At Knowsley Council’s Cabinet meeting tonight (Wednesday 7 June) Councillors were provided with a further update on the delivery of the Knowsley Council Plan.
Last year, 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.
Since the last update in November 2022, Knowsley Council has continued to make significant progress in the delivery of the plan. This is despite the challenges created by the cost-of-living crisis, economic outlook, and the Government’s approach to local government funding.
Supporting residents during the cost-of-living crisis
The report detailed the comprehensive package of cost-of-living support that had been developed and funded by the Council in partnership with other agencies.
This included a range of universal and targeted support, including help with household bills, free half-term activities and food programmes, the provision of warm hubs, and funding for activities developed by local community and voluntary organisations.
The Council invested £500,000 in the Knowsley Better Together Hardship Fund on top of the £3.7m provided from the Government’s Household Support Fund in order to deliver the package of support.
Transforming Children’s Services
Cabinet was provided with an update on the Council’s continuing work to update children’s services.
The Council is maximising opportunities to transform the service offering through national and regional programmes. This includes work to establish a pilot family hub in Northwood, Kirkby and the development of a holistic prevention support offer with health partner agencies.
Working with One Knowsley and Merseyside Youth Association, the Council has also submitted bids worth over £3.5m to enhance four of the borough’s key community buildings. If successful, the extended and refurbished facilities will be used to extend both the support and activities offer for young people in Knowsley.
The report also detailed two recent successes in the service. Knowsley’s Youth Offending Service was rated ‘Good’ by HM Inspectorate of Probation during a recent inspection, while the Council’s own Residential Care Homes were also rated ‘Good’ following Ofsted inspection.
Health and social care
Cabinet was provided with a summary of The Knowsley Place Winter Plan which was successfully developed and delivered by the Council and health partner agencies. The plan ensured that residents received appropriate support from the health system when needed without overwhelming it during a period of pressure. The Council’s effective approach to hospital discharge played a major role.
The Council also reported on its work to stabilise and improve the Adult Social Care Market, including the £11.796m investment by the Council to its domiciliary care, residential and nursing, extra care and supported living providers to ensure that they each pay their workforce the Real Living Wage. This has benefited 3,000+ local staff.
Further successes and progress
The report to Cabinet also highlighted further progress in the development of the Borough’s town centres offer and residential and commercial development programmes. This included exceeding the Local Plan target for housing completions, exceeding affordable housing unit requirements and securing £15.3m from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund for Halewood.
Reductions in staff turnover and successful recruitment campaigns demonstrate the success of the Council’s Workforce Sufficiency Strategy, while the report also highlighted continued effective management of Council finances.
Key areas of focus
As part of the report, a number of key areas of focus for the next six month were identified and these were approved by Cabinet. These include:
- Ongoing cost of living support
- The development of the priorities for the Housing Investment Fund to address home affordability and to support those at risk of homelessness
- Continued progress improving Children’s Social Care and Adult Social Care Services
- Development of the 2024/25 annual budget.
Progress against these key areas of focus will be reported back to Cabinet in November 2023.
Cllr Graham Morgan, Leader of Knowsley Council, said: “The last six months have been very challenging with the economic pressures and uncertainty impacting our residents, local businesses and partners.
“However, despite these challenges, I am delighted by the progress we continue to make towards the delivery of the Knowsley Council Plan and our three priorities.
“I am particularly proud of the comprehensive package of support that has been delivered to support our residents through the cost-of-living crisis and our recent successes in transforming Children’s Services.
“I look forward to seeing further progress over the next six months.”