Council Performance Highlights Failure
The problem always in looking at the performance of the Council is in having to sort out the wheat from the chaff and at the same time making it relevant to the poor bloody tax payer who has to suffer the failures whilst being subjected to increased council tax bills.
The Northampton Conservatives this year have chosen to monitor and report on a total of 49 areas they consider to be Key Indicators of their success reporting under four performance definitions.
Red as you would expect are failing areas of performance,
Amber is between 65% and 85% ,
Green is success at 85% and
Blue is classed as “aren’t we fantastic” being over 85% performance.
At the risk of stating the obvious the Northampton Conservatives are claiming that with 40% Blue and 24% Green performance indicators they have delivered or are delivering the best performance ever seen by the Borough Council.
They very conveniently don’t of course mention which performance indicators are not being delivered and more importantly which of the 35% or 17 areas are failing and or importance to the taxpayer.
Performance is also measured under two headings, ‘Your Town’ and ‘You’.
In order to make this easier to understand I have divided the Performance Indicators into two groups based on what I think the majority of Northampton people would think about them being either,
“So What” or “Why Not”?
“So What” being those that you may think of as,
“What impact does that have on me and my neighbours”, and
“Why Not” in asking why aren’t the services being delivered where it is failing.
The “So What” group includes, and I apologise for the Council type language,
‘Appropriate disposals agreed at Corporate Asset Board progressed effectively’ in other words the Council have successfully decided to sell or give away an asset. Green.
‘%age of Major Planning applications determined within 13 weeks’ Blue
‘ %age of Minor Planning applications determined within 8 weeks’ Blue
‘%age of Other Planning applications determined within 8 weeks’ Blue
‘%age Licensing enforcement checks completed’ Blue
All of which I have no doubt are important to the Council but just how important are they to the Majority of taxpayers who I believe will just shrug and say “So What” isn’t that what they are paid to do?
And go on to ask “What about the services that effect all of us”?
This brings me to the “Why Not” group of indicators amongst which are,
‘Number of missed bins/boxes as a %age of those collected’ Red
‘%age of missed bins collected within 24 hours of notification’ Red
‘%age of Household waste recycled and composted’ Red
‘Average time taken to relet local authority homes (days)’ Red
‘Town Centre footfall’ Red
I should say that the Performance Assessments I quote are up to December 2013 and well see what the whole year results will be after the end of March.
But have you spotted the difference between the ‘So What’ and ‘Why Not’ performance indicators?
Put simply the services to the majority of the people, and by that I mean the Council taxpayers of Northampton, services which determine the quality of life on our estates and in our neighbourhoods such as housing and the environment are all failing to be delivered.
What is worse is that especially regarding the environment things are simply not, as the Conservatives would have us believe, improving.
If we only look at the 17 ‘Why Not’ indicators that impact on the majority of tax payers we find that 82% or 14 of them are either Red or Amber and only 3 are Green or Blue.
The problem of course is that real service delivery failures are hidden amongst the ‘successful’ performance indicators which hide the real impact on the taxpaying public.
What the most recent information demonstrates is that whatever the claims from the Northampton Conservatives their own data and evidence proves that there continues to be substantial failures to deliver services that people expect and are entitled to expect and deserve.
After all, it is what we all pay Council Tax for –