To consider the Community Vision and Corporate Delivery Plan 2020/24.
The Committee considered a report, set out at Agenda pages 25 to 26 (and supplementary Agenda) which set out the new Council Plan (incorporating the Community Vision and Corporate Delivery Plan) 2020/24.
Susan Parsonage (Chief Executive) and Graham Ebers (Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Corporate Services) attended the meeting to answer Member questions on the plan.
The report stated that the Council Plan had been developed through consultation with residents, businesses, partners and political groups. The Community Vision document was a public facing document which communicated key priorities to residents and set out key targets for the next four years. The key priorities set out in the Community Vision were:
· Enriching lives – supporting our residents to lead happy, healthy lives whilst developing local communities and the local economy.
· Safe, Strong Communities – protecting vulnerable residents whilst nurturing communities which are safe for all;
· Changing the Way we Work for You – being a customer-focussed organisation with high quality services, good communications and digital innovation;
· A Clean and Green Borough – a focus on becoming carbon neutral whilst protecting our green spaces, improving biodiversity and reducing waste;
· Right Homes, Right Places – delivering affordable, sustainable homes which meet a range of housing needs, with supporting infrastructure and community facilities.
· Keeping the Borough Moving – improving our cycleways, footpaths and roads whilst tackling traffic congestion and promoting alternative travel options.
The Corporate Delivery Plan built on the key priorities in the Community Vision and identified core organisational values which would underpin future service delivery and community engagement. The organisation’s Core Values were:
· Customer Focus – delivering quality services that we would like to receive ourselves;
· One Team – working jointly with residents and partners across boundaries to ensure effective and efficient service delivery;
· Taking Ownership – taking responsibility for issues and being accountable for the outcomes delivered to residents;
· Being Ambitious – aiming for excellence, being innovative and entrepreneurial whilst managing risk.
The Corporate Delivery Plan provided a framework to be used by departments and the Council’s Executive in driving strategic policy and service delivery. The plan would be used to develop SMART targets and key performance indicators to ensure effective performance management and monitoring.
In the ensuing discussion Members raised the following points:
What was the cost of producing the Community Vision and Delivery Plan? Graham Ebers commented that development of the documents had involved discussions with a wide range of internal and external stakeholders. Consequently, it was not possible to identify an exact cost.
Delivery of the Plan would require a significant change in organisational culture, for example in the Council’s approach to equality issues and funding for arts and culture. Graham commented that delivery of the Plan would be a challenge for the organisation. This was a positive approach. Scrutiny and feedback from stakeholders would be important in driving the organisation forwards. In relation to arts and culture, Susan Parsonage stated that the key to success would be working with partners and leveraging in funding by identifying grants and sponsorship opportunities.
There was concern that the development of the Vision and Delivery Plan had taken many months, yet the documents were only submitted to the Scrutiny Committee the day before consideration and approval by Council. Graham explained some of reasons behind delays in producing the documents, such as the unexpected General Election in December 2019. Development of the Plan had been a learning process for the Council which would benefit future iterations. It was also beneficial to consider the Plan alongside the Medium Term Financial Plan.
Whilst the Plan was an improvement on the previous version, there was concern that the Corporate Delivery Plan was not a delivery plan, it was more of a set of strategic aims, lacking in specific targets. Similarly the Community Vision was, in reality a Council Vision with little evidence of input from strategic partners. It also underplayed some of the key issues affecting the lives of many residents such as house prices, rent levels, traffic congestion, air pollution and the impact of austerity. Graham commented that the underpinning SMART targets would be developed as quickly as possible, which would allow robust Scrutiny of progress against specific targets.
Following approval of the Vision and Delivery Plan, would there be an annual update to Council? Graham stated that there would be an annual update setting out progress against key targets. The Plan would also provide a framework for the development of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee work programmes.
Andy Croy stated that the Labour Group were unhappy with the content of the Vision and Delivery Plan documents. They felt that the Delivery Plan was too vague and lacking in specific, measurable actions. The documents needed to be more realistic about the challenges facing the Borough.
Susan Parsonage stated that the Community Vision and Delivery Plan set the direction of travel for the Council over the next four years. The documents were important as they provided clarity for staff on the Council’s ambitions and the key issues affecting the Borough and its residents. More detail would follow as specific targets and underpinning performance indicators were developed and implemented. Overview and Scrutiny would play an important role in scrutinising this process.
1) Susan Parsonage and Graham Ebers be thanked for attending the meeting to discuss the Community Vision and Corporate Delivery Plan;
2) the Community Vision and Delivery Plan be noted;
3) the Committee receive a further report, at its March 2020 meeting, on progress relating to the development of specific targets and performance indicators to underpin the Delivery Plan.
Note: Andy Croy stated that he could not support the Community Vision and Corporate Delivery Plan documents in their current state.