To consider a report from the Chief Officer Strategy and Improvement providing an update on work to implement the Best City Ambition since its adoption by Full Council in February 2022 and follows an initial introductory item considered by the Board in January 2022. The Board are also asked to consider information from the Director of Resources, Director of City Development and Director of Communities and Environment on performance in service areas that fall under the scrutiny board’s remit in 2022/23.
The report of the Chief Officer Strategy and Improvement provided the Scrutiny Board with an update on work to implement the Best City Ambition since its adoption by full Council in February 2022. In addition, the report also sets out a summary of performance against the Organisational Plan for the council and city and other performance areas relevant to the Strategy & Resources Scrutiny Board and in line with the Best City Ambition.
In attendance for this item were:
· Neil Evans - Director of Resources
· Mariana Pexton - Chief Officer Strategy and Improvement (soon to be new Director of Resources)
· Cllr Coupar - Executive Member for Resources
· Mike Eakins - Intelligence and Policy Manager
· Tim Rollett - Intelligence and Policy Manager
The Board was provided with the following information:
· The Best City Ambition was adopted by full Council in February 2022. This has been a transitional year implementing the revised strategic framework for the Council.
· The Council has a wide range of strategies and following consultation with Executive Board members, CLT and Directors, key strategies have been selected to focus on as the strategic framework for the Best City Ambition. Alongside this, is a clear intention for some of the strategies to be done as action plans focused on delivery.
· There has been engagement at Community Committees with more work planned at a community level with Local Area Plans to be developed to enhance strategic focus in localities.
In response to questions from Members the Board was provided with the following information on the development of the Best City Ambition and on the performance indicators presented:
· For procurement purposes SME’s still need to demonstrate value for money as well as being local to the Leeds area and contributors to the Leeds economy.
· It was acknowledged that Covid has had an impact on sickness absence for frontline staff as they are unable to come into work. However, back office staff were able to work from home even if they had covid symptoms. It was noted that there had been a significant reduction in long term sickness in recent months, but more work would need to be done to reduce absence in line with assumptions contained in the budget for 2023/24. The Board noted that sickness absence is a potential area of interest to the Board in the coming months.
· Members requested a more detailed break by ward in relation to climate PI’s if possible.
· It was noted that work was ongoing in relation to private landlords and the Council continued to lobby Government in relation to private landlords.
· It was recognised that collection rates for Council Tax and Business Rates were down on the previous years. However, staff were working hard to get various new payments made and summons were being processed. Members were advised that the Courts were getting back to normal after the pandemic and it was expected that collections would start to increase.
· Members were advised that a separate risk report is presented annually and not included within this report.
· The Board requested more detailed information for future reports in relation to the Breakthrough Priorities in particular mental health in the community.
· It was noted that in relation to the procurement and the 30 days, time limit, information would be checked and provided to Members.
· The Board asked for more information in relation to Social Value in procurement KPI’s and information evidencing the fair payment of tax by our suppliers. If possible, the Board were keen to see performance information relating to these areas in future reports.
RESOLVED – To:
a) Note the content of the report and consider any further scrutiny actions that may arise.
b) Note the performance information contained in the appendices to the report and the issues which have been highlighted and consider if they wish to undertake further scrutiny work to support improvement over the coming year in any of these areas.