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Exciting plans for The Harris

The Harris will temporarily close from 5pm on Saturday 2 October.

Your council

People round a meeting table

Providing well run value for money services, demonstrating good governance, openness, transparency and a strong democratic process.

You can download a full copy of the Icon for pdf Achieving Preston's Priorities (APP) 2021/22 [2.51MB] document here.

What actions are we taking?

Digital Agenda - Service Improvement Board

During the last few months, we have supported the Council's Covid priorities by developing systems to deal with vulnerable people, track and trace and local food banks.

Staff have also been redeployed in some cases to support the phone lines or testing centres.

Several new digital services have been added to the corporate website including:

  • Upload evidence electronically for benefits and change of circumstances;
  • Welfare Benefits and debt advice online chat facility;
  • Report needles and drug litter;
  • Scrap metal collection and payment;
  • Redundancy support help.

We are still working on the new look micro-sites including Visit Preston and Invest in Preston and currently making improvements to the Contact Us section of the corporate website.

The Microsoft 365 migration project is a major internal digital transformation project for the Council and will run for a further 12-18 months.

There are a number of strands to the project to ensure good information governance, security, file cleansing and migration, email migration and training. A new Council intranet is also being developed and the use of PowerApps is being tested to provision e-forms and automatic processes for staff. A lot of preparatory work has already been done but there is still much to do to ensure a smooth transition for all staff and Members.

The project will move from the development phase to the start of corporate delivery following the renewal of our Enterprise Agreement in February when all the appropriate licences will be procured.

A Combined Authority for 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. As such, in 2020 the Council submitted a letter to the
Secretary of State in support of the introduction of unitary authorities for Lancashire.

The Council believes that a Central Lancashire unitary authority, including Chorley, South Ribble, West Lancashire and Preston would provide the best opportunity to deliver the best future for our residents. However, due to the Government's delay in publishing its White Paper (originally due September 2020), and the significant demands on local government of managing the local response to Covid-19 no progress has been possible to date.

Carbon Neutral

A notice of motion to declare a climate change emergency has been agreed by the Council.

A task and finish working group has been set up to consider options on how the Council can become carbon neutral by 2030.

The work of the group has been hampered during the year by the Covid emergency, but the group has responded by establishing working via virtual meetings. Investigatory interviews have been held with key council officers to help inform and establish a baseline position for the Council and to recommend any necessary changes to policies and operating procedures.

There are a number of investigation strands ongoing and the group has sought additional resources to help progress its work at a faster pace.

The group is currently formulating a decision matrix that will support the Council in prioritising and implementing carbon reduction actions over the next 10 years and ensure that the Council's resources are prioritised to have the greatest carbon reduction impact.

Fleet Review

The fleet review is ongoing. The fleet consists of nearly 140 vehicles and plant and a significant number of these will be replaced with 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 practical and low emission vehicles are being considered where practicable.

Working in partnership

  • Inclusion Reference Group
  • Shadow Combined Authority / Lancashire Leaders

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:

  • We have reduced costs and delivered further value for money by increasing online transactional access to more services
  • We have improved the effectiveness of our service delivery by implementing cost effective technologies such as Interactive Voice Recognition software
  • We maintain high opinions of our financial and legal services, unqualified external audit opinion
  • We have made progress working towards making the Council sustainable in the long term
  • We continue to provide accessible services to the public

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