To receive a report from the Head of Democratic Services that presents information to enable the Scrutiny Board to consider and provide comment on the initial Best City Ambition proposals.
The Head of Democratic Services submitted a report on the initial proposals for the Best City Ambition – which will be an externally facing and partnership focused approach, intended to replace the Best Council Plan.
In line with the provisions of the Budget and Policy Framework, the Best City Ambition proposals have been referred to Scrutiny for consideration and comment. The outcome of the deliberations of the five Scrutiny Boards will be reported to Executive Board in February to inform its consideration of the final proposals.
In attendance for this item were:
· Councillor Jonathan Pryor - Executive Member for Economy, Culture and Education
· Councillor Fiona Venner - Executive Member for Adult and Children’s Social Care and Health Partnerships
· Sal Tariq - Director of Children and Families
· Simon Foy - Head of Intelligence and Policy
The Director of Children and Families gave a brief introduction and advised the Board that the Best City Ambition is not intended to be another strategy or detailed delivery plan which duplicates what is in place elsewhere. Instead, it aims to provide a clear direction of travel and contain a range of high level, aspirational and ambitious goals for Leeds, aligned to the three pillars of health and wellbeing, inclusive growth and zero carbon, and all contributing to efforts to tackle poverty and reduce inequality.
The Board was also advised that the three pillars will be underpinned by existing priorities and commitments linked to the Child Friendly Leeds Ambition and the Children and Young People’s Plan in terms of ensuring children in all areas of the city have the best start in life and enjoy a healthy, happy and friendly childhood. These will be further supported and delivered through existing strategies and plans, such as the refreshed 3 As Strategy and Leeds Child Poverty Strategy, both of which were recently considered and supported by the Scrutiny Board.
Reference was made to the Health and Wellbeing Pillar of the Ambition reflecting the proposal for Leeds to become a Marmot City, with a particular focus on taking a Marmot approach to giving children the best start in life. While acknowledging that the proposal had recently been considered by the Adults, Health and Active Lifestyles Scrutiny Board, a commitment was given to also engage with the Children and Families Scrutiny Board on this matter.
Members acknowledged that young people are now being educated more about the implications of climate change, with many feeling anxious and voicing their concern about the future of the environment. As such, the Board felt that the narrative surrounding the particular ambition around Zero Carbon should be strengthened and given more prominence in terms of reflecting the urgency of tackling climate change and Leeds working towards becoming carbon neutral by 2030.
Members also recommended that the Ambition references how, as a city, the issue of sexual harassment is being addressed, particularly with young people. Linked to this, the Board was pleased to note that the final version of the Ambition will include a greater focus around domestic violence and also broader community safety matters surrounding young people as this was also highlighted as a priority during the wider consultation process.
Members raised the issue of performance monitoring and welcomed the commitment to work with the Scrutiny Board around the development of a revised set of key performance indicators relevant to the Board’s remit which will better reflect the strategic direction set out within the new Ambition.
Reflecting on its earlier Scrutiny inquiry around the Child Friendly Leeds Ambition, the Board acknowledged the importance of children and young people being able to express their views, feel heard and be actively involved in decisions that affect their lives. Members therefore sought assurance that the voice of young people will be captured as the Ambition continues to be developed, as well as part of the ongoing development of other key strategies and plans that underpin the Best City Ambition.
As with the Child Friendly City Ambition, Members also felt very strongly about ensuring there is cross-directorate and partnership working and ownership of the new Best City Ambition, as well as making further strides from being an ambition to be a child friendly city to making it a reality.
RESOLVED – That the contents of the report and the Board’s discussions on the initial Best City Ambition proposals be noted and be reflected in the composite report by Scrutiny to Executive Board.
Cllr Gruen left the meeting at the end of this item at 12:30 pm