Agenda item

Agenda item


To consider a report by Councillor Gwyneth Ellis, Lead Member for Finance, Performance and Strategic Assets (copy enclosed) on the Council’s performance against its functions as at the end of quarter 2, 2022 to 2023.


RESOLVED that Cabinet notes the Council’s performance against its functions as at the end of quarter 2 of 2022/23 and confirms the content of the draft report.


Councillor Gwyneth Ellis presented the report on the Council’s performance against its functions as at the end of quarter 2, 2022 to 2023, including Corporate Plan and Strategic Equality objectives, and the seven key areas of governance.


The report was presented in two parts outlining progress against Performance Objectives and Governance Areas, and captured the evidence that formed part of the Self-Assessment of performance against functions as required under the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Act 2021.  The report included a summary of data and project updates together with data tables outlining the current position in full.  Recent council activities were also presented that demonstrated support for the Well-being of Future Generations Act, Equality Act, and Socio-Economic Duty.


The Interim Head of Business Improvement and Modernisation explained that the report was the last to be based on the outgoing Corporate Plan for 2017 to 2022, the new Corporate Plan having been approved in October 2022.  The Strategic Planning and Performance Team Leader guided Cabinet through each of the five priority areas, highlighting key messages and performance measures in that regard.  Attention was also drawn to the corporate health outcomes, in particular areas of concern relating to Finance; Staff Capacity within Internal Audit; Corporate Risk Register and Staff Recruitment/Retention.  However, the report also demonstrated the remarkable productivity and progress being made in the council as a whole.


The following issues were raised during the ensuing debate –


·       members highlighted the vital function carried out by Internal Audit and discussed the number of vacancies in the Internal Audit Team and their ability to deliver the relevant assurances required.  Officers advised that some external audit work would likely be commissioned to ensure the fundamentals of the audit plan were completed and a recruitment exercise was being undertaken to ensure sufficient capacity going forward.  Assurances were provided that the issue would continue to be monitored through the quarterly performance reports.  It was agreed that Cabinet and Cabinet Briefing be kept informed of progress

·       the difficulties in staff recruitment and number of vacancies across the council was acknowledged with a difficult labour market, and the problem was not unique to Denbighshire.  In response, the council was reviewing all aspects of its recruitment process to make it as easy as possible for people to engage and to ensure that the council was an attractive employer

·       some of the measures in the Wales Index of Multiple Deprivation were published on an infrequent basis and therefore it was difficult to accurately assess the current position and future progress.  That issue was being discussed nationally as to how more current data could be accessed to monitor the position.  From recent work carried out as part of the Wellbeing Assessment, and pressures faced by communities such as Covid-19 and the cost of living crises, it was anticipated that there would be more pressures in terms of deprivation which was likely to have broadened.  Given the theme of a fairer and more equal Denbighshire a framework was being developed to closely monitor deprivation in communities and performance in terms of income and employment, etc.  The Leader highlighted the importance of relevant data to drive policy and identify need and referred to the work of Data Cymru which he would feedback

·       the status of the percentage of superfast broadband coverage in Denbighshire had been highlighted as a priority for improvement and Councillor Emrys Wynne referred to the discontinuation of the project in Llanfwrog and impact on communities. It was accepted that connectivity was a complex issue, particularly in rural areas, and was largely outside the council’s control.  Steps to address the issue had been taken by the Economic Ambition Board (EAB) and the council had a Digital Officer who had been working directly with communities to participate in the community fibre broadband voucher scheme.  Those challenges had also been raised in recent meetings with local Senedd Members who may be able to influence the process at a national level.  The Leader also referred to the EAB’s Digital Programme and work to improve connectivity.


RESOLVED that Cabinet notes the Council’s performance against its functions as at the end of quarter 2 of 2022/23 and confirms the content of the draft report.


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