Agenda item


Members gave consideration to the final quarterly report for Progress and Delivery for 2020/21. The Assistant Director for Finance, Business Support & Property Services provided a summary of each section, with Members invited to ask questions per portfolio.


Members heard the following summary.


Executive Summary

  • Report presented performance for quarter 4 (Jan-Mar)
  • Summary of year-end performance was attached as Appendix A for information
  • 59% of KPIs were on or above target for quarter 4
  • 38% of KPIs were below target
  • The remaining 3% were within agreed tolerance levels


Corporate Health

  • Customer satisfaction had improved and was now back on target. The number of complaints had also reduced by 16%.
  • Calls answered within 21 seconds remained below target. This was a combination of higher than usual demand, call handling staff being affected by closure of schools and the team temporarily taking on responsibility for administering Land Charges calls and payments. The Customer Experience Strategy was currently being reviewed and this would include call handling times to ensure performance improvements.


Finance and Property Services

  • No performance concerns within this portfolio


Homes and Communities

  • Demand for homelessness support continued to increase during quarter 4. The Protect Plus and cold weather initiatives, designed to end rough sleeping led to an increased use of B&B accommodation to ensure that nobody slept rough in the district.
  • The Council’s partners (P3), were releasing 6 new accommodation units in quarter one to support people with a history of street homelessness as part of the Next Steps Accommodation Programme. This was in addition to the Council’s Viable Housing Solution and should lead to a reduction in the need for B&B accommodation. Following queries raised at Prosperous Communities Committee, the Change and Performance Officer would circulate additional information to members following the conclusion of this committee meeting. 
  • As detailed in previous P&D reports, DFG completion times remained impacted by the initial lockdown in March 2020, which added 90 days to the average completion time. This was due to a combination of not being able to access customers’ homes to complete the work in the first lockdown, plus a national shortage of building materials. Larger and more complex cases had now been completed and, as of the meeting date, there were 115 DFGs ongoing which was comparable to pre-COVID levels. The service therefore had high confidence that completion times would improve significantly by the end of quarter two. In future, P&D reports would include data on the average number of days from receipt of a completed DFG application until completion of works, which was the period of time that West Lindsey had full control over performance. This would be provided in addition to existing KPIs.


Operational and Commercial Services

  • Building Control market share was now back above target, having been below target in the previous quarter. Market share was also up 8% on the same period last year.
  • Garden waste had had a strong start to its new year with a 4.7% increase in subscription take-up on last year. This was the largest increase since the service was introduced.
  • The number of garden waste bins sold was expected to exceed the target during quarter two
  • Operations at the leisure centres, and the Trinity Arts Centre continued to be severely impacted by a third lockdown during the whole of quarter four.
  • The leisure centres re-opened on April 12th 2021 for gym, swim and squash. Dance classes resumed on May 17th, with virtual classes available as an option for members. No issues had been reported since re-opening and the Council maintained a stringent watch over the centres to ensure that Everyone Active was striving to return to business as usual as soon as possible.  A total of 16,787 individual users visited the Leisure Centres during April and customer satisfaction remained high at 95%
  • For TAC, all events that were due to take place during quarter four had been rescheduled for 2021/22. As was the case nationally, consumer confidence was low which is affecting advance ticket sales.
  • The Council’s application to the Arts Recovery Fund was unsuccessful, however the Arts Centre remained in a stable financial position and alternative funding options were being looked into.
  • The Centre had successfully diversified to support local creatives who had used the centre as a rehearsal or filming space. TAC would also feature in a 12 part television series later in the year which had opened up links with local historians who were keen to work with Centre management to bring to life the history and heritage of the Arts Centre.
  • The Markets were once again impacted by a third national lockdown which allowed only essential traders to operate during the whole of quarter four. Proposals were being developed for a grant scheme to support market traders up to April 2022.


People and Democratic Services

  • No performance concerns within this portfolio


Planning and Regeneration

  • No performance concerns within this portfolio


Change Management and Regulatory Services

  • Council Tax collection ended the year above target and with over £2 million more collected than last year.
  • As expected, the NNDR collection rate remained below target as many businesses continued to experience extreme financial hardship during quarter four. All available business rate relief had been awarded.
  • Demand on the enforcement service was up by 31% on last year, which had impacted on the time taken to provide an initial response to customers. Temporary resource had been brought in to help in this work area and response times should therefore reduce from quarter one.
  • The high number of new planning enforcement cases continued to pose a challenge to the enforcement team and this would need to be reviewed in quarter one. Options included a change to the current policy position or a further review of resources. The team continued to focus on the highest priority cases, as per current policy. 
  • With regard to land charges turnaround times, the actions outlined in the P&D report had led to a significant improvement in performance, with the average time to process a search down to 9 days, which was better than target. The focus was to now maintain and improve on this level of performance.
  • COVID-19 continued to place high demand on regulatory services, with demand up 147% compared to last year. The team continued to review resources to ensure that the ongoing demands of the pandemic could be met, alongside the statutory obligations of the service. As restrictions ease, the focus of the service would remain on the COVID response and recovery for the foreseeable future.


Members felt that, overall, the report reflected an acceptable level of performance given the circumstances. Improvements within Land Charges were noted and the importance of this service performing well was emphasised. It was noted that reputationally, there continued to be a need for improvement. It was confirmed that the improvement had come about as a result of changes in process, not because the performance measures had been changed.


Members commended the work of the team at the Trinity Arts Centre and it was noted that the Centre had been noticed at a national level, thanks were noted for the Manager and the team involved.


Queries were raised regarding the numbers of community litter picks that had taken place, it was recognised that if organised litter picks were not reported to the council, they could not be included in the figures. In relation to an enquiry regarding CCTV in Gainsborough, it was explained that the report was ‘by exception’ and therefore did not include the CCTV data, however this could be provided separately.


Members discussed the importance of the two leisure centres focusing on recovery in the post-covid period and Members sought assurance that this was taking precedence. Officers undertook to assure Members and seek additional information where required.


The Committee suggested that Officers had worked well in difficult circumstances to maintain services, however in some cases they had been working at a level that was not sustainable. It was noted that Team Managers were expected to be aware of this and make provision for continuity of service.


With no further comments, and with a proposer and seconder, the Chairman took the vote and it was


RESOLVED that the Committee had assessed the performance of the Council’s services through agreed performance measures and indicated areas where improvements should be made, having regard to the remedial measures set out in the report.

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