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Performance Assessment

Year end update on implementation of 2019-20 Improvement Plan

Contents

Overview

Discharging the general duty to secure continuous improvement in 2019-20

Progression, achievement and outcomes from our 2019-20 improvement objectives

Quantifying our performance

Overview

Understanding the Context

This assessment of the Council’s performance in the 2019-20 period provides an overview of the many improvements that Belfast City Council has progressed over the past year. At the beginning of the year we set ourselves six key improvement objectives and, within these, agreed the main activities that would help drive those objectives forward. This report illustrates exactly what we’ve achieved against these activities. However, these are strategic objectives and as such provide only a snapshot of the vast amount of improvement activity taking place all the time within the Council. Individual services and departments refine and improve the way they do things on a continuous basis. To ensure citizens receive the high quality, value for money services that they expect and deserve, we continually look at what has worked well elsewhere, listen to customer feedback and consider more efficient ways of doing things.

The information provided in this report meets our obligations under the Local Government (NI) Act 2014 to publish details of our arrangements to deliver continuous improvement. We continue to use what we learn to inform our future activity and to use our resources in a way that maximises their impact for the people who live here and for those who visit, study and work in the city.

Selecting Improvement Objectives

To decide what areas we should concentrate our improvement activity on we looked at many sources of evidence. This year, we undertook a further review of the improvement objectives for 2019 - 20 as set out in our annual review process below.

   
Nov 2018 Preliminary budget setting and strategic planning
Jan 2019 Review of 2018-19 improvement objectives and consideration of emerging issues and data to inform 2019-20 objectives
Jan 2019 Corporate Management Team (CMT) - Review and assessment of 2019-20 improvement objectives
Feb 2019 SP&R Committee - scrutiny of proposed improvement objectives
Feb - Apr 2019 Public Consultation
2 May 2019 Local Government elections - new council elected
May 2019 CMT - Post consultation review of improvement objectives
Jun 2019 SP&R Committee approves Improvement Objectives and Improvement Plan
28 Jun 2019 Improvement Plan published

This included analysing the challenges facing the city and the opportunities that we could exploit.  We examined the priorities of our partner organisations, looking at how we might complement other high-level plans for Belfast and consulted extensively with residents about what their priorities were.  Based on the feedback received following the public consultation, we updated the health related improvement objective so that it included active travel related actions. We also recognised that we needed to explain our leadership and partnership role better and to demonstrate how our activity would help lead, support and facilitate progress against shared improvement objectives for the city.  We then engaged in debate within the Council to agree and translate all of this information into six improvement objectives that best reflected what we had learned.

The improvement objectives have remained broadly the same over a number of years as they continue to best reflect all of this feedback in an outcome focused, customer centric way.  By keeping them consistent and adapting and amending the activities that underpin them we are able to demonstrate real and practical improvements over time. 

BCC’s six improvement objectives for 2019-20 formally approved at SP&R Committee in June agreed that as a Council we would:

  • Support people into employment
  • Support investment and business growth in the city
  • Support the regeneration of the city centre
  • Increase levels of household recycling and reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill
  • Support people to lead healthier more active lives by improving the quality of our parks and open spaces and increasing participation in physical activity and sports programmes.
  • Improve council services and increase customer satisfaction with council

Delivering Improvements

Lots of the work we do helps us to achieve these improvements. For example, attracting inward investment and regeneration opportunities depends not only on large-scale projects to stimulate growth; it also requires a clean, attractive city with space, good health and leisure opportunities and a strong sense of safety and community. Their success depends on making sure that we deliver high quality effective services on the ground.

However to make it easier to monitor our performance we also identified a total of 17 activities that we would use to demonstrate progress against each objective. Updates on the progress of these activities are reported to our committees on a regular basis. In addition, updates on the Improvement Plan, as a whole, are reported to our Audit and Risk Panel and Strategic Policy and Resources Committee at mid-year and year-end.

Discharging the general duty to secure continuous improvement in 2019-20

Arrangements in place to secure continuous improvement

Belfast City Council has well established governance arrangements in place to ensure delivery of all of our plans and these arrangements are used to ensure that all of the activity underpinning our improvement objectives is monitored on an ongoing basis. These arrangements include:

  • An aligned planning process
  • Regular reporting of activities within plans to relevant committees
  • Quarterly reports of our programme of activity to CMT
  • Mid-year and year-end reports of our overall programme of activity to SP&R
  • Reporting on the performance management process to the Audit and Risk Panel as a standing item
  • Consideration of the full costs included in our estimates process
  • Appropriate risk management arrangements for all programmes of work
  • Appropriate monitoring, reporting and performance management arrangements underpinning all of the above

In addition, aligned monitoring and reporting cycles for finance and other cross cutting performance information provides greater visibility of the council’s overall performance position.

Under our improvement obligations we must include an assessment of the Council’s performance in relation to the duty of continuous improvement.  We added a new improvement objective for 2019-20 that focused specifically on service improvement and satisfaction with council. When we consulted local people about this, it was clear that the provision of high quality, customer focused and efficient services was very important to our residents. 

Continually meeting resident expectations and ensuring that our services are efficient and fit for purpose is a key priority for council. To help us achieve this we focused on three core areas:

  • neighbourhood working programme
  • customer care programme
  • continuous improvement programme

The aim of these programmes is to enable better service delivery and sustainable organisational structures; empower staff and provide greater customer care, value for money and efficiency.  This report on the achievement of the Council’s 2019-20 Improvement Plan does not (and could not) represent all of the improvement activity that took place within the organisation during the last year. The 6 Improvement Objectives were identified as areas that required a particular planned focus and for which specific projects would be put in place to achieve them but they are only one part of our improvement story.

In keeping with the spirit of our improvement duty we do not just ‘plan in’ improvement at one point in the year.  We work hard to improve the experience of citizens throughout the year. 

As a responsive, proactive organisation, we recognise that there will be occasions when we need to adapt what we do, perhaps even to divert from planned activity and realign resources to cope with an emerging need. 

City Recovery

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a monumental impact on people all across the world.  A major challenge for the Council and city partners is to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the local economy, so that businesses can once again thrive and provide employment opportunities and vibrancy to local communities and the city centre.  It is evident that there will be lasting structural changes to the city’s economy, its infrastructure, its environment and to its communities, and will likely result in financial and economic uncertainty for some time. To thrive, we must reimagine the future now and act together to deliver it. 

We have worked to develop a Council recovery plan which is underpinned by a set of guiding principles.

  • Ensuring public health and safety
  • Adopting a phased and managed approach to the transition through emergency response, rebuild and sustained recovery. 
  • Adopting a place based approach to the re-opening of our neighbourhoods. 
  • Accelerating  economic recovery and enabling businesses to reopen effectively
  • Accelerating elements of the Belfast Bolder Vision, which seeks to take forward a shared approach to creating a more attractive, accessible, safe & vibrant city centre. 
  • Enhancing civic pride to attract local people and visitors

A report was presented to all members, setting out our proposed approach to city recovery on a phased basis, namely Response: Rebuild: Recovery.  This acknowledged the need for an immediate response which kicked in immediately following lockdown in March 2020, as well as the requirement to rebuild a new economy in a very different economic climate, maintaining a focus on sustainable and inclusive growth.  Due to the Covid-19 pandemic a number of milestones scheduled for quarter 4 were delayed or not completed.  These will be taken forward into the plans for 2020 -21.

As we continue to respond to these exceptional challenges, our commitment to continuous improvement will take on a new dimension over the coming year.  Our focus will be on mobilising our services to respond to this unprecedented challenge, maintaining essential council services and safeguarding the health, safety and wellbeing of everyone whilst rebuilding the social, environmental and economic fabric of the city.  Our overriding aim will be to support local people and our city through this difficult period. 

Progression, achievement and outcomes from our 2019-20 improvement objectives

Improvement Objective: Support people into employment

Why does this improvement matter?

When we were developing our community plan, supporting people into employment was identified as the top priority for citizens.  It was established as an improvement objective in 2017-18 and, as a continuing priority for ratepayers, councillors and community planning partners, it has been retained for 2019-20.  

This improvement objective focused on developing skills and removing barriers to employment, especially for those who are furthest removed from the labour market.   However, we recognised the need to find a new way to tackle the multi-faceted and intractable problems associated with long-term unemployment in particular.  This involved addressing the barriers that prevent people from benefiting from meaningful employment opportunities that have the potential to contribute to both their financial and to their general well-being.   We therefore continued to work with partners in an integrated and strategic way to help remove these barriers and to fully realise people‘s potential. 

We also strived to ensure that we retained skills and talent within the city and helped local people avail of decent, well-paying jobs that provide opportunities for advancement and personal development.

What are the expected outcomes?

Our work to achieve this objective contributes to…

  • Everyone in Belfast fulfils their potential
  • Everyone in Belfast benefits from a thriving and prosperous economy

Stretch Goals linked to Belfast Agenda

  • Create 15,000 new jobs by 2021
  • Reduce the working age population economic inactivity rate to less than 23%
  • Reduce the proportion of the working age population with no qualifications to less than 10%

How we measured our performance and impact

BCC Performance Indicators Achieved 2018-19 Achieved
2019-20
Number of jobs promoted through BCC employment programmes   960 1,433
Number of individuals attending job fairs supported by BCC 8,583 5,000
Number of accreditations delivered 1,628 2,148

Improvement Activity – We delivered the actions to support residents to progress into employment

BCC continues to work alongside partner organisations to deliver against this activity.

 In our Improvement Plan for 2019-20 we said we would:

  • Support residents to progress into employment through the delivery of:
    • Employment Academies
    • Jobs fairs /careers events
    • Five European Social Fund (ESF) projects in partnership with Urban Villages
    • An employer incentive initiative (pilot programme focusing on priority growth sectors)

Specific achievements included:

  • Supported 458 participants in Employment Academies and of these 338 have progressed into employment and 8 into full time education. Sectors engaged through these academies included hospitality and tourism, transportation, childcare, health and social care, leisure and construction
  • Continued to scope employer incentive initiatives on priority growth sectors through active engagement with key stakeholders 
  • Supported the long-term unemployed and economically inactive to enter the labour market, through the delivery of five European Social Fund (ESF) projects. 2,442 participants have been engaged with 985 accredited qualifications achieved.
  • Engaged almost 5,000 participants through career events and job fairs
  • Established a partnership with GLL to support jobs in three new leisure facilities creating up to 75 new permanent jobs and up to 100 casual positions for the city. Three Leisure Academies were also delivered in life-guarding and fitness training
Milestones Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
Deliver a suite of employment academies aligned to Employment opportunities Green Green Green Amber
Continue to engage with employers about future potential academies Green Green Green Amber
Scope and deliver pilot employer incentives initiatives focusing on priority growth sectors   Green Amber Amber
Support delivery of 5  ESF projects in partnership with Urban Villages Green Green Green Amber
Deliver events to provide access to  employment opportunities and/or advice     Green Amber
Target employability interventions towards areas of greatest need Green Green Green Green
Responsible Chief Officer Director of  Economic Development 
Reporting Committee City Growth & Regeneration Committee

Improvement Activity – We developed tailored solutions to align to the employability and skills needs of the City

In our Improvement Plan for 2019-20 we said we would:

Work with partners to develop strategic approaches to employability and skills, focusing on:

  • Co-design of new employability initiatives and pilot schemes in collaboration with DfC Employability NI Programme
  • Delivering pilot initiatives for young people not in education, employment or training (NEET’s) in partnership with DfE
  • Developing the process and ongoing engagement for securing employment and skills related contributions through Developer Contributions framework
  • Delivering career development support for young people and schools based employment academies
  • Developing and implementing a citywide GCSE revision programme targeting year 12 students at risk of not achieving grade C in English and Maths.

Specific achievements included

  • Worked with both the Department for Communities and the Department for the Economy to continue to develop joint areas of working to facilitate better alignment between regional employment and skills programmes and the needs of the Belfast labour market.
  • Helped develop a pilot programme for young people aged 14-24 years who are NEET or at high risk of becoming, working with over 160 young people from across the city providing one to one mentoring support.
  • Further developed the employability and skills strand of the Belfast Region City Deal (BRCD), in order to ensure that there is sufficient skills to meet demand and maximise the benefits of investment of the programme.
  • Worked with the Department of Education to put in place a GCSE Maths and English Support Programme citywide to provide targeted revision support during holiday times and in community settings.
  • Developed the process for securing employability and skills related developer contributions in line with the approved Developer Contributions Framework.
Milestones Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
Engage with and support the ‘Working and Learning’ delivery board Green Green Green Green
Support the co-design of new employability initiatives with DFC - Employability NI Programme Board Green Green Green Green
Deliver test & learn pilots with DfC   Green Green Amber
Deliver pilot initiatives with DfE to inform the new NEET’s action plan Green Green Green Amber
Support the development of the BRCD Employability & Skills strand Amber Green Green Green
Develop process for securing E&S related developer contributions Amber      
Ongoing engagement to consider E&S aspects of developers contributions for planning applications   Green Green Amber
Deliver schools based employment academies supporting young people in year 12 at greatest risk of not achieving or dropping out of education Green Green Green  
Deliver career development support providing young people with access to information and experiences to help them identify career pathways Green Green    
Launch a GCSE revision programme in English & Math for year 12 students at risk of not achieving grade C   Green Green Amber
Responsible Chief Officer Director of Economic Development
Reporting Committee City Growth & Regeneration Committee

Improvement Objective:  Support investment and business growth in the city

Why does this improvement matter?

In our residents’ survey, the importance of attracting investment to Belfast was a highly ranked priority for our citizens.  This desire for a strong local economy and a culture of entrepreneurialism also emerged through conversations with local people during development of the Belfast Agenda. 

A heathy and vibrant business sector, and the ability to attract investment, are considered vital to the success and wellbeing of our city and for those who live here.  They help support local wealth creation and employment, which in turn allow us to deliver our vision of inclusive growth.  We have reflected these issues in our improvement objectives and over the last two years have been working with businesses and entrepreneurs to help support business start-ups and growth.  We have also been working with partners to ensure that Belfast is visible and accessible to an international audience and can successfully attract inward investment.  

In an increasingly competitive market, and with the uncertainty surrounding the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, we have retained these for 2019-20 so that we can maximise our growing recognition as a global city and continue to develop innovative and supportive solutions for businesses. This will help grow our economy and enable more people to benefit from a prosperous, successful city.

What are the expected outcomes?

Our work to achieve this objective contributes to:

  • Everyone in Belfast benefits from a thriving and prosperous economy

Stretch Goals linked to Belfast Agenda

  • Attract £1billion in private sector investment including FDI by 2021
  • Support 4,000 small business start-ups by 2021

How we measure our performance and impact

BCC Performance Indicators Achieved 2018-19

Achieved

2019-20
Number of jobs promoted through the Go For it programme (Statutory Indicator) 264 258
Number of jobs promoted through BCC business start-up and growth activity 180 615
Number of participants supported through business start and growth programmes 2,984 3,075

Improvement Activity – We enhanced provision of business start-up support

In our Improvement Plan for 2019-20 we said we would:

  • Enhance the provision of business start-up support

Specific achievements included:

  • 857 individuals have been engaged through Enterprise Awareness activities and have received support and guidance to start a business or social enterprise. 
  • Launched the Enterprise Pathway initiative in partnership with the Department for Communities to encourage the creation of new start-up businesses in Belfast, specifically targeting workless residents whose circumstances require enhanced levels of personal and enterprise support.
  • Involved 376 individuals on the Go For It Programme leading to 258 new jobs.
  • Launched our Crowd Funder campaign where 10 organisations will work with Crowd Funder UK to create their campaigns with the view of securing at least £10k to support their organisation.
  • Supported high growth start-ups, engaging 67 businesses and supporting the creation of 53 additional jobs
  • Secured the ‘Local Council of the Year’ Award for – Social Enterprise Strategy/Development at the Social Enterprise Northern Ireland Awards.
  • Delivered capacity building and one to one mentoring to support the development of sustainable businesses.
Milestones Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
Deliver a range of initiatives to increase awareness of enterprise   Green Green Green
Enhance support for underrepresented groups to overcome barriers to business start up   Amber Green Amber
Deliver a suite of programmes to support individuals to start a business Green Green Green Amber
Deliver support to encourage the development of new high growth start up Green Green Green Amber
Deliver the social enterprise action plan in engagement with the social enterprise cooperative sector Green Green Green Amber
Establish with enterprise partners, an action plan to deliver the enterprise framework and improve the start up offer in the city    Amber Amber Amber
Responsible Chief Officer Director of Economic Development
Reporting Committee City Growth & Regeneration Committee

Improvement Activity - We supported existing businesses to grow and become more competitive

In our Improvement Plan for 2019-20 we said we would:

  • Support existing businesses to grow and become more competitive.

Specific achievements included:            

  • Supported 161 small businesses with mentoring support, creating over 130 additional new jobs.  
  • Our export support programme has supported 28 companies to enter new international markets and increase sales of an average of £72,000 per company
  • Supported over 500 small creative businesses to network, showcase and do business internationally through the Output Belfast conference and showcase event and attendance at SXSW in Austin Texas
  • Through our partnership with Catalyst and Invest NI, 50 businesses participated in the Way to Scale initiative in Belfast.  10 of the companies who demonstrated the most growth potential then participated in a week-long Boston-based programme which gave them the tools to scale their business and identified market and investment opportunities in the USA.
  • Supported the Innovation Factory (IF) social regeneration and business support programme which facilitated 50 work placements, engaged with 416 businesses and achieved a procurement spend of 84% of its budget within the Belfast.
Milestones Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
Deliver a range of support of support to encourage existing businesses to grow, compete and export Green Green Green Amber
Develop an approach to engage with business in key growth sectors   Amber Amber Amber
Deliver, in partnership with Invest NI and Catalyst Inc, support for existing businesses to Scale and Grow   Green Green Amber
Support the Innovation Factory in relation to employee growth and business improvement for tenants Green Amber Amber Red
Responsible Chief Officer Director of Economic Development
Reporting Committee City Growth & Regeneration Committee

Improvement Activity – We promoted and marketed the City Internationally

In our Improvement Plan for 2019-20 we said we would:

  • Promote and market the city internationally

Specific achievements included:

  • Levered support through our Sister Cities contacts, particularly in Nashville and Boston, to help individual businesses to identify new business growth opportunities and  introduced them to key business contacts and networks
  • Completed our role in supporting the inaugural, year-long ‘China in Belfast’ programme,  Planning for next year has been severely affected by Covid 19
  • EuroCities Network – worked alongside the NIO to co-ordinate a visit by a delegation to Brussels for the European Week of Regions and Cities in Brussels in October 2019.
  • Via our City Investment Service and International team, we continued to engage with Invest NI and others to help Northern Ireland companies seeking to foster links internationally and help foreign businesses locate in Belfast
  • Hosted a number of key business delegations, including the Boston Irish Business Association (BIBA)
Milestones Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
Civic/Political Activity
Support inaugural ‘China in Belfast’ programme  Green Green Green Amber
Support 2020 Chinese New Year event in Belfast       Green
Consider attendance at the 5th China-UK Regional Leaders Summit (Scotland 2019)     Red  
Provide support to Chinese consulate team to support civic inward missions       Amber
Engage in EuroCities Network, in line with senior officer needs Green   Green  
Business –investment and export activity
Explore (with the Executive Office, Invest NI and NI Councils) the feasibility of a business mission to China in Autumn     Amber  
Host BABCNE mission to Belfast        
Conduct exploratory work to scope potential visit to Boston in late 2019   Green Green  
Organise Council input to the seventh annual International Homecoming Business   Green Green  

Carry out exploratory work with Invest NI and Catalyst Inc . re small business mission to Nashville

Green Amber Amber Amber
Tourism Development
Support Visit Belfast re. visits from Shenyang and Greater China tourism industry   Amber Amber Amber
Education/Culture Development      
Host an inward education mission from Shenyang Amber Amber Amber  
Plan and deliver the second Nashville in Belfast event Green      
MIPIM
Undertake post MIPIM Debrief Meeting and wrap up event Green      
Provide post MIPIM report to CG&R Green      
Develop advertising, PR and an Events programme to promote investment opportunities in Belfast   Green Green Amber
Agree sponsorship package, website and the programme Green Green Green  
Complete sponsorship     Green Amber
Carry out marketing and pre-MIPIM preparation     Green Amber
Responsible Chief Officer Director of  Economic Development
Reporting Committee City Growth & Regeneration Committee  

Improvement Activity - We profiled Belfast as a place of choice for investment

In our Improvement Plan for 2019-20 we said we would:

  • Profile Belfast as a location of choice for investment

Specific achievements included

  • Provided a dedicated access point and signposting service for investors to the city through the City Investment Service enhancing the experience for investors to the city. Since its launch we have engaged over 90 businesses.
  • Completed a review of the service among users which will help identify opportunities and shape how businesses continue to be supported through this service
  • Welcomed the Lord Mayor of the City of London (COLC) – working in partnership to promote Belfast as a business location, particularly for financial services investment and to support collaborations between businesses in both cities.
Milestones Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
Deliver the City for Investment Service Green Green Green Green
Review the City for Investment Service 18 month pilot   Green Amber Amber
Submit review to committee to include recommendations for next steps       Red
Develop opportunities in key locations to position Belfast as a location of choice for key growth sectors Green Amber Green Green
Responsible Chief Officer Director of Economic Development
Reporting Committee City Growth & Regeneration Committee

Improvement Objective 3: Support the regeneration of the City Centre

Why does this improvement matter?

A number of research studies have demonstrated the importance of vibrant city centres and their impact on local economies as well as their contribution to wellbeing and social cohesion.  Belfast city centre plays a unique role within the wider regional economy as it is widely accepted that thriving, well-connected “core cities” and in particular city centres are vital to the prosperity of the wider region. 

During the Belfast Conversation, local people and partners highlighted the importance of the city centre and its role in rejuvenating the entire city.  Although there was a strong sense of pride in how far Belfast had come, there was also a recognition that we have more to do.  Indeed, the growing pressure on high streets and the recent impact of the Bank Buildings fire has reinforced the need to protect and enhance Belfast city centre.

We are committed to creating a vibrant, well-planned and well-connected city centre environment because of the many positive benefits this can bring.   Local people will benefit directly from an attractive and culturally vibrant city.  At the same time increased rate base, tourism and investment opportunities will enable the city to prosper economically leading to improved investment in local services.   In addition to continuing to deliver the overall City Centre Regeneration & Investment Strategy, in 2019-20, we worked on specifically delivering a post-Bank fire recovery programme and worked to improve the ‘liveability’ of the city centre.  This included advocating for our city, developing a fit for purpose and sustainable spatial planning framework and taking forward various programmes to deliver key projects and master plans to make this happen.

What are the expected outcomes?

Our work to achieve this objective contributes to:

  • Belfast is a vibrant, attractive, connected and environmentally sustainable city
  • Everyone in Belfast benefits from a thriving and prosperous city 

Stretch goals linked to Belfast Agenda

  • Grow the city’s rate base by 5% by increasing the numbers of residential and commercial developments by 2021
  • Create 1.5m square feet of Grade A office accommodation by 2021
  • Create a minimum of 3,000 new hotel bed spaces by 2021
  • Increase the % of residents satisfied with the city living experience

How we measure our performance and impact

BCC Performance Indicators Achieved 2018-19

Achieved

2019-20

Resident satisfaction with Belfast as a place to live

91% (2017) 86% (2019)
% Residents who agree the city centre is vibrant and attractive, with lots going on 87% (2017) 81% (2019)

Improvement Activity - We implemented the City Centre Revitalisation Programme

In our Improvement Plan for 2019-20 we said we would:

  • Continue to work in partnership to develop and implement the city centre revitalisation programme (response to the Bank Buildings fire)

Specific achievements included:

  • Worked in partnership with city partners to deliver the proposals within the City Revitalisation Programme, to enhance the vitality and sustainability of the city centre. 
  • Progressed the development of a City Lighting and Dressing Strategy – piloting trial approaches and opportunities for collaborative working to inform the development of the strategy
  • Commissioned a City Centre Connectivity Study in partnership with the Department for Communities and Department for Infrastructure to promote the development of sustainable transport and to develop a shared vision for the city centre.
  • Cleanliness and physical appearance of the city centre is a key issue for stakeholders. We continued to provide a deep clean to the public realm, with a dedicated team working throughout the city centre.
  • Developed more family-friendly activities in the city centre, along with a programme of Christmas animation, with 43 musical performances over the Christmas period, drawing audiences in excess of 4,000 people
  • Worked collaboratively with city partners to create awareness of Belfast’s unique offering with and integrated public relations and marketing plan.
  • Work began on developing a Future City Centre programme now the City Revitalisation programme is coming to a close, this programme will provide a longer-term approach to create a safe, vibrant and sustainable city centre.
Milestones Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
Deliver a physical and environmental improvement programme Green Green Green Amber
Deliver an uplifted animation and events programme Green Green Green Amber
Deliver, with partners, a new marketing and communications campaign   Green Green Amber
Responsible Chief Officer Director of  City Regeneration and Development 
Reporting Committee City Growth & Regeneration Committee  

Improvement Activity – We continued to develop the Belfast Local Development Plan

In our Improvement Plan for 2019-20 we said we would:

  • Continue to develop the Belfast Local Development Plan

Specific achievements included:

  • Submitted the draft Plan Strategy (dPS) to the Department for Infrastructure
  • The Local Development Plan documents proceeded to Independent Examination (IE) and these were subsequently passed to the Planning Appeals Commission (PAC) for review.

Commenced development of the Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) necessary to support the new policies within the Local Development Plan

Milestones Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
Consult for counter representations Green      
Publish any counter-representations received Amber Green    
Present all DPS documents to Planning Committee Green      
Submit DPS documents to DFI Green Green    
Independent Examination – public hearings (timeframe beyond BCC control)     Green Green
Responsible Chief Officer Director of  Planning and Building Control
Reporting Committee Planning Committee

Improvement Activity – We reviewed ways to encourage residential and employment related development with partners

In our Improvement Plan for 2019-20 we said we would:

  • Review ways to encourage residential and employment related development

Specific achievements included:

  • Commissioned an investigation into the impact of ‘co-ownership’ on city centre residential living in partnership with DfC to look at city centre living and affordable housing.
  • Worked with partners on the Regeneration Taskforce to develop processes to address overcoming the obstacles to the city centre housing supply including the establishment of a city centre waiting list, procurement advice and position for Housing Associations and piloting and testing mixed tenure development
  • Completed a review of strategic public sector assets and appropriate governance is now in place to deliver the first phase of the Strategic Sites Assessments, with four main sites now being progressed.
  • Developed the Inner North-West Mixed-Use City Centre Neighbourhood Action Plan and continued engagement with key stakeholders.
Milestones Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
Continue to engage and inform the City Centre Taskforce Green      
Work with partners to identify opportunities for high-quality, mixed tenure residential accommodation Green Green Green Green
Complete Residential Analysis     Amber  
Present options from the strategic site assessment to bring forward council land for development Green Green Green Green
Responsible Chief Officer Director of  City Regeneration and Development 
Reporting Committee City Growth & Regeneration Committee  

Improvement Objective: Increase household recycling and reduce waste to landfill

Why does this improvement matter?

The importance of kerbside collection to local people was made clear following extensive engagement about our arrangements in 2018.  In order to provide efficient and effective services that protect our environment, achieve targets and secure value for money, while also meeting resident expectations, new behaviours and innovative approaches will be required.  

This improvement objective reflects our growing awareness of the negative impact of waste and pollution on the environment and the importance of sustainable development.  As a core council service it will require substantial effort and investment if we are to significantly change practice and behaviours. 

By recycling greater volumes of material and reducing the amount of waste disposal to landfill we are continuing to contribute positively to the city and its climate change agenda.  Along with our strategic partners the Council is also exploring ways by which materials can be reused in NI as often as possible through re-design, repair and recycling, ultimately supporting local jobs in the emerging Circular Economy.

What are the expected outcomes?

Our work to achieve this objective contributes to:

  • Belfast is a vibrant, attractive, connected and environmentally sustainable city

Stretch goals linked to Belfast Agenda

  • Reduce the level of household waste going to landfill to 35% or less

How we will measure our performance and impact

BCC Performance Indicators Achieved 2018-19

Achieved 2019-20

Amount of (tonnage) of biodegradable BCC collected waste that is landfilled (Statutory indicator) 36,658 30,299
% of household waste collected that is sent for recycling (including waste prepared for re-use) (Statutory indicator) 44.4% 45.4%
Amount (tonnage) of BCC collected municipal waste arisings (Statutory indicator) 171,118 168,515

Improvement Activity - We improved and extended recycling options   

In our Improvement Plan for 2019-20 we said we would:

  • Introduce new pilot kerbside collections scheme – Wheelie-box, dedicated food waste and 180 litre residual bin
  • Introduce carpet recycling at Household Recycling Centres
  • Explore opportunities to extract re-use items from bulky household waste collections and work with contractors to increase recycling rates from waste streams

Specific achievements included:

  • Continued to tackle the production of waste at source to minimise consumption and promote the circular economy
  • Launched the Kerbside Wheelie Box Pilot increasing the capacity of collections for recyclable materials by providing a weekly collection service, encouraging residents to recycle more with the provision of a smaller black bin
  • Explored initiatives to increase recycling and to reduce landfill including awarding a contract for carpet recycling,
  • Explored opportunities for extraction of re-use items from bulky household waste and technological developments to increase recovery of recyclables from the non-recyclable waste stream are also being delivered.
  • Delivered a programme of engagement and awareness activities to encourage people to make better use of recycling services
Milestones Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
Develop new collection arrangement proposals for dry recyclables
Launch pilot kerbside collections scheme Amber Green    
Submit Outline Business Case on proposed kerbside collection scheme     Amber Amber
Implement key actions from the Waste Framework
Introduce carpet recycling at Household Recycling Centres Amber Amber Amber Amber
Explore opportunities to extract re-use items from bulky household waste Amber Amber Green  
Work with contractors to increase recycling rates from waste streams Green Green Green Green
Responsible Chief Officer Director of  City and Neighbourhood Services
Reporting Committee People & Communities Committee

Improvement Activity - We changed behaviours through engagement and awareness activity

In our Improvement Plan for 2019-20 we said we would:

  • Deliver a programme of engagement and awareness to encourage people to make better use of recycling services

Specific achievements included:

  • Successfully completed an awareness raising campaign to encourage higher levels of food recycling through direct engagement with residents. 
  • Challenged community groups and schools to design their very own billboard poster based on the theme ‘the impact of litter in our community’ and received over 70 entries. With the winning designs displayed on a billboard within the winner’s local community
  • Delivered a valued and efficient Household Recycling Centre service to residents.
  • Began the development of a draft Waste Access and Acceptance Policy
Milestones Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4

Deliver programme of engagement and awareness

Deliver householder engagement campaign on food waste (Phase 2) Amber Green Green Amber
Develop waste acceptance policy at recycling centres and civic amenity sites Amber Green Green Amber
Responsible Chief Officer Director of  City and Neighbourhood Services
Reporting Committee People & Communities Committee 

Improvement Objective: Support people to lead healthier, more active lives

Why does this improvement matter?

Improving people’s health and wellbeing and addressing health inequalities was the second highest ranked priority for respondents in our 2016-17 resident survey.  In 2017-18, we established a broad improvement objective of working in collaboration to “design and deliver programmes to address health inequalities in the city”.  However, for 2019-20 we have decided to refocus our improvement objective on the areas that council can directly influence, and in particular, on the role that our parks and recreation facilities play. 

Access to attractive, high quality, safe and welcoming parks and open spaces is essential to improving people’s health and wellbeing.  As part of this we also worked to ensure our leisure centres and physical activity programmes and initiatives are fit for purpose and accessible to all.  Encouraging people to avail of these amenities and live heathier lives will help to address health inequalities in the city.  In response to feedback from this year’s public consultation we have also included actions aimed at improving “active travel” - encouraging greater use of cycling or walking for journeys to work or for leisure or social purposes.  Not only will this help improve people’s individual health it will also help reduce levels of pollution and help improve overall air quality.   

We believe that that this re-focus better reflects the council’s contribution to improving health in local areas and through council services.

What are the expected outcomes?

Our work to achieve this objective contributes to:

  • Everyone in Belfast experiences good health and wellbeing

Stretch goals linked to the Belfast Agenda

  • Invest £25m in health improvement initiatives
  • Roll out £105m in new leisure provision

How we will measure our performance and impact

BCC Performance Indicators Achieved 2018-19

Achieved 2019-20

% residents who agreed that their local area has good quality parks and green space 82% (2017) 78% (2019)
Number of Parks and Green Spaces with Green Flag accreditation 19 20
% residents using council parks at least monthly [1]   56% (2019)
BCC Leisure centre throughput [2] 2,047,119 2,105,797
% residents who spend at least 150 minutes per week physically active [3]

 

65.8% (latest data available)  
Number of Belfast Bikes journeys 211,053 125,882

[1] New indicator in 2018-19

[2] New definition for 2018-19: Each visit is recorded as a unique customer entry irrespective of how many activities the customer participates in on that visit

[3] New indicator in 2018-19

Improvement Activity - We improved the quality of our parks and open spaces

In our Improvement Plan for 2019-20 we said we would:

  • Develop and implement a new Open Spaces Strategy
  • Retain our current Green Flag accreditations (19 parks) and achieve a new accreditation for Drumglass Park; retain the  Green Flag heritage award for Botanic Gardens
  • In partnership with Urban Villages deliver three play park refurbishments (Glenbryn, Sandy Row and Rev Robert Bradford Memorial Park play parks)

Specific achievements included:

  • Completed the public consultation on our new Open Spaces Strategy which is being developed so that Belfast will have a well connected network of high-quality open spaces recognised for the value and benefits they provide to everyone who lives in, works in and visits our city.
  • Achieved Green Flag accreditation for 20 Council Sites with one site also being awarded the special accolade of Green Flag Heritage award status
  • Completed planned refurbishments in partnership with Urban Villages at Glenbryn Play Park Sandy Row and the Rev Robert Bradford Memorial Park.
Milestones Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
Open Spaces Strategy
Obtain Committee approval of final draft strategy Green      
Carry out public consultation Amber Green    
Finalise strategy and present to Committee     Amber Green
Disseminate strategy to ensure alignment with future OS developments in BCC        
Green Flags
Re-apply to retain Green Flag Accreditation for our current 19 sites Green Green    
Apply for an accreditation in one additional new site for Green Flag accreditation Green Green    
Re-apply for Green Flag heritage award for Botanic Gardens Green Green Green  
Deliver 3 play park refurbishments as part of the Urban Villages Programme
Deliver Glenbryn Play Park refurbishment Amber Green Green  
Deliver Sandy Row Play Park refurbishment Green Green Green  
Deliver Rev Robert Bradford Memorial Park refurbishment Amber Amber Green Green
Responsible Chief Officer Director of  City and Neighbourhood Services
Reporting Committee People and Communities Committee

Improvement Activity - We Increased participation in physical activity

In our Improvement Plan for 2019-20 we said we would:

  • Implement actions from Every Body Active 2020 and Develop a “Get Active Belfast Pledge 4”
  • Roll out the Support for Sport and Active Belfast grants
  • Support people living with chronic  or moderate health conditions through our physical activity referral schemes
  • Encourage greater use of the Belfast Bikes scheme

Specific achievements included:

  • Allocated over £126,000 across 22 sports through Strand 4 of the Every Body Active programme supporting physical activity citywide
  • Funded 15 programmes under the Active Belfast Grant Programme, with a dietitian working with these groups to develop and provide input about nutrition within these projects.
  • Supported the providers of the Cardiac, Diabetes, Cancer, Strength and Balance rehabilitation programmes

Completed a strategic review of the Belfast Bike scheme – the scheme now has more than 5,000 members and 17,000 active users.  The Scheme was also expanded to include 5 new stations installed as part of the Building Successful Communities Initiative and the Urban Villages Fund.  The review was due to be considered by Members in March 2020 but was postponed due to Covid 19.  This will be reconsidered in the 2020-21 reporting period.

Milestones Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
Implement actions from Every Body Active 2020
Assess work plans from Strand 1 partners and issues letters of offer Green      
Manage quarterly performance against action plan targets Green Green Green Green
Promote Strand 4 and support applicants with advice   Green    
Assess Strand 4 applications and process awards     Green  
Roll out the Support for Sport and Active Belfast grants
Promote Tranche 2 and support applicants with advice Green      
Assess Tranche 2 applications and process awards   Green    
Promote Tranche 1 and support applicants with advice     Green  
Assess Tranche 1 applications and process awards       Green
Belfast Bikes
Complete the strategic review of the  Belfast Bike current network     Green  
Cost options for future expansion and financial sustainability of the Belfast Bike Network and present to committee       Amber
Continue to promote Belfast Bikes and encourage usage  Green Green Green Amber
Responsible Chief Officer Director of City & Neighbourhood Services, Director of  Economic Development
Reporting Committee People & Communities Committee, City Growth & Regeneration Committee 

Improvement Activity - We increased participation in sport

In our Improvement Plan for 2019-20 we said we would:

  • Continue to roll out the Leisure Transformation Programme, including the completion of the new Andersonstown, Brooke and Lisnasharragh activity centres and begin redevelopment processes for Avoniel and Templemore
  • Develop and deliver the Stadia Community Benefits Initiative

Specific achievements included:

  • Officially opened the new Lisnasharragh Leisure Centre the city’s new aquatic centre with extensive swim provision and Brook Leisure Centre which will focus on outdoor sports with extensive 3G pitch provision and the city’s first sensory swimming pool as part of our Leisure Transformation programme. 
  • Completed the redevelopment of Andersonstown leisure Centre which will focus largely on water-based fun for families. 
  • The Leisure Transformation programme was awarded top place at the RICS Social Impact Awards 2020, recognising the built environment's positive and transformational contribution to society.
  • Began work to deliver the Stadia Community Benefits Initiative (SCBI) with the Department for Communities and IFA to deliver broader social benefits.
Milestones Q1 Q2 Q3Q Q4
Leisure Transformation Programme

Complete Andersonstown Leisure centre rebuild

Amber Amber Amber Green
Complete Brook Activity Centre rebuild Amber Amber Green Green
Complete Lisnasharragh Leisure Centre rebuild Amber Amber    
Develop and deliver the Stadia Community Benefits Initiative
Imbed GAA as new sport partner and develop transition year action plan Green      

Complete Baseline Assessment of GAA activities and impacts

Amber Amber Amber Green
Manage quarterly performance against action plan targets Green Green Green Green
Responsible Chief Officer Director of  City and Neighbourhood Services
Reporting Committee People and Communities Committee

Improvement Objective: Improve council services and customer satisfaction

Why does this improvement matter?

Last year, local people told us that they wanted to see improvement objectives that related more directly to improving council services.  As a result, we added a new improvement objective for 2019-20 that focused specifically on service improvement and satisfaction with council.  When we consulted local people about this, it was clear that the provision of high quality, customer focused and efficient services was very important to our residents. 

Continually meeting resident expectations and ensuring that our services are efficient and fit for purpose is a key priority for council. To help us achieve this we are focusing on three core areas:

  • neighbourhood working programme
  • customer focus programme
  • continuous improvement programme 

The aim of these programmes is to enable better service delivery and sustainable organisational structures, empower staff and provide greater customer care, value for money and efficiency.

What are the expected outcomes?

Our work to achieve this objective contributes to:

  • Creating a fit for purpose organisation

How we will measure our performance and impact

BCC Performance Indicators Achieved 2018-19 Achieved 2019-20
% residents satisfied with Belfast City Council 78% (2017) 65% (2019)
% residents who agree that Council provides good customer service 71% (2017) 62% (2019)
% residents who are satisfied with their local area a place to live 91% (2017) 84% (2019)

Improvement Activity - We designed a new model of neighbourhood working

In our Improvement Plan for 2019-20 we said we would:

  • Design a new model of neighbourhood working with better integrated, more flexible and more responsive teams

Specific achievements included:

  • Agreed Terms of Reference for Area Working Groups (AWG) and produced area profiles for each of the AWG regions.
  • Completed four insight Pieces with Queen’s University Belfast to help inform decision making and effective delivery of services and interventions.
  • Provided support to Queen’s University Belfast in the development of an online geospatial portal as a mechanism to share and present geographical data.
  • Produced a three year Action Plan to formalise collaborative working between Belfast City Council and Queen’s University Belfast
Milestones Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
Review terms of reference for Area Working Groups Green Green    

Develop an evidence baseline for areas to inform area planning opportunities

Green Green Green Green

Agree our definition of area working and scope work packages

  Green Green  

Improvement Activity – We developed and implemented our customer focus programme

In our Improvement Plan for 2019-20 we said we would:

  • Develop and implement a customer care programme

Specific achievements included:

  • Appointed a Strategic Delivery Partner, to develop a future blueprint for a customer hub and improved delivery of council services.
  • Approved the future blueprint and the implementation plan for delivery.
  • Developed and launched a new improved council website improving how customers access information on services.
  • Developed a new Service design approach which has been used as the service design framework for the Customer Focus programme and has been adopted as the Council’s approach to service design.
  • Reviewed and defined Service standards and performance measures for the Customer Hub
  • Established a task and finish working group with elected members to identify and design solutions to support elected members in their constituency work.
  • Due to the Covid 19 community response programme, whilst work continued on many aspects of the Customer Focus Programme, resource and focus shifted to create a Customer Hub dedicated to managing customer contact in relation to community requests for support with food, medical needs such as prescriptions and emotional support. A dedicated 0800 number was set up handling up to 1000 calls and emails daily during the crisis.
Milestones Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
Awarding of contract for the strategic delivery partner Green      
Design of the new customer hub   Green Green Green
Procurement of Web CMS for new website   Green Green  
Procurement of Technical Partner Green Green    

Improvement Activity – We delivered a programme of continuous improvement

In our Improvement Plan for 2019-20 we said we would:

  • Deliver a programme of continuous improvement focusing on supporting the transition of key city & neighbourhood services, the customer focus programme and our Building Control Service

Specific achievements included:

  • Undertook extensive engagement with staff within Building Control to inform the new structure in order to deliver customer needs.
  • Developed a City and Neighbourhood Services communication and engagement plan to support effective messaging.
  • Delivered 23 staff engagement briefings as part of the Open Spaces and Streetscene engagement process.
  • Completed 35 consultation and engagement sessions for the Regulatory Service delivery model.
  • Completed the Resources and Fleet project prioritisation exercise to develop a high level draft project plan.
Milestones Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
Building Control

Deliver new structure

    Amber  
City & Neighbourhood Services (CNS)

Communicate and engage with stakeholders throughout the  programme

Green Green Green Amber
Support staff and management through transition and improvement   Green Green Amber
Open spaces and Streetscene
Agree proposal and structural recommendations Green Green    
Commence service demand analysis     Green  
Commence service integration       Amber
Regulatory and Enforcement Services
Develop Phase 2 proposal for a single multifunctional service Green Green    
Establish an integrated approach for service delivery     Green  
Draft service design proposal       Amber
Resources & Fleet Services
Complete project prioritization exercise Green Green    
Carry out financial trend analysis Green Green    
Commence service improvement     Amber Amber
Review of Community provision        
Complete Phase 1 discovery ‘think piece’ Green Green    
Begin Phase 2 ‘define phase’     Green Amber
Responsible Chief Officer John Tully Director of  City and Organisational Strategy
Reporting Committee Strategic Policy and Resources Committee

Assessment of Progress of Improvement Objectives

As outlined throughout this report the vast majority of activities we set ourselves to help deliver our improvement objectives are progressing as intended. By year-end the majority of activities

Based on the evidence provided it is therefore our assessment that the Council is delivering on its 2019-20 commitments and that it is demonstrating strong overall performance.

Improvement Objective Milestones
  Green Amber Red
Support people into employment 75% 25% 0%
Support investment and business growth in the city  57% 40% 3%
Support the regeneration of the city centre 83% 17% 0%
Increase household recycling and reduce waste to landfill 43% 57% 0%
Support people to lead healthier, more active lives 70% 30% 0%
Improve council services and customer satisfaction 81% 19% 0%
Overall Assessment [4] 68% 31% 1%

[4] Note that overall % is calculated by averaging the total ‘count’, it is not an average of the averages above it.

Assessment of Progress of Statutory Performance Indicators Trend
Number of jobs promoted through business start-up Red
Amount of biodegradable waste sent to landfill  Green
Household waste collected and sent for recycling  Green
Amount (tonnage) of waste arisings Green
Major Planning Applications Green
Local Planning Applications  Green
Enforcement Cases processed within 39 weeks Green
Payment times to suppliers within 30 days Green
Sickness Absence Rates Green

Based on all the evidence provided it is therefore our assessment that the council is delivering on its 2019-20 commitments and that it is demonstrating strong overall performance.

Quantifying our performance

Statutory indicators year-end position and benchmark with other Councils

Results of statutory performance standards - 2019-20

The Local Government Performance Indicators and Standards Order requires councils to collect and publish information to allow them to measure performance against a number of indicators set by the Department for Communities. This relates to activity in respect of economic development, waste management and planning applications. Our results are outlined below.

Economic Development

The number of jobs promoted through business start-up in Belfast fell short of its 325 target in 2019-20.  Go for it’ provides individuals who wish to start a business with support in the production of their own business plans and in registering for self-employment. Business plans produced as a result of this programme are quality assured by the ‘Go for It’ management team. Once verified the results of the programme are issued to each of the 11 councils and reported to Invest NI and DFE.

In 2019-20, BCC had 258 new jobs promoted [5] through business start-up (419 client led business plans completed).  Although below target Belfast as a City Council with a considerably larger population, outperforms other council areas, representing approximately 15% of the overall programme performance.

Number of jobs promoted through business start-up
(measure of business plans completed through Go For It programme)
  2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20 Target
Antrim and Newtownabbey 92 83 105 106 80
Ards and North Down 135 92 111 105 85
Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon 233 185 221 229 165
Belfast 380 249 264 258 325
Causeway Coast and Glens 209 249 142 120 125
Derry City and Strabane 171 139 139 133 140
Fermanagh and Omagh 265 193 170 171 170
Lisburn and Castlereagh 164 96 140 112 85
Mid and East Antrim 193 140 124 122 85
Mid Ulster 257 233 204 185 210
Newry, Mourne and Down 192 168 184 183 155

[5] The jobs promoted indicator is calculated using a multiplier for business plans based on previous programme evaluation, the current multiplier set by Invest NI is 0.61472. 

Waste to landfill

Amount of biodegradable waste sent to landfill Article 5(2) of the EC Landfill Directive sets challenging targets that require member states to reduce the amount of biodegradable waste sent to landfill.  The Landfill Allowance Scheme Regulations place a statutory responsibility on councils not to exceed allocated allowances (although allowances can be transferred across Councils). During 2019-20, BCC landfilled 30,299 tonnes of biodegradable waste, well within the 50,753 tonne target set out in the Order.  All Councils performed well against their statutory targets and NI as a whole has demonstrated continued improvements by continuing to reduce the volume of waste landfilled over time.

Amount of biodegradable waste sent to landfill
Trends and comparisons 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20 Target
Antrim and Newtownabbey 18,887 17,609 14,235 11,622 10,988 21,148
Ards and North Down 27,612 20,462 18,869 19,186 15,762 23,956
Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon 10,376 11,107 9,401 8,771 6,104 30,759
Belfast 45,231 47,399 38,876 36,658 30,299 50,753
Causeway Coast and Glens 17,553 18,996 18,992 14,356 9,999 21,494
Derry City and Strabane 13,429 13,242 12,074 10,974 7,694 22,586
Fermanagh and Omagh 17,291 16,815 15,439 13,677 13,478 20,716
Lisburn and Castlereagh 17,715 19,687 16,458 16,108 14,373 20,716
Mid and East Antrim 19,009 19,161 14,221 14,444 13,684 20,644
Mid Ulster 15,531 14,509 10,117 5,681 1,505 21,330
Newry, Mourne and Down 16,264 5,393 2,612 1,846 2,133 26,396

Recycling Rate

EU Member states have a legal requirement to recycle a minimum of 50% of household waste by 2020. Household waste sent for recycling includes all household waste prepared for reuse, dry recycling and composting.  In 2019/20, the volume of waste sent for ‘recycling’ in Belfast was 46.1% demonstrating that   even though there is no statutory target for this indicator these results demonstrate the improvements in recycling rates over time.

Amount of biodegradable waste sent to landfill
Trends and comparisons 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20
Antrim and Newtownabbey 46.8% 47.5% 52.2% 56.1% 57.3%
Ards and North Down 40.2% 49.2% 52.1% 53.1% 54.7%
Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon 48% 48.8% 50.5% 51.6% 54.8%
Belfast 40% 39.4% 44.4% 44.4% 46.1%
Causeway Coast and Glens 38.8% 42.3% 42.2% 47.7% 53.8%
Derry City and Strabane 33.3% 40.5% 43.3% 44.3% 44.1%
Fermanagh and Omagh 45.5% 45.3% 46.3% 49.3% 49.1%
Lisburn and Castlereagh 41.9% 41.1% 46.3% 49.3% 49.1%
Mid and East Antrim 42.9% 45.3% 52.8% 52% 51.4%
Mid Ulster 49.6% 51.6% 54.3% 56% 59.2%
Newry, Mourne and Down 38.9% 40.1% 46.1% 51.4% 53.7%

Waste Arisings

Belfast City Council had the largest volume of arisings out of all 11 Councils in 2019-20 with 168,515 tonnes. Unsurprisingly there is a direct correlation between total waste arisings and the population count of local council areas.  There is no statutory target for this indicator but performance over time shows that waste arisings in Belfast has remained relatively consistent over the last number of years, despite continuing population growth in the BCC area.

Amount (tonnage) of  local authority waste arisings
Trends and comparisons 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20
Antrim and Newtownabbey 85,058 91,631 93,023 93,023 72,267
Ards and North Down 99,770 94,949 89,749 89,749 86,702
Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon 72,957 104,342 105,778 105,828 106,742
Belfast 169,964 172,235 169,368 171,118 168,515
Causeway Coast and Glens 78,363 79,758 79,634 81,432 81,270
Derry City and Strabane 70,901 74,481 77,707 78,860 81,296
Fermanagh and Omagh 53,963 53,878 53,828 55,931 55,224
Lisburn and Castlereagh 70,480 73,976 74,992 77,861 78,888
Mid and East Antrim 75,541 75,188 72,404 73,032 73,797
Mid Ulster 77,701 82,833 79,851 78,672 79,645
Newry, Mourne and Down 84,459 82,723 81,483 82,136 84,610

Average processing time for major planning applications

Major planning applications relate to developments with important economic, social and environmental implications; most are multiple housing, commercial and government and civic developments.  During 2019/20, the average processing time to bring major applications to a decision or withdrawal was 37 weeks; an increase of 4.4 weeks since 2018/19, clearing showing a continuous improvement year on year.   The total count continues to include legacy applications that have carried over from the former Planning Service within the Department of the Environment which impact Councils’ performance.

Major Planning Applications - Average processing time in weeks
Trends and comparisons 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-194 2019-20 Target
Antrim and Newtownabbey 28.2 73.6 40 24.2 24.6 30
Ards and North Down 51.8 37.6 53 151 97 30
Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon 43.0 52.8 36.4 23.6 45.2 30
Belfast 54.4 60.2 51.5 41.4 37 30
Causeway Coast and Glens 39.6 51.4 58.4 49.6 74.5 30
Derry City and Strabane 53.5 304.8 63.2 154.2 96 30
Fermanagh and Omagh 70.2 69.9 30.6 22 23.4. 30
Lisburn and Castlereagh 45.4 73.4 94.4 78 55.2 30
Mid and East Antrim 37.0 67.8 29 43.2 42.4 30
Mid Ulster 52.4 73.6 44.4 64.7 73.2 30
Newry, Mourne and Down 56.5 86.6 127.6 76.6 94 30

Average processing time for local planning applications

Local planning applications refer mostly to residential and minor commercial applications. They also include applications for Listed Building Consent, Conservation Area Consent and Advertisement Consent. The average processing time for local planning applications in BCC during 2019-20 was 14 weeks well within target.

Major Planning Applications - Average processing time in weeks
Trends and comparisons 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-194 2019-20 Target
Antrim and Newtownabbey 14.0 12.6 12.1 12.4 9.4 15
Ards and North Down 21.2 20 17.2 15.6 15.8 15
Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon 22.0 14 14 14.6 14.6 15
Belfast 19.2 15.6 15.2 15.2 14.0 15
Causeway Coast and Glens 20.4 18.8 20.4 21.6 20.0 15
Derry City and Strabane 17.0 19.1 16.2 14.1 14.0 15
Fermanagh and Omagh 14.4 11.6 12.4 12.2 10.6 15
Lisburn and Castlereagh 20.6 22.4 21.6 17.7 16.6 15
Mid and East Antrim 14.4 9 9.6 7.8 7.6 15
Mid Ulster 15.2 14.4 14.4 16.9 12.5 15
Newry, Mourne and Down 34.8 23 17 18 20.6 15

Enforcement Cases Concluded

Enforcement cases are investigations into alleged breaches of planning control. The time taken to conclude an enforcement case is calculated from the date on which the complaint is received to the earliest date that a notice is issued; legal proceedings commence; a planning application is received; or the case is closed. In BCC during 2019-20, 93.2% of all enforcement cases opened were concluded within the 39 week target.

% Enforcement Cases processed within 39 weeks
Trends and comparisons 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-194 2019-20 Target
Antrim and Newtownabbey 84.2 94.3 94.2 94.0 98.7 70
Ards and North Down 82.0 77.7 73.4 76.9 81.1 70
Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon 79.5 82.2 82.5 80.0 85.9 70
Belfast 76.4 74.8 72.3 86.8 93.2 70
Causeway Coast and Glens 80.7 89.5 70.5 80.1 87.6 70
Derry City and Strabane 77.1 75. 71 53.6 78.1 70
Fermanagh and Omagh 63.8 82.4 79.2 84.9 81.1 70
Lisburn and Castlereagh 78.0 80.8 78 83.8 84.5 70
Mid and East Antrim 85.9 88.1 86 88.2 88.8 70
Mid Ulster 79.0 79.1 77.4 77.4 90.1 70
Newry, Mourne and Down 54.1 56.1 59.9 52.9 36.2 70

Prompt Payments

Councils are encouraged to pay suppliers as promptly as possible.  BCC endeavours to pay 90% of valid invoices within 30 days.  BCC continues to show steady improvement since 2015-16 in this regard. The figure for 2019-20 was 93% again achieving our target.

Trends and comparisons 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20
Antrim and Newtownabbey 72% 83% 86% 82% 86%
Ards and North Down 63% 82% 81% 90% 93%
Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon 71% 73% 60% 82% 67%
Belfast 84% 88% 88% 91% 93%
Causeway Coast and Glens 82% 85% 82% 86% 79%
Derry City and Strabane 76% 75% 82% 94% 94%
Fermanagh and Omagh 84% 87% 87% 94% 94%
Lisburn and Castlereagh 85% 81% 76% 85% 91%
Mid and East Antrim 85% 88% 84% 83% 86%
Mid Ulster 99% 99% 98% 94% 94%
Newry, Mourne and Down 66% 86% 86% 90% 90%

Sickness Absence Rates

This is the average number of working days lost due to sickness absence per full time equivalent and the corporate target for BCC is currently at 12.67 days. The BCC rate has decreased to 13.58 days on last year’s rate of 13.71 days. BCC continue to provide a series of initiatives to assist with absence management, these include positive mental health, stress and dementia awareness and dealing with difficult conversations training. Further support will also be included in the BCC Health and Wellbeing Strategy. We will continue to monitor and review to ensure adequate resources are in place.

Trends and comparisons 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
Council Days
Antrim and Newtownabbey 12.1 14.4 11.9
Ards and North Down 16.4 14.6 16.2
Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon 14.1 13.1 16.1
Belfast 10.3 12.4 13.7
Causeway Coast and Glens 14.6 15.9 15.8
Derry City and Strabane 17.0 14.9 14.0
Fermanagh and Omagh 11.4 12.8 12.9
Lisburn and Castlereagh 13.6 15.0 16.7
Mid and East Antrim 15.2 18.3 17.1
Mid Ulster 12.6 15.7 12.4
Newry, Mourne and Down 15.9 17.3 17.1

Source: Based on Local Government’s Auditor’s report 2019

19-20 Self-Imposed Indicators - year end position and comparison with previous period

 

Latest available data

Previous Period (2018-19 unless otherwise stated

£ Value of BCC Physical Investment Programme m £400m £325m
% of Belfast population living in relative poverty 18.2% 22.9% (2013-16)
Median Annual Gross Pay (Belfast residents) £22,000 £21,352
Quality of life Index (worldwide) – Belfast rank (Belfast position out of all cities) 64/231 68/231
% residents agreeing that their local area was clean and attractive 80% 82%
% agreed they could access job and training opportunities 73% 76%
% Residents that live within 1,000 m of Green Flag Rated Parks 91.3% 81.1%
% of adult population that is obese 32.4% 25%
Number of preventable deaths in Belfast 276 276
Number of overnight trips to Belfast by external (out of state) visitors 1,693,985 1,122,882
% Visitors satisfied with their visitor experience 94% 81% (2014)
Total spend £ by external visitors  £395,013,843 289,070,721
% hotel occupancy in the city 74.1% 79.9%
Street Cleanliness Index 75 75 (2017)
Total Waste to Landfill (tonnes)

[9] 50,040 (2019)

61,360
(2018) 

Number of student accommodation applications approved (number beds) (cumulative figure)

22 
(2020)

18
(2019)

Average number of weeks taken to process major planning applications (STATUTORY)

37 weeks 
(2019-20)

41.4 weeks

Average number of weeks taken to process local planning applications (STATUTORY)

14 weeks
(2019-20) 

15.2 weeks

% enforcement cases concluded within 39 weeks (STATUTORY)

93.2%
(2019-20)

86.8%

Ratio of new business start-ups: to business deaths?

(ratio >1 means there are more start-ups than deaths)  

1.12
(2020)

1.19
(2019)

Number of employment opportunities made available by BCC   

124
(2020)

91
(2019)

% of school-leavers entering employment, education or training

94.0%
(2019-20)

93.3%

% school attendance rates in Belfast

93.4%
(2017-18)

94.6%
(2015-16)

% residents agreeing that the council makes Belfast a better place to live

71%
(2019)

81%
(2017)

% residents agreeing that the council shows good leadership for the city

62%
(2019)

74%
(2017)

% residents satisfied with how the council runs things

[10] 65%
(2019)

77%
(2017) 

% residents agreeing that the Council keeps residents informed about the services it provides  

75%
(2019)

87%
(2017)

% residents agreeing that the Council consults with and listens to the views of local residents

63%
(2019)

68%
(2017)

% residents agreeing that their local area has a strong sense of community

78.2%

(2019)

87%

(2017)
% residents agreeing that people work together to improve things 

78.2%
(2019)

87%
(2017)

% residents agreeing that they can access all the services they need in their local area

80.9%
(2019)

84%
(2017)

£ Value of private finance contribution to MIPIM  

£346,730
(2019)

£269,825
(2018)

Number of organisations attending MIPM

43
(2019)

35
(2018)

% of people in Belfast who meet the recommended level of physical activity 65.8% 

53% [11]
(2016)

% Bins collected on designated day

99.8%
(2020)

99.8%
(2019)

Life expectancy rate at birth for Belfast residents Male/Female

76.3/77.5
(2016-18)

75.8/77.6
(2015-17)

Life Satisfaction rating Index (people in Belfast who rate themselves as having high levels of well-being)

7.5
(2019-20)

7.7
(2016-17)

Number of hotel planning applications approved (number beds)  (cumulative figure)

22
(2020)

17
(2019)

Number of office accommodation applications approved  (cumulative figure)

40
(2020)

28
(2019)

[9] DAERA Provisional figures – fully validated figures due November 2020.

[10] In 2019 survey this questions was slightly revised to enable us to benchmark

[11] Question not asked in 2017/18 Northern Ireland health Survey

Although our levels of satisfaction and approval have fallen when compared to 2017, this reflects similar trends from across UK councils.  Ipsos MORI suggest that the national downward trend in public satisfaction and optimism could derive from general disillusionment with public services given austerity measures, spending cuts and the political uncertainly with Brexit.  When comparing Belfast with results obtained by the Local Government Association (LGA) polling on resident satisfaction with councils. Our results are generally higher than the UK average. 

Contact us:

Performance Unit
Belfast City Council
City Hall
Belfast
BT1 5GS

performanceteam@belfastcity.gov.uk

028 9027 0234

 

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