The Leader submitted a report on performance indicators that the Council was required to monitor and publish annually in the Annual Report. The report advised Members of estimated performance for 2012/13 and the targets for the next three years.
Members were reminded that performance indicators were separated into national performance indicators (NIs) and local performance indicators (East Herts Performance Indicators or EHPI). Members were requested to note that all NIs were to be recoded to EHPI prefixes as national indicators were no longer required to be monitored, benchmarked and reported at a national level.
Councillor G McAndrew commented on the decline of under-16s using the East Herts leisure facilities for swimming. The Head of Environmental Services advised that this was not an unusual trend and similar declines were being seen nationally. Officers were working with the contractor to find ways of addressing this issue. Members were advised that Officers would report on this trend at Community Scrutiny Committee in March 2013.
The Head of Revenues and Benefits Shared Service responded to a query from Councillor J Mayes by stating that Officers had, in the first two quarters, experienced a 55% increase in correspondence on Housing Benefit and Council Tax claims. Members were advised that the Authority had responded by allocating additional resources to address the increased demand.
In reply to a query from Councillor G Jones, Members were advised of the way Revenues and Benefits work was prioritised by Officers.
Councillor T Page supported a comment made by Councillor G Jones that the future target for NI181, the time taken to process housing benefit/Council Tax Benefit new claims and change events, should be revised back nearer to 10 days.
The Head of Revenues and Benefits Shared Service reminded Members that the waiting time included the time Officers had to wait to receive information back from the public regarding their benefit claims.
Councillor C Woodward stated that, in respect of EHPI64, an outturn target of returning 10 vacant dwellings to occupation or demolition was not sufficiently ambitious and should be revised upward. He was mindful of the limited Officer resource currently in this area and felt this should be increased to allow more work to be undertaken.
The Chairman commented on whether the Joint meeting should suggest to the Executive that the future target for NI181 be revised back to nearer 10 days. He also commented on whether additional resources should be put into a more ambitious target for returning vacant dwellings to occupation or demolition. Members supported these suggestions.
The Joint meeting decided to make the comments now detailed to the Executive.
RESOLVED – that the Executive be informed that (A) the Joint meeting of Scrutiny Committees have the following comments on the 2012/13 Estimates and Future Targets:
· the estimates and targets for 2012/13 be noted;
· in respect of NI181, additional resources be considered to ensure that that the future target for the processing of housing benefit claims and change events can be bought back to nearer 10 days;
· in respect of EHPI64, the outturn target of returning 10 vacant dwellings to occupation or demolition was not sufficiently ambitious and should be revised upwards through additional resources being considered for this area; and
(B) the recoding of national indicators (NIs) to East Herts Performance Indicators (EHPI) prefixes be agreed.