The Council has had to respond to significant and sustained reductions in its funding from the Government. Resources available to Coventry through the Local Government Finance Settlement had fallen by £113m in the period between 2010/11 and 2018/19 on a like for like basis – and this is expected to continue, with an expected further reduction of £7m for 2019/20.
In October 2018, a Local Government Association (LGA) peer challenge team visited the Council to review its workings. The team consisted of senior officers and councillors from other local authorities, partners, and external stakeholders. They conducted 18 interviews and attended 13 workshops over four days to get to know the city and the Council.
The team saw that the pride and passion of employees and partners for their work and the city really stood out; the Council was seen as a good partner and a key player within a wider cultural and economic geography; now is a ‘point of step change’ for the city and the Council.
Their findings recognise the Council’s work in:
The peer challenge team also identified some areas where further work was needed. Recommendations include:
Steps have been taken to address these challenges and recommendations – from developing a new, integrated housing and homelessness team in line with the One Coventry approach, to ambitions to make better use of insight and intelligence and making it more integral to policy formulation and service planning; and strengthening partnership arrangements across the city and working together to create connectivity through partnerships, including the People Partnership.
There were 3,830 full-time equivalent (fte) employees in the Council at the end of March 2019, an increase of 136.23 fte compared to a year ago. This reverses a trend of falling fte numbers over the past few years.
In 2018/19, 10.94 days per fte (excluding schools) were lost, down from 11.75 days in 2017/18. The top reasons for absence were stress, depression and anxiety; other musculoskeletal problems; and stomach and liver problems and gastroenteritis. The figures reported here differ from In 2018/19, 10.94 days per fte (excluding schools) were lost, down from 11.75 days in 2017/18. The top reasons for absence were stress, depression and anxiety; other musculoskeletal problems; and stomach and liver problems and gastroenteritis. The figures reported here differ from previous years’ as these are a rolling year and exclude schools.
Wellbeing, that is, health and happiness, sense of purpose, and satisfaction with life, has a huge impact inside and outside of work. Council employees now have a range of activities and opportunities to get involved, from a monthly book club meeting to wellbeing therapy massage sessions, yoga classes, crafts club, five-a-side football, and the Council choir.
The Council is offering Mental Health First Aid training, which will help managers to recognise signs of mental ill health in staff and offer support and signposting.
Council employees (in black bibs) took part in the Corporate Netball Tournament in May 2019, playing against Warwick University, Arden University, WM Housing, and Telemarketing.
In 2018/19, the Council’s customer service centre received 486,766 telephone contacts, of which 82.8% were captured. This is an improvement from 74.23% in 2017/18 and 62.85% in 2016/17. The Council has set a target of 95% for 2019/20.
This is a 3%-point increase from 33% in 2017/18. Face-to-face and telephone contact has reduced further, by 39% from the baseline. The decline has been driven by encouraging people to self-serve and has been further supported by the improvement in telephone performance reducing the volume of repeat contact.
For 2019/20, the Council is working towards a target of 40% of transactions to be completed online or by self-service, both improving the customer service experience, and reducing the local authority’s environmental footprint by moving to less carbon-intensive methods of contact.
It is estimated in 2018/19, local authority operations generated 10,690 tonnes of CO2. This figure includes both direct emissions from owned or controlled sources (Scope 1) and indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy (Scope 2).
This figure appears to suggest a reduction of 28% from 2017/18 and a reduction of 59% from the 2008/09 baseline. However, due to methodological changes, care must be taken with this comparison: this year’s figure only includes properties that are wholly Council-owned and operated. It excludes leased or outsourced properties where the Council has no say over the operation of the building. Work is underway to revise existing reporting procedures and, where necessary, a new baseline will be established.
This represents an increase of almost £23m from £33m in 2017/18. This year’s capital programme has increased in size and reflects the growth in the level of external funding attracted.
Let’s Talk Coventry is a new engagement platform that will help grow and nurture an online community of good relationships and understanding between the Council and the public.