The Council considered a report of the Chief Executive which sought approval of the Council Plan 2023-24 to 26-27 Refresh (for copy see file of Minutes)
In Moving the report Councillor Hopgood, Leader of the Council thanked the Head of Corporate Affairs for the report, his team and all the officers involved in updating the Council Plan.
The Council was responsible for a wide range of public services and had a significant role to play in improving the lives of everyone who lived in, visited or worked in County Durham. County Durham had both opportunities and issues that needed to be addressed. Many of the issues facing residents could not be solved by the council alone so it was important that the Council worked in partnership with others across the public, private, voluntary and community sectors, that collectively we acknowledged and understood the challenges our communities faced, that we were ambitious in our approach, that we took difficult decisions to tackle difficult issues and that we demonstrated clear community leadership. It was vital to listen to communities and to partners to ensure that we built collective understanding and community cohesion and focused on the things that mattered the most to residents and to local businesses.
The report set out details of the updated Council Plan, covering the period 2023 to 2027. The Plan set out the Councils ambitions, its desired outcomes and its actions to deliver on these alongside a range of performance measures to track the performance of the council’s services. It was an important document as it set the Councils priorities and directed resources. In June last year, Council agreed an updated and refreshed Council Plan and agreed to refresh and update it on an annual basis going forward, presented to County Council alongside the MTFP and budget setting reports in February.
The Leader went on to highlight what the report covered:
The overall style and tone of the document was in line with the Plan agreed in June last year and was fully aligned with and complimented the MTFP. The Council Plan ensured that resources were used in a transparent and effective way, by setting out priorities to support the economy, environment and communities, and to further improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the council for everyone’s benefit. Over the last year the council had been focusing on the development of an inclusive economy, culminating in Cabinet agreeing the Inclusive Economic Strategy in December last year, a document which would provide a platform to shape economic development for years to come.
The council had also provided a greater focus on the environment, as demonstrated by the declaration of an Ecological Emergency last year and the more stretching carbon reduction targets which had been agreed as part of the updated Climate Emergency Response Plan.
In the last year the council had sold the building on The Sands in Durham City and agreed an alternative strategy for the location of the council’s headquarters functions.
The reopening of the former DLI building as a cultural venue had been progressed and significant strides forward made in terms of turning the redevelopment of Aykley Heads from a concept into reality through meaningful market engagement and more detailed options appraisal.
Moving forward there was a need to maintain sound management of resources in delivering on ambitions and priorities, seeking to maximise the talents of people and use technology to provide the best services possible within the resources available. Councillor Hopgood Moved that the Council accept the report and the recommendations set out at paragraph 9.
In Seconding the report Councillor R Bell, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Finance informed Council that it was important to have a Plan which reflected the Council’s wider partnership vision and focussed on what the Council would do over the coming years to improve the lives of people in County Durham.
That the Council Plan 2023-2027 be approved.