Agenda item

Quarter 1 Corporate Performance Report 2016/17


The Head of Strategy, Communications and Customer Services presented the report which outlined the new assessment system which differed from the previous Red, Amber, Green (RAG) coding.  The report also covered the benchmarking groups used and the approaches taken, as previously requested by the Committee.  Members were advised that this was an opportunity for them to comment upon the contents of the report before it would be presented at Cabinet in October.


Councillor Duffin began by referring to Planning, which had been in focus for exceptional performance, raising the concern of elected Members who had submitted complaints or queries and found the department’s responses to have been slow, and asked whether anything could be done to make the process faster.  The Head of Strategy, Communications and Customer Services agreed to take that feedback back to the department and respond outside of the meeting. 


Councillor Duffin moved onto focus 2 and informed the Committee that he had been in contact with several residents whose bin had been missed on their usual collection day and once they had complained to the Council that it had still not been collected days later.  He asked whether it would be possible to review the reporting and complaints process.  The Interim Head of Environment agreed that officers were looking into ways to improve the collection service but also the response if there were missed bins.


Councillor Duffin asked what work was being done with local schools as apprenticeships were a great way to offer opportunities to young people as they were leaving school.  The Improvement manager informed Members that there had been a talent pool of apprentices set up by the Recruitment Team and that there was also to be an event held in October called “Opportunity Thurrock” which involved schools and at which Thurrock Council would have a presence.


Councillor Maney asked for additional information surrounding section 2.3 and the upcoming residents’ survey, particularly how it would be rolled out to residents.  The Committee heard that a telephone survey would be held, to obtain results from 1000 residents selected upon the basis of age, gender, ethnicity and their location within the Borough so as to give an accurate depiction of the population as a whole.  The survey would be carried out by an independent market research company, BMG and would look into residents’ perceptions of council services, access to information, anti-social behaviour and their preferred means of correspondence.   A survey such as this had not been carried out within Thurrock for a number of years and it was expected to take place over 2-3 weeks in October.


Councillor Duffin asked the expected cost of the survey.  The survey was expected to cost £18,000 which had been included within the existing budget.


The Chair raised concern that there may be a risk of excluding people by completing a telephone only survey.  Members were assured that the market research team would continue to work through residents until the necessary quotas were met to give a proportional depiction of residents.  Every methodology offered risks but postal surveys were costly and there was great difficulty in finding the most effective positioning for face-to-face interviews and as such a telephone survey had been deemed most effective, especially since the market research team would ensure that they called enough people until sufficient levels of results had been obtained.


Councillor Duffin queried the cost of benchmarking, and raised concern that each department was able to choose what they were benchmarked against.  He feared the possibility to move the goalposts to ensure better standing and asked what checks were in place to avoid this.  The Head of Strategy, Communications and Customer Services advised the Committee that many departments had reviewed the benchmarking groups they belonged to, partly due to the cost which had resulted in some groups having become informal, or part of existing networks.  Members heard that within Thurrock Council there was a Corporate Performance Board which looked at benchmarking and targets.  The Corporate Director of Adults, Housing and Health informed Members that Adult Social Care used the “Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework”, which was recognised by the Department of Health, and benchmarked against nearest statistical neighbours, equivalent Unitary Authorities and Members were assured that departments did not “pick and choose” but instead had a group of similar Unitary Authorities against which they regularly benchmarked.




1)    The Committee noted and commented upon the performance of the key corporate performance indicators in particular those areas which are IN FOCUS


2)    The Committee identified any areas which required additional consideration


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