Agenda Item No. 8

The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Learning and Culture Scrutiny Committee: 17th October 2016


Report of the Interim Director of Learning and Skills


Quarter 1 (2016-17) Performance Report: An Aspirational and Culturally Vibrant Vale

Purpose of the Report

  1. To present the performance results for quarter 1, 1st April-30th June, 2016-17 for the Corporate Plan Well-being Outcome 3, ' An Aspirational and Culturally Vibrant Vale.'


  1. That Members consider progress to date in achieving key outcomes in line with the Corporate Plan Well-being Outcome 3 - 'All Vale of Glamorgan citizens have opportunities to achieve their full potential.'
  2. That Members consider the performance results and remedial actions to be taken to address areas of underperformance and tackle identified key challenges going forward.

Reasons for the Recommendations

  1. To ensure the Council clearly demonstrates the progress being made towards achieving its Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes aimed at making a positive difference to the lives of Vale of Glamorgan citizens.
  2. To ensure the Council is effectively assessing its performance in line with the requirement to secure continuous improvement outlined in the Local Government Measure (Wales) 2009 and reflecting the requirement of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act to maximise its contribution to achieving the Well-being goals for Wales.


  1. The Council's Performance Management Framework is the mechanism through which our key priorities and targets are monitored and realised in order to secure continuous improvement.
  2. As part of the review of its Performance Management Framework, the Council has recently adopted a new Corporate Plan (2016-20) which reflects the requirements of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and identifies 4 Well-being Outcomes and 8 Objectives for the Council.
  3. In order to ensure a more cross-cutting approach to scrutinising the Well-being Outcomes in the Corporate Plan and reduce potential for duplication, the remits of Scrutiny Committees have been re-aligned with the Well-being Outcomes contained in the Corporate Plan with performance reporting revised to reflect these arrangements.
  4. Service Plans have been completed at Head of Service level and focus on the contribution made by those areas to the Council's Well-being Outcomes and Objectives.
  5. As approved by Cabinet, from 2016-17, the Corporate Plan will be monitored on a quarterly basis by an overall Corporate Health Performance Report and this will be reported to the Corporate Performance and Resources Scrutiny Committee. This will be supplemented by specific quarterly performance reports for each of the four Well-being Outcomes. This will enable Members to focus on scrutinising the progress being made towards achieving the Council's Well-being Outcomes. Services have continued to report performance data quarterly to the Council's Performance Team and this information has been used to compile and present the more focused Well-being Outcome Reports for the quarter 1 period. The newly devised report formats have been designed to make it easier to assess overall progress in each objective/outcome, whilst continuing to provide detailed supporting information relating to actions and indicators.
  6. Work has been undertaken in reviewing the Council's existing performance indicator dataset with workshops held for all four Well-being Outcome areas chaired by the respective Sponsoring Director and Lead officers/ Heads of Service. These produced a basket of proposed measures comprising some existing and some new measures for consideration by the Member Working Group for each Well-being Outcome. The draft quarterly Well-being Outcome report template and the proposed basket of measures were approved by both the Member Working Group and Cabinet (16th  June and 25th July respectively) as the basis for preparing quarterly performance monitoring reports for 2016-17. Following the consideration of the quarterly reports by Scrutiny Committees and Cabinet, feedback on the format of the reports will be considered by Officers and the Member Working Group, as part of the on-going development of the Council's performance management arrangements.
  7. The performance report is structured as follows:
  • Section 1: Outcome Summary - Provides an overall summary of performance and highlights the main developments, achievements and challenges for the quarter as a whole. It includes an evaluation of the progress made against actions and performance indicators as well as corporate health (resource) impacts which supports the overall RAG status for the Well-being Outcome.
  • Section 2: Performance Snapshot - Provides an overview for each Well-being Objective, describing the status of Corporate Plan actions and performance indicators. A RAG status is attributed to each Well-being Objective to reflect overall progress to date and contributes to the overall RAG status for the Well-being Outcome.
  • Section 3: Key Achievements and Challenges - Highlights the key achievements and challenges to date in achieving the intended outcomes for the Well-being Outcome.
  • Section 4: Corporate Health: Use of Resources and Impact on Improvement - Provides a summary of the key issues relating to the use of resources and the impact on delivering improvement during the quarter. The focus is on key aspects relating to staffing, finance, assets, ICT, customer focus and risk management.
  • Appendix 1: Provides, by Well-being Objective, detailed information relating to the Service Plan actions which have contributed to Corporate Plan actions.
  • Appendix 2: Provides detailed performance indicator information linked to each Well-being Objective which show for our planned activities, how much we have done, how well we have performed and what difference this has made. It must be noted that new annual and quarterly reported performance indicators have been introduced as part of the Council's revised Performance Management Framework and for a number of these data will not be available as this year will be used to establish baseline performance. A Not Available (N/A) status will be attributed to all such measures with commentary provided confirming this status. Where possible cumulative data will be provided in future quarterly reports as this becomes available. This is the first year of reporting against the new Corporate Plan and we will continue to develop our key measures within each Well-being Objective to ensure these most accurately reflect our Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes.
  • Appendix 3: Provides an explanation of the performance terms used within the report. The performance report uses the traffic light system, that is, a Red, Amber or Green (RAG) status and a Direction of Travel (DOT) to aid performance analysis. Progress is reported for all key performance indicators by allocating a RAG performance status, Green relates to performance that has met or exceeded target, Amber relates to performance within 10% of target and Red relates to performance that has missed target by more than 10%. A DOT arrow is also attributed to each measure indicating whether current performance has improved, stayed static or declined on last year's first quarter performance. An upward arrow indicates that performance has improved on the same quarter last year, a static arrow indicates performance has remained the same and a downward arrow shows performance has declined compared to the same quarter last year.

For actions, a Green status relates to a completed action or one that is on track to be completed in full by the due date. An Amber status relates to an action where there has been a minor delay but action is being taken to bring this back on track by the next quarter. A Red status relates to an action where limited progress has been made, and an explanation must be provided including any planned remedial action(s) and where appropriate a revised completion date.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. An overall GREEN RAG status has been attributed to Well-being Outcome 3, 'An Aspirational and Culturally Vibrant Vale', reflecting the positive progress made to date in making a difference to the lives of residents and our customers within a highly challenging environment.
  2. At Q1, 14 out of 16 Corporate Plan actions under the Outcome are on track to be delivered giving an overall GREEN performance status for actions. A performance status was not applicable to one action as work is not scheduled to commence until Q3 on a school development needs assessment which will feed into a new school modernisation programme (AC9). The establishment of community led libraries is rated as red in quarter 1 as none of the 5 libraries were established by the deadline of 31st May. Although considerable progress was made with community groups to develop legal agreements, there was a delay with some of the groups acquiring charitable status. In addition, the transfer of leases in relation to Sully and Wenvoe libraries took longer than anticipated. In May, a claim for judicial review of the decision to establish a community library in Rhoose was lodged with the high court which prevented the Council from entering into a legal agreement with the Rhoose community group. The utilisation of European social funding to increase the number of young people aged 18-24 entering employment or training was rated as amber as this could not be progressed pending WEFO confirmation of the 'Inspire to Work' grant funding.
  3. An overall AMBER performance status has been attributed to the quarterly measures reported against this Outcome. Of 5 measures reported, 3 missed target by more than 10%, 1 was within 10% of target and the remaining indicator met target. The indicators that missed target by more than 10% related to visitor numbers to libraries, percentage of youth population making contact with the Youth Service and the number of accredited outcomes achieved by learners through the Youth Service.
  4. A detailed report outlining the progress at quarter 1 towards achieving Well-being Outcome 3 is provided at Appendix 1. Highlighted below are some of the key achievements and challenges for the quarter:
  5. Significant work has been carried out with community groups to enable up to 5 libraries to transfer to the community. £100,000 has been set aside to help cover start-up costs and improvements to existing buildings. The community groups will receive on-going support from the Council in the form of IT, book stocks, library resources and professional advice. For the past three months, volunteers have been training with the Council's professional library staff.
  6. Pupil attendance continues to improve and in secondary schools has increased by 0.5% to 94.7% during the 2014/15 academic year, backed by our collaboration with schools in implementing fixed penalty notices and the Callio Strategy. This is the top ranked performance in Wales for the first release data. Secondary persistent absence has also reduced by 0.9% to 3.3%. Primary school attendance in the Vale of Glamorgan remained the same as 2013/14 at 95.3%, maintaining the Vale's 4th placed ranked position.
  7. We continue to work with our partners in order to engage adult learners to improve their skills and remove barriers to learning. We have introduced a progression route planner in order to identify gaps in provision for priority learners which will enable us to better target our engagement activities going forward. Further planned improvements to services are mapped in the Cardiff and Vale Community Learning Partnership Quality Development Plan "Journey to Excellence".
  8. We continue to work to ensure effective use of the Pupil Deprivation Grant in all schools. We have continued to set challenging targets for those pupils not entitled to free schools meals, and improved how we use data in identifying pupils and schools to target in order to secure improved outcomes for learners entitled to free schools meals.
  9. Work continues with schools in ensuring appropriate safeguarding procedures, including a continuing programme of safeguarding training, updated policies, procedures and guidance and self-evaluation. Further progress has been made towards improved Safer Recruitment compliance by schools, with a robust process established for escalating non-compliance issues. Compliance has improved from 40% last year to over 90% this year, however there is still some way to go to achieve and sustain full compliance.
  10. The average speed of answering calls on the Welsh language line improved significantly this quarter at 25 seconds compared to 44 seconds within the same period last year. In addition, our front of house reception service offers a fully bilingual service which has been made possible through recruitment and staff training. This contributes to the Council's commitment to meet the Welsh language standards whilst enabling residents and customers to communicate with the Council using a wide arrange of communications channels.
  11. The Learning and Skills Directorate has successfully piloted a best practice approach to procurement of devises and design of infrastructure at Gwenfo Primary School. This approach will be incorporated into the draft ICT strategy being developed for schools.
  12. The Council's Youth Service continues to go from strength to strength with success at the awards National Youth Excellence Awards where the service had 5 nominations:
  • The Youth Cabinet won the Best Youth Led project;
  • The Pulse Team were nominated in the Outstanding Arts and Media Youth Work Category;
  • Rights Ambassadors were nominated for the Outstanding Rights Youth Work Project;
  • The Welsh Language Youth Club in partnership with Urdd was shortlisted for Outstanding Youth Work Project
  • A staff member employed in partnership with Boy's and Girl's Clubs for Wales was awarded Youth Worker of the Year.

Key challenges

  1. Improving visitor numbers to public libraries. The number of visits per 1,000 population at Q1 was 1326 compared to 1485 during the same period last year. Visitor numbers are lower than anticipated mirroring the static or falling national trend in library visits. We continue to drive our promotions to increase visitors and in order to improve our performance in this area.
  2. We must continue to meet the significant number of Welsh language standards that have been placed on the Council in relation to our communication with residents and customers. A welsh language working group has been established to focus on the key actions necessary to meet the standards and this will continue to meet with service leads to ensure that we meet our obligations.
  3. Encouraging more young people to engage with our Youth Services. At Q1, 5.87% of the Vale's youth population (22,232) aged 11-25 made contact with the Youth service compared to 5.29% in the same quarter last year, however performance is below our target of 7%. It is anticipated that performance will improve from the autumn term onwards when major projects to engage young people start in schools and communities.
  4. Issues with the Council's firewall and connectivity problems in some schools are impacting on schools' operations in a number of areas. For example, pupils are not able to complete on-line assessments of well-being and attendance is being recorded using paper systems. This affects the Council's ability to measure the well-being of children and young people in schools and schools' ability to report statutory pupil data to the Central South Consortium and Welsh Government. This could ultimately have an adverse impact on attendance and attainment. The Learning and Skills Directorate has worked closely with the corporate ICT networking team to address issues however; there are challenges with regard to a shortage of capacity and resources in the Corporate ICT team.
  5. Increasing the number of accredited outcomes achieved by learners through the Youth Service. A total of 77 accredited outcomes were reported at Q1 compared to 119 in the same period last year. Over 50 accreditations are currently awaiting internal verification, and the majority of accreditations are delivered in line with the academic year. We anticipate our performance will improve in line with this timetable.
  6. As predicted, the loss of recoupment income from other local authorities for placements at Ysgol Y Deri has resulted in a significant financial pressure for the Learning and Skills Directorate. The loss has resulted from a combination of other local authorities developing provision to accommodate their pupils in order to reduce costs and an increase in the number of Vale of Glamorgan pupils attending the school. It should be noted that the school is full and does not have the capacity to accommodate additional out of county pupils at present or in the foreseeable future. Whilst the resulting overspend is being addressed in year through the deployment of reserves and managed under spending across a range of services, this will direct funding away from service development and has created capacity issues in a number of areas which could impact adversely on the Learning and Skills Directorate's contribution to this Well-being Outcome.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. There are no additional budgetary implications arising from this report although underperformance in some areas may have a negative impact on external assessments of the Council and could put certain funding opportunities at risk. The report includes information relating to the use of financial, asset, ICT and people resources and how these are being deployed to support the delivery of the Council's well-being outcomes.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. The Corporate Plan 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. The Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 requires that the Council secure continuous improvement across the full range of local services for which it is responsible.
  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.
  2. The Council's Performance Management Framework supports the delivery of all of the Council's Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes and Objectives.

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. The information contained within the report is based on quarterly returns provided by service directorates to the Performance Team. Quarterly performance reports covering the Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes and Objectives along with an overall Corporate Health Report will be considered by relevant Scrutiny Committees and the Cabinet.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

Environment and Regeneration Scrutiny Committee

Background Papers

Performance Management Framework, Report of the Leader, Cabinet, 25th April 2016

Contact Officer

Julia Archampong, Corporate Performance Manager

Officers Consulted

Corporate Management Team

Huw Isaac, Head of Performance and Development

Tom Bowring, Operational Manager Performance and Policy

Responsible Officer:

Paula Ham, Interim Director of Learning and Skills and Sponsoring Director for Well-being Outcome 3, 'An Aspirational and Culturally Vibrant Vale'