5.1 Rob Ayliffe presented this report and members noted the following:
· There had been a recent recruitment to key positions within the Climate Change team which would help to mitigate the risk around capacity to deliver and were really crucial in continuing good progress to date.
· There remained a strong performance on highways safety defect repairs, and this had been sustained over a good period of time. It was noted that a lot of the dissatisfaction expressed in communities was in relation to ‘other’ defects that were not safety related. There was an Improvement Programme in place to look at how focus could be rebalanced to ensure the ‘other’ defect repair rate could better meet the community expectation.
· Road safety in the county continued to be a concern, the KSI rate for the last quarter remained high. There was ongoing work to produce a more coordinated programme, looking at all aspects and tackling root cause.
· GCC had secured £0.5m revenue funding from Active Travel England to drive on completion of the Gloucestershire Cycle Spin, progress on the M5 Junction 10 project remained on track and officers were progressing on a business case for a Mass Rapid Transit scheme in Gloucestershire.
· Children’s Services would be undergoing a Joint Targeted Area Inspection (JTAI) over three weeks which was a joint response to safeguarding across organisations. Once the Inspection was complete, members would be updated on its outcomes. The performance data was showing healthy signs in terms of quality of social work where repeat child protection plans had reduced significantly. Challenges remained around volume of activity and retention of staff. Contact to the front door remained extremely high but the overall picture was heading in the right direction.
· Significant pressure remained around SEND assessment delays, which was resulting in an unprecedented level of complaints and Ombudsman referrals. The Council was responding with significant in-year investment and had an improvement plan in place. By next month there would be 11 new case workers and a Peer Review was undertaken in April to help identify what else could be done.
· GFRS were experiencing an increase in their attendance time to accidental dwelling fires. This was a risk of having a rural county and a high level of retain fire fighters, which was an effective way of delivering a fire service in a rural county.
· Challenge remained on recruitment and retention of staff across the council but there was a clear plan in place to address this. Completion of PDRs was improving quarter on quarter with 71% completed on time across the council. The Corporate Peer Review had been delayed due to the JTAI but would be rescheduled when possible.
5.2 A briefing note would be provided on the Mass Rapid Transit proposal.
ACTION: Rob Ayliffe
5.3 In response to a question, it was advised that the risk register brought to Corporate Scrutiny reflected a director level view of where the Council was performing against its priorities, these reports were quality assured through Corporate Leadership Team and the Lead Cabinet Member to ensure they were a balanced view. The data and narrative on Council performance were in the public domain via this meeting’s papers.
5.4 A member raised concern regarding the steady decline in average response times to accidental dwelling fires, stating this was the fundamental function of a fire service. It was advised in response that, although an incredibly important function, in reality, attending fires was a small proportion of what the fire service did, and the data must be understood within the context of preventative work. As the numbers in this dataset were so small, they were very volatile and a location of a fire in any given quarter could have a massive impact. Members were right to challenge this, and officers would be monitoring the trend closely but there was nothing as yet to suggest a bigger underlying problem. The number of deaths reported from accidental dwelling fires remained extremely low and thus the service response remained effective, if not within strict time parameters. This discussion would be highlighted with the Fire Scrutiny Committee to monitor going forward.
ACTION: Democratic Services
5.5 It was noted that a number of small group sessions with members would be taking place over the coming weeks for officers to gain a better understanding of what a member’s IT training programme needed to cover. This would then result in a structured programme to deliver to all councillors.