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SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (CORPORATE RESOURCES)

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 17th March, 2015.

 

Present: Councillor M.R. Wilson (Chairman): Councillor Mrs. P. Drake (Vice-Chairman); Councillors H.C. Hamilton, K. Hatton, H.J.W. James, P. King, R.A. Penrose, G. Roberts and A.C. Williams.

 

 

1016   MINUTES – 

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 10th February, 2015 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

1017   DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST –

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

1018   BARRY SECONDARY SCHOOL TRANSFORMATION (REF) –

 

The above matter had been previously considered by the Cabinet at its meeting on 23rd February 2015.  At that time Cabinet approval had been sought to consult stakeholders on a proposal to transform secondary education in Barry, by establishing a new mixed English medium comprehensive school, by expanding Ysgol Bro Morgannwg and by relocation to create two distinct campuses for Welsh medium and English medium education. 

 

The establishment of mixed sex secondary provision in Barry had been debated intermittently over a number of years with interest having increased in recent years to the extent that following a Cabinet decision on 15th July 2013, public consultation had been undertaken to establish the extent of local support for the principle of co-education in Barry.  That consultation had sought to establish local views about the establishment of a co-educational school formed by the amalgamation of Barry and Bryn Hafren Comprehensive Schools which would operate on the two current sites.  In total 951 people had participated in the consultation including parents, children and young people and members of staff.  The responses indicated that:

 

·         81% of parent respondents supported a change to co-educational secondary schooling;

·         The large number of highly positive comments offered by parents indicate that this view was strongly held;

·         The social and well-being benefits for learners were the key factors driving the response;

·         75% of secondary school pupil respondents supported a change; and the possible social benefits of mixed schooling are a key factor;

·         69% of primary school pupils who participated in the consultation sessions said they would prefer to attend a mixed secondary school;

·         92% of staff respondents did not support a change to co-educational secondary schooling in Barry.  Many staff had concerns about how possible change might affect them and the implications for teaching across a split site school.

 

Following consideration of the responses, Cabinet had instructed officers to begin a programme of work to develop detailed proposals for a change to co-educational secondary schooling and that the detailed proposals should address the concerns raised by the parents and members of school staff who felt they would not support a change.  Cabinet also established at the time a Project Board to progress the work required to develop detailed proposals for an amalgamation. 

 

With regard to Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg and Ysgol Gyfun Bro Morgannwg, the Council had recently consulted on a proposal to amalgamate the schools to create a new all through school from September 2015, and following that consultation a statutory notice had been published on 6th January, 2015 to amalgamate those schools. 

 

With regard to the capacity of Barry, Bryn Hafren and Bro Morgannwg schools, the numbers on rolls at the Pupil Level Annual Schools Survey (PLASC) 2014, as well as projected pupil numbers, were shown at Appendix A to the report.  The number on roll at Barry Comprehensive in January 2014 was 1,062 which included a sixth form of 197 pupils compared to a current capacity of 1,423.  The number on roll at Bryn Hafren Comprehensive was 1,106 including a sixth form of 256 compared to a capacity of 1,331.  Projections also showed a shortage of places in the Welsh medium secondary sector from 2020 onwards which had also been reported to Cabinet on 10th March, 2014 and at that time Cabinet had authorised a feasibility study to investigate how the required expansion of Welsh medium secondary education could be accommodated.

 

Property condition surveys had also been carried out for all Vale schools with the inspections comprising a visual assessment of the condition of all exposed parts of the buildings to identify significant defects and items of disrepair. 

 

With regard to pupil attainment and school improvement, the Council had placed on record its concerns about performance at two of the three schools over the past two years and the schools’ capacity for rapid and sustainable improvement.  Whilst there had been improvement in some areas by these schools, performance on key measures in Key Stage 4 in particular, remained poor when compared to similar schools.  Appendix C to the report showed the outcomes for the three schools against the key measures over a period of four years as well as the quartile ranking when compared to similar schools.

 

The report also outlined that as part of the work carried out by the Project Board to further develop proposals, research had been carried out on amalgamations and split site education which had included desk top analysis as well as telephone and face to face interviews with leaders involved in recent, mixed gender amalgamations and split-site schools.  Examples had been sought which matched as closely as possible the demographic, social and educational context of Barry and Bryn Hafren Comprehensive Schools. 

 

In order to amalgamate the two schools the Council would need to comply with the statutory process within the School Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act 2013 and the report detailed the process that was required to be undertaken.  To aid effective engagement and communication with the schools directly affected by the proposals, it had been suggested that a Barry Secondary School Transformation Board be established.  The membership of the Board to include the Chair of Governors and the Headteacher of Barry Comprehensive School, Bryn Hafren Comprehensive School and Bro Morgannwg / Nant Talwg and two primary headteachers.  The Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Schools, the Chairman of Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) and senior officers from the Learning and Skills Directorate would also be members of the Board.

 

In response to a question from a Committee Member regarding the appropriate undertaking of risk assessment of the project, the Head of Strategy, Community Learning and Resources indicated that a financial risk assessment would be considered very carefully, including the ability of the Council to realise its financial contribution to fund the initiative.  Dependant on the outcome of the Cabinet’s future deliberations post consultation and subsequent decision to proceed with the project, the necessary risk assessment would be undertaken.  Members of the Committee considered that as the project stages progressed it should receive timely reports to enable it to keep abreast of developments, including project risk assessments.

 

Having regard to the above, it was

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the Cabinet be requested that it ensures that officers submit timely reports to the Scrutiny Committee to enable it to keep abreast of developments, including project risk assessments.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To monitor potential risks to the Council.

 

 

1019   REVENUE MONITORING FOR THE PERIOD 1ST APRIL 2014 TO 31ST JANUARY 2015 (MD) –

 

The Head of Finance presented the report, the purpose of which was to update Members of the revenue expenditure for the period 1st April to 31st January 2015.

 

Overall, the current forecast for this year’s revenue budget would outturn on target following a transfer to the School Investment Strategy reserve of £1.485m. 

 

The Housing Revenue Account budget for 2014/15 was forecast to outturn on target.

 

Within Learning and Skills it was projected that by year end there would be an underspend of £285,000.  It had been proposed that at year end, any underspend would be transferred into the Libraries reserve to assist with the implementation of the Libraries Review.  Provision had been made within the budget to make unsupported borrowing repayments to the School Investment Programme of £435,000 per annum.

 

School Improvement and Inclusion - It was anticipated that this area would overspend by £75,000 after transferring £38,000 from the excluded pupils reserve to fund additional alternative curriculum placements for Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 pupils and security and building works to the Pupil Referral Unit.  The £75,000 net underspend would occur after offsetting adverse variances on the internal respite provision of £36,000, independent placements of £14,000, Learning Support Key Stage 4 college placements of £38,000, recoupment income of £29,000 and behaviour support of £22,000 with favourable variances on Additional Learning Needs staffing and resources of £64,000.  Any overspend at year end would be offset by underspends elsewhere in the Directorate.

 

For Service Strategy and Regulation, this service would outturn with a favourable variance of £18,000 due to efficiencies within the Business Support section.  It was proposed that any underspends would be transferred into the Libraries reserve to assist with the implementation of the Library Review.

 

Strategic and Resources  - It was anticipated that this area would underspend by £213,000 after funding overspends  on urgent repairs in schools of £63,000 and Special Education Needs transport of £10,000, offset by favourable variances on mainstream transport of £159,000, independent nursery placements of £37,000, staffing of £45,000 and non-delegated schools costs of £45,000.  It was intended that any underspend at year end would be transferred into the Libraries Reserve to assist with the implementation of the Libraries Review.

 

The Children and Young People’s Partnership was also anticipated to show an underspend by £68,000 due to savings being implemented earlier and through temporary changes to the funding of childcare umbrella groups.  This underspend would also be transferred to the Libraries Reserve for use relating to the Libraries Review.

 

In respect of the Libraries service, this was projected to show a favourable variance of £61,000 due to staff vacancies.  It was intended that any underspend would be transferred into the Libraries reserve to assist with the implementation of the Libraries Review. 

 

The Youth Service would outturn on target following the transfer of £105,000 from the Youth Service reserve to fund the Area 41 dilapidation costs, Westhouse surrender payment and the Youth Engagement and Progression Framework in schools.

 

Adult Community Education would outturn at a revised budget following the transfer of £28,000 from reserves. 

 

The Catering Client Service would outturn on target through the use of transfers and projected underspends which would be reinvested into the service to fund procurement of equipment.  The Trading Account was predicting a surplus of £57,000 and this would be transferred to Capital towards the cost of implementing the Cashless Catering system.

 

Within Social Services the current year end forecast was a budget overspend of £100,000.  Children and Young People’s Services was currently anticipated to outturn £500,000 under the Service’s budget at year end while Adult Services was currently anticipated to outturn £600,000 over the original budget. 

 

The RCF grant had been approved for 2015/16, however, the amount available was 46% less than previously indicated by Welsh Government.  The funding covered five schemes across the collaborative region of Cardiff and the Vale.  The proposal for the revised allocation to schemes had been submitted to Welsh Government for consideration.  The allocation of grant to schemes had been based on priorities and the availability of other funding sources and therefore the reduction had not been consistently applied across all schemes.  The original allocation for Remodelling Adult Social Care was £650,000 however, the proposed allocation from the reduced funding was £533,000.

 

The ICF grant was only available for 2014/15.  Welsh Government had now announced that £20m would be made available to Health, to take forward schemes which have a proven effectiveness across community and acute environments, linking out-of-hospital care and social care to strengthen the resilience of the unscheduled care system.  Presently, it was unclear how this funding would be allocated.

 

In respect of Visible Services and Housing Services, it was currently projected that overall services would outturn within target at year end. 

 

Highways Maintenance and Engineering Design and Recruitment – there was currently a favourable variance of £258,000 to the amended profiled budget.  This budget had pressures due to car parking income being significantly less than budgeted, street lighting energy costs that were higher than budgeted and also pressures on the budget for routine maintenance of potholes.  However, these pressures would be offset by a one off transfer of budget of £350,000 from central policy and also an underspend on a central energy recharge budget of £460,000.  Works to be undertaken during the winter period would reduce the current variance, however, it was projected that the budget could be managed in order to achieve underspend at year end of £100,000, covering the projected overspend identified in Building Services.

 

Waste Management – there was currently a favourable variance of £72,000 to the amended profiled budget.

 

Grounds Maintenance – there was a favourable variance of £8,000 to the amended profiled budget.  There was an overspend on legal costs, however, vehicles had again been identified for disposal over the coming months.  It was therefore currently projected that the budget would outturn on target. 

 

Support Services – there was currently a nil variance to the profiled budget. 

 

Building Services – at this stage, it was currently anticipated that the Building Cleaning and Security trading unit would outturn with a deficit of £100,000 at year end.  As previously reported, the main reason for this was the pay award recently agreed for all staff.

 

General Fund Housing – this budget currently showed a £390,000 underspend due to savings being made around the use of Temporary Accommodation for the homeless. 

 

Public Sector Housing (HRA) - The HRA budget was currently £199,000 underspent, the savings were mainly attributable to some vacant posts within Tenant Participation and Homes 4U teams.  There were also savings on premises costs and supplies and services.  It was anticipated at this point however that the HRA would outturn on target, with savings being offset by one off redundancy costs.

 

Development Services – it was currently projected that this service would outturn within target at year end. 

 

·         Public Protection – there was currently a favourable variance of £14,000 to the profiled budget.

·         Public Sector Housing – this budget currently showed a favourable variance of £20,000.

·         Planning and Transportation – a favourable variance of £238,000 was forecast for this budget at year end.

·         Leisure – there was currently a favourable variance of £95,000 to the profiled budget.

·         Economic Development – currently a favourable variance of £105,000 was shown against the profiled budget.

 

General Policy - The forecast was for a favourable variance of £100,000 as at the year end after a transfer of £1.485m to the School Investment Strategy Reserve.  The total sum of £1.585m had arisen from a reduction in capital charges £715,000, an increase in external interest receivable of £100,000, the sum included in respect of a Catering deficit of £170,000 was not now required, and the sum included to support recharge imbalances for capital £300,000 was not needed as full recovery to capital schemes was anticipated.  In addition, further underspends of £100,000 were projected against Youth Initiatives in the budget would not be utilised in year and £200,000 for housing recharges as the full estimate was not required due to a lower recharge from Housing than originally envisaged.

 

Having regard to the above, the Committee

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the position with regard to the Authority’s 2014/15 Revenue Budget be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

That Members are aware of the projected revenue outturn for 2014/15.

 

 

1020   CAPITAL MONITORING REPORT FOR THE PERIOD 1ST APRIL TO 31ST JANUARY 2015 (MD) –

 

Details of the financial progress on the Capital Programme was shown in Appendices 1 and 2 to the report.

 

The Head of Finance referred Members to paragraphs 6 to 22 of the report, which contained a summary of progress up to 31st January 2015 for individual Capital Programmes.

 

The report also highlighted that where schemes had a value of over £500,000 and showed a variance of 20% or more between the actual spend and the profiled budget, further information would be provided.  The following schemes met this criteria:

 

·         Ysgol Gwaun y Nant / Oakfield – amendments to programming / sequencing of works had resulted in actual expenditure that was less than the initial spend profile.  This did not adversely affect the final cost of the project.

·         In respect of the Welsh Housing Quality Standards works, there was likely to be a variance in the expenditure as the extent of the works required in a property was not known until the works commenced.  More had been spent than was projected on Kitchen Replacements, Bathrooms and Asbestos Management.

 

It was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the following recommendations that amend the 2014/15 Capital Programme be endorsed and reported to Cabinet for approval:

 

·         Additional Education Asset Renewal Schemes - It is requested that Cabinet notes that Emergency Powers have been approved for this scheme.

·         Llanfair Primary Roof Renewal - It is requested that Cabinet notes that Delegated Authority that has been exercised for this scheme and notes that the £11,000 shortfall has been funded from the Education Asset Renewal Contingency Budget.

·         Housing Improvement Programme - It is requested that Cabinet notes that Delegated Authority has been approved to vary the scheme.

·         That Cabinet approves the following changes to the 2014/15 Capital Programme.

·         A4226 Five Mile Lane Improvements Ground Investigation - It is requested that the 2014/15 Capital Programme be increased by £48,485.04, funded by a reimbursement from Welsh Government.

·         Replacement Network Switches Alps Depot - It is requested to increase this budget by £5,000 to be funded from a virement of £3,000 from the IT Storage Augmentation scheme and a virement of £2,000 from the Resources Asset Renewal budget.

 

(2)       T H A T Cabinet recommends to Council the following changes to the 2014/15 Capital Programme be approved:

 

·         Penarth Learning Community - It is requested to increase the Penarth Learning Community scheme budget by £235,000 to be funded by a contribution from the School Investment Strategy Reserve.

·         Llantwit Major Library - It is requested that £4,000 is carried forward into the 2015/16 Capital Programme.

·         Ewenny Road Bridge - It is requested that £975,000 is carried forward to the 2015/16 Capital Programme.

·         Gileston to Old Mill - It is requested that £195,000 is carried forward into the 2015/16 Capital Programme.

·         Visible Services Highway Improvements Resurfacing - It is requested that £120,000 is carried forward in to the 2015/16 Capital Programme.

·         Ashpath Footpath Improvements - It is requested to carry forward £8,000 of this budget into the 2015/16 Capital Programme.

·         Cogan Hall Farm - It is requested that £10,000 is carried forward into the 2015/16 Capital Programme.

·         Byrd Crescent Community Centre - It is requested to carry forward £10,000 into the 2015/16 Capital Programme.

·         Italian Shelter Penarth - It is requested to carry forward £25,000 into the 2015/16 Capital Programme.

·         St. Paul’s Church - It is requested that £245,000 is carried forward into the 2015/16 Capital Programme.

·         Demolition of block at Court Road Depot - It is requested that £279,000 of this budget is carried forward into the 2015/16 Capital Programme.   

·         Civic Offices Partial Roof Replacement - It is requested that £269,000 of this budget is carried forward to the 2015/16 Capital Programme.

 

Reason for recommendations

 

(1&2)  To allow schemes to proceed in the current or future financial years.

 

 

1021   QUARTER 3 CORPORATE AND CUSTOMER SERVICES PERFORMANCE REPORT (MD) –

 

Overall, Corporate and Customer Services was on course to achieving the objectives contributing to its service outcomes, with 68% (26) of actions currently either completed or on track, 29% (11) had slipped and one action was not due to start until Quarter 4 . Of 18 Corporate Plan actions within its service plan, 72% (13) were on track for completion and 28% (5) had slipped.

 

The service currently had no Improvement Objective or Outcome Agreement actions or measures.

 

Of 14 performance indicators, 42.9% (6) had met or exceeded target, 21.4% (3) were within 10% of target, and 21.4% (3) had missed target by more than 10%.  Two more performance indicators had met or exceeded target when compared to Quarter 2.  Data was unavailable for one performance indicator because the department was currently unable to measure / collect data. This related to CC/M006: Percentage of all transactions which were self-service.  There was also no performance status available for one other indicator – CC/M015b: Total number of likes for the Council's Facebook page, as this was a new indicator with no target set. The focus for this year was on establishing a baseline figure.

 

No exceptional performance was reported by the service this Quarter.

 

The areas of slippage reported were as follows:

 

·         Developing the website to enhance customer experience and engagement (CC/A056) (CL3) had been delayed.  A resource had been recruited for March 2015 to integrate e-forms with CRM.

·         The implementation of the new Welsh Language Standards (CC/A002) (CL9) and developing the language skills of Elected Members was awaiting the compliance notice from Welsh Government (CC/A058) (CL9).

·         The publication of plain English guidance had slipped.  Work would resume on this area following completion of the annual equality monitoring report (CC/A064).

·         The development of an improved staff survey (CC/A065), a staffroom e-newsletter (CCC/A043) and the use of e-petitions had not progressed due to staffing changes within the Improvement and Development and Communications Teams.  New priorities had now been identified, so these actions would no longer be progressed.

·         The Council's Art Strategy had been revised for 2014-17 and consulted upon with the public.  The Cabinet Report had been produced and was awaiting approval via Cabinet (CC/A074).

·         The Engagement Graduate Intern had now taken responsibility for implementation of the majority of actions in the Public Engagement Framework Action Plan [CP/CL1 (CC/A070)].

·         Due to staffing changes within the IDT and Communications Teams, new priorities had presented themselves and this action was no longer being progressed (CCA077).

·         Work to evaluate the effectiveness of the Council's consultation and engagement guidance was now underway [CP/CL1/CL9 (CC/A080)].

·         Work to identify channel related costs was ongoing [WAO/IP5/ICT/2011(CC/A081)].

 

A detailed report of the Directorate's overall performance was provided at Appendix 1 to the report.

 

The Chairman referred to performance indicator CC/M002a "Average number of weekly visits to the Council’s English language website" and considered that the indicator should reflect a more meaningful outcome i.e. the number of transactions.   This was echoed by other Members of the Committee.  In response, the Head of Performance and Development agreed that the number of transactions was more meaningful and that this was linked to the Council’s Channel Strategy and the likely access / use of Council services.  He would consider an alternative indicator measuring the number of transactions. He also drew attention to the indicator measuring weekly visits to the Welsh language website (CC/M002a) and reminded the Committee of previous discussion on this matter at previous meetings in that it was more complicated to monitor the Welsh content due to issues relating to the very large size of the English language content and the subsequent difficulty of translating it into Welsh.  He would consider whether this PI needed to continue.  He confirmed, following a question from the Chairman, that he foresaw that all the actions that had slipped would be completed by the year end.

 

Discussion ensued regarding slipped action CC/A065 "Develop an improved staff survey that allows us to effectively monitor levels of employee engagement", with a Member expressing concern that, given the changes facing the Council i.e. mergers and Reshaping Services agenda, staff were appropriately kept informed / engaged. The Head of Human Resources indicated that this issue had been addressed in the new Directorate Service Plan which set out a range of engagement activities, including departmental meetings / workshops across a number of key themes e.g. austerity, which would allow staff the opportunity to be involved in the Reshaping Services agenda.

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T service performance results and remedial actions taken to address service underperformance be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the progress to date in achieving key outcomes as outlined in the Corporate Plan 2013-17, the Outcome Agreement 2013-16 and the Improvement Plan Part 1 2014-15 be noted.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To ensure the Council was effectively assessing its performance in line with the requirement to secure continuous improvement outlined in the Local Government Measure (Wales) 2009.

 

(2)       To consider the Quarter 3 Corporate and Customer Services performance results as at 31st December 2014 in order to identify areas for service improvement.

 

 

1022   QUARTER 3 RESOURCES PERFORMANCE REPORT 2014-15 (MD) –

 

Overall Resources was on track to achieving the objectives contributing to its service outcomes, with 85% of actions currently either completed or on track for completed by year end and 15% (7) had slipped.  Of the 4 Corporate Plan actions within the Service Plan, 3 were on track and 1 had slipped.

 

There were no actions relating to either the Improvement Objectives or the Outcome Agreement.

 

Of the 16 performance indicators, 62.5% (10) had met or exceeded target and 25% (4) were within 10% of the target.  A performance status was not applicable for the remaining 2 indicators.

 

In terms of exceptional performance, the Directorate had successfully delivered voice and data services to the Penarth Learning Community Project.  This was a culmination of two years of planning and development that was part of the Council’s ICT Strategy. This would ultimately deliver cutting edge technology via a resilient core infrastructure.  It would also support pupil learning, content delivery, telephony and guest services through the latest wireless and wired technologies.

 

The areas of slippage reported were as follows:

 

·         There had been some slippage in relation to the production of an Asset Management Plan to optimise the use of the Council’s property assets.  This Asset Management Plan had been completed and updated, and an Investment Strategy had now been drafted (CL/11) (RS/A033).

·         The implementation of key projects as part of the Space Project had been partially completed.  A Project Manager had now been appointed to progress this action (RS/A008).

·         The review and development of options for the delivery of procurement services had been delayed.  Work was underway to review the range of guidance available for procurement, including to schools and corporate departments and supplying data to Value Wales for the spend analytics project (RS/A035).

·         The development of a plan to manage the staffing transitional implications associated with the Welfare Reform programme had slipped (RS/A083) along with the transfer of housing benefit to Universal Credit (RS/A056) due to delays with DWP roll out.

·         Implementing the recommendations of the WAO's Scrutiny Improvement Study had slipped.  A draft Action Plan had been completed.  This action would be carried forward and progressed into 2015/16 (RS/A041).

·         The establishment of a Member Development Programme was still in progress.  PDR interviews with Senior Allowance holders had commenced, but had not been completed and, consequently, that matter had been addressed in the new Service Plan.  A more direct approach would be taken via a training needs analysis with all Members being encouraged to participate (RS/A090).

 

A detailed report of the Directorate's overall performance was provided at Appendix 1 to the report.

 

A Member referred to indicator RS/M008 "The percentage of employees including teachers and school based staff who leave the employment of the local authority, whether on a voluntary or involuntary basis" and suggested that it was more useful for the Committee to have information as to the reason why staff left and enquired if the indicator could be changed to accommodate such information.  In response, the Head of Human Resources indicated that work was currently underway to include such information and reminded the Committee of a previous detailed report submitted last year which addressed, in the main, issues of concern regarding this issue.  As it was mid-year it was not possible to change the indicator, however, a further detailed report would be submitted in the near future.

 

The Chairman congratulated Legal Services on their performance to date on their PIs.

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T service performance results and remedial actions taken to address service underperformance be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the progress to date in achieving key outcomes as outlined in the Corporate Plan 2013-17, the Outcome Agreement 2013-16 and the Improvement Plan Part 1 2014-15 be noted.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To ensure the Council was effectively assessing its performance in line with the requirement to secure continuous improvement outlined in the Local Government Measure (Wales) 2009.

 

(2)       To consider the Quarter 3 Corporate and Customer Services performance results as at 31st December 2014 in order to identify areas for service improvement.

 

 

1023   SERVICE PLAN 2015/19: RESOURCES (MD) –

 

Service plans for 2015/19 specifically identified how each Directorate would contribute towards achievement of Corporate Plan, Improvement Plan and Outcome Agreement outcomes and incorporate key measures and milestones to demonstrate progress.

 

All Service Plans had been signed off by the relevant Director and Cabinet Member(s).  The Council was currently consulting widely on proposed Improvement Objectives for 2015/16 and these would be reflected within relevant Service Plans once approved by Council in May 2015.

 

Appendix A to the report contained the Resources Service Plan 2015/19.  Key areas of note within the Service Plan were:

 

·         Our Service Plan 2015/19 (pages 4 - 34): This section set the context for the Directorate's Service Plan and identified its key challenges over the coming years.

·         Our Service Self-Assessment (pages 35 to 47): This section highlighted how the service was performing and what had been achieved during the previous year.  It informed areas for improvement in the coming year.  Much emphasis continued to be placed on strengthening our use of benchmarking / comparative data as well as highlighting good practice where relevant.  In terms of what has been achieved, the Council continued to encourage a more consistent approach in identifying the outcome / impact for the customer /  citizen.  These issues had previously been highlighted as an area of development by the Wales Audit Office in its Annual Improvement Report of the Council (2013/14).

·         The Service Outcomes and Objectives (pages 48 to 51): This section confirmed the Directorate's service outcomes and objectives (including its contribution to corporate priorities), having considered its key service challenges and the self-assessment.

·         Appendix 1 (pages 52 to 64) contained the Directorate's Service Improvement Action Plan for 2015/16 aligned to each service objective.

·         Appendix 2 (pages 65 to 72) which contained the service's performance measures was incomplete currently as end-of-year data for 2014/15 was not yet available at the time of reporting to the Committee.  Following a review by officers, performance measures for 2015/16 onwards would be presented to all Scrutiny Committees for discussion and agreement during July 2015.

·         Appendix 3 (pages 73 to 75) detailed the Directorate's workforce requirements.

·         Appendix 4 (pages 76 to 78) provided a breakdown of the savings required for the Directorate over the next three years.

 

The Directorate would now develop Team Plans to underpin the Service Plan.

 

A Member referred to future webcasting Council Committee meetings and enquired if it was the intention to webcast other meetings.  In response the Head of Democratic Services indicated that Cabinet would first need to consider whether it wished to continue with webcasting meetings beyond the current arrangements.  If the Cabinet decided to pursue an extension of its current arrangements they would have to consider to which Committees it would be extended, and also the financial implications of such a decision.

 

The Chairman referred to recent ICT difficulties experienced by the Council as a result of "server" issues and enquired if this was a symptom of infrastructure investment.  In response the Head of ICT referred to programmed upgrades and the current available capital funding circa £300,000 for the current financial year.  He indicated that the programme was centred on priority need however; there was an IT reserve available, administered by the Managing Director.  The Service would form part of tranche one of the Council’s Reshaping Services initiative.

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the Service Plan for 2015/19 be endorsed.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To confirm the Service Plan as the primary document against which performance for the Resources Directorate will be measured under the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009.

 

 

1024   IMPROVEMENT PLAN PART 1 (IMPROVEMENT OBJECTIVES 2015/16) (MD) –

 

Five Improvement Objectives were proposed for 2015/16.  These included three current objectives to be carried forward from 2014/15 which were long term strategic priorities for the Council.  Additionally, one further objective had been amended and carried forward to reflect an area of focus for further improvement in 2015/16.

 

The proposed Improvement Objectives for 2015/16 were:

 

·         Objective 1: To deliver sustainable services including alternative methods of delivery as part the Council’s Reshaping Services Change Programme. [New]

·         Objective 2: To support more people towards independence.  [Carried forward]

·         Objective 3: To support and enhance the town centres of the Vale of Glamorgan for the benefit of residents, visitors and businesses. [Carried forward]

·         Objective 4: To reduce the number of young people who are not in employment, education or training (NEET). [Carried forward]

·         Objective 5: To support and challenge schools in order to improve pupil attainment levels at Key Stages 2, 3 and 4. [Proposed amendment: To reduce the achievement gap between pupils in receipt of free school meals and those who are not.]

 

One objective applied specifically to this Committee which was:

 

Objective 1: To deliver sustainable services including alternative methods of delivery as part the Council’s Reshaping Services Change Programme.

 

Appendix 1 to the report outlined the proposed objectives for 2015/16 and provided a rationale for each objective.  The measures to be undertaken to make a difference were identified including a lead officer at chief officer level with responsibility for ensuring the achievement of key outcomes.

 

The Council was required to consult on its Improvement Objectives and the proposed objectives would be published on the Council’s website during March 2015 inviting comments from the public.  At the same time Members would also be consulted via Scrutiny Committees, as will other key stakeholders including the Local Service Board, Town and Community Councils, voluntary sector organisations and local businesses.  Proposals would be made to Cabinet based on the findings from the consultation.

 

Improvement Objectives would be revised to reflect relevant Cabinet amendments and would be considered by Full Council in May 2015.

 

The Chairman enquired of the Head of Performance and Development as to how the achievement of objectives would be measured in respect of the Council’s Reshaping Services agenda.  In responding, he indicated that this information was likely to be recorded by utilising existing formats. The Chairman suggested that the information be presented to the Committee in the form of a Gant Chart, capturing information in terms of what was proposed and what had been achieved.

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the proposed Improvement Objectives for 2015/16 be endorsed.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

That the Council identifies its key annual improvement priorities for 2015/16 in line with the requirements of the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009.

 

 

 

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