Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee - Friday, 3rd February, 2023 10.00 am

Venue: Hybrid Meeting

Contact: Samantha Schanzer  Scrutiny Adviser

No. Item




Councillors Routley and Cleverly in their capacity as Scrutiny Chairs for the Performance Scrutiny Committees – People and Place respectively.



Declarations of Interest




Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 199 KB

Additional documents:


30th September 2022:

The Committee asked whether a response had been received in relation to their concerns regarding University student numbers. The Committee asked whether the University would be able to attend Committee and explain why student numbers were low. 

·       The Scrutiny Officer confirmed that the Head of Regeneration and Economic Development would be providing an answer on this topic in due course. 

·       The Strategic Director stated that the Committee had no powers to call in the University, although an invitation could be extended, and that this topic could be brought to the relevant Scrutiny Committee.

The minutes of the previous meeting held 30th September 2022 were accepted as a true and accurate record.

Minutes of 25th October 2022

The Committee asked for clarification regarding the wording of the Scrutiny Annual Report verbal update.

The Committee asked when they would receive the Scrutiny Annual Report 2021-22.

·       The Scrutiny Officer confirmed that this report was with the Democratic and Electoral Services Manager and would come to Committee for comments before it went to Council


The minutes of the previous meeting held 25th October 2022 were accepted as a true and accurate record.



2023-24 Budget and Medium Term Financial Plan pdf icon PDF 153 KB

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Rhys Cornwall (Strategic Director for Transformation and Corporate)

Tracy McKim (Head of People, Policy and Transformation)

Meirion Rushworth (Head of Finance)

Budget Overview and Process

The Head of Finance introduced the report to the Committee and provided context regarding setting contingencies to manage risks and the points of note.


The Committee asked for clarification regarding RSG sensitivity, where a large element of funding from Welsh Government was assumed to be a 3% increase on last year. The Committee also asked that as the percentage increase had now been clarified to be 8.9%, what did this mean in relation to the current size of the gap in funding.

·       The Head of Finance confirmed that there was a 3.5% increase on the figure originally expected; the report that went to Cabinet in December 2022 stated the expected gap was £16 million at that time, but no school savings had been included. The extra settlement came to £11.7 million, which is an increase of just under 9%.

The Committee asked for an update regarding the current status of the deficit.

·       The Head of Finance confirmed that the Cabinet would announce the final details and decisions in the upcoming Cabinet meeting.

The Committee asked whether the Cabinet would be looking to plug a gap of £15 million.

·       The Head of Finance noted that the gap was much smaller than £15 million and the final budget to be announced in Cabinet meeting on the 15th February 2023.

The Committee asked how negotiations were going with partners and contractors in achieving savings, and queried the level of confidence that these savings could be delivered.

·       It was confirmed that the Committee would be provided a written answer as it was not within this Committee’s remit.

The Committee asked about streetlights and commented that budget savings seemed lumped into one and queried how much had been saved in budget maintenance.

·       It was confirmed that the Committee would be provided a written answer as it was not within this Committee’s remit.

Budget Public Engagement

The Head of People, Policy and Transformation introduced the report. The Head of People, Policy and Transformation noted that:

·       This was part of an all-year-round consultation on various things, with 40 activities last year.

·       It was the highest level of response in several years and was the longest possible period of consultation undertaken.

·       Activities undertaken included online surveys, a supplementary survey on bus Wi-Fi (with a more nuanced response option given for online surveys rather than just yes or no answers), social media promotions with 39 social media posts and press releases and promotion through schools. Consultations were also held with council staff, reflecting the significant number of staff live in Newport and other community events were attended. 

·       Several meetings had taken place with pre budget engagements in the Autumn to consult on the Corporate Plan and budget proposals.

·       A response was also expected from the Fairness Commission, and trade unions had been met with through the Employee Partnership Forum.  This was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Conclusions of Committee Reports


The Committee welcomed the improved consultation, particularly the increasing methods of consultation through different channels and the inclusion of the pre-budget consultation, that took place prior to drafting budget proposals.

The Committee noted that it would be helpful to have access to consultation data before the meeting occurred, however the Committee appreciated the restrictions that the Council works within concerning availability of information that feeds into the budget setting process and statutory consultation timescales.

The Committee welcomed the Council’s use of the longest consultation period possible but felt that there should be a period of advertising the consultation in advance of it happening.


The Committee felt that whilst resource should be focussed on people using the services impacted by the proposals there could be an expansion of engagement to those who have limited interaction with the Council and its services to capture a broader picture.


The Committee felt more face-to-face consultation should be used.


The Committee recommended that the results of the consultation be brought back to Committee as an information only update. The Committee also asked that a benchmark comparison of performance in engagement between Newport City Council and other Local Authorities be brought back to Committee. The Committee also asked that an update on the post-consultation ‘Lessons Learned’ (where the process of the consultation is reviewed to inform continuous improvement) be brought back to Committee.


The Committee recommended increasing engagement and participation throughout the year wherein residents could provide feedback on the impacts of the budget proposals.


The Committee also recommended that there be a greater attention focused on collecting and analysing data from individual calls and enquiries raised via channels like the contact centre or webforms.



Scrutiny Adviser Reports pdf icon PDF 141 KB

a)      Actions Arising (Appendix 1)

b)      Forward Work Programme Update (Appendix 2)


Additional documents:


Actions Arising (Appendix 1)

·       The Scrutiny Officer on 2 outstanding actions which were the details of the 38 businesses who received grant funding and an update on the money set aside by the Council for regeneration projects and an update would be provided on these shortly.

b) Forward Work Programme Update (Appendix 2)

·       The Scrutiny Adviser informed Committee that the item to be discussed during the next meeting (3rd March 2023) would now be pushed back to 28th April 2023 meeting at the request of the report writer.

·       The Scrutiny Adviser asked Committee whether they would like to invite officers back to present the further information requested in this meeting on the now empty 3rd March 2023 meeting.

·       The Committee felt that it would be more efficient to have 2 items on the 28th April 2023 agenda.

The date of the next meeting was noted to be the 3rd March 2023 at 10am.


Live Event


The recording of the meeting can be viewed here.