Agenda Item No


The Vale of Glamorgan Council

Cabinet Meeting: 9 February, 2015

Report of the Leader

Progress Report - Improvement Objectives 2014/15

Purpose of the Report

1. This report outlines the progress made to date in achieving Improvement Objectives as identified in the Improvement Plan Part 1 for 2014/15.


1. That Cabinet notes progress to date as outlined in appendices 1 and 2.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1. To ensure that the Council is on track to achieve its Improvement Objectives as outlined in Part 1 of the Improvement Plan 2014/15.


2. The Council has an obligation under the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 to identify, publish and report performance against its Improvement Objectives.


3. The Council identified eight Improvement Objectives for 2014/15.  These were informed by the Corporate Plan 2013-17, a review of service performance, corporate risks and findings from inspections and improvement studies by our regulators. 


4. The Council's improvement objectives were endorsed by Cabinet on 28th April 2014 and by Council on 7th May 2014 and published shortly thereafter.

Relevant Issues and Options

5. Improvement objectives are a key means of the Council complying with the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 as is the assessment and reporting of achievements against these objectives.


6. To comply with the Measure, the monitoring of Improvement Objectives has been incorporated within the monitoring of service plans via quarterly performance reports to Corporate Management Team, Cabinet and Scrutiny Committees.  These highlight progress towards key actions in the Improvement Plan Part 1 2014/15 for which each directorate has responsibility. Examples of exceptional performance during each quarter is highlighted as are key areas of slippage and the planned remedial action to bring these back on track.


7. As at quarter 2, the priorities outlined in the Council's Improvement Plan Part 1 for 2014/15, are well on track to be achieved. Of 53 actions, 22% (12) are complete, 72% (38) are on track, 4% (2) have slipped and 2% (1) was not due to start during this quarter. In comparison, during quarter 1, 3 actions were reported as completed, 36 actions were on track and 1 had slipped. The remaining actions had not yet started.


8. Of the 43 Improvement Objective indicators, 65% (28) have met or exceeded target, 16% (7) are within 10% of the target, 7% (3) have missed the target by more than 10% and a red, amber, green (RAG) status was not applicable for the remaining 12% (5) of indicators.


9. An overview of progress against all eight objectives is provided below:

Objective 1: To improve employability of local people by facilitating learning opportunities, vocational and employment skills.

10. Overall, significant progress has been made towards achieving the intended outcomes for the objective. Work continues with local employers, our contractors and potential investors to increase the number of work based apprenticeships and work experience and training opportunities available in the Vale to help people of all ages to develop their skills and secure employment. Through initiatives such as the Work Programme and Communities First which have seen an increase in take up of courses, more clients have reported feeling confident about seeking work. These schemes are performing well against delivery plan targets for the year and local employment is increasing and unemployment is below the Wales and UK average.


11. The regional partnership established for Adult and Community Learning since the 2013 Estyn inspection (Cardiff and Vale Community learning Partnership-CAVLP) has introduced a structured and systematic approach to data monitoring and service improvement. This has resulted in improved provision and a significant rise in learner outcomes, with success rates rising from 68% to 84%. The partnership is now at the national comparator of 84%. Skills and employability training continues to be free to priority learning groups and planned in partnership with Communities First, Flying Start, Job Centre Plus etc., ensuring opportunities for all learners.

Objective 2: To increase sustainability and stability of looked after children and young people’s placements.

12. Within the context of the Commissioning Strategy for Children and Young People, the Council continues to make good progress in its objectives to place children locally and improve placement stability.  Children and Young People Services are on track to meet their target for recruiting new foster carers for 2014/15.  This recruitment supports the division in extending the range of local placements available and reducing reliance of independent fostering agencies. 


13. The residential provision commissioned by the Council earlier this year will see the first of the planned units opening in Barry in December.  Local residential provision will enable the division to extend its strategy to retain/return Vale children within the boundary.  At the end of Q2 the percentage of looked after children who had experienced three or more placements during the year stood at 3.89% against a target of 9% and compared to an annual performance in 2013/14 of 10.87% [SCC004].


14. Whilst we did not achieve our target of completing 70% of health assessments due in the year for looked after children, performance improved from 29.07% in quarter 1 to 51.18% in quarter 2. This is a cumulative indicator so performance will be clearer at the end of the year. There is a requirement to visit children under the age of five twice a year and these visits have not yet taken place [SCC039].

Objective 3: To support more people towards independence.

15. Progress against this outcome has been very positive. Through the deployment of additional resources from the Regional Collaboration Fund and Intermediate Care Fund, more people are able to access reablement and rehabilitation.  The restructuring of community based social care and health services is on course and more integrated arrangements have commenced. 


16. The increased uptake of Telecare should be further developed when the recommendations are received from the Task and Finish Group.  Quarter's 1 and 2 figures showed a significantly improved position with regard to delayed transfers of care compared with the same period in 2013/14.

Objective 4: To support and enhance the town centres of the Vale of Glamorgan for the benefit of residents, visitors and businesses.

17. Overall, work is progressing well through the very broad ranging suite of actions.  We are accessing some new funding sources, and indication of extended funding streams is reassuring. Good partnerships have been established and these are giving solid outcomes.

Objective 5: To reduce the number of young people who are not in employment education or training (NEET).

18. The Early Identification tool has been introduced to schools and used to indicate which young people are at risk of becoming NEET. As a result provision has been brokered in 5 secondary schools and with 20 students attending flexible taster courses with Youth Services in Cardiff and Vale College (CAVC). Careers Wales and the Youth Service are working collaboratively and making an impact on those at risk and have improved the attendance and behaviour in schools of students identified as being at risk.  Early indications are that 16-18 year NEET figures have reduced and that the Vale is making good progress in reducing NEET in this age group. CAVC and People Business Wales are working to meet the needs of young people aged 18+ and several initiatives are being developed including the Princes Trust Volunteer Programme and increasing work based learning and apprenticeships programmes.


19. All of the top ten wards in the Vale most affected by youth unemployment have been visited by learning coaches through mobile provision. Of the contacts made, 33% have consequently engaged with the service in improving their employment prospects and further work is ongoing with partners to increase engagement levels in the second half of the year. As at Q2, 88.7% of 16-18 year olds in the Vale were in education, employment or training, above the target of 81%.

Objective 6: To reduce the time taken to deliver disabled facilities grants to children and young people and to adults.

20. Progress continues to be made in reducing the number of days taken to deliver disabled facilities grants and our performance as at quarter 2 was 217 days against a target of 250 days. Initial results for Q3 show an average delivery time of 201 days for all cases demonstrating further improvement since implementation of the new contract framework.   Excluding those DFGs using the old tendering system, the total number of delivery days for the DFGs is around 165 days which is a significant improvement. We are on course for an estimated end of year performance of 200 days, including those grants that are being completed under the old tendering system.  100% of clients who have received a disabled facilities grant are satisfied with the process. 100% of clients have stated that the DFG made them feel more independent at home. 

Objective 7: To support and challenge schools in order to improve pupil attainment levels at Key Stages 2, 3 and 4.

21. Pupil attainment has improved on a range of measures and most targets have been met for the 2013/14 school year.  During a recent monitoring visit Estyn inspectors reported that the authority is making good progress to improve the rigour and the level of challenge provided to schools about their performance and quality of leadership. 'The authority has worked well with headteachers, governors and its regional school improvement service to secure improvements'.


22. Despite not meeting the KS4 target for the proportion of students gaining 5 GCSE grades of A*-C including English/Welsh and mathematics the results represented a material improvement on previous years and ranked second in Wales


23. We have been successful in reducing the performance gap between pupils entitled to fee school meals and their peers in all areas with the exception of pupils at KS4 and significant work is currently ongoing to address this. The Pupil Deprivation Grant is provided to schools to improve the attainment of this group of pupils.


24. At Key Stage 3, whilst the proportion of schools performing in the higher to highest benchmarking quarters for CSI at Level 5+ continues to improve, and is currently at 75% we did not meet our target of 85% and this continues to be an area for focus for the service. Estyn requires a performance greater than 50%, which has however been achieved.

Objective 8: Improve our responsive repairs service for tenants.

25. There has been an improved quality of repairs through a robust new satisfaction and monitoring procedure, evidenced through a new dedicated database and manually through standards set out via post inspection protocols. Currently our statistics show we are post inspecting 100% of specialist external contractor jobs and 25% of responsive repair jobs. Customer satisfaction with responsive repairs continues to improve. As at December 2014, 90% of our tenants are happy with the process and 97% of our tenants are happy with the repairs undertaken.


26. The increase in the number of appointments made and kept has been achieved by the employment of designated works planners, contacting tenants direct to confirm appointments. In April we were keeping 83% of appointments made, in September our performance was 91% and improving. Productivity levels stood at 4.7 jobs per man per day in April and there has been no increase or decrease in this figure with the removal of the ‘Home to Work’ policy from mobile workers with performance an average of 4.6 jobs per man per day.


27. A whole team approach to ‘right first time’ is reinforced through team meetings with Officers and front line staff. There is clear defined budget management through the reinforcement of financial protocols, smarter working processes, robust costing, robust job management, accountability and weekly budget meetings. This is evidenced through half year budget reporting showing all Housing Revenue Account (HRA) budgets at appropriate levels.


28. The Council is required to publish its improvement objectives for the period 2015/16 as soon as is practicable at the start of the financial year. Consequently consideration needs to be given to whether the key outcomes as outlined in the Improvement Plan Part 1 will be achieved by 31 March 2015.  Where there are longer timescales involved it is proposed that these continue to be monitored and reported but not included as Improvement Objectives for 2015/16 where progress is on track.  The Improvement Plan Part 2, for 2015 will include a progress update on longer term Improvement Objectives.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

29. The Council's Improvement Objectives have been informed by existing priorities within the Corporate Plan (2013 - 2017) and either have resources committed to their achievement or the likely prospect of such resources being made available in the period of the plan.  Resource implications were considered as part of the Medium Term Financial Plan and it was anticipated that wherever possible actions would need to be met within existing resources. 

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

30. The Corporate Plan and Improvement Objectives address issues of sustainability and climate change where appropriate.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

31. The Council has a duty under the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 to identify, publish and report performance against its Improvement Objectives.

Crime and Disorder Implications

32. The Corporate Plan and Improvement Objectives address issues of community safety where appropriate.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

33. The Improvement Objectives include activities which aim to address inequalities and promote social inclusion, especially disabled facilities grants and work with young people who are at risk of becoming NEET.

Corporate/Service Objectives

34. The Corporate Plan 2013-2017 outlines community leadership as a priority for the Council.  Improving how the Council evidences and reports achievement of its priority outcomes contributes towards effective community leadership.

Policy Framework and Budget

35. This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

36. All scrutiny committees were consulted on Improvement Objectives before approval was sought from Cabinet on 28th April and Council on 7th May 2014.  The final Improvement Objectives incorporated the changes requested by committees, Cabinet and Council.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

37. All

Background Papers

Appendix 1: Improvement Objectives 2014/15 Progress - Actions

Appendix 2: Improvement Objectives 2014/15 Progress - Measures

Contact Officer

Julia Archampong, Performance Manager

Officers Consulted

Huw Isaac, Head of Performance and Development

All Service Directors

Responsible Officer:

Sian Davies, Managing Director