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New committee structures agreed

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THE CORPORATE GOVERNANCE COMMITTEE has recommended a new structure for the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committees.

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The committee met on Monday (Feb 8), and had a lengthy debate on a number of possible options to take forward.

Council Leader Jamie Adams suggested that the committee should recommend four options to the council labelled C, D, E & F.

The first of those (C) is to introduce a Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee to look at the roles of the Leader and Chief Executive and others.

Secondly, (D) there will be a new Service Scrutiny Committee/s, thirdly (E) a new policy scrutiny committee and finally (F) a new partnership committee.

Other councillors also said that there should be a committee to look at School performance and that was added to the recommendations.

Council Leader Jamie Adams said: “If we keep doing what we are doing would add no value to the way the council is having to move because of financial and organisational pressures.

“There are four elements that stick out for me and those are C, D, E & F but that forms the basis of a sensible way forward in the authority.

“There is currently no scrutiny holding myself, the chief executive, finance, HR, IT to account and there should be.

“D is a one committee role but I believe that we should have a standing committee for School performance and anybody who looks over that will recognise the need to maintain focus.

“E, as Cabinet we would find that enormously helpful in terms of some of the challenging situations we have to grapple with currently.

“F, more and more we are being asked to deliver things on a regional basis or in conjunction with other authorities and there is plenty of scope to improve that working within the county as well but there has to be a framework of holding that process to account.

“There is some ongoing work in scrutiny that needs to be brought to conclusion and we could begin this work in September.”

Cllr Michael Williams said that education was of such importance that it should be a stand-alone matter.

Cllr Guy Woodham said: “It is difficult to be asked to make a decision. I don’t feel there is enough information. It has got to be the right change and I wouldn’t like to see the council going down a particular route because it is too early at the moment. There needs to be much more member involvement.”

Cllr Jacob Williams suggested that councillors could be given free passes to speak at certain committees so that they could give their views on a topic that interests them.

Cllr Bob Kilmister said: “The current model doesn’t work. There is absolutely no pre-scrutiny work and that is completely wrong. All we are doing is looking at what’s already happened. We need to start this pre-scrutiny work in the new municipal year.

“The worst thing we could do now is to take the long grass option.” Cllr Keith Lewis said: “The existing system has performed very well over the last four years.

Cllr Michael Williams has continually made a valuable point that there is too much overview and not enough scrutiny within the existing set up. I think this is a very common sense approach. There is a need for radical change.

“In the last economy meeting there was a very good example of pre-decision scrutiny on Scolton Manor where Cabinet referred and out of that will come a recommendation on its future and that is the level of scrutiny that needs to be in place.”

Cllr Mike Stoddart felt that the new structure was very light on scrutiny performance and also said: “People say scrutiny is good but what I am told is that on certain committees, half of the members turn up month after month and never say a word and that is the problem.

“There is not enough robust scrutiny. Until you’ve overcome that problem I’m afraid moving the deckchairs around will not solve the problem.”

The Leader said that there was an awful lot of work that would now be done and the four options suggested and a school performance committee were approved with ten voting in favour and two abstaining.

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Pembrokeshire residents can quickly check symptoms for variety of conditions on NHS 111 Wales online

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NHS 111 Wales online symptom checker can save Pembrokeshire patients time by helping them find the right NHS service for treatment. Symptoms can be quickly checked for a variety of conditions and advice given on the best way to treat them by visiting www.111.wales.nhs.uk which is hosted by the Welsh Ambulance Service.

The way we access NHS services has changed as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with more options now becoming increasingly utilised, including the NHS 111 Wales online service which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It can be used for both health information and advice and to access urgent primary care in Welsh and English.

In a recent YouGov survey, a third of Pembrokeshire residents had not even heard of the NHS 111 Wales online symptom checker and only 19% had used it during the past 12 months.

Andrew Carruthers, Director of Operations at Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “We are asking everyone to help us by reconsidering the way you access NHS services. The methods available have changed but we are still here for you. It is worth getting to know the different ways you can access the NHS so you can be seen and treated quicker with your first port of call being NHS 111 Wales.”

According to the YouGov survey, carried out for the Welsh Government’s Keep Wales Safe campaign, only 67% of Pembrokeshire residents had heard of the NHS 111 Wales online symptom checker. However, 86% said they felt it was important to have access to the service.   

NHS 111 Wales online can help if you have an urgent medical problem and you’re not sure what to do. The way it works is: You answer questions about your symptoms on the website and depending on the situation you will:

  •           Get self-care advice
  •           Be told how to get any medicine you need
  •           Find out what local service can help you
  •           Be connected to a nurse, emergency dentist, pharmacist or GP
  •           Get a face-to-face appointment if you need one
  •           Be given an arrival time if you need to go to A&E – this might mean you spend less time in A&E

For those who don’t have confidence going online to seek advice, there is the NHS 111 Wales phone service. This is also a free service where patients can contact the NHS by dialling 111 to receive advice on the best way to manage their issue or gain further assistance if needed. The bilingual telephone service is available 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

Eighty-four percent of Pembrokeshire residents had heard of the NHS 111 Wales phone service when asked for the recent YouGov survey but only 20% had used the telephone service during the last 12 months.

 

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Trial date for son accused of killing mum

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THE SON of Judith Rhead, 68, who was found dead in her home in Market Street, Pembroke Dock on Feb 20 will now appear in Crown Court again in October.

Dale Morgan, 43, said to be a scout master, appeared in court only to confirm his name, date of birth and address – which was listed as Honeyborough Green, Neyland.

A plea and trial preparation hearing date was set for March 26 with a provisional trial date set for October 4.

He was remanded in custody.

In court papers it stated that the alleged murder took place between December 10, 2020 and February 21, 2021.

The paperwork demonstrates that the police are unsure of the exact date that Ms Rhead died. The large date range, two months, points to the likelihood that this will be a challenging case for all those involved.

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Launch of Haverfordwest Castle Conservation Management Plan

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MEMBERS of the public are being asked to help shape the future of Haverfordwest Castle as a draft Conservation Management Plan (CMP) is launched.

One of Pembrokeshire’s most important historical assets, the Castle is owned by Pembrokeshire County Council, which has produced the CMP.

The plan:

▪ sets out the significance of the castle and describes how the building will be protected with any new use, alteration, repair or management; 

▪ will help with the planning of maintenance, conservation and repair work and adaptation of the site to meet new or changing uses; 

▪ will help promote understanding of the site and look at improving public access and activities for local people and visitors; 

▪ will support proposals to conserve the castle and adaptations of the site in response to climate change; 

▪ and underpin funding applications to support improvements

An engagement exercise has been launched alongside the Plan, giving members of the public with an interest in the historic and/or environmental significance of the castle an opportunity to comment on the document and share their views.

To take part in the engagement exercise, please click on the following link: 

https://haveyoursay.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/regeneration-communities

The deadline for responses is Sunday, March 28, 2021.

 

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