Agenda and minutes
Venue: Meeting Room 1, Guildhall
Contact: Tracy Davies Scrutiny Facilitator
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillors Trevor Bates and Paul Rogers.
To sign as a correct record the Minutes of the Meeting held on 7 March 2018.
AGREED – That the Minutes of the Meeting held on 7 March 2018 be signed as a correct record.
To consider the report of the Head of Finance
The Head of Finance submitted a report (HF/41/18s) to assist the Committee in considering and agreeing its work programme.
During discussion, a number of changes to the work programme were proposed as follows:
· Site Visit to Redwither Tower – it was agreed that the site visit to view the facility and discuss future plans for the tower would be held on the date of the next scheduled Meeting on 4 May 2018 at 4.00 pm.
· Sprouts Nursery – the Head of Education was suggesting that the report be deferred until September 2018 as there were still some issues outstanding. Expressing disappointment, Members requested an update be given at the Meeting on 4 May in order to provide further clarification of the reasons for deferring the issue.
· Proposed Budget Savings 2019/20 and 2020/21 – report to be scheduled for the meetings in early October and December 2018 to consider the specific budget savings proposals identified from the All Member Budget Workshops held between April and July.
AGREED – That the Work Programme, attached at Appendix 1 to report HF/41/18s, be agreed, subject to the aforementioned amendments.
To consider the report of the Head of Finance.
The Lead Member for People – Youth Services and Anti-Poverty submitted a report (HF/40/18s) asking Members to consider and comment on the draft Wrexham Council ‘Tackling Poverty Strategy’ developed to deliver the wellbeing objective ‘Helping Tackle Poverty’, part of the Council’s Economy theme in the Council Plan.
The Lead Member introduced the report, and with assistance from Officers from the Housing and Economy Department, responded to questions thereafter. A debate ensued and the following points were raised during the discussion:
· Acknowledgement that poverty was a huge issue and not a task that could be dealt with by a single Department or Organisation, but was everybody’s business.
· Clarification sought in relation to the links with the PSB, and the role of staff and Members in tackling poverty.
· Recognition by the Lead Member to the hard work already undertaken by Officers and the previous Lead Member.
· Clarification sought in relation to measurements contained within the action plan, and detail with regards to the steps that the Council were taking to influence changes and reach the desired outcome of tackling poverty.
· Confirmation that EIAs would assess Council policies, plans and services to ensure they had effective quality assurance and monitoring procedures in place with regard to poverty.
· Importance of setting measurable targets within the action plan.
· Suggestion of encouraging more people to access the Credit Union.
· In response to a suggestion that the Council should commit to paying the real living wage, the Head of Finance advised that there had recently been a national pay award which it was felt would go someway towards increasing resources for families.
· Suggestion that the baseline information include key indicators such as child poverty, impact on people’s income and employment.
· Request that the strategy should be a five year strategy.
· Importance of ensuring that the promotion of connectivity (access to public transport and the roll out of Broadband to enable affordable learning technologies) be included in the strategy as it was felt that these were two crucial things affecting people on low income.
· Importance of highlighting Wrexham as a good place for businesses to invest which may then result in higher level sustainable employment opportunities.
(i) That the Tackling Poverty Strategy 2018 – 21, as detailed at Appendix 2 to report HF/40/18s, be supported.
(ii) That a further report be brought back to this Committee detailing the action plan, which includes details of responsibility for delivery, success criteria and measures and a timetable for future reports to Scrutiny, prior to approval by the Executive Board.