To review the attached FY 2022/23 quarter 3 Corporate Performance Report.
(a) Priority projects – Quarterly progress updates
The Committee raised the following queries.
CPP009 Housing & Asset Management System
The HRA Interim Service Director, P Wharfe, advised members that as the project was in the red for quarter 3, an external review of progress took place in December 2022. The project’s delivery would be rebased in January 2023 with a revised timeline.
CPP026 Waste Management Contract
The Interim Acting Service Director (Contracts), J Warwick, informed the Committee the current contract with Biffa was until 4 November 2024. The Finance Portfolio Holder, who had attended the Waste Management Partnership Board meeting earlier today, continued that it looked hopeful waste collections would improve if Biffa delivered what it was promising to improve matters, as the backlog had been cleared. The Waste Management Team was working with a difficult situation and wanted a reliable service as did residents, so the Council needed to ensure waste collection services improved. It was acknowledged the Customer Contact Team had employed more staff to answer residents’ phone calls.
When a councillor was concerned a Biffa refuse vehicle’s wing mirror had brushed the top of her head while walking along a pavement in Waltham Abbey recently, J Warwick assured the councillor he would raise this issue with Biffa as pedestrian care was paramount. He was also not aware if side mirrors had to be a certain height.
CPP054 Transfer Services into Qualis
Although a councillor was unhappy quarter 3 status was at green because in his opinion Grounds Maintenance should not have been transferred, the Finance Portfolio Holder was pleased as the project was on schedule and would deliver what was expected.
CPP090 North Weald Master Planning/Enterprise Zone
In reply to a query, the Project Management Office Manager, C Graham, advised the project sponsor would be updated. The Finance Portfolio Holder added that he was having regular project meetings with D Goodey, Service Manager (Commercial).
(b) Quarterly KPI reporting
Customer Services: Overall Customer Satisfaction
R Pavey, Service Director (Customer), replied there were a number of ways customer satisfaction was monitored and included how customers were treated but that they might not get the answer they wanted.
Customer Services: First Point Resolution
R Pavey advised the Committee the target would be reviewed in the following year and moved up.
Community Health and Wellbeing: No of homelessness approaches
When the 22% increase on the same period last year was queried for quarter 3, J Gould, Strategic Director, confirmed a response would be provided for the minutes by the Homelessness Team Manager, D Blake.
Community Health and Wellbeing: Engagement in community, physical or cultural activity
Play in the Park was acknowledged as being a very popular children’s activity, but as EFDC had increased its prices significantly for next year, Loughton Town Council had halved its bookings. J Gould acknowledged these changes to the programme, but the Council would be monitoring these activities over the next 12 months.
Contracts: No of people on Learn to Swim Programme (Swimming lessons)
As a councillor had received complaints that lessons were being cancelled and there was currently no teacher for the older children, J Warwick reported that it was an ongoing process and Places Leisure was continually recruiting. It was quite a lengthy process to train swimming teachers and get DBS checks done.
Housing Management: Rent Arrears
Answering a query on why 102% of the rent due from council home tenants was paid, P Wharfe advised more rent debits and recovery of other monies from previous years had been collected.
Planning and Development: Percentage of applications determined within agreed timelines: Minor and Other
The Planning Services Director reported that the Local Plan should go to Council for adoption but the policies in the emerging Local Plan were being used in the decision-making process. Although performance was still on red status, the percentage of applications determined on time had improved. Planning officers had been very busy and removed the backlog.
Less agency staff were being used as Planning Services now had staff who had been with EFDC for several years. Hopefully when the Local Plan was adopted, more applications would be submitted, but Planning Services might need to bring in additional resources.
That the committee reviewed the FY 2022-23 Corporate Performance reporting for quarter 3.
(2) CPP090 North Weald Master Planning/Enterprise Zone – that C Graham update the project sponsor.
(3) Community Health and Wellbeing: No of homelessness approaches – that the Homelessness Team Manager provide information on why there had been a 22% increase.
(Post meeting update:
Action (3): the Homelessness Team Manager provided this reply after the meeting.
The 22% increase in homelessness applications was being caused by three main areas in particular, domestic abuse, family and friend’s no longer being able or willing to accommodate and people’s accommodation within the private rented sector coming to an end.
There were a number of factors contributing to those three increasing causes of homelessness, but in the main:
1. Domestic Abuse - The Domestic Abuse Act received royal assent in April 2021, and we have continued to see a rise in presentations where domestic abuse was the reason for homelessness. In Q3 of 2021, we took a total of 6 homeless applications with domestic abuse as the sole reason for the approach. In Q3 of 2022, we took a total of 14 applications where domestic abuse was the sole reason for approach – that was an increase of 133% on the same period last year.
2. Family License Terminations – This had always been the leading cause of homelessness within Epping Forest District, as it was for most councils, but we were seeing a steady rise in applications where family were no longer willing to accommodate each other and I think, certainly for last quarter and those moving forward, this could largely be attributed to the cost-of-living crisis first and foremost. In Q3 of 2021, we took a total of 22 homeless applications where family/friends were asking a member of their household to leave. In Q3 of 2022, we took a total of 38 homeless applications where family/friends were asking a member of their household to leave – that was an increase of 72% on the same period last year.
3. End of privately rented accommodation – This was the second leading cause of homelessness within Epping Forest District. We were seeing an increasing number of landlords selling their accommodation because of financial hardship. Equally, the main reason for customers approaching us from this type of tenure was because they were worried about being able to afford it. In Q3 of 2021, we took a total of 10 applications where the ending of privately rented accommodation was the reason for homelessness. In Q3 of 2022, we took a total of 19 applications where the ending of privately rented accommodation was the reason for homelessness – that was an increase of 90% on the same period last year.