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An enabling Council

Our ambition

We will be an enabling Council that is a great place to work and reflects the communities we serve. Our people will have the tools to do their jobs effectively, and the buildings they work from will be fit for purpose.

We will work to deploy our resources – people, money, buildings, land, ICT and digital infrastructure – in a sustainable and responsible way.

We will deliver efficient, value for money services, minimise risk and support improved outcomes across the district’s key priorities.

We will take an asset-based approach working with the district’s communities, the voluntary sector, the local business community and public sector partners to develop and deliver against our shared priorities.

Effective communications will ensure that everyone in the district is kept informed and engaged about local services and activities and the part that they can play in helping to achieve better outcomes. Council decision making will be open, transparent and democratically accountable.

Our context

Bradford Council has a net budget for 2020-21 of £378 million and oversees a £734 million capital programme. It employs over 8,000 people with wide-ranging skills and expertise and holds extensive legal responsibilities and powers. These resources make an important and often essential contribution to leading and shaping the district’s present and its future.

Over the last 10 years, we have had to find over £300 million in savings and additional income whilst continuing to deliver services for the people, businesses and organisations of the district, work alongside them to make the most of all our assets and provide the leadership and profile necessary to secure private and public investment.

COVID-19 has had a substantial and disproportionate impact on Bradford District. The deployment of Council resources required to respond to the pandemic has been considerable. We have had to adapt rapidly and make changes to the way we work in order to maintain the district’s resilience, sustain services and build for recovery.

The Council will continue to work within a changing environment, including working with a Mayoral Combined Authority, preparing for and responding to Brexit, and strengthening our approach to equalities in the light of the pandemic.

That’s in addition to sustaining our flexible response to COVID-19 and the recovery of the district post COVID-19.

Our people

We will ensure the authority is a great place to work and reflects the communities we serve. We will encourage, empower and enable our colleagues to deliver great services. We will make sure all employees feel engaged and can have the confidence and tools to achieve their full potential and barriers to success are removed.

Our financial resources

We will manage public money responsibly and be proactive in identifying and exploiting opportunities to bring additional funding and investment into the district. Responsible and prudent financial management will help us to sustain investment in key priorities even through the challenges presented by austerity, increasing demand, inflation and COVID-19. The Council will work to prioritise and transform the way we deliver our services to improve the impact on people’s lives and make the most effective use of Council resources.

We are delivering our Procurement Strategy to provide a first class, service that is fully integrated from procurement to payment and is effective, efficient and respected. We will use procurement of goods and services to deliver social value by securing wider social, economic and environmental benefits to the district and in this way improving outcomes.

Our buildings and assets

The Council uses its estate and land to support delivery of outcomes across all priorities. In particular, we are proactively supporting economic development and growth throughout the district using the Council’s financial strength. We are also working to reduce the carbon footprint of our overall estate. We are funding the redevelopment of key iconic sites directly or indirectly to attract new businesses, cultural, retail and leisure facilities to the district. We are working to ensure our buildings are fit for purpose for our colleagues to occupy and to deliver services from.

Our information technology and digital infrastructure

We will lead the digital transformation of public services, not just putting existing services online, but rewiring the local system to take advantage of opportunities to share and integrate digital tools and platforms across services and organisations. The Council will collaborate with all public service providers on a digital platform for genuinely joined-up service delivery. The Council will work with public and private stakeholders to boost digital infrastructure and connectivity across the district.

We are developing creative and innovative solutions for digital service redesign to deliver better outcomes for our residents and businesses, improve Council productivity and make the most of funding and partnership opportunities.

Digital technology will continue to help to ensure that decision making is transparent and subject to appropriate scrutiny despite the limitations imposed by COVID-19 on people meeting publicly.

Democracy

Our 90 councillors will be well supported and our democratic processes will be effective to help them to make decisions. We will do our utmost to comply with the law, adhere to ethical standards and make sure our decision making is transparent and accessible. We encourage the scrutiny of our policy setting and delivery. We will welcome and encourage peer and councillor review and challenge to test our leadership and decision-making, to make sure we are doing the right things and getting the right results. We will put in place robust systems to anticipate and manage opportunities, threats, risks and challenges, and to make sure that we remain focused on our district’s priorities.

We will make sure we fully meet the standards expected of well-run public bodies. We will run elections well in a transparent way and encourage more people to register to vote. We will contribute to the information provided to citizens and taxpayers on how we are doing.

Our priorities

Living with COVID-19

We will:

  • We will support our workforce to deliver against the challenges of COVID-19, whilst ensuring the risk of transmission for our employees and partners is minimised. We will make sure they have the tools to do their job effectively and support the resilience of our people.
  • We will manage public finances effectively and make sure we take advantage of opportunities to secure funding to support our COVID-19 response while investing Council resources if necessary in order to assist the vulnerable, support communities and keep the economy in business.
  • We will ensure our buildings are COVID-19 Secure and safe for colleagues and members of the public to use, and to work with Services to review how buildings will be occupied and services delivered in a post COVID-19 world.
  • We will continue to pay our suppliers quickly and efficiently to help cash flow.
  • We will make sure we have a strong baseline budget to deliver services where needed and attract income and investment to support frontline delivery.
  • We will continue to work with our partners to ensure the people of Bradford District are informed of changes to services or practices due to COVID-19 including how to stay safe and where to go for the help they need, using community languages and other channels for those with low levels of literacy or no access to IT.

Building a better future

Our people

We will:

  • Develop and implement an inclusive people strategy which will ensure our colleagues are able to deliver this Council Plan. 
  • Build and encourage a workforce that represents the communities we serve across all levels through our inclusive approach to recruitment and selection and talent development including a renewed commitment to diverse interview panels and more effective tools to ensure we use appropriate recruitment methods.
  • Proactively focus on engagement with all of our colleagues, review and refresh all relevant policies, procedures and effecting culture change.
  • Help every employee to reach their full potential through a proactive approach to learning and development and supporting the development of the talent across all of our colleagues.

Our finances

We will:

  • Produce an annual budget and continue to manage the Council’s resources. We will take a #teambradford approach with partner organisations to make sure we use all of our resources in a joined-up way where we can.
  • Collect revenue from Council tax, business rates and accounts receivable in an effective, fair and efficient way. We will work to prioritise and transform the way we deliver our services to improve the impact on people’s lives as well as making the best use of the Council’s resources. We will continue to seek opportunities for joining up services and making services work better for people, intervening earlier where we can.
  • We will achieve value for money through innovative procurement and contract management practices while ensuring robust and transparent governance.
  • We will make best use of the ‘Bradford District Pound’ by committing to using district-based organisations, directly or indirectly, to deliver supplies, services and works wherever possible.
  • We will deliver improved social value and inclusive growth outcomes from procurement procedures.
  • We will connect with our local suppliers, particularly the voluntary, community and social enterprise community, to improve understanding of our local supply chains.
  • We will modernise our procurement platform to enable efficient and effective payments to suppliers.

Our IT

  • We will develop digital access to all our services and tackle digital exclusion in the workforce to ensure that everyone has the tools they need to do their job effectively. Our services must however, remain accessible to people whose needs are unable to be met through digital access.

How we will measure success

  1. Ensure Council spending is within budget and year-on-year savings and investments agreed by Council are delivered.
  2. Improve the collection rate of council tax to 93.94% to be in line with our statistical neighbours
  3. Percentage of top 5% of employees who are female.
  4. Percentage of employees from LGBTQ+ backgrounds.
  5. Percentage of employees from BAME backgrounds.
  6. Percentage of top 5% employees by income who are from BAME backgrounds.
  7. Percentage of employees who identify as having a disability 8. Improve staff satisfaction, measured through the staff survey.

The underpinning plans and strategies that will enable us to deliver on this priority include:

  • Council Workforce Strategy
  • Bradford Council Equality Plan
  • Bradford Council Financial Strategy
  • Bradford Council Procurement strategy