The report before Members set out Quarter 1 performance reporting as requested by the Overview & Scrutiny Sub-Committees.
For 2017/18, the Board had previously decided to scrutinise a selection of more operational performance indicators, determined by the six overview and scrutiny Sub-Committees. To this end, each of the Sub-Committees were tasked by the Overview and Scrutiny Board (at its meeting in May) with identifying two to three performance indicators they wished to track over the course of the year. The report provided an overview of how the Council was performing in relation to each of the indicators selected by the six Sub-Committees, with greater detail being provided within each of the Sub-Committee reports.
Members noted that Children and Learning Overview and Scrutiny Sub-Committee had felt unable to identify the three highest priority performance indicators currently within its remit, feeling that they are all of equal importance. The Sub-Committee had therefore asked that the matter be referred to the Overview and Scrutiny Board for decision.
During the debate members agreed that the following three indicators continue to be monitored by the Sub-Committee:
Total number of in-house foster carers.
Percentage of looked after children placed in the Council’s foster care.
Percentage of young people leaving care who are in education, employment or training at ages 18-21.
During the debate members questioned why the number of complaints relating to housing repairs completed within target had fallen significantly in quarter 1
Officers advised that the team that dealt with the complaints had been down 1 post (25%) during most of quarter 1 also during the same period the Grenfell Tower fire had taken place and the same team that dealt with complaints also dealt with freedom of information (FOI) requests, Member enquiries and MP enquiries and what had taken place at Grenfell Tower had generated a significant increase to their workload.
Members noted that officers were also looking at improving efficiencies around the repairs service. Part of these efficiencies would be complaints officers working more closely with contractor’s complaints officers.
Members commented that there needed a clearer distinction as to what was considered a service request and what was considered a complaint. It was agreed that a more in-depth breakdown of complaints should be presented to the Towns & Communities Sub-Committee.
Several members commented that Member’s enquiries were not being dealt with within the agreed timescale and that resident’s service requests and complaints, if handled outside the official complaints procedure, were not monitored or dealt with in a timely manner.
Members also commented that they had concerns that when officers left the employment of the Council issues were not being passed onto other officers to deal with and resolve, which lead to residents then, contacting their ward Councillors for assistance.
Members also commented about the significant drop in police response times and questioned whether the decrease was linked to the new tri-borough arrangement.
Officers advised that all calls for the three boroughs had been put through using one channel but it had now been decided to revert back to the original three channels that would serve individual boroughs.
Officers also advised that a number of officers had been abstracted out of the boroughs to assist in dealing with investigations following the terrorist events that had taken place in London. The abstractions had led to a backlog of work and officers were coming onto shifts and having to deal with the work of the previous shift. A dedicated team had now been put in place to clear the backlogs.
Members also sought clarification as to whether the Council’s emergency response team telephone operators had been outsourced to another part of the country. There had been incidents of members and residents phoning the emergency number and the operatives having little or no knowledge of the area of Havering. Officers undertook to investigate and report back.
The Board Reviewed the performance set out in Appendix 1 and the corrective action that was being taken, and Determined which of the performance indicators currently tracked by the Children and Learning Overview & Scrutiny Sub-Committee it wished the Sub-Committee to continue monitoring going forward.