A new corporate plan that sets out the priorities for Oldham has been discussed at Cabinet meeting this evening, prior to being presented for approval by Full Council on 7 September.
Elected cabinet members reviewed the plan which puts forward the contribution that Oldham Council will make over the next five years, focusing on areas that will have the most impact.
These include ensuring residents are healthy, safe and well supported; for children to get a great start and develop skills for life; to have better jobs and dynamic businesses; quality homes for everyone; and a clean and green future.
The views of thousands of Oldham residents have been reflected in the plan, drawing up a broad range of sources, channels and districts to ensure these priorities fully represent Oldham’s wide and diverse communities.
The Corporate Plan also sets out the core behaviours that will underpin the delivery of the Council’s key priorities and be delivered under the central behaviour ‘working with a resident focus’.
Cllr Amanda Chadderton, Leader of Oldham Council, said: “Everything the Council does and every action our staff take, should have residents in mind.
“We aim for every experience a resident has with the Council to be positive, and every department in the Council will be focused on creating, improving and maintaining services that are good in the eyes of the people we work for.”
The voices of young people have been influential in shaping the priorities, with over 300 young people participating in focus groups and surveys. They help to shine a light on what makes Oldham a great place to grow up, while identifying the challenges that young people face.
Cllr Chadderton adds: “The priorities in this plan help to create a better Oldham for everyone, and our young people are at the heart of this.
“As part of a long-term plan, you begin with getting things right for children and young people, and this is why we’re starting with making sure Oldham is the best possible place to grow up.”
A Future Oldham
With the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) acquiring more powers through devolution, the Council intends to work more closely with GMCA to take advantage of opportunities for growth, equality and the climate.
Our Future Oldham: A Shared Vision for 2030 is a blueprint that sets out the direction for Oldham based on extensive consultation with residents and partners. It shows what the borough is aiming to achieve, and the minimum expectations every resident can expect by 2030.
The priority areas within the Corporate Plan are:
Healthy, safe and well supported residents
Households are going to feel mounting stress over the coming years as they face the cost of living crisis. This pressure is likely to increase the number of people falling into substantial difficulty, not just financially but in terms of their mental and physical health, and their safety.
Having healthy, safe and well supported residents is a key priority area and the Council will work closely with residents and partner agencies to provide support as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Cllr Chadderton added: “A young person born in Oldham today has a shorter life expectancy than elsewhere in the country. This is not acceptable and addressing this is crucial if we’re to give Oldham’s youngest generation the best start possible.”
A great start and skills for life
During the pandemic, Oldham’s amazing teachers and schools responded in the most testing circumstances, continuing to support children and giving them the best chance to succeed against all odds.
Oldham has seen improvements in education over the past few years, and before the pandemic early years and primary school children were getting better outcomes, and there were improved A-level results across the borough.
Cllr Chadderton says: “Investment in new facilities across Oldham has seen the creation of new places at our best schools, including a whole new site for Saddleworth School, the brand new Brian Clarke Academy. We’re also excited about the new sixth form supported by Eton College.
“But investment in our young people is more than education, and they need opportunities to build their skills and experiences. This plan sets out how will move forward, with more youth activities and stronger post-16 training opportunities that will develop the skills needed to start exciting careers.”
Better jobs and dynamic business
Oldham Council recognises the clear link between decent work and better life chances. All Council staff and suppliers are paid at least the real living wage as part of this recognition and business across the borough are encouraged to join the GM Good Employment Charter.
Cllr Chadderton added: “We are investing in Oldham’s future. There is a £306m regeneration strategy to create town centres which is moving forward at pace, supported in part to successful funding from the Towns Deal Fund and Future High Streets Fund.”
In addition to the substantial regeneration that will transform Oldham as a place to live, work and socialise, the Council supports businesses and jobs through its employment programmes, schemes for business start-ups and growth.
Quality homes for everyone
From the feedback given in focus groups, there is a sense by Oldham’s young people that housing is out of reach. Oldham’s Housing Strategy sets out the approach to deliver homes for everyone in Oldham. Whether this is young people and first-time buyers, homes suitable for older residents and those with additional needs, or social and affordable housing.
Places for Everyone (a plan for Oldham and eight other Greater Manchester boroughs), and the Council’s local plan, will be influential in the plans for Oldham’s housing delivery.
Cllr Chadderton said: “The recently published Mills Strategy shows how we’ll use Oldham’s heritage assets to provide more brownfield housing and protect the borough’s green spaces.
“Creating A Better Place includes the provision of 2,000 homes in the town centre. This will not only provide housing options, it will also reinvigorate our high streets, and remove the need to build on green belt.”
A clean and green future
Young people in Oldham are concerned about climate change and prefer to see better public transport options and reduced litter across the borough.
The Council has a commitment to delivering a cleaner borough through its Don’t Trash Oldham campaign, shifting the focus to enforcement and encouraging more responsible habits when it comes to litter and fly tipping.
Improved green spaces such as a new town centre park and Northern Roots will provide opportunities for people of all ages to enjoy green spaces.
Cllr Chadderton states: “We want residents to be proud of Oldham, and the investment in Don’t Trash Oldham has seen 150 tonnes of litter collected. We’re committed to changing the attitudes and behaviours of the people who choose to disrespect our borough and we’ll be increasing our enforcement and redesigning spaces as part of this commitment.
“We recognise climate change is more than litter, and we want cleaner air, improved recycling for homes and business and more investment our green industry – including more green jobs.”
Once the Corporate Plan is approved, it will be published on the Oldham Council website