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 and build our borough back better and fairer. It focuses on how we collectively 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 through a series of activities with residents, businesses, employees and other key stakeholders across the borough to build a picture of what Barnsley is like now and want it to be like by 2030.
We have five new priorities which are supported by 12 outcomes. In addition, 63 critical success factors (key performance indicators) have been aligned to the outcomes to allow us to assess out performance against each outcome.
- Healthy Barnsley - People can access all the care and support they need, at the right time and in the right place.
- Learning Barnsley - The opportunities available for young and adult learners mean that everyone can fulfil their learning potential, helping them build the skills they need to get into work and progress their careers.
- Growing Barnsley - Barnsley is an inclusive place where everyone can find suitable employment, live in a high-quality home that's right for them, and access the fast and affordable digital resources they need.
- Sustainable Barnsley - Protecting our borough for future generations.
- Enabling Barnsley - Our priority to ensure that our council is modern, inclusive, efficient, productive and high-performing.
This report is a supplementary narrative report to the quarterly dashboard which provides more detail in relation to performance for the quarter. It's important to review the quarterly dashboard report in addition to reading this narrative report, as it provides a detailed review of each review of each of our critical success factors including a red, amber and green (RAG) rating.
This RAG rating is applied to each of our critical success factors (CSFs), which tracks our progress to achieving our vision of Barnsley, the place of possibilities. Each CSF falls under one of our 12 outcomes, which in turn feeds into one of our five priorities (Healthy, Learning, Growing, Sustainable and Enabling Barnsley).
We track the progress of each CSF over the year and report on them quarterly where applicable, and provide commentary on the progress of the indicator.
Reviewing the online dashboard will help to provide context on where we're achieving our targets, and where there are areas for improvement.
Quarter 4 2021/22
- People are safe and feel safe.
- People live independently with good physical and mental health for as long as possible.
- We have reduced inequalities in health and income across the borough.
Another successful Operation Duxford
In March we joined forces with South Yorkshire Police and other partner agencies to support Operation Duxford. More than 150 officers came together and took part in the police operation across Barnsley to pro-actively tackle criminality and engage with the local community. The operation resulted in:
- 14 arrests for drugs offences
- one vehicle was seized for growing cannabis
- seven vehicles were seized for not having valid insurance
- four search warrants were executed
- 28 stop-and-searches conducted
- patrols carried out to clamp down on nuisance, street drinking and fly-tipping
- 38 bags of rubbish were cleared around Thurnscoe cemetery by our volunteers
- six litter hot spot clean-ups were undertaken.
This is another positive step we've been able to take to ensure Barnsley continues to be a safe place by #JoiningForces with South Yorkshire Police.
Healthy Barnsley shortlisted for two Local Government Awards
We've been shortlisted for two Local Government Chronicle Awards for our Healthy Barnsley activity.
Our 0-19 Public Health Nursing Service has been shortlisted in the Large Team of the Year category. The team provides health visiting and school nursing services, has been rated as outstanding in a recent Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection. This is the first CQC inspection the service has had since transferring from the NHS into Barnsley Council under the direction of our Public Health service in 2016. This is a fantastic achievement given the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Good Food Barnsley has been shortlisted in the Public/Private Partnerships category. The partnership is a broad coalition between the private, public and third sectors. It’s a joined-up movement and partnership of great minds and resources that work towards a shared vision of building a better Barnsley where everyone has the right to the food they need to thrive.
Pioneering fostering programme supports 29 looked after children and their foster carers in Barnsley
Children and young people in foster care in Barnsley benefit hugely from the Mockingbird programme, an award-winning and sustainable foster care model which sees a constellation of fostering households set up in a similar structure to that of an extended family, structured around the support and relationships that provides.
We introduced the Mockingbird programme, which in the UK is delivered by leading fostering charity The Fostering Network, in 2020. Since then, the model has gone from strength to strength. In October 2021, we had a celebration event for the one-year anniversary of the first Barnsley constellation, six month anniversary of the second, and launch of the third constellation. The three constellations in Barnsley are each led by a hub home foster carer who offers vital peer support and guidance alongside social activities and sleepovers to strengthen relationships and permanence. Thanks to the community support Mockingbird provides, 29 children have been provided with secure and stable families, and the breakdown of relationships has been avoided, meaning more Barnsley children can grow up with the stability they deserve.
Barnsley joins the fight to improve children’s health and reduce obesity with a few simple swaps
We’re supporting a new Childhood Nutrition campaign launched to improve children’s nutrition, health and reduce childhood obesity. The latest Better Health campaign aims to help and influence parents purchasing decisions through the use of the free NHS Food Scanner app. The dedicated app is the ideal health hack for families to help them swap food and drink higher in sugar, saturated fat, and salt for healthier alternatives.
The app comes off the back of a record rise in obesity amongst children over the last school year with the latest data from the National Childhood Measurement Programme highlighting that one in four children aged four to five are overweight or obese, whilst four in 10 children aged 10-11 are now overweight or obese.
Adult Safeguarding Peer Review
We recently invited a team of peer reviewers to take a look at our approach to safeguarding adults. We have now received the initial feedback from the review team. Areas of strength included: strong partnerships to deliver safeguarding, persistence of workers, especially working with adult who self-neglect and/or hoard. It was found that the Safeguarding Board has a clear strategy and works well together. There is a robust training programme in place and evidence of working with the adult to deliver their outcomes was recognised.
Areas to consider for development:
- We need to clarify who owns 'issues' that could be picked up by multiple boards (eg domestic abuse).
- Develop and use the customer group (SAFE).
- Consider if we can do more to get more workers and communities to recognise and report safeguarding concerns.
- Encourage other partners to lead on issues on behalf of the Board.
Achievements and highlights
- The What's Your Move website is launched to help improve physical activity levels.
- Barnsley Hospital is the first hospital site in the country to have surrounding smoke-free roads.
- BMBC joined forces to deliver the first South Yorkshire Safeguarding Awareness Week.
- One of the UK's first permanent COVID Memorials is unveiled in Barnsley.
- People have the opportunities for lifelong learning and developing new skills including access to apprenticeships.
- Children and young people achieve the best outcomes through improved educational achievement and attainment.
- People have access to early help and support.
Dodworth Library set for transformation
We're excited to announce that Barnsley Libraries application to the Libraries Improvement Fund has been successful.
The fund has been made available by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and is delivered by Arts Council England. The grant of £144,375 will support the transformation of Dodworth Library as part of our commitment to refurbish all our community libraries.
During the transformation, Dodworth Library will get a much-needed facelift to make it more welcoming for residents in the local area, offering modern facilities and a lively programme.
Success in Year 2 phonics
In Barnsley, we want people to aim high and excel in their studies. This starts at an early age, supporting children to make the best possible start to their education journey.
We're therefore delighted to share the success of our Year 2's in learning their phonics. In their autumn screening check, we saw 82.8% of Barnsley pupils scoring 32 marks or more, the mark required to pass. This places us 3.4% above the national average for children passing these tests, widening the gap from 2.5% above the national average in 2020.
It is great to see our pass rates improve by 2% in the past year, with the most notable improvements being made by pupils with English as an additional language, pupils with SEND and boys.
This is a fantastic achievement which could not be possible without the hard work of our schools, families and the children themselves.
Youth Council election
It’s been a great start to the year for young people’s voices in Barnsley, as our borough’s young people vote in this year’s Youth Council election and Make Your Mark ballot. This year, our Youth Council election period ran from 31 January to 28 February. Our teams worked in schools and across communities to encourage as many eligible young people as possible to get involved, with 63 young people nominating themselves to be elected to the Youth Council between 2022-2024.
Secondary schools across Barnsley, along with Barnsley College, participated in the election. 28 of the 37 available seats have now been taken with the first meeting of the new Youth Council taking place earlier this week. National votes from the ballot will now help to shape the Youth Council’s work plan for at least the next 12 months. 7758 votes were cast for the ballot in Barnsley, an amazing result which ranks our borough as 7th nationally based on percentage turnout (35.19%).
Young people in Barnsley voted for the following three topics as their priority areas: jobs, money, homes and opportunities (1894 votes), health and wellbeing (1751 votes), environment (1197 votes).
Early Help Navigator shortlisted for a Barnsley Hospital Heart Award
Katie Ellis, an Early Help Navigator employed by us and working at Barnsley Hospital, has been shortlisted in the Heart Awards in the Innovation category!
This role is a great example of partnership working to improve the wellbeing of families. When families attend the hospital’s paediatric A&E department, the Early Help Navigator builds positive and supportive relationships with them and provides early help services in a holistic, family-centred way.
Nearly 94 percent of Barnsley children get their first choice of secondary school for September
22 March was National Offer Day and parents have been informed which secondary school their children will start in September. We have been able to offer 2687 children (93.6 percent) their first choice of secondary school.
We are pleased to see that 99.7 percent of parents applied for their child’s secondary school place online – an increase of 1.5 per cent on last year. We have seen an increase in applications this year, with 2871 applications, up from 2690 last year. With 2687 (93.6 percent) receiving their first choice, 91 (3.2 percent) were offered their second choice of school and nine (0.3 per cent) got their third choice.
84 children (2.9 percent) did not get any of their preferred choices but have been allocated a school place at an alternative school by our school admissions team.
Brass band scoops trophy and place at national finals
Barnsley Metropolitan Band performed at Huddersfield Town Hall in the fourth section of the Yorkshire Area Brass Band Contest on Saturday.
They achieved second place in what was their first performance on the contest stage since March 2020. They also won Best Percussion, Best Soloist, and were awarded a special prize for featuring the contest’s youngest player. The band is a Barnsley Music Hub partner, based at Barnsley Music Service within The Civic. As runners-up they will now represent Yorkshire in the finals of the National Brass Band Championships later in the year.
Achievements and highlights
- Early Help Navigator Role implemented at Barnsley Hospital to help families attending A&E.
- 93% of Barnsley children get their first choice of primary school and 94% their first choice of secondary school.
- Unique bereavement counselling service launches in Barnsley schools.
- Barnsley students achieve an A-Level pass rate of 99.7 percent.
- Business start-ups and existing local businesses are supported to grow and attract new investment providing opportunities for all.
- People have a welcoming safe and enjoyable town centre and Principal Towns as a destination for work, shopping, leisure and culture.
- People are supported to have safe warm and welcoming homes.
Ambitious investment plan approved by Cabinet
In January our own ‘levelling up’ plan was laid out in a new Place-based Investment Plan.
The plan sets out our investment plans and how we make sure Barnsley is in the strongest possible position to secure funding through a range of sources. The plan will be used to support bids for funding to a variety of major national funding schemes and 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
- enterprise and growth
- skills, education and employment
- sustainability and net-zero carbon
- transport and mobility
- digital and housing
- land and development
Examples of projects include further investment in our Principal Towns and Local Centres, and a number of key projects in and around the town centre including further development of The Seam Digital Campus on the lower Courthouse site, and a new Northern Academy of Vocal Excellence which will serve as a home for the Barnsley Youth Choir.
Council supporting Dearne communities to transform through major investment
This year has seen an extremely positive start to commercial investment and jobs growth in the Dearne area and surrounding employment sites in the borough.
M1 Junction 36 is now a very attractive location for businesses. We expect in excess of 1.3 million square feet of new speculative development to take place in the area within the next two years, with major new developments already underway. Barnsley has also recently experienced record levels of property take-up by expanding local companies and inward investors.
Harworth Group PLC has successfully developed the first phase at Gateway 36 in recent years, attracting inward investors and expanding local businesses, creating more than 150 new jobs. 1002 new jobs have been created so far this financial year, and more than one million square feet of commercial property space has been occupied. £17 million has been invested in recent years to enhance the capacity of the local road infrastructure to enable substantial development to take place at M1 Junction 36. In addition, Evri (formerly known as Hermes) will open their new hub at Junction 36 this year. This £60 million facility, the largest of its kind in Europe, is expected to create 1400 new full-time jobs and 300 temporary roles at peak periods.
Multi-million investment to transform local high streets across the borough
We are planning to invest more than £30m in our local high streets and other local priority projects over the next five years.
Our Principal Towns programme has already demonstrated its innovative and trailblazing approach to thriving communities with £5 million already invested. This has already given us more than 60 projects either completed or underway. These include more than 500 local shop-front transformations, as well as community art projects and new public spaces created. The next, much larger, stage of the Principal Towns and Local Village Centres Investment Programme.
Cabinet have approved new Town Investment Plans for each of our Principal Towns of Cudworth, Hoyland, Royston, Penistone and Wombwell. Goldthorpe already has a Town Investment Plan after it was chosen as one of the towns to be supported by the UK government’s Towns Fund.
A few examples of proposals in the plan include a new urban community square created by repurposing run-down buildings in Cudworth; further redevelopment of Hoyland town centre; a potential new efficient and eco-friendly building in Penistone.
LCG Award nomination - Future Places
In response to the challenges of the pandemic, the council introduced a number of economic recovery initiatives including a free to use the digital studio, access to grant funding for digital technology, a single click and collect facility (ShopAppy.com), provision of self-serve grocery lockers, borough-wide food to go app Yoello, Barnsley gift card, and a Mi Rewards digital loyalty scheme.
This range of measures, that help to connect businesses and create new virtual experiences, aim to take our town and local centres beyond the physical, and open up all the high streets to businesses across the whole borough.
Landlords urged to seek support to insulate homes
Private sector landlords were invited to attend an event to find out about the support available to help better insulate their properties ahead of changes in the law on energy efficiency standards.
Funding is available to help landlords bring the energy efficiency standards of properties up to the minimum energy efficiency standard currently required by law, which is energy performance certificate rating E. That is due to change to band C by 2030 at the very latest, and government has already announced plans to bring that date forward.
The funding available will support bringing standards up to band C, which will future-proof properties for the forthcoming changes. This benefits tenants through reduced energy bills and warmer, more comfortable homes, and in turn further benefits landlords through happier tenants and more stable tenancies.
Achievements and highlights
- The Glass Works wins a major national regeneration award.
- Barnsley Council secures £2.4m grant for Community Boost project to help boost the growth of good employment.
- Arts Council England announces commitment to Barnsley as one of the 54 priority places.
- £1.7m is secured by Barnsley Council to upgrade energy efficiency of council houses.
- People live in great places, are recycling more and wasting less, feel connected and valued in their community.
- Our heritage and green spaces are promoted for all people to enjoy.
- Fossil fuels are being replaced by affordable and sustainable energy and people are able to enjoy more cycling and walking.
Connected by Water
Barnsley Council has proudly announced its role in a powerful new alliance to reduce flood risk and tackle the climate emergency head on. The Connected by Water Action Plan will help protect homes and businesses in Barnsley and across South Yorkshire from the impacts of flooding. The plan was first conceived after floods devastated parts of South Yorkshire in 2019. As the water subsided, communities, businesses and senior leaders realised they were experiencing the impacts of climate change first-hand and made a commitment to work together to tackle the issue.
A new partnership was formed with Barnsley Council alongside Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield councils, the Environment Agency, Yorkshire Water and the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority working together on an action plan for the region. It combines 144 actions and 100 projects with a total investment of £400 million to better protect over 17,000 homes, businesses and infrastructure across South Yorkshire.
In Barnsley, projects include:
- Lundwood flood alleviation scheme
- Barnsley culvert programme
- Worsbrough Reservoir
- Church Street, Darton
- Low Valley (Bulling Dyke)
- Low Valley flood alleviation scheme
- Netherwood Road bank strengthening
- Culvert replacement programme, A637 in Darton
We have been supporting the UK-wide tree planting initiative and have invited schools and community groups from across our borough to plant a tree and play their part in making Barnsley more sustainable.
The QGC encourages the planting of trees to create a legacy in honour of the Queen’s leadership of the nation, encouraging everyone to learn more about the best way to plant trees so that they survive and flourish for years to come.
New energy-efficient council housing in Athersley South
Work has started on seven new gas-free council bungalows featuring a range of measures to make them more environmentally friendly and energy-efficient. The new homes off Laithes Lane in Athersley South will include air source heat pumps for low carbon heating, solar panels with batteries for electricity generation and storage, and electric vehicle charging points. The bungalows have level access to the front and back, as well as wet rooms, making them particularly suitable for people with mobility issues.
O&P Construction Ltd have been appointed as the main building contractor and the new homes will be ready in July 2022. The bungalows will be let and managed by Berneslai Homes. It’s part of our commitment to reducing the council’s carbon emissions to net-zero by 2040.
This year as a council we have new council homes with gas-free heating under construction at Billingley View in Bolton upon Dearne, St Michaels Avenue in Monk Bretton, and this site in Athersley and a further scheme at the planning stage for Market Street, Goldthorpe.
A new way to manage our grasslands
Grass cutting season starts this week alongside a new scheme to encourage biodiversity and wildflowers in selected areas as part of our ongoing work to make Barnsley more sustainable.
This year, we will be managing some of our grasslands differently by rewilding carefully selected plots across our borough. This will mean allowing small areas of natural grassland to grow, which over time, will improve biodiversity.
It will encourage wildflowers, help create new habitats and vital shelter for pollinators and potential species reintroductions.
The selected 16 plots have been identified as having a low variety of wildlife (biodiversity). Rewilding them will make a significant change to this enabling more plants and wildlife to flourish. Plots will still be actively maintained and attended every 18 days to cut the grass around the plots as well as cutting paths through the grass in suitable places.
This will enhance the areas for people to enjoy walking, exercise and nature. At the end of the season, the grass will be cut, and all of the clippings will be removed from these rewilding sites. This is to ensure that sites are left neat and tidy over the winter period and help to reduce soil fertility because wildflowers thrive in less fertile conditions.
Achievements and highlights
- Dearne Valley wetlands designated site of special interest.
- Ambitious flood action plan launched with Barnsley Council as a key partner to tackle climate emergency in South Yorkshire.
- Worsbrough Mill Country Park given a green flag award for the first time since 2014.
- 20 electric vehicle charging points are approved across nine town centre car parks.
- Our council is modern, inclusive, efficient, productive and high-performing.
Our people strategy
As we work to deliver our Barnsley 2030 vision for the borough, we are excited to have launched our new People Strategy 2022-2025.
A strategy for all our staff, it has been designed to help them to be the best they can be, making sure they feel empowered to share their ideas and have the support, opportunities and inclusive culture they need to thrive.
Our People Strategy, which recognises our staff as our greatest asset, will help us to be in the best place possible to deliver on our Barnsley 2030 ambitions and Council Plan priorities.
The strategy will be pivotal to Enabling Barnsley. Driven by our ambition to be even better, this is our underlying priority as part of Barnsley 2030 to ensure that our council is modern, inclusive, efficient, productive and high-performing.
Our People Strategy has three key themes:
- Having effective leadership, values and culture.
- Maximising our organisational capacity and capability.
- Supporting staff to have a great employee experience.
International Safety Award
We have won an International Safety Award from the British Safety Council in recognition of our commitment to keeping our workers and workplaces healthy and safe.
We are one of 135 organisations to win a distinction in the International Safety Awards 2022, being recognised for all our hard work during 2021 to help keep our staff safe, healthy and well in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Now in their 64th year, the International Safety Awards recognise and celebrate organisations from around the world which have demonstrated to the scheme’s independent judges their commitment to preventing workplace injuries and work-related ill health.
The awards also acknowledge organisations that have shown a commitment to wellbeing and mental health at work.
Our Futures Now book begins its tour around Barnsley Libraries
Last year, around 50 individuals from Barnsley Council, partners and local poets came together to tell stories and inspire people to imagine the future of Barnsley – the place of possibilities.
Back in December 2021, following the launch event, we mentioned that the book would go on tour. Well, your wait is now over, and we are now happy to announce that the tour has begun. The book celebrates the stories that come straight from the heart of real people, many of who live in Barnsley and are passionate about our borough.
From stories based on the resilience shown during the pandemic to fictional or very personal narratives, each story looks at the future of our borough with ambition and optimism. Our Futures Now will travel across the borough, allowing everyone to see it and get inspired on the doorstep of their local community.
Each month, the hand-made version of the book will be staying at a different library.
Our 2022-23 balanced budget has been approved
The budget for 2022-23 has been approved at Full Council. After another truly challenging and uncertain year, we're in a reasonably strong financial position which is a great achievement.
This means that we can boost investment for people and their places; in our Principal Towns and Local Centres, creating opportunities for new jobs and better homes while supporting the people who need our help the most. However, we're still faced with considerable financial uncertainty and many risks and challenges ahead due to labour supply issues, inflation, government funding and levelling up plans, and moving forward from the pandemic, which puts significant pressure on our resources and increased demand on frontline services such as adult and children's social care services.
Our budget proposals are well planned and researched, and we remain vigilant, preparing for every financial scenario and managing our resources with a long-term future in mind.
Achievements and highlights
- Barnsley 2030 plan launched with ambition for Barnsley to be the place of possibilities.
- Barnsley Council wins International Safety Award for protecting our employees from the risk of injury and ill health.
- People Strategy 2022-2025 launched to help us deliver on our ambitions for Barnsley.
- No Place for Hate launched to develop supportive, inclusive communities online.