Challenges & Opportunities
Some of the challenges for the Council include the following:
- Rising demand for the majority of our services. If we look at adult social care in particular we see that life expectancy at aged 65 is rising at a faster rate than disability free life expectancy, meaning that people are living for longer with ill health and disability. This will increase the numbers of frail older people with multiple and complex care needs. This rising demand is set against a backdrop of diminishing resources and increased and unrelenting expectation – from residents, customers and partners.
- The reduction in civic participation. We know that more people in Solihull disagree that they can influence local decisions than agree, although this is also an issue nationally.
- Partnership complexity. There is an imperative to look for system wide and integrated solutions to our challenges and this requires us to improve the way we navigate the complexity of partnerships – local, sub-regional, regional. We know we need to develop the agility, skills, insight and strategic partnerships in order to succeed in this complex environment.
- Our ability to plan for the long term when national policy setting is increasingly short term.
- Balancing the freedoms of self-sufficiency and devolution alongside the transfer of risk from central to local government.
Maximising those opportunities
Despite increasingly constrained central funding and uncertainty over proposed changes to how this funding will be distributed across local government, councils have new opportunities to foster, and to benefit from, local economic growth.
Only by growing our economy, encouraging existing business growth and proactively encouraging Foreign Direct Investment and relocation of national businesses into Solihull, will we expand our ability to generate revenue for our public services through local business rates as well as provide employment opportunities. This will require us to consider how we bring our physical infrastructure, land and human assets into a coherent policy to support this economic growth. Our track record is very strong in this area but achieving this will require a renewed vigour over the coming years and into the next decade.
Securing economic growth is not an end in itself, but is a means of achieving wellbeing, inclusion and shared prosperity – it is two sides of the same coin, a metaphor and principle we have put at the heart of our policy making. We have strengths in many areas and we need to build upon these strengths in order to ensure that our economic growth is relevant to all of our population, providing opportunities for all.