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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting 15 February 2012

 

Report of the Leader of the Council

 

Auditor General for Wales: Annual Improvement Report 2012

 

Purpose of the Report

1.            To advise members of the results of the assessment by the Auditor General for Wales of the Council's arrangements to secure continuous improvement.

Recommendations

1.             That Cabinet note the contents of the report.

2.             That the report be referred to Corporate Resources Scrutiny Committee and the Audit Committee.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.             To keep Cabinet apprised.

2.             To provide for scrutiny and review of the Auditor General's Improvement Assessment Report.

Background

2.            The Auditor General for Wales has a duty under the Local Government (Wales) Measure (2009) to make two assessments of all improvement authorities in Wales:

·               A Corporate Assessment - an assessment of an authority's arrangements to secure continuous improvement; and

·               A Performance Assessment - an assessment of whether an authority has achieved its planned improvements.

3.            The Annual Improvement Report incorporates the above assessments and presents a picture of the Council’s improvement over the last year.

Relevant Issues and Options

4.            The Council's Corporate Assessment was reported to Cabinet on 29th October 2011 and subsequently to Audit Committee on 21st December 2011.

5.            The Wales Audit Office's Performance Assessment of the Council is contained within the Auditor General's Annual Improvement Report attached at Appendix 1. The Annual Improvement Report 2012 focuses on key elements of corporate management arrangements that underpin the way the Council is able to make effective use of its resources and the outcome of its activity in specific areas. It considers in detail how well the Council:

·               is meeting corporate resources and providing community leadership and the progress it is making with partners in the development of the Community Strategy;

·               is meeting its aims for community safety;

·               has assessed and reported on its performance against its improvement objectives for 2010/11;

·               has performed with reference to work undertaken in 2011 by other regulators including Estyn, CSSIW and the Welsh Language Board.

6.            A summary of the report's conclusions is as follows:

·               The Council has strong corporate management arrangements in place and is securing improvement across a range of services. Refining performance review arrangements will enable the Council to establish a clearer view of the outcomes that it has achieved.

·               Effective financial management, good use of information technology and strengths in people management is ensuring the Council is using most of its resources but still had much to do to improve the management of its land and property.

·               The Council can demonstrate improvement in most key service areas but performance for delivering Disabled Facilities Grants (DFGs) remains poor despite improvements in recent years.

·               The Council has good arrangements in place for setting its objectives and monitoring delivery of actions and is in the early stages of improving the way in which it evaluates the impact of what it is doing.

7.            The report makes two proposals for improvement:

·               P1 Continue the development of outcome focused measures moving from reporting     arrangements that focus primarily on performance indicators and on the completion, or otherwise, of an action and ensuring that: intentions are expressed in a way which allows progress to me be measured and that reporting arrangements consistently provide members with an evaluation of performance in the context of the objective that the Council is aiming to achieve.

·               P2 Implement specific proposals for improvement arising from the reviews of Human Resources, Asset Management and Disabled Facilities Grants (DFGs).

8.            Significant effort continues to be made corporately via the Strategic Disabled Facilities Grants Working Group to improve upon delivery times for disabled facilities grants for all clients. Whilst performance in 2010/11 (at 569 days) was still significantly below the Welsh average of 387 days, improvements continue to be made and performance in the third quarter of 2011/12 now stands at 401 days. In light of ongoing service developments, it is anticipated that the Vale will achieve the current Welsh average performance by 31st March 2013.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

9.            Audit and inspection fees for the Council total £280,000 plus VAT for the 2011/12 period.  This cost will be met from existing budgets.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

10.       The Auditor General has a duty under sections 17, 18 and 19 of the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 to report the outputs from Corporate and Improvement Assessments of all improvement authorities in Wales.

11.       The Council has a duty to improve under the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009.

Crime and Disorder Implications

12.       None directly.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

13.       None directly.

Corporate/Service Objectives

14.       The Corporate Plan 2010/2014 outlines community leadership as a priority for the Council.

Policy Framework and Budget

15.       This is a matter for executive decision by Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

16.       Not applicable

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

17.       Corporate Resources

Background Papers

Appendix 1: Auditor General for Wales, Annual Improvement Report 2012

Contact Officer

John Maitland Evans

Officers Consulted

All relevant Officers have been consulted on the contents of this report including:

Corporate Management Team

Head of Performance and Development

Operational Manager Policy and Communications

Corporate Performance Manager

Responsible Officer:

John Maitland Evans, Chief Executive

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