Sunday, July 21, 2024

Nottingham City Council sets out plan to bring about improvements

Nottingham City Council has drawn up a blueprint for how it will become a financially sustainable, resilient and better run organisation.

The Council’s Improvement Plan, due to be discussed by its Executive Board on 16 July, addresses the issues and challenges which led to the Government’s appointment of Commissioners to oversee the authority. The Plan has been developed and agreed with the Commissioners and will guide the improvement required across the Council over the next 2 years.

Delivery of the Plan will result in a Council that looks, feels and operates significantly differently to the way it currently does. It will enable the Council to be:

  • A Council that delivers for Nottingham with a clear direction and purpose – a clear vision and purpose will guide the transformation of the organisation, its budget strategy, workforce development, and future priorities for the city and its residents; and clearly explain how the council will deliver, enable and influence others to achieve those priorities.
  • A Council that is financially sustainable – The Council needs to ‘live within its means’ and be able to deliver a balanced budget and sustainable financial plan. This will be attained through the delivery of credible savings plans, robust financial management, improved commercial practice, and a programme of capital assets disposal.
  • A Council that is well run with effective people, processes and systems – The Council will continue to modernise how it operates and improve its productivity and operational efficiency so it can deliver to the best of its ability. This includes strengthening governance, making sure roles and responsibilities are clearly understood, and looking at how service delivery is supported and enabled by business processes and systems.

The Council’s Leader, Cllr Neghat Khan said that the authority will always work hard for the people it serves and strive to provide the best services but that in recent years, this has become increasingly challenging.

She said: “We no longer have the money to deliver all the services people want or to support them in the way we would like; demand is overwhelming us; and the landscape in which we operate is changing and we have sometimes been slow to adapt to deliver services in different ways or by working with partners.

“We are clear that we must change – and accept that we must do this quickly. Put simply: the next three years will make or break the council. That is why we have drawn up our Improvement Plan: a roadmap that recognises the urgency of the task ahead and sets out how we can move from crisis to stability, to get back on track to deliver for the people of Nottingham.

“This won’t be easy. There are services we currently provide that we will have to reduce; there are other services that must change to be more efficient; and there are some things we will simply have to stop doing and look at new ways of working with our partners to deliver them.

“Our Improvement Plan recognises that we must learn from the mistakes of the past and overcome the barriers that have slowed our improvement progress.

“We are confident in our ability to implement the actions in this plan with the necessary urgency and pace. We believe that we can build a sustainable and resilient council and work towards a brighter future for Nottingham.”

Tony McArdle, who leads the team of Commissioners which also includes Commissioner for Finance, Margaret Lee, and Commissioner for Transformation, Sharon Kemp, said: “In setting out the reasons for our appointment as Commissioners, the Secretary of State identified a series of failings that we were tasked with addressing. We have worked closely with the Council as it has developed its Improvement Plan, being clear what we require the Council must achieve by February 2026.

“We believe the Council’s Improvement Plan is an effective response to the challenge we have set and includes a comprehensive set of measures which represent a real commitment to change. However, we need to be clear that the Plan absolutely has to be delivered. If it isn’t, the issues currently faced by the council will remain.”

The Council’s Chief Executive, Mel Barrett, said: “The Commissioners have been clear about what the Council needs to do in the next phase of its improvement journey. Our Improvement Plan sets out how we will deliver the requirements and expectations set by the Commissioners.

“Of course, challenges will remain and indeed new ones will emerge but I am confident that the Council will continue to move forwards and make progress so it can serve the city in the most economical, efficient and effective way.”

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