Our mission and priorities
We will aim to make Bexley even better, by supporting residents to live the best lives possible and to reach their potential. We will secure investment in the borough so that current and future generations and communities live in a thriving place, and we will run an efficient and effective council to make the most of our resources”
We stand up for Bexley
We believe in a fairer Bexley
We work in partnership
We are committed to early intervention and prevention
We embrace change and innovation
We are driven to make a difference for our residents
Open and accessible
Listening and responding
Action Delivery Plan
Priority theme 1: Aspiration for our residents
Our priority is to support residents to live the best lives possible and to reach their potential.
Outcome 1 – Children and young people have the best start in life
We want all our children and young people in Bexley to be safe, healthy and happy with the confidence, skills and opportunities to fully achieve their potential.
We will work hard to improve outcomes for young children and their families and reduce inequalities between people and places in Bexley, and between families in greatest need and their peers. We will reduce inequalities in child development, school readiness, parenting aspirations and skills, as well as child and family health and life chances. We recognise that healthy lives start with healthy childhoods.
We will provide better joined-up services from pre-birth to 5 years old with a particular focus on children up to their third birthday (the first 1,001 days). We will also focus on vulnerable families who might not usually take up these services. This will ensure that parents and carers receive the services that they need so that children have the best possible start in life.
We will improve how we support the children in our care and strengthen our corporate parenting. We want the children in our care to live locally in stable families, where this is possible. We want to develop young people’s independent living skills to help them in their journey towards adulthood and independence. We will improve the quality and scope of our offer and support to young adults leaving the Council’s care so that they can fulfil their potential.
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Outcome 2 – Good schools and achievement for all our pupils
We want all our children to be school-ready and able to attend good or outstanding schools where they receive an excellent education, that builds on their strengths, talents and passions and sets them up for life. We want all pupils to have the necessary support to meet their individual needs and achieve their potential. To do this, our Strategic Education Partnership will support all our schools (maintained, free, academies and voluntary aided) and work closely with the DfE and Regional Schools Commissioner to help improve standards, keep children in education and ensure all pupils gain the best outcomes possible. We also keep a close eye on pupil population estimates to ensure we have sufficient school places for Bexley’s children.
We will continue to improve our services for children with special educational needs or disabilities, building on the investment already made in our school provision to ensure appropriate, sufficient school places are available locally for pupils with additional needs. This will help reduce inequalities and help all our young learners reach their potential.
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Outcome 3 – Lifelong learning helps people reach their potential and access good jobs
We know it is important that everyone has the skills they need which allow them to get good jobs, both now and in the future. Nationally, there is a need for more technicians, engineers, health and social care professionals. In the future, there will be more reliance on technical and digital skills, literacy and maths.
We will encourage and support residents, at all stages of their life, to take up opportunities to retrain or update their skills, to reduce digital exclusion, and to be able to fully maximise the opportunities available to them in their personal and professional lives. We will work with all educational providers, particularly London South East College, our Adult Education College - LECB - and our nursery, primary, secondary and special schools to promote lifelong education to our young people and older residents. Working with partners, we want to support and provide access to the skills and qualifications Bexley residents need to move into higher-paying jobs and careers that will better harness their talent and improve their earnings.
We will continue to develop the way we support residents who are not currently in education or employment. Our Bexley Business and Employment Team delivers a variety of targeted programmes, aimed at supporting people who are long-term unemployed or who are furthest away from the job market. Our internal schemes include Bexley Twofold, which supports people with learning disabilities into meaningful work. We provide a free recruitment service for Bexley businesses to help them fulfil their recruitment needs, and we will deliver the National Restart Scheme to support Universal Credit claimants with the support they need to get a career.
We know that lifelong learning can also help people find fulfilment even when it does not link directly to a career path. We will work to ensure all Bexley residents can engage in education and employment, enriching their own lives and contributing to the growth and success of the borough.
Find out more:
- Learning, Skills and Employment Strategy (PDF)
- Social Value Statement (available soon)
Outcome 4 – Happy, healthy and resilient lives
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted on the mental health of children, adults and older residents. The rising cost of living is now creating further stress and anxiety for those families already facing financial challenges. We want to acknowledge the impacts of these significant events and focus on improving the wellbeing of our residents, building on the community cohesiveness that we have experienced over the last few years as well as working closely with schools and early years settings to strengthen the resilience of our children and young people.
We want people in Bexley to be healthy, happy and resilient and we believe that everyone has the right to good health and care that meets their needs, particularly as those needs can change over time. We want all services to be easy to access, high quality, seamless, safe and trusted. We will work with our partners in the Bexley Wellbeing Partnership to develop a Health and Wellbeing vision, and we will be guided by evidence and local data when collectively making decisions about these vital services.
We know that our informal carers provide essential support to people they care for. We want to ensure that, as carers, they are supported to undertake their caring role and to ensure that they can maintain a good quality of life.
Working within the Integrated Care System and our Bexley Local Care Partnership, we will focus on supporting people to be healthy throughout their lives – starting well, living well and ageing well. We will integrate and work collaboratively with health partners and our voluntary sector to help residents remain or become healthier and to build effective preventative services and health services that are tailored to individuals.
We will continue to work hard to join up health and care services. Our Bexley Care Partnership already brings together adult social care with adult community and mental health services to create virtual multi-disciplinary teams, making services more flexible, seamless and effective. With our partners, we want to take this further by working at neighbourhood level to join up primary care, community and mental health, social care and our voluntary sector. We know that many residents find it difficult to maintain healthy levels of physical activity and we have a high rate of obesity in the borough. This can cause or worsen many other health conditions, so we are acting to tackle obesity and help encourage people to be more active and live healthier lives.
We will ensure through our planning policies that new housing developments encourage healthy lifestyles, such as active travel. And we will protect people from the harmful impacts on health such as noise and poor air quality and make sure residents are well-connected to health facilities and opportunities for exercise and a social life.
We will control the number, location and operation of developments that by their nature could negatively impact health and wellbeing. We recognise that poor environmental health contributes to major diseases as well as impacting people’s general well-being.
Our approach to climate change will be closely aligned with equalities and inclusion work and our public health work.
We will tackle the inequalities in health outcomes that exist in Bexley, with outreach in places like our community centres, children’s centres, libraries and schools. This will help make Bexley a fairer and healthier place for all our residents where everyone lives healthy lives for longer.
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Outcome 5 – Your life, your choice – working together towards the life you want
We want people in Bexley to be able to make their own informed choices to live independent, healthy lives, remaining in their own homes for as long as possible. To achieve this, we will work together with local people and communities to explore a variety of ways to meet care and support needs. We will provide information, guidance and advice that helps people to make the best-informed choices for themselves and their families.
We will strive to deliver safe, modern, effective personalised services. We want every person with care and support needs has choice and control on how their needs are met, recognising how important this is in supporting people to live the life they want.
The Government have agreed a number of changes and reforms in adult social care services. We will make sure that we implement these changes to a high standard and to the benefit of our residents. We will develop a vision for adult social care, as well as improving how we provide services digitally. We will continue our journey towards personalised services that enable people to live as independently as possible.
We recognise that affordable, decent housing is fundamental in supporting health, resilience and aspiration. That is why we will create lifetime neighbourhoods that provide a sense of security, encourage mutual support, promote aspiration and create a sense of both belonging and shared purpose. These neighbourhoods will make it easy for residents to stay close to their friends and family and their support networks. These neighbourhoods will also provide new, more flexible housing for renters and owners and will be suitable and adaptable for the various stages in people’s lives.
For social housing, we will make sure that we apply our Allocations Policy to prioritise those households in the greatest need, including vulnerable residents, armed forces veterans and care leavers.
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Priority theme 2: Ambition for our Borough
Our priority is to secure investment in the borough so that current and future generations live in a thriving place.
Outcome 6 – Good growth supported by better transport
The borough must grow and develop sustainably in line with our agreed Growth Strategy and Local Plan. We aim to strike the right balance between protecting the best of Bexley, including its heritage and green spaces and allowing development that will meet the needs of existing and future residents. All new developments should be high quality and sustainable and enhance existing neighbourhoods with investment in infrastructure such as parks, playgrounds and GP surgeries to meet existing and future needs.
We will always lobby on behalf of our residents for investment in better transport infrastructure for Bexley. This investment will give our residents greater access to jobs, housing and leisure opportunities, improve access to public transport and reduce reliance on cars.
The recent successful opening of the Elizabeth Line to Abbey Wood has really improved public transport in the north of our borough, but we will continue to lobby for Crossrail to extend through our borough to Ebbsfleet. And we will continue to lobby for the extension of the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) into Belvedere and for a bus rapid transport route between Thamesmead and Slade Green. These important improvements will bring the modern, connected transport system that Bexley residents deserve.
We will work with bus and rail operators to ensure the improved quality and reliability of existing services and direct investment in the borough’s highways, including funding from TfL, to address issues of congestion at key junctions, improve road safety, enhance bus priority and encourage active travel.
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Outcome 7 – Cleaner and greener borough
We will keep investing in the key services that matter to you, these include street cleaning, recycling, road repairs, parks, grounds maintenance and playgrounds.
We know that our residents are passionate about keeping our borough clean, safe, green and well-maintained. Our parks and open spaces are greatly valued by all ages and help everyone to have access to green space, fresh air, nature, sporting activities and opportunities to have fun.
Open space and planting also provide habitat for important species, improve air quality, reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, counter the risk of flooding, have a cooling effect in hot weather and enhance people’s mental health and wellbeing. Future development must support the delivery of a high-quality, well-connected and sustainable network of open spaces. We will widen access to our rivers and lakes and support greater use of the Thames.
We have made commitments to mitigate against and adapt to climate change for residents today and in the future. We want to make our borough even greener and better able to respond to the challenges of climate change by safeguarding and improving access to the green belt and other open spaces, planting more trees and drought-resistant plants and protecting important habitats. We will use our planning powers to ensure that the quantity of Bexley’s green infrastructure and biodiversity is protected and enhanced.
We will keep investing in key services, these include street cleaning, recycling, road repairs, parks, grounds maintenance and playgrounds. We will do all we can to help residents to reduce, reuse and recycle more of the waste they generate as this is so important for the environment and can save residents and the Council money that can be better invested in our services. We are committed to sending no waste to landfill. We will increase the number of electric vehicle charging points to meet the growing demand from our residents.
We are developing our approach to climate change to help protect our environment for our current and future generations. We will encourage residents, businesses and partners to join us in making changes that protect our environment and help mitigate the impact of rising energy costs.
We are grateful for the civic pride in Bexley, and for the enormous part our residents play in keeping the borough clean and green, for example through volunteering in our community gardens and regular litter-picking. We will support our volunteers and community champions.
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Outcome 8 – Local jobs and businesses in a thriving local economy
We know this is a challenging time for shops and businesses. We want to make sure Bexley is a good place to launch, run and grow a business so that our town centres, local parades, and industrial areas thrive and there are quality local jobs available for our residents that enable them to lead economically independent lives. We will support those who are furthest from employment with skills and training to access jobs and continue our success supporting people with disabilities into paid work. We want to make sure that public transport is available, affordable and reliable to get residents to work, to study and for leisure.
We will work closely with local businesses when we plan development sites, transport and public realm improvements and we will support the establishment of Town Centre Partnerships and further Business Improvement Districts where possible. We will bid for external funding to develop tailored programmes to support recovery and help make our town centres attractive places to shop and relax.
We will be proactive in understanding our town centres and working closely with business leaders to maintain our vibrant high streets. We will seek greater inward investment to the borough and work to attract businesses that improve the quality of jobs on offer to people who live here.
We recognise that the green economy presents potential growth opportunities, and we will investigate opportunities such as low-carbon energy, electric vehicles, the need to retrofit buildings, particularly homes, with insulation and low-carbon heating and the digital workplace.
We will continue to lobby for further Government funding to support the ongoing economic recovery and maintain thriving high streets and we will ensure any such funding is distributed quickly to businesses through an open and transparent process.
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Outcome 9 – People and communities feel safe and inclusive
Bexley prides itself on being one of London’s safest boroughs - regularly being one of the top five performing boroughs. We cannot be complacent; we will work with the Police, Probation, Health and London Fire Brigade through our Community Safety Partnership to ensure that Bexley remains a very safe place and that we have the neighbourhood policing we need. The Partnership have set priorities around supporting people affected by domestic abuse and hate crime, tackling antisocial behaviour, reducing residential burglary, intervening early to safeguard people from violent crimes and reducing crime related to substance misuse. We know that some people are disproportionately at greater risk of being a victim of crime, we will provide information, advice and guidance to help keep people safe.
A small number of our young people find themselves within the criminal justice system. We will support these children, working with them to discharge their orders and work to seek gainful education and employment.
Bexley S.H.I.E.L.D is our safeguarding partnership for children and young people. We want healthy, safe, resilient family networks in communities that are also safe. Bexley’s Safeguarding Adults Board aims to safeguard all adults in Bexley who have care and support needs and are experiencing or at risk of abuse or neglect against which they are unable to protect themselves because of their needs. Our Domestic Abuse Strategy highlights our partnership approach to preventing domestic abuse, intervening at the earliest stage to prevent situations getting worse and protecting vulnerable victims and families while ensuring services reach those who need them.
We are enhancing our libraries provision, working in partnership to better meet residents’ needs and serve as hubs for community activity. For example, the new Thamesmead Library will provide a ‘start well’ offer for families and children as well as energy cafes to help people cut their energy bills. Our libraries will continue to be welcoming, accessible and inclusive spaces.
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Outcome 10 – Quality, affordable homes for every stage of life
The time we spent at home during the Covid pandemic made us all appreciate the importance of our homes more than ever. We know that many residents in Bexley aspire to own their own homes. We want everyone to have a quality affordable home, whichever stage of life they are at, that provides a safe and pleasant living space with adequate light, outlook, privacy and that is well connected to local services and facilities.
Our Council does not have its own housing stock so cannot deliver new housing directly or offer Assured Shorthold Tenancies in social housing. Instead, we need to deliver through our partners, and our Strategic Housing Board is key to this. We will work with our housing association partners in providing a flexible housing journey for those residents who want to own their own home. This could include shared ownership, rent to buy, market rent and market sale.
We will encourage developers to create mixed and balanced communities with different types, sizes and tenures of housing that reflect local need and we will prioritise housing for local Bexley families. BexleyCo Homes, our wholly-owned development company, is helping us to deliver our vision for housing in Bexley, contributing to our annual housing targets.
We want private and social landlords to maintain the highest standards. We know that people are struggling with the cost-of-living challenge, and we know this will continue so we will work with partners to support residents who are struggling to make sure they have the best information possible to try to sustain their home and prevent homelessness.
Our Housing Allocations policy was revised in 2021 and is used to prioritise those households in the greatest need, including vulnerable residents, armed forces veterans and care leavers.
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Priority theme 3: An Efficient and Effective Council
We are an open, transparent customer-focused organisation. We have strong political leadership and use evidence-led decision making to deliver efficient high-quality services that meet our residents’ needs.
Outcome 11 – Lobbying for Bexley and on the side of our residents
We cannot meet our ambitions and aspirations working alone. We will do all we can to attract investment and resources into Bexley from the private and public sector. We will always use our networks and relationships to lobby regional and central Government to get the resources and investment we need for our borough to meet its potential. We will participate in membership organisations that help us pool resources and amplify our voice. We will continue to lobby on behalf of residents, across all services. We are on the side of our residents, especially when times are tough.
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Outcome 12 - Taxpayers’ money is spent wisely and well
We will always spend our limited resources wisely and well, and we will make sure that our spending is aligned to delivering our priorities.
We are operating in a highly uncertain financial environment due to the current, medium and long term impacts of the pandemic, world economy, inflation, and demographic pressures. We will monitor this situation closely.
We will carry out a programme of process reviews to improve the efficiency of key services. And we will use our spending power to support local businesses wherever possible and we will work with partners to understand the impact of high inflation and agree how we can support our residents to cope with the increased cost of living.
We spend around £170 million a year purchasing goods and services. While achieving value for money is of the utmost importance, we will seek to provide additional benefit including social value and environment and climate improvements through our procurement process. Social value includes benefits such as creating jobs, offering skills and making the borough fairer and more equal.
Find out more:
- Medium Term Financial Strategy
- Social Value Statement (available soon)
Outcome 13 - Customers at the heart of what we do
We want it to be easy for residents to be able to do everything they need online on our website at a time convenient to them. However, we will make sure we are there when people do need to speak to us. We know that many more people embraced the ability to shop, bank and do business online, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. We will review how we do things so it’s as easy and simple as possible for residents to do it online. We will always make best use of technology to streamline our processes and deal quickly and effectively with people’s enquiries.
When you contact us, we want to get it right first time. But if things do go wrong, we want to resolve complaints as quickly as possible and learn from your feedback. We will use data to improve our services and inform our decision making.
It is important to understand the views of residents and service users, especially when we make changes. We will seek feedback about our key frontline services and use it to improve. We will encourage people who use our services, especially the most vulnerable, to participate and tell us what they think. Where possible, we will work collaboratively and engage those who use our services in developing proposals for change as this will result in better options.
We will consult with residents and partners on proposals that make significant changes to our services or impact our residents substantially. When we do this, we will follow our consultation protocol.
Find out more:
- Customer Service Strategy (available soon)
Outcome 14 - Rigorous procurement and contract management to get the best services
Many of our services are provided by partners and contractors on our behalf. This has proved an effective and efficient approach over many years. We regularly and rigorously review and manage our spending and our contracts to make sure we are getting value for money.
However, the current financial climate creates greater and increasing risk. Where contracts are coming up for retendering or renewal, it is likely that inflation will be greater than the current assumptions over the medium term, adding to the financial pressure faced by the Council. Many of our existing contracts include embedded inflation clauses which will increase substantially the cost of the services and products we buy.
We will manage our contracts carefully, working collaboratively to identify opportunities to transform the way we work and focus rigorously on contract monitoring, and on achieving the outcomes we have specified.
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Outcome 15 – Attract, retain and develop an efficient, diverse and inclusive workforce
We want to attract, retain and develop the workforce we need now and in the future.
There are currently more job vacancies than applicants. This creates a challenging and very competitive market and means that employees have more choice about where and how they work. We will work hard to make our jobs as attractive as possible.
We will develop our workforce planning and talent management to help ensure we have the staff we need to keep our services running effectively. We want our staff to reflect the communities they serve, to feel valued and that they have a fair chance when they apply for jobs, or they want to advance in their career.
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