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Agenda and draft minutes

Customers, Performance, Resources and Governance Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday, 28th November, 2018 1.30 pm

With effect from 1 April 2016 Agenda and Minutes will be available in both Welsh and English. Reports are working documents and produced in English only in accordance with Welsh Language Standard 41 of this Council’s Final Compliance Notice from the Welsh Language Commissioner.

Venue: Meeting Room 1, Guildhall

Contact: Suzanne Price  Scrutiny Facilitator

Items
No. Item

26.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillors Paul Blackwell and MG Morris.

27.

Confirmation of Minutes pdf icon PDF 82 KB

To sign as a correct record the Minutes of the Meeting held on 24 October 2018

Minutes:

AGREED – That the Minutes of the Meeting held on 24 October 2018 be signed as a correct record.

 

 

28.

Variation in order of agenda

Minutes:

AGREED – That Agenda Item 5 be brought forward and taken at this time.

 

29.

Welsh Language Standards - Welsh Language Commissioner Investigation into failure with WCBC signage pdf icon PDF 115 KB

To consider the report of the Lead Member for People – Communities, Partnerships, Public Protection and Community Safety

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Lead Member for People – Communities, Partnerships, Public Protection and Community Safety submitted a report (HCCS/60/18s) to advise Members of concerns raised by the Welsh Language Commissioner in the form of an investigation into failures regarding non-compliant signage and how Wrexham County Borough Council are addressing the concerns.

 

Presenting the report the Lead Member apologised for the errors that had occurred and assured the Committee that the Council was fully committed to complying with the Welsh Language Standards.   He further reported that the Council’s new chief executive had given an assurance to the Welsh Language Commissioner that all Council departments would comply with the requirement and spirit of the Standards.

 

Expressing concern at the errors that had been made, the Committee considered the report and discussed each enforcement action, referring to the following matters in debate:

 

  • Officers confirmed that the database of signage erected was being developed and assured the Committee that the Council was fully aware of the need to ensure that all signage, both permanent and temporary, complied with the requirements of the Standards.
  • Officers reported that appropriate processes were in place in relation to the translation of signage, however improvement was required in respect of the checking procedure.  The Committee were advised that all signage was now required to be checked by the Welsh Language team but noted that this team had limited resources.
  • Clarification provided in respect of the differences between the requirements of the Welsh Language Scheme established in 1996 and the current Welsh Language Standards.
  • Members were asked to provide any examples of incorrect signage to the relevant officer outside of the meeting.
  • Reported that new guidance had been made available to staff to raise awareness of the requirements of the Standards in relation to signage.  In addition, an action plan had been developed.
  • Suggested that the current arrangements for translation with Conwy Council could be reviewed to ensure that it still provided value for money.
  • The budgetary implications of non compliance with the Standards.
  • Suggestion that Community Councils could be invited to contribute by reporting signs in their areas which are not compliant with the Welsh Language Standards (2016).
  • Confirmed that sub-contractors were advised of their requirement to comply with the Standards and all contracts had been updated accordingly.
  • Noted that a new Council website was currently under development and this would be complaint with the Standards.
  • Noted that the report to the Welsh Language Commissioner would include more information.
  • The Welsh Language should be normalised and not just considered as a requirement.  The Lead Member assured the Committee that it was the intention for the Welsh Language to be part of the culture of the Council.
  • Clarification requested as to the process to be followed if the Welsh Language Commissioner was not satisfied with the Council’s response to its Enforcement Actions, and whether the Commissioner would publish the Council’s response.  The Officer agreed to check and to update Members after the meeting.

 

AGREED –

 

(i)  That the Committee support  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29.

30.

Equality Annual Performance Report 2017-2018 pdf icon PDF 279 KB

To consider the report of the Lead Member for People – Youth Services and Anti-Poverty

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Lead Member for People – Youth Services and Anti-Poverty submitted a report (HF/119/18s) to provide the Customers Performance Resources & Governance Scrutiny Committee with details of progress during 2017-18 in implementing the Council’s Strategic Equality Plan (2016-2020), prior to its submission to the Executive Board.    In addition the committee was asked to consider including a further update during 2019 and, as part of the discussions, the Lead Member would welcome Members’ views on ways that the profile of equality and diversity can be improved and maintained within the Council’s decision-making processes.

 

The Lead Member introduced the report commenting on the importance of embedding equality across all Council departments.  The Committee were reminded that there was a legal requirement to publish and progress the Equality Annual Performance report.

 

Members considered the report and asked questions.  In debate the following matters were highlighted:

 

  • Requested that further training be provided in respect of the EIA process to ensure that all Councillors were fully engaged.  Suggested that a survey with Councillors be undertaken to establish a baseline of understanding to inform the training.  The Lead Member commented on the usefulness of the EIA toolkit in the scrutiny and decision making process. 
  • The mainstream approach across the Council to equality and diversity was essential to the delivery of the Plan.
  • Noted that community outreach was limited by resources.
  • Support to Syrian refugees – requested that a process be developed to enable the local ward member to be made aware of Syrian refugees resettling in their area.  The officer reported that this must be considered in light of Data Protection requirements.
  • Workforce equality monitoring data collection required improvement.  Noted that an online self-service option was now available to staff, however staff had the right to decline to provide the information.
  • Inequalities in relation to access to information for people without access to the internet.  Noted that the Council was committed to engaging with the public in a variety of ways.  Further information to be provided to Members outside of the meeting.
  • The need to engage with diverse communities post Brexit.  Reported that the co-ordination of plans for the local authority in readiness for the outcome of Brexit in 2019 had recently been assigned to the Head of Environment and Planning.

 

AGREED –

 

(i)       That the Committee endorses the progress to date in implementing the Strategic Equality Plan and the plans for further improvement, and will receive a further update in 12 months.

 

(ii)     That the Committee supports the work underway to plan for the outcome of Brexit in March 2019 and requests that an All Member Information Report be issued and a report be brought to the committee in March.

 

(iii)     That a survey be undertaken with Councillors to establish a baseline in terms of their understanding and use of the EIA toolkit, and that this be used to inform further member training.

 

(iv)     That the Council investigate the possibility of making local Members aware of Syrian refugees in their wards so that they  ...  view the full minutes text for item 30.

31.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 132 KB

To consider the report of the Head of Finance

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Finance submitted a report (HF/123/18s) to assist the Committee in considering and agreeing its work programme.

 

The following issues were noted:

 

  • The Council Plan performance monitoring report had been moved to the January meeting as agreed.
  • The Lifelong Learning Scrutiny Committee had appointed members to the joint task and finish group established in respect of the former Groves School and the first meeting would be held in early 2019.
  • Request from the Head of Finance to change the date of the May meeting to 2 May 2019.  This was agreed by the Committee.
  • Topic Selection Form submitted in respect of the proposed governance arrangements for the North Wales Economic Ambition Board.  This was accepted by the Committee.

 

AGREED – That, subject to the inclusion of the aforementioned, the work programme be agreed.