Providing well run value for money services, demonstrating good governance, openness, transparency and a strong democratic process.
What actions are we taking?
Digital Agenda - Service Improvement Board
Good progress has been made on several digital transformation projects:
These workstreams are now complete:
- Migration of applications from 'on-premise' to the Microsoft 365 Cloud (Office, Outlook)
- Migration of home drive data to OneDrive
- Development of a new intranet in SharePoint online
- Development of self-service forms with automatic processing using PowerApp's and Flow.
The following projects were also completed in the last months:
- Virtual Desktop Infrastructure project
- Corporate migration to Teams Calling as a Service and the decommission of Skype for Business
- Migration to a new Contact Centre Call System
- Corporate rollout of Multi-Function Devices
- Improved connectivity to remote sites
- Migration to Intune Mobile Device Management software
- New website for Preston Markets
- The migration of remaining shared drive data to Teams will be a prime focus in 2023.
- Essential upgrade of on-premise servers to Server 2019/22. We have several back-office applications using these servers so, the upgrades involve both Preston City Council ICT and Supplier staff as well as an additional supplier cost for each system.
- The Council's VMWare Enterprise Licence Agreement is due for renewal in June 2023. A requirements review will take place in the New Year to determine expected costs. Later in the year we will also be preparing for the renewal of the Council's Microsoft Enterprise Licence Agreement in February 2024.
- The Wi-Fi hardware in the Town Hall is now End of Life so we plan to replace with equipment removed from the Harris Museum and Art Gallery which would otherwise go unused while the building is closed.
- Connectivity improvements at Riversway Docks Control and Riversway Managed Workshops.
- Work will continue to develop the new intranet and self-service forms.
- Following substantial project work on the Council's websites, either developing new sites or rebranding, work in the New Year will involve reviewing, maintenance and further development of all the sites.
- The Council also has a Wedding website in the pipeline.
A County Deal for a Greater Lancashire
The Council has a bold ambition to deliver a better form of local government with improved powers from government and the better funding to deliver much more for our residents.
To underpin and support these ambitions, we are committed to working in partnership with authorities across Lancashire in order to achieve the necessary changes. This unified approach is enabling significant advanced preparatory work to be undertaken. This is expected to outline the concept of 'County Deals' to provide devolution and funding proposals to Shire Counties.
We maintain our commitment to effective partnership working with our fellow authorities across Lancashire in order to maximise the beneficial impact from any 'devolution deal' from Whitehall. Whilst the government has stated that it is not considering any further tranches of local government reorganisation for the time being, the Council remains firm in its belief that a Central Lancashire unitary authority, including Chorley, South Ribble, West Lancashire and Preston would provide the best opportunity to deliver the brightest future for our residents, communities and businesses.
The fleet review is ongoing.
The fleet consists of nearly 125 vehicles and plant and a significant number of these will be replaced within the next 12 months in order to assist in reducing carbon emissions and minimise vehicle downtime due to mechanical failure.
The fleet is being reduced in size where possible and low emission vehicles are being considered where practicable.
Responding to the Climate Emergency
Preston City Council declared a Climate Emergency in April 2019, setting a target for the Council to reach net zero emissions by 2030.
In August 2021, the Council was awarded the One Carbon World's Neutral International Standard and in December we published an Interim Action Statement highlighting actions taken to date, as well as the Overview and Scrutiny Member Task and Finish Group's report.
A study to establish a carbon emission baseline for the Council was completed in March 2022 and a dedicated Climate Policy Officer appointed in April. Since then, work has gathered pace within the Council and in partnership with other local authorities, anchor partners and community organisations in Preston.
A cross-directorate officer working group is advising the Climate Policy Officer on the development of the Council's Climate Action Plan which will be published early in 2023. This will include clear actions to reduce the impact of the Council's operations and services on the climate and will be supported with a dedicated capital budget.
The Council continues to work with anchor partners across a range of projects to address the climate agenda and is actively seeking external funding opportunities and other support to progress this critical work stream. For example the Council's investment plan for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund included many local interventions to address the Climate Emergency. For example, the Council's investment plan for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund included many local interventions to address the Climate Emergency including funding for a Climate Assembly, feasibility studies to extend sustainable travel options in the city, community tree planting, energy efficiency measures for fuel poor households and support for local businesses to reduce their carbon emissions and to develop low carbon innovations.
During 2022/23 the Council has also supported community initiatives to respond to the climate crisis, including the Climate Emergency Centre and Preston Pedals.
Working in partnership
- Inclusion Reference Group
- Shadow Combined Authority / Lancashire Leaders
What impact are we making?
During 2023/24 and beyond we are making a significant impact in the City working alongside our partners:
- Reduce costs and deliver further value for money by increasing online transactional access to more services.
- Improve the effectiveness of our service delivery by implementing cost effective technologies such as Interactive Voice Recognition software.
- Progress working towards making the Council sustainable in the long term.
- We continue to provide accessible services to the public.