The County Council Vision

Our Vision is all about improving lives by creating:

  • A thriving and productive County that is ambitious, confident and focussed on improving people's lives.
  • A County of resilient, well-connected and compassionate communities working to reduce inequalities.
  • A County where all partners actively work together for the benefit of our residents, communities and businesses and the environment in which we all live.
  • A County that provides you with right information, advice and guidance to help you help yourself and targets support to those who need it most.

Our Business Plan explains how we will work towards this Vision over the next three years. We will review the Plan every year to keep it to date.

Our Vision sets out what we want for Somerset.

Our Business Plan explains how we will achieve this.

Delivering the County Council Vision

What the Council does is about making the most of the County’s strengths, working together, and being prepared to do things in different ways: we don’t just ‘fix problems’.
To deliver the Vision, we will:

  • Help people to help themselves.
  • Direct our resources to where they are needed most.
  • Work with all our partners.

The people of Somerset have also told us what our priorities should be, which are reflected in the Vision and this Business Plan:

  • Helping vulnerable and elderly people.
  • Investing in Somerset’s economy and infrastructure.
  • Attracting jobs and more apprenticeships.

  • David Fothergill video

    Our strengths: what Somerset has to offer

    Somerset boasts significant strengths. These are a strong foundation on which to improve lives in the county:

    • Our economy is worth £11bn, the same size as Liverpool or Sheffield.
    • Somerset has low unemployment and a mixed economy.
    • We have many good schools
    • We work well with our partners. They consider us a ‘partner of choice’
    • We have a fine natural environment and rich cultural heritage.
    • A wide range of voluntary and community organisations contribute immensely to resident’s wellbeing.

    Somerset’s challenges

    Despite our strengths Somerset has challenges to overcome:

    • Economic productivity that remains below the national and regional average.
    • Poorer levels of public sector funding compared to other areas.
    • Meeting the needs of a growing and ageing Somerset population.
    • Inequalities in Educational outcomes, Economic opportunity, Access to services and Life chances and aspirations.
    • The need for more housing and infrastructure.
    • Many people and communities remain digitally excluded or unable access fast and reliable broadband coverage.
    • Many people suffer from poor physical or mental health and wellbeing.

    The Council’s own challenges and drivers

    To be properly equipped to deliver, the Council has to understand its own drivers:

    • We must always put our residents at the heart of everything we do.
    • We have responsibilities across a range of partnership strategies:

    And challenges…

    • The uncertainty over the future of Local Government Funding (Fairer Funding Review (FFR), Business Rate Retention (BRR), Spending Review) makes future funding planning less certain than for the last four years
    • Continuous improvements to our Children’s Services to get to ‘good’.
    • The Council has a wide range of statutory responsibilities which we must meet.

    Why a Business Plan?

    The Business Plan says what the Council will do to deliver its Vision. Key to success is working with all our partners and making use of the county’s many strengths and assets.

    • It will focus our work on achieving better outcomes for our residents and communities
    • It helps us be informed when having to make difficult choices at a time when we have fewer resources than ever before and increasing demand for our services.
    • It shows our partners precisely what our objectives are and what we are doing to achieve them.

    The Business Plan also says how we will develop the capacity and capability we need.

    To make the most of Somerset’s strengths
    we will:

    • Work with individuals, communities, providers, businesses, other public, voluntary and community sector organisations. We want to work collaboratively and be their partner of choice.
    • Work to retain the talent that we have in the County whilst attracting the additional expertise and resources that our economy needs.
    • Work with businesses to grow and develop our economy.
    • Promote Somerset as a great place to live and work.

    To address Somerset’s challenges, we will:

    • Continue to focus on prevention and early intervention.
    • Work across health and care to promote people’s independence and reduce unnecessary demand on services.
    • Protect vulnerable children and adults and support them to reach their potential.
    • Work with our partners to provide the physical, digital and employment infrastructure that our economy and communities need.
    • Work to create a county where people can aspire and achieve without being held back by their background or circumstances.
    • Work with health partners and the police to tackle mental and emotional wellbeing issues and the harm they cause.
    • Demonstrate Social Value and Value for Money in all that we do.

    Meeting the Council’s challenges

    The Council must be confident, capable and financially sustainable if it is to deliver the Business Plan. So that we are equipped to deal with the challenges and grasp the opportunities ahead, we will:

    • Continue to address our financial challenge, ensure the council lives within its means.
    • Make sure our internal financial and decision-making processes continue to be robust and evidence based.
    • To improve outcomes, we need to make better use of high-quality information and data.
    • Continuously develop and improve the way we work, find better ways of doing things and embrace new technology.
    • Work with partners and communities.
    • Focus on outcomes, making use of high-quality information and data.
    • To achieve this the Business Plan sets five organisational development priorities for the Council.

      • Organisational Redesign
      • Our culture and approach
      • Become a digital- and technology-enabled council
      • Effective and resilient delivery
      • Reduce demand for high-cost services

      Everyone in the Council has a responsibility to consider and reflect the Business Plan in their service planning, budget setting and performance management. Everything in the Business Plan is subject to availability of funding and our decision-making processes.

    Why do we need a Business Plan?

    David Fothergill video