Members gave consideration to a report which assessed the performance of the Council’s services and key projects through agreed performance measures, as at the end of Period 1. Members were asked to review performance and recommend areas where improvements should be made, having regard to any remedial measures already included within the report.
The report summary was structured to highlight those areas that were performing above expectations, and those areas where there was a risk to either performance or delivery.
Areas described as performing well included:
* Economic Development and Town Centre Management
* Garden Waste
* Healthy District
* Trinity Arts Centre
Those areas described as risks included:
* Council Tax and NNDR.
* Development Management
* Home Choices
* Regulatory Services
Further information was given on each of the above.
Debate ensued and Members welcomed the revised format. Much concern was expressed over the pro-active food inspections performance level and Members sought further information regarding the risks this posed, the extent of the problem, whether this was a resourcing issue and what a premise needed to do to achieve a 3 star plus rating. Clarification was also sought has to how, when and if the Audit Committee needed to be looking more closely at this area.
In responding the Executive Director of Operations, advised indication from the service was that the risk currently posed was not of too great a concern and the resources within the team were comparable to similar size authorities. Regarding the role of the Audit Committee, an audit plan was agreed at the beginning of year and was linked to issues identified in the AGS, if food inspections continued to remain an issue then an audit may be an option. However the Challenge and Improvement Committee also had remit to further investigate service areas where performance had been poor over two consecutive periods.
In the absence of the Team Manager being present at the Meeting, the Executive Director of Operations undertook to provide Members with a full briefing note, regarding the service in response to the questions posed by Members. This would be circulated outside of the meeting.
Concern was again expressed over the performance of the Market which continued to decline. It was suggested the inclusion of Direction of Travel indicators would also assist Members in better assessing performance. A Member sought indication of when this matter would be brought before the Committee and an update in respect of the ongoing Procurement process.
In response it was noted that the outcome of the procurement process was expected in the Autumn. In hearing the response there was a brief discussion regarding what decisions the committee had previously made with some Members being of the belief the process had not been agreed by Members. Assurance was offered that it had been agreed at a meeting in December 2017 that a procurement exercise to identify a market operator be undertaken. Officers had been undertaking the procurement process as requested, the outcome of which would be reported through the Autumn cycle of meetings. The actual process undertaken was not a matter for Committee agreement as this was governed by law and EU Regulation.
It was accepted that Direction of Travel indication would be useful particularly in areas where performance was off target for two consecutive periods. The way in which the Challenge and Improvement Committee could intervene in such circumstances was again outlined.
Some Members were of the view that some of the measures appeared meaningless and cited examples of such. There had been much work undertaken to identify appropriate rounded measures and these did not appear to be reflected.
In response Members were advised that this was an exceptions report detailing only those measures which were either above or below target. There was a whole basket of measures creating “a balanced score card” and rounded view for each service. These could be provided to Members on request. The measure setting process undertaken was outlined to Members, and Members had been engaged in this. This process would be repeated early in the New Year with measures agreed ready for the start of the 2019/2020 financial year
The Committee were in agreement it was important to challenge the measures used.
In response to concerns regarding the on-going use of Bed and Breakfasts, the Executive Director of Operations, indicated the Team shared this concern and outlined the work ongoing to try and alleviate the situation, including working with Partners and greater investment. This was a National trend exacerbated by the lack of “move-on” accommodation in the local area.
RESOLVED that having critically appraised the performance of services and key projects, and having had regard to the remedial measures suggested in the report, and the information provided in response to Member questions, no further formal action be requested at this stage, however a briefing note regarding the Food Inspection Service be circulated to all Members of the Committee in response to the points raised through the debate.