Venue: Virtual Meeting
Contact: Neil Barnett Scrutiny Adviser
Declarations of Interest
The minutes of the meeting held on 3 November 2021 were approved as a true and accurate record.
- Matt Lewis - Chief Officer, Shared Resource Service
- Kath Beavan-Seymour - Assistant Director Shared Resource Service
- Mike Doverman - User Support Manager, Shared Resource Service
- Rhys Cornwall - Strategic Director – Transformation and Corporate Centre
- Mark Bleazard - Digital Services Manager
- Dominic Gibbons - Digital Projects Manager
The Strategic Director provided the Committee with a brief introduction on the partnership with Shared Resource Service (SRS). They were advised that the partnership is coming up to five years and were reminded of their journey before the partnership. The Strategic Director expressed gratitude for the Digital Team and SRS for the vast amount of work done in a short period of time during the announcement of the first lockdown in March 2020. Members were advised they would not have been in the position they had been in, had Newport City Council not had the partnership with SRS.
The Chief Officer for SRS ran through the performance data from the report provided to explain how they operate with the six different partners. It was underlined that SRS staff performance remained relatively unaffected by the remote working position. The project and core functions schedules were hugely impacted across Corporate and Education teams due to the significant shift in demand to enabling new ways of working, having to find new solutions to very different problems and having to continually pivot to meet new demands at short notice. EdTech was highlighted as successful and the dialogue with local schools were consistent through meetings for feedback.
The officers welcomed questions from the Committee.
The Committee asked the following:
· A Member noted how some companies’ software licences can cost a lot of money and asked how often SRS review licences so the Council does not spend money on services they do not use.
The Chief Officer stated that at the governance and finance board mentioned in the report, has two steps. For instance, for the Office 365 licensing, it was noted that is complex with many options with different licenses needed for bundles/packs and changes on a frequent basis. The first strand of work for the team is bringing someone in to buy the tool, put it in use for three months and it would inform them if the user needs the specific license and if they require a more or less expensive one.
Members were advised there is an upcoming meeting where it could tell them if a user uses O365 often and where they can remove people who leave straight away from the Microsoft database as they can incur a subscription charge if they still have the license to use that.
The second strand of work is the management of licensing, the team would look at checking on premises. This has been demonstrated and goes with an agent which catalogues all of the licenses and tells them which licenses are being used and if they are licensed for certain kits. Would be helpful for Newport to know if ... view the full minutes text for item 3.
- Mary Ryan - Head of Corporate Safeguarding/Head of Adult Services
- Janice Dent - Regional VAWDASV Lead
- Ann Hamlet - Head of Safeguarding Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (ABUHB)
The Head of Corporate Safeguarding introduced the Regional VAWDASV Lead and the Chair of the Strategic Delivery Board/Head of Safeguarding for the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (ABUHB). The Act places a duty on the Local Authorities to report on progress made each financial year. The Head of Safeguarding (ABUHB) gave the Committee a brief overview on the Strategic Delivery Group and progress made on the work plan. Members were informed that the partners worked well together with good attendance despite the pandemic.
The Regional Lead discussed the three stages of the National Training Framework which has been developed by the Welsh Government, which includes the Ask and Act project. Many individuals in different organisations as front facing employees are planned to have training to ask specific questions to suspected victims in order to help them. This work was first used prior to the pandemic but unfortunately it was suspended due to the situation and it moved to e-learning. 2020-21 was an unprecedented year due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, this resulted in reduced ability of victims and perpetrators to seek support and necessitated a change in practice for all partner organisations. The Head of Corporate Safeguarding advised this is why it is so important to get back to face to face sessions to raise awareness of domestic violence.
The officers mentioned the help of Safeguarding champions who amalgamated the role to take on board that work so individuals in service area know that if they see something they are uncomfortable with; there is an open dialogue to ensure that staff are available to have these conversations.
The Committee asked the following:
· Members thanked the officers for their comprehensive report. It was recognised that working from home in that service area must have been challenging. Concerns were expressed with domestic violence cases on the time from the point of contact, to escalations to have outcomes. Do the team have any figures on positive outcomes? With regard to schools, the team did not gain as much access to the pupils to inform them of domestic violence issues due to the pandemic. Members asked if the pupils will be given presentations in school about domestic violence. The Chair of the Committee added to this string of questions by asking the officers to confirm if the Councillors can do anything to assist.
The Head of Safeguarding assured the Council that they have been running the operation and compass project where if Police are called to a house for domestic abuse reports; they obtain the children’s school details and will send very brief details but will be aware that something happened that night. From the first lockdown the team explained they were concerned on how they would be able to operate that and from a welfare perspective, but they ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
a) Forward Work Programme Update (Appendix 1)
b) Actions Plan (Appendix 2)
c) Information Reports (Appendix 3)
d) Scrutiny Letters (Appendix 4)
- 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 next two committee meetings:
Thursday 20th January 2022 at 5pm, the agenda item;
- Gwent Local Assessment of Well-being Consultation
Wednesday 2nd February 2021 at 5pm, the agenda items;
- One Newport Wellbeing Plan 2021-22 Q2 Performance
- Education Achievement Services (EAS) Business Plan 2022-23
b) Actions Sheet
The Scrutiny Adviser informed Members that the Committee’s comments for the Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children agenda item have been forwarded to the Strategic Director – Social Services and Service Manager – Childrens Teams to action.