To review the attached FY 2022/23 quarter 1 Performance Report.
M Hassall (Interim Acting Service Director (Strategy, Delivery and Performance)) introduced quarter 1. The report detailed project status summaries, key milestones and RAG status for those projects identified as a ‘priority project’ within the portfolio aligned to the Council’s corporate objectives. All KPIs regardless of status were also included. Project closure reports were an ongoing area of work within the Project Management Office (PMO).
It was requested if a glossary could accompany this report in future to explain the abbreviations being used and could more information be provided in the ‘comments’ section. It was agreed this would be helpful and a glossary would be provided for the minutes.
(a) Priority projects – Quarterly progress updates
Project CPP141, M3PP – it was noted that the M3 software was no longer supported by the supplier.
Project COO154, Green agenda programme – it was noted the PMO now had an action plan although it was showing as ‘remained unassigned’.
(b) Quarterly KPI reporting
Customer complaints received related to Ride London, the Biffa waste crisis and dissatisfaction over the Elections. The question was asked as to the nature of the complaint regarding Elections. The Democratic and Electoral Services Team Manager, G Woodhall, advised that a formal complaint had been received about lighting in the Conder building car park during the count and the noise of the generators. S Lewis (Customer Services Manager) advised we received some customer complaints regarding confusion over where a polling station was, residents confused as to whether they were registered to vote, and information related to candidates.
The KPI target on first point resolution was 45% and actual 70.9%, but should the target be increased? The Customer Services Manager stated that the target would be reviewed later in the year and the intention was to increase it.
Shouldn’t the overall customer satisfaction target be 100% if we wanted to satisfy all our customers and was the measure based on how happy the customer was with the service from the officer who dealt with them? The Customer Services Manager replied that customer satisfaction was based on the outcome that the customer wanted and that we could not always meet our residents’ expectations. This was reiterated by A Small (Strategic Director) who added that whilst it was good to aspire higher, realistic targets had to be achieved.
Community Health and Wellbeing
The Q1 KPI figures showed a 7% increase in homelessness approaches compared with the same period last year.There was a corresponding increase in the numbers in temporary accommodation (Q1 snapshot reporting an 8% increase compared with the same period last year). J Gould (Interim Acting Community and Wellbeing Project Director) advised that the single biggest cause of homelessness was still friend/family licence terminations but there had been significant increases in approaches as a result of domestic abuse, the ending of assured shorthold tenancies and (non-violent) relationship breakdown – approximately 50% increases in each of these causes of approach (although actual numbers were still relatively small). Homelessness demand was being monitored closely given the increases reported and to gauge the impact of the rising cost of living and potential demand from Ukrainian refugees whose sponsorship placements would soon be reaching the initial 6-month term. Government had also written to local authorities regarding the ongoing demand for accommodation from the varying Afghan resettlement schemes of last year.
Was it anticipated that the abolition of the section 21 notice, which landlords could serve on tenants to vacate a property for any reason, would additionally impact on homelessness? The Interim Acting Community and Wellbeing Project Director acknowledged that the Council was seeing some private landlords exiting the rental market because of planned changes in private sector renting regulations and more might leave the sector when planned changes came into effect. The Committee acknowledged that the Council had no families in bed and breakfast accommodation, which was a good to have achieved.
The KPI for the Council’s engagement in community, physical or cultural activity was extremely positive, and the number of events organised over the summer was greatly appreciated.
J Warwick (Interim Contracts Service Director) stated that the casual swimming KPI needed to be removed as this was no longer reported on by Places Leisure to the Leisure Management Contract Partnership Board. The other leisure centre KPIs were supplied by Places Leisure. Not all the data had been available for this report, but gym memberships had increased across all sites especially at Loughton where a current promotion had resulted in a rise. Unfortunately, the figures did not represent the pre-Covid pandemic levels. The latest figures would be reported to the Partnership Board on 1 August 2022.
Why had Ongar seen a 35% increase in swimming memberships? The Interim Contracts Service Director replied that the Ongar Leisure Centre refurbishment works continued to attract new members. Swimming could not be done at home, but other exercises could after the Covid pandemic. Places Leisure was currently promoting gym membership at Ongar and working with the Council on incentives.
The waste recycling rate KPI was slightly below target and although the reasons were attributed to staff shortages and fewer refuse vehicles on the road, could anything be done about the missed collections? The Interim Contracts Service Director advised the Council was working with Biffa to resolve this and Biffa directors would shortly be meeting with Cabinet to discuss the ongoing problems. The recent hot weather had caused additional staffing issues. The website was being regularly updated to keep residents informed. Further information on this was provided in the Contracts and Commissioning Portfolio Holder report to Council on 28 July 2022. It was also noted that the vehicles were all new at the same time and could breakdown at similar times, so this needed to be looked at in the next contract, as there did not seem to be a back-up plan in place.
Planning and Development
The following Planning and Development KPI figures for quarter 1 were reported at the meeting:
· Percentage of applications determined within agreed timelines: Major – actual 100% (target 90%)
· Percentage of applications determined within agreed timelines: Minor – actual 75.3% (target 80%)
· Percentage of applications determined within agreed timelines: Other – actual 72% (target 80%)
Housing Delivery Test progress – this was reported yearly and would be reported later in the year.
N Richardson (Planning Services Director) reported that all major applications were dealt with on time within 13 weeks. However, the KPI target had been missed for minor applications, as officers were working through a backlog and going over the 8-week time limit. Planning officers could ask for an extension, which relied on applicants agreeing to this but if they did not agree there were no other penalisations.
The Committee queried why the KPI on the percentage of workforce by ethnicity showed 19.3% withheld this information and 4.61% were unknown. Did staff misunderstand why this data was being collected and could telling staff the reasons for collecting this data increase the percentages of staff filling in their ethnicity? P Maginnis (Corporate Services Director) advised that ‘unknown’ was a category and therefore, staff had made a choice to choose this option. The People team did remind staff about filling in ethnicity, but it was their choice.
Could a copy of the ethnicity questionnaire be attached to the minutes and a brief explanation on how the information could be used beneficially? The Corporate Services Director replied she would provide this for the minutes.
If you were a white minority ethnic, i.e. traveller, which group category would apply? The Corporate Services Director replied under each broad heading were a number of sub-categories, so this would come under ‘white – all’ for the purposes of reporting. It was commented that it would help if the sub-categories could be attached to the minutes for information, which was agreed.
Did the KPI for the percentage of workforce with a disability include mental or physical disabilities? The Corporate Services Director advised this KPI included both disabilities and employees chose whether to answer this question.
If an employee tested positive for Covid was this now included in the normal sickness total? The Corporate Services Director replied that she would clarify this as there were not the same restrictions around Covid now and would provide an update for the minutes.
That the committee reviewed the FY22-23 Q1 Performance report; and
(1) That future Corporate Performance Reporting quarters would include a glossary and would also be provided for the minutes;
(2) That more information in the ‘comments’ section would be helpful;
(3) That the casual swimming KPI needed to be removed as Places Leisure no longer reported on this;
(4) That the ethnicity sub-categories/questionnaire under the broad headings shown on this KPI be provided for the minutes with the additional information requested above; and
(5) That the Corporate Services Director would clarify the descriptions for sickness absence including Covid and provide an update for the minutes.
(Post meeting updates:
(1) In response to action (1) above, please see attached glossary; and
(2) In response to actions (4) and (5) above, please see attached information from the Corporate Services Director).