Local authorities continue to concentrate on improved performance and implement reform

Performance Indicators Report Image

The National Oversight and Audit Commission (NOAC) has published the Local Government Performance Indicators for 2015. The figures for 2015 are evidence of improved performance in areas such as housing, environment initiatives, online facilities and community-based services. Mr Joe MacGrath, Chair of the County and City Management Association (CCMA) and Chief Executive of Tipperary County Council, said that the commitment of every local authority to business improvement and service delivery is evident. He added that local authorities have shown that they are agile and responsive and adapted quickly at a time of great challenge nationally. The data for 2015 demonstrates the commitment to improving on delivery of services.

The assessment of performance has taken place during a continuing reform of local government. This reform to date has reduced the number of local representatives from 1,627 to 949, and reduced the number of local authorities from 114 to 31. The results were delivered against a backdrop of a budgetary cuts: revenue or current budgets reduced by over €810million, while capital budgets dropped by €5billion between 2008 and 2015. In the same period the total staffing headcount in the local government sector reduced by 8,919 staff.

At this time of significant change, local authorities were focused on delivery of new services in priority areas for society – namely quality housing and provision of local employment. As we see in Housing Assistance Payments Scheme (HAP), Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs), Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs).

SOME KEY SERVICE AREAS:
Housing :
Continues to be a priority for the local government sector, which is committed to the delivery of the Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness. According to statistics published by the Department of Housing, Planning Community and Local Government, by August, 2016 there was a total of 4,248 homeless adults and 1,151 homeless families, with 2,363 dependents.
By December 2015, the Local Government sector provided a total of 159,336 units, 81% of which were properties owned by local authorities. In 2015 an additional 9,081 units were provided by a combination of build, acquisition, Housing Assistance Payments, Rental Accommodation Scheme and leasing.

Building and Planning:
In 2015, local authorities were notified of a total of 9,438 new buildings of which 2,555, or 27% were inspected. The average of new buildings inspected was 24%, an increase from 17.7% in 2014. In 2015, 1,391 planning decisions made by local authorities were appealed to An Bord Pleanála, who confirmed 74.3% of the decisions made by local authorities.

Economic Development:
Local authorities have traditionally played a significant role in relation to economic development, from planning and development services, to provision of transport, water and environmental infrastructure. In 2015 the Local Enterprise Offices of the local authorities assisted businesses by:

  • Creating an additional 3,152 whole time equivalent jobs;
  • Conducting 1,896 training programmes involving 27,187 participants;
  • Provision of one-to-one mentoring to 8,175 participants;
  • 399 referrals to Micro Finance Ireland, 200 of which were approved;
  • Promotion of the Trading Online Voucher Scheme, with almost 1,700 businesses participating.

Fire:
In 2015, almost 40% of fire scenes were attended within 10 minutes, while 85% are attended within 20 minutes.

Libraries:
There were approx. 17.5 million visits to local authority libraries, with over 18 million items were borrowed including books, DVDS, audio, e-books, e-magazines, e-audio and ProQuest etc. The cost per capita of operating the library was €30.04.

Public Participation Networks:
Public Participation Networks were established in 2014 to enable the public to take an active and formal role in the policy making and oversight activities of local authorities’ areas of responsibility. In 2015 a total of 11,137 community organisations were included in the County Register, of which 19.78% opted to part of the Social Inclusion College within their respective Public Participation Network. Comhairle na nÓg gives young people the opportunity to be involved in the development of local services and policies and there are youth councils in all local authority areas. In 2015 67.6% of second level schools participated in the Youth Councils / Comhairle na nÓg.

Managing Absenteeism:
The median percentage of paid working days lost to medically certified leave reduced from 4.44% in 2011 to 3.48% in 2015. Over the same period the median percentage of paid working days lost to self-certified leave reduced from 0.65% to 0.33%.

Online Presence:
In 2015 there was a total of 55,550,767 page views of local authority websites, an increase of 21% over 2014 figures. By the end of 2015, there were 644,521 followers of social media pages of local authorities.

Motor Tax:
The number of motor tax transactions conducted online continues to grow steadily. In 2011 the median average of online motor tax transactions was 33%. This grew to 57% by 2015.

The National Oversight Audit Commission’s (NOAC) report is available at

http://noac.ie/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/2015-PI-Report.pdf

Summary of the 2015 Performance Indicators is available at

http://www.lgma.ie/en/infographicperformance-indicators-local-authoritie...

Contact olam@lgma.ie for further information.

NOTE TO EDITOR
Performance indicators deliver a uniform approach to measurement and benchmarking and the availability of the information is intended to support all local authorities to improve the services they provide to local communities. The review of 31 organisations, using common criteria, is complex and it must be recognised that local authorities vary in terms of their citizen base, scale, financial and personnel resources, geography and topography, all of which may impact on service outputs/outcomes. Each local authority is governed by policy decisions taken at local level to match services to locally identified priorities and the needs of the population served.
The Local Government Management Agency (LGMA) is a state agency of the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government established in 2012 to provide a range of services to the Local Government Sector. The LGMA provides a range of services within the context of its statutory remit, in support of co-ordinated and cost effective delivery of Local Government services and policy. The LGMA works collaboratively with the chief executives and administration of every local authority on sectoral issues in local government business areas. www.lgma.ie