Issued by City of York Council
City of York Council Cabinet members will consider the council’s response to important feedback it has gained throughout this summer from the LGA Peer Review, Big York Survey and its own Staff Survey, at a meeting on 1 October 2013.
Setting out the actions the authority is going to take to enable the council, residents and communities to work together as equal partners to meet their future needs and priorities, the report to members reflects the key successes and areas for improvement highlighted in feedback to date.
The Peer Review, conducted by members and senior officers from other authorities across the country, was undertaken by the council as part of an industry recognised commitment to improving performance.
It highlighted a “clear ambition amongst councillors and officers to do the best for the people of York” and “a strong desire for improvement and innovation”.
Feedback reflected specific achievements in the council’s excellent partnership working across the city, key service provision and its practical commitment to building a fair and equal city for all.
However it expressed a need for the authority to commit to further efforts in its “approach to neighbourhood engagement and capacity building to ensure that relationships with communities are maintained”, reflecting the council’s focus in recent months, and for the authority to set out clear guidance as to what services and budgets are available at this level.
The Big York Survey was undertaken by the council as a newly implemented annual survey to gain residents views on council services and the city.
It saw residents express high satisfaction with living in the city and the high quality of life in York, but an overall reduction in satisfaction with the authority, citing street cleansing, traffic flow and health services as important areas for improvement.
The council’s bi-annual staff survey clearly demonstrated an improvement in employees feeling that they are enabled to make decisions with regard to their own work and in being supported by management and their peers, but an increased workload resulting from staff reductions was raised as an ongoing concern.
Cabinet will be asked to consider investing monies from the Delivery and Innovation Fund (DIF) to deliver a programme of work to prioritise and refocus council services with an initial spotlight on: health and adult social care, Hazel Court Depot services and business efficiency in areas such as parking, policy and performance, procurement and commissioning, facilities management, administration and customer services.
Members will also be asked to agree a number of short-term actions including: the Deputy Chief Executive to liaise with health services in the city to address resident concerns about:
- the availability of health services in York
- a Big City Clean to progress the spring and autumn clean initiatives that were piloted this year
- establishing a new community consultation approach in partnership with residents
- establishing a series of meetings directly between the leader of the council and senior officer with residents across the city
- and seeking support from group leaders to review and revitalise the work of Scrutiny and overview, to bring challenge and support to the council’s work.
Kersten England, chief executive of City of York Council, said: “Requesting the Peer Review and conducting these surveys with residents and our staff, the majority of them residents themselves, is part of our commitment to continuous improvement in the delivery of our services for the taxpayers of York.
“We are facing an unprecedented challenge similar to all councils and that is one of continuing to secure the delivery of key services and meeting resident expectations, despite significant reductions in Government funding.
“This is reflected in results of the second annual Big York Survey, however we are not complacent and are taking action to address the areas of improvement identified, as part of our ongoing drive to get the best for our residents and the city as a whole.
“I’m pleased to see a recognition that our financial planning is sound and that we are already on the path to delivering innovative ways of delivering services with this in mind.
“We are in full agreement that these need to be expanded, built upon and sustainable to ensure York residents continue to benefit long-term.
“The systems and processes we are putting into place reflects our ongoing drive to ensure that residents are not only fully aware of the impact to front line services of any decisions made, but they are part of this decision making process wherever possible.”
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