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SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (HOUSING AND PUBLIC PROTECTION)

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 9th March, 2016.

 

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:  Councillor Ms. B.E. Brooks; Mr. A. Raybould (Tenant Working Group).

 

 

920     MR. S. DOYLE -

 

It was with regret that the Chairman announced that Mr. Sean Doyle, Tenant Working Group had passed away on 31st January, 2016.

 

All present stood in silent tribute.

 

 

921     MINUTES -

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 6th January, 2016 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

922     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

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

 

Cabinet was provided with a strategic self-assessment of the Council's performance for the period 2015 -2016 that identified strengths, achievements, key challenges and areas for improvement.

 

Self-assessments formed a core part of the statutory local government inspection processes 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. The Vale of Glamorgan Annual Self-Assessment was a position statement on the Council's performance over the past year in delivering its priorities. It provided an honest and balanced account of the Council's achievements and identified strengths, areas where further progress was required and the challenges that existed to address in the future.  The information contained in the report would inform the Council's Service Plans for 2016/2017.

 

The Self-Assessment Report attached at Appendix 1 to the report demonstrated a refinement in the way annual performance was assessed. The report moved away from a focus solely on service performance to one that incorporated aspects of governance, resource management and collaborative working for the Council as a whole.

 

The report was based on the key themes of the Wales Audit Office's (WAO) Annual Improvement Report: Performance Management, Governance, Resource Management and Collaboration and Partnerships.  The report presented the strengths and areas for improvement relative to each of these themes and drew on an internal assessment of performance data, the Council's Annual Governance Statement, Internal Audit reports, the Annual Improvement Report issued by the WAO, reports by other external regulators and service based information.  It also outlined the arrangements that were in place (the processes, systems, governance and policies) to support and identify any improvements in how the Council worked and delivered services

 

At the meeting the Managing Director confirmed that the self-assessment reflected a change in how the Council reviewed its performance. He commented that the Council’s Self-Assessment report demonstrated a refinement in the way annual performance was assessed. The report moved away from a focus solely on service performance to one that incorporated aspects of governance, resource management and collaborative working for the Council as a whole.

 

He further commented that the Council's self-assessment process would continue to evolve and work was already underway to ensure it dovetailed with other forms of self-assessment in line with the wider Local Government agenda as proposed in the recent draft Local Government (Wales) Bill and the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

Cabinet, having considered the report and all the issues and implications contained therein

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1)       T H A T the Council's Annual Self-Assessment Report attached at Appendix 1 to the report, including identified areas for improvement for 2016/17 onwards, be approved.

 

(2)       T H A T the use and contents of the Self-Assessment Report to be used as the basis for service planning for 2016/17 be endorsed.

 

(3)       T H A T the report be referred to all Scrutiny Committees for their consideration as part of the 2016/17 service planning process. 

- - - - -

 

The Director of Environment and Housing advised the Scrutiny Committee that the Annual Self-Assessment document contained a snap-shot of what had gone previously.

 

It was conceded that the Section of the Self-Assessment document relating to Environment and Housing should have contained more detail on the Housing and Regulatory Services functions.  This was the first such document and it would evolve in future years. 

 

Committee’s attention was drawn to the following parts of the document: 

  • Our position statement
  • Service challenges and risks
  • Performance overview 2014/15. 

A Member mentioned that it would be useful if all references to Housing could be indexed towards the front of the document for ease of reference. 

 

Mention was also made that it would be useful if procedures and outcomes were listed separately.

 

By way of reply, the Committee were advised that it was acknowledged that it was a difficult document to read, but officers were considering better ways of responding. 

 

A Member enquired if information regarding employee absence could be provided and Members were advised that this information would be provided to all Chairmen on the 10th March, 2016.

 

A Member enquired if the Council would meet its WHQS targets and was advised that everything suggested that this would be the case.

 

It was mentioned that the private rented sector would be an important element of future reports. 

 

The Director of Environment and Housing advised of his concerns regarding the role of Scrutiny within the Shared Regulatory Service in that there was currently no joint Scrutiny arrangements in place. 

 

The Shared Regulatory Services Agreement made provision for shared Scrutiny provision and it was hoped that this could be in place by the end of the calendar year. 

 

Having considered the decision of Cabinet and the discussions that had ensued, it was

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the decision of Cabinet and the discussions that had ensued at this meeting be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

Having regard to the decision of Cabinet.

 

 

924     SUPPORTING PEOPLE LOCAL COMMISSIONING PLAN 2016 - 2019 (REF) -

 

Approval was sought from Cabinet on 22nd February, 2016 to adopt the draft Supporting People Local Commissioning Plan 2016 - 2019 and submit the Plan to the Regional Collaborative Committee for the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff. Cabinet was also updated on the Council's indicative allocation of Supporting People Programme Grant for 2016/17 from Welsh Government.

 

The Supporting People (SP) Programme was the policy and funding framework for delivering housing related support to vulnerable people in different types of accommodation and across all tenures.

 

In accordance with the Welsh Government Guidance for Supporting People, all local authorities were required to develop a three year Local Commissioning Plan, which had to be submitted to the Regional Collaborative Committee for the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff. The development and coordination of the Local Commissioning Plan was undertaken by the Supporting People Local Planning Group (SPLPG) as required by Welsh Government. Membership of the SPLPG was made up of Officers from the Housing Division, Social Services Department, the Wales Probation Service, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and the Voluntary Sector (the Vale Housing and Homelessness Forum).

 

The Local Commissioning Plan 2016 – 2019 was attached at Appendix 1 to the report. The Plan outlined the evidence collected on the support needs of vulnerable people in 2014/15 and the existing services being delivered, in order to evidence their continuation and the decisions on new service priorities for development. Whilst these were outlined in the report, it was difficult to assess if the Council would be able to commission new services as savings may be needed for future cuts so it remained unlikely that any new services would be developed next year.

 

After this item was presented, the Leader amended page 59 of the Local Commissioning Plan 2016 – 2019 attached at Appendix 1 to the report, that read “Visible Services and Housing” and should instead read “Environment and Housing Services”.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

Cabinet, having considered the report and all the issues and implications contained therein

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1)       T H A T the Supporting People Local Commissioning Plan 2016 – 2019 attached at Appendix 1 to the report be approved and its submission to the Regional Collaborative Committee for the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff be agreed.

 

(2)       T H A T the report be referred to Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection) for information.

 

- - - - - - - - - -

 

Members were encouraged to see that the budget was protected, but further noted that there was clearly a mismatch in terms of available resources which Housing Services continued to attempt to address with parties and Welsh Government and that savings may have to be made in the future. 

 

In referring to Recommendation (4) as contained on page 23 of the Plan, a Member felt that this was something that should have been considered by Scrutiny Committee. 

 

A Member expressed the view that ‘prevention’ should form a major part of the Corporate Plan with a view to reducing the cost pressure on budgets. 

 

Having considered the decision of Cabinet, it was

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1)       T H A T the decision of Cabinet be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T Cabinet be informed that Scrutiny Committee regretted the possibility that cuts in the Supporting Services budget may be necessary.

 

(3)       T H A T Cabinet be requested to recognise the value of preventative work in reducing the cost of budgets for statutory services.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       Having regard to the decision of Cabinet.

 

(2&3)  To inform Cabinet of the view of Scrutiny Committee.

 

 

925     SHARED REGULATORY SERVICES - STAFFING MATTERS (DEH) -

 

Committee received an update on staffing assimilation issues relating to the Shared Regulatory Service since the transfer of employees on 1st May, 2015.

 

On 20th April, 2015, the Shared Regulatory Service Joint Committee received a report on the creation of the Shared Service and appointed a Head of Service to manage the new organisation.  The appointment of the three Operational Managers in July 2015 provided additional leadership and capacity in ensuring the early and successful delivery of the new service.

 

Thereafter, a process to populate the new structure was agreed with the recognised Trade Unions of all three Councils on 19th September, 2015 and was progressed on a tier by tier basis.

 

At the end of the process, a number of employees were ‘at risk’.  The implications and costs of this were anticipated as part of the Business Plan for the new service and managed sensitively as part of best practice change management principles. 

 

In accordance with the above, consideration had been given to applications for both voluntary redundancy and where necessary compulsory redundancy.  By the end of February 2016 the Vale of Glamorgan’s Early Retirement and Redundancy Committee had considered and approved 23 applications.

 

Applications had only been supported where the applicant had not been successfully assimilated to the new structure and where no suitable alternative post was available. 

 

The costs of the majority of the above mentioned redundancies had been funded from the former employing local authority for each of the employees in accordance with the SRS Joint Working Agreement.  The funding of any redundancies that were effective beyond 30th April, 2016 would be met by the new service.

 

The creation of the Shared Service had seen a reduction in the number of people employed in the delivery of Regulatory Services across the three Councils. 

 

On 1st May, 2015 there were 227 employees (209.21 headcount) who were part of the newly formulated joint service.  This compared with 181 (FTE) posts prescribed in the new operating model.

 

Since that point, there had been a reduction in the number of employees as follows:

 

Authority

Voluntary   Resignation

Voluntary   Redundancy

Compulsory   Redundancy

 

 

 

 

 

Headcount

FTE

Headcount

FTE

Headcount

FTE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bridgend

  3

 

7

 

0

 

Cardiff

11

 

6

 

1

 

Vale

  3

 

8

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOTAL

17

 

21

 

2

 

 

The number of officers who had left the service since January 2015 and the roles they performed where shown at Appendix A to the report. 

 

Appendix A illustrated that the officers who had left the service since 1st May, 2015 or were scheduled to do so, numbered 40.  The Appendix also illustrated the original authorities for those officers and indicated that of the 40 officers who had left the service, 10 were previously employed by Bridgend, 18 by Cardiff and 12 by the Vale of Glamorgan. 

 

The Appendix also illustrated the time periods for those officers leaving the service, those who left before the population of the new structure and those who left following a decision by the Early Retirement / Redundancy Committee.

 

Of those employees who have been appointed to the new service, some 138 (headcount) had done so through matching applications and 28 (headcount) had been appointed following subsequent competitive interviews.  There were current vacancies within the service. 

 

Of those employees who had transferred from Bridgend and Cardiff, 46 (headcount) had retained their substantive Terms and Conditions and therefore TUPE protection following their matching assimilation to post.  A further 65 (headcount) of the officers transferring had opted to take the Vale of Glamorgan’s Terms and Conditions.  27 (headcount) officers were already employed at the Vale, therefore retaining the Vale’s Terms and Conditions.  The 28 appointments were made to the Vale’s Terms and Conditions (plus vacancies).

 

138 of the employees assimilated had retained the same or higher salary levels.  Some 28 employees had been matched or appointed to posts with a lower salary level although TUPE protection applied in 21 of those cases. 

 

Councillor Ms. B.E. Brooks, spoke on this matter with the consent of the Committee.

 

Councillor Ms. Brooks advised that she had been involved with the Shared Regulatory Services for some three years.  Progress in bringing the Shared Service together had seemed slow at first but the Shared Service was now working. 

 

Cardiff Council’s Scrutiny Committees had, last week, considered the Shared Regulatory Services but the establishment of Joint Scrutiny Arrangements was the next stage of the process. 

 

A Member indicated that for some employees there was a perception that the process of change had taken too long. 

 

In response, the Head of the Shared Regulatory Services advised that 90% of the Shared Services posts had been populated within a period 10 weeks.  This represented quite an achievement.

 

The process had been challenging, and issues had been learned as a result.

 

Having considered the report it was

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the issues identified in the report, and progress made since the 1st May, 2015 be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To apprise Members of staffing issues relevant to this important new service.

 

 

926     SHARED REGULATORY SERVICES - BUSINESS PLAN 2016/17 (DEH) -

 

Committee received the draft Shared Regulatory Services Business Plan for 2016/17. 

 

The Shared Regulatory Services Business Plan for 2016/17 was attached at Appendix A to the report.  Key areas of note within the Plan were: 

  • Section 3 identified the aims and priorities for the coming year and, most importantly, how the service would support the aims of the partner Councils
  • Section 4 illustrated how the service was performing and what had been achieved during the previous year and through the identified objective of maximising the use of resources, and informing of areas for improvement in the coming year
  • Section 5 of the Plan affirmed the outcomes and objectives for the Shared Service and identified the challenges for the 2016/17 period.  There was an emphasis on strengthening our use of benchmarking/comparative data as well as highlighting good practice.  Most importantly, the Business Plan sought to identify the outcome/impact of our work upon the customer/citizen
  • Sections 6 and 7 of the Plan detailed the workforce requirements and provided a breakdown of the expenditure over the next year, such expenditure being in line with the three-year programme approved by Cabinet and Council in 2014.

Appendix 1 to the Plan contained the Shared Services Action Plan illustrating the programmes and activities that would be undertaken to support and promote the aims and objectives of the partner Councils.  These activities were currently in draft form and were expected to vary, or be augmented through the consultation process with stakeholders. 

 

Appendix 2 contained the Service’s performance measures.  The Appendix was currently incomplete as interviewer data for 2015/16 was not yet available at the time of reporting to this Committee.

 

Appendix 3 contained the Risk Register which was linked to the challenges identified in Section 5 and which contained the mitigating measures in place to ensure the successful development of the Shared Regulatory Service. 

 

It was reported that the consultation period would end on 25th March, 2016 following which the responses received would be reported to the Shared Regulatory Services Joint Committee. 

 

Members enquired as to how the various policies for the Joint Service would be harmonised and were advised that this point was referred to on page 24 of the Business Plan which dealt with the standardisation of policies across the Service. 

 

In response to a question about the Communication Plan, Members were advised that the Shared Service had established a bilingual website.  In addition, a draft Communications Plan had been drafted.

 

In referring to page 6 of the Plan, ‘Immigration inspections undertaken’, a Member enquired as to what this involved and was advised that the Joint Service had a duty to inspect premises used by immigrants.

 

Having considered the report and the draft Business Plan, it was

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the contents of the draft Business Plan 2016/17 be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

The Business Plan, as approved would be the primary document against which the performance of the Shared Regulatory Services would be measured.

 

 

927     QUARTER 3 PUBLIC PROTECTION PERFORMANCE REPORT 2015/16 (DEH) -

 

Committee received the performance results for Quarter 3, 1st April - 31st December, 2015/16.

 

Overall the service was well on track to achieve the objectives contributing to its service outcomes, with 93% of actions currently on track, 11 of 34 actions aligned to Outcome 1 within the Development Services Plan relate to Public Protection, of these, 9 were on track for completion and 1 was not due to have started.  No actions were reported slipped. 

 

15 of the 18 performance indicators aligned to Outcome 1 were Public Protection measures.  Of these, 6 had met or exceeded their target, 5 were within 10% of target and 4 had missed their target by more than 10%.

 

The 4 performance indicators where slippage was reported are as follows: 

  • DS/M008b: the average number of calendar days taken to deliver a non-agency Disabled Facilities Grant missed target as, this represented 10% of DFGs which were delivered other than through the Council’s Agency Service.  Performance was considerably behind that of the Council’s own service.  The major provider used was being encouraged to follow the Council’s framework approach rather than tender for each project.
  • DS/M009a: the average number of calendar days taken from Occupational Therapist first contact to recommendation in the delivery of Disabled Facilities Grant had missed target as one Occupational Therapist post had been vacant since June 2015.  The post had now been filled with the post holder commencing in November 2015.
  • PPN001i: the percentage of high risk businesses that were liable to a programmed inspection that were inspected for Trading Standards.  The three remaining premises due for inspection were high risk Food Standards.  These were carried out by the Food Safety Team and would be inspected at the same time as the Food Hygiene Inspection.  Two inspections would be carried out in Quarter 4 and one during Quarter 1 of the new financial year.
  • PSR009a: the average number of calendar days taken to deliver a Disabled Facilities Grant for children and young people had missed target. 

Having considered the report it was

 

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.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

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

 

(2)       To consider the Quarter 3 Public Protection performance results as at 31st December, 2015 in order to identify service areas for improvement.

 

 

928     REVENUE AND CAPITAL MONITORING FOR THE PERIOD 1ST APRIL, 2015 TO 31ST JANUARY, 2016 (DEH) -

 

Committee was advised of the position in respect of Revenue and Capital expenditure for the period 1st April, 2015 to 31st January, 2016 regarding those revenue and capital budgets which formed this Committee’s remit. 

 

The current forecast was for a balanced budget. 

 

Public Sector Housing (HRA) - the HRA was expected to outturn on target.  Any underspends in year would be off-set by additional contributions to Capital Expenditure to reduce the reliance in Unsupported Borrowing.

 

Council Fund Housing - the Council Fund Housing Budget was likely to outturn at £250,000 underspent based on current trends.  As previously reported, the variance was due to savings being made on the use of temporary accommodation for the homeless.  Due to uncertain pressure going forward, it was proposed that any underspend at year end be set aside to fund homelessness issues in future years. 

 

Private Housing - the fee income on Disabled Facilities Grants (DFGs) was higher than originally anticipated due to the high number of applications received during this year.  Income on the Renewal Area however was continuing to lag behind profile, off-setting the favourable variance on DFGs.  It was anticipated that the Renewal Area fees position would improve by year end so this service was expected to outturn on target. 

 

Regulatory Services - the new Shared Service for Bridgend, Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan became operational on 1st May, 2015 and the remaining few staff vacancies within the new structure had been advertised and should be filled shortly.  Much work was now needed by the new Management Team to rationalise current working practices, with the emphasis on agile working across the three authorities.  It was anticipated that the budget would outturn on target at year end. 

 

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, 2016. 

 

Housing Improvement Programme - Common Parts and WHQS Environmental Improvement Schemes were anticipated to underspend by £1m and £200,000 respectively, due to a shortage of staff resources which had resulted in the schemes being delayed.  It would therefore be requested to carry forward the above amount into the 2016/17 Capital Programme. 

 

Castleland Renewal Area/Penarth Renewal Area - following the tender process in the Castleland Renewal Area, the cost of works had come in lower than the estimate, resulting in £216,000 of uncommitted budget.  It would be requested to vire £85,000 of this saving to the Penarth Renewal Area to cover the cost of additional works required to roofs.  It would also be requested to carry forward the remaining balance of £125,000 into the 2016/17 Capital Programme in order for works to continue in the renewal area in the next financial year.

 

Having considered the report, it was

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the position with regard to the 2015/16 Revenue and Capital Budgets be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

That Scrutiny Committee note the position regard to the 2015/16 Revenue and Capital Monitoring.

 

 

929     YOUTH OFFENDING SERVICE: 6 MONTH PERFORMANCE REPORT FOR THE PERIOD APRIL 2015 TO SEPTEMBER 2015 (DSS) -

 

Committee were informed of the performance of the Youth Offending Service during the period April 2015 to September 2015.  The performance report for April 2015 to September 2015 was attached at Appendix 1 to the report and included analysis of the performance data.  Committee were advised that the Youth Justice Board had introduced changes to the Welsh Key Performance Indicators in 2014/15.  As a result, it was not possible to produce accumulated performance data, and so information for Quarter 1 and Quarter 2 was shown separately. 

 

Local performance measures had been included to provide a greater depth of understanding of performance in specific areas. 

 

Performance data for First Time Entrants to the Youth Justice was for the 12 months from July 2014 to June 2015.  Performance reflected a 22% decrease in First Time Entrants, from 40 down to 31 when comparing July - June 2013/14 against July - June 2014/15.  Performance to date reflected a positive trend downwards which was hoped to be maintained through implementing the revised Prevention Strategy.

 

Reduction in reoffending continued to be a key priority for the Youth Offending Service.  The information presented showed a decrease in the binary rate (number of young people reoffending) from 47.4% to 46.2% when comparing January - December 2012 against January - December 2013.  The frequency rate of reoffending (number of re-offences committed by young people) for the same period also demonstrated a decrease from 1.90 to 1.31.

 

Performance was positive because both rates had decreased.  There had been an increase in the numbers of young people in the overall cohort and an increase in the number of reoffenders.  However, there had been fewer instances of re-offending, i.e. young people committing more than one offence.  This may be attributable to positive intervention by the Youth Offending Service. 

 

Local performance indicators now included within the report, provided insight into the complex needs of young people within the Youth Justice System and the range of interventions provided by the YOS and its partners. 

 

The YOS had seen a reduction in the custodial rate during the first six months of 2015/16, with zero disposals compared to three for the same period in 2014/15.  This continued the positive downward trend in custody since it was identified in 2014 that the service was experiencing higher than average custodial rates. 

 

In respect of engagement in education, training and employment, this indicator had changed and now reflected the number of hours education a young person had been offered, alongside the number of hours the young person attended the provision.  The information enabled stakeholders to identify if performance was being affected by a lack of suitable provision of if there were attendance issues which needed to be addressed.  The number of young people within the cohort was small and as a result, should one or two young people not access provision, it could result in large fluctuations in the performance percentages. 

 

Regarding access to suitable accommodation, performance reflected an improved position.  During the six month period, 19 young people had a closed community based penalty.  Of these 19, 17 were in suitable accommodation at the start and end of their court orders.  There were no closed custodial disposals during the period.


Performance in respect of access to appropriate support for substance misuse difficulties demonstrated the majority of young people referred continued to engage in assessment and treatment.

 

Victim Participation was a local measure.  The YOS had a duty to comply with the Victim’s Code of Practice and promote community confidence in the Criminal Justice System.  In order to demonstrate the work undertaken by the YOS in relation to restorative justice, a local performance measure was introduced based on the former YJB Measure (no longer in use), i.e. engaging 25% of victims in direct restorative practices, as demonstrated by the positive performance of 56.67% victim participation in Quarter 2.

 

Regarding the new performance measures on access to mental health services, improvement in this area was a key strategic aim of the Welsh Government/YJB Children and Young People First Strategy.  The measure identified if young people were appropriately screened within 10 working days of sentence and where appropriate, received a mental health assessment within 10 working days of screening.  With this in mind, Committee were advised that an additional bullet point was to be added to the information provided at paragraph 3 of the report, ‘Young people to be appropriately screened within 10 working days of sentence, and where appropriate, receive a mental health assessment within 10 working days of screening’.

 

It was reported that the performance reported had been achieved within allocated resources.  Scrutiny Committee were informed in September 2015 that the YJB were consulting with YOS regarding an ‘in year’ reduction in grant funding and that representations had been made in relation to the potential impact of the proposed reductions.  Despite this, the YJB grant was reduced in November 2015 by a further 10.6% making a total reduction in 2015/16 grant of 18.2%.

 

The YOS had been able to absorb this reduction due to a number of practitioner absences associated with maternity and ill health.  To date, the YJB grant for 2016/17 was unconfirmed but a further reduction was anticipated. 

 

Having considered the report, it was

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1)       T H A T the content of the performance report be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the Ministry of Justice be informed of the Committee’s concern at the year on year reduction expected of the service and that the contents of the letter be approved by the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Committee.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To ensure that Elected Members are able to exercise effective oversight of the Youth Offending Service performance against designated indicators (UK, devolved and local).

 

(2)       To inform the Ministry of Justice of the concerns of the Committee.

 

 

930     QUARTER 3 HOUSING AND BUILDING SERVICES PERFORMANCE REPORT 2015-16 (DEH) -

 

Committee received the performance results for Quarter 3, 1st April - 31st December, 2015. 

 

Housing and Building Services was on track to achieve the objectives contributing to its service outcomes with 78% of Service Plan actions either completed or on track to be completed.  It was reported that 5 actions had been reported as slipped (although two of these figures were being challenged).  The report stated that three were not due to have started this Quarter.  Of the 10 Corporate Plan actions, one (10%) was complete, 8 (80%) were on track to be completed and one (10%) had slipped this Quarter.

 

There were no actions or measures relating to the Improvement Objectives. 

 

There were currently no Outcome Agreement actions.

 

Of the 12 performance indicators that were monitored on a quarterly basis, six met or exceeded target during the Quarter, three were within 10% of target and two had missed by more than 10%.  A performance status was not applicable for one measure.  Of three Outcome Agreement Measures, two were within 10% of target and one had slipped. 

 

The two targets that had missed target were as follows: 

  • HS/M005: although the average number of days to let an empty property was shown as missing target, this was a spot target and improvement continued; it was anticipated that the target would be met by the end of the year.
  • HHA017b: the average number of days that all homeless households spent in other forms of temporary accommodation had slipped.  Alternative, suitable, permanent housing solutions continued to be identified.  This had resulted in the average number of days further reducing between Quarters. 

Against Outcome 1, ‘Everyone has a home that they can afford that meets their needs’, a text facility to inform tenants of appointments had been successfully developed and implemented, the outcome of which was more customer focussed service.

 

The revised HRAS Business Plan had been put in place which had built into its projections the impact of Welsh Government policies on rent.  The outcome of which would be the ability to provide new Council housing, regenerate estates and meet the Council’s commitments in terms of the Welsh Housing Quality Standards.

 

A significant proportion of the Building Services Change Plan had been delivered.  The restructure had crystallised the client and contractor functions in Building Services.  Further work by the client function was needed to develop a Housing-Asset Management Strategy.  Work on a growth/value for money for the in-house contractor would be developed in 2016/17.

 

Both Community and Investment Officers were now in place and were delivering a range of projects against the Tenant and Leaseholder Engagement Strategy and associated operational plans. 

 

Slippage was recorded for four actions under Outcome 1: 

  • the development of an Asset Management Strategy (HS/A076) had slipped to enable the impact of the Housing Revenue Account buy out to be taken into account and for the financial impact of the external WHQS works to be validated before developing the full report.  The Strategy was now planned to be drafted over the next six months.
  • In relation to the development of a Tenant and Leaseholder Engagement Strategy, the Strategy would be submitted to Scrutiny Committee in March 2016
  • Limited progress had been made in the review of the governance arrangements of the Supporting People Regional Collaboration Fund Committee; the Memorandum of Understanding was circulated to Welsh Government to the Regional Collaboration Committee Members in December 2015
  • The new Rural Housing Enabler and Affordable Housing Enabler Officers were now in post and the overarching Housing Forum were to agree Local Housing Strategy Year 1 priorities at its next meeting in March 2016 which would address slippage against this action. 

Against Outcome 2, ‘Every customer is highly satisfied with the service we directly provide’, the development and delivery of a new mobile working solution and asset management IT system was well on track.  Whilst the mobile working solution had been implemented and was now in operation, some minor working issues were yet to be resolved by the supplier.  A mobile working solution gave an improved level of customer service as tenants were fully aware of when responsive repair work would be carried out.

 

Limited progress was made in one action under Outcome 2 which related to the review of internal stores.  Work on identification of cost saving processes had commenced within the service to eliminate waste from the procurement and processing of materials.

 

Against Outcome 3, ‘All citizens in the Vale live and work in safe and secure communities’, significant progress had been made in the delivery of the key Community Safety Partnership Strategies for domestic abuse, substance abuse and community cohesion.  A successful White Ribbon Campaign was held with partners to raise awareness of domestic abuse in the Vale of Glamorgan, the Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan Substance Misuse Area Panning Board and Safer Vale Partnership had worked in collaboration to launch a breathalyser pilot across the Vale.

 

A Member enquired that, should the Vale of Glamorgan Council build new social houses, would they be disabled friendly and was advised that large sites may well be a mix of properties.  It all depended on the results of a feasibility study.

 

In referring to Action Ref HS/A114 ‘Deliver a structured approach to improving and monitoring our inspections’, a Member enquired if this issue would be reported back to Committee.

 

In reply, Members were advised that a presentation could be made to the Committee at some point in the future. 

 

Having considered the report, it was

 

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.

 

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 Housing and Building Services performance results as at 31st December 2015 in order to identify service areas for improvement work.

 

 

931     ‘THE SANCTUARY SCHEME’ - TARGET HARDENING SERVICES FOR VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC ABUSE (DEH) -

 

Committee was updated on the ‘target hardening’ scheme in place to support victims of domestic violence in the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

The previous ‘target hardening’ scheme came to an end in March 2015.  In April 2015, the Safer Vale Team reviewed the scheme.  In 2015 a further £25,000 was allocated to the scheme as part of the Supporting People Grant.

 

In August 2015 a Service Level Agreement between the Safer Vale Partnership and the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Building Services Team was established to carry out the work. 

 

To prepare Building Services staff for the work, training was carried out.  Training sessions were delivered by the Vale of Glamorgan’s Third Sector Domestic Violence organisation, Atal Y Fro.  The purpose of the training was to ensure that the staff had awareness of domestic violence, had the ability to recognise signs which might need to be raised with the Community Safety Team, be prepared for the sensitive nature of the work and victims that they may encounter and also develop knowledge in terms of signposting and services available to the victim or their families. 

 

The work which was covered by the scheme, included a number of safety features such as window locks, window shock alarms, door chains and a safe room installations.  In some circumstances referrals may differ and additional features may be considered depending on the situation of the victim.

 

The new project had a revised process including new referral forms and evaluation forms attached at appendices to the report, to ensure effective monitoring of the project.

 

Referrals were forwarded to the Safer Vale Team.  Each referral would indicate the level of risk posed to the victim and the necessary timescale by which work must be completed.  It was the role of the Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Co-ordinator to ensure that referrals were monitored and works were completed within the specified timescales.

 

Between 17th August and 12th January, 2016, 15 Sanctuary Scheme referrals had been received and completed successfully.  Early indicators suggested positive service user feedback. 

 

A Member enquired if the Safer Vale team was liaising with the police in matters concerning domestic violence and was informed that the service was based in the police station and all the necessary information was to hand.

 

In terms of referrals to the police, all cases were different and were considered on a case by case basis.

 

A Member requested that the key output indicator figures be brought back to this Committee when they have been calculated. 

 

Having considered the report, it was

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the updates and changes to the ‘target hardening’ process be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To ensure that Committee are able to fulfil its role of scrutinising partnership action to reduce crime and disorder and fear of crime.

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