Agenda item

Council Strategy 2022 - 2026


Tony Zaman – Interim Chief Executive, and Dan Kennedy – Corporate Director of Resources, provided the Committee with detail on the Council’s Strategy for 2022 – 2026, as part of the consultation process before the Strategy’s adoption.


The Committee was advised that Hillingdon was embarking upon an ambitious new transformation programme to ensure the Council was well placed to manage the changing economic context and to ensure that services continued to be delivered effectively. 


The Strategy’s stated vision statement, ambitions, and commitments to residents were highlighted as set out in the report. The consultation currently being undertaken, and proactively being advertised, would canvass a variety of stakeholders. Feedback and responses would then inform subsequent plans, including targets, actions, and accountability.


The Strategy was confirmed to be in its formative period, with the new corporate structure having been finalised in May 2022. This new structure included a renewed focus on integrated partnership working (e.g. with the NHS), and a matrixed structure combining service areas that had previously been separate, to ensure greater efficiency and strategic oversight from senior officers.


It was confirmed that the core of the strategy had been drafted to uphold the current administration’s manifesto, via partnership working between the Leader of the Council, the Cabinet, and relevant key officers.


Next steps included working up detailed service plans with Directors and Service Managers, (taking an outcomes-based approach), with a view to the strategy being adopted by Council later in the year.


Members requested further detail on the strategy for engaging residents who were less familiar with digitalisation. The officers advised that research undertaken had provided the Council with detail of those residents who may be resistant to digital transformation. Conversely, the Council also had data on those residents who were comfortable with, or who preferred, digital engagement. Future plans would seek to avoid a ‘one size fits all’ approach, with a variety of engagement and contact methods in place to help residents. These included the use of artificial intelligence that could effectively resolve queries for residents or route them to an appropriate officer. Additionally, a communication strategy was in place to reach a large number of residents, including use of social media and PR platforms, together with officer visits from officers to local communities as part of pre-existing service delivery.


Responding to concerns over the effectiveness of the Council’s contact centre, the officers advised that the Strategy would be responsive to the needs of residents and their communities. It was accepted that digital engagement needed to be more efficient when dealing with issues or delivery of services, though it was confirmed that this was a national issue and not unique to Hillingdon.


Members were supportive of the strategy and its ambitions, and particularly its public nature, which was felt to provide a greater degree of accountability from Hillingdon residents and political opposition. Members suggested adding a greater emphasis on the Council’s aim of achieving excellence in customer services to achieve timely and effective outcomes for residents. Additionally, while the Strategy’s focus on securing value for money was understandable, it was felt that the strategy should also focus on delivering quality services to residents. The need for the strategy to retain sufficient flexibility to respond to changing pressures, such as rising inflation, was also highlighted.


Regarding the Strategy’s aim of working with partners to address low pay, it was agreed that the clerk would request that officers advise whether this included amendments to the London living wage.


RESOLVED:  That the Committee delegate the final wording of its comments to Cabinet on the Strategy to the Democratic Services Officer, in conjunction with the Chairman (and in consultation with the Opposition Lead).

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