Council publishes its 2022/23 Annual Report

219 days ago

Carmarthenshire County Council has published its Annual Report on its 2022/23 performance, which outlines how the Local Authority is progressing against its Corporate Strategy 2022/27 -Developing Carmarthenshire Together. One Council, One Vision, One Voice.

Click here to read the Annual Report in full.

Throughout 2022/23, the Council tracked its progress against the Well-being Objectives and priorities it set out to ensure it delivers on its promises. The Annual Report sets out what has been achieved and identifies what’s been challenging.

Under Well-being Objective 1: Enabling our children and young people to have the best possible start in life (Start Well) - the County Council prioritises early intervention and prevention since what happens in these early years has lifelong effects, from obesity and mental health to educational achievement and economic status.

The latest Care Inspectorate Wales Assurance check on our children’s social services made very positive findings on the Council’s preventative approach and recognised that the number of children looked after by the Local Authority remained one of the lowest in Wales.

 

In Education, overall, pupils are happy, safe, thriving and fulfilling their personal, social, and learning potential. A consultation survey with 2,195 respondents found overall agreement that schools provide children and young people with a good education. In a recent report by Estyn, his Majesty’s Inspectorate for Education and Training in Wales findings were overwhelmingly positive.

 

Under Well-being Objective 2: Enabling our residents to live and age well (Live & Age Well) – Carmarthenshire County Council is pulling services together to tackle poverty and prioritising housing and social care.

 

Sadly, 34.5% (28,730) of households are living in poverty in the county. This is a slight decrease since last year, however, Carmarthenshire still exhibits the 8th highest level of poverty of all local authorities in Wales and poverty levels remain higher than the Welsh average by 1.1%.

 

Cross-departmental work to tackle the Cost-of-Living crisis has developed a stronger more integrated approach within the Council and has better consolidated and identified what we can and need to do. 

 

Specialist help, support and advice with the cost of living and other matters have been provided by the Council through its customer service Hwbs in Ammanford, Llanelli and Carmarthen, and via its telephone Contact Centre and online.

 

Warm spaces were also set up at Carmarthen, Llanelli and Ammanford libraries last year, with just over 8,000 attendances by the end of March 2023.

 

Good quality affordable homes are the bedrock of healthy and sustainable communities. In 2022/23 Carmarthenshire County Council delivered 323 additional affordable homes in the County, which totals 1760 homes since 2016.

 

Within Social Care, as with almost all local authorities, the inability to recruit sufficient Homecare, Residential Care and Social Work Staff reached a critical point in late 2022, which led to long waiting lists for assessment and care. 

Workforce initiatives that include the Care Academi, increased degree sponsorship and improving some terms and conditions have improved and stabilised the position in all areas. 

 

The development of Supportive Living resources for adults with mental health and a learning disability is transforming lives as the programme gathers pace; whilst the Home-First service is swiftly reducing the number of people needing long term. 

 

Within our Well-being Objective 3, the County Council also wants to enable our communities and environment to be healthy, safe and prosperous (Prosperous Communities).

 

Economically, positive signs are emerging from the local economy as the Council has secured and is delivering the £38.68m UK Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) in Carmarthenshire. In addition, significant regeneration capital schemes have been delivered, most notably, the redevelopment of Llandeilo Market Hall and the Pendine Tourism Attractor Project. 

 

Carmarthenshire County Council has created 1475 this year, safeguarded 215 jobs and supported 1,237 businesses.

 

We have a strong organisational commitment to carbon reduction and we were the first local authority in Wales to declare a climate emergency, publish an action plan and report annually against progress made within the plan. Since 2016/17 to 2021/22 we have reduced our carbon emissions by nearly a third.

 

This is strong progress in the pathway to meeting our commitment to Welsh Government’s ambition for net zero Welsh public sector by 2030. We are proactively working with national government, public, private and third sectors to mitigate against the impacts of climate change.

 

In 2022/23 we reduced our energy use by over 5% and reduced our carbon footprint by 6.29%, saving 1,140 tCOe.

 

Reacting to the disappointing figures of the 2021 Census, which noted a further decline in the number of Welsh speakers in Carmarthenshire, down to 39.9% of the population, which is equivalent to 72,838 Welsh speakers - the Welsh Language County Strategic Forum is developing excellent co-operation approaches and has worked together to co-produce the new Welsh Language Promotion Strategy. The Council is also developing its ethos and culture in terms of use of the Welsh language within the organisation and this will be further developed over the next few years.

 

Despite a slight increase in crime rates, Carmarthenshire remains one of the safest places in the UK. Partnership working with Dyfed Powys Police and other agencies remains strong and continues to develop as new issues arise. 

 

In Leisure Services, attendance has recovered across the year as more people are engaged in physical activity opportunities across the county, with figures almost back to pre-Covid levels.

 

Carmarthenshire County Council undertake waste and recycling kerbside collections for 91,000 households with over 8.5 million interactions per annum. During this year, we have made significant changes to our suite of waste services, implementing a move to weekly food and dry recycling, reducing the frequency of our residual waste collections and rolling out new separate kerbside glass and nappy recycling collections. Any change in waste service delivery is difficult and brings its own challenges, however, the strategic success of the service change has led to a significant improvement in our recycling performance, and we have exceeded the Welsh Government Statutory Recycling target with a performance of 65.25%.

 

With a view to further modernise and develop as a resilient and efficient local authority, we have developed a Transformation Strategy which outlines 8 thematic priorities under review. The thematic priorities look at efficiency and value for money, income and commercialisation, workplace, workforce, service design and improvement, customers and digital transformation, decarbonisation and biodiversity, and schools. In addition to the thematic and service priorities, the report also examines a range of core business enablers that are essential to enable business to proceed.

 

Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council, Cllr. Darren Price said: “This report brings together available evidence from a range of sources which include performance data, customer satisfaction results and regulatory findings in order to make judgements on how things are going. 
“I would like to thank everyone who took part in forming this thorough Annual Report, from Officers who compiled the Report to our residents who took the time to respond to consultations. 
“Citizen satisfaction survey responses are important to ensure that we are not just ‘marking our own papers’ but looking for an honest assessment of progress. However, I am glad to say that the majority of residents agree that the Council provides good quality services overall. 
“As a Council, we are keen to deliver our Corporate Strategy in a sustainable way, making sure that in meeting the needs of today, we do not in any way make it more difficult for future generations to meet their needs.”