Cabinet Member for Communities
116.1 Councillor Flatman introduced the report and summarised the background to its development. The Community Strategy had been developed as the Council’s response to some of the bigger community related changes which were taking place within the district and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. It sets out the kind of vision the Council sees for its communities now and for the future as the population increases and gets older and needs more support whilst also focusing on giving younger people the best start in life. The Strategy celebrated the strength and vibrancy of many of the communities, and how local action undertaken by community volunteers made such a difference to the lives of the people who lived there. It was also recognised within the Strategy the pressures that population, economic and environmental changes present not only to the Council but across the whole public sector. Many issues could not just be tackled by the Council, therefore the Council’s partners must be involved. Partners have supported the development of the draft strategy and have realised the importance of this work and how it helped to shape their strategic decision making.
116.2 Councillor Flatman added that it was important not to ignore that what for some communities had become a more strained relationship particularly in relation to growth and planning issues, the Strategy could not provide all the answers and other plans were being developed to address these issues. Within the Strategy was detailed a commitment for 10 approaches not only to make the way processes would work more effective, but to make a commitment to develop and maintain relationships within communities. The final section within the Strategy summarised what this will mean in practice. The Strategy was not asking Councillors to approve an action plan strategy but was intended to provide overall direction. A delivery plan would be developed in collaboration with partners.
116.3 Councillor Flatman then MOVED the recommendations in the report which Councillor Muller SECONDED.
116.4 Councillor Killett referred to the 10 approaches and the devolved approach within the Strategy and asked if there had been any discussion as to whether there would be any decision making that would be devolved to perhaps a parish or community level?
116.5 In response, the Assistant Director for Communities informed Council one of the approaches that the Strategy identified and explored was an approach to community budgeting. That could be at one end of the spectrum highly significate in terms of budget setting and at the other end of the spectrum can often refer to some community led grant funding. So it was essential to explore where along that spectrum the Council would sit.
116.6 Councillor Hicks felt that the measures of success within the Strategy were vague and asked how the Council could clearly work out if the Strategy was working?
116.7 In response, the Assistant Director for Communities confirmed that a delivery plan was being developed that would have clear metrics with actions identified in the action plan. That would allow the Council to be more precise and more specific about exactly what it is that the Strategy was achieving.
By unanimous vote
It was Resolved:-
(i) That the Joint Communities Strategy, attached as Appendix A to the report be approved.
(ii) That the Assistant Director for Communities, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Communities, be delegated the authority to make future minor amendments and updates to the Strategy, where required and appropriate.
(iii) That, once the Strategy is approved, the Assistant Director for Communities in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Communities, be delegated the authority to take steps to make the vision and the direction of the Strategy more accessible to local communities, partner organisations and our staff, by:
· producing a summary version with more visuals and infographics,
· producing a delivery plan,
· producing a series of short films to explain the vision and the ways we want to achieve it.