Members gave consideration to a report which assessed the performance of the Council’s services through agreed performance measures, as at the end of Period 4. 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.
Section 2 of the Executive Summary included comparison tables showing a summary of performance across the four periods to-date, as well as the direction of travel over the four periods. These were brought to Members’ attention.
Areas described as performing well included:
* Trinity Arts Centre
* Waste Collection
Those areas described as risks included:
* Home Choices
* Local Land Charges
Further information was given on each of the above.
Debate ensued and with regard to the Trinity Arts Centre Members sought assurance that the targets set were stretching. Officers advised that in 2011/12 the Centre had been struggling, however since that time there had been a continuous improvement plan in place and the Centre had improved year on year. The targets had also been reviewed each year and “stretched” accordingly.
Several concurred with this view and spoke of the major changes and improvements which had been realised, praising the new centre manager.
It was also confirmed the Centre was losing less money. Closing the Centre would have cost the authority in the region of £80k and therefore if losses were less than £80k the Centre was in effect in profit.
Officers undertook to provide Members with information detailing the current level of subsidy in respect of the Centre.
In response to comments regarding the Director of Travel table contained within the Executive Summary, the Executive Director of Operations confirmed that the report format would be improved for 2019/20.
Making reference to Markets, some Members questioned the figures stated as too high in light of the fact that often on a Saturday there was no more than three or four stalls.
In response the Executive Director of Operations advised that the figures related to the number of stalls paid for and it could be that a trader pays for a stall but then does not trade. Markets had been in decline for a considerable period and a lot of soul searching had taken place as to how the situation could be reversed. An improvement plan was in place. The Council was working closely with Marshall’s Yard to further promote the Markets, the re-location of the Farmers Market was part of this programme. A number of operational changes had also been made to reduce costs and make trading more attractive and easier.
Clarity was sought and provided in respect of the data relating to Council Tax and Business rate collection rates, and it was clarified how more money could be collected whilst the collection rate had fallen. Officers advised that benchmarking data would be included in future reports to allow Members greater ability to make comparisons between this Authority and others.
Arising from questions in respect of enforcement, the Executive Director of Operations undertook to provide Members with further information in order that they could understand what was driving the increase in demand and whether this was service specific or geographically based.
The Executive Director of Operations shared with Members details of a recent successful prosecution. Members were reminded that it was of paramount importance that the Authority used its powers proportionally. On the whole the trend in respect of enforcement was a positive one and this was as a result of extra resources having been allocated to the service.
Finally Members made reference to the Community Outreach post, in respect of leisure development, being vacant and sought information as to when the post would be filled. The Executive Director of Operations advised that he would look into this matter. Outreach leisure development was a key performance measure in the new leisure contract and assurance was offered that this area would be addressed in future leisure contract monitoring reports.
RESOLVED that having critically appraised the performance of the Council’s services and key projects through agreed performance measures, 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.