; Item 10 Greater prosperity
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Item 10 Greater prosperity


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									SCRUTINY BOARD                                                   Agenda Item: 10

                              Ward:                 All

                              Portfolio:            Community and Regeneration

FROM:             Business Manager,
                                                    Date: 17th October 2005
                  Community and

SUBJECT:          Greater Prosperity              Priority   –   Interim     Review      of

                       The attached report is an interim review of progress towards the
Summary:               Council’s ‘Greater Prosperity’ Review. A fuller report will be
                       possible following the outcome of the Cultural Services Audit
                       Commission Inspection

                       To note the details of progress to date, and to endorse
Recommendation:        observations made about improvements to measuring progress
                       on strategic priorities

                       Greater Prosperity, and indirectly Safer Cleaner Streets, and
Links to Priorities:   Better Resource Management

                       Service Plan preparations for 2006 – 2007 are poised to start.
Impact on Service
                       The strategic review of ‘Greater Prosperity’ is still the template for
                       service plans

                       Financial implications addressed through Service Plans

                       None directly identified

Crime and
                       Helps deliver the Council’s Section 17 obligations

Implications:          None identified

Risk Assessment:       Pursued as part of the business plan process


  1. This report is the second of a series requested by the Scrutiny Board, looking at
     what progress has been made towards achieving the wider objectives of the
     Council’s three main corporate priorities. It deals with progress relating to the
     Greater Prosperity priority.

  2. The report is described as an interim one as it does not incorporate the results
     of the recent Cultural Services Audit Commission Inspection. The inspection,
     which covered work on the Arts, Tourism, Leisure, Sports Development Heritage
     Open Spaces, Heritage and regeneration, is expected to provide an
     independent commentary on the Council’s progress in a substantial, but not
     exclusive block of services contributing to the Greater Prosperity.

  3. Nonetheless, the Council is well into its second year of work on the priority, and
     the information that follows gives a comprehensive service based assessment of
     what has been achieved, what is in progress, and what is yet to be achieved.
     The report also identifies some issues around progress towards achieving the
     goals of greater prosperity.


  4. ‘Greater Prosperity’ is one of the Council’s three principal priorities as adopted
     by the administration in May 2003. It has since been incorporated into the
     Council’s Corporate Plan, and is one of the key drivers across the breadth of the
     Council’s work through the business planning process.

  5. As part of the annual programme of inspections under the original ‘Best Value’
     regime, Mendip agreed to undertake two strategic reviews of its main priorities –
     notably a review of Safer Cleaner Streets and Greater Prosperity. These large,
     ‘cross-cutting’ reviews were in place of the original service based reviews, and
     were undertaken in 2004.

  6. The strategic review of Greater Prosperity was undertaken over a three month
     period starting in May 2004. it was conducted by a team of councillors and
     officers, and involved facilitated workshops and visits to other local authorities.
     The findings were reported to both Scrutiny and then Cabinet where it was
     approved in October 2004.

  7. The importance of the strategic review is that it provided a very comprehensive
     further breakdown of what was to be expected to be delivered by the Greater
     Prosperity priority, and provided 93 separate actions right across the spectrum
     of District Council work. These actions were adopted for the purposes of
     business planning for 2005/06, and have provided a platform devising work
     programmes under the direction of the Medium term Financial Plan (MTFP).

  8. The outcome of the strategic review is attached as Appendix 1.


9. The strategic review broke down the ‘Greater Priority’ priority into 9 separate
   objective areas which are
        Tourism
        Encouragement of business
        Inclusion and well being
        Housing
        Sport, culture and leisure
        Car parking
        Vibrancy
        Efficient town planning
        Accessible council services

10. The progress made against the separate objectives, and the teams responsible
    for the primary work is set out in Appendix 2. Individual services within the
    Council were asked to populate what progress has been made in each area.
    Some editing has taken place to reduce the text

11. The tabulation shows the very wide range of activity underway, expressed in a
    detailed format. It illustrates how teams from diverse parts of the Council, both
    statutory and discretionary are collectively contributing to the delivery of Council

12. It is difficult to pick out a representative sample of progress, but the following
    illustrates a medley of progress, expressed as short, medium and long term

Shorter Term
 review of the development control function to provide a more efficient planning
service, resulting in a record planning development grant; bringing back in of the
homeless service, and its revitalisation; production of new ‘Welcome to Mendip’
signage; creating a business ambassador service, and a thriving Mendip Business
Exchange; revitalising the markets service; successful Mendip in Bloom
medium term
securing fit for purpose for the Council’s housing strategy, and rolling out its
objectives; agreeing a new blueprint for the Saxonvale area of Frome; secured
planning consent for major redevelopment of the Griggs/Huntsman site in Shepton
Mallet; approved 3 year funding for Arts KSO’s (key strategic organisations);
adopted lead organisation role for two of the five immediate priorities with the MSP;
secured partnership funding for work with PCT on health improvement, and
comprehensive programme rolled out
Longer term
Securing the development of a major employment site at Coalway
Lane, Frome; progressing complex planning consents as part of the 10 year
redevelopment of Morlands; established strong community partnership under
‘Shepton 21’ Market and Coastal Towns (MCTi) initiative

13. It should also be remembered that some of the achievements already recorded
    under the Safer Cleaner Streets, have also made a major contribution to Greater
    Prosperity objectives, although are not part of this review. These include the
    letting of new contracts for street sweeping and public toilet investment.
    Improvements in these 2 areas alone are expected to deliver a major boost to
    tourism promotion by providing a more attractive environment for visitors and
    residents alike.

14. Of the three corporate priorities, Greater Prosperity, is perhaps the most
    challenging to deliver over the longer term. Why is this?
15. Whereas the control of its own resources through ‘Better Resource
    Management’, is largely in the gift of the Council, the wider economy of the
    Mendip area and factors that affect its prosperity are subject to a myriad of
    external pressures. The majority of these are outside the direct control of the
    District Council.

16. In such circumstances, the council’s interventions should to be timely, and
    targeted in areas and services where it can demonstrate it can have an impact,
    and where that impact is to a greater or lesser degree measurable.

17. In many areas of the Council’s discretionary work, this can be a challenging
   exercise, despite a widespread feeling that many council interventions intuitively
   feel about right. One such service intervention would for example be the
   Council’s investment in tourism.

18. A number of issues emerge from what could be described as this rather ‘audit’
    driven view of the Council’s work on greater prosperity
19. a) High level Targets. Many of the areas of work identified in Appendix 2 are
    capable of measurement and identification of clear outcomes. This is
    nonetheless an area which needs improvement. The Chief Executive is looking
    to develop a number of high level targets for each priority. For greater Prosperity
    this could include the level and type of patronage of sports, leisure and arts
    facilities, improvements in the number of visitor nights/length of stay, and
    improvements to the number of SME’s (small and medium enterprises) assisted
    by the Council

20. b) Production of Strategies. While the strategic review has produced a very
    wide and ambitious array of objectives for the Council to deliver, it could be
    argued that what is lacking is a sense of long term direction. The Council lack s
    a number of key strategy documents that could help provide that sense of
    direction, and plans to produce them are referred to in Appendix 2. It is worthy of
    note however that the provisional advise of the Audit Commission on the
    Cultural Services review was not to rush into a spate of strategies. Key ones
    would nonetheless appear to be a strategy for MDC’s major capital assets,
    Leisure Provision, and Economic Development, including Tourism and Rural

21. c) Prioritisation A brave start has been made on addressing the objectives that
    make up the Greater Prosperity priority, but it is debatable whether the Council
    has the capacity to proceed on such a broad front simultaneously, and is simply
    trying to do too much. Some of the identified objectives have been prioritized by
    default in individual service plans, but it would make sense to formally prioritize
    the identified actions as short medium and longer term objectives, and business
    plan accordingly.

22. d) Innovation and Change The dynamics of the local economy are such that
    the priority needs to take account of the rapid rate of change in the local area.
         Mendip has, for example, seen an acceleration of the rate of large company
         exodus from the area, but there has not been a corresponding increase in
         unemployment. Job transfer, greater commuting and a good rate of job creation
         by small business have compensated. Over time, Mendip may become an area
         more focused upon dormitory status, and this will have implications for long term
         thinking about whether investment in grater Prosperity is better focused on
         people’s leisure time as much as about employment.


   23. The Scrutiny Board is recommended to:

   i)       note the progress recorded in Appendix 2

   ii)      endorse the need to address points a) to d) as outlined above to assist in the
            future assessment of progress in this area of work

Contact Officer: Malcolm Williams
Ext No:

Background Papers


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