Venue: Hybrid - Neuadd Cyngor Ceredigion, Penmorfa, Aberaeron / remotely via video conference
Contact: Lisa Evans Dwynwen Jones
Welcome and Apologies
The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting.
Councillors Ceris Jones and Elaine Evans apologised for being unable to attend the meeting.
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
Members considered the CYSUR/CWMPAS Combined Local Operational Group Safeguarding Report Quarter 4, between the period 1st January to 31st March 2023, 2022/23.
The Chair welcomed Councillor Alun Williams, Cabinet Member, to provide a summary of the key points, which were as follows:
Summary of Key points:
Ø In Quarter 4, there was a decrease in the number of contacts/reports received regarding children/young people compared to Quarter 3-with there being 1112 contacts/reports received in Q3 compared to 1010 contacts/reports received in Q4.
Ø However, there was an increase in the overall number of contacts/reports which proceeded to actions needing to be taken under Child Protection Procedures, from 193 in Q3 compared with 200 in Q4.
Ø The percentage of reports that proceeded to a Strategy Discussion in this quarter, was 19.8% compared to 17.3% in Q3.
Ø In Q3, 7.3% of reports proceeded to a Section 47 Enquiry compared to 8.4% in Q4, in this quarter. In this quarter, 1.6% of reports received needed to proceed to an Initial Child Protection Conference which was the same percentage that proceeded to conference in Quarter 3.
Ø The total number of children subject to an Initial Child Protection Conference is Quarter 4 was 23, and this compares to 35 in Q3.
Ø The total number of children placed on the Child Protection Register in quarter 4 following the Initial Child Protection Conference was 20 compared to 31 in Q3.
Ø The total number of children removed after Review Child Protection Conferences in this quarter were 15 compared to 28 in Quarter 3.
Ø The total number of Section 47 enquiries undertaken in this quarter were 85 compared to 81 in Quarter 3. 70 of those enquiries were undertaken jointly with the Police and 25 were undertaken as a Social Services Single Agency.
Ø The main category of abuse which led to a Section 47 enquiry in quarter 4 was Physical Abuse (32), sexual abuse/exploitation (24), other exploitation (11), neglect (9) and emotional abuse (8). This follows the same pattern experienced in Quarter 3.
Ø There were 52 children on the Child Protection Register as of the end of this quarter, compared to 49 as at the end of Quarter 3. 22 children were registered under the category of emotional/psychological abuse, in this quarter, 26 under the category of neglect and 4 under the category of both neglect and emotional/psychological abuse.
Ø The main Risk Factors for the 52 children who were on the Children Protection Register as of the 31/03/2023, were domestic abuse, parental mental health, parental substance/alcohol misuse and parental separation.
Ø In terms of Adult Safeguarding, there has been a significant increase in the number of adults suspected of being at risk of abuse and/or neglect, with there being 190 adults at risk reported in this quarter compared to 142 in Q3.
Ø The most reported category of abuse this quarter again was emotional/psychological abuse, with 97 reports of adults at risk where this was the main category of abuse. Neglect ... view the full minutes text for item 11.
The Leader of the Council, Councillor Bryan Davies presented the Draft Performance Management Policy Statement and Performance Management Framework report. Rob Starr, Research and Performance Manager, Diana Davies, Corporate Manager, and Alun Williams, Corporate Lead Officer, were also present to answer any questions from Committee Members.
Over the last four years the Council has been strengthening its approach to corporate performance management as part of its ongoing “performance journey”. It has:
Ø Introduced a new streamlined business planning process,
Ø Introduced new performance dashboards to monitor progress against level 1 business plans through Performance Board,
Ø Reinvigorated the Teifi Performance System,
Ø Updated the performance management process following COVID-19 to include “reflective practice” as a core element.
This is reflected in the positive feedback received from Audit Wales to the Council’s approach to performance management.
Recent legislation, in the form of the new Self-Assessment based performance regime has also necessitated a new way of assessing our overall performance. A new Self-Assessment process was successfully introduced in 2022/23 and the Council’s first Self-Assessment Report was published in January 2023.
Having introduced these new processes, the Council is now able to pull these together into a Draft Performance Management Framework document.
A Performance Management Framework is considered best practice and explains:
Ø How the corporate performance management process works,
Ø How the individual processes align to support corporate planning,
Ø How performance management is used to deliver the Corporate Well-being Objectives and improved outcomes.
The aim of the Framework is twofold.
1) to provide the Council with a standardised approach to managing performance, and,
2) as a key part of the audit trail to demonstrate that the Council has robust performance management arrangements in place.
The Performance Framework is accompanied by a Performance Management Policy Statement. The Statement sets out the guiding principles of the Council’s approach to performance management going forward and takes account of the new legislation and best practice. It highlights the fundamental role performance management plays in securing improved outcomes for the people and communities of Ceredigion, in supporting policy setting and in evidence-based decision-making.
Following discussion, the following was noted:
Ø In response to a question, it was confirmed that the Performance Board quarterly meetings are continuing,
Ø In response to a question, it was confirmed that there are and continue to be limited monitoring performance measures in place with comparisons from neighbouring and similar size Local Authorities,
Ø Following a question, it was confirmed that the previous national Performance Accountability Measures (PAMs) are now obsolete following the introduction of the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Act 2021. However, Data Cymru are leading a project to replace the measures with a new Self-Assessment Data Tool which will provide national benchmarking data. Further work will continue to develop the tool over the next couple of years and Ceredigion is being proactive in supporting the project.
Members agreed to recommend that Cabinet:
Ø To receive and endorse the Draft Performance Management Policy Statement and Performance Management Framework.
In order ... view the full minutes text for item 12.
Councillor Catrin M S Davies, Cabinet Member, attended to present the revised Ceredigion County Council’s Integrated Impact Assessment tool. Cathryn Morgan, Equalities and Inclusion Manager was also present to answer any questions arising.
Councillor Davies explained that the Integrated Impact Assessment tool is designed to help officers and elected members to consider the impact of a proposed new or amended policy, strategy, or service. It is an integrated assessment that enables Council officers and elected members to check that decisions are aligned to the Council’s Corporate Well-being Objectives, comply with the Welsh Language Measure 2011 and the Equality Act 2010, including our socio-economic duty, and contribute to the National Well-being goals of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2014. The tool also requires Council officers to consider whether they have planned their proposal in accordance with the Sustainable Development Principle and have managed any risk involved with the decision. The Public Sector Equality Duty, part of the Equality Act 2010, puts additional requirements on public authorities. Ceredigion County Council must also think about the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who don’t, and to encourage good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who don’t. These requirements are covered under the National Well-being Goal: “A more equal Wales” section of the template. The current tool was designed over five years ago and has been updated to reflect changes in legislation.
Following discussion, Members agreed to recommend that Cabinet approve the revised Integrated Impact Assessment tool, and that a workshop on its use is offered to all Elected Members.
Councillor M S Davies, Cabinet Member, presented the Draft Ceredigion Strategic Equality Plan 2024-28. Cathryn Morgan, Equalities and Inclusion Manager, was present to answer any questions arising.
Ceredigion County Council is a specified public body under the Equality Act 2010. The Specific Public Sector Equality Duty for Wales require us to set out our Equality Objectives and then review every four years. The revised objectives for 2024-28 and accompanying action plan must be published by 31st of March 2024.
Following discussion, Members agreed to recommend that Cabinet:
Ø endorse the Draft Strategic Equality Plan 2024-28 before it goes out to public consultation over winter 2023.
The proposed Draft Strategic Equality Plan 2024-28 will progress the aim of the Council to address inequality, eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not in Ceredigion.
Councillor Catrin M S Davies, Cabinet Member presented the presented the Strategic Equality Plan Monitoring Report 2022-23. Cathryn Morgan, Equalities and Inclusion Manager, was present to answer any questions arising.
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 and a Strategic Equality Plan, these 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 so that our approach to the communication needs of all communities is coordinated. An action plan ensures the delivery of the Council’s Strategic Equality Plan 2020-24, grouped under five Equality Objectives, which are:
1. An Exemplar Equal Opportunities Employer
2. Fostering Good Relations and Tackling Prejudice
3. Engagement and Participation
4. Dignity, Respect and Access to Services
5. Fair and Inclusive Education
During discussion, the following was noted:
Ø In response to a question regarding PDF documents displaying on the Council Website, Cathryn Morgan confirmed that screen readers used by some people with a visual impairment cannot read the document content, and that best practice is to put information directly on the webpage rather than to upload a document in pdf format.
Ø In response to a question relating to Disabled persons stating that they are unable to access the coastline, it was confirmed that there are currently two wheelchairs in the County, one available in New Quay. This does, however, need further investigation.
Following discussion, Members agreed to recommend that Cabinet:
Ø Receive and endorse the Council’s Strategic Equality Plan Monitoring Report 2022-23.
It is a requirement of the Public Sector Equality Duties that the Authority produce an Annual Strategic Equality Plan (SEP) Monitoring Report for 2022/23 and publish on the external website by the 31/03/24.
The Chairman thanked Councillor Catrin M S Davies, Cabinet Member, and Cathryn Morgan, Equalities and Inclusion Manager, for presenting the above reports.
Councillor Bryan Davies, Leader of the Council and Geraint Edwards, Corporate Lead Officer, attended to present the Gender Pay Report 2023 and the Workforce Equality Report 2023.
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 requirement to carry out gender pay reporting is contained with the Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties and Public Authorities) Regulations 2017. The Regulations require the following six calculations to be undertaken on the workforce as at 31 March each year. The report is based on the workforce snapshot data taken on 31 March 2023.
Following discussion, Members agreed to recommend that Cabinet:
1. To receive the Gender Pay Report 2023,
2. To receive the Workforce Equality Report 2023.
The Chairman thanked Councillor Bryan Davies, Leader of the Council, and Geraint Edwards, Corporate Lead Officer, for presenting the report.
The Chair welcomed Mrs Hazel Lloyd-Lubran, Chief Executive, CAVO, to the meeting and congratulated her on her recent appointment as Chair of the Ceredigion Public Service Board (PSB). Diana Davies, Corporate Manager, and Tim Bray, Civil Contingencies and Community Safety Partnership Officer, were also present.
Mrs Hazel Lloyd-Lubran, presented the minutes of the 13th of June 2023 meeting outlining the main priorities and work in progress.
Following discussion, Members agreed to:
Ø To receive the draft minutes of the Ceredigion PSB meeting held on 13th June 2023.
In order for the Overview and Scrutiny Coordinating Committee to carry out their role of taking an overview of the overall effectiveness of the PSB.
The Chair welcomed Councillor Matthew Vaux, Diana Davies, Corporate Manager and Tim Bray, Civil Contingencies and Community Safety Partnership Officer, to the meeting to present the Ceredigion Community Safety Partnership Crime and Disorder Strategic Assessment report.
The Community Safety Partnership is responsible for completing a Crime and Disorder Strategic Assessment (SA) and implementing a Community Safety Strategy for the County. Home Office guidance suggests that the SA should include data and commentary from the public and all partner agencies to go towards setting the Community Safety Strategy.
The Strategic Assessment referenced data from 1 Dec 2021 up to and including 31st December 2022 providing a full 12 month’s data for analysis.
A comprehensive, bilingual paper questionnaire was prepared and widely distributed to the community. In addition to this an electronic response form was made available on the website with accompanying comms messaging and media signposting to the engagement exercise to encourage public participation.
To provide a wider evidence base and support the public questionnaire, data was also gathered from several relevant sources. In the Strategic Assessment report the additional data was considered alongside the questionnaire responses and provided an opportunity for comparison between public perceptions and fear of crime with empirical crime data and service engagement figures.
At a meeting of the Ceredigion Community Safety Partnership held on the 19th of June 2023, a set of priorities were agreed based on a review of the evidence gathered. It was agreed that the priorities should be sub-divided into two categories: Crime Priorities and Feeling Safe Priorities.
Following discussion, Committee Members agreed to:
1. To note the findings of the Community Safety Partnership Strategic Assessment
2. To note the Crime and Feeling Safe Priorities that will form CSP Strategy 2023-2024
In order for the Overview and Scrutiny Coordinating Committee to carry out their role of taking an overview of the overall effectiveness of the CSP.
The Chairman thanked Councillor Vaux, Cabinet Member and Officers for attending the meeting.
Lisa Evans, Standards and Scrutiny Officer, presented the annual report on behalf of the Overview and Scrutiny Chairs.
The Overview and Scrutiny Annual Report highlights the key issues that have been considered by the five overview and Scrutiny Committees during 2022/2023. There is a statutory duty on Local Authorities to publish an annual report relating to the work of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees. The Annual Report will be published in the Overview and Scrutiny webpage on the Council Website.
During discussion, the following was noted:
Ø There has been a substantial amount of Scrutiny during the reporting period. Congratulations were extended to the Chairs for their hard work and commitment.
Following discussion, Committee Members were asked to consider the following recommendation:
Ø To note the information contained within the report prior to the report being presented to Council on the 21 September 2023.
To meet the statutory requirement to publish an annual report of Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
Lisa Evans, Standards and Scrutiny Officer, presented the Scrutiny Self Evaluation report.
In 2018 it was agreed that the Scrutiny Officers would undertake a review of the effectiveness of Overview and Scrutiny in Ceredigion County Council, and that this would be undertaken annually thereafter. The process was reviewed in 2020 and it was agreed to:
1. Continue to carry out the survey on an annual basis.
2. To reduce the number of questions with an aim to increase participation.
3. To review the format of the report, combining the Welsh and English responses, and translating the document. For the 2022-23 review Cabinet Members and Scrutiny Members responses were separated. A total of 15 responses were received, this is equal to the 15 responses received in 2021, but a reduction in comparison to the 25 responses received in 2020. A review was not undertaken in 2022 due to the local elections. Members’ names are not disclosed.
Following discussion, Member were asked:
Ø To consider the responses received from the self-evaluation questionnaire and identify any areas for improvement if necessary.
To ensure an effective overview and scrutiny function.
Committee Members agreed to note the responses as shown in Appendices A and B of the agenda papers.
The minutes of the Coordinating meeting held on the 22nd of May 2023 were
confirmed as a true record of proceedings.
Councillor Gwyn Wigley Evans enquired as to which Committee a Procurement report would be presented. Dwynwen Jones, Overview and Scrutiny Officer, explained that the Coordinating Committee established a Task and Finish Group investigating Procurement in 2019, report presented to Cabinet on the 22nd of January 2019. She explained that it would depend on what the issues are that the members wish to scrutinise on which respective Committee would investigate. It was therefore agreed that following receipt of the Procurement and Commissioning Strategy scheduled to be presented to the Corporate Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee on the 19th of October 2023, that a further discussion would be held in a future Coordinating Committee meeting with Chairs. This will also provide Chairs with the opportunity to discuss this with their Committee Members.
Each Chair in turn gave an update on their respective Committee’s Forward
1. Coordinating Committee
The Chair provided an update in relation to the Coordinating Committee’s future work plan.
2. Corporate Resources
The Chair provided an update in relation to the Corporate Resources future work plan.
3. Healthier Communities
The Chair provided an update in relation to the Healthier Communities future work plan.
4. Thriving Communities
The Chair provided an update in relation to the Thriving Communities future work plan.
The Chair expressed his disappointment with the sound quality at the July meeting when representatives from Dwr Cymru attended the meeting virtually and asked for this to be investigated.
The Committee are planning visits to Horeb Food Centre and Glanyrafon Industrial Estate.
It was agreed to request a report on Grass/Hedge Cutting and an update on the Budget both to be placed on the Forward Work Plan.
5. Learning Communities
The Chairman thanked Committee Members, Cabinet Members, Officers for attending and closed proceedings at midday.