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27 July 2022


Corporate Planning Timetable





Corporate Services Policy Advisory Committee

13 July 2022


27 July 2022



Will this be a Key Decision?



Not Applicable

Final Decision-Maker


Lead Director

Chief Executive

Lead Officer and Report Author

Angela Woodhouse, Head of Policy, Communications and Governance



Wards affected



Executive Summary

The Policy Advisory Committee and the Executive is asked to consider whether to update the existing strategic plan, create a new one or leave the current one in place. This report sets out a proposed approach to updating the plan and setting the Medium Term Financial Strategy 2023/24– 2027/28.  The report concludes that the existing Strategic Plan continues to provide an appropriate overall framework however the milestones for 2021/26 should be refreshed for 2023/2028 to ensure alignment with the priorities of the administration and changes in the short to medium term context for local government services including the Levelling Up White Paper and the evolving financial environment including the impact of significant inflation.

Purpose of Report





This report makes the following recommendations to the Executive:

1.   That the Strategic Plan 2019-45 milestones for 2023-28 be refreshed and the corporate planning timetable at 3.5 be approved.

Corporate Planning Timetable







Impact on Corporate Priorities

The four Strategic Plan objectives are:

·         Embracing Growth and Enabling Infrastructure

·         Safe, Clean and Green

·         Homes and Communities

·         A Thriving Place

The Strategic Plan sets out the Council’s priorities. This paper sets out a timetable for refreshing the Plan and setting the Medium Term Financial Strategy

Head of Policy, Communications and Governance

Cross Cutting Objectives

The four cross-cutting objectives are:

·         Heritage is Respected

·         Health Inequalities are Addressed and Reduced

·         Deprivation and Social Mobility is Improved

·         Biodiversity and Environmental Sustainability is respected

The Strategic Plan sets out the Council’s priorities. This paper sets out a timetable for refreshing the Plan and setting the Medium Term Financial Strategy

Head of Policy, Communications and Governance

Risk Management

The Council’s corporate risk strategy includes strategic risks associated with the Strategic Plan.

Head of Policy, Communications and Governance


The financial implications of the Strategic Plan are set out in the Council’s five-year Medium Term Financial Strategy. The MTFS will be updated to cover the period 2023/24 to 2027/28 as set out in the timetable at paragraph 3.5 of this report

Section 151 Officer & Finance Team


We will deliver the recommendations with our current staffing.


Head of Policy, Communications and Governance


The Strategic Plan aligns with the Council’s general duty, as a best value authority, to make arrangements to secure continuous improvement in the way in which its functions are exercised, having regard to a combination of economy, efficiency and effectiveness – section 3 of the Local Government Act 1999. If adopted as recommended the corporate planning timetable enables the Council to monitor its performance against the agreed Strategic Plan outcomes.

Interim Monitoring Officer and Deputy Head of Legal Services

Information Governance

The recommendations do not impact personal information (as defined in UK GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018) the Council Processes.

Information Governance Team –


The recommendations do not propose a change in service therefore will not require an equalities impact assessment

Equalities & Communities Officer

Public Health


We recognise that the recommendations will not negatively impact on population health or that of individuals.

Head of Policy, Communications and Governance

Crime and Disorder

The decision will have no direct impact on crime and disorder

Head of Policy, Communications and Governance


Not applicable

Head of Policy, Communications and Governance

Biodiversity and Climate Change

The strategic plan was refreshed in 2020-21 to include biodiversity and climate change as an area of focus for 2021-26

Biodiversity and Climate Change Officer





2.1        The Strategic Plan is a core element of our corporate planning. The priorities and outcomes in the Strategic Plan are developed alongside the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) to ensure consistency between priorities, service delivery and budgets. Service Planning allows the Council to convert high level priorities from the Strategic Plan into actions for each directorate, service or team across the Council, which then feeds into individual staff priorities.


2.2        In previous years the Policy and Resources Committee and the Executive have been asked annually to consider whether to refresh the existing Strategic Plan, create a new one or leave it as is. A timetable of activity is then planned around this and the Medium-Term Financial Strategy Process. The proposed timetable of activities includes a period of public consultation on the 2023/4 budget as required by law, it also includes the resident survey undertaken every three years (previously undertaken in 2017, disrupted by COVID-19) and reports to Policy Advisory Committees (PACs), the Executive and Council on the Strategic Plan, Medium Term Financial Strategy and Budget.


2.3        The current Strategic Plan was adopted in December 2018 and covers the period until 2045.  The plan was agreed after careful analysis and consultation.  The decision was taken for it to be a 26-year plan to ensure continuity, and a basis on which all other Maidstone Borough Council  plans and strategies could be developed.  It was last updated in 2020 with a review of the areas of focus for 2021/26, the main changes agreed were:


·         A focus on delivering those actions in the new Economic Development Strategy (EDS) that will promote economic recovery from COVID-19

·         Delivering a sustainable and vibrant leisure and cultural offer

·         Working with community groups and parish councils to develop community resilience and pride in our Borough

·         Promoting inward investment; and

·         Identifying opportunities with partners to reduce health inequalities in the Borough.


2.4        It is recommended that it would be timely to revisit the outcomes the Council aims to achieve in the areas of focus for the next five years including the performance indicators used to measure progress of the Council’s priorities due to a number of factors arising from change in context set out below.


2.5     A review of the strategic plan areas of focus would allow the council to consider national and local changes of importance including and not limited to:


·         Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill: The Bill seeks to put into place a robust framework for levelling up through:

§  Providing a legal basis for the setting and reporting against the levelling up missions

§  Devolving powers to all areas in England that want them, providing more control over budgets, transport and skills

§  Empowering local leaders to regenerate towns and cities and restore local pride in place

§  Improving the planning process


·         Financial Inclusion and the cost-of-living Crisis

The cost-of-living crisis is an issue affecting the borough’s residents and businesses. Teams across the Council have been working to provide both its own and central government initiatives in supporting local residents. This is evidenced through the Council’s Recovery and Renewal Plan following the Covid-19 pandemic, the Financial Inclusion Strategy, ongoing development of the Town Centre Strategy and the Mid-Kent Skills Hub. The Discretionary Energy Rebate Scheme as introduced by Central Government is also in the process of being administered.



·         Financial Resilience of the Council

The Council will need to consider how it reconciles its strategic objectives with the requirement to maintain financial resilience and set a balanced budget given the risk of continued high inflation and negligible (or negative) economic growth.



·         Kent County Council (KCC) Strategic Statement – “Framing Kent’s Future – Our Council Strategy 2022-2026”. The Strategy sets four priorities for Kent, a refresh of our own strategy milestones will consider whether and how we align to these priorities including opportunities to work together:


§  Levelling up Kent

“This includes strengthening the county’s economy, helping people gain the skills they need, continuing to support schools, a particular focus on improving life in deprived communities in coastal areas and working with our partners to improve the health of Kent’s population.”


§  Infrastructure for Communities

“This includes taking an ‘Infrastructure First’ approach to new development, improving digital connectivity and access, supporting our rural areas, ensuring people have access to safe and efficient travel options and that all communities can benefit from a strong social infrastructure.”


§  Environmental Step Change

“This includes protecting and strengthening our natural environment, working with our partners towards Kent being Net Zero by 2050, exploring options for carbon zero energy production and use, and ensuring that the county is well placed to adapt to climate change.”


§  New Models of Care and Support

“This includes integrating our social care and public health services with our partners, supporting vulnerable children and families, helping adults who draw on social care to lead the lives they want to live and improving the way we design and deliver our care and support services.”


·         UK Shared Prosperity Fund – Maidstone Local Investment Plan prioritises building the reputation of our town and pride in place through promotion of the town centre with investment in events, lighting and greening with increased heritage and culture.


·         Ambitions have already been identified by the Leader in the speech to the Annual Council meeting for a review of key strategies and policies including development of the Maidstone Town Centre Strategy, Policies and Plans relating to the Local Plan including the Integrated Transport Policy, Community Infrastructure Levy, Social Housing Allocations Policy. Alongside a commitment to acquiring at least an additional 1,000 affordable homes was reiterated as well as a commitment to expand financial inclusion and promoting and restoring pride in our Borough





Retain and refresh the existing strategic plan


3.1     The current Strategic Plan was developed involving a wide cross section of Councillors, staff and other stakeholders in 2018 before being adopted in December of that year, the vision and priorities are clear and relevant.


3.2     In-light of the significant impact of the pandemic, the new priorities of the administration, national changes and projects underway within the Council work will now need to be carried out to refresh our outcomes for 2021/26 to a refreshed set of outcomes for 2023/28 in the plan. This will not mean rewriting our vision or priorities, work will be focused on the actions for the next five years.


3.3     A refresh of the Strategic Plan would include:   


·         Review and amendment of areas of focus for 2023/28

·         Refresh of any contextual information in the document such as statistics

·         New foreword.


3.4     Outlined below is a proposed timetable for updating the Strategic Plan and development of budget proposals. A report on the MTFS has been included on this agenda and that has been considered in the proposed timetable below.


3.5     Corporate Planning Timetable




27 July 2022

Executive consider the corporate planning timetable

July 2022- August 2022

Resident Survey – Using Bang the Table and Roadshows

September 2022

Informal Executive Away Day (budget and strategic plan focus)

September 2022

Budget Survey – Using Bang the Table

August  - December 2022

Work on refreshing the Strategic Plan and detailed budget proposals/priorities (Executive and Wider Leadership Team)



December 2022

Strategic Plan Proposals considered by Policy Advisory Committees formally at Committee Meetings


January 2023

PACS consider the final proposals on the Budget and Strategic Plan for recommendation to the Executive


February 2023

Executive approve the Strategic Plan and Medium-Term Financial Strategy to be considered at full Council on 22 February 2023



         Create a new Strategic Plan


3.6        Creating a new Strategic Plan would have a substantially greater impact on resources. The timetable proposed would need to be revisited and this could have an impact on work elsewhere as this would take substantially more time and involvement from the Executive and Senior Officers.


         Amend or create a new timetable for a new strategic plan


3.7        The timetable proposed could be amended for the refresh of the plan.  Members would need to consider the impact that this would have on other priorities. The corporate planning timetable proposed includes the development of the MTFS which is also included on this agenda.


         Do not refresh the Strategic Plan


3.10   Councillors may identify that the current plan does not need refreshing. Whilst the vision, priorities and cross cutting objectives are long-term and therefore would not need redrafting; this would miss the opportunity to look again at the shorter-term outcomes we want to achieve to determine if they are fit for purpose in light of the impact of COVID-19, national and local priorities and the changing context.





4.1        It is recommended that the present plan is refreshed to ensure contextual information is up to date and areas of focus in relation to outcomes for 2021/26 are updated for 2023/28.


4.2        Not updating the plan is not recommended as the Council needs to demonstrate how it is planning, managing and responding to national and local changes.



5.       RISK

5.1    The risks associated with this proposal, including the risks if the Council does not act as recommended, have been considered in line with the Council’s Risk Management Framework.





6.1     The timetable sets out consultation with residents and councillors.


6.2         This issue was considered by the Corporate Services Policy Advisory Committee on 13 July 2022 and the Committee supported the recommendation of this report.








7.1     The timetable identifies the next steps in the process.






The following documents are to be published with this report and form part of the report:

·         Appendix 1: Current Strategic Plan