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Strategy

Council Plan 2020 – 2024

Foreword

Councillor Toby Savage - Leader of South Gloucestershire Council
Councillor Toby Savage
Leader of South Gloucestershire Council
Dave Perry
Chief Executive of South Gloucestershire Council

As we publish this plan it has been an extraordinary and completely unprecedented six months for the country and for residents of South Gloucestershire. The Covid-19 outbreak has tested all of us, not least those who have continued to deliver front-line services, stepping up to deliver above and beyond their day-to-day responsibilities.

The response from staff, business and residents has been incredible and has epitomised what South Gloucestershire has done well for many years, pulling together our skills, expertise, and commitment to support and strengthen our local communities.

The timing of this Council Plan is important as we put in place the support and investment to re-ignite our powerful and innovative economy, and make our places safe, attractive, and sustainable for future generations. This Plan has considered the context of the significant challenges that were evident long before Covid-19; such as the scale of the inequality gap across our communities, the distinct attainment challenge for our children and young people, and the co-ordinated, multi-dimensional approach we need to put into action to deliver on our climate emergency commitments. But we have also drawn on the opportunities that have emerged from the emergency response to the pandemic in looking forward to the ‘new norm’; identifying new and better ways to keep residents informed, and working with individuals and groups who have stepped up during this time to help communities play an active role in finding local answers to local issues.

This Council Plan is ambitious, particularly given the pressure that has been placed on budgets, the uncertainty in the economy, and the very real impacts for those who have found themselves unemployed or facing six months away from education. But South Gloucestershire is a great place to live, work and visit. We have a valued heritage and green spaces and businesses that command high ambition and a presence on the global stage. As a council we have sometimes shied-away from highlighting the impacts of our work and what we have achieved, and at the heart of this plan is a new means of demonstrating how we are making a difference for you, delivering real value for money services.

We welcome and value the role that our residents and our partners in health and care, in housing, in education, in the police and emergency services, the private, public and voluntary and community sectors have already played in developing the vision behind this Council Plan and we look forward to working with you over the coming years to deliver our ambitious vision for you and your community.

Introduction: A great place to live, work and visit

Person on a bike riding along the cycle path

South Gloucestershire has long been recognised as ‘a great place to live and work’, but with new attractions complementing our rich heritage and beautiful natural environment, growing numbers of people are discovering how great a place it is to visit too. Our new Council Plan 2020 sets out how we will build on and deliver this vision, highlighting:

  • what we will focus on
  • how we will work, and
  • how we will measure performance.

Your Council Plan

This is your Council Plan. An increasing proportion of the council’s funding comes from what we receive from council tax and business rates and so it is natural that our key priorities and commitments are based on what you, our residents and local businesses, have told us is important to you.

The Council Plan is based around four key priorities which have been informed by a recognition of some fundamental challenges: notably driven by a passion to reduce our growing inequality gap and meet our climate emergency promise. A strong commitment to equality of opportunity, value for money and transitioning to a low carbon future will flow through everything we do and will form the basis of an overarching plan developed with our key local partners. These priorities will inform the council’s policies and decision-making.

We have provided examples of how we will put the priorities and commitments into action and we are backing each commitment with a bespoke action plan, setting out what we will do and how you will know we are delivering value for money services, which are making a difference for your community. These plans will continue to evolve to ensure they remain relevant in a time when change and uncertainty has become a constant.

Keeping it local

The Plan is ambitious; we aspire to be recognised locally and nationally for what we achieve as a council and with our many partners. But above all, it is local.

We are enhancing our ‘Keep it Local’ approach and the way we work with communities so you have a greater say in the issues which are important to you and take more responsibility for what goes on in your area.

We must ensure we are reaching all members of our community and key to this will be strengthening our relationships with town and parish councils and the voluntary and community sectors.

What we will focus on: Your priorities

Every day our staff and councillors speak with residents, businesses and other partners and these conversations helped shape our initial thinking and priorities. We then engaged further on these through wider public consultation between May and July 2020.

Through the consultation we received support for those initial priorities that had been informed and guided by engagement with local people and other stakeholders. It was also clear that whilst the fundamental priorities for the coming years will remain constant, our approach to meeting them will remain responsive and as such, this is a live and evolving document.

Specifically, you have told us that you would like to see how the Plan supports our response to the Climate Emergency and the growing inequality gaps in our society. Also, you told us that we need to continue with our long-standing commitment to target support towards those who are most vulnerable, disadvantaged or disconnected from our services by whatever means.

DNA image with text saying - Closing the inequality gap - Addressing the Climate Emergency - Delivering value for money

The climate emergency and inequality gap present themselves in different ways across all the services that we deliver, and the Plan now sets these as the fundamental challenges to be met by all our priorities. Additionally, we have sought to demonstrate the scale of the new approach we are taking to addressing issues affecting the most vulnerable. We are actively engaging with partners and stakeholders to identify how we can continue to target resources to those most dependent on the council and ensure equality of opportunity.

By their very scale, these issues cannot be tackled in isolation and require commitment from senior leadership, direct staff resource and a comprehensive whole community approach with residents and partners. Our approach will be backed by appropriate data-gathering and evidence as we seek to develop a long-term financial strategy aligned with these Council Plan priorities.

Our priorities have been updated to reflect your feedback and are:

Priority 1 – Creating the best start in life for our children and young people

Priority 2 – Identifying and supporting those most in need and helping people to help themselves

Priority 3 – Promoting sustainable inclusive communities, infrastructure, and growth

Priority 4 – Realising the full potential of our people and delivering value for money

Priority 1 – Creating the best start in life for our children and young people

Children and young people are our future, and we are determined to give them the very best start in life. Our priority is excellence in education and skills, ensuring equal opportunities for all. We see education as the primary driver for tackling inequality and with our partners we will provide an inclusive education offer in which leaders and staff have high aspirations for all children. We want all children to be able to access high quality education wherever they live, whatever their economic circumstances and their ethnic origin, so that all have opportunity to achieve their full potential.

Whilst we have seen strong performance from children and young people at some levels, overall, we recognise a distinct attainment challenge. Further, for some specific groups within the local community inequality gaps are evident from early years, which continue throughout their education. There are approximately 6,000 children living in poverty in South Gloucestershire, and many more are vulnerable on account of learning difficulties, disability or circumstances influenced by their race or gender.

Our priority is that this best start in life is available for all children although we recognise that we need to offer bespoke support for young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. Analysing the data and liaising with our education providers, we are aware of a cohort of predominantly white children from disadvantaged backgrounds who are behind their peers in their educational attainment. We also recognise that there are smaller cohorts of Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic children and children from the gypsy and traveller community facing an even larger gap in attainment. We want to work together to raise ambition, open new learning pathways and ultimately drive up attainment and opportunity for all of these children.

Our response to the current challenges presented by Covid-19, with so many children and young people having been away from learning in a school environment for an extended period, will be to empower them with the knowledge and skills required to take advantage of the range of choices and opportunities available. Beyond secondary education we will work closely with local colleges and universities to ensure further and higher education offers are accessible to young people and that local provision is sufficient to meet the needs of all new entrants and those seeking places to re-train and re-skill.

The council plays a pivotal role in supporting the lives of those in the care system, acting as ‘corporate parent’ for young people who have had an extremely difficult start in life. We take this responsibility extremely seriously and are ambitious for the future of all of those we look after. We will continue to invest in them to ensure they can benefit from the same opportunities as any other young person.

“We welcome the high priority the council has placed on improving educational outcomes. We look forward to working with you to ensure all of our young people deliver on their potential.”

Pete Barnard, Headteacher, Frampton Cotterell Church of England Primary School

Priority 2 – Identifying and supporting those most in need and helping people to help themselves

South Gloucestershire is a safe, healthy and affluent district with high levels of employment. However, inequality gaps have increased over recent years and without preventative action, the Covid-19 pandemic threatens to further hold back the prospects of the most disadvantaged.

There are many strands to the inequality challenge and we must work with partners in health and education, with voluntary and community groups and directly with local people to first identify those at greatest need and to then put in place timely and appropriate support, ensuring that mechanisms, guidance and pathways to further education, employment and career progression etc. are clear and accessible.

We have an ageing population but recognise that most people as they get older want to remain independent for as long as possible. With advances in technology, this is becoming more achievable for most people.

At the same time, we must invest in and exploit opportunities to shift the balance towards prevention and help people to help themselves.

The Covid-19 pandemic has strengthened connections between the general public and the council, health service and other public sector bodies. We want to build on those positive relationships, encouraging community-focused engagement with the voluntary sector, businesses and other key stakeholders. The ‘Keep it Local’ principle will see us commissioning more services and support from local voluntary and community groups who are best placed to support a new ‘community conversation’. These groups bring different perspectives and additional local connections, strengthening our joint capabilities.

We want to ensure that all South Gloucestershire residents lead safe and healthy lives and that they enjoy good quality health and social care which focuses on their individual needs and enables them to retain their independence.

“Covid-19 has shown what we can all achieve through working together. I look forward to working with the council and the local voluntary and community groups to improve the prospects for the most vulnerable in our society.”

Julie Close, Chief Executive, Southern Brooks Community Partnerships and Chair, South Gloucestershire Equalities Forum

Priority 3 – Promoting sustainable inclusive communities, infrastructure and growth

The pace and scale of growth in recent years has presented new opportunities for our area, but also challenges. We have a flourishing local economy and high levels of employment and want to proactively support high potential future-facing industries. An example of this is our current work with the South Gloucestershire ‘Tec Arc’, a cluster of world-leading business and research institutions from the Bristol and Bath Science Park and National Composites Centre at Emersons Green, through the University of the West of England and Bristol Robotics Laboratory at Frenchay to the aerospace and engineering businesses of the Filton Enterprise Area.

Our connectivity (both transport and digital) is a huge attraction to business. We host key junctions for five motorways, both Severn crossings, have high speed rail lines to London and South Wales and have a large international port and airport nearby. Yet we also have attractive, safe communities with access to the city and open countryside. Many of our school-leavers and graduates choose to stay here and the area is also convenient for commuting to surrounding cities and further afield. It is no surprise then that demand for housing is high and increasing. We have delivered thousands of new homes to help meet current requirements, but demand is set to intensify further over the coming years.

In planning this new housing, we must recognise the need to protect our natural habitats and biodiversity. Where possible, our priority is to prioritise development where it supports regeneration of existing town centres, high streets and communities and promotes the sustainability of existing services.

We will continue to work with our partners on the West of England Combined Authority to drive investment in our town centres, following the approach currently being taken in Kingswood, the North Fringe and Yate, ensuring supporting infrastructure keeps up with the pace of development through enhancements to Metrobus, cycling infrastructure and rail services. Our aim is to promote vibrant, mixed-use town centres with active public spaces, commercial, education, leisure, and cultural facilities.

We are proud of our heritage and want to do more to celebrate the area’s rich history, our listed buildings and beautiful landscapes whilst maximising the potential of local destinations such as The Mall, Aerospace Bristol, and the Wave to realise our ambitions as a visitor destination.

We want to deal positively with future expansion, by planning in a sustainable and integrated way to deliver high quality life-time and affordable homes, a dynamic local economy which supports forward-looking employment opportunities, key local community facilities and a convenient and safe transport network, which meets the needs and aspirations of both existing and new communities.

We recognise that future development must support our climate change commitments and our Climate Emergency Action Plans set out how we will work with our partners and residents to ensure growth is achieved whilst achieving these ambitions:

  • reducing carbon emissions
  • improving our resilience to climate change
  • enabling development of renewable and low carbon energy supplies
  • protecting and restoring our natural environment and encouraging greater bio-diversity
  • developing a low carbon economy, encouraging people to live low carbon, sustainable and healthy lifestyles.

In this way, we will ensure South Gloucestershire is a place where people respect the natural world, historic and cultural environment and live low carbon, sustainable and healthy lifestyles.

“A changing climate requires action from us all. This strategy recognises the urgency for action in the face of a changing climate and sets the framework for delivering an ambitious Climate Emergency Action Plan.”

Professor Jim Longhurst, Assistant Vice-Chancellor: Environment & Sustainability, University of West of England and Chair of the South Gloucestershire Climate Emergency University Advisory Group

Priority 4 – Realising the full potential of our people and delivering value for money

We are extremely proud of what we have achieved over recent years, continuing to offer high quality services at a time when we have delivered over a hundred million pounds in annual savings. We recognise that council services are increasingly funded by council tax and business rates, which is why value for money plays such an important role in our decision-making. Going forward our budgets will continue to be stretched and so delivering on our future vision requires us to achieve the best outcomes from every penny of your money we spend, closely aligning our resources against our priorities and commitments.

To do this, we increasingly need to have commercial ambitions and will continue to invest in land and property where there is a robust financial business case to generate a return on investment. Further to our early success in this area we have extended our commercial interests to provide an investment fund focused on supporting place-based regeneration, giving us greater control to directly deliver infrastructure and redevelopment in our town centres.

We also understand that above all, people want to see everyday services like waste collection and library services delivered efficiently. We are committed to providing services like these to the high possible standard as cost-effectively as we can.

Our most important resource is our people, and we must maintain and build on our inclusive and supportive culture and working environment and positively promote equalities throughout everything we do.

We have needed to find new ways to deliver services during the Covid-19 outbreak, some of which have highlighted better and more efficient ways of working. We will continue to equip our staff with the tools and skills to do their jobs to the best of their abilities, harnessing the potential of new technology and holding on to improved ways of working to deliver even better value for money for residents and businesses.

“The council has been a great place to start my career. What’s been great for me is how encouraging everyone has been in supporting new ideas and looking at better ways of doing things.”

Adele Davison, Apprentice Engineer, South Gloucestershire Council

Addressing the Climate Emergency

You’ve told us we need to have a greater focus on the Climate Emergency. We agree that action on the climate and our environment is a fundamental challenge which must inform and influence all our priorities and commitments.

In 2019 we declared a Climate Emergency, pledging to lead the way in moving South Gloucestershire to carbon neutrality by 2030. It is a big challenge, but we recognise the threats to our area – extensive parts of South Gloucestershire are subject to flood risk and the impacts of drought, high winds, and other extreme weather events due to climate change.

At the same time, our natural environment and biodiversity are under growing pressure presenting significant risks for food production, our health and economy.

We have made addressing these crises a central priority and overarching theme across our Climate Emergency Action Plan and, working with our partners, residents and communities, we will take action to protect, restore and improve our natural surroundings with a focus on woodland, grassland and wetland habitats.

We can make a difference:

  • We will lead by example, decarbonising our own operations and making them climate and ecologically resilient.
  • We will enable a low carbon, climate and ecologically resilient district through our policies, programmes, and decision-making.
  • We will inspire residents, communities, and businesses as well as national Government and agencies to take fast climate and ecological action themselves.

The greater focus and specific action plans that flow from the Council Plan will accelerate our work and highlight where we can take further positive steps to protect and enhance our natural environment, delivering improvements to residents’ health and wellbeing and show that economic regeneration can enable people and nature to thrive.

Closing the inequality gap

South Gloucestershire is a great place to live, work and visit. People want to live here, move here, and start businesses and families here. It is fundamental that we all share in the benefits South Gloucestershire has to offer, which is why evidence of a growing inequality gap* is such a concern and why giving people the means to turn this around is central to our priorities.

There are approximately 6,000 children living in poverty in South Gloucestershire, a statistic which goes to the heart of our priority to invest in education and skills, tackle inequality and create the best start in life for our children and young people. By focusing our efforts on education and skills for both children and adults we can have greatest impact in tackling inequality. We’re listening to business leaders to understand what skills they need, both now and into the future and we’re working with those businesses, with schools, colleges, universities, with the West of England Combined Authority and other partners to deliver courses and other opportunities to teach these key skills.

The Covid-19 outbreak has highlighted worse health outcomes for those living in poor quality and overcrowded housing, which adds further weight to our priority to deliver sustainable inclusive communities, infrastructure, and growth.

And in identifying and supporting those most in need and helping people to help themselves, we hope to raise living standards for the most disadvantaged.

Responding to the Covid-19 emergency, together with our partners we have committed new resources to supporting the vulnerable, isolated and those who have been disproportionately impacted by the outbreak, with a key focus on those from a BAME background, people with a learning disability, care leavers and those affected by domestic abuse.

We must re-double our efforts to promote equality of opportunity and build cohesive communities. We will develop our partnerships and networks to engage directly with the most vulnerable in our communities, allowing us to better hear the voices of harder to reach groups, so we can have more meaningful conversations with them to understand their needs and can work with them in co-producing services.

* In 2004, 21 South Gloucestershire areas rated in the most deprived 20% nationally against at least one domain of the Indices of Multiple Deprivation. By 2019 this had risen to 46.

How we will work: People, Place, Partnership

This Council Plan maintains our focus on being an efficient and innovative organisation, working closely with our communities and partners to shape and improve the outcomes and prospects for South Gloucestershire, our residents and businesses.

We are externally recognised as a high-performing council, yet despite the scale of our economy, the attraction as a place to live and work and the increasing role we play as a destination to visit, South Gloucestershire is yet to establish a distinctive and understood identity.

Through the likes of the innovation cluster that identifies as the South Gloucestershire ‘Tec Arc’, through the emergence of unique leisure experiences in the North Fringe, through our market towns and rural tranquillity, but also our transport and digital connectivity; we have virtues that we are keen to promote.

We want to enhance private sector investment in our communities and amplify our voice to ensure we get recognition, and funding, from the Government which better reflects our contribution.

We also want to open up new channels of communication, both digitally and through our face to face engagement and service interactions so we can reach all of our residents. The relationships we have built through the Covid-19 pandemic are central to this and that new community conversation will grow further through the development of these very local-level relationships. But aside from voluntary, public and business sector partners we have welcomed the role that individual residents have played in supporting their neighbours, their local shops and their community organisations. We want to promote the extension of this local commitment to community and publicise the value of that collective approach.

Working in partnership

We can’t deliver this Plan alone; many of the commitments we are working towards will be delivered either by, or with our partners.

Equally, many of our priorities and commitments don’t stop at our boundaries. Through our active role in the West of England Combined Authority and the Western Gateway powerhouse, we have demonstrated how we can work effectively with neighbouring authorities and others to deliver improved outcomes for the wider region.

We will build on this strength, forging new partnerships and enhancing established relationships.

Icon of a map spot pin point

Keep it Local

Our Compact with the Voluntary and Community Sector and the Parish and Town Council Charter will be complemented by a new set of ‘Keep it Local’ working arrangements, an enhanced way of working with the Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector to identify better ways to deliver services to improve the lives of local people.

Town and Parish Councils are integral to community engagement. Through our Community Engagement Forums and our Local Strategic Partnership, we work closely with the Police to identify the local priorities and actions for maintaining community safety. We have comparable relationships with Health Trusts and Clinical Commissioning Groups to identify health and well-being priorities but also extend this co-working to ‘Friends of’ community park and asset groups so that we can support community activities and classes, but also share expertise and evidence that supports a broad range of future-funding proposals.

Listening and acting

Supporting the aspirations of our diverse communities is at the heart of our plans and we will engage with you and your community to identify and help meet your current and future needs, so that everyone can have their voices heard. Whilst we are exploring innovative digital methods by which to present our services and engage local people, we recognise the value of continued face-to-face conversations and maximising the involvement of community-based groups.

Focusing on people

We are a people organisation. We will recruit and retain people with the right skills and provide the right culture, leadership, and environment for our staff to do their jobs to the best of their ability.

We will further reinforce our inclusive culture where everyone feels able to participate and achieve their best.

Making your money go further

We will look after every penny as if it were our own, prioritising spending on the most vulnerable in our society and the services which are most important to you.

We have a strong track record of managing our finances and achieving savings, whilst continuing to deliver high quality, value for money services.

Living by our values

Our values underpin all that we do and how we work. As a council “We Care”.

Infographic of our values, showing words that make the acronym - 'WE CARE'

How we will measure performance: What it will look like

Our priorities are brought to life through a package of 20 commitments. Each of these commitments has its own dedicated Action Plan which sets out how we will deliver our priorities and measure our progress to maintain the extraordinary status we believe South Gloucestershire merits. These are published on our website and we’ll provide regular updates to track our progress against those commitments, ensuring that we are transparent and accountable.

Our Scrutiny Commission will also have a key role in monitoring delivery of the Council Plan as well as carrying out their policy development role as the Plan develops and is implemented.

Our Local Strategic Partnership will have a particularly prominent role on those issues which require a joined-up approach across multiple partners, most notably in tackling the Climate Emergency, our ambitions to enhance educational attainment and in closing the inequality gap

Our commitments

Priority 1 – Creating the best start in life for our children and young people

  1. We will raise educational outcomes
  2. We will ensure that children and young people are supported in their early years
  3. We will work to eliminate child poverty across South Gloucestershire
  4. We will support all children and young people to achieve positive mental health and wellbeing
  5. We will provide appropriate support to facilitate choices for children with a learning difficulty
  6. We will provide the best support possible to those children and young people we are responsible for in care, as they leave care and beyond as they begin independent lives

You can read more in the Action Plans 1 – 6 document.

Priority 2 – Identifying and supporting those most in need and helping people to help themselves

  1. We will ensure people have access to the best possible information, advice, and guidance to support themselves and their families
  2. We will shift the balance of support towards prevention
  3. We will support the most vulnerable adults to maintain and promote their independence
  4. We will enable communities to work together to help improve their lives and address the problems that are important to them
  5. We will ensure that people feel safeguarded and supported in our care, at home and in their communities

You can read more in the Action Plans 7 – 11 document.

Priority 3 – Promoting sustainable inclusive communities, infrastructure and growth

  1. We will clean streets and maintain roads effectively
  2. We will lead the response to the climate emergency and deliver on our commitments
  3. We will promote clean, affordable, high quality design of new and existing communities
  4. We will plan to join up housing and appropriate infrastructure such as schools and transport networks that make it easier for people to get around, prioritising sustainable and low carbon travel choices
  5. We will enable people and business to recover and thrive within cohesive communities that value diversity

You can read more in the Action Plans 12 – 16 document.

Priority 4 – Realising the full potential of our people and delivering value for money

  1. We will demonstrate how well we deliver value for money in the services we provide and commission from others
  2. We will increase our commercial operations to generate income to support council services and use our assets for maximum benefit to our communities
  3. We will work as one council providing staff with the skills, tools, and support to perform at their best, promote equality of opportunity for all and live our values
  4. We will develop our digital infrastructure to support residents and staff in day-to-day life

You can read more in the Action Plans 17 – 20 document.

Appendix: Where are we now

A safe, healthy, affluent district offering a good quality of life for many people. However, this population-level analysis can sometimes disguise significant inequality gaps.

Overall health

Overall health in South Gloucestershire is good and improving, and life expectancy is higher than the national average.

Life expectancy

Life expectancy varies considerably across South Gloucestershire. Men from the least deprived areas live five years longer and women live over six years longer than those living in the most deprived areas.

Population

A total population of 285,100 in 2019 which is projected to rise to 354,300 in 2043.

Older population

19% of the population are aged over 65, which is expected to increase to 21% by 2043.

Average earnings

In 2019 the average earnings for a full-time worker living in South Gloucestershire was £31,609, higher than the national average (£30,661).

Crime rate

61.2 crimes per 1,000 population, lower than both the south west and England & Wales averages (67.8 and 88.9 per 1,000) respectively.

Primary schools

87% of our primary schools are rated Good or Outstanding.

Secondary schools

An improving picture at secondary level. 47.1% of schools rated Outstanding or Good in March 2020 compared with 35.3% in the previous year.

Deprivation

In 2004, 21 South Gloucestershire areas rated in the most deprived 20% nationally against at least one domain of the Indices of Multiple Deprivation. By 2019 this had risen to 46.

Housing needs

Almost 2,000 households are registered as being in housing need.

A rich natural environment with a strong heritage but facing significant challenges from climate change and habitat loss.

Renewable energy

Renewable energy currently generated in South Gloucestershire delivers only 4.8% of the projected 2020 demand.

Natural environment

Our natural environment is under growing pressure from a range of factors including climate change, increased levels of pollution, changes in agriculture and development.

Flood risk

Extensive areas subject to flood risk.

Population

63% of the population live in the urban area, 17% in market towns and 20% in villages and rural areas.

Car ownership

Levels of car ownership and commuting are high.

Heritage

Distinctive place-based heritage stories and assets (market towns, aviation, non-conformist religion, Second World War, listed buildings and conservation areas).

A prosperous and diverse economy with low levels of unemployment, but facing significant challenges following Covid-19.

Economic health

South Gloucestershire’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2018 was £12,865m, ranking us 11th highest GDP of all local authorities in England outside of London.

Employment rate

To year end March 2020, South Gloucestershire had an employment rate of 83.1%, higher than the sub-regional and national averages (79% and 76.2% respectively).

Small Businesses

Highly entrepreneurial – in the year to December 2019, 1,568 new small businesses started up in the district.

Unemployment

Low levels of unemployment – in March 2020, 2.6% of the economically active population (16 and over) were unemployed, below the sub-regional (West of England) and national (England) averages (both 3.9%).

Education and qualifications

In 2019, 38.8% of people aged 16-64 living in South Gloucestershire were educated to NVQ level 4 or above (HND, degree, higher degree level qualifications or equivalent), this remains lower than both the sub-regional (West of England) and national (England) averages (45.4% and 40%).

Challenges

Some areas have relatively poor access to higher level job opportunities, and low-level attainment and skills.

New homes

Between April 2006 and April 2019, 13,980 new homes were built, including 3,933 Affordable Homes.

Property prices

In December 2019, the average price paid for a residential property in South Gloucestershire was £275,000, which is considerably higher than the regional (South West) and national (England) averages (£253,000 and £243,950 respectively).

Average house price

In South Gloucestershire the average house price is 8.7 times the average pay (31,609). This is above the national average (8.0) and the same as the South West average (also 8.7).

Rapid increases in demand for our services, particularly in the area of adult social care at a time of unprecedented budget reductions for local government. However, we have continued to deliver high quality, value for money public services.

Savings

By 2024, we will have made over £102m in annual savings.

Adult social care

In the last two years, we have seen a 5% increase in assessments for adult social care.

Superfast broadband

Completion of the current fibre broadband deployment across South Gloucestershire will achieve 99% superfast fibre broadband coverage by 31 March 2021.

Satisfaction in the area

79% of local people are satisfied with their area.

Satisfaction with the council

In our most recent budget consultation, you told us that you are satisfied with the way the council works and that we deliver value for money.

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