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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 13/03/2007
Best Value and Local Performance Indicators: Review of Waverley's Performance at Q3 (Oct-Dec) 2006/07



APPENDIX E
Waverley Borough Council

ENVIRONMENT AND LEISURE OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
13TH MARCH 2007

Title:
Best Value and Local Performance Indicators:
Review of Waverley’s Performance AT Q3 (OCT-DEC) 2006/07

[Wards Affected: All]

Summary and purpose:

This report provides details of Waverley’s performance, against the Best Value (‘BVPI’) and Local Performance (‘LPI’) Indicators that this Committee resolved to monitor, in the third three-month period of 2006/07. The newly formed Performance Indicators Sub-Committee met for the first time on 26th February and its observations are set out in this report. The annexe to this report has been produced, for the first time, using the Council’s new strategic management software, Covalent. Therefore, this report contains some background information on the system.

Environmental implications:

There are no direct environmental implications associated with this report.

Social / community implications:

There are no direct social / community implications associated with this report.

E-Government implications:

There are no direct e-government implications associated with this report.

BVPIs showing performance for this year (and for the previous two years) are available on the Council’s website (www.waverley.gov.uk).

Resource and legal implications:

There are no direct resource and legal implications associated with this report.

Background

1. Targets for the Council’s current set of performance indicators were agreed by the Executive as part of the Best Value performance planning process. The Plan was published on 30th June 2006. The indicators contained in this report relate to the services within the remit of the Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

Waverley’s review of performance during the third three month period of 2006/07

2. The table attached as Annexe 1 sets out for the consideration of this Committee the following information:

A description of the relevant BVPIs and LPIs. The Council’s actual performance in respect of each indicator, and the time period to which the reported figure pertains.

Analysis (both numerical and traffic-light formats) of performance against the target for that period.

Any notes on performance or additional context, as appropriate.

Covalent Strategic Management Software

3. Annexe 1 to this performance report for Quarter 3 is the first to be produced using the Council’s new strategic management software application, Covalent.

4. The software will convey a number of benefits, the main performance-related issues being:

Online input of performance data by the officers responsible: this will avoid discrepancies in reported data, ensure clear accountability for data quality, and speed up the process of preparing performance reports for committees.
The ‘real-time’ nature of the system will allow easier access to the latest data on request. In the next phase of the implementation, a user ID will be created for Members on the PI sub-committees to access the system via the Internet and obtain the latest data for the indicators that they monitor. Full training will be provided once this tool is in place.
Covalent’s reporting functionality will enable officers to respond to Members’ concerns by offering clear and easy-to-read data in a number of formats.
Functionality such as the creation of graphical long-term trend analysis and benchmarking against a number of Audit Commission groups will support the Best Value Planning process to ensure stronger documentation of rationale and audit trail in the process of target setting.

5. The first phase of implementing Covalent took place during January 2007, and involved the upload of a significant amount of back data on performance into the system. This included:

PI outturn data for 2005/06 and part-year for 2006/07
The metrics of each individual indicator (e.g. collection format, the responsible officers, targets and target polarity etc.)
System user account creation and setting of permission levels

6. The early part of February has therefore been focused on validating the data upload process. Whilst this process is now 75% complete, there remains work to be done. Much of the work that remains to perfect the system will now involve direct work with responsible officers to fine tune collection settings and reporting formats.

Observations of the BVPI Sub-Committee

Environment

7. The Sub-Committee received a report providing details of Waverley’s performance against the indicators that the Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee had agreed to monitor in the third three-month period of 2006/2007. In terms of BV82a (ii), the household waste management recycling indicator, there was a query about the temporal coverage of the latest date reported. It was agreed that the figures needed to be explained in a consistent format. Members then discussed the comparison figures with near neighbours and whether it was fair to compare data when methods used could be very different. Officers agreed to check Audit Commission criteria for near neighbours. On the indicators pertaining to BV82b, the indicator relating to garden waste, members heard the numbers of new participants in Waverley had slowed down over the winter months. The figures now also included street sweepings.

8. In terms of BV218b - abandoned vehicles - it was clarified that these were reports ‘investigated within 24 hours’ in terms of working days. Officers explained that the indicators were on target in part because the value of scrap metal was higher at the current time (hence reducing the number of vehicles abandoned). Members decided to recommend the removal of indicator LEN4 - % of public convenience sites that provide access for people with disabilities - given that it was consistently achieved.

Planning

9. Members discussed the indicators relating to turnaround time for planning applications (BV109) and noted they were all comfortably on target. Officers felt improvements in the planning application process were due to level of delegation, quicker registration process and the new development management system.

10. Members then discussed the issue of case officer workload and whether it was sustainable over the long term. It was agreed that a local PI should be devised to look at the caseload of officers. Members then discussed the use of the IT system for planning applications and agreed it worked well, and that it would be useful to look at how well it was used, possibly by number of ‘hits’ on the website. It was also agreed that a PI on enforcement of planning decisions would be helpful. Members asked the relevant officers to make proposals for the adoption of such indicators to the next meeting of the Sub-Committee.

11. Members discussed the indicator LPL2 - % of planning applications registered - and agreed it was a good barometer of how the service was faring. Officers said that the Government were in the process of producing a national application form for planning applications which would be rolled out by October. Waverley had been chosen to be in the first tranche of implementation, starting in March.

12. There was a discussion about local indicator, LPL3, regarding those applications that were appealed in instances where Members had initially refused the application. It was agreed that a second indicator was needed to provide a comparison of all applications. Members asked the relevant officers to make proposals for the adoption of such indicators to the next meeting of the Sub-Committee.

13. In terms of building control indicator LPL4, Members discussed the use of the Council’s own inspectors and felt it was important to find out how many inspections had been done using internal inspectors. Therefore it was agreed that a new indicator should be developed to establish the council’s share of the market in terms of inspections. Members asked the relevant officers to make proposals for the adoption of such indicators to the next meeting of the Sub-Committee.

14. Indicator LPL5, relating to % of building control inspections carried out on the requested day, was high and it was agreed to retain the indicator until it had been in place longer.

Leisure

15. Members discussed the indicator about number of leisure cards issued, LLE19, and asked the relevant officers to source more information for the next meeting, with a particular focus on the provision of more locally-focused data. It was further agreed that more information was needed about the indicator regarding volunteer days on Waverley land.

16. Members discussed the indicator relating to visits to leisure centres, LLE25 A-D, and there was a discussion about the measurement of the figures. It was agreed that it should be expressed as numbers attending, compared to previous years in that centre rather than per 1000 population. This would also help address the issue of uniformity of collection standards. Members asked the relevant officers to look at the possibility of an indicator to measure time available to the general public during normal leisure centre opening hours, to address access issues, and to report the findings to the next meeting of the Sub-Committee.

Best Value Performance Plan

17. Waverley Borough Council is required by law to publish a Best Value Performance Plan by 30th June each year. This document displays outturn against each of the statutory performance indicators laid down by Government, and profiles the targets set by the organisation for improvement against those indicators during the next three financial years.

18. In a normal year, the process that Waverley has established would involve reporting the proposed plan to the three Overview and Scrutiny Committees, with recommendations passed to the Executive for final sanction. In 2006, the timing of the local elections has made it impossible to sequence meetings to bring the Best Value Performance Plan to Overview and Scrutiny Committees prior to the last Executive before the statutory deadline (12th June).

19. The Committee is therefore asked to approve an exception approach of directly negotiating targets between managers and the relevant portfolio holders this year.

Conclusion

This Committee is asked to consider the information presented in this report and to draw the Executive’s attention to any specific issues, as it deems necessary.

Background Papers (MD/DoPD/DoEL)

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


CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Christopher Ash Telephone: 01483 523148




G/Bureau/comms/ELOS2006-7/180.ELOSBVPIs