Progress against the priorities of the County Council’s strategic plan, Shaping Hampshire, was presented to the Authority’s Cabinet on 12 December, at their final meeting of 2016.
Councillor Perry said: “Continuing to deliver sustained good performance across hundreds of services to the people of Hampshire, at a time when public sector finances remain stretched, and as demand grows for services - is an impressive achievement. Our staff are a credit to the Authority, and to the people of Hampshire.”
With key performance priorities which include delivering high-quality, cost-effective public services, efficiency, improving residents’ health and wellbeing, and protecting the environment, the County Council’s overall performance in all these areas has remained strong during the latest reporting period (from April to September 2016) – building on the Authority’s established track record.
Among the key performance highlights were:
• The high percentage of parents who were allocated a primary school place for their child, at one of their three preferred schools. With over a 97 per cent achievement rate, and despite increasing demand for school places across the county, Hampshire out-performed the national average.
• On the roads, the County Council has completed eight major highways schemes this year, in Fareham, Gosport, Havant, Basingstoke and Eastleigh. With further projects in the pipeline, the work represents an overall investment of £82 million. In addition, the County Council’s road surface dressing programme has been successfully completed early – prolonging the life of over 165 miles of Hampshire roads. The £7 million investment was completed two weeks ahead of schedule.
• The Authority has strong green credentials. The County Council’s CO2 emissions have fallen by 35.8 per cent since 2010 – well on target for a 40 per cent reduction by 2025, and with the ultimate aim of being carbon neutral by 2050. The reduction in carbon emissions has saved the County Council around £2.9 million in avoided energy costs (at current rates) with a further £200,000 carbon tax savings a year. The emission savings are thanks to an innovative programme of carbon reduction projects across the County Council’s corporate buildings, as well as a major programme of street lighting replacement, using more energy efficient lamps, reducing burning hours and dimming lights.
• Hampshire’s five country parks have all been recognised with Green Flag awards, as some of the best parks and green spaces across the country.
• The County Council’s commitment to the Armed Forces as a local authority and employer was recognised with a Gold Award within the MOD Employer Recognition Scheme.
Alongside the County Council’s core activities, its comprehensive transformation and efficiency programme is also on track to deliver £340 million of savings by April 2017.
Councillor Perry added: “In spite of severe cuts in funding from central Government, the County Council’s size, capacity and strong financial stewardship has meant that we have been able to deliver significant savings early, and reinvest them into more modern and efficient ways of working to protect services as far as possible. At the same time, we have still kept Council Tax the lowest of all county councils across the country, and delivered value for money for the taxpayer.
“However, there is always room for improvement, and so we won’t be resting on our laurels. We know the extent of the financial challenges that lie ahead of us, and we will continue to do all we can to improve and protect the vital public services that Hampshire residents rely on.”