The Committee scrutinised the following Cabinet items:
Western Bay Youth Offending and Early Intervention Service
The Director of Social Care, Health and Housing gave Members an overview of the circulated report. It was noted that the Western Bay Youth Justice and Early Intervention Service had been the subject of a joint inspection led by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation. Although the final report was not due for publication until late March 2019, the draft conclusions and recommendations indicated that it would not be in the best interests of the children and young people of Neath Port Talbot to wait in order to take remedial action.
It was noted that the Principal Officer post mentioned within the report would require agreement at the Personnel Committee. On costs for this role, and cost implications going forward were also discussed. Members queried the term ‘market supplement’ and noted that it was a payment in addition to the stated salary, made in order to recruit a suitable member of staff to a position.
Members discussed the relative merits of regional working, and the joint work around ‘County Lines’ (where criminal gangs set up a drug dealing operation in a place outside their usual operating area) was used as a recent example of positive regional working. Officers felt that a further independent evaluation of regional working was necessary by the Welsh Government, since the Beecham Review back in 2006. It was felt that in the case of the Youth Offending Service, an in house service would be more manageable and easier to monitor.
Officers emphasised the need for the relevant Scrutiny Committee to scrutinise the findings of the inspection report when it was published.
Following scrutiny, the committee was supportive of the proposals to be considered by Cabinet.
Consultation Response to Welsh Government – Improving Public Transport
The Head of Engineering and Transport gave Members an overview of the circulated report. Committee Members noted that only questions 1-21 of the consultation responses were relevant to the meeting today, as the rest of the responses (questions 22-38) related to non-executive functions, and had been discussed at the Registration and Licensing Committee as part of its remit.
Members agreed that the cross party issue of public transport affected all areas and that better connectivity was needed between rural communities. Adopting an in-house transport scheme as an income generation stream was discussed. Although it was felt that providing an in house service for public transport was currently not financially viable, Members did not want to rule this out entirely for the future. To this end, scrutiny committee members suggested the following re wording of question 16 to ‘Yes. However…’ and the response to question 17 be amended to ‘Yes. This is…’
A ticketing scheme regarding concessionary fares/passes, which could be relevant to trains and taxis as well as buses, was discussed.
Following scrutiny, it was agreed that Cabinet Board be asked to consider the following recommendation:-
1. That the response to question 16 be amended to ‘Yes. However…’ and the response to question 17 be amended to ‘Yes. This is…’