Hannah Thorpe, Head of Communications and Digital introduced the report and advised the Panel that this was the final quarter of performance against the council’s four year Corporate Plan. Although there were some areas for focus, overall performance had improved with 20 of the 29 indicators either on target or within 5% of the target.
Within the first priority ‘a Clean and Welcoming environment’, positive performance was highlighted with Environmental Health requests, low levels of graffiti and low levels of detritus all exceeding their targets. Waste sent for recycling was now almost at target and at the highest level of the Corporate Plan period and although below target, the levels of missed bins compare favourably with national performance and equate to 99.7% successful collections - with 60 misses out of 18,000 daily collections. Streets with litter below acceptable levels had decreased slightly since last quarter; however the amount of litter being dropped is a concern. Members were updated on new machines including an electric barrow and backpacks which are being trialled, increasing education campaigns with the public, continuing with enforcement action and installing new larger bins in key locations.
Within Supporting Neighbourhoods, there continued to be excellent performance with empty properties, improving living conditions and the number of homeslessness cases prevented which is now at 150 against the target of 76 - a performance period high.
Although the rolling 12 month figure for homelessness decisions and days in hotel accommodation are below target, members were asked to note the actual figure marked in grey on the graph which demonstrated an exceptional improvement in performance and the best figures of the four year plan period. Other than customer satisfaction with repairs the measures covered by East Kent Housing were below target, but members were reminded of the robust improvement plan in place along with regular monitoring to address this.
Within Inward Investment members were asked to note the improvement in performance of the major planning applications determined. Despite an increase in the number of major applications from 38 to 50, performance was now at 80% just one percentage point below the target.
The performance figures for the Freedom of Information (FOI) requests and sickness had seen significant improvements since the last quarter. A new FOI processing system had been put in place which was hoped would continue to improve the performance.
The Council is now developing new corporate priorities and new performance measures will be identified as part of this process.
Members appreciated the detailed information in the performance report. They further queried whether the Council had adequate resources assigned to tackle the current challenges regarding litter and waste collection. Members also wanted to know whether stress was a factor of staff sickness figures. The statistics for starters and leavers had grown. Members asked which departments had experienced growth in staffing numbers. They were concerned by the increase in crime figures (particularly crime against the person).
The Panel commended the Empty Homes Team for the performance in preventing homelessness in the last quarter.
Responding to Member queries, Madeline Homer, CEx and Hannah Thorpe said the following:
After the debate, Members noted the report.