Questions to Cabinet Member for Social Services

Member question: Councillor R Mogford, received 30 April 2018

Subject: FGM update

Approximately four years on can the Cabinet Member(s) responsible please update us on the following five items extracted from the motion:

Question 1: Raising awareness of Female Genital Mutilation through schools and public information. How successfully has this been done and how has this been measured?

Response 1: Newport City Council has been working with BAWSO, a specialist organisation in raising awareness of FGM.  

In addition to sharing the FGM hotline number with schools, in 2014/15, the pan-Gwent Honour Based Violence (HBV) training group has provided level 3 HBV training (including Forced marriage and FGM) to 207 practitioners. 47 members of NCC staff attended, the majority of which were social services staff.  A HBV (which includes FGM) awareness raising e-learning tool was also developed and added to the e-learning portfolio.  

In 2015/16, NCC regionalised our training provision in line with the establishment of the Gwent VAWDASV team. Training courses delivered include, HBV training (including Forced marriage and FGM).  

The VAWDASV team has also supported that a Gwent HBV, FM and FGM sub-group, of which NCC is a member to improve the quality of support services within Gwent, raise awareness, identify and support additional training needs. The group has an action plan which includes running FGM awareness raising campaigns. 

NCC has also enabled BAWSO, to continue its work within the city via the Domestic Abuse Unit. The unit functions as a multi-agency hub providing a one-stop shop for victims. BAWSO works with communities who are hard to reach or most inclined to practice FGM and they work with men and community leaders, policy makers and health professionals to support those who have undergone FGM and to change attitudes towards the practice. 

The Level 1 ‘Ask and Act’ e-learning has also incorporated a small section on FGM and this is mandatory training for all staff. Additional specialist modules are also made available for those working in key posts. 

GEMS staff have received training from BAWSO in 2016 on FGM and they are allocated to schools across Newport.  GEMS have a strong working partnership with BAWSO so facilitate engagement with schools if issues are raised.  GEMS also work closely with social services and safeguarding officers. 

FGM is a standing item on the agenda for GEMS staff at annual safeguarding updates. 

Question 2: Working proactively with fathers, husbands and brothers to help them understand that they have a role to play in protecting their female family members from harm. 

Response 2: This has been an area of work carried out by BAWSO and NCC has provided support through the provision of office space to enable BAWSO to continue its operations in the city. We have also facilitated a presentation to the Mosque and Madrasah Safeguarding forum.

Question 3: Working with health services to ensure that all those who are affected are provided with specific healthcare and medical support. 

Response 3: Health services have been working with WG over the last 5 years to develop an All Wales FGM policy; the policy is going through final stages of adoption but working practices of midwives are in line with the policy. When women present to maternity services there is a mandatory question on the intake form, which asks whether the pregnant lady has been subjected to FGM in the past, and whether FGM is a culturally accepted procedure. If so, a referral is made to social services. If the child is born and is a female a MARF is made to social services and health visitor is informed. When the health visitor involvement finishes, she will pass the information on to the school nurse. The equality and diversity midwife has a discussion re legal aspects of FGM with all parents who have been identified. Maternity services in Newport see approx. 13 cases per year.

Question 4: Continuing to work in a collaborative, multi -agency approach to ensure zero tolerance to FGM in Newport; Can you itemise the approach taken and outcome? 

Response 4: The approach has been on awareness raising and training (see response 1) and ensuring women who present with FGM to health services are provided with the appropriate support (see response 3)

Question 5:  Requests that the Cabinet approves and adopts a Charter for zero tolerance of FGM in Newport. Where is this charter held and what has been the real benefit of having this charter in place? 

Response 5: Following the FGM motion to Council on the 29th of July 2014, a small group was set up to take forward this work and it focused on the theme of the motion, i.e. prevention, awareness raising and multi-agency working.$995010%20-%20CONT726855.doc.pdf

While the group did not develop a charter that encompassed these themes, the work carried out has been outlined in part 1, 2 and 3 of this response. 

Question 6: Finally, is the administration aware of any criminal prosecutions arising in Newport since the passing of this motion, if so how many?  

Response 6: While there have been no criminal prosecutions in Newport, it is important to note that this is a challenge across the UK. Across England and Wales, only one FGM prosecution has been brought to trial since 1985 and both defendants in that case were cleared in 2015. 

The CPS has been challenged on this and their response was that prosecutors work closely with police, offering advice on their investigations, but when a case is referred to the CPS a prosecution can only be brought where there is sufficient evidence. Factors such as the age and vulnerability of FGM victims, who frequently do not want to report offences that could lead to them giving evidence against their family, make it extremely difficult to secure this evidence. 

A factor to also consider is that a significant number of those who have been subjected to FGM tend to have had the procedure carried out on them prior to residing in the UK. Issued 14 May 2018

Member question: Councillor J Watkins, received 13 April 2018

Subject: Oaklands (supplementary question)

I would like clarification on the following points please - Changes under Care Inspectorate  Wales under RISCA - when were  these changes notified and was there any advance information that changes were being made?

When were changes to rotas implemented and why were they not put in place prior to your decision, given that clearly they could support maintenance of a 7/7 provision? 


The changes in the regulatory framework are currently being rolled out. The final details are being shared in workshops across Wales throughout April and May. We have to submit to the inspectorate by the end of June our changed Statements of Purpose for each of our residential units. This information was not available in the autumn when considering the proposed budget changes. 

We are about to commence consultation with staff in relation to changes in rotas. Issued 25 April 2018

Member question: Councillor J Watkins, received 16 March 2018

Subject: Oaklands

Whilst I welcome your decision to reverse your earlier decision to cut services at Oaklands respite centre can you please explain where have the savings been found to support this reversal and how much do they amount to? Why could these savings not have been identified prior to your earlier decision to make cuts thus saving families weeks of worry and distress? Families already under considerable distress caring for disabled children and young people.


Thank you for your question. 

The changes from Care Inspectorate Wales under RISCA (Regulation and Inspection of Social Care) mean we are able to review and change some of our management arrangements. This will create some savings without needing to drop the number of days we offer for short breaks. 

As well as the change in the rota arrangements across all of our residential units we have been able to further mitigate the original proposed Oaklands saving as a result of the improved settlement offer. Issued 9/4/18

Member question: Councillor J Jordan, received 8 March 2018

Subject: 5 Crouch Close, Bettws

I would like to know with the budget cuts which was made in Feb 18.

What was the reason in closing the premises and moving the residents from 5 Crouch close Bettws, these residents have been moved from other premises a while  back and don’t you think this is affecting there stability and wellbeing ,also  what is happening to the staff which are employed there. And will number 1 Crouch Close be affected too.

And why wasn’t us councillors approached about this move as there are part of our constituents, it  would have been nice for you to approach us about this decision.


The proposal to make changes to the Council’s supported living schemes has been the subject of public consultation through the MTFP budget process in 2017/18 and 2018/19. We have also engaged with staff and families so that they are aware of the proposals.

Over the past 5years, we have been working to develop a variety of housing options for people living in our communities who have learning disabilities. Some of these housing options allow people to live very independently and others provide a higher level of support required by individuals as they grow into older age.  For some of the people living in our supported living schemes whose needs have now changed, these will provide more appropriate accommodation and support than is achievable in their current  location. The process through which decisions are made about where people live in the future , will of course  put  the people themselves at the centre and will involve their families and friends as appropriate. This will be  managed through the social work led reviewing  process  and any decisions taken to move people will be taken on the basis of it being in their best interest.

The Council has four supported living schemes ( 1 and 5 Crouch Close; Welland Cres and Oakfield Road). No decision has been taken yet about which of these houses will be returned to the social landlords.” Issued: 16 March 2018