· To select appropriate items from the Cabinet agenda for pre-decision scrutiny (cabinet reports enclosed for Scrutiny Members)
· To select appropriate items from the Cabinet (Finance) Sub Committee agenda for pre-decision scrutiny (Cabinet Finance Sub - Committee reports enclosed for Scrutiny Members)
The Committee scrutinised the following Cabinet items:
Short Term Service Resilience Framework
Members received the Short Term Service Resilience Framework which was set to minimise the risk of service disruption in the short term.
The Chief Executive explained how service demands had increased over recent months and how this had impacted the overall workforce.
It was noted that Welsh Government had reduced the alert level to Level Zero on 7th August 2021, which resulted in a lot more social mixing across various communities; by 24 October 2021 the number of cases locally had risen to 1037.6 cases per 100,000 population, with almost 1 in 3 people testing positive for Covid 19 at that time. Officers mentioned that the rates had reduced since then; at the time of writing the report, the number of cases were at 653.8 cases per 100,000 population.
Despite the reduction in the number of cases, it was stated that the Coronavirus rates across the community remained very high, and the increase in community transmission has had a further impact on demands in services; for example the Test, Trace, Protect (TTP) Service had become busier and there were significant impacts across the health and social care system. Members were informed that service areas across the Council were continuing to operate under Covid risk assessments; this was affecting the way in which the Council was able to provide services, and the number of people available to provide those services. It was noted that a lot more individuals within the community were coming forward with various needs, as a result of living through 20 months of the pandemic.
Officers highlighted that some service areas had significant backlogs in their work that needed attention; this was due to setting some work aside in order to be able to deal with the priorities that Welsh Government had asked Councils to take on board.
Members were informed that the Council had received funding for some very exciting projects within the County Borough, which Officers were supportive of taking forward; this meant that they needed to be considered in the Councils short term service resilience plans.
It was explained that the amount of people available to service the demand had diminished slightly over recent months; there were a number of reasons for this, which were set out in the circulated report. Officers mentioned that some service areas were experiencing challenges with recruiting people into vacancies; there was currently a lot of vacant jobs within the local economy, and some of those in the private sector had more benefits and/or better pay than those within the public sector.
In terms of the Councils current situation, it was noted that there was an increased demand, slightly less people to deal with the demand, and backlogs which required additional staff beyond the usual capacity levels; immediate steps needed to be taken to try and fill the outstanding vacancies, as well as bringing in additional capacity to ensure that the workforce was supported over the winter months. ... view the full minutes text for item 1