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Agenda item

Council Plan Performance Tracker and COVID-19 Recovery Tracker - Quarter Four 2021/22

To receive and respond to the findings of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee‘s review of the quarter four performance management and recovery information. 

Subject To Call In::No - Item to note.


That the findings of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s review of the quarter four performance management and recovery information be NOTED.  


20.1           The report of the Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, circulated at Pages No. 14-99, asked Members to review and, if appropriate, take action on the observations of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee following its review of the Quarter Four 2021/22 Council Plan performance tracker and COVID-19 recovery tracker information.

20.2           The Chair of Overview and Scrutiny Committee explained that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee had noted the performance management and recovery reports. Whilst some actions and key performance indicators may not have progressed as expected, or met pre-determined targets, overall the picture was generally positive. Questions raised by the Committee could be found in Paragraph 2.1 of the report. Similar to previous quarters, as could be seen from the questions asked, there was not one real area of focus but a range of questions across all the actions within the Council plan and recovery plan. The key questions/observations to bring to the attention of Executive Committee included asset management -a question was raised around the revised implementation date of March 2023 (from June 2022) for the production of a new asset management plan. It was explained that priority had been given to the Council’s carbon reduction plan. Nevertheless, Officers were keen to have it in place as it was an important document even though the current plan was considered to be sound. With regards to another asset related question, Members were pleased to be informed that a tenancy agreement should soon be in place for one of the units within the Council’s commercial property portfolio. Once occupied, this would bring an income of approximately £170,000; the Trade Waste project –assurance was given that the project could be delivered within the revised timescale. A trial of food and recycling collections was due to start in July and would shed light on customer expectations, any gaps in the service and how it could be rolled out across the borough. A project update would be given at next week’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee where this would be scrutinised in greater detail; processing of minor planning applications– concern was expressed at the outturn figure of 48.57%, especially as there was an improvement review underway. Such applications were important to residents and it may be the only time they ever engaged with the Council on a planning basis. In essence, the Head of Development Services gave assurance that, despite this disappointing figure, officers were working extremely hard to rectify the situation but there was a national issue with regards to securing good quality Planning Officers. It was anticipated that an upturn in performance may be seen within the latter part of the year. It was also acknowledged that responses to customers could be significantly improved. The application tracker being developed by the Business Transformation Team was one way to improve this aspect of the service; Economic Development and Tourism Strategy – assurance was given that the revised target date of the end of the calendar year could be achieved to develop a new strategy. The Overview and Scrutiny Committee had requested a role in the development of that strategy. The Committee had noted the positive achievements within the quarter and the overall success of the COVID-19 recovery plan. Recognising the success of the recovery plan, this had been integrated back into the Council Plan as part of the annual refresh.

20.3           Referring to the planning application KPIs, a Member noted that the figures provided did not show the enormous amount of work the team was currently managing. She offered her thanks to each and every member of the planning team who were putting in many additional hours to get the Council through a very difficult time. Another Member questioned how the Management Team planned to address the increasing number of vacancies in the Development Management service. In response, the Head of Development Services confirmed that the issues in the Development Management service were acknowledged and the Management Team was trying to tackle them as swiftly as possible. The Council was losing Officers but there was also a national shortage of planners – the private sector was struggling to recruit as well. The Council was looking at its job descriptions and, through the development management review, was trying to address pay as well as recruitment and retention, career graded posts and ‘grow your own’ schemes. The backlog of planning applications was being addressed and the options were being considered to get more people into the department as well as supporting existing staff. The Member understood the issues and felt the ‘grow your own’ approach was something the Council should be doing; however, in the current climate that approach would not fill the immediate vacancies. In response to further questions, the Head of Development Services indicated that Officers were looking at all aspects and it was intended that the Transform Working Group would be updated on the development management review at its next meeting. In response to a query regarding exit interviews, the Corporate Director advised that the Council carried these out routinely but they were not compulsory. Any issues, where appropriate to do so, were fed back to managers. In terms of the consequences of delays in the planning system, the Head of Development Services advised that they included reputational risks to the Council as well as the risk of not meeting national targets. She undertook to speak to the communications team to consider whether communications about the service could be prioritised on a regular basis.

20.4           Accordingly, it was

Action By:CE

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