Agenda Item No. 6


The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment): 16 June 2015


Report of the Director of Development Services


Target Setting 2015-16


Purpose of the Report

1.         To present to Members the proposed targets for improvement for 2015-16 for all performance indicators reported by Development Services.

2.         To highlight the proposed deletions and additions to the Development Services performance indicator dataset for 2015-16.


1.         That Members challenge and make recommendations to Cabinet on the proposed Development Services targets as outlined in Appendix 2.

2.         That Members review and endorse the proposed deletions and additions to the Development Services performance indicator dataset for 2015-16 as outlined in Appendix 3.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To ensure the Council consistently sets challenging yet realistic performance improvement targets for its priorities in 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.


3.         The Wales Audit Office's Annual Improvement Report (AIR) of the Council 2013-14 identified the need to make greater use of external benchmarking in relation to target setting and in the reporting of performance as a means of driving improvement to ensure achievement of the level of service expected by Members (P2).

4.         The Council is subject to the national performance improvement framework and as such has to collect, monitor and report on a number of performance indicators that are set by Welsh Government to measure their shared priorities with local authorities (National Statutory Indicators (NSIs) and Public Accountability Measures (PAMS)). The Council also reports against a set of local performance indicators which it has developed to help measure progress against its local priorities.

5.         All measures are reviewed annually to ensure we reflect changes in national policy, and remain responsive to local priorities. It also ensures residents, Elected Members and senior officers can scrutinise key areas of Council performance throughout the year. The Council has in place a well-established Performance Management Framework and is the mechanism through which our key priorities and targets are monitored and realised.

6.         As outlined in current and previous Corporate Plans, the Council has a long standing commitment to continuously improve the services it provides to citizens of the Vale. However, the severe reductions in public sector funding, the impact on the availability of resources, and additional external factors such as the wider economic environment, bring into question the realism of continual improvement in service performance. However, having taken account of the above factors, the Council still looks to establish challenging but realistic targets that are commensurate with the available level of resource.

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

Relevant Issues and Options

8.         Following the end of year reporting period (end of March), all Directorates were asked to undertake a review of performance against all indicators in order to complete a target setting template. All Directorates were asked to set appropriately challenging targets that both support the principles of continuous improvement but also realistically reflect the current financial climate and the service's capacity to improve performance.

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

10.      For the National Statutory Indicators (NSIs) and Public Accountability Measures (PAMs) Welsh benchmarking data is 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 has not been possible, a robust rationale should be provided in Appendix 2 to explain why performance has been set lower than the rest of Wales.

11.      For 2015/16, five Improvement Objectives have been identified by the Council and of these four of them have performance indicators attached to them (these Improvement Objective indicators are identified in Appendix 2 by an IO reference as part of the indicator description). Although, initial targets have been set in relation to Improvement Objectives, end of year performance was not available at the time. This target setting exercise has enabled Directors to review their Improvement Objective targets and revise them where appropriate to reflect end of year performance. Where this is the case, this has been reflected in the rationale section of Appendix 2, where relevant to the Improvement Objective indicators.

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

13.      For the remaining local level indicators, targets should have been set based on our 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 has been identified that budgetary pressures and or service delivery pressures are likely to impact on our ability to continue to improve performance, this should be clearly stated in the rationale section of Appendix 2, relevant to the indicator.

14.      This review process also presents an opportunity to identify whether our existing performance indicators are 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 is only applicable to locally derived performance indicators and not ones that are 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 have been set for 2015-16 only) and Outcome Agreement Indicators (that have been agreed with Welsh Government until 2016).

15.      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.

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

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

18.       49.8% (142) of indicators have targets that have been set to improve on the previous year's performance result (2014-15 performance)

·         29.3% (84) of indicators have targets that have been set to remain the same when compared with the previous year; and

·         21.3% (61) of indicators have performance targets that have been set lower compared with last year's results.

19.      For Development Services this can be further broken down as follows:

·         There are 84 indicators for Development Services and for 55 of these it was possible to set a target and direction of travel.

·         54.5% (30) of these targets have been set to exceed performance compared with last year, 21.8% (12) have been set to sustain performance and 23.6% (13) of targets have been set lower than the previous year's results.

·         A total of 6 indicators have been set to continue to maintain best possible performance.

·         There are 7 indicators where targets have been set either in line with top quartile performance or have been set to improve on top quartile performance for 2013-14.  A further 4 indicators have targets that have been set that are either in line with or to improve on the Welsh average for 2013-14.

·         For 2 Outcome Agreement indicators and 3 Improvement Objective indicators, our performance during 2014-15 exceeded the target set for 2015-16. Although for Outcome Agreement indicators the targets cannot be changed the service intends to work towards more internally challenging targets to reflect improved performance.

·         For 3 improvement objective indicators, it is proposed that the targets be revised to set a more challenging target for performance during 2015-16.

·         16 indicators have been proposed for deletion and 4 have been identified as new indicators.

20.      The consideration of these proposed performance improvement targets by Members is a key feature of the internal challenge process. Following review/endorsement by Scrutiny Committees performance targets will be sent to Cabinet for approval.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

21.      Budget levels are taken into consideration when setting performance improvement targets. Failure to set realistic targets will impact on our ability to deliver and achieve our corporate and partnership aims and priorities and may result in non-achievement of the full grant award for the Outcome Agreement with Welsh Government worth £1.2m per year over the next two years.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

22.      Sustainability and climate change implications where relevant are taken into consideration when setting performance improvement targets.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

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

Crime and Disorder Implications

24.      Crime and disorder implications where relevant are taken into consideration by services when setting performance improvement targets.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

25.      Equalities issues where relevant are taken into consideration by services when setting performance improvement targets.

Corporate/Service Objectives

26.      The Corporate Plan 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. Performance measures and targets are a key part of the Council's Performance Management Framework and ensure that residents, Elected Members and senior officers can scrutinise key areas of Council performance throughout the year.

Policy Framework and Budget

27.      This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

28.      Target setting is undertaken collaboratively with all Directorates involving relevant Elected Members. Directors are responsible for ensuring that proposed service improvement targets are set in consultation with the relevant Cabinet Member(s).

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

29.      All

Background Papers

Appendix 1: Target Setting for Performance Improvement: Guidance and Template

Appendix 2: Target Setting proforma for Development Services.

Appendix 3: List of proposed new indicators and indicators for deletion.


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


Responsible Officer:

Miles Punter, Director of Visible Services and Housing