The Board considered a report which detailed the Worcestershire Regulatory Services Annual Report 2015 / 2016.
The Head of Regulatory Services informed the Board that under the Worcestershire Shared Services Partnership Service Level Agreement (SLA) the Board was required to receive the annual report at its annual meeting. The report covered the performance of the service for the period 1st April 2015 to 31st March 2016.
The Head of Regulatory Services further informed Members that the report detailed both Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and highlights of activity, with a short summary activity report, as detailed at Appendix 5 to the report. The following areas were also included in the annual report:-
· A summary of the financial position.
· Key achievements.
· Issues relating to human resources.
· Risk management and equalities.
The Head of Regulatory Services highlighted that key performance measures continued to focus on customer satisfaction and the positive compliance of businesses. The vast majority of higher risk businesses had been subject to inspection or some other form of suitable intervention and the key priorities of each partner authority had been fulfilled.
In response to questions from Members, the Head of Regulatory Services informed the Board that the touch down points retained at each of the partner authorities had provided an excellent venue for licensing surgeries and these had been welcomed by the taxi trade. The move to Wyre Forest had also enabled staff to strike a better work/life balance which was essential for good morale.
Sickness absence levels were running at 2.3 days per Full Time Employee (FTE). This continued the downward trend seen previously, but with levels this low, the focus would be on maintaining these levels. The figures so far would suggest that WRS had a fairly resilient staff cohort and that managers were doing their best to support staff and deal with any issues.
The Head of Regulatory Services further responded to Members with regard to the performance commentary provided. He explained to the Board that a more detailed register was kept on compliments and complaints, but Members had never requested that detailed information be presented to a meeting of the Board.
With regard to the number of non-business customers (over 250) and businesses (over 550) who replied to the questionnaires sent out by WRS, non-responses were not followed up. A significant number of questionnaires were posted out, the figure being higher than the number of questionnaires returned. It would be extremely resource intensive to follow up non-responses. Any negative responses received were followed up by the management team. Email addresses were not requested from non-business customers but officers were now recording business customers email addresses.
In respect of domestic nuisance, a self-help package had been developed to encourage customers away from the traditional ‘one size fits all’ direct intervention route which was adopted in all cases. Self-help tools were introduced to help customers to try and resolve their own problems informally and amicably in the first instance without the immediate escalation to formal Environmental Health intervention. Very few complaints ever reached the stage of being classed as a statutory nuisance whereby an abatement notice would be issued. The team were working on the IT system to develop measures to assess the effectiveness of this approach.
The Executive Director, Finance and Corporate Resources, Bromsgrove District Council (BDC) responded to questions from Members and informed the Board that with regard to the questions raised on the financial information included in the annual report, further detailed information was provided at Agenda Item 9, Worcestershire Regulatory Services Revenue Monitoring April to March 2016 and the Annual Return. The specific questions raised by Members would be covered in more detail during this agenda item. The Executive Director, Finance and Corporate Resources, BDC, agreed that detailed financial information should have been included in the annual report.
The Chairman thanked officers for an excellent report.
(a) that the Worcestershire Regulatory Services Annual Report 2015/2016 be noted; and
(b) that a copy of the Worcestershire Regulatory Services Annual Report 2015/2016 be forwarded to the Chief Executive, Managing Director and Members of each partner authority and Worcestershire County Council.