Agenda item

Council Plan 2024-2028 - Report of Chief Executive


The Council considered a report of the Chief Executive which sought approval of the Council Plan 2024-2028 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 officers and Members involved in updating the Council Plan.


In June 2022, Council agreed to receive an updated and refreshed Council Plan on an annual basis going forward, presented to Council alongside the MTFP and budget setting reports in February. This was the third review since that decision was taken.


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 and worked in County Durham.


The County had both opportunities and issues that needed to be addressed. Many of the issues facing residents could not be solved by the council alone. Many required structural or policy changes at a national government level.


However, the council could make a positive difference though its democratically elected mandate and role as a leader of place. The Council Plan set out the Councils ambitions for doing so.


The Joint Administration recognised the critical importance of working in partnership with others across the public, private, voluntary and community sectors.  This was why the Council Plan set out the Councils role in delivering the partnership developed County Durham Vision 2035.


The updated Council Plan, covering the period 2024 to 2028 did not and could not include a list of everything the Council did, but it was underpinned by a wide range of specific strategies and service specific action plans. This years plan provided a sharper focus on the Councils ambitions, with more transparent links to the detail of supporting strategies set out within the document.


The plan ensured that the Council’s resources were used in a transparent and effective way, by setting out priorities to support the economy, people, environment, communities, and to further improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the council for everyone’s benefit.


Ultimately it set the Council’s and approach to directing its resources, including in the Medium Term Financial Plan.


Over the last year the Joint Administration had been focusing on the delivery of things that mattered to local people and local communities. Things which would support improved health, wealth and prosperity across the County. For example, the Inclusive Economic Strategy agreed in December 2022, a range of significant capital investment and the strides made turning the redevelopment of Aykley Heads from a concept into reality as part of ambitious plans for economic growth.


In November 2023, Ofsted carried out a focused visit looking at the council’s arrangements for care-experienced young people, specifically the quality of preparation for adulthood, the quality and suitability of accommodation and care leavers with specific needs.  Feedback was positive and identified that leaders had a detailed understanding of the strengths of this area of service and where further improvements could be made. Senior leaders had further developed and improved services for care-experienced young people.


The Council had also provided a greater focus on its environment and Climate Emergency Response Plan, where good progress had been made against ambitions.


The Council could be proud of the County, heritage, people and culture and because of this the County Council had been selected to lead on the culture theme in the regions devolution plans.


Moving forward there was a need to maintain sound management of resources in delivering on ambitions and priorities, seek to maximise the talents of people and use technology to provide the best services possible within the resources available. To this end the plan set out the key performance indicators which would be used to measure the success of plans and operational services.


Councillor Hopgood Moved that the Council accept the report and the recommendations set out at paragraph 18.


In Seconding the report Councillor S McDonnell, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Digital, Customer Services and Procurement thanked the Head of Corporate Affairs and his team for the work undertaken to refresh and simplify the Council Plan.  The Plan was now a shorter, sharper, and more easily digested document than in previous years.  The Plan was a summary of the actions taken by the Council moving forward, underpinned by a series of corporate strategies, service planning and performance arrangements which provided more detailed information on the actions, major projects and improvements being undertaken.  To ensure transparency key documents were accessible via hyperlinks within the Plan.  The Plan set out the actions the Council would lead on and take forward and was aligned to and complemented the County Durham Vision 2035.



That the Council Plan 2024-2028 be approved.

Supporting documents: