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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 19/09/2001






[Wards Affected: N/A]

Summary and Purpose

Annual review of the Council’s priorities is a requirement of the Best Value legislation. The purpose is primarily to review the Council’s high level aims and objectives, which translate into service objectives.

The Council’s Executive Committee completed the preliminary stage of the 2001 Annual Review on 28 August last, when priorities, aims and objectives for 2002/03 for each portfolio holder were endorsed. These complement and, to a certain extent, clarify the aims and objectives set out in A Fresh Future: The Four-year Corporate Plan 1999-2003.

The purpose of this report is to provide an opportunity for the priorities, aims and objectives for 2002/03, the final year of the four-year plan, to be more widely considered by Members. The Annual Review will be complete when the full Council agrees its conclusions.

This report has potential resource, environmental, community safety and ‘Opportunities for All’ implications because the Annual Review process may lead to new high-level aims and objectives.

The Annual Review

1. The Annual Review is an essential part of the broader statutory framework that directs the Council to:
q Identify corporate priorities, aims and objectives;
q Agree a programme of Best Value reviews;
q Agree actions to deliver improvement; and
q Publish all of the above in the Best Value Performance Plan

2. The Best Value statutory framework requires local authorities to develop high-level strategic objectives as the first step. In practice, each year the Council must conduct an Annual Review in order to set out priorities for action and establish authority-wide objectives. The basic statutory requirements include:
q Consideration of issues arising, perhaps from local or national policy, changing demand/expectations or new legislation
q Overall performance (performance measures and targets)
q Review of existing corporate objectives
q Making strategic choices

3. Preliminary discussions on the Council’s priorities were held between members of the Executive and the Council’s Management Board during June and July last. These took as their starting point, A Fresh Future: The Four-year Corporate Plan 1999-2003 and the Best Value Performance Plan for 2001/2002, which includes the Council’s published performance indicators and feedback from the public.

4. The priorities that emerged from these discussions were translated into corporate aims and objectives, which were considered by the Executive on 28 August last and are set out in Annexe 1 to this report. They are set out for each area of Executive portfolio responsibility so that Member and officer responsibilities are clear.

5. When checked against A Fresh Future and other Council strategies this shows that many of the priorities are existing commitments that are being given fresh emphasis. In these cases, as indicated in Annexe 1, the aims and objectives are derived from, clarify or simply restate the existing aims and objectives. Some new priorities have emerged, however, for which new corporate aims and objectives are suggested. Members are reminded that the new aims and objectives complement rather than replace the Council’s current aims and objectives identified in A Fresh Future: The Four-year Corporate Plan 1999-2003.

Annual Review and Corporate and Financial Planning

6. Annual Review is important to the Council’s corporate and financial planning cycle. Subject to agreement of the high-level aims and objectives by the full Council, the financial implications will be taken into account in the budget process for 2002/03. This report marks a key stage of the Annual Review process when all Members have the opportunity to contribute to the strategic decision-making process.

7. In accordance with the Council’s corporate planning cycle, Service Plans for 2002/03 will be drafted to reflect the conclusions of the Annual Review. This will cascade the corporate objectives into service objectives and ensure that there is a strong connection between strategic decision-making and service delivery.

The Five-year Best Value Review Programme

8. A requirement of Best Value is that when the Council has established authority-wide objectives it must revisit the five-year programme of Best Value reviews so that emerging priorities are addressed in good time. The Council does not need to change the programme unless there is good reason to do so, but the option is there. It is important, however, that if the programme is changed, the changes are justified and the reasons recorded.

9. The Council’s agreed five-year programme is presented at Annexe 2. The exploratory discussions on the 2001 Annual Review, and issues raised by Members in the Best Value review workshops in July, suggest that there is a case for giving greater priority to the early review of the Corporate Support Group, as follows:

10. The case for bringing forward the review of the Corporate Support Unit to Year 3 is reinforced by the recently received results of the survey into user satisfaction (part of the suite of statutory Best Value Performance Indicators), which indicates that complaints handling is a critical factor in overall perception of the services the Council provides. In addition, the audit and inspection of Best Value is currently the focus of attention for the Audit Commission and the Local Government Association, which has potential implications for the streamlining of service reviews and the associated inspection process.

Resource Implications

11. In accordance with the agreed Corporate Planning Cycle, the Annual Review informs both the corporate planning and financial planning processes. Some of the corporate priorities discussed so far have resource implications, which are indicated in Annexe 1. All strategic decisions made at the conclusion of the Annual Review process will be taken into consideration through the budget process for 2002/2003.


It is recommended that:

1. the priorities, aims and objectives set out at Annexe 1, which were endorsed by the Council’s Executive Committee on 28 August 2001, be noted and this Committee consider the report as part of the Annual Review Process; and

2. the Committee note that the five-year programme of Best Value reviews has been revised by the Executive, bringing forward the review of the Corporate Support Group from Year 5 into Year 3.

Background Papers (CEX)

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.


Name: Mrs A Bott Telephone: 01483 869415
Mr D Fannin Telephone: 01483 869148

comms/o&s1/2001/02/033 21194