Executive Member Portfolio Update (Agenda Item 6)
Councillor Michael Wassell, Leader of the Council, has been invited to attend the meeting to give an overview of the year since the Election and to outline the Council’s plans for 2016.
The Leader of the Council gave a short presentation on achievements so far and plans for the future.
There was a refreshed focus and vision set out in the four-year Corporate Plan which built on the Council’s strengths for the benefit of the community. The Corporate priorities were prosperity, strong and independent communities and working with partners. The Council aimed to develop the local economy and the Meet the Buyer event had been the first step to ensuring more local procurement.
Key Select provided a better on-line system for housing applications, freeing up officer time to help those less able to help themselves.
The Transformation Programme would ensure that the right services were provided at the right time and in the right way and was the key to future-proofing the organisation. The four themes of the Transformation Programme were being looked at by individual Scrutiny Task & Finish Groups which would be involved in the whole four year project.
The Corporate Plan would be updated to take account of changes. Breckland’s voice would be heard in the Devolution discussions. Work would continue to ensure that safe communities were maintained and joined-up services provided.
The consultation on the Local Plan was about to commence and the Plan would ensure that the right development was enabled in the right places and at the right time.
The Council would work to attract inward investment and would generate income from its assets. It would continue to trade through existing partnerships such as the ARP and would look for other opportunities. It would also ensure that major contracts provided the best value for money.
The Chairman asked about the outcomes of the Meet the Buyer event and the Chief Executive advised that two people that had attended the event were now being used to design the Council’s website. Business to business contacts had been encouraged and good feedback had been received about that. Local businesses now knew that the Council was focussing locally.
Councillor S Chapman-Allen asked how the Council was lobbying to stop the loss of PCSOs in rural areas and the Leader of the Council suggested that the Commission could invite the Chief Constable and the Police and Crime Commissioner to come back to another meeting.
Councillor Oliver asked if there were any ‘red lines’ regarding Devolution and the Leader of the Council said that at the moment having an elected Mayor was something that all the Districts were against. However, the best deals often went to organisations that had elected Mayors, so there was a need to be flexible.
Councillor Joel asked about CCTV cameras and the Executive Member for Place was able to advise that they were all working and recording and the Council had access to that information for all the towns.
Councillor R Richmond asked how the problem of the Council’s housing land supply shortage could be overcome as it was adding to infrastructure problems. He asked if there was any chance of building a new settlement.
The Leader of the Council advised that the Local Plan proposed a reduction in the amount of land required. From his research, to qualify for Government funding any new settlement would have to be like a large town. There were infrastructure issues but many of them were out of the Council’s area of influence.
The Chairman thanked the Leader of the Council for his update and asked for the Presentation to be sent out with the Minutes (copy attached).