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CORPORATE PERFORMANCE AND RESOURCES SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 20th September, 2016.

 

Present: Councillor M.R. Wilson (Chairman): Councillor G. Roberts (Vice-Chairman); Councillors Mrs. P. Drake, H.C. Hamilton, R.A. Penrose, A.C. Williams and E. Williams.

 

 

341     APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE –

 

These were received from Councillors K. Hatton, H.J.W. James and Mrs. A. Moore.

 

 

342     MINUTES –

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 26th July, 2016 and the Extraordinary meeting held on 1st September, 2016 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

343     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST –

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

344     REVENUE MONITORING FOR THE PERIOD 1ST APRIL TO 31ST JULY 2016 (MD) –

 

The Scrutiny Committee was apprised of the progress relating to revenue expenditure for the above period.  The progress in respect of specific budgets was set out below: 

  • Learning and Skills

The Directorate was projecting to outturn with an adverse variance of £672,000 at year end.  £500,000 had been set aside in the Schools Placements reserve to use as a one off contribution in 2016/17, to mitigate part of the shortfall while further Reshaping Services work was being undertaken by the Directorate. 

 

Schools – the delegated budget relating to schools was expecting to balance as any under / over spend was carried forward by schools.

 

School Improvement and Inclusion – this service was projected to outturn with an adverse variance of £885,000, which was as a result of an adverse variance of £817,000 on the recoupment income and an adverse variance on pupil placements of £245,000.  This position could be partly offset by projected salary underspends of £177,000 which had resulted from vacant posts in the service.  The service had a £2.4m recoupment income budget in respect of out of county pupil placements purchased at Ysgol y Deri.  The position with regard to placements had not changed to the information previously reported at the last meeting of the Committee.  It was noted that the school was still operating near capacity due to an increase in demand from Vale pupils requiring placements.  £500,000 had been set aside in a Schools Placements reserve.  It was noted that this sum would be used as a one off contribution in 2016/17 to mitigate part of the shortfall.  If the shortfall could not be mitigated further in the year, further reserves could be utilised to balance the shortfall made up of £50,000 from the Excluded Pupils reserve, £44,000 from the Youth Service reserve and £78,000 from the Adult Community Learning reserve.

 

Service Strategy and regulation – this was currently projecting a favourable variance at year end of £21,000.

 

Strategic and Resources – this budget was currently projecting to outturn with a favourable variance of £116,000.

 

Children and Young People’s Partnership – it was anticipated that this service would outturn with a favourable variance of £23,000.

 

Provision had been made within the budget to make unsupported borrowing debt repayments in relation to the Schools Investment Strategy of £698,000 per annum and any favourable variance on debt repayments would be directed into the Schools Investment Strategy.

 

Libraries – this service was currently projecting to outturn on budget after transferring any legal costs and costs relating to the implementation of the service review out of the Libraries reserve.  The position in regard to the judicial review and the implementation of Community Libraries had not changed to that position previously reported at the last meeting of the Committee.

 

Adult Community Learning (ACL) – it was anticipated that the service would outturn at budget after a £45,000 transfer from the ACL reserve.

 

Youth Service – this service was currently anticipated to outturn with a favourable variance of £49,000.

 

Catering – it was currently anticipated that this service would outturn at budget, however, variations in school meal income would affect this position.  A clearer projection would be available after the September intake in regard to meal update. 

 

Arts Development – it was currently anticipated that this service would outturn with a favourable variance of £4,000.

 

A Member referred to the anticipated overspend in regard to School Improvement and Inclusion and specifically relating to the budget in respect of out of county pupil placements at Ysgol y Deri, Penarth.  Given the ongoing nature of the forecasted overspend proposed that a joint Scrutiny Task and Finish Group of the Scrutiny Committees Corporate Performance Resources and Learning and Culture be established to investigate the ongoing financial issues experienced at the school.  In particular, he considered that it was appropriate for the Task and Finish Group to look further into the detail of the school’s business plan and the operation of the same.  A number of Members concurred with the sentiments expressed; the Chairman enquired if the preference of the Members was indeed to establish a joint Scrutiny Task and Finish Group or to receive a joint report.  The Committee expressed the view that it was preferential for a joint Scrutiny Task and Finish Group to be established as soon as practicable and the Chairman therefore indicated that the proposal should be referred to the next meeting of the Scrutiny Committee Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen Group for further consideration. 

  • Social Services

This Directorate was projecting to outturn with an adverse variance of £1m at year end as detailed below:

 

Children and Young People Services – the position remained unchanged to this service as reported to the last meeting of the Committee. 

 

Adult Services – it was projected that the Community Care Package budget could outturn with a variance of up to £1m by the year end.

 

The annual deferred income budget for 2016/17 had been set at £747,000 and, as at 31st July, 2016, income received to date was £145,000 over-recovered.  It was currently being projected that this budget would outturn at £100,000 under budget by year end and this favourable variance was included as part of the projected overspend for care packages. 

 

The Chairman, in referring to care packages, enquired of the Head of Finance when these were reviewed.  In addition, he also enquired if benchmarking information existed for Welsh Local Authorities.  In response, the Head of Finance indicated that care packages were reviewed at least once on an annual basis.  In regard to benchmarking data with other Welsh Local Authorities, this had become more difficult to compile since the introduction of the Social Services and Well-being Act.  However, she was aware of difficulties that were currently being experienced by other Local Authorities in regard to related budgets. 

 

Discussion ensued regarding the budget management arrangements in relation to care packages, including the principle of “direct payments” being made to individuals to encourage them to enter into their own care arrangements as opposed to the Council contracting services on individuals’ behalf. 

 

A Member enquired of the financial penalties in regard to Delayed Transfers and the Head of Finance responded by indicating that the Council had faired favourably in this area in relation to its performance for Delayed Transfer of Care.  However, she alluded to the domiciliary care market which was experiencing capacity issues and in relation to individual care packages it was likely that there were in existence a number of high funded care packages in the Authority’s area that were higher than residential care packages.  The Chairman at this juncture enquired whether it was appropriate to raise the performance of the Council with the Welsh Government with the view to incentivising the Council’s future funding that linked to its performance.  He also referred to paragraph 22 of the report and sought clarification in regard to matters relating to Deferred Income.  In response, the Head of Finance indicated that this related to individuals’ homes and the capital value of the same where the Council funded the cost of the care in advance of an agreement between the home owner to recover the funding once the property was sold.  Currently there was a capital limit of £24,000 but Welsh Government consultation was currently ongoing relating to increasing the cap to £50,000.  The Chairman indicated that the Council should be proactive in promoting and signposting the public to appropriate insurance policies that would assist individuals in later life when they would be most in need of care provision.  In response the Head of Finance indicated that officers had looked previously at introducing such a scheme, however due to potential liabilities for the Council in regard to signposting individuals to independent advice, it was decided not to pursue the initiative any further.  Responding to the comments of the Head of Finance, the Chairman considered that the Council should investigate the feasibility of introducing such a scheme, subject to the Council having adequate safeguards in place to protect the Council’s interests.  

  • Environment and Housing

It was currently projected that this service would outturn within target at year end and the following was noted:

 

Highways and Engineering – there was a currently a £101,000 favourable variance against the profiled budget.

 

Waste Management – there was currently an adverse variance of £208,000 to the profiled budget.

 

Leisure Services – there was currently an adverse variance of £41,000 to the profiled budget.

 

Transportation – there was currently a favourable variance of £44,000 against the profiled budget.

 

Regulatory Services – the allocation of £2.056m represented the Council’s budget for its share of the Shared Regulatory Services (SRS).  A separate set of accounts was maintained for the SRS and was periodically reported to the Shared Regulatory Services Joint Committee.  At this stage in the year, it was anticipated that the SRS budget would outturn on target.

 

Council Fund Housing – it was anticipated that this budget would outturn on target.

 

Public Sector Housing (HRA) – the HRA was expected to outturn on target and any underspends in the year would be offset by additional contributions to Capital Expenditure thus reducing the reliance on Unsupported Borrowing.

  • Managing Director and Resources

It was currently projected that this service would outturn within target at year end and the following was noted:

 

Resources – it was anticipated that this service would outturn within budget.

 

Regeneration – this budget covered the Countryside, Economic Development and Tourism and Events functions with it being noted that income was lower than profiled as the 2015/16 savings target of £60,000 proposed by introducing parking charges at Country Parks remained unachieved, this was offset by a favourable variance due to staff vacancies.  At this stage it was anticipated that this service would outturn on target.

 

Development Management – there was an adverse variance relating to the Local Development Plan as expenditure was delayed from 2015/16, however, funding had been set aside in reserves for this purpose in the last financial year and would therefore be drawn down to offset this position.  Therefore it was anticipated that this service would outturn on target.

 

Private Housing – there was currently a small adverse variance as the favourable variance relating to additional Disabled Facilities Grant fee income was slightly outweighed by the adverse variance on Renewal Area fee income.  This service was anticipated to outturn on target by the year end.

 

General Policy – it was anticipated that this service would outturn within budget.

 

In terms of 2016/17 savings targets, attached at Appendix 1 was a statement detailing all savings targets for 2016/17 and the projected outturn.  Services were working towards fully achieving their savings targets however, at this stage of the year it was anticipated that not all the savings would be made and there could be a shortfall of £586,000.  In the main, the shortfalls related to the following matters: 

  • Learning and Skills – There was a saving target of £292,000 to be found from the Inclusion Service budget.  It was anticipated that this level of saving could be achieved during the year, however, there were further pressures on the budget which would result in an overspend as already detailed above;
  • Social Services – Within Adult Services, £100,000 of the full year saving generated from the Hafod homes transfer had been offset against the £300,000 saving for Residential Services.  Currently, there were no other formalised plans in place to find the remaining £200,000 of this saving.  Further consideration would have to be given to the way in which this saving could be fully achieved during the year.  With regard to the Care Package Budget Reduction, while there was significant pressure on this budget and it was anticipated to overspend, schemes had been put in place to deliver savings in this area by transferring domiciliary care clients to direct payments, by putting in place additional reablement capacity and by establishing a review team.
  • Environment and Housing – While progress had been made towards achieving the savings, there had been a delay in commencing some of the schemes and therefore the full year target was not anticipated this financial year.  £1.2m had been included in the Capital Programme for the installation of LED lighting.  Installation would be undertaken this year however a full year saving would not be achieved until 2017/18.  Also as previously stated, waste collection rounds had been revised from 1st August, 2016 with the aim of reducing the resources required.  However it was unlikely that the full saving would be made in 2016/17.  Where savings would not be achieved in year, services would seek to cover the shortfall on a one off basis from other areas.
  • Managing Director and Resources – There had been a delay in the exit from the JobFit contract which had resulted in a predicted shortfall against the savings target for Regeneration.  Human Resources and Performance and Development currently had a small level of further savings to achieve however the shortfall would be accommodated from within other budgets this year.

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the position with regard to the Authority’s 2016/17 Revenue Budget be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T further consideration of the establishment of a joint Scrutiny Task and Finish Group of the Scrutiny Committees Corporate Performance and Resources and Learning and Culture, be referred to the next meeting of the Scrutiny Committee Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen Group.

 

(3)       T H A T the Cabinet be requested to consider establishing an advice service regarding financial and insurance protection information in relation to care provision.

 

(4)       T H A T the Cabinet consider writing to the Welsh Government with a view to seeking additional funding from the Welsh Government Intermediate Care Fund linked to the Council’s performance in regard to Delayed Transfer of Care.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To ensure that the Committee was aware of the projected revenue outturn for 2016/17.

 

(2)       To allow the feasibility of establishing a joint Scrutiny Task and Finish Group to be considered.

 

(3)       To mitigate future demands on Council services and to provide appropriate support to the public.

 

(4)       Exploration of funding from the Welsh Government.

 

 

345     CAPITAL MONITORING REPORT FOR THE PERIOD 1ST APRIL TO 31ST JULY 2016 (MD) –

 

The Head of Finance provided the Scrutiny Committee with an update on the 2016/17 Capital Programme for the above period. 

 

It was noted that Appendix 1 detailed the financial progress on the Capital Programme as at 31st July, 2016.

 

Appendix 2 provided non-financial information on capital construction schemes with a budget over £100,000.  Where a budget shown in Appendix 1 was more than £100,000 but was made up of several schemes that individually were less than £100,000, the scheme was not included in Appendix 2.

 

The following matters were noted:

 

Learning and Skills

 

Gwenfo Primary Expansion – Delegated authority had been used to approve a virement of £40,000 to this scheme from the Education Asset Renewal Contingency budget, in order to allow the project to be completed and to meet all the educational needs of the school.

 

Social Services

 

A new capital scheme to the value of £219,000 had been approved from the Intermediate Care Fund (ICF) for two step down units as Longmeadow Court.  It had been requested that the Capital Programme be increase accordingly.

 

Environment and Housing

 

Visible Services Asset Renewal – The Visible Asset Renewal budget was agreed by Cabinet on 22nd February, 2016, minute number C3080.  Recommendation 3 stated "THAT delegated authority be granted to the Managing Director and the Head of Finance, in consultation with the Cabinet Member responsible for Finance, to make additions, deletions or transfers to or from the 2016/17 to 2020/21 Asset Renewal budgets as appropriate."  This delegated authority had been used to allocate the Visible Services Asset Renewal as follows: -

 

          Coastal Infrastructure £50,000

          Public Conveniences Refurbishment £25,000

          Highway Structures £159,000

          Traffic Management Measures £116,000

          Parks and Grounds Maintenance £150,000.

 

Boverton Flooding – A Welsh Government grant of £1.9m had been accepted for this scheme on 4th August, 2016.  The Council now needed to increase its match funding budget, which was already included in the Capital Programme, by £28,000.  It had therefore been requested that this amount be vired from the Additional Highways/Environmental Improvement scheme which was not currently fully committed. 

 

Managing Director and Resources

 

Ogmore By Sea Sustainable Transport Improvements – It had been requested that £30,000 of Section 106 funding be included in the Capital Programme for this scheme. This was to fund the relocation and improvement works to the bus stop serving St. Brides Primary School.

 

Salisbury Road Play Area – It had been requested that £50,000 be transferred from the Visible Services Reserve in order to fund works to this Play Area, in line with project brief and community expectations.  Funding for play areas was set aside as part of the 2015/16 closing process.

 

Barry Regeneration Project Development Fund – Delegated Authority had been used to apportion funding to the following schemes:

 

-         Project Management Unit £49,000

-         Landscape Design Service £16,000

-         Salisbury Road Play Area £20,000

-         Alexandra Gardens Play Area £1,000

-         Holton Road Commercial Renewal Area Grant Programme £51,000.

 

Discussion ensued regarding the Council’s current tender procedure and arrangements in place.  The Committee acknowledged that they were unaware of the Council’s current tendering arrangements.  Reference was made to external contractors’ alleged practices. 

 

The position of the Council’s DSOs capability to undertaken additional contracted work on behalf of the Council was discussed.  The Head of Finance confirmed that the Council’s DSO was included in the Council’s tendering process in relation to the select list of tenderers.  Indeed, she indicated that the position of the Council’s DSO was currently being assessed to see if they represented Value for Money.  She suggested that an analysis of contractor expenditure could be undertaken based on a sample of contracts linked to the Council’s School Improvement Programme with a view to providing Members a better understanding of the Council’s tender arrangements. 

 

Discussion then turned to the existing capability of the Council’s DSO to undertake additional contracted work and a Member alluded to the Council’s Reshaping Services programme and referred to the possibility of a combined Authority approach within the region for DSOs to tender for Local Authority work.  In addition, discussion also touched upon the feasibility of combining the Council’s current Property Services and DSO.

 

The Chairman referred to the progress in regard to the Victorian Schools Programme and requested that the Head of Finance submit to the next meeting an update report on this matter. 

 

Having regard to the above, it was

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the following changes to the 2016/17 Capital Programme be noted: 

  • ICF Longmeadow Court – An increase of £219,000 to be funded from the Intermediate Care Fund.
  • Boverton Flooding – Virement of £28,000 from the Additional Highways / Environmental Improvement scheme to this scheme.
  • Ogmore By Sea Sustainable Transport – An increase of £30,000 to be funded from Section 106 monies.
  • Salisbury Road Play Area – An increase of £50,000 to be funded from the Visible Services Reserve

(2)       T H A T the Head of Finance submit a further report to the next meeting as part of the capital monitoring arrangements on progress in delivering the Victorian Schools Programme.

 

(3)       T H A T the Head of Finance submit a further report in relation to a cost analysis of contract work in relation to certain aspects of the Council’s School Improvement Programme.

 

(4)       T H A T the Cabinet be requested to consider exploring, under the Council’s Reshaping Services programme, the establishment of a combined Authority approach within the region in regard to Council DSOs.

 

(5)       T H A T the Cabinet be requested to explore the feasibility of integrating the Council’s existing Property Services Division and the DSO.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To make the Committee aware of progress and amendments to the Capital Programme.

 

(2)       To monitoring progress in regard to the related Capital Programme.

 

(3)       To improve Members’ understanding of the Council’s contract / tender arrangements.

 

(4)       Exploration of potential future efficiencies.

 

(5)       To assess if the Council was achieving value for money.

 

 

346     IMPROVEMENT PLAN PART 2: ANNUAL REVIEW OF PERFORMANCE 2015/16 AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT PERFORMANCE 2015/16 (MD) –

 

The Head of Performance and Development presented the draft Improvement Plan Part 2 – Annual Review of Performance 2015/16, which contained performance and improvement information for Improvement Objectives agreed in April 2015.  The report also outlined the findings of the Local Government Data Unit Wales in its annual bulletin of Local Government Performance for 2015/16. 

 

The Committee was requested to endorse the Plan and to consider any areas of underperformance. 

 

The Part 2 Improvement Plan (attached at Appendix 1) was a document primary looking back over 2015/16 and contained key performance information which helped demonstrate progress towards achievement of the Council’s Improvement Objectives.

 

The majority of the information contained within the Plan was informed by quarterly and end of year performance reports which had been discussed previously by the Council’s Scrutiny Committees throughout the year.  Consequently, the Part 2 Plan brought together this information in one report.  It was noted that the above information would be used by the Wales Audit Office to assess the Council’s capacity to improve and therefore it was of critical importance to the reputation of the Council. 

 

The Plan was substantially complete, although some further minor amendments may be required following changes to performance information provided by the Local Government Data Unit and from any final proofreading in readiness for Cabinet and Council’s consideration.

 

Based on a self-assessment, it had been concluded that overall, the Council had been successful in achieving the majority of the positive outcomes intended in the Council’s Improvement Objectives for 2015/16, despite challenging financial times and increasing demand for services. 

 

Four out of the five Improvement Objectives set for the year were judged to have been achieved and Objective 5, “Reducing the achievement gap between pupils in receipt of free schools meals and those who are not” was judged to be partially achieved.  All five Improvement Objectives remained long term strategic priorities for the Council and the success achieved in 2015/16 represented the start of what would be a long programme of initiatives to continually improve services for citizens in the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

Paragraphs 11 to 21 summarised the Council’s main conclusions on the five Improvement Objectives for 2015/16. 

 

In addition to the above pages 56 to 66 in Appendix 1 detailed how the Council performed against the 2015/16 national performance data set in comparison with the previous year and with other Local Authorities in Wales. 

 

Data had been collected and reported on in respect of 44 national performance indicators in 2015/16.  Of these, 43 had data that could be compared with the previous year.  In comparison the Vale of Glamorgan Council performed better than the Welsh average in 75% (33) of comparable indicators against the South East Wales Region.  When compared with all Welsh Councils, the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s performance was 77% (34).

 

The Council’s data and analysis was considered in the Local Government Data Unit (Wales) Performance Bulletin for 2015/16, details of which were set out at Appendix 2. This report looked at a range of indicators and assessed the performance of individual Authorities.  The report indicated that the Council was ranked as the top performing Council, having the most indicators (26) in the top quarter of Welsh Authorities.  Key highlights included: 

  • The Plan was substantially complete, although some further minor amendments may be required following changes to performance information provided by the Local Government Data Unit and from any final proofreading in readiness for Cabinet and Council's consideration of The Plan.
  • Based on our self-assessment, we have concluded that overall, the Council has been successful in achieving majority of the positive outcomes intended in our Improvement Objectives for 2015/16, despite challenging financial times and increasing demand for services.
  • Four out of five Improvement Objectives set for the year were judged to have been achieved. Objective 5, “Reducing the achievement gap between pupils in receipt of free schools meals and those who are not” was judged to be partially achieved because whilst standards have improved overall, the standards achieved by children entitled to free schools meals do not yet meet those of other children in all key stages. All five Improvement Objectives remain long term strategic priorities for the Council and the success achieved in 2015/16 represents the start of what will be a long programme of initiatives to continually improve services for citizens of the Vale.
  • Below is a summary of our conclusions on the five Improvement Objectives for 2015/16.
  • Objective 1: To deliver sustainable services including alternative methods of delivery as part the Council’s Reshaping Services Change Programme. Our conclusion is that we have achieved the key targets we set ourselves for 2015/16. The Reshaping Services programme has been embedded into the Council’s revised Performance Management Framework, including as a key action and enabler within the new Corporate Plan and an integral part of the service and team planning processes.
  • We met the relevant savings targets for 2015/16 as part of the Programme. The savings targets for tranche one projects have been critically appraised as part of the revenue budget setting process for 2016/17 and are on track to deliver these targets.
  • The involvement of a range of stakeholders (including Town and Community Councils and the voluntary sector) has increased during the year.  In addition, a significant programme of staff engagement is underway and has already delivered a range of products and outcomes which are informing the way the Council is managed.
  • Objective 2: Our objective to support more people towards independence has been achieved.  On balance we have achieved the majority of outcomes we set ourselves for 2015/16.  There has been significant further investment in rehabilitation and reablement services in the Vale of Glamorgan through an integrated partnership arrangement with Cardiff and Vale UHB.  For service users this means an integrated assessment and care management structure which enables effective signposting, screening and swift allocation of services and this has enabled more individuals to attain greater levels of independence.  Over 80% of people who received a service have improved levels of independence.  We have continued to increase the take up of assistive technologies such as Telecare that enable older people and carers to manage the impact and risks associated with chronic ill health, enabling them to remain within their own homes safely and with a better quality of life. By supporting more service users with financial assessments and benefits advice we have enabled them to make well informed choices, and contributed to them to maintaining their independence for longer.  Improvements continue to be made in delivery times for home adaptations, despite an increase in demand, contributing to residents being able to retain their independence for longer.
  • Through Supporting People services we are helping more vulnerable people to retain their independence and improve their overall wellbeing. 100% of a sample of past and current service users interviewed during the year reported satisfaction with the support provided to enable them to maintain their independence.
  • Objective 3: In relation to supporting and enhancing town centres of the Vale of Glamorgan for the benefit of residents, visitors and businesses, our intended outcomes for the year have been achieved.  We have come to this conclusion because we have successfully worked in the Vale of Glamorgan's main town centres and with businesses to promote investment and improve the built environment contributing to their vitality and attractiveness.  Vacancy rates in all our main town centres have improved demonstrating business confidence in our town centres.
  • Improving the vitality and attractiveness of our town centres is a key part of the regeneration vision for the Council and remains a long term priority for the Council.
  • Objective 4: To reduce the number of young people who are not in employment education or training (NEET).  Our conclusion is that we have achieved our intended outcomes for the year against this Objective because through a coordinated approach with partners, we have improved how we track, identify and support young people who are NEET or have the potential to become NEET, resulting in the continued reduction in NEET levels at Years 11, 12 and 13 (16-18).
  • Overall, 95% of young people in the Vale aged 16-18 are in education, employment or training compared to 93% in the previous year. Through initiatives such as the ‘Inspire to Achieve’ project and new arrangements with the Central South Consortium Joint Education Service we are identifying vulnerable young people much earlier and ensuring that they receive timely and appropriate support in order to achieve their potential, thus reducing the likelihood of them becoming NEET. We continue to maximise our use of the voluntary sector and training providers to increase opportunities and provision in order to reduce NEET levels.
  • Objective 5: To reduce the achievement gap between pupils in receipt of free school meals and those who are not. Our conclusion is that this Objective has been partially achieved because whilst standards have improved overall, we recognise that the standards achieved by children entitled to free school meals do not yet meet those of other children in all key stages and the level of exclusions needs to reduce and these remain a key focus for improvement and a priority for Council in the long term.
  • In all the main performance indicators across all phases, the performance of pupils entitled to free school meals has improved since 2012, albeit not always at the same rate as their peers. Since 2012, in the Foundation Phase and at key stage 3, the performance of pupils entitled to free school meals in the Authority has improved at a greater rate than that of their peers. This has narrowed the difference in performance between pupils entitled to free school meals when compared with their peers. However, over the same period in key stage 2 and key stage 4 the improvement trend for this group of pupils is less consistent than for their peers
  • Pages 56-66 in Appendix 1 detail how we performed against the 2015/16 national performance dataset in comparison with the previous year and with other Local Authorities in Wales.
  • We collected and reported data on 44 national performance indicators in 2015/16. Of these, 43 have data that can be compared with the previous year.
  • In comparison the Vale of Glamorgan performed better than the Welsh average in 75% (33) of comparable indicators against the South East Wales Region. When compared with all Welsh councils the Vale of Glamorgan’s performance was 77% (34).
  • Much of this data and analysis is considered in the Local Government Data Unit Wales performance bulletin 2015-16 attached at Appendix 2. The report looks at a range of indicators and assesses the performance of individual Authorities. The report indicates that the Vale of Glamorgan Council is ranked as the top performing Council, having the most indicators (26) in the top quarter of Welsh Authorities.
  • Key highlights from this data include:
  • In total nine indicators achieved the best possible performance in 2015/16, which is one more than the previous year. Of these eight continued to maintain their best possible performance (either 100% or 0%) when compared to the previous year.  The indicator that achieved its best possible performance in contrast to the previous year was SCC33e: Percentage of young people formerly looked after with whom the Authority is in contact, who are known to be in suitable non-emergency accommodation at the age of 19.  During 2015/16, 100% of young people formerly looked after were known to be in suitable non-emergency accommodation at age 19 compared with the previous year where 92.9% were in suitable non-emergency accommodation. 
  • 55% (24) indicators showed an improvement (based on their PI value) during 2015/16, compared to 23 in the previous year.
  • 10 indicators showed a decline (based on their PI value) during 2015/16, which is three less than the previous year.
  • Nine Indicators during 2015/16 have shown no change in their performance when compared to 2014/15.  Eight of these indicators have continued to maintain best possible performance (EDU/002i, EDU/002ii EDU/015a, EDU/015b, SCA/019, SCA/018a, SCC/033d and SCC/041a) and the ninth (EDU/16a) remained in the top quartile.
  • There are five indicators that had previously shown improvement in 2014/15 (based on their PI value) that are now showing a decline in their performance for 2015/16. These relate to: SCA/001 (rate of delayed transfers of care) performance has marginally dropped by 0.15 (indicating that the rate of transfers of care has increased from 4.55 in 2014/15 to 4.70 in 2015/16), SCC/004 (Looked after children  with three or more placements) the percentage of LAC with three or more placements has increased by 2.9% (from 6.9% in 2014/15 to 9.8% in 2015/16), SCC011b (initial assessments where child has been seen by a Social Worker) this has decreased by 10.9% from 30.7% in 2014/15 to 19.8% in 2015/16, THS/012 (principal A roads in poor condition) there has only been a very slight decrease of 0.3% on the previous year and PPN/009 (food establishments broadly compliant with food hygiene) has seen only a very slight decline of 0.04% on the previous year.  Although SCC/011b has shown the greatest variation in its performance, it is important to note that the Council has increasingly focused its resources on Social Care Officers enabling them to see children alone at the point of initial assessment (where it is deemed appropriate). This frees up the time and resource of a Social Worker for cases/clients where it is deemed more appropriate.
  • A breakdown of our performance in quartiles when compared to Wales is as follows:

        -       59% (26) indicators were in the upper quartile of performance, representing a 15% increase on the previous year where 44% (20) indicators were reported in the upper quartile for their performance.

        -       11% (5) of indicators were in the upper middle quartile (2nd) during 2015/16 compared with 15 % (7) of indicators in the previous year (2014/15).

        -       16% (7) indicators were in the lower middle quartile for their performance during 2015/16, representing a 4% reduction on the previous year where 20% (9) indicators were reported in the lower middle quartile.

       -       14% (6) indicators have remained in the bottom quartile for their performance during 2015/16 compared to 20% (9) indicators in the previous year (2014/15).

 

A Member referred to the information relating to Objective 4 (NEETS) and suggested that an explanation be provided in regard to the number of 16 to 18 year olds who were represented by the 5% who were not in education, employment or training (paragraph 19 of the report).  In addition, the Committee also considered that a more detailed explanation was required in relation to the narrative contained in paragraph 20 of the report in relation to Objective 5, particularly how the Council intended to close the achievement gap between pupils who were in receipt of free school meals and those who were not.

 

Having considered the report, it was

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the Improvement Plan Part 2: Annual Review of Performance 2015/16 be endorsed.

 

(2)       T H A T the publication of the Local Government Data Unit Wales bulletin on Local Government Performance 2015/16 be noted.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To meet the requirements of the Local Government (Wales) Measure to publish an annual review of Council performance and ensure that action was taken to continually improve.

 

(2)       To apprise Members of the performance of the Vale of Glamorgan Council relative to other Welsh Authorities during 2015/16.

 

 

347     EMPLOYEE TURNOVER REPORT – APRIL 2015 TO MARCH 2016 (MD) –

 

The Committee received a short PowerPoint presentation on the programme of work undertaken over the last twelve months relating to employee engagement.

 

The report had been provided in response to a request from the Committee for an analysis of employee turnover in the Council, for consideration alongside the Council’s Workforce Plan. 

 

Employee turnover had been assessed on the basis of the number of employees leaving the Council as a percentage of the total number of staff (headcount) employed by the Council.  Accordingly, the report presented the turnover figures between the above period and compared these with those reported between April 2014 and March 2015, to assist performance monitoring of the turnover over both periods. 

 

The figures for the period April 2015 to March 2016 indicated an increase in turnover (from 9.08% to 10.76%) in comparison to the same period in the previous year.  The total number of leavers increased from 489 to 582.  Corporate turnover increased over the two year period from 9.87% to 12.85% and turnover in Schools also had marginally increased from 8.38% to 8.89%. 

 

Overall, voluntary turnover (where employees had chosen to leave the employment of the Council) had increased from 6.55% in April 2014 to March 2015 to 7% in March 2015 to April 2016.  Corporate voluntary turnover had increased from 6.83% to 8.02%, whilst voluntary turnover in Schools had decreased from 6.31% to 6.09%. 

 

In terms of turnover by Directorate, overall levels had increased across all Directorates over the period April 2015 to March 2016.  The highest percentage of turnover was in Learning and Skills (73 leavers from an average headcount of 517.5 employees) and the lowest percentage of turnover was in Social Services.

 

Voluntary turnover had increased across all corporate Directorates in 2015/16 in comparison to the Schools Directorate which showed a slight decrease compared to previous years.  The Resources Directorate had the highest number of employees that had chosen to leave the Council in 2015/16, at 10.74%.  However, this was consistent with the previous year’s voluntary turnover rates.  Social Services had the largest increase in voluntary turnover from 6.46% in 2014/15 to 8.74% in 2015/16. 

 

In regard to turnover by leaving reason, this remained consistent with previous years, with a total of 353 employees choosing to leave the Council (resignations, retirement and career breaks) over the period April 2014 to March 2015 and 379 employees choosing to leave the Council over the period April 2015 to March 2016.  Voluntary turnover accounted for over 65% of all leavers from April 2015 to March 2016.  A breakdown of reasons for leaving were as follows:

 

 

April 2014 to March 2015

April 2015 to March 2016

Leaving reason

Number of leavers

% of

headcount

Number

of leavers

% of

headcount

Dismissal

  13

0.24%

  24

  0.44%

End of   temporary contract

  43

0.80%

  48

  0.89%

Retirement

  62

1.15%

  86

  1.59%

Resignation

288

5.35%

298

  5.51%

Redundancy

  42

0.78%

  84

  1.55%

TUPE out

  12

0.22%

    5

  0.09%

Other

  29

0.54%

  37

  0.68%

Total

489

9.08%

582

10.76%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The level of involuntary turnover had increased with the number of dismissals, redundancies and end of temporary contracts all increasing over the reporting period.  Committee was advised of the Council’s positive approach to managing change, which helped to mitigate, avoid and reduce the incidents of compulsory redundancies.  Given the projected reductions in public service finances and the associated adverse service implications it was inevitable that there would be a consequential increase in the number of redundancies in the short term. 

 

It was noted that the Council had a redeployment process which was designed to support employees who were at risk of redundancy to find suitable alternative employment opportunities in the Council.  For the period 1st April 2015 to 31st March 2016, there had been 18 redeployment trial periods.  One trial period was ongoing and continued past the end of the reporting period and was subsequently successful following this period. 

 

The Head of Human Resources’ attention then turned to exit interviews and questionnaires and indicated that these continued to play a key role in identifying the reasons why people had chosen to leave the employment of the Council.  During the period April 2015 and March 2016, 39 people (19% of corporate voluntary leavers) took the opportunity to complete and return an exit questionnaire.  This was in comparison to 11.5% of corporate voluntary leavers completing exit questionnaires over the previous year comparative period.  The report set out measures to improve the way feedback was obtained from leavers prior to their last working day, and electronic exit questionnaires had been implemented from September 2015. 

 

In the period from September 2015 (month of implementation) to March 2016, 11 exit questionnaires had been completed electronically, before the employee finished working for the Council.  This was equivalent to nearly a third of all exit questionnaires being completed electronically.  Awareness would continue to be raised of this method by managers, to ensure the process was useful, efficient and offers leavers the opportunity to provide valuable feedback.

 

Of the exit questionnaire responses, the main reason given for looking for alternative employment was for “career development” (38%), followed by “personal, family or social reasons” (20%) and “job dissatisfaction” (13%).  This was a change from the last annual report covering the period April 2014 to March 2015, where the main response for looking for looking for alternative employment was given as personal, family or social reasons (32%).

 

Set out in paragraph 22 was information which set out the complete range of response to “What made you look for alternative employment?”.  The main reason given from former employees for accepting a new job was that they believed they would receive “better career opportunities” (44%) in alternative employment.  This linked directly to responses provided above.

 

In regard to exit interview questions that asked what would have encouraged the leavers to stay with the Council, received the highest response as “nothing would have encouraged me to stay” (33%).  This was followed by “better career opportunities” (23%) and “more job satisfaction” (10%).  This was also a change from the last annual report where 53% of leavers said that nothing would have encouraged them to stay with the Council, but 16% believed that more pay would have encouraged them to stay and 11% said that career development would have encouraged them to stay.  Paragraph 25 also provided in graph format responses that employees gave when asked what would have encouraged them to stay with the Council.

 

The Head of Human Resources, in addition to the above matters, reminded the Committee that the Council advertised vacancies internally to promote career opportunities and internal progression for existing employees.  In addition, the recent establishment of the award winning Leadership Café had given employees the opportunity to network, share ideas and promote best practice to enhance their personal development.  In addition to this, a significant programme of work had been undertaken over the previous 12 months, to improve employee engagement and to have a positive impact on turnover rates across the Council, details of which were set out in paragraph 28 of the report.

 

The outcomes of the staff engagement workshops had also helped to inform and shape the Council’s new Staff Charter, which offered clarity of purpose, a touchstone for measuring the continuation of staff engagement in the future and a vehicle for translating and internalising the Council’s vision and values as set out in the 2016-20 Corporate Plan. 

 

In addition, the Head of Human Resources indicated that another recommendation from the engagement workshops was that there was a need to identify the current skill level of existing staff in order to maximise the use of these skills and levels of knowledge and experience.  The Council’s Corporate Management team had endorsed this recommendation and work would be done alongside the Reshaping Services programme in order to complete a full audit of all services.  This information would then be used to inform the development plans to support the reshaped services, as well as to inform the Council’s succession planning within teams.

 

The Council had also recently reviewed its employee appraisal process and the new approach which would be launched in September would have a simplified view of making it an ongoing conversation between the manager and the employee throughout the year.  The discussions would look back to review what the employee had achieved, but also look forward to consider what they should now be working on, what development they needed to enable this work and what they would like in terms of future career and development opportunities.

 

The Head of Human Resources’ attention then turned to turnover in the wider comparison and referred to the CIPD Resourcing and Talent Planning Survey (2015) which suggested that the overall rate of turnover had increased across sectors from 9.8% to 13.6%.  This report also suggested that voluntary turnover was likely to decrease across all sectors. 

 

He also referred to XpertHR benchmarking research (2015) on labour turnover rates found the average voluntary resignation turnover rate for UK employers was 15.3%.  This was an increase in comparison to the previously reported turnover rate 910.6%).  In the public sector, the average voluntary turnover rate was 11.5%.  The total average labour turnover rate for public sector organisations was 14.1%. 

 

The overall turnover rate of 10.76% sand voluntary turnover rate of 7.00% for the Vale of Glamorgan Council for 2015/16 was comparative with the above. 

 

On an annual basis, the Vale of Glamorgan Council and all other Local Authorities in Wales provide information to the Data Unit regarding the workforce profile of the Council.  This allowed comparison of information between Local Authorities and for the financial year 2014/15, the average turnover across all Local Authorities in Wales was 12.9% and the Vale of Glamorgan Council was amongst the lowest turnover rate across Wales.  The data for 2015/16 was not due to be published until the Autumn 2016.

 

A Member, in referring to the report, expressed his disappointment at the information relating to the number of resignations and to the low percentage of completion of exit questionnaires and considered it was still necessary to establish why staff wished to leave the employment of the Council.  Another Member disagreed with the comments made and referred to paragraphs 33 and 34 of the report.  He reminded the Member that voluntary resignations were half the national rate.  He referred to the staff engagement and Leadership Café as being good initiatives, however they would not necessarily reduce turnover in the future.  He considered the position regarding the completion of exit interviews and questionnaires as being a concern and intimated that there needed to be a greater onus placed on the immediate line manager to ensure that these were completed.  Discussion ensued as to how improvements could be achieved in regard to the completion of exit questionnaires and a Member referred to his personal professional experience that the undertaking of exit interviews and completion of questionnaires were difficult to complete / obtain.  He reminded the Committee that the Council’s overall performance this year when compared to the previous year was better and referred to the CIPD data produced in paragraph 32 of the report which clearly placed the Council in  a positive position and commended the Head of Human Resources and his staff for their efforts in relation to the various initiatives developed and implemented.

 

The Head of Human Resources, in responding to comments made, reminded the Committee that the Council’s turnover of 7% (300 employees out of a total circa 5,000 employees) was particularly favourable when compared to data for other public and private sector organisations.  He reminded Members of the Committee of the significant amount of staff engagements there had been in the development of the Staff Charter and felt that the commitments within the document would make a positive difference to the engagement and retention of staff.

 

The Chairman commended the Head of Human Resources and staff for their efforts which had been recognised by the receiving of two national awards and it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the position with regard to employee turnover within the Council be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the thanks of the Committee be extended to the Head of Human Resources and staff for their efforts in regard to the various staff engagement initiatives.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To bring matters to the attention of the Committee in line with the Council’s corporate objectives.

 

(2)       To offer the Committee’s thanks and appreciation to staff for their work.

 

 

348     SCRUTINY COMMITTEES’ DRAFT ANNUAL REPORT MAY 2015 TO APRIL 2016 (MD) –

 

Attached at Appendix 1 to the report was a revised version of the draft Annual Report following its previous consideration by the Scrutiny Committee Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen Group on 19th July where, at that time, it had recommended that the Head of Democratic Services explore alternative formats for the Scrutiny Committees’ Annual Report and submit a revised suggested format. 

 

Each Chairman of the Council’s Scrutiny Committees had been requested to provide a short summary of their respective Committees’ highlights and achievements during 2015/16 from their perspective.  The draft Annual Report as submitted to the Scrutiny Committee for consideration had been revised following the comments of the above Group with the Annual Report being now more concise and more user-friendly in terms of the likelihood of engaging the public. 

 

The Annual Report would be subsequently submitted to Full Council on 28th September, 2016 for endorsement.  Thereafter, it would be available on the Council’s website.

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the contents of the draft Scrutiny Committees’ Annual Report for the period May 2015 to April 2016 be approved, subject to any further minor amendments being agreed in consultation with the Chairman, and that the report be submitted to Full Council on 28th September, 2016.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To approve the draft Annual Report in accordance with the Council’s Constitution.

 

 

 

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