Welcome to our end of year performance report for 2015-16, providing you with information on how well we've done in working towards achieving the outcomes of the Council Plan 2015-20.
Foreword by the Leader of the Council, Councillor Martin Gannon.
Through our Council Plan we want to encourage a Prosperous Gateshead that has a thriving economy; Live Love Gateshead where we have a sense of pride and ownership by all to improve the borough; and Live Well Gateshead, where people young and old are healthy, inclusive and nurtured.
Over the year we've seen the culmination of a number of initiatives that have been in the planning for a while, such as the new Energy Centre which will provide businesses, public buildings and homes in central Gateshead with low cost energy, and improvements in how we communicate and engage with local people through 'Gateshead Now' - a new digital email update service which provides you with news and information about council services, consultations and events direct to your computer, smartphone or tablet.
We were also very pleased to receive a 'Good' judgement from Ofsted who inspected our services for vulnerable children last year. We celebrated some memorable milestones in 2015 and 2016 - Gateshead Sculpture Day marked its 30th anniversary and the Angel of the North turned 18 in February. We ended the year on a high with the Council being "highly commended" in the category of Council of the Last 20 Years in the Local Government Chronicle Awards for 2016.
2015-2016 was another challenging year financially, and future years are forecast to be just as tough as the Council strives to save a further £92.3m over the next 5 years. But, I'm confident that together we can help to minimise the impact of the severity of these cuts, and continue to invest in things that will improve the lives of local people.
It's important for us to hear what you think of the services we are providing, and what's important to you in your area. Through the Annual Residents Survey we get this feedback which, alongside other consultation and engagement initiatives, helps to inform our thinking in deciding how to allocate the Council's budget, which is agreed in February each year.
I hope you agree that when you read our report there is plenty going on, but we know there is still lots to do!