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Solihull – this is a place where people want to be

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					Solihull – this is a place where people want to be.


Solihull is a thriving, prosperous Borough for most of its residents. People choose to
come and live here for the quality of our environment, for our schools, for our
reputation in the region, as a place to aspire to.

Success, however, brings its own challenges. From the Council’s perspective these are
reflected in our five customer outcomes giving us a clear focus for our ambition, energy and
resources. We know, for example, that not everyone in the borough enjoys the best
outcomes, be they health, educational achievement or employment related. In fact, we have
one of the widest gaps in Britain between our wealthiest and our poorest communities.
Closing this gap of inequality and enhancing the quality of life for everyone in the Borough
through our community leadership and partnership working, will lead to an equal chance for
all. This is our central task and underpins the vision, commitment and sustained investment
across the whole Borough.

Success has been made possible by strong leadership from our elected members. Inspired
by the ambition to give everyone the best possible quality of life, to meet and raise
expectations, our leaders have risen to the challenge. The Council has made bold and brave
decisions. It has become entrepreneurial, shaping a vision for our communities and being
prepared to use our assets creatively to attract external and private sector investment to
ameliorate our position as the lowest funded Metropolitan council.

Our ambition is driven by our communities who shape our decisions and tell us how we are
doing. Our residents have told us that in all we do we must be open, honest, approachable
and keep our promises, and that they want good quality services, delivered well. We have
combined services, entered into creative partnerships and set up long term contracts so that
we can be ever more cost effective and customer focused for the things that really matter to
local people and we continue to develop our customer contact services to ensure a right first
time performance.

Our commitment to improve people’s lives and deliver tangible outcomes can be seen in our
internal transformation programme, (was ‘One Council One Vision’ and is now ‘Shaping
Solihull’). Affirming the need both for continuity and progression, our new programme
recognises that to deliver our customer outcomes we have to move forward with a shared set
of ambitions and approaches with our partners.

So what have we achieved?

Our ambition to close the gap of inequality has led to a unique as well as one of the biggest
regeneration programmes outside of London, delivering over a billion pounds of investment in
people, opportunities and buildings in the north of the Borough. With limited access to
additional funding, we have created a partnership with private sector housing and finance
companies and a Registered Social Landlord to enable us to build new homes and new
schools and take forward social and economic programmes using the value of the land we
have released. This means we are enabling communities who have tremendous pride and
loyalty to this part of our Borough to benefit from a more prosperous future with decent
homes, better educational attainment and new employment opportunities.

When others are closing facilities, we have found a way to deliver a viable future for our
leisure centres, ensuring all our residents have the chance to be fit and healthy. Entering into
a public-private partnership and releasing land for enabling development, we have secured a
state of the art leisure centre for the south of the Borough and upgraded our facility in the
north.

We know this is a place where people expect to be well educated – the demands on our
schools are great. We produce some of the best results in the country and are closing the gap
on attainment between the north of our Borough and the south. But we are not complacent.
We want our pupils to be able to experience the best learning environments and so we have
seized the opportunities presented by Building Schools for the Future, Primary Capital
Programme and our Regeneration Partnership to plan new schools for all our children and




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Solihull – this is a place where people want to be.


young people in the north. We have also worked with partners to bring about a new F.E.
campus and a collegiate approach to secondary education.

As one of the ‘most affected’ councils, we are tackling the challenge of our unaccompanied
asylum seeking children through a rapid multi-agency response that addresses their
immediate needs and gives an equal chance for all. For their longer term outcomes we have
championed the importance of equity of support, opportunity and achievement for them as we
do for all our Looked After Children. Our well embedded culture of active involvement of
children and young people underpins policy development, practice and individual care
planning to improve their outcomes. We listen to what families tell us about their needs, so
creating one of the first combined Children’s Service’s Directorates and working with a mature
Children & Young People’s Trust to ensure that services are truly delivered in partnership.

In the spirit of entrepreneurialism, partnership and value for money, the Council and the NHS
have formed a strong alliance in Solihull by establishing a Care Trust, enabling the
development of effective and integrated delivery of modernised services to our residents.
Demographic analysis confirms a long term trend of significantly rising numbers of elderly,
vulnerable people, making it a shared priority to improve their health, well-being and
independence, to maximise the involvement of local people in shaping future models of
service delivery, and to ensure that all the whole population enjoy the best outcomes.

We are a key driver in the regional economy and take pride in the fact that we share our
Borough with national assets such as Birmingham International Airport and the NEC. Solihull
is also a designated Growth Point. Therefore we encourage economic and housing
development whilst successfully managing its impact on our urban, suburban and rural
landscapes. We are determined to preserve Solihull’s beautiful blend of town and country
whilst playing our full role in the regeneration and growth of the City Region.

We understand our customers and can respond to need better than we have ever done
because of our ability to capture a wealth of feedback, service requests, and patterns of
service use. Consequently, we have worked with our partners and the community to agree a
vision for Solihull and identify the key priorities so that customers’ focus is also our focus. This
helps us overcome the challenge of a persistently low funding base by effectively aligning our
resources to our priorities. And our residents tell us we are promoting their interests, and that
we are trustworthy and deliver on our promises.

We have come a long way in recent years, achieving relevant and tangible outcomes as a
result of our community leadership, entrepreneurial spirit, our creative and well-founded
partnerships, and our shared determination to maintain the quality and reputation of our
Borough. We are now ready for the next stage of our journey which will see us transform
from One Council to One Borough as we pursue the benefits working in a strategic
partnership and of becoming a truly commissioning organisation.




                                  Entrepreneurial




                                Equal chance for all



       Quality and aspiration                          Listening




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Solihull – this is a place where people want to be.


Outcome statistics to include as part of design of page:

       Our NS Fusion scheme has contributed to reducing street crime in Fordbridge in
        north Solihull by 11%
       By March 2007 284 workless residents from disadvantaged areas had got jobs
       We had 269 fewer homeless families in 2007 than we did in 2005 – a reduction of
        46%
       Over 3,300 families are living in upgraded Council homes
       Over 1,000 people have improved fitness levels
       We have helped over 3,500 older people to remain in their own home
       Half of the new houses built in the north of the Borough have been bought by local
        people
       35% increase in people receiving direct payments
       46 new businesses attracted to the Borough last year
       We are the second best performing Met council for people feeling informed about our
        services
       2007’s school results were in the top quartile for all key stages, with both KS1 and
        KS2 in the top seven nationally.
       The gap in attainment across the Borough is closing: in the last five years there has
        been a 30% or more reduction in English and Science and a 20% or more reduction
        in Maths across both Key Stages 2 & 3
       There has been an improvement in the rate of young people not engaged in
        education, employment or training within the Borough from 9.49% in November 2005
        to 7.7% in June 2007
       93% of Children in Care, including UASC, participate in their statutory reviews




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