Annual Report

An efficient and empowering Council

New Council app

Reporting is now much easier and quicker with the introduction of a new Cheshire West and Chester Council app. The app allows residents to report a streetlight not working, a blocked grid, obstruction on the road or fly-tipping. The report is sent directly to the appropriate service to be categorised and dealt with in line with agreed timescales. The app also has a built in 'Report it log', which allows residents to check the status of each of their reports.

Report it app

Best for Business

Along with our neighbouring authority Cheshire East, we introduced the Best for Business finance system. The first phase of the roll-out saw 2,322 people across both councils successfully using the system – this includes employees, schools and Council companies.

All processes ran successfully, resulting in thousands of payments going out to suppliers, benefit claimants and many other service users, on time.

Digital engagement

We launched a new Participate Now platform to enable our communities to more easily and effectively engage with us on a range of common challenges in one place. It also includes an interactive Inspire Cheshire West page, supporting local people to share stories about how everyone pulled together during the pandemic.

Along with our online Council and Cabinet meetings, our Outbreak Management Board has been webcast regularly, to update our communities and provide an opportunity for them to raise any questions or concerns. We also arranged a borough-wide Flood Webinar to clarify our partnership response and future plans for affected residents and businesses; and a Digital Question Time gave people the chance to speak to our Cabinet Members and influence the Council's ongoing budget plans.

Delivering the census

Different Council teams and partner agencies worked together to support the first digital census. Encouraging uptake amongst our residents, especially during the limitations of a pandemic, was crucial to ensure Census 2021 gave us an accurate picture of our local population. The data it provides will be vital to help us plan for the needs of our communities for the next 10 years.

A census support centre service was delivered by our library service. Originally designed as a face-to-face service to help people fill in their forms, Government guidance to reduce the spread of infection from COVID-19 meant that this became predominantly a telephone helpline. The service received over 160 calls and demonstrated the important role libraries play in reducing digital exclusion.

Cheshire West and Chester saw a census completion rate higher than expected and slightly higher than the national average of 98 per cent.

Fairtrade status

In February, Cheshire West and Chester's Fairtrade status was renewed for another two years. There are now three Fairtrade shops, 65 Fairtrade cafes and restaurants - and seven supermarkets and 20 local organisations stock Fairtrade products across the borough.