Agenda and minutes
Venue: Council Chamber, Guildhall
Contact: Suzanne Price Scrutiny Facilitator
Apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillors MG Morris and Barrie Warburton.
To consider the report of the Chief Officer Governance and Customer
The Chief Officer Governance & Customer submitted a report (COGC/10/19s) to assist the Committee in considering and agreeing its work programme.
Members were informed that the changes agreed at the last meeting had been incorporated into the work programme. It was further reported that the Quarter 4 Performance Monitoring Report would not be available for consideration at the June meeting and the Scrutiny Facilitator would keep Members informed as to it’s scheduling.
AGREED – That the work programme be agreed.
To consider the report of the Lead Member for People – Communities, Partnerships, Public Protection and Community Safety
The Lead Member for People – Communities, Partnerships, Public Protection and Community Safety submitted a report (COGC/08/19s) to review the Council’s compliance with the Welsh language Standards which includes reference to the number of reports of non-compliance under investigation by the Welsh Language Commissioner.
The Chair reported that members of the Committee had received correspondence from a member of the public that morning containing observations on the report. He advised that he had reviewed the content of the correspondence and would arrange for officers to respond directly and to share the responses with Committee members.
Members of the Committee were invited to ask questions of the Lead Member and officer present. In debate the following matters were highlighted:
· The progress that WCBC had made in respect of the Welsh Language Standards which had required a culture change to be embedded across the Council.
· An internal action plan was being developed to improve awareness and normalisation of the Welsh language in the organisation, providing increased opportunities for staff to learn and develop language skills.
· Examples of non-compliance.
· Variance in compliance with the Welsh Language Standards across Departments.
· A breakdown of information relating to the number of Welsh Language complaints by Department was requested.
· Noted that 95% of complaints came directly from the Welsh Language Commissioner. Members of the public were not required to contact the Council with their complaint.
· Previous issues regarding deficiencies on the Council’s website and incorrect road signage were being addressed in order to minimise future failures.
· Noting the cost of the current translation service provided by Conwy Council the officer confirmed that other translation services had been considered in respect of value for money. To bring the translation service in-house would result in significant costs at a time of limited budgets and could result in inconsistencies with standards and limited availability of resources to cover sickness and absence. The Lead Member commented that the contract with Conwy translation services remained the most cost effective way to meet the standards.
· The Lead Member reported that the costs associated with meeting the Standards should be viewed as an investment in the Welsh Language and Welsh Culture, providing opportunities for the use of the language in every day life.
· Requested that the number of Welsh Language investigations and complaints received by other local authorities in Wales be provided to Committee members.
AGREED – That the Committee receives a further report in 12 months time detailing the Council’s compliance with the Welsh Language Standards – to include a breakdown of the number of complaints and Welsh Language investigations by department.
To consider the report of the Lead Member for Organisation – Planning and Corporate Services
The Lead Member for Organisation – Planning and Corporate Services submitted a report (COGC/07/19) to provide Members with details of the Council’s progress towards the outcomes contained within the ICT & Digital Strategy.
In the absence of the Lead Member the Head of Service: Customer & Digital presented the report drawing Members’ attention to the key themes of the Strategy and the priority actions for 2019/20 with progress to date.
Members were invited to ask questions and in discussing the report made reference to the following matters:
· Confirmation that Welsh Language requirements were inherent in all projects. It was noted that the future intranet site would be bilingual where required by the Welsh Language Standards.
· Noted that the rationalisation of business applications in use was focused on asset management and housing applications, with extensive market research being undertaken to identify a preferred model.
· The potential benefits of the transformation of digital services for staff in supporting agile working across all departments.
· Acknowledgement that the needs of customers and how they wish to access Council services had changed in recent years whilst also recognising that not all customers were able or willing to utilise digital channels.
· Further information was provided in respect of options and benefits in migrating applications to cloud based services. Noted that this would require a move from a capital funding model to revenue funding.
· Requested that the project plan for 2019/20 form the basis for the next update report to enable the Committee to make comparisons.
AGREED – That the Committee notes the good progress made in the delivery of the strategy and requests that the next report include the plans for 2019/20 as the basis for the report to enable the Committee to make comparisons.