Turning vision into reality

I’ve decided that now we have dealt with the pressures of this year’s budget, and before we start detailed work on next year’s, it is time to publish something for the bloggers and anonymous critics to really get stuck into.

I appreciate that Local Government has not traditionally been a particularly visionary environment – we have predominantly been reactive organisations, fire-fighting and managing scenarios as they develop, rather than being at the forefront of service development.  As money gets tighter over the coming years, we are going to have to be able to make intelligence-led decisions about resource allocation, and we need a comprehensive framework from which to do this.

Following extensive consultation with council staff and partners, we have now published our ‘Vision,Mission, and Priorities’ – one A4 sheet which replaces volume upon volume of previous Corporate Goals, Sustainable Communities Strategies, and other piles of paper which nobody outside of Whitehall ever read.

Our vision is that we will build a Blackpool where aspiration and ambition are encouraged and supported.  We will seek to narrow the gap between the richest members of our society and the poorest and deliver a sustainable and fairer community, of which our communities will be proud.

There is an acceptance that we cannot hope to change our destiny merely by wishing for it, only by working for it.  Our mission is to work with the public, private and third sectors, locally, regionally, nationally and internationally, to achieve this.

Our priorities are to:

  • Tackle child poverty, raise aspirations and improve educational achievement
  • Safeguard and protect the most vulnerable
  • Expand and promote our tourism, arts, heritage and cultural offer
  • Improve health and well-being especially for the most disadvantaged
  • Attract sustainable investment and create quality jobs
  • Encourage responsible entrepreneurship for the benefit of our communities
  • Improve housing standards and the environment we live in by using housing investment to create stable communities
  • Create safer communities and reduce crime and anti-social behaviour
  • Deliver quality services through a professional, well-rewarded and motivated workforce

Now at this point, I suspect a small number of people have steam coming out of their ears, are preparing furious emails, letters to the paper, comments and counter-blogs, asking how the Council can hope to achieve any of this if we can’t get the Promenade/Comedy Carpet/Heritage Tram/Talbot Square/Pothole issues resolved (and I do not doubt there will be many more). 

That, in many ways, is the point. 

Without this overarching strategy, without a set of values to inform the work that we do, we end up with schemes which don’t quite meet anybody’s needs, which turn out to be imperfect, and don’t represent people’s original (and I don’t doubt, good) intentions.

There are some major conversations taking place at the moment about the future of different services.  To have a framework within which to operate, those conversations would risk being held in isolation – now, thanks to the values and priorities, we will see joined-up thinking, and corporate decision making, and I think the town will benefit as a result.

5 thoughts on “Turning vision into reality

  1. At last, here is what many of us – who work as, or for, or with people in Blackpool – the ex employees, the current workforce, the residents and the communities can understand. No more rhetoric please; an end to nebulous tick lists of outcomes that make no sense when seen outside of their context. The bureaucratic millstone is starting to turn again to deliver the grounds for recovery – instead of languishing around Council Officials necks.
    I’ve always believed that honesty, transparency, simplicity are the keys to true community harmony. I’ll always fight for what I believe in. I know you do too Simon, so you appreciate this. Give no place for people to hide behind the work of others, to take ideas and credit them to themselves. Selflessness should be a bye-word for every Council Employee. You get behind the town and all push in one direction – forward.
    Everyone understands that principle.
    Those who do the work closest to the communities and businesses work can articulate this just as easily as anyone else. As it should be.
    Always ask “WHY?” but also always ask “WHY NOT?”.
    Well done. It is a leap in the right direction – and the work, well it is just about to start.

    Now, about the Comedy Carpet………………….

  2. Sustainable jobs for children in the future? Create a technology park… IN Blackpool ( not the outskirts) maybe give it room in the new builds and get doing computer design. Get kids making apps use the CLC take advantage of the government’s tax relief on the games industry.

    Its one industry that Blackpool could easily get into you don’t need to be somewhere geographically as everything is online. You don’t need any natural resources other than programmers and the college is turning them out but when they do they are off to find jobs elsewhere or end up in rubbish seasonal only jobs when they could do better. Get the CLC in on the action get school kids designing apps for android and apple its not beyond them and who knows Blackpool could be the birthplace of the next Angry Birds as well as home to a amazing tourist trade.

    Blackpool could be a technological gem if only we embraced the future more, this is the youngest cabinet ever i think..? Surely if anyone is prepared to push Blackpool into the future it should be you.

    • s394010 – Great Ideas, but we’ve had the chances before and missed them. Maybe the Government support will help. A few years ago a young, go ahead multimedia company simply wanted help to expand, and was looking for support to stay in Blackpool. Some may guess the company from descriptions, but let’s say, disappointedly they moved out of the town. It was such a shame, because they were born out of the Blackpool and Fylde College. The College student output has, in the past, dominated some industries. Many students found employment in, of all places, Germany. That was just one company, a company now playing in a big league with the games industry. Well done them.

      Also a few years ago (when Blackpool Airport offered daily flights to Stansted) the College had its annual exhibition in London – at Billingsgate as I recall. I remember suggesting the radical step of promoting the town and the students by flying the potential employers for a day in Blackpool. Think of the opportunity to build the town’s branding.

      Today, Blackpool Council’s own remarkable team of architects are modernising the town in ways that will hopefully also make it stand out……and I know their capabilities having helped them make big leaps in their creative ICT use. These young architects could be just the sort of inspiration that Blackpool School students need to be aware of.

      There are other inspirational Blackpool ex- students. Look up http://www.andywalmsley.com/ for what can be achieved. I know of other students who went on to great things. They should be inspirational and help create a “can-do” mentality in these “lack of employment” days. Possibly readers of your column might know others – do you? Let’s bring inspired exemplars back to town and celebrate their success. There could be a lot others can learn.

      Blackpool’s CLC? It was just the place for making curricula strides of the sort suggested. It could have been so many things, and I know that some people there still want it to be a Centre of Excellence. Few will know that it has now inherited the “Apple Regional Training Centre” badge (which used to be at the St. Georges Music centre). It’s support from Apple and its agents has been in excess of £80k in the last few years. I know, I made the application. Wouldn’t this be the perfect location. Alas, the CLC still has it’s TV Studio, an underused Radio Station, but many of the computers originally located at the place.

      No more than six years ago, I personally (through connections of my own, and long before BBC Salford’s move) brought the BBC to Blackpool, and made their Training Department aware of what the possibilities were at the CLC. We met in London. All we wanted to do was to grow the possibilities. This was before the CLC paid back European Funding (a large amount I recall) because they were concerned they could not make original artificial targets of the TV Studio. The BBC offered training by it’s staff in Blackpool CLC. The CLC didn’t want it. Another past opportunity for Blackpool Communities (and students) was lost.
      The CLC lost its original focus. Wouldn’t you have thought that it could have been the “hub” of activities such as those suggested by s394010? But possibly it no longer is.

      Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see an area of Blackpool grow into just such a “Creative Industries” hub? The Games Industry in Blackpool is a great match and something to attract real attention for the right reasons. If you believe it, do it I say.

      As Capt. Pichard would say in Star Trek – “Make it so”

  3. Magnificent Sentements………..Lets see this council deliver there promises and pledges. We have put our faith, are jobs, are business and homes in the hands of Simon Blackburn and his fellow councillors, now is the time to stop blaming previous councils, and get a grip. A no nonsense approach, at last a leader who has grown some. Go for it Simon, you really cant make it much worse. We know you will do your best and thats all the folk of this town can ask, YOU give your undivided attention to this town and its problems. AND Whilst your on with it, kick a few delicate behinds in the offices of senior council officials, knock em off there pedestals, remind them who is in charge YOU

  4. A clear statement in a fresh and inspired way that provides us with a framework to measure what we do and what we don’t what we would wish to do and what we can enable others to do . Well done. Others could learn from this and I have a strong feeling that the employees of Blackpool and the people of the Borough will have the passion and ability to make this happen. What however does need to happen is that Blackpool takes a major position on the agenda of those in the ‘south’ who have little appreciation or concern for the ‘Northern Agenda’ in today’s testing economic climate.

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