Agenda item

Q1 Performance Report

To consider the report.


Adele Taylor explained that the council was currently working to an interim strategy, with the new corporate plan due to succeed the interim strategy once it was ready. The performance report reflected the councils performance against certain metrics from Q1:


·         4 of the targets were green and had succeeded or achieved the target

·         3 of the targets were amber and near the target

·         2 of the targets were red and needed improvement


The road to recovery for RBWM after the pandemic had been both positive and negative. Collection of business rates was below target, with a number of businesses not receiving their bills until early this summer, this was in line with the government’s guidance and strategy. Libraries had been reopened and the number of visits had been gradually increasing. The time taken to process new claims had exceeded target. Adele Taylor explained that the budget setting process was underway and would be shaped by learnings from the CIPFA review of governance arrangements.


The Chairman commented on the issues with business rates and asked if this would pick up naturally over time or if there were any specific issues.


Adele Taylor said that it was difficult to tell as the targets had been set prior to this year. RBWM was performing similar to other Berkshire local authorities so there was no specific concern, she encouraged businesses to speak to the team if they needed guidance or support.


Councillor Werner said that national schemes like furlough and a ban on evictions were coming to an end and asked what effect this would have on the performance. He asked if discounted residents parking was in the medium-term plan.


Adele Taylor said that parking was a policy decision for Cabinet, the budget setting process was underway at the moment. The council was aware of the impact of national schemes ending and were monitoring it closely. The number of residents who needed council tax support had not gone up although some schemes had only just ended. Homelessness support was focused on those who came forward. RBWM was slightly behind on its collection rate for council tax, but this was similar to other Berkshire authorities.


The Chairman said that the parking policy was something that had been discussed at a recent Full Council meeting.


Councillor Jones commented on agency staff and recruitment, as the figures in the report were from June 2021. She asked if there was any further update.


Nikki Craig, Head of HR, Corporate Projects and IT, said that the agency issue was not fully resolved. There were national skill shortages which was a challenge for all local authorities. RBWMs employment strategy was publicly available on the website to show potential employees what it was like to work for the council. Nikki Craig said that RBWM was looking to close the gap where possible.


Councillor Jones mentioned that neighbouring councils were also recruiting, she asked if RBWM could match their offering and be attractive to more potential candidates.


Nikki Craig said that there was a small pool of employees that were available. RBWM offered national pay grades along with other benefits like the local government pension scheme and wellbeing benefits like RBWM Select. Nikki Craig was aware that the finance team had recently launched a microsite to attract potential new staff which had been very successful.


Adele Taylor continued by explaining that the field of candidates who had come forward as a result was very good. Officers had been undertaking a lot of networking and extra work to ensure that RBWM was attracting the best candidates.


Councillor Sharpe passed on his thanks to Adele Taylor, Nikki Craig and their teams for the work which they had done. He asked if there was anything in the performance report that officers were concerned about.


Adele Taylor said that the areas that were below target were the focus but it was clear why they were below target, it was not unexpected.


Councillor Sharpe asked if other local authorities were experiencing similar in their performance.


Adele Taylor confirmed that RBWM was very similar to other authorities and so it was therefore performing as expected.


Councillor Jones commented on the numbers and asked that the next time the performance report came to the Panel that figures related to the resource were also included.


Nikki Craig said that she would take this away and see if it could be included in future reports.


ACTION – Nikki Craig to discuss with Councillor Jones after the meeting.



RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Panel noted the report and:


i)             Noted the 2021/22 Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Panel Q1 Data & Performance Report in Appendix A.


ii)            Requested relevant Cabinet Members, Directors and Heads of Service to maintain focus on improving performance.

Supporting documents: