A New Chapter for South Tyneside

Posted by: Press Team on 18 May 2022 12:35

South Tyneside Council has undergone a period of significant change for the better and is becoming a more open and transparent council, with the potential to achieve more.

A new report finds that new leadership has brought stability, visibility, and a new, more open approach to the council creating an expectation of change for the better. The LGA Peer Challenge review highlights that there is a clear passion for the place and for the delivery of good outcomes for residents.

The local authority, which has undergone a significant period of change in recent months with a new Leader and Chief Executive at the helm, is beginning to feel quite different, with a new collaborative leadership approach, there is growing optimism about working with and in the organisation, the LGA report states.

The Council is keen to further enhance its relationship with the people of South Tyneside and ensure that services are relevant and fit for the future. This includes looking ahead to bring forward a refreshed 20-year vision for the borough and embed its new 'our council' change programme to bring about lasting change for the organisation and wider borough.

Cllr Tracey Dixon, Leader of South Tyneside Council said: "When I became Leader, I wanted to change the way we did things to put people at the heart of decision making. I wanted a definite shift so that we would be a listening council putting the views of local people first.

"Since coming into office I have been working relentlessly to change things so that we can be the best of the borough

"I'm pleased to say that after hard work to put the right team in place with Jonathan by my side we've got the foundations of a new council, a new way of working and a major change in the organisation. We will hold ourselves to account, modelling the right values and behaviours, to be the best of the borough.

"I always said it wouldn't happen overnight but with our hard work and determination we now have a plan to move forward with into the next phase of realising what the council, and borough can be.

The Council commissioned a resident survey last year because it wanted to listen to the views of local people and find out what was most important to them. Almost 1,000 people responded, providing themes to further explore over 2022, from how people engage with the Council to satisfaction with services such as refuse collection and recycling. It also undertook a business survey and employee surveys to gain as much insight as it could about what where it needed to improve both internally and externally. Elsewhere services have been consulting with their service users to reshape strategies in areas like Adult Social Care and Health and Wellbeing.

South Tyneside Council has now brought forward an operational plan for the next 12 months and has developed the 'Our Council' Change Programme to strengthen ways of working, support employees and elected members in their important roles, and drive modernisation and improvements across the Council.

Jonathan Tew, Chief Executive at South Tyneside Council said: "External challenge is vital and that is why we invited the LGA in to take stock of where we were, where we are, and where we could be.

"The Peer review confirmed that change has happened but there's still more to do. A lot of what the peer review told us we were already doing, it confirmed what we knew about where we needed to go next - with a renewed vision for the borough for the next 20 years.

"Our new approach is all about having a transparent evidence base to make decisions, so that we are working collectively with the residents and businesses of South Tyneside. So that we can prove why things are needed and more importantly so we can measure our successes and areas for growth.

"There is much more to do to transform our practices into a modern and open council, building on the governance work that is well under way and looking at our existing policies, processes, and procedures to do things differently."

As the Council moves into the next phase it will be going out to the public in the summer. During 2022 its 'Our South Tyneside Conversation' consultation will be an extension of the work done to date. It aims to reach more residents to inform decision making.

The Council's annual plan, 'Our Council' change programme and LGA peer review will be presented to Cabinet at their meeting on 25 May 2022.

Last modified: 06 June 2022 12:37