Vale of Glamorgan Council

Cabinet Meeting: 21 September, 2015

Report of the Leader

Improvement Plan Part 2: Annual Review of Performance  2014-15 and Local Government Performance 2014-15

Purpose of the Report

1.    To present the draft Improvement Plan Part 2: Annual Review of Performance 2014/15, which contains performance and improvement information for Improvement Objectives agreed in April 2014. The report also outlines the findings of the Local Government Data Unit Wales in its report of Local Government Performance 2014/15.


1.    That Cabinet endorse the Improvement Plan Part 2: Annual Review of Performance for 2014-15 and refer the Plan to Council for approval.


2.    That Cabinet notes the publication of the Local Government Data Unit Wales report on Local Government Performance 2014-15.

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 Cabinet of the performance of the Vale of Glamorgan Council relative to other Welsh authorities during 2014-15.


2.    The Council's Part 1 Improvement Plan for 2014-15 was agreed by Cabinet on 28th April 2014; this is required by the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009. This Plan is forward looking, and set eight Improvement Objectives for 2014-15.


3.    The Local Government Data Unit Wales publishes annually a Local Government Performance Report which outlines the performance of Welsh authorities across a range of indicators.

Relevant Issues and Options

4.    The Part 2 Improvement Plan is a document primarily looking back over 2014-15. 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 collaborative activities undertaken during the year.  A copy of the Part 2 Improvement Plan (Appendix 1) is available online and in Members room.


5.    The majority of the information contained within the Plan is based on departmental Service Plans, 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.


6.    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.


7.    The Plan is substantially complete, although further minor amendments may be required prior to publication following any changes to performance information provided by the Local Government Data Unit, which affect the performance analysis reported.’


8.    Based on our self-assessment, we have concluded that overall, the Council has been successful in achieving the great majority of the positive outcomes intended in our Improvement Objectives for 2014-15, despite challenging financial times. Eight of the Improvement Objectives set for the year were judged to have been achieved. However, the majority also remain long term strategic priorities for the Council and the success achieved in 2014-15 represents the start of what will be a long programme of initiatives to continually improve services for citizens of the Vale.


9.    Below is a summary of our conclusions on the eight Improvement Objectives for the Vale.


10.    Objective 1: To improve the employability of local people by facilitating learning opportunities, vocational and employment skills. Our intended outcomes for the year have been achieved. We have come to this conclusion because through our work with key partners, investors and regeneration projects we have successfully targeted support at maximising opportunities for training and employment, by focusing on removing barriers to learning and employment and improving skills.  This has resulted in an increase in confidence, and the take up of training and employment opportunities overall leading to more clients securing employment.


11.    Objective 2: To increase sustainability and stability of looked after children's placements. Having met our target to increase in-house foster carers and returned nine children formerly placed out of area to live in the Vale, we concluded that the key outcomes for the objective have been achieved for the year.  Whilst we did not reduce expenditure per looked after child overall, this was due to an increase by 10 in the numbers of children in fostering placements. However, the placements made with families are stable and local, which are key priorities for the Council. The expenditure on the more costly out of area residential placements was reduced. Work will continue in the long term to increase sustainability and stability of vulnerable children and young people’s placements as a Council priority.  


12.    Objective 3: Our objective to support more people towards independence has been achieved.  On balance we have achieved the majority of outcomes we set ourselves for 2014-15.  The introduction of the new integrated locality structure at a time of increasing service demand is starting to have a positive impact in improving access to health and social care services for older people overall.  We are seeing less duplication of effort with people getting the support they need at the right time resulting in positive outcomes.  However, this remains a long term priority for the Council going forward.


13.    Objective 4: 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 with the Vale’s main town centres and businesses to promote investment and improve the built environment contributing to their vitality and attractiveness.  
Improving the vitality and attractiveness of our town centres remains a key part of the regeneration vision for the Council and work to date represents the start of what will be a long programme of initiatives to improve and sustain their vibrancy in the long term.


14.    Objective 5: 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 significant work has been undertaken via a co-ordinated approach with key partners, which has resulted in a reduction in NEET levels at year’s 11 and 12 from 3.8% to 2.75% and 2.02% to 1.78% respectively. In addition, more young people, post 18 have been supported to into employment.  Our performance also improved with respect to reducing NEET levels at year 13 (4.8% to 4.08%), however this remains an area for further improvement.


15.    Objective 6: To reduce the time taken to deliver disabled facilities grants to children and young people and to adults. Our conclusion is that we have achieved our intended outcomes because we have successfully reduced delivery times for service users by a third from the previous year. Our performance when compared with other Welsh councils is an improving one, currently placed 8th in Wales from 16th last year. We continue to work with customers to ensure their experience throughout the grant process is positive one and leads to increased independence.  The majority of customers using the service during the year stated that they were satisfied with the service received and reported that the assistance had made them safer and more independent in their own homes.


16.    Objective 7: To support and challenge schools in order to improve pupil attainment levels at Key Stages 2, 3 and 4. Overall, we achieved our intended outcomes for the year because pupil performance for the academic year 2013/14 shows continued improvement across all phases.  There has been significant improvement in the number of young people achieving the level 2+ indicator that is, 5 A* - C grades including English/Welsh and mathematics from 55.4% last year to 62.2% in 2014. We have worked with schools to ensure all 14-19 year group students’ needs are met contributing to zero students leaving compulsory education without an approved qualification.


The gap between the performance of children entitled to free school meals and that of their peers has narrowed at the Foundation Phase, Key Stages 2 and 3 but widened at Key Stage 4. Work is ongoing aimed at securing further improvements at all key stages.


As a key priority for the Council, the work to raise standards and levels of attainment will continue in the long term in order to secure the best possible education for pupils and levels of attainment for all key stages.


17.    Objective 8: To improve our responsive repairs service for tenants. Our conclusion is that we have achieved our intended outcomes for the year however work will continue in the long term in order to deliver further improvements for council tenants. The transfer to a new more efficient mobile solution has enabled us to achieve service efficiencies, increase productivity and this has reduced service costs overall. Tenants have seen significant improvement in the repairs reporting process, our response times and the quality of repairs.  During the year, 93% of respondents said they were satisfied with our reporting process and 92% said they were satisfied with the quality of the work.


18.    Pages 84-95 in Appendix 1 detail how we performed against the 2014/15 national performance dataset in comparison with the previous year and with other local authorities in Wales.


19.    We collected and reported data on 46 national performance indicators in 2014-15. Of these, 44 have data that can be compared with the previous year. Key highlights include:


20.    In total 8 indicators achieved the best possible performance in 2014/15. Of these 8 best performing indicators, 7 continued to maintain their best possible performance (either 100% or 0%) when compared to last year. The indicator that achieved its best possible performance in contrast to last year was EDU/002i, Pupils in school aged 15 that leave education, training or work-based learning without an approved external qualification.  During 2014-15, 0% of children left without any approved qualification whereas the previous year the 0.2% of children left without a qualification.


21.    49% (23) indicators showed an improvement (based on their PI value) during 2014/15. These have remained relatively static compared to last year. 14 of the 23 indicators this year have continued to show an improvement during 2014-15 when compared with the previous year.


22.    13 indicators showed a decline (based on their PI value) during 2014/15, the same number as the previous year. 5 of the 13 measures continued to show a decline during 2014-15.


23.    For 4 indicators, performance had previously shown an improvement during 2013-14 but their performance during 2014-15 has remained static. However, 3 of the 4 indicators have continued to maintain best possible performance of 100% (EDU/015a, EDU/015b, relating to final statements of SEN issued and SCA/019 relating to adult protection referrals where the risk has been managed). There are also 8 indicators that had previously shown improvement in 2013/14 (based on their PI value) that are now showing a decline in their performance for 2014/15. These relate to EDU/006ii (pupils assessed receiving a teacher assessment in Welsh) has dropped from 9.2% in 2012/13 to 8.9% in 2014/15, SCA/002b (rate of older people supported in care homes), this figure has slightly increased from 14.74 per 1,000 population in 2012/13 to 15.70 per 1,000 population in 2014/15 (where an increase indicates that performance is worsening), SCA/020 (adults supported in the community) performance has only slightly dipped by 2.72% compared with the previous year, SCC/045 (reviews of looked after children (LAC) and Children in Need (CIN) carried out in statutory timetable) performance has only slightly by 1.6% compared with last year, SCC/025 (percentage of statutory visits to LAC in accordance with regulations) has shown a very minor decline of 0.8%, PSR/004 (private sector vacant dwellings returned to occupation) there has been a 31.54% drop compared to last year, STS/005b (highways inspected for high or acceptable level of cleanliness) has seen a minor decline of 0.6% and THS/012b (non-principal roads in poor condition), has seen a very minor decline of 0.2%.


24.    8 Indicators during 2014-15 have shown no change in their performance when compared to 2013/14.


25.    A breakdown of our performance in quartiles when compared to Wales is as follows:

  • 44% (20) indicators were in the upper quartile of performance, representing a 3% increase on the previous year where 41% (17) indicators were reported in the upper quartile for their performance.
  • 15% (7) of indicators were in the upper middle quartile (2nd) during 2014/15 compared with 7% (3) of indicators in the previous year (2013-14).
  • 20% (9) indicators were in the lower middle quartile for their performance during 2014/15, representing a 9% reduction on the previous year where 29% (12) indicators were reported in the lower middle quartile.
  • 20% (9) indicators have remained in the bottom quartile for their performance during 2014/15 which is the same as the previous year (2013/14). Of these 9 indicators, 7 were previously in the lower quartile for the performance during 2013-14, indicating that there have not have not been any significant improvements to enable these indicators to move out of the bottom quartile for their performance.

26.    In comparison the Vale performed better in 61% (28) of comparable indicators against the South East Wales Region.  This performance was also mirrored when compared with all Welsh councils.


27.    Much of this analysis is considered in the Local Government Data Unit Wales annual report 2014-15. This report has only very recently been published. As advised 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 (it has the same number of top or upper quartile indicators as Ceredigion. By way of outline, the Council has placed in the top group of authorities for 48% of comparable indicators. A total of 50% of the indicators were an improvement on 2013-14. 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)

28.    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.


29.    The production of the Improvement Plan involves a considerable amount of time from officers. The cost of producing the plan and publishing a bilingual summary is met through existing budgets.  

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

30.    Sustainability issues have been taken into account as part of the process for selecting the Improvement Objectives.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

31.    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

32.    None directly as a result of this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

33.    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

34.    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

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

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

36.    Elected Members and Corporate Management Team were involved in the selection of Improvement Objectives for 2014/15. We also consulted our key partners, local businesses and the public as part of the process.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

37.    Corporate Resources.  In view of the fact the timetable has not allowed all Scrutiny Committees to consider 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.  It must be noted that the majority if information contained with the Plan has been previously reported to all Scrutiny Committees as part quarterly and end of year performance reporting and Service Plans.

Background Papers

Improvement Plan Part 2: Annual Review of Performance 2014/15 - Appendix 1

Local Government Performance Bulletin 2014/15 - Appendix 2

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

Heads of Service

Operational Managers

Responsible Officer:

Rob Thomas, Managing Director