Annual Report 2021/22
This report provides a summary of our achievements in 2021/22 as well as recent successes.
There are sections for each of our four priority outcomes:
- Driving sustainable economic growth
- Keeping vulnerable people safe
- Helping people help themselves
- Making best use of resources now and for the future
These cross-cutting priority outcomes guide the decisions we make when setting our delivery plans for services, the Revenue Budget, and Capital Programme.
The Council’s work is delivered by working in partnership and we would like to thank our many partners for their very significant contribution to the progress we have made and their continued commitment to meeting the challenges we all share. This is especially important as our communities recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and the new challenges the cost-of-living crisis presents to the Council, our partners, and the people of East Sussex. This report provides examples of the work done to help people recover from the pandemic and cope with the new challenges of the cost-of-living.
We hope you find this report useful and interesting.
2021/22 A year in numbers
68% of our procurement spend was with local suppliers
76 highway improvement schemes were completed, and over 24,000 potholes were repaired
Trading Standards advised and supported 330 businesses and professionals through training and bespoke advice
24 road safety schemes were implemented on high risk sites/routes to improve safety
70 people completed online learning courses, and 4,860 children registered for the Summer Reading Challenge in our libraries
1,100 students, parents and teachers from across Sussex attended a virtual careers event ‘What’s Next Sussex’ in October 2021
During 2021 the Holiday Activity and Food programme provided for more than 5,000 young people, with more than 35,000 sessions delivered across 150 sites
628 children were Looked After (March 2022)
536 children had Protection Plans (March 2022)
There were 227 interventions by Trading Standards to protect people targeted by rogue trading or financial abuse
8,150 people received Technology Enabled Care Services
8,919 people received support through housing related floating support
327 providers were registered with Support With Confidence
856 families eligible for the Government’s Supporting Families programme received a family support intervention
£5.7m of procurement savings were achieved
There was a 7.4% reduction in CO2 emissions from Council operations compared to 2020/21
130 members of staff enrolled on to an apprenticeship
There was an 18.9% increase in staff sickness levels when compared to 2020/21
57.6% of household waste was re-used, recycled, or composted or used beneficially
Driving sustainable economic growth
Supporting the local economy
The pandemic had a significant impact on our local economy. Over the last year we continued work to achieve the aims of East Sussex Reset: The Economy Recovery Plan for East Sussex in 2021/22. These aims include building prosperity for businesses and the voluntary, community and social enterprise sectors. The plan also aims to support residents to access new opportunities that drive economic recovery and resilience. The plan also supports activities on issues such as climate change and wellbeing. Around £171m is being invested into East Sussex because of the plan. This includes funding from the Levelling Up Fund; the UK Community Renewal Fund and Round 3 of the Cultural Recovery Fund.
We have launched a refreshed Social Value Marketplace, which enables local organisations such as charities and community groups to post up requests for help from suppliers. Such help can mean spare building materials or suggestions for voluntary work. Likewise, suppliers or employers can post up items or time they can donate which can be picked up by local groups. This refreshed Marketplace allows us to work to improve the social, economic, and environmental wellbeing of our residents and local communities. The Council’s Social Value Measurement Charter boosts the amount of social value achieved when we procure contracts. In 2021/22 we awarded almost £60m worth of contracts which were in scope of the Social Value Measurement Charter. This resulted in over £6.5m of social value commitments, including spend with local suppliers.
Local businesses continued to see changes to guidance and regulations throughout 2021/22. Our Business East Sussex Growth Hub and Trading Standards provided advice and support to local businesses to help them navigate issues. Over the year 126 delegates received business training advice and 204 businesses received bespoke advice. The Council runs a number of business support programmes to help businesses expand and create jobs, in 2021/22 these programmes helped create or safeguard the equivalent of 193.5 full time jobs in East Sussex.
Local businesses in the hospitality, retail and accommodation sectors were particularly affected by the pandemic. We joined forces with other councils in Sussex to create a Sussex Tourism and Culture Recovery Group which will lead work to develop and target new marketing campaigns to attract visitors to Sussex.
During 2021/22 the Careers Hub launched several online resources through the Careers East Sussex portal. These include: the Employability Passport, which 2,211 pupils in years 11-13 at 27 schools have registered to use; an East Sussex Virtual Work Experience package, with over 1,500 students accessing work experience via the programme in 2021/22; and delivered a live virtual careers event, ‘What’s Next Sussex’ in October which was attended by 1,100 students, parents and teachers from across Sussex, and will now become an annual event. The Careers Hub also launched the ICAN campaign, with videos and vocational profiles to support young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities with their careers and post-16 decision making. Schools in the county have also been shown several new resources the Careers Hub have developed, which embed careers-related learning into the Maths Curriculum, and training on new digital resources which provide labour market information focusing on the county’s priority employment sectors.
Skills East Sussex and its sector task groups continued their work to support businesses, education providers and other stakeholders to collaborate on careers provision for young people and adults. The Careers East Sussex website has been relaunched, with new careers infographics and a careers search tool currently in development. The website now also includes a searchable database of pre-employment support provision in East Sussex, as well as careers resources for schools and careers advisers and Department for Work and Pensions job coaches. The Net Zero Task Group has begun to explore the options for developing net zero learning provision.
We delivered 76 improvement schemes in 2021/22 as part of our multi-year plan to maintain and improve the condition of the Council’s roads. We assigned an extra £5.8m of one-off funding for highways improvements in 2021/22. We will begin to implement these schemes in 2022/23, alongside our existing scheduled road improvement projects.
We also continued our work on major infrastructure schemes to help improve connectivity across the county. The Newhaven Port Access Road was opened, which is an integral part of the Newhaven Enterprise Zone, creating direct access to East Quay and allocated development land, opening up 80,000 sq m of business space and allowing the creation of new jobs. This work also included a new cycle path and footway, helping to join up local footpaths and create new routes for walking and cycling. We also secured nearly £8 million of funding for a new two-lane bridge at Exceat from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund.
In partnership with local bus companies, we developed a Bus Service Improvement Plan. The Bus Service Improvement Plan outlines proposals for improving the bus services in the county. In September 2022 the Government confirmed we will receive more than £41m for bus service improvements in East Sussex. The funding will help the Council and bus operators improve services and increase the use of public transport. It will be used to increase the frequency of buses and provide more services in the evenings and weekends. The funding will also go towards improvements to bus stops and information. Several new lower fares have been introduced across the county in Summer 2022 as part of the Bus Service Improvement Plan. Further improvements will be delivered throughout 2022/23.
Supporting children to reach their potential
Together with local schools we have developed a new Excellence for All strategy for 2021-23, which sets out our ambitions for schools and pupils in East Sussex. It is based around three clear ambitions which build on the successes and improvement that schools, settings, and partners have achieved over the last two years. These first is to support every setting and partnership to strengthen leadership at all levels, enabling leaders who promote excellence for all children and young people. The second is to improve literacy and oracy, across all phases, to build on the gains that have been made in the county over recent years and address areas of historically lower achievement. The third is to take the innovations in approaches to learning and participation, developed during the pandemic, into our post lockdown work to support the inclusion and wellbeing of children and young people.
Working with schools we have continued to develop and deliver support for children and young people to help them to fulfil their potential. This has included projects designed to help children about to start school and those transitioning between primary and secondary with their verbal communication and reading skills as well as improving their vocabulary.
Over the last year we offered a range of support to our schools to help them with the challenges they faced. A virtual training session on updated remote safeguarding guidance was delivered in January 2022 and was attended by over 100 school leaders. Remote safeguarding was critical given high levels of persistent absence and the increased potential for safeguarding issues to arise during prolonged absences. We also ran sessions to support headteacher inductions and aspiring leaders. We relaunched our Local Support Governors scheme in March 2022, with a new cohort of volunteers. Local Support Governors are designated by the Council and are deployed to schools across the county who need expert advice and guidance from their peers. The programme will allow schools access to governors who can support with leadership questions, transition arrangements, complaints management and overall good governance.
We extended the role of our Exclusions Prevention Coordinator to cover all secondary schools in the county. The coordinator supports schools to look for alternatives to permanent exclusion. All 26 secondary schools have agreed to share data and take practical actions to support each other where needed. Schools can now apply directly to the coordinator for a child to move schools if they have done something that would mean returning to their current school may lead them to a permanent exclusion. 91% of these placements have been successful and over the course of the year, the rate of permanent exclusions across the county has dropped by an average of 74%.
Protecting the environment
We have begun to develop a Local Nature Recovery Strategy for East Sussex. This is being done alongside the Sussex Local Nature Partnership and other partners. The strategy will aim to ensure there is a net biodiversity gain in any new development proposals.
Our highways team have launched a new trial to support biodiversity across the county. As part of the trial, we only cut rural road verges in some areas once a year, to assess the benefit this has on rare wildflowers and wildlife. Designated wildlife verges are already only cut once per year, once the flowering season has finished in the autumn. We have also increased the number of wildlife verges in the county, meaning there are more than 125 miles of protected verges, the approximate distance from Lewes to Cambridge.
In January 2022 Team East Sussex endorsed the Climate Emergency Road Map for East Sussex, which covers 2022-25. The road map, Environment Strategy 2020 | East Sussex County Council, was developed by the East Sussex Environment Board, which is hosted by the Council. Actions in support of the road map include securing the funding to support our Bus Service Improvement Plan and £1.8m of capital funding from the Department for Transport’s Capability Fund to support people to use more sustainable forms of transport.
Keeping vulnerable people safe
Keeping vulnerable children safe
During 2021/22 we continued to provide a safe and effective children’s social care service, while helping our communities recover from COVID-19. Some of the changes we implemented in response to the pandemic were retained in 2021/22, where they helped us enhance our services to the public. However, we also focused on returning to face-to-face contacts with families to ensure we can build relationships and understanding of what is happening to children.
We continued to see an increase in the number of children and their families requiring support from social care. We also saw an increase in the number of complex cases. The number of children looked after by the Council has increased over the last year. This is partly due to more older children entering care due to involvement in County Lines and exploitation as well as a slightly higher number of Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children being allocated to the county. Higher numbers of children have needed to be looked after by the Council for longer due to significant delays in the court system which have led to delays in children being adopted or going to live with family or friends through a Special Guardianship Order. We continued our work to prevent children and young people from entering the care system where possible, working with families to help them to provide safe and supportive environments.
Over the year we provided additional support to care leavers, young people who had previously been looked after by the Council. We ensured these young people all had access to laptops and wi-fi in order to continue with their education, facilitate their access to employment and to keep in touch with their families. We also developed a pilot project supporting young people to use personalised budgets for activities designed to improve their overall wellbeing, which received positive feedback. We saw improvements in the proportion of care leavers in education, employment and training and in the proportion in suitable accommodation compared to the previous year.
Keeping vulnerable adults safe
Alongside our partners, we continued to work on health and social care integration in 2021/22. The pandemic had a significant impact on the health of the population, and on our workforce. There were national issues with staff leaving or planning to leave the care sector. In response the Government provided funding to help with retaining staff in the care sector, in East Sussex we received nearly £5 million of funding that was shared amongst local providers. This helped to keep care homes open as well as ensuring that providers had sufficient staff to provide care to people in their homes.
Over the last year we have worked hard to ensure that patients could be discharged safely from hospital as quickly as possible, with the right care and support. We worked with health partners to support individuals of all ages needing access to mental health services and supporting timely discharge from inpatient units.
Alongside this work we continued to plan for the future, building on the changes we had already made as part of our response to the pandemic. With health partners we have focused on a number of priorities including the delivery of our East Sussex Health and Care Partnership Plan. The new Integrated Care System will start on 1 July and we have worked with partners to agree the arrangements necessary for the new NHS Sussex Integrated Care Board and Sussex Health and Care Assembly to begin to operate in shadow form ahead of this date, which will help support the transition to the new system.
We received a 15.6% increase in adult safeguarding contacts in 2021/22 compared to 2020/21. Increases in safeguarding concerns were also seen in the local NHS trusts. We continued to work with partners through the East Sussex Safeguarding Adults Board to help deliver its priorities for the year. These included embedding the Mental Capacity Act in practice, safeguarding transitions for young people at risk and working with multiple complex needs.
Trading Standards used several methods to try and protect vulnerable people in 2021/22. These included installing call blockers, and rapid responses to people at risk of being defrauded. As well as these countywide interventions, Trading Standards also used intelligence to identify hot spots of rogue trading in 2021/22. This was important in early 2022, in the aftermath of the storms which hit the county as criminals often target areas after storm damage. Our presence reassured residents and protected them from being targeted.
We also worked with our community safety partners to raise awareness of a number of other scams. These ranged from online dating scams, to scams involving cryptocurrency. Nationally there was an increase in the number of online scams being dealt with by the National Cyber Security Centre. We invested in Get Safe Online, a web resource on scams, to help local residents and businesses understand how to stay safe online.
The East Sussex Safer Communities Partnership is responsible for creating and monitoring plans to tackle crime and disorder, re-offending, and substance misuse in East Sussex. It brings together strategic and frontline expertise from teams within the Council including Adult Social Care, Children’s Services and Public Health as well as those from Policing and Probation, district and borough councils, and the voluntary and community sector.
Working with our partners we were able to secure additional funding to support our work on building safer communities and helping survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence. This includes over a million pounds of funding to provide safe accommodation for survivors of domestic violence and abuse for 2021/22, with a further million to provide this support in 2022/23. We continued work with Hastings Borough Council to implement the Government’s Project ADDER. In the year since its launch the project, which is designed to address Hasting’s high rate of drug deaths and heroin and crack cocaine use, saw a reduction in the number of unplanned exits from treatment and a drop in the number of people receiving opiate substitute therapy and who are using illicit opiates on top of prescribed opiate substitute therapy. As part of the project the police shut down a number of local county lines drug networks and disrupted 30 organised crime groups.
The rates of serious violence in our local communities are low. However, we continue to work with the Police and other partners to reduce the number of incidents. We saw positive outcomes as a result of the Home Office-funded STAR project in East Sussex, developed to modify the behaviour of habitual knife-carriers. This included bringing together Sussex Police and our youth offending and social care teams to coordinate a contextual safeguarding approach to develop personalised intervention plans for vulnerable children to divert them from being drawn into future knife carrying and other criminal activity. Targeted work was also carried out in part of Devonshire Ward in Eastbourne. The action in Eastbourne led to 10 weapon seizures, 26 arrests whilst on operations and hundreds of hours extra patrol time. Work was also done with the British Transport Police to target people bringing weapons into this part of Eastbourne. Educating young people is an important part of our work and we continued to deliver a range of workshops in schools covering topics such as knife crime and violent extremism.
We also continued our efforts to combat modern slavery. We hosted workshops for partners as part of the Pan Sussex Multi-Agency Anti-Slavery Network to help them understand what the challenges are relating to this issue in their organisations. Alongside this we have developed a Modern Slavery Statement, which sets out the actions we are taking to respond to risks around modern slavery in our organisation and supply chains.
Helping people help themselves
Supporting local communities
The Council played a key role in helping Ukrainians find host families in East Sussex during 2021/22, as part of the Homes for Ukraine scheme. As of July 2022, 1,095 Ukrainian guests had arrived in the county under the scheme. The guests were hosted at 473 different properties across the county. We allocated more than 317 Ukrainian children school places. We also created new online resources to help local residents and the Ukrainian guests find information and support. We provided online welcome guides and translated web pages into Ukrainian and Russian. We also applied an online translation tool to our website to help people find information in the best language for them.
We provided almost £500,000 of funding for local Voluntary Action groups in June 2022. The funding helped to support the work of local networks and community hubs in aiding Ukrainian guests. Through this a range of support was provided across the county. This support included community transport, language courses and other educational activities, and support with wellbeing activities.
During its first year in 2021, the Holiday Activity and Food programme in East Sussex provided for more than 5,000 eligible young people, more than 38% of the free school meal cohort in the county. In total across the easter, summer and winter holidays more than 35,000 funded sessions were delivered across 150 sites. This work was part funded through the Household Support Fund. The Council received nearly £3.9 million from the Government through this fund to help vulnerable households. We worked with Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector organisations to distribute the funds to households in the most need to help with their essential costs such as food, energy, and water bills.
As part of our work to help communities recover from the pandemic we launched the new Sussex Community Foundation Winter Support and Recovery Fund together with Sussex Health and Care Partnership and West Sussex County Council. This provides grants of up to £10,000 to VCSE organisations for projects that meet the following criteria: mental health and well-being support, reconnecting people and communities, and reducing health inequalities. We also supported work to help encourage more people to volunteer, which will help our VCSE partners to continue to deliver vital work in our local communities.
An updated libraries strategic commissioning strategy was agreed in December. The review of the current strategy identified a number of successes, including an increase in the number of books borrowed by children; a significant increase in the number of people participating in Rhymetimes and Storytimes sessions; and an increase in our outreach offer to communities with higher needs. A recent Cipfa survey found that 94.9% of customers felt that our libraries were good or very good overall, an increase from 90.7% in 2018. The survey also found that 97.2% of customers felt the standard of customer care was good or very good, up from 94.4% in 2018. 231 people enrolled on the Family English, Maths and Language programme run by our libraries in 2021/22 and 597 people enrolled on the Wider Family Learning programmes.
Helping people maintain their independence
A key part of the service we provide in adult social care is reablement support, which helps people to regain mobility and daily living skills, especially after a hospital stay. Providing this support not only helped adults to maintain their independence, but also helped alleviate pressure on local health services at a time that they were particularly stretched. In 2021/22 90.4% of older people discharged from hospital to reablement / rehabilitation services were at home 91 days after their discharge from hospital. Through the year 93.7% of people who had received short-term support did not request any ongoing support. Just over half of Reablement service users discharged from the Joint Community Rehabilitation Service did not require on-going care. We also provided telecare services to over 8,000 people, this includes wearable alert buttons, fall detectors and medication dispensers. As well as supporting vulnerable adults we also provide support to their carers. In 2021/22 we supported 474 carers with short-term crisis interventions.
It is important that residents are able to find the support they need from trusted providers. We continued to recruit new members to our Support With Confidence scheme, which included 276 Personal Assistants and 51 businesses at the end of March 2022.
Helping people to stay healthy and secure
The Council uses a whole family approach to deliver a strong and integrated 0-19 Early Help service. This service creates a more sustainable system and improves the outcomes for children, young people and families. Since the beginning of the new school term in September 2021, there has been a steady rise in demand for both Early Help and Social Care. Early identification of vulnerable children is key to providing effective safeguarding. We have improved our identification of these children by including universal development reviews for all children aged 0-5.
The Government’s Supporting Families programme is designed to bring agencies together to help support families with multiple and complex problems, so that they get the right support at the right time. We were set a target for 2021/22 of supporting 602 families to make sustainable changes, helping them to be more resilient and to thrive. We exceeded this, supporting 778 families to achieve significant and sustained progress.
We launched a new Mental Health Support Team in Hastings in 2021/22. This brought the number of team working across the county to four. These teams deliver high quality interventions to support children and young people. We are championing a Whole School Approach to mental health and emotional wellbeing. Listening to and hearing the views and feelings of children and young people (and their families) is very important. In March we rolled out Mind of my Own (MOMO), a website and app which helps young people communicate their thoughts and feelings in a way that suits them.
As part of the national Bikeability scheme, which helps to prepare people for cycling safely on the road, we delivered 445 Bikeability courses, to 4,010 individuals. We also delivered 160 Wheels for All sessions to 3,166 attendees. The Wheels for All scheme supports disabled people and people who would otherwise not be able to cycle, providing training sessions using specially adapted cycles. We also delivered 24 infrastructure schemes to improve the safety of our roads.
Alongside helping to coordinate the pandemic response our Public Health specialists continued their health improvement work in 2021/22. A report from NHS Digital shows that the East Sussex Smoking Cessation service (part of One You East Sussex), was the top performing smoking cessation service in the South East and the 14th highest performing service in England for 2020/21. The service continued to improve performance and swiftly switch from face to face to remote provision during the pandemic. We launched a new Wellbeing at Work website offering health and wellbeing resources, guidance, training opportunities and best practice examples to employers in East Sussex. We have also developed a workplace health accreditation scheme to recognise employers’ commitments to improving health and wellbeing.
As part of a consortium of East Sussex local authorities, led by Hastings Borough Council, we were awarded £2.2m from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Sustainable Warmth competition. This will help to boost the Warm Home Check service offer for eligible residents until March 2023. The service will offer home energy efficiency improvements for at least 150 low-income fuel poor households in private tenures (homeowners or those privately renting). About two fifths of carbon emissions in East Sussex are from people's homes, so helping vulnerable residents improve the energy efficiency of their homes through the installation of low carbon options will also help address the climate emergency.
Helping children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities
The Department for Education approved four applications for new schools in April 2017. These were for three special schools and one alternative education provider. The first two schools, The Workplace and Ropemakers Academy, opened in 2020/21. The Flagship School, a special school for children with autism and social, emotional, and mental health difficulties, opened in September 2021. The Summerdown School, two special schools on the same campus for children with autism and profound multiple learning difficulties, opened in September 2022.
We recruited several Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Ambassadors in 2021/22. These ambassadors helped ensure that children and young people’s voices influenced the services we deliver, including in the development of our Inclusion Special Educational Needs and Disabilities plans.
We also launched a new Local Offer website, helping parents and carers of children with special educational needs and disabilities to access a range of information about support and services in the county. The site was designed in collaboration with parents, carers and professionals.
Making best use of resources now and for the future
Efficient and effective working
Our Reconciling Policy, Performance and Resources approach to business planning has once again proved to be effective in matching our resources with our delivery plans for our priority outcomes during 2021/22. Our integrated planning process has allowed us to continue to focus and protect our spending where it will deliver our priority objectives most effectively. We ensure we have the demographic trends and performance information to monitor progress, as well as evidence to support lobbying at a local, regional and national level. Reconciling, Policy, Performance and Resources has been used to manage our planning as we begin to adjust to the longer-term impacts of COVID-19, alongside developments in service delivery, and look to the new opportunities available through the East Sussex Economy Recovery Plan. Additional funding announced by Government, together with our careful planning, has meant that we have been able to balance our budgets for this year and invest in key priorities for local people. We will use £8.9m of additional funding from Government to invest in our highways and to tackle climate change. The Council also disposed of a number of surplus property assets in 2021/22, which resulted in over £10m of capital receipts.
We have continued our lobbying activities, feeding in to national policy and helping to promote the needs of our area, and our neighbours across the south east through our partnership work. The Leader has continued to act as the County Councils Network spokesperson for Children’s and Young People’s issues. As part of this network, we have contributed to work on several major issues including the effect of energy costs on home to school transport, and the best model for future delivery of children’s social care. We have also worked to prepare for the recent Levelling Up White Paper published by the Government, to ensure that we are in the best position to take advantage of any available support. We also continued to work with our partners to raise awareness of the current challenges around local authority funding.
We continued to work with partners to deliver the local response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We helped to deliver the testing programmes and assisted with the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine booster programme. Throughout the year we continued to provide advice and support to help residents, businesses and community groups, helping them navigate the changing restrictions and the move to live with COVID-19.
We continued to keep our services running and provided face to face contacts wherever possible. However, we also made the most of new technology to help us to deliver key services in different ways. There have been real benefits for staff wellbeing and our carbon footprint from staff being able to work more flexibly. As a result, we have put in place a number of improvements to help our staff to continue to work more flexibly as we move into 2022/23. We have upgraded our technology, providing reliable, secure access for staff to council systems. Another use of technology has been in our chatbot pilot which has made it easier for people applying for blue badges to get quick responses to their questions. This has freed up staff who can now spend more time helping people with more complex queries.
Our staff have adapted quickly to respond to new challenges over the last year. Recruiting and retaining staff is an important priority for us. We have developed a new ‘Choose East Sussex’ brand to help attract new staff and will continue work on this in 2022/23. We also continue to invest in the development and wellbeing of our staff. For example, we have staff enrolled in 33 different types of apprenticeship, ranging from entry level to master's degree and we plan to run a ‘Ladder to Leadership’ development programme in 2022/23.
Reducing our carbon footprint
We declared a climate emergency in October 2019, recognising the threat of climate change to the county and the world. We have set a target of carbon neutrality from our activities as soon as possible, and in any event by 2050, in line with the target for the UK. To help meet this target we have an ongoing programme of work to reduce carbon emissions from Council buildings. This includes both work to produce renewable energy and improving the energy efficiency of our buildings. In 2021/22 we installed over 525 Solar Photo Voltaic panels to Council buildings and installed LED lighting in nine buildings. We also worked to install 14,000 LED streetlights. We developed carbon literacy training for staff to help support our work to reduce our carbon footprint across our operations.
The amount of carbon produced by Council operations fell by 7.4% in 2021/22, compared to 2020/21. The decrease has been lower than the previous year due to having to have increased ventilation in schools and other Council buildings to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infections, which meant we had to use more energy to heat our buildings over the winter.
As part of our wider work we teamed up with Crowdfunder to support community projects committed to addressing the climate emergency by offering a share of £25,000 match funding. This was split between six local projects including the Crisp Packet Project in Hastings which reuses crisp packets and other materials destined for landfill to make survival sheets or blankets for the homeless and less fortunate communities. It also included the Pop Up Pantries set up by the Havens Food Cooperative which help redistribute produce from supermarkets, and the Newhaven Green Centre which set up a sharing library for small household items.
We also teamed up with other Sussex authorities to launch Solar Together Sussex, a group buying scheme allowing residents to buy high-quality solar panels and battery storage at a competitive price. In the first three months more than 7,600 households from across Sussex signed up to the scheme which could help residents reduce their annual carbon emissions by around a tonne each year.
Full details of our results against 2021/22 Council Plan targets and budgets can be found in our end of year monitoring report. Details of our future actions and targets to deliver our priority outcomes are set out in the Council Plan 2022/23. A full review of the Council’s position and future challenges can be found in State of the County 2022 (please see Cabinet Item 5 Reconciling Policy, Performance and Resources - State of the County).
There is a lot more information on our website about the services we provide, how the Council works, how to contact your local councillor and how you can have your say about Council services and decisions.