Aberdeenshire Council agrees new five year plan

Councillors have given the green light to a brand new Council Plan.

Following months of research, engagement and conversations, the Plan has been approved by Full Council. In it are 11 priorities which will provide the direction and shape of services over the next five years.

It will allow officers to direct resources towards delivering on the priorities which have been identified as the most important things required to deliver the sort of Aberdeenshire we all aspire to create.

Councillors recognised that Aberdeenshire Council has a responsibility to provide essential local services as part of its day-to-day duties and this will continue. The plan makes clear that ‘Aberdeenshire is a diverse and vibrant region with a strong sense of identity. Our communities are welcoming, safe and culturally diverse. We have an economy that is prosperous and attractive to investors, employers and employees. And our natural environment is the envy of the world, truly capturing the very best from mountain to sea.’

The results of the extensive engagement also made clear that to deliver on these priorities, the Council must strive to preserve and constantly improve upon the strong foundations already in place. This includes great communication with residents and colleagues, working in partnership across Aberdeenshire with the public sector and beyond, and that there must remain a firm focus on the customer at the heart of everything.

The plan makes clear that the focus for 2017-2022 will be to:

• Support a strong, sustainable, diverse and successful economy

• The best possible transport and digital links across our communities

• Provide the best life chances for all our children and young people by raising levels of attainment and achievement

• Work with parents and carers to support children through every stage of their development

• Encourage active lifestyles and promote well-being with a focus on obesity & mental health

• Have the right mix of housing across all of Aberdeenshire

• Support the delivery of the Health & Social Care Strategic Plan

• Work to reduce poverty and inequalities within our communities

• Deliver responsible, long-term financial planning

• Have the right people, in the right place, doing the right thing, at the right time

• Protect our special environment including tackling climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The development of plans, containing actions, performance indicators and measures of success, to deliver the priorities will continue to be progressed between November 2017- February 2018. This final phase of development will focus on clear plans to deliver on the priorities.

Speaking in the Chamber today, Leader of Aberdeenshire Council Cllr Jim Gifford said: “The priorities will guide and direct our work over the coming five years and through our medium term financial strategy we will commit to aligning our finances to support their delivery.

“The plan highlights the volume and diversity of the day to day business of the council and whilst funding will be directed towards the priorities, we expect officers to deliver all services in the most efficient way possible, and consider new and innovative methods of service delivery.

“Our services are created with residents and communities at the centre of all that we do and we remain committed to delivering a high quality of customer service, open and transparent communication, involving communities in what we do and the decisions that we take, and working in partnership with others to achieve the best outcomes.

“As an Administration we want to promote and support Aberdeenshire as a place that is open for business and a place where everyone can flourish; we believe this Council Plan will support us in achieving that.”

Deputy Leader Cllr Pater Argyle said: “This Council Plan sets our direction for the coming years and will help us to be clear about how we will support the aspirations of our communities. It will not only enable the commitments in the joint manifesto to be realised but will ensure we continue to put Aberdeenshire first – our communities, our residents, our customers, our businesses, our visitors and not least our employees, who deliver vital local services every day of the year.

“We recognise the combined expertise and knowledge that our partners, our communities and our employees bring when delivering improved outcomes in Aberdeenshire and this plan will enhance our ability to work collectively to achieve the very best for this area.

“The next five years will hold many challenges – the priorities will enable us to stay focused and ensure we continue to enable prosperous, sustainable, aspirational communities and demonstrate the strong civic leadership necessary to ensure Aberdeenshire Council fulfil its enabling role, deliver its services, and be fully accountable to the people it serves.”