The Board considered a report that detailed Worcestershire Regulatory Services Activity and Performance Data for Quarter 2, 2017/2018. The report focused on Quarter 2 but the data enabled a comparison with previous years.
The Head of Regulatory Services, Worcestershire Regulatory Services (WRS) introduced the report and in doing highlighted that the level of work had been dealt with really well with additional agency staff brought in to help deal with the increased workload.
The Head of Regulatory Services, WRS then drew Members’ attention to some of the key points in the report, as detailed below:-
· The good weather during late May and June had created an early summer spike in nuisance issues leading to an increased workload, which continued to peak through July. The July peak exceeded the highest point in the previous two years.
· In the nuisance related area called public health a similar pattern was seen with a dip in June at the end of quarter 1, followed by a spike during July that again exceeded the high numbers in the previous two years.
Having those peaks in demand, combined with a number of complex issues that staff were dealing with from the previous year, had required additional resources. So temporary agency staff were brought in towards the end of the quarter in order to help maintain the service’s performance.
· The top 25 wards for noise showed a typical distribution with the majority being across Redditch, Wyre Forest and Worcester City.
· A spike had occurred in food safety complaints during August and this, along with the volume of work with regard to nuisance, had resulted in the service only able to undertake a limited volume of routine food hygiene inspections during quarter 2. Retaining the services of temporary agency staff for the period beyond the end of quarter 2 would enable some of the team to catch up with the routine food hygiene inspection visits.
· Air quality work continued as the service looked towards working with Worcester City Council (WCC) Members, who were appointed to the Task and Finish Group to consider how WCC could improve air quality.
The team who covered Environmental Permitting had been in dialogue with OFGEM in order to obtain details of all of the sites in Worcestershire that were being supported by the Non-domestic Renewable Heating Initiative, where biomass (wood fired) boilers were installed to provide heat, with the cost of installation and fuel being subsidised by the Government. Boilers taking funding from the scheme had been at the centre of a number of complaints in Bromsgrove and Wychavon. The team now had a list of premises and intended to review this, with a view to targeted visits to see whether a site should be operating with a permit.
· Licensing work volumes remained high. Officers had continued to engage with external partners on a range of issues. Further visits had been undertaken with the Gambling Commission. A number of spot check exercises were completed. Officers had started working with Worcester City Council (WCC), Licensing Committee Members who had been appointed to the Task and Finish Group, to develop the Council’s vision for its taxi fleet going forward.
The Licensing Team has also commenced preparations for training on Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) for the taxi trade. Firm plans were in place to pilot the training in Redditch and Worcester City, followed by a wider roll out across the county. The training would be delivered in partnership with West Mercia Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner’s preferred training provider.
· Business satisfaction remained excellent at 97.7%, satisfaction for non-business customers was slightly up at 75.6%, but still slightly below last year’s out-turn figure of 78.9%. This still reflected some of the difficult cases that the team had dealt with and were not always able to resolve.
People who found they felt better equipped to deal with their own problems in the future was slightly up on quarter 1 at 73.3%. Staff sickness for quarter 2 was up to 3.77 days per full time equivalent (FTE). Managers were seeking to address this where possible, but as highlighted in quarter 1, a number of officers had required surgery and therefore required recovery time.
· There were only three corporate complaints during quarter 1 but officers had expected to see this increase in quarters 2 and 3 due to the increased volume of work and the pressure that had created. Quarter 2 saw a further six corporate complaints which related to dog issues, delays in answering phone calls or not keeping complainants informed. Where possible steps had been taken to address some of the issues.
There were 32 compliments in quarter 1. This figure increased to 75 at the end of quarter 2, which demonstrated that staff continued to deliver good outcomes for the public.
· Income for the first six months of the year was £158,000. This was close to the target to achieve the required income for the year and equal to 5.2% of the monies paid into the service on an annual basis by partner authorities.
The Technical Services Manager, WRS, responded to specific questions with regard to; the levels of Nitrogen Dioxide which remained consistently high in the Worcester Road and Lickey End Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA’s). Members were informed that with regard to the Bromsgrove AQMA’s, a review was currently being undertaken, which would include looking at re-invigorating the Air Quality Management Group.
a) that the Activity and Performance Data report for Quarter 2, 2017/2018, as detailed at Appendices A and B to the report, be noted; and
b) that Members use the contents of the Activity and Performance Data report for Quarter 2, 2017/2018, to report the relevant information to Members at each partner authority.