Agenda item

Shared Community Charter For Newport


The Wentlooge Representative stated that at a meeting before lockdown communication and routes into Newport Council for Community councillors was discussed and it was mentioned at that meeting that we would look to do some work on the Charter in regard to formalising a communication process.

The Chair stated that if the Charter was in need of a revision, then we could update it but this Charter was about the relationship between the City Council and the Community Councils, not individual councillors.

The Chair stated that if individual Community Councillors wanted to raise complaints, rather than local issues, there was a process for this. This Charter was more about engagement at a Council level, in terms of how we consult with Community Councils on planning applications etc.

The Wentlooge Representative explained that at their recent community meetings information was not coming back to the Community Council for issues reported to City Services and accounts were not being updated with information. Members of the public were then looking for answers from the Community Council who could not provide these answers.

The Chair stated that this needed to be related to the Charter commitment and this was a high-level Charter and demonstrates how we will work together as a City Council and Community Councillors in terms of this shared responsibility.

However, the Chair confirmed that the Charter could be looked at if it was felt it a review was needed.

The Wentlooge Representative stated that for City Councillors it was different, and they were able to have a route into the Council as they were well known but this was not so easy for Community Councillors. 

The Chair confirmed that there was no route in for City Councillors and they still had to email the Members email address and that City Councillors did not get preferential treatment and that if a Councillor was using their position as a Councillor to get some sort of preferential treatment for something, that was a breach of the Code of Conduct.

The Wentlooge representative stated that Community Councillors were not looking for preferential treatment, but they have not been getting any answers and have been left hanging.

The Chair advised that no one should be left looking for an answer and if there was a problem with the website then the Customer Services Manager needed to be made aware. 

The Marshfield Representative stated that issues were being reported but there was no feedback and the Customer Services Manager had attended a Liaison Meeting previously but that nothing had changed.

The Chair confirmed that the Customer Services Manager had gone back to City Services as most of the non-responses had related to that area and it was taken up with the Head of Service. However, if there was no improvement then we may need to bring the Customer Services Manager back to have a discussion with the Community Councils. Customer Services now sat in the Finance and Council Tax area and the problem was still the back office.

The Graig representative noted that when Community Councillors get complaints, they needed to be raised and if there were multiple people reporting the same complaint then communication was an issue in the Council, and it needed to be different. 

The Wentlooge Representative stated that issues were not being followed up then maybe all the Community Councils could do is make a formal complaint. 

The Chair agreed that if issues were not followed up then complaints were reported to Governance and Audit Committee and Cabinet Committee and people needed to complain if they were not happy as that’s what the Corporate Complaints procedure was for.

The Wentlooge Representative stated that they didn’t know if it was City Services or another area that was at fault. 

The Chair confirmed that the Customer Services Manager found with her investigation that the front end was working in terms of the contact with Customer Services, the website was working, and the backlog seemed to be the back end where the service requests were not ending up in the right service areas or part of city services. But perhaps the work wasn't being followed up and had been done or if it wasn’t being done, this was not being communicated back

The Marshfield Representative stated that she had been in a situation where she had made a complaint but was told to go to the Ombudsman and not to make a complaint. It was a complaint regarding not having received feedback on an issue raised.

The Chair requested that the Marshfield Representative send the details of this in an email for them to have a look at as it sounded like a process failure.

The Chair confirmed that we could have another look at the Charter and the Community Councils should have another look at the Charter document and that it could be discussed at the next meeting.


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