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THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL

 

CABINET: 13TH JULY, 2015

 

REFERENCE FROM SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (CORPORATE RESOURCES): 23RD JUNE, 2015

 

TARGET SETTING (MD) -

 

The Head of Performance and Development, presented the report the purpose of which was to advise Members of the proposed targets for 2015-16 for all performance indicators reported by the Resources Directorate. The report also highlighted the proposed deletions and additions to the Resources performance indicator dataset.

 

The report advised, that CMT on 25th March 2015, a new approach to target setting was endorsed. This approach focused on adopting a more challenging approach to how the Council set targets by ensuring that there was an assessment of how the Council had performed. This involved evaluating how the Council had performed against target and making best use of external benchmarking data (where available) whilst balancing this against how much of a priority the indicator was to the Council and whether there was capacity to improve performance. All proposed targets for 2015-16 must had an accompanying rationale that clearly explained the reasons for setting the targets at that level. The Council's approach to target setting was set out in the target setting template outlined at Appendix 1.

 

Outlined in Appendix 2 was a full suite of performance indicators that will continue to be collected and reported on during 2015-16. Against each indicator a target had been set and a rationale had been provided to explain why the target had been set at that level. Where possible any internal/external factors, that had driven this decision to set the target at that level had also been provided.

 

For the National Statutory Indicators (NSIs) and Public Accountability Measures (PAMs) Welsh benchmarking data was currently only available for the 2013/14 period by way of comparison. Therefore targets in relation to NSIs and PAMs should be based on performance in relation to top quartile results (in Wales) or the Welsh average during 2013/14. Where this had not been possible, a robust rationale should be provided in Appendix 2 to explain why performance had been set lower than the rest of Wales.

 

In relation to the Outcome Agreement indicators, these targets had already been pre-agreed with the Welsh Government until 2016 (these Outcome Agreement indicators were identified in Appendix 2 by an OA reference as part of the indicator description).  Although in principle these targets had been pre-set with Welsh Government, in instances where the Council’s end of year performance exceeded our target for 2014/15, Directors had the opportunity to set more internally challenging targets (that were separate to the target agreed with Welsh Government) in order to continue to drive the upward trend in performance. Where this was the case, this had been reflected in the rationale section of Appendix 2, where relevant to the Outcome Agreement indicators.

 

For the remaining local level indicators, targets had been set based on the overriding principle to secure continuous improvement (i.e. targets should be set to improve on previous year's performance for 2014-15). However, where it had been identified that budgetary pressures and or service delivery pressures were likely to impact on the Council’s ability to continue to improve performance, this should be clearly stated in the rationale section of Appendix 2, relevant to the indicator.

 

This review process also presents an opportunity to identify whether the existing performance indicators were still appropriate and relevant for reflecting our priorities for service delivery. As part of both service planning and this process, Directorates were asked to identify which indicators they wished to retain, replace delete or add. This was only applicable to locally derived performance indicators and not ones that were set nationally or in agreement with the Welsh Government. These exemptions (for deletion/replacement) apply to four types of indicator that include NSIs, PAMs, Improvement Objectives (that had been set for 2015-16 only) and Outcome Agreement Indicators (that had been agreed with Welsh Government until 2016).

 

During 2014-15, the Council reported on a total of 413 indicators. Following a review of our performance for 2014-15, 357 indicators are being proposed to be collected and reported on during 2015-16. 342 of these indicators are existing measures that will be carried forward from last year.

 

Any proposed deletion and addition of new indicators for 2015-16, was detailed in Appendix 3. For any new measures, generally no targets had been set, as 2015-16 provides service areas with an opportunity to establish a performance baseline. In instances where it was possible to set a target for a new measure this had been carried out and indicated within the Appendix.

 

By way of summary, across the suite of Council performance indicators proposed for 2015-16:

  • 49.8% (142) of indicators had targets that had been set to improve on the previous year's performance result (2014-15 performance)
  • 29.3% (84) of indicators had targets that had been set to remain the same when compared with the previous year; and
  • 21.3% (61) of indicators had performance targets that had been set lower compared with last year's results

For the Resources Directorate this was further broken as follows:

  • There were 56 indicators and for 30 of these it had been possible to set a target and direction of travel.
  • 31.2% (10) of targets had been set to improve on the previous year's performance result (2014-15), 28% (9) of targets had been set to remain relatively static and 34.4% (11) had targets set lower than the last year's performance.
  • Of these indictors, 4 had been set to either achieve or continue to achieve the best possible performance.
  • For 2015-16, 19 indicators had been proposed for deletion and 3 had been identified as new indicators.
  • No Resources indicators that were also Outcome Agreement indicators had revised internally challenging targets set.

Further to the Committee’s previous query regarding the removal of indicator, RS/M028b (the average number of weekly visits to the Council’s Welsh language website), Members were advised that the Council did not have a statutory responsibility to report on this indicator but it did need to ensure that the Council did have a Welsh language website.  The Committee queried whether the information for this indicator would still be collated and in response Members were advised that the data for this would still be collected and available.

 

A Committee Member queried the reason as to why it had been proposed to remove a number of indicators regarding the use of Social Media such as Facebook and Twitter. In response, the Head of Performance and Development stated that these  were of limited value as performance indicators since they did not provide an accurate measure of engagement with the Council and can fluctuate considerably due to factors outside of our control. For that reason, setting targets was not appropriate.  These indicators would however continue to be monitored by the service for management information purposes. .

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1)    T H A T the Committee endorse the proposed Resources Directorate targets as outlined in Appendix 2 and for this to be referred to Cabinet for consideration.

 

(2)    T H A T the Committee endorse the proposed deletions and additions to the Resources Directorate performance indicator dataset for 2015-16 as outlined in Appendix 3.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)    To inform Cabinet and to ensure that the Council consistently sets challenging yet realistic performance improvement targets for its priorities in the line with requirements under the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009.

 

(2)    That the Council reports a relevant set of performance indicators against which it can demonstrate achievement of its priorities.”

 

Attached as Appendix – Report to Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources): 23rd June, 2015

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