To provide an update to the Committee on the progress of the Council’s identified strategic risks (report of the Executive Manager for Growth enclosed).
Consideration was given to the report of the Executive Manager for Growth, which provided an update to the Committee on the progress of the Council’s identified strategic risks.
The Senior Change, Innovation and Performance Business Partner provided the Committee with the following updates:
· Since the Q4 iteration of the register, there had been an increase in risk levels around the delivery of the housing service and waste collections.
o Housing Service – The Housing Team were facing significant resource challenges, and whilst these staff shortages were being seen, the risk level had been raised to reflect this.
o Delays as a result of resource challenges – The Housing team had seen some delays with full housing assessments being booked. However, additional appointments were being created utilising temporary staffing resources. This was being balanced against demand created through emergency presentations. The Housing Team Leader was moving resources to respond to demand and, where possible, delayed appointments would be brought forward.
o Additional mitigations – Three temporary Housing Options Advisors had been appointed to ensure that the team had sufficient capacity to remain operational. Other resources from within the Housing Department were being utilised to provide additional support in areas such as the management and booking of temporary accommodation, assistance with visiting, and collection of information from people in temporary accommodation.
o Project delivery timeframes for MyOptions – The scheduled go-live date for MyOptions online was still 4 October 2021, work was underway to achieve the transition, and there were currently no anticipated delays. It was clarified that this was the homeless self-triage tool element, and that the housing register element was already live and operational. As an interim measure to allow customers to self-refer, the Jigsaw Portal had been opened and the webpages and Customer Contact updated. Telephone messages and the Council’s webpages had all been updated to enable customers to self-help where possible.
o Trends within the Housing service arising from exit interviews or additional intelligence – A presentation would be given to the HR People Board to ensure oversight from the Executive Management Team and PSPS colleagues. A recent recruitment campaign by a neighbouring authority had had a material impact through the number of vacancies on offer. Actions were being followed up to ensure that the Council was doing all it could to retain staff, and this information would be brought forward to the next meeting, or shared sooner if possible.
· Waste Collections
o A similar trend was being seen in this area, with a shortage in the number of HGV drivers available through agencies. Presently, there were no major service delivery issues to highlight however, the HGV driver shortage that the service was facing reflected the national situation seen across several other authorities and private businesses. Recruitment agencies were experiencing skills shortages, and it was a difficult market for specific candidate attraction. Due to the competitive nature of the market, candidate retention was also extremely difficult.
o With regard to work being undertaken by the Environmental Services team around working with and learning from partners, members were advised that employment terms were being reviewed to ensure that they were competitive within the industry, utilising learning from other partners, and drawing from their experience where possible.
· A further key change was the risk of Council/service delivery as a result of new strategic partnership arrangements. Members were advised that there had been no negative impacts to service delivery directly identified or seen in the period, and that the risk review had been a proactive one as there would naturally be a period of change for the Authority which would need appropriate focus and management to ensure a smooth transition. For these reasons, the risk profile associated with changes to the Council’s strategic partnership status, and the need for these changes to be successfully embedded, had been increased.
· Cyber Security – whilst there had been no significant change within the quarter, members were provided with clarification around the wording within the report. The risk quoted that the email security software (MimeCast) blocked 20-30% of spam which seemed a low figure. However, clarification had been received that in fact the system actually blocked nearly all spam, and that the figure of 20-30% was actually the percentage of spam emails coming into the Council. The IT Manager was comfortable that the risk score was adequate as there were a number of mitigations in place such as an internal awareness programme currently in development with the first iteration of communications being released in early August, and the training of the Management Team on cyber security and best practice, with this information to be cascaded further.
Following consideration of the report, and the information provided by the officer, the following issues were raised:
· Members commented that, following the cyber incident some months ago, it was strange that the impact and likelihood scores had not changed from Q4 to Q1. In addition, following the situation in November where access to email had been lost, there was insufficient detail explaining what had happened. In the same way, there needed to be further expansion on the issue of data and application storage.
o Officers advised that they would obtain information on the circumstances around the loss of email in November, and would circulate this information to members. In addition, the IT Manager would be requested to attend the next meeting of the Committee to provide a more expansive explanation to the issues raised.
· Members suggested that a report on the various issues be prepared in the first instance, and that this be circulated to Committee members outside of the meeting. They would then decide if it was still necessary for the IT Manager to attend the next meeting.
· Members asked that further information be provided around housing delays, and the true impact that this was having on members of the public affected. It was requested that this information be circulated to members of the Committee.
That the content of the report be noted.