Successful joint Council and Community Planning Partnership event highlights importance of partnership working

The event is an opportunity to look back at the performance of all partners over the preceding year and this year the focus was primarily on the pandemic and the unprecedented challenges that our communities have faced.

The gathering heard presentations from Carol Turnbull, Principal Ayrshire College - on Economy and Skills, Chief Superintendent Faroque Hussain – on Safer Communities and Craig McArthur Director of Health and Social Care in respect of Wellbeing.

The scale and effectiveness of the combined response to the pandemic was fully considered and also the ongoing impact, which is continuing to be felt by communities and businesses in East Ayrshire, and the importance of a robust renewal and recovery plan.

The impact of the pandemic on families, who had already been struggling, and the need for a continued partnership focus on work to address child poverty and the wider inequalities in our society, formed a significant part of the event.

Depute Provost Sally Cogley, who chaired the event, said: “The annual Joint Engagement event is an invaluable opportunity for elected members, officers from the Council and our Community Planning Partners to join together and really look at the issues that face our communities and to recognise the importance of partnership working.

“Partnership working has been central to our response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the reports that we received today illustrated the range of activity that has been taken forward collectively over the last year. They also reflected the central role that our communities have played in that response and the resilience that they continue to demonstrate in the face of these ongoing challenges.”

“We are under no illusions about the continuing impact of the pandemic in our communities and we will continue to direct the full range of our partnership resources to address these challenges in future – the child poverty data and future projections that we heard today were particularly stark. We will redouble our efforts to work in partnership to address these challenges in our future renewal and recovery work.”

Reflecting on performance during the previous year, some very positive results from partnership working were highlighted at the event including:

  • Increase in average gross weekly earnings (2%)
  • Superfast broadband in 96% of homes
  • Formal sign off of the Ayrshire Growth Deal in November 2020 and continued development of the Ayrshire Economic Development Strategy
  • Improvement in school attainment rates (2% for SCQF5 and 1% for SCQF6)
  • The opening of The Barony Campus, Cumnock - £68m investment
  • 91% of school leavers in positive & sustained destinations
  • More students completing courses at Ayrshire College (3% increase for SCQF6 and 8% for SCQF7)
  • A 25% reduction in crimes of dishonesty, including shoplifting and housebreakings
  • Fire related casualties and fatalities reduced by 20%
  • We continue to exceed foster carer recruitment target - 9 foster carers approved in 2020/21
  • The number of older people living in their own home or in a community setting rather than in a care home remained constant at 97.4% at March 2021
  • % of last 6 months of life spent at home / in a community setting up to 90.8%  against a target of 89.4%
  • 5% of people started drug/alcohol treatment within 3 weeks against a target of 90%

Looking forward, the new, shared strategic priorities for 2021-24, identified in the recent Community Plan Review, were recognised. These priorities originate from our wider ambition to see the residents and communities of East Ayrshire prosper and will be central to our ongoing partnership recovery from the pandemic in the years ahead. They will focus on maximising the benefits from the Ayrshire Growth Deal for everyone in East Ayrshire communities, and supporting delivery of the Caring for Ayrshire Transformational Change Programme.

The full report from the event can be viewed here.