Agenda Item No


The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health): 6th February, 2012

Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment): 7th February, 2012

Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection): 9th February, 2012

Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning): 20th February, 2012

Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources): 21st February, 2012

Report of the Chief Executive


Revised Service Plans


Purpose of the Report

1.             To advise members of work being undertaken to revise the format of service plans in response to a recommendation in the Council's 2011 Improvement Assessment.


1.             That each Committee consider and approve the contents of the report.

Reasons for the Recommendation

1.             To inform Members of the revised service plan format.

2.             To improve the effectiveness of scrutiny of the Council's performance.

3.             To meet the Auditor General for Wales' recommendation as outlined in the 2011 Improvement Assessment letter.


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 2011 Vale of Glamorgan Improvement Assessment letter summarises:

  • the Council's compliance with its statutory obligations to make arrangements for continuous improvement;
  • the Council's progress on areas for improvement and recommendations identified in the 2010 improvement assessment; and
  • commentary on any relevant and issues that have emerged since the last report including comments on how the Council is addressing financial challenges; and
  • updates to the work plan / timetable for delivering improvement assessment work.

4.             The Council's 2011 Improvement Assessment letter makes one recommendation for improvement:

  • Establish a transparent programme for the development of outcome focused measures moving from reporting arrangements that focus primarily on performance indicators and on the completion, or otherwise, of an action.

Relevant Issues and Options

5.             The development of outcome focused measures has been identified as an area for improvement in most Welsh Councils and represents a significant challenge in the current financial climate.  The Council has recently commissioned the Local Government Data Unit to work with three service areas to develop outcome focused performance measures as a pilot. This work will inform a Council-wide approach which will thereafter be rolled out to all service plan areas during 2012/13. The Wales Audit Office will be involved in the process to inform the corporate approach. 

6.             Work has commenced with Visible Services, Public Protection and Customer Relations to revise the current service plan format to enable services to improve how they measure and provide evidence of their contribution to the priority outcomes identified in the Corporate Plan. 

7.             The revised service plan format will address the following key questions:

  • What is the service, what does it do and why is it important?
  • What is the plan for, how will it be used and by whom, and how will it be monitored?
  • How did you decide what your service objectives are?
  • How does your work fit with corporate objectives?
  • What relevant actions have you undertaken to achieve your service objectives?  
  • What impact have these actions had?
  • What do you plan to do in the coming year?
  • How will you know if you are achieving your objectives (including what measures you will use to help understand how well things are progressing)?
  • How does your performance against your objectives help deliver the corporate objectives?

8.             Revised draft service plans for the three pilot areas will be reported to relevant Scrutiny Committees during March 2012 with the approach rolled out Council-wide thereafter.

9.             Service planning arrangements will be reviewed to reflect the new senior management structure to be implemented from May 2012.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

10.        The cost of commissioning work from the LGDU is £6,200 plus VAT. This cost will be met from existing budgets.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

11.        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.

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

Crime and Disorder Implications

13.        Crime and disorder and youth offending outcomes and service planning issues will be included within the new service planning arrangements.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

14.        Equalities outcomes and service planning issues will be included within the new service planning arrangements.

Corporate/Service Objectives

15.        The Corporate plan 2010/2014 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. Service plans are a key building block in the Council's performance management framework and identify how each service will contribute towards achieving key aims and objectives as set out in the Corporate Plan.

Policy Framework and Budget

16.        This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

17.        Not applicable

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

18.        All

Background Papers

Appendix 1: Auditor General for Wales, Improvement Assessment (including Corporate Assessment) letter

Appendix 2: Local Government data Unit proposal for Outcome Focused Measures Study

Contact Officer

Julia Archampong, Corporate Performance Manager

Officers Consulted

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

Corporate Management Team

Head of Performance and Development

Operational Manager Policy and Communications

Responsible Officer:

John Maitland Evans, Chief Executive