The Committee received a report and presentation to update on the performance on the delivery of Council priorities for the 6 months period April to October 2021.
The development of the new approach to performance management began in autumn 2020. Stages included engagement with councillors through Advisory Groups and Overview and Scrutiny Committees. Engagement with employees has taken place on a regular basis through employee workshops and Management Team discussions. Engagement with partners has taken place at the Health and Wellbeing Board with the Voluntary and Community Sector (Connected Voice).
The Performance Management and Improvement Framework is approved by Cabinet and Council. All of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees of the Council will consider performance assessments appropriate to the role and remit of each Committee on a six monthly basis.
There are some risks and limitations to highlight in relation to the six month reports. It is clear that the Council is still responding to the Covid-19 pandemic and that service disruptions have impacted on performance at the six month stage. The Council’s Business Impact Assessment and Business Continuity Plan framework has enabled the Council to prioritise critical services to ensure that they can still be delivered.
The iterative development of the Performance Management and Improvement Framework aims to ensure it remains a relevant tool for the Council to understand how well it is delivering against it agreed priorities.
The aims of the Performance Management and Improvement Framework are to deliver Thrive, give clarity on Priorities, inform how resources are allocated and budget determination and measuring the impact to inform policy and resource decisions.
The framework is based on the 6 policy objectives of the HWB Strategy and an organisational health check.
The analysis has highlighted some area where improvements have been made as follows:
· More people are moving from Vulnerable to Coping according to LIoN data, although more assessment is needed to understand movement across the themes.
· External assessment from OFSTED rated as Good providing reassurance
· The Voluntary Undertaking with the Social Housing regulator has been successfully completed
· Budget savings are regularly monitored and 97.5% of savings are projected to be achieved in 2021/22
Some actions which have been identified as part of the response to improve performance:
· A new budget approach has been agreed in the context of the MTFS
· Business Impact Assessments and Business Continuity Planning is continuing to address service pressures and service disruption.
· Work is ongoing to develop and implement an effective employee engagement framework in response to new ways of working and improve employee morale.
· Work will continue to take forward the customer experience and digital improvements to service delivery whilst ensuring there is support for people who are unable to access services digitally.
· Development of Community Wealth Building
The next steps in the process are as follows;
· Align the Performance Management and Information Framework to the new budget approach agreed by Cabinet in December 2021 to inform cross council reviews and zero based budgeting.
· Further develop the priorities and actions as part of the iterative approach
· Take the six month performance reports to Cabinet for consideration in March
· Bring a year end report to Overview and Scrutiny Committees.
The Committee were advised with regards to Housing there are two big areas which are causing concern. The first area is the Housing Delivery Target. We need to keep numbers up and delivery on new homes. The priorities for development are monitored by this Committee.
Tenant Satisfaction is a big issue, the Regulator will have more powers and will inspect on a cyclical basis every four years. They will be looking at our customer satisfaction to decide where/when the inspections will kick in.
The Housing Improvement Programme is the biggest area of dissatisfaction.
It is not all areas of concern there are some achievements. We have the new HRA Business Plan which we need to keep on top of, we are not allowed to have a negative balance. We have developed the Asset Management Strategy. The New Homelessness Strategy and Charter has been approved at Cabinet and the Review of Allocations and Lettings is underway. We are making sure we link up with other work across the Council, Mental Health Work and it plays into Thrive and the Council’s ambitions for Thrive. We have a successful Community Renewal Fund bid and there is a project up and running on the impact housing can have in giving people confidence.
The Housing Improvement Change Programme with the work on repairs and maintenance some of which has been triggered by member feedback. The three key outcome messages are to: Support Thrive, Improve Customer Satisfaction and Efficiencies.
It was noted that customer contact is really important to get right communication, contact, quality and timeliness are all important and can currently be fragmented. We need to get better and look at areas where we can join up. The Action Plan for the Housing Compliance is in place out the Regulatory Intervention.
The Committee also raised the environmental issues and asked that the Council make sure of Clarity on actions and progress the Council is making towards its Climate Change ambition with stronger messages and communications to local people and more info on electric vehicle charging and ensure this is accessible to across communities.
Further reports will be brought back to this Committee over the coming months.
The Committee heard about issues with regards to the Environment and the Economy. Significant areas of the economy have been impacted by Covid-19 in particular there are currently a lower number of active businesses this is thought to also be due to Brexit and impacts on the supply chain.
There has been a significant increase in costs within the construction industry, fuel poverty increasing is having a real impact on residents day to day lives and causing significant financial difficulties. In terms of areas of excellence there are four key areas of focus. Work has started on the Conference and Exhibition Centre we have hosted some major events in Gateshead, including two Diamond League events. The Council administered £18m of Grant Funding to business early in the pandemic. This was successful given our early involvement of Audit in making sure we carried out the proper checks before businesses accessed the grant.
It was requested that information on Community Wealth Building be brought to a future Committee. It was also suggested that in areas where it was relevant a section on Community Wealth building be included in individual reports.
RESOLVED - (i) That the comments of the Committee be noted.
(ii) That the report be presented to Cabinet at its March meeting for consideration.