Cabinet Member: Councillor Dyfrig Siencyn
To submit a progress report on the work of Gwynedd and Anglesey’s Public Services Board.
A report was submitted by the Cabinet Member on the progress on the work of Gwynedd and Anglesey Public Services Board. Members were reminded that the Board had agreed on priority areas that would improve the economic, environmental and cultural well-being of both counties. A brief update was provided on the developments within the six priority fields.
It was reported that the Public Services Board was being scrutinised by the designated Scrutiny Committees of Gwynedd and Anglesey local authorities. When the Board was established, it was agreed that a joint scrutiny panel would be developed between both counties to undertake the scrutiny work. It was noted that scrutiny officers from Gwynedd Council and Isle of Anglesey Council would address the key actions in relation to establishing a joint panel during the coming months .
During the ensuing discussion, the following points were highlighted by individual Members:
· Despite agreeing with the concept, a culture of words / talking shop could be created
· That major companies needed to be convinced to develop bilingual information
· Cynllun Iaith a Thaith for children - accepted the purpose of the plan, however, on the other hand, Language Centres were being reviewed
· Homes for Local People - sites needed to be identified in the right places and the homes needed to respond to the need
· Health and Care Aims - needed to develop effective collaboration between the Health Board and Social Services. Needed to ensure that the service could offer and achieve what was being sought.
· It was suggested that the Sub-group leaders should be invited to give individual presentations on the progress of the projects.
In response to the concern expressed that the Board meetings could turn into a 'talking shop', the Cabinet Member noted that he was eager to see the projects that were accountable to the Board, having an impact on the citizens of Gwynedd and Anglesey. Although he agreed that the legislation was the ideal, he expressed that specific efforts were being made to work innovatively by collaborating to improve the service.
In response to a question regarding the joint scrutiny panel, the Cabinet Member noted that it was likely that a similar representation from both Counties would serve as members of the panel. He reiterated that Scrutiny Members were meeting to discuss the development. A further comment was made that establishing a panel could lead to creating another talking shop and that this needed to be avoided.
In response to a comment regarding the economic element, he noted that this particular field had not been identified as one of the Board's work fields as the North Wales Ambition Board would be doing this across the North. Having said that, it was noted that the economy had a direct impact on poverty, which was one of the Board's work fields.
In response to a question regarding how the projects would be funded, it was noted that the work of the sub-groups, when identifying their projects, was to present and identify financial sources for them in their business plan. If projects could be better achieved by collaborating and creating partnerships, it was likely that it could lead to potential savings. In response to the suggestion to challenge Welsh Government for funding to support the projects, the Cabinet Member noted that ongoing discussions were being held with the Government regarding the lack of funding for Local Authorities. He reiterated that the Act was aspirational, that it set an ambitious standard and that the Councils' role was to identify those fields that could benefit from collaboration. It was also commented that the Public Services Board should consider establishing another sub-group to address the Board's resources.
In response to the 'delay' of the Wylfa Newydd Scheme, the Cabinet Member noted that the impact, in terms of hopes, had been harmful, but that the 'site' still existed and that it would create further employment in future.
RESOLVED to accept the report.