Corporate Strategy 2017-2022

Ceredigion County Council is very proud of its track record delivering high quality, safe, efficient and effective services to the residents of Ceredigion. Ensuring we continue to deliver excellent services for the next administration period between 2017 and 2022 is essential.

The Council knows what the priority areas for improvement are by continuing self-evaluation processes, stakeholder engagement and a diverse range of consultation events both formal and informal. Our understanding is also informed by national policies and priorities.

The Local Well-being Assessment has also influenced this Corporate Strategy and the development of the four Priorities that the Council will focus on for the next 5 years

The following Priorities will enable the delivery of services that will enhance the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being for the citizens of Ceredigion.

What are the issues that need to be addressed?

The local economy has been under pressure due to a number of factors including the £34m cuts enforced on the authority through the austerity measures. These cuts have and will continue to result in a dramatic loss of posts within the Council.  Furthermore, with the reduction in our general spending power, this has had a negative impact on businesses, employment rates and annual income levels for households within the County. Unlike many other counties in Wales, our public sector employs a large proportion of our workforce. Consequently, these cuts have a disproportionately damaging effect on our local economy.

The decision to leave the European Union has placed an additional risk of reduced grant funding streams totalling a further £57million per annum into both the private and public sectors. Agriculture and tourism industries are the main beneficiaries of these funding streams and without this level of support, the small businesses of Ceredigion will be under significant financial pressures over the coming five year period.

The information communication and transport network remains under-developed to assist ease of access to and from Ceredigion.  The Information Technology Communication networks require a significant further investment to improve access to Superfast Broadband so that businesses can compete and prosper on the national and international stage.  Road and rail networks also require further investment to allow clear access and exit routes for import/export of local produce and resources.

What do we want to achieve/improve?

It is our intention to develop the concept of Growing Mid Wales (GMW) so that it is recognised by the UK and Welsh Government as an area in need of a Growth Deal similar to the City Region Deals.  It is anticipated that it would secure significant inward investment from both the public and private sectors. Accordingly, The GMW Partnership has identified specific growth areas for the region’s economy and commissioned a study to identify and scope specific investments to realise these growth areas. Of specific relevance to Ceredigion, these investments will include a focus on:

  • Modernisation of business sites, hubs and our town centres for 21st Century use including connectivity and energy management, as well as potentially limited provision of new sites and ensuring the availability of housing
  • Facilitating and supporting growth in high value economic sectors where the County leads Wales including UK identified priorities in bio-economy and Agri-technology and the County’s unique assets to support innovation and development in the defence sector and related industries.

We will offer bespoke training and development opportunities to develop a multi-skilled workforce ready and available to meet the demand of current and future businesses in Ceredigion.

Procurement arrangements will be reviewed and in-house local procurement frameworks will be utilised to support local businesses wherever possible. Where appropriate, large capital projects will be divided into phases of delivery thus enabling more local firms to submit tenders.

The Council’s capital programme will focus on improving infrastructures.  We will actively work with suppliers and agencies to encourage improvement programmes for road, rail and communication networks.

Outcomes sought

  • Ceredigion will be a vibrant local authority with an agile, multi-skilled local authority workforce.
  • Ceredigion will increasingly become an economically successful vibrant area with a highly skilled bilingual workforce, and increased high quality employment opportunities
  • Increased personal prosperity from employment earnings
  • Close working relationships between public and private sectors.
  • Direct employment paths between Higher Education (HE) establishments and the Council.
  • Ceredigion will have the infrastructure to support a growing economy

How will we know we have made a difference?

  • Increased numbers of Ceredigion County Council employees with ability across a set of generic skills
  • Increased employment opportunities, greater number of jobs and higher skill levels of jobs and employees across the county with higher average earnings from employment
  • Business and Industry forums would have been created to promote the collaborative partnership working between the public and private sectors of Ceredigion.
  • Growing Mid Wales will be recognised as the vehicle to secure national and international investment to support the county’s industries including Agriculture and Tourism.
  • There will be an improvement in the digital and physical access required for economic growth

What are the issues that need to be addressed?

Job opportunities are decreasing quite significantly in Ceredigion due to the extent of the austerity measures placed on Local Government as well as the increased risks associated with loss of future grant funding from the European Union.  Unemployment levels are currently at 3.8%. There is a high proportion (34.2%) of the population who are economically inactive but more than half of these are students and most are not looking for work.

The Ceredigion education system is the most successful in Wales but the struggling local economy has resulted in a significant outward migration of our younger adults to find employment in more urban areas of Wales. During the past decade, the census tells us that there has been a 10% reduction in the child population of Ceredigion, a statistic that has had a profound effect on pupil numbers accessing education in our schools.

Ceredigion is a low income economy, with household income amongst the lowest in Wales despite having relatively high qualification levels in the workforce. In-work poverty is significant and affects a higher proportion of citizens in our county than in the acknowledged deprived areas in the Valleys and East Wales.

What do want to achieve/improve?

Our strategies will ensure the appropriate training programmes that enable learners to meet the employment needs of current and future businesses within Ceredigion.  Post 16 and adult learners will be equipped with the necessary skill sets that enable them to be agile, bilingual workers and adapt to the requirements of any future employer. 

Ceredigion will be rebranded and marketed as the location of choice to set up businesses in the future.  The Council will actively engage with large businesses linked to the agricultural and food industries as well as tourism to promote the unique ability of the local workforce to deliver outcomes and outputs to the highest standards. The Growing Mid Wales Partnership are actively seeking to strengthen the clusters of businesses in the bio-economy, Agri-tech and animal health sectors  around the Aberystwyth University, Wales Veterinary Science Centre and other businesses across Ceredigion.

The Council will look at creative ways to generate employment opportunities through partnerships with local businesses, communities and industry.  We anticipate an increase in employment rates, inward investment and ultimately that Ceredigion, as a single entity, is the location of choice for education, employment and a prosperous and healthy lifestyle.

The Council is concerned about low income levels in the county and, through targeted interventions will endeavour to support people to manage the ongoing impact of welfare reform, maximise benefit entitlement, help people manage their financial commitments, reduce the risk of poverty for families, children and young people, and minimise the impact of rises in fuel costs.

Outcomes sought

  • Ceredigion will have a sustainable population age profile
  • Ceredigion citizens will have more opportunities to develop their physical, intellectual and social skills to lead active and healthy lives.
  • Ceredigion citizens will be equipped to realise their potential in the economic and social life of the County.
  • Ceredigion will continue to be a vibrant home for the Welsh language and culture
  • All Ceredigion citizens will have access to a range of health related programmes and interventions for all sectors of our communities, targeting those at greatest risk.

 How will we know we have made a difference?

  • Population patterns will have changed with a decrease in out-migration, especially of younger people (excluding the role of Higher Education-related migration), and a change in the long-term trend of the ratio between the working-age and the older than working age population
  • Average household incomes in Ceredigion will have increased relative to other local authorities in Wales
  • Physical, social and cultural activity levels will have increased leading to greater physical and mental health benefits for Ceredigion residents.
  • Ceredigion citizens will have rising levels of formal and non-formal qualifications and other measures that recognize learning and skill attainment

What are the issues that need to be addressed?

Providing support for all ages and needs is a significant challenge for the Council with limited resources.  Demographics have changed considerably over the last decade with a significant increase in the older age groups living in Ceredigion. As a consequence, demand for certain services has increased placing a greater financial pressure on those service areas. 

 A new ‘Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act, 2014’ has also come into force and requires the authority to alter current working practice.  There is now a legal requirement on the service to develop a range of early intervention and prevention strategies that include collaborative arrangements with communities and the voluntary sector to support independent living.  The Act also dictates closer partnership working with the Health Board, third sector and communities to ensure effective strategies that promote and maintain independence.

The unemployment levels coupled with the low income levels has placed increased difficulties on the ability of people to access safe, affordable housing.

 What do we want to achieve/improve?

All communities within Ceredigion are more proactive in their roles and responsibilities to support and care for the vulnerable in society.  Through well-defined strategies and plans, voluntary organisations will provide the necessary community infrastructures to ensure communities are increasingly resilient.  Support networks will be enhanced or where appropriate established to meet the local needs of these vulnerable groups on a daily basis. 

The Health and Social Care Partnerships will provide strategic direction to address the demand for improved nursing care across the County. Furthermore, this Partnership in conjunction with third sector partners will provide strategic direction to develop early intervention strategies for those in need to help them to live independently for longer with the aid of family and community support.  We will promote healthier living through a comprehensive leisure strategy that covers all age groups, abilities and needs.

The Council will increase the focus on our quality and affordable housing policy to ensure suitable housing stock is available to meet the needs of our citizens. 

There will also be an increase in affordable childcare provision across the County thus enabling families to re-enter full-time employment sooner and thereby improving the income levels of families with young children.

Outcomes sought

  • Citizens of all ages will have an improved quality of life
  • Improved support networks for families and those in need across the County.
  • Improved well-being and health by adopting effective interventions.
  • There will be well established networks of community and voluntary groups throughout the County providing strategic preventative support thus increasing community resilience and sustainable social care.
  • Improved choice and quality of local housing.

How will we know we have made a difference?

  • In proportion to the changing age structure of the population, through successful early intervention and prevention strategies Ceredigion will have lower numbers of vulnerable people needing a care and support plan.
  • Quality of life measures for individuals will have improved.
  • Safe affordable housing will be available to vulnerable families and to households with lower incomes

What are the issues that need to be addressed?

Ceredigion has a constant threat and challenge from the natural elements to its coastline.  This is undoubtedly one of our greatest natural assets but it requires constant care and attention.  Despite having invested over £15m on protecting our coastal communities during the last administration significant work is still required to protect the 60 miles of coastline.

Our commitment to the national efforts to reduce carbon emissions remains a high priority.  Travelling will always remain an issue in a rural area but investing in our technological infrastructure will enable us to reduce the need for travel significantly.

The management and disposal of waste continues to present ongoing challenges.  Landfill sites are limited in capacity and costly. Ceredigion has an excellent track record of recycling. The challenge is to improve on this performance over the next five years.

The Council has a key role in protecting and enhancing the natural resources of the County whilst endeavouring to protect air, land and water quality and promote and secure and enhance bio-diversity. Environmental stewardship responsibilities also extend to the built environment and the positive management of future development and land use is crucial.

The Council needs to enhance and develop communities’ ability to respond to environmental threats, events and incidents. Having reduced the Council workforce significantly, it will be vital that we harness the excellent goodwill available in our communities to support each other.

What do want to achieve/improve?

We want to foster an increased sense of pride in our communities whereby networks work together to support each other and protect the local environment. We will focus on protection of coastal communities, maintaining waste reduction and management of our carbon emissions.

The Council will continue to deliver the strategic vision of a clean and healthy environment where Ceredigion continues to to be a safe and attractive location to live and visit.

We will seek to improve investment in our broadband and mobile infrastructure.

 Outcomes sought

  • Ceredigion will show a high standard of environmental and biodiversity stewardship.
  • The County will make a positive contribution towards tackling the causes and mitigating the effects of climate change and environment harm..
  • Ceredigion communities will show improved resilience in the face of environmental and social challenges.
  • We will ensure the continued safety of the residents in coastal areas through securing further investment.

 How will we know we have made a difference?

  • Ceredigion will be recognised as an area of outstanding beauty that is a safe, prosperous and healthy environment to live and visit. The county will have one of the highest recycling rates of Welsh local authorities and one of the lowest rates of waste being sent to landfill
  • Ceredigion will be amongst the best performing authorities in Wales in the reduction of carbon emission rates
  • Communities across Ceredigion will report improved measures of community resilience
  • An improved physical and organisational infrastructure will cover at risk communities in Ceredigion

Corporate Strategy 2017-2022

Corporate Strategy 2017-2022 Summary