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Delivery directorate quarterly service report - where we are now

Director’s overview

Following the re-award of the waste and recycling contracts, a number of service changes and enhancements were implemented this quarter. A difficult transition of collection rounds, with new vehicles and in-cab technology, was achieved. This was a sizable number of round changes, impacting on around 7000 households. This created a significant increase in calls to Customer Services for support, advice and payments for brown bin services. The two services of Environmental Services and Customer Services, pulled together to ensure that the service disruption was minimised and the information that now is in the system is more accurate.

The essential maintenance works to High Street car park were completed successfully within the planned 2-week closure, needed to enable the work. Although this involved the displacement of up to 700 users to Braccan Walk car park for the duration of the closure, this was successfully achieved with good customer feedback.

In August, the council’s website was recognised as one of the best in the UK, being ranked joint second in the Sitemorse INDEX review for local government; an independent industry standard review of digital governance. The ranking reflects the website’s inclusiveness and being user friendly for everyone. Further improvements to our website are planned by our Digital Services team which will help us to build on this success.

The roll out of Library Self Service continues, with Open+ now available at 5 library branches.

Democratic and Registration Services have undertaken considerable work on supporting the council’s submission to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE). The data gathering stage has been completed and presented to the Boundary Review Working Group, ready for the first stage of LGBCE’s Electoral Review.

In the area of information governance, the council achieved its Data Security and Protection (DSP) toolkit recognition this quarter. The Data Security and Protection Toolkit is an online self-assessment tool that enables organisations to measure and publish their performance against the National Data Guardian's 10 data security standards. All organisations that have access to NHS patient data and systems must use this toolkit to provide assurance that they are practicing good data security and that personal information is handled correctly.

Contract Services

The planned 2-week closure of High Street car park was completed successfully on time and within the agreed budget, with good customer feedback.

A fleet of 12 new waste collection vehicles were delivered and put into service in July, along with new in cab technology (CORE system), that has enabled more accurate identification of services to each household. The system went live on 1 July, alongside a more efficient round pattern of collections, that required 7000 properties to have their waste collection day changed.

Customer Experience and IT Services

The council’s website was recognised in the Sitemorse INDEX, as ranked joint second in UK local government, based on the website’s inclusiveness and being user friendly for everyone. Further improvements are being planned by our Digital Services team.

Five libraries are now operating Open+ mode, continuing the process of increasing the hours of operations of our libraries, while not increasing the costs of staffed hours at these branches.

Democratic and Registration Services

School admission appeals for the normal school admission round have all now been heard. The Panel sat for 9 days and heard 21 appeals which is 36% fewer than last year. 3 were primary appeals (0 upheld) and 18 were secondary appeals (4 upheld). All 18 of the secondary appeals were for schools or Trusts that bought into the service.

Legal Services

A new leadership structure has been created with the introduction of 2 Legal Services Manager posts covering “People” and “Place”. Two internal promotions have been made to these posts, following a recruitment process. Both have over 10 years’ experience of legal work for the council.

The council achieved DSP standard for information governance and compliance with the National Data Guardian's ten data security standards.

Property Services

The Property Services Team are now fully resourced and have integrated both the Health and Safety Team and the Facilities Team successfully within the group.

Rental performance across the investment strategy portfolio continues to deliver on target as does the overall management of the entire property portfolio. All budget areas and projects within the property services area continue to be on target and supporting the authority’s various programmes.

Budget and savings delivered for 2018/19

The approved Delivery cash budget for 2019 to 2020 was £18.950 million which included economies of £-1.123 million, pressures of £0.768 million and commitments of £-0.316 million.

Work is well underway on the 2020 to 2021 budget to include pressures, savings, and inflation to make sure of a balanced budget position.

Other areas of note and significant activity to come in the next quarter

Looking forward to quarter 3, street cleansing and grounds maintenance move into seasonal work of leaf clearance, hedge and shrub cut backs and weed removal.

Further recruitment to be undertaken in Legal Services before end of year to recruit to solicitor posts in Social Care, Education, Planning and Contracts. This will be achieved within the existing budget and will reduce agency spend.

Legal Services will begin work on demand management activity from December 2019.

Transition to new Overview and Scrutiny arrangements.

Completion of the council’s submission of council size proposals to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) in response to consultation on the first stage of LGBCE’s Electoral Review.

Delivery of the ballot for the Business Improvement District (BID) on 3 October 2019 with the announcement of the result on 1 November 2019.

Completion of the annual canvass of electors by end of November. 52,716 properties have been contacted. In November canvassers will visit households that have not responded to the initial contact or reminders. This is the last time that the canvass will be conducted in its current form as the Government’s planned reforms to improve the annual canvass should be in place ahead of the 2020 canvass.

Commencement of agreement with Surrey County Council to register births occurring in the Surrey Registration District which would normally be registered by declaration at the council's Registration Office. This represents an enhanced service for service users and some additional income.

Highlights and remedial action

Good performance

Contract Services

A new tensid street cleansing machine to operate on the town centre paved areas has been in use since the beginning of June, and there is already a significant improvement in the overall appearance of the council owned areas in the town centre.

Challenges with personnel changes and course conditions at Downshire Golf Complex have been pro-actively tackled by Everyone Active. Everyone Active’s Contract Manager is spending more time at the complex than previously.

Membership levels at Bracknell Leisure Centre continue to rise, now up to over 3,000 gym members, following completion of internal refurbishment.

Percentage of maintenance projects completed on time and on budget was 100% against a target of 100% which represents 6 of 6 projects completed both on time and on budget during this quarter.

The Lexicon Bracknell Half Marathon was delivered successfully on Sunday 12 May 2019. Just under 900 runners participated with the event starting and finishing within The Lexicon.

The Cem and Crem held their annual stakeholder’s event in June. The event provided lots of positive feedback about the new chapel and alterations to service times. It also gave stakeholders the opportunity to comment on improvements they would like us to consider for the future

Customer Experience and IT Services

The council’s website has been ranked 2nd in the country in the Sitemorse Annual Survey of Local Authority websites.

Property Services

All capital projects within the property service area are on programme, budget and time.

Areas for improvement

Customer Experience and IT Services

Customer Services has experienced a small number of incidents at Time Square where customers have behaved inappropriately. Security arrangements and the layout are being reviewed as a result.

Car parking

There is currently one outstanding recommendation from the parking audit in May 2018. This relates to the cancellations element of penalty charge notice processing within the contract. As a result of council action with the contractor continuing improvements are being seen in this area.

Environmental Services

Grounds Maintenance has some staffing issues with long term sickness and a retirement. Plans are in place to monitor and recruit where possible.

Audits and risks

During quarter 2 one audit was issued on GDPR compliance with an assurance opinion of inadequate. In addition, the follow up audit on home to school transport identified that significant issues had still not been addressed and a major recommendation was raised again.

The council’s Governance and Audit committee had requested at its meeting of the 26 June 2019 that an update be provided on the business continuity and cyber security items in the council’s Strategic Risk Register. This was presented to the committee on the 18 September, by the Executive Director, with assurance given that the risk has been correctly defined and mitigation actions were appropriate, given the impact and likelihood rates.

The Delivery risk register was reviewed by DMT on 19 September. The key changes noted in the meeting, were to changes reported to Governance and Audit committee, that brought the business continuity and cyber risks risk scores into line with the scores for these risks in the Strategic Risk Register and to extend the health and safety risk to cover council sites and managing customer interaction.