Agenda and minutes

Cabinet Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday, 2nd October, 2019 10.00 am

Venue: Council Chamber - Port Talbot Civic Centre. View directions

No. Item


Progress report on proposals for improvement contained within Wales Audit Office - Annual Improvement Report 2017-2018 pdf icon PDF 61 KB

Report of the Assistant Chief Executive and Chief Digital Officer

Additional documents:


The Committee was updated on the progress made to date, to address the proposals for improvement contained within the Wales Audit Office’s Annual Improvement Report 2017-2018.


Members discussed the importance of widening the scope of scrutiny, including the public having more involvement and participation, by way of tweeting questions into meetings, for example. Public speaking was already a recognised form of public engagement in meetings of the Planning Committee.


In response, officers advised that the Democratic Services Committee had been commissioned by Council to take forward a project regarding webcasting, as well as public participation in the democratic process. Results would be fed back to all Council in 2020.


Training and development of Members was discussed. A yearly questionnaire is circulated to Members, asking for topics they would like training on. Additionally, training topics were identified through performance development reviews, officer input, committee discussions and external regulators. The topics for training were then prioritised at the Democratic Services Committee. A set of measures for evaluating the effectiveness of the training programme had also been identified.


Following scrutiny, the report was noted.




Pre-Decision Scrutiny


The Committee scrutinised the following Cabinet items:


Quarter 1 Key Performance Indicators


Members queried the increase in abandoned telephone calls in English to the contact centre, and noted that a number of strategies had recently been put in place to prevent this happening going forward. This included the employment of 6 new modern apprentices in the last 12 months, with transferrable skills across the contact centre and one stop shops.


Members sought assurances that suitable measures had been put in place to ensure flexibility, with reference to CP/101 – CS/002a (customer services – average time (seconds) to answer telephone calls in Welsh). It was noted that it had taken several attempts to recruit suitable Welsh speakers, in order to replace those lost through natural wastage. In addition there was now 50% less staff within the service than in previous years.


It was anticipated that the new voice and telephony service linked to the main council phone number would automate a percentage of call responses, and this would help to reduce the average time taken to answer calls, and also reduce the number of contact centre staff needed to route calls. Additional council services were going online, which would release employees’ time to speak with callers with more complex queries.


Members were interested in receiving further information about regular queries which came into the contact centre and the one stop shops – for example, bus passes and disabled blue badges.


CP/015 (the percentage of schools that have adopted suitable programmes to address violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence) was discussed, in light of the ‘red’ (Red/Amber/Green – RAG) performance status. Officers from the Education, Leisure and Lifelong Learning (ELLL) directorate were working with schools and the youth service to put support mechanisms in place. The Director of ELLL would be engaging with LLAN (Primary Head Teacher Group) and NASH (National Association of Secondary Headteachers) in order for schools to be able to highlight where there was an issue.


Members discussed whether reference/incident numbers were given to callers in order to be able to track a query from start to finish. Officers advised Members to feed back any specific examples of callers’ queries which they felt had not been followed through to an acceptable conclusion.


Members were pleased to note there had been a reduction in the number of working days lost to sickness absence per employee, when compared to the same quarter last year.


Despite trying to make online services easier for members of the public to use, the importance of face to face interaction was still important. An example of the need for face to face engagement was the number of older and disabled people unable to reapply for their bus passes online – an initiative by Transport for Wales.


Following scrutiny, the report was noted.


Corporate Plan 2018-22 Annual Report


Members queried the meaning of the term ‘affordable housing’ and noted that this referred to the Welsh Government’s definition, as detailed within a Welsh Government Technical  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2.


Forward Work Programme 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 73 KB


The Committee noted the Forward Work Programme for 2019/20.