To consider a report of the Deputy Chief Executive.
This item covers two reports as follows:
· Third Update Corporate Performance and Resources Report (CPRR) 2018/19
· Third Update Leader’s Report 2018/19
The Third Update Corporate Performance and Resource Report (CPRR) provides an update on progress in delivering the Council’s Priority Outcomes and budget since the mid year report 2018/19, with a particular emphasis on the third quarter (October to December). It is based on the 2018/19 Council Plan and Budget, and also reflects Cabinet priorities set out Portfolio Agreements.
Updates are included on delivery of policy priorities, alongside Reform Projects. The report also includes forecasts of budget and performance data where this is available, along with an update on the Corporate Risk Register. It is supported by seven Portfolio Performance and Resource Reports which were considered by the most recent Scrutiny cycle.
The Leader’s Report reflects on significant achievements and challenges, key decisions at Greater Manchester level, along with areas of progress in delivering council priorities over the first half of the year.
These reports were considered and approved by Cabinet on 5 February 2019.
Scrutiny Committee is asked to:
· Consider the Third Update Reports;
· Review the progress against delivering corporate objectives, key projects, priority outcomes, targets and budgets for 2018/19;
· Highlight key areas for taking forward corrective action to address any performance or resource issues;
· Identify how areas of strong performance and good practice can be shared in other services.
The Cabinet Member for Reform & Governance submitted the third Corporate Performance and Resources Report (CPRR) for 2018/19 and third Leader’s Update Report 2018/19 (copies of which had been circulated) that covered the period up to December 2018 with particular emphasis on the third quarter (October to December).
Updates were included on delivery of policy priorities, alongside Reform Projects. The report also included early forecasts of budget and performance data where this was available, along with an update on the refreshed Corporate Risk Register. It was supported by seven Portfolio Performance and Resource Reports that had been considered by scrutiny committees in the January Scrutiny cycle.
The Leader’s Annual Report reflected on significant achievements and challenges, key decisions at Greater Manchester level, along with areas of progress in delivering Council priorities over the first half of 2018/19.
The following comments were made/ issues raised:
· Clarification was sought whether there were any financial implications in relation to off-target performance against littering on highway. In response it was confirmed that there were no proposals to make reductions in public realm spend in the next year, but a review was planned. It was acknowledged that there was a debate about how investment was made in such services. In setting a budget the assumptions were based on existing service specifications, and performance targets were also based on previous years. The Chair commented that it was important for the Scrutiny Committee to have oversight of how investment in services related to performance.
· Further information was sought on how the Council assessed the job creation implications of the lettings in its property portfolio. In response it was stated that the Council had significant floor space within its portfolio, and the lettings policy was primarily assessed against its commercial viability. The Council was also working to ensure the infrastructure was in place to support existing and new businesses seeking to expand and develop.
· Concerns were expressed about the methodology used to evaluate performance that lead to off target performance leading to an assessment as ‘green’. In response it was acknowledged that this could lead to confusion but this may be reflective of a number of factors including a range of tolerance or performance being on target for the quarter and projected to meet target by year end although short of target for the reporting period.
· What were the implications of the roll-out of Universal Credit (UC) on Council Tax income? In response it was stated that the Council had worked hard to ensure IT systems had been integrated to ensure that fluctuations in a person’s UC income were factored into Council Tax systems to reduce the likelihood of problems for claimants. It was further commented that there had been a slow transition process so there were not currently large numbers of residents receiving UC. The Council also had an officer based at the Job Centre to provide support and who would encourage claimants to take up for Council Tax Support. It was confirmed that there had been any significant problems encountered as of yet. Committee members thanked officers for their hard work in preparing for these changes and minimising the disruption for residents.
· What were the implication of recent national retail chain closures in the Town Centre on business rates income? In response it was stated that business rates collection was volatile and could be impacted by factors outside of the Council’s control. Nevertheless the picture in Stockport remained encouraging.
· The Council had achieved improvements in both Council Tax and Business Rate collection rates that reflected the fact the Council was a good collector but also that residents and businesses were good payers. Recently agreed changes to the Council Tax Discount Scheme may impact on collection rates although there may be an increase in the total in the fund.
· Concern was expressed about whether the proposals in the draft GMSF to give priority to brownfield sites would lead to applications of sufficient quality and whether the Council would be considering incentivising brownfield sites. In response it was stated that consultation on the GMSF was ongoing and that feedback should be provided through the consultation. It was also commented that the Council had a positive story to tell on housing, particularly the planned establishment of the Mayoral Development Corporation for the Town Centre West area.
RESOLVED – That the report be noted.