Agenda item

Report on the Council's Corporate Plan Priorities, Finance and Performance in 2017/18


The Committee received the Report on the Council’s Corporate Plan Priorities, Finance and Performance for 2017/18 with details of how successful the Council had been in delivering its services against the identified Corporate Plan Priorities.


The following questions on the report were submitted prior to the meeting and these, along with the answers, were presented at the meeting:



1.    PP10: Number of complaints received: 183 in total, this was down on last year which was good, but do we know how many were resolved at the initial stages and how many went forward? The report from the Local Government Ombudsman indicated that there seem to have been 20 complaints of which only 3 were upheld which is very good.


Officer response:


Of the 183 complaints that the Council received, only 32 went to stage 2 of the complaints process. 20 were escalated to the LGSCO and of those, three have been recorded as upheld, one more than last year. The Council was currently disputing one of these as the decision notice we received indicates that it was not upheld.


2.    SSC9b: No. of enforcement notices: 18 enforcements - were good results produced?


Officer response:


The Council has a dedicated post for covering enviro crime which had allowed the Council to investigate reported crime resulting in a number of actions being recorded. The 18 enforcement actions mainly consisted of letters of caution sent to individuals where insufficient evidence existed to pursue any other line. In addition to this we had two prosecutions both for Failure under Duty of Care as opposed to the act of Fly Tipping. Ultimately failure to discharge liability under Duty of care leads to 3rd party fly tipping. The Council had two further cases pending at the time which were likely to end in prosecution.


It should be noted that the Council investigates under PACE which requires the same evidential level and process requirement to be followed as one would for serious crime. It’s therefore quite complex and resource intensive. The level of enviro crime continues to rise particularly fly tipping which was notoriously difficult to prosecute given that the perpetrator must be seen carrying out the act of fly tipping. We are therefore investigating the possibility of procuring redeployable CCTV.



3.    OP17: Number of refuse, recycling and garden waste collections reported as missed: Could the numbers of bins missed be explained, how can missed bins be in fractions?


Officer response:


The reported figure was the monthly average across the year. The number of collections monthly before the introduction of fortnightly collections was in excess of 412,000.


4.    DM19: % Major applications determined under 13 weeks or subject to voluntary extension: How many major applications involved?


Officer Responses:


Major Applications - 65 across the year.


Further questions to the Director of Corporate Services at the meeting:



Capital expenditure amounted to £28m, which was 61% of the approved Capital Programme. Has this underspend been identified in the past two years?

The Director explained that this type of underspend was common across a number of authorities. Officers were asked to spread Capital programmes across the year, it often was the case that officers did not spend in the year what they had intended to as they may have been optimistic with the timing of a project.

The Directors encouraged officers to be realistic about the delivery of their projects. These figures did not indicate an inefficiency.


Members questioned how much of the debtors figure would be written off? The Committee was advised that the Council did not write off large amounts of debt and the reason for these debts was often due to lengthy on going disputes. 


The Chairman commended the figures of both LS01a: Attendance at sports centres and LS01b: Swimming attendances, which were both higher than budgeted.


Alongside this the Chairman also welcomed the total figures from parking income: TS02a: Total paid car park users, which were also significantly above budget.


VE10: Commercial property return on investment: The Committee noted that the acquisition of The Forum had caused the significant difference in these figures.


Members questioned the variance in the staffing cost figures. The Director explained the main reasons for staff turnover and that a proportion of this was due to the transfer of TUPE staff. This was not an area of concern for the Director. However she explained the difficulty the Council faced in recruiting professional staff and that it was currently looking at different options i.e. apprenticeships and staff training.


Members noted that the 22 members of Census IT employees had now left the Council, therefore the variance in staff figures was not anticipated to be so significant next year. 


The figures for temporary staff were anticipated to be lower next year, as the numbers had increased to deal with the roll out of the new waste collection service.


The Chairman concluded by reminding the Committee that all questions based on the Corporate Plan Priorities report should be submitted in advance of the meeting in order to allow officers sufficient time to prepare the answers.

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