Agenda Item No
Vale of Glamorgan Council
Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning): 8 September, 2014
Report of the Director of Learning & Skills
Outcome Agreement 2013-2016: End of Year Report for 2013/14
Purpose of the Report
1. To report progress with the achievement of the Outcome Agreement that was agreed with the Welsh Government (WG) on 1st April 2014.
1. That Members note achievement of year 1 outcomes.
2. That Members undertake closer scrutiny during 2014/15 of those areas where the Council has not achieved its actions and targets, and take proactive action to ensure that they are achieved in 2014/15.
Reasons for the Recommendations
1. That the Committee is advised of the achievement of the outcomes listed in the Agreement.
2. The Vale is fully successful in achieving all agreed outcomes in order for WG to release the performance incentive grant.
2. 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.
3. Under the new Agreement there are fewer outcomes (reduced from 10 to 5) to reflect the difficult budgetary decisions councils have to make. Some of the grant (30%) will now be targeted to address known weaknesses rather than given as an unhypothecated reward. Finally, the agreement must be linked to the WG 'Programme for Government' and to the Vale's 'Single Integrated Plan' (Community Strategy).
4. In order to reduce the reporting burden, the Council only needs to report on delivery 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.
5. If successful in achieving our targets and avoiding statutory intervention, the Council can expect to receive £1.2 million per year of 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.
6. Following negotiations with Welsh Government, an Outcome Agreement covering the period 2013 to 2016 was finalised and signed off by the Minister for Local Government and Government Business on 1st April 2014.
Relevant Issues and Options
7. The attached report at Appendix 1 provides details of progress against actions and performance measures, along with a summary of the outcomes achieved. Outcome 2, 'Increasing school achievement' relates specifically to this Scrutiny Committee and progress is detailed on pages 8-12.
8. Based on our own self-assessment, we have concluded that overall, the Council has been successful in achieving the majority of targets and actions relating to year 1 of the Agreement (2013/14). 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 on receipt of our assessment. A WG assessment of between 8 - 10 points will enable the Council to secure full payment for the outcomes section (70% of £1.2 million).
9. A small number of performance targets (shaded) were not achieved although improvements were made on the previous year's performance in some instances. Also, a few targets were miscalculated resulting in performance missing target by some margin. For those targets that were miscalculated, these will need to be renegotiated with WG for the 2014/15 period.
10. In all of the above instances, proactive action is being taken to ensure all targets are achieved for 2014/15. Quarterly monitoring of progress against year 2 targets in the Agreement will ensure performance remains on track. First quarter performance reports are due to be reported to Scrutiny Committees during September/October 2014.
11. Below is a summary of our conclusions on the five outcome areas for the Vale. Outcome 2 (paragraph 13) relates specifically to this Scrutiny Committee:
12. Outcome 1: Supporting the local economy. We have been fully successful in achieving the intended outcomes for the year. All targets with the exception of one were met. Although we reported slightly less (89) than targeted (100) number of Community First Clients completing employment related courses, in practice we succeeded in working with 183 such clients providing targeted support to help them find work. This included employment skills development training which was not included in the figure reported. Also the figure reported does not represent the full year's performance as the new programme was not fully functional until September 2013.
13. Outcome 2: Increasing school achievement. We have been fully successful in achieving the intended outcomes for the year. All targets with the exception of 2 were met. Failure to achieve the target of 86% for schools securing a judgement of good or better by Estyn was due to one school not securing the expected grades out of 14 inspected during the year. The reason Estyn gave for the school receiving a poor inspection result was that the inspection team had been presented with a unique situation where Union activity and advice given to staff (which was later found to be incorrect) prevented teachers giving certain documents to the inspection team. Had this school secured the expected grades then our target of 86% would have been achieved. The Council is working proactively with this school to improve Estyn judgements. Of the 14 schools inspected, 7.1% secured the highest 'excellent' judgement for performance and provision, with 14.3% securing an excellent award for the quality of leadership. The shortfall in the performance of formerly Looked After Children who are known to be engaged in education, training or employment relates to a small cohort of young people (27). Whilst every effort is made to keep in contact with this cohort, we are not always successful. Work continues to engage and support this group to access appropriate training, education and employment opportunities to meet their needs.
14. Outcome 3: Improving the lives of older people. We have been partially successful in achieving the intended outcomes for the year. Overall there was an 8% increase in the number of adults supported to live at home, contributing towards the Council's aim of helping people maintain their independence for longer. Targets relating to assessments for OT and UA were miscalculated. Additional resources have been made available to the OT team in order to improve upon the reported performance.
15. Outcome 4: Improving social housing. We have been fully successful in achieving the intended outcomes for the year. All actions and targets were fully achieved. WHQS works are on track and overall tenant satisfaction has increased across all framework contractors. Contractors continue to support the Council in community investment through apprenticeships and local labour.
16. Outcome 5: Reducing landfill. We have been fully successful in achieving the intended outcomes for the year. The majority of targets and actions are either completed or on track for completion. In relation to the percentage of municipal waste collected as source segregated biowastes and composted or treated biologically in another way (WMT010iii) our reported performance slightly suffered due to the way the PI is calculated. In fact, green waste performance slightly increased and based on actual tonnage collected for treatment, our performance increased in 2013/14 in comparison with the previous year. The Council has achieved the Welsh Government's statutory recycling targets for combined recycling of 54% a year in advance of the 2014/15 deadline. Overall, all other indicators demonstrate that we are making progress in meeting our landfill diversion and recycling targets.
17. 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 WG 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 WG in conjunction with the WAO.
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)
18. 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
19. 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)
20. 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
21. 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)
22. 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.
23. 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
24. The Outcome Agreement is a matter for Executive decision.
Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)
25. 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
26. Corporate Resources
Appendix 1 - Vale of Glamorgan Outcome Agreement 2013-2016: End of Year Report 2013/14
Lynette Jones, Head of School Improvement and Inclusion
Learning & Skills DMT
Corporate Performance Manager
Head of Performance and Development
Officers listed as responsible officers within the Agreement
Jennifer Hill, Director of Learning & Skills