Timescale for Reporting of Plans
What we asked
Q4: What should the statutory guidance state as the latest date by which CPPs must publish progress reports on their local outcomes improvement plans and locality plans?
4 months ◘ 6 months ◘ Other ◘
If other please provide timescale. Please explain why.
65. The 2015 Act states in section 8 that each community planning partnership must prepare and publish a local outcomes improvement plan progress report for each reporting year. Further, that the report should set out the partnerships assessment of whether there had been any improvement in the achievement of local outcomes including the extent to which the partnership has participated with community bodies in carrying out its functions and the extent to which that has been effective in enabling community bodies to contribute. The LOIP should also set out the extent to which the CPP has participated with community bodies and the extent to which that participation has been effective in enabling community bodies to contribute to community planning.
66. Section 12 of the Act refers to the preparation and publication of annual locality plan progress reports; similar to LOIPs this should set out the assessment of whether there has been improvement in the achievement of each local outcome in the locality plan.
67. Progress reporting on local outcomes improvement plans and locality plans enable the community and the community planning partners understand what progress is being made. As stated in the guidance the "Effective performance management should provide assurance on whether and how quickly outcomes are improving and stimulate corrective action where required to address underperformance".
68. Paragraph 42 of the draft guidance confirms that the CPP should make clear how it is using collective resources to improve local outcomes and reduce inequalities on its priority themes, as part of how it reports to its local communities.
69. The draft guidance also sought to explain in paragraph 138 that the CPP should set out what steps will be taken over the medium term, either in the LOIP or in publicly accessible supporting documentation to show how resources are being deployed in support of locally agreed outcomes.
70. Question 4 sought comments as to an appropriate timescale for reporting after the end of the reporting year and the reasoning for such a timescale.
71. However, in analysing the responses received, some respondents indicated that they were unsure as to the basis of the question with some appearing to interpret the question as proposing publication of progress reports on a 4 or 6 monthly or other basis, rather than reporting annually with the question focusing on the timescale for reporting after the end of the reporting year.
Question 4: timescale for publishing reports
72. Respondents were asked to indicate their preference for publication of reports from one of 4 months, 6 months or other. Respondents who replied other, were asked to explain provide a timescale and all respondents were provided with the opportunity to explain why.
73. 73 responses were received to this question. 9 respondents indicated a preference for 4 months, 28 indicated a preference for 6 months and 36 indicated other. Of the 36 respondents who selected other, 2 expressed a preference for a timeframe less than 4 months, 11 indicated that report publishing timetables should be determined locally with no centrally set timescale.
74. The remaining respondents, who selected other, offered wide ranging comments including a time frame in excess of 6 months.
75. However, a number of respondents appear to have been confused by the question, with some respondents who have selected other appearing to have interpreted the question as proposing publication of progress reports on a 4 or 6 monthly or other basis, rather than reporting annually with the question focusing on the timescale for reporting after the end of the reporting year.
76. The responses indicate a small majority, (39 out of 73(53%)) of the total respondents to this question considered that CPPs should publish progress reports in a period of 6 months or less.
77. 19 respondents either did not reply to the question or indicated that they had no preference. 4 of the 19 respondents who did not indicate a preference included comments in the explanatory section below the question.
78. Reporting themes included: tension between developing full data, including the availability of national data sets and the currency and transparency of this information for communities; and queries whether this timescale should differ for LOIPs and locality plans.
Full data versus currency of data
79. Several respondents recognised the tension between providing full data and analysis and providing data that was current, timely and relevant. This tension may indicate a lack of clarity about who this progress reporting is to and what it is for.
80. For the analysis of responses to this question we have also extracted the responses of CPPs, each of whom have already developed CPP reporting approaches in an attempt to reflect the views of those with practical experience of CPP reporting.
81. 18 CPP respondents provided a response to this question, 2 selected 4 months, 7 selected 6 months and 9 selected other. Of the 9 CPPs who selected other, 5 indicated that this should be for local determination with flexibility dependent on local circumstances. The other 4 indicated preferences for a period in excess of 6 months. Hence from this cohort 9 respondents favour a reporting period of 6 months or less, 4 respondents favour 6 months or more and 5 respondents favour local determination.
82. A CPP respondent indicated a preference for publication 4 months after the end of reporting year, "to ensure that the information and the related public performance report is published as close to the relevant year end as possible. This is particularly important with our renewed focus on reporting directly to our communities, rather than to central government". This respondent caveated their response, reflecting upon the challenge of full data versus available data by stating that "an annual performance report is only of value if it contains the relevant statistical information for the year, and preparation of a meaningful annual report within 4 months is subject to the availability of this information."
83. A Local Authority respondent who selected the other option commented that "at an operational level CPPs and delivery partners will monitor their delivery of actions on a monthly/quarterly/bi-annual basis as appropriate". This was supported by a Public Body which favoured publication 4 months after the end of the reporting year which noted that " CPPs will be in the habit of continually monitoring progress and will be well placed to provide progress reports. Six months would be an unnecessary delay in ensuring public awareness of local performance and would restrict agile and adaptive response to emerging issues."
84. A CPP indicating that publishing an annual report 6 months after the end of the reporting year would be a "reasonable compromise" also noted that "performance reporting should not be prioritised above delivery". This supported views expressed by some public bodies that transparency for and to the local community would be best served by publishing reports 6 months after the end of the reporting year.
85. Some CPPs also indicated that the availability and access to national data sets was a determining factor for when they could reasonably publish progress reports. A small number of respondents from CPPs and NHS commented on the value of reporting being in the quality of analysis and noted the benefit of aligning availability and release of national data sets to CPP reporting timescales. An NHS respondent noted that there is a need to consider the LOIPs in the context of other planning and reporting requirements such as the Local Development Plan in the NHS to ensure an industry in writing plans does not evolve and impact on the capacity of all organisations to deliver.
86. One of the nine CPPs, who selected other, argued that CPPs will be focusing on prevention and tackling inequalities and hence many actions and performance indicators will be long term and not lend themselves to more frequent reporting.
87. Whilst another Public Body favouring other indicated that "it would be appropriate to require that each CPP to set a reasonable timescale for producing their plans with a clear and transparent rationale for that timescale". This aligns to some CPP and Local Authority respondents who expressed views that timescales should be flexible and locally determined rather than being set out in statutory guidance.
Should reporting timescales differ for LOIP and Locality plan?
88. An NHS respondent noted that "community driven planning can often be more iterative and requires more flexibility" and hence propose that guidance for locality plans enable CPPs to be as sensitive, proactive and responsive as possible".
89. This view chimed with others who indicated the variation across CPPs in extent and number of locality plans. They considered that the monitoring and reporting of actions and impacts may be more challenging for those CPPs which have more localities addressing disadvantage, particularly where performance information is difficult to gather at smaller more targeted populations.
Reporting to communities
90. A wide range of respondents from across the categories were keen that progress reporting should be accessible, widely obtainable and easily understood. Proposals included that of an online dashboard which may be easier to understand and select areas of interest. Respondents also noted the importance of capturing "public feedback" in reporting. An NHS respondent in recognising the need for accessibility, commented that "solely relying on an annual report ….may not be suited to all parts of the community". These comments reflect respondents understanding that reporting is for and to communities and that therefore the information contained and the way it is presented should be mindful of and accessible for these communities.