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Agenda item

Quarter Three 2018/19 Performance Management Report

Report of the Director of Transformation and Partnerships – Strategy Team Leader, Transformation and Partnerships.


The Chairman thanked the Strategy Team Leader, Gemma Wilkinson who was in attendance to speak to Members in relation to the Quarter Three, 2018/19 Performance Management Report (for copy see file of minutes).


The Strategy Team Leader reminded Members of the different types of indicators reported, Tracker indicators and Target indicators and the performance reporting arrangements for 2018/19 were via a number of key performance questions (KPQs), aligned to the “Altogether” framework of six priority themes.  It was added that currently there was a review in terms of the County Durham Vision and this would be reflected in future performance reporting.


Councillors noted the five area of focus for “Altogether Wealthier” were: do residents have good job prospects; is County Durham a good place to do business; do residents have access to decent and affordable housing; is it easy to travel around the County; and how well do tourism and culture events contribute to our local economy.  Members noted infographics relating to performance under each of those areas.


In relation to “do residents have good job prospects” it was noted that there were some positives, with the employment rate for the working age population having increased.  It was added that the sample size was small, and the increase was within confidence intervals and therefore this would be clearer from the next set of data in April.  The Strategy Team Leader referred Members to a breakdown of the employment statistics set out within the infographic, highlighting the largest gap against national figures related to the employment rate for those with an Equality Act core or work limiting disability.   Members noted information relating to several employment support programmes, including the Wheels to Work (W2W) scheme, with work ongoing to look to extend this beyond the current end date of June 2019.


The Chairman noted the involvement of the AAPs in this scheme across five areas and the intention to roll out countywide.


The Strategy Team Leader noted in terms of County Durham a good place to do business there had been an increase in the Gross Valued Added (GVA) per filled job, at a rate greater than the national rate. 


It was added that the GVA per filled job figure for the county however was still less than regional and England figures. 

Councillors noted the activities of Business Durham included: over 300 jobs at the former Walkers site at Peterlee; £17 million of inward investment value; £6 million of ERDF grant approved; and ongoing activities such as the Future Business Magnates (FBM), Powered by People and Incubator Event at the end of Quarter Three.


It was explained that in relation to access to decent and affordable housing there had been a slight decrease in figures, however, there had been an expectation of an increase due in part to the new duty in relation to the Homelessness Reduction Act.  Members noted the work in terms of housing delivery and completion of properties and work of the Chapter Homes and Council Partners in delivering housing to the market.


The Strategy Team Leader explained in terms of it being easy to travel around the County, the progress and projected figures relating to Horden Rail Station and as regards the Council’s Cycling and Walking Delivery Plan 2019-29, having been approved by Cabinet.


The Strategy Team Leader noted the previous presentation and how this related to how well tourism and cultural event contribute to our local economy.  She explained as regards the major refurbishment of Binchester Roman Fort, cycling events in the County, as well as the Brass and Book Festivals that had taken place in 2018.  Members noted the high return upon investment those activities generated.


The Chairman thanked the Strategy Team Leader and asked Members for their comments and questions on the performance report.


Councillor J Atkinson asked as regards employment, noting in his Division there was large trading estates and asked what work was undertaken to help young people to be ready for work, to ensure they can sustain in the job and not being a cost to local employers.  He added that there were issues in terms of both being fit for work and being employable.  The Strategy Team Leader noted schemes under the DurhamWorks programme, some of which helped to get young people employment ready.  She added that DurhamWorks would look to support young people into employment where appropriate.


Councillor D Hall asked as regards public transport, it not appearing to have been mentioned within question four “how easy was it to travel around the County” and asked as regards Indicators 18, 19 and 20 relating to percentage of A, B and C, and unclassified roads where maintenance was recommended, who decides where maintenance is required  and how is it decided, and what was Members’ involvement.  The Strategy Team Leader explained that there was passenger transport information that could be included for Members information.  She added that in terms of roads maintenance this was a new indicator and noted surveys of the road network were conducted and she would seek details for Members as regards this. 

Councillor E Adam noted that there had been an item at a recent Special Environment and Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee relating to road condition surveys and added that Economy and Enterprise Overview and Scrutiny Members had been invited to the meeting.


Councillor S Dunn noted statistics on pages 76 of the report relating to employment rate and asked how many of those within the 74.4 percent employment rate were in full-time employment.  He added that, in order to have a true picture, it was necessary to understand this and how many people were working multiple part-time jobs, asking whether the 74.4 percent could be artificially high.  He noted that the trend for GVA from 2009 to 2017, an increase, though noted the gap between the County and national figures had increased and asked if this was a reflection of the numbers of people struggling on a number of lower paid part-time jobs.  He asked if that question was put within surveys, whether individuals worked full-time or a number of part-time positions.  The Strategy Team Leader noted that within the County there was a split of 28 percent part-time employment and 72 percent full-time.  She added she would look into how this was arrived at, and whether multiple part-time jobs were recorded.  Councillor S Dunn noted in his Divisions that 60% of people worked part-time, that being between 16 and 37 hours per week, he noted that the definition of “part-time” was important in being able to understand the actual picture, with in general a full-time position being more economically stable.


Councillor R Crute noted that he felt that it was clear there was an element in terms of the employment figures being somewhat artificial and that by looking at the GVA figures you could see that the increased employment rate was not feeding through to leave households with more disposable income.  He added that he felt the number of empty properties being brought back into use being below target should have been indicated in red to denote this.  Officers noted they would look into the latter point.


Councillor E Adam noted the issues raised by Councillors S Dunn and R Crute and agreed that looking at the 28/72 split in part-time to full-time employment did not seem to match with the GVA figures reported.  He noted the work of VCD as regards the numbers of jobs created, however, felt that many of those would be part-time or lower paid.  He asked whether the part-time employment percentage had increased over the last quarter or 12 months.  The Strategy Team Leader noted she would look to find out as regards the percentage of part-time employment quarter to quarter.


Councillor P Howell complimented the Strategy Team Leader on the report style, noting it was very clear and helpful.  He too noted the issues raised by Councillor S Dunn and felt it was important to be able to have that information to be able to understand the situation, were two or three part-time jobs reported as full-time equivalent, was it an issue of how the data was presented.


Councillor S Dunn noted the points raised by fellow Councillors were correct and highlighted the additional information available via the link within the report was useful and the point made by Councillor E Adam was important in being able to understand a return on investment, noting the successes in terms of our tourism activities and Durham University.  He added that those had a seasonal aspect and therefore there should perhaps be a focus on alternatives outside of main holiday seasons and term-time.




That the report be noted.

Supporting documents:


Democratic Services
Durham County Council
County Hall
County Durham
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