Meeting documents

Public Services Board Scrutiny Committee
Monday, 10th December, 2018 10.30 am

Date: Monday 10th December 2018 Time: 10.30 a.m. Place: Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Ebbw Vale

Please note: all Minutes are subject to approval at the next Meeting

PresentAndReport toReport of
Item/Resolution Status Action
Tudalen Glawr Agenda Gymraeg/Welsh Version of Agenda Coversheet (226K/bytes)

It was noted that no requests had been received for the simultaneous translation service.


Apologies for absence were received from:-

Councillors: G. L. Davies

J. Hill

J. Holt

H. McCarthy
G. Paulsen

K. Rowson

S. Thomas.


There were no declarations of interest or dispensations reported.

Minutes (159K/bytes)
Cofnodion (43K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the Minutes of the Public Services Board Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 10th December, 2018.

The Committee AGREED that the Minutes be accepted as a true record of proceedings.


The Chair agreed to change the Order of Agenda.

Report (148K/bytes)
Appendix 1 (320K/bytes)
Appendix 2 (560K/bytes)
Appendix 3 (423K/bytes)
Appendix 4 (821K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Director of Finance & Procurement, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board which was presented to provide Members of the progress on the Well-Being Project 'Early Years'. The First 1,000 Days Programme' (F1000D).

The Consultant in Public Health spoke to the report on behalf of the Director of Finance & Procurement - Aneurin Bevan Health Board, and highlighted the Purpose of the Report as well as the Scope and Background.

A Member congratulated the Officer on the report and referred to a recent Education & Learning Scrutiny Committee Meeting where a request had been made by Members to receive evidence based information on the journey of Flying Start children against non-Flying Start in order to lobby Welsh Government for more funding, and he asked if the Officers agreed with this going forward. The Integrated Services Team Manager stated that she did not agree and explained that the Welsh Government had been very prescriptive regarding this matter and through their audit they had stated that they did not want comparisons between children at this time. She continued that from the outset of Flying Start in 2007 and up until 2012, measurements had not being recorded as it was believed that Flying Start was still in its infancy. The Member felt that 6 years was sufficient time to have gone through the primary stage and into the secondary stage. The Officer assured Members that although Flying Start was aimed at giving children the best start in life, it also aimed for better parenting and there was evidence of studies showing the difference the parenting programmes had made and that Blaenau Gwent was in the top 5 in Wales in the SOGS Assessment.

The Officer continued that in relation to the gender gap, this issue was universal and was being looked at globally. The Member stressed that he had serious concerns for children that were not receiving the Flying Start provision.

Reference was made to 2.2 of the report where a Member raised concern regarding finance and the availability of grants. The Officer explained that this area had been divided into two parts and Flying Start funding only provided for one third of the children in Blaenau Gwent; she confirmed that there were areas within Blaenau Gwent that did not come under the Flying Start umbrella although there were children that were in need of it. The Officer agreed that Flying Start was not adequately funded and in 2007 the cost received for each child was 2,100; and this sum had remained the same to date with no increase, in fact, Flying Start had actually received a 1.8% reduction this year which had had a catastrophic effect on Blaenau Gwent in relation to providing enhanced services and she totally concurred with the comments that funding was desperately needed.

Members agreed that there were a number of areas within Blaenau Gwent that were in need of the Flying Start service and were extremely grateful to the Integrated Services Team Manager for her passion in trying to acquire these services. It was felt that the Welsh Government should be made aware of Blaenau Gwent's concerns. The Consultant in Public Health also agreed that Officers had continually made very persuasive efforts in relation to the allocation for Flying Start. She informed Members that the Welsh Government had recently invited Blaenau Gwent to become part of the Early Years Pathfinder Project and would be looking for Blaenau Gwent to produce solutions to problems they were experiencing. The Welsh Government had indicated that they would be happy to meet with Blaenau Gwent in a non-Flying Start area to witness the challenges faced. A report would then be brought back to Committee.

A Member wished to draw attention to 6.1 of the report and the 36% of children living in income deprivation. He expressed his concern in relation to continual talks taking place regarding this; however, outcomes were never reached. He did not feel that enough was being done and children were being let down. The Integrated Service Team Manager responded that Blaenau Gwent constantly strives in their argument for extra funding and that the system Engagement Event had now given appropriate data and ammunition to provide challenge. The Consultant in Public Health stressed that Blaenau Gwent worked constructively with the Welsh Government advocating leadership for what was needed.

The Committee AGREED to recommend that the report be accepted and Option 1 be endorsed, namely that the PSB Scrutiny Committee consider the report on progress and provide comment on the Well-Being Project 'Early Year: The First 1,000 Days Programme' (F1000D).

Report (130K/bytes)
Appendix 1 (3M/bytes)
Appendix 2 (346K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Head of Governance & Partnerships which was presented to provide Members with an update on the Gwent Futures Project which has been developed as part of the Welsh Government Public Services Board (PSB) Funding Support 2018/2019 for Regional Working.

The Head of Governance & Partnerships and the Managing Director spoke to the report outlining salient points contained therein.

A question was asked regarding PSB and where the Authority stood in relation to shared resources. The Managing Director explained that continual discussions were taking place with neighbouring authorities and Blaenau Gwent had potential to take this forward.

A Member congratulated the Head of Governance & Partnerships on her report and referred to the Youth Mayor's recent presentation to Full Council; he felt that a way of collaboration moving forward would be to work with the Youth Council. The Officer confirmed that Blaenau Gwent was working with other council's youth forums and also confirmed that the Council was working with the Police on a partnership hub approach regarding Crime and Disorder, he stated that a report would be forthcoming in the near future and felt that this was a positive step forward.

Following concerns relating to IT infrastructure within schools, the Managing Director agreed that the new curriculum would focus on digital and advised that following a report being presented and supported by the Education and Learning Scrutiny Committee on the IT Infrastructure in schools, and subsequent approval by the Executive, work was being undertaken to improve the ICT infrastructure and support within schools.

The Committee AGREED to recommend that the report be accepted and Option 1 be endorsed, namely:

- To consider the report on progress and provide comment on the Gwent Futures Project

- Recommend to the PSB that the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Committee attend the session on the Blaenau Gwent Workshop planned for 28th January, 2019

- Recommend that an all Member Briefing Session be held in 2019 on the Gwent Futures to support the implementation of both corporate and collective duties of the Well-Being of Future Generations (Wales) Act.

Report (146K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Chief Executive Officer, Tai Calon, which was presented to provide Members with the progress on the Well-Being Project dealing with Universal Credit.

The Chief Executive Officer, Tai Calon spoke to the report and highlighted Key points therein:

- Purpose of the Report
- Scope and Background
„ Key challenges for local People and communities
„ Key challenges for public service organisations operating in Blaenau Gwent
- Supporting Evidence

A Member referred to the digital, interactive online service being introduced by the Government as part of the Welfare Reform Agenda and their recent announcement that the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) would become responsible for Universal Credit. He raised concern regarding the Citizens Advice Bureau's ability to carry out this activity owing to the service not being specialists in this area. He then made reference to the Universal Credit Delivery Group representatives and requested that the Credit Union be added to this group.

The Committee AGREED to include the Credit Union on the Universal Credit Delivery Group.

Concern was raised by a Member in relation to families in both private rented accommodation and Tai Calon Housing, who had been evicted for non-payment of rent. He referred to the change in which payments were made for rented accommodation and felt that having it made directly to the Landlords was a preferred method and alleviated evictions. The Chief Executive, Tai Calon responded that under the current procedure rent would only be paid directly to Landlords when a tenant had accrued arrears, which was a general concern. He continued that Universal Credit was currently a priority and work would be carried out with partners to ensure people remained in their homes.

Another Member wished to commend Tai Calon Community Housing on the work that had been carried out on the estates in the Sirhowy area of Tredegar, and requested the Ward Members' thanks be passed on to all Officers concerned. The Chief Executive, Tai Calon stated that the work the Sirhowy Community were doing collectively was also very pleasing and he undertook to pass on the comments made by the Member to his staff.

The Committee FURTHER AGREED to recommend that the report be accepted and Option 2 be endorsed, namely:

- That the PSB Scrutiny Committee consider the report on progress and provide specific recommendations for the PSB to consider on the Well-Being Project 'Working Together on Universal Credit'; and

- That the Credit Union be included on the Universal Credit Delivery Group