Agenda Item No. 12(c)
THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL
COUNCIL MEETING: 28 SEPTEMBER 2016
REFERENCE FROM CABINET: 26 SEPTEMBER 2016
C3298 Improvement Plan Part 2: Annual Review of Performance 2015/16 and Local Government Performance 2015/16 (L) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – ALL) –
Cabinet was presented with the draft Improvement Plan Part 2: Annual Review of Performance 2015/16, which contained performance and improvement information for Improvement Objectives agreed in April 2015. The report also outlined the findings of the Local Government Data Unit Wales in its annual bulletin of Local Government Performance for 2015/16.
The Council's Part 1 Improvement Plan for 2015/16 was agreed by Cabinet on 28 April, 2015; as required by the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009. The Plan set out five Improvement Objectives for 2015/16. The Local Government Data Unit Wales published an annual bulletin of Local Government Performance which outlined the performance of Welsh authorities across a range of national indicators.
The full Part 2 Improvement Plan was available online at the following link: www.valeofglamorgan.gov.uk/Documents/_Committee%20Reports/Cabinet/2016/16-09-26/Appendices/Improvement-Plan-Part-2-Annual-Review-of-Performance-201516-and-Local-Government-Performance-201516.pdf and copies were also placed in the Members' Room and Group Rooms, was a document primarily looking back over 2015/16. It contained key performance information which helped demonstrate progress towards achievement of our Improvement Objectives.
The majority of the information contained within the Plan was informed by quarterly and end of year performance reports which were discussed by all Scrutiny Committees throughout the year. The Part 2 Plan brought together this information in one report, which would be used by the Wales Audit Office to assess the Council’s capacity to improve, and therefore was of critical importance to the reputation of the Council.
The report concluded that overall, the Council had been successful in achieving the majority of the positive outcomes intended in the Council’s Improvement Objectives for 2015/16, despite challenging financial times and increasing demand for services.
The report summarised the Council’s conclusions on the five Improvement Objectives for 2015/16. Four out of five Improvement Objectives set for the year were judged to have been achieved. Objective 5, ' Reducing the achievement gap between pupils in receipt of free schools meals and those who are not' was judged to be partially achieved because whilst standards had improved overall, the standards achieved by children entitled to free schools meals did not yet meet those of other children in all key stages.
All five Improvement Objectives remained long term strategic priorities for the Council and the success achieved in 2015/16 represented the start of what would be a long programme of initiatives to continually improve services for citizens of the Vale.
Much of this data and analysis was considered in the Local Government Data Unit Wales performance bulletin 2015-16 attached at Appendix 1 to the report. The report looked at a range of indicators and assessed the performance of individual authorities. The report indicated that the Vale of Glamorgan Council was ranked as the top performing Council, having the most indicators (26) in the top quarter of Welsh authorities.
After presenting this item, the Leader highlighted Paragraph 7 of the report and noted that the Plan was substantially complete with no changes to performance information provided by the Local Government Data Unit in readiness for the Council’s consideration of the Plan. He also noted that in accordance with Paragraph 41 of the report, this matter had been considered by the Corporate Performance and Resources Scrutiny Committee and endorsed with no comments. Finally, the Leader highlighted paragraph 31 of the report, in particular measure SCC011b, commenting that it was important to note that the Council had increasingly focused its resources on Social Care Officers enabling them to see children alone at the point of initial assessment, where it was deemed appropriate.
The Director of Social Services commented that these figures were not a true reflection of the work that was being undertaken in this area, as most initial assessments were seen by experienced Social Care Officers, with all complex cases automatically referred to Social Workers. He commented that this approach freed up the time and resource of a Social Worker for cases/clients where it was deemed more appropriate. As such, the indicator was not a true reflection of the Council’s performance in this area. The department had recorded initial assessments by both Social Care Officers and Social Workers and, when tallied, he believed this would place the Vale of Glamorgan in the top quartile in Wales for Safeguarding Children.
The Leader and Managing Director commented that if this indicator was to be retained, the Council should write to the Welsh Government Data Unit to request that the methods of measuring this indicator be changed to reflect that Councils can use different means of providing the service and meet the criteria.
The Cabinet Member for Visible, Leisure and Regulatory Services highlighted page 26 of the Local Government Data Unit Wales performance bulletin 2015-16 attached at Appendix 1 to the report, concerning Sport, Leisure and Culture, as he believed this was another area where the data provided by the Council was not providing a true reflection of the Council’s performance in this area. He further commented that, contrary to the Local Government Data Unit Wales performance bulletin 2015-16, Sport Wales had listed the Vale of Glamorgan Council as one of the top performing and most active Local Authorities in Wales.
This was a matter for Council decision
Cabinet, having considered the report and all the issues and implications contained therein
(1) T H A T the Improvement Plan Part 2: Annual Review of Performance 2015/16 be endorsed and referred to Full Council on 28 September, 2016 for approval.
Reasons for decisions
(1) To meet the requirements of the Local Government (Wales) Measure to publish an annual review of Council performance and ensure that action was taken to continually improve.