Annual Report 2017-18 Introduction
As Leader and Chief Executive of Cheshire West and Chester Council, we are pleased to introduce the 2017-18 Annual Report.
In 2016, the Council developed and launched a new, four-year Council Plan - Helping the Borough Thrive - shaped by the views and priorities of our residents to ensure that it would bring about the changes that people wanted to see in their everyday lives.
In the two years since, we have made real progress in delivering against the ten priority outcomes highlighted within that Plan. This report sets out our achievements in the year that takes us to the halfway point of the journey.
This progress has been delivered during a period in which the Council, like councils across the country, has faced unprecedented cuts in funding from central Government at a time of rising costs. This has required often painful reductions in services, staffing and facilities, amounting to £178 million since 2009. This is a challenge likely to continue for the next few years. Nevertheless, at a time when a number of councils are effectively declaring bankruptcy, our sound and prudent financial stewardship has allowed us to continue investing in our priorities and protecting vulnerable residents.
We also recognise that many of the highlighted outcomes could not have been achieved by us alone. When the Council Plan was developed, we committed to bringing about real and lasting change – not only in what was achieved, but in the way that we worked.
The degree to which our staff have embraced our values, and been able to work differently in addressing new and increasing challenges, has been fundamental to the strong and effective relationships that we have with our partners. This continues to enable better, more joined-up services for everyone who lives and works across our borough. The achievements within this Annual Report are testament to that and the commitment of our partners to work in collaboration with us.
This year, the Council’s former Chief Executive, Gerald Meehan, chose to take a well-earned early retirement. Gerald worked in public service for 32 years, and his hard work, skill and commitment to our organisation, not only in his Chief Executive role but in leading Children’s Services in the years previously, has contributed significantly to the achievements outlined within this report.
We look forward to building on that progress with you in the months and years ahead. Some of our future plans - particularly in relation to supporting our older residents and preventing homelessness - are highlighted later, but we are determined to maintain a focus across all areas of the Council. In doing so, we will continue to work towards a borough where all of our residents, communities and our local economy are supported to thrive.
Councillor Samantha Dixon, Leader
Andrew Lewis, Chief Executive