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Council highlights further progress as it continues to successfully deliver its Council Plan 2022-2025

by Cathy Sheel

At Knowsley Council’s Cabinet meeting tonight (Wednesday 5 June) Councillors were provided with a further update on the delivery of the Knowsley Council Plan.

In March 2022, the Council agreed a new Knowsley Council Plan for 2022-2025. The plan outlined three corporate priorities that the Council is now working towards delivering. These are:

  • Effective support for those in need
  • Inclusive skills and growth
  • Climate emergency and achieving net zero

Read more on the Knowsley Council Plan.

Since the last update in November 2023, Knowsley Council has continued to make significant progress in the delivery of the plan.

Setting a balanced budget

In March 2024, the Council was able to set a balanced budget for 2024/2025 without the need for service cuts or job losses. Knowsley Council remains in a relatively stable financial position compared to many other local authorities.

Supporting residents during the cost-of-living crisis

The Council has continued to work with partners to co-ordinate and fund a comprehensive range of cost-of-living support.

As part of the Council’s 2024/2025 budget, an additional £0.379 million has been allocated to the Knowsley Better Together Hardship Fund. The funding will ensure ongoing provision in the medium time, irrespective of the uncertainty around the Government’s plans for the Household Support Fund.

The 2023/2024 Household Support Fund and Knowsley Better Together Hardship Fund programmes were both successfully delivered, ensuring residents received the best possible level of support. This included the provision of £15 food vouchers to the families of over 8,500 school children who are eligible for free school meals while the children are not in school.

Transforming Children’s and Adult’s Services

Continuing to improve children’s services remains a key priority for the Council. The report provided an update on a number of positive inspections that have been carried out, alongside updates on investment into services.

In November 2023, Ofsted published the outcome of their October 2023 inspection of the Council’s Fullerton Grove facility, which provides short break care for children with learning and/or physical disabilities, and confirmed a rating of “Good”.

Oasis (a Council facility which provides edge of care provision) was inspected in March 2024, and the subsequent Ofsted report (published in May 2024) also confirmed a rating of “Good”.

The latest Ofsted inspections confirm that all current Council-run children’s residential facilities are officially rated as “Good”.

In March 2024, the Council made a commitment to invest an additional £10.284 million into the Adult Social Care provider market during 2024/25 to help to ensure that all front-line provider staff are paid at least at the level of the Real Living Wage. The Council has also  been allocated £4.274 million to support its commitment to investing in the Adult Social Care market, which will also be used to  enhance workforce capacity and retention of staff, and reduce waiting times.

Local economy and regeneration

An update was provided on the significant progress made on the continued development of the Borough’s town centres, and residential and commercial development programmes across the Borough.

Following public consultation in February 2024, the Council has prepared a comprehensive Investment Masterplan to show how the £15.3m Levelling Up Fund for Halewood will be delivered.

The Council has established a Town Board for Kirkby. The board will now develop and implement the Long-Term Plan for Kirkby and held its first board meeting in April 2024.

Your Housing Group has been granted planning permission for a 100% affordable housing scheme of up to 377 new homes as part of the Halsnead Garden Village development.

Climate crisis and net-zero

The Council has continued to push forward with its net zero agenda, including successful bids for decarbonisation works funding for both Nutgrove Villa in Huyton and Prescot Soccer Centre.

The Street Lighting Replacement Programme is also being delivered ahead of schedule with 15,624 (77%) LED lanterns installed as of April 2024.

Further successes and progress

 In March 2024, an “Into University” event took place in Kirkby Town Centre. The event marked the opening of a local learning centre which supports young people and local schools to raise aspirations and awareness of pathways into post-16 education.

A number of schemes to improve green spaces in the borough have been completed. This includes an enhanced play offer at a new public open space in Tower Hill, Kirkby; infrastructure improvements at both Mellors Pond and Windy Arbor as part of the Halsnead Garden Village Green scheme, and a new play area at Bowring Park, Huyton.

View the full report here.