To consider the report of the Director of Strategy, Performance and Governance, (copy enclosed).
The Committee considered the report of the Director of Strategy, Performance and Governance that required the Committee to undertake a quarterly review of the Thematic Strategies performance, as assurance that performance was being managed effectively to achieve the corporate outcomes as set out in the Council’s Corporate Plan 2019 - 2023, and for recommended changes and improvements to be reported to the Strategy and Resources Committee in February 2021. Appendix 1 to the report provided an overview of performance as at the end of Quarter 3 (Q3) (October - December 2020).
The Chairman introduced the report and deferred to the Programmes, Performance and Governance Manager to present the detail. The Manager took the Committee through the report and, as with previous quarters, she advised that there were measures which were not performing as expected, largely due to the impact of COVID on how the Council delivered services or where officer resources had been diverted. Members’ attention was drawn to the summary table that highlighted the measures in each of the three strategic themes that were either on track or otherwise.
She reminded Members that the full set of data was available at appendix 1. This also contained details of indicators impacted by COVID like ‘annual better care fund grants’ that had not been spent as home visits could not take place, and in-person online assistance at the offices, which had not happened due to the office moving to appointment only. However, some of the new activity taking place, not originally in the Corporate plan, included:
· Increase in channel shift as a result of the closure of the offices, which replaced ‘helping people to use online tools’
· Virtual Fitness campaigns (as opposed to events at the Leisure centre)
· Direct engagement with those in ‘isolation’ risk group for COVID – far
surpassing the original target of the number of people expected to reach with the
original isolation programme
· Volunteering activity used for open spaces had been redeployed to COVID
· Conversation 80 businesses in the high street as part of COVID response.
In conclusion she said that the performance team would be feeding into the wider review taking place on Corporate Plan objectives to ensure appropriate performance reporting would be produced as part of the review. The intention was that the Quarter 1 report scheduled for the Performance Governance and Audit Committee on 23 September 2021 would track the revised Corporate Plan format.
In response to a query from Councillor Jarvis regarding the performance monitoring process and the need for a more predictive tool the Director of Strategy, Performance and Governance advised that performance reports by their nature were backwards looking, reporting a quarter in arrears. He said that considering the risk report alongside the performance report helped to anticipate problems around performance in advance. He acknowledged the importance of being able to forward plan and said officers would look at adding some further intelligence into the process and report back.
Councillor Nunn observed that given the pressures of COVID, flooding and elections he was amazed that performance was so good.
Councillor Hull, referring to funding that had not been spent because the activity could not take place due to COVID asked if there were funds available to tackle health and wellbeing issues like obesity. The Customers, Community and Casework Manager advised that there was funding available from Essex County Council for Health and Wellbeing. Currently this was being distributed through the Health and Wellbeing Partnership Board. She said she would circulate further information on this to committee members outside of the meeting.
There being no further questions the Chairman moved the recommendations in the report and these were seconded by Councillor Jarvis. She then put the recommendations to the Committee and they were agreed by assent.
(i) That Members reviewed the information as set out in this report and appendix 1 with priority focus given to the Strategic Outcome level performance.
(ii) That Members confirmed they are assured through this review that corporate performance is being managed effectively