Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Hanbury Road, Pontypool, NP4 6YB
Contact: Chris Slade Senior Business Support Officer - Democratic Services
Attendance / Presenoldeb
John Horlor, Mike Jeremiah, Fay Jones, Jason O’Connell, Rose Seabourne and John Sheridan.
Declarations of Interest / Datganiadau o fudd
2.1 The SCIO&SO explained that he had been advised by the Monitoring Officer that due to the general nature of the report there was no immediate need to declare any interests but highlighted that Members may need to declare an interest depending on what was discussed on each workshop table.
3.1 The Chair welcomed everybody to the meeting and explained the purpose of the workshop before inviting the Leader to introduce the report.
3.2 The Leader commented around the difficulties in making such challenging savings year upon year with minimum impact on the general public. He highlighted the situation with the under-funding of public services which has led to the difficult choices in the budget process. He advised that however difficult the process was, proposed mitigations had been carefully chosen to avoid putting any additional pressures on partner organisations in the public sector.
3.3 The Assistant Chief Executive (Resources) highlighted the information contained within appendices 1 and 2 that included the budget mitigations. It was explained to Members that appendix 1 contained all mitigations but where it was felt that a mitigation would have an impact on the public, service areas had been asked to consider in more detail the implications involved. It was suggested that Members may wish to focus their scrutiny activity on these mitigations as they had been identified as having either a direct or indirect impact on citizens.
3.4 Finally the Head of Business Support & Intelligence highlighted that services had responded to their identified challenges by proposing a series of “change activities” for action during the financial year ahead. These proposed changes are set out in appendix 3 to the report and Members were invited to consider this information to ensure they fully understood the impact on service delivery and citizens.
3.5 The SCIO&SO informed Members that each table would be supported by a Scrutiny Officer (who would act as a facilitator) and Chief Officers as required, in determining if they supported the proposals in the report. The SCIO&SO asked Members to take advice from their facilitator who would make sure each group stayed on task and on time.
3.6 Members broke into four workshop sessions for the remainder of the meeting with each table feeding back their collective views before moving on to considering a new service area.
3.7 At the conclusion of the workshop, the Committee agreed to offer their support to the proposed savings mitigation measures outlined in the appendix of the report apart from the following:
In principle, Members supported the budget proposal, reducing the subsidy level at Cwmbran Farm, but requested the Council’s Cleaner Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee undertake a task and finish group at the earliest possible opportunity, looking at options for implementation.
Members supported the mitigation reducing the support to Blaenavon Workmen’s Hall but recommended the implementation period should be lengthened from 5 to 8 years.
Members were unable to support the removal of the grant to the three older persons forums.
3.8 Furthermore a number of additional comments were also made to the Chief Officers.