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2020-21

Statutory Performance Indicators

Contents

Overview

This past year has been very challenging for everyone around the world.  Covid-19 has brought new challenges for our health, for society and for the economy. Individuals and communities have pulled together to follow public health guidance and restrictions, and to support each other during this difficult and unprecedented time. 

During the initial stages of the pandemic Belfast City Council quickly adapted key frontline services for our residents and businesses.  Our initial priorities were minimising the human cost, providing relief to communities and delivering essential day-to-day services. We continued with safe delivery of critical council services including bereavement services, waste collection and street cleansing

In 2020-21 being able to respond to constraints and opportunities as they arose was also critical and this was evidenced by the significant outputs and outcomes achieved by Council’s, Statutory partners and Community & Voluntary sector partners in terms of the work that was carried out.  This included the establishment of the Belfast Community Response Hub to support residents during the initial stages of the pandemic. 

As well as continuing to deliver essential day-to -day services, a major challenge for the Council and city partners was to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on local economies, so that businesses could once again thrive and provide employment opportunities, minimise potential job losses and retain the vibrancy of local communities and the city centre.  As the Northern Ireland Executive began to ease restrictions on a phased basis, we sought to maximise our contribution to the safety, health, wellbeing and economic recovery of our city by re-opening key services including our parks and open spaces, and in supporting businesses to re-open safely. As the effects of the pandemic began to emerge, we worked to understand how our city economy and communities were likely to be impacted, and what we needed to focus on to rebuild in the months and years ahead.

Performance Improvement / Assessment Process

Given the pressures being faced by local government during this time, Councils were allowed to defer the publication of their Improvement Plans for 2020-21, to allow them to refocus efforts and reconfigure services to support the pandemic response.  Given the annual performance assessment plan is a review of the progress of the Improvement Plan the production of that plan in 2020–21 was also not possible. Instead in September 2020 the Belfast: Our Recovery document was published which sets out the areas identified that we needed to focus on in the short term during the pandemic, and looking forward, what we needed to build on and do to lay the foundations for sustained recovery.  Further detail on recovery can be accessed at belfastcity.gov.uk/ourrecovery

Going forward through our 2021-22 improvement plan, which was published in June 2021, we now want to build on the work caried out to date and to look ahead and help our city recover and bounce back even stronger. To ensure our focus remains on helping the city deal with and recover from the pandemic, we have aligned the improvement objectives for 2021-22 on the Belfast recovery plan.

The Plan for 2021-22 includes six improvement objectives, these are:

Our city
We will support our city to recover by helping to restore the social and cultural vibrancy of our city spaces and places in a safe and sustainable way
Our services
We will take steps to ensure our services adapt and improve in the short and longer term
Our communities
We will work with and support our communities, helping them to become stronger, healthier and more resilient
Our economy
We will work in collaboration with others to protect and create jobs and support people into employment
Our environment
We will take action to protect the environment and improve the sustainability of Belfast
Digital innovation
We will improve digital inclusion and enhance our digital infrastructure to support jobs, our economy, sustainability and wellbeing

As we continue to respond to these exceptional challenges, our commitment to continuous improvement remains.  Given the current changing environment, we recognise the need to be agile and adapt to changing circumstances and this has been reflected in both how we adapted during 2020-21 and what we have included in our Improvement Plan for 2021 -22. 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 for 2021 -22 is monitored on an ongoing basis.

Quantifying our performance

Statutory indicators year-end position and benchmark with other Councils

Results of statutory performance standards - 2020-21

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. Understandably, with the ever evolving situation during 2020-21, there will have been an impact on meeting some of the statutory standards in 2020/21 as a direct result of the pandemic and the restrictions imposed and also given that operational recovery was still ongoing. 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 2020-21.  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 2020-21, BCC had 210 new jobs promoted [1] through business start-up (342 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 2020-21 Target
Antrim and Newtownabbey 92 83 105 106 84 80
Ards and North Down 135 92 111 105 101 85
Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon 233 185 221 229 190 165
Belfast 380 249 264 258 210 325
Causeway Coast and Glens 209 185 142 120 133 125
Derry City and Strabane 171 139 139 133 113 140
Fermanagh and Omagh 265 193 170 171 101 170
Lisburn and Castlereagh 164 96 140 112 106 85
Mid and East Antrim 193 140 124 122 94 85
Mid Ulster 257 233 204 185 132 210
Newry, Mourne and Down 192 168 184 183 164 155

[1] 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. The Landfill Allowance Scheme Regulations place a statutory responsibility on councils not to exceed allocated allowances (although allowances can be transferred across Councils). During 2020-21, BCC landfilled 30,071 tonnes of biodegradable waste, well within the 50,753 tonne target set out in the Order. As in previous years 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 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20 2020-21 [2] Target
Antrim and Newtownabbey 17,609 14,235 11,622 10,988 11,694 21,148
Ards and North Down 20,462 18,869 19,186 15,762 19,873 23,956
Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon 11,107 9,401 8,771 6,104 4,340 30,759
Belfast 47,399 38,876 36,658 30,299 30,071 50,753
Causeway Coast and Glens 18,996 18,992 14,356 10,004 5,861 21,494
Derry City and Strabane 13,242 12,074 10,974 7,694 4,802 22,586
Fermanagh and Omagh 16,815 15,439 13,677 13,473 14,410 17,360
Lisburn and Castlereagh 19,687 16,458 16,108 14,373 15,967 20,716
Mid and East Antrim 19,161 14,221 14,444 13,684 14,508 20,644
Mid Ulster 14,509 10,117 5,681 1,505 1,482 21,330
Newry, Mourne and Down 5,393 2,612 1,846 2,131 2,494 26,396

[2] DAERA Jan – Mar 2021 Provisional figures (Table 18 - NI Local Authority Collected Municipal Waste Management Statistics) Fully validated figures due November/December 2021

Recycling Rate

As outlined in the Circular Economy package there is a legislative requirement to recycle a minimum of 55% municipal /household waste by 2025. Household waste sent for recycling includes all household waste prepared for reuse, dry recycling and composting.  In 2020/21, the volume of waste sent for ‘recycling’ in Belfast was 43.1% demonstrating consistency in recycling rates over time.

% household waste collected by Councils and sent for recycling
Trends and comparisons 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20 2020-21 [3]
Antrim and Newtownabbey 47.5% 52.2% 56.1% 57.3% 54.5%
Ards and North Down 49.2% 52.1% 53.1% 54.7% 51.0%
Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon 48.8% 50.5% 51.6% 54.8% 54.3%
Belfast 39.4% 44.4% 44.4% 45.4% 43.1%
Causeway Coast and Glens 42.3% 42.2% 47.7% 53.8% 53.9%
Derry City and Strabane 40.5% 43.3% 44.3% 44.2% 46.1%
Fermanagh and Omagh 45.3% 46.3% 49.3% 49.1% 47.1%
Lisburn and Castlereagh 41.1% 46.3% 48.1% 50.8% 50.4%
Mid and East Antrim 45.3% 52.8% 52.0% 51.4% 50.8%
Mid Ulster 51.6% 54.3% 56.0% 58.8% 58.9%
Newry, Mourne and Down 40.1% 46.1% 51.4% 53.7% 52.6%

[3] DAERA Jan – Mar 2021 Provisional figures (Table 18 - NI Local Authority Collected Municipal Waste Management Statistics) Fully validated figures due November/December 2021

Waste Arisings

Belfast City Council had the largest volume of arisings out of all 11 Councils in 2020-21 with 171,794 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 recent years, despite continuing population growth in the Belfast City Council area.

Amount (tonnage) of local authority waste arisings
Trends and comparisons 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20 2020-21 [4]
Antrim and Newtownabbey 91,631 93,023 93,023 102,267 95,425
Ards and North Down 94,949 89,749 89,749 86,698 93,705
Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon 104,342 105,778 105,828 106,742 113,712
Belfast 172,235 169,368 171,118 168,515 171,794
Causeway Coast and Glens 79,758 79,634 81,432 81,279 81,611
Derry City and Strabane 74,481 77,707 78,860 81,304 83,989
Fermanagh and Omagh 53,878 53,828 55,931 55,224 58,109
Lisburn and Castlereagh 73,976 74,992 77,861 78,908 80,846
Mid and East Antrim 75,188 72,404 73,032 73,797 78,986
Mid Ulster 82,833 79,851 78,672 79,645 86,049
Newry, Mourne and Down 82,723 81,483 82,136 84,610 86,980

[4] DAERA Jan – Mar 2021 Provisional figures (Table 18 - NI Local Authority Collected Municipal Waste Management Statistics) Fully validated figures due November/December 2021

Average processing time for major planning applications

Major planning applications relate to developments with important economic, social and environmental implications; most are housing schemes of 50 units or more, larger office block developments, hotels and civic types of development. During 2020/21, the average processing time in Belfast to bring major applications to a decision or withdrawal was 44.2 weeks.  Performance was slightly down on the previous year, as a result of the restrictions put in place due to the pandemic. This compares to a regional average in 2020/21 of 61.4 weeks. [5]

Major Planning Applications - Average processing time in weeks
Trends and comparisons 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20 2020-21 Target
Antrim and Newtownabbey 73.6 40 24.2  24.6 113.4 30
Ards and North Down 37.6 53 151 97 57.0 30
Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon 52.8 36.4 23.6 45.2 54.4 30
Belfast 60.2 51.5 41.4 37 44.2 30
Causeway Coast and Glens 51.4 58.4 49.6 74.5 86.2 30
Derry City and Strabane 304.8 63.2 154.2 96 65.2 30
Fermanagh and Omagh 69.9 30.6 22 23.4 58.6 30
Lisburn and Castlereagh 73.4 94.4 78 55.2 79.7 30
Mid and East Antrim 67.8 29 43.2 42.4 39.2 30
Mid Ulster 73.6 44.4 64.7 73.2 74.1 30
Newry, Mourne and Down 86.6 127.6 76.6 94 64.6 30

[5] Source: DfI Northern Ireland Planning Statistics 2020/21 Annual Statistical Bulletin

Average processing time for local planning applications

Local Planning applications are mostly householder, residential and minor commercial applications. They can also include more complex residential schemes up to 49 units and larger commercial proposals. In 2020-21 the average processing time was 19 weeks, which is over the target of 15 weeks. However, this was directly impacted by the restrictions put in place due to the pandemic. This compares to a regional average of 17.8 weeks [6]

Local Planning Applications - Average processing time in weeks
Trends and comparisons 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20 2020-21 Target
Antrim and Newtownabbey 12.6 12.1 12.4 9.4 12.4 15
Ards and North Down 20 17.2 15.6 15.8 16.8 15
Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon 14 14 14.6 14.6 26.4 15
Belfast 15.6 15.2 15.2 14.0 19.2 15
Causeway Coast and Glens 18.8 20.4 21.6 20.0 20.8 15
Derry City and Strabane 19.1 16.2 14.1 14.0 14.2 15
Fermanagh and Omagh 11.6 12.4 12.2 10.6 15.6 15
Lisburn and Castlereagh 22.4 21.6 17.7 16.6 23.8 15
Mid and East Antrim 9 9.6 7.8 7.6 10.4 15
Mid Ulster 14.4 14.4 16.9 12.5 16.0 15
Newry, Mourne and Down 23 17 18 20.6 19.0 15

[6] Source - DfI Northern Ireland Planning Statistics 2020/21 Annual Statistical Bulletin

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 2020-21, 66.2% of all enforcement cases opened were concluded within the 39- week target which was 3.5% below the statutory target. This was due to prioritisation being given to reducing the total number of live complaints on hand.

[7]

% Enforcement Cases processed within 39 weeks
Trends and comparisons 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20 2020-21 Target
Antrim and Newtownabbey 94.3 94.2 94.0 98.7 90.8 70
Ards and North Down 77.7 73.4 76.9 81.1 62 70
Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon 82.2 82.5 80.0 85.9 77.7 70
Belfast 74.8 72.3 86.8 93.2 66.2 70
Causeway Coast and Glens 89.5 70.5 80.1 87.6 66.5 70
Derry City and Strabane 75.9 71 53.6 78.1 73.3 70
Fermanagh and Omagh 82.4 79.2 84.9 81.1 56.6 70
Lisburn and Castlereagh 80.8 78 83.8 84.5 83.6 70
Mid and East Antrim 88.1 86 88.2 88.8 82.6 70
Mid Ulster 79.1 77.4 77.4 90.1 88.6 70
Newry, Mourne and Down 56.1 59.9 52.9 36.2 40.9 70

[7] Source: DfI Northern Ireland Planning Statistics 2020/21 Annual Statistical Bulletin

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 2016-17 and the figures have remained broadly consistent in achieving our target.

Trends and comparisons 2016/17 2017/18 2018/19 2019/20 2020/21
Antrim and Newtownabbey 83% 86% 82% 86% 89%
Ards and North Down 82% 81% 90% 93% 96%
Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon 73% 60% 82% 67% 91%
Belfast 88% 88% 91% 93% 93%
Causeway Coast and Glens 85% 82% 86% 79% 87%
Derry City and Strabane 75% 82% 78% 81% 79%
Fermanagh and Omagh 87% 87% 94% 94% 94%
Lisburn and Castlereagh 81% 76% 85% 91% 87%
Mid and East Antrim 88% 84% 83% 86% 84%
Mid Ulster 99% 98% 94% 94% 95%
Newry, Mourne and Down 86% 86% 90% 90% 86%

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 11.07 days. The BCC rate has decreased to 10.9 days on last year’s rate of 13.6 days an overall reduction of 20%. It was not a typical year due to the pandemic.  BCC continue to provide a series of initiatives to assist with absence management, these include mental health First Aid Training and webinars to raise awareness and to provide support and signposting for staff.  We will continue to monitor and review to ensure adequate resources are in place.

Trends and comparisons 2015/16 2016/17 2017/18 2018/19 2019/20
  (days) (days) (days) (days) (days)
Antrim and Newtownabbey 12.1 14.4 11.9 13.7 12.4
Ards and North Down 16.4 14.6 16.2 14.2 14.1
Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon 14.1 13.1 16.1 16.7 18.3
Belfast 10.3 12.4 13.7 13.7 13.6
Causeway Coast and Glens 14.6 15.9 15.8 17.1 17.7
Derry City and Strabane 17.0 14.9 14.0 12.3 14.5
Fermanagh and Omagh 11.4 12.8 12.9 10.4 13.8
Lisburn and Castlereagh 13.6 15.0 16.7 13.3 13.8
Mid and East Antrim 15.2 18.3 17.1 12.4 10.6
Mid Ulster 12.6 15.7 12.4 12.9 11.7
Newry, Mourne and Down 15.9 17.3 17.1 14.7 15.8

Source: Based on Local Government’s Auditor’s report 2020

 

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