Wigan Council's new era arrives with two key missions for shared prosperity

Wigan Council is preparing to embark on a new era under its ‘Progress with Unity’ motto, aiming to create a fairer and more prosperous borough.

Cabinet members this week approved the ambitious plan that focuses on creating opportunities to help the borough’s communities flourish.

The plan, Progress with Unity: A new era for Wigan Borough, will go before the full council later this month.

 It is the culmination of a research project with local organisations, businesses, partners, independent experts and the community.

The Leader of Wigan Council, Councillor David Molyneux MBE, said: “Progress with Unity is a partnership with everyone who lives and works in our borough, we know we are stronger when we work together.

“It is the recognition that the challenges and opportunities our communities are facing require a fresh approach.

“The project has provided an opportunity to reflect on what our strengths are but also where significant progress needs to be made, learning the lessons from what we have achieved over the last 10 years.”

Progress with Unity signals a departure from The Deal – an informal contract between the local authority and its residents which was developed in response to austerity in 2013.

Over the last 12 months Wigan Council has been working closely with local community and partner organisations to understand the issues affecting residents and to explore the impact of public service reform over the last decade. 

Two key missions have been identified that the council and its partners are committed to delivering: 

  • Create fair opportunities for all children, families, residents and businesses
  • Make all our towns and neighbourhoods flourish for those who live and work in them.

These will be underpinned by action-plans that will a focus on community wealth and health building, tackling inequalities and supporting communities to fulfil their potential.

Speaking at the meeting, Councillor Nazia Rehman, cabinet member for finance, resources and transformation, said: “In what has been a very challenging period for local government, Wigan Borough’s response has been one of innovation and success.

“Sadly, the same cannot be said for the last decade in national government, where chaos, discontent and instability has reigned for too long, threatening to undermine the good work of public services.”

Deputy Leader of Wigan Council, Councillor Keith Cunliffe, added: “Crucially, this is not the final version of our movement. Its foundations are built on the extensive engagement we have carried out, but it will change and adapt over time.

“This is the start of a new era and we will work as a partnership with our residents.

“The Deal enabled us to reform public services at a time of great economic uncertainty, helping us to transform services and respond to significant budget cuts.

“While the approach is hailed as an exemplar of public service reform, we know we can achieve even more, working with communities to construct a new way of doing things and because of that it hasn’t been adopted universally.

“We know that to be successful, the plan needs to be shaped by all our residents and that means fundamentally shifting the relationship between citizen and state from ‘us’ and ‘them’ to ‘together we’.

Earlier this year, as part of marking 50 years since the 1974 local government reforms formed the Wigan Borough, the council had signalled its intention to promote the ‘Progress with Unity’ motto that was created as part of that process.

Coun Molyneux MBE, added: “Much has happened over those five decades, but Progress with Unity has never been more significant as we look forward to this new era.”

The plan will go to full council on Wednesday, 24 July.

Find out more information about Progress with Unity or the 50th anniversary.

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