Agenda item

Performance Monitoring

To receive an update on performance against strategic priorities for the council and city, and other performance areas relevant to the Infrastructure, Investment & Inclusive Growth Scrutiny Board.


In introducing this item, the Chair reminded members that all Scrutiny Boards consider regular updates on performance monitoring in June and January of each municipal year.


However, the Chair highlighted two issues that are not typical of those regular reports:


a)  The Scrutiny board is asked to consider a range of additional performance indicators that members may wish to include in future performance reports.


b)  There is an outline of the metrics being collated by the Office for Local Government since its launch last year. Three of the indicators relating to Adult Skills relate to the remit of this Scrutiny Board.


The Scrutiny Board agreed that detailed consideration should be given to the additional performance indicators in a separate meeting. The Principal Scrutiny Advisor was therefore asked to arrange a remote meeting at which members can discuss future performance reporting.


Those in attendance for this item were:


·  Cllr Hayden (Executive Member)

·  Cllr Pryor (Executive Member)

·  Martin Farrington (Director, City Development)

·  Dave Feeney (Chief Planning Officer)

·  Eve Roodhouse (Chief Officer, Economy & Culture)

·  Gary Bartlett (Chief Officer, Transportation & Highways)


Martin Farrington provided an overview of performance in relation to unemployment in Leeds. Members sought further information about the comparison in performance with other Core Cities.


It was noted that Leeds has a relatively strong economy and the diversity of businesses in the city provided a degree of resilience during the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent recovery period. The strength of the employment and skills team service was highlighted, along with the partnership approach to supporting people into work.


It was, however, noted that unemployment figures have increased slightly in recent months and the employment and skills service is supporting eight organisations that are in the process of making redundancies. 


In considering the number of business start-ups, members asked that officers explore whether greater differentiation of business type can be provided in the data for future meetings.


Members queried whether any correlation can be made between long-term reductions in unemployment figures and relatively static data in relation to business start-ups.


Members sought clarity about the impact of changing working patterns on the city post-pandemic. In response, the Scrutiny Board was advised that the way in which businesses use office spaces has changed since the pandemic and the use of office space continues to be monitored. There has been a strong return to the office on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, with footfall lower on Mondays and Fridays.


Working from home is allowing more inclusive working practices in a tight labour market. However, different sectors are also experiencing different challenges regarding establishing an optimum balance between enabling inclusive working and driving productivity.


Other matters explored by members included:


-  The challenges and opportunities of working in partnership with banks in the context of delivering business support and advice for startups. 


-  The consistency of time frames reflected in performance data.


-  The need to influence behaviour change to reduce the number of those killed and seriously injured on Leeds’ roads.


-  Regional activity since the launch of West Yorkshires’ Vision Zero strategy.


-  The impact of introducing average speed cameras on the city’s ring road and the positive feedback from residents. Anecdotal evidence suggests excessive speeds are reducing at these sites - data will be provided to the Scrutiny Board during the next municipal year to assess the impact.


-  The importance of wider enforcement activity in relation to driver speed.


-  The impact of the pandemic on driver behaviour nationally.


-  Members welcomed the work to improve Armley gyratory.


-  City centre footfall increased over the Christmas period and was boosted by the Christmas market and skating sessions. 


-  The Office for Rail Regulation has confirmed that, over the last calendar year, Leeds was the busiest station in the north of England.


In relation to Planning Applications, the Chair noted that she has been asked to provide a point of clarification in relation to the text that appears in Appendix 1 under section 11. The first sentence under section 11 (Planning applications) should read: Performance against major applications in time (that are the largest and often the most strategically important applications to the City) has dropped when compared with quarter 1 (92.5%) but the determination rate is an increase above the same period last year and is still significantly higher than the statutory determination targets.”


Dave Feeney confirmed that service reviews have been progressed over the last year in relation to planning (development management and strategic planning). This has included establishing new protocols, systems and ways of working to improve ‘back office’ performance and to streamline application processes. A pre application service has also been introduced to improve applications.


Reflecting on the new metrics that are being collated regionally by OfLog in relation to Adult Skills, it was recommended that further information is provided to the Scrutiny Board at a future meeting including the outcome of a recent adult skills Ofsted inspection. 




Members agreed to:


a)  Note the performance information contained in Appendix 1 and the issues which have been highlighted.


b)  Convene a separate session to review potential additional data for future performance reports in more detail.


c)  Schedule an item on adult skills at a future Scrutiny Board meeting.



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