CORPORATE PERFORMANCE AND RESOURCES SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Minutes of a meeting held on 21st March, 2017.
Present: Councillor M.R. Wilson (Chairman), Councillor G. Roberts (Vice-Chairman); Councillors Mrs. P. Drake, H.C. Hamilton, K. Hatton, H.J.W. James, Mrs. A. Moore, R.A. Penrose and E. Williams
Also present: Councillor L. Burnett (Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Education).
957 APOLOGY FOR ABSENCE –
This was received from Councillor A.C. Williams.
958 MINUTES –
RECOMMENDED – T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 16th February, 2017 be approved as a correct record.
959 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST –
No declarations were received.
960 RESHAPING SERVICES – CATERING PROJECT (REF) –
The Cabinet, at its meeting on 20th February, 2017, had been provided an update regarding the above Project with its approval being sought to refer the proposals contained within the report to the Council’s Scrutiny Committees (Learning and Culture and Corporate Performance and Resources) for their consideration prior to the Cabinet making a final determination on the Project.
In referring to the original Cabinet report and to the discussions that took place the previous evening at the Learning and Culture Scrutiny Committee, the Operational Manager (Strategy and Resources) reminded the Scrutiny Committee of the rationale behind the Project and referred to the following background information:
- The Catering Service had been identified as a Tranche 1 project as part of the Council’s Reshaping Services Programme
- Total required savings of the service was £347,000
- All savings were achieved in October 2015 through cost-saving measures
- The principle aim of the Reshaping Project then changed to sustainability of services for the future, in light of reduced budgets and three key objectives were set in respect of the following:
- To identify and implement the most suitable delivery model for the Catering Service
- To create an efficient service able to adapt to future financial challenges
- To maximise opportunities to increase uptake and promote healthy school meals
- An options appraisal was conducted to examine possible service delivery options and each option was scored:
- Certain models such as co-operatives were discounted as the response from Headteachers was that it would be too onerous on them and therefore, the Council was mindful that schools were the core business
- Two high scoring options related to Internal Service Transformation and Local Authority trading company. Full business cases were developed to evaluate both options to determine any recommended way forward. Both models were subject of the Cabinet’s original consideration at its meeting on 20th February, 2017.
- Primary schools would receive delegated catering budgets for free school meal entitlements from 1st April, 2017 which would allow such schools the option to tender externally for services.
- The need to establish a new post of New Business Development Officer.
He then referred to the various executive summary options which had been considered linked to both the Internal Service Transformation and to the Local Authority trading company.
In referring to the Internal Service Transformation model, he indicated that there would need to be fundamental shift in how the existing Catering Service operated, including rebranding and commercial emphasis. Separately, the model required the operation of a co-operative ethos and to seek to increase the involvement from Headteachers through the establishment of a Management Board. He also referred to the benefits and disbenefits of the model and to the financial principles which related to the following:
- Driven to operate a full cost recovery
- Meal prices set to increase by 5p every two years
- Anticipated growth of 2% year on year
- Staff costs calculated in line with Living Wage estimates
- Central recharges to the Council’s Corporate Centre would continue at the present rate
- The Council would continue to fund free school meal entitlement, free breakfast club provision and School Milk Grant
- Full cost recovery achieved in 2021/22 with an anticipated surplus of £30,429
- The Council would be required to operate a budget of £310,000 up to 2021/22
- The above budget would result in savings of £228,664 for the Council, as the current service was subsidised, with the Internal Service Transformation working towards full cost recovery.
In a similar vein, the Operational Manager (Strategy and Resources) referred to the other model option, Local Authority trading company. The summary of the options considered related to the following:
- The establishment of a trading company as a separate legal entity and operating independently of the Council
- The company would be limited by shares with the Council being the sole shareholder owning 100% of the company
- The Local Authority trading company would be able to trade with both the private and public sector
- All profits would be reinvested into the company for the benefit of schools
- The lead-in for this option was two years, to incubate the company and comply with state aid rules
- The company would be spun out in year 3.
In addition to the above matters, the Operational Manager (Strategy and Resources) also referred to the benefits and disbenefits of the model and also referred to the main financial principles:
- The company to operate as full cost recovery
- Meal prices set to increase by 5p every two years
- Anticipated growth of 3% year on year
- Staff costs calculated in line with the Living Wage estimates
- Central recharges had been included in financial appraisals
- Council would continue to fund free school meal entitlement, free breakfast club provision and the School Milk Grant
- Provision of additional services such as marketing, accountancy, audit and pension transfers included for spin out in year 3
- Full cost recovery achieved in 2020/21 with a surplus of £108,740
- Additional surplus forecast for 2021/22 of £197,410 (total of £306,150 compared to the same time as Internal Service Transformation)
- The Council’s investment of £450,000 required for the first three years would be funded through full cost recovery and therefore no additional costs to the Council when compared to the current budget, which included an element of subsidy
- Current cumulative revenue savings were therefore £228,664 and would be achieved in full in 2020/21.
His attention then turned to the preferred option and he indicated that both models offered the maximum potential savings to the Council of £228,664 with the Local Authority trading company achieving this one year before the Internal Service Transformation option. Focus was therefore on long term sustainability, growth and future opportunity, with the Local Authority trading company scoring higher when evaluated against the other model as it was a better strategic fit in that it offered the following benefits:
- Significant surpluses to reinvest into schools
- 20% Teckal exemption, allowing for trading with the private sector up to (worth) £860,000
- Facilitating strong cultural change with a more commercial emphasis
- Positively redefining relationships with schools
- Positive perceptions of being separate from the Council
- Greater flexibility for procurement
- Enabled learning / opportunities for the Council which could be applied in other services.
He acknowledged that the Council’s investment was higher with the Local Authority trading company (£450,000) option compared to £310,000 but, the return on that investment was forecasted to be ten times higher by year 5. In addition, he indicated that a Local Authority trading company model had proven to be successful in other Local Authorities in Wales. In terms of considerations for the preferred option, he indicated that regardless of the option, schools could choose to go elsewhere therefore, the service needed to be competitive and commercially minded. All profits would therefore be reinvested into schools. A commitment had also been provided to the Council’s recognised Trade Unions that they would be recognised within a Local Authority trading company and that staff would be TUPE transferred with existing pay and conditions, continuity of service and pension arrangements, with the new trading company becoming an admission body for the Local Government Pension Scheme. In addition to the above, the Operational Manager (Strategy and Resources) indicated that Trade Unions had been continually engaged throughout the whole process and this would continue throughout the implementation of the Project. The Council would also enter into a three year (initially) agreement with the Local Authority trading company to satisfy statutory duties, with the monitoring of the contract being undertaken by the Directorate of Learning and Skills within existing resources. He also further indicated that the preferred option satisfied State aid requirements and Corporate Tax considerations with the Company incubation within the Council for years 1 and 2. Finally, he indicated that feedback from the staff engagement sessions had been predominantly positive.
In terms of the next steps, the Operational Manager (Strategy and Resources) referred to the five Cabinet decisions contained in the original Cabinet report of 20th February and further alluded to the feedback from the previous evening’s meeting of the Council’s Learning and Culture Scrutiny Committee, which had also discussed the matter, including representations received from a Mr. Andy Mudd of the Association of Public Service Excellence, who had raised four key concerns with the proposal which related to the Civic Restaurants Act 1947, Sections 93 and 95 of the Local Government Act 2003, the wider interpretation of Public Sector Employers as contained in the Local Authorities (Goods and Services) Act 1970 and the constraint on the Local Authority trading company by taking advantage of the Teckal exemption which would limit external trading to 20% of the company’s total turnover.
In addressing the points raised by Mr. Mudd at the previous evening’s meeting, the Operational Manager confirmed that the Civic Restaurants Act 1947 empowers Local Authorities to establish and run restaurants for the benefit of the public. In doing so they are required to use their best endeavours to ensure that the income they derived was sufficient to cover the cost of providing the service.
The spirit of the Civic Restaurants Act 1947 was not considered consistent with what was trying to be achieved in the business case for the Local Authority trading company. There were a range of example commercial opportunities included in the business case which outlined what could be achieved to support the core business.
The powers included in the Civic Restaurants Act 1947 were not considered applicable in this case as the business case sought to establish a range of commercial opportunities, for example buffet and events catering, and these would not necessarily be consistent with that legislation. It was not believed that this power would be sufficient to achieve what was outlined in the business case as the commercial (i.e. non-school meal) opportunities had been designed specifically to be profit making, to produce a surplus to reinvest into the core business.
Section 93 established limits on charges exceeding the cost of service provision, limiting potential to reinvest in schools. Section 95 referred to trading through a separate company. This was described in the Unison “Branch Guide to Local Authority Trading Companies”. The creation of a Local Authority trading company would also mitigate the risk of legal challengeagainst the Council acting beyond its power to charge. This was an example of the overall approach to the development of the business case in that risks had been strategically considered in conjunction with the Council’s insurers in order that the Council understood, anticipated and mitigated the risks associated with the project.
In regard to the wider interpretation of public sector employers (as contained in the Local Authorities (Goods and Services) Act 1970), opportunities had been identified in the business case to be implemented during the first five years based on understanding the scale of the opportunity and the amount of investment required.
The business case for the Local Authority trading company was based on trading income remaining within the 20% threshold permitted on the basis of being set at an ambitious but achievable set of financial targets. As outlined in the business case, based on the current turnover of the service, the 20% Teckal allowance would allow an additional income of £860,865. This was considered significant in terms of the level of investment that could be made available for schools.
A Member referred to the proposal which related to concern regarding the EIA and to the direction the Council was seeking to reshape another service staffed predominantly by female employees and referred to a previous Building and Cleaning Services restructuring exercise The Member was uncomfortable with this as it appeared to him that the Council was open to potential criticism in that mainly male employee dominated services were being treated differently and cited the preferred reshaping operating model for Visible Services i.e. in-house plus collaboration. The same Member also sought an explanation as to why management costs would reduce in 2020/21 and 2021/22, why the Client Officer post costs had been included in both options and why high car allowance costs had been identified. In responding to the points, the Operational Manager (Strategy and Resources) and Catering Manager indicated that the service was and had been historically staffed by female employees as it suited personal circumstance i.e. school term time employment as they had child care responsibilities. In addition, as a result job evaluation there had been an increasing trend of male chefs recruited to the Catering service and employed in schools. The Council advertised all vacant posts in accordance with equalities legislation. Whilst the Operational Manager acknowledged the point raised in regard to the EIA, it was the intention of the trading company to broaden the appeal of the service and hopefully make it more diverse. In addressing the point raised in relation to the inclusion of the Client Officers’ costs in both options, he indicated this had been due to the nature of the current role and responsibilities of the post holder, however a restructuring exercise would address the future role of the post. It was therefore anticipated that management costs would taper in the years alluded to. Costs associated with car allowance were related to the arrangement agreed linked to the Council’s Pool Car Scheme and the requirements of the delivery service and staff work patterns.
Another Member enquired who would be responsible for appointing Board of Directors and also suggested that the Council should address within the Articles of Association its position in regard to the ability to be paid a dividend in the medium to long term. The Member considered that even if the Council chose not to take a dividend, the Council should at least make a provision for doing so. With the consent of the Committee, the Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Education responded by accepting that the point made was valid. However, when considering the preferred option, social goals and benefits had also been considered which could be derived from the same including, the wider benefits that could be brought to the communities schools served. She did not rule out the suggestion being looked at in the future if the service proved to be highly successful.
In concluding the Operational Manager indicated that a further report would be submitted to the Cabinet for consideration in the future. The expectations of the trading company were to serve schools in the Vale of Glamorgan and any profits would be invested back into the trading company and its staff.
RECOMMENDED – T H A T the related Cabinet decisions of 20th February, 2017 be endorsed.
Reason for recommendation
In acknowledgement of Cabinet’s progress and preferred option to reshape the Council’s Catering Service.
961 REVENUE MONITORING FOR THE PERIOD 1ST APRIL 2016 TO 31ST JANUARY 2017 (MD) –
The Head of Finance, in reporting on the matter, indicated that overall the headline position in regard to the revenue budget had not changed significantly to the position previously reported to the Scrutiny Committee at its meeting in February 2017.
The following progress was noted in respect of the undermentioned budgetary matters:
Learning and Skills
The Directorate was projecting to outturn with an adverse variance of £300,000 (current variance of £672,000) at year end as detailed below. £500,000 had been set aside in the Schools Placements reserve to be used as a one off contribution in 2016/17 to mitigate part of the shortfall while further Reshaping Services work was undertaken by the Directorate.
Schools – The delegated budget relating to schools was expected to balance as any under/over spend was carried forward by schools.
Strategy, Culture, Community Learning and Resources – This service was projected to outturn with a favourable variance of £286,000 after a transfer from reserves of £503,000. The net underspend was as a result of early implementation of 2017/18 savings, a reduction in the number of supported non-maintained nursery settings, a number of vacancies throughout the department, an increase in ICT support packages purchased by schools, a projected underspend on the Catering Service of £61,000 and a rate rebate for school buildings of £135,000. The transfer from reserves would be £93,000 from the Rationalisation reserve to contribute towards school amalgamation costs. The transfer from reserves would be £228,000 from the Libraries reserve to cover any legal costs and costs relating to the implementation of the service review, £30,000 from the Adult Community Learning reserve to assist with the new Welsh for Adults contract and a previous year’s funding reduction in Schedule 2 / Cardiff and Vale College Franchise and £152,000 from the Early Retirement and Voluntary Redundancy Reserve to fund redundancy and retirement costs in schools.
Strategy and Regulation – This service was currently projecting to outturn at a favourable variance of £42,000 due to salary underspends and reductions in office expenses for the Directorate.
Achievement for All – This service was projected to outturn with an adverse variance of £280,000 after a transfer from reserves of £672,000. This was as a result of an adverse variance of £793,000 on the recoupment income budget and an adverse variance on pupil placements of £268,000. This position could be partly offset by projected salary underspends of £162,000 which were due to vacant posts in the service as a result of early implementation of 2017/18 Reshaping Services savings. However, £53,000 would be required to be transferred into the Youth reserve to fund the G2E project in 2017/18 whilst the service undertook a restructure. The service had a £2.4m recoupment income budget in respect of out of county pupil placements purchased at Ysgol y Deri. As an initial measure £500,000 had already been set aside in a Schools Placements reserve. This sum would be used as a one off contribution in 2016/17 to mitigate part of the shortfall while further Reshaping Services work was undertaken by the Directorate. However, if this shortfall of £172,000 could not be mitigated further in the year, other reserves could be utilised to balance the shortfall made up of £94,000 from the Excluded Pupils reserve and £78,000 from the Adult Community Learning reserve.
School Improvement – This service was projected to overspend by £48,000 as a result of redundancy and pension strain costs as a result of restructuring.
Provision had been made within the budget to make unsupported borrowing debt repayments in relation to the Schools Investment Strategy of £698,000 per annum and any favourable variance on debt repayments would be directed into the Schools Investment Strategy.
The Directorate was projecting to outturn with an adverse variance of £300,000 at year end as detailed below.
Children and Young People’s Services – this service was projected to outturn with an underspend of £400,000.
Adult Services – it was projected that the service would outturn with a £700,000 overspend at year end. The Community Care Package budget could outturn with an adverse variance of up to £900,000 by the year end.
The annual deferred income budget for 2016/17 had been exceeded as at 31st January, 2017. A favourable variance of £200,000 had been included in the Community Care Package budget heading. This was a one off arrangement and was not guaranteed in future years. There was also an anticipated £200,000 underspend as a result of early implementation of the Reshaping Services savings.
Environment and Housing
The Directorate was currently projected to outturn within target at the year-end.
Highways and Engineering – there was currently a £36,000 favourable variance against the profiled amended budget.
Waste Management – there was currently an adverse variance of £29,000 to be profiled amended budget.
Leisure Services – there was currently an adverse variance of £2,000 to be profiled amended budget.
Transportation – there was currently a favourable variance of £77,000 against the profiled budget.
Regulatory Services – the allocation of £2.218m represented the Council’s budget for its share of the Shared Regulatory Service. It was anticipated that the Service would outturn on target.
Council Fund Housing – it was anticipated that this budget would outturn on target.
Public Sector Housing (HRA) – it was expected that this budget would outturn on target and any underspend in year would be offset by additional contributions to capital Expenditure thus reducing the reliance on Unsupported Borrowing.
Managing Director and Resources
It was currently projected that this service would outturn within target at year end.
Resources – it was anticipated that this service would outturn within budget.
Regeneration – there was currently a small favourable variance on this budget and it was still projected that this service would outturn on target by year end.
Development Management – there was an adverse variance relating to the Local Development Plan as expenditure was delayed from 2015/16, however, funding was set aside in reserves for the purpose in the last financial year and would therefore be drawn down to offset this position.
Private Housing – there was currently a small favourable variance on this budget.
General Policy – the projected outturn for Policy was for a favourable variance of £4m when compared to the amended budget. Cabinet had previously taken the decision that this sum would be set aside to the General Fund and consideration would be given for that allocation to be used to offset the shortfall in the revenue budget and / or used for capital schemes, the details of which would be considered by the Budget Working Group before the final revenue proposals were presented to Cabinet and Council for approval.
RECOMMENDED – T H A T the position with regard to the Authority’s 2016/17 Revenue Budget be noted.
Reason for recommendation
In acknowledgement of the projected revenue outturn for 2016/17.
962 CAPITAL MONITORING REPORT FOR THE PERIOD 1ST APRIL 2016 TO 31ST JANUARY 2017 (MD) –
The Head of Finance drew the Committee’s attention to the areas of slippage in regard to the Capital Programme as detailed in the report.
Having regard to the report, it was
(1) T H A T Committee notes that the following budgets are to be carried forward into 2017/18:
- Victorian Schools – Carry forward budget of £50,000.
- Llantwit Major Learning Community – Carry forward budget of £1m.
- Eagleswell Demolition – Carry forward budget of £100,000.
- St. Brides Expansion – Carry forward budget of £314,000.
- Rhoose Road Health and Safety Works – Carry forward £24,000 for Fire Precaution works
- Ogmore By Sea Sustainable Transport – Carry forward budget of £30,000.
- Boverton Flooding – That the budget for this scheme is re-profiled as set out in paragraph 12 to this report.
- Romilly Mess Room – Carry forward budget of £65,000.
- Barry and Penarth Leisure Centre Upgrade Changing Rooms – Carry forward budget of £104,000.
- Colcot Pitches – Carry forward budget of £307,000.
- Parks and Grounds Maintenance Asset Renewal – Carry forward budget of £14,000.
- Five Mile Lane – Carry forward budget of £250,000.
- Barry Regeneration Partnership – Carry forward budget of £88,000.
- Marketing and Disposal of Nell's Point – Carry forward budget of £35,000.
- Feasibility Studies In Penarth Including The Esplanade – Carry forward budget of £47,000.
- North Penarth Open Space Improvements – Carry forward budget of £70,000.
- Cogan Hall Farm – Carry forward budget of £103,000.
(2) T H A T the following changes to the 2016/17 Capital Programme be noted:
- Coast Protection and Land Drainage – Increase the budget by £30,000, funded by a Welsh Government grant.
- WelTag Stage One Transport Network Appraisal for Dinas Powys – Include a new scheme for £20,000, funded by a Welsh Government grant.
- Tackling Poverty – Increase budget for Victoria Gardens by £8,000, funded from a Section 106 contribution.
Reason for recommendations
(1&2) In acknowledgement of changes to the Capital Programme.
963 VALE OF GLAMORGAN PUBLIC SERVICES BOARD – WELL-BEING ASSESSMENT (MD) –
The report sought to advise the Committee of the comments received in response to the consultation on the above draft Assessment, details of which were set out in Appendix A to the report. Specific feedback on the Assessment had been received from the Welsh Government and the Future Generations Commissioner, details of which were set out in Appendices B and C to the report.
In responding to a question from the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Committee relating to any changes as a result of the consultation, the Head of Performance and Development indicated that certain amendments as detailed at Appendix A had been incorporated into the draft Assessment in advance of the publication in May 2017.
Having considered the report, it was
(1) T H A T the comments received during the consultation process and in particular the feedback received from the Future Generations Commissioner and Welsh Government, be noted.
(2) T H A T the changes made to the Well-being Assessment following the consultation exercise and the inclusion of the same in the published Well-being Assessment be noted.
(3) T H A T the work proposed to be undertaken by the Public Services Board to further develop the Assessment and the Well-being Plan be noted.
Reasons for recommendations
(1) In acknowledgement of the published Well-being Assessment as approved by the Public Services Board on 9th March, 2017.
(2) To ensure that in line with statutory guidance the Scrutiny Committee is able to draw on the published advice provided by the Public Services Board by the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales.
(3) In acknowledgement of the proposed further work to be undertaken by the Public Services Board.
964 VALE OF GLAMORGAN WELL-BEING OBJECTIVES AND IMPROVEMENT PLAN PART 1 (IMPROVEMENT OBJECTIVES 2017/18) (MD) –
The report sought the Scrutiny Committee’s endorsement of the Council’s proposed approach to discharging its duties in relation to the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 and the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 to public Well-being Objectives and Annual Improvement Objectives.
The Corporate Plan 2016-2020 had been previously approved by the Cabinet at its meeting on 22nd February, 2016 and subsequently by the Council on 2nd March, 2016, following extensive consultation with key stakeholders and partners.
The Plan set out the Council’s Well-being Outcomes and Objectives for the period of the next four years as well as its vision, values with reference to the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015. The Corporate Plan for Well-being Outcomes and associated eight Well-being Objectives were as follows:
Well-being Outcome 1: An inclusive and Safe Vale
- Objective 1: Reducing poverty and social exclusion.
- Objective 2: Providing decent homes and safe communities.
Well-being Outcome 2: An Environmentally Responsible and Prosperous Vale
- Objective 3: Promoting regeneration, economic growth and employment.
- Objective 4: Promoting sustainable development and protecting our environment.
Well-being Outcome 3: An Aspirational and Culturally Vibrant Vale
- Objective 5: Raising overall standards of achievement.
- Objective 6: Valuing culture and diversity.
Well-being Outcome 4: An Active and Healthy Vale
- Objective 7: Encouraging and promoting active and healthy lifestyles.
- Objective 8: Safeguarding those who are vulnerable and promoting independent living.
Significant work had been undertaken to ensure that the Council’s Well-being Objectives and priority actions reflected the key priorities for the Vale of Glamorgan, thus ensuring the Council was focusing on areas of need of the most improvement and those of greatest impact to the Council’s residents’ well-being. These priorities were also reflected separately in the Council’s Service Plans for the period 2017-2021.
As in previous years, the Council’s Improvement Objectives had also consisted of a small number of priority areas of focus where the Council had identified hat significant improvement was required. These had already been informed by the Council’s Plan priorities and the Annual Council Self-Assessment. By moving towards a more integrated planning model, the Council’s improvement priorities were now the same priorities that were outlined within its Corporate Plan and therefore no longer sat in isolation to this Plan. The Council’s focus had been on setting its Well-being Outcomes and Objectives outlined in the Corporate Plan, so that the Council maximised its contribution to the Well-being Goals of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act, whilst dovetailing this with its corporate planning processes. This integrated planning model would not only demonstrate the Council’s contribution to the Well-being Goals, but also represented the breadth of activities being undertaken as a Council and by integrating the above Act’s five ways of working within the Council’s planning framework.
Having considered the report, the Committee
(1) T H A T the proposed approach to discharging the Council’s duty to public Well-being and Improvement Objectives under the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 and the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, be endorsed.
(2) T H A T the Corporate Plan Well-being Objectives be endorsed as the Council’s Well-being Objectives for the purposes of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.
(3) T H A T the Corporate Plan Well-being Objectives and associated priority actions for 2017/18 that formed the basis of the Council’s Improvement Objectives for 2017/18, be endorsed.
Reasons for recommendations
(1) To ensure that the Council was fully discharging its statutory duties and to set and report on Well-being and Improvement Objectives.
(2) To ensure that the Council met the requirements of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, to publish its Well-being Objectives by 31st March, 2017.
(3) To ensure that the Council continued to meet the requirements of the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009, to set annual improvement priorities for 2017/18.
965 VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL ANNUAL SELF-ASSESSMENT (MD) –
The Head of Performance and Development advised that the Self-Assessments formed a core part of the statutory Local Government inspection process in Wales and that under the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009, the Council was required to undertaken them. The Assessment was intended to provide an honest and balanced account of the Council’s achievements and identify areas where further progress was required.
Historically, the Council had undertaken a self-assessment of its services as part of the Council’s service planning process to inform its priorities and areas for improvement. This had been primarily performance focused and undertaken on a Directorate by Directorate basis. The current year’s Annual Self-Assessment presented a significant departure from the way in which the annual performance assessment had been conducted previously. The development of a more outcome focused Corporate Plan in alignment with the Council’s duties under the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act and the alignment of the Council’s Scrutiny Committees’ structures to the approach had necessitated a need to refine how the Council undertook its self-assessment process. In future, the Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes would form the framework for evaluating Council performance and achievements, thus enabling the Council to demonstrate its ability to achieve positive outcomes for residents and secure continuous improvement.
This was the first year of reporting against the Corporate Plan 2016-2020. Appendix C evidenced progress to date in achieving the Council’s Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes and Corporate Health priorities, the Council’s Annual Improvement Report incorporating the findings of the Council’s Corporate Assessment and other reports by external regulators.
A summary of progress to date in relation to priorities identified in the last year’s Annual Self-Assessment was provided in the Corporate Improvement Act Plan (Appendix A) which detailed the 57 actions identified, of which 32 had been completed and 25 were ongoing.
The self-assessment process was also used to identify priorities for the coming year that were implemented by Service Plans for 2017/18. In addition, the Corporate Health Priorities would also feed into the work of the Insight Board to ensure an integrated approach to planning for improvement. Work had already commenced in implementing some of the priorities, which incorporated existing areas of improvement activity, details of which were set out in Appendix B to the report.
The Council’s Self-Assessment process would continue to evolve in line with the wider Local Government agenda as proposed in the recent draft Local Government (Wales) Bill and the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act.
In this respect, the Annual Self-Assessment set out the Council’s key priorities for improvement and would be published and made available to the Council’s regulators to inform their work programmes.
The Annual Self-Assessment was being reported to the Council’s Scrutiny Committees, with these being asked to consider the contents in relation to the respective Committees’ Well-being Outcomes to consider whether priorities were fit for purpose, were reasonable and relevant in contributing to the Corporate Plan.
Having considered the report, it was
(1) T H A T the Council’s Annual Self-Assessment report, including identified priorities for 2017/18 onwards, be endorsed.
(2) T H A T the use and contents of the Self-Assessment report as the basis for service planning for 2017/18, be endorsed.
Reasons for recommendations
(1) In acknowledgement of the requirements of the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 to undertake a self-assessment of all Council services and to use this information as the basis to drive continuous improvement of Council services.
(2) To ensure that the Council’s Scrutiny Committees confirmed the priorities identified within the Self-Assessment relating to the remit of “Corporate Health” represented a fair reflection of the challenges facing both the Council as a whole and the services contributing to the corporate health priorities, and that the Council identified and took appropriate action to address its improvement priorities.
966 SERVICE PLANS 2017-21: HUMAN RESOURCES, LEGAL SERVICES, FINANCE, ICT, PERFORMANCE AND DEVELOPMENT AND DEMOCRATIC SERVICES (MD) –
Service Plans for 2017-21 specifically identified how each Head of Service will contribute towards achievement of Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes by asking two questions:
"Which well-being objectives does the service contribute to and what actions will we be taking this year to achieve these?"
"How will we manage our resources to achieve these actions and support our service?"
Informed by the Annual Self-Assessment, the Service Plans also comprised a brief overview of the issues facing the service against each of the corporate health perspectives (Risk, Customer Focus, Resources – workforce, finance, assets, ICT). The Plans included an action plan for how resources would be used to support the delivery of well-being outcome actions as well as managing risks, collaboration and engagement activities.
- Appendix 1 contained the Service Plans for Human Resources, Legal Services, Finance, ICT, Performance and Development and Democratic Services. Key areas of note within the Service Plans were:
- Section 1 – Introduction: Set the context for the Service Plan and provided an overview of the service area, the purpose of the Plan, and the key service considerations which had informed development of the Plan.
- Section 2 – The Council’s priorities for 2017-21: Outlined the specific actions that the service would be taking during 2017/18 to contribute towards the Corporate Plan Well-being Objectives and Outcomes and the relevant Scrutiny Committee responsible. It also identified the key enabling actions the service would be taking to support its achievement of the Well-being Outcomes, for example through reshaping of its services.
- Section 3 – Outlined what actions the Service would undertake during 2017/18 to contribute to Year 2 of the Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes and Objectives. It also described how the service would manage its resources to deliver its priorities in the Service Plan and outlined key workforce development priorities, significant ICT projects, required budget savings and areas of focus in relation to assets, procurement and major capital projects. This section also identified how the service would engage with stakeholders and work in partnership / collaborate to achieve its priorities and incorporated a service risk evaluation.
- Appendices A and B (within the Service Plan) contained the Service's Improvement Action Plan for 2017/18. This identified planned service actions, intended outcomes and key milestones, relevant performance measures to demonstrate progress, responsible officer, timescales for completion and the anticipated resources requirements of planned actions.
- All Service Plans incorporate the actions CP1 and CP2 to demonstrate their contribution to the Corporate Plan priorities in relation to Reshaping Services and workforce planning and management of attendance respectively, which fell within the remit the remit of this Committee. Progress against these would be reported via quarterly performance reports to the Committee.
In referring to their respective Service Plans, each Head of Service made the Committee aware of the generic actions contained therein and how these were working to support significant corporate priorities across the Authority i.e. to deliver the Reshaping Services Programme and internally within the Directorate to meet its own savings target. In addition, each Head of Service highlighted key service specific actions that would be undertaken over the life of each Plan relating to the following:
- A refresh of the staff induction programme
- Continuance of the Leadership Café
- HR Service Centre launch.
- Performance and Development –
- Progress proposals via the Reshaping Services Programme – Tranche 3 projects
- Continued development with Elected Members’ performance reporting arrangements linked to the Improvement Plan and Wellbeing Outcomes.
- Ensuring roll out of digital procurement and invoicing across the Council.
- Deliver Local Government Elections – May 2017
- Deliver the Electoral Canvas 2017.
- Delivery of Member Development and Induction post Local Government Elections May 2017
- Delivery of a Member ICT Refresh Strategy
- Delivery of collaborative postal mail contract with Bridgend and South Wales Police.
- Delivery of the Council’s Digital Strategy
- Delivery of the ICT Staff Restructure.
(1) T H A T the Service Plans in respect of Human Resources, Legal Services, Finance, ICT, Performance and Development and Democratic Services for 2017-2021 be endorsed.
(2) T H A T the Head of Human Resources and the Leadership Café Management Committee be congratulated on their recent success in winning the Local Government Chronicle Team of the Year Award.
Reasons for recommendations
(1) To confirm the status of the Service Plans as primary documents against which performance for the Corporate Plan / Corporate Health Outcome will be measured.
(2) In acknowledgement of the hard work and commitment of the team.
967 QUARTER 3 (2016-17) PERFORMANCE REPORT: CORPORATE HEALTH (MD) –
Consideration was given to the performance results for Quarter 3, 1st April to 30th December, 2016, for the Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes and Corporate Health.
It had been reported that an overall Amber RAG status had been attributed to delivering the key outcomes as outlined in the Council’s Corporate Plan for the period 2016/17.
An overall Green RAG status had been attributed to Corporate Health reflecting the positive progress made to date in integrating the Council’s business planning practices and in promoting a “One Council” approach, to maximising limited resources to deliver the Council’s Well-being Outcomes at Quarter 3, a Green performance status had been attributed to ten out of eleven Corporate Plan Actions focusing on Corporate Health aspects. In addition, an overall RAG status of Green had been attributed to the performance measures relating to Corporate Health with five out of the six measures reported against Corporate Health having met or exceeded the target this quarter.
Set out in Appendix 1 to the report were details of progress at Quarter 3 towards achieving the Council’s Corporate Health priorities.
(1) T H A T progress to date in achieving key outcomes in line with the Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes and Corporate Health be noted.
(2) T H A T the performance results and remedial actions taken to address areas of underperformance be noted.
Reasons for recommendations
(1) To ensure that the Council demonstrated progress being made towards achieving its Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes aimed at making a positive difference to the lives of Vale of Glamorgan citizens.
(2) To ensure that performance was effectively assessed in line with the requirements to secure continuous improvement as outlined in the Local Government Measure (Wales) 2009 and reflecting the requirement of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act.
968 TARGET SETTING FOR 2017-18 (MD) –
The report detailed proposed targets aligned with the Corporate Health priorities as outlined in the Council’s Corporate Plan 2016-2020. Appendix 1 outlined the proposed targets for the Corporate Performance and Resources Scrutiny Committee and included all relevant performance indicators that fit within the remit of the Scrutiny Committee. Targets had been set for those performance indicators that were continuing into 2017/18. A number of indicator amendments and deletions were proposed for 2017/18 following a review of existing CPMs and Members were asked to endorse these changes.
As part of the target setting process for 2017/18, as indicated above, a review had been undertaken of the existing Corporate Performance Measures (CPMs) aligned to the Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes and Corporate Health priorities. This had ensured that measures in place provided the best representation of activities / outcomes required and that data would be available on a quarterly basis for a set of key measures for each Well-being Outcome area thus enabling a balanced assessment of performance each quarter.
It was proposed that 32 Corporate Health indicators would be carried forward and collected in 2017/18. Of the 31 proposed measures for 2017/18, four had set targets to improve on the previous year’s performance, two had targets that had been set to remain the same when compared with the previous year, and two had set targets lower than the previous year’s performance. Targets had been proposed for 17 performance measures which were new measures this year and had been set to establish baseline performance in 2016/17. Consequently, no trend data was available to determine the direction of travel. Of the two new PI indicators for 2017/18, a target was not set for one new measure (CPM/219 – which related to the National Procurement Service Framework) as a new baseline was being established in 2017/18, following amendments to the definition. Targets were not applicable for five measures (CPM/212 and CPM/213, relating to long and short term sickness absence, CPM/229 – direction of travel of Corporate Risks, CPM/222 – satisfaction with services provided by the Council, and CPM/076 – satisfaction with communications from the Council) as these required data from a biennial survey, which was next due in 2019.
Subject to the agreement of the Scrutiny Committee, these performance targets would be reported to the Cabinet meeting on 3rd April, 2017 for approval.
Having considered the report, it was
RECOMMENDED – T H A T the proposed targets for 2017/18 aligned to Corporate Health priorities be endorsed.
Reason for recommendation
To ensure the Council reports a relevant set of indicators against which it can demonstrate achievement of its Well-being Outcomes and consistently sets challenging yet realistic performance improvement targets for those priorities in line with the requirements under the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009.
969 CHAIRMAN’S ANNOUNCEMENT –
The Chairman referred to the meeting as being the last before the forthcoming Local Government elections in May and wished those Members good health who were not standing in the forthcoming elections and for those who were standing for re-election good luck.
The Chairman also wished Mr. D. Vining (Head of Strategic ICT) good health and best wishes in his forthcoming retirement and thanked all officers for the support provided to him and the Vice-Chairman over the period that they had held these positions.