Annual Report 2020/21


These pages provide information from our Annual Report for the financial year 2020/21. The purpose of the report is to let you know about our overall performance and key achievements made over the last year. The report also sets out our priorities for the coming year. For a copy of the report, please email us.

A summary document can be provided in formats such as Braille, audio-tape or in large print. Translations of the document in alternative languages are also available upon request.

Introduction from Leader of the Council and Chief Executive

Cllr Ian Gilbert, Leader of the Council Alison Griffin, Chief Executive

The last twelve months have challenged our community like never before. Many lives have been lost and there are still tough times ahead, but we are starting to see light at the end of the tunnel, with the vaccination programme working well in Southend and restrictions starting to ease.

Despite the difficulties and impact the pandemic has had on every aspect of our lives, our local NHS staff and keyworkers have gone above and beyond to keep our community safe and well. For that we cannot thank them enough.

We also want to recognise the efforts and hard work of our staff, volunteers and partners over the past year, and thank you to everyone who acted responsibly to help protect our local NHS.

We’ve remained strong despite the global pandemic and additional challenges following Brexit. We’ve won awards and achieved amazing things and we could not be prouder of our people.

This report highlights the progress we’ve made during 2020/21 and showcases a number of our priorities for the coming year.

Looking forward, economic recovery, reopening businesses and maintaining the safety of our community are key priorities for the council. We must also invest in protecting our environment and push forward with the council’s aim of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2030.

It’s more important than ever that we remain collaborative, inclusive, honest and proud. Together we will support one another, remember and celebrate the lives of those that we have lost and look ahead to a brighter future. The continued work of our council is vital to the health and economic wellbeing of residents across the borough, and we are proud to serve our community.

Our achievements include:

  • adapting our core services and working with the community and partners in response to the pandemic, including setting up vaccination centres and community Lateral Flow Device testing sites; providing frontline social care services; and ensuring schools remained open to key workers’ and vulnerable children
  • we worked closely to help the Southend Emergency Fund, established by Shared Space, to access and distribute funds to local groups to support essential community work throughout the pandemic. This has included making financial contributions, officer support and our understanding of local needs and existing offers available. SEF separately report on the positive impacts of their work
  • forming the Southend Food Alliance with South Essex Community Hub and Southend Foodbank to bring together local organisations providing food for residents
  • housing 138 rough sleepers in temporary accommodation during the pandemic
  • helping businesses re-open safely and distributing government support grants to aid their recovery
  • being awarded Purple Flag accreditation, highlighting our nighttime economy as safe, diverse, entertaining and enjoyable
  • the imaginative ways our galleries, museums and libraries have engaged our community during pandemic restrictions, creating online activities, downloadable art activity packs and click & collect book loans
  • carrying out town centre improvements, including completing paving works on London Road and Victoria Circus, installing ‘green roof’ cycle shelters, improving street lighting and developing efficient urban drainage systems
  • maintaining our seafront and shoreline, and parks and green spaces to a high standard
  • agreeing the Green City Action Plan, delivering a green future for Southend and supporting the council’s aim of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2030

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