Agenda item

Corporate Plan Priorities Finance and Performance Report Q3


The Committee received the report on the Council’s Corporate Plan Priorities, Finance and Performance for quarter three. 


The Director of Corporate Resources highlighted that the financial information in the report was for the year to January 2019 and the performance information for the year to December 2018.


There were no major areas of concern regarding performance although the speed of processing housing benefits and council tax support was just below target due to the emphasis on quality and the lack of benefits staff available at the start of the new arrangements in July.  There was currently a 0.3% error rate with claims processed.  The Director of Corporate Resources said that the new partnership with LGSS was providing a good service and once the IT transfer from Mid Sussex’s servers was complete the issue with the speed of processing would be resolved due to LGSS’s resilience arrangements.


A budget monitoring forecast was presented.  The forecast outturn had moved from a £177,000 surplus in period 9 to a surplus of £195,000 in period 10.  This was due to some significant re-forecasts. 


It was noted that performance indicators for the speed of determining planning applications were on target.  Councillors asked about the number of applications where the Council had sought an extension of time.  Members requested that this information be included in future KPI monitoring reports.


It was explained regarding the target for the percentage of invoices paid on time that measures were being put in place to allow more automatic payments.  Councillors were keen to know whether the issues were an IT problem or a processing problem.  The Director of Corporate Resources said it was a mixture of both.


Asked about the slow spend of the capital budgets the Director of Corporate Resources acknowledged that forward planning by officers could be over ambitious, although there were inevitably unpredicted and uncontrollable delays such as changes in the design of the Roman Way flats requested by Councillors and the incident with the Piries Place redevelopment.


The Director of Corporate Resources also explained that the Council had £3,000,000 per year to purchase property but could not control when the properties became available so some years this money was spent and in others it was not.


The Director of Corporate Resources reminded Councillors that local authority capital projects generally did not make a financial return but that whilst not spending left the Council better off, this was not a good approach for Horsham District’s communities.


Asked about the spend profile on the salaries budgets the Director of Corporate Resources stated that there had been recruiting difficulties with many services leading to the use of agency and temporary staff.  This had been a particular problem in the refuse collection service where posts could not be left vacant.  The Head of Service was working with Human Resources on the issue. 


Councillors questioned whether there needed to be more money in the Council budget for planning compliance. 


The Chairman noted that the compliments received by the Council far outweigh the complaints and considered the information in the report to reflect well on the Council.




That the Head of Development be asked to advise the Committee on the number of extensions to planning applications. 


That a review of planning compliance be considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee in the new Council year. 



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