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Corporate Plan

2023 - 2024 Corporate Plan

Contents


Foreword

As the Interim Chief Executive of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, I would like to welcome you to our third Corporate Plan, which will cover the period of 2023-2024.

As a multi award winning, ambitious and forward-thinking council, we are providing more services to our citizens than ever before. From responsibility for waste management, leisure and parks, to our crucial role

in economic growth and investment, community safety, health and education, as well as safeguarding our environment.

Our borough has faced some significant challenges over the last number of years, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are very proud of our communities, businesses and staff, who worked tirelessly to come together to support those most in need. As a council, we quickly introduced new ways of working to ensure that our citizens continued to receive our vital services.

As the long-term effects of the pandemic continue to impact our organisation and communities, we face a new cost-of-living crisis.

As a council, we continue to adapt, and have taken the necessary steps to realign our priorities for the upcoming years.

Our Corporate Plan will sit at the heart of everything we do. It will provide our strategic direction, shape our services, and help us to achieve our vision for Mid and East Antrim.

There will undoubtedly be challenges and hurdles along the way, but by continuing to work together for Mid and East Antrim, we will create a place that everyone will be proud to call home.

Valerie Watts
Interim Chief Executive Mid and East Antrim Borough Council

Our Vision

Mid and East Antrim will be a strong, vibrant, safe and inclusive community, where people work together to improve the quality of life for all.

Our Borough

Mid and East Antrim Borough covers an area of just over 400 square miles extending from the River Bann in the west, to the beautiful Antrim coast in the east, and includes part of the Antrim Coast and Glens Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

There are three main towns, Ballymena, Carrickfergus and Larne, and a host of welcoming villages and rural communities, which are home to a population of just under 140,000 people.

How our Corporate Plan links with other strategies

Our Corporate Plan has been developed with guidance from a number of external and internal influences, known as strategic drivers. These drivers include people, conditions and information - all introducing and supporting actions which help us define and achieve our goals.

Together these make up the complex strategic landscape in which we operate, and are fundamental to our success.

Primarily, our Corporate Plan will support the delivery of the Programme for Government, which is aimed at improving wellbeing for all, by tackling disadvantage and driving economic growth.

Internally, the Corporate Plan connects to other Council plans, including the Community Plan, the Local Development Plan and the Performance Improvement Plan.

The Corporate Plan includes our Strategic Objectives and Actions, which help guide our annual business planning process. This ensures that everything we do is focused on achieving our vision for the borough.

Delivering our Corporate Plan

As a council, we developed a Performance Management Framework to drive performance and continuous improvement within the organisation. We measure and manage performance at every level, with the framework linking together all of our corporate planning processes.

  • Community Plan – 15 Year strategic plan
  • Corporate Plan – 4 Year strategic plan
  • Performance Improvement Plan – Annual improvement plan
  • Annual Business Plan
  • Employee Personal Development Plan - Annual plan linked to work objectives and learning & development needs

Management, reporting and governance arrangements

Our reporting structures have been designed to ensure proper oversight and accountability for all business, and to provide our Senior Management Team and Elected Members with assurances that our governance arrangements are robust.

This helps to ensure transparency, accountability and to further drive continuous improvement. These arrangements are outlined opposite.

We also publish a Self-Assessment Report for our citizens, service users and stakeholders by 30 September each year, in line with statutory requirements.

You can download our previous Self- Assessment Reports from our website.

Community Plan

Report to

Frequency

Strategic Alliance

Every six months

Community Panel

Quarterly

Neighbourhoods and Communities Committee

As appropriate

Corporate Plan

Report to

Frequency

Senior Management Team

Every six month

Full Council

Every six months

Performance Improvement Plan

Report to

Frequency

Senior Management Team

Every six month

Full Council

Every six months

Annual business plans

Report to

Frequency

Assigned Director

Quarterly

You told us

We are committed to listening to our citizens, businesses, community groups, staff and Elected Members.

A variety of surveys and workshops were held to inform the development of this Corporate Plan.

We undertook a Citizens Survey in summer 2022, to give us a comprehensive understanding of the views of our citizens, and to allow us to shape this plan based on what they felt was most important for the borough.

The draft plan was also subject to a 12 week public consultation period, where people were invited to provide their feedback on the proposed Strategic Themes and Objectives.

Top 5 priorities for making the borough a better place to live:

  1. Supporting and developing activities for children and young people.
  2. Support to reduce poverty.
  3. Developing skills and job prospects.
  4. Delivering clean and attractive streets and towns.
  5. Supporting our parks, green spaces and the natural and built environment.

We received 810 responses to our Citizens Survey, from a wide range of people across our borough. We have highlighted a few key statistics:

  • 71% of citizens were satisfied with Mid and East Antrim as a place to live.
  • 88% of citizens reported feeling very or fairly safe when outside in their local area during the day.
  • 53% felt the borough is a good area for attractions and tourism.
  • 55% felt that the borough is a good area for supporting physical activity.
  • 48% felt that the borough has a skilled and adaptable workforce.
  • 57% of citizens felt they had a sense of belonging to their area.
  • 65% felt the borough is one where people have easy access to the natural environment and built assets.
  • 51% of citizens would like to see more local services to improve mental health and wellbeing.
  • 45% of citizens would like to see more support services for children, families and those with disabilities.
  • 89% of citizens stated that they felt recycling was either very or quite important.

Our Plan

Our new Corporate Plan has been designed to support the delivery of the Community Plan (2017-2032), sharing the same vision, and aligning with its themes and priorities.

Everything we do helps to meet our strategic objectives, and ultimately, our vision for the borough, in an environmentally considerate manner.

Our strategic priorities for this year are:

  • Jobs and Tourism
  • Community Safety and Cohesion
  • Learning for Life
  • Good Health and Wellbeing
  • High Performing and Sustainable Council
  • Our Environment

Jobs and Tourism

“We will identify ways to increase local jobs and employment opportunities plus develop our tourism offering so that we can attract more visitors to the borough and make it a better place to do business and visit.”

Strategic Objectives

  • Position and promote Mid and East Antrim as a dynamic, outward-looking region that welcomes and supports inward investment.
  • Through a variety of support programmes, grow, support and sustain new and existing businesses.
  • Drive inclusive and sustainable economic growth through investing in our people, our places and our businesses.
  • Create a compelling tourism proposition by investing in the development and promotion of our unique cultural, arts and heritage assets.
  • Attract more domestic and international visitors to the borough to stay longer and spend more.

Strategic Actions

How we will achieve our objectives:

  • Continue to progress the development of the i4C Innovation and CleanTech Centre to support businesses and create jobs.
  • Deliver a suite of business support programmes and projects designed to support business start-up and growth across the borough.
  • Progress the delivery of Council’s 10-year vision for the three town centres to develop, regenerate and attract inward investment.
  • Develop a dynamic 5-year tourism strategy to drive economic growth, job creation and a thriving tourism economy.

Community Safety and Cohesion

“We will work with our partners and local citizens to create safe and inclusive communities where everyone has a shared sense of belonging and pride.”

Strategic Objectives

Work alongside partners to:

  • Encourage good relations, civic pride and a sense of belonging by creating vibrant, shared, cohesive and inclusive communities across the borough.
  • Build the capacity of local communities to improve resilience and self-sustainability.
  • Improve community safety and confidence, enabling people to feel and be safe by providing early intervention and supporting those most at risk of becoming involved in crime.
  • Provide support to vulnerable people who need it.

Strategic Actions

How we will achieve our objectives:

  • Through the delivery of various programmes, support our local communities to improve their resilience and build self-sustainability.
  • Deliver comprehensive ‘Good Relations’ activities, with the aim of influencing positive changes to attitudes and knowledge.
  • Work in partnership with the ‘Poverty Action Group’ to progress initiatives supporting the most vulnerable across the borough.
  • Through the ‘Loneliness Network’ collaborate with statutory and voluntary partners and community groups, to promote and deliver initiatives to tackle loneliness in the borough.

Learning for Life

“We will support our citizens to develop a sense of ambition by providing opportunities for lifelong learning.”

Strategic Objectives

  • Develop the skills needed to embrace opportunities for a prosperous and more sustainable future.
  • Through our various programmes, develop a sense of ambition towards achievement regardless of location, community background or socio- economic factors.
  • Promote to stakeholders the benefits of creating volunteer and enhanced work experience opportunities.
  • Lead by example by developing and implementing a work placement programme within Council.
  • Support our staff to achieve their full potential by investing in training, development and cross Council collaborative opportunities.

Strategic Actions

How we will achieve our objectives:

  • Deliver a suite of employability programmes to support our citizens to develop their skills, gain qualifications and secure employment.
  • Position MEABC as an employer of choice by providing opportunities for work placement/work experience.
  • Deliver a suite of environmental education programmes for citizens, businesses and young people across the borough.
  • Develop MEABC employees to deliver high quality and responsive services to citizens, through the provision of comprehensive and bespoke training.

Good Health and Wellbeing

“We will support our citizens to improve their physical, mental and emotional health and wellbeing, by providing inclusive facilities and spaces where they can be active.”

Strategic Objectives

  • Deliver a coordinated partnership approach to improve the physical, mental and emotional health and wellbeing of our citizens.
  • Ensure our citizens and visitors have accessible and inclusive Council facilities.
  • Enable vulnerable groups within our borough to be active, respected and supported in their community.
  • Encourage our staff to use the resources and tools available to improve and maintain their physical, mental and emotional health and wellbeing.

Strategic Actions

How we will achieve our objectives:

  • Support our citizens to lead healthy and active lives by increasing our offering of physical activity sessions and support schemes across the borough.
  • Develop an ‘Age Friendly Action Plan’ to ensure our older citizens feel supported and included within their local communities.
  • Encourage the use of outdoor spaces for health and wellbeing, through the delivery of an ‘Outdoor Recreation Strategy’.
  • Ensure we continue to provide reliable, value for money services to our citizens by focusing on the health and wellbeing of our employees, and through the management of employee attendance.

High Performing and Sustainable Council

“We will work together to realise our potential and provide our citizens and businesses with innovative and cost effective services that benefit the borough as a whole.”

Strategic Objectives

  • Take the lead on delivering both the Community Plan and the Local Development Plan, working effectively with our partners and citizens.
  • Increase customer satisfaction with our services through innovation and continuous improvement by proactively engaging with and listening to our citizens, customers and staff.
  • Using an agile delivery model and adapting to changing landscapes, be recognised as a leading council, ensuring value for money and affordability of council services, facilities and assets.
  • Deliver our activities and functions in a sustainable manner, integrating social, economic and environmental factors when planning or decision-making, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Embed our values in our day-to-day working environment, ensuring our employees feel supported and motivated to achieve their full potential.

Strategic Actions

How we will achieve our objectives:

  • Ensure we remain responsive to citizen need by developing processes that allow us to engage with, listening to and act on feedback from our stakeholders to increase customer satisfaction with our services.
  • Work collaboratively with our community planning partners, to consolidate and capitalise on shared resources to deliver positive outcomes for citizens.
  • Ensure we promote sustainable development for the borough across economic, social and environmental dimensions, through the delivery of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Contribute to a healthy economy by delivering effective and efficient services for the benefit of citizens and businesses across the borough.
  • Ensure we remain responsive to employee needs by engaging, listening to and acting on feedback from our employees to increase staff satisfaction levels.

Our Environment

“We will work alongside our citizens and businesses to develop a positive and caring attitude towards the environment through education and empowerment.”

Strategic Objectives

  • Deliver the Local Development Plan in line with Council’s climate and sustainability commitments.
  • Empower, educate and work in partnership with our citizens and local businesses to progress towards net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
  • Support local communities to create an environmentally resilient and sustainable borough.
  • Invest to improve and develop our parks, open spaces and built heritage, ensuring they meet the needs of citizens and visitors, and promote the considerate use of all spaces.
  • Lead by example and reduce the impact of Council services, to improve and sustainably manage our environment, protecting it for future generations.

Strategic Actions

How we will achieve our objectives:

  • Utilise nature based solutions to aid climate change adaption and improve the health and wellbeing of our citizens across the borough.
  • Develop a ‘Tree and Woodland Management Strategy’ to enhance biodiversity, increase carbon store and support ecosystems across the borough.
  • Support communities, farmers and local businesses to be more sustainable, reduce carbon emissions and adapt to a changing climate.
  • Improve the resource and energy efficiency of our buildings and practices by first establishing baseline data of Council emissions with the goal to reduce costs and our MEABC operation emissions to net zero by 2040.
  • Deliver an effective and efficient waste service that supports citizens and businesses to reduce waste.

Statutory Performance Indicators

The Department for Communities (DfC) set statutory targets for councils in the functional areas of Planning, Economic Development and Waste.

Within each of these areas, a number of performance indicators and targets have been set, as outlined in the table opposite.

Our arrangements to meet these targets are through the delivery of our services in Planning, Economic Development and Waste. They are outlined in our annual business plans and within our Performance Improvement Plan.

We monitor them closely to make sure they are progressing in line with our targets and publish performance updates on our website every 3 months.

We also submit progress updates to various regional bodies, who then issue reports showing comparisons between all eleven NI councils.

Indicators

Targets

The average processing time of major planning applications.

Maximum 30 weeks

The average processing time of local planning applications.

Maximum 15 weeks

The percentage of enforcement cases concluded within 39 weeks.

Minimum 70%

The number of jobs promoted through business start interventions.

Minimum 85 jobs

The percentage of household waste collected by district Councils that is sent for recycling.

Minimum 50%

The amount of biodegradable Local Authority Collected Municipal Waste that is landfilled.

Maximum 16,387 tonnes

The amount (tonnage) of Local Authority Collected Municipal Waste arisings.

There is a requirement by the Department for Communities that each council sets and monitors its own individual target for this indicator annually.

What we are responsible for

We deliver a wide range of key services, as depicted, to help improve the quality of life for our citizens, to promote the borough as a place to visit and do business, and to protect and enhance our natural environment.

  • Animal Welfare and Dog Control
  • Arts, Culture and Heritage
  • Bin Collection and Recycling
  • Building Control
  • Cemeteries
  • Community Planning
  • Council and Committee Meetings
  • Community Services
  • Environmental Health
  • Funding and Investment
  • Leisure, Recreation and Sport
  • Licensing
  • Off Street Car Parking
  • Parks and Open Spaces
  • Planning
  • Public Conveniences
  • Registration of Births, Deaths, Marriages and Civil Partnerships
  • Regional Property Certificates
  • Tourism and Economic Development

What we are not responsible for

There are some common misconceptions about what we are responsible for, and whilst we do not deliver the services outlined below, your elected representatives can advocate and make representations on your behalf to these and other organisations.

Details of your elected representatives can be found on the Councillor webpage on this website.

Roads, potholes, street lights, footpaths, bridges and on-street car parking

Water and sewerage including septic tank clearance

Electricity

Rates

Housing

Penalty Charge Notice issued at off-street car parking

Flooding

  • Contact: Flooding Incident Line (24 hour)
  • T: 0300 200 0100

While we do not deliver the services outlined above, your elected representatives will advocate and make representations on your behalf to these and other organisations.

For details on your elected representatives please go to the Councillor webpage on this website.

How we will finance our Corporate Plan

How we will spend our money

  • 24% Waste and Street Cleansing
  • 4% Tourism, Culture and Heritage
  • 5% Planning and Building Control
  • 19% Parks and Open Spaces
  • 1% Maintenance of Assets
  • 4% Economic Development
  • 17% Corporate
  • 16% Community, Leisure and Environmental Health
  • 10% Capital Financing
  • Note - this analysis is based upon forecast expenditure in the 2023-2024 financial year.

Where our money comes from

  • 73% District Rates
  • 11% Fees and Charges
  • 13% Grants
  • 3% Other

Your Council

For details on your elected representatives please go to the Councillor webpage on this website.

Screening

In accordance with the statutory requirements set out in Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act (1998), whereby Council must carry out its functions having due regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity and regard for the desirability to promote good relations, this plan has been subject to an equality screening. The equality screening exercise did not identify any major adverse effects on any Section 75 category or requirements for mitigation and therefore determined that there was no necessity to conduct a full equality impact assessment.

In accordance with the Rural Needs Act Northern Ireland (2016), Council has given due regard to rural needs by carrying out a rural needs impact assessment of this plan.

As part of our statutory duty to promote sustainable development, we carried out Climate and Sustainability screening. This considered the likely impacts of this plan, following the five pillars of the UN Sustainable Development Agenda. No adverse impacts were determined as part of this process.

A Data Protection Impact Assessment screening was also undertaken, and as a result of this, a full Data Protection Impact Assessment was not deemed necessary.

Feedback

We are committed to continuously improving our services and as such we welcome your comments or suggestions for improvement areas at any time throughout the year. Please get in touch: performance@midandeastantrim.gov.uk

If you would like any further information or to request a copy of this plan in an alternative format please contact:

Corporate Performance and Improvement Team