Agenda item

Agenda item


To consider a report by Councillor Gwyneth Ellis, Lead Member for Finance, Performance and Strategic Assets (copy enclosed) presenting an update on the Council’s performance against its Corporate Plan as at that the end of September 2023 (quarter 2).


RESOLVED that Cabinet notes the Council’s performance against its functions as at the end of quarter 2 (July to September 2023) and confirms the content of the draft report for reporting to Performance Scrutiny Committee on 30 November 2023.


Councillor Gwyneth Ellis presented the report which provided an update on the Council’s performance against its Corporate Plan as at the end of September 2023, including Strategic Equality objectives, and the seven key areas of governance.


Cabinet was advised that the format of the report had changed slightly from the last quarter to reflect discussions on that report and during the tranche review.  The Head of Corporate Support Service: Performance, Digital & Assets explained that the report outlined the Council’s performance against each of the nine themes for the period July to September 2023 and captured the evidence that formed part of the Self-Assessment as required under the Local Government and Election (Wales) Act 2021.  That work was used to highlight successes and areas of development and also devise and implement interventions for improvement, and members were encouraged to use the document as a tool in further discussions going forward.


The Planning and Performance Officer provided a general overview of performance and advised that the status of all measures for each theme were ‘orange – acceptable’ and projects fared slightly better with a ‘yellow’ – experiencing obstacles’ status; this was with the exception of the theme ‘A fairer, safe and more equal Denbighshire’ with those measures showing as ‘red – priority for improvement’ reflecting some of the longer-term issues around worklessness and material deprivation.  Cabinet was provided with a summary of the measures and projects under each Corporate Plan theme together with an overview of contributing news and committee items.


The Leader thanked the Lead Member and officers for the overview and key messages arising from the comprehensive document.  Cabinet noted that the report reflected the position as of September 2023 and that some things moved on since then.  The following issues were raised during the ensuing debate –


·       the Wales Index of Multiple Deprivation (WIMD) data was published every four to five years with the most recent data available for 2019, and members would be advised of the availability of new WIMD data as soon as it became known.  Other measures were also being tracked, particularly relating to the fairer, safe, and more equal Denbighshire theme, such as households in material deprivation and children living in poverty

·       Councillor Gill German reported on the good work in her portfolio area which had just missed the September deadline for inclusion in the current report.  Reference was made to the additional childcare facilities at Ysgol Penmorfa in Prestatyn with similar work being undertaken at the Oaktree Centre in Rhyl, which was an excellent project both in terms of modernising education and providing facilities in an area of deprivation, and the Welsh Medium Playgroup supporting the work at Ysgol Dewi Sant and Welsh language provision.  A Welsh Government capital grant had been received to support work on community focused schools and there had been positive engagement with schools in that regard.  Prestatyn High School, as the pilot school for the initiative, had been cited as an example of good practice with details provided along with other schools on the Welsh Government website

·       there was some debate on the importance of the data in the report in order to monitor performance and identify both good practice and areas for improvement.  It was emphasised that the aim of the Corporate Plan was to deliver the very best possible for residents and secure improvement across all themes whilst also recognising this was at a time of severe financial difficulties and budget pressures.  The Leader provided examples in his portfolio area of both good performance in people coming through sustainable employment and improvements needed in those claiming job seekers allowance and universal credit, and reiterated the Council’s commitment to making a positive difference

·       Councillor Emrys Wynne referred to a number of issues relating to his portfolio area, in particular Welsh Medium education and challenges faced arising from the reduction in Year 2 pupils due to the covid lockdowns.  He also reported that a new venue had been secured for Cylch Meithrin in Ruthin and a new nursery had been approved to provide Welsh Medium care and education.  Much work had been carried out in relation to the landscape project in the Dory Art Gallery, Llangollen and work to bring cultural projects in the area together to increase the use of the Welsh language and also to raise awareness of Welsh heritage.  Reference was made to the Culture Strategy currently being developed by the Welsh Government.  Councillor Gill German reflected on the cultural offer and areas of good work across the county and asked whether an overview of Denbighshire’s cultural offer could be developed, with examples from across council services to showcase that work.  The Corporate Director: Governance and Business confirmed that officers would be working to collate the necessary information with a view to developing a Cultural Strategy for the Council taking into account Welsh Language considerations and Welsh Government policy

·       Councillor Hugh Irving raised a concern about performance in relation to the percentage of damaged roads and pavements made safe within target time (CAT1 – Category 1 defects dealt within timescale).  The Corporate Director: Environment and Economy confirmed there were ongoing challenges in relation to the measure, largely due to the financial situation and a number of vacant posts being held in the Highways Team which had an impact on service delivery.  Councillor Irving acknowledged the financial position but felt that the issue should be given high priority.


At the close of debate Councillor Gwyneth Ellis thanked members for their contributions and highlighted the importance of the report in providing an open and transparent picture of the Council’s performance and tool to both identify achievements and areas for improvement within a challenging financial climate.


RESOLVED that Cabinet notes the Council’s performance against its functions as at the end of quarter 2 (July to September 2023) and confirms the content of the draft report for reporting to Performance Scrutiny Committee on 30 November 2023.


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