A fit for purpose council – a council which leads by enabling others to achieve

A fit for purpose council underpins all our work. We are a co-operative council: financially responsible, efficient, customer-focussed, creative and collaborative in all that we do.

Our ambition for a fit for purpose council is:

  • A city with effective public services

What are we doing to achieve our priority for a fit for purpose council?

We will become even more efficient and make it easier for residents to access services in a convenient time and place:

  • We have already reduced the cost of the council’s central services by 50% over the last three years. Over the next three years, we will save almost a further 10% through sharing IT and in the next year will explore sharing our transactional services with local partners.
  • We will put our assets to work for the city; assessing whether things we own bring benefit to communities or income for the council, or if disposing of them and reinvesting the proceeds would be greater benefits.
  • Continuing to commercialise council expertise and assets in highways, waste management and property to bring in an additional £5 million over the next three years.
  • An increased digital and self-service offer will allow residents to access services when and how suits them best, while face to face contact will continue for those with the most complex needs.
  • We are opening data sets to support residents and businesses in the city and we are using data analysis to understand ways in which services should be designed in the future. We will use the skills and expertise in the National Innovation Centre for Data (NICD) and National Innovation Centre for Aging (NICA) to accelerate this.
  • We will continue to work closely with developers and businesses to increase broadband connectivity across the city, including understanding how we can benefit from the use of Smart technology to deliver efficient and inclusive council services.
  • We will continue to work with staff to develop a set of values that underpin how we work and deliver our services.
  • We will continue to refurbish the Civic Centre, providing modern and fit for purpose office accommodation for our staff and increasing income through renting space to others.

How will we measure our progress?

Measuring progress
Indicator Cabinet Portfolio
Resident satisfaction with the council All
Number of people who visit our website Deputy Leader
Twitter followers and Facebook likes Deputy Leader
Key stats on voluntary and community sector Deputy Leader
Position against agreed budget Resources
Proportion of Council Tax and Business Rates collected compared to NE / Core Cities Resources
Number of people employed by the council Resources
Number of days lost through sick leave and % staff with no sick leave Resources

How we are performing

Some of our achievements in 2016-17

Despite needing to make £32 million worth of savings, we underspent our 2016-17 General Fund revenue budget of £231.5 million by £0.3 million.

  • Identifying a further £0.5 million savings in senior management, adding to the £1.5 million of management savings already delivered in recent years.
  • We facilitated discussions with councillors and communities to set local priorities for 25 of our 26 wards through annual ward priority setting events. This was a new approach implemented in 2016-17 which will become the annual delivery process for local ward working.
  • In the seventh round of our Newcastle Fund, we awarded 26 grants totalling £750,000 to projects to support people with emotional and physical needs and improve resilience.
  • The collection rates of Council Tax and Business rates declined slightly but remained high at 96.9% and 99.1% respectively and remain amongst the highest when compared to Core Cities and other North East councils. YHN collected 99.6% of current rent from tenants.
  • Over 3,460 people and organisations gave us their thoughts on our draft budget proposals for 2017-18 to 2019-20, while over 50,000 viewed our innovative ‘People’s Budget’ online interactive budget tool. This tool allowed people to understand the financial challenges we face and the difficult decisions we must make to set a balanced budget.
  • Our approach to social media and increasing the video content used to communicate with residents has seen the number of ‘likes’ on our Facebook page increase from 13,719 in December 2016 to 15,842 in March 2017 and our followers on Twitter increase from 34,286 in December 2016 to 34,799 in March 2017.
  • We won five awards at the North East CIPR Pride awards and one national CIPR award, recognising the quality of our communications work:
    • Gold winner nationally – Best use of social media for our work on channel shift
    • Gold winner – Community relations campaign for our ‘No Need to Beg’ campaign
    • Gold winner – Integrated campaign for our ‘Keep it Clean Newcastle’ campaign
    • Silver winner – Internal communication campaign
    • Silver winner – Low budget campaign
    • Finalist – Public sector campaign
  • We moved the Civic Centre Customer Service Centre to the City Library, the first step in our ambition to establish a series of Community and Information Hubs across the city. By consolidating in to one location we, and our partners, can make significant efficiency savings but also provide local people with easy access to many services in one location.
  • There were over 80,000 online transactions with YHN last year. Their digital champions have worked with tenants to provide 2,000 hours of volunteering time and 300 tenants have completed a ‘learn my way’ basic computer skills training course.
  • We increased the Living Wage for our employees from £7.75 per hour to £8.25 per hour. This benefited all staff on the lowest two pay grades, and most of the staff on the third lowest. This took the total number of staff benefitting from better wages from 750 to 1,000.
Page last updated: 
18 June 2018
Was this page useful?