Corporate Strategy 2022-2027

Ceredigion County Council is very proud of its track record of delivering high quality, efficient and effective services to the residents of Ceredigion. Ensuring we continue to deliver excellent services for the next administration period between 2022 and 2027 is essential.

The Corporate Strategy sets out the Council’s Corporate Well-being Objectives which are designed to improve and enhance the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of the citizens of Ceredigion. The four Corporate Well-being Objectives are:

  • Boosting the Economy, Supporting Businesses and Enabling Employment
  • Creating Caring and Healthy Communities
  • Providing the Best Start in Life and Enabling Learning at All Ages
  • Creating Sustainable, Green and Well-connected Communities

It is into these areas that we will direct our resources to re-invigorate the local economy and provide a prosperous, healthy, safe and affordable environment in which the citizens and communities of Ceredigion can thrive.

These have been identified through extensive analysis of evidence and engagement with residents, including the ambitions of the current administration, the Ceredigion Assessment of Local Well-being and the public consultation on the Corporate Strategy in September/October 2022.

The Objectives have also been identified through the lens of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015. This involved identifying how we could maximise our contribution to the national well-being goals and also ensure that we used the sustainable development principle to ensure that the needs of the present are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Background

Ceredigion is a confident, attractive county in which many of our people prosper and develop, where many have established thriving and successful businesses.

However, our size and location mean we face challenges to growing the local economy, but equally there are many opportunities for us to take full advantage of in positioning the county to adapt to both a low-carbon future and increased digitisation.

The key challenges can be summarised as the need to attract new businesses and grow existing businesses, create more and higher paid job opportunities, provide opportunities for younger people to remain in the county, and increase average earnings of the County in comparison to Wales as a whole

The strengths and unique selling points for the local economy are that new business start-ups have some of the best survival rates across Wales, our workforce has much higher than average skills and qualifications, and the knowledge economy is strong with two highly rated Universities.

It is against this backdrop that we have developed our Corporate Well-being Objective to build on our strengths as a county, take full advantage of the opportunities open to us and tackle the challenges facing us to grow the local economy. Boosting the economy, supporting our local businesses and enabling our people to access good quality employment and careers will help us achieve this.

Boosting the Economy

We will continue to progress the Mid Wales Growth Deal to realise the benefits of the £110m investment in the mid-Wales economy. The projects supported by the Growth Deal will leverage additional investment in the economy and maximise the economic impact of Ceredigion, such as creating additional jobs and economic growth of up to £700m.

A key part of growing the local economy will be the delivery of Ceredigion’s Economic Strategy which sets out the actions we will take over the next 15 years. We will continue to deliver the actions in the Strategy, and work with partners across the County to identify and deliver further interventions to bring economic growth to the County.

Tackling poverty and supporting working parents will continue to be a priority for the Council, and we will work with our partners on the Ceredigion Public Service Board’s Poverty Sub-Group to identify actions to mitigate the impacts.

Supporting Businesses

We will continue to support local businesses in the recovery from COVID-19, but also work to support new business start-ups in Ceredigion and support existing businesses to expand and grow.

Part of this will involve prioritising locally-sourced produce and supply chains in council business in order to keep as much money and as many jobs as possible within the local community. Where possible we will break up contracts in order to maximise the use of local suppliers.

Enabling Employment

In addition, to supporting job creation, we will continue to promote equal opportunities in employment, boost inclusive growth, promote gender equality in employment and encourage greater investment in education and skills throughout working life.

We will achieve this by enhancing the provision of skills and learning opportunities at age 16 and further developing apprenticeships in the County. We will establish an employability skills development pathway for young people and those with disability to promote inclusion in the workforce.

For parents, we will support the provision of funded childcare for all two-year olds, expand the Childcare Offer to include parents/guardians who are in education or training, and also the expansion of Flying Start to help children develop social, emotional and communication skills they need for success in school.

Our priorities for delivering the Corporate Well-being Objective are:

  • Progress the £110m Mid Wales Growth Deal
  • Support local businesses in the recovery from COVID-19
  • Support new and growing businesses in the County
  • Create new job opportunities for skilled young people
  • Promote equal opportunities in employment
  • Achieve sustainable economic growth
  • Pursue the Local Development Plan
  • Prioritise locally sourced produce and supply chains
  • Improve 4G Broadband
  • Equitable funding within the Arfor programme
  • Improve digital, transport and energy connectivity
  • Tackle poverty in Ceredigion
  • Support working parents in Ceredigion
  • Enhance the provision of skills and learning opportunities for people aged 16+
  • Further develop apprenticeships in the County

Background

The ‘Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act, 2014’ places a legal requirement on the Council to develop a range of early intervention and prevention strategies that include collaborative arrangements with communities and the voluntary sector to support independent living.

Ceredigion has an ageing population. It is expected that this will put a significant strain on our public services, particularly our local health and care service.

Creating caring and healthy communities will improve well-being through supporting independent living, preventing future problems, providing for the care needs, and supporting mental as well as physical well-being following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Creating Caring Communities

The Council’s Through Age Well-being Programme has progressed well, and we will continue to push forward with transforming how people’s health, well-being and safety can be supported in Ceredigion. The Programme aims to identify at an early stage what concerns people have and aim to prevent escalation, wherever possible, through a timely and proportionate response. This approach will help to ensure people get the right level and type of support, at the right time, to prevent, reduce or delay the need for ongoing support, and to maximise people’s independence and to be able to remain in their own home in their own community wherever possible.

A higher level of provision is needed in housing for older people and housing with care in order to match the aspirations of the Welsh Government’s Older People’s Expert Housing Panel report, and to meet the older people’s preference to staying independent and living in their home. The potential development of the Cylch Caron Integrated Resource Centre in Tregaron and Maes Y Môr (extra care scheme) in Aberystwyth will help to address this need.

As a result we will continue to progress the ground-breaking Cylch Caron integrated health and social care project in partnership with Hywel Dda University Health Board and will pursue further extra-care facilities in Aberaeron and elsewhere. Maes Y Môr opened in October 2021, a supportive community of 56 apartments, allowing people to live in their own home with access to 24-hour on site care and support.

Ceredigion has a history of supporting families fleeing from war, hunger and homelessness. Over the past few years the Council has successfully supported 74 refugees from Syria to be welcomed into the community. We will continue to play a leading role in helping refugees and resettling them into our communities.

Creating Healthy Communities

Ceredigion is predominately a bilingual county, and our Welsh heritage and culture is important. Safeguarding the language is a high priority for the Council, where the County continues to be a heartland of the Welsh Language and that it is an everyday language that is heard and spoken naturally by children, young people and adults.

We want to encourage all of our citizens, regardless of ability, to become physically active so they can benefit from positive health and well-being. To achieve this we have put in place a series of actions to deliver over the next five years, including the provision of outreach physical activity opportunities, providing Health Intervention Programmes to improve physical activity levels in older adults and supporting community organisations to provide opportunities for residents to be active.

We will also be moving ahead with transforming Lampeter Leisure Centre into a ‘Wellbeing Centre’. The Centre will enhance the core offer of Leisure provision with areas for meeting, consultation and treatment to contribute to improving the physical, mental and social well-being of the County's residents. Our aim is for the whole of Ceredigion to benefit from Well-being Centres, and as a result we will be progressing plans to develop Wellbeing Centres in the North and South of the county, as well as ‘pop-up’ provision in other locations.

Our priorities for delivering the Corporate Well-being Objective are:

  • Provide for the care needs of our population
  • Deliver the Through Age Well-being Programme
  • Promote the Welsh Language in Ceredigion
  • Launch Well-being Centres across the County
  • Pursue initiatives to train and recruit childcare and social care staff
  • Progress Cylch Caron extra care facility at Tregaron
  • Welcome and support the resettlement of refugees
  • Develop carers’ breaks/ respitality and support the aspiration of creation of a National Care Service for Wales
  • Support community mental health facilities
  • Encourage and enable people to get physically active so they can benefit from positive health and wellbeing
  • Develop an improvement plan for the strategic provision of facilities to increase physical activity levels in the county
  • Enhance the role of Community Connectors to support the development of resilient communities
  • Further develop participation events to ensure communities have a voice
  • Develop and increase the number of focussed and universal extra-curricular and holiday activity programmes
  • Develop and increase the number of support groups and programmes

Background

The Ceredigion education system is one of the most successful in Wales, but earnings in the County are below average, and the perceived lack of career and social opportunities have resulted in an outwards migration of our younger adults.

Ceredigion is also a low income economy, with household income amongst the lowest in Wales despite having relatively high qualification levels in the workforce. In-work poverty and child 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.

Providing the best start in life and helping people to learn at all ages will ensure that the appropriate training programmes will enable learners to meet the employment needs of current and future businesses within Ceredigion. This includes equipping post-16 and adult learners with the necessary skill set to enable them to be agile, bilingual workers and adapt to the requirements of future employment.

Providing the best start in life

In order to provide the best start in life for our children and young people we will be supporting the provision of Free School Meals for primary pupils from September 2022. Under the initiative, all Reception Class children will receive free nutritious school meals. This is an important initiative as the cost of living crisis continues.

Flying Start provides childcare of the highest quality and has been highly effective in Ceredigion for families in our most deprived areas. We will be supporting the expansion of early years childcare provision via Flying Start for all 2-year olds, from September 2022. Flying Start supports development of children's speech, language and communication; parenting support; and an enhanced health visitor service.

Enabling learning at all ages

During the next term we will build on the investment in our schools in recent years. This will include delivering the new net carbon zero 3-story extension at Cardigan primary school, that will provide a new main entrance and two new classrooms.

Research shows that Welsh language development in early years can encourage feelings of belonging and offer a path into new cultural and social opportunities. As a result we will deliver the Welsh in Education Strategic Plan to strengthen Welsh language provision and ensure that pupils are confident in both Welsh and English at year 6. This will be supported by the development of a Culture Strategy and Equity Strategy to support community well-being.

We believe in young people and will also support the Ceredigion Youth Council as a forum for children and young people to share their opinions, discuss current projects and raise their concerns.

Our priorities for delivering the Corporate Well-being Objective are:

  • Deliver schools investment across the County, including the net carbon zero 3-storey extension at Cardigan Secondary School
  • Deliver the Welsh in Education Strategic Plan (WESP) 2022 to 2032
  • Ensure that pupils are confident communicators in both Welsh and English by the end of Key Stage 2 (year 6)
  • Support the Ceredigion Youth Council as a forum for children and young people
  • Developing Children and Young People’s skills, knowledge and confidence to be physically active
  • Develop Leadership skills within our Children and Young People at the earliest opportunity
  • Support the provision of Free School Meals for primary school pupils
  • Support the provision of funded childcare for all two-year-olds
  • Work with partners to deliver the Maternity and Early Years Strategy for West Wales
  • Support the development of Theatr Felinfach’s facilities
  • Ensure that all learners’ identified Additional Learning Needs are supported appropriately to become independent and fulfilled individuals
  • Provide support for schools to successfully implement the new curriculum for Wales
  • Develop a Culture Strategy and Equity Strategy to support school and community wellbeing
  • Enhance the range of care and support options for looked after children and young people

Background

The Council has a leading role to play in protecting and enhancing the natural resources of the County whilst endeavouring to protect air, land and water quality. In March 2020, the Council declared a global climate emergency. The decision highlights the need to take further drastic action to reduce our carbon emissions.

It also has a key role in promoting, securing and enhancing bio-diversity. The Council’s environmental stewardship responsibility also extends to the built environment and the positive management of future development and land use is crucial to achieving these aims. There are key challenges to achieving this such as the phosphates levels in the River Teifi Special Area of Conservation that is preventing building in the Teifi Valley.

Housing affordability continues to be a major challenge for many in the county. The demand for housing in Ceredigion has seen average property prices reach record levels, making it increasing difficult for local people to remain in their local community and for first time buyers to get on the housing ‘ladder’.

Creating Sustainable Communities

We will continue to work with local housing associations to increase our stock of social housing to meet the needs of local people and our ageing population, in particular the approximately 1,700 people on the housing waiting list. We will also take action to continue to address the issue of second homes and use the review of the Local Development Plan to enable more young people to build their lifetime homes in order to ensure the sustainability of our rural communities.

Creating Greener Communities

During the next term we will continue to prioritise the reduction of carbon emissions in order to pursue our goal of becoming a net zero carbon Council by 2030. Some of the actions we will be taking include delivering all new schools developments in Ceredigion to net zero carbon and investigating the transition of our corporate fleet to Ultra Low Emission vehicles to deliver a 3% reduction in carbon emissions year-on-year. The Council’s current five year action plan will continue to be delivered as we aim to protect our environment for future generations.

We will also be pushing ahead with further projects to maximise green and renewable energy production on the Council’s estate. For example, completing the programme of installing energy saving LED bulbs in street lights, rationalising the Council’s building stock, and installing further solar canopies. Our new hybrid working policy will permanently reduce the amount of travelling for both Councillors and officers, thus reducing congestion and emissions.

Creating Well-Connected Communities

The last two years have shown just how important being connected is to our residents and businesses. As a result we will be advocating for increased provision for walking and cycling, continue to maintain and repair our highway network and push for a rail link between Aberystwyth and Carmarthen.

Good progress has been made in recent years in strengthening the County’s digital connectivity, and we will continue to push for better connectivity across the county, including supporting the rollout of 4G Broadband masts in the next three years, including in our most rural areas to reduce inequality in services. We will do everything we can to ensure that the residents and businesses of Ceredigion can become full members of an inter-connected Wales.

Our priorities for delivering the Corporate Well-being Objective are:

  • Prioritising the reduction of carbon emissions and pursue our goal of becoming a Net Carbon Zero Council by 2030
  • Build on Ceredigion's excellent performance in waste management and recycling
  • Transition towards an Ultra Low Emission Vehicle corporate fleet
  • Work with local Housing Associations to increase our stock of social housing
  • We will continue to address the issues of second homes, holiday homes ownership or the conversion of residential properties to holiday let by seeking the support of the Welsh Government to bring forward legislation under the Planning Act and Taxation Service
  • Enable more young people to build their lifetime home
  • Encourage the retention of Welsh-language place names
  • We have recognised the seriousness of the issue associated with phosphate levels along the Teifi Valley within the Corporate Risk Register. Every effort will be made through the Nutrient Management Board to find early solutions to the problem
  • Find solutions to flooding in the Teifi Valley
  • Pursue funding for coastal defences at Aberaeron and Aberystwyth and develop proposals for the next phase of the Borth coastal defence scheme and for the frontage at Llangrannog
  • Halt and reverse the decline in biodiversity including in our marine environment
  • Support increased provision for walking and cycling
  • Advocate strongly for a rail link between Aberystwyth and Carmarthen

Corporate Strategy 2022-2027

Corporate Strategy Summary 2022-2027