Members considered the Progress and Delivery report for quarter 2 (July to September) 2020/2021.
The format of the report was new, as were the types of measures being reported. For those key performance indicators (KPIs) where it had been identified that significant remedial action was required, actions would be created. In order to monitor progress, these action plans would be included in Progress and Delivery reports on a rolling basis until all actions identified had been completed. It had not been necessary to include any actions plans within the quarter two report.
It was noted that the Corona virus pandemic had had a significant impact on the Council’s performance in quarters one and two. In some cases this had led to improvements the example cited being increased recycling rates as a result of people being at home longer. In other cases the effects had been negative, with some services unable to operate fully, or at all for lengthy periods of time, including the Leisure Centre, Town Centre Markets and the Trinity Arts Centre. Services seeing such impacts were unlikely to meet their performance target by year-end. Other services such as Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support had experienced unprecedented spikes in demand placing additional strain on capacity. The easing of lockdown in June, would see performance improve in some of these areas, however it was currently too early to estimate whether or when performance would return to pre-Covid levels. Update and analysis would continue to be provided through the Progress and Delivery reports.
Members noted the overall summary position across all indicators as follows: -
Overall, 54% of KPIs were above target, 19% were meeting their target, and 27% were below target. Of those measures exceeding their target, 75% had been above target for two quarters or more. Of those below target, 25% had been below target for two quarters or more. Where performance was below target, it was overwhelmingly because of Covid 19 – some underperformance was likely to continue due to new national restrictions.
Discussion of the report was then broken down into sections of the organisation the first two areas being Corporate Health and Finance and Property.
It was noted that during the last two quarters staff sickness absence had increased on previous reports; however WLDC was benchmarked against other similar-sized Councils and was currently out-performing them in this category.
Members raised no questions in respect of these service areas.
The next section discussed was performance relating to the Homes and Communities portfolio, in which a number of performance indicators sat below target. Members asked a number of questions in respect of this section during which it was noted that the target for the ‘number of nights spent in Bed and Breakfast (B and B) accommodation was a statutory target set by government at 0. This meant it was unlikely to ever be met. However, the target remained at 0 rather than be changed as the authority did not want to place people into B and B. WLDC had recently been informed of some grant funding that would be put towards 6 units of accommodation. A Member enquired the cost to the Council of using bed and breakfast accommodation and in the absence of the data being to hand Officers undertook to provide the information outside of the meeting.
Officers shared Members ‘concern’ regarding the wording of the target ‘number of households prevented from becoming homeless and indicated this would be further considered during the planned light touch review.
An additional piece of contextual information had been provided to the Corporate Policy and Resources Committee in respect of the ‘Long Term Empty Property’ performance. Officers undertook to share the same information with Committee Members.
The next service area under discussion was the Operational and Commercial Performance Summary. Members asked a number of questions in respect of this section and made a number of suggestions regarding amended and additional targets they considered would be useful.
In response to questions, Officers outlined the additional grant funding which had been awarded following a successful bid, to assist in the recovery of the Trinity Arts Centre. Whilst the crematorium currently had no targets , it was performing as expected and in-line with its Business Plan. Fly-tipping had increased nationally, however the authority had undertaken a significant amount of work including action days and work focussing on prevention. Commercial waste in recent months appeared to be recovering well.
In respect of Markets it was suggested that a better measure may be the number of stalls occupied, as opposed to the current number of traders. A target capturing users or footfall, Members felt was worthy of consideration in the future. Officers indicated that such matters would be further considered during the planned light touch review. Including the number of stalls occupied would be added to the report going forward. Officers undertook to investigate whether data was held in respect of the number of subscriptions resulting from visits to the Market Rasen Leisure Centre and would provide this to Members outside of the meeting.
In response to comments regarding the wider community role the Trinity Arts Centre could play in the future, Officers were pleased to confirm that a new measure was already being developed around the number of engagement activities hosted at the Centre. Monitoring of this would commence from the Spring. The wider community role of the Centre in the future was a shared aspiration.
Members had no questions in respect of the performance relating to the Planning and Regeneration portfolio, which was performing above target, or the Regulatory Services and Change Management portfolio. The work being undertaken in the Land Charges Service to improve performance, including granting Covid safe access to the Office for personal search companies was highlighted to Members. This service had seen a number of ‘Covid side effects’ combining to impact delivery.
The Chairman thanked the Senior Performance Officer for the report and also thanked members for the points raised during discussion of the paper.
Having been moved and seconded on being put to the vote it was: -
RESOLVED that having assessed the performance of the Council’s services through the agreed performance measures, and having had regard to the remedial measures set out in the report, no areas required improvements, additional to those stated in the report, at this time.
Note: The above vote was conducted by the Vice-Chairman due to the Chairman having temporarily lost connection to the meeting. The Chairman did not therefore vote on the above item of business, but re-joined the meeting prior to the next item of business.
Councillor Young, who had advised the Chairman he would be late to the meeting, also joined the meeting at this point in proceedings.