To receive and consider a report from the Director of Law and Governance outlining details of a call-in received on the Cabinet Decision taken on Quarterly Corporate Performance Report (Report No. 141)
The decision that has been called in was a Cabinet Decision taken on 16 October 2019 and included on the Publication of Decision List No: 34/19-20 (List Ref: 1/34/19-20) issued on 18 October 2019.
It is proposed that consideration of the call-in be structured as follows:
· Brief outline of the reasons for the call-in by representative (s) of the members who have called in the decision
· Response to the reasons provided for the Call-in by a Cabinet Member responsible for taking the decision
· Debate by Overview and Scrutiny Committee and agreement of action to be taken
The Committee received a report from the Director of Law and Governance outlining details of a call-in received on the Cabinet decision taken on-
Quarterly Corporate Performance Report (Report No:141)
Councillor Erbil reminded everyone of the Purdah guidance and that discussion on the call-in should not be a political debate. An argument would need to be made to persuade members to revert the Cabinet decision back for their reconsideration, or the decision should stand.
Cllr Erbil advised that the committee will deal with all reasons, responses and comments other than the environment item. She will then leave the room and the environment section will be discussed.
Cllr Anderson was invited to outline the reasons for calling in the report other than the section on Waste, Recycling and cleanliness.
Cllr Anderson thanked officers for the initial response that had been provided and highlighted the following:
· He does not feel that the response has provided assurance or addressed all his points.
· He did not agree with the comments on the Community Safety section that the authority has limited or no influence in these areas. He stated that there is a Cabinet Member with responsibility for this area; a Community Safety team at the council and the Crime Scrutiny Panel so there is clearly a role as an authority and a responsibility to hold people accountable. He highlighted concerns over massive deterioration in Community Safety section
· He drew attention the lack of consistent colour codes and Q1 targets throughout the report.
· The report was not clear for the layperson and you would need to go back to the previous reports to work out trends over time, without targets you cannot determine value.
· Temporary accommodation as an example he reiterated that the deteriorating figure should be colour coded red instead of not colour coded at all. Recovery of Council properties is colour coded green but without a quarter 1 target this is not clear why.
· The social care targets have no comparator, colour coding or narrative so it is not clear if the figures are good, bad or indifferent.
· Public Health confusing to have two categories or pages 7 and 13, not clear why these have been split up. The DAAT has no values and the comments appear to be the same from previous report and do make sense. The obesity targets on page 13 have national and London figures but no figures for Enfield.
· The Executive Summary states that Appendix 2 focuses on a selection of priority measures where performance is currently off target and or direction or travel is negative. It states that for each measure there is a action plan with delivery timeframes, however these plans are not shared so there is a lack of timeframes in evidence across the 4 areas identified
· Cllr Anderson appreciates that this is an evolving process that is subject to change, but the report should show clearly how the council is doing.
· Customer Experience is not meeting targets and felt that this should be escalated to Appendix 2.
· MEQ and complaints there has been no consistent improvement and no qualitive analysis. For example, just because an MEQ has been closed does not mean that it has necessarily been satisfactorily answered, it may be necessary to raise a further MEQ.
· Planning the speed may have been improved but there is nothing to indicate that the quality has.
Cllr Barnes, Deputy Leader responded to the reasons as follows:
· Cllr Barnes apologised that this item could not be heard last week as he had a resident matter to deal with.
· He felt that this could have been dealt with in an email exchange instead of coming to scrutiny.
· He is satisfied that the report has been properly scrutinised and that the Red, Amber, Green system works. Progress is tracked to ensure the level of quality of service is on course or improved.
· Many other factors outside the report are taken into account as part of this process. Councillors can attend Cabinet and hear the discussion around the report. There were 8 points minuted around this item at Cabinet.
· Appendix 2 deals with 4 areas where performance has been poor for a while.
· Cllr Savva reviews the planning issues, progress needs to be made if not further action will be taken.
· Customer Waiting time is an area for possible inclusion in the future.
· If there is an area that members are particularly concerned with it may be more appropriate that the individual Cabinet Memberis invited to attend the committee.
· He states that there are no annual targets for some indicators as these are included for information only such as the NHS waiting time where the council does not have control and can only exert some influence. However, it is helpful to see this as may identify a service issue.
· They are 77 indicators, 19 are for information only. Future reports will make this clearer.
· Cllr Barnes felt that appropriate attention is paid to Community Safety and advised that this report also goes to the Executive Management Team, Safer & Stronger Communities Board, Enfield Crime Reduction Implementation Team and Crime Scrutiny so there are already 4 levels of scrutiny on this section.
· The Leader and Chief Executive talk to the Police Borough Commander regularly.
· The chair of the Crime Scrutiny Panel clarified the role of Crime Scrutiny, which is to look at the Community Safety partnership, the panel does not have direct responsibility for targets, and provides advice and support. Some figures are received by Crime Scrutiny but these are as a point of reference.
· There is a small number of indicators that have been red for a sustained period, he is satisfied that appropriate scrutiny is applied to these areas.
· The report will be adjusted in light of the suggestions made in the call in, suggestions for improvement are always welcome.
· Cllr Barnes thanked the officers for preparing the report.
The following comments/questions/ issues were raised:
· Members felt the opening statement by the Deputy Leader was degrading to the scrutiny function and the usefulness of scrutiny. The idea of scrutiny is to provide public accountability and this an important function.
· Cllr Barnes apologised and stated that his intention was to say that both he and officers are always open to feedback and that he did appreciate the value of scrutiny.
· Section A on Planning. It was not clear why there was variation in the percentages. As last years target was not there you could not see the progress. Members were advised that previous targets were not previously provided but could be provided in future.
· Section C on Temporary Accommodation, the Committee had received a report on this to their last business meeting. The ambitions and targets presented to the committee are not reflected in the performance report.
· All figures should have been in the report for temporary accommodation.
· Section 2D Council Homes, should there not be a target for building council homes, given that good homes in well-connected neighbourhoods is a council priority.
· There is no continuity throughout the report this makes it hard to understand and to see if progress is being made.
· Serious Youth violence there are no targets, but the council still provides some youth services so does have an influence.
· Where there is an empty box there should be a clear explanation as to why this is empty.
· There are a lot of missing figures throughout the report, how much time is put into preparing this. Members were advised that there are a lot of governance structures in place around this report. The Departmental Management Team will review the issues in their service areas. The report also goes to the Executive Management Team (EMT), individual Cabinet Members will look at their own areas and the report will then go to Cabinet.
· Officers and Cabinet Members are always looking to try to improve the report for the future. In future all empty boxes will contain an explanation as to why there are no figures in them and details of when they will be available. Where information is carried from report to report in future there will be an explanation as to why this is.
· The ongoing purpose of the report is to push up and improve performance, who is the audience for the report. The performance will be reviewed by the Executive Management Team for the relevant service area their service area where they will discuss the red areas, then the EMT and then Cabinet where it becomes a public document.
· Members were advised that If Customer Experience does not improve it will be escalated in the next quarter.
· Members queried how quickly are action plans put together and who do these go to. Officers provided an example of planning where the Action Plan will be scrutinised by the relevant Cabinet Member, Cllr Savva. The manager of the service will be held to account by the Executive Director at operational level. There is a monthly performance board looking at the figures and figures underneath this. The Deputy Leader felt that it is hard to put a timeline on this. The action plan is monitored for incremental improvement. If no improvement or deterioration is seen, this will be escalated to the Chief Executive and Leader.
· Members acknowledged that this report has evolved and changed over the years and wanted to understand what changes have been made and why. Officers advised that there have not been significant changes, some tables have been added but the basis of the report is the same. They excepted the points members had made regarding the omissions
· The missing targets for Q1 and annual make the report very hard to determine an overview of performance. The report needs to make sense and be understandable for the public. It is not clear why some indicators have no colour coding, or annual targets and why there are no targets for other indicators. There should be quarterly targets in the report.
· Officers advised that the report used Quarter 4 as a basis so annual to annual and did not have quarterly targets these will reappear in the future.
· Members felt that Community Safety needs to be colour coded and all indicators should have targets. Cllr Barnes advised hard to set targets as ideally this would be zero.
· Members felt that there needs to be targets to measure without targets or timescales how can improvements be seen. For example, Burglary has a target of 2209 to see what can be expected and whether measures in place for improvement.
· There is missing information in Education and Public Health Section
· Not all Annual targets are included in the report, targets are needed for context or target itself.
· The data presentation of the report is not user friendly, the information in the Main Report could be used to provide an overview and to identify trends.
· At Crime Scrutiny all figures are colour coded based on year on year figures why are these not used, without trends or annualised figure you cannot determine the direction of travel.
· Sickness section, no monthly information for April, May or June. Officers advised that this information is available quarterly.
· If the report included information on things outside the council’s control this must be contextualised to explain why this is included in the report
· 11 areas have N/A this needs clear explanation
· Planning this section shows red, amber and green at different points, would be helpful to not just have comments but reasons behind this to contextualise and provide an explanation.
· Community Safety lots of percentages but cumulative figures are needed to see what goes towards targets.
· Would be helpful to include in the report the definition of Red, Amber and Green in the report. Officers advised Red is behind target, Amber is 10% variance on target and Green is on target.
· Where has the targets originated from would be helpful, more clarity and explanation are needed.
· There is a risk in having colour coding for some but not all categories in the report and felt in the interests of transparency for the public; colour coding must have continuity throughout.
· Following members queries on the lack of an Enfield figure for obesity, members were advised that there is not an up to date figure for Enfield but acknowledged that a figure could have been included for 2017/18 as it has been for London and nationally. Members felt that whilst the London and national figures are helpful, the figures relating to Enfield and needed.
· Sickness, first 3 indicators all red. Members were advised that there is a plan in place and the council now has a new director of HR and are hoping to see an improvement.
· Members queried whether there are indicators around why people leave. Officers advised that there are no indicators, however exit interviews are undertaken and HR also get verbal feedback on this.
· Members felt it would be helpful to know if there was a trend and if the council had the right support in place for staff.
· Fay advised that she as a manager of people, she reviews the HR stats for her staff and the reasons that they are off sick, paying particular attention to stress related and those with long term conditions.
· Members queried whether information was taken on home working and measures of happiness. Officers advised staff surveys have been undertaken in the past. The new HR director has ideas for improvement, and this may include looking at home working. The Renumeration Committee which has councillor representation looks HR issues.
· Members queried whether long term sickness could be skewing the figures and if so suggested that it would be helpful to add clarification comments.
· As an aside the recruitment of BME and the levels of this employment were raised lots of work had been done on this in the past, including the introduction of blind recruitment. At the time more work was clearly needed in this area. It should be acknowledged that lack of black staffing at a senior level is a national not an Enfield specific issue. There has been an improvement on gender not sure whether this is true for BME. Cllr Barnes agreed to see what difference blind recruitment had made.
· A member of the audience stated they were greatly encouraged that the feedback had been taken on board and highlighted that the flawed information should have been picked up at Cabinet. There was an oversight in the Temporary accommodation figures which had been missed. Given that the omissions had not been picked up queried how can the public be reassured that proper due process and diligence applied in this process
This concluded the discussion on all sections except environment, Cllr Erbil left the meeting at this point and the Vice Chair Cllr Georgiou took over as the Chair.
Cllr Anderson was invited to summarise the reasons on the waste, recycling and Cleanliness section and highlighted the following:
· He was very concerned that the figures showed that more waste had been generated.
· The figures in the report were not clear on recycling as annual target from last year was needed to understand the 6.96% decrease in recycling.
· The target for recycling has reduced which is a major concern
· No colour coding for customer reported street scene, but the notes show increases in reporting and that it is on course to exceed the target.
· In summary very concerned that we are generating more waste, recycling less and receiving more complaints and felt that this should be escalated to Appendix 2
The Deputy Leader and officers in response to this advised:
· These are all valid points that have been raised. There have been significant service changes and developments to this area, waiting to see what happens at the end of these changes if no improvement then this area will be escalated.
· Street scene if deterioration seen this will be escalated to Appendix 2
The following queries/issues were raised:
· No figures have been included for indicators 191 and 192 without these you cannot see changes. Officers advised figures not available at present.
· Members queried should indicator 192 be separated following the introduction of food bins.
· Members frequently raise MEQ’s on Street Scene so the actual number of reported issues would be a lot higher as this section does not take into account these issues. Officers agreed to look into whether MEQ’s could be broken down to extract this information.
· Members suggested that the number of green bins, which has exceeded target could have been incorporated in the report.
· Officers advised that there is a Waste Implementation Board that looks at these figures. If Q2 does not show improvement will look to escalate in Quarter 3 with an action plan.
· Members bought to attention an error in the response to the reasons contained within the agenda pack and said that attention to detail is vital. This was acknowledged.
· This performance report has been to service areas, Directors, Cabinet Members and then Cabinet. Details should not be missing given the number of places that this has been.
Cllr Anderson was invited to sum up:
· He has raised a number of points and concerns
· This report has been to many internal levels so there should be no omissions.
· He was pleased that the Deputy Leader had taken on board all of the comments that had been raised at the meeting.
· He still felt that planning should have a clear timescale for improvement
· Going forward Cllr Anderson felt that the report should draw attention and tell you a story. The appendix must be accurate; all missing information needs clear narrative
· Colour coding must be consistent throughout report.
· Community Safety is an area of concern
Cllr Barnes thanked both Cllr Anderson and the committee for the very helpful points that had been raised.
There will always be an element of human error. However, clarity is very important and if information is missing it will be spelt out why in future.
There are no dates on planning as department had been given a chance to enact actions. However, unless there is significant improvement in performance this will be escalated to the Chief Executive and the Leader.
Cllr Barnes confirmed that the Quarter 2 report will reflect the feedback from the meeting
Members stated that they felt that Cllr Barnes had provided assurance and that his response was genuine and that they could see a change of opinion to the value of scrutiny and its value as a checks and balances function.
Cllr Barnes said that he had greatly valued the session and felt discussions had been very worthwhile for everyone.
Cllr Anderson stated that given the Cllr Barnes has said that the feedback will be taken on board he is happy for the decision not to be referred back to Cabinet and will look forward to seeing the Quarter 2 report in an improved format.
Overview & Scrutiny Committee considered the reasons provided for the call-in and responses provided. Having considered the information provided the Committee with the caveat that the Quarter 2 report will reflect the feedback received at the meeting voted to confirm the decision.
1. That Cabinet notes, for information only, the progress being made towards achieving the identified key priorities for Enfield.
Councillors Georgiou, Greer and Lappage voted in favour of the above decision. Councillors Aramaz voted against and Councillors David-Sanders, and Rawlings abstained. The original Cabinet decision was therefore agreed.