Welcome from Dine Romero, Leader of B&NES
Thank you for your interest in the position of Chief Executive of Bath & North East Somerset Council, and I hope that this introduction will give you a flavour of both the council and the area it serves.
Bath and North East Somerset is outstandingly beautiful. It is also economically and socially successful, making it an attractive area in which to live, locate, work and invest. The city of Bath is one of only two entire urban areas inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the other being Venice. Two thirds of our region is green belt with two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (the Cotsowlds and the Mendips) and 37 Conservation Areas. During 2018 some 7 million people visited the area as tourists with 1.2 million people visiting the world-renowned Roman Baths.
The area is home to a diverse economy with a vibrant visitor and hospitality sector, a hugely attractive and reasonably buoyant retail sector. Leading engineering, design, creative and hi-tech companies, and two world class universities.
Our residents are highly educated and skilled, reflecting the strength and depth of local education and the attractiveness of the area as a place to live and work. Our population is also growing. We are becoming increasingly diverse and have a large and engaged student population. We are also ageing- with a substantial increase in our residents aged over 75's and 85 expected over the next decade.
Our Early Years, Primary and Secondary schools are predominantly Good or Outstanding and the majority of children in our schools exceed national average attainment and achievement. We have good Children’s Services and outstanding services for children and young people with SEND. Our strong Adult Care Services are fully integrated with Community Health Services (delivered through a contract with Virgin Care B&NES), we have a successful track record of integrated and co-working with local NHS colleagues to deliver quality services and improved outcomes for our residents. Our challenge here is to manage demand as our population changes and ages so that we can continue to provide the range of services our residents need.
As a World Heritage City we face some very specific challenges. We have more than 6,000 listed buildings and the the physical limitations on the growth of the city constrain the supply of residential and commercial space. As a council we have sought to address these issues through a combination of direct intervention, partnership working and innovation. We have an Enterprise Zone (Bath Quays) which will deliver much needed grade A commercial accommodation, some of which will be delivered directly and some through a Joint Venture Partnership. We have also established our own development and housing company, Aeequs Developments Ltd and will soon bring 95 apartments to market along with a secure pipeline of developments. Despite these initiatives, housing affordability remains a key challenge for us.
The council owns and operates one of the most successful heritage and conservation services in the UK which includes the Roman Baths, the Fashion Museum and the Victoria Art Gallery. It also operates a successful commercial estate. Both services contribute significant income to support other council services. Our services are of good quality in every area of activity.
Not everything is as we would like it to be. We have challenges around the attainment and achievement gap for some children and young people. We also have significant public health issues including differential life expectancy between communities and air quality in specific corridors related to traffic volumes across the city. As our population ages we face a real challenge around loneliness. We also have challenges around substance and alcohol abuse.
The council is seeking to balance a number of competing needs, demands and expectations with a diminishing resource base. We have restructured to create a smaller, more focused council and we have clearly set out our priorities for the future. We have refreshed our vision and values and developed new models of engagement with our communities and partners, as well as beginning work on a new Core Offer.
We have championed the creation of the West of England Combined Authority to bring investment in infrastructure into the region. We have strong inter-authority working relationships, through our Joint Spatial Plan and Joint Local Transport Plan. We have reduced the number of Councillors and will be refreshing the way in which the council is run following the recent local elections. Our council is characterised by good Councillor-officer relationships, a strong public service ethos, committed and capable staff and highly effective professional leadership and management.
We wish to recruit a Chief Executive to help us build on all this, and to work with our staff, Councillors, partners and communities to deliver excellent services and outcomes for those who live or work in or visit our area.
Council Leader, Bath & North East Somerset Council.