Cardiff Council has put in place better arrangements to deal with longstanding issues, but report finds Council is at critical point if it is to achieve the changes required to deliver improvement.
The City of Cardiff Council has put in place better arrangements to support improvement and to address longstanding issues, but is now at a critical point in embedding them if it is to achieve a step change on delivering improved outcomes. That is the conclusion of the Auditor General’s corporate assessment follow – on report published today.
The follow-on report looks at issues raised in the Council’s Corporate Assessment in September 2014. That report concluded that the Council’s fragmented leadership and management meant that weak performance in key service areas had not improved and today’s report seeks to answer the question: ‘Is the Council effectively addressing the issues raised in the 2014 Corporate Assessment?’
Today’s report found that the Council has responded positively to the 2014 findings and its leadership and management have become more cohesive, have improved engagement with members and staff, and have put in place a clear strategic direction for the Council. The report also identified improved arrangements in financial planning, HR management, performance management, asset management, IT, and governance with the latter helping to promote a better culture of accountability and risk management.
The report did find, however, that the commitment of the Council’s Leadership and Management to a cohesive and inclusive culture is not always being engaged with. While the Council has established clearer strategic aims regarding performance and accountability, the extent to which these arrangements and new opportunities are constructively engaged with is not consistent across the Council.
The Council has reached the half-way point of its 2015-17 Corporate Plan and is at a critical point in fully embedding its improved arrangements. The Council now needs to demonstrate a step change in improvement in some key service areas that will lead to improved outcomes for the public and service users. To help support this, the Auditor General has made one recommendation to which the Council must respond to by preparing a statement of action and proposed timetable within 30 days. That recommendation calls on the Council to ensure that it addresses the 14 proposals for improvement set out in the report to deliver improved outcomes within the next 12 months.
The 14 proposals for improvement for the Council to address include:
- Further strengthening performance reporting arrangements to support decision making;
- Enhancing Member accountability by developing the role of the Standards and Ethics Committee and strengthening member training and development.
- Adopting a more cohesive and co-ordinated approach to corporate enabler functions to better help the Council drive improvement; and
- Develop further opportunities with staff and Members to consistently embed a constructive performance management culture across the organisation.
Auditor General for Wales, Huw Vaughan Thomas said today:
“Cardiff City Council has demonstrated a commitment to developing a clear strategic direction but needs to ensure that this is fully and constructively engaged with and embedded across all parts of the organisation to make a step change in improving its services for the people of Cardiff. I would encourage the Council to consider carefully my recommendation and proposals for improvement and to ensure that it fully addresses the outstanding issues within the next 12 months so it can deliver the intended benefits for its citizens.”