Agenda item

Quarter Two, 2023/24 Performance Management Report



The Committee received a report of the Chief Executive that presented an overview of progress towards delivery of the key priorities within the Council Plan 2023-27 in line with the council’s corporate performance framework and covered performance in and to the end of quarter two, 2023/24, July to September 2023 (for copy see file of minutes).


T Gorman, Corporate Policy and Performance Manager reviewed the key highlights of the report.  He noted that 37% of properties were now fully licensed under the selective licensing programme which continued to grow in quarter three.  Road safety had recorded seven fatalities in quarter two which was rather high which had not been seen for a number of years with each case being unique.  Domestic violence had continued on a downward trend with fewer incidents being reported to the police but more victims being referred to Harbour.  It was thought that it took victims about four years before they thought the threat levels were serious enough to report.  Crime levels had decreased during the pandemic but were now on the rise with shoplifting on the increase. Upon police analysis this was happening due to the pressures of the cost of living, vulnerable adults that were dependant on drugs and organised criminality (not to be mistaken with organised crime) stealing certain items to order. Figures for anti-social behaviour had also decreased.


Mr D Balls asked if there were any enforcement remedies to tackle flyposting as he saw many posters that promoted events that remained well after the events were over.


The Corporate Policy and Performance Manager advised that any reports of flyposting to the Council were investigated.  Many had contact details that were used to ask the perpetrator to remove their signs.


Mr D Balls thanked the Corporate Policy and Performance Manager for including the glossary to the report which he had found very helpful.


The Corporate Policy and Performance Manager advised that the suggestion of a glossary had been highlighted to the service to include in the report to ensure lay members who were not familiar with service had clarity on certain terminologies that were used.


Mr D Balls queried if there was an issue with selective licensing as it stated in the report that only 37% of providers had registered since the programme had commenced.


The Corporate Policy and Performance Manager replied that there was no doubt a peak in performance measured but the programme was still ongoing and numbers had grown in quarter three. He recalled that Members had been given a session on selective licensing previously that had given a more thorough update.


Councillor P Heaviside reiterated that there seemed to be ongoing issues with the selective licensing programme as it had been difficult to identify properties that should be registered under the scheme.  He felt that the committee should revisit the project for a further update as it had now been running for two years.  This was a source of income for the Council and to not be more inclusive of properties was not acceptable.


The Corporate Policy and Performance Manager explained that an exercise had taken place to identify properties that were privately rented that would require a licence but investigations had found that the properties were not privately rented. He advised that this was being addressed again to refresh numbers to look at those that should be licensed but were not.  He added that the scheme did not generate revenue as money generated was used to fund the scheme to enable enforcement action to be taken to bring private properties up to liveable standards. He noted that in quarter three there were 50% of properties registered and work was still ongoing.


S Gwillym reminded members that there was to be a special Economy and Enterprise Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 22 April 2024 that would be discussing selective licensing.  He would ensure an invitation was extended to members of the Safer and Stronger Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee.


Councillor R Potts referred to the increase in crime within the report with 89% shop lifting offences that were not attended to by the police.  He was concerned that if police did not attend it would not give repeat offenders who hit the same shops time and time again any incentive to stop. 


The Corporate Policy and Performance Manager could not speak on behalf of the police on any changes to their policies.  He advised that Trading Standards and other organisations did work alongside the police to prevent crime.  He agreed to ask the police what policies they had changed and provide an update at a next meeting.


Councillor R Potts was glad to see that domestic violence had decreased but queried if this was due to the lack of reporting.  He had seen in the HMIC inspection that domestic violence in Durham had been highlighted as being the worst in England and Wales and wanted more victims to come forward as there was a need to stop it.  There was a need for more links to be made between Harbour and the police.


The Corporate Policy and Performance Manager advised that domestic abuse and sexual violence was now part of community safety.  He informed Members that Harbour, the police and other agencies did work together to provide support and advice to victims.  He was not aware that figures for domestic violence in Durham were the worst in England and Wales and agreed to look into what was being done to bring numbers down.


Councillor J Miller referred to anti-social behaviour within the report as the biggest case load but figures being smaller than 28.2% in 2023.  He queried what the previous percentage was for comparison.  It was reported in the top three problems that the public had no confidence in the local authority or police to report such matters and queried what could be done to change this.


The Corporate Policy and Performance Manager agreed that the public had little confidence in the police which had also been low in the past but had not featured as the top three.  He agreed to contact the police to see what they were working on to try to improve this.  He was aware that research was being carried out with Durham University around performance and lack of confidence that was based on people’s perceptions of the attitudes of officers.  People thought that if they dealt with one grumpy officer then every officer within the whole organisation was the same.  The police had lost favour but attending events and dealing with crowds was meant to improve matters.


Councillor R Potts noted that the reduction in anti-social behaviour was down to it now being recorded as harassment and not a crime.


The Corporate Policy and Performance Manager confirmed that anti-social behaviour now fell in with harassment of a person when being recorded. He noted that figures were small and would not influence the reported figures.


Councillor P Atkinson commented that it was great having officers on board to look at selective licensing.  He stated that an anti-social behaviour officer had attended a PACT meeting in Ferryhill and had engaged well with residents.  He expressed concern about the amount of work the neighbourhood warden had to do in Ferryhill which seemed to be overwhelming for just one warden.  He queried if this could be addressed.


The Corporate Policy and Performance Manager noted that wardens did cover each other’s areas to cover holiday or sickness.  He agreed to find out how the service managed the resources across the number of areas.




That the overall position and direction of travel in relation to quarter two performance, and the actions being taken to address areas of challenge be noted.


Supporting documents: