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Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead failing to meet a third of targets

Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead failing to meet a third of targets

Simon Meechan

A third of the council's objectives are not on target to be met with the borough facing difficulties with libraries, recruiting foster carers and processing potentially lucrative planning applications on time.

The Royal Borough's latest Integrated Performance Monitoring Report (IPMR) details how the borough is shaping up against 30 Key Performance Indicators (KPI) for the second quarter of 2015-16.

A report, set to be heard by cabinet on Thursday, gives details on where the council is failing to hit its targets.

Of the 30 KPIs, 13 are deemed to be on target, with seven 'just short' and 10 off target.

A year ago, 52 per cent of the council's KPIs were on target, compared to 44 per cent now, while 26 per cent were off target 12 months ago, compared to 33 per cent in the latest figures.

Libraries and museums are bringing in 17 per cent less money than the borough aimed, with just £146,987 coming in. The council report says cuts will offset the shortfall.

It says: "The underachievement of income is being balanced by reductions in spend elsewhere in the service."

It adds that additional sources if income are being investigated.

The Conservative Party, which dominates the Royal Borough's council, has pledged to expand libraries, and promised to open a new, additional library in its 2015 manifesto.

The report shows the borough is struggling to recruit foster carers and find homes for children to settle in.

Out of 98 children who have been in care for more than two-and-a-half years, 13.3 per cent have been moved more than three times in 12 months. The borough's target is below seven per cent.

The report says: "Moves happened for a variety of reasons including a child moving from a foster placement to an adoptive placement, decisions made by the Royal Borough to change the placement because it was not meeting the child's needs or where the foster carers had given notice that they no longer wish to have the children due to their challenging behaviour."

The borough wants to recruit 20 new foster carers by the end of 2015-16, but, so far, only one has been approved, although six potential carers have passed the first stage of the eight month process. The report says the council is facing difficulty recruiting foster carers for teenagers which it says makes the chances of achieving the 20 target 'unlikely'.

Only 56.2 per cent of 'major' planning applications are being processed on time, against the borough's 70 per cent target. Major applications are the most likely to generate Section 106 developer contributions which can be used to pay for public improvements. The report says 'key applications' can require 'protracted' discussions and can be 'resource intensive'.

Other areas where the borough is failing to meet its targets include its reliance on agency staff. In the second quarter of 2015-16, the council spent £1,332,510 on agency employees. Its target was to spend less than £1,079,000.

Extra agency staff have been employed due to 'specialist vacancies' in finance, planning and social care which are being covered by agency staff, the report says.

But the council is meeting some goals.

The 910,515 people who used council leisure centres so far 2015-16 is 13 per cent above its target. The council is processing housing benefit and council tax support claims in an average of 6.7 days, 3.3 days under its 10 day target.

Almost all the potholes reported to the council were repaired within 24 hours. Out of 161 reported, 160 were repaired on time, the report says.

The Children's Centres and Intensive Families Support Programme helped 26 per cent more families than the borough targeted. This early intervention reduces the chance of family problems escalating, according to the report.

The IPMR report is set to be discussed by the Royal Borough's cabinet at Maidenhead Town Hall on Thursday.

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