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Date issued: 11 December 2019
Progress on the council’s key performance indicator (KPI) targets took centre stage when the Scrutiny Panel met last night (10 December).
Panel members reviewed performance against a range of KPI targets outlined in an upbeat report assessing the council’s services and corporate activities at the half-year point between April and September this year.
According to the report, the council achieved robustly in line with 12 (75%) of its 16 main performance targets – excelling in several – while four did not meet their targets in full.
Key indicators for planning, benefits, housing, collection of Council Tax and Business Rates, and staff absence either met or exceeded targets.
The Planning team achieved a consistently high level of decision making in all categories of planning applications, processing over 820 applications
Residents claiming housing benefit and Local Council Tax Scheme (LCTS) continued to receive a gold standard service, with an outstanding turnaround of new claims and changes averaging two to three days. The report notes the rapid decision-making of the team is helping alleviate financial hardship, uncertainty and worry, enabling residents to maintain their tenancies and making a real difference to their lives.
The 534 new houses delivered were in line with the year-end target of 920. Of these, 129 were affordable homes (112 affordable or social rented; 17 for shared ownership) delivered in the second year of the three-year target period – bringing the total to 254 – and well on the way to achieving the target of 360 affordable homes.
Rates of Council Tax and Business Rates collection are both on track to meet year-end targets, despite increases to both tax bases producing corresponding growth in charges requiring more work to collect, and a major review of the Single Person Discount scheme and in-depth work around complex Business Rate recovery also being undertaken.
Staff absence is currently better than target – achieved through a combination of a more robust approach to the management of persistent sickness absence and several wellbeing and training activities.
Waste and Recycling key indicators were positive: residual household waste remains on target and is exceptionally low – making Colchester one of the highest-performing areas in the east. Despite most other councils in Essex seeing reducing levels of recycling, household recycling is above target compared to this time last year, helping to maintain Colchester’s lead and contributing to its high rating in the recent Friends of the Earth league table of climate-friendly areas.
The final part of the report highlights a range of milestones and successes in the past six months, including:
Cllr Julie Young, Portfolio Holder for Culture & Performance and Deputy Leader of the Council, said: “It’s impressive to see the council continuing to excel in so many of the services it delivers.
“This report attests to a considerable amount of positive activity being undertaken across the council and with our partners to achieve our strategic priorities. There is so much we can be proud of – the vast majority of which is due to the hard work and commitment of staff who deliver our services on behalf of our residents and customers.
“I am extremely pleased by our efforts to achieve and in many cases exceed our performance targets during another eventful period for the council. It shows clearly that, even at a time of austerity and cuts, we have been able to continue to deliver improvements to the level of services we provide to our residents, and I would like to thank all of our hard-working officers who work so diligently to achieve that.”