Recommendations - That the Executive:
i. notes that the information in the Q4 Performance Report is used as a performance baseline or starting point for the new council
ii. notes that reporting from Quarter One 2023/24 onwards will provide updates on progress from this baseline; reporting by service area with key performance indicator data being used to demonstrate progress against the objectives set in the Council Plan 2023-27.
iii. notes the draft outturn position for the eight former Council’s that now make up the new North Yorkshire Council against the 2022/23 Revenue Budget, as summarised in paragraph 2.2.1.
iv. notes the position on the GWB (paragraph 2.5.1)
v. notes the draft outturn position for the Housing Revenue Account (paragraph 2.3.1)
vi. notes the latest position regarding the Local Government Review transition fund (paragraphs 2.6.1 - 2.6.2)
vii. gives delegated authority to Corporate Director of Resources in consultation with the Executive Member for Finance to review and implement any arrangements of a one-off nature in line with the requests as set out in Appendices H-O (e.g. requests for carry-forward).
viii. notes the performance of the Treasury Management operation during 2022/23 and the outturn position on Prudential Indicators for North Yorkshire County Council and the District Councils.
ix. notes the roll forward adjustments to the Capital Programme detailed at 6.3 be approved.
Considered: A joint report of the Chief Executive and Corporate Director - Strategic Resources, bringing togetherkey aspects of the CountyCouncil’s performanceon aquarterlybasis.
CountyCouncillorCarlLesintroducedtheQuarter 4performancemonitoringandbudget report,confirmingitcovered aspects of performance from all eight of the former councils in North Yorkshire, and therefore provided a baseline for the future. The report provided an overview on all of the ambitions of the County Council but with a key focus on the council plan ambition for Innovative and forward-thinking council and a review of Public Health.
County CouncillorDavidChance provided a summary of the Executive performancereport which provided an overview of the three months leading up to vesting day for the eight councils. He noted there had previously been no agreed method for recording and presenting key performance indicators (PIs) across all the councils. The few minor discrepancies on how various PIs had been reported would be addressed through the introduction of a comprehensive reporting structure for future performance updates.
He went on provide a brief overview of performance across his own portfolio area which included:
· The investment in North Yorkshire Local Assistance Fund (£1.4m), with 60% spent on standard items and 40% on emergency food and energy vouchers;
· The conclusion of the third phase of the DWP Household Support Fund, with a total of 45,236 households receiving support;
· The number of Ukrainian guests currently resident in North Yorkshire through the Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme was 733, with an additional 544 having moved to alternative accommodation;
· A rise in the number of social media followers evidencing the effectiveness and relevance of the Council’s online content;
He also highlighted the challenges facing all the councils around harmonising the services of the former councils into one unified service, and the increasing demand for people services.
Simon Moss, acting Head of Strategy & Performance confirmed that despite the challenges, performance remained good across a wide range of performance indicators. He drew specific attention to:
· The highest number of referrals received by Children Services in a single quarter for at least seven years, despite which the number of re-referrals is lower or better than the national average;
· The Early Help Service was supporting more households now than at the start of the pandemic, with 94% of assessment being completed on time;
· A 26% increase in requests for statutory assessment by the Inclusion Service over the year;
· A doubling of the number of EHCIPs in the last six years;
· In Health & Adult Services demand had been sustained at levels higher than pre-pandemic rates;
· A 42% increase in safeguarding concerns, but 80% of those had been concluded early and satisfactorily.
· 82% of care homes were rated as good or outstanding and 92.3% of in-house providers services – both better than the national average;
· 96.7% collection rate for Council Tax and Non Domestic Rates;
· Waste collection for recycling and re-use had increased and there had been a reduction in residual waste;
· An additional 11 primary and 5 secondary schools were now rated as good or outstanding;
Inresponseto ScrutinyBoardmembersquestions, itwasconfirmedthat:
· Social isolation and the development of social skills remained an issue for some children post pandemic;
· The use of mobile phones by children giving access to inappropriate content was an ongoing issue, requiring greater parental control;
· Caseloads were constantly monitored and analysed to ensure the right capacity was in place to deal with demand – funding and recruitment remained a focus;
· An increase in suspensions was being monitored and addressed;
· Immunisation rates for 14-15 year olds remained a focus – Stuart Carlton, Corporate Director for Children & Young People’s Service agreed to circulate a more detailed response after the meeting;
· An increase in Adult Safeguarding issues was in line with a regional and national trend. Figures had been compared with other similar sized Authorities and there was no single cause or underlying factor identified. The rise in volume was related to the number of initial contacts rather than identified serious cases;
· The future separate collection of food waste would reduce the amount of residual waste going in to landfill;
· Planning officer recruitment, training and retention remained an ongoing focus – it was noted that the Authority had a much higher than average number of planning applications to deal with;
· The increase in time taken to re-let Council housing was due to the amount of work required to those properties between lets – issues with damp and mould remained a focus.
· Pressures around social housing due to affordability and a reduction in the amount of private sector housing across the County remained a concern. The focus was on how to increase the number of affordable homes and social housing moving forward.
· The rising cost of care home placements, the quality of care home placements and the salaries offered within the care sector remained a focus.
CountyCouncillor Gareth Dadd introduced each section of thereport. Inregard to Revenue,he suggested the headline figures gave a false impression and that the £6.2m underspend should be considered in the context of the £5m VAT refund received in Leisure Services. He drew attention to the budget deficit of around £30m but noted the £4m savings made on the recently renewed energy contract, and acknowledged that whilst the services supporting the vulnerable remained under a financial strain, the Authority was still in a reasonable position compared to other local Authorities.
Gary Fielding, Corporate Director for Resources stressed the uniqueness of the report, containing eight revenue budget reports. He drew attention to an error in the reported BES position shown in the table at paragraph 2.2.6 of the report which should have shown as an underspend of £506K. Finally, he clarified Recommendation 2.7 (v) – he stressed the principle of being open to persuasion but with a natural scepticism.
In regard to Treasury Management, CountyCouncillor Gareth Dadd highlighted the new Authority’s external debt and suggested the previous rate of accelerated repayment was unlikely to be possible moving forward. It was confirmed the reduction in external debt during 2022/23 of £13.3m shown at paragraph 3.15 of the report related to the County Council only.
In regard to the Capital Plan, a correction to Hambleton District Council’s Capital Plan position was noted. Gary Fielding confirmed that whilst the report formalised the carry forwards of the Capital Plan, each area would be scrutinised.
Havingconsidered the reportand theinformation providedat the meeting in full, it was
Resolved – That:
i. The information in the Q4 Performance Report be used as a performance baseline or starting point for the new council
ii. Reporting from Quarter One 2023/24 provide updates on progress from this baseline; reporting by service area with key performance indicator data being used to demonstrate progress against the objectives set in the Council Plan 2023-27.
iii. The draft outturn position for the eight former Council’s that now make up the new North Yorkshire Council against the 2022/23 Revenue Budget be noted, as summarised in paragraph 2.2.1.
iv. The position on the GWB be noted (paragraph 2.5.1)
v. The draft outturn position for the Housing Revenue Account be noted (paragraph 2.3.1)
vi. The latest position regarding the Local Government Review transition fund be noted (paragraphs 2.6.1 - 2.6.2)
vii. Authority be delegated to the Corporate Director of Resources in consultation with the Executive Member for Finance to review and implement any arrangements of a one-off nature in line with the requests as set out in Appendices H-O (e.g. requests for carry-forward).
viii. The performance of the Treasury Management operation during 2022/23 and the outturn position on Prudential Indicators for North Yorkshire County Council and the District Councils be noted.
ix. The roll forward adjustments to the Capital Programme detailed at 6.3 be approved.