CABINET members lined up to praise council staff in Swansea for their part in meeting targets in education and economic development, among others.

The report before cabinet said targets were met or exceeded in 33 areas out of 58, while 25 targets were missed.

The measurements were in five priority subjects: improving education, transforming the economy and infrastructure, tackling poverty, safeguarding people from harm, and transformation and future council development.

The stat-crunching also found that 26 of 52 performance indicators had improved from the previous year.

The numbers, said deputy council leader Clive Lloyd, represented “a really strong and consistent performance”.

He said: “I would like to pay tribute to the workforce, leadership and management, and the day-to-day tenacity of staff.”

Citing the appearance of cranes on the Swansea skyline and the start of work on the indoor arena, Cllr Lloyd said: “All the artists’ impressions are for once and at last coming to fruition.

“We hope to complete The Kingsway (project) later this year.”

Citing major events held in the July such as the Wales Airshow and Stereophonics and Jess Glynne gigs, Cllr Robert Francis-Davies, cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: “It just shows we are going from strength to strength.

“I think the future is exceptionally bright in Swansea at the moment with the amount of work being carried out.”

Councillor Mark Child, cabinet member for care, health and ageing well, said Swansea was leading the way in terms of having all councillors trained in safeguarding vulnerable people, and that significant progress had been made in cases involving people who were unable to make decisions about being cared for in a care home or hospital.

Cllr Mark Thomas, who hold the environment brief, said he was “astounded” that most of the targets in his portfolio had been met or exceeded, given the background of austerity.

He said he hoped some of Boris Johnson’s new spending pledges might find their way to local Government.

Cllr David Hopkins, cabinet member for delivery, said the proportion of Swansea planning applications determined within eight weeks had increased, but that a rise in staff sickness absence was “a very serious concern”.

On average there were 11 sickness days per employee in 2018-19 – the second rise in as many years.

“We are committeed to do something about that and work with trade unions to get these figures under control,” said Cllr Hopkins.

Other concerns were raised in the meeting about a rise in the number of looked-after children in Swansea – although the situation was said to have improved in recent weeks – while council leader Rob Stewart said it was important to note that the speeding up of planning decisions did not mean “saying yes to everything”.

But he said the improvement gave confidence to investors and developers about appropriate development, which in turn made Swansea a place to do business.

Cllr Stewart quipped that he also awaited the Prime Minister’s Johnson’s “very generous offer of extra resources”.

But the Labour leader warned that a no-deal Brexit posed a major risk for Swansea and the UK in terms of price inflation and security of services.

He said the council was doing a “significant amount of contingency planning” for a no-deal, but added: “I don’t think anyone can say with any confidence that we can plan for this in Swansea.”

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