West Berkshire Council

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Agenda item

Public Protection Partnership 2018/19 - Year End Performance Report

To inform the Committee of the 2018/19 performance outturn for the Public Protection Partnership

Minutes:

The Committee considered the 2018/19 Year End Performance Report for the Public Protection Partnership (PPP) (Agenda Item 7) which outlined the performance outturn for the PPP.

A responsibility of the Committee was to monitor the performance of the PPP, which included its finances. Any issues highlighted could then be taken forward either across the PPP or through the respective local authority.

The end of year budget position for the PPP was a small overspend of approximately £2.5k. A challenge for 2018/19 had been achieving income targets and this had needed to be balanced by making savings.

The item was opened to questions with a particular focus on the ‘red’ indicators listed on pages 24 and 25 of the agenda pack. Councillor Hilary Cole queried if the number of reds was a concern.

Sean Murphy, Public Protection Manager, explained that the ‘red’ indicators were reported by exception and this resulted in positive messages being lost from the report. Future versions of the report should make clear the number of indicators reporting/reported as red out of the total number of indicators. Councillor Hilary Cole agreed, she stated that future reports should highlight the total number of ‘green’, ‘amber’ and ‘red’ indicators, which would then be followed by the exception reports.

Councillor James Cole asked for clarity on the measure of volume chart for the number of HHSRS (Housing Health and Safety Rating System) inspections conducted. Damian James, Bracknell Forest Assistant Director, clarified that this detailed the total number of inspections held in each quarter and which local authority it applied to.

Councillor Chris Bowring queried the decreased number of food establishments at Q4. Sean Murphy explained that Q4 activity included making contact with individual establishments via telephone calls. There was therefore a wider understanding at Q4 of cases where premises had closed. Sean would however provide confirmation that this was the explanation for the reduced number.

Clare Lawrence, Wokingham Assistant Director, referred to discussions held at the Joint Management Board on reducing the number of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to a lower but more meaningful number. Discussion on the potential to take this forward would be scheduled for September’s Joint Public Protection Committee (JPPC).

Councillor Hilary Cole gave the view that the number of indicators seemed excessive and a reduced number, to be considered by the JPPC, would allow a greater level of focus.

Councillor Hilary Cole continued by referring to discussions with Paul Anstey, West Berkshire’s Head of Public Protection and Culture, on the number of KPIs. His view was that the list of KPIs could be reduced to only cover the following areas:

·         Income target for new contracts.

·         Total media reach.

·         Customer satisfaction including enhancing ways for customers to make contact.

·         To reduce the carbon footprint of the PPP – which was an area of high focus and importance in the local authority areas.

These KPIs would need to be monitored alongside the effective management of the PPP budget.

Councillor James Cole felt that KPIs should be used to monitor progress against risk areas. Strategic risks to the PPP and how they were managed needed to be clearly understood by the JPPC. Sean Murphy advised that a comprehensive strategic and operational risk register was in place.

In response to a request from Councillor Chris Bowring, Sean Murphy agreed to circulate a full list of KPIs to help inform discussions on reducing the number of KPIs.

Councillor Chris Bowring then queried the reasons for the fall in licensing income. He also noted that this deficit in income was partially offset in year by holding vacancies and he queried the impact of doing so.

In response, Sean Murphy initially explained that there was some fluidity in requests received for licences and some premises had closed. Fees and charges had been reviewed and reset as a result.

Clare Lawrence continued by describing efforts made to identify the true cost of issuing licences and compliance with regulations as many fees were historic and did not truly reflect total costs. An hourly rate had therefore been identified to achieve full cost recovery for licencing activity and this would help to meet income targets.

Sean Murphy agreed this would mean that a balanced position could be achieved between the costs incurred and the income received. At year end, the income target was in fact 5% short of being achieved. However, Sean added that cost recovery was not possible on all areas of licensing. He also added the point that licencing fees and the income that could be obtained was set by law. For example, the statutory charge imposed for issuing a Temporary Event Notice (TEN).

In concluding the debate of the report, Councillor Hilary Cole queried the actions to be noted by the Committee. She felt that these actions should be clearly identified within the report. Sean Murphy pointed out that the executive summary did identify areas of focus, i.e. ICT and accessibility issues, but acknowledged that this needed to be more explicit. This would be an addition to the report for next time. Performance reports were considered by the JPPC at each quarterly meeting.

RESOLVED that:

·         The report and its actions for areas of improvement would be noted.

·         Sean Murphy would provide confirmation that the reduced number of food establishments reported at Q4 was because closures had been confirmed.

·         Discussion on the potential to reduce the number of Key Performance Indicators would be scheduled for September’s JPPC when a reduced list of KPIs would be presented to the Committee.

·         Sean Murphy to circulate a full list of KPIs to help inform these discussions.

·         Future performance reports would highlight the total number of ‘green’, ‘amber’ and ‘red’ indicators, which would then be followed by the exception reports. They would also make clear actions identified for improvement.

Supporting documents: