Agenda item



The Committee considered the Environment Departmental Draft Business Plan 2021/22 in relation to those services falling within its remit as follows:


  • Highways and Transport
  • Waste and Environmental Services
  • Business Improvement


The Executive Board Member for Environment presented the report and explained that the Business Plan provided a summary of the key actions and measures required to support the delivery of the Corporate Strategy and the Council’s Well-being Objectives and was supported by detailed divisional plans subject to regular review.


It was reported that due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic the plan was an abbreviated plan, as it would usually include a review section, which was covered in the Service COVID-19 Impact Assessments previously submitted to this Scrutiny.


The following issues/questions were raised on the report:


·       Clarification was sought on actions and what success would look like.  It was asked about the key actions and how the measures that attribute the actions linked? 


The Director of Environment explained that this year, the business plans were presented in a different manner due to the pandemic.  The consequence of the pandemic impacted on the normal timing of the development of Business Plans as officers were required to concentrate on responding to the pandemic.  Therefore, a corporate decision was taken to present the tabulated version of the plan which was different to the what the Committee had received in previous years which included the narrative to provide the background to the key action.


In addition, the Director of Environment explained the purpose of Business Plans in that the business plans enabled departments to identify the areas of work it would continue to carry out, the importance of this was to ensure that in the event of efficiency savings the plan would explain how services would continue to be delivered.  In addition, the plans were utilised as a platform to set out aspirations and explore new avenues.


·       In response to a comment raised implying that the Business Plan was very generic and more details on timescales would be beneficial, the Director of Environment emphasised that the 2021/22 Business Plan had been developed in a summary format and should the Committee have general feedback on the way that the Business Plans had been written, further discussions would be necessary.  The Director of Environment stated that she welcomed the Committees views in relation to the development of future business plans, however in reference to this plan, it would be beneficial to receive information on which actions the Committee would like to receive more detail on.  The Head of Highways and Transportation provided the Committee with verbal update in relation to the developments to the Transport sector.


·       In light of the comments raised regarding the content of the business plans, the Head of Homes & Safer Communities stated that Departmental Business Plans were high level and were backed up by Divisional Business Plans which provide more detail.  However, he had noted the comments and would consider the actions further ensuring that each has a corresponding measure in order to assess the impact of an action.


·       Reference was made to the measures within the Business Plan.  It was identified that the measures used percentages throughout the plan and was commented that percentages as a measure does not always provide the true story.  It was asked if it was possible to change percentages to numbers.  The Director of Environment stated that the measures were expressed corporately using percentages, however acknowledged that it was important to also understand the numbers and agreed that percentages could portray a different picture in relation to low numbers.  In order to provide greater clarity, the Director of Environment stated that she would feed this point back to the performance team to enquire if there was a way to express results using numbers in addition to percentages.


·       A further concern was raised in relation to the measures, with specific reference to B and C class rural roads.  It was raised that work on these roads had been promised over a number of years but had not yet been completed.  It was asked how these could be improved going forward and agreed more clarity in the measures was necessary.  The Head of Highways and Transportation explained that the details on the condition of roads were contained within the separate Highway Asset Management Plan and condition report which provides a review of the network of roads in Carmarthenshire considered by Scrutiny Committee Members on an annual basis.  In addition, the ever-decreasing budget does have an impact upon the work on improving roads however, the department continuous to seek grant funding.


·       In response to the comments raised regarding the actions and measures, the Senior Performance Management Officer explained that the review process would entail a quarterly monitoring report presented to Committee which would then be fed into the Annual report.


·       In response to comments raised, the Director of Environment suggested that Committee Members consider the Divisional Plans which contain more details.


·       It was commented that there seemed to be an inconsistent approach between departments.


In light of the comments raised, the Chair proposed that the committee does not receive the Environment Departmental Draft Business Plan 2021/22 and seek that further information be included within the actions and measures addressing the comments raised and for the Environment Departmental draft Business Plan 2021/22 be submitted for consideration at the next meeting.  This was duly seconded.


UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that further information be included in the actions and measures to address the comments raised and that the Environment Departmental Draft Business Plan 2021/22 be submitted to the next meeting for consideration.


Supporting documents: