F Jump presented the report, noting the focus on performance indicators showing as red and operational risks that has an overall score that has increased from the previous quarter.
Considering performance, F Jump referred to appendices A and B, noting that there are 6 performance indicators showing as green, 2 as amber and 1 as red. The indicator showing as red is for time taken for debtors to pay. She noted that this has been reported to the Committee for a number of years and continues to be impacted by the pandemic with an increasing number of debtors choosing to pay via instalments. She advised that there have been a number of government restrictions on debt recovery activity and that they would hope to see performance start to improve against this indicator, though the cost of living crisis is impacting a number of debtors.
Looking at the operational risk report, F Jump noted that the overall risk score has been increased on collection rates for council tax and business rates dropping below budgeted expectations. Whilst the likelihood of the risk occurring at this point in the year is lower, the impact is higher.
The Portfolio Holder, Councillor Elliot, referred to the time for debtors to pay, noting that this is a country-wide issue in the public sector. The council is in constant dialogue with commercial tenants and Councillor Elliot praised the Commercial Assets team for their proactive work with commercial tenants and residents.
Councilor Guest commented on time for debtors to pay and asked what work is being done to show that this is due to the impact of the pandemic.
F Jump advised that this is a result of officers interacting with debtors and comparing performance to previous financial years. She stated that they are now conscious of the impact of the cost of living crisis and that it is challenging to differentiate between the different drivers around debt repayment, though officers are looking to understand this where they can.
Councillor Adeleke referred to page 36 of the report regarding staff being overstretched, leaving some work undone. He commented that they were likely to see more government legislation regarding rebates in light of the ongoing financial crisis and asked what contingency plan is in place to ensure that residents are not impacted.
F Jump advised that they are conscious of the potential for additional use of their time to implement new government legislation and that they can flex their resource in the service in order to respond to additional demands.
Councillor Elliot commented that the Finance and Revenue and Benefits teams have stood up to all challenges over recent years and have quickly responded in distributing funds. He confirmed he had full confidence in both the teams that they are coping with the demands made of them.
A comment was made that it would be beneficial to also see a risk and opportunities register given the challenges ahead. F Jump agreed to discuss this further with N Howcutt and look to bring this to future meetings.
The Chairman commented on page 42 and the risk regarding a failure to optimize income generated by commercial assets, noting that they should look to make the most of these assets and this would be addressed further under item 12.
The report was noted.