Wirral Plan Progress Update: 2016/17 Quarter 1
- Meeting of Cabinet, Monday, 5th September 2016 10.00 a.m. (Item 39.)
- View the background to item 39.
Councillor Ann McLachlan introduced a report that provided Cabinet Members with the opportunity to review the progress of the delivery of the Wirral Plan. The Wirral Plan had been agreed at a meeting of the Council in July 2015, and had created a long term vision for the borough and a series of 20 Pledges which it was intended would be delivered by 2020.
The report provided a progress update on the delivery of the Wirral Plan for the 20 Pledges. It focused on key activities carried out in Quarter 1 (April to June 2016) and the progress being made. More detailed performance data and information relating to all Pledges would be reported to the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committees. The performance of the Wirral Plan would also be monitored by the Wirral Plan Partnership Delivery Group.
Delivery of the Wirral Plan was driven by all partners working together with residents to make a difference. Councillor Ann McLachlan was pleased to report the following points providing examples of where interventions and work commissioned towards the 20 Pledges was driving improvements in the lives of Wirral residents:
· Tackling the problem residents faced in finding appropriate housing was a key goal of the Wirral Plan. The Council was on track to achieve its target of bringing 1,250 empty properties back into use by 2020 and currently, 388 empty properties had been identified, improved and brought back into use. 760 other properties had also been adapted or improved to help vulnerable people live with greater independence.
· There had been a 9.5% increase in the number of people with disabilities in employment since the Wirral Plan was agreed.
· There were greater job opportunities for Wirral residents being delivered with an increase in the employment rate of 3% compared to the start of the Wirral Plan, and an increase in the number of new jobs created compared to the same period last year.
· Wirral also remained the fastest growing tourism economy in Merseyside with an 8% increase in visitor numbers resulting in an additional £31million being spent in our visitor economy compared to the previous year.
· Progress was being made in ensuring Wirral’s neighbourhoods were safer, with a 2% reduction in the total number of crimes compared to this time last year.
· Reports of anti-social behaviour were declining with a 13% reduction in the number of incidents reported to the police compared to the same period last year. This was testament to the success of the Plan’s approach to integrate Police and Community Support Officers with the borough’s Community Patrol and Anti-Social Behaviour Officers into one team.
· A new approach had been implemented to give victims of Domestic Violence greater confidence to report incidents and this had seen a successful increase in reporting compared to the same period last year.
· Encouraging progress was being made, with six schools being upgraded from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘good’ during the first quarter. Now, 9 out of 10 primary school pupils and 8 out of 10 secondary school pupils in Wirral attended a school which was rated at least ‘good’.
· The Council had appointed 6 ‘Future in Minds’ workers as part of a new initiative to support young people who may be experiencing mental health issues.
· Issues such as dog fouling remained a high priority. A new enforcement policy had been launched in May 2016 and had immediately delivered positive results. Fixed Penalty Notices issued to irresponsible dog owners in the first quarter equalled the total number issued in the whole of the previous year. Coupled with a continued clampdown on littering, where 2631 Fixed Penalty Notices had been issued in this quarter, these results show the Council and its partners are serious about protecting our environment.
Councillor Ann McLachlan reported that this was an improving picture. The Council continued to face financial challenges and consequently the partnerships developing across the public and private sectors were vital to the delivery of future services.
Councillor Phil Davies concurred with what Councillor Ann McLachlan had said and expressed his gratitude to the officers and staff in the partnership bodies e.g. Police, Health, etc. for their help and support. He informed that it was imperative that the Council found ways to make ‘the Wirral £’ go further and the benefit of doing that were now being seen e.g. tackling anti-social behaviour.
Councillor Phil Davies also informed that there were still funding challenges and the Council would need to continue to make savings. There was a great deal of uncertainty around future European funding. The Government had agreed to honour commitments in respect of European Regional Development and European Social Fund but only until the Autumn Statement. The Council would need to continue to lobby for any European Funding lost to be replaced by the Treasury as well as working as hard as it could to deliver its pledges.
That the report be noted.