Agenda item

Agenda item

Integrated Performance Report Q2

At its meeting on 15 December Cabinet will consider the Integrated Performance Report Q2. Nigel Kennedy, Head of Financial Services, and Anna Winship, Management Accountancy Manager, will be available to present the report and answer questions.

The Panel is recommended to NOTE the report, having raised any questions it may have and having AGREED any recommendations to make to Cabinet arising therefrom.



Anna Winship, Management Accountancy Manager, presented to the Panel the Cabinet Integrated Performance Report Q2, detailing the Council’s position regarding finance, performance and risk.

Financially, the General Fund was forecast to show a favourable variance of £573k. Key changes included a £470k favourable variance for Housing Services following receipt of external grant funding. Car parking income was seen to be returning and expectations were that they would rise to budgeted figures by the end of the year. However, not all parking had recovered equally, with city centre parking improving at a much faster rate than park and ride income. The Council’s claim to recoup sales, fees and charges reduced due to Covid for Q1 of the year had been submitted, totalling £1.1m, the payment of which was being awaited. The claims were being made on the same basis as previously, claims which had been paid out in full indicating a good level of confidence that the money would be received.

The Housing Revenue Account was forecast to show a small adverse variance of £29k, a figure unchanged from Q1.

Spending on the Capital Programme indicated a spend of £146m over the year, with slippage of £28m occurring in the second quarter, with the East Oxford Community Centre (decanting current tenants), Bullingdon Community Centre (surveys) and affordable housing supply (in line with the changes to the Oxfordshire Growth Deal programme) and regeneration (non-purchase of properties) being the primary causes. There was a marginal overspend of £37k. The issue of low spend at the time of year relative to the budget was addressed; £20m of loans to OCHL would be made in large chunks rather than drip fed throughout the year. Likewise, purchases from the HRA of homes worth £35m and property purchases of up to £13m for regeneration would also happen in big steps. Furthermore, issues with the QL implementation meant that some capital spend was not showing up at present. As such, the expected spend of £146m was still sound, even if the pro rata spend was lagging. The Panel expressed disappointment at the slippage of the Go Ultra Low project, in light of the Council’s climate change aspiration.

Corporate performance indicators showed 11 out of 23 indicators as green, 3 red and no amber (the remainder either being annual targets or requiring a baseline to set a KPI). The three red indicators were: council spend on local SMEs; council spend on local SMEs (excluding OCHL and ODS); and the number of people estimated to be sleeping rough.  

Three risks were identified as being red: ensuring housing delivery and supply; economic growth; and the progress towards net zero. Overall, this presented an improved set of results on the previous quarter.

In response to the report presented the Panel raised a number of questions and comments, and sought clarifications over a variety of issues. Discussion was held over the proportion of the Council’s homelessness budget the £470k grant received covered; a welcome proportion, though the total spend by the Council on homelessness services was typically around £7m per year. Further information was sought in relation to challenges of recruitment to roles within Law and Governance and it was confirmed that the Council was making progress towards making permanent appointments for a number of the key vacant positions. Another issue raised was the progress of distributing grants from central government. The Council had been relatively slow in distributing them, but this approach had been due to doing due diligence to prevent fraudulent claims, an approach which had been vindicated by the government’s concerns over fraud elsewhere in the country.

Within the HRA, slippage to energy efficiency works was highlighted and detail sought on the cause. The impact of this on the Council’s net zero plans was explored, and although there would be an impact, the value of the slippage relative to the Council’s overall 10-year budget for energy efficiency improvements to Council homes meant the impact would only be marginal.

Concerning risk, the Panel agreed that in light of the emergence of the Omicron variant, there was value in having a separate ‘Covid’ risk, rather than it being bundled into broader categories. The Head of Financial Services agreed, but felt that it would be best arranged through the Audit and Governance Committee.

Concerning performance, the fact that rough sleeping had seen a red rating for consecutive quarters was noted. It was agreed that a question as to whether enough was being done, or whether the target was actually achievable, should be put to the Housing department for comment. The other performance issue discussed was the underperformance relating to local SMEs, which was deemed partially a factor of spending profiles, but also influenced by the slow-down in business for ODS during the pandemic. It was expected that local SME spend would recover to target levels.

The Panel NOTED the report and made no recommendations to Cabinet.

Addendum to the minutes – response relating to the question over rough sleeping numbers:

The rough sleeping KPI was set as a milestone on the way to our goal of eliminating the need for anyone to rough sleep. However a single measure of this kind is not a useful way of monitoring a very complex work area, in the absence of any other measures or information.

Rough Sleeping numbers increase and decrease significantly at different times often for reasons that are beyond the council’s control. Short term changes in numbers will not lead to an immediate change in the approach to managing the situation. Plans for rough sleeping are drawn up over the longer term, and regularly reviewed to take account of new and emerging trends.

Currently the system of supported accommodation for people who are homeless is under pressure due to the need to exit from Everyone In accommodation. Some of this pressure will be relieved as we start to move people into new units of Housing First accommodation.

We are in the process of reviewing the rough sleeping KPI. Whilst its important to know the number of people rough sleeping, a potential better measure of how its being addressed might be the number of people rough sleeping without an offer of accommodation.

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