HOMES AND SAFE COMMUNITIES SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

 

Minutes of an Extraordinary meeting held on 18th April, 2018.

 

Present:  Councillor Mrs. M.R. Wilkinson (Chairman); Councillor M.R. Wilson (Vice-Chairman); Councillors Miss. A.M. Collins, B.T. Gray, S.J. Griffiths, Mrs. S.M. Hanks, M.J.G. Morgan and Mrs. R. Nugent-Finn.

 

Also present:  Mrs. G. Doyle, Mr. A. Raybould and Ms. H. Smith (Tenant Working Group Representatives).

 

 

862            APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE –

 

These were received from Councillors Ms. B.E. Brooks, Ms. C.A. Cave and Mr. D. Dutch (Tenant Working Group Representative). 

 

 

863            MINUTES –

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 14th March, 2018 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

864            DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST –

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

865            VALE OF GLAMORGAN WELL-BEING AND IMPROVEMENT OBJECTIVES (IMPROVEMENT PLAN PART 1) 2018/19 (DEH) –

 

The Operational Manager – Building Services presented the Improvement Plan Part 1 to the Scrutiny Committee which outlined the Council’s Well-being and Improvement Objectives and associated actions for 2018/19.  Under the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act, the Council was required to publish its Well-being Objectives by 31st March, 2017 and to keep these under review.  Under the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009, the Council also had to set annual improvement objectives and publish these as soon as possible at the start of the financial year.  Appendix 1 attached to the report contained the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Well-being and Improvement Objectives (Improvement Plan Part 1) for the period 2018/19. 

 

The Operational Manager – Building Services advised that compared to previous performance reports the document was in a different, easier to read format and was broken down into the different Improvement Objectives.  Each Improvement Objective was then broken down into the rationale for the objective, how this tied into the Council’s Corporate Plan priorities, the actions to be undertaken to progress these Corporate Plan priorities, and finally, the key performance indicators of how progress would be measured. 

 

A Member referred to page 2 of Appendix 1 which introduced the document and provided context for Councillors and members of the public.  The Committee Member stated he was pleased with the Council’s mission statement being included, however, felt this should be better labelled as so. Also, he commented that the diagram at the bottom of the page depicted the Corporate Plan being carried out through a top down approach whereas he felt the process was more holistic and required everybody to contribute.  The Officer stated that this formatting comment could be fed back to Cabinet and the Performance and Development Department.

 

The Committee then discussed the Improvement Objectives for 2018/19, as outlined in the Council’s Corporate Plan, and which of these would be the hardest to achieve and how progress might be measured. A Member commented that paragraph 7 of the report stated that challenging targets had been set for improvement reflecting the Council’s commitment to continuously improve the services it provided to the public, and the Member queried if this was truly reflected in the targets set for performance indicators. One example provided by the Member was indicator CPM/104 listed on page 9 of Appendix 1, which detailed the percentage of Flying Start children achieving at least the expected outcomes for the Foundation Phase, and the target was set to rise from 85% to 88%, which he felt could be more challenging. The Member then discussed the key performance indicator CPM/100 listed on page 9 of Appendix 1 which listed the percentage of those taking up the Digital Champion service who reported feeling more confident in using ICT on a day to day basis.  The Member sought more information on this indicator, querying how it had been measured.  The Officer indicated he would seek clarification for the Member on how indicator CPM/100 had been measured.

 

A Member noted that on page 13 of Appendix 1, indicator CPM/124, the percentage of domestic abuse victims that reported that they felt safer as a result of target hardening, had gone down from 2016/17 to 2017/18 and queried why this was the case.  It was noted by the Committee that the outcomes for this indicator, and the way it had been measured, had changed to be more prevention focused.  As such, the measurement was not like for like.  It was requested that the issue of target hardening for domestic abuse victims form the basis of a future presentation to the Committee.  Finally it was confirmed for a Tenant Working Group representative that domestic abuse victims in this indicator could include both men and women.

 

The Committee discussed the measured progress on the indicators listed on page 14 of Appendix 1 which had information left blank for indicator CPM/064, did not specify what was being met by the “required standard” in indicator CPM/234, and whether the properties listed under indicator CPM/235 were in the public or private sector.  In response, the Operational Manager – Building Services stated that the blank information indicator CPM/064 related to benchmarks which were being reported for the first time, as such there was insufficient data for a baseline to be made and these could be compared in full next year.  The Officer also noted that indicator CPM/234 referred to the Welsh Housing Quality Standards and indicator CMP/235 referred specifically to voids in Council housing. 

 

In response to the recommendations of the report, a Committee Member requested that the Vale of Glamorgan Well-being and Improvement Objectives (Improvement Plan Part 1) 2018/19 be noted but not endorsed.  Consequently, the Committee voted to endorse the Vale of Glamorgan Well-being and Improvement Objectives (Improvement Plan Part 1) 2018/19 with consideration given being given to the comments raised at the meeting, which passed.

 

Councillor M.R. Wilson requested that it be recorded that he voted against this motion.

 

Subsequently, it was

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the Corporate Plan Well-being and Improvement Objectives and associated priority actions for 2018/19 as outlined in Appendix 1 attached to the report, be endorsed and that the views of the Scrutiny Committee be included in the summary report sent to Cabinet.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To ensure the Council fully discharged its statutory duties to set and publish its Improvement Plan Part 1 outlining how it proposed to meet its Well-being and Improvement Objectives for 2018/19.

 

 

866            CO-OPTED OBSERVER MEMBERSHIP OF THE HOMES AND SAFE COMMUNITIES SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (HDS) –

 

The Scrutiny Support Officer presented the report, which advised the Committee of the current vacant positions regarding non-voting observer representatives on the Homes and Safe Communities Scrutiny Committee.  At the Council’s Annual Meeting on 24th May, 2017 Shelter Cymru and the Vale Housing and Homelessness Forum were appointed to the Homes and Safe Communities Scrutiny Committee as non-voting observers.  It had not however been possible to fill these positions during the course of the current municipal year and both were vacant.  The Scrutiny Support Officer was therefore seeking the views of the Homes and Safe Communities Scrutiny Committee on this matter, which would then be reported to Full Council. 

 

The Committee then discussed the vacancies and the circumstances described in the report.  The Committee was keen to have representatives from a wide range of organisations who could provide information on a range of matters discussed at meetings.  It was noted that the Committee already had good representation from the public housing sector and a Member felt it would be helpful to have more involvement from landlords and the private sector.  Another Member also felt it would be beneficial to have representatives on the Committee who could provide greater insight into the Safe Communities aspect of their portfolio.  In response, the Scrutiny Support Officer referred to paragraph 6 of the report which stated that umbrella organisations which could provide representatives on a range of issues which could be beneficial to the Committee. Also, as referred to in a letter from Shelter Cymru attached at Appendix 1 to the report, there was also a resources issue for smaller organisations to provide staff to sit on the Committee. Finally, it was noted that there was also the option for public speaking and guest presentations at Scrutiny Committee meetings.

 

Subsequently, it was

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T it be recommended to Full Council that the Co-opted Non-Voting Observer vacancies on the Homes and Safe Communities Scrutiny Committee not be filled by the existing organisations.

 

(2)       T H A T the Homes and Safe Communities Scrutiny Committee write to Cymorth Cymru, Glamorgan Voluntary Services and the Citizens Advice Bureau seeking their views on possible involvement in the Committee, including the option of becoming co-opted non-voting observers.

 

Reason for recommendations

 

(1&2)  To address the issue of Co-opted Non-Voting Observer vacancies on the Committee.