained to committee that leaving
the EU has been deeply felt by migrant community and the focus of
supporting people to be able to remain in Newport and protect their
rights continues. Councillor Mayer noted that they were also taking
stock of monitoring arrangements and any improvements that could be
made to them. Councillor Mayer finished by assuring committee that
equality issues are taken very seriously as a cabinet and reminded
committee that he chaired for the Strategic Equality
The Head of People and Business
Change reminded committee that this was the first annual plan based
off the new Strategic Equalities plan and that committee could see
that there were 6 key focuses. The Head of People and Business
Change directed committee to pages 119-121 which was a summary that
covered outcomes and key achievements.
The Head of People and Business
Change highlighted that the Council had signed up to Race Council
Cymru Zero Tolerance policy and the Victims Support Hate Crime
Charter. The Head of People and Business Change noted that there
has been legislative change regarding the socio-economic duty which
has come into effect and has been embedded in decision making. The
Head of People and Business Change highlighted the creation of
staff groups related to diversity, LGBTQ+ and disabilities to
ensure staff voices are heard and also highlighted the
accessibility stakeholder group. The Head of People and Business
Change noted the close work with the Test, Trace and Protect group
to ensure equality and cultural diversity are taken into account,
acknowledging the disproportional impact to some minority
communities. The Head of People and Business Change noted that
Welsh Government Anti-Bullying guidance has been embedded into
processes and policies. The Head of People and Business Change
highlighted the new scheme for those with learning difficulties to
increase independent living and that Community Connectors have
worked with 302 residents from ethnic minority
The Head of People and Business Change highlighted that Newport was one of a few Local Authorities that publishes its gender pay gap each year which was reported at Council and noted that this continued to improve. The Head of People and Business Change noted the need to focus on the pay gap associated with other characteristics, and a lot of work has been done to improve that. The ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
a) Forward Work Programme Update (Appendix 1)
Forward Work Programme:
A committee member reminded committee that the next meeting is 23rd September with the PSPO City Centre consultation to return.
The Scrutiny Adviser clarified that it would be
The committee member reminded committee the meeting following that would be Friday 29th September regarding the Climate Change report but may be something else.
A committee member noted they would have to give
apologies for this meeting.
The Scrutiny Adviser advised that the meeting regarding the Welsh Strategy report has been requested for December, and he was enquiring as to their availability instead to be heard in October, but noted it was committee’s preference whether they’d rather shorter, more regular meetings or larger, longer meetings.
· A committee member felt that there was the right number of meetings and single item agendas were unnecessary but stressed the need to ensure report information is relevant and concise. The committee member was concerned about the length of reports and wanted focus to be brought to presenting relevant information. The committee member supported adding links to additional information but was still concerned about the lengths of reports.
A committee member agreed with this.
A committee member was concerned about the inclusion
of links in reports as if future queries arise, it could cause
issues as committee would technically have the information but they wouldn’t have necessarily
seen it if not directly in the report itself.
A committee member questioned how committee would know that the Parks PSPO maps were reviewed and was concerned that in the future, it would be expressed that committee were happy with the maps when the committee member felt they were not.
A committee member noted that the scrutiny sheet was
missing and the Scrutiny Adviser
apologised for this, but assured the committee responses had been
received and would be forwarded to committee.
A committee member noted that
the Leader gave a good presentation by taking the lead on the first
report and her summary made it easier to understand the report and
narrow down the questions to be asked. The committee member
expressed it would be a good model to follow in the future, noting
that it would be better than going page by page. The committee
member expressed hope that other Executives and Officers would
follow that example going forward.
A committee member thanked the committee for attending.
This meeting was terminated at: 12:33pm