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Agenda item

Q4 2021-22 Performance Report


To provide an update on progress on the Council’s priorities and service performance

To provide information on the Council’s financial position



That the Committee reviews overall progress on the Council priorities, service delivery and financial performance for 2021-22 Q4


The purpose of this report was to provide the Committee with progress on the Council’s priorities and service performance, and to provide information on the Council’s financial position.


The Director for Governance introduced the report stating that it provided a list of the corporate priorities and detailed data sets of the Council’s services’ performance against those priorities for the Fourth Quarter from January – March 2022.


The Committee commented that as financial performance of the Finance and the Development Management and Planning department were of particular interest these would be discussed individually after the Committee had discussed performance measures of any other services.


Priorities and Performance


The Committee noted that ‘Electric Blue Charging’ was supporting the Council’s application for partial Government funding for the installation of 20 charging connections (10 EVCPs) across Bourton-on-the-Water, Cirencester and Moreton-in-Marsh. 


The Committee commented that volunteers for Flood Warden had been found from 4 Town and Parish Councils, and enquired how many had been expected to volunteer across the Cotswolds. The Director for Governance stated that the number was not currently available, but would be provided for Members at the next Committee meeting.


The Committee commented that the Town and Parish Forums at Moreton and Cirencester had attracted 29 and 14 participants respectively, and enquired whether more detail could be provided of the numbers of Towns and Parishes represented, the number of participants from each one, and whether this was in line with the number expected. The Director for Governance stated that as Town and Parish Council consultation had not taken place for some time it was not known how popular the new forums would be. The number of parishes attending was not available, but would have been captured and would be provided for Members at the next Committee meeting. Further Town and Parish Forums would be taking place on 5th and 12th July with around 20 attendees already booked into each event.



The Chief Accountant Michelle Burge summarised the Council’s financial performance for 2021-2022 and drew Members attention to some key highlights and invited questions from the Committee.


The Committee noted:

·         The Council was reporting a net annual underspend against budget of £64,384

·         Income from car parking had reduced by 75% (£749,000) against budget (due to the effects of the pandemic), although this was partially offset by a Government grant of £245,225

·         Income from garden waste annual subscriptions had increased by £156,000 above budget and licensing income had increased and was £54,000 above budget

·         Recycling income had also increased and was £252,000 above budget and bulky waste income had also increased to £54,000 above budget.

·         The rental income from the Dyer Street property that had previously been paid to a repair and maintenance reserve, was now being recognised as income into the general fund of £119,000.

·         The Ubico contract that provides the Council’s Environmental Services had delivered an underspend of £401,000, however Ubico’s additional chargeable costs of £555,000 (due to the effects of the pandemic), had led to a net overspend of £154,000

·         The Publica contract, that included the majority of staffing costs, had also delivered an under-spend of £77,803.

·         Discretionary pension payments, paid to the Gloucestershire Local Government Pension Scheme, were also £111,000 less than budgeted.

·         The Government had provided a grant of £377,000 (excluding the income compensation scheme) to cover additional costs incurred due to the pandemic.

·         Details of other finance and budget items were also presented..   


The Committee noted that the increase in green waste income did not appear to have been as a result of easing the policy limiting the number of green bins serving a property. The Director for Governance confirmed definitive reply would be obtained and provided to Members at the next Committee Meeting.


The Committee requested that analysis of the actual costs incurred by the Council due to the pandemic (e.g. additional costs, lost revenue) is calculated and set against the total grants provided by the Government, in order to determine the true impact.


Development Control & Planning

Business Manager Development and Sustainability, Phil Shaw presented a comprehensive assessment of the previous issues that the Development Control and Planning (DC&P) service had experienced (particularly the recruitment and retention of officers), the current month on month improving service performance, and the steps that are being taken to return the service to full strength and efficiency.


The Committee noted that the quarterly reporting of processed applications processed means that, as some applications can take between 8 and 13 weeks to reach a decision and so sometimes cross different reporting periods, they appear to have failed timescales.


The Committee noted that ensuring the validation of applications had been a particular focus and reports were now available showing: the number of applications received, the number that were valid, the reasons for applications not being valid, the submitting individual or agent, and the agents submitting the highest and lowest number of invalid applications.  This report had revealed that, of 1,215 applications submitted between January and May 2022, 495 were not valid when submitted, and of these, 352 were submitted by planning agents (and only 143 by individuals).


The Committee noted that the speed of registration of applications had improved with most applicants now being initially contacted within 5 days, with Case Officers contacting applicants within 10 days and with work in hand to roll out to further contact after the 25 day consultation periods. There were however still delays receiving responses from consultees


The Committee noted that a high percentage of recent applications that could not be delivered to time was due to delays in consultee responses (e.g. The Environment Agency, Natural England etc.), and this was beyond the control of the Planning Case Officers.


The Committee noted that the 3rd round of Development Management and Planning recruitment consultation was taking place and several staff that had joined in September 2021 had now left. Wider recruitment to fill 3.5 vacant planning posts was currently taking place that included £5,000 ‘golden hellos’ to attract and retain applicants. In the meantime, agency staff had been appointed to maintain the service. The recruitment market continued to be challenging and it was still difficult for CDC and other Councils to compete with the private sector for Planning Officers and Specialist staff.


The Committee noted that the Planning Advisory Service had undertaken an independent review of the DC&P service across the 3 Councils.  Their report indicated that by increasing the Extension of Time Mechanism (used extensively by nearly all other councils) and taking a less risk averse approach to if and when consultees were consulted the DC&P could improve its service delivery from bottom to top quartile.


The Committee noted that any change in approach would need political approval, and the Planning Advisory Service would need to present and discuss the proposal with Councillors in an appropriate setting.


The details of other Development Management and Planning initiatives were presented and discussed.


The Committee commented that it would be helpful if the report of open cases could identify inactive cases which had not been signed off, and of these, were identified to distinguish them from active open cases.


RESOLVED: The Committee NOTED and reviewed overall progress on the Council priorities, service delivery and financial performance for 2021-22 Q4



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