Agenda item

Performance Report - Quarter 3 - Part Exempt

·        This agenda item includes a Legal Services Performance Report.  Due to some of the information being potentially commercially sensitive, the Scrutiny Commission may decide at this point of the meeting to go into a closed session. 



The Head of Insight, Performance & Intelligence introduced the report to Members and explained that the purpose of the report was to brief the Commission on the progress made against the Directorate specific Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for Q3 2018/19.  In summary for this quarter 46% of those with established targets are performing on or above target and just over half (51%) of those with a direct comparison from 12 months ago have improved. It was said there was a fairly neutral picture when looking at the Directorate as a whole.

The following targets were briefly highlighted:

  • % Corporate Freedom of Information (FOI) requests responded to within 20 working days.  This target it was said had never been met which officers commented was disappointing.  However, hitting the target would be assisted by the installation of an improved electronic case management system as well as the planned introduction of smarter data retention policies.
  • My Performance (Employee Performance Management system); compliance for BCC as a whole is low and has not changed this quarter but preparations are underway to implement the new HR system which it’s anticipated will improve the rates (as discussed above).
  • % of deaths registered within 5 working days – still below target but is improving.


Members raised the following points and questions:

  • It was generally agreed that the report contained some mixed results.
  • The difference between of progression rates of BME and non-BME employees: Members suggested that this needed to be a focus for officers to address.  Officers agreed and said that the HR Committee are looking at this in more detail. 
  • BCP522: Reduce the average number of working days lost to sickness (BCC):  Officers said that sickness levels were at their highest level since 2010 but that it was believed that this was related to a number of factors.  Officers referred to the information contained within the report and said that HR are working with managers at all levels to further develop policies and practices to improve staff engagement and wellbeing that will reduce sickness absence.
  • DRE212 Legal Services spend on external barristers: this was well above target but officers said that figures were slightly misleading as they are actually underspending now but may have underestimated what we may have to pay out, so they are still treating this position with caution. 
  • BCP327: % Corporate Freedom of Information (FOI) requests responded to within 20 working days.  This was highlighted as well below target and officers said that BCC had been on a warning from the Information Commissioner.  The warning has not been followed through because officers have altered and improved the situation as instructed. Members asked is FOIs were ‘cab ranked’ and officers responded that they were well triaged across to the relevant manager when they are arrive.  It was explained that individual directors retain responsibility for them as the FOI team don’t have the necessary specific knowledge to respond.  It was said that the management team get a report to flag what’s outstanding.  There are FOI requests that require gathering huge volumes of information.  Some were very complex and so it can take a long time to respond i.e. longer than 20 days but is better to comply and be transparent than to refuse to do them.  It was asked how much time was spent on them.  Officers said that they couldn’t say precisely but there were some individuals that regularly submitted FOI requests.  Members said that it might be useful to highlight how much council tax is being used to comply with them.  Officers said that there are quite a lot of international requests, so they are putting some information on-line so the information is readily available. 


In line with the following information, the remainder of this agenda item and the following agenda item (13) were taken in an exempt session. 


Exclusion of Press and Public

That under s.100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting for the following item(s) of business on the grounds that it (they) involve(s) the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Part 1 of schedule 12A of the Act.


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