04 September 2012
Figures published today show that most council services in Wales have continued to improve during the past year. The performance information published by the Local Government Data Unit today shows that 74% of comparable performance indicators improved during 2011-12.
Councillor Hugh Evans OBE (Denbighshire), WLGA Spokesperson for Improvement and Performance, said:
“Wales’ councils are facing some major challenges but this performance report is proof that we are rising to these challenges. Despite increasing financial pressures and growing public and Welsh Government expectations, many council services are showing continued signs of improved performance.”
“We have been collecting and publishing performance information for a number of years and this evidence shows us that council improvement has not only been on an upward trend but, crucially, the gap between the worst and best performing authorities has closed. This shows that those councils with the biggest service challenges have prioritised improvement.”
“We recognize however that some service areas have seen a dip in performance and in some services there remain wide variations in performance that councils will need to examine and address. By publishing this information councils are being open about their performance and will be accounting locally to their communities about how they will tackle their improvement priorities for the coming year.”
The data shows that, overall, local government performance has improved steadily during recent years, with 74% of comparable indicators improving in 2011-12, 68% improving in 2010-11, 64% in 2009-10 and 71% in 2008-09.
Key areas of performance in 2011-12 include:
• Waste data show improvements, with the percentage of waste sent to landfill falling to 45% from 51% in 2010-11; 48.53% of the municipal waste collected was reused or recycled compared to 43.63% in 2010-11.
• Most social care indicators have improved compared to last year and improvement remains a priority, particularly as the data shows the scale of demand on services; councils supported almost 112,000 people in the community or in residential homes and received 46,000 referrals relating to children in the past year. Bed-blocking rates showed continued improvement and are at the lowest rate for six years. There remain variations in service performance across Wales, and councils are striving for continued improvement despite the demands and increasing pressures placed on social services.
• Education performance indicators show an overall improvement at a Wales level, with 8 out of comparable 9 indicators showing national improvement. Local government is however committed to increase this pace of improvement. Attendance levels at both secondary and primary schools increased slightly and the average point scores for 15-16 year old pupils continued to rise (for the fifth successive year).
• Three of the four housing indicators show improvement at a national level. This includes an increase in the percentage of new homes that are affordable, despite a significant decrease in public investment and a stagnant housing market. Despite a 16% increase in homelessness since 2007-08 Local Authorities continue to improve their homelessness prevention services and in 2011-12 prevented 60% of homelessness. The time taken to deliver a DFG continues to be reduced year on year, with the average time taken to deliver a grant in 2011-12 reduced by 61days compared with the previous year.
• Whilst there has been improvement in the quality of highways and relevant land to over 95%, 13.5% of roads remain in ‘poor’ condition this is largely due to the weather experienced during recent winters. Highways improvements will receive a boost as a result of the Local Government Borrowing Initiative, with £60m of investment in 2012-13 with two thirds of this spent delivering over 1,200 surface dressing and carriageway or footway reconstruction schemes.
Full details are available in the Data Unit's Performance Bulletin for 2011-12, available at www.dataunitwales.gov.uk
For more information contact: Stuart Hodges