Council’s performance highlights significant progress against priorities

Published: 20th June 2017

3D pie chart and line graph

We continue to make significant progress against its eight corporate priorities according to its Performance Report for 2016/17.

The report was presented to pur Executive Committee on Tuesday 20 June.

Our vision to ‘provide the best quality of life for all the people in the Scottish Borders, prosperity for local businesses and good health and resilience for communities’ remains our focus.


Economic development is of particular importance with the Borders Railway continuing to provide a focus for stimulating the local economy.

To reflect this, the Executive Committee heard that more local businesses have been both supported by the Council’s Business Gateway service in 2016/17 than in 2015/16, with 1085 businesses supported in comparison to 1042 in 15/16.

The number of planning applications is also up by 3%, and the percentage of working age people claiming out of work benefits has remained well below the national rate all year.

131 new affordable houses were delivered during 16/17, exceeding the target of 100 and taking the total of homes delivered from the last four years to almost 500.  A variety of home types have been provided right across the region by the Council-led Bridge Homes, including 22 homes for mid-market rent in Denholm, Kelso and Innerleithen.

Funding for Scottish Borders communities in 2016/17, through national and Council grants was £3.535m in 2016/17, 14% more than the £3.108m for 2015/16. A great example was £39k awarded from the Scottish Government to Burnfoot Community Futures (BCF) to undertake a ’Participatory Budget’ project, where over 300 members of the community voted to take forward 13 projects including a ‘Cinema for All’, equipment and uniforms for Boys Brigade, Girls Brigade and Brownies, and various fitness initiatives.

Councillor Simon Mountford, Executive Member for Transformation and HR

“In order to achieve the Council’s vision as set out in the Corporate Plan, our performance reporting is robust and effective to allow us to continue to make improvements.

“This report not only highlights improvements in areas such as the time taken to process planning applications, attainment, funding for communities, and energy consumption, but we can also see targets being exceeded in relation to social work assessments and the collection of council tax, with money collected in 2016/17 increasing by £1.285 million compared to the same period in 2015/16, resulting in an in year collection rate of 96.63% which is the second highest collection level achieved in the last 10 years. 

“Of course there are areas for improvement. This includes ensuring that as many children as possible are in family-based placement, continuing to invest in our roads, our ongoing work with partners to reduce road accidents and ensuring that all complaints are dealt with, within timescales set nationally. 

”Our regular performance reports each quarter should demonstrate to the public that their money is being used effectively and that investment in key areas is having a positive impact, for example on the wider economy and on quality of life.”

Other figures

  1. There were 3% more planning applications received during 2016/17, and significantly, the average time (in weeks) taken to process Non-Household planning applications has decreased from 17.1 weeks to 6.9 weeks;
  2. With 91.3% of its 16 to 19 years old in education, training or employment, Scottish Borders exceeded the national rate of 90.4%, and initial positive destinations (after school) remain higher than the national rate, at 94.2% (down only slightly from 95.2% last year);
  3. By end of Q4 of 2016/17 76% of adults aged 65+ in receipt of care were receiving care at home to sustain an independent quality of life (as opposed to in a residential setting), up from 72% in 2015/16;
  4. 59% of social care clients were using Self Directed Support by end Q4, just below the target of 60%, and up from 21% for Q4 of 2015/16 (the aim is that by the end of 2018 all clients will be using this approach);
  5. An improvement in the process for social work assessments resulted in 100% of new service users receiving a service within six weeks of an assessment for Q4 of 2016/17;
  6. During 2016/17, there were 2,949 people referred to our Welfare Benefits Service, 7.1% more than the 2,754 in 2015/16. Monetary gain for clients was £8.415m, just slightly lower than the £8.660m in 2015/16.

Further information

  • To provide clear direction for our work, a Corporate Plan is in place which outlines eight priorities which influences everything we do 
  • Our Financial Plan and Corporate Transformation Programme lies at the heart of achieving the Council’s vision 
  • The Council remains committed to its eight priorities and to reporting performance on a quarterly basis so that improvement action can be taken