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Labour Administration Strategic Priorities

19 December 2012 Martin Rooney No Comments

phpSFlmXJWest Dunbartonshire Council is facing significant reductions in funding over the coming year. We already know that we will have a cumulative budget gap of £10,490,000 between 2013/14 and 2015/16. In December 2012, the Chancellor informed the nation that funding for public services will continue to be reduced until 2018, so we can anticipate further reductions. West Dunbartonshire Council is one of the poorest local authorities in Scotland and our unemployment is one of the highest. There are a number of other external factors that will impact on citizens of the area, in particular The Welfare Reform Act will mean people will have less to spend in the local shops and services and so on. There are real challenges ahead for us all, Councillors, Community Councillors, and local residents. The reductions in public spending are contrasted with increasing demand for services and higher expectations. In order to deal with the challenges that our communities will face we need to prioritise our spending so that we can continue to provide statutory services for a wide range of people and best protect vulnerable people and groups. In our first six months the Labour Administration has taken some significant decisions in relation to Housing, IT Infrastructure, Care Homes, Roads and schools but there is still a great deal more to do. Our focus will primarily be on the big strategic issues but the small things still matter to us all. Set out below under our Strategic Priorities are some of the things we have done since May 2012 and some of the issues we will have to contend with over the coming years. The list is not exhaustive but it provides an overview of some of our achievements and challenges.  

Councillor Martin Rooney

Leader West Dunbartonshire Council

 

 

Improve economic growth and employability

 

What we’ve done: 

  • Establishing the Working4U service
  • Approved an Jobs Investment and Growth Framework to deliver at least 1,000 jobs & training opportunities over 5 years and to boost business development
  • Working4U service achieved its 300th job last week
  • Successfully bid for £40,000 Welfare Reform Pilot to employ a coordinator to help evaluate the effectiveness of our Working4U Service – Working4U includes: (i) Community Learning & Development; Welfare Rights; and Employability Services. The Pilot will assess 450 volunteers  that use our Working4U Services
  • Carried out a Review of Level 3 Modern Apprenticeship rates
  • Progressed the Councils Detailed Business Cases totaling £103,804,523 of investment plans – the Council officers are to prioritize the Care Homes projects and the Schools Estates projects including OLSP; Kilpatrick Secondary; and the Bellsmyre Schools Project comprising Aitkenbar Primary, St. Peters Primary and a large Early Education and Childcare Centre
  • Reducing the budget gap left by the SNP by half, while boosting the reserves by £1m
  • The Detailed Business Cases include: (i) Office Rationalization – £29,799,480; (ii) Depot Rationalization – £14,706,866; (iii) Care Homes – £13,958,000; (iv) Wind farm Project – £7,587,000; (v) Kilpatrick – £8,150,000; (vi) Schools estate (Bellsmyre) £8,714,000; and (vii) Street Lighting – £18,474,569. There are also ICT projects that total £8,966,958 – but some of this has already been committed – roughly £4.5m
  • Launched the Councils Job Brokerage Service including a new Job Matching Service bringing jobseekers and employers together
  • Announced £225,000 investment in social enterprise businesses, which will help boost the economy and create jobs.
  • Approved the West Dunbartonshire Council Economic Development Strategy
  • Agreed the sale of retail site at St. James Park to Henry Lax Limited for a total of £3m to be paid – £1m at phase 1 and £2m at phase 2
  • Delayed Income Securitisation for 18 months saving £1m in 2012 and a further £2.7m in 2013, with the £1m being transferred to the Modernization Fund and slashing the 2013/2014 budget gap
  • Approved the three year Business Development Advisory Contract of £1,139,650
  • Meet the Buyer Business event in Dumbarton 
  • Setting out and agreeing a five year West Dunbartonshire Council Strategic Plan 2012 – 2017
  • Approved the Corporate Services Departmental Plan 2012 – 2017
  • Agreed the Councils Long Term Financial Strategy
  • Carried out a review of L2 Apprentice rates and increasing rates by 22%

What we need to do: 

  • Improve the strategic workforce planning arrangements supporting the recruitment, retention, competence, learning and development and positive attendance of the current and future workforce
  • Continue the implementation of the procurement strategy and improve our procurement capability
  • continue to improve the development and provision of our working 4 u services  model
  •  Proactively respond to the challenges presented by the Welfare Reform Act
  • Continue to develop and improve our strategic approach to service delivery in line with our customer services strategy, contact centre and one stop shops
  • Proactively respond to the national review of single outcome agreements and develop community planning partnership arrangements  which deliver the SOA and 10 year vision
  • Continue to develop and improve our strategic approach  to proactive business continuity and civil contingencies planning, in conjunction with partners

 

Improve life chances for children and young people 

What we’ve done: 

  • Providing £56k in funding to secondary school Parent Councils; a first in Scotland
  • Investing in community based sport, with additional funding for the Antonine Centre
  • Securing £14m of investment from the Scottish Future Trust towards a new Our Lady & St. Patrick’s High School
  • Supporting educational achievement through the Raising Attainment Strategy including the first dedicated Raising Attainment Teacher at the Vale of Leven Academy
  • Saving £275,000 over 5 years by reducing the number of Council and Committee meetings – the savings were distributed to Parent Councils to help them in their role of supporting schools and pupils
    • St. Peter the Apostle £15,000
    • Clydebank High £13,500
    • Vale of Leven Academy £10,150
    • Our Lady and St. Patrick’s £9,650
    • Dumbarton Academy £6,700
    • Kilpatrick Secondary £1,000
  • Increased Early Years participation in BookBug and Storytelling in Libraries by increasing the number of sessions from 144 sessions to 225 sessions.
  • Approved a ten year Commissioning Strategy for CHCP Children’s Services across both health care and social services
  • Formal launch of Dumbarton Academy £15.5m construction project
  • Supported the COSLA National Funding Agreement for CHAS which should bring in well over £600,000 in revenue for the charity
  • Approved the introduction of a 32 period week in Secondary Schools in order to improve choice and opportunities for young people
  • Agreed the Single Tender Process for the MCMC Activity involving two key projects: The Action for Children Project and The TIGERS Project (Training Initiatives Generating Effective Results Scotland) The TIGERS Project will provide 100 Modern Apprentice places for young people over the next 5 years (20 per year). 
  • Approved the Educational Services Plan 2012 – 2017
  • Launched a joint Road Safety Campaign around schools to be enforced by police
  • Progressed the implementation of the 3 key SG policy drivers relating to Children’s Services: Getting it Right for Every Child, (GIRFEC), Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) and the Early Years Strategy
  • Maintained the Council’s 100% positive record for school and nursery inspections;
  • Continued to reduce the number of temporary exclusions from schools;
  • Continued to improve the figures for school leavers moving into positive post-school destinations
  • Established an ICT steering group to oversee Educational Services’ spend relating to the Council’s £4m investment in ICT infrastructure.

What we need to do:

  • Improve Secondary School Attainment rates
  • Improve literacy and numeracy in upper primary and lower secondary
  • Continue to implement GIRFEC, CfE and the Early Years Framework
  • Continue to regenerate the schools’ estate
  • Continue to modernise our children’s care home provision, so that our level of provision is appropriate to local needs and to a high standard.
  • Ensure the technologies infrastructure meets the needs of 21st Century learners and educators

 

Improve care for and promote independence with older people 

What we’ve done: 

  • Allocated £167,367 to various community projects via the Community Planning Partnership
  • Distributed an extra £4o,890 to Elderly Welfare Groups
  • Approved the allocation of £777,000 of Private Sector Housing Grant including £350,000 for disabled adaptations and £231,000 for care and repair services
  • Agreed to replace the current Stairlift Grant Provision and replace it with a system where the Council purchases and owns the stairlift and is responsible for maintenance costs. This will save disabled and elderly hundreds of pounds each year. The provision is for new purchases but a report will come back looking at applying the new policy retrospectively.
  • £20 Million Modernization of Council Care Homes agreed. The project will deliver two state of the art 90 bed Care homes. One in Clydebank and one in Dumbarton.
  • Improving homeless accommodation through the introduction of new model of 24 hour Supported Accommodation Unit in Ashton View, Westcliff – this compliments the existing 250 homeless units across the authority
  • Introduced a Mortgage to Rent Scheme for homeowners who are in financial difficulty in order to let them stay in their home
  • Approved the CHCP Commissioning Strategy for Older People’s Services 2012 – 2021
  • Continued to implement local Older People’s Change Fund Progamme, including create a range of new support services for carers, including:
    • A new service for newly diagnosed clients/patients and carers with dementia, in partnership with Alzheimer Scotland, to support transition.
    • Dedicated Older Carers Support Services.
    • Dedicated Hospital Discharge post developed as a partnership with Carers of West Dunbartonshire and the CHCP.

What we need to do: 

  • Deliver the new state-of-the-art older people’s care homes and day care provision.
  • Continue to deliver on the joint Older People’s Change Fund Plan with the NHS Health Board through the CHCP, so as to ensure that older people who are fit to leave hospital do not stay in any longer than they have to. This includes investing in and continuing to develop our local Home Care services.
  • Work with local independent care home providers to encourage them to provide high quality of care within their establishments.

 

Improve local housing and environmentally sustainable infrastructure 

What we’ve done: 

  • Committing Council to the principle of Council House provision, dumping stock transfer plans
  • Protecting DLO and associated jobs by the retention of Council Housing Stock
  • Pledging £95million to upgrade Council Homes, including the building of 75 new properties
  • Demolitions programme – £3.5m (£2.382 committed) will release land to achieve the Strategic Housing Objectives are set out in the local housing strategy (i) North Moutblow; (ii) Brucehill; Castlehill; (iii) Bellsmyre Multi; (iv) Bellsmyre Glenside. (Miller Road Haldane, Salisbury Place Clydebank, and Bellsmyre Aitkenbar, Auchenreoch, Pennicroft, Whiteford – already agreed).
  • Boosting investment in road repairs to £3.2million – a record for West Dunbartonshire
  • Agreed planning permission for 20 houses at Heather Avenue Rosshead
  • Planning permission agreed for a care home at Heather Avenue Rosshead
  • Transferred £1.43m of unearmarked funding in the Housing Revenue Account for demolition works, bringing the total set aside for demolition programme to £3.5m
  • Approved the Council’s Strategic Housing Investment Plan 2012/13 – 2014/15.
  • SHIP programme includes investment of £19m in 187 homes – the high priority projects include: (i) Aitkenbar/Bellsmyre; (ii) Alexandria Town Centre; (iii) Salisbury Place/North Mountblow; (iv) Granville Street/Radnor Park; (v) Hill Street/Brucehill; and (vi) Lomondgate/Bellsmyre
  • Approved investment of £4.165m in ICT upgrade project
  • Increased the Council’s 2012 Capital Programme to a massive £45,660,000 as a result of additional external funding 
  • Agreed the increase in the Housing Capital programme to £33,044,000
  • Approved the HEED Services Plan 2012 – 2017
  • Approved the Strategic Local Programme for new build housing to be delivered by 2015
  • Introduced a food waste collection service for tenemental properties using £201,945 of grant from Zero Waste Scotland.
  • Agreed the Measured Term Contract of £940,455 for Heating Installations and Boiler Replacements 2012 -2015
  • Successfully secured another £4.5m from Scottish Government for new social housing
  • Approved the Council’s Energy Strategy 2013 – 2018

What we need to do:

  • Deliver the Scottish Housing Quality Standard by 2015
  • Deliver new affordable homes as set out in the Strategic Local Programme
  • Develop the council’s priority regeneration areas

Improve the well-being of communities and protect the welfare of vulnerable people

What we’ve done:

  • Re-introduction of the ‘Care-of-Garden’ scheme for disabled and elderly residents saving pensioners £52 per year
  • Kicking off a campaign to clean up our streets, with a particular focus on dog fouling
  • Bellsmyre Mountain Bike Trail approved by Planning Committee
  • Awarded Bellsmyre Digital £207,306 between 2012 and 2018 to provide a range of services to community groups and individuals as part of a new service level agreement
  • Introduced a Mortgage to Rent Scheme to allow Registered Social Landlords to purchase property from private owners experiencing debt management issues
  • Agreed a five year CHCP strategy for carers across all age groups across both health care and social care services
  • Approved integrated Ardmore Day Hospital staff into the Older Adults Community Mental Health Team ensuring that the potential for expanded dementia services was acknowledged for future development plans
  • Response to Integrated Health and Adult Social Care finalized
  • Approved the CHCP Commissioning Strategy for Adult Mental Health Services 2012 – 2021
  • Abolished the Special Needs Equipment charges saving individuals between £20 and £75 per year
  • Approved the CHCP Strategic Plan and Workforce Plan 2012/2013
  • Brought the community sports pitches at St. Peter the Apostle back into use for community groups
  • Approved the West Dunbartonshire Temporary Accommodation Strategy 2012 – 2016 
  • Review of Community Facilities and agreed to transfer Community Centres to Community organizations such as Howatshaws Hall to Bellsmyre Development Trusted and Duntocher   Hall to Duntocher Community Trust. Others like Dalmonach will remain with the Leisure Trust.
  • Carried out a review of Community Facilities pricing and introduced a generous discount scheme that means most community groups will only pay £5 per hour. The new charges should encourage more community use particularly at weekends as the average weekend price has reduced significantly.
  • Introduced more stringent criteria for the Dumbarton Common Good Grants.
  • Agreed a proposal to improve traffic flow in Dumbarton Town Centre following consultation with Town Centre Working Group.
  • Joint Committee for Flood Risk Management approved in accordance with the 2009 Act – £268,000 from Scottish Government to support flood prevention measures (£3.3m Knowle Burn project)
  • Agreed the Council Museum Acquisition and Disposal Policy to protect social, industrial heritage and fine arts
  • Formal opening of the Balloch Bus Stance improvement project
  • Supported Balloch & Haldane Community Council Planning Application for new sports facility at Inler Park
  • The CHCP Women’s Safety and Support Service in West Dunbartonshire won the Adult Services category award at the SSSC Care Accolades
  • Secured £300,000 from the MacMillan Partnership over three years

What we need to do:

  • Continue to implement action plan agreed following positive 2012 Child Protection Inspection.
  • Implement actions set out within the Adult Support & Protection Bi-Annual Report (just being completed).
  • Implement those requirements recommended from the imminent Care Inspectorate routine assessment report of CHCP social care services.
  • Continue to support and develop our CHCP as being at the vanguard of forthcoming national legislation on integrated health and social care

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