Agenda item

Q4 Performance Report 2021/2022

To provide an update on how the Council is performing for the period 1 January 2022 to 31 March 2022 (report of the Assistant Director – Corporate enclosed).


·         The Head of Customer Contact (PSPS) will be in attendance to provide the Panel with an update on the performance of the Customer Contact Centre as requested at the meeting of the Performance Monitoring Panel on 9 November 2021.



Consideration was given to the report of the Assistant Director – Corporate which provided an update on how the Council had performed for the period 1 January 2022 to 31 March 2022.


The report was introduced by the Senior Change and Performance Business Partner who highlighted the following key points:


Areas of success included:

  • a large increase in social media impressions which had been attributed to a highly successful campaign relating to International Women’s Day and had attracted national attention;
  • positive food health and safety metrics with only one food business in the district having been graded below 3.


Areas of underperformance included:

  • the Customer Contact Centre however improvements had been achieved in call answering rates; and
  • housing voids which had increased from 27 in Q3 to 44 in Q4. The Housing team had been carrying a vacant post during this period which had subsequently been filled.

The Head of Customer Contact (PSPS) and members of the Housing team were in attendance to update the Panel on improvements made and to answer members’ questions


The Head of Customer Contact (PSPS) attended to update the Panel on the performance of the Customer Contact Centre. A presentation was delivered which included the following key points:

·         Strategic issues:

o   a 30.43% increase in demand had been experienced as a result of several factors including a significant increase in call times with a focus on providing a fuller service; and the Customer Contact Centre had received an additional 400 calls per day relating to the £150 energy rebate.

·         Service data:

o   a 4.5% increase in demand due to the pandemic in 2020/21, with a further 16.64% rise in 2021/22 had equated to 3,084 hours of continuous service pressure.

o   direct debits had increased from 66.73% to 68.46% as a result of the longer call times resulting in improved customer service;

·         Steps taken:

o   a critical recovery plan had been implemented in April 2022 to improve average call answering times: the Customer Contact Centre had improved from 160 seconds to 75 seconds, and Revenue and Benefits from 308 seconds to 264 seconds. 

o   Measures taken had resulted in 17 of the 21 Key Performance Indicator targets being achieved, compared to 9 in April 2022.

o   Recruitment had taken place and training was ongoing;

o   the Head of Customer Contact was confident that the current improvements were sustainable and would be maintained.

·         Next steps:

o   the implementation of Transformation projects later in the year included a new Customer Relationship Management system and telephony system;

o   future digital and automation opportunities would be explored whilst ensuring that service quality and capacity was maintained for customers not able or willing to engage digitally.

·         Opportunities:

o   To develop alignment of initiatives, systems and processes where possible within the S&ELCP.


Members considered the presentation and made the following comments:


·         Members stated that they were encouraged by the improvements made since the last update.


·         Members referred to Appendix A and asked for targets to be included within the graphs.


·         Members noted improvements within the service which had led to an increase in direct debits and asked whether the service could aid further improvements:

o   The Head of Customer Contact (PSPS) responded that the replacement of the Customer Relationship Management system would bring improvements and influence future aspirations. Improvements needed to be accessible through all contact methods: in person, digitally and telephone.


·         Members queried the position regarding staffing and training levels, and whether staff were working from offices.

o   The Head of Customer Contact (PSPS) confirmed that staff had been working in the office since September 2021. A large-scale recruitment process had taken place and baseline establishment staffing levels had been achieved. Induction training and staff development was underway.


·         The Panel acknowledged that improvements had been made and welcomed the plans to move the service forward. Nonetheless, a slippage to a reduction in performance levels was not acceptable and the Panel agreed that a message be sent to both the responsible Portfolio Holder and South Holland District Council officer to this effect.


The Assistant Director – Housing, the Housing Property Services Manager and the Housing Repairs Manager attended to update the Panel in respect of the increased housing void statistics and answer member questions.


The Housing Repairs Manager stated that the housing voids target, until recently, had always been met and that the 30% increase in housing voids had been due to a combination of pressures over the last five months, including:

·         staff recruitment issues: the small team had carried a vacant post, which had impacted the service however this had now been resolved and improvements were being achieved. Voids had already decreased from 40 to 35.

·         the quality of some void properties had been low and additional remedial work had been required. Although costs were rechargeable, the time to complete the work had impacted void figures; and 

·         Notice to Quits had increased due to an increased number of deaths and transfers. The number of Notice to Quits had recently returned to normal levels and a reduction of voids was anticipated once the current tranche had been worked through.

Measures to improve the situation had included:

·         the housing team working additional hours; and

·         the use of external contractors where possible.

The team were confident that normal void levels, between 20 and 22, would be reported in the near future.



Members considered the update and made the following comments:


·         Members acknowledged the extra work that had taken place towards resolving the issue and asked for their appreciation to be passed on to the staff.


·         Members requested a timescale of when voids would be on target.

o   The Housing Repairs Manager anticipated that voids would be on target by Q2, subject to the expected level of demand and continued efforts. The issue was resource, the team needed sustained additional resource for targets to be met.


·         Members queried the reason for the increase in transfers.

o  The Assistant Director - Housing responded that 2021/2022 had been a significant year for the delivery of new homes to which qualifying families requesting moves had been transferred.


·      Members expressed concern regarding the reported poor condition of some voids and asked whether the recharge figures were known and whether the Recharge Policy was used vigorously.

o   The Housing Repairs Manager confirmed that recharges had amounted to £6000. The Recharge Policy was used vigorously for the limited number of properties returned in poor condition, but the policy generally served as a deterrent.


·      Members queried whether an extra step was required to carry out earlier inspections of properties to identify problems and therefore prevent a transfer request being granted. Were properties being inspected?

o   Regarding inspection of properties, the small team were only resourced to visit properties when a property became void or when repairs were needed, in which case apparent condition issues were reported.

o   The Assistant Director – Housing confirmed that pre-transfer inspections were undertaken which needed to demonstrate that the property was in an acceptable condition for individuals to remain on the housing register. The few properties that were deemed unacceptable absorbed a greater resource for inspections and repairs, which impacted the overall void figures.


The Panel agreed that a message be sent to the Portfolio Holder that the department needed to be properly resourced so that the condition of the properties owned by the authority were monitored/inspected.


·      Members referred to the increase in fly tipping figures and asked the reason for the increase. There was a huge volume of fly tipping which affected the whole country and improvements were needed.

o   The Senior Change and Performance Business Partner would ask the Environmental Services Manager to provide a response for the Panel.

·      Members noted that Lincolnshire County Council had reported no correlation in the Spalding Recycling Centre closures and fly tipping - did evidence exist to corroborate this claim?

o   The Senior Change and Performance Business Partner would ask the Environmental Services Manager to provide a response for the Panel.


The Panel requested that the Portfolio Holder reports to the Panel whether there was a correlation between closure of tips and the increase in fly tipping.


Members confirmed that Lincolnshire County Council had been asked to revert to the Spalding Recycling Centre opening hours of seven days per week and were advised that this would be considered. An increase in brown bins across the district could relieve some of the pressure for the disposal of green waste at the site. Members stated that the Portfolio Holder had offered to attend the Spalding Recycling Centre with members. The Panel agreed that this would be useful and in addition, requested that the Portfolio Holder attend a meeting of the Performance Monitoring Panel to discuss this area.





a)    That the report be noted.



b)    That the Portfolio Holder for Corporate and Communications and the relevant officer be advised that Q4 performance levels for the Contact Centre needed to be maintained;


c)    That the Portfolio Holder for HRA and Private Sector Housing be advised that the Housing Repairs team needed to be properly resourced;


d)    That the L.C.C. Portfolio Holder responsible for the Spalding Recycling Centre be invited to a meeting of the Performance Monitoring Panel to:


·         discuss the correlation between closures of the Spalding Recycling Centre and fly tipping; and

·         to discuss the Spalding Recycling Centre issues/performance.

Supporting documents: