We have a proud history of Area working and evolving since it was first established in the early 1990s. The Area working system was established to recognise that South Somerset is geographically a large area which includes a diverse set of communities, ranging from larger urban areas such as Yeovil to small, and more isolated rural settlements.
The needs of these communities are individual. For example, there are higher levels of deprivation in the urban areas of the south and west parts of South Somerset, and difficulties accessing transport and services in rural parts. This highlights that there are specific local community needs in the area. Whilst some council services and their delivery can be the same across the county, it should not be ‘one size fits all’ and support needs to be adapted to best suit different local requirements.
Area+ is a new, ‘One Team’ approach to identifying delivering the priorities of the Area Committees.
Principles of Area+
- We will ensure that we all work together to deliver our ambitions and priorities as identified in our Council Plan
- Everything we do as a council will be in the interests of the communities we serve
- We will respond to the varying needs of our communities and recognise those differences in our decision making
- All council services, as well as council strategies and plans, will have a focus on district wide needs as well as the differing needs of local Areas and communities
- We will base our actions and decisions on clear evidence and use data to measure our effectiveness at delivering
- Local intelligence will be used effectively to respond to local issues and needs
- There will be clear, robust and transparent processes in place to effectively and appropriately prioritise specific projects
- We will ensure our staff have access to council systems in “the field”, allowing accurate information to be shared promptly with customers
- We will ensure that the council has a visible and responsive local presence within the different communities
- Members, Parishes and local partners will have access to officers who have awareness and knowledge of local Areas and issues
- Flexibility in resourcing arrangements will exist to effectively manage changing needs and emerging or urgent Area issues
- Area Committees will remain responsible for local planning decisions with access to resources, including financial resources. This will empower them to support delivery of local community priorities and enable others to deliver against community need