West Berkshire Council

West Berkshire Council refreshes Strategy for next two years

2021 - Council refreshes strategy

West Berkshire Council's four year overarching Strategy (2019-2013) has been updated to reflect the progress made in delivering it so far, and to recognise that the needs of residents and businesses have changed since it was launched in 2019. The refreshed strategy for the final two years of the strategy period, 2021/22 to 2022/23, was agreed at the annual council meeting on 4 May 2021.

The Council has reviewed its progress towards achieving the goals set out in its original strategy to continue delivering its core business while advancing the goals set for priority areas.  The achievements to date are delivering real outcomes for residents; for example, ensuring that children are supported within their families so that fewer of them require more intensive interventions such as child protection plans or entering care. 95% of schools in the district are rated as 'Good' or 'Outstanding' by Ofsted and two new schools have been built. Energy is now being generated from renewable sources, following the installation of solar panels across all council estate pilot sites.

In spite of the many challenges that Covid-19 unleashed on the district, excellent progress has been made in terms of the level of support provided to rough sleepers and in preventing individuals or families from becoming homeless.  Other achievements over the past two years include: being in the top quartile nationally in terms of the quality of the district's road network1, and the top 20% of Local Authorities in England for the high proportion of 16 and 17 year olds in either education, employment or training2, as well as providing long-term care for more than 1,600 vulnerable adults and older people.

Councillor Lynne Doherty, Leader of West Berkshire Council, said:

"During the first two years of our Strategy period our focus was on maintaining the strong performance of our core services, while making progress in areas prioritised for improvement.

"We monitored closely the impact of Covid-19 on the district and the refreshed strategy has been informed by the Council's Recovery Strategy, particularly in regard to residents' mental and physical health, access to online education, and the business sector. Areas of focus include: education, employment opportunities, targeting inequalities, promotion of active travel solutions, the future of our town centres and future needs of digitisation and digital infrastructure.

"Our strategic priorities set in 2019 are still relevant today and the refreshed strategy sets out a range of actions that we intend to take to continue towards achieving our goals, working in partnership with relevant stakeholders and agencies."

Nick Carter, West Berkshire Council's Chief Executive Officer, added:

"We can all be proud of our achievements so far, and credit is due to local residents, partner organisations and our workforce. Now that we have reached the halfway point of this Strategy's lifetime we have reflected on the goals we set when it was first published and, based on the progress made, refreshed it to ensure it is relevant for the next two years.

"The refreshed Strategy considers the changed environment that we are now operating in as we gradually come out of lockdown, enter a period of recovery, and look forward to gradually getting back to a more normal way of life. Now our focus is on providing more help and guidance for start-ups and existing small businesses to facilitate growth; improving outcomes for vulnerable children, young people and adults; tackling poor mental and physical health; minimising the impact on the environment when delivering our services; developing a plan to deliver regeneration; and delivering clearer energy and transport solutions.

"The document sets out our commitments for the final two years of the strategy period to bring us closer to achieving our vision to make West Berkshire an even greater place to live, work and learn."

 


1 Source: Department for Transport

Source: Department for Education