End of year performance report shows business is booming in Barnsley

Another year has passed and another year’s worth of progress, achievements and improvements have been highlighted in Barnsley Council’s year end (April 2018 to March 2019) performance report, which has been presented to Cabinet members today, Monday 24 June.

We have successfully supported 145 new businesses to start trading and an impressive 287 businesses were supported to expand in 2018/19- exceeding annual targets and bringing new opportunities and jobs to the borough.

This is just a snippet of the progress outlined in the report but provides a clear indication of the reports overall findings.

The report – which is produced quarterly and at year-end  - tracks the council’s progress towards achieving their twelve outcomes which are critical in making sure the three corporate priorities are achieved, as laid out in the corporate plan.

 So, how has the council performed in 2018-19?

Some significant progress has been made towards the council’s priority to create a thriving and vibrant economy, including:

  • Through the council’s work with the private sector, some 1,275 new jobs have been generated in total, due to the growth of large companies and inward investment. Q4 saw a major new NHS Blood and Transplant facility open at Capitol Park. To top it off, 2018-19 has seen 40 companies choose Barnsley as the place to be and have relocated to the borough to trade.
  • By the end of 2018-19, figures reveal that only 4.9 per cent of Barnsley’s 16 and 17 year olds are not in education, training or unknown, compared to 5.6 per cent last year. This is a fabulous achievement with Barnsley continuing to perform better than national and regional averages. What’s more, it’s anticipated that the figure will continue to decrease with considerable work being undertaken to give young people the best chance to succeed.
  • Latest data shows that 7.5 percent of 16-17 year olds are undertaking an apprenticeship, which is higher than the regional and national averages of 7.1 per cent and 5.3 per cent respectively. What’s more, Barnsley council have demonstrated its commitment to apprenticeships this year with 139 apprenticeships commencing throughout 2018-19, which is 2.3 per cent of our workforce.
  • During 2018-19 Barnsley has really seen the town centre transform into a vibrant hub, with key milestones in the regeneration programme reached. Hand in hand with this comes an increase in people visiting the town centre from 6.3 million in 2017-18 to 6.7 million 2018-19.
  • Over the last year, 252 empty homes have been returned back to use, smashing the annual target of 93. The council’s empty homes programme has had significant impact and has enabled direct intervention, enforcement, advice and support and a purchasing scheme. In addition to returning empty properties back into the housing stock, 2018-19 saw 1,090 new homes built including 167 that were affordable, providing more and better homes for our existing and growing population.
  • Over 1.2 million people have visited and experienced what Barnsley’s museums have to offer over 2018-19, bringing with them an impressive estimated £26.9 million to the local economy. Between January and March 2019, the popular Trans Pennine Trail has seen a 20 per cent more visitors compared to the same period last year.

Areas to improve upon include creating more jobs by working with the private sector. While 1,275 jobs were created for the borough in the last year; this is 94 per cent of the 1,350 jobs we were aiming for by the end of the year.

63.1 per cent of care leavers were in education, training or employment at the end of March -  below our target of 65 percent; however, our performance remains above national, regional and statistical comparators.

Employment opportunities for those with learning disabilities were at 3.2 per cent at 31 March, achieving the year-end target. However, we are significantly below the England average (six per cent) Yorkshire and Humber Average (7.4 per cent) and are ranked third from the bottom against Statistical Neighbours; so significant improvements are required in this area.

The report also highlights the progress made towards the priority to help people achieve their potential by creating a healthier, safer and better-educated population:

  • Childcare providers continue to do Barnsley’s young residents proud with 98 per cent of early years and childcare settings rated good or outstanding from Ofsted, exceeding last year’s performance and the national and regional comparators.
  • Figures reported in 2018/19 show a 23 per cent reduction in the number of young people aged 10-17 entering the youth justice system for the first time.
  • The proportion of children subject to a child protection plan for a second time is at 7.3 per cent. This is Barnsley Council’s best ever performance and the figure is below all other local authorities (based on 2017/18 data).
  • Some 38 per cent of assessments for children’s social care are carried out within 20 days of referral.
  • Some 94.8 per cent of people who access services said those services helped them to feel safe and secure in 2017/18. This places Barnsley as the third best performing area nationally.

Areas for improvement include improving school attendance levels. The figure for secondary schools fell to 93.6 per cent and to 95.4 per cent in primary schools in the 2017/18 academic year.

The take-up of two year old’s entitlement to free childcare/education is currently at 70 per cent, against a target of 80 per cent, so work will also take place to encourage more families to take up this offer.

Communities continue to become more strong and resilient, with some fantastic achievements highlighted:

  • 2018-19 has seen a whopping 10,569 people volunteering in their communities with 1,764 of these being new volunteers. These hours equate to a cashable value of £1,032,760. Even better, these are the best figures ever reached and with the ongoing work being undertaken within local communities this can only get stronger and stronger.
  • Barnsley continues to boast an impressive household waste diversion rate of 96.9 percent – one of the best in the country; minimising the impact of waste disposal on our environment and positively driving forward sustainable waste management.
  • 190 homes across the borough have benefitted from energy efficiency works such as cavity wall insulation and new heating systems though the Better Homes Barnsley scheme, smashing last year’s effort of 135 and exceeding the target for this year.
  • The council has ramped up its digital journey through its digital first programme in order to help residents access services digitally as well as transfer the council into a more innovative, digital organisation. 198 sessions were delivered to residents by the council’s digital champions, reaching 931 residents who required support
  • Some 66.7 per cent of residents made contact with the council online by the end of the year, a 10 percent increase since 2017-18.

Areas for improvement include the time taken to respond to complaints within agreed timescales – currently at 78 per cent against a target of 93 per cent.

Some 47 percent of the council’s spend was done so locally against the target of 54 percent.

Barnsley Council energy derived from renewable sources was 12 per cent against a target of 18.5 per cent.

Cllr Alan Gardiner, Cabinet Spokesperson Core Services, said:  “This report shows the tremendous achievements and progress made towards achieving the council’s corporate priorities, which together strive towards a brighter future for Barnsley.

“We will continue to work hard to achieve and improve the outcomes for our customers and the community. There are already a number of initiatives in place to deal with areas where we need to make improvements.”

The Cabinet report can be read in full here and the performance report is available here

 This news is linked to Town Spirit, our new way of working better together. We believe, that if everyone in Barnsley does just one thing, we can make our borough a more welcoming place to live, work, invest and visit.

We’re committed to #ImagineIt by working to make Barnsley a place where people love to live and work, and where they can see a brighter future for themselves and their families. #OwnIt by finding out how we’re reaching our goals by reading out quarterly performance reports.

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