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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

Cabinet Meeting: 13 January, 2014

Report of the Leader

Progress Report - Improvement Objectives 2013/14

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         This report outlines the progress made to date in achieving Improvement Objectives as identified in the Improvement Plan Part 1 for 2013/14.

Recommendations

1.         That cabinet note progress to date as outlined in appendices 1 and appendices 2

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To ensure that the council is on track to achieve its improvement objectives as outlined in Part 1 of the Improvement Plan 2013/14.

2.         To ensure the Improvement Plan Part 1 is effectively monitored.

Background

2.         The council has an obligation under the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 to identify, publish and report performance against its improvement objectives.

3.         The council identified eight improvement objectives for 2013/14.  These were informed by the Corporate Plan 2013 -17, a review of service performance, corporate risks and findings from inspections and improvement studies by our regulators. 

4.         The council's improvement objectives were endorsed by Cabinet on 17th June 2013 and by Council on 26th June 2013 and published shortly thereafter.

Relevant Issues and Options

5.         Improvement objectives are a key means of the council complying with the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 as is the assessment and reporting of achievements against these objectives.

6.         To comply with the Measure, the monitoring of improvement objectives has been incorporated within the monitoring of service plans via quarterly performance reports to Corporate Management Team, Cabinet and scrutiny committees.  These highlight progress towards key actions in the Improvement Plan Part 1 2013/14 for which each directorate has responsibility. Examples of exceptional performance during each quarter is highlighted as are key areas of slippage and the planned remedial action to bring these back on track.

7.         As at quarter 2, the priorities outlined in the council's Improvement Plan Part 1 for 2013/14, are well on track to be achieved with 87% of actions being reported as either completed or on track to be completed within relevant timescales. 13% of actions were reported as slipped.  Overall progress made in achieving improvement objective outcomes including performance measures is detailed in full in appendices (1 and 2) attached.  A brief overview of progress against all eight improvement objectives is provided below.

8.         In relation to objective 1, which focuses on the promotion of waste reduction, reducing landfill and increasing recycling, the council is on track to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill with a performance of 41.8% reported at Q1.  Customer satisfaction with waste management, waste awareness communications and recycling facilities is high (over 90%) based on the most recent Public Opinion Survey (2012).  A new survey will be undertaken in the spring of 2014.  A wide variety of household waste continues to be collected at kerbside and at Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) throughout the Vale with proposals for additional materials in the future providing more opportunities for residents, visitors and businesses to reduce waste and participate in recycling.  Currently no reduction in gate fees is anticipated for reprocessed recyclates for 2013-14, although a possible interim EfW contract may kick in (if procured) during quarters 3 and 4, which is likely to impact positively on our gate fees.

9.         Of particular concern is the recent fire at the Llandow MRF which could have an adverse impact on Q4 and end of year waste results contributing directly to this objective.

10.      Further improvements continue to be made in reducing the time taken to deliver all disabled facilities grants (objective 2) with Q2 performance within target, 297 days against a target of 326 days. Of the 72 cases approved between April and September 2013, 57 have been completed.  Additional resources have been invested in the service to ensure continued improvements.

11.      Progress is being made in improving internal processes aimed at retaining and increasing the number and quality of approved in-house foster carers (objective 3). There is a cyclical recruitment campaign a social worker has been appointed who is dedicated to this role.  To date, 3 mainstream carers have been assessed and approved and 8 are currently being assessed, 5 of which should be approved by the end of March 2014.  Additionally 8 kinship carers have been assessed and approved so far this year, with a further 4 being assessed to be approved before the end of March 2014.  The service had also reduced its use of independent placements by 3 but these have since being replaced due to an in-house foster carer moving to an independent provider and a decision being taken for 3 children to remain with the carer as their long term placement.

12.      Overall, attainment for all Vale of Glamorgan pupils at KS 3 has improved significantly in 2013 (objective 4).  The local authority rank positions for core subjects at KS3 were all above the minimum expectation of 5th (using Free School Meals proxy indicator).  Standards also improved at L5+, L6+ and L7+ in all Pls.

13.      Progressing individual actions within the Workforce Plan continues to contribute towards enhancing sustainability of the council's planning process (objective 5).  The first workforce planning conference was held in July 2013 in conjunction with the LGA and Skills for Justice.  All directorate plans are currently being refreshed alongside the service planning and budget setting process.  A new HR Information, Planning and Performance Team will help increase the focus on workforce planning.

14.      The maintenance and development of existing and new engagement mechanisms is a continuing programme of work (objective 6).  Effective promotion of consultation and engagement projects and the expansion of the Vale Viewpoint panel has served to enhance the level of understanding within the community of how residents can interact with the council and how they can influence the decisions that affect them.  In 2013/14, the membership and response rate of the Vale Viewpoint panel has been increased, online methods to promote engagement activities developed and the directory of potential community and voluntary consultees enhanced.  Progress has also been made towards a more coordinated and strategic approach to consultation and engagement with the completion of a working draft of the Vale of Glamorgan Council Public Engagement Framework and accompanying action plan. Comprehensive training for engagement practitioners has also resulted in improved understanding internally of the need for, and rationale behind, effective public engagement.

15.      In relation to local flood risk management (objective 7), significant progress has been made in delivering effective flood alleviation schemes including the Coldbrook and Llanmaes schemes. Several smaller alleviation and drainage schemes are also well on track to be completed at the end of March 2014, further ensuring a well managed and proactive approach to flooding incidents in the Vale. A Local Flood Risk Management Strategy has been produced and will be widely publicised once endorsed by cabinet in January 2014. Delivery of the strategy will be aided by an up-to-date register and record of assets which is currently being developed, following procurement of a new database.

16.      In relation to objective 8, progress continues to be made via the Engagement and Progression Framework in reducing the number of young people aged 14-19 in the Vale who are or at risk of becoming NEET (not in employment, education or training.)  All of the top ten wards in the Vale most affected by youth unemployment have been visited by learning coaches through mobile provision. Of the contacts made, 47% have consequently engaged with the service in improving their employment prospects.  Events have been held in 50% of our secondary schools to help raise awareness amongst young people who are at risk of becoming NEET, of the training and employment opportunities available to them.

17.      The council is required to publish its improvement objectives for the period 2014/15 as soon as is practicable at the start of the financial year. Consequently consideration needs to be given to whether the key outcomes as outlined in the Improvement Plan Part 1 will be achieved by 31 March 2014.  Where there are longer timescales involved it is proposed that these continue to be monitored and reported but not included as improvement objectives for 2014/15 as progress is on track.  The Improvement Plan Part 2, for 2014 will include a progress update on longer term improvement objectives.

18.      Service plans for 2014/15 have incorporated a comprehensive self assessment in line with the requirements of the Local Government (Wales) Measure and these will inform proposed improvement objectives for 2014/15, along with other external/ regulatory assessments.  A report outlining initial proposals will be brought to CMT during January 2014.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

19.      The council's improvement objectives have been informed by existing priorities within the Corporate Plan (2013 - 2017) and either have resources committed to their achievement or the likely prospect of such resources being made available in the period of the plan.  Resource implications were considered as part of the Medium Term Financial Plan and it was anticipated that wherever possible actions would need to be met within existing resources. 

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

20.      The improvement objectives have a direct impact on sustainability of the council's actions, but particularly those involving waste, flood defences and workforce planning.

Legal Implications (to include Human Rights Implications)

21.      The council has a duty under the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 to identify, publish and report performance against its improvement objectives.

Crime and Disorder Implications

22.      The Corporate Plan and Improvement Objectives address issues of community safety where appropriate.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

23.      The improvement objectives include activities which aim to address inequalities and promote social inclusion, especially disabled facilities grants and work with young people who are at risk of becoming NEET.

Corporate/Service Objectives

24.      The Corporate Plan 2013-2017 outlines community leadership as 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

25.      The monitoring of improvement objectives is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

26.      All scrutiny committees were consulted on improvement objectives before approval was sought from Cabinet on 17th June and Council on 26th June 2013.  The final improvement objectives incorporated the changes requested by committees and Council.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

27.      All

Background Papers

Improvement Plan Part 1, Improvement Objectives 2013/14

Contact Officer

Julia Archampong, Performance Manager

Officers Consulted

Operational Manager - Corporate Policy and Communications

Huw Isaac, Head of Performance and Development

All Service Directors

Responsible Officer:

Sian Davies, Managing Director