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SUBJECT: Establishment of a Regional PSB Scrutiny Committee


Report written and submitted by: GSWAG Sub Group (led by Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council)


Author: Sarah King, Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council


Consultees: Gwent PSB Partners (following June 22 GPSB meeting), GSWAG Partners and Local Authority Scrutiny Officers).  This paper builds on the paper brought to Gwent PSB meeting on June 2022.



Areas Affected




The full Gwent PSB will be impacted by the establishment of a Regional Scrutiny Committee and all areas of Gwent represented.




Purpose of Report




The purpose of the report is to outline progress on the establishment of a Regional PSB Scrutiny Committee, and seek approval of recommendations to progress approach.








The PSB has agreed to establish regional scrutiny arrangements to review and scrutinise the work of the Gwent PSB.




In June 22, the PSB received a paper outlining a series of recommendations for consideration for establishing regional scrutiny (appendix 1), taking into account the precedent already set by established arrangements of other joint committees such as: CCRCD / CJC; Regional Partnership Board; Cardiff and the Vale Partnership Board; and Cwm Taf Public Services Board Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee.




The PSB  discussed the recommendations and agreed further work was required between meetings where partner organisations would establish an appropriate pathway and consider practicalities to operate the arrangements.




Recommendation to the PSB




Recommendation 1 – Operating Organisation

That Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council is identified as the lead organisation to facilitate committee support, with each other statutory partner organisation to identify a liaison Single Point of Conduct (SPOC) to interact with lead organisation.

Action: Subject to approval of recommendations, BGCBC will begin planning the implementation for regional scrutiny in-line with Terms of Reference and noted meeting arrangements outlined in June 2022 paper.


Action: Each statutory partner organisation identifies a SPOC to liaise with lead organisation.



Recommendation 2 – Resourcing Committee Support

That each statutory partner organisation (excluding the lead organisation, BGCBC, who will provide support in-kind) provides a nominal financial contribution to support the development and operation of the scrutiny committee. 


It is anticipated the costs will be £15,000 and should be shared equally by the seven remaining organisations (i.e. Caerphilly County Borough Council, Monmouthshire County Council, Newport City Council, Torfaen County Borough Council, South Wales Fire and Rescue, Natural Resources Wales, and Aneurin Bevan University Health Board).  The cost is based on existing models in place for CCRCD scrutiny processes, hosted by RCTCBC. 


Action: Each statutory partner organisation raises a Purchase Order for £2,140 to BGCBC for invoicing, this will cover the costs for calendar year 2023.


Costs for operating the scrutiny committee will be monitored by BGCBC as the lead organisation and can be considered for fairness and sustainability as part of an initial evaluation of regional scrutiny arrangements after one year of operation (see recommendation 6).




Recommendation 3 – Identifying Membership


Two local authority elected member are identified by each of the five local authorities, and an additional one representative from the following partner organisations (note these cannot be officers of the organisations):

·        The Fire and Rescue Authority

·        Third Sector

·        Health Board Member

·        NRW


This will lead to 14 elected official participating in regional scrutiny processes for Gwent PSB, and should be based on general principles set by existing regional processes already in place i.e.: The Committee should have an equal number of elected members from each appointing local authority, none of which are executive or cabinet members; and that each local authority and statutory partner organisation will determine and nominate its representative(s) in accordance with its own arrangements. The term of office of the nominated elected members shall be a matter for each nominating local authority.


Action: Each partner organisation to identify their nominated elected representative(s) by no later than the end of December 2022.





Recommendation 4: Timeframe for Regional Scrutiny


Regional Scrutiny to commence from 2023, with:


Initial Six Months (Jan to June 2023)

Training for identified members from each organisation in January /February 2023, this session will outline roles and responsibilities, go over the remit of the committee via the appended Terms of Reference (proposed to PSB in June 22 paper), and deal with any emerging considerations and issues.


This will place members of the committee in good stead, for an initial formal meeting of the committee in March/April (subject to PSB date confirmation) to scrutinise the final draft well-being plan, and allow the committee to report back any observations or recommendations to Gwent PSB before the plan is considered for agreement in-line with the legal timeframe. 


During this initial period a draft forward work programme aligned to the work of the Gwent PSB will be developed to be considered by the committee at their first meeting.


Following Six Months (July to December 2023)

Regional Scrutiny will follow a forward work programme, with meetings being aligned to the Gwent PSB meeting cycle to allow for effective interaction between the committee and PSB.  This would see meetings 4 weeks before each scheduled formal Regional PSB Meeting (quarterly).


Action: BGCBC to draft timeframe and liaise with SPOCs from each organisation to avoid clashes with individual partner organisation programmes.





Recommendation 5 – Agree Draft Terms of Reference


Agree the Draft Terms of Reference for the Regional PSB Scrutiny Committee, to include other key recommendations from June meeting (appendix 2) i.e.:

·       Voting:  One vote per organisation (regardless of number of members).

·       Chairs and Vice Chairs to be identified at the first meeting of the Committee.  BGCBC to make formal nomination for Chair to aid the inception of the process as the lead organisation.

·       Meeting arrangements as previously included e.g. key issues for hybrid meetings, with physical location for all meeting being General Offices, Ebbw Vale, Blaenau Gwent.

·       Quorum status of each local authority area to be represented, and at least one-third of the overall number e.g. 5 members.




Recommendation 6 – Evaluation Approach


Agree that the arrangements set out for implementing and operating the Regional Scrutiny Committee are reviewed after one calendar year of operation to include key areas such as:

·       Effectiveness of approach

·       Expected tenure of lead organisation

·       Financial contributions and sustainability

·       Membership participation

·       Effectiveness of approach and interaction between PSB and Committee

·       Any other relevant factors that were identified in the initial year of operation.


Action: BGCBC to draft paper on evaluation of scrutiny processes for final calendar quarter of 2023 for Gwent PSB consideration and approval.





Report Date:  Sept 2022



Appendix 2 -  Draft Terms of Reference – Regional PSB Scrutiny Committee


DRAFT Terms of Reference – Regional PSB Scrutiny Committee


The Regional PSB Scrutiny Committee will have the strategic oversight of the PSB and will hold the Regional PSB and Partners to account for the delivery of the Well-being Plan and supporting projects.


The Regional PSB Scrutiny Committee will:


·       Perform the Overview and Scrutiny function for the Regional PSB on behalf of the five local Authorities of Gwent.

·       Develop a forward work programme reflecting its functions.

·       Review, scrutinise and challenge the performance, decisions made or actions taken by the Board;

·       Review and scrutinise the Board’s governance arrangements and function;

·       Review and scrutinise the performance of the PSB projects including delivery and outcomes

·       Make reports or recommendations to the Board regarding its functions or governance arrangements;

·       Promote public engagement and participation;

·       Consider matters relating to the Board as Welsh Ministers may refer to it and report to the Welsh Ministers accordingly; and

·       Carry out other functions in relation to the Board that are imposed on it by the Well-Being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015. c).

·       Review or scrutinise the progress of any joint project.

·       Refer any matter to the Regional Gwent PSB which is relevant to its functions:

·    The matter relates to one of the functions of the authority and is relevant to the functions of the Regional scrutiny committee; and

·    It effects the electoral area of the member or it effects any person who lives or works there.


When considering whether to refer a matter to the Regional Scrutiny Committee a member should first consider if it falls within the remit of a single overview and scrutiny committee within the member’s local authority, and if that is the case the member should raise the matter there. Members should only refer a matter to a Joint scrutiny committee if it falls clearly within the responsibilities and terms of reference of the Regional Scrutiny Committee and if there is no scrutiny of the issue in the local authority to which the member belongs.


It is acknowledged that the establishment of a Regional Scrutiny Committee shall not serve to exclude a local authority’s right to carry out its own individual Scrutiny of any decision of the Regional Gwent PSB.


In addition to these functions the Regional Scrutiny Committee’s lines of Inquiry can include (but not be limited to), the following:

·       The effectiveness of the Wellbeing Assessment;

·       The effectiveness of the Wellbeing Plan;

·       The effectiveness of performance measurement arrangements;

·       The level of commitment from individual partners to the work of the Regional Gwent Public Services Board;

·       The effectiveness of the Regional Gwent Public Services Board in communicating its work, objectives and outcomes to its stakeholders; and,

·       The effectiveness of the Regional Gwent Public Services Board in addressing the issue of pooled funding to tackle priorities


The WBFG act allows for scrutiny of the PSB as a ‘collaborative body’, not the individual partners comprising the PSB. Paragraph 180 of the Future Generations guidance states that; ‘The committee can require any member of the board to give evidence, but only in respect of the exercise of joint functions conferred on them as a member of the board under this Act.’ This includes any person that has accepted an invitation to participate in the activity of the Regional Gwent PSB. The Regional Scrutiny Committee will therefore scrutinise the work of the Regional Gwent PSB and not the individual activities of partners.