To consider the attached report detailing performance against the Corporate Plan, for the period to the end of the third quarter of 2019/20 (to follow).
The Service Director (Community & Partnerships), J Chandler reported on the Quarter 3 performance in relation to the Key Performance Indicators & Work Programmes within the Corporate Plan. She advised that the performance measures had been streamlined to enable improved focus on how Corporate Objectives were being met.
The Service Director (Community & Partnerships) reported on an exception basis for all corporate objectives that had red or amber performance ratings for quarter 3 and had invited Service Directors and Service Managers to provide an update on project targets that had not been met;
1. Engaging with the changing needs of our customers –
· Improved Customer first contact resolution – The Service Manager (Customer), S Lewis advised that this measure reflected the contact centre resolution at the first point of contact. There had been an upward trend since September 2019 which had had resulted in a 44.13% figure for December 2019. Furthermore, the contact centre was set to gain more service areas throughout 2020 and it was thought that the target would be met by quarter 4.
9. Improving the district housing offer-
· To deliver the Council Housebuilding Programme – The Service Manager (Housing Management & Home Ownership) , D Fenton advised that there had been delays on phases 2 and 3 and corrective action had been taken. In addition, to mitigate any further delays the Council had improved its internal staffing resources which included employing a Development Manager responsible for the Council House Building Programme and the procurement of an Employer Agent and Architect to reduce costs and delivery time. Officers had also been working to establish clearer financial reporting and how the Right to Buy receipts would be spent. This included either development or purchasing properties. In phase 4, four tenders had been accepted and no delays anticipated.
10. Planning development priorities & 11. Ensuring infrastructure supports growth
· Local Plan Programme – The Service Director (Planning), N Richardson advised that following the receipt of the Planning Inspector’s advice on 2 August 2019, the Council had written back to the Inspector on 11 October 2019 setting out the further work to be undertaken to support an updated Habitats Regulation Assessment. It set out a timetable for the completion of the updated Habitat Regulation Assessment (HRA) and Sustainability Appraisal of the proposed Main Modifications to the Plan. This had been scheduled to be completed by Mid May 2020 with the consultation on the Main Modifications from mid June 2020. The Council had recently provided a progress report to the Inspector and the final methodology for the HRA was expected to be established in early 2020. This would enable the Council to undertake the transport modelling and air quality modelling of various alternative scenarios in accordance with the methodology discussed with Natural England. The Planning Services Portfolio Holder advised that the Council was in a better position with their Local Plan than other adjacent authorities.
12. Supporting business enterprise & attracting investment
· St Johns Road Programme – The Cabinet in December 2019, had been rescheduled to 6 January 2020 due to the General Election on 12 December 2019.
13. People develop skills to maximise their potential & 14. Promoting retail, tourism &the visitor economy
· Growth/Skills/Employment Programme – The Service Director (Community & Partnership) advised that the presentation of the District’s Economic Strategy had been deferred to include the initial findings of the recently set up Local High Street Task and Finish Panel.
15. Enhancing skills & flexibility of our workforce
· People Strategy – The Service Director (Business Services) advised that;
(i) the Team Mangers were continued to be appointed;
(ii) the pilot recruitment module was continuing to be developed;
(iii) the Recruitment Policy would begin in quarter 1 - 2020/21;
(iv) the Mental Health recruitment and training had begun; and
(v) the Job Families work continued.
Furthermore a workshop regarding the People Strategy would be arranged for members of the Committee and Cabinet.
16. Improving performance through innovation & new technology
· Digital Enablement Programme – The Service Director (Business Services) advised that draft ICT Strategy would be presented to Cabinet in March 2020 and the ICT restructure consultation would be beginning towards the end of January 2020.
· The ICT staff had been supporting the staff with mobile and flexible working.
17. Efficient use of our financial resources, buildings & assets
· Accommodation Strategy – The Service Director (Community & Partnership) advised that both the Listed Consent and Planning Applications for the Civic Offices had been agreed with conditions.
Furthermore, the Corporate Objective 7. Keeping the District safe – Community Safety Hub, had seen a 36.7% reduction in residential burglary in the District, which had involved the Council funded Police Officers.
The Committee asked a number of questions in relation to the Corporate Objectives as follows;
6. Provide Culture & Leisure – Increase new leisure centre attendees year on year
Councillor R Bassett enquired about the clarity of figures represented in the table. The Planning Services Portfolio Holder advised that the actual figures represented the number of users, which should increase over the year and the targets represented what had been set as acceptable figures. Although the figures for the December period had not yet been completed due to the deadline requirements for the publication of the agenda. Councillor R Bassett asked that an explanation be included for the Actual and Target figures.
Councillor H Brady asked who had set the targets for the leisure centre attendances. The Service Director (Community & Partnership) advised that the Leisure Management Contract Partnership Board received the detailed reports and she would ask the officer to attend the next meeting to explain the figures.
2. Supporting healthy lifestyles – Delivery of the Epping Forest Health & Wellbeing Strategy Programme
Councillor R Brookes asked who attended the Health & Wellbeing Board and what they monitored. The Service Director (Community& Partnership) advised that the Health & Wellbeing Board was chaired Councillor A Patel and the Board was made up by a number of partners including the Clinical Commission Group (CCG), further NHS commissioned services, Essex County Council Public Health commissioners and other local partners that provided health related services. Beneath the Board, were three action groups that looked at the early years, middle years and old years which encompassed the whole life course. The Board monitored the action plans of these groups; considered their effectiveness; reduced duplication; increased collaborative opportunities; and commissioned new initiatives through CCG and Public Health funding.
9. Improving the district housing offer – To deliver the Council Housebuilding Programme
Councillor D Dorrell asked about the phase 1 site at Ninefields in Waltham Abbey and what was happening with the planning permission due to expiry at the end of January 2020. The Service Manager (Housing Management & Home Ownership) advised that the site at Ninefields was in phase 4 of the Council Housebuilding Programme, although she would investigate and come back to him with further details.
10. Planning development priorities & 11. Ensuring infrastructure supports growth
Councillor H Kane asked who determined the exceptional circumstances for planning applications situated in the greenbelt during the period when the Council awaited adoption of the Local Plan. The Planning Services Portfolio Holder advised that when the Council agreed to the submission of the Local Plan, it was in conjunction with applying reasonable weight to each and every planning decision in terms of the submitted Local Plan. The Planning Inspector’s response had set out areas where modifications were required, therefore if an area within the Local Plan was not included in those modifications, a significant amount of weight could contribution towards a special circumstance. Although until the Local Plan had been adopted, areas of designated greenbelt remained, and special circumstances still applied.
Councillor J M Whitehouse asked what the process was for members considering the main modification. The Planning Services Portfolio Holder advised that members had no role in the main modifications as the Planning Inspector determined them including the format and consultation process. The text for the modifications would be provided by the Council, although the Planning Inspector had to validate them with any comments being published alongside the examination document on the Council website.
15. Enhancing skills & flexibility of out workforce – People Strategy
Councillor H Kane asked how much detailed would be provided to members at the proposed People Strategy work shop. The Service Manager (Business Services) advised that it was dependent on what was being brought forward and how the strategy developed.
Councillor R Brookes asked what the pay protection policy was for staff, following the Pay and Benefits Review. The Service Manager (Business Services) advised that it totalled a period of 18 months where pay was reduced by 25% every six months. This had affected 13 staff and had been mainly due to a change in line management or they had either not applied or not been successful in the new structure. Anyone who had dropped more than 1 grade had been placed on an ‘at risk’ register.
Councillor R Brookes asked how many staff had left the Council in 2019. The Service Manager (Business Services) advised that she did not have the exact figures, but she would send figures to all members of the Committee.
17. Efficient use of our financial resources, buildings & assets - Accommodation Strategy
Councillor R Bassett asked for a briefing document on the Accommodation Strategy with a timescale for the project to be placed in the Members Bulletin.
The Committee noted the third quarter of 2019/20 in relation to the Corporate
Plan (Year 2) Performance.