Agenda Item No


Vale of Glamorgan Council

Cabinet Meeting: 17 June 2013

Report of the Leader

Improvement Plan Part 1 (Improvement Objectives 2013/14)


Purpose of the Report

1.         The report seeks cabinet endorsement of the Improvement Plan Part 1 outlining proposed improvement objectives for 2013/14.


That cabinet:

1.         Note the recommendations from scrutiny committees following consultation on the proposed improvement objectives 2013/14.

2.         Note comments from the public and Town and Community Councils in response to consultation on the proposed improvement objectives.

3.         Approve the proposals for amendments to the Improvement Plan Part 1.

4.         Endorse the Improvement Plan Part 1 including proposed improvement objectives for 2013/14.

5.         Refer the revised Improvement Plan Part 1 incorporating cabinet amendments to Council for approval on 26th June 2013.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To ensure the council identifies key annual improvement priorities for 2013/14 in line with requirements of the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009.

2.         To ensure the council fulfils its duty to consult on its annual improvement objectives.

3.         To ensure that improvement objectives focus specifically on those areas where there is a need for improvement, reflecting the work being undertaken across the council to improve the quality of life for Vale residents.

4.         To enable the council to more easily demonstrate achievement of its priorities.


2.         A full review of the Corporate Plan was undertaken during 2012 following local government elections and identified eight priority outcomes for the council.  The proposed improvement objectives and associated actions for 2013/14 reflect priorities in the Corporate Plan and ensure that the council is focusing on the areas in need of the most improvement. These priority outcomes are also reflected in service plans and have informed the development of service outcomes and objectives. The 2013/17 Corporate Plan was approved by Council on 6th March 2013 following consultation with key stakeholders and partners.

3.         Service plans for 2013/14 have incorporated a comprehensive self assessment and these have also informed proposed improvement objectives for the same period, along with the council's risk register and current external regulatory assessments.

4.         All scrutiny committees considered the proposed improvement objectives during April 2013. The views of key stakeholders including the Local Service Board, town and community councils and voluntary sector organisations, were also sought over a period of 5 weeks (2nd April - 10 May 2013).  In addition, public views have been sought via an online survey, local media advertisements and social media in line with the requirement to consult on our improvement objectives.

Relevant Issues and Options

5.         Eight improvement objectives are proposed for 2013/14 including three carried forward from 2012/13, which have been amended to reflect the areas of focus for further improvement work in 2013/14. These are:

·           To promote sustainable practices throughout our domestic waste management services with a particular focus on promoting waste prevention, reducing landfill an increasing recycling.

·           To reduce the time taken to deliver disabled facilities grants to children and young people and to adults to achieve the Welsh average performance of 2011/12 as a minimum.

·           To implement effective and sustainable workforce planning for the Council.

6.         Appendix 1 contains the original Improvement Plan Part 1 which outlines the proposed objectives for 2013/14 and provides a rationale (pages 10-27). The measures to be undertaken to make a difference are indentified including a lead officer at chief officer level with responsibility for ensuring the achievement of key outcomes.

7.         Despite the extensive promotion of the consultation only four responses were received during the consultation period. One was from a member of the public and the others were from town and community councils in the Vale. Penarth Town Council, Cowbridge Town Council and Dinas Powys Community Council made formal responses to the consultation. This response rate is not wholly unexpected as a recent piece of research undertaken by the council highlighted that there is very limited public interest in policy consultations such as this. Key findings of the consultation were as follows:

·           The only response from a member of the public suggested that more needed to be done to advance progress towards objective 6 which addresses public engagement. The response did not raise any objections to any of the other improvement objectives.

·           The response from Penarth Town Council was broadly supportive of all of the improvement objectives and stated that the town council “strongly supported objective No 2â€. However, the response did also express “disappointment†that there was no mention of a desire for closer working arrangements with town and community councils in the Vale.

·           The response from Cowbridge Town Council was supportive of all of the draft objectives and offered specific comments in support of objectives 2, 3, 4 and 7. The response did raise a concern about the impact of objective 1 - specifically that of increased food waste recycling - on Cowbridge. With reference to Objective 6 the Town Council felt that the Vale of Glamorgan Council needed to do more to improve consultation with both citizens and town and community councils.

·           Dinas Powys Community Council made the following comments on the draft Improvement Objectives.

            "Dinas Powys Community Council takes on board the eight Improvement Objectives      for 2013/2014 - several of which are not relevant to the Community Council.


            Council felt that there are missing key issues: there are more important priorities such as traffic congestion throughout the Vale and maintaining Social Services and        Education Budgets in light of continuing pressure for more efficiency savings and   increasing demand".


8.         In response to findings from the consultation undertaken with the public and relevant stakeholders including town and community councils no amendments to the Improvement Plan are proposed:

·           Responses from 2 out of the 3 participating town and community councils were broadly supportive of the proposed improvement objectives. Of the additional priority areas identified by Dinas Powys Community Council, traffic congestion was not considered as high a priority as the proposed improvement objectives.  Furthermore, Education and Social Services budget issues are picked up through the council's annual budget process. The only response from a member of the public did not raise any objections to the improvement objectives.

9.         In addition to the public consultation the draft improvement objectives were discussed at meetings of all five of the Vale of Glamorgan Council scrutiny committees. Appendix 2 outlines in full recommendations and comments from all scrutiny committees following these discussions. The key recommendations were as follows:

·           Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health) endorsed the proposed improvement objective for 2013/14 “To increase the number of Council Foster Carersâ€.

·           Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) endorsed the improvement objectives for 2013/14 that fell within its remit subject to the word “not†being inserted in the last line of the penultimate paragraph under the rationale for objective 1.

·           Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection) endorsed the proposed improvement objectives with no recommendations to cabinet.

·           Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) recommended that cabinet be requested to consider increasing the targets identified for 2013/14 under objective 4 by more than 1% as this was not felt to be sufficiently challenging. The committee also requested that consideration be given to introducing measures for the early identification of NEETS at the end of Year 9.

·           Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) recommended that cabinet approve the draft improvement objectives but made a number of additional comments that they wished to be taken into consideration. Particular attention was paid to objective 2, the time taken to deliver disabled facilities grants with a recommendation for cabinet to consider concerns expressed in relation to ongoing service underperformance. The committee also requested that the word “tool†contained within the 2nd action shown in relation to objective 6 be amended to “mechanismâ€.

10.      In response to the findings from the consultation undertaken with scrutiny committees the following amendments to the Improvement Plan are proposed:

Objective 1

·           Under the rationale for the objective, insert the word 'not' in the last sentence of the penultimate paragraph to correct a typing error.

Objective 2

·           Amend the 2013/14 target for the delivery of disabled facilities grants (GFDs) to children to 510 days from 580 days, a more challenging yet realistic target reflecting improvements made to the service during 2012/13.  In light of these changes, new cases assessed for adaptations will be delivered quicker impacting positively on the overall delivery time for DFGs.

Objective 4

·           Retain the proposed 1% increase across the board for measures aimed at improving pupil attainment levels at key stage 3 with a view to reviewing this in the autumn in line with the proposed Key Stage 3 Improvement Strategy agreed by cabinet on 22 April 2013.

Objective 6

·           Replace the word 'tool' with 'mechanism' as a preferred wording in the second action under, 'what actions are we going to take to make a difference?'

Objective 8

·           None.  Measures for early identification are being addressed as part of the NEETs Strategy. The strategy is due to be considered by cabinet.

11.      The original plan will be revised to reflect relevant cabinet amendments and will be considered by Council on 26th June 2013.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

12.      In determining its priorities the council has been mindful of the economic situation locally and nationally and taken into account legislation changes and government policy. Key objectives set out in the Corporate Plan and Service Plans either have resources committed to their achievement (Medium Term Financial Plan and annual budget review) or the likely prospect of such resources being made available in the period of the plan.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

13.      The proposed improvement objectives have given due consideration to sustainability and climate change implications on planned activities where appropriate.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

14.      The council has a duty to identify and publish its annual improvement objectives and report progress against them.

Crime and Disorder Implications

15.      The proposed improvement objectives have given due consideration to crime and disorder implications on planned activities where appropriate.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

16.      The proposed improvement objectives have given due consideration to equal opportunities implications on planned activities where appropriate. An Equalities Impact Assessment has been drafted.

Corporate/Service Objectives

17.      Improvement objectives are a priority for the council. Improving how the council evidences and reports achievement of its priority outcomes contributes towards effective community leadership.

Policy Framework and Budget

18.      This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

19.      All scrutiny committees,

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

20.      All

Background Papers

Improvement Objectives 2013/14


Contact Officer

Julia Archampong, Performance Manager


Officers Consulted

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


Corporate Management Team

Heads of Service

Head of Performance and Development

Operational Manager Policy and Communications

Improvement Manager


Responsible Officer:

Sian Davies, Managing Director.