Green flag for South Gloucestershire in new national assessment

Posted on Wednesday 9th December 2009 at 12:51 pm by SH (Editor)

South Gloucestershire has been awarded a coveted ‘green flag’ in a new national report on how well public services are working together to improve the quality of life for residents.

The Comprehensive Area Assessment (CAA) – published today (Wednesday 9 December) – found that organisations such as South Gloucestershire Council, NHS South Gloucestershire, Avon and Somerset Police and Avon Fire and Rescue Service are working well together to help ensure that the district is a great place to live and work.

South Gloucestershire is one of only a handful of areas in the South West to receive a green flag, which are given out for ‘achieving exceptional outcomes in priority areas, or something innovative, and others can learn from.’

The district was awarded the green flag for managing growth. The report stated: “The council and its partners are good at planning for and meeting the challenges posed by the area’s growth. Their combined work has brought good results. Among the achievements, growth in traffic congestion is now under control, CO2 emissions for each person living in the area are reducing, and new schools and other community facilities have been built in places where they are missing from earlier large-scale developments.”

Public services in South Gloucestershire agreed a list of seven priorities they wanted to focus on, and the report highlighted areas of achievement within these:

  • Being healthier: ‘Most people in South Gloucestershire are healthier than the England average. Life expectancy is above average and improving. Teenage pregnancies and childhood obesity are lower than average. The number of people who smoke is below average and more people are stopping smoking.’
  • Investing in children and young people: ‘Children and young people in South Gloucestershire get a relatively good start in life. Services are working well together to provide well co-ordinated services. Healthy living is promoted well and the number of children who are obese is much lower than average.’
  • Maintaining economic prosperity: ‘The council has reduced the impact of the recession especially in priority areas by organising recession advice events to provide information about welfare and debt advice and other issues.’
  • Managing future development: Same report extract as for the green flag award, see above.
  • Modernising health and community care services: ‘Older people have improved health and emotional well being and increased choice and control over their care. More people are receiving care to prevent hospital admissions. Public agencies are working together to respond to delays in hospital when people are fit to be discharged. More people with learning difficulties are supported to live at home and plan their own support.’
  • Promoting safer and stronger communities: ‘South Gloucestershire is generally a safe place to live with low and reducing rates of overall crime and most people feel safe in the area. The rate of violent crime is low. Vehicle crime and burglaries are reducing. The number of road casualties is reducing significantly and fewer people are being killed or injured on the roads than at any time since 1996.’
  • Valuing the environment: ‘South Gloucestershire has a high quality natural environment that sustains wildlife habitats. The council makes good use of natural resources and works well to mitigate the impact of climate change. It is reducing its own carbon foot print and has reduced water consumption, waste and business mileage. Improved weather forecasting reduces unnecessary road gritting. New public buildings, such as in Yate, are built to a high environmental standard. Remote working and flexible workstations reduces staff travel.’

South Gloucestershire Council, NHS South Gloucestershire, Avon and Somerset Police and Avon Fire and Rescue Services said (in a joint statement): “We welcome the report on how well public services in South Gloucestershire are working together to meet the needs of the people they serve. We are very pleased that the district received a green flag, with only several being awarded in the South West. We will continue our efforts to further improve services for residents, in particular where it has been highlighted more work is needed.”

The CAA is a new way of assessing how well public services work together, and replaces the Comprehensive Performance Assessment system. The CAA is jointly carried out by a group of six independent watchdogs, including the Audit Commission.

Source: South Gloucestershire Council

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