Wakefield Together makes progress in delivering improved public services

​PR ref 5038

Date: 21/08/2015

Eight out of ten people are satisfied with their local area in the Wakefield District as a place to live, according to a report being presented to senior councillors next week.

 The Council's Cabinet meeting on September 1 is considering the annual progress report from Wakefield Together – a series of partnerships bringing together the Council, West Yorkshire Police, Jobcentre Plus, Wakefield College, Wakefield and District Housing , Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and other partners determined to ensure the success of the District..

 The report for 2014/15 shows how organisations are working together on different agendas to improve residents' satisfaction  and devise new ways of working, making sure that public funding is having the maximum impact in the areas most important to people's lives.

 Cllr Peter Box, Chair of Wakefield Together's  Local Services Board, said: "This is an important report which shows how we are doing against our four aims of caring for our people, caring for our places, being ambitious for our young people and providing modern public services.

 "By working together, we are re-shaping public services to make sure they match people's needs as far as we can.  It's a challenging job but this report shows we are making some headway though, as ever, there is still much to do and, increasingly, tighter budgets to do it with.  We simply have to do more with less.

 "Against this tough background, it is good to see that 78% of people say they are satisfied with their local area – a figure which has improved gradually over the last five or six years."

 The report shows that Wakefield Together's Health and Wellbeing Board has made progress in keeping the most vulnerable adults supported and safe by improving social care, and bringing care "closer to home" with three multi-agency centres working to reduce hospital admissions.

 The report acknowledges there is further work to do in fully integrating health and social care, reducing delays in leaving hospital and ensuring adults and older people live as independently as possible. This is being overseen by the Health and Wellbeing Board with Wakefield being a Vanguard pilot for Government

 The District continues to face challenges in reducing unemployment and improvingqualifications and skills. Equally,there is more to do to reduce the number of people claiming sickness-related out of work benefits, iand to support vulnerable people into work but by closely working with business through Wakefield Together's Wakefield Enterprise Partnership important progress is being made. The pay gap between Wakefield and the rest of the region is starting to close, the   number of young people claiming out of work benefits is falling, apprenticeships are increasing and more young people are getting into education, employment and training.

 Successful achievement of other Wakefield Together targets includes the  completion on time and to budget of critical regeneration projects including   Kirkgate Station and Castleford Bus Station along with the opening of the Pontefract Northern Link Road. Building more than 1,100 new homes is another good sign for the District, along with continuing improvements in Wakefield city centre.

 Collectively, through the Wakefield Together Children and Young People's Partnership, arrangements have been improved for protecting children at risk and supporting families who need early help but even though our most disadvantaged children are doing better at school they still need further support to do even better.  Equally, although reoffending may be going down as a result of the Wakefield Together Community Safety Partnership, a focus on domestic abuse will be a major priority going forwards.

 Cllr Box said: "This report gives a summary of much hard work, laying the foundations for new, better integrated public services for the district which gives value for money and are targeted where they will do most good."