Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee - Monday, 9th October, 2023 2.00 pm

Venue: Hybrid Meeting

Contact: Samantha Schanzer  Scrutiny Adviser

No. Item


Declarations of Interest




Minutes of the previous meeting held on 8th September 2023 pdf icon PDF 133 KB


The Committee asked whether a response had been received following the letter that was sent to the University of South Wales.

                The Strategic Director for Transformation and Corporate informed Committee that he had received an immediate response from USW which advised there would be an internal discussion and agreed to ask for a follow up.

The minutes of the previous meeting held on the 8th September 2023 were agreed as a true and accurate record


Annual Corporate Plan Self-Assessment Report 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 145 KB

Additional documents:


Invitees:         Councillor Jane Mudd (Leader of the Council),
Beverly Owen (Chief Executive),

Rhys Cornwall (Strategic Director for Transformation and Corporate),

Sally Ann Jenkins (Strategic Director for Social Services),

Paul Jones (Strategic Director for Environment and Sustainability)


The Leader of the Council introduced the report, and the Chief Executive gave a summary of the report.


Well-being Objective 1


The Chief Executive (CE) gave a summary of this objective.          




The Committee queried how visitor numbers were calculated.


   The CE informed Committee that these numbers were based on a national indicator. The CE agreed to provide an answer outside of the meeting for Committee.


The Committee stated that they had been unable to find an update for the Economic Strategy and City Centre Masterplan and felt that it was difficult to compare without this. The Committee highlighted that the report covered the regeneration of the central library and Mercure Hotel but no major development in the City Centre. The Committee felt that collaboration with the Celtic Manor and ICC should be explored to entice businesses into the area. The Committee felt that there were no examples of successes or areas for improvement within the report.


   The Leader noted that the Economic Growth Strategy and City Centre Masterplan were separate reports. The Leader agreed that the Committee’s point regarding no overarching update was fair but noted that progress against the objectives within the plan were reported regularly to Scrutiny and were publicly available. The Leader noted that the Local Development Plan had recently been agreed at full Council and highlighted the importance of the Cardiff Capital Region, which must be considered as a whole, not just in relation to Newport. The Leader also highlighted that Microsoft were coming to Newport after making significant investment in the region and that Keep Looking A[RL(aESM1] head (KLA) are expanding in Newport. This includes moving sites to focus on their European activities which demonstrated the working relationship with Newport City Council, major international companies, and Welsh Government.

   The Leader noted that there had been a significant shift in retail across the UK and Newport with an expansion of small, independent businesses. The Leader noted that the Business Support Team provided support and had recently launched a Business Support Grant which was funded through the Shared Prosperity Fund. The Leader highlighted the Cabinet decision to provide rate relief for city centre businesses which, when combined with the Welsh Government rates relief, would mean that eligible businesses would not have to pay any business rates. The Leader felt that in addition to providing support and access to funding, the best possible financial environment for businesses was provided. The Leader noted that a significant portion of the city centre has been turned into residential spaces and that they were making progress against the placemaking plan.

   The CE highlighted the feedback received from KLA was positive and noted that the report aimed to balance both successes and challenges. The CE informed Committee of the Business Community  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


Strategic Equalities Plan Annual Report 2022-23 pdf icon PDF 132 KB

Additional documents:


Invitees:         Rhys Cornwall (Strategic Director for Transformation and Corporate)

Tracy McKim (Head of People, Policy and Transformation)

Janice Dent (Policy and Partnership Manager)

Donald Mutale (Senior Equalities Officer)

Amanda Bouadana (Senior HR & OD Business Partner)


The Head of People, Policy and Transformation (PPT) introduced the report and the Policy and Partnership Manager and Senior Equalities Officer gave a summary of the report.




The Committee noted that there had been significant improvement since last year.


The Committee queried why the section on Education focuses on exclusion and attendance but not on attainment.


·       The Policy and Partnership Manager was unsure attainment had not been included in this report, but assured the Committee that it would be included in the next plan. The Policy and Partnership Manager highlighted that information would be available in other education reports and that the Welsh Government had paused mandatory reporting of these standards during Covid.

·       The Strategic Director for Transformation and Corporate highlighted that Education attainment would be monitored in the Performance Scrutiny Committee - People. The Committee noted that the report demonstrated how the authority collected data on attendance and accepted that the results of the process are reported elsewhere but the process regarding attainment was not mentioned.

·       The Strategic Director for Transformation and Corporate noted the feedback of the Committee and suggested that the Committee could recommend that it is included in the next report.

·       The Senior Equalities Officer noted that when setting objectives, they worked closely with the Equalities Human Rights Commission and attendance and exclusion are included within these objectives.


The Committee noted that not all residents are IT literate and questioned what more could be done to support this demographic. The Committee also noted that the Pride March was successful and wanted to thank everyone involved.

·       The Strategic Director for Transformation and Corporate stated that people who are able to use IT to access services opens up more capacity for non-digital access availability for those who need support. The Strategic Director noted that there would be an end-to-end customer services review and one of the aims would address fair access which included people getting the appropriate access to services.


The Committee queried whether the amount of people who are unable to use the online services and then subsequently call the Contact Centre was recorded.


·       The Strategic Director for Transformation and Corporate assured Committee that they could obtain that data and there was evidence that more people used online services.


The Committee noted that the report outlines how the Council gathers lots of data, but the only data provided in any detail relates to the council workforce.


·       The People and Partnership Manager noted that the workforce data was a statutory requirement for reporting.

·       The Senior Equalities Officer explained that there are some areas where data has been included as it informs strategic decision making and was reported in other plans including the Corporate Plan and Service Area Plans.



The Committee noted that high staff turnover put pressure on all officers.


·       The Strategic  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Scrutiny Adviser Reports pdf icon PDF 140 KB

a)       Forward Work Programme Update (Appendix 1)

b)       Actions Arising (Appendix 2)

c)       Information Reports (Appendix 3)


Additional documents:


a) Forward Work Programme


The Scrutiny Advisor Informed Committee that there were no changes to the Forward Work Programme. The Scrutiny Advisor noted the date of the next meeting as the 27th October 2023.


b) Actions Arising


The Scrutiny Advisor noted that there were actions still outstanding, but they had been chased.

The Committee asked for the Chairperson to write to Officers to expedite the response.

·       The Chair agreed to do this.





Live Event


The recording of the meeting can be viewed here.