Cheshire East Council

As a low cost, high performing local authority, Cheshire East Council is responsible for providing more than 500 local public services to over 378,000 residents.

Our organisation is financially independent and we have a particular focus on enabling residents and communities to become more self-sufficient.

“Working for a brighter future together” is our promise and speaks about our ambitions and our hopes, and those we share with our communities and partners. Our priorities are shaped by a clear vision for our organisation and Cheshire East the place and set out in our Corporate Plan and our strategies for people and place services.

The costs associated with maintaining quality in our services and environment is very challenging. 60% of the Council’s net budget is spent on providing support for people-based services, such as social care, but the housing growth in the area also brings additional challenges for our other key services such as increased waste collection and disposal and highway maintenance.

Our medium term financial strategy balances inflationary pressures relating to pay, contracts and demand for services and a reduction in Revenue Support Grant from Central Government, with increases in expenditure in all our front-line services and our work to boost to local economic prosperity through continued investment on capital projects, such as roads maintenance, infrastructure, education and regeneration.

The council’s budget relies heavily on local taxation, and the borough’s economy and the organisation’s strategy for economic growth is at the core of ensuring that essential services can be retained for those who need them.

We take a responsible approach to maintaining appropriate levels of financial reserves, focussing on our ability to invest in opportunities and to manage exposure to financial risk. Where something has been identified as a specific risk or investment opportunity, then an amount will be earmarked for that purpose.

We take a ‘best fit’ approach to delivering our services, including in-house, wholly owned companies, commissioning from the private sector and public-public partnerships.

As a unitary council, we provide a wide range of services, including: planning and development control, highways, adult social care, education, children’s social care and family support, economic development, environmental and consumer protection, libraries, public health, waste and recycling.

Among these services are several that are recognised nationally as leading the way for quality, performance and innovation including areas as diverse as libraries, support for care leavers, strategic infrastructure, registration service, waste and recycling, consumer protection and more.

We have one of the busiest planning departments in the country and our borough has seen one of the highest take ups of neighbourhood plans. Equally, we have a focus on improving performance in a number of areas, for example, Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

Since its creation, the council has operated on a cabinet model with a conservative majority. We have strong and responsible leaders who are committed to public service and who are rooted in their communities. We take decisions for the long-term, investing in the future and responding to changing circumstances. We invest in member development and management resilience that strengthens our community leadership and our capacity to deliver.

To meet current and future challenges we work closely with many organisations, businesses and groups and have a real focus on developing our relationships and becoming a better partner by developing a culture of working with others and sharing risks and rewards.

As demands change, the best solutions are designed by including service users and other stakeholders in the decision-making process. We are putting co-production at the centre of service redesign and delivery, resulting in more open and frank conversations with communities, neighbours, partners and staff.

We employ around 3,500 staff and they are our most important asset. Getting our organisational culture right has been a real focus for us over the last two years.

In 2017 the council asked the LGA to undertake a review of workplace culture. We've addressed the recommendations of that review through a comprehensive, organisation-wide programme. We now have a clear vision for the workplace, a set of values and behaviours and an employee deal that have been agreed by staff and members across the organisation.

Our journey continues to ensure that Cheshire East Council is a great place to work, where staff are well led, feel valued, have a shared purpose and succeed together.