Agenda Item No 6

Vale of Glamorgan Council


Corporate Performance and Resources Scrutiny Committee: 20th September 2016


Report of the Managing Director


Improvement Plan Part 2: Annual Review of Performance 2015/16 and Local Government Performance 2015/16


Purpose of the Report

  1. To present the draft Improvement Plan Part 2: Annual Review of Performance 2015/16, which contains performance and improvement information for Improvement Objectives agreed in April 2015. The report also outlines the findings of the Local Government Data Unit Wales in its annual bulletin of Local Government Performance for 2015/16.


  1. That Members endorse the Improvement Plan Part 2: Annual Review of Performance 2015/16 and refer any recommendations to the Cabinet meeting of 26th September 2016 for approval.
  2. That Members note the publication of the Local Government Data Unit Wales bulletin on Local Government Performance 2015/16.
  3. That any areas of underperformance identified by this Committee be referred to the relevant Scrutiny Committees whose remit it is for their consideration.

Reasons for the Recommendations

  1. To meet the requirements of the Local Government (Wales) Measure to publish an annual review of Council performance and ensure that action is taken to continually improve.
  2. To apprise Members of the performance of the Vale of Glamorgan Council relative to other Welsh Authorities during 2015/16.
  3. In order that the relevant Scrutiny Committees consider the report and areas of underperformance and ensure action is taken to improve.


  1. The Council's Part 1 Improvement Plan for 2015/16 was agreed by Cabinet on 28th April 2015; this is required by the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009. This Plan is forward looking, and set five Improvement Objectives for 2015/16.
  2. The Local Government Data Unit Wales publishes an annual bulletin of Local Government Performance which outlines the performance of Welsh Authorities across a range of national indicators.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. The Part 2 Improvement Plan (attached at Appendix 1) is a document primarily looking back over 2015/16. It contains key performance information which helps demonstrate progress towards achievement of our Improvement Objectives. The Plan also reports our performance against a range of services as measured by national performance indicators collected and published annually by Welsh Government and the Local Government Data Unit. It also provides an overview of our budget, what our residents and external regulators say about us and highlights our progress on strategic collaborative activities undertaken during the year. A copy of the Part 2 Improvement Plan is available online and in the Members' room.
  2. The majority of the information contained within the Plan is informed by quarterly and end of year performance reports which were discussed by all Scrutiny Committees throughout the year. The Part 2 Plan brings together this information in one report.
  3. The above information will be used by the Wales Audit Office to assess the Council's capacity to improve, and therefore is of critical importance to the reputation of the Council.
  4. The Plan is substantially complete, although some further minor amendments may be required following changes to performance information provided by the Local Government Data Unit and from any final proofreading in readiness for Cabinet and Council's consideration of The Plan.
  5. Based on our self-assessment, we have concluded that overall, the Council has been successful in achieving majority of the positive outcomes intended in our Improvement Objectives for 2015/16, despite challenging financial times and increasing demand for services.
  6. Four out of five Improvement Objectives set for the year were judged to have been achieved. Objective 5, ' Reducing the achievement gap between pupils in receipt of free schools meals and those who are not' was judged to be partially achieved because whilst standards have improved overall, the standards achieved by children entitled to free schools meals do not yet meet those of other children in all key stages. All five Improvement Objectives remain long term strategic priorities for the Council and the success achieved in 2015/16 represents the start of what will be a long programme of initiatives to continually improve services for citizens of the Vale.
  7. Below is a summary of our conclusions on the five Improvement Objectives for 2015/16.
  8. Objective 1: To deliver sustainable services including alternative methods of delivery as part the Council's Reshaping Services Change Programme. Our conclusion is that we have achieved the key targets we set ourselves for 2015/16. The Reshaping Services programme has been embedded into the Council's revised Performance Management Framework, including as a key action and enabler within the new Corporate Plan and an integral part of the service and team planning processes.
  9. We met the relevant savings targets for 2015/16 as part of the programme. The savings targets for tranche one projects have been critically appraised as part of the revenue budget setting process for 2016/17 and are on track to deliver these targets.
  10. The involvement of a range of stakeholders (including Town and Community Councils and the voluntary sector) has increased during the year. In addition, a significant programme of staff engagement is underway and has already delivered a range of products and outcomes which are informing the way the Council is managed.
  11. Objective 2: Our objective to support more people towards independence has been achieved. On balance we have achieved the majority of outcomes we set ourselves for 2015/16. There has been significant further investment in rehabilitation and re-ablement services in the Vale of Glamorgan through an integrated partnership arrangement with Cardiff and Vale UHB. For service users this means an integrated assessment and care management structure which enables effective signposting, screening and swift allocation of services and this has enabled more individuals to attain greater levels of independence. Over 80% of people who received a service have improved levels of independence. We have continued to increase the take up of assistive technologies such as Telecare that enable older people and carers to manage the impact and risks associated with chronic ill health, enabling them to remain within their own homes safely and with a better quality of life. By supporting more service users with financial assessments and benefits advice we have enabled them to make well informed choices, and contributed to them to maintaining their independence for longer. Improvements continue to be made in delivery times for home adaptations, despite an increase in demand, contributing to residents being able to retain their independence for longer.
  12. Through Supporting People services we are helping more vulnerable people to retain their independence and improve their overall wellbeing. 100% of a sample of past and current service users interviewed during the year reported satisfaction with the support provided to enable them to maintain their independence.
  13. Objective 3: In relation to supporting and enhancing town centres of the Vale of Glamorgan for the benefit of residents, visitors and businesses, our intended outcomes for the year have been achieved. We have come to this conclusion because we have successfully worked in the Vale of Glamorgan's main town centres and with businesses to promote investment and improve the built environment contributing to their vitality and attractiveness. Vacancy rates in all our main town centres have improved demonstrating business confidence in our town centres.
  14. Improving the vitality and attractiveness of our town centres is a key part of the regeneration vision for the Council and remains a long term priority for the Council.
  15. Objective 4: To reduce the number of young people who are not in employment education or training (NEET). Our conclusion is that we have achieved our intended outcomes for the year against this Objective because through a coordinated approach with partners, we have improved how we track, identify and support young people who are NEET or have the potential to become NEET, resulting in the continued reduction in NEET levels at Years 11, 12 and 13 (16-18).
  16. Overall, 95% of young people in the Vale aged 16-18 are in education, employment or training compared to 93% in the previous year. Through initiatives such as the 'Inspire to Achieve' project and new arrangements with the Central South Consortium Joint Education Service we are identifying vulnerable young people much earlier and ensuring that they receive timely and appropriate support in order to achieve their potential, thus reducing the likelihood of them becoming NEET. We continue to maximise our use of the voluntary sector and training providers to increase opportunities and provision in order to reduce NEET levels.
  17. Objective 5: To reduce the achievement gap between pupils in receipt of free school meals and those who are not. Our conclusion is that this Objective has been partially achieved because whilst standards have improved overall, we recognise that the standards achieved by children entitled to free school meals do not yet meet those of other children in all key stages and the level of exclusions needs to reduce and these remain a key focus for improvement and a priority for Council in the long term.
  18. In all the main performance indicators across all phases, the performance of pupils entitled to free school meals has improved since 2012, albeit not always at the same rate as their peers. Since 2012, in the Foundation Phase and at key stage 3, the performance of pupils entitled to free school meals in the Authority has improved at a greater rate than that of their peers. This has narrowed the difference in performance between pupils entitled to free school meals when compared with their peers. However, over the same period in key stage 2 and key stage 4 the improvement trend for this group of pupils is less consistent than for their peers
  19. Pages 56-66 in Appendix 1detail how we performed against the 2015/16 national performance dataset in comparison with the previous year and with other Local Authorities in Wales.
  20. We collected and reported data on 44 national performance indicators in 2015/16. Of these, 43 have data that can be compared with the previous year.
  21. In comparison the Vale of Glamorgan performed better than the Welsh average in 75% (33) of comparable indicators against the South East Wales Region. When compared with all Welsh councils the Vale of Glamorgan's performance was 77% (34).
  22. Much of this data and analysis is considered in the Local Government Data Unit Wales performance bulletin 2015-16 attached at Appendix 2. The report looks at a range of indicators and assesses the performance of individual Authorities. The report indicates that the Vale of Glamorgan Council is ranked as the top performing Council, having the most indicators (26) in the top quarter of Welsh Authorities.
  23. Key highlights from this data include:
  24. In total 9 indicators achieved the best possible performance in 2015/16, which is one more than the previous year. Of these 8 continued to maintain their best possible performance (either 100% or 0%) when compared to the previous year. The indicator that achieved its best possible performance in contrast to the previous year was SCC33e: Percentage of young people formerly looked after with whom the Authority is in contact, who are known to be in suitable non-emergency accommodation at the age of 19. During 2015/16, 100% of young people formerly looked after were known to be in suitable non-emergency accommodation at age 19 compared with the previous year where 92.9% were in suitable non-emergency accommodation.
  25. 55% (24) indicators showed an improvement (based on their PI value) during 2015/16, compared to 23 in the previous year.
  26. 10 indicators showed a decline (based on their PI value) during 2015/16, which is three less than the previous year.
  27. 9 Indicators during 2015/16 have shown no change in their performance when compared to 2014/15. 8 of these indicators have continued to maintain best possible performance (EDU/002i, EDU/002ii EDU/015a, EDU/015b, SCA/019, SCA/018a, SCC/033d and SCC/041a) and the ninth (EDU/16a) remained in the top quartile.
  28. There are 5 indicators that had previously shown improvement in 2014/15 (based on their PI value) that are now showing a decline in their performance for 2015/16. These relate to: SCA/001 (rate of delayed transfers of care) performance has marginally dropped by 0.15 (indicating that the rate of transfers of care has increased from 4.55 in 2014/15 to 4.70 in 2015/16), SCC/004 (Looked after children with 3 or more placements) the percentage of LAC with 3 or more placements has increased by 2.9% (from 6.9% in 2014/15 to 9.8% in 2015/16), SCC011b (initial assessments where child has been seen by a Social Worker) this has decreased by 10.9% from 30.7% in 2014/15 to 19.8% in 2015/16, THS/012 (principal A roads in poor condition) there has only been a very slight decrease of 0.3% on the previous year and PPN/009 (food establishments broadly compliant with food hygiene) has seen only a very slight decline of 0.04% on the previous year. Although SCC/011b has shown the greatest variation in its performance, it is important to note that the Council has increasingly focused its resources on Social Care Officers enabling them to see children alone at the point of initial assessment (where it is deemed appropriate). This frees up the time and resource of a Social Worker for cases/clients where it is deemed more appropriate.
  29. A breakdown of our performance in quartiles when compared to Wales is as follows:
  • 59% (26) indicators were in the upper quartile of performance, representing a 15% increase on the previous year where 44% (20) indicators were reported in the upper quartile for their performance.
  • 11% (5) of indicators were in the upper middle quartile (2nd) during 2015/16 compared with 15 % (7) of indicators in the previous year (2014/15).
  • 16% (7) indicators were in the lower middle quartile for their performance during 2015/16, representing a 4% reduction on the previous year where 20% (9) indicators were reported in the lower middle quartile.
  • 14% (6) indicators have remained in the bottom quartile for their performance during 2015/16 compared to 20% (9) indicators in the previous year (2014/15).
  1. A copy of the Local Government Performance Bulletin (Appendix 2) is available online and in the Members room. A copy has also been placed on the Council's staffnet.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. In determining its priorities the Council has been mindful of the economic situation locally and nationally and taken into account legislation changes and government policy. Our Improvement Objectives are informed by key objectives set out in the Corporate Plan which either have resources committed to their achievement (Medium Term Financial Plan and annual budget review) or the likely prospect of such resources being made available in the period of the plan.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. Sustainability issues, reflecting the Sustainable Development principle introduced by the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, have been taken into account as part of the process for selecting the Improvement Objectives.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. The Improvement Plan is a statutory duty under the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009, along with a duty to continually improve.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. None directly as a result of this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. An Equalities Impact Assessment was undertaken as part of the process for selecting the Improvement Objectives. A summary document provides members of the public with an opportunity to become aware of the Council's performance and will be produced bilingually.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. Improvement Objectives are a priority for the Council. Improving how the Council evidences and reports achievement of its priority outcomes contributes towards effective community leadership.

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. The Improvement Plan forms a part of the Policy Framework and is required to be agreed by Full Council.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. Elected Members and Corporate Management Team were involved in the selection of Improvement Objectives for 2015/16. We also consulted our key partners, local businesses and the public as part of the process and their views informed the final objectives.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. All. In view of the timetable set by legislation and informed by the publication date of the relevant national data, it has not been possible for all Scrutiny Committees to consider the report prior to Cabinet and Full Council considering the report. It is proposed that the Committee refer the report and comments of the committee to the relevant Scrutiny Committees responsible for those areas for their further consideration as required. It must be noted that the majority of information contained within the Plan has previously been reported to all Scrutiny Committees as part of quarterly and end of year performance reporting.

Background Papers


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 & Development

OM Performance & Development

Heads of Service

Operational Managers

Responsible Officer:

Rob Thomas, Managing Director