Agenda item

West Suffolk Council Strategic Priorities and Medium Term Financial Strategy 2024 to 2028 (Report number: COU/WS/23/018)

Report number: COU/WS/23/019


Council considered this report, which sought approval for the West Suffolk Council Strategic Priorities and Medium Term Financial Strategy 2024 to 2028.


The Strategic Priorities document (Appendix A) formed part of the Council’s Policy Framework, as set out in the Constitution. The Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) (Appendix B) would direct the resources available to West Suffolk to underpin delivery of the Council’s services and priorities as part of the annual budget setting process. Together, the two documents set the high-level parameters governing the Council’s overall direction.


The MTFS set the context against which the 2024 to 2025 budget and medium term financial plans (2024 to 2028) were proposed to be developed between now and the formal Budget and Council Tax adoption meeting of the Council in February 2024.


The Strategic Priorities document set out the high-level ambitions of West Suffolk Council over the next four years. The vision, priorities and values in the document had been developed over a period of months by Cabinet, in consultation with West Suffolk Working Partnership. The document set the strategic direction for the Council, as well as providing a framework within which future decisions would be made, and setting the priorities that would govern the Council’s performance management system.


The report provided further detail on how the strategic priorities had been produced, which included how the document also explained that West Suffolk’s contribution was only part of the picture. West Suffolk’s role was not to directly deliver everything referred to in the document but also to play a role in influencing, partnering with and working alongside other partners, not least residents and communities.


The West Suffolk Medium Term Financial Strategy 2024 to 2028 assessed and evaluated the financial resources the Council expected to have and the expenditure in order to deliver the strategic priorities.


West Suffolk’s MTFS was based on six key themes, representing the Council’s response to the ongoing financial challenges and opportunities surrounding local government. These key themes were summarised in paragraph 1.10 of the report.


West Suffolk Council in February 2024 would be asked to set a balanced budget for 2024 to 2025 (its statutory obligation), alongside a medium term financial plan for the period 2024 to 2028. A final and complete version of the document (alongside the West Suffolk Capital Strategy) would therefore be presented to Cabinet and Council in February 2024 alongside the main budget and council tax setting report.


Councillor Cliff Waterman, Leader of the Council, drew relevant issues to the attention of Council, which included reiterating that the new ambitious plans summarised in the Strategic Priorities document would help deliver affordable, available and decent homes; environmental resilience; sustainable growth; and thriving communities in West Suffolk. Emphasis was placed on engaging with communities, stakeholders and partners to support delivery of the aforementioned priorities. Upon moving the motion, this was duly seconded by Councillor Diane Hind, Portfolio Holder for Resources who proceeded to specifically highlight elements of the proposed MTFS and how she was looking forward to working with the Performance and Audit Scrutiny Committee to help shape a sustainable budget for the short and medium term.


On the motion of Councillor Waterman, seconded by Councillor Hind, it was put to the vote and with the vote being 54 for the motion, none against and one abstention, it was


Resolved: That


1.       the West Suffolk Strategic Priorities, as set out in Appendix A to Report number: COU/WS/23/019, be adopted.


2.       the Themes of the West Suffolk Medium Term Financial Strategy, be adopted as the strategic financial framework to apply from 1 April 2024, as set out in Appendix B to Report number: COU/WS/23/019.


3.       Delegated authority be given to the Chief Executive and the Director (Resources and Property), in consultation with the Leader of the Council and the Portfolio Holder for Resources to make any minor typographical, grammatical, factual or contextual changes to the documents, provided they do not materially affect the meaning or substance of the documents.



Supporting documents: