Venue: Committee Room 1 - Civic Centre. View directions
Contact: Neil Barnett Scrutiny Adviser
Declarations of Interest
- Matt Lewis Chief Operating Officer - Shared Resource Service
- Kath Bevan-Seymour Deputy Chief Operating Officer - Shared Resource Service
- Mike Doverman - Assistant Director (Operations) Shared Resource Service
- Sarah Stephens – Schools Lead – Shared Resource Service
- Rhys Cornwall Strategic Director – Corporate and Transformation
- Tracy McKim - Head of People, Policy and Transformation
- Mark Bleazard - Digital Services Manager
- Councillor Dimitri Batrouni – Cabinet Member for Organisational Transformation
The Head of Service introduced the report and asked the Committee to reflect on last year’s performance and to discuss the partnership. The Digital Services Manager gave a brief overview of the digital role classed within the organisation. The Chief Operating Officer provided the Committee with a presentation which summarised the annual budget and figures such as their number of customers. Members were informed of the framework and were assured that there is a lot of representation on their boards. It was shown that the partners reflect on what their customers want. It was highlighted that their budget is lower than last year, the Chief Operating Officer noted that this is an achievement and proves much of the business case, by working collaborative that the costs have reduced. The Members were informed of the case study in the report which shows why those costs are lower going forward.
The Committee asked the following:
· A Member made an observation that recruitment is difficult for the IT area and asked if the partners can see that improving in the near future.
The Chief Operating Officer (SRS) explained that the issues with employment are typically cyclical. It might be the case until 12-18 months later there may be a group of people ready for the roles. There are some examples of support work but the competition from the external market is hard to keep up with. The SRS team brings in apprentices and help internal staff to move through the organisation via training and development opportunities.
· The Member asked if SRS liaise with universities to recruit people.
The Chief Operating Officer advised that they have a team to train individuals in university and a new scheme to link in people from other areas. An example was used where they would offer someone a role, and up to a day before, they have had applicants decline the job offer as they would have been offered something with a small difference such as more leave but however the officer noted most are going for jobs in the private sector to be offered a job worth around 20k more per annum. The Head of Service felt it was important to note the entry point work is good from an equality point of view as they are offering opportunities that they may not have had before; which is an advantage for the approach.
· A Committee Member recognised there has been a lot of progress since 2016 and asked the partners to confirm their most significant item of progress.
- Natalie Poyner - Head of Children Services
- Finn Madell - Head of Corporate Safeguarding
- Amy Thomas - VAWDASV Regional Lead Advisor
- Sally Ann Jenkins – Strategic Director – Social Services
The VAWDASV Lead Advisor provided committee with an overview of Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (VAWDASV) which seeks to protect women from all forms of abuse. Newport hosts the regional VAWDASV team under the 2015 Act. Members were informed of the directives mentioned in the report such as domestic abuse in older people being a barrier and also modern day slavery and male suicide prevention, spectrum project with schools and projects that have been rolled out to Gwent.
It was highlighted that their achievement has been survivor engagement as they have developed a strong network of survivors who engage with the team and work with them to drive ways forward and also agencies have been key to the partnership.
Members were informed that 2021-2022 was a positive year considering the recovering challenges from the pandemic. The success was enabled by the commitment of the workforce, by sharing best practice despite facing challenges and pressure.
Committee raised the following points:
· A Member wished to confirm if their work concerns men who face domestic abuse.
The VAWDASV Lead asserted that it includes all genders but as it came from the home office, the heading and overarching title remains but it is inclusive of all genders.The VAWDASV Lead then agreed to provide more data on the examples of male cases in Gwent. As there is an average of 2 males considered high risk for domestic abuse and require an agency response.
· A Member expressed his thanks for the presentation and wanted to know what the partner’s most significant piece of progress is from the last few years.
The Strategic Director responded by stating if they look back in time, since 2015 legislation, people’s understanding and awareness has increased on other forms of abuse such as coercive control. In 2015, professionals and the public understanding of emotional abuse was far weaker back then.
In addition, the awareness and understanding of domestic abuse impact on children.The Director felt it was important to highlight these as it contributes to the increasing refusal to tolerate violence and the impact it causes.
· The Chair made the suggestion of Newport City Council organising an all Member session on raising awareness and understanding on such topics.
The VAWDASV Lead explained that a training package has been developed for Members and Senior Officers of the Local Authority. They are currently discussing with Democratic Services to set up a training session in the New Year. This could be offered in terms of training for the helpline and signposting constituents for access to services.
· A Member appreciated that measuring evaluation of the work is difficult and asked if there are any measures that they could possibly use to measure improvements.
In response, the VAWDASV Lead acknowledged that it is very difficult to measure as the ... view the full minutes text for item 3.
a) Forward Work Programme Update (Appendix 1)
- Neil Barnett (Scrutiny Adviser)
The Scrutiny Adviser advised the Committee of the agenda items for the upcoming two meetings, which are:
Wednesday 8 February
EAS - Business Plan
One Newport Wellbeing Plan Q2 Performance Update
Wednesday 8 March
Safer Newport Update – Community Safety Partnership