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BCP Council ‘leading the way’ on Levelling Up

BCP Council is ‘leading the way’ in its approach to the Government’s Levelling Up agenda, according to a report to be considered at the next meeting of BCP Council’s Cabinet (14 December 2022).

The Purpose Coalition impact report assessed the council’s performance on social mobility as set against the 14 Levelling Up Goals, which aim to spread opportunity more equally across the country.

It concluded BCP Council has strengths particularly in goals one, two and three, which focus on how young people, their parents, carers and teachers are supported to achieve their potential.

According to the impact report another area in which the council excels is goal 14, which focuses on diversity and inclusion. Cabinet will now be asked to note the ‘excellent work of officers’ and the progress made by the Council in meeting its Levelling Up agenda, as supported by the findings in the report.

It will also be asked to acknowledge the information and recommendations in the report.

Rt Hon Justine Greening, Founder of the Levelling Up Goals and Former Secretary of State for Education, is quoted in the report as saying: “BCP Council is leading the way in terms of what it offers against the 14 Levelling Up Goals, being able to offer extensive examples in every category.

“BCP Council’s strong corporate vision and strategy means that it is well on the way to delivering vibrant communities with a good quality of life where everyone plays an active role.”

In February this year, five Levelling Up priorities were established for BCP Council shaped by data and insights from members across the council.

They included increasing support and development opportunities for children and young people, addressing cost of living issues such as affordable housing, addressing skill shortage and low skill attainment, reducing health inequalities and disparities between wards and improving transport links. The priorities were designed to improve the local productivity rate.

Three of the Levelling Up Goals were identified as aligning with these priorities, they were: goal two ‘Successful school years’, goal eight ‘Good health and wellbeing’ and goal 14 ‘Achieve equality through diversity and inclusion’.

The Purpose Coalition report acknowledges that nine pockets of deprived areas within BCP have been labelled as among the most deprived 10 per cent in England. It outlines that BCP Council must focus in on its attempts to level up the region and make it one that offers equal opportunities for all.

Cllr Toby Johnson, Lead Member for Levelling Up and Skills, said: “We are one of the UK’s first local authorities to create a dedicated lead member role for Levelling Up and we have been working together with Government to bring future investment to the areas of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole that need it most.

“Our region has great strengths, but we know we need to widen opportunities so that more people can fulfil their potential.

“This report shows we are committed to eliminating infrastructural and societal inequalities.

“Through our Corporate Strategy and Big Plan we have set out a commitment to provide high quality homes at all levels of affordability in sustainable environments that put people and communities at the heart of future regeneration and investment.

“We are determined to improve opportunities around skills, bring about better paid jobs and help people to lead active, healthy and independent lives.

“We want to improve the standard of living for our communities across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole and help our region reach its full productivity potential.”

Cllr Johnson said work to achieve the goals was a cross-party effort, highlighted by an all-member seminar in February 2022, supported with an introduction by Rt Hon Justine Greening.

Editor’s notes:

BCP Council is one of the UK’s newest local authorities and the 10th biggest urban authority in England, currently serving a population of approximately 400,000 which is expected to continue to grow.

Read the BCP Council Cabinet paper here. Read the Purpose Coalition report here.

Read about the Levelling Up agenda here.



Posted on Wednesday 7 December 2022