To consider the draft Council Plan 2019 to 2024.
The Council Plan set out the Council’s vision and priorities and formed part of a suite of corporate documents and linked closely with the Medium Term Financial Plan. These documents formed part of the Council’s Policy Framework and underpinned the Council’s approach to governance and community leadership. The current Council Plan was for the period 2014 to 2019, and had been updated on an annual basis since 2014.
Councillor Giles Archibald, Leader and Promoting South Lakeland Portfolio Holder, presented a new draft Plan which was intended to run from 2019 to 2024. In developing the Plan, the vision had been revised to add the words “working together” to reflect that the Council could not achieve its ambition alone, and that it worked with partners to deliver on its vision and ambitions.
The vision, as stated in the draft Council Plan, was, “Working together to make South Lakeland the best place to live, work and explore.” To achieve the vision, the Council’s areas of focus were:-
• creating an environment for people to thrive;
• delivering excellent value-for-money, services;
• playing a leading role and influencing others;
• empowering customers and communities; and
• forward thinking, innovative Council.
As with previous versions, the Council Plan retained the following values:-
• Empowering People - By listening to our customers and our employees their ideas and comments will help us make improvements to customer service and workforce development.
• Excellence - Seeking continuous improvement in what we do, ensuring that our actions address the needs of South Lakeland.
• Open and Transparent - Being courteous, efficient and transparent in our dealings with the public.
The Council Plan set out the challenges and opportunities that the district faced in the short, medium and long term. These were described in detail in Appendix 3 to the report. In brief, the challenges and opportunities were:-
• South Lakeland’s demography;
• financial resilience;
• affordable housing;
• rise in obesity levels and inactivity;
• access to better training and development; and
• education and skills.
In order to meet the challenges and maximise opportunities, the Council Plan set out the delivery of the vision by:-
• working across boundaries to deliver to communities;
• creates the right balance across different age groups;
• reduces inequalities so that no one is left behind; and
• creates a sustainable and inclusive economy.
In addition to the Council Plan, an Executive Summary, detailed at Appendix 4 to the report, had been developed. This document stated the high level priorities across the cross-cutting themes to deliver the overall strategic aims of the Council.
Developing a sustainable and inclusive economy was a key element of the new Council Plan. This reflected growing awareness of the importance of Climate Change and the Council’s role in tackling it.
In line with the Performance Management Framework, the Council Plan Performance Monitoring reports detailed measures of success against the priorities within the Council Plan. These were reported quarterly to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee. Monitoring the success of the Council Plan through scorecards informed improvements and ensured Council services address the needs of residents in an open and transparent way.
The Plan had been developed following meetings held with Cabinet Members and officers. Members of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee had considered the Plan on 11 January 2019 and the views and identified improvements raised at that meeting had further informed its development. The Plan had been approved by Cabinet, on 6 February 2019, for recommendation to Council for adoption.
In presenting the report, Councillor Archibald took the opportunity to commend the remarkable work being carried out by the Council in relation to a number of areas, including Kerbside Recycling, Parks and Playgrounds, Housing, the Handyman Scheme and Refugee Settlement. He praised the partnership work being carried out and the excellent results achieved with regard to parks and playgrounds, for example at Waterhead. The Council’s grants to community groups had assisted in attracting additional funding for such projects. He pointed out that the Council would face challenges in trying to implement the aspirations of the new Plan, which would require collaboration across tiers of government. In closing, Councillor Archibald referred to the issue of poverty which was emphasised within the new Plan. He hoped that all Members were proud of both what the Council had achieved in the past and what it aimed to deliver in the future. Councillor Archibald moved that the Council Plan 2019-2024 be adopted and was seconded by Councillor Peter Thornton.
Councillor Vivienne Rees expressed support for the new Council Plan and raised the issue of the increase in the aging population in the area and the importance of the provision of suitable facilities and services, such as outdoor trim gyms, to maintain their health and wellbeing.
Councillor Philip Dixon, Health and Wellbeing Portfolio Holder, pointed out that a large part of the Council Plan related to Health and Wellbeing. He also drew attention to his ongoing work with town and parish councils in relation to localism and reminded Members that “working together” was at the heart of the Plan. He took the opportunity to express gratitude for the work and assistance provided by town and parish councils which were the frontline of civil society.
Councillor Peter Thornton commended this second Plan and thanked the Leader and Cabinet for their work in its development.
Councillor Graham Vincent, Environment Portfolio Holder, pointed out that the Council Plan had been developed to address the challenges faced in the coming years.
Whilst opposition Members supported a lot of what was contained within the Plan, they were unable to support it in its entirety and did not necessarily agree on the ranking of the priorities, and Councillor Berry emphasised the fact that people were more interested in the outputs.
RESOLVED – That the Council Plan 2019-2024 be adopted as part of the Council’s Policy Framework.
Note – Council adjourned for a break at 8.00 p.m. and reconvened at 8.10 p.m.