Questions to CM for People and Business Change

Questions at any time to Cabinet Member for People & Business Change

From June 2015

For questions pre-June 2015 contact democratic services at Newport City Council  

Question from Councillor Fouweather

Subject: Cost of Consultant for StreetScene

Between May 2014 and October 2014 the council paid out £71,300 for a consultant to run StreetScene. 

Between October 2014 and May 2015 a further £82,925 was paid to a consultant to run StreetScene. 

Between May 2015 and August 2015 it is estimated that a further £45,000 will be paid to a consultant.  

In total £199,225 has been paid for a fifteen month period to run a council department.  

Does the cabinet member believe that this is a good use of council tax payers money and can she explain why she has allowed such a whopping amount to be paid out to consultants. 

Date received: 19 June 2015


Thank you for your question. Recruitment of staff and the payment of agency fees is a responsibility of senior management. 

You will be aware that there have been a number of attempts to recruit to the post but to date a suitable candidate has not been found. It has therefore been necessary to employ an interim consultant to ensure local tax payers continue to receive a well-managed and essential service. I understand the rate of agency pay is competitive. 

I have made it clear that my expectation is that the appointment of a suitable Head of Service is made at the earliest opportunity. Pay has been a contributory factor and this is something we may need to address. 

Date issued: 30 June 2015


Question from Councillor Fouweather

Subject: Welsh Language Scheme

Q. 1 How much will the implementation of the Welsh Language Scheme cost?  

Q. 2 How many staff are currently able to speak Welsh and do we have enough to implement the scheme?  

Q. 3 How do you plan to recruit and retain staff who speak Welsh and will there be any additional payments made to these staff in order to retain them?  

Q. 4 Will documents sent out to the public and placed on the council website have to be both in English and Welsh, what is the cost of the translation and will it be done in-house or will this work have to be contracted out? 

Date received: 4 September 2015


Q. 1 The requirements for Welsh language provision under the Welsh Language Scheme are resourced from within existing budgets and incorporated into the costs of various provision detailed within the scheme. It is therefore impractical to disaggregate the actual amount.  

However, during 2014-15 £20,000 was specifically allocated to translation provision in order to better prepare the local authority for the implementation of the Welsh Language Standards. 

Q. 2 Welsh Language speaking skills of Newport City Council Employees at 31.03.15.

We have 194 with Intermediate Welsh language skills and 175 with Advanced Welsh Language skills. This is fair in relation to the proportion of Newport residents that speak Welsh and adequate to meet the requirements of the Welsh Language Scheme. We are currently assessing the staffing requirements of the implementation of the Welsh Language Standards. 

Q. 3 Newport City Council has a Workforce Plan 2015 for ‘building and developing our workforce.’ The 7th key objective is ‘Promoting and facilitating the use of the Welsh language’. Under this objective we will be looking to improve the information we have on our Welsh speakers, their skills, location, roles and how we can best utilise their skills to meet the requirements of the Standards.

Any grading implications will be subject to the agreed job evaluation methodology through Total Reward. We will have a requirement to assess the Welsh language skills needed for new posts and some posts may be denoted as ‘Welsh essential’.

In Newport we have a range of potential employees within half an hour’s travelling time, many of which have Welsh language skills. In some fields such as HR we’ve often attracted Welsh speakers but in others we’ve had difficulties. We will be utilising all available mechanisms to inform Welsh speakers of opportunities at Newport City Council and looking to inform children and young people that this is a valued skill worth considering when they make choices about education.

Q. 4 We have been issued with draft Standards and are waiting for the Compliance Notice and final Standards in late September. In the draft Standards there are various requirements regarding public documents and the website. There are significant cost implications associated with some of these Standards and we have argued against these within our consultation response. However, the key principle of the Standards is that Welsh should be treated no less favourably than English, so we are assuming we will have increased translation requirements and we are working with neighbouring authorities to develop the most cost effective response.  

Date issued: 10 September 2015

Member Question: Councillor Ferris

Subject: Telford Street Depot

Dear Gail, can you confirm or deny that all or part of the Telford street depot is to be sold for housing in the near future? Yours Faithfully, Charles Ferris.  

Date received: 4 March 2016


Dear Cllr Ferris, thank you for your question. There are no confirmed plans in place for the sale of Telford Street Depot at this point in time. 

Date issued: 22 March 2016

Member Question: Councillor Ferris

Subject: Telford Street Depot (Question 2)

Dear Gail, Thank you for your answer informing me that there are no plans in place for the sale of all or part of the Telford Street Depot but can you confirm or deny that this has or hasn’t been proposed and whether or not informal or exploratory conversations have been held towards this end? Best Wishes, Charles. 

Date received: 29 March 2016


Dear Councillor Ferris, thank you for your question. No proposals have ever been put to me for consideration.  All Councillors would be consulted if any such report was ever prepared.  

Date issued: 18 April 2016