The Committee received a report and presentation providing the Council’s new Performance Management and Improvement Framework (PMIF), reporting performance on the delivery of Council priorities for the period April 2021 to March 2022.
The Committee were provided with a summary of the PMIF purpose and background for context; it was reported that the PMIF is provided to enable members to see the full picture of performance across all priority areas detailed in the report.
From the presentation, it was highlighted that key emerging areas impacting on performance included:
· The continuing impact of Covid 19 on performance
· Widening inequalities, income and the longer term anticipated impact i.e. health
· The demand pressures facing services i.e. social care
· The impact of EU Exit / Ukraine conflict, rising costs for residents / businesses and in service delivery
· Staffing pressures including recruitment and retention across the Council
· Good progress in key policy areas such as climate change strategy and engagement
· Increase in shift towards digital and online services
· Support being provided to local people / businesses i.e. Household Support Grant
· Effective response to supporting vulnerable people throughout the pandemic i.e. through local hubs, public health, vaccinations and work with businesses
The Committee also received a presentation providing an update on performance in terms of business engagement, support and investment activity. From the presentation, the Committee were advised that business engagement, support and investment activities continues throughout the borough to raise awareness of self-employment and helping individuals explore enterprise at a grassroots level.
It was also reported that 140 businesses had been supported to implement successful investment or expansion projects including 12 inward investment success, creating 2,170 jobs, safeguarding 389 jobs and 183 jobs relocated to Gateshead.
A breakdown of the support provided to businesses in response to the pandemic was provided; the Committee were advised that the Council’s business centres had remained open during the pandemic to support businesses and their employees who were unable to work from home. It was also highlighted that a pilot had been launched to support SMEs in Gateshead and in the Council’s supply chain to manage their wider environmental impact. The Committee were also provided with an update on employer engagement, it was noted that InvestNewcastle has continued to raise the profile of Gateshead as an investment location.
The Committee received a further update on employment support activity delivered by the Council. It was reported that support had been provided for residents to sustain and progress into employment and achieve economic security. An overview of activities to support young people into employment was also presented for information.
It was stated that of the 850 residents who had received 1-2-1 information, advice and guidance 628 of them had went on to receive intensive employment support from a Working Gateshead Job Coach, 54 were signposted to external services and 45 had been connected with internal Council services. It was highlighted that during the reporting period that there had been 286 job starts.
From the presentation, the Committee also noted that the ESF Make a Change project between 2019/20 and 2021/22 in partnership with the Gateshead Housing Company, Gateshead Council Localities and Housing Options Service had seen 263 residents be supported. It was also reported that partnership work with the Gateshead Older People’s Assembly had established an employability hub for residents aged 50+.
The Committee were also provided with an overview of the Council’s Economic Development Strategy for context.
The Committee questioned the role of the DWP in supporting residents to find work; it was noted that there is a joined-up approach in partnership with the DWP on several employment support projects. It was also stated that the Council will endeavour to fill the gaps between mainstream provision and provide person-centred tailored support where it is required.
The Committee discussed apprenticeship opportunities in the Council; it was suggested that the number of apprenticeships available at the Council had decreased, it was also stated that the use of apprenticeships could bridge the skills shortage in services such as construction.
(i) The Committee noted the updates from the report and presentations.
(ii) The Committee agreed that the performance report could go to Cabinet in July 2022.