Agenda Item No. 12
Vale of Glamorgan Council
Environment and Regeneration Scrutiny Committee: 14th March 2017
Report of the Managing Director
Vale of Glamorgan Well-being Objectives and Improvement Plan Part 1 (Improvement Objectives 2017/18)
Purpose of the Report
- The report seeks Members' 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 publish Well-being Objectives and annual Improvement Objectives.
- That Members consider and endorse via recommendation to Cabinet the proposed approach to discharging the Council's duties to publish Well-being and Improvement Objectives under the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 and the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.
- That Members endorse via recommendation to Cabinet the Corporate Plan Well-being Objectives as the Council's Well-being Objectives for the purposes of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.
- That Members endorse via recommendation to Cabinet the Corporate Plan Well-being Objectives and associated priority actions for 2017/18 as the Council's Improvement Objectives for 2017/18.
Reasons for the Recommendations
- To ensure the Council fully discharges its statutory duties to set and report on Well-being and Improvement Objectives.
- To ensure the Council meets the requirements of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 to publish its Well-being objectives by 31st March 2017.
- To ensure the Council continues to meet the requirements of the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 to set annual improvement priorities for 2017/18.
- The Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 and the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 (WFGA), both place specific duties on the Council in relation to objective setting and reporting duties. Under the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act, the Council is required to publish its Well-being Objectives by 31 March 2017. Under the Measure, the Council also has to set annual Improvement Objectives and publish these as soon as possible at the start of the financial year.
- The Welsh Government has indicated that it intends to revoke the provisions of the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 in the future. In the recently published White Paper: Reforming Local Government, the Welsh Government has indicated that the Local Government Measure would be repealed and replaced with a performance framework that is guided by the principles of the Well-being of Future Generations Act and informed by good governance principles. It is proposed that Local Authorities will take a greater responsibility for improvement activity through a process of external challenge via peer reviews and strengthened expectations of corporate governance and audit committees. To give a broad indication of timescales, assuming a Bill being introduced in the Assembly towards the end of 2017-18, a 12 month legislative period, Royal Assent and commencement orders, it is likely that any new reforms would probably apply from April 2020.
- The Welsh Government, Welsh Local Government Association, the Auditor General for Wales and the Future Generations Commissioner have worked together and issued advice to local authorities to clarify requirements and timescales, given the implications of the local government elections in May 2017.
- The Corporate Plan is our key means of complying with the Local Government Measure 2009, which requires the Council to set 'Improvement Objectives' annually and demonstrate continuous improvement.
- The Corporate Plan 2016-2020 was approved by Cabinet on 22nd February 2016 and by Council on 2nd March 2016 following extensive consultation with key stakeholders and partners. The Plan sets out the Council's Well-being Outcomes and Objectives for 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 4 Well-being Outcomes and associated 8 Well-being Objectives are:
- 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 has been undertaken to ensure that our Well-being Objectives and priority actions reflect the key priorities for the Vale of Glamorgan, thus ensuring the Council is focusing on the areas in need of the most improvement and those of greatest impact to our residents' well-being. These priorities are also reflected in the Council's Service Plans for 2017-21.
- In developing the Corporate Plan, our priorities have been set in the context of local needs, available resources and the significant challenges facing public services. It reflects a willingness to embrace innovative ideas and new ways of working and the importance of working in partnership to address the challenges that lie ahead. We have embraced the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and have revised our corporate planning arrangements to reflect our new duties and commitment to promoting sustainable development. We have been proactive and taken these steps ahead of the requirements of the Act, as an early adopter.
Relevant Issues and Options
Publication of Well-being Objectives and Improvement Objectives 2017-18
- The Welsh Government and the Future Generations Commissioner have made it clear that, duties to set and report on Well-being Objectives (under the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015) should not be treated as separate from any objectives that guide and steer the actions and decisions of organisations. In addition, they have also set out that planning and reporting processes should be aligned and integrated. The Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 also states that, Improvement Objectives need to reflect the key strategic priorities of authorities. Consequently, Well-being Objectives and Improvement Objectives can be treated as one and the same. Therefore, by integrating processes for setting and reporting on these key objectives, authorities can efficiently and effectively discharge their duties under both areas of legislation.
- In previous years, the Council's Improvement Objectives have consisted of a small number of priority areas of focus where we have identified that significant improvement is required. These have always been informed by our Corporate Plan priorities and the annual Council Self-Assessment. By moving towards a more integrated planning model, our improvement priorities are now the same priorities that are outlined within our Corporate Plan and therefore no longer sit in isolation to this Plan. Our focus has been on setting our Well-being Outcomes and Objectives outlined in the Corporate Plan, so that we maximise our contribution to the Well-being Goals of the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act whilst dovetailing this with our corporate planning processes. This demonstrates not only our contribution to the Well-being Goals but also represents the breadth of activities we undertake as a Council and by integrating the Act's 5 ways of working within our planning framework.
- During 2016 the Council Implemented a new performance Management Framework which has incorporated the following:
- The adoption of a more outcome focused Corporate Plan (2016-20) which outlines our key priorities (4 Well-being Outcomes and 8 associated Objectives) going forward and embraces the requirements of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 (WFGA) ahead of the statutory timetable. The Plan has been informed by local needs and available resources and also incorporates the views of residents, partners and staff.
- Development of a more integrated approach to our corporate planning processes and strategies. This new integrated model of working has been introduced to look at all aspects of our corporate governance and planning arrangements to ensure that they are inter-related, complementary, consistent and no longer undertaken in isolation. This approach embraces the sustainable development principle (5 ways of working) in setting and working towards our Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes and Objectives in line with WFGA. Going forward, this will ensure that our integrated processes and policies become an enabling force for the delivery of our Corporate Plan's vision and the Well-being Outcomes and Objectives.
- A refinement in the approach to our annual Council Self-Assessment for 2017/18, which was presented to Members earlier at this meeting. The development of a more outcome-focused Corporate Plan in line with our duties under the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act necessitated a refinement in how we undertake our annual self-assessment. The Corporate Plan's Well-being Outcomes and Objectives now form the framework for evaluating our performance and achievements thus enabling the Council to demonstrate its ability to achieve positive outcomes for residents and secure continuous improvement. Improvement actions identified through the Self-Assessment process will contribute to our Well-being Objectives and these have also been used in the development of Service Plans for 2017-21.
- Establishment and adoption of revised Scrutiny Committee structures aligned to the Well-being Outcomes in the Corporate Plan in order to ensure a more cross-cutting approach to scrutinising performance against achieving our objectives and to reduce duplication.
- Implementation of a new performance report format that reflects the new arrangements and focuses on outcomes rather than service specific actions. These also outline how integrated planning/ use or resources is contributing towards the achievement of the Council's Well-being Outcomes and Objectives.
- Having reviewed our progress made to date in relation to the Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes and corresponding objectives as part of our annual Council Self-Assessment for 2017, we are assured that the priorities we have set continue to be relevant priorities for the Council going forward into 2017/18. This has been reinforced by:
- Positive support for the Well-being Outcomes and Objectives identified in the Corporate Plan consultation undertaken in 2016.
- Findings from our budget consultation for 2016/17 which had positive support for the Council's priorities and the Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes and associated Objectives.
- Initial findings from the Public Services Board's (PSB) Well-being Assessment which has been informed by a wide range of data and engagement. The four areas which the PSB has identified as the focus of further work are: tackling inequalities, protecting and enhancing the environment, improving how we engage with local communities and ensuring young children have a good start in life.
- Initial findings from our budget consultation for 2017/18. These show that residents are sympathetic and supportive of the ways in which the Council is proposing to meet its financial challenges and the priorities we have identified for the future.
- Review of the impact of our achievements to date in relation to our Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes and Objectives, that is, 'What difference have we made?'
- Public Opinion Survey 2017. Overall satisfaction with Council services has improved to 92% in 2016/17 compared with 84% in 2014/15. 97% of residents were either very satisfied or satisfied with the Vale of Glamorgan as a place to live. The consultation findings show that residents are sympathetic and supportive of the ways in which the Council is proposing to meet its priorities and financial challenges. It also shows that the changes to services that have been made due to the level of savings required have not had a detrimental effect on residents' satisfaction with services. Generally, residents are very happy living in the Vale of Glamorgan and with the services delivered by the Council.
- In adopting a more integrated approach to our corporate planning processes and in setting our Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes and Objectives we are strengthening our ability to work as 'One Council' in delivering our priority outcomes and contributing to the national Well-being goals.
- On the basis of the above developments, the Council can demonstrate that is has made good progress in integrating its processes for setting and reporting of its Corporate Plan Well-being Objectives. Consequently, Members are asked to:
- Endorse the eight Corporate Plan Well-being Objectives as the Council's Well-being Objectives for the purposes of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.
- Endorse the eight Corporate Plan Well-being Objectives and associated priorities for 2017/18 as the Council's Improvement Objectives for 2017/18.
- In so doing, this will ensure the Council effectively discharges both its well-being duties and those required by the Local Government Measure to publish its Well-being Objectives by 31 March 2017 and its Improvement Objectives as soon as is practicable after the start of the financial year.
Publication of the Well-being Annual Report and Performance Assessment for 2016-17
- Under the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009, the Council is required to publish its Performance Assessment (annual Review of Performance for 2016-17) by 31 October 2017. In relation to the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act, the Council must publish its first Well-being Annual Report and Performance Assessment for 2017-18, as soon as is practicable following the end of the financial year, but no later than 31st March of the following year.
- This Council published its Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes and Objectives in April 2016, ahead of the requirements of the Act and we are currently working towards producing an integrated Well-being Annual Report and Performance Assessment for 2016/17. This will ensure that we discharge our duties under the Local Government (Wales) Measure to publish a Performance Assessment (annual review of Performance) by 31 October and produce a Well-being Annual Report under the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act. By undertaking this work ahead of the required timescales, it will enable the Council to develop and further refine its outcome focused approach to reporting performance, whilst reflecting its statutory requirements.
Review and Revision of Well-being Objectives
- Under the Well-being of Future Generations Act, the Council may at any time review and revise its Well-being Objectives and where it does so, it must publish them as soon as is reasonably practicable. In line with requirements of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act we will continually review the relevance of our Well-being Objectives in the Corporate Plan through our planning processes in order to ensure we continue to reflect the priorities for the Vale of Glamorgan and focus our improvement activity on the areas in need of the most improvement.
- The Vale of Glamorgan Public Services Board remains on track to publish their Well-being Objectives by the Spring of 2018 and we will use this as an opportunity to ensure that our Well-being Outcomes and Objectives in the Corporate Plan align to that of the PSB.
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)
- 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. Key Well-being Objectives set out in the Corporate Plan 2016-20 and service plans 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
- 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 developing our Wellbeing Objectives.
Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)
- The Council has a duty to identify and publish its annual Improvement Objectives and report progress against them.
- The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 requires the Council to set and publish Well-being Objectives by April 2017 that maximise its contribution to achieving the Well-being goals for Wales.
Crime and Disorder Implications
- Activities to improve community safety are included in the Corporate Plan and one of the Well-being Outcomes is 'An Inclusive and Safe Vale' with a supporting objective 'providing decent homes and safe communities'. The Council's Performance Management Framework supports the delivery of actions associated with these objectives.
Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)
- An Inclusive and Safe Vale' is one of the Well-being Outcomes in the Corporate Plan with a supporting objective 'reducing poverty and social exclusion'. There is also a Well-being Outcome 'An Aspirational and culturally vibrant Vale' with a supporting action 'valuing culture and diversity'. The Council's Performance Management Framework supports the delivery of actions associated with these objectives.
- The Corporate Plan 2016-20 reflects the requirements of the Well-being of Future Generations Act and identifies 4 Well-being Outcomes and 8 Objectives for the Council. These promote improvements in the economic, social and cultural well-being of residents in the Vale of Glamorgan which in turn will contribute to achieving the Well-being goals for Wales.
- The Council's Performance Management Framework supports the delivery of all of the Council's Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes and Objectives.
Policy Framework and Budget
- The Corporate Plan's Wellbeing Outcomes and Objectives and Service Plans form part of the Council's approved policy framework and a matter for Executive decision.
Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)
- In line with the requirement to consult on our Well-being Objectives, we have sought input from the (then) Local Service Board, Town and Community Councils, voluntary sector organisations, local businesses and the general public via an online survey, local media advertisements and social media.
Relevant Scrutiny Committee
Environment and Regeneration
Letter to Public Bodies: Local Authority Well-being and Improvement Duties
Julia Archampong, Performance Manager
Corporate Management Team
Head of Performance and Development
Operational Manager Performance and Policy
Rob Thomas, Managing Director, Sponsoring Director of Well-being Outcome 2