Annual Report 2021/22

Introduction

These pages provide information from our Annual Report for the financial year 2021/22. 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

This has truly been a year like no other, with some incredible highs and desperate lows. In both, we have seen the people of Southend-on-Sea come together in a remarkable and inspiring way.

Becoming a city was an historic moment for Southend-on-Sea. The Royal Visit and celebrations to mark Southend-on-Sea turning into a city were a fantastic success. They were a credit to both the city and the council. We have no doubt that Sir David Amess would have been immensely proud. We hope to honour his passion for Southend within an enduring legacy so we can move forward as a community and begin an exciting new chapter as a city.

We continue to deal with the local impact of the pandemic. Although we are starting to see life return to normal, COVID-19 remains on many people’s minds. There are other challenges for our residents, including financial constraints. In 2022, many families across Southend-on-Sea are facing a cost-of-living crisis. We will continue to deliver services and protect the most vulnerable in our city.

Like the majority of local authorities across the country, the council continues to experience large increases in demand for many services, particularly for social care and the most vulnerable in society. The council has a legal obligation to remain financially sustainable. It will continue to face some very difficult choices as it balances the response to these complex local challenges within the constraints of the level of resources it has available.

Despite encountering some challenges to overcome, the council continues to perform well and achieve changes for the better for the people and communities of Southend-on-Sea. This annual report showcases how we are:

  • providing better and more affordable housing for our residents
  • powering economic and community recovery in Southend-on-Sea
  • pushing forward with our green city ambition
  • creating better life opportunities for our children and young people
  • protecting and improving the quality of life for older people in our city

We are extremely grateful for our residents, communities, businesses and organisations, who work alongside us. They are key to making Southend-on-Sea the remarkable place that it is.

Looking forward, we are confident that our new city will go from strength to strength. We can build on our great assets - our businesses, transport links, services and the rich diversity of our people and communities - and create a city where all residents have the opportunity to flourish.

A remarkable community spirit exists within Southend-on-Sea. We will harness that community spirit to achieve further great successes and continue to support our residents and communities.

Our achievements include:

  • completing construction on the council’s first ever zero carbon affordable homes at Saxon Gardens, Shoeburyness. Modern methods of construction were used to reduce carbon emissions
  • growing our pier visitor numbers. We had record-breaking visitor numbers in the summer and the best January, February and March attendance figures since records began 15 years ago
  • Brook Meadows House opening in Westcliff-on-Sea. The care home provides integrated care services to those living with dementia and complex needs. Services include rehabilitation support for adults discharged from hospital, the Viking Day Service for adults with learning disabilities, and Making It Work supported employment service
  • enabling 18 rough sleepers to move into housing, by completing the purchase of 18 properties for the Rough Sleepers Accommodation Programme. All 18 have been let to former rough sleepers
  • being awarded Purple Flag accreditation for the ninth consecutive year. This highlights our night-time economy as safe, diverse, entertaining and enjoyable
  • securing 19 providers and 20 venues in Southend-on-Sea for the Holiday Activities and Food programme. The programme reached 1,130 children during the summer
  • supporting Afghan and Ukrainian families to move safely into accommodation, ensuring they can access local services, and are warmly welcomed into our community
  • securing funding for the Focal Point Gallery from Creative Estuary for the commission of a new major public artwork. The artwork will welcome visitors and residents to the city
  • completing the main works for the £8 million essential highway maintenance on the A127 and Bell junction. The works will help to reduce congestion, enhance pedestrian crossing facilities and improve air quality in the area
  • increasing connectivity in the city through Southend-on-Sea’s £30 million full fibre upgrade. This has been delivered in partnership with digital infrastructure programme CityFibre. Over 55% of the city now having access to gigabit broadband
  • Southend-on-Sea officially becoming a city on the 1st of March 2022, with a royal visit from Their Royal Highnesses, The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. In a speech to mark the historic occasion, The Prince of Wales said: “In the aftermath of Sir David’s brutal murder, the people of Southend-on-Sea came together in a remarkable and inspiring way to bring good out of evil. In doing so, they demonstrated a deep truth: that what matters more than any name, whether of a person or a place, is the spirit. Today, Southend becomes a city. As we celebrate and honour that fact, we remember that it is always, and crucially, a community.”

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