The Strategy and Performance Officer introduced the report which set out the performance against the corporate scorecard with progress against the related deliverables as outlined in the Year 2 Corporate Delivery Plan, agreed by Cabinet in March 2014.
The Committee were informed that at the end of the year, 92% of these indicators either met or were within an acceptable tolerance of their target and 100% of Year 2 (2014/15) deliverables progressed in line with projected timelines or within tolerance.
Councillor Snell questioned who determined the acceptable tolerance and asked for clarity as to how performance was measured against it.
The Committee were informed that Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) were given a ‘Red’, ‘Amber’ or ‘Green’ status and that ‘Amber’ KPI’s were better than the previous year but did not hit the set target, however the measurement of key deliverables was more subjective and determined internally by service area.
Councillor Snell felt that if a KPI did not meet target it should be classified as ‘Red’ and questioned the accuracy of measuring deliverable performance if it was self-determined by service area.
Councillor Hebb commended the work of the Elections, Legal Services and Regeneration teams, who had demonstrated excellent performance, but also challenged the ‘Red, Amber, Green’ (RAG) Status reporting method and proposed that its use should be abolished and instead replaced with a Red and Green system with any performance in 3 a month decline being placed into ‘intensive care’ for targeted work to be undertaken.
Councillor Liddiard was concerned of the cost impact and ability to change the current reporting system and felt that officers should investigate this matter further to consider the wider implications.
The Strategy & Performance Officer advised Members that KPI’s were monitored in great depth on a monthly basis and collated in Excel, with service areas undertaking a great deal of scrutiny of the KPI’s over and above standard practice. Members were advised that the way the information was presented could be revaluated and that all positive and negative trends were checked by officers on a monthly basis.
During the debate Members were not in agreement as to whether the ‘RAG’ reporting system should be changed. Councillor Liddiard felt that Members should be clear regarding what information they wanted presented and Councillor Ray felt that officers should be consulted as to whether they believed the reporting mechanism should be changed.
The Assistant Chief Executive felt that officers could obtain further detail of what Councillor Hebb wanted to achieve from changing the reporting mechanism outside of the meeting, following which the benefits and disadvantages of both reporting mechanisms could be considered by Performance Board and the findings presented to the Committee at a later meeting.
Councillor Hebb agreed due diligence needed to be undertaken and asked officers to seek the views of the other Chairs of other Overview and Scrutiny Committees.
Councillor Stewart observed that Key Performance Indicators were a good reporting mechanism but liked a two stage process of ‘Red and ‘Green’ and questioned whether any figures could be manipulated, particularly in relation to the timely performance of processing planning applications.
The Committee were assured that a great deal of audit and quality assurance was undertaken, with Performance Board and cross-council scrutiny taking place.
Members voted unanimously in favour of the recommendations, including a new recommendation which requested officers investigate the feasibility of changing the performance monitoring mechanism and assessing advantages and disadvantages of differing methods.
1. That the progress against the corporate priorities and level of performance achieved in respect of key performance indicators and outcomes for 2014/15 is commented upon including where the progress or performance outturn has met or exceeded the target.
2. That the Corporate Overview & Scrutiny Committee consider whether there are any areas for which further information is required and recommended to other Overview & Scrutiny Committees as appropriate.
3. That officers be instructed to investigate the feasibility of changing the Council’s performance reporting mechanism, assess the advantages and disadvantages of the current method alongside others and consult with Performance Board, before referring findings back to the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee for comments.