MEDIUM TERM FINANCIAL STRATEGY: COUNCIL S STRATEGIC PRIORITIES 2011/ /13

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1 MEDIUM TERM FINANCIAL STRATEGY: COUNCIL S STRATEGIC PRIORITIES 2011/ /13 1. INTRODUCTION 1.1 The Council and its partners have been working together on producing a meaningful and succinct set of strategic priorities for the next two years. The emphasis has been on producing strategic priorities that are based on the best assessment of current need and what matters most to local people. Partners have been closely involved through the Luton Forum and the views of members have been received through the Overview and Scrutiny Board and the Finance Review Group. The headline strategic priorities below will form the basis of the Council s Corporate Plan 2011/ /13. By making prevention and early intervention the principle that guides how funding is allocated in Luton: Tackle family poverty and protect the vulnerable Improve educational attainment for children and young people Increase people s skills, and help business create the jobs that lead to employment Reduce serious crime and the fear it causes Protect and enhance the quality of the built environment Build community cohesion Ensure a financially sound and efficient Council as the means to delivering these priorities. 1.2 These strategic priorities are intended to reflect what the Council and its partners know is most important to local people during this time of uncertainty and austerity. This approach places Luton on the front foot in terms of the Government s proposed localism agenda, which encompasses the Government s intention to impose less central burdens, increase transparency and encourage priority setting based on local need. 1.3 The work to date has included an analysis of the evidence, including current performance, the budget consultation with residents in October 2010 and deliberative work with the Luton Forum and other groups. This report is set out as follows: Section 2 summarises the evidence and consultation with local residents. Section 3 indicates some of the actions as they are currently developing. Section 4 covers next steps. lx

2 2. EVIDENCE 2.1 The Council has drawn on a significant body of evidence including available data and from extensive consultation with local residents. This is summarised below. Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) 2.2 The JSNA is being refreshed up until April The current indications are that it will continue to highlight the need to address the wider determinants of health and re-emphasise the focus on the five Middle Super Output Areas with the worst health outcomes. Family Poverty Needs Assessment 2.3 An interim report was published in October 2010 and further work is underway. The interim report highlighted key risk factors for families in poverty: worklessness; large families; child disability; and, large BME communities. Community Safety Partnership Strategic Assessment 2.4 The strategic assessment was published in July 2010 and covered perceptions as well as the reality of crime. Other priorities that emerged were: The night time economy linked to alcohol, which is the focus of on-going scrutiny task and finish group work. High Town, Dallow and South wards. Young offenders. Drugs. Anti Social Behaviour. Local Economic Assessment 2.5 An interim report was published in October 2010, which has identified four priorities for Luton: Skill base. Worklessness. Business support. Business environment. Luton Commission on Community Cohesion 2.6 The Commission s report was published on 20 January The report calls for Luton s leaders to establish a working party with faith leaders on extremism, and sets out recommendations that local people said mattered most to them The areas covered include: lxi

3 Local economy - improving local people s capacity to benefit from the opportunities offered by Luton s economy and its excellent transport connections. Luton s image - not hiding the difficult issues but achieving a fair and balanced picture, including in the national media. Knowledge and understanding - the needs of local communities and what the Council, and public, voluntary and community sector agencies can do realistically to understand and address those needs. Resource allocation and access - where fairness and transparency are especially important during the current time of austerity. 2.7 The report stresses the long term nature of tackling cohesion issues, and the need for the local authority and its partners to engage in on-going, proactive management of community cohesion in a way that tackles the symptoms and underlying causes of extremism in all its forms. Current performance 2.8 There is a detailed analysis of performance over the past year (2010/11) as a separate part of the Medium Term Financial Plan. The emerging priorities for action encompass areas from the current 32 Sustainable Community Strategy priorities, which support delivery of Luton s 2026 vision. Budget consultation with residents 2.9 This was carried out in October 2010 and was led by the Scrutiny Finance Review Group. It included consultation via LutonLine and the web-site, the citizens panel and through a deliberative group. Residents placed great importance on protecting vulnerable people and, within that context, specifically highlighted adult social care, children s social care, waste and education. Residents said they were willing to see budget reductions in cultural services, planning and regeneration, democracy and central services to the public. Residents stressed that all areas should be considered for efficiency savings The work on the strategic priorities has also been guided by the model for the future design of Luton Borough Council, which was agreed by the Executive in July Work was undertaken to map the transformation tracker projects against the Council s current priorities. lxii

4 3. STRATEGIC PRIORITIES 3.1 The Council s proposed strategic priorities are summarised in the box below. Some further comments may come from members following a discussion with the Overview and Scrutiny Board on 19 January. By making prevention and early intervention the principle that guides how funding is allocated in Luton: Tackle family poverty and protect the vulnerable Improve educational attainment for children and young people Increase people s skills, and help business create the jobs that lead to employment Reduce serious crime and the fear it causes Protect and enhance the quality of the built environment Build community cohesion Ensure a financially sound and efficient Council as the means to delivering these priorities. 3.2 At present Luton s Sustainable Community Strategy and the Council s Corporate Plan are built around the Government s themes of stronger and safer communities, health and wellbeing, children and young people, and environment and economic development. The proposal is that new Corporate Plan 2011/ /13 will develop around the Council s six strategic priorities highlighted in the box above within the overarching principle of prevention and early intervention, and a financially sound and efficient Council as the means to delivery. At partnership level the theme board structure much of which will remain statutory is currently being reviewed in terms of the sub-boards and the overall partnership architecture. 3.3 The remainder of this section indicates some of the actions as they are currently being developed that will underpin the six main priorities. Tackle family poverty and protect the vulnerable Create a joined-up view of Luton s citizens. Target and alleviate poverty. Tackle the underlying causes of poverty, including worklessness. lxiii

5 Improve educational attainment for children and young people Make early interventions focused on the most vulnerable. Work towards creating sufficient school places in the right location. Raise aspirations, including of and among parents through interventions such as mentors in the community. Increase people s skills, and help business create the jobs that lead to employment Innovation to fund the people and skills side of regeneration. Understanding and tackling the skills gap in Luton. Develop the links with the schools system, including technical grammar and other basic skills, and aspirations. Reduce serious crime and the fear it causes Tackle issues of most concern in the night time economy. Communication with residents alongside tackling serious crime - making the most of new media and social networks. Focus on the effectiveness of youth offending service and a joined up offer. Protect and enhance the quality of the built environment Make Luton a key business and investor location (delivering major schemes, housing and infrastructure). Provide a clean and healthy environment (street cleansing; managing congestion; health promotion). Provide safe access and mobility (road safety and conditions). Build community cohesion Establish and develop a working party on challenging extremism in all its forms. Extend the Luton in Harmony model as best practice for others in the town to follow. Improve links between more mono-cultural schools. lxiv

6 Create additional opportunities for local people to share in the benefits of Luton s economy. 4. NEXT STEPS 4.1 This paper will be developed further by officers and members and will be the basis for service planning and the Council s new Corporate Plan 2011/ / The final version of the Corporate Plan will be presented to Full Council at the earliest opportunity following the May elections. lxv

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