Venue: Hybrid - Neuadd Cyngor Ceredigion, Penmorfa, Aberaeron / remotely via video conference
Contact: Dwynwen Jones
To elect a Vice-Chairman for the remainder of the 2023.2024 municipal year with immediate effect
It was RESOLVED that Councillor Elaine Evans be appointed as
Vice-Chairman of the Committee for the remainder of 2023/24 municipal year with
Apologies and Personal Matters
Councillors Euros Davies, Eryl Evans and Paul
Hinge apologised for their inability to attend the meeting together with the
Leader of the Council, Councillor Bryan Davies.
Councillor Caryl Roberts apologised to all
Corporate Lead Officers for her comments at the last meeting, which in her
opinion had been misinterpreted. However, Councillor Roberts stated that it was
not appropriate to make the comparison and she took responsibility for her
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.
This report sets out the steps taken by
Ceredigion Public Services Board (PSB) to provide a coordinated response to the
increased risk of hardship in Ceredigion. This was the last report of our stand
alone ‘Tackling Poverty Strategy’. Going forward, it had been agreed that the
PSB Poverty sub-group would ensure that combating poverty was maintained as a
cross-cutting issue across all areas of work undertaken to deliver Ceredigion
PSB’s Local Well-being Plan 2023-28. A workplan was currently being developed
to assist the Council with this.
The three key objectives of Ceredigion Tackling
Hardship Strategy 2020- 2023 were:
1. To develop a shared understanding with partner
agencies of the evolving
impact of COVID-19 on hardship in Ceredigion
through the collation and
analysis of data.
2. To co-ordinate and consolidate collaborative
efforts with partner agencies in
order to promote and take advantage of all
available help and assistance
3. To identify gaps in support and evolving
hardship needs in order to develop
early effective intervention that will strengthen
individual and community
resilience as we adjust to the impact of
Currently, the Council had achieved the
objectives of the strategy. The Poverty sub-group has met regularly and
discussed a wide range of issues to help us understand the impact of hardship
on Ceredigion citizens. The data dashboards that were developed to support this
work were widely used by partners and had been recognised across Wales as an
example of good practice.
The Tackling Hardship action plan and regular
reporting had helped the Council to coordinate their actions. The
Cost-of-Living webpage on the Council website and the Cost-of-Living leaflet,
which was posted to all Ceredigion postcodes in winter 2022, had helped to
promote the available help and assistance. Gaps in support had been identified
and, while the Council were unable to address all these gaps, they were able to
respond to some, for example the network of 54 Warm Welcome Spaces that offered
a warm and friendly place for communities to come together during winter 2022.
There full report for the period March 2022 – April 2023 was
Following questions from the
floor, it was AGREED to receive and endorse the Tackling Hardship Annual Report
It was also agreed that an
email be sent to the Clerk of the Community Council wards not covered by food
banks namely Llandyfriog, Llanddewi Brefi, Tregaron and Ystrad Fflur on the
process of setting up these banks in their Ward.
The Corporate Lead Officer,
Policy and Performance presented the information relating to the Council’s
Compliments, Complaints and FOI activity between 1st April 2022 and 31st March
2023. The report itself included specific
information on the number and type of compliments received, the different
complaints stages, performance and outcomes relating to these and information
on compliance with FOI and EIR legislation.
A report detailing the
compliments and complaints activity in relation to Social Services was also
presented, and information about the Lessons Learned as a consequence of
(corporate) complaints was also provided.
The main report consists of a section about the contact received from
the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales (“the Ombudsman”) during the reporting
period. The Ombudsman’s Annual Letter to
the Council was also presented and provided further details about all Ombudsman
activity for Ceredigion, as well as for other Council’s across Wales.
This was the fourth consecutive
report where there had been no Ombudsman investigations commenced or formal
reports issued in relation to complaints made against the Council. Whilst there were fewer Ombudsman referrals
during this reporting year, the Council had a consistently high rate of Early
It was therefore acknowledged
that challenges remain in relation to the complexity of complaints received, a
general increase in activity surrounding complaints, FOI, Ombudsman referrals
and referrals to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), as well as the
challenges associated with the delivery of the Complaints and FOI Team
itself. These challenges had inevitably
had an impact on the Council’s ability to meet its performance objectives in
relation to prescribed timescales.
In brief it was reported, that:
465 Compliments were received
403 Enquiries were processed by the Complaints
& FOI Service
144 Complaints were received: Stage 1 = 96 Stage 2 = 48
‘Contacts’ received via the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales
882 FOI & EIR requests processed by the
Complaints & FOI Service
In summary, it was reported
•There were significantly more
Compliments received during this reporting period. Improving the way that compliments were
captured remains a piece of work that the Complaints and FOI Team needs to
undertake, but that was being delayed due to capacity constraints.
•The service received a greater
number of enquiries – many of which were either allocated back to the service
areas to resolve pro-actively, or formal responses were required in order to
explain why such matters could not be dealt with under the complaints
•It was worth noting that the
number of complaints received by the Council was the third lowest in Wales.
•A great deal of work was needed
to prevent Stage 1 complaints from escalating to Stage 2 unnecessarily on
account that it had not been possible to respond within the prescribed
timescale of ten-working-days.
•Compliance with timescales under Stage 2 also requires attention, as do the shortcomings in complaints handling that were referred to the Ombudsman. The Complaints and FOI Team continues to face challenges in meeting the demands of rises in the numbers of compliments, complaints, and FOI activity. ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
reported that a request was received from a member of the public on the 27th of
July 2023 requesting that he considered as an agenda item the provision of
banking services to the Council in light of concern about the urgent need to
address climate change and to take all necessary steps to achieve ‘net zero’.
The member of
public stated as follows:
We feel that the
issue of who the authority banks with, what the effects of this may be, and how
the authority might best move forward to ensure that its monies and investments
help to address climate change rather than reinforce it, would benefit from the
thorough consideration and investigation that the Scrutiny Committee could
provide. In accordance with Members of the public addressing the Committee, Mr
Grimsell attended the meeting to address Members on this matter.
Lead Officer, Finance and Procurement then presented a report giving an
overview of what was in scope within the Banking contract and where the current
tender process had got to, including noting that Environmental matters had been
given consideration within the scoring criteria.
questions from Members, it was agreed to note the report for information.
thanked Mr Grimsell for attending the meeting to address his concerns.
The Forward Work Plan was agreed as presented.