Agenda and minutes

Safer Communities Overview & Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday, 16th January, 2019 3.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Hanbury Road, Pontypool, NP4 6YB

Contact: Chris Slade  Senior Business Support Officer - Democratic Services

No. Item


Welcome & Apologies / Croeso ac Ymddiheuriadau


1.1       The Chair welcomed Members and Officers to the meeting.


1.2       Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Chris Tew.


Declarations of Interest / Datganiadau o Fuddiant


2.1       The Chair reminded Members that any interests should be verbally declared and recorded on the Declarations of Interest register.


2.2       No interests were declared.


Minutes - 24/10/18 / Cofnodion - 24/10/18 pdf icon PDF 392 KB


3.1       The minutes of the previous meeting were confirmed as an accurate record.


Action Sheet / Taflen Weithredu pdf icon PDF 7 KB


4.1       The recommendations from the previous meeting were sent to the relevant Executive Member and a response had been received, which had been circulated to the Committee.


4.2       The Chair invited the EM and CON to respond to Members’ questions, in relation to the responses to their recommendations. They responded as follows:-


4.3       Recommendation 2:-

  • CON – A referral to Audit was generally because an issue was found to be fraudulent.  Because of the nature of recommendation, it was taken very seriously.  The authority had recently undertaken a Peer Review with Swansea in relation to the HAMP.  They thought it was a good document and gave it a clean bill of health.


4.4       Recommendation 3:-

  • EM – Should a utility company not repair a road back to the original standard after road works had taken place, they should explain to the local authority the reasons. 
  • CON – It was in negotiation with the utility company to make sure the road  was repaired back to the condition it was , in order to keep the integrity and the standard as the local authority require. 
  • CON – The road network was a lot busier and needed to be future proofed which explained why the last sentence in the recommendation response was included.
  • CON – There were instances where the work done was to a lesser standard, particularly when broadband was being installed in order to roll it out quicker.  These were based on an all Wales level; the Highway Authority would not allow it to weaken the highway.
  • CON – The local authority knew the standards and the road network was looked at by inspectors regularly.


4.5       Recommendation 5:-

  • EM – The Executive Member went out with officers in order to look at the challenges they faced.  It wasn’t just about the examples included in the response, it was also about cars being parked at the kerbside. 
  • EM – The survey would have to be done four times a year in order to get a full dataset, which was not always possible.  Other councils did the same as Torfaen. 
  • EM – Improvements were always being looked at.  It was not just about using a paper-based system, it was about how best to utilise the skills behind it.
  • CON – The response was from the proprietors of the scanner service which came from Welsh Government.  The local authority looked at the HAMP to try and include everything, but it came with a cost.  It was proposed to change the recommendation in order to state that when procurement came up, this would be looked at should funds permit.  The Committee agreed. 


4.6       The EM and CON left the meeting.


Community Safety / Diogelwch Cymunedol pdf icon PDF 336 KB

Additional documents:


5.1       RH, JW, EC&CSM and the HoPSSU entered the meeting.


5.2       The Chair introduced the report and gave a brief overview of the      suggested scrutiny activity; that the Committee were invited to:-

  • scrutinise the actions and updates detailed to address the recommendations made by the Wales Audit Office for the delivery of Community Safety;
  • comment on whether sufficient progress has been made in relation to the WAO proposals for improvement;
  • identify and outline any concerns regarding progress or areas for improvement and make relevant recommendations for consideration by the Executive Member for Communities, Housing & Anti-Poverty / Head of PSSU.


5.3       The Chair invited the RH, JW, EC&CSM and the HoPSSU to respond to Members’ questions and comments.  They responded as follows:-


·         JW – Many years ago PACT meetings took place and whilst it was effective in some areas, it wasn’t in others.  The ‘Your Voice’ initiative was then established in its place where a CSO would go out and consult with people, asking what they believed the priorities were in their area.  That had since been reviewed as it wasn’t deemed to be effective; individuals in key areas were identifying issues like dog fouling as their priority, which was not something that the Police dealt with.  The decision was taken to suspend the initiative in order to look at other opportunities.  A pilot was then introduced during the summer of 2018 where a consultation took place in key areas in order to look at what the real issues were and to engage a lot more with the community.  Bespoke Facebook pages for service areas were being developed in order to increase interaction with the public and the Police would be liaising more with Councillors and holding surgeries in an effort to try and engage with those who were more difficult to engage with – minority groups, aging population etc.  When this had been established, the plan was to problem solve with partners and the community.  The Police were the only ‘problem solving’ body and so there was an intention to roll out as much training as possible elsewhere.  The idea was for the public to hopefully be trained in how to solve their problems.  It was planned for the training to be rolled out in April.

·         JW – The alternative for the elderly who were not online was to attend surgeries.  They could also have relatives who were online to help and inform them, but also Councillors would be engaged in the process.

·         JW – Vigilantism was not seen as an issue whilst the public were solving their own problems; the Police were not abandoning the community.  It was more about the Police stepping away from areas where the public had things in place to deal with issues themselves.  Individuals would still have contact with their local officers and so contact would still be there.  It was an unavoidable circumstance with difficult times in terms of resources and pressures coming from an increase in crime.

·         JW – There  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Delivering the Violence Against Women & Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Strategy (VAWDASV) in Torfaen / Cyflawni Strategaeth Trais yn erbyn Menywod, Cam-drin Domestig a Thrais Rhywiol (VAWDASV) yn Nhorfaen pdf icon PDF 324 KB

Additional documents:


6.1       RH, JW, EC&CSM and the HoPSSU entered the meeting.


6.2       The Chair introduced the report and gave a brief overview of the      suggested scrutiny activity; that the Committee were invited to:-

  • consider how the Gwent VAWDASV regional strategy will effectively meet local delivery in Torfaen;
  • comment on progress against each of the 6 priorities that are being delivered in Torfaen;
  • Make recommendations to the Executive Member for Communities, Housing & Anti-Poverty/ Head of PSSU on any areas for further development and improvement.


6.3       The Chair invited RH, JW, EC&CSM and the HoPSSU to respond to          Members’ questions and comments.  They responded as follows:-


·         RH – The National Measures and Indicators were in draft and out for consultation.  They were available on the Welsh Government website.  The regional team were encouraging organisations to respond and would be collating and issuing a response on behalf of the region.  Indicators would include looking at calls to the helpline, numbers of trained staff etc.

·         RH – There was a toolkit in development for engagement in order to reach those who were affected.  It was important to look at how information was being communicated.  VAWDASV had a twitter presence, a webpage on the Gwent Safeguarding website and a designated communications team, which all fed into the delivery plan.

·         RH – A lot of the focus around education in schools had been lost and so work was being done on how to address it.  Working groups had been set up including safeguarding leads, Police and other partners who were looking at rolling out the whole school approach.  For children who weren’t in education and were home-schooled, a proactive approach would need to be taken in order to engage with them.  Engagement was also done through churches and community groups.

·         RH - The criminal justice system was in place in order to hold perpetrators to account and any opportunities to link in with that would be taken advantage of.  Throughout the third sector there were organisations that were imbedded in children’s social services.  For people who may think that they were perpetrators, the Phoenix Domestic Abuse Service was available, but that did come at a cost.  With regards to measuring, a piece of work had been done at Welsh Government looking at the information.  They had looked at rapid assessments, service standards on domestic abuse and sexual violence and prepared best practice guidance for local authorities.  JW – There was also the Wisdom Project in Blaenau Gwent who dealt with high risk and prolific offenders.  This had been rolled out successfully and would be coming to Torfaen.

·         RH – Healthy Relationships work was at risk should funding be cut.  HoPSSU – Asking for funding was key in order to provide these services as it was not funded by the Council.

·         RH – The 3000 figure of staff having received training referred to level 1, which was core staff.  The training had been rolled out online, which schools were also able to access.  Level 2  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Item for Next Meeting / Eitem ar gyfer y Cyfarfod Nesaf


7.1       The Chair tabled the item for scrutiny at the next meeting, which were        Implementation of Civil Parking Enforcement and Environmental          Enforcement.  The Chair asked Members to give consideration as to who they would like as invitees.


Date of Next Meeting - 13/03/19 / Dyddiad y Cyfarfod Nesaf 13/03/19


8.1       The date of the next meeting was confirmed as 13 March 2019.


8.2       The meeting ended at 5.20pm.