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 was on track and were informed by Gill Vickers, Interim Executive Director, Delivery, discussions were still ongoing about a loan from the Council to South Hill Park to assist with refurbishment of a function room.
Quarterly Service Reports (ii) and (iii)
Daniel Green, Head of Business Intelligence, Public Health, gave an overview of the development of dashboards in Bracknell Forest Council to ensure better and more up to date information was made available to officers and members. The project had been mapped into three parts and the dashboards being developed were in response to issues with the current Quarterly Service Reports (i) which were out of date and only provided data on the previous and current status without allowing for general trend analysis.
QSR (ii) would allow for filtering of data and targets to be tracked but was still driven by PARIS software process which was felt to have drawbacks, including officers not being responsible directly for inputting data.
QSR (iii) would contain data inputted by officers which would save time and allow for better performance analysis and identification of longer term trends. Each person could configure their own individual dashboard, i.e. the Panel could develop one specifically for their needs. It could be put on the internet if required. Gill Vickers, Interim Executive Director, Delivery, informed members the biggest difference would be data could be drawn down as often as it was reported so up to date.
The following issues were discussed and responses given:
· Members were pleased to see the step-change in the way data would be provided in the future and thought the new dashboard would assist them in carrying out their scrutiny duties.
· There would be potential to RAG rate trend data in the future but this would not be included initially.
· QSR (iii) was an ‘off the shelf’ package provided by ‘Harveyi’ and but customised to fit Bracknell Forest Council’s needs.
Governance & Scrutiny Co-ordinator to publish presentation with the minutes.