Recovery planning during the pandemic has been a catalyst for Cheshire West and Chester to not only think about restarting, but to reset – to use the opportunity to drive fundamental changes in the way that the Council works with local communities and the local economy works.
Recovery planning during the pandemic has been a catalyst for Cheshire West and Chester to not only think about restarting, but to reset – to use the opportunity to drive fundamental changes in the way that the Council works with local communities and the local economy works. This resulted in a recovery plan built around two distinct phases of recovery and renewal.
Engagement – particularly with communities – has been a key feature of how the plan has been informed and developed. Resident's priorities have informed the plan, building on the positive experiences of working for and with communities during the pandemic response with a vision of more active communities supporting each other as a foundation of the future success of the borough.
Alongside supporting business reopening and enabling future long-term business growth, the spotlight has further shifted towards inequality with rising unemployment and homelessness. The Council declared a poverty emergency in October 2020 and has generated extensive partner engagement through the Inclusive Economy Board and Poverty Truth Advisory Board. These forums have informed priorities for recovery with “A Fairer Future: tackling the poverty emergency” being added to the Council’s priorities.
The Council have taken a strategic approach to the prioritisation of their activities through their recovery planning, presenting three choices for services that began during the crisis:
- stop services if they are no longer needed;
- continue services if the for them needs remains; or
- amplify these activities if they will make a positive difference to the Council’s priorities.
The council applied an additional filter in relation to activities that stopped during the pandemic:
- let go - do not re-establish activities if they are no longer relevant to meeting local needs;
- restart them if they are critical to the Council’s goals; or
- reimagine how they are delivered to better meet the needs of residents and businesses both now and in the future.
This has enabled a plan with clear objectives and rationale, success measures and specific actions for the Council, communities, and businesses.