Agenda Item No 7
Vale of Glamorgan Council
Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources): 9 September, 2015
Report of the Managing Director
Outcome Agreement 2013-2016: End of Year Report for 2014/15
Purpose of the Report
- To report progress with the achievement of the Outcome Agreement that was agreed with the Welsh Government (WG) on 1st April 2014.
- That Members note achievement of Year 2 outcomes as outlined in Appendix 1.
- That Members undertake closer scrutiny during 2015/16 of those areas where the Council has not achieved its actions and targets, and take proactive action to ensure that they are achieved in 2015/16. (Appendix 1 pages, 8, 9, 14, 17 and 20. These areas are also referred to in paragraphs 13, 14, 16, 18, 20 and 21 of this report.)
Reasons for the Recommendations
- That the Committee is advised of the achievement of the outcomes listed in the Agreement.
- The Vale is fully successful in achieving all agreed outcomes in order for WG to release the performance incentive grant.
- The Council entered into four previous agreements with the Welsh Government (Policy Agreements in 2001-04 and 2004-07, an Improvement Agreement in 2008-2010 and an Outcome Agreement in 2010-2013). These agreements were based on the premise that we share common objectives and that agreements could be entered into to assist in achieving these objectives. Welsh Government paid a grant to the Council to incentivise achievement of targets, to the value of £1.2 million annually.
- Under the current Agreement covering the period 2013 to 2016 there are fewer outcomes and 30% of the grant will now be targeted to address known weaknesses rather than given as an unhypothecated reward.
- The Council is required to report on its delivery of the Agreement under part 1: Outcomes. This is a self-assessment of the extent to which the Council has delivered against the agreed outcomes. We are not required to report anything under part 2, Corporate Governance, as the Welsh Government will have this information already.
- If successful in achieving our targets and in avoiding statutory intervention, the Council can expect to receive £1.2 million per year during the term of the agreement. 70% of the grant is unhypothecated and will be paid into the general funds of the Council. The remaining 30% of the grant is unhypothecated unless the Council receives statutory intervention.
Relevant Issues and Options
- The attached report at Appendix 1 provides details of progress against actions and performance measures, along with a summary of the outcomes achieved.
- Based on our own self-assessment, we have concluded that overall, the Council has been fully successful in achieving the majority of targets and actions relating to year 2 of the Agreement (2014/15). A scoring of 9 out of 10 was achieved in the 'Outcomes' section however this is provisional pending negotiation with Welsh Government (WG) who will undertake their own evaluation upon receipt of ours. A Welsh Government assessment of between 8 - 10 points will enable the Council to secure full payment for the outcomes section (70% of £1.2 million).
- A small number of targets were not achieved (indicated by the symbol,L) and in those instances proactive action is being proposed to ensure these are achieved for 2015/16. Quarterly monitoring of progress against year 3 targets in the Agreement will ensure performance is brought back on track.
- Below is a summary of our conclusions on the five outcome areas for the Vale:
- Outcome 1: Supporting the local economy. We have been fully successful in achieving the intended outcomes for the year. All targets were fully met with reported performance exceeding target in 11 out of 12 measures.
- Key outcomes achieved include; an increase in visitor numbers; increased confidence in those needing support into work with increased numbers securing employment; increased employment opportunities and an increase in the number of services and products being launched in the rural Vale.
- Outcome 2: Increasing school achievement. We have been fully successful in achieving the intended outcomes for the year. All targets with the exception of two were met which related to school inspection judgements and attainment in reading, writing and mathematics in combination.
- The 1.4% decrease in attainment on the previous year's performance of 76.31% was due to the lower attainment in writing. Both reading and mathematics saw a marginal increase in performance. In recent academic years, writing has been a focus of improvement. This included significant training and the introduction of projects such as Big Write in primary schools and Power Writing in secondary schools. As the strategies become embedded and start to have impact, outcomes in writing are anticipated to improve.
- 12 schools were inspected during the academic year 2013/14. In 10 (83%) schools the current performance was judged to be good or better and in 9 (74.7%) of the schools inspected the prospect for improvement was judged to be good or better. No schools were found to be unsatisfactory. In the three (24.9%) schools where one or more of the overall judgements were 'adequate' a bespoke package of challenge and support was delivered to further raise performance.
- Key outcomes achieved include; overall attendance at secondary and primary schools improved by the equivalent of 2 days on average per pupil which ranks the Vale fourth in Wales; inspection judgements of the 12 schools inspected in the 2013/14 academic year reflect the improvements that schools have made; we continue to 'close the gap' in levels of attainment so that children and young people from disadvantaged groups make accelerated progress and that few become NEET.
- Outcome 3: Improving the lives of older people. We have been fully successful in achieving the intended outcomes for the year with 8 out of the 10 measures exceeding target. The two targets that were not achieved related to the rate of Universal Assessments (UA) and Occupational Therapy (OT) Assessments per 1,000 population of over 65's. It must be noted that 30 more OT assessments were completed this year than in the previous year however an increase in the population of over 65's by 750 impacted negatively on overall performance. In relation to UA assessments a lower number of assessments were required as a result of reconfiguration of the service and implementation of new procedures. Performance will be monitored during the year while new arrangements become embedded practice.
- Key outcomes achieved include; peoples independence and healthy living is being promoted and sustained for as long as possible through a more co-ordinated approach and increased options, people are well informed about benefits and financial choices and are treated fairly and in an inclusive way.
- Outcome 4: Improving social housing. We have been fully successful in achieving the intended outcomes for the year. 5 out 6 targets were exceeded. We failed to achieve the target of 45% for labour employed within 25 miles of Barry as result of WHQS investment however overall labour employed in the Vale postcode area as a result of this investment continues to be high at 58.4%. The Council's internals programme has reduced over the last 12 months so contractors are now using less labour. It must be noted that the WHQS programme is delivered in the main by external contractors. Whilst they are encouraged to use local labour as far as possible, they ultimately make the decisions on the labour they employ (dependent on the WHQS works required).
- Key outcomes achieved include; improvements continue to be made in the quality of the Council's housing stock and overall tenant satisfaction has increased across all framework contractors; contractors continue to support the Council in community investment through apprenticeships and local labour.
- Outcome 5: Reducing landfill. We have been partially successful in achieving the intended outcomes for the year. 2 out 6 targets for 2014/15 were achieved. Overall, progress is being made with respect to increasing the amount of waste received at household amenity sites that is prepared reuse, recycled or composted as a result of processes in place with our on-site contractor. For example, our approach of specifically targeting residual black bags delivered to our Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) by householders and the secondary sorting of those black bags for recycling has resulted in an increase in recycling capture rates. However, the revised operational practices by our on-site contractors have also resulted in a substantially lower residual black bag recycling performance than initially forecast.
- The lack of Community Reuse Schemes within the Vale continues to have a negative impact on the amount of waste prepared for reuse. The Council continues to work with local charities, social enterprises and community groups to establish third sector reuse schemes. We continue to update the Council's website and provide residents with additional information on how they can donate items to local groups since the introduction of a chargeable bulky household collection service. Whilst performance as reported by Waste dataflow for 2014-15 showed an improvement in the amount of waste being recycled, there was a less than anticipated increase in the amount composted. Given that this is a mature collection service, further community awareness education and minimisation initiatives are required to encourage participation by non-participating householders in order to increase Council recapture rates for the future. This remains a challenge for the Council given reducing budgets.
- Key outcomes achieved include; a significant reduction in the amount of waste sent to landfill from 43.13% to 29.4%; significant savings for the Council as a result of less waste being sent to landfill and better value for money combining the waste of five local authorities and sharing services and infrastructure.
- The above conclusions are based on end of year performance reported by relevant services. Achieving the full payment (70%) in the 'Outcomes' section of the Agreement relies on Welsh Government coming to the same conclusions on their assessment. As previously reported, securing the remaining 30% is dependent on the Council not receiving a statutory recommendation or intervention and this will be determined by Welsh Government in conjunction with the Wales Audit Office.
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)
- Welsh Government has set aside £31 million for 2013/14 for the Outcome Agreement across the whole of Wales. If we are fully successful in achieving our intended outcomes and have no statutory recommendations or interventions over the life of the Agreement (2013-2016), we could expect to receive £1.2 million each year in an unhypothecated grant.
Sustainability and Climate Change Implications
- There are a number of targets and actions that will contribute to: ensuring a strong, healthy and just society; achieving a sustainable economy; living within environmental limits; and promoting good governance.
Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)
- Outcome agreements have no basis in statute. They are therefore voluntary in nature and there are no sanctions relating to non-achievement of targets, apart from the loss of financial incentive.
Crime and Disorder Implications
- There are no specific activities/indicators in the Agreement relating to crime and disorder however some actions and targets will contribute towards public protection.
Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)
- There are no specific activities/indicators contained in the Agreement that relate to improving equalities outcomes, however some actions and targets will contribute towards equality and access.
- The Agreement links to the corporate objective of Community Leadership, and assists in focusing the Council's activities on national objectives. The Council and WG jointly negotiate the targets contained within the Agreement.
Policy Framework and Budget
- The Outcome Agreement is a matter for Executive decision.
Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)
- Senior officers of the Council responsible for the achievement of targets and actions, along with the Corporate Management Team, have been consulted on the content of the report.
Relevant Scrutiny Committee
- Corporate Resources
Appendix 1 - Vale of Glamorgan Outcome Agreement 2013-2016: End of Year Report 2014/15
Julia Archampong, Performance Manager
Directors (Corporate Management Team)
Head of Performance and Development
Officers listed as responsible officers within the Agreement
Rob Thomas, Managing Director