Over the last twelve months, lots of great things have happened in Barnsley. 42 new businesses moved to the borough; the proportion of care leavers in education, employment and/or training increased from 47 percent to 61.8 percent, and 53 new community groups were set up making Barnsley’s communities even stronger.
This is just a snapshot of the achievements outlined in Barnsley Council’s quarter 4 and year-end performance report for 2017/18. The report, which will be presented to cabinet on Wednesday 13 June shares the council’s progress towards achieving their twelve outcomes and three key priorities outlined in the corporate plan. The report also highlights challenges, areas of work requiring improvement and the plans in place to do so.
So, how has the council performed over 2017/18? The report reveals that eight of the 12 outcomes have been given the green light, four are on amber and none are on red. This means that the council is achieving, or on track to achieve all outcomes they’re working towards.
Some significant progress has been made towards the council’s priority to create a thriving and vibrant economy, including:
- 266 companies were assisted to expand - significantly exceeding the target of 195, and 141 new businesses were supported to start trading in the borough.
- The number of young people not in employment, education or training (NEET) has reduced from 6.5 percent to 5.3 percent, falling below England and Yorkshire and Humber averages. This shows that more young people are participating in education, employment or training.
- Barnsley’s visitor attractions have brought 1.21 million visitors to the borough along with £26.15 million to help expand the local economy – both exceeding their annual targets.
- 1,037 new homes have been built, far exceeding the annual target of 880; 35 empty houses have returned to use which is more than double of that achieved in 2016/17 and 160 affordable homes created.
Progress and ongoing improvement has been made under the priority to help people achieve their potential by creating a healthier, safer and better-educated population:
- Childcare providers continue to provide Barnsley’s youngest residents with the best possible start, with 96 percent of childcare settings rated good or outstanding by Ofsted – ahead of the national average.
- 77 percent of eligible 2 year olds took up their entitlement to free childcare and education, above the target of 75 percent.
- 99.4 percent of children's social care assessments have been completed within the 45 day timescale - this compares to just 58.7 percent last year reflecting great progress in protecting the most vulnerable.
- 90 percent of adult safeguarding decisions were made within 72 hours, exceeding the 85 percent target.
The impact on the council’s priority to build strong and resilient communities has been substantial, helping people protect and get the most from where they live now and in the future:
- 8,008 residents have engaged in volunteering within their local community, with 1,457 new volunteers welcomed within 2017/18. The cashable value of all this activity is the equivalent to £395,254.
- 135 private homes have received and benefited from energy efficiency measures through the Better Homes Barnsley Scheme – exceeding the annual target of 95.
- An impressive 96.6 percent of household waste has been diverted from landfill, with enough fuel from waste produced over the year to power 10,313 homes.
- In line with the council’s plan to empower residents to do more for themselves through digital services, 55 percent of all contact made with the council was made on line.
Councillor Gardiner, Cabinet Spokesperson for Corporate Services, said: “We started this year with ambitious plans to change, improve and grow, and this report shows that we’ve already made huge inroads. It highlights some fantastic achievements we’ve made alongside our local communities and partners – exceeding expectations in many cases.
“Although we should celebrate these achievements, there’s still a lot to do, and the report is critical in highlighting those areas we need to improve. For instance, we know we need to improve employment opportunities for adults with learning disabilities, and we're already making progress with many plans in place.
“We’ll continue our efforts to improve and deliver outcomes that make a real difference to our residents - making Barnsley a better place to live, work and visit."
The full report can be read here.