Achievement of business objectives and key performance indicators in 2017-18

The VTS business plan outlines the vision and objectives for the organisation. The Board and the Department’s sponsor team receive a performance report quarterly at meetings. This report is aligned to our objectives and details our performances in each of the key strategic areas, namely:

  • support the VTE by administering a fair, efficient and accessible appeals system
  • enhance the quality and consistency of our service to all our stakeholders
  • build capacity and capability in our staff, learning from their experience and from their feedback
  • operate with financial and organisational initiative and efficiency

Of 16 objectives set 11 were fully achieved. The table below shows the achievements towards these. The five that are ‘ongoing’ or completed in part carry forward to 2018-19:

Support the VTE by administering a fair, efficient and accessible appeals system

Actions planned Timescale Met? Achievements
Implement an enhanced appeals process that provides greater certainty of cases actually requiring a hearing, allowing better organisation of hearing days by end of Quarter 1 Yes The Consolidated Practice Statement (CPS) was introduced on 1 July 2017
Implement IT processes to facilitate paperless hearings and maximise on the efficiencies resulting from increased electronic appeal receipt and management by end of Quarter 3 In part Introduced tablets for panels at the hearing and looking to build on a 'drop box' for professional representatives and the VOA for evidence to be submitted electronically. Subject to funding, this should be concluded in 2018-19
Working with the VTE President, develop the membership so that it is more flexible and better able to respond to change by end of Quarter 3 Yes Tribunal areas were reduced from nine to three on 1 January 2018 enabling the VTE membership to be more flexible
Promote a better understanding among the public of the respective roles of the VTE andf VTS by reviewing our website and the statutory notices we issue by end of Quarter 4 Yes Website signposting and content have been reviewed and statutory notices drafted for the new Check, Challenge and Appeal (CCA) process

Enhance the quality and consistency of our service to all stakeholders

Actions planned Timescale Met? Achievements
Ensure appellants are well informed by revising our family of guidance booklets, notices and website guidance using plain English, removing jargon and explaining legal terms and acronyms by end of Quarter 1 Yes Booklets have been reviewed and achieved 'crystal marks' from the Plain English Campaign. The website content has been reviewed.
Reduce the volume of outstanding appeals so shortening the time appellants have to wait for their appeal to be dealt with, by implementing, with the VTE, a new hearing process and becoming more robust on postponement requests by end of Quarter 4 Yes The volume of outstanding appeals has reduced following implementation of the new CPS. Postponements of listed cases have fallen by 32%
Monitor feedback from our independent survey of tribunal users and complaints to evaluate how the new processes are impacting on them and our service to them, particularly for fee-paying appellants by end of Quarter 4 Ongoing The survey provides a good indication of frustrations in the system. Feedback has resulted in training for the VTE membership as well as process changes for staff. As we only received 5 appeals under CCA process before the end of the year, we were unable to obtain any meaningful feedback to gauge the impact of paying a fee to make an appeal. This will be analysed as part of the survey for 2018-19

Build capacity and capability in our staff, learning from their experience and from their feedback

Actions planned Timescale Met? Achievements
Review the staff structure to align to new processes and ensure it remains responsive to and able to deliver change by end of Quarter 2 Yes A number of meetings were held with managers to understand better 'pressures' from their perspective and discuss ways to achieve lean processes without affecting performance. As a consequence staff have been re-aligned to reflect requirements of the CPS; technical staff are now more tribunal-facing, while support staff have been upskilled to deal with a wider range of back office issues
Embed a simplified staff performance appraisal system that removes bureaucratic processes and encourages greater individual engagement by end of Quarter 1 Yes A new appraisal system is effective for 2017-18 reviews
Progress recommendations arising from the staff survey conducted in 2015-16 and repeat the exercise by end of Quarter 3 Yes Actions have been progressed and initiatives introduced. The exercise was repeated in March 2018
Introduce small team and individual excellence performance awards by end of Quarter 3 No There is a more pressing issue regarding recruitment and retention of capable staff and a benchmarking exercise will be conducted in 2018-19 to better understand any financial effect
Develop leadership and management qualifications to develop those who want to be future leaders of the organisation by end of Quarter 2 Yes ILM qualification agreed and provider found; candidates selected. Training process started in November 2017

Operate with financial and organisational initiative and efficiency

Actions planned Timescale Met? Achievements
Implement an electronic document and records management system (EDRMS) by end of Quarter 1 Yes Previous use of an EDRMS has been extended to manage documentation for other appeal types and a Board portal has been set up. Guidance and training have been implemented
Continue to research ways of reducing costs and achieving value for money without reducing organisational flexibility and responsiveness in meeting targets by end of Quarter 2 In part Areas have been identified and introduced (such as the use of electronic expense claims for VTE members). This will be reviewed in 2018-19 with a new finance team in place
Exit from historical IT contract in order to deliver year on year cost savings and greater control by end of Quarter 4 In part Timetable for the exit strategy has been deleoped and discussions will continue in 2018-19
Identify and implement improvements to affect more efficient financial and budgetary processes by end of Quarter 3 In part Improvements identified and effected where possible, With a new finance team this will be reviewed further in 2018-19