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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting 3 November 2014

 

Report of the Leader

 

Auditor General for Wales: Annual Improvement Report 2014

 

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.

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 Wales Audit Office's Annual Improvement Report of the Council is contained within the report attached at Appendix 1. Each year, the Auditor General must report on how well Welsh councils are planning for improvement and delivering their services. Drawing on the work of the relevant Welsh inspectorates, as well as work undertaken on his behalf by the Wales Audit Office, this report presents a picture of improvement over the last year.

5.        Overall, the Auditor General has concluded that: the Council is making good progress in delivering improvement in its priority areas, but needs to report more clearly on the outcomes achieved. The Council’s performance evaluation and reporting arrangements are improving, but do not yet provide a complete and easily accessible explanation of the outcomes achieved. The Council’s planning for improvement and its arrangements to support improvement are sound.

6.        The report concludes that:

·               The Council achieved most of its objectives and was focussed on addressing areas of weakness but should make greater use of external benchmarking in relation to internal targets and reporting performance;

·               The Council complied with Welsh Government publication requirements; although its methods of data verification for the Leisure Services contractor are not as strong as for its own services;

·               The Council has effective plans for managing the financial challenges it faces and has developed a plan intended to prepare its workforce for the future;

·               The Council generally has strengths in driving improvement across most services and responds positively to challenge. However, significant improvement is required in the delivery of disabled facilities grants and in managing the leisure contract

7.        The report makes three proposals for improvement:

·               (P1) Improve performance reporting by clearly explaining the:

-       benefits arising from the achievement of objectives; and

-       issues arising from not achieving objectives and the action being taken to secure improvement

·               (P2) Review target setting methods as a means of driving improvement to ensure they achieve the level of service expected by members.

·               (P3) Improve the management of the Leisure contract by:

-       refining the contract management regime to ensure that it formally and systematically tests the extent to which contracts are being monitored effectively paying particular attention to the Leisure contract;

-       undertaking a review to determine the appropriate level and skills mix of resources required to effectively monitor the Leisure contract;

-       ensuring the standard definitions for performance indicators are being utilised and data is recorded accordingly paying particular attention to the Leisure contract; and

-       training members to ensure that an effective level of challenge is presented to officers.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

8.        Audit and inspection fees for the Council are met from existing budgets.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

9.        None directly from this report.

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 2013/2017 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 2014

Contact Officer

Huw Isaac

Officers Consulted

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

Corporate Management Team

Responsible Officer:

Sian Davies, Managing Director

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