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Agenda item

Quarter Three 2018/19 Performance Report

Report of the Director of Transformation and Partnerships.


The Chairman introduced the Corporate Scrutiny and Performance Manager, Tom Gorman who was in attendance to speak to Members in relation to the Quarter Three 2018/19 Performance Management Report for the Altogether Safer theme (for copy see file of minutes).


The Corporate Scrutiny and Performance Manager noted that the information within the performance report would be useful to Members in terms of identifying potential future review activity and items for the Committee work programme.  He referred Members to the report, with the key performance indicators (KPIs) being set out against the key performance questions (KPQs): how effective are we at tackling crime and disorder; how effective are we at tackling anti-social behaviour; how well do we reduce misuse of drugs and alcohol; how well do we tackle abuse of vulnerable people, including domestic abuse, child sexual exploitation and radicalisation; and how do we keep our environment safe, including roads and waterways.


It was noted that the key performance issues in terms of crime and disorder, with an increase in the crime rate (reported), reminding Members of the workshop session on Recorded Crime that had taken place, led by Chief Superintendent A Green.  The Corporate Scrutiny and Performance Manager noted that the numbers appeared to be settling down, though as reported at Quarter 2, violence against the person had shown an increase, adding that a number had been without injury or had been harassment. 

It was added that there had been an increase in shoplifting in particular areas, and that this had been an area that Members had asked if any there was any links to the roll out of Universal Credit (UC).  The Corporate Scrutiny and Performance Manager noted that this information was still being assessed, with early indications being inconclusive.  Members noted that the Police and Local Council anti-social behaviour confidence indicator had fallen, with a statistically significant decrease, though within the confidence level.  The Corporate Scrutiny and Performance Manager added that he and the Overview and Scrutiny Officer had attended a Safer Durham Partnership joint tasking group that was looking at the issue and would report back to the Committee at a future meeting.


The Corporate Scrutiny and Performance Manager reiterated the improvement in terms of the  Drug and Alcohol Recovery Service, with completion rates for alcohol and non-opiates now better than target, albeit less than the national average.  He added that the completion rate in relation to opiates was below target, though was improving and approaching target.  Members were informed that a recent Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection the Council’s provider in this regard, Centre for Change, now operating as HumanKind, had received an overall rating of “requires improvement”.  It was noted that an action plan had been developed and progress against this may be an area that the Committee would wish to look at in the future.


Councillors noted information relating to the vulnerable people, with an increase in domestic violence year-on-year, though it was noted that increase confidence in reporting was a factor.  It was added that in respect to the statistics relating to a safe environment, which included the numbers of those killed or serious injured (KSIs), showing a slight improvement year on year and with afavourable long-term trend.  The Corporate Scrutiny and Performance Manager reminded the Committee of the ongoing work of the Overview and Scrutiny Officer in terms of the Working Group that would look at the topic of road safety and the recent meeting where the Strategic Traffic Manager, Dave Wafer had attended to provide an update for Members.


The Chairman thanked the Corporate Scrutiny and Performance Manager and noted the information as regards the CQC inspection of the Drug and Alcohol Service provider.  He added that this should be taken in the context of issues, such as Public Health cuts, however, it would be an area the Committee would need to monitor. 


The Chairman referred to a recent television programme highlighting issues following the roll-out of Universal Credit (UC)  at Hartlepool and the issues faced by people in the town.  He added that he could not see there not being a link to the problems faced and the roll-out of UC.


The Chairman asked Members for their comments and questions.


Councillor R Crute noted that Indicator 95, as set out in the table on page 66 of the agenda pack, was how the Police and Local Council were perceived to be dealing with crime issues.  He noted that it was a tracker indicator and also had issues in terms of data lag.  He asked what the Council could do to influence the indicator and how much context those individuals completing the survey had, namely in terms of demands upon the Police and Local Authorities, and what issues did fall under the remit of the Council such as selective licensing, private sector housing and how we could inform in terms of this, in the context of austerity and funding cuts. 


Chief Superintendent A Green noted that when the public perception of the actions of the Police alone was asked, not including Local Authorities, then the result was far higher.  He noted that it was important to try to understand why this was and it was an area being looked at by a joint tasking group.  Chief Superintendent A Green added that it may be due to the “softer” nature of the issues the Council was responsible for, long-term and complex and often dealt with in partnership which could perhaps could be perceived as being acted upon slowly, or it could be as a result of wider issues as suggested by Members, such as UC or Brexit.  The Overview and Scrutiny Officer noted that the joint tasking group were researching the issue and he would bring back further information in due course and feed into the work programme. 


The Corporate Scrutiny and Performance Manager noted that the confidence levels in the work of the Police had not always been so high and that the Police had undertaken a lot of work to try to understand this, with help from Durham University looking at three areas: performance; police behaviours and values; and communications and education activities.  He added that this was an area the joint tasking group would look at relative to the partnership arrangements in place.  The Chairman noted that there were areas elsewhere in the country where Police Forces were not perceived as highly as Durham Constabulary and he added he felt this was attributable to the emphasis that the Chief Constable, Mike Barton had placed on Neighbourhood Policing and this was reflected in all his interactions with Police Officers and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs).


Councillor B Avery noted he was very happy with the local Police in his area, Ferryhill, with mention of the excellent work of Inspector Warren Edwards, Neighbourhood Inspector for Spennymoor.  He added that there had been a number of thefts from the local supermarket and while he had met with their staff, he asked what influence the Council could have as regards the issue.  The Chairman noted that the particular store layout was likely determined corporately.  Chief Superintendent A Green noted that some supermarkets had decided in terms of the cost of the the loss in terms of stock weighed up against the increase in sales by having promotions and items close to the entrance of stores.  He added that in Durham City and Darlington, a reduction in the numbers of people begging within those centres was contrasted by an increase in shoplifting.  Chief Superintendent A Green noted a link to UC in terms of the types of items being stolen, for example sanity products, and issues such as “sofa-surfing” and homelessness. 


Councillor J Nicholson noted there had been a large increase in the use of foodbanks when comparing 2017 to 2018 and that speaking to her local Foodbank and the Local Inspector there had been an increase in shoplifting, noting that the Inspector at Stanley had foodbank vouchers and used these to help vulnerable people. 


Councillor C Hampson noted help available in her area, at PACT House, not a regular foodbank, though it gave out hundreds of food parcels each week.  The Chairman noted the good work of those organisations helping the most vulnerable in our communities.


Councillor J Considine referred to the information relating to domestic violence and asked if mental health was also an issue.  She noted that the impact on the children in our county was highlighted at the Corporate Parenting Panel and the Children and Young People’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee, with the statistics from the provider of support services, Harbour being encouraging.  The Corporate Scrutiny and Performance Manager noted there had not been changes in definition and would speak to the provider as regards their statistics.




That the report be noted.


Supporting documents:


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