Our resources are well managed and reflect the priorities of our residents

Are we achieving our targets?

Green – 7; Amber – 2; Red – 1; M – 4

Are we getting better?


Improved performance


Stayed the same


Requires improvement


Further information is needed or the latest measure is unavailable

Analysis and issues

One of this outcome plan’s key performance indicators is reporting as Green. This relates to the level of staff engagement, based on staff survey responses, which reports at 64% compared to the target level of 60%. The last staff survey, which took place in 2016/17, reported engagement levels of 59%, therefore a 5% increase has been achieved.

The Council has delivered an £0.5m underspend at year-end 2018-19, therefore this measure reports as Green. There is challenging performance regarding the delivery of savings proposals, which reports at 65% against the target of 90%, a decline of 11 percentage points from mid-year. Further information regarding the delivery of savings proposals is available in Appendix Four and the year-end report of Financial performance.

Wider Performance Indicators

Looking more widely at this outcome’s performance measures, the intended desk ratio of 1.8 staff members to a desk has been delivered due to the significant progress achieved by the flexible and mobile and office accommodation programmes.

The timeliness of provision of high-level estimates for ICT projects, proportion responded to within 5 working days is reporting has switched from Red to Green, and performance has improved significantly throughout the year, with the ICT Senior Management Team being directly involved in the project commissioning and estimating process. Performance has increased from 58% at mid-year to 92% at year-end.

Furthermore, consistent progress has been made throughout 2018-19 to increase the proportion of ICT projects which are delivered to the agreed milestones; this has progressed from 39% at Quarter One, to 40% at Quarter Two, to 62.5% at Quarter Three, and finally to 72% at Quarter Four, meaning it is now within 5% of its target of 75% and reports as Amber.

High levels of service availability have been maintained for a defined suite of core ICT services and applications, with 99.83% service availability within agreed service hours against the agreed target of 99.5%. This indicator is reported monthly and is based on downtime affecting an agreed list of 11 priority 1 systems, such as the core social care system, Liquidlogic. This measure also includes the data network that connects Council systems. The figure of 99.83% was achieved as an average across the previous reporting period.

This figure is inclusive of the incident which occurred at the Council’s Kelly House data centre on 16 January. The data centre outage affected access to all Council systems as the data network was unavailable for one working day during Quarter four. Due to the methodology used to compile this performance measure, the significance of the data centre outage is not adequately reflected in a performance of 99.83%. The significant incident which occurred at Kelly House has led to a review of the way in which performance on this measure is tracked. This issue is now under review with the ICT Shared Service via the Joint Service Improvement Board and the intention is to separate network outages from system outages in order to more appropriately reflect the impact data network outages have on Council operations.

The proportion of Transactional Service Centre queries resolved at the first point of contact is exceptionally high, at 99% against a target of 85%. Reducing the number of Transactional Service Centre queries that have been received is no longer a strategic objective due to the implementation of new Enterprise Resource Planning software.


Analysis and issues

Over 80% of actions within the Resources Outcome Plan are either on track to be delivered as scheduled, or have already been delivered.
Examples of delivered actions include:

  • The main programme of Zero Based Budget reviews continued through to March 2019. To date the project has highlighted a range of proposals through which the Council could save up to £0.5m per annum and contributed to the delivery of a much wider set of savings against existing targets. The process has also identified a range of further opportunities that can be considered as part of ongoing budget planning activities the Council is undertaking to identify potential future savings or efficiencies.
  • A majority of staff have relocated to new office locations and are adopting flexible and mobile working principles.
  • Preparations for the new Data Protection laws were reported to the Audit and Governance committee as part of an audit report. Gaps and risks prior to launch were reviewed by the management team in May and additional staffing secured to support services in achieving compliance in this implementation year and working on audit requirements in the 2019/20 monitoring year and beyond. All senior managers have now received training/briefing regarding their roles and responsibilities as Data Guardians. Updated Data Protection ilearn courses have been published and staff are completing these as part of their annual appraisal process. Achieving full compliance is an ongoing activity and further work is required by services on updating existing information sharing agreements once the Information Commissioner’s Office has published its guidance during 2019/2020.

Examples of the highlights of progress made during 2018-19 around those actions that remain on target or have been delivered include:

  • All actions and progress as part of the Council’s People Strategy have been delivered. A new plan will be formulated as part of the new 4 year council plan to ensure the people aspect is aligned to the overall council plan and outcomes. It is expected there will be a draft of this in Summer 2019.
  • The 2018 survey was completed, and saw an increase in the participation rate from 59% in 2016 to 64% in 2018. Five out of the nine areas saw improved results and four stayed the same. Overall, Investors in People silver standard was achieved, which rates the Council in the top 5% of employers across the country against the Investors in People standard.
  • The Council has worked closely with Vivo to help support the company as it implements improvements in quality assurance and training across its care settings. The Council has provided additional financial support to ensure the company can operate within its funding in 2018-19 and directly supplemented the management team to provide capacity to develop and implement longer term strategies. Following the progress made in addressing service quality issues, improvements in Care Quality Commission ratings at key sites and assurance over the companies cost base, proposals are being made to Cabinet to extend the Vivo contract until April 2020. This will provide further stability for the company and allow further consideration of the most effective use of the company as part of the Council’s longer term care strategy.
  • The Staff Survey took place, and has gathered valuable information about staff perception regarding the working environment of the Council. This has been accompanied by an extensive communications campaign and followed by an action plan to address any areas of underperformance.
  • The Community Engagement Scrutiny review has met in order to understand what constitutes best practice in community engagement, has received advice and support from expert external witnesses, and produced an interim report in November.
  • Preparation for the implementation of new ward boundaries have been delivered in advance of May 2019 elections.
  • The commercial management team has completed approximately 85% of its contract reviews and is on target to meet the expectations of the programme. As a result of the programme recommendations have been made to commissioners on how to improve contract management and the contract management service has taken over the commercial management of a number of key contracts. Importantly a new governance arrangement has been implemented to oversee the re-commissioning of services that will ensure the outcomes of the reviews are incorporated into contractual arrangements as they are procured.
  • The My Account tool on the local offer is live and is regularly reviewed to ensure it is fit for purpose. The digital programme board is currently reviewing the website which includes service user involvement via the Poverty Truth Commission. The My Account portal continues to be developed in line with the Council’s online functionality requirements as prioritised and guided by the digital channel shift programme board.
  • Progress has been achieved in plans towards the opening of a ‘One Public Estate’, public sector hub in Ellesmere Port. An Outline Business Case was approved by the local enterprise partnership in October 2018. An internal team and external consultants have been mobilised to move project towards planning submission. The Project is also being developed within the context of the wider Ellesmere Port Town Centre Masterplan.

In terms of the actions that have been re-phased there are a number of updates regarding these to highlight:

  • Progress has been achieved in the Best for Business programme, and system implementation is ongoing. There have been a number of challenges on the project in terms of meeting the original timetable. The Council continues to ‘test’ the system to ensure a safe transition from old to new, minimising the impact on staff, residents and customers. Progress updates have gone, and will continue to go to Shared Services Joint committee and Cheshire West and Chester Council Scrutiny.
  • The development of an open data strategy will be taken forward in Q1/2 2019/2020 within the development of a wider Information Strategy for the Council.

Next Reporting Period

The following are examples of tasks and milestones expected to be completed in 2019-2020:

  • The delivery of the Local Elections on 2 May with new ward boundaries.
  • Development of recommendations to improve digital inclusion, recognising that not all residents have the technology or skills to engage via digital channels and improving the accessibility of services for these residents.
  • Continued implementation of digital channel shift across Council services to improve the accessibility of services.
  • Development of an improved Open Data offer.