Agenda item

All Wales Performance Analysis 2017-18 - Year End Summary



·        Bev Owen – Strategic Director - Place

·        Rhys Cornwall – Head of People and Business Change

·        Keir Duffin – Head of Regeneration, Investment and Housing

·        Paul Jones – Head of Streetscene and City Services

·        Gareth Price – Head of Law and Regulations


The Head of People and Business Change presented an overview of the report to the Committee and reminded Members that all the Performance Indicators for the Year-End had been reported to the Committee in July. He explained that the Local Authority submitted data to Data Cymru and benchmarked 26 performance measures across Wales. There were two differences this year: the Council rather than Data Cymru had undertaken the benchmarking this year, and the Social Services Well-being Act (Wales) had resulted in indicators being deemed invalid and removed so there was a limited amount of public accountability measures. The report showed a small number of indicators comparing relative performance against the rest of Authorities in Wales. This year the All Wales SSA (Standard Spending Assessments) data has also been added to show Newport’s funding position compared to other authorities.


Members asked the following:


·        Members made comment that it was disconcerting that the number of indicators had decreased.  It was advised that the comparative data was a small sample so it was difficult to make an assessment. It was advised that the Data Unit were in constant conversations about what measures should be stopped and what should continue.


·        It was queried whether the ranking on page 30 of the report; 21st position in Wales 2015/16 and 16th in 2017/18 was comparable.  It was clarified that it not comparable, as there had been a change in public accountability measures. Local authorities would be ranked in different ways depending on what measure was chosen. It is difficult to make any judgement without related performance with 18 measures that were not the same as the previous year.


PAM/013: Percentage of empty private sector properties brought back into use during the year through direct action by the local authority

·        Concern was raised about empty properties and it was asked what progress had been achieved. Members were advised that during the second half of this financial year we will be looking to bring forward a number of proposals for empty homes to make a positive impact. The Chair reminded the Committee there would be a Scrutiny briefing to be held regarding Housing which would include Empty Properties.


·        Who sets the targets, and were Officers able to raise the target? Members were advised that the Performance Management Strategy sets out criteria for setting the target, is it; better than last year? Better than the Welsh average? Will it take you to the next quartile? The last measure was new so there was no history. The Service Plan includes targets and come to Scrutiny in performance reports.


·        It was questioned whether the target for this measures should be higher than 2%? It was explained that there was no direct correlation between the number of empty private sector properties and homelessness levels. The Council looks to provide housing solutions. It was also advised that some local authorities will class sending out a letter as taking action whereas in Newport this isn’t the case.


·        It was queried whether this indicator included empty and derelict homes that are managed by Housing Associations, how long before they bring them back to use  and also who sets the targets? Comment was made that more properties should be brought back into use. Members were advised that Council looks for continuous improvement, the performance target should go up this year.


It was clarified that targets were put forward and assessed to make sure they are challenging. The department was always looking for continuous improvements and took this performance indicator very seriously. It was also advised by the Strategic Director that they would like to see the target increase but it involved numerous departments. There had been a lot of work taken place over the last few months, and suggestion of discussion across Wales and action plans addressing performance indicators.


PAM/016: Number of visits to public libraries during the year per 1,000 population

·        What was the Council doing to proactively encourage people to visit the libraries? Opportunities such as putting out cook books at the food fair and self-improvement books at job fairs were suggested. Members were advised that there are nearly 500,000 visits being made to the libraries per year. Members were advised that the key things would be co-location and sharing skills. There were a range of different services that could share services such as Flying Start - reading with parent and child programmes. There had been a significant improvement of library visits made with neighbourhood hubs which allow services to engage with the public.


·        Increasing visitor numbers into libraries to borrow books was a challenge due to the digital world, but it could also provide opportunities. Example was given that Newport LIVE reach out to other organisations which was something that could be utilised in a library setting. It was agreed that engagement needs to be increased, and information on how Libraries engage would be sent through to Members, including more detail on the variety of methods used.


·        Members were disappointed that the resources available for the reference library had reduced, as there had previously been a whole floor providing family history research facilities. It was asked whether there were any plans to improve or expand this service? Members were advised that there should be a significant improvement from the offer made on 1 February 2018 with Ringland library being used for the pilot.


PAM/017: Number of visits to local authority sport and leisure facilities during the year where the visitor will be participating in physical activity per 1,000 population

·        Comment was made that this performance measure was unfair to the Council due to the competitive offer from private fitness venues and the effect of this on the scores for the Council against this measure.


Members asked if fitness classes held in schools and other Council venues were included in the final numbers. Members were advised that figures from schools and Newport LIVE venues were counted within the final figures, but that the Council was very restricted in the way it could count towards the measure. Other authorities had moved to hub type activities which increased participation and resulted in higher scores for this measure compared to Newport.


Members were then advised a five year master plan for the city was being developed alongside Newport LIVE, when this is agreed, additional targets could be reflected within the Master plan.


PAM/020: Percentage of principal A road that are in overall poor condition

·        Could the Committee have a role in developing strategies or putting points forward? The Scrutiny Adviser told the Members that it is open to the Committee if it wishes to add to the Highways Asset Management Plan to its Forward Work Programme, following the Briefing received on 24 September and listed in its Forward Work Programme Report.




The Committee noted the Public Accountability Measures – Wales Analysis 2017-18 and made the following comments:

·        “PAM/013: Percentage of empty private sector properties brought back into use during the year through direct action by the local authority” -  Concern was expressed that the target setting for this measure was not ambitious enough at 2%.


·        “PAM/017: Number of visits to local authority sport and leisure facilities during the year where the visitor will be participating in physical activity per 1,000 population” - It is unfair that private sector gyms and facilities are increasing and impacting upon local authority provision but are not counted in this measure, plus it was unclear whether exercise classes held in school facilities and community facilities are included.


·        With regard to general target setting, Members requested that a more transparent target setting process should be developed and, that this new process be considered by Scrutiny before it is implemented.


Supporting documents: