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B&NES Council Corporate Strategy 2020 to 2024

Our principles and commitments

To translate our purpose into commitments we have identified three principles, which are set out in the table below.

Principles at a glance
Preparing for the future Delivering for local residents Focusing on prevention
Local renewable energy Carbon-neutral, social, and affordable housing Local Outbreak Management Plan
High-skill economy Energy efficient homes Statutory health and care services
New technologies Significant improvement of the transport infrastructure Preventative approaches
Green local economy Low traffic neighbourhoods Reduce health inequalities
Walking, micro mobility (cycling), car-sharing, buses, and rail Effective approach to fly-tipping and litter enforcement Provision for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities
Carbon neutral development and energy efficiency retrofitting Citizens’ Juries to improve decision making Reduce waste, increase recycling, and support local litter picking schemes
Natural environment carbon stores and biodiversity (for example, planting more trees) Tailor our approach to community engagement in Bath Mental health services that build resilience, promote mental health and wellbeing and deliver the best outcomes
  Community Engagement Charter Reduce over-reliance on residential and nursing care
    Build on local strengths

These commitments do not set out in detail everything we do, much of which – such as equalities, safeguarding, registrars, and emergency planning - is determined by national legislation. However, the detailed proposals in this document will guide us over the life of the strategy, and represent the step changes that citizens in B&NES will experience from their council.

We will support the most vulnerable, as seen in the support for families welcomed to our area through the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Programme. We also work closely with partners to make our community safer, and have made a new and significant commitment to tackling domestic abuse.

We will stand up for local people, and lobby central government on the things that matter most to them – for example, on replacing the money that is lost through students, rightly, being exempt from Council Tax. We will seek to influence central government and others where we need to make changes to deliver our Corporate Strategy, for example to address the climate emergency.

We ensured that government understood the financial challenges caused by COVID-19 in terms of loss of income to the council, and will continue to press our case robustly.

You can expand the sections below to find out more about each principle, and what our commitments are.

Preparing for the future

Our area is changing. We must change with it and help local residents prepare for the future. We want to promote high-quality, high-skill jobs, for example, in the new green jobs sector and in new technologies. At Bath Quays, we are creating a vibrant commercial quarter in the heart of the city which is delivering new jobs and homes. We also have a programme aimed at making our high streets more attractive places to visit, including greener ways of getting around the area and support to businesses.

We will work with partners, organisations such as the West of England Combined Authority, and local communities, to secure long-term investment in our local infrastructure. Our priorities for this are sustainable transport, homes and energy. So that they can take advantage of these changes, we want to help our young people acquire and enhance the skills they need to achieve their ambitions. To do this we will also need to address inequalities of outcome in education, particularly in the early years.

We also need to make the most of new technology, and be smarter and more flexible in the ways that we work. We need to be clearer about what we can and cannot provide. Increasingly, we will ask residents to self-serve for our more transactional services, so that we can better support people who need our help the most.

What we are going to do

Our key commitments are:

  • Enable a step change in local renewable energy schemes including solar and wind power
  • Promote a high-skill economy
  • Maximise opportunities from new technologies to improve and deliver efficient, modern services
  • Support the transition to a green, local economy
  • Enable a major shift to walking, micro mobility (cycling), car-sharing, buses, and rail
  • Encourage a large and rapid improvement in the energy efficiency of our area’s buildings through carbon neutral development and energy efficiency retrofitting of the majority of existing building stock
  • Increase natural environment carbon stores and biodiversity - for example, through planting more trees - and improve our bio-diversity, habitat and land management

Examples of how we are going to measure progress

  • Number of buildings retrofitted with energy efficiency measures
  • Amount of renewable energy locally generated
  • % population 16 to 64 in employment
  • % of council transactions digitally enabled

Our COVID-19 response

Our commitment is to net zero carbon by 2030. Tackling the climate and ecological emergency will come into even sharper focus as we work with business and communities to renew the local economy.

To ensure this partnership working is vital, and an Economic Renewal Board brings together businesses, our universities, college, and us to protect local firms, while making the changes we need to diversify our economy. Our new Skills Pod brings providers together to ensure the best possible support and advice.

The introduction of social distancing measures in town centres led to a reallocation of road space on a temporary basis for walking and cycling, particularly in town centres. This has also provided a catalyst for wider conversations about how we can achieve the commitments to reducing traffic on local communities.

Our Liveable Neighbourhoods website received over 10,000 visits. We are progressing key projects including Residents Parking Zones, electric vehicle charging, the Wiltshire Whippet, and we are also working closely with WECA on Bristol to Bath mass transit.

Delivering for local residents

Access to housing, and getting around our area are key local concerns. We are determined to secure more affordable and social housing, improve the quality of rented housing, make our housing stock green and tackle fuel poverty.

We will also facilitate significant improvement of the transport infrastructure and encourage behaviour change to forms of transport other than the private vehicle. This will enable a major shift to walking, micro mobility (cycling), car-sharing, buses, and rail.

Alongside the introduction of the Clean Air Zone, we have wider ambitions for a more pedestrian-friendly city centre and reducing the impact of cars in residential streets through better traffic management, and reductions in ‘rat-running’.

To support this, we need to understand the views and needs of our local communities. We are committed to improving how we involve local people in our decision making, such as on local transport schemes, ensuring that they have a greater say in how their services are designed, funded and run.

What we are going to do

Our key commitments are:

  • Deliver more carbon neutral, social and affordable housing and ensure that our Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) policies put communities first.
  • Ensure we (the council) are an exemplar for low carbon, including the delivery of carbon neutral and energy efficient homes through our housing company.
  • Facilitate significant improvement to the transport infrastructure and encourage behaviour change to forms of transport other than the private vehicle.
  • Introduce ‘low traffic neighbourhoods’ working with schools and local communities.
  • Have an effective approach to fly-tipping and litter enforcement as well as to city centre cleansing and trade waste.
  • Use new initiatives such as Citizen’s Juries to involve residents in decision making.
  • Tailor our approach to community engagement in Bath to reflect the needs of the city’s residents.
  • Build on our Parish Charter with a new Community Engagement Charter which outlines our commitments and framework for engaging with local residents across the whole of Bath and North East Somerset.

Examples of how we are going to measure progress

  • Number of new additional homes
  • Number of council homes delivered
  • % of residents who feel listened to when they put forward their views

Our COVID-19 response

The closure of libraries during lockdown led to innovations including a Virtual Library, and these digital approaches will likely continue even as our facilities reopen. You can read more about the Virtual Library in our case study.

Support for the most vulnerable continued throughout the lockdown period, through our One Stop Shops and the work of the Compassionate Communities Hub. You can find out more about the One Stop Shops and read about the Compassionate Communities Hub in our case studies. The cross-service and partner collaboration that has supported this work will continue and become stronger.

Our waste and recycling teams dealt with significant increases in recycling tonnages, while maintaining doorstep collection throughout the crisis. Feedback from local communities was overwhelmingly positive, particularly from children with their rainbow drawings. There is now an opportunity for residents and the council to work even more closely together to continue the high level of recycling, particularly of food waste, and to keep our streets and open spaces clean.

Focusing on prevention

Having a clear approach to prevention is essential to improving people’s health and wellbeing, sustaining the social care and health services we all value and rely on, and strengthening our local economy. For example, properly insulated homes are cheaper to run and help prevent cold-related ill health as well as contributing to addressing the climate emergency. Bath's Clean Air Zone is also a good example of how we are preventing ill health through reducing air pollution.

People should receive the support they need in the most efficient, effective and timely way, reducing demand for later and more costly interventions. Everyone has a part to play and our residents should be supported to stay healthy, live well and be independent for as long as possible, making good choices for their own health and wellbeing. For example, we can promote active travel, such as walking and cycling.

We cannot do this alone and we will need to build on our joint working arrangements with partners, voluntary organisations, parishes, and residents, through growing initiatives such as Compassionate Communities, which was exemplified in the creation of the Compassionate Communities Hub. We will always ensure that we continue to protect and support our most vulnerable residents.

What we are going to do

Our key commitments are:

  • Deliver statutory health and care services for children and adults as effectively as possible.
  • Prioritise preventative approaches so that people can stay healthy, we can tackle issues at the earliest stage and ensure a better quality of life for our local residents.
  • Promote good health and reduce health inequalities.
  • Enhance local provision for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) to reduce the need for more distant and costly specialist placements.
  • Help our residents to reduce waste, increase recycling and support local litter picking schemes.
  • Ensure we have mental health services that build resilience, promote mental health and wellbeing, and deliver the best outcomes for our residents.
  • Support our residents to live well and independently, so we reduce over-reliance on residential and nursing care.
  • Support communities who want to address issues of concern by listening to residents and build on local strengths and resources.

Examples of how we are going to measure progress

  • % initial contacts resolved at first point of contact
  • % clients still independent after receiving an enablement service
  • Number of admissions to permanent residential and nursing care for older people

Our COVID-19 response

The work of the Compassionate Communities Hub, established in days at the start of the crisis to provide support, is a living example of exactly the “joined up” approach to supporting our most vulnerable highlighted in the Corporate Strategy.

The Hub drew on pre-existing partnership working with Virgin Care, the CCG, and our third sector colleagues, including 3SG.

Detailed work is underway for the Hub to evolve still further to support local wellbeing through designing services around all the needs that people have, not working in silos.

We also took swift and decisive action to accommodate all rough sleepers at the start of the crisis, directly housing 42 individuals. You can read more about our housing response in our case study. Last year we secured the delivery of 329 units of affordable housing, the highest annual delivery for many years. In addition, there are a further 428 units with planning consent awaiting build-out.

We are also looking to further enhance delivery by the direct provision of council housing, including discounted market housing, housing for rent, and supported housing schemes to assist our most vulnerable residents. We will also look at ways to help people on low incomes benefit from the government’s new Green Homes Grant through an enhanced Energy at Home Advice Service.

A COVID-19 Local Outbreak Management Plan has been prepared to prevent or limit future waves of the disease in B&NES.

Preventative services of all types have all made imaginative adaptations to working under lockdown.