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Agenda item

Quarter Three 2018/19 Performance Management Report


The Board considered a report of the Director of Transformation and Partnerships which presented progress towards achieving the key outcomes of the council’s corporate performance framework (for copy see file of Minutes).


The Head of Strategy proceeded to report upon the key performance messages for the quarter by priority theme.


Councillor Robinson asked that congratulations be passed to those staff involved with the recent Book Festival and its success. Furthermore, he noted a new recycling facility was to open in Seaham and suggested that the Environment Committee arrange to view the facility in due course. With regard to suicide rates across the county he acknowledged the importance of this topic being closely monitored by Overview and Scrutiny.


Councillor Maddison raised a point regarding crime levels and changes to reporting of anti-social behaviour.


Returning to the issue of suicide, Councillor Shield noted the importance of determining contributing factors and how this could be linked to the suicide prevention action plan. He added that the council did have a responsibility to help identify these causes and noted that focus should be placed upon hotspot areas and the impact of austerity and welfare rights on individuals.


Councillor Crute also noted the importance of this issue and the work completed to date by the Adults Wellbeing and Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee.


Councillor Wilkes commented that although he was sympathetic to these issues he did feel that the Management Board were not able to focus on performance against the Altogether Better Council priority in enough depth, as the Board was currently receiving performance information which was already being considered by other scrutiny committees. He went on to refer to sickness absence and asked that the Board reconsider and review the recommendations of the working group as performance had not improved over a period of three years.


Councillor Crute welcomed to the meeting the Head of People and Talent Management who provided detail on sickness absence figures noting that some improvements were being seen. She noted that there were variations in the way in which authorities calculated sickness absence and commented that the council were reviewing their data. She went on to add that sickness absence remained a priority for CMT and there was a lot of good work happening to promote health and wellbeing through the occupational health service.


Councillor Wilkes in response commented that although the data suggested that the majority of absences were not work related, 58% of absence was related to musculoskeletal or mental health and this in part must be down to work.


Councillor Crute asked what comparators the council was using. The Head of People and Talent Management advised that it was known that authorities without Direct Services had much lower sickness absence figures, however comparing data in this regard was challenging.


Further to Councillor Wilkes suggestion to review the report of the former Corporate Issues Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Attendance Management, Councillor Crute agreed that a follow up report to a future committee could be carried out.


Councillor Adam referred to Altogether Greener and the target for reducing carbon emissions. The Head of Strategy commented that further detail would be added to the report to be submitted to the Environment and Sustainable Overview and Scrutiny Committee.


Further discussion ensued regarding attendance management and Councillor Tinsley in referring to a meeting of the Board held last year at Crook noted that it was reported at this time that the sector average for days lost to sickness was 6.4 per FTE, he therefore supported a benchmarking exercise with other local authorities and other public sector employers to also include age profiling.


Councillor Wilkes commented that he had on many occasions suggested that the council employ the services of an outside company to manage sickness absence, however this had always been dismissed. He asked whether this again could be reviewed. The Head of People and Talent Management advised that the council had in fact engaged with a company to discuss options in this regard however further discussions and CMT consideration was required in relation to how this would link with occupational health before any further options could be considered.


Further discussion took place regarding long term absence due to terminal illness and it was noted that in line with the ‘Dying to Work Charter’ these people were removed from sickness absence recording and offered additional employment protection.


Moving on to discuss performance in relation to suicide rates, Councillor Liddle asked whether she could have sight of the Suicide Prevention Plan. She noted that she had worked with families in her division who had been unable to detect warning signs in their loved ones and therefore queried how the council and other partner organisations felt that they could.


Councillor Martin in welcoming the new appraisal system, asked for some clarification on why data on past appraisals had been deleted from the report. The Head of Strategy advised that this had mainly been due to a change to the new system. She agreed that this information could be reinstated for future reporting purposes.



That the Board considers the overall position and direction of travel in relation to quarter three performance, and the actions being taken to address areas of underperformance.

Supporting documents:


Democratic Services
Durham County Council
County Hall
County Durham
03000 269 714