Royal Borough starts conversations with community to help refresh the council’s priorities

This image shows young people talking around a table. The council in the community: Shaping our priorities.

The Royal Borough is holding early conversations to help shape a new strategy that’ll set out refreshed priorities for the council and the place it serves – and the council wants to hear from the community to inform this vision.

The new Corporate Plan will focus planning, decision-making and delivery across the council around areas where change needs to be driven most. Within the context of a very challenging financial position, the plan will help to prioritise the council’s budget, how the council delivers services and works with partners.

Achieving financial stability is the council’s top, urgent priority. Intensive work continues to reduce spending and increase income, with the council committed to taking further immediate and significant action to address the budget gap. Without a balanced budget the council will not be able to take forward its wider priorities and deliver positive change for the people and places of the borough.

As work begins to refresh corporate priorities, councillors and officers want to inspire informed conversations within the community to maximise opportunities for people to share their thoughts. Alongside hearing people’s priorities, this is also a chance to share suggestions on how the council can change the way it delivers services, work better with partners and maximise income, to achieve sustainable finances.

To get things started, the council is holding engagement sessions with representatives from the business community (19 October), voluntary and community sector (13 October), children and young people (12 October), and older people and disabled adults (9 October). If you would like to join one of these events, please email or call 01628 796359.

To take the conversation into the wider community, the council is launching an information pack to enable anyone to run their own engagement workshops with their community or group. The pack includes data on council finances, the borough and its population, along with suggested discussion topics and questions.

Simply download the pack and share feedback from your sessions until Sunday 5 November. Visit our website here or use the public-access computers available at all local libraries, where staff are happy to help you get online if needed. If you require paper copies, these are also available from libraries upon request.

Valuable insights from the stakeholder engagement sessions and community-run workshops will help to shape a draft version of the new Corporate Plan, which will be discussed by Cabinet in November, followed by formal public consultation alongside the draft budget during the winter.

Councillor Simon Werner, the Council Leader, said: “In shaping the Corporate Plan with the community, we’re placing the council at the heart of the borough and strengthening partnerships with the voluntary and community sector, and businesses.

“As we said last week, the council’s budget is very challenging. Cabinet is fully committed to sorting out the finances and this must continue to be our urgent, top priority to enable us to take forward our wider priorities.

“By identifying those wider priorities with the community and addressing the budget in tandem, we can refocus our investment and work with partners on what’s most important and needed locally, and make some of the tougher budget decisions clearer, more informed and transparent.

“These early discussions with the community will help ensure as many people and groups as possible have a genuine opportunity to have really informed discussions and refresh our priorities. So please come to an event or download the pack, join the conversation and get involved.”