Annual report – how the council performed in a challenging year and the lessons learnt

Neath Port Talbot Council’s Leader, Cllr Steve Hunt, said despite the challenges ahead, people in Neath Port Talbot learned in responding to the Covid-19 pandemic that “when we come together we can achieve remarkable things”.

He made the remarks in an introduction to the council’s Corporate Plan Annual Report for the period 1st April 2021 to 31st March 2022, which will be presented to the council’s Cabinet for approval on Wednesday, October 19th.

The report summarises the council’s progress against three wellbeing objectives – to improve the wellbeing of children and young people, to improve the wellbeing of all adults in the county borough and thirdly, developing the local economy and environment so people’s wellbeing can be improved.

The assessment for 2021/22 is that all three wellbeing objectives are ‘on track’ .The council has taken an inclusive approach to the report with every member of the council having had a role to play.

Examples of improvements made in the previous year include:

•    More year 11 pupils studying Welsh first language which is likely to rise steadily for the next 3 years;
•    Child assessments completed in time (99%);
•    Increase in apprenticeships within the council;
•    Quicker processing of benefits;
•    Further improvement in the condition of A, B and C roads;
•    More services available online.

The council also achieved or exceeded its targets for a range of measures including:

•    Food establishments meeting food hygiene standards (97%);
•    Percentage of households successfully prevented from becoming homeless;
•    Reaching the statutory recycling target of 64%
•    Age appropriate healthy relationship lessons to pupils;
•    Air quality breaches;
•    410 jobs created as a result of financial support by the authority.

While the report is a look back, the council is now in the process of implementing the recovery plan helping many people and organisations across the county borough who continue to be affected by Covid with many also experiencing further hardship as a result of the cost of living crisis

Cllr Hunt added in his foreword to the report: “As we moved into the second year of the pandemic we were pleased to be able to offer further support to our NHS, converting facilities at Margam Orangery for use as a mass vaccination centre and modifying a mobile library for use as a mobile vaccination centre.

“The mobile vaccination centre enabled the vaccine programme to be accessed by those hardest to reach. We also made facilities available for the rapid expansion of Covid-19 testing at various locations across the county borough.

“We continued to administer government financial support programmes. This enabled financial support to be provided quickly to local businesses and also to individual residents – for example, residents required to self-isolate and those who had children eligible for free school meals.

“Alongside our ongoing response to the pandemic, we continued to deliver on the priorities we had set in our Corporate Plan 2021/2023.

“Going forward, the emphasis is on working together to help the county borough continue to recover and make Neath Port Talbot a place we are all proud of. There are a number of challenges facing us but we learned through the pandemic that when we come together we can achieve remarkable things.”

You can read the report here: