Overview and Scrutiny

Overview and Scrutiny Annual Report 2022-2023

Scrutiny provides opportunities for members of the public to get involved with the work of the Council.

Chair's Review

Overview and Scrutiny in Pembrokeshire

Schools and Learning Overview and Scrutiny Committee

Corporate Overview and Scrutiny

Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee

Policy and Pre-Decision Overview and Scrutiny Committee

Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee 

Looking ahead to 2023-2024

Members' Survey

Democratic and Scrutiny Support Team

Chairs' Review

Welcome to Pembrokeshire County Council’s Annual Scrutiny Report which highlights the work of our five Overview and Scrutiny Committees during 2022-2023. The Overview and Scrutiny process is an essential part of the Council’s democratic structure and governance framework.  It plays a key role in scrutinising the delivery and performance of Council services and holding decision-makers to account through an approach based on positive pressure and constructive challenge. 

Theme-based scrutiny is now weaved through the work programmes of Overview and Scrutiny Committees to support the effective delivery of the Council’s objectives as set out in the Corporate Plan. The Committees recognise the sustained pressures on services and are keen to manage them carefully by designing reviews to support service activity.

This report covers the period June 2022 to March 2023. During this period meetings have been held as hybrid meetings with some being held fully remote which has enabled sustained levels of Member engagement and attendance by experts.   

As a new cohort of Chairs of Overview and Scrutiny Committees we have met informally with our Vice-Chairs, the Chair of the Governance and Audit Committee, the Scrutiny Champion and Democratic Services after each cycle of meetings to reflect and self-evaluate the performance of each Committee which has been a great support to us in our role as Chairs.

Targeted communications have been undertaken to inform the public of scrutiny topics to improve engagement in recognition of the benefits that wider opinions bring to the table. This will be continued for all future meetings. Although there has been limited public submissions during the period of the report, there was a significant increase in the number of viewers to webcasts following the sharing of the links to Scrutiny meetings.

We would like to thank elected and co-opted Members for their contributions and commitment in scrutinising the Authority’s performance and policies. We would also like to take the opportunity to thank Democratic Services, Directors, Officers and Cabinet Members for their input and professionalism in supporting the work of each of the Committees.

As Chairs of Overview and Scrutiny Committees we recognise our shared responsibility to work together to strengthen the Council’s governance arrangements through delivering value-added scrutiny. We hope to continue to demonstrate a shared commitment to focus on the issues which matter most to Pembrokeshire residents.

Overview and Scrutiny in Pembrokeshire

Overview and Scrutiny is a key component of Pembrokeshire County Council’s governance and democratic framework. Its role is to help shape and develop policy, to identify and challenge under-performance, to strengthen decision-making and to hold the Executive to account for the decisions it takes.  It is common to think of Scrutiny as a ‘critical friend’, and through constructive challenge and support it seeks to provide assurance to people for the actions and decisions the Council takes.  

Overview and Scrutiny is a legislative requirement under the Local Government Act 2000 which introduced major changes to the way in which Councils make decisions. The Act enabled Councils to introduce new political structures, including one involving a Leader and Cabinet model (the Executive) and Overview and Scrutiny Committees.  

The Executive is responsible for taking key decisions about services in accordance with the policies adopted by the Council. Overview and Scrutiny Committees monitor performance, contribute to policy development and review and investigate matters which affect the County and its residents.  Another function of Overview and Scrutiny Committees is to balance the Executive's powers, if necessary, by holding the Executive to account by examining and questioning their decisions. In simple terms, the function of Scrutiny allows non-Executive Members to influence how decision-makers can work more effectively for the people they serve.  

Overview and Scrutiny Committees are responsible for developing their own work programmes and are encouraged to adopt an outcome-focussed, risk-based prioritised approach to the topics it decides to scrutinise. It is important to note that an Overview and Scrutiny Committee cannot make decisions; it can only make recommendations. It is for the Executive to determine whether to accept or not recommendations made by a Committee.

This annual report provides an overview of the work of each of the five Committees over the past 12 months and highlights some of the good practice and positive outcomes which have been achieved, as well as noting some of the challenges the Committees face. 



Schools and Learning Overview and Scrutiny Committee

Role and remit

The role of the Schools and Learning Overview and Scrutiny Committee is to review and scrutinise services delivered to improve outcomes for children and young people, youth support and other community based services including Adult Learning, and to support the raising of educational standards and outcomes for learners.  

 The remit and scope of the Committee includes the following:

  • Educational outcomes for all ages, particularly at Key Stage 4
  • School categorisation
  • School support through Regional Working
  • Individual Schools (through a Schools Scrutiny Panel)
  • Inclusion Services
  • Youth support and other community based services
  • Post-16 learning, skills and training
  • Music Service
  • Sports Development
  • Children’s voice and participation
  • Financial arrangements in relation to schools and learning
  • Safeguarding in Education

 

Membership and Attendance

The Committee has 13 Members and 4 statutory co-optees. As at March 2023, the Membership was as follows:

  • Cllr Huw Murphy, Chair (Independent)
  • Cllr Pat Davies, Vice-Chair (Not affiliated to any group)
  • Cllr Maureen Bowen (Labour)
  • Cllr Alistair Cameron (Welsh Liberal Democrats)
  • Cllr David Howlett (Welsh Conservatives)
  • Cllr Rhys Jordan (Welsh Conservatives)
  • Cllr Mel Phillips (Not affiliated to any group)
  • Cllr Bethan Price (Not affiliated to any group)
  • Cllr Sam Skyrme-Blackhall (Not affiliated to any group)
  • Cllr Mike Stoddart (Not affiliated to any group)
  • Cllr Marc Tierney (Labour)
  • Cllr Anji Tinley (Independent)
  • Cllr Iwan Ward (Independent)
  • Cllr Viv Stoddart (Not affiliated to any group) – Reserve Member

Co-optees:

  • Rev. John Cecil (Church in Wales representative)
  • Mrs Alison Kavanagh (Parent Governor representative)
  • Mr Tom Moses (Parent Governor representative)

Member attendance at Meetings of this Committee was 90.8%.

 

Work of the Committee in 2022 - 23

The Committee has scrutinised a broad and diverse range of topics related to schools during 2022-23. During the period, the Committee conducted its annual reviews in relation to the Effectiveness of the Memorandum of Understanding for delivery of Post-16 Education in Pembrokeshire, Whistleblowing in Schools, and the Section 175 Safeguarding Audit. Following oversight of the Safeguarding Audit, the Committee scrutinised the associated Safeguarding Action Plan and agreed to do this annually to ensure adequate safeguarding actions required by Pembrokeshire schools and the Local Authority were being undertaken.

Consideration was given to the implementation of the Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal Act, where the Committee scrutinised the ongoing support and resource arrangements required to support schools across the three-year transitional period of Implementation.

As part of ongoing concerns, and following a previous Committee decision to write to the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, Elective Home Education (EHE) provisions were scrutinised to ensure that local support arrangements were adequate, despite there being no change to the Welsh Government’s position in respect of the legislative framework.

Throughout the year, the Committee scrutinised the following:

June 2022

  • Annual review of the Memorandum of Understanding for the delivery of Post-16 Education in Pembrokeshire
  • Section 175 Safeguarding Audit 2021-22
  • Elective Home Education in Pembrokeshire
  • Welsh in Education Strategic Plan
  • Education Improvement Priorities and Directorate Plan Updates
  • Partneriaeth Update

October 2022

  • Estyn Action Plan Update
  • Additional Learning Needs Policy
  • Membership arrangements for the Schools Scrutiny Panel
  • Overview and Scrutiny Committee Annual Report 2021-22
  • Capital Programme Bid - Ysgol Bro Penfro (call-in)

November 2022

  • Estyn Action Plan Update (post-visit)
  • Section 175 Safeguarding Action Plan
  • Educational Attainment of Small and Rural Schools

February 2023

  • Manorbier School Update
  • Formula Funding Review Update
  • Estyn School Inspection Reports
  • Whistleblowing in Schools Annual Report
  • Schools Scrutiny Panel Monitoring Report - Pembrokeshire Learning Centre (PLC)
  • Outline Draft County Council Budget for 2023-24 and Outline Draft Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) for 2023-24 to 2026-27 / Provisional Local Government Settlement for 2023-24 

April 2023

  • Manorbier School Update
  • School Attendance Data
  • Adult and Community Learning and Youth Service Provision
  • Scrutiny of external education providers
  • Curriculum Update includin Learning within the Outdoor Provision Audit
  • Schools Scrutiny Panel Monitoring Report - Ysgol Y Preseli

 

What difference did the Committee make?

Following a call-in of a Cabinet decision in relation to a Capital Programme Bid for Ysgol Bro Penfro, the Schools and Learning Committee effectively scrutinised the decision and concluded that the decision be upheld.

Regular scrutiny of the Education Improvement Priorities and Directorate Plan was undertaken  to ensure that secure and sustainable progress continued to be made following Estyn’s decision to remove the Authority from the follow-up category of ‘causing significant concern’, after being placed there in 2019.

The Schools Scrutiny Panel’s work resumed, with visits to two schools being undertaken in this period, with a number of recommendations being reported back to the Committee highlighting areas of concern and ways in which the Authority could further support the schools.

The Committee further scrutinised the ongoing review of the Schools Formula Funding methodology and sought assurance that it was being conducted in consultation with all stakeholders and that further progress reports on the review would be reported back to the Committee in an easy-read format, before final decisions were made.

Oversight of the draft Welsh in Education Strategic Plan was undertaken, with the Committee concluding that Cabinet be recommended to approve the plan for the period 2022 -2031 with it being reviewed annually as a working document.

 

Future challenges

In the year ahead the Committee will continue to scrutinise areas of challenge which will be likely to include ongoing budgetary pressures, recruitment and retention of teaching staff, pressures linked to the new National Curriculum and educational attainment of small and rural schools.

Through work programming and oversight of educational outcomes and other relevant data, the Committee will continue to provide assurance that there is appropriate Member oversight and challenge of school performance, educational standards and outcomes for all learners and that appropriate support is being provided to Pembrokeshire Schools by Partneriaeth (Regional body for Education improvement services).

Following Manorbier Primary School suffering a major fire in October 2022, the Committee will continue to receive updates regarding the ongoing matter to ensure that all is being done to enable to school to fully re-open by September 2024.

Continual consideration of the Committee’s work programme will give assurance of dedicated and effective scrutiny for the year ahead, but to ensure scrutiny is meaningful and manageable, it is important that the Committee identifies appropriate scrutiny topics through a prioritised, risk-based approach.



Corporate Overview and Scrutiny

Role and remit

 The role of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee is to review and scrutinise corporate functions and support services and its scope includes oversight of the overall strategic direction, policies, plans and priorities of the Cabinet and Council (post decision) and to monitor the implementation of these as appropriate.

 The Committee’s scope also includes scrutiny of corporate support services through a risk-based approach utilising relevant management information such as Service Transformation Plans, performance measures, business risk and external inspection / regulatory reports.  The remit of the Committee specifically covers the following:

Corporate functions:

  • Office of the Leader
  • Cabinet Member annual reports
  • Chief Executive
  • Budget monitoring
  • Corporate performance monitoring
  • Corporate planning
  • Audit Wales corporate reports
  • Corporate safeguarding 
  • Welsh Language
  • Risk Management
  • Whistleblowing
  • Transformation Programme management
  • City Deal Programme management

Corporate services:

  • Law and Governance
  • Electoral Services 
  • Human Resources
  • Customer Services
  • Audit, Risk and Information
  • Information Technology
  • Corporate Communications, Press, PR and Marketing
  • Financial Services (Including Revenues & Benefits and Procurement)
  • Corporate Policy and Partnership 

 

Membership and Attendance

Membership of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee as at March 2023 was as follows:

  • Cllr Michael John, Chair (Independent)
  • Cllr Mike Stoddart, Vice-Chair (Not affiliated to any group) from 23 March 2023
  • Cllr Steve Alderman (Not affiliated to any group)
  • Cllr Alan Dennison (Independent) had been Vice-Chair until 23 March 2023
  • Cllr Andrew Edwards (Welsh Conservatives)
  • Cllr Jonathan Grimes (Welsh Conservatives)
  • Cllr Simon Hancock (Labour)
  • Cllr Mike James (Independent)
  • Cllr Bethan Price (Not affiliated to any group)
  • Cllr Thomas Tudor (Labour)
  • Cllr Jacob Williams (Not affiliated to any group)
  • Cllr Michael Williams (Plaid Cymru)

Member attendance at Meetings of this Committee was 93.4%

 

Work of the Committee in 2022-23

The Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s work programme is largely driven by the corporate and financial planning timetable, the review of budget and performance outcomes, and the development of the Council’s strategic objectives and priorities as set out in the Corporate Plan.  The Committee has a role in supporting the creation and delivery of the Authority’s well-being objectives which summarise the priorities for the organisation derived from the Programme for Administration and will provide the framework for the development of a new Corporate Strategy for 2023-28.

The Committee also has a key role in maintaining oversight of corporate safeguarding matters and Welsh Language Standards.

The Committee has oversight of a number of strategic partnerships which include the Swansea Bay City Deal and South West Wales Corporate Joint Committee and work of the Public Services Board (PSB) and Community Safety Partnership (CSP) through a standing Partnerships Panel comprising of the Chairs and Vice-Chairs of all five Overview and Scrutiny Committees.

In general, the Committee focuses on the corporate policies and financial management of the Authority and therefore the Committee’s work is heavily weighted towards reviewing past financial performance and scrutinising developing proposals around key strategic corporate planning arrangements.  In doing so, the Committee provides assurance that the Council continues to deliver value for money for Pembrokeshire residents within budget, and that it meets its core statutory corporate responsibilities. 

Throughout the year, the Committee scrutinised the following:

June 2022

  • Performance Measurement Monthly Monitoring Report for April 2022
  • Welsh Language Standards Annual Report 2021 – 22
  • Notice of Motion Relating to St. David's Day Bank Holiday

October 2022

  • Referral from Governance and Audit Committee - 'Financial Resilience' Strategic Business Risk
  • County Council Budget - Outturn Monitoring Report 2021-22
  • County Council Budget - Budget Monitoring Report - Period 4 (July) 2022-23
  • Overview and Scrutiny Committee Annual Report 2021-22
  • Annual Corporate Self-Assessment Report

November 2022

  • Corporate Services -  Law and Governance
  • Organisational Learning Review - Follow Up
  • Strategic Partnerships - Swansea Bay City Deal and South West Wales Corporate Joint Committee

January 2023

  • Capital Projects Programme
  • Budget Monitoring Report 2022-23
  • Corporate Scorecard – Monthly Performance Data
  • Draft Well-being Objectives 2023 – 2028
  • Outline Draft County Council Budget for 2023-24 and Outline Draft Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) for 2023-24 to 2026-27 / Provisional Local Government Settlement for 2023-24

 March 2023

  • Cyber Security
  • Pembrokeshire County Council Whole Authority Safeguarding Group Annual Report 2021-22
  • Strategic Partnership - Partnerships Panel

 

What difference did the Committee make? 

The Committee continued to scrutinise individual corporate service areas, and this year focused on Law and Governance. This enabled scrutiny Members to shine a lens on an area of the organisation which had been subject to significant upheaval, having lost an extraordinary amount of experience from the team and provided Members the opportunity to have oversight of how the service would operate going forward.

The Committee played an important role in scrutinising the work of the Public Services Board and its partners in respect of the exercise of joint functions conferred on them as Members of the Board.  Following scrutiny of the PSB’s draft Well-being Plan, the Panel collated a collective response to the statutory consultation.

Following a referral from the Governance and Audit Committee in relation to Financial Resilience, the Committee considered the Strategic Business Risk and risk control measures and whilst it did share the concerns of the referring Committee, the Committee accepted that the strategic business risk would be reviewed and updated on an ongoing basis.

On considering a Notice of Motion in relation to making St. David's Day a Bank Holiday, the Committee recommended to Council that the Notice of Motion not be adopted but that the Authority put pressure on Welsh and National Governments to consider making St David’s Day a holiday in Wales.

Cyber security continues to be a significant risk for the Authority and the Committee continued to take a watching brief to ensure that risk control measures are in place and monitored to give assurance that IT systems are robust.

 

Future challenges  

The financial pressures upon the Authority continue as they have done for several years and are becoming that much greater, therefore over the next 12 months the Committee will undertake specific scrutiny in relation to the risks linked to the Capital Programme and the realistic longevity of delivery of the programme and also the sustainability of the Medium Term Financial Plan.   

Recruitment and retention across a wide range of service areas is still proving to be a significant challenge with a range of contributory factors being the cause, and whilst some of which go across the whole economy, comparative pay with other Authorities and organisations is a factor.  The Committee needs to provide assurance that statutory corporate responsibilities are being met and that redundancies being made in line with budget pressures are not having a detrimental effect on operations.

It is vital that performance data continues to be regularly scrutinised to ensure that issues requiring intervention around performance of key areas are identified and dealt with in a timely manner.

Informal Committee sessions will continue to be held to discuss the Committee’s forward wok programme to ensure it is dynamic and captures any areas of concern promptly.



Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee

Role and remit

The Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee reviews services delivered by the Council to its customers. To determine its priorities the Committee assesses the quality and performance of Council services using a range of management information including Service Transformation Plans, performance measures, business risk and external inspection / regulatory reports.  

Specifically, the remit and scope of the Committee covers the following Council services (and divisions within them):

  • Infrastructure
  • Environment and Civil Contingencies
  • Housing
  • Building Maintenance
  • Planning 
  • Property
  • Public Protection
  • Economic Development and Regeneration 
  • Cultural Services
  • Leisure Services

 

Membership and Attendance

The membership of the Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee as at March 2023 was as follows:

  • Cllr Mark Carter, Chair (Welsh Conservatives)
  • Cllr Chris Williams, Vice-Chair (Not affiliated to any group)
  • Cllr Steve Alderman (Not affiliated to any group)
  • Cllr Di Clements (Welsh Conservatives)
  • Cllr Alan Dennison (Independent)
  • Cllr Tim Evans (Not affiliated to any group)
  • Cllr Brian Hall (Independent)
  • Cllr Rhys Jordan (Welsh Conservatives)
  • Cllr Shon Rees (Independent)
  • Cllr Viv Stoddart (Not affiliated to any group)
  • Cllr Thomas Tudor (Labour)
  • Cllr Tony Wilcox (Labour)
  • Cllr Mike Stoddart (Not affiliated to any group) – Reserve Member

Member attendance at Meetings of this Committee was 93.6%

 

Work of the Committee in 2022-23

Development of the Committee’s Forward Work Programme is guided by the Committee Members utilising performance data and a range of management information relating to how individual services and teams are delivering on their key objectives and priorities. This allows the Committee and Officers to prioritise reporting adding value to the work of the Council and Officers and providing feedback and support.

During the past year, the Committee has changed Membership due to the May 2022 elections which resulted in a change of eight Members of the Committee including a new Chair and Vice-Chair as well as the introduction of a Reserve Member.    

The Services Committee has retained the strong focus on regular scrutiny of activity resulting from the flooding event which occurred at Lower Priory and Haven’s Head in November 2018

Through looking at the performance of services over several months, the Committee identified a range services or specific service areas for scrutiny and requested these be brought before the Committee, as follows:

June 2022

  • Havens Head Flood Prevention update

September 2022

  • Delivery of the Planning Service
  • Enforcement update
  • Leisure Function Report
  • Overview and Scrutiny Committee Annual Report 2021-22

November 2022

  • Visit Pembrokeshire
  • Flood Prevention Work
  • Incidents of vandalism on the Authority’s properties
  • Public Protection Services - update

January 2023

  • Emergency Response update
  • Enviro-Crime Enforcement update
  • Delivery of the Planning Service
  • Outline Draft County Council Budget for 2023-24 and Outline Draft Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) for 2023-24 to 2026-27 / Provisional Local Government Settlement for 2023-24
  • Review of Cabinet Decision on Public Transport Interchange - Stage 2 Construction of Haverfordwest Public Transport Interchange   (Call-in of Cabinet decision)

March 2023

  • Regeneration Programme
  • Havens Head & Lower Priory Flood Alleviation Study – Update
  • Performance update on PCC Bus company and school transport acquisition
  • Pembrokeshire Nature Partnership

 

What difference did the Committee make?

In the last year, five Scrutiny meetings and a Call-In meeting were held. 

The Committee has continued to regularly scrutinise the work of various departments including the Planning Section; noting the difficulties faced in recruitment and retention of staff and the new six-month training plan that had now been developed to improve retention. The Enforcement section; by conducting a survey regarding enviro-crime with all County Councillors allowing focussed reporting to the Committee to provide some strong ideas and feedback identifying areas of particular concern to Councillors and residents.

As part of its role of scrutinising external partners, the Committee continued its annual scrutiny of a number of external providers that receive support/funding from the Authority including the work of Visit Pembrokeshire in relation to promoting and managing tourism and the Pembrokeshire Nature Partnership, promoting the bio-diversity and management of our County.

The decision of Cabinet in relation to the Public Transport Interchange – Stage 2 Construction of Haverfordwest Public Transport Interchange was called-in by 11 Members of the Welsh Conservatives due to rising costs and unknown status of the funding bid to support the project.  Having received presentations from the Cabinet Member and Officers on the issues raised, the Committee decided that the decision be returned to Cabinet for the necessary external funding to be guaranteed before further work continued. The Call-In was a serious matter but an excellent meeting that stripped the issue down to the bare bones and encouraged the Cabinet to listen to what the thoughts of the Committee were and slightly alter their approach to the matter.

The Committee also scrutinised the acquisition of a local bus company and school transport provision. The reports received were informative and confirmed the decision had been the correct one ensuring the provision of school transportation was not affected.

The Committee has also continued to keep a focus on Regeneration and has scheduled regular updates on developments across the regeneration and economic development functions to provide assurance to residents that value for money is being achieved and that any redevelopment is in the best interests of the County and its residents.

Through its work programming and oversight of service performance information the Committee will continue to provide assurance that there is appropriate Member oversight and challenge of service performance and delivery.

 

Future challenges

In the year ahead the Committee will continue to use relevant service performance information to determine its work programme, again with a particular focus on services that are seen to be underperforming.  

One of the main challenges faced with the Committee is public engagement which has been actively encouraged through the Chair, Vice-Chair, Committee Members and a targeted approach via Social Media. The Forward Work Programme of the Committee is published on both the Council’s web page and on Social Media to increase engagement with residents. 

Updates on the work of various projects and services from across the Authority are planned for the coming year from both internal and externally supported projects including Visit Pembrokeshire and the Pembrokeshire Nature Partnership to support the continuation of the excellent work undertaken by the Authority.

Regular updates on the Havens Head and Lower Priory Flood prevention work, incidents of vandalism on the Authority’s properties and Housing are scrutinised throughout the year.

The challenge to engage with residents and to keep meetings purposeful continues with our Forward Work Programme.



Policy and Pre-Decision Overview and Scrutiny Committee

Role and remit

The role of the Policy and Pre-decision Overview and Scrutiny Committee is to undertake pre-decision scrutiny of policies, plans and strategies in order to contribute to the quality and robustness of Cabinet decision-making.   The remit and scope of the Committee includes:

  • Cabinet’s forward work programme
  • Proposals for services changes, transformation and / or efficiencies
  • Integrated Impact Assessments
  • Strategies and plans, as appropriate
  • Annual budget proposals

 

Membership and Attendance

Membership of the Policy and Pre-decision Overview and Scrutiny Committee as at March 2023 was as follows:

  • Cllr Joshua Beynon, Chair (Labour)
  • Cllr Michael Williams, Vice-Chair (Plaid Cymru)
  • Cllr Di Clements (Welsh Conservatives)
  • Cllr Pat Davies (Not affiliated to any group)
  • Cllr Simon Hancock (Labour)
  • Cllr Mike James (Independent)
  • Cllr Elwyn Morse (Independent)
  • Cllr Bethan Price (Not affiliated to any group)
  • Cllr Jordan Ryan (Labour)
  • Cllr Aled Thomas (Welsh Conservatives)
  • Cllr Michele Wiggins (Not affiliated to any group)
  • Cllr Steve Yelland (Welsh Conservatives)
  • Cllr Mike Stoddart (Not affiliated to any group) – Reserve Member

Member attendance at Meetings of this Committee was 81.7%.

 

Work of the Committee in 2022-2023

The Committee’s work programme has covered a broad range of important topics over the past year. It has included some one off Policy areas and topics; however, it has also included some topic areas, which the Committee are continuing to scrutinise and review. Such topic areas that the Committee has looked at this year which will be put on the forward work programme for 2023 -24 are the Local Toilet Strategy, Poverty Strategy and Rights of Way Improvement Plan.

Following the 2022 May Elections, the new Committee Membership resolved to continue the work of the Finance Panel, with the new Membership of the Panel as follows:

  • Councillor Joshua Beynon (Chair)
  • Councillor Simon Hancock
  • Councillor Elwyn Morse
  • Councillor Aled Thomas
  • Councillor Michael Williams

This was to ensure ongoing non-Executive Member engagement and involvement in the development of the Council’s budget, thereby enabling the Committee to effectively deliver on its remit to scrutinise Council budget proposals.

When the Cabinet is faced with increasingly challenging decisions about how and where to allocate resources and what the future shape of Council services should look like, the Policy & Pre-decision Overview and Scrutiny Committee will continue to provide non-Executive Members with a vehicle through which they can have a voice and represent the views and concerns of residents in order to inform and shape the decision-making process.

Throughout the year, the Committee scrutinised the following:

June 2022

  • Finance Panel
  • Climate Change
  • Child Poverty

October 2022

  • Records Management Policy
  • Rights of Way Improvement Plan for Pembrokeshire 2018-2028
  • Finance Panel
  • Overview and Scrutiny Committee Annual Report 2021-22

November 2022

  • West Wales Care Partnership's (WWCP) Dementia Strategy
  • Draft Public Participation Strategy 2022 – 2027
  • Draft Procurement Strategy
  • Update on Work Streams Feeding into the Development of a Transport Plan
  • Housing Revenue Account - Rent Setting Policy Options for 2023-2024

January 2023

  • Pay Policy Statement 2022 – 2023
  • Pembrokeshire Council Rapid Rehousing Transition Plan 2022-2027
  • Development of a Poverty Strategy
  • Asset Management Strategy
  • Outline Draft County Council Budget for 2023-24 and Outline Draft Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) for 2023-24 to 2026-27 / Provisional Local Government Settlement for 2023-24

March 2023

  • Rights of Way Improvement Plan
  • Finance Panel Update
  • Toilet Strategy 2023
  • Notice of Motion relating to Reinstatement of County Farms Working Group

 

What difference did the Committee make?

The Committee’s primary functions are to provide effective non-Executive Member engagement in the development of major proposals prior to Cabinet decision through focussed and appropriate constructive challenge, and in the development and review of Council policy and strategy.  Through using its positive pressure and influence, the Committee contributes to a stronger and more robust decision-making and policy framework, which fully represents the needs and concerns of Pembrokeshire’s residents.

While much of the Committee’s work takes place in the formal public meeting setting some of its most effective work occurs as a result of establishing working groups which act on behalf of the full Committee. These working groups enable Members to properly explore and understand the rationale and drivers for potentially significant service or policy changes in the kind of detail that is not possible in a one-off Committee meeting. Through the process of utilising working groups the full Committee is able to make clear, evidence-based recommendations. 

Since the Committee resolved to continue the work of the Finance Panel and established its new membership, it has met on three occasions, supported in its work by the Cabinet Member for Corporate Finance, the Director for Resources and other officers as appropriate.  Meetings have focused on the Capital Programme, Regeneration Projects, and the impact of proposed budget saving options on Social Care. The Panel has been able to delve into the issues and provided valuable feedback to Officers and the Committee. Some key areas identified going forward are the Medium Term Financial Plan and School Budgets.

In July 2018 the Committee agreed to undertake a review of the County Farm Estate policy and established a working group to carry out that review. The task and finish group concluded their review and reported their recommendations and a draft County Farms Policy to the Policy and Pre-decision Overview and Scrutiny Committee in January 2020. These were supported and recommended to Cabinet. The Committee considered a Notice of Motion relating to the reinstatement of the County Farms Working Group in March 2023 and has resolved to form a working group to look again at this matter, which will form an important part of the forward work programme for 2023-24.

The Committee considered in detail two important Housing Policies, which were the Housing Revenue Account – Rent Setting Policy Options for 2023-24 and the Draft Rapid Rehousing Plan. In relation to the Draft Rapid Rehousing Plan, the Committee resolved to recommend to Cabinet that the Pembrokeshire County Council’s Rapid Rehousing Transition Plan be submitted to Welsh Government to alleviate the exceptional difficulties that Pembrokeshire residents were having with housing. The Committee also played an integral part in scrutinising the Rent Setting Policy Options and providing their recommendations and feedback to Cabinet.

The Committee also considered in detail the Asset Management Strategy. It set out a clear rationale in terms of alignment with corporate strategies and identified a number of objectives that would shape the Asset Management Action Plan and included a range of performance measures that were being considered for ongoing monitoring of property performance. Members supported adoption of the strategy and recommended that Cabinet consider the involvement on the Asset Management Group for ongoing involvement by Members. As part of the strategy it set out there would be an Annual Statement plan, which would be considered by the Committee on an Annual basis

There was constructive scrutiny of the WWCP Dementia Strategy, where the West Wales Care Partnership attended the Committee to set out the plans to deliver the Dementia Strategy, which would be overseen by the West Wales Care Partnership’s Dementia Steering Group.  The Committee recommended to Cabinet that the Strategy be endorsed, which was also endorsed by Cabinet.

To ensure oversight of the development of a Poverty Strategy in Pembrokeshire, the Committee has considered this matter on two occasions over the last year and it is due to come back later in the year. The Committee has looked at the work of the Poverty Working Group, which is a sub group of the Public Services Board and is a ‘whole county’ approach. The Committee has scrutinised the steps the group has made towards the development of an initial strategy for poverty, with information about strategies developed in other areas, research both from a national and a local perspective contributing to discussion. The Committee will continue to look at this matter to try and drive this work forward and will have ongoing oversight by Members.

 

Future challenges

Given its pre-decision function, the Committee’s work programme needs to be fully aligned with that of Cabinet’s so that sufficient time is built into the decision-making process to allow the Committee to undertake its work in a timely, informed way. 

Public engagement remains an area for improvement as this provides a means to ensure that the scrutiny process provides a more rounded view of what matters most to people. 

The positive relationships which have formed between Executive and non-Executive Members through scrutiny is a positive sign of improving governance arrangements in the Council and a recognition that working together ensures better decisions and in turn that effective, efficient services are provided for the people of Pembrokeshire.  

 

Social Care Overview and Scrutiny

Role and remit

The Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee is focused on the care, support and well-being needs of children and adults. Its purpose is to scrutinise the quality and performance of all Social Care related services delivered by the Council, through the development of a risk-based approach utilising relevant management information such as:

  • service improvement plans
  • financial information
  • performance measures
  • business risk
  • self-assessment
  • customer feedback / surveys
  • external inspection / regulatory reports

The Committee’s remit and scope provides for a specific focus on the following services, functions and partnership arrangements:

  • Adult Care
  • Children’s Services
  • Strategic Joint Commissioning
  • Carers
  • Integrated services and well-being
  • Domiciliary care
  • Work with third sector
  • Compliance with the Social Services and Well-being Act
  • West Wales Care Partnership
  • Regional Safeguarding 
  • Regional Fostering 
  • Regional Adoption

 

Membership and Attendance

Membership of the Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee as at March 2023 was as follows:

  • Cllr David Bryan, Chair (Welsh Conservatives)
  • Cllr Steve Alderman, Vice-Chair (Not affiliated to any group)
  • Cllr Maureen Bowen (Labour)
  • Cllr Alistair Cameron (Welsh Liberal Democrats)
  • Cllr Terry Davies (Not affiliated to any group)
  • Cllr Nicola Gwynn (Labour)
  • Cllr Delme Harries (Independent)
  • Cllr Mike James (Independent)
  • Cllr Mel Phillips (Not affiliated to any group)
  • Cllr Vanessa Thomas (Not affiliated to any group)
  • Cllr Simon Wright (Independent)
  • Cllr Danny Young (Welsh Conservatives)

Member attendance at Meetings of this Committee was 90.3%

 

Work of the Committee in 2022-23

The Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s work programme is largely driven by the requirement to scrutinise a diverse range of services relating to the care, support and well-being needs of children and adults. 

Following the elections in May 2022, there has been a change of Committee Membership with only two Members retained.

The Committee has maintained a strong focus on scrutinising the Director of Social Services’ Annual Report and Directorate performance reports to ensure services are being delivered to key areas.  The Committee has been involved in the interview and recruitment of a new Head of Adult Services as well as Director of Social Services and Housing. 

Throughout the year, the Committee scrutinised the following:

June 2022

  • West Wales Care Partnership - The Health and Social Care Regional Integration Fund (RIF)
  • Notice of Motion relating to Supporting the Fight to Retain Services Essential to the Health and Wellbeing of Residents
  • Looked After Children Reduction Strategy and Action Plan Update
  • Safeguarding

September 2022

  • Notion of Motion relating to Supporting the Fight to Retain Services Essential to the Health and Wellbeing of Residents
  • Care Inspectorate Wales - Pembrokeshire County Council Report of Performance Evaluation Inspection
  • Social Services Risk - Social Care Demand
  • Social Care Service User Debt
  • Social Services 2021/22 Performance Report Quarter 4
  • Overview and Scrutiny Committee Annual Report 2021-22

November 2022

  • Paid and Unpaid Carers
  • Director’s Report 2020/21
  • Safeguarding

January 2023

  • Social Services 2022-23 Performance Report Quarter 2
  • Quality Assurance Framework Working Group
  • Outline Draft County Council Budget for 2023-24 and Outline Draft Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) for 2023-24 to 2026-27 / Provisional Local Government Settlement for 2023-24

March 2023

  • Impact of Cost of Living crisis on unpaid and paid care  
  • West Wales Adult Advocacy Strategy 2023-2027
  • Strategy for Keeping Families Together (previously known as LAC Reduction Strategy) and Action Plan
  • Safeguarding

 

What difference did the Committee make? 

On an annual basis, the Committee scrutinises the Director of Social Services’ Annual Report and considered the report for 2020-21. Members spent a considerable amount of time scrutinising the Directorate’s key strategic plans and current areas of priority work, and how the Directorate would be responding to maintain service delivery with the ongoing financial challenges of meeting demand which had been exacerbated by the pandemic. The Committee looked at debt recovery, recruitment and retention, direct payments, delayed transfers of care and day opportunities. Members were given assurance that the Care Inspectorate Wales had provided a positive review in regards to maintaining service provision during the pandemic.

Furthermore, the Committee scrutinised quarterly performance reports on Social Services and Safeguarding arrangements seeking assurances that services were being maintained post-pandemic. The Committee undertook to write to Welsh Government regarding concerns of safeguarding arrangements for Elected Home Educated (EHE) children.

The Strategy for Keeping Families Together and Action Plan (formerly known as the Looked After Children Strategy) has been continually scrutinised by the Committee and Members requested that six-monthly updates be provided to enable the Committee to continue to monitor performance.

The Committee reviewed reports on the Workforce Action Plan, the four Social Care Medium Term service plans detailing an assessment of where the service was currently and the current challenges together with areas for improvement; plus the multi-agency Community Hub which had provided a vital service during the pandemic.

The Committee had been keen to receive updates from the Micro-Enterprises and social enterprises across the County that had developed during the Pandemic delivering social care projects working with the Third Sector.

 

Future challenges 

The delivery of core, statutory social care services will present an increasing challenge in view of increasing demand, a growing ageing population, recruitment and retention of staff and the financial constraints under which the Council is operating. 

The Committee will continue to scrutinise various projects including the Shared Lives Initiative, West Wales Regional Partnership Board as well as updates from the Citizens Advice Bureau and collaborations with the Hywel Dda Community Health Council (now known as Llais) and Health Board.

 

Looking ahead towards 2023-2024

The Council has put a significant amount of targeted effort into improving the scrutiny function over several years. Despite the real improvements and good progress we have seen in many areas there still remains work to do to continue to strengthen and embed the role of scrutiny in the Council in order to meet current and future challenges and to reach our aspiration to be seen as among the best performing in Wales.

A new Council was elected in May 2022 and 25 new Members were elected to the Council. The Democratic and Scrutiny Support Team has been working with the new Committees to facilitate training and support for the new cohort of Members. Development sessions were arranged for new and existing scrutiny Members as part of the Council’s Induction Programme post May 2022.  This included training on the role of scrutiny, scrutiny questioning and chairing skills. Further training will be provided as identified by Members as a Committee or through completion of the Learning Needs Analysis. This will be supplemented by seminars and workshops on key topics to support the scrutiny function.

Clearly the biggest challenge facing the Council over the next 12 months (and potentially beyond) is how the Council deals with its budget and financial challenges with higher rates of inflation than previously forecast resulting in cost pressures in capital and revenue budgets.  A reduction in real terms budget for 2023-24 (currently forecasting an overspend) with significant real terms budget reductions required over Medium Term Financial Plan will be a real challenge.

Scrutiny will continue to concentrate on topics where Members’ input will result in positive outcomes to drive forward service improvement.

 

Members' Survey

Members were asked to complete two surveys in the period of this report.

Firstly, Members were asked for their views on the timing, length and frequency of meetings of Council and its Committees.   

An electronic survey was set up and distributed to all elected Members in August. 47 Members completed the survey (78%). 80% of respondents indicated that they found the current arrangements satisfactory.

The results are published here. Council decided to maintain the status quo. The Democratic Services Committee supported surveying Members again once Members had a fuller understanding of the impact of meeting times.

More recently, all Members of Council, including Executive Members, were invited to complete an electronic survey on the Overview and Scrutiny Committees arrangements covering a range of factors relating to function and practice.

The response rate to the survey was 67% (40 responses) which is positive and is reflective of the firm commitment of the majority of Members to continue to strengthen scrutiny’s effectiveness, and a recognition of the key role Members themselves have to play in the process.

You can find the results of this recent survey from the report which went to Council in July 2023

 

Democratic and Scrutiny Support Team

Susan Sanders: Manager

Lydia Evans: Officer

Jackie Thomas: Officer

Elieze Hinchliffe: Officer

Kate Matthews: Assistant

Contact: Democraticservices@pembrokeshire.gov.uk

ID: 8539, revised 09/11/2023
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Democratic and Scrutiny Services

Please contact:

Mrs Susan Sanders, Head of Democratic Services

01437 775719

Susan.Sanders@pembrokeshire.gov.uk

 

 
ID: 626, revised 25/01/2024
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Services Committee

The role of the Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee is to review and scrutinise public facing services delivered by the Council, with the exception of those within the remit of the Schools and Learning and Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committees. The Committee will scrutinise the quality and performance of these services.

The remit and scope of the Committee in relation to Council services, and divisions within these services, is as follows:

  • Infrastructure
  • Environment and Civil Contingencies
  • Housing
  • Building Maintenance
  • Planning
  • Property
  • Public Protection
  • Economic Development and Regeneration
  • Cultural Services
  • Leisure Services
  • Revenues and Benefits

The Committee has 13 members and will meet at least five times per year. Details of Committee members and future meetings, along with the Committee Work Programme can be found via the links below. 

Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee Forward Work Programme

Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee

 

 

26 March 2024

  • Item: Decarbonisation of the Council Housing Stock
  • Purpose: Referral from Governance and Audit Committee – agreed in September 2023
    The effect that the financial challenges in meeting the requirements of the Council Housing Stock Decarbonisation for further consideration as a priority; and that the Committee look at the wider impact of decarbonisation agenda on the Authority thereafter.
  • Item: Enviro-Crime Enforcement
    update 
  • Purpose: Update report
  • Item: Pembrokeshire Nature Partnership  
  • Purpose: To scrutinise the work of the Pembrokeshire Nature Partnership – to provide an annual update 
  • Item: Performance update on PCC Bus company and school transport acquisition
  • Purpose: To scrutinise the business case and ongoing performance following the purchase – to provide an annual update 

 

13 June 2024

  • Item: Housing, Building Maintenance Service 
  • Update: Annual update
  • Item: Service Performance Data
  • Update: To provide the Committee with Service Performance Data including Disabled Facilities Grants 
  • Item: Planning Service update regarding phosphates issues 
  • Update: Update report 
  • Item: Strategic Asset Management Group (SAMG)
  • Update: Update report 
ID: 547, revised 13/02/2024
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Policy & Pre-decision Committee

The role of the Policy and Pre-decision Overview and Scrutiny Committee is to review and scrutinise policies, plans and strategies prior to decision by Cabinet.

The Committee will undertake pre-decision scrutiny or order to contribute to the quality and robustness of Cabinet decision-making. A further function of the Committee is to ensure that Cabinet decision making is compliant with the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and takes account of the ‘sustainable development' principle and 5 ways of working (long term, preventative, involving, collaborative and integrated) as well as other statutory requirements as appropriate (e.g. Equality Act 2010). It will also ensure non-executive Member involvement in the Council’s budget policy and planning framework through a standing Finance Panel.

The remit and scope of the Committee is as follows:

  • Cabinet forward work programme
  • Proposals for service changes, transformation and / or efficiencies
  • Integrated Impact Assessments
  • Strategies and plans, as appropriate
  • Development of and planning for annual budget and Council Tax proposals through the Finance Panel

The Committee has 13 members and will meet at least five times per year. Details of Committee members and future meetings, along with the Committee Work Programme can be found via the links below. 

Policy & Pre-decision Overview and Scrutiny Committee Forward Work Programme 

Policy and Pre decision overview and scrutiny committee 

 

9 April 2024

  • Item: Choice Homes Allocations Policy review
  • Purpose: To review the Choice Homes Allocations Policy
  • Item: Introduction of Overnight Stops for Motorhomes / Camper Vans in Off Street Parking Places (Car Parks) - 'Pembs Stop' Trial Scheme
  • Purpose: Following the approval by Cabinet of the report, the Committee will look at the Introduction of Overnight Stops for Motorhomes / Camper Vans in Off Street Parking Places (Car Parks) - 'Pembs Stop' Trial Scheme

11 June 2024

  • Item: Update on Work streams Feeding into the Transport Plan
  • Purpose: To receive an update on work streams feeding into the development of a Transport Plan (to include regional working and shared use paths data)
  • Item: WRC Review
  • Purpose: Following the referral from Full Council In March 2024, the Committee will review the future provision of waste recycling centres
  • Item: County Farms Working Group Update
  • Purpose: An update on the work carried out by the reinstated County Farms Working Group since its reinstatement in May 2023

 

12 November 2024

  • Item: Housing Rent Setting and Service Charges Policy 2025-2026
  • Purpose: The report on setting house rent for 2025/26

 

January 2025

  • Item: Pembrokeshire Affordable Housing Scheme
  • Purpose: Report on the housing scheme
ID: 548, revised 09/04/2024
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Social Care Committee

The Committee will scrutinise the quality and performance of all Social Care related services delivered by the Council.

The remit and scope of the Committee in relation to Social Care related services is as follows:

  • Adult Care
  • Children’s Services
  • Strategic Joint Commissioning
  • Carers
  • Integrated services and well-being
  • Domiciliary Care
  • Work with the Third Sector
  • Compliance with the Social Services and Well-being Act
  • West Wales Care Partnership
  • Regional Safeguarding
  • Regional Fostering
  • Regional Adoption

The Committee has 13 members and will meet at least five times per year. Details of Committee members and future meetings, along with the Committee Work Programme, can be found below.

Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee

 

9 November 2023

One-off Committee Items

  • Item: Pembrokeshire Community Health Council (CHC) 
  • Purpose: Update and feedback from the CHC together with a representative

Standing / Re-occurring Items

  • Item: Adult Care Working Group
  • Purpose: Update and feedback following the first meeting of the Adult Care Working Group.

 

 

ID: 549, revised 09/11/2023
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Schools and Learning Committee

The role of the Schools and Learning Overview and Scrutiny Committee is to review and scrutinise services delivered to improve outcomes for children, young people and adult learners and to support the raising of educational standards and outcomes.

The remit and scope of the Committee is as follows:

  • Educational outcomes at all stages, particularly at Key Stage 4
  • School performance, including support provided to schools
  • School categorisation
  • School support through regional working (i.e. ERW)
  • Individual Schools (via a Schools Scrutiny Panel)
  • Inclusion Services
  • Youth Support and other community based services (including Adult Learning)
  • Post-16 learning, skills and training
  • Memorandum of Understanding with Pembrokeshire College
  • Music Service
  • Sports Development
  • Children’s voice and participation
  • Financial arrangements relation to schools and learning
  • Safeguarding in Education

The Committee has 13 members and four statutory co-optees and will meet at least five times per year. Details of Committee members and future meetings, along with the Committee Work Programme can be found via the links below.

Schools and Learning Overview and Scrutiny Committee

 

 27 June 2024

  • Item: Manorbier Primary School
  • Purpose: To receive a verbal update in respect of Manorbier Primary School and the progress being made following the fire
  • Item: Schools Scrutiny Panel
  • Purpose: To consider the outcomes of school visits undertaken by the panel
  • Item: School Finances
  • Purpose: A report on all the schools in financial deficit for review
  • Item: Relationships and Sex Education (RSE)
  • Purpose: Look at how the curriculum has developed in schools.
  • Item: School Transport Overview
  • Purpose: An overview of school transport provided by the authority. Including the pressures experienced by Ysgol Caer Elen and Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi. Transport difference to Welsh Medium Schools and Faith Schools
  • Item: Welsh Language Provision
  • Purpose: A look into the possibility of expanding Welsh Language provision in South and West Pembrokeshire and what could be done by Welsh Medium Schools in North Pembrokeshire to obtain pupils from the South. Including the pressures experienced by Ysgol Caer Elen
  • Item: Exclusion Data
  • Purpose: The 2021 report of national exclusions and the impact of this in Pembrokeshire
  • Item: Section 175 report
  • Purpose: The annual Section 175 report from Safeguarding in Education Team
  • Item: School Scrutiny Panel Visit – Ysgol Harri Tudur
  • Purpose: A report on the panel’s visit to Ysgol Harri Tudur
  • Item: School Scrutiny Panel Visit – Portfield School
  • Purpose: A report on the panel’s visit to Portfield School

26 September 2024

  • Item: Manorbier Primary School
  • Purpose: To receive a verbal update in respect of Manorbier Primary School and the progress being made following the fire
  • Item: Schools Scrutiny Panel
  • Purpose: To consider the outcomes of school visits undertaken by the panel
  • Item: Elective Home Education
  • Purpose: The new guidance on elective home education and a review of the number of electively home educated learners.
  • Item: Teachers Retention and Recruitment
  • Purpose: Challenges into recruitment and retention on teachers in Pembrokeshire. Teacher Unions could be invited
  • Item: The Voice of the Learner
  • Purpose: Young people sharing their experience with school. Schools will be asked for a spectrum of learners who would be happy to share their views
  • Item: The Role of the Diocese
  • Purpose: The Diocese’s role regarding all schools in Pembrokeshire
  • Item: Asymmetric Schools
  • Purpose: A report looking at the impact of asymmetric schools and the pros and cons of why schools choose to become one

 

21 November 2024

  • Item: Cost of Supply Teachers and Sick Pay
  • Purpose: A report showing the costs of supply teachers on schools
ID: 550, revised 09/04/2024
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Public Engagement

Section 62 of the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011 allows for anyone who lives or works in Pembrokeshire to bring to the attention of the relevant Overview and Scrutiny Committee their views on any matter under consideration by the Committee. 

Forward work programmes detailing matters that each Committee will be considering can be accessed via the links below. An Overview and Scrutiny Committee must, when exercising its functions, take into account any views brought to its attention.

A form is available for this purpose.

In order to encourage those who live and work in the county to become more involved in the Scrutiny process in Pembrokeshire, a form has also been developed whereby members of the public can suggest issues for Overview and Scrutiny Committees to consider. This form, ‘Suggest topics for consideration by an Overview and Scrutiny Committee' can also be accessed via the link below. For this reason, forward work programmes are designed to be flexible and may change to accommodate any issues that arise which are within the remit of Overview and Scrutiny Committees.

A protocol for public speaking at Overview and Scrutiny Committee meetings has been developed and is accessible via the link at the bottom of this page.

Bringing views to the attention of an Overview and Scrutiny Committee

Suggest topics for consideration by an Overview and Scrutiny Committee  

Information Notice for Overview and Scrutiny Committees

Protocol for Public Speaking

Protocol for Public Speaking - Flowchart

Information Notice for Overview and Scrutiny Committees

Why do we collect and keep your personal information?

We collect and use your personal information so that we can confirm you are a resident of the county. This entitles you to suggest topics for consideration at an Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting or to bring your views on any matter under consideration by a Committee to their attention. The processing of your data is necessary for the performance of this task under the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011 (Part 6 Chapter 1, Section 62).

How Information about you is used

The information that you provide will be processed according to the General Data Protection Regulation 2016 and Data Protection Act 2018. We have a duty to protect the public funds we administer and may use the information provided by you
on this form for example to carry out data matching or to detect and prevent fraud. We may cross check the information with other relevant bodies, organisations or other sections of Pembrokeshire County Council and other Councils. We will also make any disclosures required by law and we may also share this information with other bodies responsible for detecting/preventing fraud or auditing/administering public funds to ensure money is targeted and spent in the most appropriate and cost effective way. In order to achieve this, information may be shared with other internal departments within Pembrokeshire County Council and with The Auditor General for Wales. We will not make any disclosures to third parties for marketing unless you have provided explicit consent for us to do so.

Your data will be secure and confidential at all times and we will only collect the personal information that is required to allow you to participate in the overview and scrutiny process. When you provide us with your personal data this will be placed in the public domain as part of the process. If you attend a meeting your name will be displayed and webcast live (recordings of Committee meetings are also kept and can be accessed online), unless you choose not to be filmed, however, you will be named in Committee minutes unless you have requested not to be. The request form you have completed which contains details of your name and address will only be retained for one year from the date of your submission.

How long do we keep hold of your information?

We will retain the information provided to us for one year from the date of the Committee meeting and your information will be securely disposed of once it is no longer required.

Access to my personal information?

You can find out if we hold any personal information by making a subject access request under the General Data Protection Regulation 2016. To make a request for any personal information we may hold you need to contact:

Access to Records Team
Pembrokeshire County Council
County Hall
Haverfordwest
SA61 1TP

Your Rights

Under the General Data Protection Regulation 2016 and Data Protection Act 2018, you have rights as an individual which you can exercise in relation to the information we hold about you, not all rights will apply it will depend on the legal basis for processing your data.

  • The right to be Informed – Individuals have the right to be informed about the collection and use of their personal data. This is a key transparency requirement under the GDPR
  • The right of Access – you are entitled to request access to and a copy of, information we hold about you
  • The right to Rectification – you have the right to ask to have your information corrected.
  • The right to Restrict processing may apply – you may request that we stop processing your personal data however, this may delay or prevent us delivering a service to you. We will seek to comply with your request but may be required to hold or process information to comply with our legal duties.
  • The right to Object – this is not an absolute right and will depend on the reason for processing your personal information.

Complaints or Queries

Pembrokeshire County Council endeavours to meet the highest standards when collecting and using personal information. For this reason, we take any complaints we receive about this seriously. We encourage people to bring to our attention if they believe that our collection or use of information is unfair, misleading or inappropriate. This privacy notice does not provide exhaustive detail of all aspects of our collection and use of personal information. However we are happy to provide any additional information or explanation needed. Any
requests for this should be sent to the address below:

Data Protection Officer
Pembrokeshire County Council
County Hall
Haverfordwest
SA61 1TP
Email: dataprotection@pembrokeshire.gov.uk
Telephone: 01437 764551

If you want to make a complaint about the way we have processed your personal information, you can contact the Information Commissioner’s Office as the statutory body which oversees data protection law:

Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
SK9 5AF

Email casework@ico.org.uk

Telephone No: 0303 123 1113

Changes to this privacy notice

We keep our privacy notice under regular review

Protocol for Public Speaking at Overview and Scrutiny Committee Meetings (including Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee meetings and Call-ins)

Introduction

The Council’s Overview and Scrutiny (O & S) Committees play a vital role in improving public services, promoting the well-being of local communities, championing the concerns of citizens and increasing the accountability of decision-making in an open and transparent way. Members of the public make an important contribution to the process and provide a valuable source of information and evidence for an O & S Committee in undertaking its functions. Pembrokeshire County Council encourages the active participation of its citizens whenever possible and there are a number of ways the public can engage in the work of our O & S Committees. For example, you may request to attend and speak at an O & S meeting if the Committee is looking at a topic you feel particularly strongly about. Similarly, a Committee may invite you to attend a meeting to provide evidence on an issue it is considering (for example, when a Council decision might have a significant impact on its citizens). The following protocol provides guidance to members of the public who submit a question and are invited to speak at O & S meetings, or who are invited by a Committee to give evidence.

How to submit a request to speak at an O & S Committee meeting

There is an opportunity for members of the public to speak at O & S meetings in respect of an item on a Committee’s work programme or on a specific agenda item. Scheduled meeting dates are published on the Council’s website at the beginning of a municipal year giving notice as to when a Committee will meet. The main sources of information for people of how to get involved in the scrutiny process are Committee forward work programmes. These set out the purpose and focus of scrutiny topics and the meeting date at which the topic will be considered. Forward work programmes are available on the Council website and give advance notice to the public of opportunities to get involved in the scrutiny process. In addition, the agenda and reports for specific meetings are available for the public to
view on the Pembrokeshire County Council website at least 3 clear working days before the meeting.

  1. Members of the public who wish to speak or provide a written submission for consideration on a specific agenda item should submit written representations (requesting the right to speak, identifying which Committee, and outlining what you wish to speak about) to the Democratic Services Team at least two clear working days before the Committee meeting. The deadline will be strictly adhered to. Such requests should be sent to the Democratic and Scrutiny Services team by email: Democraticservices@pembrokeshire.gov.uk or by letter to: Democratic Services, Pembrokeshire County Council, County Hall, Haverfordwest, SA611TP. 
  2. Requests to speak at a meeting on a specific topic will be acknowledged on receipt. There is no automatic presumption that guarantees any party that they will be allowed to speak and the Chairman of the relevant Committee will decide whether to grant the request having consideration of the relevancy of the request to the Committee’s work programme or to a particular agenda topic.
  3. If there are a number of people who make requests to speak on the same topic they might be asked to nominate a single spokesperson to speak on everyone’s behalf. 

Providing evidence at an O & S Committee meeting

  1. An O & S Committee may invite members of the public to provide evidence and to discuss issues of concern as part of its scrutiny of an issue, particularly if the subject matter is of local significance. It may, for example, wish to hear from residents, Members, businesses or any relevant stakeholder in regards to how Council decisions might impact on citizens and stakeholders. If an invitee does not wish to attend then there is no requirement to do so.
  2. When the Committee invites a person to attend a Committee meeting, the person will be contacted by telephone in the first instance to ensure they are able to attend the meeting. This will be followed by an invitation in writing by letter or e-mail, giving the maximum possible notice prior to the relevant Committee. The letter will inform the person of the subject being scrutinised, the nature of the item on which the person is invited to give evidence, and where appropriate, a list of questions to be answered. Where relevant, it will also state whether any documents or written reports are required to be produced for the Committee. Following the meeting, the person will be advised on the outcome of the Committee’s deliberations, together with any recommendations emerging from its considerations.

Public speaking at an O & S Committee meeting when a decision has been called-in

  1. O & S Committees can also monitor the decisions of the Executive (Cabinet) through a procedure known as ‘call-in’. This enables a Committee to consider whether a decision made by the Executive (but not yet implemented) is appropriate. Following a call-in, a Committee may recommend that the Executive reconsider the decision.
  2. Members of the public may speak at an O & S Committee meeting when a decision has been called-in. The same process as above will apply with regard to submitting a request to speak at such a meeting. Following the Head of Democratic Service’s decision to call-in the date of the Committee meeting will be posted on the Council’s website at: County Councillors and Committees Please be aware that there is often a tight timescale between the Cabinet decision and the meeting of the relevant O & S Committee that considers the call-in. What to expect at a Committee meeting
  3. The Chair of the Committee will introduce those invited to speak at the Committee meeting. The Chair will also provide an overview of the item under investigation, including the aims, objectives and timescale of the work, and will remind the person invited to give evidence why the Committee has invited them to attend the meeting. The Chair will advise the person of the Council’s filming and audio protocol. O & S meetings are webcast, and unless you expressly request not to be filmed / audio recorded you will be so recorded.
  4. Your oral presentation / evidence must only address issues relevant to the matter under scrutiny. Any member of the public making submissions or providing evidence to the Committee is only allowed to speak for five minutes. The person will be allowed to ask the Committee through the Chair one supplementary question. Following this, the Committee will be given an opportunity to ask questions of a person providing information. The Committee will discuss and review the evidence that has been presented before it and if necessary provide feedback on any further actions they feel might be appropriate.
  5. Where a member of the public has requested to address a Committee on a particular topic, the Chair will invite the person to speak at the appropriate point of the agenda and inform them where they may sit. The person will be asked to give their name and provide details that may be relevant to the item being discussed, for example the name of a group they might be representing.
  6. If invited to speak at a Committee meeting where a decision has been called-in, the person concerned will be allowed to provide information presented during the course of the Committee’s discussions.
  7. If a person has supporting documents such as photographs or surveys they would like the Committee to consider as part of their submission then these must be provided to the Democratic and Scrutiny Services team at least 24 hours prior to the meeting. No supporting documents will be allowed to be distributed during the meeting.

Conduct at a Scrutiny Committee

  1. Members of the public speaking at a Committee should bear in mind that meetings are webcast live on the Council’s website and are also open to the public and press. It is important that anyone wishing to speak at a Committee meeting should do so in a responsible and respectful manner. Presentations / evidence must not include personal comments concerning any party, and you will be expected to respond politely to any questions from the Chair and the Committee. The Chair will (if necessary following legal advice) make the final determination on public involvement. The Committee will be advised to disregard comments that are determined to be offensive.

Welsh Language

  1. Facilities will be made available for those who wish to speak through the medium of Welsh. You are requested to indicate your language of preference when you make your request to speak, or when invited.

 

Protocol for public speaking at overview and scrutiny committee meetings

1. Request to speak at an Overviewand Scrutiny Committee meeting submitted

Written representations requesting the right to speak must be submitted at least two clear working days before the Committee meeting 

2. Request acknowledged and submitted to Chair of relevant Committee

3. Chair to consider request, taking into account the relevancy of the request to the Committee’s work programme or item on the Committee’s agenda

If a number of people wish to speak on the same topic, they may be asked to nominate a spokesperson to speak on everyone’s behalf

4. If request allowed by Chair, telephone contact will be made to check availability of person submitting the request, followed by formal written invitation to attend Committee

Formal invitation will include confirmation of the item under consideration, a list of questions to be answered (where appropriate) and whether written reports will be required

5. Member of the public/stakeholder attends Committee to speak on the topic under consideration. Person will be allowed to speak for 5 minutes and ask one supplementary question

If any written reports are required, these must be submitted no later than 24 hours before the meeting. Any written evidence that the person making the request to speak wishes to provide must be preapproved by the Chair. No supporting documents can be distributed during the meeting

An Overview and Scrutiny Committee may invite members of the public, business or other stakeholders to attend a meeting to provide evidence as part of its scrutiny of how Council decisions might impact on citizens. If an invitee does not wish to attend then there is no requirement to do

6. Committee will discuss oral/written evidence presented and provide feedback as appropriate.

Important

Members of the public/stakeholders speaking at Committee meetings should be aware that;

  • Meetings are webcast live and are open to the public and press
  • Presentations/evidence must not include personal comments or comments about any party, must be relevant to the topic under consideration and must not be vexatious. The Committee will be asked to disregard any comments that the Chair considers irrelevant or that are determined to be offensive
  • Those speaking at Committee meetings should respond politely to questions from the Chair or Committee

The Chair of the relevant Committee will (if necessary following legal advice) make the final decision on public involvement in Overview and Scrutiny Committee meetings

ID: 552, revised 25/01/2024
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Overview and Scrutiny in Pembrokeshire

The Local Government Act 2000 introduced major changes to the way in which Councils make decisions. The Act enabled Councils to introduce new political structures, including one involving a Leader and Cabinet model (the Executive) and Overview and Scrutiny Committees.  The Executive is responsible for taking key decisions about services in accordance with the policies adopted by the Council.

Overview and Scrutiny Committees monitor performance, contribute to policy development and review and investigate matters which affect the County and its residents. Another function of Overview and Scrutiny Committees is to balance the Executive's powers, if necessary, by holding the Executive to account by examining and questioning their decisions.

In March 2016, following a review by the Corporate Governance and Democratic Services Committees and recommendations in the Welsh Audit Office Corporate Assessment of Pembrokeshire County Council in 2015, Councillors voted to introduce five new Overview and Scrutiny Committees from September 2016 to replace the previous ‘thematic' Committees.

Guide to Scrutiny in Pembrokeshire

What is Scrutiny?

The role of Overview and Scrutiny Committees

How does Scrutiny work?

The Role of the Chairs, Vice-Chairs and members of Overview and Scrutiny Committees

Scrutiny in Pembrokeshire

How is Scrutiny monitored?

Officer Support

Public Engagement

Guide to Overview and Scrutiny for Members and Officers

What is Scrutiny?

As a result of the Local Government Act 2000, changes were introduced to political structures within Councils which altered their decision making processes. These changes allowed for the introduction of a Leader and Cabinet (the Executive) model, as well as at least one Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

The Role of Overview and Scrutiny Committees

Within this structure, the role of Overview and Scrutiny Committees is to hold the Executive to account, by reviewing, investigating and challenging decisions, contributing to Policy development and monitoring performance. The aim of scrutiny is to;

  • Improve the Council’s performance
  • Ensure that services delivered by the Council provide value for money
  • Ensure that Council services are receptive to local needs
  • Engage with the public and communities about decisions which affect them

Overview and Scrutiny Committees cannot make decisions; they can only make recommendations to the Executive or the Council. They also cannot become involved with concerns or complaints from individuals which do not affect the wider community.

How does Scrutiny work?

Each Overview and Scrutiny Committee has a forward work programme which provides details of what the Committee will scrutinise over a 12 month period. Work programmes consist of items that will be, or have been, considered by Cabinet (pre and post decision scrutiny), departmental performance monitoring or items of interest or concern to Committee members or to the communities they represent. Members of the public may also put forward suggestions for items to be discussed by Overview and Scrutiny Committees and provide written submissions in relation to matters being considered by a Committee. For this reason, forward work programmes are designed to be flexible and may change to accommodate issues that may arise within the year and which are within the remit of Overview and Scrutiny Committees.

The Role of the Chairs, Vice-Chairs and members of Overview and Scrutiny Committees

Chairs and Vice-Chairs

Chairs and Vice-Chairs of Overview and Scrutiny Committees should work together to support the work of their Committee, through; 

  • prioritising the work of the Committee
  • ensuring Committee members are engaged and have the opportunity to contribute and have their views heard 
  • working closely with officers to agree the business for each meeting and set the agendas

Committee Members

The following list outlines what a Scrutiny Member should and should not do to ensure that the scrutiny function is discharged successfully and to ensure the aims of scrutiny are met;

  • ensure that they understand their role fully, so that they are able to contribute at meetings and be part of the ‘critical friend’ process
  • not use meetings to pursue personal agendas or air individual grievances
  • prepare for meetings by reading papers, making notes and formulating challenging questions
  • not raise subjects that are not on the agenda
  • ask positive and challenging questions
  • not make statements rather than ask questions, or try to score political points
  • contribute to setting forward work programmes and be prepared to assist in any Task and Finish groups 
  • try to ensure that they attend every meeting.

Scrutiny in Pembrokeshire

Pembrokeshire has five Overview and Scrutiny Committees;

How is Scrutiny monitored?

Each year an Annual Report is produced which reviews the work of the Committees over the previous year. The report focuses on the work the Committees have carried out, the differences the work of each Committee has made, key outcomes, training and development undertaken by Committee members and challenges for the Committees in the year ahead. Overview and Scrutiny Annual Reports are presented to Council and can be viewed on the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Web pages.

Officer Support

Overview and Scrutiny Committees have support from Democratic Services Officers who provide advice and guidance to the Chair, Vice-Chair and Committee members and to any working groups established to undertake detailed investigations into particular areas of the work programme. Officers also co-ordinate the preparation and gathering of reports for consideration at Committee meetings.

Public Engagement

Scrutiny provides opportunities for members of the public to get involved with the work of the Council. If there is a topic that you feel strongly about or one in which you have a particular area of expertise, you can make a request to speak at an Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting. A protocol is available on our Scrutiny web pages which explains how this process works. Alternatively, members of the public can submit written views on a matter being considered by a Committee which is already on the Committee’s work programme, or can suggest a topic for Scrutiny. Forms are available on the Scrutiny web pages along with work programmes for each Committee, which list areas for Scrutiny over the coming months.

ID: 545, revised 09/11/2023
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Corporate Committee

The role of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee is to review and scrutinise corporate functions and support services.

The Committee will have oversight of the overall strategic direction, policies, plans and priorities of the Cabinet and Council (post-decision) and monitor their implementation. The Committee will scrutinise corporate services utilising relevant management information such as Service Improvement Plans and Business Risk Registers. Any areas of specific concern may be referred to the Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee as appropriate. The Committee will also have oversight of the Public Services Board (PSB) and Community Safety Partnership (CSP) through a standing Partnerships Panel, as required under the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.

The remit and scope of the Committee in relation to Corporate functions and services is as follows:

Corporate Functions

  • Office of the Leader
  • Cabinet Member annual reports
  • CEO
  • Budget monitoring (half yearly)
  • Corporate performance monitoring (quarterly)
  • Corporate Improvement Plan and Review
  • Compliance with Well-being of Future Generations Act
  • WAO corporate reports
  • Welsh Language
  • Risk Management
  • Corporate Safeguarding
  • Whistleblowing
  • Transformation programme management
  • City Deal programme management

Corporate Services

  • Financial Services
  • Information Technology
  • Audit, Risk and Information Services
  • Customer Services
  • Human Resources
  • Legal and Committee Services
  • Procurement
  • Corporate Policy
  • Partnership and Scrutiny Support
  • Corporate Communications, Press, PR and Marketing
  • Electoral Services

The Committee has 13 members and will meet at least five times per year. Details of Committee members and future meetings, along with the Committee Work Programme can be found via the links below. 

Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee Forward Work Programme

Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee

 

21 March 2024

  • Item: Members' rights to access information
  • Purpose: Referral from Extraordinary Committee on 26 January 2024 to have oversight and scrutiny of Members’ rights to access information under Common Law and Statutory Law.
  • Item: Overview of Well-Being Objectives 2023-2024
  • Purpose: To scrutinise and have oversight of the Council’s Well-being Objectives for 2023-24
  • Item: Strategic Partnerships
  • Purpose: Update from Assistant Chief Executive on roles and remits and clarification of the Deed of Variation for the Swansea Bay City Region Joint Committee / Strategic Partnerships 

 

6 June 2024

  • Item: Corporate Services
  • Purpose: To Scrutinise one of the 9 Corporate Service Areas which fall under the remit of the Committee per Committee meeting
  • Item: Overview & Scrutiny Annual Report 
  • Purpose: To provide an integrated review of the main activity of the Committee over the past year, as well as looking forward to future challenges and areas for improvement
  • Item: Improvement and Transformation Programme Board
  • Purpose: To receive an annual update from the Board to enable the Committee to scrutinise delivery and management of the programme
  • Item: Dyfed Pension Scheme
  • Purpose: To scrutinise the Dyfed Pension Scheme, End of Year Performance and clarification on reducing employer’s contribution to the Fund as it was in surplus at 113% (February 2024)
  • Item: Welsh Language Standards Annual Report
  • Purpose: To scrutinise a draft version of the Authority’s 2023-24 Welsh Language Standards annual report before publication on 30 June 2023.

 

19 September 2024

  • Item: Draft Annual Corporate Self-Assessment 2023-24
  • Purpose: To scrutinise the Council’s Annual Self-Assessment, incorporating Review of Well-being Objectives 2023-24
  • Item: County Council Budget Outturn Monitoring Report 2023-24
  • Purpose: To scrutinise the Budget Outturn Report for 2023-24
  • Item: County Council Budget Quarter 1 Monitoring Report 2024-25
  • Purpose: 
  • ·         To ensure timely monitoring of in-year spend and savings targets
  • ·         To scrutinise sustainability of the Medium Term Financial Plan
  • Item: Corporate Services 
  • Purpose: To scrutinise one of the 9 Corporate Service Areas which fall under the remit of the Committee per Committee meeting 
  • Item: Strategic Partnerships - Swansea Bay City Deal, Corporate Joint Committee and Partnerships Panel
  • Purpose: To receive and scrutinise Minutes from both Strategic Partnerships and Partnerships Panel (last meeting 23 May 2024)

 

14 November 2024

  • Item: County Council Budget Quarter 2 Monitoring Report 2024-25
  • Purpose: 

    ·         To ensure timely monitoring of in-year spend and savings targets

    ·         To scrutinise sustainability of the Medium Term Financial Plan

  • Item: Capital Programme
  • Purpose: To scrutinise the risks being raised in relation to increased costs of projects and the realistic longevity of delivery of the programme 
  • Item: Corporate Services 
  • Purpose: To scrutinise one of the 9 Corporate Service Areas which fall under the remit of the Committee per Committee meeting 
  • Item: Strategic Partnerships - Swansea Bay City Deal and Corporate Joint Committee  
  • Purpose: To receive and scrutinise Minutes from both Strategic Partnerships

 

January 2025

  • Item: Performance Measurement Quarterly Monitoring
  • Purpose: To scrutinise the Corporate Scorecard which forms part of the Council’s revised performance management framework. 
  • Item: Budget Monitoring report 2024-25
  • Purpose: To ensure timely monitoring of in-year spend and savings targets
  • Item: Outline Draft County Council Budget 2025-26 and Outline Draft Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) 2025-26 to 2028-29
  • Purpose: To scrutinise proposals for the Council’s budget and Council Tax levels for 2025-26
  • Item: Pembrokeshire County Council Whole Authority Safeguarding Group Annual Report 2023-24
  • Purpose: To scrutinise and have oversight of the annual report which reflects on work undertaken in relation to safeguarding activity across the Authority during 2023-24
  • Item: Corporate Services 
  • Purpose: To scrutinise one of the 9 Corporate Service Areas which fall under the remit of the Committee per Committee meeting 
  • Item: Strategic Partnership – Partnerships Panel
  • Purpose: To receive a report from the Partnerships Panel following scrutiny of the PSB and CSP after each of the Panels meetings (25 November 2024)
ID: 546, revised 14/03/2024
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