Agenda and minutes

Regeneration and Sustainable Development Scrutiny Committee - Friday, 16th April, 2021 10.00 am

Venue: Remotely via Teams

No. Item


Chairs Announcements


The Committee was informed of an amendment to the following reports on the Cabinet Agenda:


Agenda Item 6 – Metal Detecting Policy

Agenda Item 7 – Commercial Property Grant: 44 Victoria Gardens, Neath, SA11 3BH


It was clarified that these reports were being amended to include reference to the Integrated Impact Assessment (IIA) as per the IIA guidance.


Declarations of interest


The following member made a declaration of interest:


Cllr. M.Harvey -                                         Re. Agenda Item 5 – Community Safety – Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence During the Pandemic as he works for South Wales Police.



Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 107 KB

·        5 February 2021

·        17 March 2021

Additional documents:


The minutes of the following meetings were approved:

·        5 February 2021

·        17 March 2021


Community Safety - Violence Against Women Domestic Abuse & Sexual Violence During the Pandemic pdf icon PDF 622 KB


Members were provided with a presentation on Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (VAWDASV) during the pandemic.

Since the start of the Covid 19 pandemic, it was noted that there was concern over an anticipated ‘spike’ in domestic abuse at a local and national level; there was little time to prepare or adapt services for this expected demand. Officers explained that from the introduction of the UK lockdown in March 2020, local support services saw a 40% increase in demand which was across every risk level including standard, medium and high risk; this also included the Independent Domestic Violence Advisors service who specialised in supporting the highest risk victims. Rather than a ‘spike’ in demand, it was highlighted that the increase remained consistent across all services, which was still currently the case.

The Committee was informed of the Extraordinary Leadership Group which oversaw all of the work in relation to violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence during the pandemic; this group enabled Officers to liaise with partners about the immediate concerns, demands, funding and staffing matters in order to identify what could be done as a collective to try and respond appropriately. It was noted that all of the services had resilience plans in place and tried to adapt to home working arrangements, whilst maintaining a presence in the local refuges to support those at greatest risk; there were some added pressures such as the additional deep cleaning services that were required, as well as PPE and appropriate risk assessments to safeguard staff and residents alike.

It was highlighted that there were concerning trends early on in the first lockdown. It was evident that the cases had a rapid increase in escalation and severity of violence being used, with many of the cases reaching high risk when the incident was first reported to the Police. Officers stated that a lot of the referred cases had not been previously known to the Police, the Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVA) Service or the Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) process, which caused a great deal of concern.

Officers explained that there was an increase in the numbers of referrals that were coming from the health sector, particularly A&E departments; the number of referrals were higher than previous years. After looking into this increase further, it was noted that it was likely due to Covid 19 restrictions which only permitted the patient to attend appointments or the A&E department; this meant that Officers could identify some of the high risk cases that they might not have been able to under usual circumstances.

As a result of the demand on the service, it was stated that the number of staff case-loads that were being held by the IDVA Service were increasing very early on and elements of safety planning work was affected due to the closure of courts; Officers provided support within the criminal justice system and trials were delayed for many months, therefore there were cases held  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Pre-Decision Scrutiny

To select appropriate items from the Cabinet Board agenda for pre-decision scrutiny (reports enclosed for Scrutiny Members)


The Committee chose to scrutinise the following Cabinet Board items:

Metal Detecting Policy

Members received a report in relation to the adoption of a formal Policy in respect of metal detecting activities on Council owned land.

It was asked if any metal detecting groups were consulted with in relation to the policy, to which it was confirmed that they were not; however, other Local Authorities and interested parties, such as Natural Resource Wales (NRW) and the Canal Trust, were consulted with.

Officers were asked to confirm if any finds over 300 years old had to be reported to museums, to which it was clarified that any fines had to be reported to the local coroner within 14 days of the find.

It was queried why Neath Port Talbot Council differed from Swansea City Council whom had a policy of cooperation with metal detectorists. Officers stated that a significant amount of money was needed in order to carry out any development work as ecologists and potentially archaeologists would be involved in these processes. It was noted that disrupting ground in which there was no policy would also be difficult to track, therefore it was proposed that the Council does not support metal detecting activities on its land.

Moving on from the discussions, one Member stated that they did not agree with the recommendations contained within the circulated report.

Following scrutiny, the majority of the Committee was supportive of the proposals to be considered by Cabinet Board.



Forward Work Programme 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 69 KB


Members noted the Regeneration and Sustainable Development Scrutiny Forward Work Programme for 2020/21.


It was mentioned that the Active Travel Plan report would be presented to the Committee at the next scheduled meeting which was Friday 14 May 2021.