In attendance for this item were:
Paul Smith, Assistant Director for Highways and Transport Operations
Rachel Hill, Assistant Director Economy, Major Projects, and Waste
Steph Simcox, Deputy Chief Finance Officer (Service Finance)
Dave Corbett, Management Information Analyst
Performance Monitoring – Quarter 4 (January to March 2021)
The Panel was presented with a dashboard of performance information relating to indicators from the Directorate level scorecard, the Corporate scorecard and other management information relating to this Panel’s remit for Quarter 4.
A range of queries were raised by Members, as set out below:
· Latest figures on Waste – in response to a query about the date of the latest figures, Officers explained that there was always a lag in getting information through, due to the timing of their production with them being linked to a national system. The figures were expected to be available in the Autumn and published in January.
· Waste Collection – A member commented favourably on the trend of reducing waste from going to landfill and asked how this trend would continue going forward. The Assistant Director advised that as much as possible would continue to be recycled or categorised so that it was treated differently which meant that overtime there would continue to be further reductions in waste being sent to landfill.
· Ash from Energy to Waste plant – It was confirmed that a lot of the ash and residue from the plant could be recycled. The Cabinet Member advised that much of it went to Hill and Moor where it was processed into 3 different aggregates. A classification was currently awaited from Environment Agency which could lead to a significant increase in recycling.
· Food wastage – The Assistant Director advised that there was currently consultation taking place nationally on this issue. The County Council as disposal authority and the District Councils as collection authorities were all involved. The outcome of the consultation would be known at the end of the year.
· Congestion and speeding – A Member queried why the data didn’t currently cover these issues or the impact of them on quality of life. The Chairman advised that these issues hadn’t traditionally been looked at by the Panel, but it was suggested they could be considered for the Work Programme.
· Potholes – A Member highlighted that the percentage of potholes fixed on time always showed 100%. He queried whether this suggested the timescales were currently too long? He also asked what category of potholes were included in this data? The Assistant Director advised that that there were 4 timescales (1 hour, 24 hour, 7 days, 28 days) for completion of work depending on the severity of the pothole. The Panel was informed that the timescale of 1 hour was to ensure the situation was made safe and that the actual repair might take longer. The Chairman asked that the data to back up the figures be reported to the Panel in more detail. It was also requested that data on a wider range of potholes be included in the report.
· Greenhouse gas emissions – The delay in having the latest information available was raised. The Panel was informed that some data would be reported to the September Panel, but the Assistant Director agreed to check when the next update on corporate data would be available.
· Working Adults – A Member asked whether there were projected figures for numbers of working adults following the end of the furlough scheme? The Assistant Director advised that such information was not available, although she would circulate the latest report on claimant information which would be of interest. The Management Information Analyst advised that he would also circulate the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) once it was released in August.
· Public Rights of Way (PROW) and Footways – the Panel were pleased to note that additional resources were being invested in improving both of these.
· Streetlighting reduced spend – A query was raised as to how the significant reduction in spend on streetlighting had been achieved? The Assistant Director explained that it would had resulted from a number of initiatives including the continued move to replace bulbs with LED’s, the ‘switch off’ scheme and savings achieved through the procurement process. The Assistant Director agreed to supply further clarification and advise on details of the ‘switch off scheme’.
· Rail journeys – In response to a query, the Management Information Analyst advised that cancelled trains were not included in the percentage of train journeys on time figures. He confirmed that he would obtain that data and include it into the dashboard for future reports.
· Economic Growth – Gross Value Added (GVA) – A Member asked a detailed question about the performance and target data. The Management Information Analyst confirmed that there was always a delay on these figures but that for the September Panel meeting, the figures would be updated with the 2018/19 data. He advised that the percentage figure was likely to remain at a similar level of 0.86%.
· Data Champions – Owing to the volume of data received by the Panel. the Chairman suggested that Panel Members may wish to consider specialising in an area of the data that they were particularly interested in.
Budget Monitoring – Year-end financial Outturn for 2020/21
The Deputy Chief Finance Officer provided a summary overview of the information contained in the report. She advised that the year-end position was broadly at break even, after a transfer of £0.9m to a Waste transformation reserve in preparation for the development of the Waste Strategy in the year ahead. She highlighted some areas of underspend including where staff vacancies were difficult to fill and in relation to transport operations, due to reduced use of public transport owing to the pandemic.
In terms of the Capital Programme the Panel was advised that of the £160m Budget, £53.9m had been carried forward to next year. The overall Capital Budget for 2021/22 would be approximately £150m, with Quarter 1 outturn currently on track.
Members raised a number of issues as follows:
· Winter Maintenance Budget – the overspend of £340k was queried and explanation sought. Officers referred to the high demand on gritting services and increased tree removals required following wind events. It was agreed that a more detailed written explanation would be provided for the Panel.
· Strategic Land and Economy – A Member asked for more detailed information as to the services which were incorporated under this heading.
· Waste Transformation reserve – The Deputy Chief Finance Officer advised that as this was a new reserve the figure was zero at the start of the year. The Assistant Director, Economy, Major Projects and Waste explained that the reserve would be used for financial, legal and technical advice in connection with the waste contract which expired in January 2024, whether that was for an extension of the current contract or a re-procurement process.
· Skills and Investment spend – the low level of spend was queried and whether there were comparators with other County Councils on this. The numbers in employment were also sought. Officers agreed to check and report back to the Panel.