Scott Tompkins informed the committee that at a future meeting he would look to provide more detail on the capital programme measure confirming how it is measured. Currently it measures budget annually against forecast which is probably not a good measure of scheme delivery given that many capital schemes are delivered over longer timescales. For example, for a scheme that would take four years to complete, the in-year measurement of performance should be measured against the planned in-year spend and not the entire budget.
In response to Councillor D Humphreys, Scott Tompkins concurred that a scheme’s inception could be years before delivery and the cost could be different then the funding obtained for it, so contingency was always put in. Commonly, at an early stage of a scheme, there will be something like 40% contingency and when it gets closer to the delivery date the contingency could be reduced as there are less surprises. An example of when contingency was needed recently was when a high-pressure gas main was in a place builders were told it would not be. Due to inflation in the construction industry and issues with the steel industry, this had become more of a focus for WCC. The Design Services Team will do work on getting better at the feasibility stage and ensuring WCC has the best predictions they can meet before agreeing a budget for a scheme to be delivered.
Mark Ryder added that the uncertainties made it a challenge to predict costs over the next few years.
In response to Councillor Chilvers, Scott Tompkins said that the higher number for domestic abuse instances meant that more people were reporting it and it helped ensure they had the right measures in place to deal with it. Mark Ryder added that domestic abuses reporting was high in 2021 because of Covid-19 and the European Football competition. The 900 figure was domestic abuse cases reported monthly.