The Committee received the 2021/22 Quarter 2 Performance Report for the period 1st April to 30th September 2021 presented by the Cabinet Members for Environment, Public Protection and Social Care and Health in respect of the areas falling within their portfolios and the Committees remit.
The report detailed the progress made against the actions and measures within the Corporate Strategy and on the delivery of the 13 Well-Being Objectives. The Committee noted that 2021/22 was the first year the Council would self-evaluate and report on under the terms of the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Act 2021, especially Part 6 relating to Performance and Governance.
The following comments/queries were raised in relation to the actions attributed to the Environment portfolio:-
· In reference to page 7 of the report, compliments were expressed to the cleansing teams for their rapid response to calls in removing excess waste in bottle bank areas. The Cabinet Member for Public Protection agreed that the teams were very proactive and stated that as this matter resided within the public protection portfolio, he would ensure that the Committee’s compliments were forwarded to the relevant teams.
· Reference was made to action reference PAM/030 -Percentage of waste reused, recycled or composted. It was asked in relation to the significant disruption to the normal waste sorting, treatment and disposal arrangements as a result of fire at CWM’s Nantycaws materials recovery facility, if the Welsh Government would be understanding with regard to targets? The Cabinet Member for Environment stated that it was hoped that the Welsh Government would be understanding of the position and explained that measures had been put in place to assist in meeting the targets whilst the challenges in relation to sorting the waste continue.
The Head of Waste and Environmental Services confirmed that the Welsh Government were fully sighted of the situation. In addition, close monitoring of the position was a priority particularly during the pandemic.
· In response to a query in relation to the cataloguing and classification of potholes throughout the County, the Cabinet Member for Environment stated that the Highways Asset Management Plan sets out the hierarchy of highway repair against the classification of road. The Director of Environment further explained that the repair of a pothole would be prioritised by considering the two ‘need categorisation’ criteria; 1) the nature of the road that the pothole has occurred and 2) the severity of the pothole. Based on the criteria, should a pothole meet the criteria for immediate repair it would be completed within 24hours. However, a pothole that was deemed not severe and was located on a low usage category road would not be a classified for intervention and would therefore remain in place. The Director echoed the comments of the Cabinet Member for Environment regarding the Highways Asset Management Plan which considers the conditions of the highway as a whole.
· Reference was made to the promised action ‘We will work with communities to submit bids to the Welsh Government to secure funding for the development of Safer Routes in Communities and Active Travel to improve walking routes to encourage more sustainable travel to assist with achieving the objective of decarbonisation – action number 14964. Whilst the action indicates to be on target, concern was raised there was only one opportunity to submit a bid to secure funding for the development of Safer Routes in Communities in rural areas in any one year. Concern was expressed that Carmarthenshire contained a vast rural area and that only one application per year would not be enough to provide the necessary funding for safer routes in a timely manner. It was asked if this could be improved upon? The Cabinet Member for Environment stated that bids were based on the available grants from the Welsh Government and in this case, it was one urban and one rural per year. The concerns were substantiated, in the confirmation that following advertisement and criteria matching, 300+ applications had been received for the provision of safer routes. The Director of Environment specified that in terms of the performance report the action was on target aligned to the available budget.
In an effort to encourage the Welsh Government to increase the opportunity to obtain funding for Safer Routes in communities, it was proposed that the Committee write a letter to the appropriate Minister within the Welsh Government to request that funding for Safer Routes in Communities is increased and that the eligibility criteria widened to support the development of more projects. This was duly seconded.
No comments/queries were raised in relation to the actions attributed to the Public Protection portfolio.
In the absence of the Cabinet Member for Communities and Rural Affairs, the Chair invited comments/queries from Committee Members in relation to the actions attributed to the Communities and Rural Affairs portfolio. No comments/queries were raised.
The following comments/queries were raised on in relation to the actions attributed to the Social Care and Health portfolio:-
· Reference was made to WBO7. Help people live healthy lives (Tackling risky behaviour and obesity) Sub-theme: D - Substance Misuse located on page 20 of the agenda pack. It was asked what the definition of ‘Risky Behaviour’ was in respect of this WBO? To ensure to provide an accurate definition the Cabinet Member for Social Care and Health offered to forward the definition of risky behaviour in the context of substance misuse to Committee members by e-mail.
UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that:
4.1 the 2021/22 Quarter 2 Performance Report (1st April to 30th September 2021) be received;
4.2 that the Committee write a letter to the Deputy Minister for Climate Change to request that funding for Safer Routes in Communities is increased and that the eligibility criteria widened to support the development of more projects.