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Agenda Item No. 8

 

Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Environment and Regeneration Scrutiny Committee: 14th  March 2017

 

Report of the Managing Director

 

Vale of Glamorgan Council Annual Self-Assessment

 

Purpose of the Report

  1. To provide Members with a strategic self-assessment of the Council's performance for the period April 2015 - December 2016 that identifies our achievements and our priorities for 2017/18.

Recommendations

  1. That Members consider and endorse the Council's Annual Self-Assessment Report including identified priorities for 2017/18 onwards.
  2. That Members endorse the use and contents of the Self-Assessment as the basis for service planning for 2017/18.

Reasons for the Recommendations

  1. To meet the requirements of the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 to undertake a self-assessment of all Council services and use this information as the basis to drive continuous improvement of Council services.
  2. To ensure the Scrutiny Committee confirms that the priorities identified within the Self-Assessment relating to its remit of 'Well-being Outcome 2 'An environmentally responsible and prosperous Vale'.' represents a fair reflection of the challenges facing both the Council as a whole and the services contributing to the corporate health priorities. In addition, that the Council identifies and takes appropriate action to address its improvement priorities

Background

  1. Self-assessments form a core part of the statutory local government inspection processes in Wales. Under the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009, the Council is required to undertake a self-evaluation of all its services and use this information to inform planning for improvement.
  2. Self-assessment processes are used throughout the Council as required by regulators. The Annual Council Reporting Framework for Social Services also requires reporting annually on progress, outcomes and plans for improvement. This builds on the Council's internal assessment of performance. Self-evaluation and reporting also forms a core element of Estyn's Common Inspection Framework and annual self-evaluation.
  3. The Vale of Glamorgan Annual Self-Assessment is a position statement on the Council's performance over the past year in delivering its priorities. It is intended to provide an honest and balanced account of the Council's achievements and identifies areas where further progress is required. The information contained in the report (in particular the Service Self-Assessments contained in Appendix C of the report) will be used to inform the Council's Service Plans for 2017/2018.

Relevant Issues and Options

Council Annual Self-Assessment

  1. Historically the Council has undertaken the self-assessment of its services as part of the service planning process to inform its priorities and areas for improvement. This was primarily performance focused and undertaken on a directorate-by-directorate basis.
  2. This year's Annual Self-Assessment (Appendix 1) presents a significant departure from the way in which the annual performance assessment has been conducted in the past. The development of a more outcome-focused Corporate Plan in line with our duties under the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act and the alignment of our Committee structures to this approach have necessitated the need to refine how we undertake our self-assessment process. As a consequence our new self-assessment format reflects these developments.
  3. This is the first year of reporting performance against the Corporate Plan 2016-2020 and consequently progress is only available for three quarters of the year. It is therefore not possible to undertake and present the Annual Council Self-Assessment fully by the Corporate Plan Well-being Outcome areas. In light of this, for this year, the report draws together the most recent evidence available at this time from our service-based position statements (Appendix C), our progress to date in achieving our Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes and Corporate Health priorities, our Annual Improvement Report incorporating the findings of our Corporate Assessment and reports by other external regulators.
  4. In future, the Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes will form the framework for evaluating our performance and achievements, thus enabling the Council to demonstrate its ability to achieve positive outcomes for our residents and secure continuous improvement. These will be supported by service based position statements covering all Council services.
  5. As part of the annual Self-Assessment, we identify a series of actions to drive improvement in the following year. A summary of our progress to date in relation to the priorities identified in last year's Annual Self-Assessment is provided in the Corporate Improvement Action Plan at Appendix A. Of the 57 actions identified, 32 have been completed and 25 are ongoing.
  6. The monitoring of the Corporate Improvement Action Plan has this year been incorporated into the Insight Board's remit (the newly developed governance group that is the primary channel through which all integrated planning related activities are reviewed and monitored on a monthly basis by Council officers.) The Insight Board was created to enhance and streamline the corporate governance arrangements relating to integrated planning activities and reports to Corporate Management Team (CMT) and Cabinet. During the year, the Council was assessed by the Wales Audit Office through the Corporate Assessment process. Appendix B provides the progress to date in relation to all our priorities including the proposals for Improvement identified in the Wales Audit Office's Corporate Assessment undertaken of the Council in 2016.
  7. The Self-Assessment process is used to identify priorities for the coming year that are implemented via service plans for 2017/18. In addition, the Corporate Health priorities will feed into the work of the Insight board to ensure an integrated approach to planning for improvement. Work has already commenced in implementing some of these priorities, which incorporate existing areas of improvement activity.
  8. The Council's self-assessment process will continue to evolve in line with the wider Local Government agenda as proposed in the recent draft Local Government (Wales) Bill and the Well-being of Future Generation (Wales) Act. In this respect, the annual Self-Assessment sets out our key priorities for improvement and will be published and made available to our regulators to inform their work programme.

Service Self-Assessments

  1. Appendix C to this report contains service position statements covering all Council services. These provide an overview of performance covering the period April 2015 - December 2016 and identify the priorities for improvement for services going forward into 2017/18.
  2. In line with changes made to the Council's Performance Management Framework, this year the service position statements have been completed at Head of Service level and will be reported at all Scrutiny Committees in order to inform Council plans for improvement including the 2017/18 Service Plans as well as the annual work programme of Scrutiny Committees.
  3. It is recommended that all Scrutiny Committees consider the content of the Self-Assessment report for their respective Well-being Outcome areas to confirm that the priorities for improvement identified are a fair reflection of the challenges facing both the Council as a whole and the services contributing to the respective Corporate Well-being Outcomes and Corporate Health priorities. Following consideration, it recommended that members confirm that the information contained in the report is appropriate to inform service planning for 2017/18 for the Council's services.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. Our priorities as outlined in the Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes have resources committed to their achievement (via the Medium Term Financial Plan and annual budget review) or the likely prospect of resources being made available in the period of the plan.
  2. The introduction of "Corporate Health" aspects of the service plans and self-assessment provide Members with an overview of the way in which Council resources (people, financial, ICT and assets) are used to support the delivery of our corporate objectives.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. The Corporate Plan 2016-20 emphasises the Council's commitment to promoting sustainable development and our understanding of our duties under the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act. The many different aspects of sustainability (environment, economy, culture and social) are reflected within planned activities as outlined the Corporate Plan and demonstrates how the Council will maximise its contribution to the Well-being Goals.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. Self-assessment is a statutory duty under the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009, along with a duty to continually improve.
  2. The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 requires the Council to set and publish Well-being Objectives by April 2017 that maximise its contribution to achieving the Well-being goals for Wales.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. Activities to improve community safety are included in the Corporate Plan and one of the Well-being Outcomes is 'An Inclusive and Safe Vale' with a supporting objective 'providing decent homes and safe communities'. The Council's Performance Management Framework supports the delivery of actions associated with these objectives.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. An Inclusive and Safe Vale' is one of the Well-being Outcomes in the Corporate Plan with a supporting objective 'reducing poverty and social exclusion'. There is also a Well-being Outcome 'An Aspirational and culturally vibrant Vale' with a supporting action 'valuing culture and diversity'. The Council's Performance Management Framework supports the delivery of actions associated with these objectives.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. The Corporate Plan 2016-20 reflects the requirements of the Well-being of Future Generations Act and identifies 4 Well-being Outcomes and 8 Objectives for the Council. These promote improvements in the economic, social and cultural well-being of residents in the Vale of Glamorgan which in turn will contribute to achieving the Well-being goals for Wales. The Council's Performance Management Framework supports the delivery of all of the Council's Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes and Objectives.
  2. The Annual Self-Assessment informs the Council's priorities and plans for improvement. Improving services and outcomes for residents of the Vale of Glamorgan contributes towards effective community leadership.

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. Council priorities arising from the Annual Self-Assessment inform Service Plans and the annual Improvement Plan which form part of the Policy Framework and therefore require Executive agreement from Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. The Annual Self- Assessment Report applies to the whole authority and as such no individual ward Member consultation has been undertaken. The content of the Corporate Plan have been the subject of consultation via Scrutiny Committees.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. Environment and Regeneration Scrutiny Committee

Background Papers

None

Contact Officer

Tom Bowring, Operational Manager Policy & Performance

Officers Consulted

Corporate Management Team

Responsible Officer:

Rob Thomas, Managing Director

 

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