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Creating a Capital City that Works for Cardiff and Wales

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Creating a successful capital city which works for Cardiff’s residents and works for Wales is at the heart of a new report which lays out how the Council will deliver on its Capital Ambition vision.

The report which will be considered by Cardiff Council’s Cabinet on Thursday, December 14, sets out clear priorities over the next four years as it seeks to build a local authority fit for the 21st Century.

Council leader, Cllr Huw Thomas, said:

“Today Cardiff is one of the fastest-growing and most highly-skilled cities in Britain. The city’s population and economy are growing; jobs and businesses are being created, and unemployment is at its lowest level this decade. But, at the same time, too many people in Cardiff – many from working families – are struggling to meet their basic needs. These challenges – of growth, inequality and sustainability – must be met with bold solutions and big ideas during a time of unprecedented austerity. Our Capital Ambition report sets out how we will future proof the Council, building an authority fit for the 21st Century. One which delivers for Cardiff and for Wales.”

To enable Capital Ambition the report recommends that a four-year delivery programme is set up to put ‘impetus’ behind the project and to focus on areas where fundamental change is required.

Work will focus on ‘modernisation’ and the ‘transformation of front-line services.’

If agreed by Cabinet the Council will immediately look at a range of options including:

  • Exploring the business case for a new County Hall.
  • Adopting a ‘Digital First’ approach which will provide digital 24/7 access to services which are ‘indistinguishable from those available to citizens in every other aspect of their lives’.
  • Carrying out a root and branch review of its assets and properties with a view to modernising its estate, improving the quality of buildings it chooses to keep while disposing of poor quality buildings, helping to reduce a £100m maintenance backlog.
  • Developing new income streams from Council assets, in particular, Council-owned venues and attractions to ‘compete with and beat’ commercial competitors.
  • Investigating regional collaboration on shared services with social care, health and housing, particularly in relation to supporting older people

The Capital Ambition report also says the Council will work to protect vital services in several ways including:

  • New and more efficient ways of working.
  • New partnerships with public, private and community organisations; and by
  • Creating a New Deal with residents founded on mutual interests and responsibilities

Cllr Thomas said:

“There is much we can do as a Council, but if we are to succeed then we will need Cardiff’s residents to come on board with us as we try to create a great capital city with great public services.

“City residents will need to buy in to our plans if we are going to create a cleaner, healthier and fairer city. Keeping our streets clean, hitting our sustainable transport targets and looking after our most vulnerable people cannot be achieved by the Council alone. The austerity cuts mean it’s simply not possible for the Council to do it alone. We need a ‘New Deal’ with citizens and partner organisations through which we can work together to tackle problems and realise our shared ambitions for Cardiff.

“Given the scale of the long-term financial challenges facing the Council, all services will need to be subjected to detailed and challenging review. Over the past 10 years the Council has made a quarter of a billion pounds in cumulative savings and reduced non-school staff by more than 1600 people. We are planning for a further budget gap of more than £73m over the next three years too. Clearly this means fundamental change has to happen across the piece.

“This administration is committed to the development of a ‘New Deal’ with citizens, through which the Council and the communities it serves can work together to tackle problems and realise shared ambitions for the city.

“As an initial step a volunteering portal has been launched that will make it easier for Cardiff residents who are interested in volunteering to come forward and find a range of volunteering options suitable to them.”