The report detailed the performance of the key performance measures reported through the corporate performance framework for 2020/21. Latest performance outturns and targets for the quarter 2 period were reported alongside trend and benchmarking information, where available.
RESOLVED: That: (i) the report be NOTED; and
(ii)action to improve performance where required be taken.
Katrina Wood, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Resources, introduced the report which detailed the performance of the key performance measures reported through the Corporate Performance Framework for 2020/21. Latest performance outturns and targets for the quarter 2 period were reported alongside trend and benchmarking information, where available.
Within the performance report, outturns which were performing at or better than target were classified as Green, those which were within 5% of the target were Amber and those which were more than 5% of the target were Red. At the end of Quarter 2, 63 indicators had outturns reported with a Red, Amber or Green (RAG) status. Of these, 37 were Green, 6 were Amber and 20 were Red.
Cllr K Wood reported that the majority of the red performance indicators had been impacted due to the Covid-19 pandemic. She highlighted the achievement within adult social care in relation to the percentage of service users due an annual review that had received their review, performance had improved and she congratulated the Cabinet Member and officers on this achievement. She also highlighted a key area for improvement in relation to missed bins collections due to the service having experienced logistical issues, which she anticipated would improve.
Cabinet Members then provided comprehensive explanations for the performance marked as red where performance was more than 5% off the target for each of their portfolio’s, these were as follows:
· Unemployment Claimant Rate – There were 10,260 more claimants in Buckinghamshire in September than at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020. Improvement actions being undertaken included the Bucks Skills Hub (a LEP, Buckinghamshire Business First (BBF), Buckinghamshire Council and Careers and Enterprise Company partnership) having set up a Redundancy Taskforce. Early retraining initiatives being undertaken within Bucks including - retraining hospitality staff to take on care roles and aviation professionals taking on roles in the film industry.
· Number of younger people (aged 18- 64) admitted to permanent residential or nursing care homes per head of 100,000 population - There had been 24 people admitted this year, which was 3 people above the target. Improvement actions being undertaken included reducing the number of admissions to residential settings, by improving housing options.
· % of 19-21 year olds who have left care that are in education, employment or training - At the end of Q2 (September 2020), 50% of care leavers aged 19 to 21 were in education, employment and/or training, which was below the 60% target. Improvement action being undertaken included establishing the “Care Attain” project to support 35 care leavers in the next year, by working with partners including Transition UK, the Clare Foundation and the Department for Work and Pensions.
· % children waiting less than 14 months between entering care and moving In with their adoptive family - Performance was below the 60% target, but had increased from the 50% reported for Q1. Improvement action being undertaken included continuing to explore avenues to recruit adopters for children who were difficult to place or have complex needs.
· % of children starting to be looked after that are placed in internal placements (from 1 April 2020) – the number of internal placements had been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, which had impacted on the availability of internal foster carers and internal placements. Improvement actions being undertaken included increasing the number of internally provided semi-independent placements for young people aged 16 and 17.
· % of those who have set a quit smoking date who have successfully quit at 4 weeks - In Q2 44% of those who set a quit date had successfully quit at 4 weeks which was below target. Clients had found it harder to quit as a result of Covid-19 restrictions. Improvement actions included adapting service delivery with Live Well Stay Well to improve the quit rate, including intensive behavioural support and promoting a ‘family approach’.
· Number of library information enquiries (signposting and referral) – Performance was below Q2 target (3,000 enquiries) at 1,638 enquiries. Libraries had been operating at reduced opening hours and were required to limit visitor numbers in order to ensure social distancing. Performance would improve if we were able to safely increase opening hours, but we were unlikely to meet the target for as long as we were affected by lockdown restrictions and/or required to limit visitor numbers in order to ensure social distancing.
· Permanent exclusion rate – primary - The exclusion rate in Buckinghamshire had increased slightly since the previous year when this indicator was rated green, with one additional pupil receiving a permanent exclusion (11 pupils). Improvement actions included primary permanent exclusions being considered at the Primary Executive Board (PEB), to identify more inclusive ways of working and reduce permanent exclusions.
· Missed Bin Collections – The decline in performance was due to a number of recent vehicle breakdowns leading to late starts and incomplete rounds. New vehicles had been brought in to provide extra resilience in the fleet. There was also a difference in how missed bins were reported and closed off between the two operators, leading to an artificial uplift. Improvement actions being undertaken included providing like-for like reporting in the future, as well as the recruitment of an additional manager to help oversee operations in this transition period. The Leader apologised to residents that felt that the Council had not met their expectations in relation to missed bin collections.
· Number of households living in temporary accommodation for over 12 months - In Q2 there were a total of 34 households who had been living in temporary accommodation for over 12 months. Housing Associations were not able to let in their usual numbers during the Covid period, Buckinghamshire Council (BC) housing teams were arranging more direct lets than usual during that period. During Q1 and Q2 the BC Housing teams kept more people, including families, in temporary accommodation despite having no further formal statutory duty as evictions from temporary accommodation were not being enforced during the Covid period.
· Number of applicants with/expecting children who have been in non-self-contained B&B accommodation for longer than 6 weeks - Due to Covid-19 and the increase in demandfor temporary accommodation, coupled with reduced availability of socially rented properties,one applicant had been placed into Bed & Breakfast (B&B) accommodation for longer than 6 weeks. Improvement measures included continuing to carefully monitor applicants in temporary accommodation and utilising all avenues to move them to permanent accommodation in a timely manner, including the use of privately rented accommodation.
· % of homelessness decisions taking over 56 days - The % of homeless decisions taking over 56 days in Q2 was higher than target. Due to development work in the launch of the new authority, data was not available for Q1. The Buckinghamshire Council team intentionally kept a large number of rough sleeper applications open to try and find accommodation and continue support during the Covid period.
· % eligible clients who are provided with transport before the required start date, or no later than 15 working days from referral - Where transport was not set up within this time period,it had been because the client no longer needed transport, e.g. where they had movedaway or taken a place at a different school /placement. Improvement actions included developing a process for following up on unallocated clients to ensure that Client Transport had accurate data about whether transport was required.
· % of building control applications checked within 21 days - Application numbers were low in Q1 as architects and agents were not able to visitsites during lockdown, but these had increased considerably as restrictions hadbeen relaxed. Improvement measures being undertaken included agency surveyors having been temporarily on-boarded to assist with the increase in workloads.
· Gross income from Property - The reason for the dip in income was due to pressures as a result of Covid-19. The Buckinghamshire Council team was continuing to agree payment plans with tenants to mitigate the impact of voids. The Property Team also continued to progress a number of significant income opportunities.
· % of interventions completed against the total due in the annual inspection plan of food premises (A-D rated premises) Buckinghamshire - On 20 March 2020 the Food Standards Agency (FSA) wrote to Local Authorities instructing them to defer all planned food hygiene and food standards interventions, in effect suspending the programme. This instructionwas initially until mid-April but extended until 25 June where Local Authorities were directed to commence interventions in limited circumstances, high risk premises only. The advice had been extended until 30 September. The team would continue to work within the FSA guidelines and to carry out inspections in high risk premises as directed. Given the ongoing restrictions and the backlog it was unlikely that the teams would achieve the 90% interventions target they had consistently met in past years. It was noted that enforcement officers had been heavily involved in Covid-19 compliance.
· Overall revenue (forecast) variance across the council (performance measure) - All directorates are forecasting to overspend this year, a major driver behind this being the loss of income and increased costs in relation to the Council’s response to Covid-19. Each Directorate was considering actions to mitigate business as usual pressures. Actions being undertaken included each Directorate releasing uncommitted earmarked reserves and corporate contingencies included within the budget. Continued lobbying of government for the full recovery of all additional expenditure and lost income in relation to Covid-19 overspend.
· £ value of unsecured debt > 90 days (excl Business Rate, Housing Benefit and Council Tax, and not secured against a property or asset) - There had been an increase in debt figures in September due to the commencement of reconciliation and budget alignment work following the end of lockdown 1. The reconciliation of closing balances from former councils was being carried out to ensure that debt was accurately recorded in reporting going forward.
· % of Business Rates collected - Performance for Q2 is 43% against a target of 57.7%. This was due to COVID-19, lockdown 1 and the delay in recovery action. Alternative payment arrangements were being made where possible that support the business as well as meeting our requirements to collect business rates.
· Average % of phone calls in Customer Service Centres abandoned before being answered - The Customer Service Centres (CSC) received 20% more calls in September and that had impacted the number of calls that we had been able to answer. Improvement measures included moving all incoming lines to one telephony platform to allow an increase in customer service advisors on busier lines during peak periods and therefore increasing resilience.
The list of improvement measures taken to mitigate the performance of the above measure was not an exhaustive list and further improvement measures were set out in the report.
Cabinet Members also highlighted the many green performance measures which were performing at or better than on target and areas of performance improvement, in particular the following areas were commented upon:
· % of service users due an annual review that receive their review % of assessments
completed in 45 working days.
· Number of downloads (eaudiobooks, emagazines and enews)
· % new Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) issued within 20
weeks (excluding exceptions)
· Homeless protections work, N Dicker and his team were congratulated for all their hard work.
· % of enforcement appeals allowed
· Average time for processing new Housing Benefit claims (days)
· Number of visitors to Country Parks
· Improvements to leisure facilities
· % of Flood Management applications responded to within 21 days of receipt
· % of Category 1 defects (pot holes) repaired in 2 working days
Following a detailed review of the performance indicators, it was therefore:
RESOLVED: That: (i) the report be NOTED; and
(ii)ACTION to improve performance where required be taken.