Agenda item

Quarter 4 Performance Report - Finance & Resources


N Howcutt introduced the report of the finance and resources performance report and the operational risk reports which were attached as appendices. He advised that a lot of this performance would be what members have seen throughout the year and there was no significant changes. In terms on quarter on quarter change, we have seen one red KPI (Key Performance Indicator) turn to amber which covered new applications for Housing Benefit and that is because the workload from the pandemic has started to lessen. He felt this may be a good sign for the economy and meant services may be able to get back to pre-pandemic performance levels. He said the red KPI’s outlined were all Covid related indirectly and these were discussed in detail at the last meeting. He welcomed questions from the committee.


Councillor Adeleke referred to page 54 regarding Council Tax collections. He queried what recovery measures they had in place and will it be fair and proportionate.


N Howcutt advised collection rates were down 1.6% on target, 1.2% year on year but that was far better than most of our neighbouring authorities. He said we took a very hands on approach early on allowing residents to opt for 10 monthly payments starting in June instead of April but that was when we thought the pandemic would be over in a few months. The government’s hardship fund was used to pay the first £250 of those individuals receiving council tax support which helped our collection rates and that is happening again for 21/22. He felt we were trying to support those most vulnerable and hopefully will see more improvement in terms of collection rates for 21/22.


Councillor Adeleke then referred to page 55 regarding commercial assets. He noted from the report that they had 22 void properties and 76% of them needed substantial remedial work. He asked if this was something they were planning to undertake or would these properties be sitting on the back burner for now.


N Howcutt said although 22 void properties seemed a large number that was only 5-6% of our entire portfolio. He explained they do try and maximise the use of the portfolio and generally look at the 93% mark completion rates. During Covid they were unable to let those properties as people couldn’t visit them etc. but now that we’re out of lockdown they’re assessing those properties to decide what the best action for them was. He added that would be done as part of the Asset Management Strategy.


Councillor Adeleke suggested that as they were unable to carry out maintenance works on council properties, they could divert those resources for work on commercial assets instead.


N Howcutt said he would challenge that point as they had still been maintaining council properties and had been working very closely with commercial partners to ensure essential works have been undertaken. He also said they had taken advantage of the Covid restrictions in some cases, for example with The Old Town Hall, as they’ve been able to carry out essential works there whilst it has been closed. He felt they had been very proactive and had tried to do as much as they possibly could during the Covid period.


The Chairman highlighted that construction materials had increased in price and were harder to get hold of. He asked if those risks were included in the Capital Programme.


N Howcutt replied that the Capital Programme didn’t include increasing costs because it focused purely on the deliverability of the Capital Programme. He advised they had provision in place to deal with increased costs but hoped to deliver within that provision.




The report was noted.


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