Shropshire Council

You said, we did (2015-16)...

The following summarises what we've done or are doing in response to the Big Conversation feedback we've received from customers so far. 

Community

You said

  • Communities need to be enabled to do more: 61% of Big Conversation survey respondents already volunteer or take part in community activities and 71% agreed with the idea of enabling communities to do more for themselves
  • Support is needed: Big Conversation workshop participants said it would be easier to be more involved in the community if it were coordinated from a single point, with clear and well communicated information about volunteering
  • We need to raise income locally: 56% of survey respondents agreed with introducing fees for some services, and 49% agreed council tax should be increased
  • We should learn from elsewhere and share resources: You wanted us to look at examples of services being delivered in other areas of the country, and at other services we could work more closely with

What we've already done and what we plan to do

  • Introduced a new model for youth services, saving £410,000 per year by localising the commissioning of services through the local joint committees (LJCs)
  • Established a town and parish council forum to share ideas and good practice, and support the development of joint working and delivery
  • Saved libraries including Albrighton, Broseley, Shifnal, Craven Arms, Bishop’s Castle and Cleobury Mortimer through community transfer
  • Worked with residents to deliver the services you want within the financial restraints we have

Healthy people

You said

  • Protect services for vulnerable children: the most important services are those for vulnerable children, education and services for older people and vulnerable adults
  • Prevention reduces long term costs: you recognised that we spend the majority of our funding on adult social care, and that early interventions and prevention to address long-term health could help reduce costs over the coming years
  • People need ongoing support: you highlighted the importance of tackling isolation
  • We could all do more to help: you noted neighbour support, volunteers and local groups as fundamental in looking after the interests of vulnerable elderly people, and you cited a lack of resources and adequate training as a barrier to supporting older people
  • Use new technologies: feedback suggested a better use of IT and digital developments could reduce costs
  • Work more closely together: you highlighted the need for partnerships across Shropshire Council and the Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to align the delivery of health and social care services

What we've already done and what we plan to do

  • Prioritised budgets: we continue to manage and monitor our budget to protect services for vulnerable people
  • Improving public information: we continue to improve the quality of public information. We're also making it easier for people and organisations across the county to access information through various communication channels
  • Changes in care on leaving hospital: our adult services and health colleagues are working more closely to improve the care and support for vulnerable people leaving hospital. This will ensure more people are able to return home safely, and receive the right support to help them rehabilitate and regain their independence
  • Investing in community activity: The Everybody Active Towns community fund project has been designed to help motivate communities to come up with sustainable projects to improve physical activity amongst the less active. The project is now being rolled out across the county
  • Working in new ways: we're working with Public Health’s Help2Change service to help meet people’s needs through social and community-led support rather than more costly health interventions
  • Supporting public partnerships: we continue to work in partnership with health and social care organisations to ensure health and social care services are better aligned and more integrated

Economy

You said

  • Attract more businesses: promote Shropshire as a place to relocate to in order to raise more income through business rates
  • Build new homes: to increase revenue through council tax
  • Improve broadband connectivity: to encourage businesses to locate in Shropshire and improve digital connectivity between people and communities
  • Develop new partnerships: creating better linkages between businesses, other public sector bodies and the University Centre Shrewsbury
  • Work more closely with local businesses: encourage further involvement of business in finding solutions to the challenges Shropshire faces

What we've already done and what we plan to do

  • Raised council tax: from 2016 onwards we raised council tax by 3.99%, the maximum amount that we could
  • Delivered faster broadband to more than 55,000 premises through the Connecting Shropshire project. The project continues to drive forward improvements to broadband provision for residents and businesses
  • Increased energy efficiency: after fitting solar panels to the roof of Shirehall, we expect to save £16,000 per year in electric bills and pay off the investment in ten years
  • Developed a new economic vision: we're prioritising economic prosperity for Shropshire, and setting the direction for economic growth for years to come
  • Built stronger partnerships: we've established the Shropshire Estates Partnership comprising 16 public sector organisations, and been awarded £110,000 to develop and submit plans to the Cabinet Office around utilising assets more effectively
  • Transferred council-owned cafes: we've contracted out the running of council-owned cafes and restaurants to private companies, including The Boathouse in Ellesmere, The Foundry restaurant at Theatre Severn, Stop.Café at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery and the Community Cafe at the Lantern in Sundorne
  • Increased commercialism: commercial companies are now running more services without any subsidy from us. This has helped achieve £400,000 in savings over the last two years
  • Promoted innovation: we're looking to develop a partnership with the private sector which will offer lower cost energy to Shropshire residents, generate potential income for the council, reduce wastage of energy, reduce fuel poverty and enable renewable energy generation
  • Developed new apprenticeships: as part of our Apprentice Levy offer, we want to increase the apprentice level 3 and 4 take up across businesses in the county
  • Been more ambitious: following feedback from the Big Conversation, we're being much more ambitious in our corporate plan about how we'll grow our economy, develop the housing needed and generate new income streams

How the council operates

Taking into account the challenges we face, as well as the views and suggestions from residents and organisations from our Big Conversation, we'll continue to:

  • Be innovative and resourceful; we want to be as efficient as we can be, identifying and pursuing opportunities to generate income which can be invested into services
  • Operate in a way that promotes the best use of local resources. In doing so we'll make it possible for people and communities to be less reliant on the state, and to find solutions to help each other, whilst protecting the vulnerable as a priority. To support this we're putting in place the systems and processes and information and technology that will make it possible for people to serve themselves and allow our staff to work differently, closer to the communities and people who need our services, and freed up from fixed office locations.