Agenda Item No. 13(f)









Matter which the Chairman had decided was urgent by reason of the need for the Council to publish its improvement Plan by 30 October, 2014


The Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) on 16 September, 2014 considered the above report of the Managing Director.


The Scrutiny Committee was requested to endorse the Improvement Plan for 2013/14.  The Draft Improvement Plan Part 2: Annual Review of Performance 2013/14 contained performance and information for Improvement Objectives that had been agreed in June 2013.


The Head of Performance and Development informed Members that the Part 2 Improvement Plan attached at Appendix 1 to the report was a document primarily looking back over 2013/14 and contained key performance measures, targets and actions which helped demonstrate progress towards the achievement of the Council’s Improvement Objectives. 


Although the Plan was substantially complete, further minor amendments would be required following changes to performance information provided by the Local Government Data Unit and from proof reading.  However, based on the Council’s overall assessment, it was concluded that the Council had been successful in achieving the majority of the positive outcomes intended in its Improvement Objectives for 2013/14, despite challenging financial times.  Overall, 7 out of the 8 Improvement Objectives that had been set for the year had been judged to have been successfully achieved with 1 partially achieved.  A summary of the conclusions of the 8 Improvement Objectives for the Vale was identified in paragraphs 8 to 19 of the report.


In referring further to the Appendix, the Head of Service advised that pages 65 to 86 detailed how the Council had performed against the 2013/14 national performance data set in comparison with the previous year and with other local authorities in Wales.  Data had been collected and reported on 44 national performance indicators (PIs) and, of these, 43 had data that could be compared with the previous year.  The key highlights included:

  • in total 9 indicators had achieved the best possible performance in 2013/14. Of these 9 best PIs, 6 of these indicators continued to maintain their best possible performance (either 100% or 0%) when compared to the previous year. There was only one indicator in 2013/14 that did not continue to maintain the best possible performance when compared to 2012/13.
  • 23 indicators showed an improvement (based on their PI value).  This was up on the previous year where 21 indicators had shown an improvement (based on their PI value).
  • 14 indicators showed a decline (based on their PI value) during 2013/14 compared with 10 indicators that showed a decline during 2012/13.
  • 8 indicators that had previously shown improvement in 2012/13 (based on their PI value) now showed a decline in their performance for 2013/14.
  • 6 Indicators during 2013/14 had shown no change in their performance when compared to 2012/13.
  • Percentage wise: 52% of comparable indicators improved, 14% maintained the best possible performance and 32% declined.  In comparison 70% of comparable indicators in Wales improved as did 74.4% within the South East Wales Region.  The Vale's performance was better than Wales in 25 (58%) of comparable indicators and similarly in 24 (56%) when compared against the South East Wales Region.

A breakdown of how the Council performed in each of the quartiles against other Welsh local authorities in 2013/14 was as follows:

  • 43% (19) indicators were in the upper quartile of performance.
  • 36% (16) indicators were in the middle quartile of performance.
  • 20% (9) indicators were in the lower quartile of performance.
  • This performance showed an improvement from the previous year in which the Vale achieved 17 top quartile, 11 middle quartile and 15 bottom quartile performing indicators.

Members were further informed that the report was being presented to the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) as the lead Scrutiny Committee due to the fact that publication of comparative information had been embargoed by the Wales Audit Office until 3rd September 2014.  Officers had therefore been unable to report to some of the Scrutiny Committees in time and the decision had been made to refer the report to Corporate Resources as the lead Scrutiny Committee, to Cabinet and subsequently to Full Council.  The Improvement Plan had to be published by 30th October 2014. 


In considering the report the Chairman and Members referred to the following concerns:

  • pages 35 to 37 – performance in respect of Disabled Facilities Grants (DFGs).  Members, aware that a further report was to be presented to the Scrutiny Committee over the forthcoming months in relation to DFGs, requested that the data information contained within the Improvement Plan be also detailed in that report for Members’ further consideration.  A further request was that the report also include detailed information in relation to the process / timescale for the receipt of applications, referral to OT and work undertaken. The Head of Service for Performance and Development also advised that the Wales Audit Office was currently undertaking a review of DFGs which would include consideration of the PIs for the service area.
  • With regard to the PIs in respect of NEETs (Not in Education, Employment or Training), the Chairman referred to the Welsh average of 3.7% and the direction of travel for the Vale worsening.  He suggested that further detail in relation to this PI be presented to the Scrutiny Committees (Lifelong Learning) and (Corporate Resources).
  • For Adult Social Services, again the direction of travel was deteriorating for the Vale when compared to the Wales average and Members requested that the Director of Social Services or his substitute attend a future of the Committee regarding this issue.
  • Similar concerns were raised in relation to Children’s Services regarding resources and future implications and again Members requested officer attendance a future meeting of the Committee in relation to this matter.
  • In referring to Leisure Services and the number of visits to the local authority leisure centres, it was suggested that the Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) consider the implications of the direction of travel in relation to this PI.  The Democratic and Scrutiny Committee Services Officer advised that the Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) was due to receive a report in respect of such matters in the next few months. 

In view of the fact the timetable had not allowed all Scrutiny Committees to consider the report, Members suggested that the relevant Scrutiny Committees where issues had been raised as outlined above, be given the opportunity to consider this Committee’s concerns.  


Having considered the report it was subsequently,




(1)       T H A T the Improvement Plan for 2013/14 be endorsed, and referred to Cabinet and Council for consideration and approval.


(2)       T H A T having regard to the comments referred to above, the relevant officers with responsibility for Disabled Facilities Grants, NEETs, Children’s and Adult Services be requested to attend a future meeting of the Scrutiny Committee, to advise on the issues affecting the performance in these areas in relation to the direction of travel as contained within the report.


(3)       T H A T the report and the comments of this Scrutiny Committee be referred to the relevant Scrutiny Committees responsible for the service areas for Disabled Facilities Grants, NEETs, Children’s and Adult Services for their further consideration.


(4)       THAT the comments of the Scrutiny Committee as above be referred to Cabinet for their consideration


Reasons for recommendations


(1)       In order that the Council’s Improvement Plan can be considered and approved in the agreed timetable set by the Wales Audit Office. 2014.


(2)       In order for Members to be informed of the issues facing the service areas and the reasons for the deteriorating directions of travel.


(3)       In order that the relevant Scrutiny Committees can consider the report and the issues and challenges facing the service areas and the comparisons with the Welsh average.


(4)       To enable Cabinet to have an understanding of the views of the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources).




Cabinet having considered the recommendations from the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources)


RESOLVED – T H A T the contents of the report be noted and referred to Council for approval.


Reason for decision


To gain Council approval for the Improvement Plan Part 2 – Annual Review of Performance 2013/14.



[View Improvement Plan]