Wicklow County Council improved its performance across a range of indicators during 2021, despite Covid-19 and other challenges, and while providing additional innovations and services.
Additionally, along with five other local authorities, Wicklow County was selected to participate in the National Oversight and Audit Commission’s (NOAC) annual Quality Assurance Review of Data in July 2022. This process aims to assess the accuracy and reliability of a subset of indicators and to assist NOAC in getting a clear understanding of how data is compiled by Councils and, in particular, the approach that is used to return data as part of the annual validation process.
At the review process Council Chief Executive, Brian Gleeson, emphasised that “the provision of housing is a priority for Wicklow County Council with developments being fast-tracked and stock increasing year on year adding that certain parts of the county such as Bray and Greystones are more challenging as land prices are high.”
Essential services were delivered throughout 2021, even as Wicklow County Council played a vital role in the national response to the pandemic.
Wicklow County Council provided a range of new supports and grants to the public and businesses during the pandemic, including resilience and wellbeing community supports and changes to the public realm in the interests of public health and safety and local businesses. Trading online vouchers and mentoring supports were provided by the Local Enterprise Office.
Alongside this, Wicklow County Council continued to deliver essential services throughout, as the Performance Indicators Report 2021 shows:
- Wicklow’s expenditure on housing maintenance in 2021 showed an increase of 32.85% to €4,196,215.51 in 2021 from €3,158,619.54 in 2020
- At the end of 2021, Wicklow County Council owned 4,786 social housing units, having added 145 units to its housing stock in 2021
- The overall percentage of Wicklow County Council housing stock that was vacant at the end of 2021 was just 3.8%
- In 2021, a total of 445 private rented dwellings were inspected
- Wicklow County Council’s library visitor numbers had the highest number of visits per head of population since 2014 with 443,798 borrowings in 2021 with 16,618 registered members
- The rate of participation in Comhairle na nÓg scheme is high across the County at 80% with the number of schools participating increasing in 2021 by 2 to 20 out of 25 schools
- The percentage condition surveys for local secondary roads was greater or equal to 98% over a two-year period
- The percentage of motor tax transactions which were dealt with online increased with a total of 91% motor tax transactions being conducted online in 2021
- In 2021 93.28% of the registered private water schemes in County Wicklow were monitored by the local authority
- Environmental pollution cases in respect of which a complaint was made during 2021 was 2,262 and Wicklow County Council closed 2,327 cases during that same period
- The median number of minutes taken to mobilise the fire brigade in fire stations across County Wicklow for 2021 was 5.14 minutes
- Of the planning cases referred or initiated by Wicklow County Council 185 were investigated and 188 investigations closed during 2021
- Of the 61 Wicklow County Council planning decisions appealed to An Bord Pleanála in 2021, 75.41% confirmed (either with or without variation of the Plan) the decision of the Council
- As Wicklow County Council continues to focus on energy efficiency and climate targets, the percentage of the public lighting using energy efficient LED lights in the county represented 38% of a total billable wattage of 5,533
Commenting on the report, Mr Gleeson, Chief Executive, paid tribute to the hard work and dedication of Wicklow County Council employees, saying: “Wicklow County Council continued to provide hundreds of services throughout 2021. At the same time, we played a vital role in the national response to the pandemic, supporting communities, businesses and local economies.
“We are continually seeking to improve services and increase efficiencies and we made significant progress in a range of areas last year. We will build on our progress, continue to innovate and deliver quality public services.”
Welcoming the Report, the Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council, Cllr Tommy Annesley, acknowledged the improvements in service delivery of the Council notwithstanding the challenges faced by the elected members and staff of Wicklow County Council over the last 24 months as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He stated: “I would like to thank the entire staff of Wicklow County Council across the five municipal Districts who continuously strive to deliver improved services to the citizens of County Wicklow, the elected members and I look forward to working closely with the Executive to identify and implement service improvement across the districts in 2023.”