CONCERNS over the level of scrutiny given to the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal have been raised by those in charge of scrutinising the programme.

The joint overview and scrutiny committee consist of councillors from across the 10 local authorities represented within the £1.2 billion programme.

It meets up to four times a year, with the meetings funded by £25,000 from the City Deal’s joint cabinet budgets.

The committee are due to meet again in May, September and December this year, with another meeting scheduled in March 2020.

But there is dissatisfaction with the current arrangements, with members claiming the number of meetings is inadequate to carry out thorough checks on City Deal projects.

At a meeting in Newport on Tuesday, Cardiff councillor Ramesh Patel spoke of feeling ‘uncomfortable’ about the level of scrutiny expected of the committee.

“This is a major once in a lifetime deal, and you can’t just expect us to scrutinise the bare bones,” he said.

“To only have four meetings and a budget of £25,000, it doesn’t get us very far it. It’s a joke.”

Cllr Patel argued that councils should approach Welsh Government for extra money for the committee given that a large part of the £734 million fund for the South Wales Metro is coming from Cardiff Bay.

He asked if greater scrutiny could be given to the Metro but Kellie Beirne, director of the City Deal, said the Metro sat outside the £495 million regional fund which councils were contributing to.

“Oversight on the transport side of things is more Welsh Government and Transport for Wales and I expect them to offer some joint scrutiny of that across the 10 authorities,” she said.

“There are no more projects to scrutinise at this point, the [IQE facility] is the only project in the bag.”

The committee had attended a site visit to the £38.5 million facility and, at the meeting on the same day, received a presentation on the project from Monmouthshire council leader Peter Fox.

But Newport councillor Majid Rahman was confused about whether they were scrutinising or discussing the facility.

“I thought it was just a briefing, I didn’t realise we were scrutinising,” he said.

“If this is what’s expected of us as a committee, we’re just ticking boxes.”

Vale of Glamorgan councillor Vincent Bailey added: “This was a useful information gathering session but there was no detailed scrutiny.”

“We’re at a point where we’re going into our third meeting [in May] but these don’t feel like scrutiny sessions.

“They feel more more like a lecture from a public university course.”