A debate on ‘detailed findings’ on unsafely discarded needles in Wrexham will be streamed live on the internet this week – a first for Scrutiny at Wrexham Council.
The Safeguarding, Communities & Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee, which will take place at 10am on Thursday will be the first Scrutiny meeting to be webcast on the Wrexham Council website.
At present only Executive Board, Planning Committees and Full Council are webcast, making this the first (all bar a trial) since Wrexham Council introduced webcasting in 2014.
Members of the committee will discuss the issue of discarded drug paraphernalia and litter at the meeting, which comes as the result of nine months of detailed work carried out by a Task and Finish group to examine the problem.
The Unsafely Discarded Needles Task and Finish Group was put together by the Safeguarding, Communities & Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee in November last year, in a bid to look at the problem of improperly disposed drug paraphernalia, and the impact it could have on communities.
The group’s objective was to devise a series of recommendations which would bring together the local authority health services, and public safety organisations to address the problem of drug litter in Wrexham, and reassure members of the public that if they reported instances of needles or similar items, they could be confident it would be dealt with.
(Pic: Back in the day when you were not allowed to see inside the Council chamber – revisit the bad old days here)
Cllr Carole O’Toole, who chaired the Task and Finish Group, said: “A lot of work went in to examining the issue of unsafely discarded needles, and no stone was left unturned in our search for any information which we felt could help us assess the problem, and determine a way of how it might be solved.
“We know just how much this issue affects communities, and how the appearance of needles can blight the appearance of otherwise tidy and well-kept green spaces or street scenes – not to mention the possible health and safety risks they pose.
“But we’re also aware of the need of health organisations to ensure users have clean, safe needles so as to halt the spread of dangerous communicable diseases.
“The intent of the Task and Finish Group was to look at everything that goes in to contributing to this issue, and navigating a route towards a solution, which would bring together all partner agencies to tackle the problem, and restore public confidence and pride in our area.
“I believe this is a far-ranging and important report which the Task and Finish Group has put together, and I hope the Scrutiny Committee puts forward our recommendations and we are able to begin the much-needed work to solve the issue of unsafely discarded needles.”
Cllr Rob Walsh, Chairman of the Safeguarding Communities and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee, said: “We know just how much hard work has gone in from the Task and Finish group to look at this problem in great detail, and I commend group members for their insightful and detailed report.
“This will give the scrutiny committee the material it needs to really discuss the matter in detail, and members can be reassured that they will be making their decisions based on the best available evidence.”
Cllr Hugh Jones, Lead Member for Communities and Partnerships, added: “I’m extremely grateful for the work undertaken by the Task and Finish Group, and look forward to discussing their findings at Scrutiny.”
We strongly recommend having a view of the webcast either live or on the catch-up service as Scrutiny meetings can showcase the best and worst of Councillor work. This ranges from excellent questions and probing of details, right through to farcical moments when we have seen votes taken without members knowing exactly what they are voting for!