Agenda Item No

 Vale of Glamorgan Council

Cabinet Meeting: 23 September, 2013

Report of the Managing Director

Improvement Plan 2013/14


Purpose of the Report

1.         To present the draft Improvement Plan 2013/14, which contains performance and improvement information for improvement objectives agreed in April 2012.


1.         That the cabinet endorses the Improvement Plan for 2013/14.

2.         That the Leader and Managing Director be given delegated authority to make minor changes to the Plan prior to publication.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To ensure that actions are taken to improve the performance of the council.

2.         In order to reflect any urgent changes to revised information or data.


2.         The council's part 1 Improvement Plan for 2012/13 was agreed by Cabinet on 18 April 2012; this is required by the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009. This plan is forward looking, and set improvement objectives for 2012/13.

Relevant Issues and Options

3.         The part 2 Improvement Plan (Appendix A - a copy is provided on the Councils website and Members Room) is a document primarily looking back over 2012/13. It contains key performance measures along with and targets and actions for 2012/13. Where available, it contains Welsh average performance for benchmarking purposes.

4.         The performance 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.

5.         The plan is substantially complete, although further minor amendments will be required following changes to performance information provided by the Local Government Data Unit and from proofreading. This information will need to be included prior to the plan being published.

Overall Council Messages

6.         Overall, the council has performed well in respect of achieving its objectives for 2012/13.

7.         Objective 1: To improve the quality and standard of private sector housing in the Castleland area.

8.         This objective has been partially met; the improvement work is continuing, and there are achievable project plans in place to fully meet this objective within the timescale established for the project.

9.         Overall, the renewal scheme has contributed to improving the standard of housing for the people in the area. A five year programme of ‘face-lifting’ which involves improvements to the front of properties has enhanced the street scene in Castleland; 353 properties were included in the facelift scheme in 2013. In the previous year, 346 properties were improved. In both years resident participation in the scheme has been over 90%.  A further 260 homes are set to benefit from improvement by March 2014.

10.      More details are on page 8 of the Improvement Plan.

11.      Objective 2: To reduce the time taken to deliver disabled facilities grants to children and young people and to adults to achieve the Welsh average performance of 2010/11 (386 days) as a minimum.

12.      The council’s performance of 346 days (2012/13) to deliver a disabled facilities grant means that it has achieved overall its improvement objective of reducing the time taken to deliver disabled facilities grants to children and young people and to adults to 386 days.

13.      The process for delivery of DFGs has become more streamlined as a result of regular detailed reviews of the whole framework. Electronic tendering is now standard practice. An occupational therapist (OT), funded by the council, is based within the team. This has cut down on the time taken for responses and has provided improved continuity for customers. New guidelines have been established and widely communicated to staff, ensuring a consistent approach to the handling of DFGs.

14.      Waiting times for DFGs have continually reduced over the past 4 years.  The Welsh Government’s Local Authority Service Performance report (2011/12) identified the Vale of Glamorgan as the most improved authority in Wales for delivery of DFGs.

15.      More details are on page 12 of the Improvement Plan.

16.      Objective 3: To increase energy efficiency by promoting sustainable practices in our business in order to reduce the Council’s carbon footprint.

17.      This objective has been fully achieved, although work will continue to take place to reduce energy use even further.

18.      There was a considerable amount of activity across the council during 2012/13 to reduce energy use and carbon emissions.  As a result  there has been a reduction of 11.05% in building related carbon emissions for 2012/13 compared to the 2011/12 performance. 

19.      More details are on page 16 of the Improvement Plan.

20.      Objective 4: To increase recycling rates in order to achieve the Welsh Government target for 2012-2013.

21.      This objective has been fully achieved, although work will continue to recycle and reuse more of our waste.

22.      In order to increase participation, there has been an increased focus on making it easier for households to recycle. The launch of weekly co-mingled household kerbside recycling collections since September 2011 has shown an increase of between 30 - 40% in recycling tonnage.

23.      Through proactive initiatives such as ‘what’s in your bin’ campaigns, road shows, door knocking and media campaigns targeting these areas, the service has seen an increase in participation and recycling capture rates in previously poor performing areas of the Vale. 

24.      More details are on page 19 of the Improvement Plan.

25.      Objective 5: To increase the proportion of the Council’s housing stock that meet the Wales Housing Quality Standard (WHQS) by 31 March 2014.

26.      This objective is being achieved, although work will continue to take place to ensure that all the council’s housing stock reaches the quality standard.

27.      In total £82m will be spent over a 4.5 year period to meet the WHQS.  A housing asset management strategy and action plan are in place to fully meet the standard by April 2017.

28.      Internal work has been the initial focus so far: 426 new heating systems have been installed and 140 new roofs and 71 windows and doors have been installed ensuring that homes are more weatherproof.

29.      More details are on page 23 of the Improvement Plan.

30.      Objective 6: To increase attendance at secondary schools to achieve the Welsh top quartile performance of 2011/12.

31.      Overall, attendance at secondary schools in the Vale is an improving picture, although the target of being in the top quartile hasn’t been achieved.

32.      In 2011/2 attendance improved by 1.44% to 92.81% in secondary schools. This placed the Vale 7th in rank order in the 2nd quartile of performance when compared with Welsh councils. To be in the top quartile, the Vale needs to be ranked 5th or higher. 

33.      In order to continue to improve performance, a monthly Attendance Forum has been established which monitors individual schools attendance targets. Schools identified as having lower attendance rates and/or higher levels of unauthorised absence have been targeted for intervention. The attendance of vulnerable pupils including those who are looked after or at risk of offending are carefully monitored.

34.      More details are on page 26 of the Improvement Plan.

35.      Objective 7: To maximise use of our property resources.

36.      This objective has been fully achieved, although work is continuing to maximise property resources.

37.      The Corporate Asset Management Plan (CAMP) has been updated, and clearly demonstrates how assets will support the delivery of corporate objectives. 

38.      The capital investment programme has been put in place to ensure that our older buildings are accessible, more energy efficient using sustainable energy sources such as solar panels and ground source heat pumps, with improved lighting and general facilities.

39.      We are developing the ‘Space Project’ which is a review of our accommodation requirements in light of staffing reductions and changes in service delivery patterns in order to reduce revenue costs. This involves developing new office accommodation and adapting existing accommodation to provide predominantly open plan, efficiently used space with more shared space areas, reducing the numbers of dedicated workstations and higher levels of hot-desking.

40.      The Council has reduced its property portfolio and has developed a shared strategic approach to asset management with our partners (Local Service Board and other Councils). This involves working collaboratively between councils and proactively pursuing co-location opportunities.

41.      More details are on page 31 of the Improvement Plan.

42.      Objective 8: To develop effective and sustainable workforce planning arrangements for the Council.

43.      This objective has been partially met, and work will continue to ensure that workforce planning is embedded in the culture of the organisation.

44.      A Workforce Plan has been agreed by the council, and is in the process of being implemented.

45.      A revised senior management structure has been implemented across the council and service directorates have been rationalised. The new single status pay structure for over 4,500 employees has been implemented.

46.      More emphasis is being placed on self service of Human Resources (HR) services which has enabled better targeted HR support to managers. This has supported an increased use of flexible working and contract flexibility, enabling the council to deliver services to better suit the needs of customers. There has been an increased number of local apprenticeships in the council.

47.      Key skills for the future have been identified by staff and managers through annual performance and development reviews. A programme of skills development has commenced.

48.      More details are on page 36 of the Improvement Plan.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

49.      The production of the Improvement Plan is a major annual project that involves a considerable amount of time from officers. The cost of producing the plan and publishing a bilingual summary in October is met through existing budgets.  

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

50.      Sustainability issues have been taken into account as part of the process for selecting the improvement objectives.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

51.      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

52.      None as a result of this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

53.      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

54.      The plan provides information on the improvement objectives agreed by the council.

Policy Framework and Budget

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

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

56.      Elected Members and Corporate Management Team were involved in the selection of improvement objectives for 2012/13.

57.      All scrutiny committees have been consulted (in September) on the content of the plan.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

58.      ALL

Background Papers

Reforming the Wales Programme for Improvement - Guidance to Local Authorities 2010

Corporate Plan 2010/2014

Vale of Glamorgan Community Strategy 2011 - 2021

Contact Officer

Beverly Noon 01446 709746

Officers Consulted

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

All Directors

Heads of Service

Operational Managers

Responsible Officer: Sian Davies, Managing Director