Medway’s Council Plan 2023/24 sets out the Council’s three priorities and the measures used to monitor performance. This report and appendices summarise how we performed in Q1 2023/24 on the delivery of these priorities and the actions we are taking to improve performance. The report also presents the Q1 2023/24 review of strategic risks.
Number of households living in temporary accommodation –
Delivering new homes to meet the needs of Medway’s residents – noting that this was significantly below target, a Member emphasised the need for this to be closely monitored. The Chief Executive responded that over the last three years record numbers of new homes had been delivered. He assured Members a close eye would be kept on this as the new local plan was delivered. A Member queried the position regarding the supply of affordable and social housing, given the importance of this in preventing homelessness. Members were advised this was linked to the local plan process and the ability to build more houses. If the latter could be increased, then this would increase the amount of social and affordable housing. More information on this could be included in future reports.
Citizens panel – a request was made for a breakdown of membership of the Panel per ward with a view to Members encouraging people to join, if needed. Members were advised that a briefing paper on the Citizen’s Panel had been sent to the Committee earlier in the year.
A clean and green environment – a comment was made that there were still streets in urban areas where litter was widespread. Another comment was made that the green status of this outcome did not reflect the reality. The Deputy Director of Place advised that the Council tried hard to make high streets a better experience and had worked with Medway Norse on the scheduling of litter collection. In response a Member referred to the scheduling of litter collections and bin collections. As refuse was collected in black bags this could cause littering as they were often put out the night before collection and became torn. Whether wheelie bins could be introduced, where this was possible, was suggested. The Deputy Director of Place replied that the uses of black bags and open bags for recycling was an issue in Medway. In areas where waste was contained, littering was not as prevalent. The Council was looking at what could be done but clearly there were costs involved in moving to a model where waste was contained.
A Member suggested the Government should be lobbied to make the penalties for littering more severe.
Residents with skills and jobs – reference was made to the fact that 58% of all withdrawal reasons were still not known in relation to Medway Adult Education courses and it was suggested that this needed to be addressed and the data captured in order to reduce future withdrawals. The Assistant Director, Regeneration undertook to look into this.
Care leavers and children in care – whether the not in education, employment or training (NEET) rate differed between care leavers and non-care leavers was queried. The Assistant Director, Regeneration undertook to look into whether care leavers were included in the NEET figures.
Child Friendly City – in terms of whether this was accessible to all children in Medway and whether there were any children not able to fully access provision, Members were assured that this was open to all children and young people and engagement with children had been very successful, reaching around 100,000 last year.
Getting around Medway – in terms of the 5 key routes across Medway, whether Four Elms Hill was one of these routes was questioned and Members were advised it was not. The Getting around Medway measure was being reviewed with a view to it being broadened and an update on this would be reported to the Committee. The impact of the proposed red routes would be part of this review. The point was made that the average minutes per mile across the five key routes was not very meaningful. The Deputy Director of Place advised that the data was collected through a system that looked at mobile phone signals. Officers commented that they acknowledged the average time was not very meaningful and there was a desire for the data to be richer and focused on reducing congestion.
The Committee agreed to:
a) note the Q1 2023/24 performance against the measures used to monitor progress against the Council’s priorities also the strategic risks that fell under the remit of the Committee.
b) request a briefing paper explaining the location of the 5 key routes across Medway and also how the data was captured and used.