Calderdale Council’s leader Tim Swift and Chief Executive Robin Tuddenham have identified what the priorities are for the authority going into 2019.
The leaders were speaking at Strategy and Performance Scrutiny Board in December, giving an overview of ambitions and priorities for the start of the next council year in April, 2019.
Deputy Leader Coun Barry Collins (Lab, Illingworth and Mixenden) addressed the board on a number of issues which fell under his portfolio responsibilities.
The council’s ambition is to be the Best Borough in the North, compared to 19 other comparable authorities, focusing on three priorities – growing the economy, reducing inequalities and building a sustainable future for people living and working here.
Coun Swift (Lab, Town) referred to regular meetings he and the Chief Executive had with staff and the visible corporate and political leadership of the council.
He also referred to Vison 2024 and the council’s ambitions by the time it reaches that year, its 50th anniversary, the progression of the Local Plan and other challenges ahead for all councils such as financial pressures and what effect Brexit would have when the United Kingdom leaves the European Union in March.
He also spoke about delivering the council’s capital programme, including the A629 corridor improvements which were being completed at Salterhebble.
Mr Tuddenham’s detailed report highlighted and rated on a red-amber-green basis for each priority what the council what it was achieving and what it wanted to achieve by April.
These included growing the economy, covering policies and initiatives such as the plans for Elland Rail Station, growth of the tourism and visitor economy, delivering of flooding protection infrastructure and development of natural flood management planning, the Halifax Station Gateway project, reviewing Library services, arts and leisure in the borough, the council’s inclusive growth strategy, the proposals for Northgate, Halifax, development of the Clifton Enterprise zone and housing delivery.
He spoke about reducing equality through achievements that had been made through implementing Calderdale Cares, a focus on mental health, reviewing home care contracts, the health focus on babies’ first 1,000 days, and a review of adult social care systems.
More work needed to be done on delivering services cohesively, tackling poverty, reviewing people’s care packages, developing skills and learning including apprenticeships, community safety, working with watchdog Ofsted, and delivering accommodation for children who are looked after by the council.
In terms of building a sustainable future, the council was 95 per cent compliant with General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) with more work to be done.
Further work also needed to be done on the Local Plan, reviewing enforcement review, implementing the council’s highways and infrastructure delivery plan, developing its land, asset and investment strategy, implementing a People Development Plan, ensuring the council was financially resilient, improving air quality for the borough’s residents with key issues in certain areas, and strengthening third sector sustainability.
Coun Swift and Mr Tuddenham responded to questions, comments and concerns from members of the board on these matters.
Issues raised included the cleanliness of the borough, the council’s capital investment strategy, development of Town Boards, highways and parking and inequality matters.