Agenda and minutes

Venue: Remotely via MS Teams

Contact: Scrutiny Officer - 01792 637732 


No. Item


Disclosure of Personal and Prejudicial Interests




Prohibition of Whipped Votes and Declaration of Party Whips




Minutes of Previous Meeting(s) pdf icon PDF 602 KB

To receive the minutes of the previous meeting(s) and agree as an accurate record.


The Panel considered letters and minutes from previous meetings and agreed the minutes of the meeting on 18 January 2022 as an accurate record of the meeting. 



Public Questions

Questions must be submitted in writing, no later than noon on the working day prior to the meeting.  Questions must relate to items on the agenda. Questions will be dealt with in a 10-minute period.


There were no public questions



Pre-Decision Scrutiny of Cabinet Reports: Annual Budget

Invited to attend:

Ben Smith – Director of Finance / S.151 Officer

Cllr Rob Stewart -  Cabinet Member for Economy, Finance and Strategy


Link to Cabinet Papers for 17 February 2022 containing the Budget papers




The Panel welcomed the large increase in budget provision, noting this was the largest such increase in recent years. Panel Members look forward to expenditure across all services to benefit the people of Swansea.

The Panel welcomed an increase in spending in Education and Social Services, and additional spending to invest in  services in Swansea that have experienced some reductions over recent years in line with constrained budgets. We are hopeful that this year’s funding will help with repairs to the infrastructure across Swansea.

The Panel took on board the cautionary warnings from the Section 151 Officer regarding inflation and service pressures, future lower settlements and the central pots of one off money that the Council will need to competitively bid for and which are not fully assured.

Panel Members understood that there will be a one-off large increase in funds, but are mindful these figures are not reflected equally across the three-year plan.  We understood that caution will be needed moving forward, and that the Capital Equalisation Reserve may not be able to be topped up with the increased investment levels it has seen since 2016; noting there may be less in the reserve in future.

In terms of General Revenue, the Panel welcomed the amount of funds reinstated, noting the £700,000 increase in insurance.

Joint Social Services

The Panel is very encouraged to see the budget situation for Social Services this year, because of the increases and because of the savings, which look as if they are all going to be contractual.  The only slight concern for the Panel is how far these contractual savings will go.  

The Panel understands that the Cabinet Papers show an £8.5m increase in the Social Services Budget for 2022/23 but the actual proposed budget for Social Services for 2022/23, in the Revenue Budget summary Sheet, is £16m.  The Panel understands that the £8.5m is for additional pressures and that the difference between this and the £16m is for continued growth within the Service.  The Panel feels this is a great opportunity to invest to improve services.  

The Panel intends to look at the transformation of services in more detail at future meetings. There is a need to have services which are economically and efficiently run, and the Panel needs to ensure we don’t lose sight of this.

The Panel welcomed the improved communication between Health, Social Services and Partners over the past few years and hopes this relationship will continue to grow.


The Panel welcomed the increase in the budget provision for schools for the next year but noted that the funding is heavily weighted to year 1 2022/23.  We share the departments concerns in relation to the clarity of funding for schools in years 2 and 3.

The Panel heard that individual school reserves are currently at a high level.  We did recognise that this is a positive thing given the challenges coming in years 2 and 3, but we agreed that this means the schools must be encouraged to have good medium term spending plans, in order for this to been used effectively.

The Panel did have concerns regarding the potentially inadequate funding from Welsh Government for:

a.         Phased roll out of Free School Meal provision to all primary pupils

b.         The emerging implications of the Additional Learning Needs Act.

The Panel raised concerns about the potential change to the proxy measure that is based upon Free School Meal allocation which is the indicator used for extra funding in schools for vulnerable pupils like, for example, the allocation of the Pupil Development Grant and the School Uniform Grant.  The Panel would be keen to see how this will be addressed in upcoming policy changes from Welsh Government so vulnerable children do not lose out.

The Panel were concerned about the rising energy cost for schools and would like to see schools switching to more green solutions, where it is feasible.

The Panel welcomed the high level of delegated spend that has been maintained by Swansea Council.  Hearing that this coming year will be 83% and will increase to 85% in 2024/25.



Sustainable Swansea (verbal update)

Invited to attend:

Ben Smith – Director of Finance / S.151 Officer

Cllr Rob Stewart -  Cabinet Member for Economy, Finance and Strategy




The Panel received a short verbal update from The Leader and S.151 Officer, regarding the Sustainable Swansea programme, noting that a full report will be made available to the Scrutiny Panel in due course.



Work Plan 2021-22 pdf icon PDF 217 KB


The Panel accepted the Work Programme for 2021/2022


Annual Review pdf icon PDF 286 KB

Review of items covered in the Work Plan 2021-22


·         The Panel considered the annual review documents.

·         The Panel commented on what had gone well this year, including the scrutiny of the Annual Planning Performance Report and the attendance of lead officers and Cabinet Members when requested.

·         Members commented on the lack of up-to-date performance data, as a result of the effects of the pandemic.

·         Members commented on the difficulty of reading/analysing agendas and reports on screen, noting a preference for printed paper copies.


Letters pdf icon PDF 325 KB


Exclusion of Public pdf icon PDF 234 KB


Property Investment Fund Strategy

Invited to attend:

Cllr David Hopkins – Cabinet Member for Delivery and Operations

Geoff Bacon – Head of Property Services

Tom Rees – Property Investment Manager

Alex O’Brien – Property Manager


Letter to Cabinet Member pdf icon PDF 327 KB

Letter to Cabinet Member pdf icon PDF 108 KB

Letter from Cabinet Member pdf icon PDF 506 KB