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Between April and June this year 435 private sector jobs were created in Barnsley, with more than half of these (57%) linked to the continued growth of large companies supported by Enterprising Barnsley. In the same quarter, nine companies relocated to Barnsley, creating 14 new jobs and securing more than £14 million of private sector investment.

These headline findings are included in Barnsley Council’s latest Corporate Plan Performance Report which measures progress in the first quarter of 2016/17 against the council’s three key priorities.

The thriving and vibrant economy priority shows that 170 new-build homes were completed between April and June, with work starting on a further 220, which will add to the borough’s housing stock. Other key findings relating to the borough’s economic health from the quarter 1 performance report, which will be presented to Cabinet members on 7 September, show that in the first quarter:

  • town centre retail occupancy levels remained above target at 92% (530 out of 573 retail units occupied),
  • there are 59 apprenticeships within the council, equal to 3.2% of its workforce, and recruitment will take place in the autumn to recruit school leavers.

The council’s priority of working with the community, partners and customers to create strong and resilient communities focuses on making better use of the assets, skills and knowledge that exist in every Barnsley community. This priority includes designing innovative services to reduce dependency on council services. Under this priority between April and June:

  • 175 volunteering opportunities were created – significantly exceeding the target of 62, while 1,402 volunteers contributed the equivalent of £47,000 worth of hours,
  • 90 homes benefited from the Better Homes Barnsley energy efficiency scheme,
  • it’s estimated 98.5% of Barnsley’s household waste was diverted from landfill against a target of 96.5%,
  • 50% of the council’s budget was spent locally.

Focusing on the council’s priority to support people to achieve their potential, the report shows 52% (provisional) of pupils achieved the expected standard in a new combined key stage 2 reading, writing and mathematics assessment. This compares well with 53% nationally. It is also reported 33 families achieved significant improvement as a result of support from the Troubled Families programme.

The report highlights some areas that require improvement. Cabinet members will receive follow-up reports on areas including: hospital admissions for alcohol-related conditions and adult safeguarding.

Cllr Alan Gardiner, Cabinet spokesperson for Corporate Services, said: “This quarter one report forms part of a larger framework for measuring the achievement of our three key priorities. Cabinet’s role is to scrutinise and, where appropriate, challenge the findings of these regular performance reports. I would urge all residents, businesses and visitors to our borough to view the report so they, too, can hold the council and its partners to account over the issues which interest them.”

The Corporate Plan 2015-18 sets out the council’s priorities and the outcomes it aims to achieve, alongside key areas for improvement and change