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Agenda item

Quarterly Performance and Risk - Quarter 4 - 2022-23

To review the updates and outturns against the measures and activities against the Council’s priorities and the Strategic Risk Summary. This follows Cabinet’s consideration of the report on 2 May 2023.


The Chairman noted that on page 15 of the agenda pack was the latest report providing an update on performance against the stated missions in the Council’s Business Plan 2022-32, its strategic risks and proposed future developments. This report was considered by Cabinet on 2nd May.


It was additionally noted that while the report presented the key high-level performance indicators, the Children’s Select Committee reviewed performance indicators within its remit via its standing task group. In addition, Health Select Committee would be considering proposals regarding its approach to performance scrutiny at its meeting on 8th June.


Councillor Richard Clewer, Leader of the Council, introduced the report and made the following comments that the framework was now close to being a finished product however there was a desire for greater consistency of data with an annual rolling average rather than monthly. It was also stated that the risk elements of the report were now positive, which had not been the case 18 months ago. Additionally, it was noted that this framework was used from a Cabinet perspective to enable deeper understanding of work taking place at a Cabinet and corporate leadership level.


The following comments were made by Perry Holmes, Monitoring Officer and Director Legal and Governance, that the framework had developed and that within the report and appendices new additions which had been highlighted. Headlines were provided in relation to children in foster care, potholes repaired as well as resident engagement. Regarding risk, it was outlined that the report aimed to distil risks of significance across the Council, with 224 risks managed Council-wide.


The following comments were received by Members of the Committee with reference made to potholes and how large ones had not been fixed in divisions which had affected Member credibility. It was noted by the Leader that the Council was broadly keeping up with potholes being reported, however a backlog has been generated and a request had been placed looking to use £3.6mill of Government funding effectively to provide proper repairs rather than patching. It was also outlined that if the same pattern of warm summers and cold winters was to continue, the Council would need to work on methods of prevention.


Queries were raised regarding accommodation, with reference made to a 46% increase in households being in temporary accommodation, to which it was stated by the Leader that the reason for such an increase was that the number of people on the housing register had risen and that the private rental market was broken. It was outlined that the Council had experienced housing pressures worse than previously before, and that the Council had had to place people into B&B accommodation for temporary housing. Furthermore, the Council had released £10mill from leveraging reserves to provide officers with more resource to acquire accommodation to meet demand. It was also referenced that nationally private landlords had been increasing rent and then forcing eviction on those unable to pay, with a government bill set to be taken through parliament which could potentially exacerbate the issue. The Leader provided assurance that Wiltshire Council representation would be provided towards this bill.


Clarity was sought in how Wiltshire Council had dealt with resolving issues for asylum seekers, to which the Leader broke down asylum seekers into three categories: Afghans, Ukrainians, and then illegal asylum seekers (as per government definition). Furthermore, the Leader stated that the Council did not have a duty to house such illegal asylum seekers and that this was not an area that had funding as it was not a recognised scheme.


Reference was made to the trial opening of leisure centres on public holidays, with it stated that it was hoped that increased attendance wouldn’t skew figures. It was clarified for the Cabinet Member for leisure that the past track record of opening leisure centres had not been cost effective to other councils however Wiltshire Council was reacting to a request from lobbying to arrange this trial. The Monitoring Officer also noted that attendance figures would be recorded through payments and card swipes made. It was also suggested that vaping be included in the data recorded for stopping smoking,


The Chairman reiterated to Select Committee Chairmen that though the quarterly performance was a matter of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee, Select Committees should consider the report through their own lenses as well as the finances involved.


It was suggested that it would be positive for Members to be able to attend a workshop or receive some training on how to interpret the indicators of the framework, which would therefore enable them to have a greater understanding and be able to pose relevant questions.


It was suggested that though performance on the scorecard might look positive for areas, it was still important that the financial figures be considered, with a need to balance both performance and budget. Furthermore, though the Financial Planning Task Group would assess the financial figures, it might be worth including these figures within the main framework. It was clarified by the Section 151 Officer that the Quarter Four financial information takes longer to produce than the other quarters and that if this information was to be linked it would enable the Council to understand how money was being spent and what was being delivered as an output.


Clarity was provided regarding what was meant by the phrase “the right direction” included within the report, to which the Leader explained that “direction of travel” related to whether in order achieve a goal, statistics would have to either increase or decrease, or in some cases there may not be a goal.


At the conclusion of discussion, it was,




The Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee agreed to note the updates and outturns:


1.     Against the measures and activities ascribed against the Council’s priorities and targets and for the measures which will be included in the performance report.


2.     To note the Strategic Risk Register, issues and emerging risks.


3.     To explore the opportunity of delivering performance and risk training for OSMC including the background to and interpretation of the indicators.

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