Members of Cornwall Council have formally approved a new Strategy which sets out the key aims and aspirations of the authority and identifies how they will be delivered over the next four years.

The requirement to find savings of £196 million over the next four years at the same time as continuing to provide high quality services which meet the needs of people in Cornwall means that the Council will have to do things differently in the future. There are also a number of other challenges facing Cornwall, including a changing and increasing population; an underperforming economy; Cornwall’s geography and settlement pattern and the cost of living and increasing inequality.

The Strategy, which has been produced following extensive consultation with Members, partners and staff over the past year, sets out the vision for the Council and Cornwall in 2019 and explains how it will be achieved. It underpins the Council’s Budget and the Business Plan which will be considered at the meeting of the full Council in November.

Introducing the Strategy at today’s meeting of the full Council Leader John Pollard said “We have made it clear that our ambition is to create a positive forward thinking Council representing the whole of Cornwall.

“The Strategy sets out our commitment to Cornwall and identifies the values and principles that will guide and shape how we operate over the next four years which will provide the grounding for the difficult decisions ahead.”

The aim of the Strategy is to create a sustainable Cornwall, which is prosperous, resilient and resourceful with strong communities where the most vulnerable are protected.

It identifies three key roles for the Council in achieving this

  • Championing Cornwall, with elected Members working with partners and communities to improve local wellbeing
  • Being ambitious for Cornwall, spearheading social and economic change as well as protecting and supporting the most vulnerable
  • Creating a leaner and more resourceful organisation that delivers essential Council services in the most efficient and effective way.

The document contains eight strategic themes which are focused around the services highlighted as important by members of the public during last year’s budget consultation.

These are:

  • Ambitious Cornwall – focusing on the need for fairer funding and more local control over Government spending
  • Engaging with our communities – supporting local people, town and parish councils and the voluntary and community sector to make decisions that affect them and deliver what their community needs.
  • Partners working together – working with partners to ensure that public services are delivered as efficiently and effectively as possible
  • Greater access to essentials for living – enabling all people to access services and necessities whatever their income and location
  • Driving the economy – securing sustainable economic growth, maintaining natural and cultural assets and building on strengths in key industries
  • Stewardship of Cornwall’s assets – working with partners to protect the environment at the same time as harnessing natural assets and resources to generate income.
  • Healthier and safe communities – ensuring everyone has the best possible opportunity to achieve good health and protecting the most vulnerable
  • Being efficient, effective and innovative – delivering services in the most efficient and effective way

The development of the Strategy also identified a number of barriers that could either slow or potentially block progress. These include the issue of “fairer funding”. The Council is already lobbying the Government to change the system for funding local councils and is seeking the support and commitment of all the main political parties to work with Cornwall in seeking solutions to overcome these barriers during the life of the next Parliament.

Story posted 24 September 2014