Fairness for you
Fairness at the heart of decision making, an economy supporting prosperity and promoting fairness in working lives and practices, accessibility to affordable energy and decent affordable homes.
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What actions are we taking?
Embedding Fairness in the Council's Strategic Planning
The Council is committed to ensuring that its budget and strategic decision making processes reflect the principles of fairness and ensure that the budget reflects the priorities set out in the Achieving Preston's Priorities.
The principles in the Fairness Charter underpin all of the Council's activities.
Social Value Policy
This is under review as part of the development of a wider Community Wealth Building Strategy.
Community Wealth Building
The Council remains committed to its ambitious Community Wealth Building agenda, putting residents and communities at the heart of economic development for the City.
In February 2021 the Council will launch, recognising and proactively addressing the significant social, economic and health impact of the pandemic.
We continue to progress this agenda through innovative and progressive dialogue and action with anchor institutions and partners.
Making Spend Matter URBACT Project
During 2020 we continued to meet with our European and local partners and continued to explore the use of social and environmental criteria in public procurements, how to better engage with businesses, and how to develop strategic procurement plans.
Meetings have taken place digitally over the last few months due to Covid-19.
In September 2020, we held an exchange and learning session which brought together all the activities which we have undertaken since the start of the project.
Preparations are underway for the final conference, which will take place online 24 March (time to be confirmed).
Coinciding with the launch is the release of the complete Making Spend Matter Toolkit which is aimed at supporting cities in their procurement journeys.
Elements of the toolkit, including a video and the Spend Analysis Guide, are already available on our website.
The Council is a proud to be an accredited Living Wage Foundation Employer and actively encourages other employers to join us in paying the Real Living Wage.
Together with partners, we are leading the Preston Real Wage initiative to promote and increase the number of Preston businesses and organisations paying their employees a fair wage.
This has been a significant area of progression in 2020, through working with key partners such as the Preston Cooperative Development Network University of Central Lancashire, Cooperatives UK and Stir to Action, as well as a wide range of local partners.
We are continuing to advance the Open Society Foundation project, in partnership with the University of Central Lancashire, which will support 10 new cooperatives in total. Additionally, we are working closely with community organisations to promote opportunities and information about cooperatives.
A business case is being prepared which will be presented to all three Cabinets and Councils. Following this a due diligence exercise will be carried out.
Those organisations in receipt of Financial Inclusion Grants continue to adapt their services to offer online and telephone support to clients.
We continue to have conversations with the groups who are confirming that they continue to support both existing and new clients who are recently unemployed who are negotiating benefit systems for the first time.
We continue to anticipate that there will be a significant increase in demand for these services in the coming months.
The Help in Preston website has attracted 8,936 visitors from 1 July 2020 to 31 December 2020 - 84.2% new users and 15.8% returning visitors.
The main areas people are visiting are:
- Food Access - 3,003
- Service Page - 1,869
- Learning, Working and Volunteering - 1,033
- Health and Wellbeing - 1,082
- Citizens Advice - 618
- Weekly Jobs Bulletin - 3,326
- Volunteering - 1,542
- Millbank - 1,127
- Covid-19 - 629
- Furniture and Household items - 585
Advice Services provide a free and confidential phone appointment service offering in depth advice on welfare benefits and debt.
In recent times Covid-19 has focussed attention on those most in need and the team formed the foundation stone of the Council's response to the crisis, in the form of a Vulnerable Support line, covering personal budgeting support and welfare, together with many other needs (isolation, foodbank, prescriptions etc).
The team has now re-launched its support service to customers with debt and welfare advice, form completion and tribunal work, albeit from a distance. Hopefully previous surgeries at Rosemere Cancer Unit, the Prison and many other Outreach locations can be resurrected in time, given the opportunity to engage directly with those most in need.
Equality, Fairness and Social Justice
Equality, Fairness and Social Justice are key principles for Preston City Council.
We have always worked to ensure that we provide excellent, accessible services to our communities.
Over the last few months we supported staff to complete Equality and Human Rights Impact Assessments and to provide updates to the project management area on are internal intranet.
We continue to develop a dynamic EHRIA - Preston's response to Covid 19. This will be a live document and once agreed by will be shared with the Inclusion Reference Group for comment.
After this the document will be available on the council's website and Help in Preston website encouraging representatives of protected characteristic groups to supply relevant information on how the pandemic is affecting their clients.
This year's Holocaust Memorial Day Commemorative service will be online and organised by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.
We will be promoting this service to staff, partners and wider community. The Harris and Market will be lit up on 27 January and the flag will be at half-mast.
Making Homes from Houses
The successful partnership with Community Gateway Housing Association (CGA) continues, 25 properties have been acquired and are undergoing refurbishment and re-occupation.
The service was stood down in the early stages of the pandemic but is now operational so a further 2 properties are in the process of
being assessed and acquired.
Looking ahead, the Council still has over a year to run on the contract with CGA.
Preston continues to support vulnerable households in fuel poverty.
During 2019 to 2021, 91 households have been assisted, bringing the total for the last two year funding stream to 740 households now living in warmer, more energy efficient homes.
The measures currently available include the provision of new boilers and central heating systems, cavity wall insulation and loft insulation, representing £200k of funding levered into the City.
Looking ahead, the current funding is in place through the early part of 2021 so that more Preston households will continue to benefit.
The Council continues to promote the availability of this funding where possible.
Accessible and Affordable Leisure Services
The partnership with Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) has been developing well and up to the point of Covid-19 GLL were presenting major successes in the sustainability of the centres.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic GLL have had to close all leisure facilities nationally and are currently following Government guidelines
on the re-opening of leisure centres.
Preston City Council are working closely with GLL to submit a funding application to the Government National Leisure Facilities Recovery Fund, which should help in the short term sustainability of leisure centre facilities in the City.
Partnership working to end Rough Sleeping
2019/20 resulted in some really good partnership working between the Council and The Foxton Centre and Community Gateway Association (CGA) to put together a positive accommodation pathway for rough sleepers. This saw 28 people housed in CGA 1 bed flats with support funded via the Rough Sleeper Initiative and the Rapid Rehousing Pathway. This included developing a "Somewhere Safe to Stay" hub which operates 24/7 and can accommodate up to 8 people.
2020/21 The Council and partners were successful in bidding into the RSI year 3 funding, which combined the two funding streams of the Rough Sleeper Initiative and RRP.
Despite the disruption caused by the pandemic there are still good opportunities to further develop access into 1 bedroom accommodation.
The Council has been informed that the Rough Sleeper Initiative (RSI year 4) funding will continue in 2021/22 this is a really good opportunity to ensure that there are a maximum number of positive move on options for those people who were accommodated through the "Everyone In" response to the Covid-19 situation.
This will be enhanced via the accommodation being brought on line through the Rough Sleeper Accommodation Programme.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) have announced a new Homeless Prevention Grant that combines two other funding streams into one and give each Local Authority a ring fenced funding stream to look to enhance the support to single people and families to prevent homelessness.
Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM)
The Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM) cohort continued to be supported to access services and to address their multiple and complex needs.
2020/21 the focus will continue to be on challenging service delivery to ensure that they are flexible and suit the needs of the people they were commissioned to provide for.
The MEAM continues to support and challenge service delivery the plan going forward is to challenge other agencies to work in a MEAM approach linking into the rough sleeper partnerships.
Improving Employability and Upskilling Communities
The Community Engagement team continue to support a network of 13 work clubs across the City run by various partner organisations and volunteers.
Our aim is to provide practical support to ensure work clubs are set up successfully, able to deliver their aims and improve employment prospects for Preston residents.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, two work clubs have had to close temporarily, with eight moving to online support. Another three have managed to continue/are starting to return to work in a Covid-safe way.
We have continued to circulate our weekly email alert with up to date Preston job opportunities, training, volunteering and apprenticeship vacancies to all work clubs who share this with their members.
The Help in Preston website is also updated weekly, with links to live, local vacancies. We are supporting work clubs with their transition into recovery following the pandemic, supporting their digital engagement offer and sharing best practice amongst organisations on how to deliver socially distanced activity.
Maximising new employment opportunities
The Community Engagement team continues to work with the Planning Department and relevant partners to provide support to developers in completing the adopted Central Lancashire Employment and Skills Supplementary Planning Document.
Providing this support increases the engagement of developers and thereby increases the opportunities for Preston residents to obtain appropriate training and employment through new developments. Unfortunately, development of this work has not progressed as much as hoped due to the pandemic.
We continue to circulate new employment opportunities as part of the weekly bulletin and we are aware that this has resulted in work club participants gaining employment.
New discussions are taking place with Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and partners, to identify employment opportunities resulting from the pandemic, such as the urgent need for extra cleaning staff in local hospitals.
Training is being sourced to upskill local unemployed people with guaranteed interviews to help them to secure local jobs.
Fishwick and St Matthews (FAM, formerly known as FOFS)
As a result of restructure, the Big Local Partnership group in Fishwick and St Matthews has now formally separated from the FOFS local community group with the Big Local group now known as FAM.
The Council continues to work with FAM and remains one of their designated Local Trusted Organisations. (We will also support
the FOFS group in due course.)
The four FAM Partnership priority themes:
- Skills and Jobs
- Environment and Play
- Health and Wellbeing
- Financial Inclusion and Poverty
The four FAM priorities have now become three, with Skills and Jobs merging with the Inclusion group.
FOFS has continued their part-time funding contribution of a Community Engagement Officer to support the group in improving the employment and training prospects of residents within the area and the officer has supported the Sahara work club attendees to obtain Covid-19 specific jobs (such as those in health, care and retail) during the pandemic.
The Holiday Market concept was developed by Preston Council to start to address the needs surrounding holiday hunger.
The markets are supported by Preston City Council but delivered by schools, faith and community organisations across the City and therefore independent of the Council.
A Holiday Market Network including a dedicated What's App group with over 50 active members continues to be supported by the Council.
The Network offers support to the volunteers by improving communication and sharing best practice and surplus food between markets and other food providers.
This network has been instrumental in delivering the Covid-19 food response and enabling those most in need to access food during the pandemic.
The work carried out by Preston communities during this difficult time has been outstanding and has made a huge different to families and individuals within the City. Supporting the food providers will continue throughout 2021, during the pandemic and beyond when we may have space to develop new work with providers.
- Figures March to September: 1,440 families supported, 47,520 food parcels provided, 570,240 meals provided (Holiday Markets)
- Figures October to December: 1,200 families supported, 12,000 food parcels provided, 144,000 meals provided (Holiday Markets)
- *Figures December to March (estimate): 2,100 families supported. 27,300 parcels delivered, 327,600 meals provided (8 food banks, 3 hot meal providers, 4 food pantries, 19 holiday markets). These groups are funded via the Government Emergency Assistance Grant.
Neighbourhood Food Hubs
Preston City Council continues to develop work with community groups in Fishwick and St Matthews and the Ingol area to establish how food poverty activity can be co-ordinated across a geographic community.
The Council is supporting the Preston Community Hub in the Fishwick / St Matthews wards in the development of a consortium and business plan to develop and deliver a wider programme of food poverty activity, including the development of a community kitchen.
Unfortunately, the Covid pandemic has slowed progress down but this will be stepped up as soon as capacity allows.
Youth and Food Activity
Conversations are ongoing with youth activity providers in key areas of the City to find out how food can become part of their youth activity provision, particularly during the school holiday periods.
As a pilot during the 6 weeks school holiday, Preston City Council was due to work in partnership with Preston North End, Lets Grow Preston, a small number of schools and community and faith organisations to provide a packed lunch alongside structured youth activity on 3 days per week across the full school holiday period. However due to the reintroduction of social restrictions only 3 weeks of delivery took place as opposed to 6 weeks.
Development of this work will re-start once social restrictions allow.
The development of Youth Food Champions and Experts by Experience programmes in partnership with UCLan, LAL, local schools and Barnardo's, has paused due to Corvid-19 pandemic, although conversations with key partner organisations have remained ongoing.
Community Food Activity
Preston City Council is supporting Intact in its development of its Thrifty Kitchen project which aims to educate people on how to cook on a budget.
Although Covid-19 meant that workshops were unable to be delivered as originally planned, online cookery demonstrations and recipe cards were produced and distributed with food parcels.
Cooperatives UK have now confirmed funding for a project to pilot the Cooperation Town model of food buying groups in Preston.
Three community anchors will establish one or two food buying groups within their community, learning in the process about what works and what doesn't work so well.
As it is a pilot, is very much 'learning by doing' to establish 'proof of concept'.
The Council is continuing to liaise with Lancashire County Council Public Health in supporting and increasing the uptake of Healthy Start Vouchers. An information leaflet on support services including access to Healthy Start vouchers was produced and distributed via the Food Banks during Christmas and New Year.
Monthly zoom meetings with Lancashire County Council Public Health and the Community Engagement Team have started to help
forward plan collaborative work, following the easing of social restrictions.
Unfortunately, this work has paused as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic period, however once the pandemic abates, the Community Engagement team will continue conversations with Lancashire County Council inline with their team around the school
methodology currently being introduced.
A new partnership has been developed with Neighbourly who are interested in how they can help provide produce to support the Breakfast Provision.
Officers are working with Preston's youth support organisations, who have come together as the Preston Youth Forum, bringing together skills and experience from partners to develop ways of engaging young people in the City and district.
The group are coordinating their efforts in order to maximise the chances of a successful Youth Endowment Fund application in 2021.
Over the summer, Preston United, Active Lancashire and Community Gateway delivered activities that helped young people through the Covid restrictions, including video diaries, outdoor arts and sports activities.
The Forum also has a sub group that is dedicated to developing pathways to education and employment (Preston Youth Aspiration, Education, Training and Employment) which works with the colleges, university, DWP and non-formal education providers like PVC and PNE, which has since the summer focussed on supporting young people leaving school and college.
The Community Engagement team have begun to circulate a Young People's email alert on a monthly basis, which helps to promote volunteer/work and training opportunities suitable for Young People who may find themselves struggling with their next steps due to the pandemic.
We are also having regular conversations with DWP and other partner organisations as to how we will set up Youth Hubs, offering
outreach support in Preston for 18-24 year olds, in a more joined up way.
General Community Engagement Activity
UCLan have finished interviews with the stakeholder organisations in the Plungington area and will review how the community researcher training can be carried out given social restrictions.
The Covid restrictions has impeded this but it is still developing and has interest in the locality.
The Broadgate Community Connector group's dedicated development officer has been retained and is developing further projects to bring residents together. They are working with Preston City Council and Lancashire County Council to help find resources for an environmental project with the school, develop a community safe space and launch the Broadgate walk.
We will also support the funding raising effort that the development officer is hoping to carry out.
Working in partnership
- Faith Covenant - a joint commitment between faith communities and local authorities to a set of principles that guide engagement, aiming to remove some of the mistrust that exists and to promote open, practical working on all levels.
- Procurement Practitioners Group - a group of procurement, policy and economic development practitioners which seeks to progress procurement policy and practices by sharing knowledge and experience, while developing common actions.
- The Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Forum - a group formed to act as a focus for a BME voice and activity and to promote co-operation.
- Social Forum - is an opportunity for people with an interest in the City to get together and discuss and influence issues around equality and fairness in Preston.
- Shadow Lancashire Combined Authority (LCA) - focused around key themes such as Prosperous Lancashire, Connected Lancashire, Skilled Lancashire, Better Homes for Lancashire, Joined up Public Services for Lancashire.
- Central Lancashire Health and Wellbeing Partnership - aimed at building strong and effective partnership working between Preston, Chorley and South Ribble Councils, the NHS bodies, Lancashire County Council, the Voluntary Community and Faith Sector and other public bodies to improve local people's health and wellbeing.
- Preston Children's Board - a partnership which comes together to take forward actions to improve the lives of children and young people.
- Community Safety Partnership - working with neighbouring Councils across the Police Division footprint a partnership which comes together to take action on the priorities it has identified for Preston such as: reducing offending and re-offending; harm reduction and support to communities particularly those most vulnerable and prevention and early intervention.
What impact are we making?
The Achieving Preston's Priorities document sets out the impact the Council hopes to make in each of its strategic priority areas.
During 2020/21 and beyond we are making a significant impact in the City working alongside our partners:
- Supported the development of 2 new cooperatives through the Open Society Foundation project
- Hosted Community Anchors: A Cooperative Recovery Programme, with a range of BAME and migrant community organisations.
- Successfully supported a bid by the University of Central Lancashire, to the Place-Based Action Network for the "Integrating climate resilience and social justice into a Framework for recovery in Preston after Covid-19" project.
- Hosted regular virtual meetings to provide urgent Covid-19 briefings and consult with the Faith the Faith Covenant and representative of community groups.
- Working with Coops UK and the PCDN, secured £20,000 to pilot food buying cooperatives with BAME community organisations within Preston's Food Hub network.
- Established 'Bringing the Preston Model to Justice' with partners from the Ministry of Justice, the NHS and UCLan to pilot a new cooperative based approach to supporting the social and economic integration of people leaving prison.
- Increased the number of affordable housing completions.
- Attracted significant funding from the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government towards Homelessness and Rough Sleeping.
- Seen an increase in the procurement spend in Preston by its anchor institutions.
- Attracted external funding for energy efficiency improvements in private homes.
- Provided targeted debt and welfare advice to help clients regain control of their finances and to maximise their entitlement to benefits.