Agenda item

Mid-year Corporate Plan Progress and Performance Report 2016/17


The Head of Strategy, Communications and Customer Service presented the report which provided a progress update in relation to the performance of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and against the related actions outlined in the Corporate Priority Activity Plan for 2016/17.


Councillor Duffin referred to Focus 2, regarding the percentage of adults who smoke, in terms of the amount of money spent and the number who quit smoking and asked why the Council was spending money telling adults what to do with their lives.  Adults were capable of making their own choices and it was not cost effective as it clearly was not achieving much.  He also referred to Focus 3, regarding bin collection, and asked why the Council would consider moving to fortnightly collection if they could not achieve their targets with weekly collection, as it would make the issue of missed bins far worse if residents had to wait a further fortnight rather than one week.


The Corporate Director of Adults, Housing and Health explained that the Council was not “throwing money” at the issue and the amount at present was between £100,000 and £120,000 spent on a largely treatment based plan.  The money was being spent on treatment programmes via pharmacies and GP services rather than publicity, the majority of anti-smoking publicity seen was part of national campaigns funded by the NHS or Public Health UK.  The Council had commissioned GPs and other services to run treatment programmes, but it had to be accepted that the traditional four-week programme was very rigid and a new plan was needed.  The entire programme was being retendered.  Focus had shifted to working with schools to stop children taking up smoking in the first place. Councillor Duffin agreed with the work being carried out in schools and expressed his view that it was important but felt money could be better spent on GP surgeries rather than anti-smoking propaganda.  Members heard that GPs were not tendered by the Local Authority and Thurrock was facing the problem that the improvement in number of people who smoked had plateaued which was not the case nationally, with the added worry that the number of young people smoking had begun to rise.


The Chair asked why Thurrock was now an outlier, with the number of smokers not reducing whilst other boroughs still were.  He asked what the borough was doing wrong.  The Corporate Director of Adults, Housing and Health explained that there were a wide range of issues such as primary care, peer group pressure and economic deprivation to consider as well as vulnerable groups such as those with learning difficulties and mental health issues.  Some other boroughs had also put far greater focus on educating young people sooner whereas Thurrock was making that shift now.  There were a wide range of issues but the traditional four week treatment programme was definitely outdated and needed to be revised.


The Chair also asked whether the KPI was set locally or nationally and Members heard that though it was set locally it had previously been a national target and the Council still had to feed data into Public Health England, based on the number of people that had undertaken the four week programme that were still not smoking after 13 weeks.


The Chair interjected that the Council should be realistic and accept the fact that it would not reach this target any time soon.  The minutes of the meeting of Cabinet held in October 2016 showed that resources would no longer be used to re-educate adults about their lifestyle, which implied the Council was no longer trying to get adults to stop smoking and so the target would not be met.


The Committee heard that both this target and the target surrounding obesity, in terms of public health would be the two most challenging targets faced and therefore when the target would be set next year there would be a need to reassess whether or not it was an achievable target.  The Chair followed that it could therefore be concluded that the Council would not be helping adults with their weight problems or to stop smoking.  The Corporate Director of Adults, Housing and Health clarified his point that the focus would be moving away from generic, publicity based campaigns towards more targeted treatment and early intervention.


Councillor Liddiard asked what the length of the contracts would be, as there was concern that the Council could find itself bound into a contract that it was not working.  Members were informed that the contract usually included a number of providers and the length of tender was to be 3 years.  Councillor Liddiard raised concerns that, within his ward at least, there were a large number of people who smoked and many who were obese and nothing seemed to be working to change these facts.  The Committee heard that improvement in both areas had plateaued in Thurrock hence the need for a more targeted approach and increased work with young people in the borough.


Councillor Duffin asked whether the funds were ring-fenced, or if the Council had the ability to change how it would be spent.  It was confirmed that the Public Health Grant was ring-fenced for the next 2 years, and those areas discussed would be part of a contract and therefore ring-fenced as part of that. 


The Chair referred to Focus 1 regarding the percentage of good or better primary schools and highlighted the tremendous achievement since 2010 when 30% of children in the borough were attending Good or Outstanding schools which had now risen to 92.4%.  He took the opportunity to warn against risking undoing the good work that had been done, especially in the face of looming large cuts to school budgets.




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 noted and commented upon the progress in relation to the key corporate priority activities for 2016/17.


3)    The Committee identified any areas which required additional consideration.


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