Agenda and draft minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Co-ordinating Committee - Wednesday, 23rd November, 2022 10.00 am

Venue: Hybrid - Neuadd Cyngor Ceredigion, Penmorfa, Aberaeron / remotely via video conferrence

Contact: Lisa Evans 

Items
No. Item

5.

Welcome and Apologies

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting.

Councillor Endaf Edwards apologised for his inability to attend.

Alun Williams, Corporate Lead Officer, Policy and Performance, also apologised for his inability to attend the meeting.

 

6.

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

Minutes:

  There were no disclosures of personal or prejudicial interests. 

  Councillor Rhodri Evans wished it noted that his wife is employed by the

  Authority.

 

7.

Ceredigion Public Services Board (PSB) meeting held 20th September 2022 & Draft Ceredigion Local Well-being Plan 2023-28. pdf icon PDF 91 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

3      Ceredigion Public Services Board (PSB) meeting held 20th September 2022 & Draft Ceredigion Local Well-being Plan 2023-28.

The Leader of the Council, Councillor Bryan Davies, attended to present the PSB

          agenda item with Diana Davies and Naomi McDonagh, the relevant Officers in

          attendance.

 

          The Leader explained that under Section 35 of the Well-being of Future

          Generations (Wales) Act 2015, Local Authorities are required to ensure that their

          Overview and Scrutiny Committees have the power to scrutinise decisions made,

          or other action taken, by the Public Services Board for the Local Authority area in

          the exercise of its functions. Section 39 also states that each PSB must share a

          copy of its Local Well-being Plan with the Local Authority’s Overview and

          Scrutiny Committee.

 

          The statutory guidance on the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act

          2015 (WFG Act) sets out a requirement for each Public Services Board (PSB) to

          prepare and publish an assessment of the state of economic, social,

          environmental and cultural well-being in its area no later than a year before it

          publishes its Local Well-Being Plan. The guidance also requires that the Local

          Well-being Plan must be published no later than 12 months following each local

          government ordinary election. Ceredigion PSB published its Assessment of

          Local Well-being on 4th May 2022 and it was presented to this Committee on  

          15th June 2022. The Assessment of Local Well-being has been key to informing

          and establishing the four Local Well-being Objectives which were agreed at

          PSB meeting on the 7th March 2022 and presented to this Committee on

          15th June. The Leader explained that it is these objectives that will form the basis

          of the next Ceredigion Local Well-being Plan and are as follows:

1.    Work together to achieve a sustainable economy that benefits local people

and builds on the strengths of Ceredigion.

2.    Work together to reduce inequalities in our communities and use social and

Green solutions to improve physical and mental health.

3.    Work together to deliver decarbonisation initiatives within Ceredigion to

protect and enhance our natural resources.

4.    Work together to enable communities to feel safe and connected and will

promote cultural diversity and increase opportunities to use the Welsh language.

 

           It was also agreed that a cross-cutting objective to tackle hardship and poverty

           would be incorporated into the plan to reflect the current and future implications

           of the cost-of-living crisis and that it is recognised that this will have the potential

           to impact across the four well-being pillars - economic, social, environmental,

           and cultural well-being and working together collaboratively across PSB

           organisations will help maintain a focus on this area of work.

 

           Committee Members were advised that the content of the draft Local Well-being

           Plan 2023-28 had been developed through on-line and in person surveys, input

           from the Office of the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales and a task

           and finish group consisting of representatives from Ceredigion PSB  

           organisations.

 

            The PSB approved the draft Ceredigion Local Well-being Plan 2023-28 at their

            meeting  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Strategic Equality Plan Monitoring Report 2021-22 pdf icon PDF 126 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

3         Strategic Equality Plan monitoring report 2021-22

             Councillor Catrin MS Davies, Cabinet Member and Cathryn Morgan were

             welcomed to present the Strategic Equality Plan monitoring report 2021-22.

 

             The Equality Act 2010 places a duty on Local Authorities to consider the needs

             of all individuals when carrying out our day-to-day work. The Act includes

             specific Public Sector Equality Duties for Wales which require the Council to set

             Equality Objectives within a Strategic Equality Plan, which must be reviewed

             every four years.

 

             The promotion and use of the Welsh Language is set out in the Welsh

             Language Measure 2011, rather than the Equality Act. However, we consider

             Welsh language requirements alongside the protected characteristics of the

             Equality Act to encourage a holistic approach.

 

             An action plan ensures the delivery of the Council’s Strategic Equality Plan

             2020-24, grouped under five Equality Objectives.

 

             It was reported that this is the second annual report on progress of the 2020-24

             Plan and that a BRAG system shows how well an action is performing or being

             delivered, compared to the previous year. 

 

             Points highlighted as follows:

                A revised pregnancy risk assessment has been introduced. This now better

             Reflects the current Public Health Wales guidance on pregnant people in the

             workplace.

                The regional Community Cohesion team continue to work with partners to

             Encourage people to raise awareness of, and report hate crime. Events and

             awareness raising campaigns to tackle hate crime included Hate Crime

             Awareness Week, a ‘Blue Light’ event for refugees, Online Hate Pilot Sessions

             and Small Steps Right Wing Training.

                Lloyd Warburton, a Penglais School pupil, was elected as the new Member of

             Wales Youth Parliament for Ceredigion and was also an active member of the

             Ceredigion Youth Council.

                The Accessible Housing Register and Accessible Housing Policy have been in

             Place since June 2016. As a result, the number of people using the accessible

             Housing register and subsequently receiving offers continues to increase.

                Performance of Ceredigion pupils with Special Education Needs/Additional

             Educational Needs is good. There is an increase in the number of pupils who 

             are diagnosed with severe autism in the early years, and in the pupils with 

             complex needs.

                The Covid-19 pandemic has had a big impact on the progress of learners with

             English as an Additional Language (EAL), although we have exceeded targets:  

             9.5% of pupils moved up a level (target = 5%). 3.4% made 2 or more levels of

             progress (target = 1%). 77.7% of EAL pupils are on codes C-E. Of these, 56.9%

             are competent (D) or Fluent (E).

 

             Following discussion, Members agreed to receive the Council’s Strategic

             Equality Monitoring Report 2021-22 and recommend that Cabinet endorse

             the report on the 6th December 2022.

 

4         Gender Pay Report 2022 and Workforce Equality Report 2022

   The Leader of the Council along with Geraint Edwards, Corporate Lead Officer, 

   were welcomed to present the Gender Pay Report 2022 and the Workforce

   Equality Report 2022.

 

            Ceredigion County Council, along with all listed public authorities in Wales, is

            required  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Gender Pay Report 2022 and Workforce Equality Report 2022 pdf icon PDF 95 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council along with Geraint Edwards, Corporate Lead Officer, 

   were welcomed to present the Gender Pay Report 2022 and the Workforce

   Equality Report 2022.

 

            Ceredigion County Council, along with all listed public authorities in Wales, is

            required to carry out gender pay reporting and publish employment information

            on an annual basis.

 

            The Public Sector Equality Duty 2011, which forms part of the Equality Act 2010,

            Requires that the Council publishes a range of data relating to our workforce

            under each of the protected characteristics detailed in the Equality Act.

 

            During discussion, the following was noted:

·        In response to a question regarding encouraging more women to apply senior

 officer roles, the Officer advised Members that the Work/Life Balance Policy is

 due for renewal early 2023 and will be presented to the Corporate Resources

 Overview and Scrutiny Committee at that time.

 

            Following discussion, Members agreed to receive the Gender Pay Report 2022

            and receive the Workforce Equality Report 2022.

 

10.

Self-Assessment Report 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 81 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader was once again welcomed to report the Self-Assessment Report

             for 2021/22. Part 6 of the new Local Government and Elections (Wales) Act

             2021 replaces the old Local Government Measure (Wales) 2009 and

             introduces a new Self-Assessment based performance regime for Principal

             Councils.

 

              The new performance regime is intended to build and support a culture in

              which councils continuously seek to improve and do better in everything

              they do, regardless of how well they are performing already. It is the

              expectation of the Act that councils will always be striving to achieve more

              and seek to ensure best outcomes for local people and communities. One

              way of doing this is to continuously challenge the status quo and ask

              questions about how they are operating.

 

              There are 5 specific duties for Councils introduced by the Act:

                 Duty to keep performance under review

                 Duty to consult on performance

                 Duty to report on performance

                 Duty to arrange a Panel Performance Assessment

                 Duty to respond to a Panel Performance Assessment

 

              The focus of self-assessment is on outcomes rather than process, and

              requires local authorities to take a different approach to assessing their

              performance than previously. This requires greater self reflection.

 

              Since May 2022, Ceredigion County Council has been undertaking the first

              round of Self-Assessment, in which the Overview and Scrutiny Coordinating

              Committee has played an integral part:

                 On 15 June 2022 the Self-Assessment process that has been developed

              for use in Ceredigion was presented to the Committee. (The Council’s

              approach uses a set of Key Lines of Enquiry or key questions to help focus

              on the requirement of the Local Government and Elections Act).

                 On 29 July 2022 a workshop was held with the Committee to record

              Members’ perspectives on Council performance and opportunities for

              improvement to feed into the Self-Assessment Matrix. (The Matrix is a table

              that captures all of the evidence, future challenges, proposed actions and

              scores).

                 On 10 August 2022 a further workshop was held with the Committee to

              review the draft scores and key lines of Enquiry Matrix.

 

              Since then, the evidence collected has been used to produce the Self-

              Assessment Report which the Officer referred to as Appendix 3 of the

              agenda papers. This is the main output from the Self-Assessment process

              and sets out how the Council is currently performing and the actions it

              intends to take going forward.

 

              The Self-Assessment Report for 2021/22 discharges the requirements of

               both:

                  The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 – to set and

               review progress against our Corporate Well-being Objectives

                  The Local Government and Elections (Wales) Act 2021 – the duty to keep

               performance under review, consult on performance, report on performance,

               arrange a Panel Performance Assessment and respond to a Panel

               Performance Assessment.

 

                The Governance and Audit Committee has a statutory responsibility to

                consider the Self-Assessment Report and make recommendations on the

                findings and the actions that the Council proposes to take. The Report

                was considered at its  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.

11.

The Armed Forces Covenant Duty, as laid out in the Armed Forces Act 2021 pdf icon PDF 126 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Paul Hinge, Member Champion for the Armed Forces was

                welcomed to present the report.  Councillor Matthew Vaux, Cabinet

                Member apologised for his inability to attend the meeting.

 

                Councillor Hinge advised the Committee that the Armed Forces Act 2021

                clause 8 introduced a new requirement for certain public bodies, including

                Local Authorities, to pay due regard to the principles of the Armed Forces

                Covenant. He advised that the Council will need to comply with the

                new law which came into force on the 22nd November 2022. The relevant

                council functions are Housing, Education and Drug and Alcohol services.

 

                The Armed Forces Act 2021 enshrines the Armed Forces Covenant into

                law placing a legal obligation on public bodies to prevent service   

                personnel, reservists and their families being disadvantaged when

                accessing public services. The Armed Forces Act 2021 received Royal

                Ascent on the 15th of December 2021.

 

                The draft Statutory Guidance for the Armed Forces Covenant Duty was

                laid before parliament in July 2022.

 

                 The Committee were advised of the current situation in that delivering its

                 current commitments, the Council does pay due regard to the

                 requirements of the Armed Forces Community, and it has sought to

                 positively build upon its commitment since its initial pledge. This has led to

                 direct amendments being made to Council policies as part of its

                 commitment to the Covenant. This is particularly evident in the Work-life

                 balance policy that supports flexible working options and recognises the

                 clear need for armed service personnel and reservist to have additional

                 authorised periods of absence to support their additional commitments.

                 Councillor Hinge gave two excellent examples of where the Authority had

                 supported a reservist and their families recently.

 

                 Also, through the provision of a secretariat function, Ceredigion County

                 Council has also led on the establishment of the Ceredigion Armed

                 Forces Community Forum which works with an extensive range of   

                 partners to continually raise the profile of the Armed Forces Community.

                 Through direct interventions and partnership working Ceredigion County

                 Council have recently endorsed their commitment to the Defence

                 Employer Recognition Scheme and its positive interventions have

                 successfully achieved both Bronze and Silver Recognition Awards.

                 In addition to the above, arrangements are being made to promote

                 additional training and awareness via on-line training which will prepare

                 services for this legislation. This will be promoted through Learning and

                 Development. Consideration will also be given to reviewing Education and

                 Housing policies to ensure consistency with the Armed Forces Covenant.

                 The Statutory Guidance will be considered along with any advice and

                 good practice examples which will be utilised to further enhance provision

                 and ensure compliance.

 

                 PROPOSED ACTIONS

                 In addition to the work that the Council already undertakes, it is proposed

                 that the following additional steps are taken to prepare for the duty:

·       Explore opportunities to improve data capture by services. The Regional

                 Armed Forces Liaison Officer will advise on the categories that individual

                 services will need to be using.

 

                During discussion, the following points were noted:

·       There is grant funding available for children  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.

12.

Report on the review of the RIPA Policy and the Investigatory Powers Commissioner's Office Inspection pdf icon PDF 108 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Elin Prysor, Corporate Lead Officer and Monitoring Officer presented the

      report in relation to the review of the RIPA Policy and the Investigatory

      Powers Commissioner’s Office inspection.

 

      It was noted that the Committee received the previous report on the

      26th September 2022.

 

                It was highlighted that Paragraph 4.47 of the ‘Home Office Covert

                Surveillance and Property Interference Revised Code of Practice’ (2018)

                states that elected members of a local authority should review the

                authority’s use of RIPA and set the policy once a year. RIPA Activity was

                reported in the previous report to this committee on the 26th of September

                2022. Amendments to the RIPA Policy were most recently presented to

                this committee on the 15th of September 2022.

     

                At the 26th of September 2022 meeting of this committee, it was reported

                that meetings with IPCO had taken place as part of their inspection.  

                Following these meetings, the Council has received a letter from the IPCO

                summarising the key findings of the inspection which was attached to the

                agenda papers. Ms Prysor stated that in response to the discussions

                which took place during the inspection regarding the frequency of nil-

                returns for online surveillance, a new template email has been created

                which will be used when requesting quarterly returns of online surveillance

                activity from Designated Officers. The intention of this updated template is

                to provide more clarity with regards to the information requested. The

                email template was also attached to the agenda item. It as also advised

                that the IPCO have published their quarterly newsletter for Autumn 2022

                which is available to view on their Website.

 

      Following discussion, Committee Members were asked to:

1)    Notes the contents of the Draft Amended Corporate RIPA Policy and

Procedures Document,

               2) Notes the contents of the IPCO Inspection Report,

               3) Notes the contents of the SRO’s response to the IPCO Inspection

                   Report,

               4) Notes the contents of the Updated RIPA Activity Request Email,

                   and,

               5) Notes the contents of the IPCO Quarterly Newsletter Autumn 2022.

                 

                Committee Members agreed to note and accept recommendations 1-5 

                listed above so as to ensure the committee is kept up to date with

                amendments to the RIPA Policy and the outcome of the Council’s recent

                RIPA Inspection by the IPCO.

 

13.

CYSUR/CWMPAS Combined Local Operational Group Safeguarding Report Qtr 1 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 99 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Alun Williams, Cabinet Member, attended to present the

       CYSUR/CWMPAS Combined Local Operational Group Safeguarding

       Report for quarter 1, 2022/23.

 

       During discussions, the following key points were highlighted:

·       In Quarter 1, there was a decrease in the overall number of contacts/reports received compared to Quarter 4-with 943 contacts/reports received in Q1 and 1010 received in Q 4.

·       However, there was an increase in the overall number of contacts/reports which proceeded to actions needing to be taken under Child Protection Procedures, 221 in Q1 compared to 154 in Q4.

·       The percentage of reports that proceeded to a Strategy Discussion in this quarter was 23.4% compared to 21.8% in Quarter 4. 11.5% of those went on to a Section 47 enquiry compared to 6.49% in Q4 and 1.4% went on to an Initial Child Protection Conference compared to 0.99% in Q4.

·       The total number of children placed on the Child protection Register in this quarter following conference was 12 though, compared to 21 in the previous quarter.

·       The total number of children removed from the register was 14 compared to 12 in the previous quarter.

·       The total number of Section 47 enquiries undertaken in this quarter was 109, 92 were undertaken jointly with the Police, 17 were undertaken as a Social Services Single Agency. In Q4 the number of Section 47 enquiries undertaken were 65, 64 were undertaken with the Police.

·       The main category of abuse that led to a Section 47 enquiry in quarter 1 was Physical Abuse (47) and then sexual exploitation abuse/exploitation (44), compared to Q4 where physical abuse (22) was the second main category and sexual abuse/exploitation (29) was the main category of abuse.

·       The main Risk Factors for the 40 children who were on the Children Protection Register as of the 30/06/2022, were Domestic Abuse (38), Parental Mental Health (28), Adult Offences of Violence (27), parental separation being a factor in the household (27) and parental substance

                      misuse/alcohol misuse (25), parental non-co-operation with the CP  

                      Plan (17).

·       In terms of Adult Safeguarding, there has been a decrease in the number of adults suspected being at risk of abuse and/or neglect with there being 120 in Q4 and 107 in Q1, with the actual reports received being received in Quarter 1 being 120 and 154 in Quarter 4.

·       The most reported category of abuse this quarter was emotional/psychological abuse, with 58 reports stating that this was the main category of abuse. This category of abuse was also the main category of abuse reported in Q4 where there were 61 reports. Neglect was the second main category of reported abuse (46), then financial abuse (34) and physical abuse (26). 

            There were 9 reports of sexual abuse.

 

                 Following discussion, Committee Members agreed to note the contents of

                 the report and the levels of activity with the Local Authority so that

                 governance of the Local Authority and its partner agencies are monitored.

 

                 Committee Members congratulated Elizabeth Upcott and her team for

                 their hard work.

 

14.

To confirm minutes of the previous meeting and to consider any matters arising from those minutes pdf icon PDF 108 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the Coordinating meeting held on the 27th October 2022

                 were confirmed as a true record of proceedings and there were no

                 matters arising from those minutes.

                 The Chairman thanked everyone for attending the meeting and for their

                 Patience and apologised for the technical issues experienced during the

                 meeting.  The Chairman asked the Leader and the Deputy of the Council

                 to refer the committee’s concerns to the appropriate person/s as this

                 morning’s meeting experienced 14 disruptions.

 

15.

To receive a update from the Chairmen of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees and to consider the draft Forward Work Programmes pdf icon PDF 89 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Each Chair in turn gave an update on their respective Committee’s

                 Forward Work Plans. 

 

                 Councillor Keith Evans, Chairman, requested an update at the

                 18th January 2023 Committee meeting on the Hybrid System. It was also

                 confirmed that a report on Cylch Caron would be requested at the same

                 meeting.

 

 

                  The Chairman thanked Committee Members for attending and closed

                  proceedings at 12:34pm. He also wished everyone Best Wishes for

                  Christmas and the New Year.