The Strategy & Performance Officer introduced the report which provided a progress update in relation to the performance of Key Performance Indicators (KPI), including a focus on some of the specific highlights and challenges. Members were advised that senior Officers were in attendance for any questions within particular directorates.
The Chair enquired as to the in focus item of street cleanliness and whether the reason the KPI was in focus was due to the change in methodology. Officers explained throughout the year the whole borough was inspected in tranches of three wards at a time. This year was the first year Keep Britain Tidy had undertaken the inspection, on behalf of the council. It was commented that a key difference was council officers had local knowledge when completing the tranches, and so knew when land was publicly or privately owned. Keep Britain Tidy did not necessarily realise which pieces of land are privately owned and therefore may score slightly higher.
It was sought as whether the change in direction of travel would be visible before next year. Officers commented that the direction of travel should be visible after each tranche visit. It was further commented that officers were hopeful the KPI would remain stable.
Members remarked the KPI for household waste which was refuse, recycled or composted was disappointing, especially following feedback from residents. The Assistant Director for Environment advised Members the impact of the new route optimisation had been successful. She continued by commenting the relevant Overview and Scrutiny Committee would be discussing any issues at their next meeting.
The Committee was advised it only required one household in a street to contaminate a whole recycling collection as when arriving at the refuse centre the waste would be refused. The Assistant Director for Environment further commented a lot of work was being done with the Communication Team to encourage residents to recycle more. Councillor Gerrish remarked he felt it would be helpful for residents if the reason, should their waste not be collected, were explained to them. Officers explained to Members if they knew of any bin collections which had not been collected to email the Assistant Director for Environment as officers were willing to make site visits and speak to residents.
Councillor Kerin congratulated Officers and Schools on the KPI on the percentage of schools being judged ‘good’ or ‘better; with 37 out of 38 of Thurrock’s schools being judged as good or outstanding by Ofsted.
Councillor Duffin mentioned a graffiti case, where the resident reported the incident via the Report It app, only for it to be closed without any work to clean the graffiti being completed. The Assistant Director for Environment commented with the case in question there was confusion with the address, so the report was closed following an inspection of a different location.
It was raised by Councillor Maney whether a recycled rate per ward was available. Officers advised it was difficult to compile a Ward by Ward breakdown however they were able to provide a day by day detailed result including recyclable and garden waste.
Discussing refuse waste collections, it was remarked that missed collections in Aveley appeared to be increasing. The Assistant Director for Environment advised officers were looking into missed collections with the possibility of sweep collections being completed.
During discussions the Director of HR, OD & Transformation advised there was a comprehensive action plan for sickness management. She commented that the direction of travel over the last year was slightly below that of the last 12 months.
The Committee was further advised that just over one thousand members of staff, which was under 50%, had no sickness absence at all. For longer term sickness, which was over 20 days, there were 168 incidences for the last financial year which was under 8%.
Councillor Gerrish observed the high number of service charges for council tenants and asked whether it would have a positive or negative impact on satisfaction. The Assistant Director of Housing commented that other plans to improve with different projects within Social Housing and with the Council’s contractor Mears were currently ongoing.
He continued to advise that although some of the changes being made were reasonably small changes, they could affect satisfaction scores from residents. The Assistant Director of Housing advised members that anti-social behaviour also affected satisfaction and this was something that officers were working on, including how to collect such data.
The Chair raised a question in relation to the overspend of the General Fund in that was there a plan to mitigate the situation. The Director of Finance & IT commented officers were working alongside Portfolio Holders and wider Directors Board.
He continued to state at this time of the year officers were looking at the pressures and any built in savings. Members were advised Officers were not looking at areas to affect front line services, however this was also not a guarantee.
The Director of Finance & IT commented that there had been improvement within the treasury position. It was mentioned that the Annual Election budget had been used as a built in saving, since there was no election this year. He further observed in his opinion of definition of forecast the councils position at end of year would be break even, however officers had shown what would happen if the council didn’t take mitigating action.
1. To note and comment upon the performance of the key corporate performance indicators in particular those areas which are IN FOCUS, and;
2. To identify any areas which require additional consideration.