Top

Top

 

HOMES AND SAFE COMMUNITIES SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 15th March, 2017.

 

Present:  Councillor C.J. Williams (Chairman); Councillor J. Drysdale (Vice-Chairman); Councillors A.G. Bennett, J.C. Bird, Mrs. C.L. Curtis, Mrs. V.M. Hartrey, Ms. R.F. Probert R.P. Thomas, Mrs. M.R. Wilkinson and E. Williams.

 

Also present:  Mr. A. Raybould and Mrs. G. Doyle (Tenant Working Group/Panel)

 

 

925     APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE -

 

These were received from Mrs. D. Dutch and A. Edwards (Tenant Working Group/Panel).

 

 

926     MINUTES -

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 15th February, 2017 be approved as a correct record subject to an amendment being made on page 10 of the minutes. The sentence stating ‘The Vice Chairman expressed the view that the Committee recommendations in relation to requests for reports should not be listed as ongoing on decision tracking document’ be amended to read ‘should be listed as ongoing’.

 

 

927     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

928     ENVIRONMENT AND NEIGHBOURHOOD STRATEGY (HOUSING) (REF) -

 

Cabinet had on 6th March 2017 endorsed a report in relation to the Environment and Neighbourhoods Strategy for public housing, which had been referred to the Committee for consideration.

 

The Committee was informed that the external environment on public housing estates was important to residents. A recent tenants' satisfaction survey highlighted issues including: parking, defensible space, rubbish/litter etc. as significant concerns. As well as the appearance of estates, the survey showed issues like access to open spaces and safety in the home/local area could have a big impact on quality of life. It was vital therefore that the Council set aside appropriate sums of money to invest in the external environment.

 

The Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS) standards required of the Council were vague in terms of the environment. They set out a minimum standard that "all dwellings should be located in an environment to which residents can relate and in which they feel proud to live" but provided little supplementary guidance, this had resulted in different interpretations by social housing providers. In recognition of this fact the Tenant Participation Advisory Service (TPAS) were commissioned to consult with social landlords and develop a guide to best practice which could be used to inform investment plans and shape of this money was spent.

 

The Environment and Neighbourhoods Strategy adopted the principles set out in the WHQS guidance and the supplementary guidance recommended by the TPAS report, particularly around the interpretation of the standard, the potential for harnessing environmental improvements towards social inclusion objectives and about adopting a systematic approach to investment which took into account residents' priorities.

 

Four key themes formed the basis of the Strategy, namely: increased residents' feeling of safety in their home and in their local neighbourhood; improved appearance and cleanliness of the local environment; improved access to and use of open spaces for recreational use; and increased residents' sense of pride in their area through effective community engagement around environmental issues. The four priority themes gave rise to a range of initiatives and actions to improve the quality of services provided.

 

Progress with implementing the Strategy would be measured via the completion of individual actions contained within the Operational Delivery Plan towards the back of the document. There would also be periodic reports to the Homes and Safe Communities Group regarding the range of projects and initiatives taking place.

 

In presenting the report, the Operational Manager for Public Housing Services advised that the Strategy was linked to the 8 key objectives in the Corporate Plan. Significant financial support had been set aside to deliver the objectives in the strategy. The draft Housing Business Plan included provision of a £2 million budget for environment and estate improvement works each year over the course of the next three years (which formed part of the Council’s WHQS investment commitments).  Participatory budgets of £60,000 per annum had been set aside to fund smaller scale estate and environmental improvements identified by local resident and groups.  He advised that the strategy set out a twin-tier approach which consisted of larger estate regeneration and smaller, local schemes. The strategy would target the need for improvements to the physical environments and aimed to achieve the Well-Being Outcomes contained within the Corporate Plan. The Authority had worked really hard with tenants, Members and residents to create useful outcomes and impacts.  A lot of work had been carried out looking at the outcomes, and an Action Plan had also been formulated which was included within the strategy document, attached as an appendix to the report.  There would also be an ongoing monitoring review of the Strategy on a six-monthly basis.

 

Following the presentation of the report, a Member expressed the view they were pleased to see that the strategy had been created, as they had been concerned about environmental impacts since the commencement of the WHQS. They asked how the strategy would deal with CCTV going forward, particularly in regard to funding for the service. The Operational Manager advised that there were two Council estates which had CCTV.  One of them, the Buttrills estate, had just received investment for improvements but the service would need significant investment going forward. He further advised that the CCTV at the St Paul’s Council estate in Penarth had been paid for by residents, but going forward in terms of upkeep and maintenance, a consultation would be required to establish whether the residents still wanted this and also to discern whether it was fit for purpose.  He was of the view that it led to residents feeling safer and was aware of anecdotal comments in terms of its impact on crime. The CCTV service could be linked to the strategy in relation to the reduction of fly tipping. The Council was investing in mobile CCTV cameras particularly at anti-social behaviour hot spots as they helped to address these issues quickly.  He advised that the Council was looking to move towards increased used of mobile cameras in the future.  He informed the Committee that if residents wanted hard-wire CCTV in their area, they could meet with them, together with the police to discuss this matter as there would still need to be an investment from the Council in terms of capital costs, but this was an option if the residents were willing to contribute towards the service.

 

A Member, making reference to Safer Vale, expressed the view that residents were not aware of the 101 non-emergency police number, and asked how this could be overcome. The Operational Manager for Public Housing Services advised that they were aware that individuals were reluctant to use this number; however, as a service they did direct people to this number. The service was looking at anti-social behaviour, in particular repeat offenders, in order to ensure a more directive, informed approach in these areas.

 

A Member expressed the view they were happy with the Strategy, and wanted to emphasise that the main environmental improvement priorities which had been identified by tenants, had to be split into three categories, which were environmental issues, mainstream Council services and individual property issues. The Member was of the view that the Strategy would incorporate mainstream services and would link these to the improvements that tenants wanted.  The Member further expressed the view that they would like to see the monies available dispersed via a participatory budget approach which would ensure that residents were able to make decisions in regard to priorities and the Council would need to build knowledge and motivation in terms of what was happening in their area. 

 

The Operational Manager for Public Housing Services advised that he appreciated that the Housing was just one element of the services provided to Council properties and expressed the view that community investment was required. Alignment between investment and priorities was required and different Council departments, for example, Cleansing and Highways, needed to work together to deliver services, particularly as resources were finite. The Council needed to plan services more effectively, and create Neighbourhood plans to address residents’ priorities.

 

A Member also expressed the view that they were happy to see that a lot of the strategy was community led and communities were being built through participation. This led to people being proud in their area and he added that it was a good report and was pleased with it. 

 

A Member raised the issue of leaf covered pathways and car parks in Colwinston which had become very slippery.  He expressed the view that the Council should react more quickly in these circumstances but advised that he was pleased to see the report.

 

A Member also expressed the view that they were happy to see the report and made enquires in regard to progress made on the Buttrills estate. In response, the Operational Manager for Building Services advised that works had already started and had begun with the relocation of the bin stores. Works would continue and include additional external works such as car parks and rear gardens, although the mainstay of works were new roofs and rendering of properties.  A drone survey had also been carried out which would inform the works.  They were one team member down at present, however, they were trying to move forward with the works as quickly as possible and anticipated they were a couple of months away from making a real impact on the estate.

 

A Member advised that they were happy to see the actions in the operational delivery plan in relation to researching the scope for a gardening service to assist disabled or elderly tenants and agreed with the outcome of getting more residents to take part in initiatives to improve their area, however, expressed the view that this could be difficult and that the Council would need to engage with the communities. 

 

A Member advised that they were happy to see that the action points in the delivery plan had quite specific start and finish dates as it made them easier to monitor. 

 

Following consideration of the report it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1)       T H A T the Environment and Neighbourhoods Strategy be endorsed taking into account the intention of Cabinet to adopt the Strategy.

 

(2)       T H A T the Homes and Safe Communities Scrutiny Committee receives six monthly reports in relation to the operational delivery plans for Environment and Neighbourhood Strategies.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To take account of the contents of the Environment and Neighbourhoods Strategy.

 

(2)       To ensure the action identified were progressed.

 

 

929     TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT TASK AND FINISH GROUP OF THE SCRUTINY COMMITTEE - UPDATE ON ACTIONS UNDERTAKEN (REF) -

 

At its meeting on 14th February, 2017, the Environment and Regeneration Scrutiny Committee received a report which updated the Committee on the progress made in 2016 on the implementation of the actions contained within the Traffic Management Task and Finish Group report (2014) and the Local Transport Plan (LDP) (2015). This report was subsequently referred to the Homes and Safe Communities Scrutiny Committee to consider whether it wished to receive an Emergency Services report on a regular basis.

 

The Committee was advised that in acknowledging the work that had been undertaken to date, the Chairman of the Environment and Regeneration Scrutiny Committee, queried IP2, the recommendation to receive a report at a future meeting apprising Members of the discussions held with representatives from Emergency Services.  The Chairman considered that the work of Emergency Services was an important aspect for the Council and that such reports should be presented to the relevant Scrutiny Committee on a regular basis. 

 

In presenting the reference to the Homes and Safe Communities Scrutiny Committee, the Director of Environment and Housing, advised that previously the Police had come to the relevant Scrutiny Committee to talk about issues such as road safety. He further added that currently crime statistics were not reported to the relevant Scrutiny Committee and in certain areas these statistics were increasing.  He advised that a report to the Committee could include the reporting of these crime statistics as well as any relevant KSI, injury statistics, highway improvements and trends in the statistics. He alluded to the issues being about Community Safety, rather than just Highway issues and advised that he worked with the Principal Community Safety Officer in this area with a view to increasing public safety.

 

Members were in general agreement that it would be a good idea to receive a report of this type and that a Police Officer should also attend the Committee once a year to present to the Committee.

 

Following consideration of the reference, the Committee

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the Committee receive a report on Community Safety every six monthly reports and a Police Officer be requested to attend once a year to present to the Committee in regard to this area.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To keep the Committee apprised in relation to Community Safety issues in the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

 

930     VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL ANNUAL SELF ASSESSMENT (MD) -

 

In presenting the report to the Committee the Director of Environment and Housing advised that the self-assessments formed a core part of the statutory Local Government inspection process in Wales.  Under the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009, the Council was required to undertake a self-evaluation of all its services and use this information to inform planning for improvement.  He further advised that this was the first report of this type and that it was not a full year document.  The Vale of Glamorgan Annual Self-Assessment was a position statement on the Council’s performance over the last year in delivering its priorities.  It was intended to provide an honest and balanced account of the Council’s achievements and identify areas where further progress was required.  A copy of the Council’s Annual Self-Assessment had been sent out under a separate cover to Members prior to the agenda dispatch. 

 

Historically, the Council has undertaken the self-assessment of its services as part of the service planning process to inform its priorities and areas for improvement. This was primarily performance focused and undertaken on a directorate-by-directorate basis.

 

This year’s Annual Self-Assessment presented a significant departure from the way in which the annual performance assessment had been conducted in the past. The development of a more outcome-focused Corporate Plan in line with the Council’s duties under the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act and the alignment of the Council’s Committee structures to this approach had necessitated the need to refine how the Council undertook its self-assessment process. As a consequence the Council’s new self-assessment format reflected these developments.

 

In future, the Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes would form the framework for evaluating the Council’s performance and achievements, thus enabling the Council to demonstrate its ability to achieve positive outcomes for its residents and secure continuous improvement. These would be supported by service based position statements covering all Council services. A summary of our progress to date in relation to the priorities identified in last year's Annual Self-Assessment detailed that of the 57 actions identified, 32 had been completed and 25 were ongoing.

 

The Self-Assessment process was used to identify priorities for the coming year that were implemented via service plans for 2017/18. In addition, the Corporate Health priorities would feed into the work of the Insight Board to ensure an integrated approach to planning for improvement. Work had already commenced in implementing some of these priorities, which incorporated existing areas of improvement activity.

 

The Council's self-assessment process would continue to evolve in line with the wider Local Government agenda as proposed in the recent draft Local Government (Wales) Bill and the Well-being of Future Generation (Wales) Act. In this respect, the annual Self-Assessment sets out the Council’s key priorities for improvement and would be published and made available to its regulators to inform their work programme.

 

In presenting the report the Director of Environment and Housing highlighted the relevant areas of the self-assessment for the Members which included the Wellbeing Outcome for the Committee of ‘An Inclusive and Safe Vale’, the priorities for 2017/18, key achievements to date across the cross-cutting objectives which were relevant to the Committee. The document also included the position statements for Housing and Building Services, the Shared Regulatory Service and Performance and Development Services. 

 

The Chairman highlighted the £3 million worth of investment into building the first new Council-owned housing programme in 17 years. He alluded to absence management, which remained a key area of focus and noted a slight increase in the number of days lost to sickness between 2014/15 to 2015/16. 

 

The Chairman also highlighted the good news stories in the self-assessment in regard to the Council remaining on track to conclude its Welsh Housing Quality Standard programme (WHQS) by the end of 2017 and that 98.12% of internal works had been completed with 90% of residents stating that the works had made a positive impact.  He further commented that it was positive to hear that nearly 99% of customers who had contacted the Council’s Contact Centre (C1V) so far this year reported that they were either very satisfied or satisfied with access.  He emphasised the improvements in terms of the Council’s Disabled Facilities Grant (DFGs) processes which had enabled the Council to reduce delivery times further.  The average number of calendar days taken to deliver a DFG had reduced to 170 days from 182 days in the same period last year and 178 days at the end of 2015/16.  The Chairman further commented that the Council had been placed in the top quartile performance in Wales in terms of recycling rates. 

 

The Vice-Chairman expressed the view that he felt the verbal presentation given by the Director was very useful, however the covering report was generic and going forward it would be useful to have a report which was specific to the individual Scrutiny Committee and that highlighted the parts of the self-assessment which were relevant to each Committee. He further stated that aspects of the self-assessment which had already been agreed by Members should not be included in the future.  The Director of Environment and Housing advised that he appreciated the points and advised that it was a corporate document but he would take these points back to the Managing Director.  A Member concurred with the points raised by the Vice-Chairman and felt that it would be better to put together separate reports for each of the Scrutiny Committees.  In addition the Director advised that at present the self-assessment did not contain a full year of performance data and that next year it would be directly linked to each Scrutiny Committee.

 

A Member highlighted the fact that seven of the Vale of Glamorgan parks had been awarded the coveted Green Flag award and was of the view that this should be promoted along with the Vale of Glamorgan’s Heritage Coast.  The Director advised that they were looking at increasing achievements in this area particularly at Cosmeston and Porthkerry.  A Member concurred with comments made in relation to highlighting the achievements in regard to the Vale parks and felt that they should be publicised, particularly as the Vale had more parks per capita than any Authority in Wales.  A Member commented that they were pleased to see the priorities for 2017/18 going forward. The Director concluded by advising that it had been a good 12 months for the Council, and highlighted that tenant satisfaction was high. He further advised that the Head of Housing position was to be recruited shortly. 

 

Following full consideration of the report and accompanying appendices the Committee

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1)       T H A T the Council’s Annual Self-Assessment report including identified priorities for 2017/18 onwards be endorsed.

 

(2)       T H A T the use and contents of the Self-Assessment as the basis for Service Plans for 2017/18 be endorsed.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To meet the requirements of the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 to undertake a self-assessment of all Council services and use this information as the basis to drive continuous improvement of Council services.

 

(2)       To ensure the Scrutiny Committee confirms that the priorities identified within the Self-Assessment relating to its remit of 'Well-being Outcome 1 'Citizens of the Vale of Glamorgan have a good quality of life and feel part of the local community.'' represents a fair reflection of the challenges facing both the Council as a whole and the services contributing to the corporate health priorities.  In addition, that the Council identifies and takes appropriate action to address its improvement priorities

 

 

931     REVENUE AND CAPITAL MONITORING FOR THE PERIOD 1ST APRIL, 2016 TO 31ST JANUARY, 2017 (DEH) -

 

The revenue and capital expenditure for the period 1st April 2016 to 31st January 2017 regarding those revenue and capital budgets which formed the Scrutiny Committee’s remit were presented to the Committee for its consideration.

 

The Revenue Budget and projected outturn for 2016/17, shown in the table below, was currently forecasting a balanced budget.

 

 

Revenue   Budget

 

Probable   Outturn

Variance

(+ )   Favourable

(-)   Adverse

 

£000

£000

£000

Public   Sector Housing (HRA)

768

768

0

Council   Fund Housing

 

988

988

0

Private   Sector Housing

 

11,021

11,021

0

Regulatory   Services

 

2,218

2,218

0

Youth   Offending Service

 

701

701

0

TOTAL

 

15,696

15,696

0

 

A graph and table setting out the variance between the profiled budget and actual expenditure to date was attached to the report at Appendix 1.

 

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

 

Committee was advised that it was anticipated that the Council Fund Housing budget would outturn on target, however, this was after a planned transfer from reserves to fund specific posts and issues arising as a result of the introduction of the Housing Act.

 

In terms of Private Housing, there was currently a small favourable variance as a staff vacancy was aiding the adverse variance on Renewal Area fee income. Disabled Facility Grant fee income however remained above profile to assist the overall position. It was therefore anticipated that this service would outturn on target.

 

The Committee was advised that in regard to Regulatory Services the allocation of £2.218m represented the Vale of Glamorgan's budget for its share of the Shared Regulatory Service (SRS).  A separate set of accounts was maintained for the SRS and was periodically reported to the Shared Regulatory Service Joint Committee.  At this stage in the year it was anticipated that the SRS would outturn on target.

 

Other services were anticipated to outturn on target by year end. 

 

Appendix 2 to the report detailed financial progress on the Capital Programme as at 31st January, 2017 and Appendix 3 provided non-financial information on capital construction schemes with a budget of over £100k.  

 

The Committee was informed that there were no amendments to the Capital Programme this month.

 

The Chairman queried whether the Council was on target to complete the WHQS works by late 2017 and the Operational Manager for Building Services advised that the Council was on target and it was likely to be an August completion date.  The works would require validation following completion to ensure that the standards and targets of the WHQS had been met and it was anticipated that this may create some additional works which would be wrapped up by the beginning of September.  The Chairman queried the progress in regard to the Castleland Renewal Area and the Team Leader for Housing and Community Regeneration advised that it would likely be finished by the end of August 2017. 

 

Following consideration of the report the Committee

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the position with regard to the 2016/17 Revenue and Capital budgets be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To have regard to the content of the report in regard to the 2016/17 Revenue and Capital Monitoring.

 

 

932     UPDATE TO CORPORATE SAFEGUARDING REPORT (JULY 2016) ADDITIONAL INFORMATION (DEH) -

 

The Committee received a report which provided Members with responses to questions that were raised at the Committee meeting of 25th July, 2016.

Committee Members had requested clarification on a number of technical and operational issues which flowed from the update report and these questions and officer responses were provided within the report.

 

The Vice-Chairman queried whether the ‘Working Together to Safeguard People’ guidance and the All-Wales Adult and Child procedures were the same. The Operational Manager for Public Sector Housing advised that the All-Wales procedures were still in place and that the consultation for the Working Together guidance was still open and this guidance would be released in summer 2017. He confirmed that the All-Wales guidance was still in use.

 

The Vice-Chairman made reference to a possible move towards the requirement for three-yearly renewals of DBS checks for all posts which came under Safer Recruitment and queried whether this was necessary if the Council was informed by the Police of any offences committed by these individuals.  The Head of Children and Young People Services, present at the meeting, confirmed that for certain posts a DBS check was a contractual requirement.  Furthermore for those posts it is a requirement of the occupation that the employee notify their employer if they have been involved with the Police.  Additionally, where a position is considered by the Police to be a notifiable occupation, they would make contact with the employer directly.  The Member asked whether three-yearly renewals were required and the Head of Service responded that it was standard practice in Social Services.

 

The Chairman asked what were the compliance rates in terms of Safer Recruitment and risk assessments for the period April 2015 to April 2016.  The Operational Manager for Public Housing Services advised that there had been an error in the original report which had not been updated and advised that there were significant improvements in terms of performance around monitoring, and significant improvements in Directorates for compliance rates, particularly Education.  He further advised that each Headteacher was responsible in terms of ensuring their staff were appropriately checked. 

 

Following consideration of the report, the Committee

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the responses in the Corporate Safeguarding Update Report be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To have regard to the content of the report which addressed the matters raised by the Committee, following consideration of the Corporate Safeguarding Update report at its July 2016 meeting.

 

 

933     SERVICE PLANS 2017-21: REGENERATION AND PLANNING, HOUSING AND BUILDING SERVICES, PERFORMANCE AND DEVELOPMENT AND CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE SERVICES (DEH) -

 

The Service Plans for Regeneration and Planning, Housing and Building Services, Performance and Development and Children and Young People (2017-2021) were presented to the Committee for consideration.  In presenting the report the Director of Environment and Housing advised that the four Service Plans for these services were included as appendices to the report. There was a lot of ‘striking out’ within the Plans of matters which were not relevant to the Committee which therefore highlighted the matters that were of relevant to the Homes and Safe Communities Committee.

 

Service Plans were the primary planning document of the Council and a key building block in its performance management framework. Consequently, an annual review of planning arrangements was undertaken to ensure that the Council's plans continued to meet statutory requirements and to continuously improve the approach to performance planning and monitoring. 

 

In line with the new Corporate Plan and performance management arrangements, the service planning process for 2017/18 commenced with a self-assessment of local authority activities as required under the Local Government (Wales) Measure for the previous year. The Annual Self-Assessment report had been presented to Members earlier in the meeting.

 

The Service Plans for 2017-21 specifically identified how each Head of Service would contribute towards achievement of Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes by asking two questions: 

  • "Which well-being objectives does the service contribute to and what actions will we be taking this year to achieve these?"
  • "How will we manage our resources to achieve these actions and support our service?" 

Informed by the Annual Self-Assessment, the Service Plans also comprised a brief overview of the issues facing the service against each of the corporate health perspectives (Risk, Customer Focus, Resources - workforce, finance, assets, ICT). The Plans included an action plan for how resources would be used to support the delivery of well-being outcome actions as well as managing risks, collaboration and engagement activities.

 

Appendix 1 contained the Service Plans for Regeneration and Planning, Housing and Building Services, Performance and Development and Children and Young People Services. Key areas of note within the Service Plans were: 

  • Section 1 - Introduction: Sets the context for the Service Plan and provides an overview of the service area, the purpose of the plan, and the key service considerations which have informed development of the Plan.
  • Section 2 - Our Priorities for 2017-21: Outlines the specific actions that the service will be taking during 2017/18 to contribute towards the Corporate Plan Well-being Objectives and Outcomes and the relevant Scrutiny Committee responsible. It also identifies the key enabling actions the service will be taking to support its achievement of the Well-being Outcomes for example through reshaping of its services.
  • Section 3 - Outlines what actions the Service will undertake during 2017/18 to contribute to Year 2 of the Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes and Objectives. It also describes how the service will manage its resources to deliver its priorities in the Service Plan and outlines key workforce development priorities, significant ICT projects, required budget savings and areas of focus in relation to assets, procurement and major capital projects.  This section also identifies how the service will engage with stakeholders and work in partnership/ collaborate to achieve its priorities and incorporates a service risk evaluation.
  • Appendix A and B (within the Service Plan) contains the Service's Improvement Action Plan for 2017/18.  This identifies planned service actions, intended outcomes and key milestones, relevant performance measures to demonstrate progress, responsible officer, timescales for completion and the anticipated resources requirements of planned actions.
  • The Regeneration and Planning Service Plan incorporates its contribution to two other Well-being Outcomes, namely Outcomes 2 and 3.  For ease of reference, Members will note that the proposed actions relating to these Well-being Outcome areas have been struck through within the Plan to indicate the areas that do not form part of the remit of the Committee.
  • The Performance and Development Service Plan incorporates its contribution to other Well-being Outcomes, namely Outcome 3 and Corporate Health. For ease of reference, Members will note that the proposed actions relating to these Well-being Outcome areas have been struck through within the Plan to indicate the areas that do not form part of the remit of the Committee.
  • The Children and Young People Service Plan also incorporates its contribution to two other Well-being Outcomes, namely Outcomes 3 and 4.  For ease of reference, Members will note that the proposed actions relating to these Well-being Outcome areas have been struck through within the Plan to indicate the areas that do not form part of the remit of the Committee.
  • The Business Plan for Shared Regulatory Services will be reported to the Committee and Cabinet by 30th June 2017 in line with the delegations set out in the Joint Working Agreement. Key priorities for 2017/18 will be determined as part of the joint business planning process for the Shared Regulatory Services in conjunction with our partners in Cardiff and Bridgend Council. 

A Member asked whether the Case Management software for the recording and management of anti-social behaviour was generic software or whether it would be solely for recording anti-social behaviour.  The Operational Manager for Public Housing Services advised that it was bespoke software, they had been looking for a digital solution in this area and he advised that the system would allow the Authority to monitor its own anti-social behaviour more accurately and could also be used by the Safer Vale team.  In addition he advised that the Police and Crime Commissioner was looking at operating an All-Wales solution in this area.  They were looking at the way in which they used the functionality of the system, which was quite advanced and would allow them to alert the rest of the virtual group using the software to advise if there had been any issues in terms of anti-social behaviour.  The Member suggested that the software was reviewed by local neighbourhood officers before any decision was made.  The Operational Manager advised that they had taken a lot of time looking at various systems and advised that staff had been consulted and involved from the beginning, which had allowed for issues to be flagged up and assured Members that a lot of time had been spent looking at the issues raised.

 

A Member made reference to there being a Housing Business Plan in addition to the Service Plan for Housing and Building Services and asked whether both were needed as the essentially covered the same ground.  The Operational Manager appreciated this point and advised that although similar, the Housing Business Plan contained more financial element.  There was potential for them to review the way they formulated these plans however, they were currently in transition and advised that as part of the Corporate Assessment, the Wales Audit Office had raised the issue of the way in which services were planned. In relation to this point, the Director of Environment and Housing advised that the SRS now had a new Business Plan, rather than a Service Plan. He expressed the view that it would be good to see a document more specific to Housing and Building Services and appreciated that the standard template was not always suitable, however this may change in the future. 

 

The Vice-Chairman felt that there was a need for more specific delivery times in the Action Plans and queried whether there were any legal principals in terms of good consultation as referred to in the Performance and Development Service Plan and was advised that this would be raised with the relevant officer. 

 

The Chairman offered congratulations for the reduced sickness absence figures for Housing and Building Services, particularly in relation to short term absence and asked what the reasons were for the reduction.  The Director advised that it was due to a range of things such as a new absence management policy and the Leadership Programme which highlighted the impact of sickness absence had on service provision, it was also due to employees buying into the service.  The Chairman also congratulated the officers on the 100% staff appraisal.  Following a query from the Chairman in relation to the targets for sickness absence the Director advised that each service area had individual targets and the statistics were made up of more detailed figures.  Following a discussion about the format in which the Committee received sickness absence figures, the Committee was of the view that it wanted to see all of the statistics, split out into long and short term absence on a quarterly basis. 

 

The Operational Manager for Customer Relations apprised the Committee in relation to the relevant aspects of the Service Plan for Performance and Development, in particular, work that had been carried out in terms of digital inclusion and anti-poverty with the aim of achieving the Well-Being Objective ‘Reducing poverty and social exclusion’. One priority was to continue working with partners through the ‘Get the Vale Online’ group, to improve access and digital skills for groups most likely to experience digital exclusion.  Members wanted to see reports on digital inclusion and Creative Rural Communities as these were service areas were relatively new to the remit of the Scrutiny Committee.

 

In presenting the Service Plan for Children and Young People Services, the Head of Service drew attention to the actions relevant to this Committee.  There were four strands within the poverty programme which were Families First, Flying Start, Communities First and Supporting People.  The associated Action Plan aimed to ensure that the Service implemented a more joined up approach to avoid duplication and improve access to services.  The Action Plan also aimed to deliver the AssetPlus assessment training in order to reduce reoffending rates and to further revise the Youth Offending Service policies and procedures.

 

A Member made reference to the shortage of sheltered housing and asked if there were any plans in relation to this.  The Operational Manager for Public Housing Services advised that there was a need for synergy between Social Care and Health to make the case for sheltered housing.  In Cardiff and the Vale Cardiff there was a preventative strategy for Older People’s  Accommodation and going forward there would be remodelling of the approach to Sheltered Housing service. There was an Older Persons’ Accommodation Strategy being developed which would include how Housing could assist with service priorities.  He advised that if new sheltered accommodation was built it was likely to be extra care accommodation.  Social Services were looking delivery models, which included the use of resources and whether the current traditional model of residential care was needed in the future. He advised that the report being formulated recommended that the model adopted should be bespoke to the needs of residents and highlighted principles of collaboration, partnership and joint working in order to achieve more in this area. 

 

In presenting the Service Plan for Regeneration and Planning, the Team Leader for Housing and Community Regeneration informed the Committee that over the next 12 months a new database for the Creative Rural Communities would be rolled out which would be used for community mapping  and advised that she would ask for  this to be brought to the Committee.  The Castleland Renewal Project was progressing well, once it was completed a report would be formulated to evaluate the success of the Project and they would also be looking to identify and initiate new regeneration/renewal areas. 

 

There was currently a vacant post in the Empty Homes service area, which they were looking to recruit.  The officer made reference to the loan products offered to householders to and landlords to improve private housing and make vacant properties available as houses, and advised that there had not been a large take up for these loans.  Once the Empty Homes Officer was in post they would review these products and empty homes work proactively and this area of work was linked to the worked carried out by the Shared Regulatory Service (SRS). A Member expressed the view that one of the main problems with empty homes was that they were left to deteriorate to such a great degree, and the SRS could not take action unless the property was verminous.   The Team Leader advised that there was legislation in place that the Authority had to comply with in this area which stipulated that a property would have to be found to be harbouring rats before any action could be taken. 

 

Following full consideration of the Service Plans and the report the Members 

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1)       T H A T the Service Plans for Regeneration and Planning, Housing and Building Services, Performance and Development and Children and Young People Services for 2017-21 be endorsed.

 

(2)       T H A T the Committee receive the sickness absence statistics, split out into both long and short term sickness absence on a quarterly basis.

 

(3)       T H A T the Committee receive a report on digital inclusion and Creative Rural Communities.

 

(4)       T H A T the Accommodation with Care for Older People’s Strategy be brought to a future meeting of the Committee.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To confirm the Service Plans as the primary documents against which performance for the Corporate Plan Well-being Outcome 1 will be measured.

 

(2)       To ensure the Committee was updated in relation to sickness absence levels in the relevant service areas within the Committee’s remit.

 

(3)       In order to apprise the Committee in regard to the work carried out in these two service areas.

 

(4)       In order to apprise the Committee in regard to this Strategy.

 

 

934     QUARTER 3 (2016-17) PERFORMANCE REPORT: AN INCLUSIVE AND SAFE VALE (DEH) -

 

The Director of Environment and Housing presented the performance results for Quarter 3, 1st April to 30th December, 2016 for the Corporate Plan Wellbeing Outcome 1 ‘An Inclusive and Safe Vale’.

 

The Committee was asked to consider the progress to date in achieving key outcomes in line with the Corporate Wellbeing Outcome - ‘Citizens of the Vale of Glamorgan have a good quality of life and feel part of the local community’.  Furthermore, the Committee was asked to consider the performance results and remedial actions to be taken to address areas of underperformance and to tackle the key challenges identified.

 

The Director of Environment and Housing drew the Committee’s attention to Section 1: Outcome Summary which provided an overall summary of performance and highlighted the main developments, achievements and challenges for the quarter as a whole. He advised that 13 out of the 16 Corporate Plan Actions were on track to be delivered, rather 14 as was stated in the document, giving an overall performance status of green for actions and highlighted that in terms of Performance Indicators (PIs) performance was good.  In making reference to the four PIs in regard to Voids, he confirmed that the target to let an empty property had been revised to 33 and advised that there had been a joint effort between Housing and Building Services in order to achieve this target and was hoping to reduce this figure to below 30 days.  Furthermore, DFGs were improving which was the result of a lot of hard work.

 

There was one Red PI which related to the percentage of housing stock where work that meets the WHQS had been completed. He advised that it was anticipated that these works would be completed by August/September 2017 and that the Authority was achieving the Welsh Government standard for these works.  He was of the view that these were new PIs and overall it was a positive report. 

 

A Member made reference to the Financial Inclusion Strategy which had been attributed a Red performance status to reflect the slippage in delivering the Strategy. The Director advised that the Head of Housing and Building Services had been the Chair of the Financial Inclusion Group and at present this position was vacant which had contributed to slippage in delivery the Strategy. The Operational Manger for Public Housing Services advised that work was ongoing in this area, however, certain key actions had been missed, and therefore, it was listed as a Red performance status.

 

Following consideration of the report the Committee

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1)       T H A T the progress to date in achieving key outcomes in line with the Corporate Plan Wellbeing Outcome 1 - ‘Citizens of the Vale of Glamorgan have a good quality of life and feel part of the local community’ be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the performance results and remedial actions to be taken to address areas of underperformance and to tackle key challenges identified be noted.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To ensure the Council clearly demonstrates the progress being made towards achieving its Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes aimed at making a positive difference to the lives of Vale of Glamorgan citizens.

 

(2)       To ensure the Council is effectively assessing its performance in line with the requirement to secure continuous improvement outlined in the Local Government Measure (Wales) 2009 and reflecting the requirement of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act that it maximises its contribution to achieving the well-being goals for Wales.

 

 

935     TARGET SETTINGS FOR 2017-18 (DEH) -

 

The Committee received a report which presented the proposed targets for improvement for 2017-18 for existing Performance Indicators (PIs) aligned to Well-being Outcome 1 'An Inclusive and Safe Vale' priorities.

 

The report presented the proposed targets aligned with the Well-being Outcome 1 priorities as outlined in the Corporate Plan 2016-2020.  Appendix 1 to the report outlined the proposed targets for the Homes and Safe Communities Committee and included all relevant PIs that fitted within the remit of the Committee.  Targets had been set for those PIs that were continuing into 2017-18.

 

Target setting for 2017-18 was being undertaken earlier (at Quarter 3) compared to previous years in order to align the process with service planning.  This enabled targets to be considered in the context of priorities and resources as outlined in 2017/18 Service Plans.  In addition, the process for signing off targets had been revised. Previously, targets had been challenged by the Council's Performance Team, Corporate Management Team, Scrutiny Committees and Cabinet.  This year, following sign off by the respective Sponsoring Director for each Well-being Outcome, targets were being reported directly to Scrutiny Committees for challenge and thereafter to Cabinet for ratification.  This was line with the Wales Audit Office's Proposal for Improvement from its Corporate Assessment of the Vale of Glamorgan Council in August 2016.

 

The Council had a long standing commitment (as outlined in previous and the current Corporate Plan) to continuously improve the services it provided to citizens of the Vale of Glamorgan.  However, the ongoing reductions in public sector funding would inevitably impact on the availability of resources, and in addition, external factors such as the wider economic environment, brought into question the realism of continual improvement in service performance.  However, having taken account of these factors, the Council still sought to establish challenging but realistic targets that were commensurate with the available level of resource.

 

The Council's challenging approach to target setting emphasised this by ensuring that there was an assessment of performance trend data, its performance against
previous targets and making best use of external benchmarking data (where this was available).  This was balanced against how much of a priority the indicator was to the Council and whether there was capacity to improve performance.  All proposed targets must have an accompanying rationale that clearly explains the reasons for setting the targets at that level.

 

Due to the timing of target setting this year, data was only available for Quarter 3 for those measures reported on a quarterly basis.  For those measures reported on an annual basis, proposed targets had been informed by previous years' trend data (where available) and estimated data as at Quarter 3.  For some new 2016-17 measures which were collected annually, data would not be available until 31st March as services were establishing baseline performance so it had not been possible to set a target.  These would be reported to Members once end of year data became available.

 

Appendix 1 to the report outlined the proposed targets for the Homes and Safe Communities Committee.  Targets had been set for those PIs that were continuing into 2017-18.  A number of Indicator amendments and deletions were proposed for 2017-18 following the review of existing CPMs and Members were asked to endorse these. 

 

In considering the report, a Member made reference to one of the deletions, CPM/120, the percentage of all domestic violence incidents which are repeat offences and was of the view that although there was a new PI being proposed to replace it, this PI should remain. 

 

The Operational Manager for Public Housing Services advised that much of the information provided by the Community Safety Officer was not provided by their team but by the Police, and the Police reported repeat victims differently as they had different definitions to the Authority.  He was of the view that the Authority needed to formulate a more meaningful suite of PIs and a new Domestic Violence Officer had been recruited which would assist with this aim.  The Chairman suggested that the Principal Community Safety Officer should attend a future meeting of the Committee.  The Operational Manager advised that a lot of work was being carried out in relation to domestic violence, a large seminar was to take place in the near future and the Director advised that he would check whether the Committee Members would be invited. 

 

Following consideration of the report, it was

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1)       T H A T the Committee endorse the proposed targets for 2017-18 aligned to Wellbeing Outcome 1 priorities.

 

(2)       T H A T the Committee endorse the amendments and deletions as proposed within the report apart from the deletion of Performance Indicator CPM/120.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To ensure the Council reports a relevant set of Performance Indicators against which it can demonstrate achievement of its Well-being Outcomes and consistently sets challenging yet realistic performance improvement targets for those priorities in line with requirements under the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009.

 

(2)       The Committee was of the view that the Performance Indicator CPM/120 was of value and should continue to be reported.

 

 

936     VALE OF GLAMORGAN WELLBEING OBJECTIVES AND IMPROVEMENT PLAN PART 1 (IMPROVEMENT OBJECTIVES 2017/18) (DEH) -

 

The report sought Members' endorsement of the Council's proposed approach to discharging its duties in relation to the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 and the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 to publish Well-being Objectives and annual Improvement Objectives.

 

The Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 and the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 (WFGA), both placed specific duties on the Council in relation to objective setting and reporting duties.  Under the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act, the Council was required to publish its Well-being Objectives by 31st March, 2017.  Under the Measure, the Council also had to set annual Improvement Objectives and publish these as soon as possible at the start of the financial year.

 

The Welsh Government had indicated that it intends to revoke the provisions of the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 in the future.  In the recently published White Paper: Reforming Local Government, the Welsh Government had indicated that the Local Government Measure would be repealed and replaced with a performance framework that was guided by the principles of the Well-being of Future Generations Act and informed by good governance principles.  It was proposed that Local Authorities would take a greater responsibility for improvement activity through a process of external challenge via peer reviews and strengthened expectations of corporate governance and audit committees.  To give a broad indication of timescales, assuming a Bill being introduced in the Assembly towards the end of 2017-18, a 12 month legislative period, Royal Assent and commencement orders, it was likely that any new reforms would probably apply from April 2020.

 

The Corporate Plan was the Council’s key means of complying with the Local Government Measure 2009, which required the Council to set 'Improvement Objectives' annually and demonstrate continuous improvement.

 

The Corporate Plan 2016-2020 was approved by Cabinet on 22nd February, 2016 and by Council on 2nd March, 2016 following extensive consultation with key stakeholders and partners.  The Plan set out the Council's Well-being Outcomes and Objectives for the next four years as well as its vision, values with reference to the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.  The Corporate Plan 4 Well-being Outcomes and associated 8 Well-being Objectives were:

 

Well-being Outcome 1: An inclusive and Safe Vale 

  • Objective 1:  Reducing poverty and social exclusion.
  • Objective 2: Providing decent homes and safe communities. 

Well-being Outcome 2: An Environmentally Responsible and Prosperous Vale 

  • Objective 3: Promoting regeneration, economic growth and employment.
  • Objective 4: Promoting sustainable development and protecting our environment. 

Well-being Outcome 3: An Aspirational and Culturally Vibrant Vale 

  • Objective 5: Raising overall standards of achievement.
  • Objective 6: Valuing culture and diversity. 

Well-being Outcome 4: An Active and Healthy Vale 

  • Objective 7: Encouraging and promoting active and healthy lifestyles.
  • Objective 8: Safeguarding those who are vulnerable and promoting independent living. 

Following consideration of the report, the Committee

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1)       T H A T Cabinet be informed that Scrutiny Committee endorsed the proposed approach to discharging the Council's duties to publish Well-being and Improvement Objectives under the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 and the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.

 

(2)       T H A T Cabinet be informed that Scrutiny Committee endorsed the Corporate Plan Well-being Objectives as the Council's Well-being Objectives for the purposes of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.

 

(3)       T H A T Cabinet be informed that Scrutiny Committee endorsed the Corporate Plan Well-being Objectives and associated priority actions for 2017/18 as the Council's Improvement Objectives for 2017/18.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To ensure the Council fully discharges its statutory duties to set and report on Well-being and Improvement Objectives.

 

(2)       To ensure the Council meets the requirements of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 to publish its Well-being objectives by 31st March, 2017.

 

(3)       To ensure the Council continues to meet the requirements of the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 to set annual improvement priorities for 2017/18.

 

 

Share on facebook Like us on Facebook