10. Priority one: Encouraging communities to be outstanding
As well as delivering our day-to-day services, our focus is on achieving the following successful outcomes:
● Balanced communities for a sustainable future.
● Services which are targeted to those who need them most, providing equality of opportunity and access to our services.
● Communities that come together to solve local problems in a sustainable way, by participating, working together and helping themselves for example through neighbourhood plans.
● More good quality, local homes for local people.
● Improved health and wellbeing of people living in our communities through sport, exercise and making the most of the outdoors and through a variety of cultural and leisure activities.
● Healthy communities, with reduced preventable ill health through public health interventions.
Over the life of this Council Plan we will take the following actions to deliver these outcomes successfully:
● Deliver the Local Plan to meet the district’s aspirations and needs in terms of the different housing people need and land for employment.
● Deliver quality green space and wildlife habitats alongside new development.
● When development happens, ensure that the natural environment and historic buildings are protected from inappropriate development.
● Deliver the right infrastructure through the Community Infrastructure Levy to ensure that new developments and communities have all the facilities they need.
● Ensure that council homes are well maintained and managed effectively with high tenant satisfaction.
● Review our business plan for council homes to maintain a viable level of income and expenditure following changes in government policy to ensure that we continue to achieve a high level of tenant satisfaction. Implement the actions and commitments in our Public Health Plan.
● Extend our range of community development activities to work with people of all ages, focusing particularly on the issues of health and wellbeing, worklessness and financial and digital inclusion.
● Ensure that the activities which require it are appropriately licensed.
● Extending the housing options service and reducing numbers on the housing register.
● Return empty homes to beneficial use.
● Protect and improve the health and wellbeing of our communities through transparent and proportionate enforcement of environmental health legislation.
Services which support East Devon’s communities include:
● Keeping food hygiene standards high through regular inspections of food businesses.
● Preventing homelessness wherever possible.
● Playing an active role in safeguarding children and vulnerable adults.
● Managing council homes that offer quality and value for money.
● Home Safeguard supporting our out-of-hours response and vulnerable clients connected to our community alarm service.
● Contributing to how safe people feel in their community through the Community Safety Partnership.
● Improving the sustainability and energy efficiency of homes and commercial premises.
● Ensuring that minimum standards of safety, comfort and amenity are achieved in private rented homes.
● Looking after the parks, gardens and beaches and funding the countryside rangers and activities.
● Protecting the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities by adopting a broad view of public health – this means delivering our public health priorities of supporting targeted families, preventing cardiovascular disease, raising levels of physical activity across the life-course, falls prevention, emotional health and wellbeing, and action to address poverty/ support those experiencing hardship.
● Funding teams which work in our communities to promote a great range of activities for residents and visitors to enjoy. This includes providing local communities with opportunities to improve their health and wellbeing through the countryside team’s public events programme including orienteering, Nordic walking, green gym and GP referral scheme.
● Supporting an Arts and Culture Forum which promotes the work of the Manor Pavilion Theatre, Thelma Hulbert Gallery, local nature reserves, parks and gardens ensuring all our communities have access to high quality green spaces, theatre productions and nationally acclaimed contemporary art exhibitions.
● Ongoing improvements to Seaton Wetlands to enhance the visitor experience.
● A partnership arrangement with LED charitable trust which we fund by around £1m every year to run our sports centres and swimming pools around the district.
● Licensing premises appropriately to provide enjoyable and safe places but which don’t detrimentally impact neighbouring properties and activities.
● Making sure that the public and participants are safe at major events taking place in the district.
● Ensuring that taxis and taxi drivers are properly licensed so people relying on or using the service are safe.
● Providing housing benefits and Council Tax Support (Universal Credit) in a timely and efficient way.
● A customer service centre giving excellent customer service and providing the necessary support at first point of contact.
● Collecting Council Tax, business rates and other debts owed to the council efficiently and fairly and in accordance with the council’s debt collection policy.