Our council

We're proud to be crowned LGC Council of the Year 2023 and the MJ Local Authority of the Year 2023.

Describing Barnsley as the place of possibilities is not just a vision or a phrase. It sums up how Barnsley has and continues to reinvent itself.

Barnsley’s a proud market town with a strong industrial heritage. Closing mines devastated Barnsley, and just as we were finding our feet, austerity hit. Barnsley lost a higher proportion of its funding than almost any other council in the country. Yet here we are in 2023; a highly performing council with a growing economy. We have a thriving town centre and some truly impressive outcomes in our communities.

We’re so proud of what we’ve achieved not just for the council but for our partners and Barnsley. We hope others can learn from our success. So how have we done it?

The place of possibilities

Barnsley 2030, our shared ambition for the borough, guides everything we do. It’s co-produced with our communities, businesses, and organisations.

It’s changing perceptions and delivering new pathways for us to achieve our place ambitions.

Read more about Barnsley 2030
Barnsley 2030
Barnsley 2030 - Healthy Barnsley
Barnsley 2030 - Learning Barnsley
Barnsley 2030 - Growing Barnsley
Barnsley 2030 - Sustainable Barnsley

Investing in Barnsley

Our own 'levelling up' plan has been laid out in a new Place-based Investment Plan approved by our Cabinet.

The plan sets out the council’s ambitious investment plans. It shows how we make sure Barnsley is in the strongest possible position to secure funding. Funding is through a range of sources. These include South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority Renewal Fund, the national Levelling Up and UK Shared Prosperity funds.

The ambitious plan will be used to support bids for funding to a variety of major national funding schemes. This will help attract inward investment to the borough.

There are eight key themes for investment in the plan:

  • Vibrant and resilient places
  • Culture and visitor economy
  • Innovation, enterprise and growth
  • Skills, education and employment
  • Sustainability and net-zero carbon
  • Transport and mobility
  • Digital
  • Housing, land and development

“We’ve outlined a massive and out of the ordinary scale of investment. It's time to believe in the possibilities of Barnsley. To look to the future with excitement and optimism. Our borough is a place that fosters and grows ambition, enabling everyone to be the best they can be.

“The plan cuts right across the whole borough, and will make it a fantastic place to live, work and invest.”

Digital Media Centre back view
Town square with heart
DMC 2 building
The Glass Works square
Barnsley Markets entrance

Welcome to The Glass Works

Our award winning £220 million Glass Works was created and built by us in the town centre. It’s bucking national high street trends. Our footfall is a third higher than before the pandemic. Residents tell us it’s great to be proud of their town centre again.   

The Glass Works was built during Covid-19 with construction carefully managed during restrictions. This is an excellent example of a public and private partnership and was seen as a national exemplar.

Our unique events programme is making special memories for residents and driving footfall in the town centre.

Principal Towns and Local Centres

We're focused on developing local economies.

We’ve invested £5m into our six Principal Towns and ten Local Centres to help them thrive, which will continue. Our Principal Towns programme has already shown its innovative and trailblazing approach to thriving communities.

A further £30m investment is planned. This is to reinvent, re-purpose and improve local economies around the borough and help our high streets thrive.

More than £23.1m investment is also coming to Goldthorpe, Thurnscoe and Bolton upon Dearne through the Towns Fund. Read more about the Towns Fund.

The Local Plan

Local Plan facts

  • 22,400 hectares are covered by green belt, placing us 22 out of 300 authorities in terms of greenbelt land.
  • As a result of the existing Local Plan, 77.4% of the borough's total land has some form of protection. The vast majority of this being green belt.
  • Development through our Local Plan will only reduce the amount of green belt land by around 2%. It will however drive forward jobs and housing growth.
  • We need more people in work if we are to create better futures for our residents.
  • Having a sound Local Plan in place is the best form of protection against unsuitable development.

Local Plan impacts

At a time of such uncertainty, we're seeing the positive impacts of the Local Plan. Its supporting our vision for Barnsley 2030 as the place of possibilities:

  • September to December 2022 - we've  seen plans for Goldthorpe and major new employment site ES10 moving forward.
  • Stage 3 of the highly successful Property Investment Fund is now underway, creating more vital jobs for the borough.
  • Major companies have committed to further significant investment to support continued growth. LNS Turbo and SHI International are examples - both seeing their business operations thriving here in Barnsley.
  • Evri’s parcel sortation hub is the biggest in Europe and their most sustainable building to date, creating 1400 jobs.
  • US company SHI International’s Nexus Integration Centre is a £12m investment that brings 150 jobs. It delivers an advanced data centre and end-user computing solutions across the UK.
  • Our longstanding relationship with XPO Logistics and their ASOS flagship fulfilment centre brings 5000 jobs.

Our key projects which are unlocking employment land in a managed and sustainable way.

Supporting business growth

Enterprising Barnsley aims to support Barnsley based businesses growth plans. We offer a wide range of services to businesses that are looking to start up, expand, invest and relocate.

In recent years we've helped to create 340 new businesses. We've also supported 1600 companies, attracted 40 companies to relocate and expand and created over 4000 jobs. With a business survival rate that exceeds the national averages, the tailored business support offered through Enterprising Barnsley is invaluable. It helps to increase skills, attract investment and make businesses more sustainable.

Barnsley DMC

We can dream bigger together.

Our Digital Media Centre (DMC) is the home of creative and digital businesses, entrepreneurs and anyone with a big idea. DMC is a community of people, spaces and support, creating the future together.

Being powered by Barnsley Council means that fully-funded business support is provided. This is through an on-site start-up support team which is part of Enterprising Barnsley.

Barnsley Council is now leading on digital development for South Yorkshire.

Our achievements in our communities

We’re proud of our achievements here in Barnsley.

We’re not a city, but we deliver on big ambitions.

Experience Barnsley museum

Some of our achievements

  • In 2021/22, our award winning area council model supported 11,422 volunteer opportunities at a cashable value of £745,880. They also helped 794 community groups, 2,324 socially isolated people and 130 people in employment.

  • Barnsley Museums are the winner of the Best Accessible Museum in the Kids in Family Friendly Museum Award 2022 and a shortlist for Art Fund’s Museum of the Year 2021.

  • Award winning events. In December 2022 our Arts and Events team was recognised as the Best Council Events Team at the National Outdoor Events Association awards. 

  • We’re making smoking invisible in smoke-free playparks, town centre zones, primary schools and colleges, roads and high streets.

  • We developed 16 new council houses as a pilot scheme for the new Barnsley Low Carbon Standard. Homes have been designed to be highly energy-efficient with fossil fuel-free heating and hot water. This scheme will set the blueprint for the standard of energy-efficient housing to be delivered by the council in future

  • Our Positive Climate Partnership drives Barnsley’s first climate strategy to impact and build momentum around our net zero carbon goal.

  • The NHS Community Diagnostic Centre in The Glass Works is the country's first of its kind in a retail centre. It's been showcased as an exemplar of innovation by the Government. It’s had real tangible results for people. For example, attendance for breast screening has gone up by an amazing 25% and it’s been so successful that we’ve already secured NHS funding to expand including an MRI scanner. 

  • We’ve eliminated delayed discharges in adult social care services and have the highest rate of user satisfaction with adult social care services in the country.

COVID memorial

As one of the first towns across the country to commission a permanent COVID memorial sculpture, Barnsley is paying tribute to those who lost their lives.

Hear some of the inspiring personal stories

"No matter who you are and where you come from, by working hard you can achieve anything." - Lisa, Community Special School Teaching Assistant

Line drawings of people

Children and young people thrive

  • In 2022, 47.4% of looked after children achieved a Grade 4 or above in both English and maths, almost double 24.4% from 2019.

  • Over 94% of Barnsley children get their first choice of primary school for September. 19 April was national offer day, and families across Barnsley found out which primary school their children will start in September. This year, we've been able to offer 2428 children (94.2%) their first choice of primary school, up from last year's 93.8%.

Our youth

The voice of our youth

We want to give our young people a voice. Our active Youth Voice and Participation network supports people like Safaa (Barnsley Youth Councillor). They also support Regional Youth Climate Assembly members to attend COP26.

Safaa, Barnsley Youth Councillor

"I'm thrilled to be attending COP26 with the Regional Youth Climate Assembly. We only formed in April 2020 and are already attending and presenting at such a major climate event." - Safaa, Barnsley Youth Councillor.

Find out more about Barnsley Youth Council in our video:

Barnsley Youth Choir

We’re working with the Barnsley Youth Choir who are ranked fifth in the official world rankings. We're helping to develop a new Northern Academy of Vocal Excellence (NAVE). The choir supports 500 children and young people to build confidence for life.

Exciting plans are being developed for a centre for vocal excellence. This will serve as a new home for the world-famous Youth Choir.

0-19 Public Health Nursing Service

In December 2021 Barnsley Council’s 0-19 Public Health Nursing Service rated as 'outstanding'.

  • Our staff are consistent in supporting people to live healthier lives. They put children, young people, and families at the centre of their care.
  • Our staff have innovative solutions to providing care, working well with other teams and partners. It was noted that we did this very well during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Our services are tailored to meet each need. For example, using interpretation and sign language services with people who need them.
  • Our staff treat children, young people and their families with compassion and kindness. Staff are highly motivated to offer care that promoted peoples’ rights and upheld their dignity.
  • Technology is used in new ways to ensure people can access timely treatment and care. For example, people can access an instant messaging service to contact the service.
  • People who use the service are at the centre of safeguarding. Staff have a proactive approach to predicting and managing risk.

Feedback from service users was almost always positive and people thought the support they received exceeded their expectations.

Outcomes for care leavers

Our local offer has been developed by speaking to care experienced young people in Barnsley. We review it each year and measure its success against what people tell us about their direct experience of services.

We are proud to have achieved good outcomes for care leavers:

Location Year Percentage of care leavers in education, training and/or employment
Barnsley 2021/22 68.2%
Barnsley 2020/21 71.2%
Our neighbours 2020/21 50.1%
National 2020/21 52%

Annual fee uplift for adult social care providers

In Barnsley, we aim to make sure care providers under contract with us can pay their staff £1 above the national living wage. Read about the annual fee uplift for social care providers.

We're focused on developing skills in the care sector. Through our Proud to Care campaign, we aim to inspire more people to join the care sector. We've also launched a new training programme to help people take their first steps into a career in care.

More Money in Your Pocket promotion outside Town Hall

More Money in Your Pocket

Our More Money in Your Pocket webpage is a great resource. It has a whole host of help for residents with the rising cost of living.

An extra £5.3 million of support was pledged to help Barnsley people with the cost of living.


More Money in Your Pocket

No Place for Hate

In Barnsley we have zero tolerance for online hate.

Read more about No Place for Hate
No Place for Hate - don't post it help stop it - Facebook header

Our Council Plan

Our Council Plan for 2021 to 2024 sets out what we aim to achieve over three years. Our plan gives us a clear direction to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. We aim to build our borough back better and fairer. It focuses on how we deliver our services across the council to best support residents, communities, partners and business. It explains what we want to do, how we plan to do it, and how we'll measure whether we're on track to achieve it.

The Council Plan has been developed by the work that has taken place for the Barnsley 2030 project. This has been done through a series of activities with residents, businesses, employees and other key stakeholders across the borough. It builds a picture of what Barnsley is like now and what we want it to be like by 2030.

Read our Council Plan
Town Hall sculpture

Support for our employees

Reasonable adjustment disability passports

We've launched reasonable adjustment passports, creating a helpful tool to support disabled employees and those with health conditions. The benefits of the passport include:

  • supporting employees and their line managers to talk about the disability or health condition and any workplace adjustments needed.
  • creating a record for those talks, detailing adjustments agreed and when these should be reviewed.
  • encouraging people to talk about less visible disabilities such as mental health conditions.

If a staff member moves roles or gets a new line manager, the passport will help their new manager. In particular, it will help them understand what workplace adjustments are needed.

Menopause café

In April, we hosted the first Menopause Café session which was opened to employees on our employee support forum.

The event, which was sponsored by UNISON, brought together colleagues in a relaxed environment. They could share their own stories and discuss tips and tricks to what has helped them. It also provided us with a chance to look at ways we can support staff in the workplace.

We’ve held a virtual awareness session for all employees to encourage people to talk around the menopause. We also developed a short e-learning course which is available on our internal learning platform POD. This provides an overview of what menopause is, symptoms, real life stories and how employees can support a colleague. 

Employee support forum

We’ve set up a network to support employees who are struggling with personal issues that are affecting them at work. This may include those going through the menopause and anyone who cares for someone else.

PROUD network

Further to our employee support networks, we have also created the PROUD network. This is part of our People Strategy and inclusivity agenda. It aims to create a safe and welcoming space for our LGBTQ+ staff.

The PROUD network offers a safe space for LGBT+ employees. It offers access to peer support and builds a sense of community in the workplace. It also helps us considering our work from an inclusive perspective.

Dying to Work charter

We’re extremely proud to be the latest local authority to sign the Dying to Work charter. This demonstrates our ongoing commitment and protection to any Barnsley Council employee who faces a terminal illness.

The council’s charter was signed at a special ceremony in Barnsley Town Hall. Signatories were:

  • Sarah Norman - Chief Executive of Barnsley Council.
  • Cllr Sir Steve Houghton CBE - Leader of Barnsley Council.
  • Representatives from the council and union bodies.

Order of Distinction Health and Safety Award

We're celebrating after landing an award for showing high health and safety standards for 21 consecutive years.

We've received a Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Order of Distinction Health and Safety Award. This was for working hard to ensure our staff get home safely to their families at the end of every working day.

Those receiving a RoSPA award are recognised as world leaders in health and safety practice. Every year, nearly 2000 entrants attempt to achieve the highest possible accolade in the UK's longest running health and safety industry awards.

Julia Small, RoSPA's Achievements Director, said: "This fantastic and well-deserved. All our award entrants demonstrate their unwavering commitment and passion for keeping people safe at work."

Our employee feedback tells us that we’re doing well

We’ve worked hard to embed our Barnsley 2030 vision.

Our recent employee survey told us that:

  • 92.1% understand the vision and values and what is expected of them.
  • 87.2% of people believe they make a difference in their day-to-day work.
  • 80.8% of staff understand how they contribute to our priorities.


Hear what our partners say...


Berneslai Homes

Amanda Garrard, Chief Executive:

This year the cost of living crisis has really hit Berneslai Homes tenants hard. We've therefore worked together with Barnsley Council on their More Money in Your Pocket initiative. The council were proactive in thinking about the real issues affecting residents of the borough. They engaged with our staff and tenants to develop practical and financial support to assist them through this winter.

Sessions have been held with our managers. These have shown the actions that can be taken with tenants, but also to benefit staff. Our teams have worked together to enhance the support available. This includes:

  • A hardship fund for tenants most affected.
  • Development of warm hubs throughout the borough.
  • Practical support and tips to help people get through the winter.

The More Money in Your Pocket team also met with tenants. They outlined how the scheme works and the support available to them. As a result, there has been significant interest from tenants. Practical tips have been used to help people keep warm and well. This includes making the most of the financial support which is often difficult to understand and navigate through. This has been an excellent approach by Barnsley Council. Its making a real difference to people’s lives in the borough. 

Barnsley Community and Voluntary Service

Jane Holliday, Chief Executive:

I am the CEO of Barnsley CVS. We provide support for the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector.

Barnsley is a challenging area to work in due to high levels of social deprivation. What's special about Barnsley is the way people work together despite the lack of money. Barnsley Council are moving towards us working together to identify and address the issues Barnsley’s people are facing. Bringing the different sectors together means that we all feel invested. We bring our different strengths, resources and knowledge together in a structured way.  

I've been involved in brilliant initiatives like Age Friendly Barnsley where everyone works together. This is regardless of sector, department, or available funding. This helps us develop innovative ways of making Barnsley a better place to grow older. There are a growing number of examples of this format working in our borough. These include Barnsley 2030, Dementia and Me and the new Youth Alliance.

Barnsley Hospital

Bob Kirton, Deputy Chief Executive and Chief of Delivery:

Barnsley Council have been a great partner. As the local hospital, we’ve found their support really helpful in achieving our aims and objectives.

Examples include:

  • Our shared public health posts.
  • Leading on our work on reducing health inequalities
  • Their amazing support in securing a location and space for a new community diagnostic centre in the town centre. This facility is part of The Glass Works and has been really championed by the council. It's now making a real difference to people’s lives. Without their proactive support, this simply wouldn’t have happened.

The Business Village

Adrian Waite, Chief Executive:

The Business Village worked with Barnsley Council to offer a Net Zero Accelerator. This was part of the Barnsley Council Community Renewal Fund programme. 38 Barnsley businesses were helped to develop their net zero innovation plans. This helps us move towards a forecasted reduction in CO2e of 41,580 tonnes by 2025.

Businesses engaged are now aware of what emissions they're responsible for and how to reduce their CO2. They're sharing their CO2 reduction strategies with employees, customers, their supply chain and their community. They're using net zero to set them apart to help businesses drive growth.

The project won the 'Future Ready' Regional Award at the FSB Local Government Awards in 2022. The promotion and legacy from the project is currently helping Barnsley Council promote its own net zero 2045 targets for the borough.

Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce

Andrew Denniff, Chief Executive:

Towards the end of 2021 the Chamber of Commerce, working with Barnsley Council embarked on a skills and employability bespoke programme. This was aimed at supporting 20 businesses with targeted training, which were not directly linked to 'off the shelf' accredited courses. The aim of the programme was to enhance the skill set of their current employees and encourage progression. it also aimed to strengthen local business networks.

Each business in the scheme would receive up to £2500 of funded training. Our objectives were to enhance the skill sets and strengthen local business networks. Each company would also be recognised as a wealth generator within their local community.

We wanted to grow the relationship between business and education providers and improve understanding between business and their community. We also wanted to make sure each business understands the economic growth programme and how it impacts on them.

With additional business support we achieved:

  • 20 small/medium sized businesses supported via the CRF Project who received bespoke training, in line with their business plans.
  • 230 employees trained.
  • Share of knowledge reach c.700 employees.

The range of training courses delivered, included:

  • ISO 9 and 14001 training
  • marketing and sales training
  • strategic and lean manufacturing training
  • HR training
  • project management and delivery training
  • business planning training

All 20 businesses are expected to release new products/services as direct result of support. All 20 businesses also expect to safeguard their current staffing levels and they expect to grow over the next 24 months.

Together we have enhanced the skill sets of current employees and encouraged progression. A truly genuine example of real, practical partnership working, with evidenced and measurable results. A real benefit to the local community. 

Jobcentre Plus (DWP)

Sharon Thorpe, District Manager (South Yorkshire):

We have an excellent joint working relationship with Barnsley Council and this is across a number of departments. In particular their support with the employment and skills agenda helps us move our customers into or closer to work.

Youth Hub

We work with Barnsley Council on the Youth Hub. A grant was given for them to provide two IAG workers to work alongside our Work coach.

Youth Hubs are part of the government’s support for young people and aim to deliver services in a different way.

The original venue for the hub was Wellington House, but the lack of space restricted the activities we could do. Following discussions with Barnsley Council (Tom Smith and Carol Booth) they sourced space in the YMCA building. The Youth Hub then relocated in October 2022.

This venue enables us to have employers and providers on site. It also allows us to work closely with Chilypep who are located in the building. They provide numerous activities for young people which means we can have a variety of support available in one location.     

Many of the young people we work with in the hub need additional support. During the period October 2021 to May 2022 the Youth Hub supported 65 people into work.

Cost of living

To support our jobcentre customers, we organised an event in Wellington House jobcentre in November. We invited partners into the office so customers could come in and talk to them. It gave them the chance to find out about the support they offer. Partners included Citizens Advice and Yorkshire Water.

Barnsley Council have introduced their More Money in Your Pocket campaign. To ensure the message reached as many people as possible Barnsley Council colleagues attended the event. They talked to customers and distributed flyers with information.     

We had positive feedback from both customers and partners. Barnsley Council said "Thank you for having us today, we had some really positive chats. If you have anything further planned in future, please keep us in mind."

Elsecar Heritage Centre
Locke park tree with view of the bandstand
Town Hall fountains (1)
Picture of cannon hall barnsley