Four years ago, we announced our vision and plans to create a brighter future – a better Barnsley, and we’ve spent the last four years doing just that - as set out in our 2017-2021 corporate plan. Fast forward four years and we’ve reached the end of our plan – so how did we do?
We’ve shared with you our progress, and areas for improvement over the last four years through our quarterly and year-end performance reports - with the final quarter four 2020-21 report (January to March 2021) to be considered by cabinet at the next cabinet meeting on Wednesday 2 June. Despite a challenging, unprecedented year, we’re incredibly proud to share our achievements of the last four years to develop a thriving and vibrant borough - where people achieve their potential, and our communities are strong and resilient.
We’ve created a thriving and vibrant economy
- Over the last four years, we’ve created over 5,161 private sector jobs – 51% of which are classed as ‘better’ jobs. We’ve supported 875 businesses to grow and expand and an additional 496 businesses to set up.
- We’ve supported more people into work, and skills amongst our working population have increased. Just over half of our working-age population now have a level 3+ qualification which is fantastic.
- We’ve significantly improved employment opportunities for the most vulnerable. By the end of 2020-21, 71.2% of our care leavers aged 19-21 were in education, employment or training. That’s an improvement of 20 percentage points since the start of the plan in 2017 and ranks us in the top five nationally.
- We’ve created a strong, cultural/visitor economy attracting visitors year on year to our museums. We’ve welcomed almost 4.8 million visitors across our sites in the last four years – contributing £105 million to our local economy.
We’ve helped and supported our residents to achieve their potential
- We’ve made great progress in making sure every child attends a good school and has the best start in life. Latest figures show that since the start of the plan in 2017, the percentage of pupils in KS2 achieving the expected standard has increased from 59% to 66% in 2019 (latest available data) - putting us proudly above the national benchmark.
- Through access to early help, we’ve seen an impressive reduction in the number of young people aged 10-17 entering the youth justice system for the first time - with numbers dropping from 79 in 2017 to just 7 in 2021 – way below the national benchmark.
- We’ve worked hard to reduce permanent admissions to residential care for people 65+ by 25% between 2017 and 2021- enabling them to remain at home and independent for longer.
- We’ve achieved our aims for completing safeguarding/adult social care assessments, reviews and decisions within timescales - keeping the most vulnerable safe and protected.
We’ve created strong, resilient communities
- Through our Love where you Live programme, 32,000 volunteer sessions have taken place between 2017 and 2021 linked to area councils/ward alliances - with a cashable value of nearly £1.8 million and the creation of stronger, resilient communities.
- We’ve demonstrated a real commitment to making Barnsley a clean, green borough for future generations. We’re incredibly proud of our commitment to diverting waste from landfill with more than 95% diverted over the last four consecutive years – ending the year at 97.5%.
- We’ve worked hard on our energy efficiency and renewable energy schemes. Our recent street lighting replacement programme has brought a huge reduction in CO2 emissions over the last year with nearly a 65% reduction since 2017.
Councillor Gardiner, Cabinet Spokesperson for Corporate Services, said: “I’m absolutely over the moon with what we’ve achieved over the last four years. Back in 2017, we set ourselves ambitious plans and targets to change, improve and grow, and just look at what we’ve managed to achieve – we’ve even exceeded expectations in a number of cases. Something we’ve never shied away from is highlighting those areas we need to work on, invest in and improve.
“The areas highlighted in the most recent report are predominantly a direct result of the pandemic which has had a huge, unprecedented impact here in Barnsley and across the country - but I’m confident that with our resilience and determination to bounce back we will overcome these challenges. I would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone for their hard work, and their Barnsley spirit which has played a huge part over the last four years in creating a brighter future for Barnsley.”
Shokat Lal, Executive Director for Core Services, added: “I’m so proud of everything we have achieved over the last four years and am excited for the next chapter as we drive head on into our new council plan for 2021-2024. We are clear that we have a lot to do – particularly due to the impact that the pandemic has had on the borough.
“We will focus on our public health initiatives to improve physical and emotional health as well as a focus on reducing poverty and the social determinants of health; we will help the town centre reopen for business and increase its footfall; we will work to increase apprentice uptake and opportunities for young people to gain employment. We will continue to support our workforce and businesses as we recover from the economic impact of the pandemic, build more homes across the borough and start recruiting more volunteers as we continue to be an enabling council.
“Our new council plan for 2021-2024 will be paramount in achieving this as it sets out what we aim to achieve over the next three years as we continue our drive from creating a brighter future, to one of possibilities. The plan will give us a clear direction to recover from Covid-19 and build our borough back stronger, better and even more resilient with our five new priorities to be a healthy, learning, growing, sustainable and enabling Barnsley.”