- Rhys Cornwall – Strategic Director for Transformation
- Tracy McKim – Head of People, Policy and Transformation
- Janice Dent – Policy and Partnership Manager
- Nicola Dance – Senior Policy and Partnership Officer
The Head of People, Policy and Transformation introduced the Policy team to the Committee and gave a brief overview of the background of the Public Services Board. The Policy and Partnership Manager discussed the seven well-being objectives and explained that the members of the PSB are a range of public bodies. From a Newport perspective, the Leader and Chief Executive are the representatives who sit on the board and ensure that they are heard at a Gwent level. The Officer assured the Committee that there is very good partnership engagement.
The Officer went over the 12 week consultation timeline for the plan, and that the final version will be presented to Council for adoption and approval in February 2023. The report will then be finalised and translated before publication in May 2023; with the new objectives coming into effect from June 2023. The One Newport Partnership is continuing its work in delivering the current Well-being plan 2019-23 and will be responsible for delivering the Gwent Well-being Objectives locally from June 2023 through a Local Action Plan.
The Committee asked the following:
· In Objective 2 of the Plan, the Committee felt that more emphasis on tackling antisocial behaviour would be welcome, including how the Gwent Public Services Board will measure and monitor improvements and progress made.
The Partnership and Policy Manager explained that is the type of information they need to feed back to the PSB to consider for the final plans, and for looking at it from a Newport perspective.
The Head of Service acknowledged that anti-social behaviour discussions are important, as it identifies issues that not a partner can solve solely. An example was mentioned where other sectors such as the housing sector, the green spaces sector all work collectively already, to support the work happening. The plan is about that work that could be for helping different bodies and looking at what can be done as a collective to help different initiatives, the partnership team’s job is to identify something that is important.
· A Member felt that if the plan was a generic one with a one fits all motive then it would not work as the Gwent region is differentiated. The Member commented that they need to think about the future generations and expressed his concern in protecting the future to keep them resilient from climate change in Newport, as they face different challenges from the other regions such as the valleys.
The Policy and Partnership Manager alluded to her prior point from the presentation on how the work is spread and the needs assessment carried out across Gwent is going to be fed into the themes. The local needs to spread into the well-being plan and assured the Committee that the partners are looking at how the objectives have fed into the well-being plan.
· The Member asked the officers to locate where the overall plan is with the flood scheme.
The Policy and Partnership Manager directed Committee to objective 3 in combating climate change. It was explained that it is an overarching theme that has been fed in from Newport and that they need to be more specific in how they respond to that need as everyone is affected by climate change differently. The individual plans will look at that but it is fed in from the other agents so it works both ways. The council has a rounded regional and local plan which meets the needs of each of the Local Authority areas.
The Head of Service appreciated that it is difficult to see local needs being met in a regional plan but explained that as they are in a regional set up, their job is to ensure they are seen and heard. It was noted that does not remove the important work of NLW. The discussions are still positive but they discuss what else they can do together facing cuts.
· The Committee asked the Partners to highlight Professor Marmot’s previous work that has been successful.
The Policy and Partnership Manager confirmed that there have been positive results in the Greater Manchester Area and the Cheshire area. They have outcomes that the partners and officers are learning from. They have slightly tweaked the work so it could meet the requirements in the region and highlighted how the Leader of the Council is heavily involved in the project. The Head of Service added that they feel that the Marmot principles benefit Newport; it considers how poverty impacts well-being, health and as it is evidence led it helps them in their work.
· A Member noted the two levels; regional and local, and asked if the general objectives which need action, would those tasks be undertaken by the local authority service area departments, such as education.
The Policy and Partnership Manager confirmed in some they would and that the PSB has overarching governance on the Gwent PSB. But noted that the councils are still accountable for local delivery with local scrutiny.
· A Committee Member expressed his concern over the monetary action plan being shared amongst a wider area and asked how One Newport sits in the group, for instance in discussion if they take a lean in discussions, if they are vocal and queried if there would be more constraints on Newport.
The Policy and Partnership Manager confirmed that there is not a budget for the Regional PSB and that everything they have stays within Newport. One Newport is vocal and every Local Authority has equal status to the PSB. In One Newport, they have their own work but that is just one part of the Gwent work and assured Members that there are other agreements.
The Officer went on to highlight the benefit of the Gwent PSB, that they have an overarching body where conversations are ongoing how effective the regional partnership is. It was stressed they have open conversations on where they may not agree on some points but they bring it to a consensus which is lead on a collaborative basis.
· A Committee Member noted how a lot of local issues need immediate action rather than discussions around strategies. The Member went on to ask if there is a crisis mechanism built in, and if not, if it could be built in.
The Policy and Partnership Manager noted they keep it moving forward with their own well-being plan as they are developing the regional plan. Over the last couple of months, the cost of the living summit was ran by the Leader for instance, and officers undertaking road shows in Newport in partnership to see how they can support the residents. Members were assured that nothing has stopped as they support the local plan with lots of work going on. There are task and finish groups and community events which have all been included because of the situation with future planning and what the council can do at the moment.
· The Committee Member felt that a lot of residents relying on the council could be in great deprivation and that it may be unlikely for them to complete the consultation questionnaire. The Member asked the partners what their plans are for consulting the hard to reach groups.
The Policy and Partnership Manager mentioned that there has been a communication and engagement group alongside this work with communities; where officers are involved. For an example, in summer when Play in the Park was organised, the team supported people to fill out face to face consultation for collation. There is an engagement plan that discusses methods of engaging with all communities they struggle on getting feedback from.
· A Member went on to ask the officers to what extent do they expect good practice to be shared.
The Policy and Partnership Manager highlighted that the main ambition for the collaborative joint work is to share resources and be effective with the resources they have. It was noted how that is the whole ethos of the Gwent PSB and that the partners agreed to go regional with that.
· A Committee Member noted how it is natural for human nature to compare to others. When looking at other areas, Newport is much different from other areas for a range of reasons and felt that the Council should highlight the benefits of the partnership to the people of Newport. As residents could look inwards on what Newport is giving out rather than what they are gaining from the work.
The Head of People, Policy and Transformation recognised that it is another problem that Newport is very difficult from the other areas in Gwent as other areas have more similarities in comparison to Newport.
· A Committee Member wished to commend the partnership work on the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal which has attracted a lot of people. That work can be mirrored across other areas and help people see the work going on.
- The Committee wished to thank the Officers for their attendance and the detailed presentation, which provided a good understanding about how the Gwent Public Service Board will work.
- In Objective 2 of the Plan, the Committee felt that more emphasis on tackling anti-social behaviour would be welcome, including how the Gwent Public Services Board will measure and monitor improvements and progress made.
- In Objective 3, although the report references the impacts of a changing climate including more extreme weather events, the Committee felt that there should be more mention of flood risk and response to this kind of emergency event as this is an area which would particularly affect Newport.
- Members of the Committee explored the benefits of the partnership arrangement in terms of outcomes and sharing resources and best practice, and sought clarification from Officers on the funding arrangements underpinning this, and hopes that it will be fair and transparent.
- The Committee asked if examples of sharing good practice could be provided in future to evidence this positive output of partnership working.
- Whilst appreciating that the Wellbeing Plan has been created based on a Needs Assessment for Newport and the other areas, Members commented that Newport has different demographics and geography when compared with the other areas in the Board, and that Newport’s requirements must be adequately and fairly represented. The Committee conveyed their expectation that the Council needs to maintain a local level of planning and scrutiny through governance arrangements.
- The Committee were pleased to hear about the level of consultation that the Partnership Team undertake with the residents of Newport. Members wished to promote consultation that is inclusive of all Newport residents. The report gave a questionnaire as an example of the consultation process, and Members prompted Officers to clarify the other channels through which views and feedback were sought. Members felt that some groups may be more difficult to engage and less likely to complete an online questionnaireMembers wished to emphasise the need for inclusive consultation that seeks to actively engage with residents who may be less heard in digital engagement.
- The Committee noted the content of the survey and confirmed they were happy with the objectives and steps.
- Members queried how it was decided that Blaenau Gwent would be the first leading local authority, and how the Gwent Public Service Board would decide the next lead authority.