Venue: held remotely via video-conference
Councillor Elizabeth Evans together with Cabinet Members, Councillor Catrin Miles and Ray Quant.
Disclosures of personal interest (including whipping declarations) Members are reminded of their personal responsibility to declare any personal and prejudicial interest in respect of matters contained in this agenda in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Act 2000, the Council's Constitution and the Members Code of Conduct. In addition, Members must declare any prohibited party whip which the Member has been given in relation to the meeting as per the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011.
Consideration was given to the Report upon the Ceredigion Public Service Board Poverty Sub-group - Tackling Hardship Strategy progress report July 2021. The report was presented by the Leader, Councillor Ellen ap Gwynn.
She reported that the Tackling Hardship Strategy 2020-22 was published in August 2020 as a successor to the Ceredigion Combatting Poverty Strategy 2016-20. The Strategy had three key objectives and the Action Plan includes 65 actions which were delivered by a range of PSB partners.
The Tackling Hardship Strategy was monitored by Ceredigion PSB Poverty Sub-group which met four times a year. The report shows progress of delivery of the strategy and proposed next steps, these are set out below:
1.The PSB Poverty Sub-group would continue to develop the data dashboards to ensure that a shared understanding of the evolving impact of COVID-19 on hardship in Ceredigion through the collation and analysis of data.
2.There was a need to review the list of contributing partners, there were opportunities to work collaboratively with more partner agencies in order to promote and take advantage of all available help and assistance.
3.The Action Plan was a live document designed to be updated during the life of the Hardship Strategy. Some contributing partners had completed their actions while other actions were still in progress. The Action Plan would be reviewed to ensure the partners work together effectively to strengthen individual and community resilience and to adjust to the impact of COVID-19.
4. The framework established to monitor delivery of the Hardship Strategy does not include a mechanism for partners to flag up specific issues of concern. In particular, those that the PSB may be able to address effectively on a multi-agency basis. The monitoring framework would be adapted so that it includes a clear way of proactively identifying specific issues of concern that can be raised by support providers, citizens and PSB Sub-group members.
Following questions from the floor, it was AGREED
(i) to note the progress made in delivery of the three key objectives of the Ceredigion Tackling Hardship Strategy and supports the ‘next steps’ presented; and
(ii) to thank the Families First & Refugee Coordinator for her work on this strategy
Consideration was given to the Report upon ‘Talking, Listening and Working Together,’ Ceredigion County Council’s draft Engagement Policy. The Leader, Councillor E E ap Gwynn reported that the policy sets out the corporate approach to engagement with the people of Ceredigion. By engagement it was reported the ways in which the Council –
The policy includes innovative ways to engage, including the use of online engagement platforms. The policy includes a toolkit of resources and techniques. The policy also includes an action plan which sets out better corporate management and control of engagement and accountability, for example via a corporate engagement timetable and annual reporting.
The Engagement and Equalities Officer reported that the current Community Engagement Policy dates from 2012 and needs to be replaced to take into account new methods of engagement and recent legislation and guidance. There was also a need to take into account the increasing use of digital engagement.
Following questions from the floor, it was AGREED:-
(i) to receive and endorse ‘Talking, Listening and Working Together’ the draft Engagement Policy of Ceredigion County Council prior to public consultation over winter 2021-22; and
(ii) to note that the report would be presented to Cabinet on the 2nd of November 2021.
Consideration was given to the Report updating Members on the Clic Service. The Cabinet Member, Councillor Dafydd Edwards, together with the Corporate Manager- Clic and Customer Services Manager presented the report. It was reported that the CLIC service was made up of the Corporate Contact Centre, Corporate Mail Room, Direct Contact (Face To Face), Blue Badge Team and Libraries.
Members were informed that the Contact Centre (CLIC) started taking calls September 2017 and was now providing the initial contact service for nearly all service areas. In the coming months, the final service area, Social Care would be transferred over to CLIC through the Through Age and Wellbeing Programme ensuring that CLIC will be the first point of contact for all services. Two cohorts of Customer Services staff had undertaken training to prepare for the introduction of Social Care calls in line with TAWP. Customer contact had also been involved in the development of the initial contact forms that would, in due course, be used by staff to handle Social Care enquiries
It was reported that since the start of the Pandemic and the first lockdown, 23rd March 2020 the Contact Centre team had worked wholly from home, operating a full service with little change to hours or duties. The Team had also provided additional hours of coverage, Easter Weekend in 2020 and supported the Election services during the Welsh Government and Police and Crime Commissioner elections in May 2021, offering a telephony service from 7am on 10pm on Election day.
In addition to providing telephone support, the team also take payments, mange corporate mailboxes and provide additional COVID-19 information service. The service had experienced many challenging times due to staffing shortage and some technical issues but endeavors to provide a high level of customer service at all times.
The following information was presented which was based on enquiries received between 01/09/2020 and 31/08/2021.
• Total calls received = 113,203
English Welsh Total
Sep-20 8820 1549 10369
Oct-20 8667 1527 10194
Nov-20 7478 1277 8755
Dec-20 5530 887 6417
Jan-21 8106 1405 9511
Feb-21 7483 1335 8818
Mar-21 9509 1755 11264
Apr-21 8236 1513 9749
May-21 7517 1379 8896
Jun-21 8419 1399 9818
Jul-21 8389 1453 9842
Aug-21 8191 1379 9570
Total 96,345 16,858
Total Combined 113,203
Abandoned calls = English 4% / Welsh 1%
• Total emails received = 17,980
• Total enquiries logged = 68,698
In relation to CLIC (CRM) Enquiries, it was stated that the system had 79 different categories (defined as service areas) and 407 sub categories. Calls/enquiries were recorded on the Customer Records Management (CRM) system in order to ensure a record of customer contact. Each enquiry was allocated a reference number.
Breakdown of the enquiries logged on the CRM was presented as follows, with the top 15 categories as follows:-
Category Total Logged
Waste Management 11,357
COVID 19 6,686
General Enquiry 3,792
Blue Badge 2,879
Housing Register/Homelessness 2,856
Council Tax 2,819
Planning 1,724 ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
Consideration was given to the Library Standard Report. It was reported that the Library had to report once a year to Welsh Government on the Welsh Public Library standards, and this is the resulting report for 2019/20.
It was AGREED to accept the report.
Consideration was given to the Report upon the Ceredigion Senior Coroner's 2020 Statistical Return. It was stated that a Report on deaths reported to the Coroner for Ceredigion was prepared annually by the Senior Coroner (‘the Statistical Return’) and sent to the Ministry of Justice, in order to be published as part of the Coroners’ Statistics on the UK Government’s website.The Report of the Chief Coroner to the Lord Chancellor included a Model Coroner blueprint. This recommends that the Senior Coroner also presents a brief annual report to the Chief Coroner and the Council each July, which should be published on the Council’s website, and include relevant statistics on current/concluded cases (with comparison figures for previous years), an update on Coroner work and relevant issues, a summary of the Coroner team and staffing arrangements, and any future plans. Such a Report has not been provided to the Council.
Currently, it was reported that the Statistical Return contained relevant information regarding the services of the Coroner of Ceredigion, for transparency with the Public, and given that the National Statistics publication has now been released, the Statistical Return was hereby presented to the Committee.
The Governance Officer stated that it was recommended that, following consideration of the Statistical Return by the Committee, it shall be published annually on the Coroner Services page of the Council’s Website (taking care not to publish the Return prior to the release of the National Statistics publication by the Ministry of Justice). The Ceredigion Senior Coroner and the Ministry of Justice’s Civil and Administrative Justice/Justice Statistics Analytical Services had been informed of this proposal.
The Ceredigion Senior Coroner had been invited to submit a Report to the Council and/or provide any additional comments/text and had confirmed that due to current workload commitments, court sitting availability and a recent staff vacancy (now filled), he was unable to prepare this year’s annual report. It is hoped that a report shall be provided by the Coroner next year.
Following questions from the floor, it was AGREED:-
(i) to note the contents of the Ceredigion Senior Coroner’s 2020 Statistical Return; and
(ii) that the annual publication of the (redacted) Ceredigion Senior Coroner’s Statistical Return be placed on the Council’s website (on the Coroner Services page).
The Forward Work Plan was agreed as presented subject to noting that the Task and Finish group would be considering County Farms further in January 2022; as the estate service were unable to present a report earlier due to other work priorities.
It was AGREED to confirm the minutes of the meetings held on 07 July 2021.