Introduction from Council Leader, Councillor Abi Brown
Stoke is on the up - this is a city undergoing a profound transformation - and we need a person with a proven track record of delivery and a strong corporate focus to help us get there even quicker.
Our organisation has a fantastic team of dedicated council members and officers who are passionate, ambitious and excited about setting the agenda and shaping a positive future in Stoke-on-Trent. There is a strong sense of collaboration here and we are committed to driving continuous improvement.
The city council has a long-term strategy centred on investment and growth. Against a difficult backdrop of funding reductions, we are more commercially focused, increasing our financial sustainability and better equipping us to provide the services that we know our residents value.
This forward-thinking approach includes successful initiatives which encourage businesses to set up in the city and new homes to be built, not only through the private sector but also through our own direct intervention and leadership.
We now have one of the fastest growing housing markets in the UK, with more than 800 new homes under construction now and over the next five years. On top of this, we were recently named by the Sunday Times as one of the top 20 cities to live – perceptions of Stoke-on-Trent are changing and this is being recognised nationally.
Businesses also believe in our journey – and they’re seeing the huge benefits which Stoke-on-Trent can bring. We’re now in the top 10 fastest growing economies in the UK outside of London. In the past two years, 2,000 jobs have been created by 34 companies that have been attracted by the council’s inward investment team. Earlier this year, research also revealed Stoke-on-Trent is the sixth best city in the UK to start a business in 2019. We’re backing business – and they’re backing Stoke-on-Trent.
Our strategy for the key Smithfield development in the city centre is also paying off, with a four-star Hilton Garden Inn now nearer completion on the site, as well as our own high-end private rented accommodation – the first of its kind being delivered in the city centre and a hugely exciting scheme for Stoke-on-Trent.
We’re also securing 2,000 jobs at the Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone, which is one of the fastest-growing Enterprise Zones in the country. This is another example of how we’re leading the way – and others are following.
Our efforts to tackle Stoke-on-Trent’s health inequalities are also paying dividends in key areas, notably the number of adult smokers in the city is now at the lowest it has been. And we’re continuing to make improvements in education, with 79.6% of schools in Stoke-on-Trent rated good or outstanding by Ofsted.
Of course, we do face challenges as a city – and we are very open about these. There are tough challenges and difficult decisions to make, but with that comes opportunity and the chance to make your mark, driving through real change and with it, a huge sense of accomplishment.
We are making positive strides in responding to recent Ofsted recommendations and we are committed to improving outcomes for our children – Children’s Services is the number one priority for the city council. As part of this, changes to support for children and young people are being enhanced and accelerated through our plans. We are committed to ensuring that improvement and investment in children’s services go hand in hand.
The challenges faced by local authorities are well known. But as an organisation with good financial management at its centre, we are adapting to these emerging demands. We are a well-managed council delivering a strong economy, bringing quality jobs and businesses to the city, new and affordable housing and improving schools. We are driven to be a city where people want to live, work, visit, have families and get the most out of life.
Stoke-on-Trent was once coy about its huge talents, its massive sense of place and its proud people. But not now – and not in the future. Our strategy and work with partners across the city has helped to completely revitalise and reinvigorated Stoke-on-Trent’s sense of self-confidence, purpose and direction.
With a confident and effective leadership team and aspirations to be a healthy, ambitious, working and friendly city, this is an exciting time.
You have recognised this city’s potential, now come and be part of #TeamStoke. It’s a truly unique place and we know you will enjoy being part of this success story. #StokeIsOnTheUp
Councillor Abi Brown, Council Leader