How we measure our performance

We measure our performance against the key priorities and outcomes included in our Council 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 4 2020/21

Thriving and vibrant economy

Message from Matt Gladstone - Executive Director, Place 

2020/21 has been an unprecedented period which has had an impact upon us all. Tackling the pandemic has been a very challenging time.

We continue to work hard to ensure that the Council does everything it can to reduce the spread of the virus and support our businesses and communities.

The latest national lockdown restrictions brought further challenges, and the economic impact for Barnsley continues to be a significant concern. Mindful of the challenges ahead, we should embrace our success over the last twelve months. We are continue to work on our masterplans for key growth sites to ensure a strong pipeline of inward investment, building developer confidence and creating more jobs, homes and businesses.

We are focused on economic recovery, and continue to support our workforce to adapt and our businesses to prosper. Our strengths include outcomes for Care Leavers, with a high proportion of young people in either education, training or employment. The number of adults with learning difficulties supported into employment continues to exceed our target.

Although town centre footfall has struggled as anticipated, we have performed better than many of our neighbours and comparator towns. The strength of our culture and visitor economy, particularly visitor numbers at key heritage sites, has been impressive.

Looking forward into 2021/22 areas for improvement include town centre footfall, new build homes and business starts/growth. Youth unemployment will be a challenge going forward, as will apprenticeships. However, we will be boosting numbers throughout 2021/22.

Areas of good performance 

  • 986 private sector jobs were created this year, 98 of these in Q4 exceeding the target of 950.

  • 9 inward investors in Q4 makes the annual total 27 above our target of 24.

  • 71.2% of care leavers were in employment, education or training More than our target of 65%.

  • 4.6% of adults with learning disabilities are currently in employment, higher than our aim of 4%.

  • 51.7% of the working age population possess at least a level 3 qualification 71.9% have at least a level 2 attainment.
  • 280,155 people visited our museums in Q4 making a total of 1,050,537.  This has contributed over £23 million to the local economy.

  • 76 affordable homes were created in Q4 making the total for the year 178 higher than our 100 target.

  • 97.2% of Berneslai Homes rent was collected against a target of 94 in 2020/21.

Areas of improvement 

  • 5.5% of 16-18 year olds are not in education, employment or training (NEET).  This is
    higher than the 4.2% target.

  • Apprenticeship take up in the borough is 6.3% lower than the 7.5% target.

  • At 3,500,163 for the year, town centre footfall is 43% lower than in 2019/20.

  • 155 homes were built in Q4 making 581 this year.  The target of 700 was missed.

Case studies 

Phase Two Starts on £5.25millon Barnsley Business Park

Carnell Management Services has embarked on a second phase at a Capitol Park taking its total investment in the borough to more than 11 million. This phase consists of warehouse accommodation with offices and will create 105 job opportunities.  The location, near junction 37 of the M1 and the nearby facilities in the town centre make this speculative development an attractive proposition for inward investors.

Lets Get Barnsley Back in Business

The markets provide a platform for 200 businesses. Successive restrictions have impacted on the markets. Around 75% of traders on Barnsley’s markets sell goods and services classed as non-essential. The markets have remained open during lockdowns for traders who sell essential goods. Grant support has been welcomed by all market traders.

We’ve worked with traders to ensure reopening will be safe at the end of the lockdown. All traders have undertaken a ‘Covid Secure’ risk assessment. Sanitiser stations and security will be in place. All markets are participating in Let’s get Barnsley Back in Business consumer confidence campaign.

The Little Boat Company at Cannon Hall

The boating shed and jetty are now complete and The Little Boat Company, the new boat hire business, is ready for launch in early April. Boat hire will run from April until September. This small business will employ a number of young people from Barnsley, and has also created two apprenticeships through Barnsley College. The Council will receive a monthly income from this concession and we benefit from profit share if the success of this business proves to turn over more than £40,000 per annum.

Affordable Homes

Sanctuary Housing Association completed their scheme at Brunswick Street, Thurnscoe, in March 2021. The scheme consists of 49 homes built on a brownfield site which had been vacant since the end of the Housing Market Renewal Scheme. Together Housing Association created 35 homes on Nanny Marr Road, Darfield, 25 for affordable rent and 10 shared ownership. Also, this quarter, 13 properties were purchased through our strategic acquisitions budget.


We are in the process of recruiting young people to 38 Kickstart work placements across the Council in an exciting and diverse range of roles. Collaborative work is taking place to support young people (16-24) on Universal Credit to guide them through the application process. There are currently over of 100 applications. We will be shortlisting and interviewing over the next two weeks. Hopefully we will have 38 young people, all at risk of long- term unemployment, in excellent opportunities across the Council over the coming weeks with more positions being created throughout the year.

People achieving their potential

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

I am pleased with our 2020/21 performance for children’s services. The proportion of children in care in family placements and proportion of Section 47 investigations proceeding to Initial Child Protection (CP) Conference within 15 days both improved further between January and March. The performance in 2020/21 for both measures exceeded that of 2019/20 as well as statistical and national benchmarks. Although the year end performance of 19.7% children becoming the subject of a CP Plan for a second or subsequent time was just outside our aspirational target, the proportion remains better than that of statistical neighbours and the national average.

The number of young people entering the Youth Justice System for the first time continues to decrease and consolidates our position amongst the best performing local authorities nationally. Performance for assessments completed within the national 45- day standard remains outstanding and based on all local authorities, Barnsley would rank first nationally for this performance. However, we need to be completing shorter, more proportional assessments within 20 working days of referral albeit, our year end performance is better than both statistical neighbour and national averages.

Message from Julia Burrows - Director of Public Health 

Despite improvements in recent years, the latest data shows that life expectancy and healthy life expectancy has decreased for both women and men in Barnsley. A similar picture can be seen nationally. This is disappointing as our public health initiatives to improve physical and emotional health across the borough have seen some great success. The data does show that the life expectancy gap for men and women between the most and least deprived Barnsley communities is improving; but we know that more needs to be done to reduce poverty and other causes of ill-health for our residents. It’s also important to note that this data pre-dates the COVID-19 pandemic, so we expect to have more challenges ahead. Addressing the social determinants of health, including the quality of education and housing, access to affordable, healthy food, and public transport links, continue to be priority areas to improve healthy life expectancy.

Message from Wendy Lowder - Executive Director, Adults and Communities 

Our ongoing commitment to preventing and supporting homelessness has allowed us to exceed our annual target. We are pleased to report that Anti- Social behaviour continues to remain the lowest across South Yorkshire. In Adult Social Care our new approach to hospital discharges means that people are supported in the right place for the right reason. We have recovered our position on reablement with almost 40% of clients completing reablement with no long term needs in Q4. In accordance with our Home First principles we continue to see reductions in admissions to residential care for those aged 65 plus with 58 less admissions than last year. Our timeliness standards and targets against safeguarding, assessments and reviews were all achieved.

Areas of good performance 

  • 98% of early years and child care settings are judged to be good or outstanding.

  • 306 people aged 65+ were admitted to residential / nursing care in 2020/21.

  • 36.4% of clients complete reablement programmes with no long term needs.

  • 370 successful claims were made to the Department of Communities and Local Government for significant and sustained improvement this year, meeting our target.

  • There have been 488 homelessness preventions this year, exceeding our 300 target.

  • 5,666 incidents of anti social behaviour were dealt with in 2020/21.

  • 89.1% of adult social care reviews were completed to timescale.

  • 92.7% of adult safeguarding decisions were made within 72 hours.

  • 15.7% of referrals to children’s social care within 12 months are repeats.

  • 7 young people (10-17 years old) entered the Youth Justice system for the first time.

  • 93.6% of children in care are in a family placement.

  • 87.1% of Section 47 investigations proceed to initial child protection conference within 15 days.

Areas of improvement 

  • 22 people aged 18-64 were admitted to permanent care in 2020/21.

  • 37.1% of clients receive direct payments, lower than our target of 40%.

  • 19.7% of children had a child protection plan for the second or subsequent time.

  • The 2019/20 rate per 100,000 for hospital admissions for alcohol specific conditions was 1,235 (male) 569 (female).

  • 357.5 per 100,000 rate of admissions for self harm (2019/20), the national average is 192.6.

  • Female life expectancy is 81.8 years, healthy life expectancy 61.5 years.

  • Male life expectancy is 77.8 years, healthy life expectancy 57.5 years.

Case studies 


JE was referred to the Reablement service following a fall. After initial assessment it was confirmed that JE required support of four 30 minute calls per day to support with personal care. Exercises were provided by therapists and JE’s mobility improved to the extent that support could be reduced to two weekly visits. Feedback from JE was that she felt involved in setting her own goals, and treated with care, dignity and respect.  She also stated that the service was easy to contact and responsive to needs and that the support workers were friendly and professional.

Continuously Curious Children’s Services

Barnsley participated in the regional, sector led challenge event, collaborating with other authorities across Yorkshire and the Humber to review our performance and service developments. In the context of the pandemic, this year’s Challenge Day occurred online where we partnered with Wakefield to assess and challenge each other’s performance in Children’s Social Care, Early Help, Education and SEND. The challenge was facilitated by an experienced Director of Children’s Services from an outstanding Children’s Service. The exercise was useful in establishing new ambitious targets for the service. It was great to be recognised by Wakefield and the independent chairs for our strengths, which included maintaining high standards which are consistently met, being continuously curious and demonstrating very strong local partnerships.

Febru-welly – staying active, whatever the weather

Barnsley Council, in partnership with Good Food Barnsley, launched Febru-welly to encourage families to stay active throughout February, whatever the weather. This initiative was launched as part of the #WhatsYourMove campaign, which encourages people to move more for good mental and physical health. Good Food Barnsley created an activity booklet, which was distributed across the borough, containing plenty of reading, crafty ideas, activities and recipes. Families were also invited to take part online by sharing their pictures on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #BarnsleySplash. Amy Calvert, Innovation Manager at Good Food Barnsley, said: “The Febru-welly walking initiative sits in really well with our mission to build a better Barnsley. The Healthy Holidays work done through Good Food Barnsley is an important coalition between private, public and community sectors, and demonstrates how much more we can achieve when we work together."

Commitment to Education

The Council and Barnsley schools continue to stay committed to providing the best education to all young people in the borough. Schools have remained open for vulnerable children, and children of key workers throughout the pandemic, with staff working hard at delivering remote learning to every child but welcomed the full reopening of schools and colleges to all children and young people from March 8. School attendance has again become compulsory, and with careful and cautious considerations from the Council, Public Health colleagues and our school leaders, all children have been supported in returning to a safe environment. All staff and secondary students are being provided with two rapid tests to use at home each week, and face coverings are being worn indoors and in classrooms to help contain the virus. It is crucial that support is given to staff and students with these new, tighter arrangements so we are able to continue providing our children with the first-class education they deserve.

Strong and resilient communities

Message from Matt Gladstone - Executive Director, Place 

Throughout the pandemic, restrictions have had an impact on services offered by our environment and transport teams, albeit our performance in the final two quarters of the reporting year demonstrate that our recovery plans are coming to fruition. 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 and 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. CO2 emissions from street lighting have significantly reduced from 6,863 tonnes in 2012 to 1,611 tonnes in 2020.

We are pressing ahead with several ‘zero carbon’ schemes, such as the installation of electric vehicle charging points, rolling-out new electric council fleet and publishing our first Sustainable Energy Action Plan. Having secured funding from the Government’s Green Homes Grant scheme, we are offering insulation and energy-saving measures to low income households.

The recent winter period brought significant challenges for our services. We experienced several long periods of cold, snowy and icy weather. However, our performance in maintaining a safe road network was successful. The gritting teams worked around the clock to keep our major routes clear, and our refuse collections only suffered minimal disruption.

There remains ongoing appreciation for our front line workers with considerable acts of kindness being shown towards our staff. This has been a key feature throughout the whole pandemic. The volume of positive feedback received demonstrates a real togetherness, and our communities’ resilience is to be admired in such testing times. We will continue to work together to make a brighter future, a better Barnsley and ensure that Barnsley develops even further into a place of possibilities for all.

Message from Wendy Lowder - Executive Director, Adults and Communities 

We have achieved our targets for both numbers of volunteers and cashable value of volunteers and have still supported new community groups to form with 74 new groups established this year.

Areas of good performance

  • 41.7% of our fleet vehicles have now been replaced with Electric Vehicles, exceeding our ambition of 38%.

  • Fly tipping is cleared within five days in 99.9% of cases.

  • Over the year, 98% of pot-holes were repaired within 24 hours.

  • We produced enough renewable energy to power 12,259 homes this year, better than our target of 10,165.

  • The take up of Superfast South Yorkshire Broadband is at 63.3%, higher than our 56% target.

  • 4,135 people have volunteered this year within our Area Councils and Ward Alliances.

  • The cashable value of the volunteer hours has totalled £414,366 in 2020/21 against a target of £250,000.

  • 98% of faulty traffic lights were fixed within 24 hours.

  • 97.5% of household waste was diverted from landfill.

  • Nitrogen Oxide concentrations continue to remain low at 24 micrograms per cubic metre.

Areas of improvement 

  • 859 new volunteers were recruited this year, lower than our target of 1,350.

  • 35.8% of household waste was recycled in 2020/21, missing our aim for 40%.

Case studies 

We’re cleaning up this town

A Barnsley man has been found guilty of a fly-tipping offence by Barnsley Magistrates Court following an investigation by our fly-tipping enforcement team. The man had been finding work through Facebook, taking waste and dumping it on and near Park Spring Road in Grimethorpe.

He was sentenced to a 12-month Community Order, ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay £1,000 in costs to the council.

Five Ways to Wellbeing – Dearne Area Council

This digital project suited current need and opened up access for people that may not have engaged before, as well as those that have. The initiative was about highlighting mental health and wellbeing and how to look after yourself and others in the community. We used our social media platforms to promote information that would help people look after themselves, their families and the wider community, whilst staying home during lockdown. The initiatives ran over three weeks, with week one concentrating on older people, week two parents and week three children and young people. The key points were about being happier, healthier, independent and active. This is the ethos of the 5 ways to wellbeing, looking at ways a person can independently improve their own physical and mental health.


This case study is not about one group doing a community activity, but about a trend that has escalated throughout lockdown. Litter picking has been one thing that many individuals and families have chosen to do, often without any formal organisation. Although organised groups are involved in litter picking, two informal litter picking groups have started in the Stairfoot Ward. This has resulted in 210 sacks of litter being collected since January by two residents. At Tank Row, a litter hotspot, 100 bags of litter have been collected and further hotspots identified. Friends of Stairfoot has been inundated with requests form people wanting to litter pick. As well as a cleaner community, other benefits have been the positive impact on volunteer’s mental health and the development of friendships.

One council

Message from Shokat Lal - Executive Director, Core Services 

Business rates collection exceeded the target of 97.5% by 0.77%. Council tax collection has also exceeded the target of 96%, by 0.26%. This is an extremely strong position and is a result of increased collection in the final quarter. However, this needs to be considered within the context of having a reduced amount to collect. This is due to the award of reliefs to those in retail, leisure and hospitality sector and the financial support available to those businesses who continue to have a liability to pay, increased awards of localised council tax support, additional government funded hardship payment and other government interventions. Positions for both collection rates will be closely monitored in the coming financial year to ensure we are aware of any potential risks to collection, when the current government support is reduced or comes to an end.

The pandemic has resulted in an increase in the number of complaints received each quarter during 2020/21. Service delivery was affected and some services suspended. Learning taken from each complaint remains to be the main focus and is the most vital part of the customer complaint journey. Whilst the number of complaints total 284, it’s important to highlight that we received 429 compliments during the year. 88.7% of complaints were responded to within agreed timescales, better than the target of 85%.


  • 96.26% of Council Tax was collected.

  • 98.27% of Business Rates were collected this year.

  • 55.3% of our spending was with local suppliers.  This is below our target of 65%.

  • 95% of efficiency savings were delivered.


1.76% of our employees began an apprenticeship in 2020/21. Whilst the National Public Sector Target of 2.3% has not been met this year we must be mindful that the pandemic has impacted upon take up of apprenticeships across the country. However, we have increased take up by an average of 0.56% each quarter since Q1, despite ongoing restrictions and an increasing establishment size. This is a positive indication of our apprenticeship use over 2020/21 and the outlook for 2021/2022 is good. The National Public Sector Target has been set by government for 2021/22 at 2.3% with no uplift in recognition of the difficulties local authorities have faced this year.

Sickness absence

7.7 days were lost per full time employee (FTE) due to sickness in 2020/21. This is slightly lower than last year’s figure of 7.98 per FTE. Rates in Q1 and Q2 were the lowest since monitoring began in 2013/14.

Long term sickness: 5.35 days per FTE
Short term sickness: 2.43 days per FTE

Census 2021 

Households across Barnsley were asked to participate in Census 2021 on Sunday 21 March. The census, run by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), is a once-in-a- decade survey that gives the most accurate estimate of all the people and households in England and Wales. The Council is supporting ONS to maximise the number of people completing the Census in Barnsley. Understanding the nation’s needs helps everyone from central government to organisations, such as councils and health authorities, plan and fund public services across England and Wales.

You can also view our corporate plan performance data tables.