To consider the latest trends, priorities and pressures in terms of departmental performance as reported in the QSR for the first quarter of 2018/19 (April to June) relating to Environment, Culture and Communities.
In addition, members will receive a demonstration on the new process for reporting performance, led by the Business Intelligence Team.
Please bring the previously circulated Quarterly Service Report to the meeting. The QSR is attached to this agenda if viewed online.
Quarterly Service Reports (i)
Andrew Hunter, Executive Director, Place, Planning & Regeneration, informed members the planned gross revenue budget was £29,873,000. The budget was slightly overspent in Quarter 1 due to less income from concessionary fares as trip rates over had declined over the past few years; an increase in contract costs in environmental services to support newly adopted land and meter reading errors at Coral Reef Waterworld meant the Council had to pay backdated gas charges. However, there had been an under spend of £212k on waste management and additional income from brown bin collections of £53k and contracted services costs were £33k below budget.
Emerging revenue issues for 2018/19 included costs related to an extension to support Easthampstead Park Conference Centre as it had been assumed it would be sold within three months of the financial year. Visitors to the Council’s car parks were less than those estimated at pre-opening. Parking enforcement income was predicted to be £25k below budget and income from resident’s parking permits was down. There was likely to be additional pressure to enable the Council to meet its commitments to deliver the Local Development Framework.
With regards to capital expenditure the Department were on track to spend as per commitments. Key highlights included self-service being rolled out in libraries in the Borough; adoption of the Thames Basin Heaths Spatial Protection Area; progression of the sale of Easthampstead Park Conference Centre recycling rates up; new chapel opened at Easthampstead Crematorium; investment in Bracknell Leisure Centre and it was noted they Council had achieved green flag awards for six Council owned parks. There were concerns around the number of planning decisions overturned on appeal which were going to be investigated and members were informed the Council was part of a Group, with other local authorities, looking at decisions.
A new structure had been put in place throughout the Council which meant Gill Vickers was now Interim Executive Director, Delivery and Andrew Hunter had been appointed Executive Director, Place, Planning & Regeneration. Issues they would be concentrating on in the coming months were embedding the new structure; development of QSRs; next stages of the Local Plan; sale of Easthampstead Park Conference Centre, Martin’s Heron roundabout conversion, continuation of library service self-service and new technology to be introduced; development of a Country Park proposal and an extension to the Suez contract for waste services.
A discussion took place about why there had been less income from car parks than expected and it was thought people were only staying for up to two hours, much less than anticipated. However, a refurbishment of Princess Square shopping centre; the addition of an upper deck to the multi-storey car park and improvements to the night-time economy were being realised and should increase revenue from car parks in the longer terms. Some members thought this should be considered against the desire to increase the number of people accessing the town centre using public transport or walking.
Members queried if South Hill Park investment ... view the full minutes text for item 29