Service Performance Report 2022-23 Quarter Three
- Meeting of Finance and Management Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Wednesday, 12th April, 2023 2.00 pm (Item 50.)
This report provides details of the Council’s operational performance at the end of 2022-23 Quarter Three (Q3)
That the 2022/23 Q3 service performance be noted
The Chair stated that whilst no officers were available to present the Service Performance Q3 Report, both the Chief Accountant and the Executive Finance Director for Publica were in attendance, and would answer any questions raised by the Committee.
The Chair enquired if that despite Quarter 4 of 2022/23 having come to an end, if it were possible in future to have the Q4 report by the end of the municipal year.
The Chief Accountant and Executive Finance Director both explained that the Easter break had occurred after the end of the last quarter and that it had not helped matters, although due the enormity of the data that is involved presently, it is not possible, and usually takes a month to explore the data and review the data narrative. It was also highlighted that there was a desire to improve on data collection, and to improve time mechanisms to the reporting.
Councillor Ruth Smith drew the Committee’s attention to section 3.9 of the agenda report regarding Housing, and asked what option would be best for West Oxfordshire District Council (WODC).
The Chief Accountant explained that the Council had received £250,000 less in government grants, and that it would be similar for the coming financial year, making decision making difficult. If a building was found it would require capital plus, refurbishment and ongoing costs. The Council had done this successfully before with the Horsefair building, but it was a risk as Horsefair was to resolve the emergency housing issue. More options were needed, but would this be long-term issue.
Another solution would be to focus and invest in a ‘move on’ programme, and not keep people in emergency accommodation, especially families that need stability.
The issue is not solvable instantly. The Government added a mandate during Covid-19, which expanded the category of homelessness but was not fully offset by subsidy grants. Putting people into hotels was not sustainable as properties aren’t owned.
Councillor Maynard requested clarity on ownership. The Chief Accountant confirmed that if the Council did not own the property then the Council could not recover housing benefit subsidy. Councillor Maynard suggested if the Council invested in an extra ten beds internally, that may be a better solution. The Chief Accountant advised that if the Council bought an asset that was designed to be used daily, then Cottsway Housing Association would work with the Council to try and bridge the subsidy gap .
The Chair enquired if a business case could be developed to look at a property solution. The Executive Finance Director stated that the key problem was finding a suitable property. The Chief Accountant explained that options were being reviewed, especially regarding family accommodation. In some cases, a solution would be to pay off rent arears and make repayment plans, giving families stability. However it was stated that this was not an option to resolve all, but one that could be applied. Councillor Julian Cooper asked if the Council worked with local town councils to see if they had properties vacant.
The Executive Finance Director informed the Committee that on the Executive Agenda for 19 April 2023, the Consideration of Local Authority Housing Fund Application would be considered, with a purpose to confirm the preferred method of delivery of up to sixteen new affordable homes utilising the Local Authority Housing Fund Allocation previously approved by the Executive on 8 February 2023. The Chair concluded that the Committee would like to be kept informed on progress, and requested a financial update on the Local Authority Housing Fund Allocation issue in 6 months, and that it be added to the Committee Work Programme.
Councillor Maynard asked for clarity of the bar chart titled WODC Financial Performance Summary, and if there could there be a ‘post 6 months’ column. The Chief Accountant explained that these were summaries lifted from the Financial Performance Reports Q3 which had the full detail and was part of the February Agenda.
The Chair stated the figures on the Write Off Table on page 26 looked high. The Executive Finance Director concurred that some businesses that had ceased trading were still in receipt of services from Ubico. The Assistant Director – Commercial Development would be able to inform the Committee of the current situation, and be invited to the next meeting.
Committee Resolved to:
- Invite the Executive Finance Director to the Committee in six months, for a update on the Local Authority Housing Fund Allocation;
- Invite The Assistant Director – Commercial Development to the next Committee meeting for an update on the Ubico Write Off Table reported in the Service Performance Report Quarter Three;
- Note the Service Performance Report 2022 -23 Quarter Three.
- 2022-23 Q3 Performance Monitoring v3, item 50. PDF 151 KB
- Annex A Service dashes 2022-23 Q3 v3, item 50. PDF 2 MB