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The minutes were approved as a correct record.
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Members are reminded of their responsibility to declare any pecuniary interest in respect of matters contained in this agenda.
If you have a pecuniary interest you must withdraw from the meeting. Normally you should leave the room before the business starts to be discussed. You do, however, have the same right to speak as a member of the public and may remain in the room to enable you to exercise that right and then leave immediately. In either case you must not seek to improperly influence a decision on the matter.
No interests were declared.
To receive and consider the report of the Deputy Chief Executive (enclosed).
The Committee welcomed Asim Khan Director (Customer and Digital) Shared Services and Councillor Adrian Lowe, Executive Member (Customer and Streetscene Services).
It was highlighted that since the last Customer and Digital Performance Panel, operational challenges occurred because of the ongoing global pandemic, but services have adapted.
The process of Shared Services changed the landscape of the directorate and Directors were now responsible across both Chorley and South Ribble. The Customer and Digital Directorate included
n Customer Services
n Street Scene
The budget for the Directorate was £6,051,880 with a variance of 4.7% equaling £285,703. The biggest attribute to this was the vacant posts.
Paragraph 13 highlighted the three colour rating system, a green star indicated ‘Performance is better than target’, a blue circle is ‘Worse than target by within threshold (5%)’ and red triangle is ‘Worse than target, outside threshold (5%)’
The number of online requests that were received had increased significantly compared to the previous 12 months, with fewer dissatisfied users compared to Q4 2019/20.
It was noted that during the last twelve months, the Council suspended recovery action for Council Tax, instead opting to send reminder notices. Collection of Council Tax was down 0.9% (£639,000). This figure was worse than Q4 2019/20 but was within threshold. Recovery of non-payment was due to recommence at the start of July.
There had been a significant increase in missed residential waste and recycling collection, as the council recorded 43 missed collections per 100,000.
Members understood that due to lockdown, the amount of cardboard waste was higher and questioned if an increase in collections was likely. Members were advised that the Council were always open to feedback from residents. Despite monthly collections, the size of the receptacle had been increased to 240L, and that residents could request an additional bin or leave cardboard next to the bin if required.
The Council outperformed targets for collection of public litter bins, high street cleaning routes completed, and ground maintenance service requests completed on time. Ad hoc service requests failed to outperform the previous year but the figure was greatly above the target of 80%.
All of the projects part of the ICT strategy were green.
In relation to the 2020/21 corporate projects, the website was delivered but development and rollout was affected by Covid-19. The programme to deliver a cleaner and more attractive borough was linked into the streetscene targets.
Members questioned whether the primary contact point to the council would be online after the pandemic and if there was an expected target for face to face interaction in the next 12 months.
Asim believed that demand for online services will continue to grow due to the convenience provided, enabled by significant investment in the ICT infrastructure. The Council understood the demand for face to face interaction and will continue to support the opportunity where possible. The target for 2020/21 for online ... view the full minutes text for item 21.OSP.7
To receive and consider the report of the Deputy Chief Executive (enclosed)
The Overview and Scrutiny Performance Panel welcomed Howard Anthony (Performance & Partnerships Team Leader). The Quarter Four Report covered January to March 2021.
Considering the challenging circumstances, performance was said to be very good. 84% of projects were on target and rated green. 8% were not started, and 8% were amber. 50% of the indicators were on track or above target and 50% of the corporate strategy measures were on target.
The Communities team worked to provide support to residents and local businesses during the pandemic. The renovations of Astley Hall were currently amber due to issues found during renovations, but when resolved will be back on track. It was hoped that the work will be completed before the G7 speakers arrive.
Members questioned if the Astley Hall refurbishment was at risk of requiring further funds from Council. There was no indication that the project was at risk of going over-budget and that the amber rating was due to a delay.
The percent of the population with an NVQ level 3 or higher exceeded the target.
Play spaces progressed well with Westway Sports Campus’s installation of grass and artificial pitches. Work on King George V’s Playing Field commenced with improvements including a changing facility, kiosk space and a foyer.
Other projects included the extra care scheme and community facilities at Tatton Gardens. The project was progressing well and will provide high quality, affordable and suitable housing, a GP surgery, a pharmacy, a café and community centre. Work is ahead of schedule.
The number of empty properties increased during the quarter. The number of affordable homes in the region underperformed.
Members raised that only 47 affordable homes were delivered, which was below the target. Tatton Gardens would not make up the number and asked what was being done to increase the number of affordable homes. Howard explained that due to the market, house building had slowed, there were supply constraints. The Local Plan was being developed, highlighting land supply, and exploring the longer-term strategic position of how sites could be brought forward. The Members were reassured that the Council remained focused on delivering affordable homes.
In response to Members enquiring about the average length of time properties remained empty, Howard Anthony did not have a figure on hand, but noted that there were particular reoccurring empty properties that required further examination and when completed, the information will be returned to Members.
Good progress had been made with Alker Lane. Improvements have been made to the town centre with the upgrade of the market. The site at Bengal Street progressed well. All three projects reported green.
The Chair asked if the action taken to use letting agents to solve the town centre vacancy rates was the best way forward. Howard Anthony explained that the Council used the most efficient means of getting the vacant lots on the market, and it was hoped that once pandemic restrictions lift, town centres started to recover, but it was not an issue unique to Chorley.
Members asked ... view the full minutes text for item 21.OSP.8