Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document
Meeting of the Executive held on 23/06/2003
Key Outcomes from the Reviews Completed in 2000/01 and 2001/02
KEY OUTCOMES FROM THE REVIEWS COMPLETED IN 2000/01 AND 2001/02
Development Control and Enforcement (reported to Council 17.07.01)
By May 2003, two of the three key strands for improvement had been delivered; the staffing restructure to align resources with business demands, and the necessary accommodation changes to put this into effect. The new reception facility is getting good feedback from visitors. The third strand – new IT systems – has just gone live, and IT related improvements have slipped into early 2004. Difficulty with recruiting hindered the planned increase in enforcement activity. The disruption of restructuring caused performance to fall against targets, although monitoring shows that this is starting to turn around.
Facilities Management and Locality Offices (reported to Council 24.04.01)
Adoption of the Implementing Electronic Government strategy is impacting on customer care and more efficient and flexible ways of working. A robust foundation is being laid and the achievements so far are embodied in the Farnham Locality Office pilot. The key to further progress with the improvement plan will be to progress the accommodation review.
Housing - Disabled Adaptations and Meals-on-Wheels (reported to Council 24.04.01)
The only action outstanding from these reviews is to implement improvements to the Orchard housing management system for processing and recording disabled adaptations. The reviews have resulted in clearer responsibilities, formal policies, criteria and procedures, improved liaison with Occupational Therapists and better systems for monitoring satisfaction. Users of the Meals-on-Wheels service are benefiting from meals that are more nutritional and, particularly important to rural residents, are delivered at appropriate temperatures.
Legal Services and Land Charges
(reported to Council 24.04.01)
Difficulty with recruitment to key posts has delayed progress, but legal procedure manuals and clearer office systems are now in place, and liaison with the Council’s planning officers has improved, resulting in a more efficient service. The review has enabled the Land Charges section to continue to operate to a very high standard, which will further improve as planned IT improvements come on-stream. The timetable for this is tied to development of the National Land Property Gazetteer and the National Land Information Service.
Environmental Services (reported to Council 23.04.02)
The outcome of twin approach of this review with the Waste Management Special Interest Group is extension of the kerbside collection of recyclables to 95 percent of households. This is important for achieving the target of recycling 24 percent of waste by the end of 2003/04.
The Council attracted SITA funds (£103,000 in 2002/03 and £150, 000 in 2003/04 to be shared with Guildford BC) for, amongst other things, the Waste Awareness Programme. This has delivered a 1 percent reduction in the amount of waste collected for disposal against a national increase of 3 percent. Plans are in place to improved contract arrangements for street-scene management when contracts are re-tendered in 2005.
Environmental Health (reported to Council 23.04.02)
The noise nuisance service has been re-focussed and the service restructured, which has helped in developing staff capacity and complying with statutory requirements for inspections and enforcement. However, implementation of the improvement plan has been affected by the combined pressure of meeting demand and complying with statutory requirements at the current level of resource. This has been a barrier to the further development of enforcement activity.
Cultural Services (reported to Council 23.04.02)
An important outcome was to resolve the short-term funding issues for Cranleigh Arts Centre and The Maltings, Farnham, which was achieved through prioritising and increasing funding via the Sponsored Organisations Scheme. The effective implementation of the improvement plan depended upon putting in place plans for the future of the Museum of Farnham and the integration of tourism and economic development, with support from a Tourism and Marketing officer on a full-time basis. Both were affected by a subsequent change in policy.
Housing – Repairs & Maintenance, Allocations & Nominations and Managing Empty Property (reported to Council 23.04.02)
The key results of this review are a customer focussed departmental structure, a Tenants’ Handbook, improved contract arrangements delivering better quality and value and improved standards and procedures for dealing with customer complaints. The Council considered several very detailed improvement plans for different aspects of the services reviewed. These have been substantially implemented. The priority given to improving responsive repairs has prompted a revision to the timetable of actions for improving planned maintenance.
Community Protection (reported to Council 23.07.02)
The review has led to more robust systems in Licensing and better relationships, both internally and more importantly with the Police. Recruitment drag has delayed progress in enforcement of Licensing but this should be resolved shortly.
Communications and Public Relations (reported to Council 23.07.02)
The confirmed the importance of good communications and a robust communications strategy for achieving Investors in People and for CPA. Since the review, a Communications Strategy and guidelines has been drafted but not yet fully endorsed. In addition, a new media protocol has improved media relations, awareness of communications issues has improved and development of the Wednesday Wake-up meetings of senior managers has been a success.
Elections (reported to Council 23.04.02)
The review resulted in changes to the counting method and improved communication. At the May local elections, the outcome was increased satisfaction of the candidates and agents and postal voting increased four-fold, although turnout fell slightly to 42 percent.
Internal Audit Services (reported to Council 23.04.02)
The review has resulted in a more structured and consistent approach to the work of the section. The section is still vulnerable to demand led pressures, which have resulted in some slippage from the original timetable. Further improvement is planned as new procedures and an Audit Manual are introduced.