Agenda item

Activity & Performance Data, Quarters 1, 2 and 3


The Committee considered a report that covered both district and county functionality and the wide range of each local authorities corporate priorities to which regulatory services contributed.  The report detailed Worcestershire Regulatory Services Activity Data for Quarters 1, 2 and 3, 2015/2016.


The Head of WRS introduced the report and in doing so informed Members that, with regard to district functions, licensing and environmental nuisance continued to make the most impact in terms of demand which was understandable given their direct impact on the public.  As shown in previous reports these type of complaints, especially noise, were seasonal due to outdoor events.  You would normally expect to see a spike in the figures for quarter two, but this was not the case for this year, although the number of noise complaints was still significant. 


Quarter three was another quiet quarter for nuisance activity, with the levels recorded lower than in the same quarters in the previous two years.  WRS were struggling to explain these variations, especially since it was a relatively warm period in autumn and early winter.


As detailed in previous reports, as part of the efficiency saving for all partner authorities, WRS had introduced the kind of self-help regimes that had been in place in Worcester City and Wyre Forest for some time.  Previous experience would suggest that it could take between six to twelve months before the impact of such measures would be seen in the figures.  Therefore it was unlikely that anything introduced in April 2015 would feed through so quickly.  WRS would have to wait until next summer to see if the changes had been genuinely embedded.


Health and Safety showed another increase over the last quarter and for the same quarter last year, putting increased demands on the team not only because of the numbers but also the complexity and seriousness of a small number of cases under investigation, which included two on-going fatality investigations.


In quarter three just over 300 food hygiene inspections were carried out.  The food hygiene inspection programme was on or ahead of schedule in all areas.


Planning consultations continued to make large demands in terms of numbers and complexity on the team.  The request to discharge conditions based on WRS input had significantly increased, reflecting the cycle of the planning process.  Request to discharge tended to be more time consuming and technical.


The Technical Services team had taken the lead to liaise with Network Rail and its contractors over essential maintenance work carried out over the Christmas period in the vicinity of Bromsgrove Railway Station.  WRS officers worked with Network Rail managers to agree measures to ameliorate the noise issues and also provided support to Network Rail in its work with the local community.


Trading Standards service requests were holding steady compared with the previous two quarters but slightly down compared to the same quarter last year.


The top three complaint categories were second hand cars, building work and clothing.


Activity continued to be focussed on rogue traders who targeted vulnerable people, consumer products that were dangerous and could cause people harm and traders with a large number of complaints against them.  WRS had engaged with Worcestershire Safeguarding Adults to look at ways of working together to help protect vulnerable people.


Performance overall was comparable and in some areas had improved over the previous year.  WRS would continue to work together to ensure this was reflected at the year end.


The Head of WRS drew Members’ attention to pages 83 and 84 in the report, Items of interest.


The Head of WRS clarified that, Noise – domestic, as shown in the report, was usually due to people’s behaviour, e.g. loud music and people arguing.  Very few complaints ever reached the stage of being classed as a statutory nuisance whereby an abatement notice would be issued.  These type of complaints usually involved using intelligence data as to how best to deal with these situations and mediation to try and resolve the issues.


The Head of WRS responded to Member’s questions with regard to Worcestershire County Council’s (WCC) activity and performance data being included at future Joint Committee meetings.  Members were informed that the data would still be collated but not reported to future Joint Committee meetings, as WCC would no longer be part of the partnership.  WRS would liaise with the Portfolio Holder at WCC with regard to their activity and performance data.     


Councillor L. Hodgson, WCC, expressed her concerns that WCC would not have the opportunity to comment on any activity and performance data presented to the Joint Committee, as there would be no representatives from WCC at future Joint Committee meetings.  The Overview and Scrutiny process at WCC would be used to monitor their activity and performance data. 


The Chairman expressed her thanks to officers.


RESOLVED that the Activity Data Report for Quarters 1, 2 and 3, 2015/2016, be noted.

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