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SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (CORPORATE RESOURCES)

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 15th March, 2016.

 

Present:  Councillor Mrs. P. Drake (Vice-Chairman in the Chair); Councillors H.C. Hamilton, K. Hatton, P. King, R.A. Penrose and G. Roberts.

 

 

943     APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE -

 

These were received from Councillors H.J.W. James and M.R. Wilson.

 

 

944     MINUTES -

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 9th February, 2016 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

945     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

946     VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL ANNUAL SELF-ASSESSMENT (REF) -

 

The above Assessment was considered by the Cabinet at its meeting held on 8th February, 2016 and subsequently it resolved to refer the same to the Council’s Scrutiny Committees for consideration. 

 

The purpose of the self-assessment report was to present the position statement on the Council’s performance over the past year in delivering the Council’s priorities.  The self-assessment intended to provide an honest and balanced account of the position the Council was in in terms of its track record on performance and achievement of outcomes for the residents and service user within the Vale of Glamorgan. 

 

The self-assessment of performance was an important way for the Council to identify the capacity and ability to deliver ‘continuous improvement’ by identifying areas of strength and those requiring particular focus in coming years.  The self-assessment had traditionally been undertaken via the Annual Improvement Plan (Part 2) which provided an historic evaluation of performance in achieving stated outcomes.  The self-assessment process was also embedded in the Service Planning process where each Directorate undertook self-assessment activities based on the content of individual Service Plans. 

 

The report and self-assessment was a refinement of the way in which the Council had previously assessed annual performance.  The previous approach to self-assessment was conducted internally and resulted in a report being produced which focussed on service performance.  That report was presented to the Council’s Corporate Management Team and provided a snapshot of performance based on information drawn from Regulatory reports, performance data (using a star-rating system) and information from a customer perspective.  This approach provided a valuable insight into performance across the organisation.  However, the Council had recognised that there was an opportunity to enhance the way in which the self-assessment process was conducted and presented, particularly, in aspects of governance, resource management, the wider approach to collaborative working and how areas of improvement would be addressed going forward. 

 

The report and self-assessment was therefore based on the themes of the Wales Audit Offices Annual Improvement Report i.e. Performance Management, Governance, Resource Management and Collaboration and Partnerships.  The report was structured to present the strengths of areas for improvement relative to each of the above themes.  The report drew upon the most recent evidence available from the internal self-assessment of performance data, the Council Annual Governance Statement, Internal Audit Reports, Annual Improvement Report, reports by other external regulators and service-based position statements by Directorates (details of which were set out in Appendix A).  The report also presented the arrangements that were in place i.e. processes, systems, governance and policies to support and identify any improvements in how the Council worked and delivered it services.  This information was contained by section and qualified by evidence sources which were set out in Appendix B. 

 

The improvement areas identified throughout the assessment had been used to inform that development of a Corporate Improvement Action Plan that was set out in Appendix B to the report.  Throughout this document the areas for improvement were referenced to the individual actions in the Improvement Action Plan.  The Plan had been endorsed by the Corporate Management Team and was monitored on a regular basis by the Corporate Improvement Working Group.

 

In future, the Corporate Self-Assessment Process would continue to evolve and work was underway to ensure it dovetailed with our other forms of self-assessment such as the Improvement Plan Part 2 and Service Plan self-assessment works. 

 

Based on the recently approved new Corporate Plan for 2016/20 future self-assessments would move away from using the Annual Improvement Report as a basis for undertaking this self-assessment work and instead use the Corporate Plan outcomes as the theme for evaluating performance and achievements and demonstrate the Council’s ability to secure continuous improvement.  This approach would allow the Council to identify the direction of travel in refining its self-assessments in line with the Local Government Agenda as proposed in the recent draft Local Government (Wales) Bill.  The Council’s Annual Self- Assessment for 2016 set out the Council’s key actions to improve governance arrangements where appropriate and would be published and made available to regulators to inform their Work Programmes.

 

Having regard to the above it was

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1)       T H A T the Council’s Annual Self-Assessment Report including identified areas for improvement for 2016/17 onwards, be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the Committee expresses its thanks and appreciation to those officers who had been involved in preparing the document.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

(1)       In acknowledgement of the proposed action to be taken 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 improvement.

 

(2)       In acknowledgement of the work undertaken by officers in preparing the Annual Self-Assessment.

 

 

947     REVENUE MONITORING FOR THE PERIOD 1ST APRIL, 2015 TO 31ST JANUARY, 2016 (MD) -

 

The Head of Finance, in referring to the report, brought to the Committee’s attention that the predicted outturn for the Revenue Budget was for a break ever position at the end of March 2016.  This took into account the decision made by Cabinet on 22nd February, 2016 and subsequently agreed by Full Council on 2nd March, 2016, the the £492,000 underspend identified at that time should be transferred to a reserve to deal with the future Social Services Legislative Changes.   

 

The Head of Finance also indicated that the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) budget for 2015/16 was also forecasted to outturn on target. 

 

A Member, in referring to the report and in particular to the budget situation relating to the Environment and Housing Directorate, reiterated his ongoing concern regarding this service in future financial years and reminded the Committee that the ‘windfall’ revenue receipt from the Viridor contract, as far as he was aware, would only balance the budget for the service for the current financial year.  He also informed the Committee that he had raised these concerns directly with the Director.

 

Having regard to the above it was

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the position with regard to the Authority’s 2015/16 Revenue Budget be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

In acknowledgement of the projected revenue outturn for the above period.

 

 

948     CAPITAL MONITORING REPORT FOR THE PERIOD 1ST APRIL, 2015 TO 31ST JANUARY, 2016 (MD) -

 

The Head of Finance in referring to the above report relayed the Cabinet’s comments made on the same at its meeting held the previous day.  She indicated that the Cabinet had expressed its concerns regarding the number of schemes proposed to be slipped into the next financial year, due in part to the available staff resources.  She referred to the Cabinet’s subsequent request that all Capital Schemes be treated in the same manner as major projects (Appendix 2) and for officers to take appropriate action on those slipped schemes to avoid similar difficulties in future years. 

 

A Member, in referring to Appendix 1 to the report enquired on progress in regard the feasibility studies in Penarth including the Esplanade and sought an assurance that this would be delivered in 2016/17 and that the Council would not find itself in a similar position at the same point next year. 

 

Having regard to the above it was

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the following changes to the 2015/16 and 2016/17 Capital Programme be noted:

 

  • Llantwit Learning Community - The carry forward of £560k into the 2016/17 Capital Programme.
  • Penarth Learning Community - The carry forward of £100k into the 2016/17 Capital Programme.
  • Modular Building Resiting Ysgol Dewi Sant - The carry forward of 157k into the 2016/17 Capital Programme.
  • Sandstone Repairs - The carry forward of £110k into the 2016/17 Capital Programme.
  • Barry Comprehensive School Internal and External Refurbishment Works - The carry forward of £95k into the 2016/17 Capital Programme.
  • St Brides Expansion - The carry forward of £32k into the 2016/17 Capital Programme.
  • Penarth Library Damp Proofing and Lift Works - The carry forward of £6k into the 2016/17 Capital Programme.
  • Cartref Porthceri Electrical Upgrade - The carry forward of £36k into the 2016/17 Capital Programme.
  • Southway Electrical Upgrade - The carry forward of £44k into the 2016/17 Capital Programme.
  • Cartref Porthceri Subsidence - The carry forward of £15k into the 2016/17 Capital Programme.
  • Rhoose Road Health and Safety Works - The carry forward of £24k into the 2016/17 Capital Programme.
  • Social Services Lift Refurbishments - The carry forward of £19.5k into the 2016/17 Capital Programme.
  • Dinas Powys to Cardiff Corridor Bus Priority Measures - Increase the 2015/16 Capital Programme by £15k to be funded by a contribution from the Road Safety Revenue budget.
  • Coldbrook Flood Management - The carry forward of £149k into the 2016/17 Capital Programme.
  • Broad Street Crossing - To vire and carry forward £41k into the 2016/17 Capital Programme to the Asset Renewal Highway Structures Budget. 
  • Additional Highways/Environmental Improvements - To vire and carry forward £32k into the 2016/17 Capital Programme to the Asset Renewal Highway Structures Budget. 
  • Asset Renewal - The carry forward of £90k into the 2016/17 Capital Programme.
  • Parks and Grounds Maintenance Asset Renewal - The carry forward of £12k into the 2016/17 Capital Programme.
  • Vehicles Renewal Fund - The carry forward of £1,200k into the 2016/17 Capital Programme.
  • Housing Improvement Programme - The carry forward of £1m for Common Parts and £200k for WHQS Environmental Improvements into the 2016/17 Capital Programme.
  • Barry Regeneration Partnership Project Fund - The carry forward of £57k into the 2016/17 Capital Programme.
  • Barry Regeneration Partnership Project Fund/Tackling Poverty - The carry forward £50k from the Barry Regeneration Partnership Project Fund into the 2016/17 Capital Programme and vire to the Tackling Poverty Scheme.  The carry forward of £49k from the Tackling Poverty Scheme into the 2016/17 Capital Programme.  In 2016/17 vire £60k from the Barry Regeneration Partnership Project Fund to the Tackling Poverty scheme.  It is also requested to carry forward £72k from the 2015/16 Barry Regeneration Partnership Project Fund into the 2016/17 Capital Programme. 
  • Five Mile Lane Road Improvements - The carry forward of £400k into the 2016/17 Capital Programme.
  • Marketing & Disposal of Nell's Point - The carry forward of £16k in to the 2016/17 Capital Programme.
  • Footpath Improvements Cowbridge - The carry forward of £64k into the 2016/17 Capital Programme.
  • Penarth Cycle Parking Project - The carry forward of £25k into the 2016/17 Capital Programme.
  • Pedestrian Crossing across Thompson Street/Holton Road - The carry forward of £24k into the 2016/17 Capital Programme.
  • Maximising the employment potential of the Glamorgan Heritage Coast - Increase this scheme budget by £21k, of which £6k is to be funded by a grant from The Big Lottery and £15k is to be vired from the Regeneration Fund scheme.
  • Castleland Renewal Area/Penarth Renewal Area - Request to vire £85k of this budget to Penarth Renewal Area in 2015/16 and also carry forward the balance of £125k into the 2016/17 Capital Programme.
  • DDA adaptations to Council Buildings - The carry forward of £99k into the 2016/17 Capital Programme.
  • Marketing & Disposal of Part of Cowbridge Livestock Market - The carry forward of £50k into the 2016/17 Capital Programme.
  • Demolition of Block at Court Road Depot - The carry forward of £48k into the 2016/17 Capital Programme.
  • Unix Infrastructure Refresh - The carry forward of £200k into the 2016/17 Capital Programme.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To allow schemes to proceed in the current or future financial years.

 

 

949     QUARTER 3 RESOURCES PERFORMANCE REPORT 2015-16 (MD) -

 

Overall the Resources department was well on track to achieve the objectives contributing to its service outcomes, with 91% of actions currently either completed or on track.  Of the 45 actions within the Service Plan, 5 had been completed, 36 (80%) were on track for completion, 3 (7%) had slipped and 1 (2%) was not due to have started.

 

85% of Corporate Plan actions were either complete or on track for completion (of the 20 Corporate Plan actions, 3 were Complete 14 were on track, and 3 had slipped).

 

All 4 actions relating to the Improvement Objectives were on track for completion.

 

Of the 20 performance indicators used by the service to demonstrate progress towards its key outcomes, 15 (75%) had met or exceeded target, 1 (5%) were within 10% of target and 2 (10%) had missed target by more than 10%.  For the remaining two indicators, performance could not be reported for Quarter 3. There were currently no measures relating to either Improvement Objective or the Outcome Agreement.

 

The two measures that had missed target this Quarter were:

 

  • RS/M008: In relation to the percentage of employees including teachers and school-based staff who left the employment of the local authority, whether on a voluntary or involuntary basis, a half year turnover report for Scrutiny would be considered in February 2016.
  • RS/M009 (CHR2): The number of working days/shifts per full-time equivalent (FTE) local authority employee lost due to sickness absence. The CMT Action Plan had been implemented, along with Directorate Action Plans to address sickness absence.  Final discussions had been held with the unions on the revised Management of Attendance Policy.

 

Against Outcome 1 ensuring that 'Residents are confident in accessing our services and are engaged with their local community', the Council had successfully introduced arrangements for public speaking and public engagement and participation in Council meetings. (RS/A038).

 

The range of services available via mobile apps for promoting and increasing self-service transactions had made further progress.  Testing of the Welsh Language revision of the ‘app’ was awaited.  Promotional activity was being undertaken with external customers via Vale Connect and internally via Core Brief and Staffnet. (RS/A093).  

 

Two actions had slipped this Quarter against this Outcome.  In relation to the extension of the Podiatry shared telephony service to Cardiff and Vale locality had slipped.  The final meeting with the Podiatry Service to agree costs had been scheduled for the 9th February 2016.  Once the cost of service had been agreed implementation would proceed. (RS/A092).

 

Resource issues within the communications team had forced the prioritisation of individual public engagement projects over longer term strategic goals during Quarter 3.  These issues were very close to resolution and it was anticipated that the implementation of the Council's Public Engagement Framework would be back on track by the end of Quarter 4. (RS/A124).

 

Against Outcome 2 ensuring that 'the Vale benefits from the Council's sound and transparent decision-making through effective management of resources', all programmed works on the Penarth Learning Community had been completed, although some snagging items remained. (RS/A106).

 

The Adoption IT system had been introduced by the Swift Consortium and had been in use for a few weeks.  The application was being used in a live environment and would be fully implemented by the end of Quarter 4. (RS/A103).

 

One action was reported as having slipped against Outcome 2 this Quarter.  The implementation of the strategy to improve the employment of school, college, university leaders and apprentices had missed target.  An update report had been presented to Cabinet in February 2016 for their approval, proposing an alternative, internally resourced approach to improving the employment of young people. 

 

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

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1)       T H A T the service performance results and remedial actions to be 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 2015/16 be noted.

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