· 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:
Proposed Future Funding Model for Community Transport
Members were updated on the request to amend the method of allocating the Bus Services Support Grant funding, available to Community Transport organisations, as detailed within the circulated report.
It was asked whether any community transport organisations would be entitled to apply for the funding. It was confirmed that the Scheme would be open to all organisations that operate within Neath Port Talbot.
Discussions took place around the Welsh Governments strategy, in supporting schemes of this nature which are sustainable and delivered locally. It was noted that Welsh Government were currently reviewing all funding schemes in terms of transport and the Council were yet to receive the details.
Concern was raised around main transport companies such as ‘First Cymru’ reducing their services following the integration of Community transport. Officers reassured members that the services would not be working competitively against each other and instead would be working together. Community transport being considered as an additional service.
Members asked officers whether they would consider highlighting to Welsh Government the concerns around transport issues in other departments. Members used Social Services as an example and highlighted the difficulties carers are faced with when trying to travel to those that require care. Officers recognised these concerns not only in Social Services, but in other areas as well, as transport can be restrictive at different times of the day and would feedback views to the bus review group.
Following scrutiny, the committee was supportive of the proposals to be considered by Cabinet.
Corporate Plan 2021-2023
Members were presented with an updated Corporate Plan for the period 2021-2023 for consideration, as detailed within the circulated report.
Members noted that the Wellbeing Objectives were the same objectives as agreed in 2017 and the draft plan was more of a position statement detailing the Council’s current state of play in terms of the pandemic and the recovery plan.
Members asked that clarity be provided on the consultation and engagement plan detailed within the report. Officers explained that they were in the process of developing a consultation and engagement plan which would contain the views of the Community and Community organisations.
Discussions took place around Air Quality, it was stated in the meeting that this topic would be best discussed outside the meeting.
Members asked what the reporting mechanism would be in relation to the actions identified from our Childcare Sufficiency Assessment action plan which is detailed within page 79 of the report. Officers confirmed they would provide this information outside of the meeting.
Following scrutiny, the committee was supportive of the proposals to be considered by Cabinet
South West Wales Corporate Joint Committee
Members were provided with a brief overview on the requirement to establish Corporate Joint Committees (“CJCs”) along with seeking delegated authority for officers to enter into discussions with the authorities referenced within the report to develop suitable proposals for the CJC arrangements in South West Wales as detailed within the circulated report.
Members shared concern around the establishment of Corporate Joint Committees and the governance arrangements around the CJC’s. Members felt a consultation process should have been completed in advance of the introduction of the legislation to have considered Neath Port Talbot Members views in advance.
Following a strong debate the committee was supportive of the proposals and requested that Cabinet consider the following additional recommendation:
· That representations be made to Welsh Government to express concerns on Corporate Joint Committees as discussed at the Cabinet Scrutiny Committee and Cabinet meeting of the 12th May 2021.