Councillor Duffin introduced
the report and stated that it presented the annual Key Performance
Indicator (KPI) results for 2020/21, and showed the impact that
COVID-19 had had on some services, as well as service achievements.
He explained that the report had been to the Corporate Overview and
Scrutiny Committee yesterday and feedback had shown Members wished
to see more information for some KPIs. He thanked Councillor Huelin
for her work as Portfolio Holder last year, and Councillor Gerrish
for his hard work as Chair of Corporate Overview and Scrutiny last
Councillor Duffin highlighted page 34 of the agenda and stated that since March 2020, 4000 potholes had been filled in, 700 of those in March 2021. He understood that residents could get frustrated, but urged residents to continue reporting potholes online, as this ensured they could be inspected and fixed quicker. He also congratulated the education department, as Thurrock had seen a 5% increase in residents receiving their first place school preference. He also thanked residents for donating approximately two thousand Christmas presents to the borough’s Looked After Children, as he felt this would have made a huge difference to their festive period. He then thanked central government for their continued support to borough residents, for example with the furlough scheme throughout the pandemic, as well as for the Tilbury and Grays Town Fund Boards. He summarised and stated that the past year had been challenging due to COVID-19, but service delivery had continued and positive signs could be seen throughout the report.
Councillor Hebb echoed Councillor Duffin’s comments and thanked Councillor Gerrish for his hard work as Chair of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee. He felt Councillor Gerrish had left a good legacy, particularly with his work on the scrutiny review. He explained that as part of the scrutiny review, he had attended last night’s meeting of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee to discuss the Work Programme. He highlighted the KPI on page 42 of the agenda relating to collection rates for council tax. He stated that this had only decreased by 1% since the start of the pandemic, and felt this was testament to resident’s who continued to strive to pay their bills in difficult times. He added this figure was also helped by the government’s furlough and support schemes, which had ensured people continued to get paid when their place of work had been closed. He also highlighted the work of the revenue and collection’s department who operated a scheme of compassionate collections, in partnership with the Citizens Advice Bureau. He stated that he would therefore work with the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee on a piece of work regarding compassionate collections to ensure the system continued to benefit resident’s, and to listen to any suggestions or feedback from the scrutiny committee to improve the service. He felt that although this KPI had not met its target, it was a pleasing outturn as it showed residents had been supported, and with the ongoing Corporate Overview and Scrutiny work, they would continue to be supported in future.
Councillor Huelin thanked Thurrock’s staff and senior officers for their hard work throughout the pandemic, as she felt they had ensured KPIs remained high even during a difficult year. She also thanked the voluntary sector for their support to the Council during COVID and hoped that the flexibility and trust shown throughout the pandemic would continue. Councillor Spillman thanked all outgoing housing officers, including Roger Harris and Carol Hinvest for their hard work throughout the pandemic, as well as the outgoing Housing Portfolio Holder, Councillor Barry Johnson. He stated that during the pandemic, 100% of reported rough sleepers had been housed, and felt the housing team should be proud of this figure. He stated that the Housing Overview and Scrutiny Committee were also pleased with this statistic. Councillor Coxshall also congratulated all local businesses that survived and flourished throughout the pandemic. He stated that although 1000 Thurrock jobs had been lost because of COVID-19, businesses had proven they were resilient and would continue to grow once the pandemic was over.
The Leader again thanked officers and residents for their hard work and support throughout the pandemic, and felt everyone had been resilient and tried their best. He stated that COVID-19 had almost been an overnight situation for council officers, as they had made the switch to home-based working, and felt this had been managed well. He then highlighted page 34 of the agenda, and felt that officers and residents should be proud of the list of achievements. He stated that 4000 potholes filled in 2020/21 was a good achievement, and although Thurrock was not pothole free, it was now better than it was last year. He added that a 5% increase in parents receiving their first place preference school was also good, but could still be improved upon.
The Leader also thanked Councillor Gerrish for his hard work as Chair of Corporate Overview and Scrutiny, and wished the new Chair well in her current role. He then highlighted page 41 of the agenda and the KPI relating to payment of Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN). He stated that the target had been 70%, and only 49% of FPNs had been paid on time. He explained that he would speak to officers to ensure the payment rate was increased, whilst still remaining sympathetic and compassionate. He urged residents to not drop litter, cigarette butts, or fly-tip to avoid receiving FPNs. Councillor Hebb added that this KPI had also been discussed during last night’s Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting, and felt that there had been unanimity in the approach to this KPI.
RESOLVED: That Cabinet:
1. Noted and commented upon the performance of the key corporate performance indicators, in particular those areas which were off target and the impact of COVID-19.
2. Identified any areas which required additional consideration during 2021/22.