Agenda item


To receive the report of the Head of Policy which provides the Outer North East Community Committee with an update on the Best City Ambition refresh and to gather input from Elected Members and residents.


The report of the Head of Policy provided the Outer North East Community Committee with an update on the Best City Ambition refresh and sought to gather input from Elected Members and residents.


The Head of Policy outlined the following information:

  • The Best City Ambition had been presented to the Outer North East Community Committee two years ago when the ambition was originally being developed.
  • The previous feedback provided by Members had been reflected on and reviewed to be incorporated into the ambition, particularly focused on the comments regarding the importance of monitoring progress.
  • 2021 census data had contributed to the refreshed plans and further comments were sought from Members to develop the first update of the document.
  • The Best City Ambition was the overall vision for the future of Leeds and was built upon the three pillars (health and wellbeing, inclusive growth and net zero) alongside promotion of the Team Leeds values.
  • Tackling poverty and inequality was a key strategic element of the ambition and despite the financial context, plans remained ambitious and optimistic.
  • The Best City Ambition had been adopted in February 2022 and had replaced the Best Council Plan. Since its adoption peer reviews had been conducted which had contributed to wide ownership of the ambition across Council Departments, partners and stakeholders.
  • Key focuses for the evolution of the ambition were to fill gaps in the current version, refine the three ambition statements, underpin the fifteen priorities and to develop the Team Leeds approach. The updated version was scheduled to be submitted to Full Council in February 2024.
  • Reflections on the Outer North East Census 2021 data, compared with 2011 data, noted that the population had grown by 4.9% which was below the 8.1% average for Leeds. This was expected given the outer areas having less population density. Housing tenure for the area remained stable. Transport and work model data outlined that 43% of people worked from home and 44% of people regularly drove to work. Bus patronage had fallen by around 50%.
  • The Outer North East area level 4 qualification education rate was around 10% higher than the Leeds average and reported health rates remained consistent with the Leeds average.
  • The religious landscape data outlined that nearly 30% of the Outer North East population were non-religious, there had been around 6,000 less people who identified as Christian than in 2011, people identifying with Judaism had fallen by around 1,000 and people identifying with Islam had rose by around 1,000 people.
  • Models for assessing progress were outlined to be conducted through key performance indicators contained in the Health and Wellbeing Strategy, Inclusive Growth Strategy and Climate Action Plan.
  • Long term analysis will be provided via the Leeds social progress index and periodic deeper city analysis will be provided every three years by the Joint Strategic Assessment.
  • As part of the social progress index, an online tool was shown to Members which allowed breakdown of data to a ward level, identifying a range of indicators. It was noted that this data will change over time and more will be added before Christmas 2023.


The Committee discussed the following:

  • The breakdown of data to a Ward specific level was noted to be useful, however, this may lead to a disparity in funding and amenity and service provision for smaller areas of deprivation within a Ward, that overall scored well in the social progress index.
  • In response it was outlined that data for lower super output areas, where a selection of streets comprising of around a thousand people, was in development and the ambition will aim to address poverty in all locations across the district, on an evidence based approach.
  • It was noted that once the Joint Strategic Assessment data becomes available the data points will be vast, but where possible, will be broken down to Ward and super output area levels. Deprivation data was readily available at that level already.
  • As one of the presentation slides had contained education data relating to Inner East areas, Outer North East data was to be provided to Members.
  • Although the data was available at a Ward level, it would require additional work to provide data at a Community Committee level due to the complexity of indexing data for the online tool.
  • Although overall Outer North East areas may be considered to be more affluent, headline figures can mask deprivation and it can be difficult to be poor in these Wards due to lacking service provision when compared to inner city areas.
  • The success of the ambitions of the approach will be demonstrated by a reduction in inequality across all Wards and by benchmarking data, through the Joint Strategic Assessment, against other core cities.
  • If the Census data from 2021 outlining that 43% of people work from home, which was at the height of Covid-19 Pandemic, was to influence travel plans, this may further reduce public transport provision.
  • The context of when data was gathered needs to be given significant weight and the Census 2021 data had been utilised due its scale and was useful to compare different areas across Leeds.
  • The stakeholders involved in the ambition’s consultation process were Council Departments, citizen and community groups.
  • Consultation had also been conducted through the Big Leeds Chat 2021, where a roadshow model had visited important community institutions, such as village halls, to directly engage with the public regarding their views on how to improve service provision and life quality in Leeds. It was noted this process was to be repeated to keep figures and views updated.
  • Members noted public consultation models often have a limited scope and people with less heard voices may not have engaged with The Big Leeds Chat.
  • The level of analysis and scrutiny of data was queried as influence on, for example, poverty or crime reduction initiatives, should not exclude individuals based on averages for the area. 
  • Data showing high numbers of people working from home aligned with reduced broadband speed figures. Campaigning for better provision in the Outer areas was ongoing but clearly essential. Members requested an item be brought to the Committee for consideration in order to improve the situation.
  • Early years service provision was noted to be low in the Outer North East areas and would need improving in order to provide equality of care across all Wards in Leeds and support present and future families.
  • As broadband and childcare provision were primarily provided by private institutions, the amount of Council influence was queried for these key services. Officers outlined providers can be lobbied and thus hold some influence on where further provision is required.
  • It was confirmed that the health and quality of rivers was not included as part of the water and sanitation data. In response, Members recommended that this should be incorporated to enrich the data and online tool.
  • In order to monitor progress over time, percentages tracked in each Ward can assist with allocating resources where most needed and any decrease in a key indicator can be targeted.
  • Working from home data should be broken down further to assist with understanding full time or part time working from home models and associated commutes in order to improve transport provision. It was noted that more recent data may be acquired from the Office of National Statistics and labour market surveys.
  • Caution was expressed in regard to using and relying on Census data from 2021 as this was an unprecedented, fundamentally different time. The notion of building plans for the city and influencing a suite of services on this data was deemed inappropriate. It was outlined that the working from home data was not going to be part of the Joint Strategic Assessment or social progress index.


RESOLVED – That to the contents of the report and presentation, be noted, along with the comments and recommendations as made by Members as part of the discussion.


(Councillor D Cohen joined the meeting during consideration of this item)


Supporting documents: