Working with people, partners and place
Our Council Plan describes the ambitions we have for Kirklees and sets out how we work with people, partners, and in places so we can achieve our ambitions.
We use the phrase 'We're Kirklees' to capture our pride in Kirklees and our ambition for the future; we're ambitious for the place and our people and we want to celebrate all that makes Kirklees special.
Recovering from the pandemic
The coronavirus pandemic has clearly brought unprecedented challenges to the way in which we deliver services and the way in which we work, particularly during our response to the initial crisis.
Our Recovery Framework provides us with a clear approach to our ongoing response and recovery from COVID-19, at both an organisational level, and in terms of the way we deliver our services. The Economic Recovery Plan also sets out how we will respond to the economic impacts the crisis is having and help build resilience in the Kirklees economy.
Although the pandemic is not yet over, we must not lose sight of our ambitions for our longer-term future and the ways in which we work. Building on previous plans, we will continue to maintain our focus on people, partners and places, and continue to work in a way that holds true to the values we believe are important. We will continue working towards the outcomes we share with our partners, and we will work to tackle inequalities.
We work with people, we don't do things to them. Our focus is on engaging people, building relationships based on trust, and working with people and communities to solve problems and make the most of opportunities. We've been developing our skills in restorative practice over the last year, enhancing staff behaviours, interactions and approaches to help build and maintain positive, healthy relationships, resolve difficulties and repair harm where there has been conflict.
Working with people through the crisis...
In the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic we quickly established a community response that brought together the council, councillors, partners, voluntary and community groups and individual volunteers. A total of 130 local mutual aid groups added a huge capacity of neighbourhood level support. Eight voluntary sector anchor organisations coordinated local efforts. We are proud of the flexibility shown by staff redeployed to help people access prescriptions, food, welfare and grant funding, and we are prouder still of our communities who have shown kindness and compassion in the face of common challenges.
We work proactively with our partners. Our partners in Kirklees and beyond bring a vast amount of positive insight, skills and understanding to the table. Working together with a shared sense of purpose, and using the expertise held across these sectors, makes our work more effective and impactful.
Working with partners through the crisis...
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Education Learning Partnership Board has brought together schools, trade unions, multi academy trusts, elected members and the Department for Education to focus on securing a positive return to school, promoting health, safety and positive outcomes for pupils, their families, staff and wider stakeholders. Putting an equal focus on collaboration and challenge, they have put children at the centre of a response to the pandemic that has built capacity and creativity along the way. The Education Learning Partnership Board quickly pulled together working groups to provide a systems-based approach to the reinstatement of schools. The working groups effectively harnessed the collective capacity of partners to be proactive and supportive, and sufficiently identified and deployed resources, funding and expertise in a local, regional and national context.
Place based working
We know that one size doesn't fit all, and we recognise the diversity and strengths to be found across Kirklees. We are committed to working with people to design, develop and deliver support and services. Place based working taps into the huge pride that the people of Kirklees have for the places in which they live, work and play, and their valuable skills, strengths and local knowledge.
Working in places through the crisis...
The COVID-19 crisis meant that we had to respond as a whole system, and within places, which helped to accelerate our place-based working approach, heightening its importance. It resulted in a situation where working together with communities, the voluntary sector, statutory partners, citizens and regional and national infrastructure was the only way to ensure there was enough capacity in the right places to respond to need. During our response to the pandemic, we have proved that it is possible to have multiple agencies all working to different footprints delivering services in a coordinated way. Based on this understanding, we are working closely with places and with councillors to better understand the priorities of our communities, and how these might have changed since the impact of the pandemic, building on our previous Place Standard engagement work. We have delivered a series of ward-based workshops to better understand local priorities and will use this learning to develop our future approach to working in a place-based way, and the way in which we recover from the pandemic on local footprints.