A report that presents Cabinet with an update on the Council’s performance set against the targets contained in the Corporate Plan.
Cabinet Portfolio Holder – Councillor Andy Jenns
Councillor Andy Jenns (Portfolio Holder for Customer and Transformation) introduced the published report which summarised the Council’s performance at the end of the second quarter (April - September 2022) against the strategic priorities and Areas of Focus set out in the Council Plan 2022-2027. Councillor Jenns noted the national context for the report, highlighting that the UK was experiencing the consequences of an unprecedented combination of events including two recent changes of UK Government, the impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic, and the war in Ukraine resulting in a period of significant uncertainty and a very challenging financial outlook in the short- to medium-term. This volatility was impacting on the Council’s resources, both financial and in terms of recruitment and retention, levels of demand, and increased uncertainty about a number of key national policy areas including Adult Social Care reform, devolution, levelling up and climate change. Councillor Jenns highlighted specific areas of the report in relation to the slight reduction of performance measures on track (from 70% to 63%) which were comprehensively set out in Appendix 2 of the report and highlighted key themes in relation to Human Resources and Risk that were fully detailed in the report.
In response to questions from Councillor Jerry Roodhouse, Councillor Jenns acknowledged that performance was declining and this was of concern to the Cabinet. Portfolio Holders would be addressing individual areas of concern within their responsibilities. In terms of human resources, recruitment processes were being tested and improved and regarding retention focus was being placed on key themes important to staff, such as equality and diversity and wellbeing (including the Thrive at Work accreditation).
Councillor Andy Crump noted that the Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee had recently received a presentation on flooding. He noted that engagement schemes were in place and support from Members was required to get full community engagement, particularly among new residents. Councillor Crump also pointed out that fire-related deaths could be impacted by many factors and the focus of the Fire and Rescue Service remained first to prevent, then protect and then respond and it was important to ensure that target response times were fit for purpose.
Councillor Jeff Morgan noted the areas of challenge in Children’s Services, noting that the figures were set against the recent media coverage of child neglect cases in Bradford and Solihull which had created a level of heightened awareness and referrals. However, he was optimistic the indicators would improve.
Councillor Margaret Bell also recognised challenges in terms of the percentage of children receiving a 6-8 week health check and explained the arrangements that had been agreed with the service provider and the focus placed on ensuring that families in need were identified and supported. The associated recruitment of health visitors was being managed in terms of delivering key priorities.
Councillor Sarah Feeney requested a Member Development Session with a focus on flooding and this was agreed by Councillors Crump and Butlin to take place in the new year.
In response to a question from Councillor Feeney, Councillor Kaur advised that there had been a period of transformation with regard to SEND and OfSted had advised that the Service was on track and delivering on its previous recommendations. Improvement work was ongoing with families to shape the programme and its delivery. Forecast overspend had been brought down without any detriment to families.
Councillor Margaret Bell added that the waiting times for autism diagnosis were being addressed and monitored. The measure being used was the longest wait and she was confident this could be brought down to target despite the number of referrals being almost three times that predicted.
Councillor Peter Butlin noted the financial pressures the Council was under due to inflation which was being monitored because of the effect on all services provided by the authority.
1. notes the Quarter 2 organisational performance, progress against the Integrated Delivery Plan, management of Human Resources and Risk.
2. agrees the proposed changes to the Performance Management Framework outlined in paragraph 2.7 of the report.