Leaders Column 28th March - The Futures Bright…

28 Mar 2024
Martin Wrigley

With the Easter weekend approaching and the weather giving us the odd fine day, it is starting to feel like spring is finally here.  Having been heralded by the daffodils the full bloom of spring is full of promise and renewal. 

At Teignbridge we have been starting consultations on a new Council strategy and looking at the Devon Devolution deal.

The council strategy is at the core of everything that the council does.  It determines where time and effort and funds are spent and how the services are delivered. 

In business a company will have a mission, a vision and a strategy to get there.  Similarly, so do many public organisations.  There is a famous story about a US president asking a janitor at NASA about his job during the Apollo moon program.  The janitor replied, “My job is to put a man on the moon and bring him back safely”.  That is a strong mission statement that clearly influenced everyone that worked there.

Councils offer two types of function, there are services that they are legally obliged to carry out, statutory services, and others that are discretionary. 

District council statutory services include bin and recycling collections, licencing, planning, and housing.   Devon County council statutory services include highways (including filling potholes), schools and education and social care.

There are always choices in how a statutory service is run. Take housing for example, some councils kept a stock of council homes, others like Teignbridge passed them over to housing associations many years ago, and Teignbridge is now starting to build council houses again.

Discretionary services include things like Car Parks and Public Toilets and much more.

The council strategy lays out what is important and what the council is trying to achieve in delivering both statutory and discretionary services, based on what the district and the residents need.  To get more voices into developing the strategy Teignbridge is holding a series of meetings across the district (you can finds details on the website). 

However one aspect that we need to make a core principle is that of co-operation and collaboration between Towns and Parish councils, and the County council as well as community groups. This is a key part of becoming a community powered council.

Teignbridge has been holding workshops with Town and Parish Council colleagues to look at how we can achieve more and better outcomes by collaborating. 

One good example is how the development of the Teign Estuary Trail is progressing in a collaboration led by Bishopsteignton Parish Council and including Teignbridge and Devon County Council and the local campaign group as well.  This has unlocked the project that was stuck in a rut for years and is now starting to get moving apace.

Which brings us to the Devon Devolution deal.  There is much to be gained from real devolution of powers from central government to local government, but this deal has a lot in it that needs to be improved.  It creates a new Combined County Authority that will cover Devon and Torbay with a lot of Government control over the way it works and what it will do. 

Quite how the deal will end up is still under discussion, but one thing is clear to me, that it needs to build on the move towards collaboration between the different layers of local government and not try to be a new controlling bureaucratic function dictating from above.

Hopefully we can collaborate to construct something useful…

This website uses cookies

Like most websites, this site uses cookies. Some are required to make it work, while others are used for statistical or marketing purposes. If you choose not to allow cookies some features may not be available, such as content from other websites. Please read our Cookie Policy for more information.

Essential cookies enable basic functions and are necessary for the website to function properly.
Statistics cookies collect information anonymously. This information helps us to understand how our visitors use our website.
Marketing cookies are used by third parties or publishers to display personalized advertisements. They do this by tracking visitors across websites.