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How are we doing?

Boston Borough Council measures its performance in all areas and publishes how it is doing every quarter.

At the same time it also publishes information about the council's finances and the challenges and risks it faces. These measurements have been especially important in the recent years of austerity and the need for improved performance, economies, savings and cuts.

Performance issues identified in planning in previous quarters have led to a review and good progress was made in the last quarter - October to December, 2016.

Ten major applications were all determined within the 13 week target period.

Market stalls occupancy was up to 92 per cent on Wednesdays and 88 per cent on Saturdays.

The town centre footfall for the quarter was up on the same quarter last year - from 2,108, over a 30-minute period counted at a fixed point, to 2,278.

Guildhall usage in quarter three 2016 and 2015 was the highest since 2009.

Time taken to process benefits continued to break targets - new claims in 3.07 days (target ten); change in circumstances 6.73 (target 14); council tax support 4.93 (target ten) and council tax support change of circumstances 8.62 (target 14).

There was also a good performance for those living in temporary accommodation - ten against a target of 16 - and for improved housing standards - 84 against a target of 75. The number of affordable homes delivered was on target at 86 and the number of empty properties returned to occupation was up from the target of 60 to 67.

Food premises achieving a three, four or five food hygiene rating was up from the target of 95 per cent to 98.2 per cent. Official figures for rated food businesses, published by the Food Standards Agency, for 2015/16 showed that Boston outperformed the national average by a considerable margin.

Healthy walking numbers continue to rise. There were 7,522 walkers against a target of 6,750.

Waste recycled hit 47.49 per cent - just 0.01 of a percent below the target. There had been an increase in fly tipping incidents but this was put down to more proactive clean-ups and increased reporting. There was no evidence that charging for garden waste collection had led to an increase in fly tipping. Enforcement is being stepped up.

The council's lightning fast switchboard operators kept callers waiting for an average of 20.7 seconds (target 45 seconds); and the average time to respond to Freedom of Information requests was five days against a target of 20, despite an increase from 892 to 1,054. Calls to the switchboard went up from 39,566 to 41,395. Customers served on reception increased to 40,695 from 37,190 the previous quarter.

Year end business rates and council tax collections exceeded targets. There will be a likely small underspend by the council from its budget of £8.447 million.

For full details: www.boston.gov.uk/performance