East Herts Council Link to the LSP’s website: http://www.eastherts.gov.uk/ And the LSP’s SCS: Sustainable Community Strategy - Draft East Herts is the largest district in Hertfordshire. With a population of some 132,000, the district is extensively rural with 5 towns and 95 villages and rural settlements spread over 474.1 sq miles. The largest town is Bishop’s Stortford which has a population of over 35,000. Unlike most Hertfordshire districts there is no one large population centre to provide critical mass for business and other service providers. Instead East Herts shares an extensive eastern border with Essex, with relative proximity to Harlow, Cambridge and Stansted Airport, the M11 corridor and the extensive government supported housing growth proposals, which means it faces a unique set of issues. East Herts is a significant net exporter of labour; the net commuting balance is equivalent to over 10,000 individuals. Out-commuting accounts for 49% of all East Herts residents who are in employment. Out- commuting to London is a major factor. East Herts has the most significant rural economic profile in the county. There are 433 holdings in East Herts occupying 34,647 hectares. This is significant in terms of farming, land and diversification alone. Many of these businesses have diversified and have a second income stream. Although the unemployment rate in East Herts has been historically very low compared with England and Wales, the number of unemployment claimants more than doubled in the district between January 2008 and January 2009. However at 1.7% this is the second lowest unemployment rate in Hertfordshire. East Herts has the highest proportion of year 11 pupils who go on to full time education 88.5% and the lowest proportion of NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) 2.7% in Hertfordshire. Road congestion and traffic growth are closely associated and are two of the key issues facing the transport network in Hertfordshire over the next 20 years. They are priority concerns for residents. Being a relatively affluent society where the majority of the population live in a rural setting means the District has one of the highest ecological footprints of any local area in the UK. For example East Herts consumption-related CO2 emissions is 13% higher than the UK average and 15% higher than the regional average. Levels of car ownership in East Herts are among the highest in the country. However in 2005 13% of households did not have a car, so public transport is an important factor in many people’s lives, especially those in rural locations. The attractiveness of East Herts as a place to live has led to high house prices and resulted in a growing number of households being financially restricted from entering the private housing market. Middle income earners are particularly susceptible to the affordability problem. In 2007 the average cost of a home was 10 times the average income. This was the third highest ratio in Hertfordshire. The national average is estimated to be 7 times the average income. Life expectancy in Hertfordshire is above the national average and the proportion of older people is set to increase substantially. By 2025 East Herts can expect a significant projected increase of around 60% in the number of over 75s. The largest percentage of year 10 children regularly smoking was reported in East Herts, 9% greater than the County position. The Active People Survey showed that participation levels in sport are significantly higher than in the East and England. Residents would like to see more sport and leisure facilties. In comparison with nine other authorities in Hertfordshire, East Herts (7%) had the lowest proportion of dependent children from an ethnic minority. However, there is evidence of a significant change in minority ethnic populations in the district. The district has seen the second largest relative increase in the county of the share of the Other White population of children/pupils (up almost 3-fold from 1.47 to 4.19%). Bishop’s Stortford in particular has seen a significant influx of migrants due to its proximity to Stansted Airport. There was a 35% increase in Overseas National Insurance Registrations in the district during 2005-06. East Herts is one of the safest areas in the country. Nevertheless, there are still comparative hotspots where crime and the fear of crime is a major concern to local residents. Source for statistics: Statistics Hot spots – an area of contrasts Bishop's Stortford has more Super Output Areas (SOA) within the least deprived 15% in the county than any other town in Hertfordshire. However it also has an enclave of social housing and multiple deprivation in the central part of town (the Havers Estate in Central Ward) ranking 60th in the county. This scores particularly badly in relation to adult skills. It is the only area in Hertfordshire among the worst 10% in England and as a result it is among the seven worst areas in Hertfordshire for the education and skills domain. The low skill level feeds through to a poor income score. But the area does comparatively well in regard to health, crime and the living environment. The Havers Estate is unique in that no other part of Bishop's Stortford is in the bottom half of Hertfordshire SOAs. 1. How well do local priorities express community needs and aspirations? Everyone Matters, East Herts LSP’s new Sustainable Community Strategy (SCS) 2009-2024, which is consistent with the ambitions of Hertfordshire Forward and the countywide LAA targets, was informed by key qualitative and quantitative evidence. The structure of the themes exactly mirror East Herts Council’s Local Development Framework Desk top research as detailed above and overleaf, along with a range of public and stakeholder consultations played a key role in determining the vision and priorities of the new SCS, which are to: “Create a thriving, fair and inclusive East Herts that safeguards and enhances its unique mix of rural and urban communities, where people choose to live, work and visit because: It is safe, clean, green and well connected Everyone matters and can take part in decisions that affect their lives There are sustainable economic and social opportunities that improve the quality of life and are available to all” Examples of the community engagement activity that was undertaken to inform this vision include: Two rounds of Community Voice consultation events over the last 18 months (in each of the five towns in the district) Focus group sessions at rural parish conferences Voluntary sector focus groups (two dedicated events) The annual Youth Conference and Youth Council sessions However the LSP is not just focused on capturing the views of residents to inform the development of the SCS. The LSP feels that the local residents should be at the heart of the partnership, by feeding information in, as well as receiving information back in terms of the actions that have been agreed and the progress that has been made. The evidence base will continue to be updated and analysed through the life of the strategy ensuring that the vision continues to reflect the stand out characteristics of East Herts and that these priorities are addressed in annual rolling action plans. The current priorities for the public are demonstrated through the LSP’s shared ambitions. Spotlight – Capacity Building Programme for the Black & Ethnic Minority Community The Council has funded the Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) £10,000 for a period of six months as a pilot to run a Capacity Building Programme for the Black & Ethnic Minority Community (BME) within the voluntary sector. The programme aims to create a voluntary sector equipped and relevant to the 21st century social needs of people living in East Herts Council. It will promote inclusive, cohesive communities involving all residents working together to improve quality and alleviate social exclusion. Some of the key outcomes that will be delivered from the project include the development of small BME groups in key areas of the community; representation of these groups on partnerships including a representative on the LSP. 2. How well are the outcomes and improvements needed being delivered? The LSP has delivered a range of outcomes that would not always have been achieved if partners had being working in isolation, for example: East Herts - Environment (energy and climate change) The Environment Scrutiny Committee of East Herts Council has set up a Task and Finish group and developed a climate change strategy and action plan. East Herts - People and Community Safety East Herts Council and Riversmead Housing have jointly funded a new community centre at Sele (district’s most deprived community). The centre delivers a range of beneficial social, health and support services to the whole community at Sele. Examples include mother and toddler groups, pilates and general health sessions and opportunities to meet PCSOs. Funded 4 additional Police Community Supports Officers (PCSOs). This has been extremely welcomed by the public and has contributed to the management and reduction of fear of crime by the community. A minimum of 80% of their time is spent providing a visible presence in the community, thereby reducing the fear of crime. The recent Hertfordshire LAA survey showed that East Herts is considered the safest district in Hertfordshire. This was further supported by an award winning and successful campaign to reduce fear of crime. The 4 PCSOs were matched by an additional 4 from the Herts Constabulary, 2 from Riversmead and 1 from South Anglia Housing. Introduced parenting classes (which was pump-primed with LSP funding) to provide previously unavailable resources to help parents improve family life. East Herts - Housing East Herts LSP has an excellent record of delivering affordable housing in the district with good prospects for future improvement – see section 3 East Herts - Character (built and natural environment) The LSP continues to support and promote co-ordinated sustainable action, particularly by East Herts Council, to protect and preserve the quality of the local natural and built environment, and the attractiveness of the District’s landscape and character. See section 3 East Herts - Economy Skills and Prosperity Supported the development of a district wide CVS to ensure the resilience of the local voluntary sector at a time when it is most needed. Created a Credit Union to provide an important resource for the most vulnerable members of the community, which will help people reduce debt and reliance on loan sharks, home credit companies, money shops and cheque cashing services. Established a local response to the recession group which is ensuring that the widest range of services are accessible to those who need them. For example, working with the local MP the group has organised business information sessions in Hertford and Bishop’s Stortford which will provide access to services to local businesses. The LSP also supports a ‘shop local’ scheme in Hertford, Ware and Bishop’s Stortford. East Herts - On the Move Road Congestion and traffic growth are priority concerns for residents – See section 3. East Herts - Health, Well-being and Play Established a range of Big Lottery play initiatives – involving social enterprise, an RSL, Youth Connexions and the Police. One strand of which – Out2play – carried out by a social enterprise has delivered 72 much appreciated play sessions at 14 different urban and rural locations Funded the beacon youth theatre company called Theatre Is to provide an inclusive summer theatre workshop sessions for young people. This has given young people the opportunity to enjoy and achieve new experiences and meet new challenges. Established a new children’s summer activities programme in partnership with the CVS and Extended Schools Consortium to provide safe, healthy and stimulating play. The LSP Health Inequalities Fund supported 7 causes. This includes different projects such as; a fit club to target teenagers from deprived communities, chair based aerobics classes for older people Green East Herts Contributed to the LAA1 target to increase the number of Green Flags across the County, through the work East Herts Council has undertaken to improve open spaces to a high standard and being awarded a Green Flag for Southern Country Park. Supported the aspirations and targets of the Hertfordshire Waste Partnership, through the work East Herts Council has undertaken to increase recycling, by specifically rolling out the brown bins service to the remainder of the District. This has seen a performance increase of 4% for household waste and recycling and composting compared to the previous year from 26% to 30%. Spotlight – Designated Public Place Orders Taking one specific example of the LSP’s work and the outcome achieved: the implementation of the designated public place orders (DPPOs) and their policing aims to reduce alcohol related problems in a number of designated areas. DPPO implementation has proven successful in Hertford Central where there were just 40 offences with alcohol as an aggravating factor from February 2008 – June 2008 in comparison to the same period in 2007 were there was 123 offences, before the area was designated as a DPPO. 3. What are the prospects for future improvements? From an already sound base, the prospects for improvement are good. Previous actions plans have been largely successfully delivered, however the intention is to step up the level of ambition and the focus of the delivery in the context of the new SCS from April 2009. The process of developing Everyone Matters has forged an even more resilient and dynamic partnership. As the LSP is more outcome focussed at a local level and increasingly aware of the contribution it needs to make in the achievement of the countywide targets by delivering a real improvement at a local level. The awareness of the partnership is particularly demonstrated by East Herts being the lead organisation for Herts Forward on ‘Better Places to Live’ which focuses on housing, urban renewal and the natural environment. The Leader of the Council and the Chief Executive represent this theme at the Herts Forward Board. The process for performance managing improvements is set out in Everyone Matters. The performance management process will focus on a rolling annual action plan that will ensure the delivery of the new theme leads. Such as: East Herts – Environment: This will look at developing initiatives to help reduce carbon emissions and water consumption; encouraging residents to save energy and money, through improved insulation measures in their homes and promoting the use of appropriate domestic alternative energy measures. East Herts – People and Community Safety: This will focus on keeping crime levels low and reassuring the public that East Herts is one of the safest places to live and work; strengthening social cohesion, empowering communities by encouraging volunteering and working in partnership with the CVS in the design and delivery of public services. East Herts – Housing. This will focus on the housing need and aspirations of the existing and future residents of East Herts and improving the condition of people’s homes, in both the public and private sectors. The significant challenge facing East Herts will be ensure adequate provision of affordable housing amongst an aging population. East Herts – Character (Built and Natural Environment: This will continue to conserve and enhance the district’s built and natural historic environment. The significant challenge facing East Herts is to maintain the historic and rural character of the district whilst accommodating significant development and growth. East Herts - Economy, Skills and Prosperity: This will tackle the financial, educations and aspirational causes of poverty and ensure economic sustainability East Herts – On the move: This will reduce the district’s carbon emissions and improve access. The significant challenge facing East Herts is ensuring that parts of rural East Herts do not suffer from a lack of access to services such as health facilities. To inform this East Herts is preparing a transport strategy for the district which will be published in the winter of 2009. East Herts Health, Wellbeing and Play: This will focus on maintaining and developing the viability of our community facilities, supporting accessible leisure, sports, arts and cultural programmes. A significant challenge facing East Herts is to reduce the number of adults smoking. Green East Herts: This will focus on conserving biodiversity and enhancing air quality within the district The LSP already has a good record of achievement as is demonstrated above by the improvements that have already been delivered. The LSP Forum will provide many of the solutions and means of delivery. The LSP Strategy group will provide rigorous monitoring, support and direction. The LSP Board will ensure strategic direction and targeted resource allocation. The LSP has analysed the risk management implications of the partnership. Led by East Herts Council, this ensured that the processes for cascading responsibility and account were robust and fit for purpose. The analysis will result in a set of partnership protocols that the LSP will sign off. Spotlight – HertsSavers Credit Union The LSP encourages partnership working with the third sector, with the most recent example being the creation of a new HertsSavers Credit Union led by the CVS for Broxbourne and East Herts and funded by a range of partners, including local authorities and housing associations. This is an example of how the LSP can respond together to develop services for the vulnerable in changing circumstances. The Credit Union will also provide access to responsible lending for small to medium levels of credit. This will overcome the difficulties many have in accessing affordable borrowing and will reduce the need to resort to high interest lending such as loan sharks, home credit companies, money shops and cheque cashing services.
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