Agenda item

Finance and Performance Management Quarter 2

The report of the Director – Finance and Corporate Services is attached.


The Service Manager – Finance presented the report of the Director – Finance and Corporate Services, which detailed the quarter two position in terms of financial and performance monitoring for 2021/22. The report separately highlighted the Covid-19 variances.


The Service Manager – Finance referred to table 1 at paragraph 4.2 of the report, which summarised the position at Quarter 2. The table summarised the main variations from revenue efficiencies and Covid related pressures. It was noted that income lost related to Covid-19 totalled £0.129m, with in-year efficiency savings of £0.845m and non-ringfenced grant funding £0.036m. It was noted that, in regard to business rates, the Council was expecting a surplus of £3.113m but that a significant proportion would need to be appropriated into the Collection Fund Reserves (£1.765m) to cover the anticipated deficit that would arise next year and in 2023/24.


The Group suggested that sufficient attention had been given to continued marketing for the golf course and Rushcliffe Borough Council’s other facilities following Covid-19. It was agreed that this feedback would be passed to the relevant team.


The Communications and Customer Services Manager referred to Appendix G of the report, which detailed the Strategic Scorecard summary table.


It was noted that there were fourteen strategic performance indicators that were falling below target, details of which were highlighted in the report.


It was explained that eight of the exceptions were covered in Quarter 1, with some of the measures impacted by lockdown or changes in resident behaviours, but they were no longer subject to the special reporting introduced in 2020/21 due to the easing of restrictions.


It was explained that the percentage of residents who believed that the Council provided value for money had been impacted by Covid. The pandemic had affected feelings of resident satisfaction across many areas, and this was replicated nationally. The Group was informed that the Council would continue to educate residents about the role of the Council as the waste collection authority and would also explain how Council Tax was distributed among other key parts of the public sector. The Group was informed that the percentage of residents satisfied with the variety of ways they could contact the Council might have decreased due to Covid. For example, the closure of face-to-face services at the start of the pandemic. It was noted that this indicator had been addressed and there had been a wider discussion on how the Council could continue to engage with its residents through its forthcoming Customer Service and Communications strategies being finalised this spring.


The Communications and Customer Services Manager was pleased to note that the percentage of residents satisfied with the cleanliness of streets and appearanceof parks and open spaces was positive and well within the targets set for performance within the contract.


The Communications and Customer Services Manager informed the Group about the percentage of household waste sent for reuse, recycling and composting and the number of pavilions, community hall and playing field users. It was noted that there was no significant change from Quarter 1. He explained that more residents had been working from home due to plan B measures, and more waste had been created for home collection as a result of this.


It was noted that venue usage had been impacted by Covid-19, but the lifting of restriction had seen usage start to increase. The Communications and Customer Services Manager advised that Gamston Community Hall had seen favourable feedback since its refurbishment and plans were in place to roll out a new online booking system and to ensure consistent marketing.


The Communications and Customer Services Manager referred to the percentage of non-major application dealt with in eight weeks, or an agreed period and the percentage of householder planning applications processed within target time respectively. It was noted that as outlined in Quarter 1, the significant increase of over 40% of applications received continued to be managed proactively. He informed the Group that new recruitment had addressed the peak in workload, and this was having a positive impact on performance in the latest period. He added that a planning enforcement reporting system would be in place for Quarter 4.


The Communications and Customer Services Manager informed the Group that calls answered within 40 seconds would change to 60 seconds from April, in line with more up to date national benchmarking. He added that the previous months available data showed that 89% of Customer Service calls were answered within 60 seconds or less. He then addressed the number of household waste collections missed twice or more in a three-month period and explained that the reason for the negative change could be linked to staff changes or specific crews underperforming, and those issues were being addressed directly with the teams. It was noted that the Council understood that repeat failures could be frustrating and in-cab technology reminded and alerted crews of those issues. He informed the Group that of the 850,000 bins collected each quarter, 39 had been missed but the team would aim to decrease this going forward.


In respect of housing related indicators, the number of households living in temporary accommodation, connected to the withdrawal of Covid measures, to ensure that people were not evicted from their homes at the height of the pandemic was noted. The increase in the total number of households in temporary accommodation since Quarter 1 in 2021/22 was primarily due to the increased number of households in priority need who were served extended Section 21 Notice to Quit during the pandemic. He informed the Group that the length of time homeless households needed to remain in temporary accommodation was impacted by delays to properties being allocated for a number of weeks at Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing. The Group was advised that the company had assured the Council that this would be reduced once the issue was resolved. The Group was informed that the higher figure for the number of homeless applications made was a consequence of homelessness cases being correctly progressed through different statutory stages of a homelessness application. He noted that this trend was likely to continue and, therefore, the figure for future months was likely to continue to be out of target.


The Communications and Customer Services Manager explained that the percentage of applicants within bands one and two rehoused withing 26 weeks was below target due to a revised formula for assessing additional waiting time priority. It was noted that this trend was likely to continue until the end of the financial year. He informed the Group that there were 33 reported robberies in the period and whilst this was above target, it only needed a small number to make an substantial impact. The Group noted that the robbery targets were set by the Council by the Police and Crime Commissioner.


The Group asked questions about the Planning Enforcement Policy and when new data would be published, and it was explained that the Quarter 3 data would still be out of target, but Quarter 4 should show the Council back on target.


The Group asked questions about the percentage of the usage of community facilities and the target which had been set and it was confirmed that the target for this performance indicator had been set before restrictions were eased after the pandemic. The Group was informed that the new booking system would help the community facilities team understand how much marketing was required to increase usage when it went live. The Group was informed that the new booking system was anticipated to launch in Spring 2022.


The Group referred to the resident survey indicators and noted that although disappointing, it was important not to dwell on those figures and it was mentioned that many residents might use the survey to complain. The Group suggested that the survey should be an opportunity to inform residents about what the Council had been doing and had achieved over the last two years. The Group questioned how often the surveys took place and were informed that they are run every three years.


The Group referred to the section on cleanliness of parks and open spaces and suggested that another campaign should take place to increase people’s awareness of the need to reduce litter. The Group noted that PPE litter both spread germs and viruses to animals as well as those removing the litter.


The Group referred to changes in systems, including issues related to Metropolitan Housing, which had caused problems to the Council’s performance and asked how the performance of registered providers could be scrutinised. The Group was informed that contracts had their own performance indicators, which would be scrutinised internally rather than within the Group.


The Group noted that the wording of the recommendations needed altering and suggested that the words ‘noted’ or ‘considered’ needed to be changed to scrutinised and felt that what had been written was patronising. The Group all agreed that they were happy with the recommendations.


It is RESOLVED that the Corporate Overview Group noted:


a)     the expected revenue budget efficiency for the year of £0.673m incorporating the potential appropriation of £1m to a Vehicle Replacement Reserve (to be included in the MTFS report to Full Council in 2022);


b)      the use of £0.1m in budget efficiencies from 2021/22 to boost the Strategic Growth Board budget in 2022/23 to support the community recovery from Covid (paragraph 4.4);


c)     the capital underspend of £10.204m of which £8.420m is to be carried forward: £8.295m to 2022/23 Capital Programme and £0.125m to 2025/26 Capital Programme;


d)      the acceleration of £40k capital provision for Play Areas from 2022/23;


e)     to 2021/22 to meet commitments;


f)       the expected outturn position for Special Expenses of £10.2k deficit;


g)     the planned us of reserves at paragraph 4.2;


h)     the progress to date of Strategic Tasks– Appendix F; 


i)       the comments for performance exceptions and considers whether additional scrutiny is required – Appendix G; and


j)       Feedback regarding the marketing of Edwalton Golf Course would be discussed with relevant officer.

Supporting documents: