This report describes the process for developing Arun District Council’s Council Vision for the period 2022 – 2026. It describes the internal consultation process involved in developing this document and the formal approval process which will follow public consultation.
The Group Head of Policy presented a report updating the Committee on the preparation of the Council’s new Vision document which set the framework for the full Corporate Plan covering the period 2022-26. Following a series of themed workshops held over the summer, attended by 37 Councillors, the Vision document had been developed reflecting the views of Members that had participated and it set out what should be the Council’s high-level priorities for 2022-26, prior to a one month consultation period which would commence soon, subject to the Committee’s approval. Members, staff and external partners would also have a further opportunity to comment. At this meeting Members were being asked to approve the key content of this document to allow the public consultation to proceed.
Members then took part in a full debate on the item where various points were raised:
· Whether Members would have the opportunity to see the finished document before it went out for public consultation. It was explained that it was necessary to agree the content first before finalising the look of the document. The Committee would be given the opportunity to see this before consultation commenced.
· Would a more public facing document be designed for the purpose of consultation – it was essential for it to be appealing, inviting and understandable. The Chair provided reassurance that work had already commenced producing a final version
· Digital access and whether comment could be made online
· It was pointed out that on ‘Improving the Wellbeing of Arun’ (5) the word ‘services’ had been missed
· On the ‘Delivering the right homes in the right places’ section - the need to maintain, rather than just provide, social housing to a high standard and the absence of this – could this be rectified? The Committee was happy to have this included as how this would happen.
· Whether within the ‘Improving the wellbeing of Arun’ section, if reference should be made, as an overall aim, to the ‘arts’ in Bognor Regis and Littlehampton which were essential to the physical and mental health of residents.
· The need for reference to be made to empty homes and the utilisation of empty and vacant homes for a good proportion of the year – this was a priority and should be included as an overall aim under ‘Delivering the right homes in the right places’.
· There needed to be more specific reference to creating a digital sector, an important aspiration for the District, in meeting the need to diversify the economy especially after the experiences of the Pandemic
· Within the first overall aim [Work with other agencies and services to focus on Arun’s areas of greatestinequality and to encourage healthy and active lifestyles] of the ‘Improving the Wellbeing of Arun’ section, whether ‘inequality’ should be replaced by ‘deprivation’ or whether both should appear in the document
· Using ‘ensure’ rather than ‘working to’ in ‘how’ sections as the latter implies a leisurely approach that will be done one day, and some statements needed strengthening
· The first overall aim of the ‘Supporting our environment to support us’ section, and whether the wording could be shifted around to change the sentiment to reflect the Council taking bold action rather than seeking justification
Having received responses to the queries raised by the Group Head of Policy, the Chair confirmed that he supported them and that they should be included in the revised draft to be circulated again to the Committee prior to public consultation commencing.
Councillor Pendleton then proposed the recommendations, which were seconded by Councillor Dixon.
RESOLVED - That
(1) The content of the public consultation document as set out in Appendix 1 of the report, including the suggestions made at the meeting, be agreed;
(2) Delegated authority be given to the Group Head of Policy to agree the final document and covering letter in consultation with the Chair of the Corporate Policy & Performance Committee; and
(3) Delegated authority be given to the Group Head of Policy to carry out the consultation during Autumn 2021.