SSDC has a proud history of Area working, first established in the early 1990s and evolving over a 25 year period. The Area working system was established to recognise that South Somerset is geographically a large district encompassing a diverse set of communities, ranging from larger urban Areas such as Yeovil to small, and relatively isolated rural settlements in the north of the district.
The needs of these communities are individual, including relatively high levels of deprivation in the urban areas of the south and west, and access to transport and services in rural parts of the district. Therefore, whilst there are district wide needs, there are also distinct local community needs. Whilst it is appropriate in for some Council delivery and services to be homogenous across the district, it should not be “one size fits all”, and delivery should be tailored to different local requirements.
Area+ is a new, ‘One Team’ approach to identifying delivering the priorities of the Area Committees.
Principles of Area+
- We will ensure that we all work together to deliver our ambitions and priorities as identified in our Council Plan
- Everything we do as a Council will be in the interests of the communities we serve
- We will respond to the varying needs of our communities and recognise those differences in our decision making
- All Council services, as well as Council strategies and plans, will have a focus on district wide needs as well as the differing needs of local Areas and communities
- We will base our actions and decisions on clear evidence and use data to measure our effectiveness at delivering
- Local intelligence will be utilised effectively to respond to local issues and needs
- There will be clear, robust and transparent processes in place to effectively and appropriately prioritise specific projects
- We will ensure our staff have access to Council systems in “the field”, enabling accurate information to be delivered promptly to customers
- We will ensure that the Council has a visible and responsive local presence within the different communities of South Somerset
- Members, Parishes and local partners will have access to officers who have awareness and knowledge of local Areas and issues
- Flexibility in resourcing arrangements will exist to effectively manage changing needs and emerging or urgent Area issues
- Area Committees will remain responsible for local planning decisions with access to resources, including financial resources. This will empower them to support delivery of local community priorities and enable others to deliver against community need
Read our Council Plan for more information on Area +.