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Agenda item

Council Priority and Service Performance Report 2022-23 Q3 (30 minutes)


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



That the Committee notes overall progress on the Council priorities and service delivery for 2022-23 Q3


The Chair highlighted that there were two aspects to the item, the Council Priority and Service Performance Report included in the report pack, and the Q3 Finance Performance Report, which had been circulated as part of the updated supplementary pack. The Chair therefore invited the Committee consider them separately.


Council Priority and Service Performance Report


The purpose of the item was to provide the committee with an update on progress on the Council’s priorities and service performance.


The Chief Executive introduced the report. The Chief Executive highlighted Local Government Association peer review which had taken place in October, and that the recommendations, such as performance indicators would be implemented in future reports. The Chief Executive highlighted the key findings of the report;


  • Council tax collection was up 1% since the previous year but could still be impacted by the cost of living crisis.
  • The call centre response times have improved despite an increase in complex calls.
  • The council has completed the £150 Council Tax rebate programme, with £3.8m distributed, and an additional £135,000 under the discretionary scheme.
  • The Council tax support scheme for the next financial year was approved by Cabinet in 2022.
  • The Council continued to support the Homes for Ukraine Programme with 150 sponsors.
  • Following the Legal Services review, the Phase 2 Service Review had been started with Cadence being appointed to assist strengthening the existing service.
  • There were improvements in determination times for all application types.
  • Severe weather towards the end of 2022 had caused challenges, notably related to waste collection.


Before inviting the committee to comment, the Chair reminded the committee of the pre-election period and the resultant need for the Committee to refrain from any political remarks.


The Committee asked for further detail regarding missed bins. The Chief Executive answered that this was caused by extreme weather, and were therefore not missed through any human error.


The Committee asked for a number of specific details, which the Chief Executive explained he would circulate following the details after the meeting;


  • Are Habitat designations affecting the performance of ‘other’ types of planning applications disproportionately?
  • Leisure centre breakdowns by ward/area.
  • Could the Committee have an update on whether the Development Management team was still at full capacity in regard to staffing?
  • Open Portal does not contain any information on Council tax support for those who are struggling, can this be included?
  • Winter and summer sport assessment for playing pitches- has a response been received from Sport England?


The Committee congratulated David Morren on his work in his time as Interim Development Manager and asked what Publica’s plans were for making this role permanent. The Chief Executive explained that Publica was recruiting an Assistant Director for Planning and Strategic Housing, and that once this person was in post, they would recruit a permanent Development Manager.


The Committee commented on the change of circumstances affecting Council tax support, as referenced in the report and wanted to know how the Council dealt with instances where individuals had been overpaid Council tax benefit. The Chief Executive explained the mechanism that used, and highlighted that each situation is dealt with on a case by case basis, for instance, setting up a payment plan to ensure that individuals are not put into a difficult situation if having to repay benefit.


The Committee discussed how other councils are used for benchmarking. The Chief Executive explained that only councils which were considered similar by use of comparators would be used, but was also open to looking at neighbouring authorities such as Wiltshire.


RESOLVED: That the Committee note overall progress on the Council priorities and service delivery for 2022-23 Q3.


Financial Performance Report Q3 2022/23


The purpose of the report was to set out the latest budget monitoring position for the 2022/23 financial year.


The Chief Finance Officer introduced the report and explained that there had been a slight improvement in the financial position despite the pressures caused by inflation, though it was noted that the impact of these pressures had not changed, and significant pressures were expected around the Staff Pay Award. The Chief Finance Officer also stated that interest rates remained high but inflation was expected to fall according to independent forecasts.


The Chief Finance Officer reassured members regarding the recent collapse of Credit Suisse and Silicon Valley Bank, that the Council had no exposure to types of deposits which would be considered at risk following these events. The Bank of England had also issued a statement stating that the UK banking system remains safe, which the Chief Finance Officer made reference to.


Councillors asked whether a breakdown of car park charges could be provided, which the Chief Finance Officer committed to providing after the meeting.


RESOLVED: That the Committee note the financial position set out in this report.


Supporting documents: