Agenda item


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The Corporate Governance Manager presented the report and explained that the Council’s performance management framework included quarterly monitoring and reporting of performance.  Each quarterly performance report was presented to the Corporate Performance Panel.


The Panel was informed that the report provided an overview of the corporate performance indicators and associated targets which had been set for the 2023/2024 year.


The Panel’s attention was drawn to the key issues set out in the report.


Following the borough elections in May 2023, a new Corporate Strategy 2023/2027 was adopted by Full Council on 23 November 2023.  Key performance indicators and associated targets had been reviewed by Management Team and Cabinet to enable performance monitoring of council services on an ongoing basis.  The targets were determined based on a realistic assessment at what should be achieved given the resources available within services.


Quarterly monitoring of the indicators will form part of the new Performance Management Report which will also incorporate the monitoring of the Corporate Strategy.  The report will be discussed at the Corporate Performance Panel each quarter, ensuring Members have the opportunity to clarify the reasons for the levels of performance being reported.


The Corporate Governance Manager provided an overview of the monitoring which had been undertaken and explained that three quarters of monitoring would be presented to the Corporate Performance Panel at its April meeting.


The Chair invited Councillors attending under Standing Order 34 to ask any questions/comments.


Under Standing Order 34, Councillor Kemp referred to the following performance indicators:


·         % calls to CIC prevented by web chat target of 75% using the internet to prevent or minimise human contact may be a good one point but there may be vulnerable people without a home computer and asked if this was a realistic target in meeting the needs of the population.

·         No of people in bed and breakfast accommodation and why this was a monitor only indicator because it was important for the Council to look at the future trend and cost to the Council.

·         Previous indicators to ensure new homes were not being at risk of been flooded and wondered if there should be an indicator to ensure the Council was doing what it should to protect future and existing homes from the risk flooding.


In response to the question regarding % of calls/webchat to the CIC, the Corporate Governance Manager explained she understood what Councillor Kemp had said and that it should be acknowledged that the Council was aware that a number of people were not on line and may be digitally excluded.  The Panel was informed of the benefits of webchat and that it would leave time for those customers who preferred to use the telephone to contact the Council.  Members were informed that it was not designed to exclude anyone but be complimentary to each other.

The Chair invited the Panel to ask questions/comment on the report, a summary of which is set out below.


In response to a question from Councillor Mrs Spikings on rating of 3 and above for food premises and the target of 90% and added that this information did not include ratings 1 and 2 and did not tell Councillors anything.  The Corporate Governance Manager commented that this was a good point and undertook to feedback the information to the relevant service area. The Panel was informed that if the target was not being achieved there would be an explanation/commentary as to why.


Councillor Jones suggested amended wording in relation to the % of calls prevented by webchat which was noted by the Chief Executive (prevented was the wrong word).


Councillor Devulapalli asked if there were any responses available for the two remaining questions asked by Councillor Kemp.


In response to the question raised by Councillor Kemp regarding bed and breakfast accommodation being a monitor only indicator, the Corporate Governance Manager explained that the Council had to monitor how much was spent and was used as a comparison purpose for previous years but the Council was not necessarily able to influence and change it based on the temporary accommodation available.  The Panel was informed there was a limited amount of accommodation and the Council would not know who would be presenting as homeless.


In response to the question raised by Councillor Kemp on homes being at risk of flooding, etc, the Corporate Governance Manager all new properties, although did not necessary form part of the performance indicators but went through a rigorous assessment in relation to flooding when a planning application was submitted.


Councillor Devulapalli asked what was the purpose of the bed and breakfast indicator being monitor only and asked if the Council was also going to monitor the use of the night shelter in order to gain an understanding of the need of homelessness in West Norfolk .  In response,  the Corporate Governance Manager explained that she would liaise with the relevant officer and email a response.


Councillor Devulapalli agreed with the comments made by Councillor Mrs Spikings on receiving more meaningful information and added that some targets were in figures and some in percentages and was quite difficult to understand.


In response to questions from Councillor Devulapalli on the target for short term car parking tickets and level of usage, etc, the Corporate Governance Manager explained that with short term parking it was tickets when people came into the town to look at levels for the previous and current year which gave the Council an indication of the usage. It was explained that a response would be emailed as to what the Assistant Director and Portfolio Holder were looking for in relation to this indicator.  The Chief Executive explained that this was a list of indicators for the current year but when they were reported comparable figures would be shown for the previous year which represented a trend.


Councillor Devulapalli commented that she was dismayed that cycling usage was monitor only and would hope the Council would look for a more robust indicator.  In response, the Chief Executive explained that some were a set target, for example, bed and breakfast accommodation and outlined the reasons why it was monitor only.  In relation to the cycle usage, it was noted this was a new target for this year so the data would be collected and then going forward a target would be set.



Councillor Long commented that there were a number of indicators previously where, for example, % of Council Tax collected against outstanding balances, 97.5% and when there had been a target of 100%, there had been a collection fund surplus, which would be negotiated and shared with the other precepting authorities and asked why the target was set at 97.5% and not 100% which followed through with business rates and the BID.  In response, the Chief Executive explained that 97.5% was for the percentage of council tax collected in the current year and added that when the Council set its budget it worked on 100% of council tax base at the October date because during the year new properties came on and the council tax collection fund was increasing which impacted on the amount of money the Borough Council paid across to Norfolk County Council when the budget was set and was therefore used for two different purposes.


Following further questions from Councillor Long on the above target/indicator to achieve 100% and not have a collection fund surplus, the Chief Executive commented that it might be worth obtaining technical details to circulate to the Panel.  The Chair added this would provide useful to Councillors.


The Chair outlined the genuine confusion he had at the sifting meeting regarding the performance targets and the general practice in organisations in setting key performance indicators and commented that question he had was the Panel, being ten months in, was being asked to review and note the proposed key performance targets for 2023/2024 which was last year.  The Chair explained that he had liaised with officers regarding when the Panel would see what would drive the targets for 2024/2025.


In response, the Corporate Governance Manager explained that KPI’s were in place to demonstrate performance against the Corporate Strategy.  It was explained that following the May 2023 election there had been a change of Administration and during the summer work had been undertaken on the Corporate Strategy which was adopted by Full Council in November 2023.  During December 2023 officers had been working on the Annual Plan for 2023/2024.  It was explained that the KPI’s tied in with the Corporate Strategy and as it was not adopted until late in 2023, officers had not been able to put together a set of performance indicators.  However, officers had been collecting the information and 38 of the indicators were existing and there were 26 new indicators.  Those indicators had been grouped into the new corporate priorities which were similar to the previous actual priorities.  Members were informed that until the Corporate Strategy was adopted it was not possible to set performance indicators which would monitor performance against that strategy because it had not been agreed and published.


The Corporate Governance Manager further explained that Assistant Directors and Portfolio Holders had been asked to agree performance indicators in relation to the Corporate Strategy, Annual Plan and Directorate Plans.  The data would be collected from April 2023 in order that the Panel would receive data on the full year’s performance for 2023/2024 based on the new Corporate Strategy adopted in November 2023.


Councillor Lintern commented the Council would have had KPI’s for previous years and added it would be irrelevant as they were ongoing, new ones could be added in but the bulk of indicators would already be in existence and were therefore not figures that had been manipulated in any way.


The Chair disagreed with the comments made by Councillor Lintern and stated that the idea of a KPI was that it was bespoke, measurable and set the drum beat of the business and to say that the authority would carry over KPI’s from last year, the indicator(s) might be in the wrong area or at the wrong level.  The Chair added that the key issue was that the Panel was looking at indicators for last year and the question was which committee would see the plan for 2024/2025 and agree targets and input into Cabinet, if it was an amalgamation for the current year because of old figures, etc.


Councillor Lintern reiterated the points she had made previously and added that the core of the performance indicators would be ones that would be measured and monitored on an ongoing basis for many years and that indicators could be amended if appropriate and new indicators added.  In response, the Corporate Governance Manager explained that Councillor Lintern was correct and explained that whilst the Core Strategy and indicators had been in development, the Council had continued its business as usual and outlined the variety of services, some of which were statutory and being delivered to the residents of West Norfolk.


The Chief Executive and Officers responded to questions from Councillor Blunt in relation to links between key performance indicators, the corporate strategy and the performance management framework.


In response to questions from Councillor Lintern, the Assistant Director Central Services provided an overview of the performance annual appraisal process and how targets may link to the corporate strategy undertaken for each employee.


The Corporate Governance Manager circulated a chart which set out the 2023/2027 Corporate Strategy Delivery Model.


The Chair commented that he had listened to the debate and stated that it was unusual, although this was a transitional year, that there was an amalgamation of last year’s and this year’s KPI’s and looking at them towards the end of the year.  The Chair added he had taken on board the comments made by Councillor Lintern but the targets within those indicators could vary and drew attention to recommendation and that the Panel was being asked to review the targets for 2023/2024 but the Panel was not being asked to review targets for 2024/2025 and that this should be included and the recommendation amended.


In response to a question from Councillor Devulapalli on % of contracts awarded SME, target 25%, the Corporate Governance Manager undertook to liaise with the relevant department and respond direct to Councillor Devulapalli.


The Corporate Governance Manager clarified that the KPI’s would be monitored during the 4 year period of the Corporate Strategy.


Councillor Devulapalli commented that it would be better to look at targets year on year in order to see if they were still appropriate.


Councillor Devulapalli drew attention to the comments she had made above regarding the monitoring of bed and breakfast accommodation and asked if in the future monitoring of the usage of the night shelter and the spend per user could be undertaken.  The Chief Executive advised that the Council would need to consult with other organisations as the data was not all from the Borough Council


The Chair proposed the following amendment to the recommendation as set out below, highlighted in bold:


The Panel is asked to review and note the Council’s proposed key performance indicators and targets for the 2023/2024 year and 2024/2025 or 2024 to 2027.  Performance against these indicators will be reports to the Panel via the quarterly Performance Monitoring Report.


The Chief Executive accepted the above amendment to the recommended.


The proposal was seconded by Councillor Long.


Councillor Long commented the Chair asked for 2024/2025 and was happy to roll indicators forward, but for 2026/2027 there may be additions, changes, etc which would probably come back to the Panel and would therefore be happier that the proposal was for 2023/2024 and to note going forward 2024/2025 with a revision to come back in subsequent years as required.


In response to questions from Councillor Ryves, the Corporate Governance Manager advised that the Panel could put forward recommendations to Cabinet on 5 March 2024.


The Panel voted on the amendment to the recommendation as set out above, which was carried.


The Chair invited the Leader to address the Panel.


The Leader addressed the Panel and commented that the Corporate Plan would be monitored on an annual basis and any KPI’s could be amended if required.  The Leader added that he had taken on board the comments made by Councillor Blunt regarding the Performance Related Pay appraisal process and would hold discussions with Assistant Directors to ensure that service areas were aware of their part in the Corporate Plan and Key Performance Indicators.  The Leader invited Councillor to discuss with him how the KPI’s could be presented, etc.


RESOLVED:  The Panel reviewed and noted the council’s proposed key performance indicators and targets for the 2023/24 year and 2024/2025 with a revision to come back in subsequent years as required.  Performance against these indicators will be reported to the panel via the quarterly Performance Management Report.



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