Performance and Financial Monitoring for 2018/19 - Quarter 2
- Meeting of Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Wednesday, 28th November, 2018 6.00 pm (Item 40.)
- View the background to item 40.
Mark Horan, Continuous Improvement and Democratic Services Manager presented a report on the performance and financial monitoring for 2018/19 in quarter 2. The Director of Operational Services and Director of Corporate Services & Governance brought the group through the report.
The group raised a question in regards to the use of reserves, and whether there was a fixed amount of reserves to be used, or if there were more flexible use of the reserves to cover spending. They asked if this was agreed at the beginning of the year, if it was earmarked. The answer was that a prediction was agreed at the beginning of the year when the books were balanced.
A question about the terms “underspend” and “overspend”, and what these terms meant. The answer was that an underspend meant that less money than predicted was spent in a certain area, whilst an overspend meant that more than predicted was spent. A “favourable overspend” meant that more money than predicted was spent, but for the better of the service. The group agreed that this terminology was not as accurate as it could be.
An issue in regards to the presentation of information on the report with graphs was raised. The answer was that this is the way that it must be presented as instructed by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance (CIPFA).
A question was raised on the overspend of homelessness accommodation, and what had caused it. The answer was that due to the homelessness act, more temporary accommodation needed to be provided. As it was a “bidders market”, it was stated that the prices of B&Bs had been rising, making this more expensive to provide accommodation. However, with the start of the housing first scheme, it was stated that the numbers of rough sleepers had fallen.
The group asked about the underspend on the warden service, and what had caused this. It was stated that currently was difficult to increase the team to full strength, but at the time of the meeting, numbers were not available. It was agreed that these numbers could be clarified.
A question was raised in regards to the Prince 2 training, and whether these project management tools were being used in the project management of the council for instance with the use of milestones. The answer was that it was currently being applied to projects, but for the first time.
The group raised a query around the sickness and whether the upward trend in work absences and sickness was due to any particular reason. The answer was that at this time, illness was more common due to the cold weather, and that stress and mental health issues were more prominently spoken about and tackled more openly. Furthermore, the stressful environment the council was currently facing had an effect on the levels of stress in the organisation. Overall, it was stated that this was a holistic problem, with many different factoring issues. Return-to-work schemes and mental health support had been helpful in making sure that staff could return to work and carry on benefitting the organisation in a positive way that was not negative on their health.
Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) were discussed, and it was said that the amount of them issued was quite little, with 9 over 9 months. It was asked why this was the case. Nine staff members, split between many different duties meant that they would not always be around to issue the PSPOs.
A question was raised as to the effectiveness on Playdays, and where it was being targeted. The answer was that any information would be gathered for the group, but that there wasn’t as much targeted recently, and it was attempting to be boundary neutral.
The group discussed the metrics for measuring success in growth. The answer to their questions was that these metrics would develop next year, yet this was a difficult task to develop the outcome for change.
The changes regeneration were making was currently stated to be successful, however it was possible that business could commit more to the regeneration of the town.
The recommendations were proposed by Councillor Webb, which was seconded by Councillor Rankin.
1. That the committees comments on 2018/19 performance be addressed by the relevant Lead Member(s) with appropriate action and report back
2. That staff be thanked for their hard work and achievements