The Committee is requested to note this report from the Corporate Plan Task and Finish Group and to confirm that it is satisfied that the council is achieving satisfactory levels of performance against the targets and activities in the 2018/19 Corporate Plan mid-year progress report.
Mrs Dignum introduced the report and was joined by Mr Buckley. She explained that the TFG had met on 1 November 2018 to consider the Corporate Plan mid-year progress report from April to September 2018. The aim was to review the council’s performance and to identify individual areas where performance was below that expected. Mrs Dignum explained that the Group had focussed their attention on the areas marked by a red indicator. Overall the Group were content that the reasons for the red indicators were understandable and where they related to a temporary shortage of staff it was agreed that following recruitment to the relevant teams the indicators would be likely to improve next year. Mrs Dignum confirmed that the Group had requested further information on the recruitment to the Choose Work vacancy which had been provided following the meeting. She explained that the Group also spent some time considering a number of amber indictors which officers were able to provide appropriate clarity on. With regard to reported crime Mrs Dignum outlined members request for further information relating to the increase and explained that an explanation had been provided attributing the rise almost entirely to theft from vehicles organised by gangs from outside of the district. She confirmed that overall the Group considered that there were good explanations for areas of the Corporate Plan where targets had not been met; some were outside the council’s control, others showed great input making a difference, some needed a little more time.
With regard to concerns that there may be a problem with recruitment of staff or the recruitment process Mr Buckley explained that each of the teams referenced in the report had reasons for the staff shortages. He outlined the revenues and benefits large scale review and explained that all staff in those teams had been required to apply for a role. With regard to the Pay Review he explained that parameters will be set to ensure equal work is rewarded with equal pay.
Members asked Mr Buckley the following questions or made the following comments (the answers to which were provided after the meeting and are indicated in italics below):
· Has the number of thefts from vehicles improved since the Corporate Plan report was published? Pam Bushby, Communities Divisional Manager has advised that for the crime category concerning theft from vehicles the figure for October was 88 incidents, compared to 90 in September.
· It was suggested that the BID area crime figures should be recorded separately in next year’s report. This will be considered as part of the annual planning cycle where all performance indicators and their associated targets are agreed by Directors and Cabinet Members.
· Statistics re: staff health and wellbeing – can these include cycling to work/walking to work/bike racks? This will be considered as part of the annual planning cycle where all performance indicators and their associated targets are agreed by Directors and Cabinet Members.
· Following the introduction of Universal Credit have the number of benefit enquiries to the council increased? Marlene Rogers, Business Support Manager within the Revenues and Benefits Division reported – ‘As Universal Credit (UC) is administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), we would only get enquiries where there is debate over the type of tenancy, in terms of whether they are exempt from UC or where they are struggling with claiming. We have seen these types of queries and they sometimes take time to resolve. However in terms of resource I would say that this is mitigated by the reduction in caseload, and hence queries, as a consequence of roll out of UC.’
· With reference to the second bullet point on page 93 of the agenda pack why does CDC rely on WSCC to monitor the mix of housing units delivered when CDC has its own Housing Delivery Team? Holly Nicol (Housing Delivery Manager – Housing Division) and Tim Guymer (Principal Planning Officer – Planning Policy Division) reported ‘WSCC are specifically resourced to monitor housing delivery across the County, so it makes sense to avoid any attempt to duplicate. Their officers visit larger sites to visually ascertain what has been built – rather than relying on what developers are telling them. The Housing Delivery Team do monitor the affordable housing delivered and ensure delivery is in-line with the S106 Agreement. This is done through cross checking the new affordable housing adverts to let on our choice based lettings system. In terms of the market housing, we have generally been successful in negotiating the mix as set out in the Corporate Plan / local plan housing evidence and exceptions to this are reported. As with any other planning matter, it is up to the LPA’s to ensure planning approvals are implemented in line with consent. We have in the past looked into ways of monitoring this, but it was found to be excessively resource intensive, with there often being multiple planning applications on a larger site, not all of which will be implemented as one application can (but doesn’t always) supersede another.’
· With reference towards the end of page 93 and the habitat regulations – is this anything to do with the European Court of Justice Sweetman Assessment and if it is has the council been consulted and does it understand the judgement? Tracey Flitcroft (Principal Planning Officer – Planning Policy Division) reported, ‘Relevant officers in the Planning Policy Team are familiar with the judgement made in April 2018 by the European Court of Justice, known as the Sweetman Assessment. Following the judgement, we had to undertake further Habitat Regulation Assessments (HRA) for our Site Allocations Development Plan Document (DPD). Due to the Sweetman judgement, we have to undertake a HRA assessing sites before mitigation and after mitigation, whereas previously, we could make an assessment just taking mitigation into account. This is a procedural process which was required by the Inspector before she was able to complete her final report. The Inspector’s report has now been received and published on the website. The Site Allocations DPD will be considered for adoption by DPIP in December and Cabinet and Council in January.’
Following further discussion relating to policing matters members agreed that they would welcome the opportunity to discuss the current levels of crime in the district, the impact of the new policing structure and difficulties in reporting crime to the 101 telephone line with the Police and Crime Commissioner and the Chief Inspector.
1. That the final report from the Corporate Plan Task and Finish Group be noted.
2. That the Committee is satisfied that the council is achieving satisfactory levels of performance against the targets and activities in the 2018-19 Corporate Plan mid-year progress report.
3. That the Police Crime Commissioner and Chief Inspector be formally invited to attend the January 2019 OSC meeting.