Agenda Item No 11

Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting: 21st May 2018

 

Report of the Leader of the Council 

 

Vale of Glamorgan Well-being and Improvement Objectives (Improvement Plan Part 1) 2018/19

 

Purpose of the Report

  1. The report seeks Cabinet endorsement of the Improvement Plan Part 1 outlining the Council's Well-being and Improvement Objectives and associated actions for 2018/19.

Recommendations

  1. That Cabinet consider the views and recommendations from Scrutiny Committees in relation to the Improvement Plan Part 1 for 2018/19.
  2. That Cabinet endorse the Vale of Glamorgan Council's Improvement Plan Part 1 for 2018/19 (Appendix 1) for publication.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1&2  To ensure the Council fully discharges its statutory duty to set and publish its Improvement Plan Part 1, outlining how it proposes to meet its Well-being and Improvement Objectives for 2018/19.

Background

  1. 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. Under the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act, the Council was required to publish its Well-being Objectives by 31 March 2017 and to keep these under review. 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.
  2. 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 Plan sets out the Council's Well-being Outcomes and Objectives for 2016-2020 as well as its vision and values with reference to the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and has been informed by local needs and available resources and incorporates the views of residents, partners and staff.
  3. In order to ensure the Council continued to discharge its 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, in April 2016, Cabinet formally endorsed the eight Corporate Plan Well-being Objectives as the Council's Well-being and Improvement Objectives.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. Appendix 1 contains the Vale of Glamorgan Council's Well-being and Improvement Objectives (Improvement Plan Part) 1 for the period 2018/19.
  2. Pages 8-35 of the Plan provides further details on each Objective including: an identified Sponsoring Director with responsibility for ensuring progress is made in achieving our intended outcomes; a brief rationale for selection of the Objective; the specific actions we will take during 2018/19 in order to progress our identified priorities; and performance indicators and targets to measure our progress.
  3. Challenging targets have been set for improvement reflecting the Council's commitment to continuously improve the services it provides to citizens of the Vale of Glamorgan, and a desire to aspire to top quartile performance where appropriate. At the same time, the Council is also mindful of significant financial and service demand pressures over the coming year and key targets and milestones for our Well-being and Improvement Objectives have been set within this context. This means that in some areas for example it will be an achievement to maintain existing levels of performance whilst absorbing reductions in funding, managing increasing service demand or both. Such issues have been taken into account during internal challenge of our Well-being and Improvement Objectives and associated targets.
  • Under the WBFG Act, the Council is required to review its Well-being Objectives annually to ensure they remain relevant. We continually review the relevance of our Well-being Objectives in the Corporate Plan through our integrated 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. Going forward into 2018/19, we are assured that the priorities we have set aligned to our Corporate Plan Well-being Objectives continue to be relevant priorities and this has been reinforced by:
  • Positive responses from challenge sessions held in January 2018 with Sponsoring Directors and responsible officers on proposed emerging priorities for improvement for 2018/19 as identified through the Council's Annual Self-Assessment process. Mapping our improvement priorities to the PSB's draft Well-being Plan has enabled us to challenge our ways of working and identify synergies between service areas across the Council in terms of how we contribute to the PSB's Well-being Plan objectives. As a consequence of this exercise, we are assured that the priorities we have identified are appropriate and relevant to the priorities in the Well-being Plan and will complement the work of the PSB going forward. It has also enabled us to identify further opportunities for working in partnership to deliver services that better meet and reflect community needs.
  • Findings from our budget consultation for 2018/19 which demonstrates positive support from residents for the Council's priorities and Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes. The initial findings 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.
  • Findings from the Public Opinion Survey carried out between December 2016 and January 2017. Overall satisfaction with Council services has improved to 92% compared with 84% in 2014/15. Over 97% of residents were either very satisfied or satisfied with the Vale of Glamorgan as a place to live. Overall, the consultation 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.
  1. In line with the Council's Performance Management Framework, our Improvement Plan priorities for 2018/19 are reflected in our Service Plans for 2018-22 which Members have recently endorsed (Scrutiny Committees in March and Cabinet in April 2018).  Progress against these priorities will be monitored via quarterly performance reports to the relevant Scrutiny Committees as aligned with the Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes, supplemented with an overall summary report to Cabinet.
  2. The Council is required to publically communicate its Well-being and Improvement Objectives to all key stakeholders including Vale residents and partners.  Following approval by Cabinet, publication of the Improvement Plan Part 1 will take place via a variety of media (including social media) which will ensure the Council is complying with this requirement. Hard copies will be made available at the Council's main reception areas and libraries. A public summary (Appendix 2) will also be available online and in the Council's main reception areas.

Summary of Scrutiny Committee Views and Recommendations

  1. In order to meet the statutory timescales to publish our Well-being and Improvement Objectives at the start of the financial year, the views from all Scrutiny Committees (16th -30th April) have been incorporated within this report and are now being presented to Cabinet for consideration and approval.

Healthy Living & Social Care

  1. The Healthy Living & Social Care Scrutiny Committee (16th April), recommended that the Corporate Plan Well-being and Improvement Objectives and associated priority actions for 2018/19 as outlined in Appendix 1 attached to the report, be endorsed and the views of the Scrutiny Committee be included in the summary report sent to Cabinet:
  • A Member highlighted paragraph 8 of the report, which stated that challenge sessions had been held in January 2018 with sponsoring Directors and responsible officers.  The Committee Member queried if service users could be included in these challenge sessions, as a solely corporate perspective in the service might not be challenged without an outside perspective.  In response, the Director of Social Services stated that no service users had been present as far as he was aware as the challenge sessions had been corporate led.  The Director of Social Services agreed that service user input could be valuable, and noted that page 7 of Appendix 1 attached to the report contained details of how members of the public could get involved in decision making in the Council.  Finally, the Director of Social Services added that Elected Members had been involved in the process.
  • A Committee Member highlighted Improvement Objective 7 as detailed on page 27 of Appendix A attached to the report, which discussed encouraging and promoting active and healthy lifestyles.  The Committee Member queried if providing lighting to active travel routes could benefit this Well-being Outcome.  In response, the Operational Manager, Neighbourhood Services, Healthy Living and Performance, commented that the benefits of Active Travel were well understood, however, it was difficult to find funding to light all routes.  As such, only Active Travel routes where there were health and safety concerns had been lit. 
  • There then followed a discussion amongst the Scrutiny Committee regarding leisure centres in the Vale of Glamorgan and outstanding maintenance and tender issues.  Following visits by a Sub-Group of the Healthy Living and Social Care Scrutiny Committee, the conditions of Cowbridge and Llantwit Major Leisure Centres were noted.  The Operational Manager, Neighbourhood Services, Healthy Living and Performance also provided an update on tenders for Penarth Leisure Centre.  The Committee noted that following tender invitations to six companies, only one had been submitted.  The work for Penarth Leisure Centre would therefore be re-tendered on the Sell2Wales website to a wider group of companies.  While officers were disappointed in the previous round of tenders, there was an expectation that future tenders would be more satisfactory.

Homes and Safe Communities

  1. The Homes and Safe Communities Scrutiny Committee (18th April), recommended that the Corporate Plan Well-being and Improvement Objectives and associated priority actions for 2018/19 as outlined in Appendix 1 attached to the report, be endorsed and the views of the Scrutiny Committee be included in the summary report sent to Cabinet:
  • A Member referred to page 2 of Appendix 1 which introduced the document and provided context for Councillors and members of the public.  The Committee Member stated he was pleased with the Council's mission statement being included, however, felt this should be better labelled as so. Also, he commented that the diagram at the bottom of the page depicted the Corporate Plan being carried out through a top down approach whereas he felt the process was more holistic and required everybody to contribute.  The Officer stated that this formatting comment could be fed back to Cabinet and the Performance and Development Department.
  • The Committee then discussed the Improvement Objectives for 2018/19, as outlined in the Council's Corporate Plan, and which of these would be the hardest to achieve and how progress might be measured. A Member commented that paragraph 7 of the report stated that challenging targets had been set for improvement reflecting the Council's commitment to continuously improve the services it provided to the public, and the Member queried if this was truly reflected in the targets set for performance indicators. One example provided by the Member was indicator CPM/104 listed on page 9 of Appendix 1, which detailed the percentage of Flying Start children achieving at least the expected outcomes for the Foundation Phase, and the target was set to rise from 85% to 88%, which he felt could be more challenging. The Member then discussed the key performance indicator CPM/100 listed on page 9 of Appendix 1 which listed the percentage of those taking up the Digital Champion service who reported feeling more confident in using ICT on a day to day basis.  The Member sought more information on this indicator, querying how it had been measured.  The Officer indicated he would seek clarification for the Member on how indicator CPM/100 had been measured.
  • A Member noted that on page 13 of Appendix 1, indicator CPM/124, the percentage of domestic abuse victims that reported that they felt safer as a result of target hardening, had gone down from 2016/17 to 2017/18 and queried why this was the case.  It was noted by the Committee that the outcomes for this indicator, and the way it had been measured, had changed to be more prevention focused.  As such, the measurement was not like for like.  It was requested that the issue of target hardening for domestic abuse victims form the basis of a future presentation to the Committee.  Finally, it was confirmed for a Tenant Working Group representative that domestic abuse victims in this indicator could include both men and women.
  • The Committee discussed the measured progress on the indicators listed on page 14 of Appendix 1 which had information left blank for indicator CPM/064, did not specify what was being met by the "required standard" in indicator CPM/234, and whether the properties listed under indicator CPM/235 were in the public or private sector.  In response, the Operational Manager - Building Services stated that the blank information indicator CPM/064 related to benchmarks which were being reported for the first time, as such there was insufficient data for a baseline to be made and these could be compared in full next year.  The Officer also noted that indicator CPM/234 referred to the Welsh Housing Quality Standards and indicator CMP/235 referred specifically to voids in Council housing. 
  • In response to the recommendations of the report, a Committee Member requested that the Vale of Glamorgan Well-being and Improvement Objectives (Improvement Plan Part 1) 2018/19 be noted but not endorsed.  Consequently, the Committee voted to endorse the Vale of Glamorgan Well-being and Improvement Objectives (Improvement Plan Part 1) 2018/19 with consideration being given to the comments raised at the meeting, which passed.
  • Councillor M.R. Wilson requested that it be recorded that he voted against this motion.

Environment and Regeneration

  1. The Environment & Regeneration Scrutiny Committee (19th April) recommended that the Corporate Plan Well-being and Improvement Objectives and associated priority actions for 2018/19 as outlined in Appendix 1 attached to the report, be endorsed.

Learning & Culture

  1. The Learning & Culture Scrutiny Committee (23rd April) recommended that the Corporate Plan Well-being and Improvement Objectives and associated priority actions for 2018/19 as outlined in Appendix 1 attached to the report, be endorsed and the views of the Scrutiny Committee be included in the summary report sent to Cabinet:
  2. A Committee Member noted that in paragraph 7 of the report it was stated that challenging targets had been set for improvement reflecting the Council's commitment to continuously improve the services it provided to citizens of the Vale of Glamorgan, and the desire to aspire to top quartile performance where appropriate.  Referring to Appendix 2, the Committee Member queried if this challenge was reflected in the targets for next year.  The Committee Member also queried why, compared to other Improvement Objectives, targets for 2018/19 had not been set in Improvement Objective 5 - raising overall standards of achievement. 
  3. In response, the Director of Learning and Skills advised the Committee that as the Well-being and Improvement Objectives (Improvement Plan Part 1) 2018/19 was reported in line with the financial year, it would therefore be out of synch with the academic year, which had not yet finished.  As such, targets for the 2018/19 academic year could not yet be set. 
  4. The Chairman noted that on page 25 of Appendix 1, which related to Improvement Objective 6 - valuing culture and diversity, the Council recognised the importance of promoting equality of opportunity.  The Chairman queried if this was correct, given that schools were moving towards equality of outcome as compared to equality of opportunity.  In response, the Director of Learning and Skills commented that this particular objective referred to wider communities in the Vale of Glamorgan and not just schools.
  5. A Committee Member highlighted page 23 of the Appendix, which detailed performance indicators related to the percentage of young people leaving Years 11, 12 and 13 who were not in education, employment or training.  The Committee Member noted that these figures were listed as percentages, and asked if the officers knew the exact numbers.  In response, the Head of Achievement for All informed the Committee that he did not have the exact figures to hand, however would send them to the Member via email after the meeting. 
  6. A Committee Member noted that the Improvement Plan Part 1 made reference to identifying a site for gypsies and travellers in the Vale of Glamorgan and asked if officers had more information on this matter.  To provide more information to the Committee, the Chairman invited the Operational Manager for Planning and Building Control to speak.  The Operational Manager informed Members that a Council question had recently been asked on this matter.  A Gypsy and Traveller Project Board had been set up and were meeting regularly.  She advised the Committee that the main delay the Project Board was facing related to maintaining regular dialogue with existing gypsy and traveller groups in the Vale of Glamorgan.  The Council had engaged the services of Gypsy and Traveller Wales to remedy this issue and progress the matter further.  The Operational Manager advised the Committee to expect a Cabinet report moving progress on this matter before the recess. 
  7. The Chairman asked the Committee as there were no specific recommendations to Cabinet if they were happy to move the recommendations in the report.  A Committee Member commented that on page 23 of Appendix 1, reference was made to a restructure of the Council's Youth Services and noted that the Committee was waiting for a report on this matter.  The Member queried that if the Scrutiny Committee were to endorse this report, would they also therefore be endorsing proposals for the restructure of the Youth Services.  In response, the Chairman advised that endorsing the Vale of Glamorgan Council's Well-being Objectives and Improvement Plan Part 1 meant endorsing the contained Improvement Objectives and Corporate Plan priorities, rather than a specific proposal that the Scrutiny Committee felt was contrary to these aims.  Subsequently, it was therefore recommended that the Corporate Plan Well-being and Improvement Objectives and associated priority actions for 2018/19 as outlined in Appendix 1 attached to the report, be endorsed and the views of the Scrutiny Committee be included in the summary report sent to Cabinet.

Corporate Performance & Resources

  1. The Corporate Performance & Resources Scrutiny Committee (30th April) recommended endorsed the Corporate Plan Well-being and Improvement Objectives and associated priority actions for 2018/19 as outlined in Appendix 1 attached to the report be endorsed and the views of the Scrutiny Committee be included in the summary report sent to Cabinet:
  2. A Member queried whether there was a typographical error on page 28 of Appendix 1 in regard to the targets set for Green Flag Awards at key urban parks throughout the Vale of Glamorgan. Following a discussion, the officer confirmed that the Appendix was correct and the target related to maintaining the Council's existing seven Green Flags with nine awards as a future target.  The officer (Operational Manager Performance and Policy) stated that he would however confirm this for all Members via e-mail. 
  3. Another Member advised the Committee that he had received a number of queries from residents regarding their concerns about street lighting, dog fouling, recycling and pot holes, and suggested whether the Council's work to tackle these issues should be highlighted in greater detail in the document.  In response, the Operational Manager for Performance and Policy noted that these Corporate Plan priorities were detailed on page 19 of Appendix 1, however, they were presented in the order set out in Service Plans and were therefore not necessarily presented in order of possible 'public' priority.  The officer commented that the public summary of the Improvement Objectives 2018/19 attached at Appendix 2 to the report was more resident focused and provided an overview to members of the public of the work undertaken to address the issues identified by the Councillor. 
  4. Following a request for more information on the work undertaken to prevent and tackle instances of anti-social behaviour and including implementing restorative justice approaches for young people, as detailed on page 11 of Appendix 1, the Operational Manager (Performance and Policy) stated he would request the details from the relevant department and forward them via email to all Members of the Committee.  In conclusion, another Member sought clarification on the performance figures for the percentage of staff appraisals completed and the timescales for reporting this indicator, with it being noted that the percentage for appraisals undertaken for the year had been 97.4% and the target was 95%.  It was subsequently recommended  that the Corporate Plan Well-being and Improvement Objectives and associated priority actions for 2018/19 as outlined in Appendix 1 attached to the report, be endorsed and the views of the Scrutiny Committee be included in the summary report sent to Cabinet.

Response to Scrutiny Committees views - Improvement Plan 2018/19:

Homes and Safe Communities

  1. There was a query from a Member of the Healthy Living and Social Services Scrutiny Committee to consider incorporating in future Challenge sessions, service user perspective in order to strengthen the Council's approach to reviewing its Well-being Objectives.
  2. We continually look to improve and develop the Council's approach to self-assessment year on year and the above comment from the Healthy Living Scrutiny committee will be taken on board in reviewing our process for 2019/20.  This year the emphasis has been on embedding the existing process and further strengthening the alignment with the requirements of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act.
  3. Under the Act, the Council is required to review its Well-being Objectives annually to ensure they remain relevant.  In order to strengthen and evidence our integrated approach both internally and with our partners, this year as part of the Council's Annual Self-Assessment, we incorporated challenge sessions with Sponsoring Directors and key contributors for each of the Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes and Objectives.  Whilst these challenge sessions did not include service users per se, we have ensured that as key stakeholders, their views have been fully incorporated throughout the annual Council self-assessment process, comprehensive engagement undertaken to identify the priorities that informed our Corporate Plan Well-being Objectives and more recently the draft Public Services Board (PSB) Well-being Objectives published in October 2017.
  4. As a result of the self-assessment process and the emerging improvement priorities we have reviewed the relevance of our Well-being priorities outlined in the Corporate Plan to ensure that we continue to reflect the most pertinent priorities for the Vale of Glamorgan and have also used the current draft of the PSB's Well-being Plan as an opportunity to ensure that our improvement priorities also align to the Well-being Plan.

Homes and safe communities

  1. A Member of the Homes and Safe Communities Scrutiny Committee stated that, whilst pleased with the Council's mission statement being included in the Plan (Appendix 1, page 2), he felt this should be better labelled as so. He also made reference to the diagram at the bottom of the page which he felt depicted the Corporate Plan being carried out through a top down approach whereas he considered the process to be more holistic and required everybody to contribute. 
  • The diagram referred to titled 'how it all fits together', represents a high level overview of the Council's Performance Management Framework and shows the hierarchy of plans aligned to the Corporate Plan which outlines our vision and Well-being Objectives.  Employees at all levels within the organisation play a key role in developing these plans and in delivering them and the process is indeed both top down and bottom up.  In response to the comment, the diagram will be updated prior to publication to further emphasise our inclusive approach.
  1. Comments were made in relation to a number of Corporate Performance Measures (CPMs) by the Homes and Safe Communities Scrutiny Committee (Appendix 1, pages 9, 13, 14) aligned to Well-being Outcome 1. These related to performance indicator descriptions (CPM/234 and CPM/235) and the rationale for some performance targets for 2018/19 (CPM/124 and CPM/104).
  • The performance indicator descriptions relating to CPM124 and CPM125 which also form part of the national performance framework of Public Accountability Measures have recently been reviewed and guidance reissued by the Local Government Data Unit. The new descriptions for these indicators will be updated in the Improvement Plan making it clearer what service areas the measures specifically relate to.  Full technical definitions for our Corporate Performance Framework of Measures and other national measures are also available on the Council's website (PI Definition Library) for further information.
  • In line with the Council's performance management timetable, proposed improvement targets, deletions and amendments for 2018/19 as aligned to Well-being Outcome 1, were reported to the Homes and Safe Communities Scrutiny Committee on 14th March 2018 for challenge prior to being reported to Cabinet for final endorsement on 3rd April. All proposals were endorsed by the Committee via recommendation to Cabinet with the exception of the proposed deletion of CPM/120, 'The percentage of all domestic violence incidents which are repeat offences'.  This measure has been included in the Corporate Framework of Measures for 2018/19 following endorsement by Cabinet.  No issues were raised in relation to proposed improvement targets for CPM/124 and CPM/125 by the Committee at the time.
  1. In response to comments from Scrutiny Committees following consideration of the Improvement Plan, the following amendments to the Plan are proposed:
  2. The diagram titled 'how it all fits together' is amended prior to publication to reflect the holistic approach taken by the Council in developing and delivering its key strategic plans as outlined in its Performance Management Framework.
  3. Performance descriptions for all Public Accountability Measures are updated prior to publication in the Improvement Plan to reflect the 2018/19 guidance recently issued by the Local Government Data Unit.
  4. Update the quarter 3 performance data reported in the section 'how will we measure progress' in the Improvement Plan with end of year data for 2017/18 to ensure up to date information is presented where available.

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. 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

  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 developing our Well-being Objectives.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. The Council has a duty to identify and publish its annual Improvement Objectives and report progress against them.
  2. 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 and to keep these under review.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. 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)

  1. 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.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. 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.
  2. 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

  1. The Corporate Plan's Well-being Outcomes and Objectives and Service Plans form part of the Council's approved policy framework and is a matter for Executive decision by Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. In line with the requirement to consult on our Well-being Objectives, we have sought input from our partners, residents and staff on our Corporate Plan Well-being and Improvement Objectives.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. All. The Council's Well-being and Improvement Objectives and associated priorities for 2018/19 were discussed and subsequently endorsed by all Scrutiny Committees (between 16th and 30th April 2018.

Background Papers

None

Contact Officer

Julia Archampong, Performance Manager

Officers Consulted

Corporate Management Team

Huw Isaac, Head of Performance and Development

Tom Bowring, Operational Manager Performance and Policy

Responsible Officer:

Rob Thomas, Managing Director