Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

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Cabinet Decision: 14th July 2016
Title of Item/Report
Non-Financial Performance 2015/16
Record of the Decision
Consideration was given to a report that detailed the Non-Financial Performance of the Council in 2015/16.

The Council continued to face huge challenges with the continuous sustained reductions to local authority and other public sector budgets. Alongside this it was experiencing increased demand for services particularly in the areas of children's and adults social care and a reliance on council and council-commissioned services.

The Council had continued, through everything it had done this year, to maintain our absolute focus on our key policy principles of:
a. Protecting those who are most vulnerable
b. Promoting equality of opportunity
c. Developing strong and healthy communities
d. Creating economic prosperity

The Council were committed to developing it organisational effectiveness. It had:
a. Continued with its review of services to deliver savings of 73m
b. Received another positive report from its Auditors "The Council continued to have a strong approach in considering a range of options, regularly updating and agreeing its plans well ahead of the relevant financial year"
c. Maintained its Customer Service Excellence accreditation for the fifth year
d. Been shortlisted for the sixth year running for the Association of Public Service Excellence awards for the prestigious "Council of the Year" award as well as being shortlisted in 4 further categories and winning with our partners for the psst... Positively Stockton campaign
e. Won awards this year at the National Constructing Excellence awards, the Local Authority Building Control's Northern Region awards, the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) Robert Stephenson awards, and the Urban Design awards
f. Maintained its Silver Investor in People award and also achieved the Silver Better Health at Work award accreditation
g. Most importantly it had been pleased to receive the feedback about our services from the MORI Residents' survey undertaken across the borough in 2015. The results showed improvements from the last survey and helped to focus work in areas that the Council thought needed improvement:
i. 73% of residents were satisfied with how the Council run things; an increase of 9 percentage points on the previous survey
ii. 61% of residents agreed that the Council provided value for money; an increase of 4 percentage points on the previous survey
iii. 69% of residents trust the Council; an increase of 2 percentage points on the previous survey

The Council was committed to delivering high quality, customer focused services that meet the changing needs of our communities. In spite of the financial challenges it remained fiercely proud of what it had achieved over the last year:
a. Many of its residents and visitors to our borough positively comment on how welcoming and inviting the place was, how pleased they were with the changes made to our town centres, housing regeneration schemes and the ‘invest to save' street lighting improvements
b. Our year-round programme of events, the majority of which were free, remains hugely popular and successful both in terms of people experiencing them and the additional income they bring in to the borough
c. It continued to do the very best that it could for the children and young people in its care, often in difficult circumstances, and remain resolute on our commitment to this as corporate parents
d. It was challenging and supporting our schools to carry on making improvements in exam results
e. It was actively encouraging local businesses to create more apprenticeship opportunities as well as developing them in the Council

In order to deliver the further reductions required by Central Government and meet the medium and long-term challenges facing the Council it still needed to think and act differently. It needed to transform and target our services still further, reduce demand and increase inward investment.

The scale of the challenge the Council was facing made it inevitable that there would be further job losses and cuts to services and the harsh reality was these cuts would become increasingly more notable. It would therefore be wrong to believe that it could continue to take resources out of the organisation without it having an impact upon performance.

62% of the performance indicators had achieved the targets set at the start of the year. This was an improvement on 2014/15 but was also reflective of the difficulty of setting performance targets in changing and challenging circumstances:
a. performance targets set at the start of the year did not accurately reflect the impact of budget reductions the Council made during the year
b. a significant number of performance indicators had been adversely affected by factors that extended beyond the direct influence and control of the local authority.

In producing the Council Plan for 2016-19 the Council had addressed this with a smaller number of key performance indicators that were more focused upon our policy principles and our key objectives.

RESOLVED that the achievements and performance be noted.
Reasons for the Decision
To allow Members to receive information about the non-financial performance of the Council.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected
Declared (Cabinet Member) Conflicts of Interest
Details of any Dispensations
Date and Time by which Call In must be executed
Midnight, 25th July 2016

Date of Publication: 19 July 2016

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