Corporate Plan Refresh 2021
- Meeting of Overview and Scrutiny Commission, Thursday, 3rd June, 2021 10.00 am (Item 44/21)
- View the background to item 44/21
To receive a presentation from Greg Pearson, Head of Strategic Policy.
The Head of Strategic Policy, Greg Pearson, introduced the report on the Corporate Plan refresh and explained the reasons behind why this was needed. He further explained that in February 2019 a new Corporate Plan had been agreed which would run until March 2023. However, during the last 15 months there had been a number of significant impacts which had affected this. Firstly, the Covid-19 pandemic, which had impacted the physical and mental health of residents as well as the shape and structure of the local economy and secondly the Council’s 10-year strategic partnership with South Holland had come to an end and a new partnership could possibly be formed within Norfolk. With this in mind, it was felt that a more fundamental review was required at this point.
The Head of Strategic Policy explained they had been looking at a revised look and narrative and how to make it more accessible and fully integrated into the Breckland Council website. It was also hoped to link objectives into larger pieces of work currently happening within Breckland. He stated that the vision “Breckland: a place where people and Business can thrive” was still relevant and would remain.
The presentation covered 4 objectives for the lifetime of the plan and explained in further detail what would be included within each objective:
· Inspiring Communities - the community focused action,
· Thriving Places - the growth and economic agenda,
· Breckland 2035 - the environmental agenda,
· Working Smarter - which would set the direction for the council’s more internal focused actions to ensure that it was continuously improving.
The Head of Strategic Policy welcomed the feedback from Members and would work further to incorporate the suggestions into the plan to bring to Full Council in July with opportunities to have input into the final terminology.
The Chairman suggested renaming Working Smarter to Smarter Working, and suggested Breckland 2035 was a long way in the future and that for Breckland to hit the net zero target would require year on year progress and felt a better title might be more appropriate. He was also conscious that other local authorities in the area had different targets with the County Council most recently stating 2030 and wondered whether any synergies might be obtained working with other authorities to achieve a net zero target across Norfolk.
Cllr Jermy suggested that the working title might be changed to make it more appealing. He also suggested that since the last Corporate Plan things had changed, Breckland had declared a climate emergency and adopted a sustainability strategy, which was quite significant and should run through the entirety of Corporate Plan and should not be seen in isolation. Additionally, he felt that as a Council social mobility should also be improved including people’s wages. Maintenance of existing open spaces was also a key issue, if Breckland wanted to instil pride in residents and where they lived, it needed to lead the way and look after its open spaces and take care of community assets and all this should be worked into the Plan.
In response to the suggestion of changing the title, the Head of Strategic Policy said he would investigate some options.
He also agreed about the climate emergency and sustainability strategy, and informed Members that the Team had been working on a narrative that would work alongside that document and would ensure it was reflected throughout. Social mobility was included, however it maybe that it could be made clearer, and he would look at the pride in the place you live which had been incorporated in the cleaner, greener, safer agenda but possibly not explicitly and would revisit this to see how this could be brought more to life.
Cllr Wilkinson had concerns on delivering such a comprehensive list and asked if some things would be prioritised or compromised?
The Head of Strategic Policy explained that this was a high-level strategy and aspirational document which, if agreed, would then progress to put the tools in place to deliver a more detailed document and a Delivery Plan would be worked up to sit underneath this document that would be more precise and identify timings.
Cllr Wickerson felt that overall, it was a good aspirational document; however, there were some things Breckland had no control over, such as education and health. He also agreed with the Chairman’s comments that 2035 was too far ahead and should be changed.
Cllr Kybird felt some of the wording could be changed to make it more easily understood by all and had noticed that there was no mention of Member engagement and felt that as elected politicians they were an interface between the public and the Council and was an area that needed some further thought and development.
The Head of Strategic Policy thanked all Members for their comments and would look at the language and how to work Member engagement into the strategy.
Councillor Kiddle-Morris was pleased to see that some aspirations had been covered by the local plan but there was no reference to the local plan which he felt was needed to ensure the two documents linked together.
The Head of Strategic Policy said he would look at how to weave those two documents in more effectively.
Cllr Birt also agreed that the climate emergency needed to be woven through the entire document. He also commented that Slide 9 highlighted a list of things that Breckland Council would do to be legally compliant and felt that this should be a given.
The Head of Strategic Policy stated that he would re-visit employment and try to reflect this more appropriately. All comments would be taken on board in respect of linking the document to the climate agenda throughout.
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