Agenda item

Q4 20/21 Performance Report

Report of Councillor Mark Robinson, Executive Member for Customer, Digital and Performance.



Councillor Robinson, the Executive Member for Customer, Digital and Performance introduced the report. He explained that it now included the extra column, requested by the Commission, showing performance relating to the same quarter 12 months ago. He was pleased to notice positive improvement compared to the same quarter last year in areas such as digital, customer communications and garden waste services. One notable area was the fly tipping rates, which, whilst increased in quarter 4 still fell below the number of fly tips reported annually compared to the previous year.


The Assistant Director Customer and Performance, Jason Cole added that the Commercial Property gross rental income continued to perform well despite current trading conditions and was happy to take questions.


Cllr Jermy said the number of fly tipping reports remained a concern and although enforcement was good, he felt communication was an issue and that 500 tonnes of fly tipping on Breckland Council land was significant. Cllr Kiddle-Morris agreed that the communication around fly tipping and prevention could be more robust.


Cllr Wilkinson questioned the methodology with missed bin reporting now the environmental services contract had changed to cover two other councils.


The Executive Director Place, Rob Walker, explained that the principle was that if there were small issues relating to individual Councils, they would be dealt with by the Council concerned, however if there was a larger issue affecting all three Councils it would be dealt with by the Strategic Board. The number of missed bins within Breckland remained low although there could be seasonal fluctuations and holidays which caused a change of crew who may be unfamiliar with a route which could increase the number of missed bins reported.


Cllr Wickerson suggested it might be useful to have reports on the new Commercial Waste service offered by the New Environmental Services contract to check its success or issues. The Chairman confirmed the Scrutiny Commission would be looking at the indicators.


Cllr Birt had concerns over the Contact Centre reaction times and felt with the new structure this would be a long time before this issue would be addressed, he also asked how new website visitors were measured and the fact that Breckland Council were not achieving the statutory timescale for Freedom of Information Requests and would like to see an additional part in the reporting on how long it took to respond. He further noted that bringing empty houses back into service had been put back again and felt that this should be addressed.


The Assistant Director Customer and Performance said he would obtain the details on unique website visitors and pick that up with Cllr Birt outside of the meeting. He also said that, although he did not have the details to hand, he suspected that the delay in responding to Freedom of Information statutory timescales, could be due to the fact of receiving a host of requests that hit every Council from various organisations and these were most probably de-prioritised to deal with genuine requests. Regarding the empty homes, he did not have the information to hand and would get back to Cllr Birt directly.


The Chairman agreed with Cllr Birt in that there was further work to be done around Freedom of Information requests.


The Customer Experience Manager explained there had been challenges with meeting reaction times, partly due to the Service Review. Whilst the review was in progress, they were unable to recruit new staff which meant agency staff had to be used during the period of the review. This had resulted in more training and difficulties in staff retention. She felt that once the review had been completed there would be more capacity to be able to meet demand.


Cllr Clarke questioned the timescales and responses on complaints and suggested this could be broken down into types of complaint by issue which would highlight trends.


Cllr Kiddle-Morris asked about vexatious complaints and how they were investigated.


The Executive Director Place, Rob Walker explained that Breckland Council had a Vexatious Complainant Policy and certain criteria had to be met. Once someone was deemed to be vexatious the complaints were not used in the statistics and were no longer reported, however the number of vexatious complainants in Breckland was very low.


The Head of Strategic Policy, Greg Pearson stated that the Vexatious Policy included reporting Vexatious Complainants to the Scrutiny Commission on an annual basis. The Chairman said this needed to be added to the Work Programme to ensure it was regularly reviewed.


Members of the Commission noted the report.

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