Agenda item

Delivery Plan - Re-prioritisation due to COVID

















Over the past six months much of the Council’s corporate focus has been on responding to the COVID pandemic and supporting local recovery, as well as seeking to maintain core service provision.  This has meant that there has been little time or capacity to progress some aspects of the Council’s Corporate Plan Delivery Plan.


Cabinet has recognised these pressures and has therefore reviewed the Delivery Plan objectives and actions and identified eighteen priority objectives upon which focus will be maintained in the coming months alongside the Council’s ongoing response to the COVID situation.  This report details the Cabinet’s priorities given the current situation.



Options considered:



















Given the changing context in which the Council has needed to operate over the past twelve months and which is likely to continue for the foreseeable future, Cabinet recognises that it needs to re-focus its Delivery Plan ambitions to reflect the current situation.


Alternative options considered were:-

·         do nothing to re-profile the Delivery Plan actions, or

·         agree to “pause” all Delivery Plan actions and concentrate on the COVID response and Business As Usual service provision, which was not considered a viable position given the wider and medium-term pressures the Council faces in terms of its budget etc.


The report details a practical and measured response to the Council prioritising its Delivery Plan actions in light of the COVID situation.






Reasons for



Cabinet is asked to confirm the revised Delivery Plan priorities as detailed in the report.


To reflect the changed circumstances in which the Council is operating at the present time in seeking to balance its Corporate Plan priorities against the ongoing COVID situation in which the Council is having to operate.





Cabinet Member(s)

Cllr Sarah Butikofer,

Leader of the Council


Ward(s) affected


Contact Officer, telephone number and email:

Steve Blatch, Chief Executive

Email:- Tel:- 01263 516232



Cllr S Butikofer introduced the report and informed Members that due to the significant impact that Covid-19 had on the Council, Cabinet and CLT had reviewed the delivery plan to focus on key priorities. It was reported that once priority objectives were completed, then new priorities would be added from the original delivery plan.


Questions and Discussion


      i.     Cllr L Withington referred to business growth and noted that in the performance report, it was suggested that the new development plan had been deferred, and asked whether these items should be developed in unison. The CE replied that the delivery plan did contain support for tourism businesses, for which the Council had secured £330k of funding. Referring to the development plan and engaging with businesses specifically, the CE stated that the project had not progressed as anticipated due to Covid, though a successful business survey had been completed in June with over 300 responses that was now being used to inform the work of the Business Growth and Economic Development Team. He added that a number of additional actions had been taken to support businesses, such as lobbying Central Government to support field study and outdoor visitor centres that would be unlikely to host school visits until 2021. It was noted that whilst tourism businesses had suffered during the initial lockdown, there had been a significant increase in business throughout July, August and September as a result of people taking more staycations. In summary, the CE stated that business support had been tailored during the pandemic, with £55m of Government grants paid to small businesses, and £2.76m in discretionary grants delivered by the Economic Growth Team, which had limited its capacity to focus on the other priorities contained within the delivery plan. The Chairman suggested that the question sought to address whether the two pieces of work ought to happen simultaneously, to which Cllr S Butikofer replied that the performance report focused on the first quarter only, and work would now have progressed beyond what had been reported. She added that this work would likely be covered in the performance report of the second quarter.


     ii.     The CE informed Members that the performance report covered objectives set in the original delivery plan and covered quarter 1 from April to June, which had been significantly impacted by the Council’s response to Covid-19. As a result, recognising this impact meant that it was appropriate to reprioritise the delivery plan objectives to match the Council’s current capacity. It was hoped that by reducing the priorities from 90 to 18 key objectives, that the Council would now be able to fully implement the delivery plan whilst responding to the ongoing crisis, and continue to delivery over and above its statutory obligations.


    iii.     Cllr L Withington referred to the Customer Focus element of the delivery plan, and asked whether there was any progress to report on the customer charter, and whether a strategy would be used to develop the charter or vice versa. Cllr S Butikofer replied that she was in the process of developing the charter with senior officers and added that she did not feel the hard work of the Customer Services Team had been covered and wished to place on record her thanks for their hard work helping residents throughout the pandemic. In response to a question from the Chairman, Cllr S Butikofer informed Members that a customer service strategy would drive the process of developing the customer focus objectives.


   iv.     Cllr L Withington referred to the Environment Forum meetings that had gained a large amount of support from the public, and asked whether the meetings could be resumed virtually or by some other means. Cllr S Butikofer replied that the Council had hosted three meetings prior to the pandemic, and would be happy to consider reconvening the meetings via zoom in the near future. She added that tree planting had been resumed which provided another positive opportunity for community engagement in responding to climate change.


     v.     It was confirmed, following a question from Cllr J Toye that the overall aims of the Council had not changed, though priorities had been altered to account for the impact of Covid-19 on the Council’s capacity.


   vi.     Cllr L Shires stated that she fully supported further engagement with the public on climate change by resuming the Environment Forum meetings via Zoom. She then asked when the next performance monitoring report would come to the Committee, to which Cllr S Butikofer replied that the next report was due in December.


  vii.     Cllr N Housden suggested that whilst Members do not normally get involved in operational matters, he felt that it was confusing to cross reference between the delivery plan and performance reports, and Members should focus instead on the content of the delivery plan.


 viii.     The CE informed members in relation to comments on the Environment Forum that the Council had advertised positions for an Environmental Policy Officer and a Climate Change Projects Officer, in order to increase the Council’s capacity to move these priorities forward.


   ix.     It was proposed by Cllr P Heinrich and seconded by Cllr J Toye to note and agree the reprioritised delivery plan, and to recommend to Cabinet that consideration is given to resuming the Environment Forum Meetings.




1.         To note and agree to the revised Delivery Plan priorities as detailed in the report.


2.         To recommend to Cabinet that consideration is given to resuming the Environmental Forum meetings remotely, or by any other appropriate means, to maintain public engagement and support in the climate change agenda and the environmental actions of the Delivery Plan.


Supporting documents: