The Cabinet considered a report of the Corporate Director of Resources that provided an overview of progress towards achieving the key outcomes of the council’s corporate performance framework and highlighted key messages to inform strategic priorities and work programmes, in and to the end of quarter one 2022/23, April to June 2022 (for copy of report, see file of minutes)
In presenting the report the Corporate Director of Resources informed Cabinet that the recovery from the pandemic was still ongoing and the impacts of COVID-19 could still be seen in performance reporting. The last two financial years were not representative for many areas of performance and would be an unfair comparison due to pandemic impacts.
The Leader of the Council thanked the Corporate Director for the detailed and comprehensive update provided and welcomed the new style and format of the report which was clearer and allowed the Council to focus on key areas. In terms of areas performing well, the Leader was pleased that unemployment had continued to fall represented by sustained reductions in the number of people claiming unemployment benefits. Business Durham’s property rental portfolio was 97% occupied. The visitor economy had continued to grow post-pandemic. Air quality in Durham City had improved. Cleanliness surveys had approved across the board. The Council had adopted a second Climate Energy Reduction Plan and were working towards a 2045 net zero target. Gym and swim memberships had increased, and the Council had recently welcomed 61 new apprentices.
There were, however, areas requiring attention, where action was taking place and would continue to be taken. The impact of inflationary pressures and the cost of living had increased demand for welfare assistance, discretionary housing payments and home energy/fuel debt. The quantity of waste collected was 8% higher than pre-pandemic levels, however, it was encouraging to see the percentage of recycling contamination decreasing and the Leader thanked the workforce for their hard work on improving performance in this area. Staff turnover rates had increased as had sickness absence per FTE which had returned to pre-pandemic levels once Covid 19 related absences had been excluded. Absences linked to mental health and fatigue were higher than pre-pandemic levels.
That the report be noted.