Agenda item

Performance and Risk Annual Assurance report


A report of the Director of Legal and Governance Services (Monitoring Officer) was presented to outline the Council’s approach to performance and risk management, to summarise activity in the past year and planned activity for 2022, and to provide the Committee with assurance that the Council had robust arrangements in place for these disciplines.


The Council’s approach to these disciplines was articulated within the following policies:


               Performance Management Policy.

               Programme and Project Management Policy.

               Risk and Opportunity Management Policy.


In February 2020, revised versions of these policies were approved by the Executive to maximise their impact on the Council’s strategic aims and priorities, as set out within the Strategic Plan.  It was noted at the meeting that the date of approval of the Strategic Plan by Executive was 27 May 2021 and not 11 May 2021 as stated in the submitted report.  The revisions better aligned and integrated the process underpinning these policies and improved their relationship with financial management procedures, and aimed to better exploit the solutions provided by the Council’s digital and information strategies to promote real-time and more effective management. These policies were further embedded during 2021.


Details of the arrangements in place to manage performance and risk management within the Council, progress in the past year, and plans to further strengthen arrangements were provided in paragraphs 5 to 38 of the submitted report.


The following areas were highlighted at the meeting:


  • Significant work was undertaken in the year to improve Directorate and strategic performance management, with the implementation of a monthly performance review cycle using an integrated performance dashboard drawn from a range of feeder systems which recorded different aspects of corporate performance. Screenshots from this dashboard were included at Appendix 1 to the submitted report for reference.


  • A performance cycle had been put in place and embedded in a dynamic way to present information to senior managers throughout the organisation on the state of Executive actions, Directorate priorities, the Council’s portfolio of programmes and projects, compliance indicators eg completion of audit actions Directorate and strategic risk registers.


  • While COVID-19 had continued to be disruptive in terms of planned performance, a number of significant achievements have been made in line with the Council’s Strategic Plan Workplan, and these had been reported to the Executive and Overview and Scrutiny Board on a quarterly basis.


  • Over the past year there had again been a strong focus on improving the use of performance data within Children’s Services and embedding a strong performance management culture within the service, which have been recognised and commended by the Government-appointed Commissioner and the Department for Education.


  • The PPMF had been strengthened and updated in response to the audit of the Boho X Project.  The current portfolio around wider compliance had been reviewed.


  • During 2020 the Council’s risk appetite was refreshed reviewed and revised to bring it in line with the Council’s current financial standing so that risks are being captured and scored in line with this. All risk management documentation was also reviewed and updated to reflect these changes. On review, no changes were made to the Council’s risk appetite during 2021.


  • The key improvement activity undertaken during 2021/22 was a whole scale review of risk mitigations within the Council’s risk registers by Heads of Service, with changes made where appropriate to ensure that positive action is being taken where appropriate to reduce risk where the current score is higher than the target score. This led to further work to amend the Council’s risk system to state more clearly the treatment currently being applied to each risk.


  • The corporate Risk Management Group continued to meet on a quarterly basis to monitor the implementation of the risk management improvement plan and to identify new and emerging risks to the organisation, reporting to the newly established Corporate Governance Board by exception.


In response to the Boho X audit, the PMO reviewed the Council’s portfolio in detail and this work identified issues with the recording and management of controls within several projects that had now been amended.   It was also noted that some projects had proceeded to delivery stage apparently without prior approval of a business case by the appropriate body of the Council, as required by the PPM Policy.   However, in all three cases an equivalent process to ensure value for money had been undertaken, for example, financial assessment signed off by the Section 151 Officer.  Those Officers who did not follow the correct process had been advised. 


AGREED that:

1.   the information provided was received and noted.

2.  details of the three specific projects that had proceeded to delivery stage without  completing the business case pro forma would be forwarded to the Members of the Corporate Affairs and Audit Committee for information.

Supporting documents: