The Technical Services Manager, WRS, presented the Activity and Performance Data Quarter 3 report and in doing so stated that the usual format had been used detailing the service workload and demand, whilst also providing individual partner authorities detailed activity report information.
A peak in food complaints and enquiries in August followed the pattern of the previous year and, like other areas, dropped significantly in September. These falls enabled staff to catch up with the proactive food inspections so more of these were conducted in Quarter 3 this year than in previous years. This helped to demonstrate how the service responded flexibly with their resources and also highlighted that when resources were tight, proactive activities took a back seat.
Licensing requests and applications remained on trend along with information requests. However, having seen a significant peak during the summer months, planning requests showed another significant peak during the mid-late autumn, making it a very busy period for the Technical Services team, at a time when they were also trying to finalise some important Primary Authority arrangements.
Sickness figures increased slightly to 3.26 days per full time equivalent (FTE), which was 0.5 days per FTE more than at the end of Quarter 2. Hence the service remained on target for significantly better figures than last year and hopefully below the level in 2016/2017.
In terms of the cumulative performance measures, business satisfaction was up slightly again to 96.1% so heading back towards where the service was historically. Broadly compliant food businesses remained around the 98% mark (97.7%), which continued to demonstrate that food businesses across the county were well run.
Overall customer satisfaction (non-business customers) remained at 61% at the end of December. The proportion who felt better equipped to deal with problems in the future had improved to 56% at the end of September to 59% at the end of December.
Members were asked to note the typographical error on page 44 of the main agenda pack. The last paragraph should read “78 compliments had been received against 23 complaints, a similar ratio to previous years in spite of the dip in customer satisfaction”.
Following the presentation of the report and in response to questions from Members, the Head of Regulatory Services agreed to the following:
· Future Reports - Appendix B (to the report) would include the Outturn figures for the previous year.
· In order to provide some clarity, the new Technical Officer would look at the ratio of complaints and the number of residents per ward area and would include this information in future reports.
The Licensing and Support Services Manager, WRS, informed Members that the scheduled Child Sex Exploitation (CSE) training had been carried out at all six partner authorities, with additional sessions to be provided for those drivers who had not managed to get booked on the course during 2018. Additional sessions had already been delivered at Redditch Borough Council during January 2019. Officers were looking at the possibility of a new policy making CSE training mandatory.
The Licensing and Support Services Manager, WRS, further informed Members that the Department for Transport had recently launched a consultation on some new statutory guidance that it intended to publish for taxi and private hire licensing authorities on how to use their licensing powers to protect children and vulnerable adults.
The draft statutory guidance included guidance to licensing authorities on the approach they should adopt with applications from those with previous criminal convictions. Licensing authorities would have a legal obligation to have regard to the Department for Transport statutory guidance once it had been consulted upon and published.
This new guidance also included information of cross border working and the potential for national standards to be adopted.
The consultation would close on 22nd April 2019.
With the agreement of the Chairman, the Head of Regulatory Services commented that the recent press and news coverage of the Department for Transport Department launch of the consultation on new statutory guidance had been very negative. It gave the impression that licensing authorities issued hackney carriage and private hire driver licenses haphazardly. It was not made evidently clear that licensing authorities required applicants to provide an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.
Members were reassured that WRS worked with a number of agencies and relevant links where the consultation and subsequent responses to the consultation would be discussed. The Chief Executive, Wyre Forest District Council had volunteered to be the lead on this on the District Councils Networks response to the consultation.
The Licensing and Support Services Manager, WRS, further reassured Members that Licensing Committee Chair’s at each partner authority would be contacted to discuss the Department for Transport Department new statutory guidance consultation.
RESOLVED that the Activity and Performance Data Quarter 3 report be noted.