THE Council’s key priorities for the year ahead are outlined in a refreshed Corporate Plan which was approved by Councillors last night (Mar 23).
In the context of uncertainty due to the continuing human and financial impact of the Covid 19 pandemic, Reading Borough Council has this year created a one-year Corporate Plan for 2021/22, rather than its usual three-year plan.
The plan – entitled ‘Investing in Reading’s Future’ – sets out the Council’s vision and priorities for the year ahead. The vision is: ‘To help Reading realise its potential – and to ensure that everyone who lives and works here can share the benefits of its success.’
The priorities, agreed following consultation with residents, businesses and partners, focus on the three linked themes of thriving communities, a healthy environment and an inclusive economy. These sit alongside the Council’s overarching task of helping Reading to recover from the effects of the pandemic, which are widely acknowledged to impact vulnerable members of the community most.
The Corporate Plan, agreed at a meeting of Full Council last night, can be found at www.reading.gov.uk/corporateplan . Sitting alongside the plan is a Major Projects and Initiatives appendix, which contains an overview of the specific projects which will help to deliver the plan. It also includes details on how the Council will measure and report on progress, with Councillors receiving a quarterly performance report.
Reading Borough Council Leader, Councillor Jason Brock, said:
“The Covid 19 pandemic has brought incredible challenges for people in our town, our communities and our economy. It has been widely acknowledged that some communities have felt, and will feel, the impact harder than others, and we know that this disparity is often linked to levels of deprivation.
“Our Corporate Plan is about ensuring our town’s recovery is more than just successful. We need to go further than that to make sure it is equitable and addresses the ways the pandemic has deepened inequalities which already existed.
“We are of course realistic about what can be achieved, in the context of a continuing crisis which has exacerbated funding challenges for Local Government, but our ambitions for Reading remain.
“We remain aspirational for the future of the town, and our vision is that the environment, the economy and the community are together at the heart of a more inclusive, more equitable town. We want everyone to be treated fairly; to have equal access to green space, clean air, skills, services, jobs and housing; and to benefit from Reading’s success.”
Over the next 12 months Reading Borough Council will be looking ahead to its next three-year strategic plan and again intends to work with key partners – including residents, businesses and employers, major institutions, such as Reading University and the Royal Berkshire Hospital, and the voluntary sector to help design it.