The Committee considered the undernoted report:
“1.0 Purpose of Report/Summary of Main Issues
1.1 The purpose of this report is to present to the Committee an update on the development of a Corporate Performance Management Framework and how this relates to measuring city-wide performance for the refreshed Belfast Agenda.
2.1 The Committee is asked to note the update, including the commitment to bring forward regular performance update reports for consideration.
3.0 Main Report
3.1 Members are reminded that, within the Corporate Plan, there is a strategic priority around the development of a Corporate Performance Management Framework and that in the recently agreed delivery plan for 2022-23 the key deliverables are:
§ review performance management framework;
§ procure external support to review planning and performance framework;
§ ensure that oversight arrangements are in place to provide assurance on our corporate deliverables at Executive and political levels; and
§ scope and develop performance dashboards in line with review of the performance management framework.
3.2 The purpose of this report is to update the Committee on some of the work that is currently ongoing on relation to corporate performance management and the steps being taken to further enhance the approach to measuring the impact of the Belfast Agenda and the underpinning action plans on the city and communities.
Corporate Plan Reporting
3.3 Members are reminded that there is reporting mechanism in place for the Corporate Plan and that a year-end report on the 2021-22 Corporate Delivery Plan will be brought to the June meeting of this Committee. It has been agreed that a 6-monthly update on the 2022-23 Delivery Plan will be brought to Committee, in addition to the year-end report. We would anticipate that the 6-monthly report would be brought to this Committee in November 2022 and the year-end report in June, 2023.
3.4 As part of this cycle annual Committee Plans are also developed and regular updates on progress are brought to the relevant Committee. It is anticipated that the Committee Plans for 2022/23 will be brought to the relevant Committees next month.
3.5 As a Council, we must publish an annual improvement plan that sets out our improvement actions for the year ahead. This is a legal obligation referred to as our Duty to Improve. We are currently finalising our Improvement Plan 2022/23 and this will be brought to the June meeting of this Committee for consideration and approval. The new performance management framework will take into consideration our legal requirements articulated through the improvement plan.
Belfast Agenda – City’s Community Plan
3.6 In addition to assessing and reporting organisational performance against the delivery of the Corporate Plan, the Council is the convening lead for community planning and delivery of the Belfast Agenda. In this capacity the Council has a direct delivery role as an organisation as well as working across sectors and partners to encourage and enable collaborative action in addressing key city priorities and challenges.
3.7 Progress updates on the Belfast Agenda are reported on a quarterly basis to the SP and R Committee, alongside regular updates being submitted to other standing Committees (i.e. People and Communities, City Growth and Regeneration and Climate and City Resilience) on specific programmes and interventions being brought forward and their associated impact. Members will be aware that the All-Party Community Planning Reference Group has been reconstituted as a Working Group of Council reporting into the SP and R Committee. This provides a forum for Members to engage in more detailed discussions around community planning priorities and help inform the refresh of the Belfast Agenda (2022-2026) currently underway. The Members’ Working Group will also provide a forum to monitor, test and challenge both organisational, and importantly city, performance in context of community planning going forward.
3.8 In line with the refresh of the Belfast Agenda, work is underway with community partners to develop an underpinning monitoring and reporting framework. This will encourage and enable a structured approach to setting outcome and impact measures and indicators as well as measuring and reporting progress against these. In addition to the formal Statement of Progresses every two years. the intention would be to introduce a more frequent progress reporting on performance and associated scorecards to the Community Planning Partnership, established Belfast Agenda delivery boards and Council Committees. The University of Ulster Economic Policy Centre (UUEPC) are providing external support in developing the framework and will have a continued role as a critical friend to help support and mainstream our approach. We are also assessing the approach taken by other councils to identify best practice in this area.
3.9 Members will be aware that the Council and the Belfast Community Planning Partnership are statutorily required to publish a ‘Statement of Progress’ every two years which assesses and reports on the progress made and outcomes delivered through community planning. The second and most recent statement was published in November 2021 and provided. Whilst this provided an opportunity for partners and community planning to outline the actions and interventions which has been brought forward through community planning, it notably adopted a light touch approach to reporting on outcomes achieved.
3.10 Plans will be put in place to design future versions of the Residents Survey to support the measuring of progress towards the achievement of the Belfast Agenda stretch goals, targets and outcome measures alongside measurements for the Council’s Corporate Plan. We will continue to work with city partners and stakeholders to explore new ways to measuring the impact and outcomes achieved through community planning and ensuring alignment with regional measures including the emerging Programme for Government. Monitoring and reporting will be an ongoing process, that will be subject to change as new priorities emerge and further data is developed.
3.11 Inclusive Growth is at the centre of the Belfast Agenda and a key part of success will be determined by our ability to prioritise the outcomes and indicators which are most likely to achieve our ambition of ‘leaving no one behind’ and enabling all citizens to contribute to and benefit from the economic growth in the City and to assess the extent to which interventions are having the desired impact.
3.12 Through the Council’s membership of the Inclusive Growth Network, support has been secured to draw on their expert advisors to assist in the development of a suite of appropriate measures that will support the statement of our ambition and enable an assessment of progress over time. It is intended that this Inclusive Growth Scorecard will be supported by a monitoring & reporting framework to ensure that we have the capability to capture, record and report on progress at both an organisational level for the Council and a city level through the Community Planning Partnership.
3.13 The Inclusive Growth Strategy includes a commitment of ‘holding ourselves to account’. The scope of the Inclusive Growth Scorecard and Framework should support an element of measurement of success by the experience of growth as well as communities of interest and geography. However, as the Committee is aware, access to meaningful, detailed and timely data presents a challenge particularly at a local government level, therefore there will be limitations, particularly in the initial implementation and proxy measures may be required.
3.14 The application of the monitoring framework and scorecard to assess progress provides another tool (alongside others such as the decision-making framework, social value procurement policy, our employment practices and the Belfast Business Promise) to help embed inclusive growth in the Council’s and Community Planning Partnership’s decision-making processes.
The Council co-ordinates the development of both citywide and council climate plans and is responsible for the oversight of the Belfast Resilience Strategy, which is monitored through the Belfast Resilience and Sustainability Board. At city level, the Belfast Net Zero Carbon Roadmap sets out targets for the city to become Net Zero. Belfast has also begun to report to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), with the first submission made in 2021, and the second due in July 2022. Belfast has also joined global initiatives such as the Race to Zero, Race to Resilience and Glasgow Climate and Food Pledge. The key pieces of work relating to climate at Council level which will inform the performance framework are:
· The Belfast City Council Carbon Baseline and Trajectory report, and associated Energy Audits of 5 buildings across the estate, which will identify Council’s current carbon baseline and makes recommendations with the aim of becoming net zero. The Carbon Baseline and Trajectory report is currently being progressed, with Energy Audits to be undertaken in June 2022.
· The Belfast City Council Climate Risk Assessment, Climate Action Plan, and Climate Investment Plan, which will be complete by the end of 2022. These plans will focus on mitigation and adaptation and will build upon previous work undertaken by Climate NI to develop a Council Climate Adaptation Plan.
· An expression of interest exercise has been undertaken, which seeks to identify a Digital Platform that will support programme and performance management across the climate portfolio and with the potential to expand for other uses.
· In addition, the Climate Unit co-ordinates the BCC Climate Plan Programme Board, and reports to the Climate and City Resilience Committee.
3.16 Members will be aware that the Council is involved in delivering a range of other projects, some in partnership with other organisations, such as those under the Belfast City Region Deal, and these will all have associated performance and monitoring frameworks. Performance reports on these be brought through the agreed processes including regular update to the relevant Committees.
3.17 The next stage in this process will be to review the current performance framework and to commission external support to assist with this work. As part of this work, officers will undertake an exercise to consider the linkages and alignment of existing performance reporting mechanisms, including those outlined in this report, to any new Corporate Performance Management Framework. We would anticipate that officers will have the external support in place by mid-summer and will bring regular reports to Committee updating them on progress.
3.18 Financial and Resource Implications
There are no implications associated with this report. However external support will be required to assist in elements of this work and such requests will be brought through the usual approval processes.
3.19 Equality or Good Relations Implications/
Rural Needs Assessment
There are no implications associated with this report.”
The Committee noted the update, including the commitment to bring forward regular performance update reports for consideration.