Scrutiny Councillors encourage improvement in how the Council measures and monitors the impact and success of its efforts to tackle poverty in Swansea

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The Scrutiny Programme Committee reviewed progress, achievements and implementation of the Tackling Poverty Strategy which is one of the Council’s Corporate Priorities.

The Committee heard that the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted low-income households, pushing more people into poverty, and those experiencing it, further into poverty resulting in an increase in demand for services including crisis support services and increased complexities for those in need.

Councillors Alyson Pugh & Louise Gibbard Cabinet Members for Supporting Communities attended the Committee to account for work on Tackling Poverty. They praised the work of officers involved in the Council’s Tackling Poverty Service and provided the Committee with a list of service achievements and case studies of support to families and individuals and highlighted the importance of partnership working in tackling poverty. Members also heard that there is an active quarterly Swansea Poverty Forum.

Committee Members noted that there is an ongoing risk to service delivery caused by the heavy reliance on grant funding with approximately 15% core funding.

The Committee acknowledged that there is a lot of good work being done but felt that the Council should be better placed to monitor, measure, and clearly demonstrate the success from all the clearly considerable efforts being made. Members felt that the suite of current corporate/national performance indicators alone does not adequately tell the story, and each of the objectives the Council has should have clear targets and an effective measure, so that the value from the resources being put in can be seen.

Committee Members discussed with the Cabinet Members the possibility of an improved ‘performance and delivery’ report in the future with supporting evidence to clearly demonstrate links between investment and activities/actions taken. Committee Members felt that measuring success is essential to check if actions were having the desired impact.

Committee Members were pleased to see progress being made with the creation of a Poverty Truth Commission, which was one of the recommendations arising from Scrutiny Inquiry into Tackling Poverty. Committee Members felt that an independent Poverty Truth Commission will add value and improve lives, by bringing together key multi-agency decision makers with people who have direct lived experience of poverty to work together to bring about change, based on issues raised by those experiencing poverty.

The Committee will re-visit work on Tackling Poverty to closely monitor progress, follow up on issues raised and enable scrutiny views to influence action and improvement.

To read more about what was discussed at this scrutiny session please click here.

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