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Annual Report highlights successful year for council services @yourcolchester

09 Aug Annual Report highlights successful year for council services @yourcolchester

The third annual report to be published by Colchester Borough Council’s Trading Board shows a number of frontline services continuing to perform to a high standard and generating significant income.

Under the leadership of the Trading Board, the Council’s commercial businesses were able to deliver an above-budget surplus of just over £300k, the majority of which was generated by the Bereavement Service, with Helpline and CCTV contributing £29k, and Building Control £51k. The surplus will, in turn, be used to support the delivery of the Council’s core community services.

The 2015/16 report highlights the performance and value for money of Helpline, CCTV and Monitoring, Bereavement Services, and Building Control – key services which operate on a commercial-footing for the benefit of residents, with strategic direction provided by council officers overseen by the Trading Board, a cross-party committee of councillors.

Each of the in-house services profiled in the report achieved progress over the 12 months to March 2016, measured against the Trading Board’s six pillars of success, by taking a flexible and business-like approach to:

  • Customer focus
  • Professional staff and systems
  • Innovation and responsiveness
  • Sound financial management
  • Leadership and governance, and
  • Continuous improvement

Helpline, which provides an invaluable monitoring and response service for elderly and vulnerable residents at home, reported high levels of customer satisfaction, contributing to wider perceptions of safety among residents in the Borough. The service has plans to capitalise on new technology by introducing additional services in the coming year, including providing reassurance calls and a mobile alarm system.

Satisfaction with the calibre and professionalism of staff working in the Bereavement Services, which supports and assists families using Colchester Cemetery and Crematorium, was reported as ‘excellent’ in customer surveys – while new and planned investment in IT is set to improve admin processes, improve finances, and enable the purchase of a wider range of memorials online.

The CCTV and Monitoring service – which maintains the 24-hour CCTV system used to prevent and detect crime and antisocial behaviour in the town centre, making it more safe and attractive for residents and visitors to enjoy – is set to benefit from a further camera upgrade, begun in the past year, with more cameras fitted with high-definition and night-vision sensors.

Building Control – which offers free confidential and independent technical advice on a range of building regulation-related matters including energy conservation, access for the disabled and building construction – reported an increase in planning applications and a growth in revenues, as work continues to develop an Essex-wide Building Control Shared Service run by Council officers under the guidance of the Training Board.

Councillor Paul Smith, Leader of Colchester Borough Council, said: “I would like to congratulate all staff and thank the Trading Board for its excellent work during the year, which has enabled us to generate more income while keeping services in-house.

“The Trading Board is a wonderful venture that is clearly achieving better services at a competitive price for residents – so everybody wins. Not only does it help us to do what we are required to do by the Government, in a period of austerity, it enables us to deliver with both care and compassion the essential frontline services our residents rightly expect and deserve.”