CAMBRIDGE City Council has published its annual performance report and its annual feedback and complaint reports, giving residents a clear view of key achievements as well as those issues where residents provided feedback, complaints and compliments.
The annual report against the council’s corporate plan details progress against a wide range of objectives, covering the council’s priorities around tackling poverty and inequality, leading the city’s response to the climate and biodiversity crises, and delivering quality services.
Notable achievements include:
- Supporting food hubs in the city to distribute over 200 tonnes of food;
- Preventing homelessness for 394 households;
- Beating its target of starting 500 new council homes on site a year early;
- Planting over 1,400 trees; clearing 2,392 cases of fly-tipping, collecting over 43,000 tonnes of materials for recycling and composting;
- Completing 1,857 emergency repairs and 12,000 responsive repairs to council homes; and
- Administering £36m of Covid business grants and rate relief.
The year being reviewed, 2021/22, saw the continued impacts of Covid and various restrictions affecting everyone in the country, and the council adapted its services to those changing circumstances to support communities and businesses most affected.
In terms of the feedback, the number of compliments and positive feedback the council received rose compared to the previous year as residents recognised the efforts the council was making to keep delivering services in challenging circumstances.
The total number of complaints recorded also rose, reflecting the impact of Covid and other factors, compared to the previous, more lockdown-impacted year, but was still below pre-Covid levels.
Some services, such as housing repairs, were unable to carry out a full range of services whilst Covid restrictions were in place, meaning they had a back-log to deal with when services could resume. This contributed to an increase in complaints for some services.
The Corn Exchange also saw a live performance programme resume halfway through the year, allowing over 125,000 people to attend and enjoy cultural and entertainment events, resulting in some complaints about queues at the bar or chilly temperatures, for instance.
These related to post-Covid staffing issues and the need to fully ventilate the venue to reduce the risk of infections.
The Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service also saw a rise in complaints, largely relating to delays in determining planning applications during a period when the service faced staffing challenges, which have since been addressed.
Cllr Anna Smith, Leader of the Council, said: “I’m very pleased to see these reports published, so that residents can see just how much the council has delivered during a very difficult year.
“I’m also pleased that we are able to be transparent about everything we achieved, as well as those things that didn’t go so well.
“The annual report reflects a tremendous effort on the part of council staff to deliver our priorities around the climate and biodiversity emergencies, the housing crisis and tackling poverty and inequality, and the need to modernise the council and deliver quality services in the face of reduced income and funding.
“Despite the pandemic, the council continued to deliver a huge range of services that have a real impact on peoples lives.”
Cllr Smith added: “I am particularly grateful to staff who picked up new and urgent areas of work during the year to meet needs, for instance making additional Covid-related payments to businesses and communities and supporting the community food justice work.
“We really value and appreciate all the feedback we receive – it’s really important that people who use our services tell us what went well, and what didn’t, so that we can try and improve those services and iron out any problems.
“It’s also great for our staff to receive compliments when they have gone the extra mile to give residents a good service, and I was pleased to see the number of compliments received by the council go up this year.”