How we measure our performance

We measure our performance against the key priorities and outcomes included in our corporate plan.

To assess progress and performance against these priorities and outcomes, along with performance against individual service objectives, we have a performance management framework that consists of three elements:

  • corporate plan priorities
  • corporate health of the organisation
  • directorate performance

Each quarter, we produce a performance report summarising our performance against the priorities and outcomes and how well we're performing.

Quarter 2 2020/21

Thriving and vibrant economy

Message from Matt Gladstone - Executive Director, Place

At the time of writing, it has just been announced that Barnsley along with the rest of South Yorkshire is being placed into Tier 3 lockdown. Undoubtedly, these new restrictions will bring about further challenges for us, and the economic impact for Barnsley continues to be a significant concern. In response, we have continued to build on our successes from Q1 and are pressing ahead with our robust masterplans for key growth sites to ensure a strong pipeline of inward investment, building developer confidence and lever in more jobs, homes and businesses.

In addition to this, our strong focus on digital infrastructure is paying dividends as we launch The SEAM . This is the new name for our town centre’s digital campus which includes DMC 1, the new DMC 2 and will also include Barnsley College’s SciTech building.

We remain focused on economic recovery and are continuing to support both our workforce to adapt and our businesses to prosper under tough, changing conditions. Our strengths include: outcomes for care leavers, with a high proportion of young people remaining in education, training or employment. Footfall in the town centre is holding up well and compares favourably to similar towns both locally and nationally. Patronage at our Markets / Market Kitchen, post lockdown, has been very encouraging.

We are also pressing ahead with Zero Carbon and our ambitious first Sustainable Energy Action Plan which sets out our ambitions for the next five years focussing on continuing and accelerating our journey to net zero carbon. Areas for improvement include business starts and business growth, and although apprenticeships remain a challenge, we will be boosting numbers further by the end of 2020/21. Our efforts are relentless in working with partners across Barnsley and the wider Sheffield City Region to ensure residents and businesses are well equipped and supported to face the road to economic recovery.

Areas of good performance

  • Care leavers into employment, education or training
    75.8% of care leavers were in education, employment or training at the end of September 2020, continuing the excellent performance noted in Q1. Overall performance is much improved when compared with the same period last year and trends over the last 12 months show sustained progression.

  • Private sector jobs
    687 private sector jobs were created during Q2, resulting in 91% of the annual target for this indicator being achieved.

  • Visitor numbers at museums
    Initial figures after venue reopening are positive and place the venues above revised targets as we're outperforming national trends in visitor attractions. Progress in Q3 and Q4 will be difficult with colder weather impacting the use of outdoor spaces.

Areas for improvement

  • Number of new build home completions
    Cumulative performance at Q2 is 210 new build homes, which is some way short of trajectory towards our end of year target of 700.

  • Town centre footfall
    Footfall is currently at 42% of target, although both August and September recorded higher footfall this year as compared to 2019. This increase in footfall is encouraging and shows the town centre is showing strong signs of recovery. The Centre for Cities tracker shows that footfall recovery for Barnsley is in line with similar Yorkshire and Humberside neighbours such as Wakefield, and smaller towns have fared better overall than larger cities such as Leeds and York. However, achievement of the revised target remains at risk given future lockdown restrictions that may be imposed.

Case studies

Trans Pennine Trail prospering through the pandemic

The Trans Pennine Trail (TPT) in Barnsley is the birthplace of this coast-to-coast riding, walking and cycling trail, and the TPT national office is hosted by Barnsley Council.

Since the start of the lockdown in late March, the Trans Pennine Trail website has seen a phenomenal increase in visitors to the site with a 41% increase year on year and a staggering 158% increase at the end of lockdown in May. These stats provide evidence of the huge uptake in interest in using the Trans Pennine Trail, locally, regionally and nationally.

Social media statistics also reflect the same trends, with comparative data collected from Twitter showing a year-on-year 91% increase and Facebook a 35% increase with a 55% increase in likes. Members of the public have been posting some great messages and images showing how they’ve been using the TPT in Barnsley to keep fit and healthy and also to use as a tranquil space where they can unwind and forget about the stress of the lockdown. This proves that mental health is just as important as physical health, and access to exercise and the outdoor environment is vitally important.

Affordable housing - Meadstead bungalows

The main contractor for this scheme went into administration just after handover and left some works unfinished. The Housing Growth Project Manager worked with NPS Barnsley to utilise the money held back to get the outstanding works completed, including turfing to gardens.

This scheme was a joint winner of the 'Best Large Social or Affordable Housing Development' award in the 2020 South Yorkshire and Humber LABC awards. The honour was shared with another council bungalow scheme at Beever Street in Goldthorpe. Both schemes were built to the specification developed by the Housing Growth team and NPS Barnsley and provide a blueprint design for future bungalow projects.

Following a site visit, the Meadstead scheme has recently achieved the police’s gold 'Secured by Design Award'. This is the highest award in the police’s official security initiative. It recognises excellent design in new developments where developers have 'designed out' crime to provide safe and secure new homes .

People achieving their potential

Message from Mel John-Ross - Executive Director, Children's Services

We have seen excellent safeguarding performance through 92.3% of child protection S47 investigations
proceeding to a child protection case conference in time, well above latest benchmarks of 79%.

Thresholds to children’s social care are effective, with the lowest re-referral rate reported for more than two years in Q2. Children with special educational needs have continued to receive a timely education, health and care plan that responds to their needs, with performance well above the national benchmark. Q2 also saw an increase in the number of children becoming the subject of a child protection plan for the second or subsequent time. Coronavirus, with children not all accessing universal services, has impacted this rise, together with an understandable cautiousness from professionals.

Message from Wendy Lowder - Executive Director, Adults and Communities

We continue to implement the Discharge to Assess process and evaluate the impact on reablement indicators during 2021. This indicator will no longer be a feature of the D2A indicator list, further work will be taking place to develop a more relevant indicator in accordance with national requirements.

We continue to see a reduction in number of people admitted to residential care both as a consequence of COVID and also of more effective use of reablement and our Home First principles. We are pleased to see continuing strong performance on adult social care reviews and the timeliness of adult safeguarding decisions.

Message from Julia Burrows - Director of Public Health

It is disappointing to see that 18.3% of Barnsley adults classed themselves as smokers in 2019. This unfortunately means that we have missed our local target of 16% and our rate remains significantly higher than the England average of 13.9%. In 2019 the stop smoking services in Barnsley were subject to a service review and a re-tender process, which may have impacted service outcomes.

In November 2019 Barnsley Council offered two new contacts for a community stop smoking service and a smoking in pregnancy service. Since then we have been working with both providers to increase referrals into both services, with a focus on specific priority groups to increase service performance.

Areas of good performance

  • Repeat referrals to children's social care within 12 months
    The proportion of re-referrals has decreased to 9.9% in Q2; the lowest re-referral rate reported for more than two years. Year to date performance is 13.6% and remains on target.

  • Children in care
    The placement of children in care within family settings remains above target, at 92.7%.

  • Timeliness of adult social care reviews
    The adult social care service continues to perform well with 84.4% of reviews completed in a timely manner.

Areas for improvement

  • Smoking prevalence
    18.3% of adults were classified as smokers in 2019, significantly higher than the England average of 13.9%.

  • Reablement episodes
    Due to COVID-19, the limited number of routine operations and the introduction of discharge to assess, this performance indicator has been severely affected, and will be monitored closely.

  • Children becoming the subject of a Child Protection Plan for a second or subsequent time ever
    This has increased this quarter to 23.6%. Year-to-date performance is just above target at 18.1%.

More information

Children's social care

Assessments completed within 20 working days has reduced slightly to 37 .3% in Q2 . However, year to date performance is 36.2%; above target and better than statistical neighbours (26.4%) and regional comparators (34%). 99.6% of assessments were completed within the national 45 days timescales in Q2.

Excellent performance on S47 investigations continues into 2020/21. Performance in Q2 saw 92.3% of child protection conferences held within 15 days, an improvement from 91.4% in Q1.

Adult social care

The adult social care service continues to perform well and above target during the pandemic with 84.4 % of reviews completed in a timely manner. In adult safeguarding, decisions against the 3 stage test (S42) continue to be made within the 72 hour timeframe, with performance at 95.7% in Q2 – above the 90% target and highlighting that safeguarding remains a priority.

Case studies

South Yorkshire regional adoption agency

South Yorkshire Regional Adoption Agency Cabinet members have approved a report on the regionalisation of adoption in South Yorkshire in Q2.

The Barnsley Adoption Service will join with adoption services in Sheffield, Rotherham and Doncaster to create ‘Adopt South Yorkshire’, a regional adoption agency (RAA). This partnership will work together to recruit, assess and approve potential adopters and match and place children needing adoptive placements. The joint arrangements will begin in January 2021. Working together will provide a greater pool of approved adopters to improve matching and speed up the adoption process for children and families.

Regionalisation will mean that vital support services will be m ore widely available to adoptive families to support them before and after adoption. Working together will mean that it’s easier to identify practice improvements and make positive changes to adoption in South Yorkshire. This will, in turn, improve outcomes for looked after children.

Are you #Alright Pal? takes over social media

In support of World Suicide Prevention Day, Barnsley Council teamed up with local resident and creative
Jeff Platts to deliver a heartfelt message to encourage everyone to take the time to check that people really are OK and to speak openly about their mental health.

The success of the video across social media platforms was huge, and on Facebook alone, the post has reached over a quarter of a million people. The video was shared hundreds of times and received some fantastic feedback. Many people were inspired to think about their own mental health or to check in on family and friends during what is a challenging time for us all. Partners across the borough helped to share the #AlrightPal message, and Barnsley FC backed the campaign with players encouraging everyone to ask the simple question “You #AlrightPal?". The announcement of new signing Michal Helik was also used to drive forward the message to the club’s supporters.

Strong and resilient communities

Message from Wendy Lowder - Executive Director, Adults and Communities

Due to the limitations and restrictions in place due to COVID and lockdown, there hasn't been the same
volunteering opportunities as there were last year. This has reduced the number of opportunities for
volunteering due to events being cancelled, schools not being open and volunteers being unable to undertake their usual activities.

Despite the reduction in ASB compared to Q1, current levels of ASB are due to those who are breaking the COVID-19 government guidelines rather than the typical ASB incidents reported in previous quarters. Both
the number of ASB incidents and the rate per 1000 population in Barnsley compares favourably to the other three districts in South Yorkshire. This quarter we have been consulting residents to shape our Safer Barnsley Plans, and despite the challenges of consultation we had 1256 responses - an increase of 87 responses from the previous year.

Message from Matt Gladstone - Executive Director, Place

Earlier this year, lockdown had a significant impact on environmental and transport services, and our
performance in Q2 demonstrates that our detailed recovery and renewal plans are coming to fruition.

Employee and resident safety continues to be our primary concern in all of the work that we undertake. All services are now back up and running and incorporating the required safe systems of work aligning to the latest government advice.

Our ongoing commitment to a clean, green borough is evidenced by continued success in dealing with instances of fly tipping, alongside making progress with our tree planting programme. Bins are emptied on time, traffic signals, street lights and pot holes are repaired quickly, and our recycling rates are improving. Household services have adapted and have been delivered safely. There remains ongoing appreciation for our front line workers with considerable acts of kindness being shown towards our staff. The volume of positive feedback received demonstrates a real togetherness, and our communities’ resilience is to be admired in such tough times.

Areas of good performance

  • Take up of volunteering opportunities
    876 people volunteered in their communities in Q2 despite COVID-19 impacting on the number of opportunities.

  • Fly tipping
    In Q2 we have cleared 100% of fly tipping from public land within five days.

  • Self service via Barnsley Council / third party websites
    This has increased to 86% in Q2.

Areas for improvement

  • Number of new volunteers
    The lockdown period has prevented the Area Teams from providing the usual opportunities that were in place for volunteers as in previous years. Looking ahead, there may be limited opportunities for new volunteers to become more active in their communities when the time is right.

Case studies

Another successful year of healthy holidays for Barnsley families

The council's area teams have been working with partners to support families who may have needed extra support to access food and activities to keep them healthy through the holiday period.

This year, the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has seen families affected by financial hardship. To make sure the holidays were healthy, safe, and to encourage communities to come together to have fun and support one another during these difficult times, the area teams have been on hand with activities and support. The programme worked in partnership with established voluntary community groups, charities and partners to support healthy summer holidays. Supported by funding from Feeding Britain, Good Food Barnsley, FareShare Yorkshire, Barnsley Council, Public Health, area teams, ward alliances, local donors, charities and funding from the UK government, the programme has been available to hundreds of children and families.

Volunteers continue to support community responder scheme

The community responder scheme has been able to support our most vulnerable residents by ensuring they received essential shopping and regular befriending calls to help maintain both their physical and mental health during lockdown.

Volunteers have been at the heart of this piece of work. Individuals who were willing to step up and support their community during a time of crisis. Such individuals provide the backbone to a strong and resilient community. For example, the Penistone area had eight active (fully inducted) volunteers who underwent the necessary training so that they were ready to help someone within the community as soon as a request came through – one ready to help with shopping support and seven willing to make telephone befriending calls. Between them they supported 11 residents throughout lockdown.

Barnsley Libraries ‘Story at Home’

During lockdown Barnsley Libraries secured £1500 funding from Creative Minds to create a series of ‘Story and Rhyme at Home’ videos as part of the Creative Minds COVID-19 response.

Creative Minds is a charity hosted by South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. They provide NHS services to the people of Barnsley, Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield and are committed to the use of creative approaches in health services. This was the first time Barnsley Libraries has brought any story or rhyme time online. We aimed to use stories which were relevant to the time, looking at books to support mental health, open up conversations, and support children with their summer reading.

Within the 24 films, we created one story and three poems in BSL by Amy-Rose Atkinson, and nine stories which include Makaton created by our partners at Barnsley Museums. 11 further stories have been read by the Mayor of Barnsley, MP Dan Jarvis, Ian McMillan, Katie Portman, and other bloggers, authors, poets and artists connected to Barnsley. We have collated over all films a total of 7900 views online, mainly via Facebook but also on Twitter and YouTube. As a result of this project we have been able to create a dedicated area on YouTube for Barnsley Libraries story videos, as an additional way of reaching people who want to engage with online content.

One council

Message from Shokat Lal - Executive Director, Core Services

During Q2 the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect business sustainability. The collection of business rates is currently stable, however as organisations may face further restrictions to reduce the spread of coronavirus, this position is uncertain. Support and guidance to assist businesses is published on our website.

Our council tax collection rate is below the 96% target but remains stable. Again, this position may change in the future as there are uncertainties around increased redundancies, the impact of the end of the furlough scheme and any future restrictions placed on the borough. Support and guidance for residents is available from our website.

We've had an additional 57 people taking up apprenticeship opportunities in Q2. Over 80% of these were employees who had undertaken our Future Leaders Programme. We've already achieved 50% of our annual target and should see further increases in the next six months with targets being set for each Directorate to achieve by April 2021. Our core services remain resilient. All statutory meetings such as Full Council, Cabinet, Licensing, Planning and Area Council meetings are now webcast. Preparations have been taking place to deliver the first ever virtual Annual Council and Mayor Making.


  • A total of £7.448M of efficiency savings are to be delivered in 2020/21. Directorates are reporting a 96% delivery against this target.

  • The council tax collection rate in Q2 was 94.6%, falling short of target by 1.4%.

  • The business rates collection rate was 94.25% and has fallen short of target by 3.25%.

Financial hardship fund

We've been awarded £350,000 as part of the government's emergency financial hardship funding in response to the coronavirus (COVID 19) pandemic. We've matched this with £270,000 of internal funding. This money will be used to help people in the borough who have been directly affected by the pandemic.

Our financial hardship fund covers:

  • local welfare assistance scheme
  • discretionary housing payments
  • council tax discretionary relief
  • fuel poverty and warmer homes
  • support with food
  • healthy holidays
  • support with benefits and budget management

Find out more about our financial hardship fund.

Sickness absence

  • Total FTE days lost to sickness absence per employee in Q2 is 1.71 days. This is slightly lower than Q1
    (1.81 days lost) and is lower in comparison to Q2 19/20 (1.84 days lost).

  • Short-term sickness absence is 0.53 days and long-term sickness absence is 1.18 days.

Quarter 2 2020/21 finance data

Spend per outcome

Outcome Budget Out-turn Variance % variance Commentary
1 1,837,698 2,133,655 295,957 16% Shortfall in income due to COVID-19.
2 1,627,552 1,626,557 (995) 0% Balanced position as per Q2.
3 (345,141) 417,611 762,752 221% Shortfall in markets and town centre income due to COVID-19.
4 1,987,117 2,327,730 340,613 17% Shortfall in income and extra costs due to COVID-19.
5 1,632,616 1,724,243 91,627 6% Shortfall in income due to COVID-19.
6 5,087,983 6,157,042 1,069,060 21% Additional costs for home to school transport due to higher than anticipated demand combined with a shortfall in income due to COVID-19.
7 6,168,373 9,310,273 3,141,900 51% Increased costs due to COVID-19 contracts to third party and voluntary sectors.
8 80,751,026 92,748,099 11,997,073 15% COVID-19 costs payments to ASC providers, homelessness and rough sleepers, and additional children SW.
9 2,074,088 6,654,023 4,579,935 221% Income shortfall against school catering due to schools closures for COVID-19 combined with increased COVID-19 related Public Health costs.
10 4,676,963 4,545,877 (131,086) 3% Staffing vacancies - delays in recruitment.
11 27,111,987 32,504,045 5,392,058 20% Loss of income due to COVID-19 car parks, highways and licences, combined with the additional cost of maintaining services during the pandemic including the additional cost of waste collection and traffic management at the authority's HWRCs.
12 3,117,660 3,200,700 83,040 3% Increases in staffing costs combined with additional standby payments.

You can also view our corporate plan performance data tables.