Agenda Item No. 7


The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning): 16th March 2015


Report of the Director of Learning & Skills


Service Plan 2015/19: Learning & Skills


Purpose of the Report

1.         To present the Learning & Skills Service Plan 2015/19 for consideration by the Committee.


That Committee endorse the Learning & Skills Service Plan 2015/19.

Reason for the Recommendation

To confirm the Service Plan as the primary document against which performance for Learning & Skills will be measured and to meet self-assessment requirements under the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009.



2.         Service Plans are the primary planning document of the Council and a key building block in its performance management framework. Consequently we annually review planning arrangements to ensure that the Council's plans continue to meet statutory requirements and to continuously improve its approach to performance planning and monitoring. 

3.         A revised Service Plan template was rolled out in 2014 reflecting the new senior management restructure with fewer (6) plans being produced. Below this level, the Council's performance management framework requires officers to develop team plans.

4.         The Service Plan structure addresses a number of key questions aimed at enabling services to produce more outcome focussed plans. This is an area for improvement for most Welsh councils.

5.         The Council agreed with the Wales Audit Office to use the revised plans as supporting evidence in meeting its obligations for self-assessment under the Local Government Measure. The plans inform our annual Improvement Assessment which provides a judgement as to whether the Council has discharged its duties and met the requirements of the Measure.

Relevant Issues and Options

6.         Service plans for 2015/19 specifically identify how each Directorate will contribute towards achievement of Corporate Plan, Improvement Plan and Outcome Agreement outcomes and incorporate key measures and milestones to demonstrate progress.

7.         All service plans have been signed off during February and March involving the relevant Director and Cabinet member with portfolio.

8.         The Council is currently consulting widely on proposed Improvement Objectives for 2015/16 and these will be reflected within relevant Service Plans once approved by Council in May 2015.

9.         Appendix A contains the Learning & Skills Service Plan 2015/19. Key areas of note within the plan are:

·           Our Service Plan 2015/19 (pages 5 to 24): This sets the context for the Directorate's Service Plan and identifies its key challenges over the coming years.

·           Our Service Self-Assessment (pages 25 to 60): This highlights how the service is performing and what has been achieved during the previous year and informs areas for improvement in the coming year. Much emphasis continues to be placed on strengthening our use of benchmarking/comparative data as well as highlighting good practice where relevant. In addition, in terms of what has been achieved, a more consistent approach continues to be encouraged in identifying the outcome/impact for the customer/citizen. These issues have previously been highlighted as an area of development by the Wales Audit Office in its Annual Improvement Report of the Council (2013/14).

·           Our Service Outcomes and Objectives (pages 61 to 63): This section affirms the Directorate's service outcomes and objectives going forward (including its contribution to corporate priorities), having considered its key service challenges and the self-assessment.

·           Appendix 1 (pages 64 to77) contains the Directorate's Service Improvement Action Plan for 2015/16.

·           Appendix 2 (pages 78 to 93) which contains the service's performance measures is currently incomplete as end of year data for 2014/15 is not yet available at the time of reporting to the Committee. Following a review by officers, performance measures for 2015/16 onwards will be presented to all scrutiny committees for discussion and agreement during July 2015.

·           Appendix 3 (pages 94 to 95) details the Directorate's workforce requirements.

·           Appendix 4 (pages 96 to 98) provides a breakdown of the savings required for the Directorate over the next three years.

10.      The Directorate will now develop team plans to underpin the Service Plan: a decision has been made to align all plans in the directorate to the financial year in order to increase their coherence rather than have some plans aligned to the academic year.

11.      The Directorate will continue to maintain a Post Inspection Action Plan in relation to the inspection of Local Authority Education Services for Children and Young People alongside the Service Plan for the forthcoming year.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

12.      Budget levels have been taken into consideration when drafting the Service Plans.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

13.      Sustainability and climate change implications have been taken into consideration when drafting the service plans.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

14.      The Council has a duty to improve under the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009.

Crime and Disorder Implications

15.      Crime and disorder implications have been taken into consideration within relevant service plans.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

16.      Equalities issues have been taken into consideration when drafting the Service Plans.

Corporate/Service Objectives

17.      The Corporate Plan outlines community leadership as a priority for the Council. Improving how the council evidences and reports achievement of its priority outcomes contributes towards effective community leadership. Service Plans are a key building block in the Council's performance management framework and identify how each service will contribute towards achieving key aims and objectives as set out in the Corporate Plan.

Policy Framework and Budget

18.      This is a matter for Executive decision

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

19.      Plans have been written collaboratively with directorates involving relevant members. Directors are responsible for ensuring that their service plan is approved the relevant Cabinet Member.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

20.      All

Background Papers

Appendix A: Learning & Skills Service Plan 2015/19


Contact Officer

Julia Archampong, Corporate Performance Manager


Officers Consulted

Head of Performance & Development

Director of Learning & Skills


Responsible Officer:

Jennifer Hill, Director of Learning & Skills