Report of the Deputy Leader of the Council.
At the Committee’s meeting of 16 July 2019, questions had been raised by Members with reference to the performance report for quarters 3 and 4 of 2018/19. Hard copies of the responses to these questions were circulated.
Members were advised to consider the Report of the Deputy Leader of the Council, which set out performance information for quarter 1 of 2019/20. Also included in the report was an update on the progress of the Microsoft Power BI development as a new approach to performance reporting.
Members were advised that of the twenty one corporate performance indicators, three were at amber status, meaning they were not achieving their target at the end of quarter 1.
Included in the indicators at amber status was the percentage of rent collected in the quarter 1 period. This was attributed to an increase in arrears resulting from the further roll out of Universal Credit across the district, in addition to an increase in unrecoverable debts relating to deceased tenants and evictions. It was not considered to be a significant shortfall at this stage in the financial year.
Also at amber status was the number of apprenticeships hosted within the Council. Members were informed that further recruitment opportunities for apprenticeships were in the pipeline, including degree apprenticeships and LGV apprenticeships. The Human Resources team would continue to work with service areas across the Council to identify further apprenticeship opportunities moving forward.
Members noted that the percentage of waste sent for reuse, recycling and composting also remained within the amber threshold for quarter 1. This indicator reflected the ongoing issue of the contamination of silver recycling bins across the district. Officers advised that this issue is part of a county-wide problem currently being addressed by Lincolnshire County Council. Members expressed their concern over the high contaminations levels in silver bins, and felt that this needed considering in further detail by the relevant Committee.
That the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee consider the percentage of household waste sent for reuse, recycling and composting, including the level of contamination of silver bins to support the work being undertaken by Lincolnshire County Council and within the Council’s own service area for Waste and Recycling.
Attention then turned to the indicators meeting or exceeding their targets at the end of quarter 1. The percentage of streets meeting the clean streets standard was noted to be performing particularly well, with over 97% of streets assessed meeting the standard. The percentage of planning applications approved also remained high.
A presentation of the new Performance Reporting Framework using Microsoft Power BI software was given by the Strategic Director, Transformation and Change, providing Members with examples of interactive dashboards for different service areas. Dashboards could also be configured for the Overview and Scrutiny Committees, displaying corporate indicators as requested by each Committee. Members were advised that the website displaying the information would be linked directly to analytics, allowing for the display of live data. It was intended that this data could then be used to track and plan based on real-time statistics, providing a greater level of insight and detail than current information allowed.
Members were then invited to make comments or ask questions arising from the presentation:
· Members asked about the possibility of information relating to overall strategic objectives being shown by the software, allowing the Committee to focus primarily on overall performance rather than operational details. It was indicated that the Committee could decide over a period of time which indicators they felt held the most value for their role.
· Members enquired as to the access ambition for the software. The framework would be rolled out incrementally, with each service area and committee providing input on the performance indicators needed on their corresponding dashboards. Officers could then look at formulating dashboards relating to Member Portfolios or Ward areas. Information would be shared to the public domain initially as static views. The current priority would be collating the data sets in order for them to provide relevant meaning for each target audience.
· Members suggested that that the Customer Services dashboard could provide useful information to inform the development of indicators available to the public, as it would show their reasons for contacting the Council and therefore the areas in which they expressed significant interest.
· Members mentioned a number of areas they would like to see further performance indicator information for, including the number of legal actions taken due to non-payment of council tax and rent, the financial implications of providing temporary accommodation, the progress of planning appeals in addition to applications and the frequency and quality of grass cutting across the district. It was also suggested that it would be helpful to see performance indictor information relating to complaints.
· Members expressed that an explanation of housing application bands one, two and three, as well as the emergency band, would improve understanding of the performance measure relating to the housing register.
· Members commented that the figures provided within performance indicator information would hold increased value if displayed alongside data from previous quarters, to provide context and a basis for comparison. Officers advised that this would be possible within the new framework.
· It was noted by Members that additional data in the form of numerical or monetary figures would provide greater transparency within the performance reporting framework. Members felt that this would provide a clearer display to avoid abstract figures and aid a full understanding of the practical reality of the percentages given.
· It was commented that in order to provide optimal value, performance information should include trends, targets, benchmarks and implications. In some instances, it was noted that our targets could be set above national targets if the Council had demonstrated that it was consistently achieving above them. Members also noted that it would be useful to have an indication of how targets had been originally set, in order to provide a basis for reviewing how they had been adjusted over time. Officers confirmed that targets had evolved over time to correspond with developing needs and expectations, and the new Performance Indicator Framework was a further opportunity to refresh and review them.
· Members asked if it was possible to compare our performance to other district councils of a similar size as a benchmark. Officers stated that tools allowing this comparison had been used as part of the transformation work. However, due to all authorities measuring and interpreting performance data differently, the challenge in using this approach would be ensuring that an accurate comparison could be made.
· Members considered that there would need to be further discussion in relation to which performance indicators would provide the most value for each of the Committees, and it was suggested that a separate workshop alongside officers could facilitate this.
Ø A workshop to be provided for Members in relation to the new Performance Framework