Introduction

Councillor Shabir Pandor, Leader of the Council
Councillor Shabir Pandor, Leader of the Council

I'm pleased to present our Council Plan for 2021/23. The plan sets out the priorities and values that will shape our work over the next 18 months.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed so many people's lives in Kirklees. It has also changed the scale and the urgency of the challenges this council is trying to overcome. That's why this plan is so important to me and to the communities we serve. It will guide our decision making, help us prioritise our resources and it makes a statement about what really matters to us and to the people who live and work in our borough. It is a guide not just for recovery, but to come back stronger in every town and village in Kirklees. This is a plan that acknowledges the challenges but is ambitious about overcoming them.

Once again, the plan focuses on outcomes that improve opportunities for everyone in Kirklees. We retain our focus on outcomes because they are what change people's lives for the better and for the long term. But recovery also presents us with immediate and urgent challenges. That is why the plan sets out how we will build momentum behind our recovery over the coming weeks and months. A series of actions are included here that will kickstart recovery, including progress on important town and village centre improvements across Kirklees, major investment in road and transport schemes and a renewed focus on those core services which benefit everyone, especially where they have been affected by the pandemic.

Our plan is underpinned by our values. At the heart of those values is inclusion. As Kirklees recovers from the pandemic, it's more important than ever that we leave no one behind. We have immense ambition for this borough but we won't deliver our vision fully if people are excluded from our successes. Recovery in Kirklees needs to break the cycles of the past when success was shared unevenly across society.

This plan is forward looking. Kirklees is a place with a bright future and that's why our plan focuses so heavily on the long-term challenges: on the investments we are making in our infrastructure, our children's education and how we can tackle the climate emergency before it's too late.

None of the aspirations we are setting out in this plan can be achieved by the council alone. If this crisis has taught us anything, it's that we work better when we're standing together. The pandemic has shown us what's possible when public bodies, business and communities work together with a common aim. That's the spirit we will take forward with this Council Plan. This plan also includes a new pledge to work with residents even more closely, to listen to your priorities and to reflect your ambitions in our actions. Our diverse communities are our greatest strength and we want to make sure that all voices are heard as we plan our shared future.

The past 18 months have been painful for so many residents in Kirklees. At the same time, it has shown the best of us. That is why our plan has optimism and determination at its heart and why I am confident we can deliver for people across Kirklees.

Jacqui Gedman, Chief Executive
Jacqui Gedman, Chief Executive

Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have all faced challenges we could never have predicted. Across the whole council, people have responded to the pandemic with levels of flexibility and hard work beyond all expectation. Building on existing relationships and creating new ones, we have worked closely with our partners to innovate and create shared solutions that support people, communities and businesses. The creativity and kindness of our staff makes me proud every single day. Thank you!

As we move towards recovery, we are adopting new ways of working to build on the flexibility shown during our response to the pandemic. We are developing approaches which support our place-based working ambitions - enabling us to better connect our staff to the places, people and communities we serve.

We are all learning to work in new ways. Our ongoing commitment to ensuring safe and flexible working environments, and a clear focus on wellbeing support reflects our commitment to treating all our staff with compassion and kindness.

We have great ambitions for our recovery. That ambition starts with delivering excellence across those core services that residents rely on. The council and its staff have faced serious disruption over the past 18 months, which has affected many of our services. At times it's been difficult, but we learned from the challenges every day. As we look forward, we will use those experiences to raise standards and deliver even more effectively for residents.

It is with good reason that our future is an ambitious one. We work in amazing places, with incredible people and fantastic colleagues. But this is a plan for both ambition and action. It sets out the practical steps we will take to achieve our objectives. It puts in place the building blocks of an inclusive recovery in which no one is left behind and I am excited about the difference we can make together.

Our vision

Our vision for Kirklees is to be a district that combines a strong, sustainable economy with a great quality of life - leading to thriving communities, growing businesses, high prosperity and low inequality where people enjoy better health throughout their lives. Read more about our vision.

Our approach

Working with people, partners and place

We use the phrase 'We're Kirklees' within our staff teams to reflect our pride in Kirklees and our commitment to working together for all our places.

Our response to the pandemic has shown how important our approach to 'people, partners and place', has been for helping us to achieve our outcomes, and this approach will continue to be important for helping to shape our recovery, in a way that leaves no one behind. Read more about our approach.

Our values

Just like individuals, our organisation's values guide the way we think and act. In our response to the pandemic we have seen our values in action, under incredible pressure and in a rapidly changing environment. Read more about our values.

Our shared outcomes

Five stars

We remain committed to the shared outcomes we have agreed with our partners. These outcomes describe what it is we want to achieve and help us focus our planning and action as a council.

Apart from the addition of a new shared outcome, the other outcomes haven't changed, although the steps we will need to take to get us there might be different because of the constantly evolving national and local impacts of the pandemic, and because of our focus on achieving inclusion as part of everything we do.

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