To consider and provide a recommendation to Cabinet on the proposals set out in the attached Report.
Jane Clarke, Head of Policy and Governance introduced the report that summarised the performance of the Council’s priority projects and service delivery for the period 1 October to 31 December 2019.
Discussion and responses to Members questions included the following comments:
- For the 10 priority projects, 6 were green status, 3 were amber, with the remaining project on hold.
- A verbal update was given on the Local Plan. A consultation process had been undertaken on the draft Local Plan with over 2,000 individual responses received. This amounted to over 8,000 comments on the different elements contained within the Plan. The comments had now been uploaded onto the TWBC website. The comments were now being reviewed, but given the number received it would take some time to consider them fully. This might extend the timeframe for when the pre-submission Local Plan was due to be published. If this were the case a revised scheme would be published and an update provided.
- The next step was to publish the pre-submission Local Plan and to undertake a Regulation 19 consultation.
- For the 25 service performance indicators currently being collected, 14 were performing as expected, 6 were under-performing, with data unavailable for the remaining 5.
- Missing information that related to Waste and Street scene was a matter for Kent County Council. TWBC continued to request the data from Kent County Council and as soon as an update was received, the information would be disseminated.
- Recruitment of staff particularly in the professional grades such as planning and finance continued to be challenging. The Council were exploring other methods of advertising to try and tackle this. In addition there was a provision to add a market supplement to a salary to make it more attractive. There was a national shortage of Planning Officers, the market was therefore very competitive, combined with the upturn in housebuilding the private sector was winning the race at the moment.
- The introduction of the new Homelessness Reduction Act included the provision that anyone who presented as possibly homeless, the Council was required to produce an action plan and as such were counted as homeless from this point. The indicator now needed to be updated to reflect the new duty under the Act.
- Absence due to sickness was higher in this quarter than in previous quarters. This was significant for TWBC but benchmarked against other authorities, it was at a similar level.
- The process for major planning applications was underperforming for Quarter 3, but as there had only been two applications received in the quarter, it was easy for this indicator to fall into underperformance.
- The processing of other planning applications had underperformed in every quarter this year, which was representative of the lack of of resources to undertake the work.
- The service performance indicator that related to Job Seekers Allowance would need to be revised once the full roll out of Universal Credit had taken place.
RESOLVED – That the report be noted.