With the agreement of the chair this item was moved down the
agenda to item 5
Councillors asked questions of the present officers about the
Question: The improvement of street
cleanliness is 4% compared to its 5% target what exactly does this
Answer: It is a percentage of tests
failed so a lower percentage is less
tests failed and therefore better.
Question: The length of time to
process housing benefit applications is too long at 17 days, the
private rented sector won’t hold a property for two weeks how
can we improve this?
Answer: The council would like to
process these faster. The council is in the upper quartile of the
country for average days to process an application. It is a
complicated process that requires co-operation of many different
people. The council has aspirations to get this faster, but it
should be noted that very few councils have it lower than 10
Councillors passed on their appreciation of the planning team at
achieving 100% on targets on major applications and exceeding
targets of minor applications. The Director of Operational Services
commented that whilst he would pass on the comments it should be
noted that the planning team continue to be hit with sickness and
absence so the performance may not continue into the future. It was
also commented that note 7 of the report mentions the possible
future performance loss.
Councillors commented that there is a lot of strain on staff at
the moment causing sickness, this causes more strain on the
remaining staff and this causes a vicious cycle. The also commented
that the first focus should be protecting staff in their
Question: Is Hastings Borough
Council’s sickness in line with other authorities?
Answer: Need to look at sickness stats
across the organisation. There has been significant amount of work
looking at trends but there is a difficult winter ahead. In the
crudest terms £1.5m is 50 staff posts and a number of posts
are externally funded. This will cause stress and worry on staff
and affect their work and personal lives. It is expected that the
sickness and absence figures will get worse in the next two
Councillor Rogers commented that she meets with the Director of
Corporate Services and Governance on a regular basis as well as
Manager of People, Customer and Business Support. They are looking
at where the sickness is, which
departments and are doing lots of work with occupational health and
mental health. It has to have an effect on staff, but proud of the
support and help that is there and available.
Question: Is the low number of
homelessness cases prevented due to staffing issues?
Answer: Now that there are some additional staff in the role Hastings
Borough Council expects the numbers to increase in the next three
Question: Has the council collected
more council tax? Can we improve on the number of days to
Answer: Universal Credits (UC) has
affected the time ...
view the full minutes text for item 22.