Report from The Deputy Leader of the Council.
The Committee was invited to consider the report of the Deputy Leader of the Council, which set out performance information for quarters 3 and 4 of 2018/19. Members were advised that in both quarters 3 and 4 the number of apprenticeships was slightly below target; a plan had been put in place to help the Council achieve this target. At the end of quarter 4 rent collection from council homes was also slightly below target.
Members noted that the occupancy rate of retail units had exceeded the targets; this was attributed to work undertaken by InvestSK and with landlords. The committee felt it would be helpful to have a breakdown for each market town to make sure under-performance in one town was not being masked by strong performance in the others.
Ø A breakdown of the occupancy of retail units by market town to be provided to committee members
The committee was advised of changes that were being made to the way performance data was being collected and reported. Rather than working on an historic snapshot position, the new system that was being introduced enabled live reporting to allow the council to take a more proactive approach in respect of performance. The performance leads had begun working with the directorates and Cabinet Member to populate the dashboard. The report showed examples of how data was displayed in the old and the new performance systems. Members were also shown examples of the dashboards within the system and how they could be used to drill down to a detailed level, including examples of indicators for planning, housing and human resources.
Members asked about whether information from the performance dashboards would be available to the public. The committee was advised that the primary intention was to use the system as an internal resource and, where useful, information would be made available to members of the public. It was possible to publish snapshots of dashboard information on the council’s website without needing additional licences; it would not, however, allow for publication of live information. It was anticipated that the Council would not be in a position to publish performance data for the public to view until the end of the year. Discussions were underway about who should have access to the system and the level of access they should have.
Members indicated that they would find it useful to have access to the system and suggested a soft launch to Members prior to making anything available to the public. They suggested that it would help by giving a period in which the Council could ensure that there was an archive of data to make the published information useful. They also suggested it would be helpful to understand how the system worked so that they could address any questions or concerns raised by their constituents. Members agreed that it would be helpful if training was made available to them prior to the system going live. There would be a full communications plan surrounding the rollout of the system setting out with whom there would need to be communication and any training that would be required for users.
That the system is launched for Councillors several months ahead of the public to give them time to understand it and build an archive of data
Members agreed that the system provided an improvement from the format in which performance data had previously been accessed and presented.
A question was raised about whether any published information would include commentary or whether raw data would be published for people to come to their own understanding.
Members asked about how the cost of the new system compared to the old in relation to both the initial procurement and ongoing costs. Councillors were advised that the cost of the outgoing system was approximately £11,000 each year. The new system was based on the purchase of individual licences.
Ø Officers to supply a full breakdown of costs, including ongoing costs, and information about other users of the system
Officers were asked questions about how the new system was hosted and the security measures in place to protect the Council’s data. The system was hosted in the cloud with other council systems. The licensing arrangement also provided an additional level of security.
Members were interested in the number of fly-tipping incidents following an increase between January and March 2019. Members wanted additional contextual information to identify whether the issue was seasonal or the start of an upward trend.
Ø Additional information on fly tipping to be circulated to committee members
During general discussion Members suggested that some indicators could do with an additional breakdown of information, citing town centre occupancy and rent collection. They also stated that it may be useful to include an explanation of how the indicators were recorded, again referring to the rent collection indicator, which was shown as a proportion of the total rather than a budgeted amount each month. Questions were also raised about the frequency with which some of the data was collected, with Members suggesting the rateable value of the district should be refreshed more regularly than annually.
Committee members asked about how much legacy data was available and whether it could feed into the new system. Officers stated that historic data could be translated into the new system and that the mechanisms for importing live data were being explored. Where possible it was hoped the new system could be fed directly from systems within each service area; considerations about security would be a key part of this work.