Organisation Strategy 2021 to 2026



I am pleased to introduce this refreshed strategy which sets out our contribution to the Community Vision for Surrey in 2030.

The 2030 Vision is a collective ambition to make Surrey a uniquely special place for people to live, work and learn, and where no one is left behind.

Since I became Leader in 2018, we have made tremendous progress in transforming the council and ensuring financial stability and sustainability. However, along with the rest of the UK, Surrey faces an unprecedented and uncertain future as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has presented us with challenges which we will continue to feel the effects of for years to come, but it has also revealed opportunities to improve how the council operates and delivers services to our residents, communities and businesses. With such a fundamental shift in the context in which the council is operating, it is essential that we update our Organisation Strategy to reflect how our ambitions and priorities have evolved to take this into account.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the strength and resolve of our relationships with partners, particularly the voluntary, community and faith sector who have worked tirelessly to provide vital support to some of our most vulnerable residents. In addition, the work we have done collectively to start delivering Surrey's Health and Wellbeing Strategy has seen better outcomes delivered for our residents and we have laid the foundations to tackle the health inequalities that exist in the county. We have also established a One Surrey Growth Board to oversee and accelerate work to deliver a long term plan for inclusive growth in the county.

However, there is much more to be done and we need to learn lessons from this pandemic and continue to do more to achieve our collective aspirations for Surrey. Too many residents are prevented from reaching their full potential and we need to empower and connect our communities to drive down inequality and deliver our ambition for no one to be left behind.

Along with other local authorities across the UK, we faced unprecedented challenges before the COVID-19 pandemic, including dwindling resources and growing demand for our services, that impacted on our ability to secure the best outcomes for residents. These challenges remain, despite the progress we have made to stabilise our financial position and we need to go even further to ensure local government in Surrey is fit for the future.

We have identified four priority objectives which have been brought into sharper focus:

  • Growing a sustainable economy so everyone can benefit
  • Tackling health inequality
  • Enabling a greener future
  • Empowering communities

A consistent theme that I have championed since becoming Leader is to tackle inequality and each of the four priority objectives above addresses a different aspect of inequality. I am making clear my commitment to tackling inequality by there being one driving principle behind this strategy, which is to ensure that no one is left behind. It should run through all of our work, whether that is supporting businesses in Surrey to thrive, improving health outcomes for our most vulnerable residents, tackling the challenges climate change presents, or helping to create the conditions for residents and communities to better support themselves.

Our commitment to tackle inequality also extends to our equality, diversity, and inclusion ambitions, and I am determined that this refreshed strategy incorporates our equality objectives and sets out the actions we are taking to support our ambitions and the 2030 Vision outcomes.

I want Surrey County Council to be recognised as the leading county council in England, driving innovation in local government, fit for the future and raising the bar in terms of the quality of outcomes we can secure with residents. How we meet the challenges facing us, and take advantage of the opportunities available, will be key to us achieving that goal.

I look forward to working with you – residents, partners, Members and staff – to support the 2030 Vision and the people of this county to maximise their potential, achieving a better quality of life for all.

Tim Oliver

Leader of the Council

A Community Vision for Surrey in 2030

Many people have provided their views about what they want Surrey to be like as a place to live in 2030. We have engaged with residents, council staff, businesses, universities and organisations from the public, voluntary, community and faith sectors to listen to what they value and their hopes for the future to develop a shared Community Vision for Surrey in 2030 (the 2030 Vision).

By 2030 we want Surrey to be a uniquely special place where everyone has a great start to life, people live healthy and fulfilling lives, are enabled to achieve their full potential and contribute to their community, and no one is left behind.

We want our county's economy to be strong, vibrant and successful and Surrey to be a great place to live, work and learn. A place that capitalises on its location and natural assets, and where communities feel supported and people are able to support each other.

Our ambitions for people are:

  • Children and young people are safe and feel safe and confident
  • Everyone benefits from education, skills and employment opportunities that help them succeed in life
  • Everyone lives healthy, active and fulfilling lives, and makes good choices about their wellbeing
  • Everyone gets the health and social care support and information they need at the right time and place
  • Communities are welcoming and supportive, especially of those most in need, and people feel able to contribute to community life

Our ambitions for our place are:

  • Residents live in clean, safe and green communities, where people and organisations embrace their environmental responsibilities
  • Journeys across the county are easier, more predictable and safer
  • Everyone has a place they can call home, with appropriate housing for all
  • Businesses in Surrey thrive
  • Well connected communities, with effective infrastructure, that grow sustainably

Our Organisation Strategy is our contribution towards the Community Vision for Surrey in 2030

We share in a long-term vision for Surrey and we will work alongside residents and partners to realise it. This is our plan for how, over the next five years, we will work towards achieving the outcomes in the 2030 Vision and focus on making a real difference to residents' lives.

Our purpose and roles

Everyone has a role in delivering the 2030 Vision. Collectively as partners we need to work better together and each of us has an individual responsibility to contribute to achieving the outcomes that Surrey's residents deserve – this includes us at Surrey County Council. This is demonstrated within the Surrey Health & Wellbeing Strategy which represents collaborative working to address the root causes of poor health and wellbeing, address inequality of life expectancy and improve quality of life. It is also shown by the establishment of the One Surrey Growth Board, an alliance which brings together partners who have a vital role in safeguarding and supporting improvements to Surrey's economy, homes, infrastructure and quality of life.

We have a democratic mandate to represent and be a champion for all residents, and to deliver the best possible outcomes we can. We will focus on supporting the most vulnerable people in our communities and those who do not have the means or resources to help themselves. This will involve truly understanding residents' needs, involving them as early as possible in service design and decision making, and using our resources in the most effective and efficient way. But as the resources available to us become more and more stretched, the way we deliver will need to take multiple forms.

  • Sometimes we will be the organisation delivering a service
  • Sometimes we will do this alongside other agencies
  • Sometimes we will pay another organisation or business to deliver services
  • Sometimes we will act as a convenor, bringing people together to collectively solve challenges and grasp opportunities
  • And sometimes we will make resources and support available for communities to help themselves.

Our contribution to delivering the 2030 Vision does not mean we will simply deliver services - our democratic mandate and place leadership role for the county puts us in a unique position. We can use this to support communities to help themselves and increase their ability to make their own lives better, or to work with Government and local partners to develop solutions together to improve life in the county. Given the limits on our resources, we also need to work smarter and put ourselves on a sustainable footing. We will organise our money, people and other resources in ways which improve outcomes for residents and focus on where it makes sense for us to do so. We will also make our decisions based on the best evidence available, so we are able to maximise the benefits for residents from every single pound we have to spend.

Strategic context

As a place, Surrey has a range of unique features and qualities that can create different challenges and opportunities. The statistics below set these in context.


  • Surrey has a population of 1.19 million residents, made up of approximately 473,000 households. This is expected to grow to 1.21 million by 2030
  • Surrey is more urban than England as a whole but some areas of the county have large numbers of residents living rurally
  • Ageing population - by 2030 the proportion of working age residents (16-64) and of younger people is expected to decrease while there are expected to be more residents aged over 65, and a 29% increase the number of over 85s

Health and wellbeing

  • There is high life expectancy in most areas - average life expectancy in Surrey for men and women is approximately 2 years higher than the national average. But there are significant disparities in healthy life expectancy - of up to 14 years - between wards in the county
  • Adults are generally healthy compared to the national average. Around 5% more adults are physically active, while there are lower rates of obesity (c.5% less) and less people who are smokers (c.4% less)
  • An ageing population is likely to lead to increasing demand for services for vulnerable adults and those with long term and age-related medical conditions
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on residents' mental health and wellbeing, with over a quarter surveyed reporting they feel more anxious or stressed. The self-reported impact is significantly high amongst residents aged 16-34, with 37% responding they have felt greater levels of stress and anxiety during lockdown


  • Around 70% of residents believe there is a strong sense of community in their local area. This is reflected in the county's vibrant voluntary, community and faith sector, with approximately 6,000 organisations, and thousands of residents volunteering each year
  • Over 93.5% of people in Surrey recorded that they were satisfied with their neighbourhood as a place to live
  • Surrey is one of the safest places in England and Wales, with the sixth lowest recorded crime rate of the 43 police forces, and lower than average rates of victim-based crime
  • Reported knife crime among young people has increased in the previous two years by 50%
  • Domestic violence has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic with incidents being 16.7% higher in May 2020 than the same period the previous year

Education and skills

  • Nearly 262,000 children and young people live in Surrey. More than half of pupils achieve a strong pass (9-5) grade in English and Maths, compared to 43.4% nationally and 46.5% in the South East
  • The county has a highly qualified workforce with over 50% of the working age population holding a degree-level qualification
  • There is a growing demand for services for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities
  • There are generally low levels of deprivation in Surrey, but in some areas over 20% of children are impacted by poverty. Pupils experiencing deprivation and those with additional needs are far less likely to do as well at school as their peers


  • Expensive housing - average house prices were £430,000 in 2018, an increase of 35% over the last 4 years. Relative to average salaries, housing is four times less affordable than the national average
  • There is a need for affordable housing especially for residents on low incomes
  • Rising demand for homelessness services - the number of households in temporary accommodation has risen by 181% since 2010
  • Rough sleeping has significantly increased from 20 individuals in 2010 to 81 in 2019 – a 305% increase, suggesting that this is a growing problem in the county

Environment and infrastructure

  • Surrey has one of the busiest road networks in the country, which carry double the national average traffic flow and make it the slowest county to drive around
  • More than 40% of residents work outside the county with nearly a quarter working in London. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic additional capacity was needed on the train network to address overcrowding on commuter services
  • Recycling rates in Surrey are better than the national average but landfill use has increased by 6.7% between 2017/18 and 2018/19
  • Carbon emissions are falling, but not quickly enough to meet the council's zero emissions target by 2050 for the county and need to fall by 46% against 2019 levels by 2025 to be on track for the target
  • Road transport is the main cause of air pollution in Surrey, and transport emissions remain high and in the top 6 of all UK Counties
  • Residents have good access to woodland spaces with an estimated 24% woodland cover and a recent commitment by Surrey County Council to plant 1.2m trees


  • The county has a strong economy which prior to COVID-19 was worth £43 billion and grew by 24% between 2010 and 2018
  • A low unemployment rate of 2.3% in 2019, compared to 3.1% in the South East. However, as a result of COVID-19 the overall take up rate of the government Job Retention Scheme in Surrey was 28%. The Claimant Count for the period April to June 2020 increased by 277.8% in Surrey compared to the same period in 2019. This was a higher than the South East (170.4%) and national (120.9%) increases.
  • Workers in Surrey have average earnings of £37,723pa above the regional and national averages
  • Surrey is attractive to business with a 25% higher business density than the national average, but the rate of business births and growth in active businesses are falling in comparison to regional and national levels
  • The Middle workforce (aged 25-44), who make up a large proportion of the skilled workforce and are a key driver of economic growth is expected to decline by 8% by 2030

Our progress since 2018

Since launching our Organisation Strategy in 2018 we have made significant progress towards achieving our ambitions for the county, and as a council. We faced significant financial challenges, but we have implemented a transformation programme to deliver better outcomes to improve residents' lives, while also achieving £200m of efficiency savings. In stabilising the council's finances, this has enabled us to set an ambitious capital programme to invest in the county's infrastructure, alongside establishing a new community project fund which will provide £100million in capital funding for our residents to put towards projects to enhance their communities.

We have delivered major reforms to children's services, adult social care and the fire service to embed a preventative approach and support our residents' independence. Through building stronger partnerships, we have been able to lead the way and innovate in health and social care integration, set bold shared commitments and plans on climate change, and strengthen local education and learning. Alongside this, we have improved our communication and engagement with residents to co-design services and deliver the best for them.

As with all other parts of the country, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a significant shock for the county. There also remains ongoing uncertainty surrounding the UK's future relationship with the EU following the end of the transition period, and the impact this could have for residents and on a range of services the council provides. The delivery of these transformative changes over the past couple of years, underpinned by our Organisation Strategy, has put us in the best position to manage effectively the potential outcomes for the county following the culmination of UK-EU negotiations, and deliver an effective response to the pandemic, driving forward Surrey's recovery and future transformation.

Our role during COVID-19

We played, and continue to play, a vitally important role in leading the local response to COVID-19, to save lives, protect the NHS, ensure our residents are protected wherever possible and crucial council services continue to operate in these unprecedented times.

In partnership with local health partners we helped establish NHS Headley Court, the first Seacole hospital in the UK dedicated to helping COVID-19 patients to recover from the long-term effects. We developed support for our most vulnerable residents through a Community Helpline which helped to deliver an offer of support in partnership with other local organisations and communities. We mobilised our communities to support with the donation of essential Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This campaign led to voluntary groups producing PPE for frontline workers with over 100,000 high specification PPE items donated in total.

We must now use the lessons from COVID-19 to build on, and embed, the positive ways of working that have emerged.

Our focus for the next five years: our four priority objectives

The ambitious 2030 Vision for the county requires us to work closely with residents, businesses and our wider partners to prioritise our activity and resources on the outcomes that matter most to residents and will have the biggest impact on improving people's quality of life. We continue to face financial challenges alongside rising demand for services. This situation has worsened as a result of COVID-19 and although we have received additional funding from Government, this falls short of what we require to meet the lost income and increased demand that has been brought about by the pandemic. It is clear that we will be unable to continue doing all the things we have done to this point.

Through our experience in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, our interaction with residents and partners, and analysis of the latest data, we are confident that the 2030 Vision remains the right destination. While the broad ambitions outlined remain valid, the way we get there needs to change. A sharper focus on a smaller group of priorities, based on themes emerging from evidence on the impact of COVID-19, will enable the organisation to prioritise activity. The data and insight we have has highlighted four areas where we will increase our focus.

Growing a sustainable economy so everyone can benefit

We want to support people and businesses across Surrey to grow and recover following the COVID-19 pandemic, maintaining Surrey as the strongest economy outside of London. Economic growth has a vital role to play in improving the health and wellbeing of residents and general living standards.

Surrey has a strong economy with highly skilled residents, however its affluence masks inequalities, pockets of deprivation and growing disparity between east and west. We will proactively tackle economic inequality across the county to make sure economic growth is inclusive and something that everyone can benefit from.

We will take on a proactive role in growing the local economy, working with partners and the business community to tackle unemployment, support key sectors most affected by the economic decline and assist businesses to re-build and re-establish themselves.

Tackling health inequality

Helping residents to stay healthy and well is key to improving residents' quality of life and tackling inequality of life expectancy. Most of Surrey's population lead happy and healthy lives, however this isn't the case for all residents. Surrey has a growing and ageing population with more people likely to be living in worse health in their later years. The impacts of COVID-19 have widened existing inequalities across physical, mental and social health (for example issues of loneliness). Physical and mental health are often viewed in isolation, however each can directly impact upon the other. Preventing poor physical and mental wellbeing is key to maintaining good outcomes in Surrey whilst helping to close the gap and reduce inequalities.

We will drive work across the system to reduce these widening health inequalities, ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our residents is at the forefront of our strategies and accelerating health and social care integration to respond to new demands. We will build on the strengths that residents have in their families and networks, supporting them to be independent and live safely at home so they stay connected to their communities and feel safe.

Enabling a greener future

We want to ensure that Surrey remains an attractive place full of opportunities, offering clean, safe and green communities. To do this we must tackle the causes of climate change and accelerate reductions in carbon emissions enough to meet our net zero carbon target by 2050. If current consumption continues, Surrey will use up its share of the global carbon budget – the total carbon emissions the world can 'afford' if it is to avoid dangerous climate change – within eight years . We need to do better as a county.

We will build on behaviour changes and lessons learnt during COVID-19 lockdown to address environmental challenges, improve air quality and focus on green energy. Working with residents and our business community, we will encourage more decisive steps to reduce journeys, shift to an increased use of public and active transport modes, and accelerate the uptake of zero emission vehicle options.

Through Surrey's Climate Change Strategy we will work with people, organisations and businesses in the county to help them fulfil their responsibilities and be mindful of their impact on their local environment.

Empowering Communities

We want to reinvigorate our relationship with residents, characterised by more people participating, engaging and having a role and say in how things are done on matters that impact them and where they live.

We will focus on three key principles:

  • Empower - we will hand more powers and resources directly to communities to do things themselves
  • Enable - we will create the conditions for communities to achieve their priorities, and design the services we provide with those who use them, so they enable independence
  • Engage - we will make it easier for everyone to play an active role in the decisions that will shape Surrey's future, using a mix of traditional and new engagement tools to enhance local democracy and extend our reach into communities

To achieve this, we will develop a new model of local engagement that brings residents together with local government, other public services and broader partners to decide priorities, tackle local issues and grasp opportunities within communities across Surrey.

Our focus for the next five years – our guiding principle

The context within which we are all operating has significantly changed over the last decade and the current context of COVID-19 brings with it additional challenges. Some of the main challenges we faced before COVID-19 are still present or have been exacerbated, including population changes, rising demand for services and support, government policy changes, funding reductions and the impact of continued financial constraints.

Evidence tells us that while many residents and businesses thrive in Surrey, not everyone has the same opportunities to flourish. Surrey is an affluent county and this image often disguises the problems that some residents face, such as domestic abuse, homelessness and mental health issues. While the uncertainty brought about by the ongoing pandemic makes it difficult to plan, we do know that the impacts of COVID-19 and lockdown measures have widened social, economic and health inequalities, with different impacts by age, race, poverty and wealth. We must take action on these inequalities, so that we can provide support early for some of Surrey's most vulnerable residents and stimulate economic recovery and jobs growth.

Tackle inequality in Surrey by focusing on ensuring no one is left behind

We are proud of our county's history and the diversity of our communities. Many people who choose to call Surrey home are thriving in our towns and villages, but sadly that is not the case for everyone. Inequality is a strong theme that runs through our evidence and insight about the experiences of our residents and communities. Inequality exists between places, such as the economic disparity between the east and west of the county, and inequality between and amongst communities, with people's life chances and quality of life affected by a number of factors that drive these disparities. Our 2030 Vision sets out an aspiration to ensure that no one is left behind, and as a council we think it's important to embody this as our guiding principle so that people can live happy and healthy lives, no matter where they live in the county.

We believe that people should be supported to look after themselves and those they care for, so we want to work alongside them and their communities to help break down the barriers they face and support them to access opportunities so they can start life well, live well and age well.

We believe an important measure of the difference we make is through residents' life expectancy and we will work to improve this through intervening earlier, as well as creating the conditions for more opportunities for communities to participate in Surrey, and ensuring that benefits of economic growth are felt more wide.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)

'No one left behind' is our guiding principle for everything we do and this underpins our commitments around EDI. We will be delivering a radical agenda for EDI to enable the council to become a more diverse and inclusive organisation bringing strength through difference.

For residents this means engaging with them in different ways to ensure all voices are heard, which will help us better understand the drivers of inequality so we can take more effective action. For staff this means creating an environment where people feel comfortable to bring their whole self to work and a place that values difference by embracing people's different perspectives to help tackle the challenges we face.

A greater focus on EDI will have a transformative effect for residents and staff. Our ambition is to remove barriers and level the playing field to make it easier for people to engage with the council and access the services they might need. This will require us to target our resources effectively to support the most disadvantaged, redesign services in a smarter way to ensure they are inclusive and accessible to all, and develop a workforce that is more empathetic to the diverse needs of residents.

To enhance the prominence of this agenda in our work and support us to achieve our ambitions, we have identified four equality objectives.

Our equality objectives

  • Tackle economic inequality and disparity through ensuring that everyone has the education and skills they need and that the infrastructure of the county is accessible, so that all residents are able to access the jobs, homes and transport needed to share in the benefits of growth
  • Work to close the county's healthy life expectancy gap by focusing our resources on children and adults who need our services most so they can be healthy, independent, and thrive
  • Work with communities, through our new local engagement model, to make it easier for all residents to participate in local democracy, service design and decision-making
  • Deliver a radical work programme to strengthen the diversity of our workforce and move to a culture that values difference, where all staff feel they belong and have opportunities to succeed

Our contribution to the community vision for Surrey in 2030

We will continue to deliver activities and services that contribute towards the ten outcomes set out in the 2030 Vision – with our emphasis being around four priority objectives and guiding principle of 'no one left behind'.

The impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt by our communities and this is likely to continue into the future. The activities outlined reflect not only our contribution to the 2030 Vision, but also how we will support the county in its recovery from the effects of the pandemic.

Children and young people are safe, and feel safe and confident

We have a key role in supporting children, young people and families to get the best outcomes in life. In Surrey, we believe that every child should have the opportunity to reach their potential and that children are best supported to grow and achieve within their own families. We recognise and value the different needs of children and families and the diversity within our communities.

By collaborating in a more joined up way across our different services, working together with our partners and through closer integration with health colleagues, we will develop flexible services that are responsive to children's and families' needs and provide the right level of help at the right time. Alongside health partners we will continue to commission services which can identify families requiring additional support. This will shift focus away from managing short-term crises, towards effective help and support for children, young people and their families at an earlier stage. The key to success is to make sure the voices of our children, young people and families are heard so they can shape how we work with them to get the best results.

We have taken some important steps to improve our practice and will continue our improvement as we work towards establishing outstanding services.

We will

  • Focus on offering help and meeting needs at the earliest opportunity, including embedding our helping family's early strategy, which will promote the wellbeing and welfare of children and young people and reduce the demand on high cost, high need interventions
  • Adapt to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, working together to support families in collaboration with health services and partner agencies to ensure we can support acute needs resulting from domestic abuse, family breakdown and the impacts on mental health.
  • Take the best from national initiatives and develop our safeguarding adolescents service to provide wrap-around support to young people to reduce the risk of significant harm and where possible to prevent them coming into care.
  • Prioritise our recruitment and retention efforts to ensure we have a stable and high performing workforce to deliver the best outcomes for children and families across Surrey, recognising the importance of good career development.
  • Continue to work in partnership to embed Effective Family Resilience in Surrey, strengthening protection and safeguarding, and using the full range of services to intervene as early as possible
  • Provide practical advice that builds resilience for children, young people, families and carers, which will enable them to make positive choices and resolve their own difficulties before accessing services
  • Improve the quality and diversity of foster care and its availability to ensure looked after children and young people are able to remain in Surrey and receive the support and stability they need
  • Ensure we have a diverse workforce, and that all practitioners have the capacity, skills and experience including 'Motivational Interviewing' to support and meet the diverse needs of children, young people and families using evidence-based interventions.
  • Develop a commissioning community, including closer integration with health and the voluntary sector that acknowledges the important role provider partners have in supporting our residents and driving better outcomes by ensuring the right services are available locally to meet the needs of our communities.
  • Work in partnership to focus on children's first 1000 days to ensure they have the best possible start to life, enabling them to develop, thrive and be happy

Everyone benefits from education, skills and employment opportunities that help them succeed in life

Surrey has a well-educated working age population – over half are qualified to degree level – and there is a good rate of employment. There are a wide range of high performing early years settings, schools and colleges. These good news stories can mask the experiences of some people in Surrey who have fewer opportunities, and are less likely to be employed, have good levels of skills or qualifications or doing well at school. The COVID-19 pandemic has adversely impacted employment for a significant number of residents. We are committed to supporting all residents to maximise their education and employment opportunities, so no one is left behind.

There is a strong correlation between educational attainment, life expectancy, and self-reported health. We will prioritise to work with our partners to ensure our most vulnerable children and young people have the opportunity to reach their potential and are supported to achieve.

We will

  • Work with schools and other educational settings to support all children and young people to achieve their full potential
  • Support improvement of outcomes for children and young people with additional needs and vulnerabilities including those with special educational needs and disabilities and those who are disadvantaged
  • Improve the support to prepare children and young people for adulthood with the skills and qualifications to progress to employment
  • Develop of a strategic skills framework which clearly articulates how the skills system can support inclusion objectives linked to the economic development and growth plans for Surrey.
  • Help people of all ages to return to employment by working with partners to offer opportunities to improve skills through volunteering, work experience or apprenticeship opportunities. This also includes improving access to careers and training information, mentoring opportunities, advice and guidance
  • Develop a targeted recruitment approach for apprenticeships for looked after children, care leavers and young people not in education, employment or training to include work experience and pre-apprenticeship style programmes to ensure they have the same opportunities as their peers
  • Promote and inspire science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) training and career opportunities to fill future gaps in key sectors of Surrey's economy
  • Promote our libraries, heritage, arts services and outdoor learning as places to learn and gain knowledge and skills for children, young people and adults

Everyone lives healthy, active and fulfilling lives and makes good choices about their wellbeing

Surrey has a generally healthy population, with life expectancy high in most parts of the county, but with significant disparities in life expectancy felt between wards. Helping residents to stay healthy and well is key to improving residents' quality of life and tackling inequality of life expectancy. The COVID-19 pandemic will require us to have a greater focus on this ambition and work collaboratively to support residents through the current challenges and the future impacts on health and mental wellbeing.

The Surrey Health & Wellbeing Strategy describes our collective ambition with partners to improve health outcomes in the county through an approach centred around prevention and creating a healthy and proactive environment where people feel able to take ownership of their health. Whilst all services will be essential in achieving this, we lead programmes and commission preventative services that are likely to be well recognised by residents, such as stopping smoking services, programmes to promote physical activity, responsible drinking and our sexual health and substance misuse treatment services. Through the use of local evidence, they aim to address the greatest needs in the population to support better physical and mental health outcomes.

We will

  • Work with partners to address the wider determinants of health such as education, housing, the built environment, air quality and healthy workplaces that impact on the physical and mental wellbeing outcomes of residents
  • Provide public health information to enable people to make decisions about their physical and mental wellbeing that are based on what is effective and what is available locally to support them
  • Improve the life chances of our residents with a key focus on the most vulnerable by supporting them to make healthier lifestyle choices, reduce loneliness and help them actively contribute to their communities
  • Work with residents and partners to develop shared projects that prevent poorer health and encourage lifelong, healthier lifestyle choices
  • Work in partnership to support the mental health and emotional wellbeing of those living and working in Surrey with a focus on enabling access to the right help and resources and reducing the level of social isolation people experience.
  • Work with partners to provide opportunities for people to improve their physical and mental wellbeing through creative and active programmes
  • Continue to review, understand and respond to the ongoing and lasting impact of COVID-19 on the physical and mental health of those living and working in Surrey to inform local service provision and how the needs of those most impacted. can be met effectively

Everyone gets the health and social care support and information they need at the right time and place

Surrey's population is growing rapidly, with more people living longer and consistently high birth rates. We have a responsibility to respond to the growing shared health and social care needs that come with these population changes, while taking into account increasing complexity in resident needs. We will accelerate the integration of health and social care to deliver services that secure the best possible outcomes. We will use a strengths-based approach to focus on what is most important to people, recognise their strengths and networks, help them to stay connected to their communities and feel safe.

We will

  • Build upon the strengths and resources people have in their family, friends and community to help themselves and each other
  • Work with our health and community partners to support people to live independently, prevent admission to hospital and help people to return home
  • Focus on short term help that promotes independence and then assess for the long term when people are at their best through being in a familiar environment
  • Work with partners to accelerate the integration of health and social care so residents are served by an efficient, effective system that improves their outcomes
  • Implement new service models in our learning disability, mental health and reablement services to support people to live independently
  • Make the best use of technology, work with communities to grow preventative services and look for innovative solutions to secure better outcomes for people
  • Ensure peoples' needs are met by skilled staff who offer a consistent and good quality service
  • Work with providers to ensure a range of flexible and financially sustainable care and support services are available in local communities to meet need

Communities are welcoming and supportive, especially of those most in need, and people feel able to contribute to community life

Our residents feel a strong sense of community in their local area, with people from different backgrounds enjoying and contributing to their communities together. We will deliver a fundamental shift in how we work in partnership, supporting, facilitating and empowering our communities to help themselves. We will focus our support on the most vulnerable people in communities, and those who do not have the means or resources to help themselves, to ensure no one is left behind. Together with partners and residents we all share a responsibility to maintain community spirit by fostering an inclusive and secure place for everyone living and working in Surrey.

We will

  • Build stronger and more effective relationships with our partners, including with the voluntary, community and faith sector, to better support local communities and the well-being of residents
  • Change the way we engage with communities, including better use of digital tools, to make it easier for everyone to have an active role in the decisions that will shape Surrey's future
  • Work with partners and residents to establish conditions in the county that better empower and enable communities to develop inclusive projects and initiatives that respond to local needs and issues, particularly for the most vulnerable to prevent problems from growing to crises
  • Explore new ways of working with communities to take a place-based approach to tackling persistent issues such as the inequality in physical and mental health outcomes in different parts of the county

Residents live in clean, safe and green communities where people and organisations embrace their environmental responsibilities

Residents say they value living in Surrey as it is clean, has a number of open, green spaces (including some Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty) and feels safe. They are clear that they want these aspects of Surrey to be preserved for future generations, pollution to be minimised and for Surrey to continue being a county with a low crime rate.

The safety of our residents is a critical part of their wellbeing. Whilst Surrey remains a relatively low crime county, too many people continue to be affected by crime and antisocial behaviour. Through the COVID-19 pandemic instances of domestic abuse have increased significantly and we will work collectively to tackle the causes and help residents to feel safe from harm.

We declared a climate emergency in July 2019 and have started to work towards Surrey becoming a carbon-neutral county. We will work with people and organisations in Surrey to help them fulfil their responsibilities for being mindful of their impact on their local environment.

We will

  • Work with partners to make Surrey a safer place to live, work, travel and do business. We will protect residents from harm both physically and financially through our prevention and protection work by effectively preparing for and responding to emergencies. We will do this by further enhancing road safety, tackling rogue traders, and other deceptive, unsafe, and illegal practices
  • Work with partners to tackle serious and organised crime, domestic abuse, modern slavery, human trafficking, radicalisation and terrorism
  • Work with partners and residents to continue minimising the amount of waste sent to landfill
  • Improve access to the countryside, conserve and protect its biodiversity and work towards making it financially sustainable, while encouraging residents to use green spaces, increase physical activity and improve their mental health and emotional well-being
  • Reduce our carbon footprint through rationalisation of our operational and non-operational estates, and supporting new, agile, ways of working across our workforce

Journeys across the county are easier, more predictable and safer

Surrey has some of the busiest transport infrastructure in the country. We are responsible for 3,300 miles of roads, which are well used with a rising trend of vehicles registered within the county, rising volumes of traffic and higher than average daily traffic flow. While 62% of residents commute by car, Surrey is served by a busy rail network, with main and branch lines connecting London to the South East and South West running through Surrey. The COVID-19 pandemic has seen travel patterns radically change as residents have been required to work from home or not been able to do the same leisure activities. As a result, we have an opportunity to capitalise on these changing transport patterns to support our longer-term ambitions to improve how residents make journeys in the county.

We have a role in maintaining Surrey's transport infrastructure to enable residents to travel as freely and easily as possible. This includes working within partnerships, such as Transport for the South East, to influence and support investments in greener transport infrastructure, such as electric vehicle charging and LED street lighting, as well as building reciprocal relationships with local people to help influence behaviour and help them make considered choices about the way they choose to travel.

We will

  • Encourage our workforce, partners and residents to use low-carbon and environmentally sympathetic means of transport across the county wherever possible
  • Maintain Surrey's highway network, and work with third party utility companies who work on Surrey's roads, to minimise their disruption to residents
  • Engage with key stakeholders to help people travel within the county quickly, easily, safely and efficiently
  • Collaborate with partners, including public transport providers, district and borough councils and the voluntary, community and faith sector, to help support those who are physically and financially unable to provide their own transport

Businesses in Surrey thrive

Surrey has a strong economy with highly skilled residents contributing significantly to the national economy. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on businesses in the county with a 14.3% reduction in GVA projected for Surrey. Through the restrictions imposed to slow the spread of the virus, some firms have been able to adapt and are innovating and thriving, but many other businesses have been forced to stop trading entirely.

The council has a key leadership role to ensure the local economy can adapt and benefit all. We will work closely with our partners and the business community as economic growth has a vital role in improving the health and wellbeing of residents and general living standards.

With partners, we will play our part in ensuring that businesses can operate safely, assist businesses to re-build and re-establish themselves or support businesses that have grown due to the pandemic.

We will

  • Co-ordinate and agree joint strategic priorities for economic growth in the interest of Surrey to ensure a clarity of purpose for all partners.
  • Ensure we are COVID-secure and Resilient – bringing together the council's services, regulatory and public health functions to provide effective and practical advice, guidance and support to businesses to help them operate in line with Government guidance
  • Design and deliver a new Surrey Trade and Investment Programme with including activity to support business retention, investment and growth within Surrey
  • Develop a strong inward investment proposition and support package which promotes Surrey as a place to invest
  • Implement measures that can help high streets to adapt as hyper-local centres that can provide a high quality of life, education opportunities, and leisure activities for residents
  • Continue to work with Local Enterprise Partnerships, districts and boroughs, universities, businesses and other partners to promote economic growth. In particular, drive towards achieving the strategic principles of Surrey's 2050 Place Ambition and making the case for additional investment in the county
  • Embed a low carbon focus across our economic interventions. For example, taking a sectoral focus on how we will support Surrey's business base in the green economy sector
  • Encourage businesses to use their resources to create social value in the communities where they are based.

Everyone has a place they can call home, with appropriate housing for all

Surrey is a growing county and people value the opportunity to live here. Everyone deserves to have a place to call home and residents are clear that the county needs more affordable and social housing, while maintaining its green spaces and natural assets. Alongside partners we have a role in the provision of housing for vulnerable residents, such as supported accommodation.

By working with partners, our role is to help facilitate the county's housing needs – which means enabling housing growth, developing the infrastructure to support this and maintaining spaces that residents cherish.

We will

  • Work with Surrey's one public estate team and other partners to deliver new affordable and social housing for residents, contributing to Surrey's growing communities
  • Work with industry leaders and partners to ensure communities have the available opportunities to contribute and benefit from the changes that economic growth brings

Well connected communities with effective infrastructure, that grow sustainably

Surrey has an array of different communities, some of which are more connected – physically and digitally – and possess more available infrastructure than others. As our economy grows, we have a responsibility to develop Surrey's communities, ensuring they all experience modern connectivity and accessible infrastructure that supports them. This includes 5G connectivity, schools, transport, retail and health services. This will ensure communities can continue to prosper and have the support to enable them to develop. Where communities are being regenerated, we will work with everybody in the area to create opportunities for people to both contribute and benefit from the changes in a way that makes the growth sustainable. At the same time, we will work to preserve the distinctiveness of individual communities.

We will

  • Work with industry leaders and partners to transition to a 'green economy' for Surrey and to ensure communities have the available opportunities to contribute and benefit from the changes that growth brings
  • Ensure better digital connectivity and facilitate accessible infrastructure across rural areas
  • Improve resilience of critical transport infrastructure against current and future threats. Plan future infrastructure to be adaptable and protect against potential impacts associated with climate change aligned to economic ambitions
  • Work more effectively with partners to develop existing infrastructure such as community facilities, libraries, schools, retail, transport, health services and other public sector services
  • Work with developers, partners and funding bodies to improve and grow Surrey's transport and digital infrastructure so that it meets the needs of growing communities

How we will transform as a council

Transforming our organisation and its culture is key to delivering our contribution to the 2030 Vision. We have made significant progress towards achieving the ambitions of our transformation programme, which is designed to fundamentally reform the function, form and focus of the council. Transforming the organisation will enable us to add more value, make greater impact and improve services so they deliver the best possible long-term outcomes for residents while balancing our budget and better managing demand.

This programme has established the foundations for change including stronger leadership, governance, project discipline, assurance and change management, and has enabled us to accelerate our ambitions.

We are continuing to purposefully redesign the council and how things are done so there is the capacity and capability to succeed now and in the future.

Our focus areas are...

Customer experience

Every time a customer interacts with us, it shapes their experience. We want to improve this experience by creating a different type of relationship; one where customers feel empowered and engaged. By being more efficient, proactive and connected in our approach, we will reduce costs and focus on making sure the most vulnerable people in our communities receive the support they need.

Customers currently transact, interact and get information from us in different ways. We will improve their experience by streamlining our internal processes and expanding our single point of access arrangements to make contacting the council simpler and to reduce duplication and hand-offs. This will help us get things right first time more often, provide more consistency and help shape demand for our services by providing advice and information at an early stage.

We will also continue to make better use of digital technology to improve online self-serve options, as well as explore opportunities to deliver services differently. By working with others to enable those people that can to be self-sufficient and access our services online at times and places that suit them, we will free up capacity to support those who need us the most.

We will actively engage with our customers and use data to better understand and predict their current and future needs, so we can be proactive and deliver our services in a way that puts our customers first and enhances their experience of dealing with us.

Stronger partnerships

We cannot deliver the 2030 Vision on our own. We need to work effectively in partnership with residents, businesses, partners and communities to develop a shared view of the issues we face, and solutions we can deliver together. We will revisit the principles outlined in the partnership commitment developed with partners in 2018 to ensure it is being used to guide our partnership activity. We will embed a partnership mindset across the council, involving residents and our partners earlier in decisions, finding new ways to work collaboratively together. We will also build on the unique opportunity we have through our democratic mandate to be the voice of Surrey and drive place based leadership – bringing partners together to collectively solve the challenges we face and grasping the opportunities for our people and places that will enable us to deliver on our shared vision.

The significant value of partnerships in Surrey has most recently been demonstrated throughout the COVID-19 crisis with communities coming together to support each other in many remarkable ways, alongside local government, the voluntary, community and faith sector, and other partner organisations. We want to build on the learning from these new ways of working and overcome organisational barriers to enter a new era of partnership working in Surrey, with communities at the centre.

Transformation and reform

Since 2018 our transformation programme has delivered significant service improvements and £86m of efficiencies to stabilise the council's finances. Although we had to adjust our planned programmes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were still able to achieve further efficiencies and improvements.

This has included enhancing customer experience by creating new, easier ways to contact the council, changing the way we work by enabling staff to work flexibly and remotely, modernising the response model of our fire service, and improving our offers to those who use children's and adult social care services.

Key to the successful delivery of these programmes has been working closely with residents and partners. We have actively sought their views in areas including climate change, libraries and countryside management. This approach to co-design has enabled the provision of services that aim to meet both the needs and expectations of residents.

Transformation is an ongoing process and we are regularly reviewing and refreshing the work that we do, prioritising activities that deliver efficiencies, support our strategic objectives, and deliver the outcomes that residents want.

We will work with our partners to further broaden our approach to transformation supporting wider public service reform, that ensures public services are working together for the benefit of residents. This will build on the advanced partnership already in place between health and local government to deliver the Surrey Heartlands devolution deal and explore further opportunities for devolution and reform.

Financial management

Our objective is to be a financially sustainable council with a strong culture of financial management, accountability and evidence-based decision-making across the organisation. We will spend our money in the most efficient and effective ways, so we can have the greatest impact on improving people's quality of life and ensure we provide the best value for money to our residents.

Over recent years the council has continued to achieve significant savings, moving away from the planned use of reserves to balance the budget. In 2020/21 we increased our general fund reserve and provided further resilience through a significantly increased contingency. The impact of COVID-19 in the latter part of 2019/20 and into 2020/21 has tested our financial resilience. We could not have weathered the pandemic without the significant financial improvements we have undertaken over the last 2 years.

Looking forward, significant changes are proposed to the way in which local government will be funded which presents risks and uncertainties over the medium-term. We are also likely to see more of a whole system approach to funding, such as the approach taken to integrated care systems with the NHS. We are well placed to proactively react as a result of the dedication by the organisation to address financial challenges however, we must continue to do all that we can continue to ensure we are resilient over the coming years.

We have undertaken a significant amount of work to ensure that budget managers have greater financial awareness, accountability and confidence to better understand the financial implications of their decisions. We will continue to support our managers to build their knowledge and financial management capabilities. We have firmly embedded a business partnering approach to support, advise and guide the business on all financial matters.

Agile, diverse and motivated workforce

Our people are crucial to the successful delivery of our residents' priorities.

We will ensure everyone has a thorough understanding of our role and ambitions for our communities and will be driven by a strong collective purpose. We are already carrying out ground-breaking work with health and other partners and will continue focusing on working together, building and strengthening relationships between residents, communities and partner organisations and developing a shared sense of responsibility in delivering great outcomes.

Our People Workforce Strategy sets out how we will develop the capacity and capability of our workforce to enable us to achieve our priorities. We will transform and modernise our ways of working and be more agile to meet our future challenges. We will use the findings from 'Our Conversation' (an organisation wide engagement activity for staff to share their experiences of remote working through the COVID-19 pandemic) to move towards an inclusive agile working culture. We will have a highly productive and motivated workforce which is outcomes focussed and high performing as well as collaborative, flexible and mobile.

We want to be an organisation recognised for putting equality, diversity and inclusivity at the heart of everything we do and where every single member of staff has the opportunity to reach their full potential, recognising the most talented and diverse workforce brings strength through difference. This extends to diversity of thinking; we know it is the difference in experience, background and perspectives people bring that are crucial to innovation, for the benefit of our residents.

We will develop our leaders to inspire, motivate and enthuse people and will identify the skills needed to deliver the best for our residents and provide clear career progression routes, enabling us to develop a pipeline of future leaders. We will be recognised as a truly great place to work; an organisation that attracts and retains the very best people.

Our culture

Our organisational culture directly affects our performance and ability to deliver the best possible outcomes and value for residents.

As the council's role and impact changes, how we think and behave as an organisation also needs to adapt and develop. We are shifting our culture towards one that is agile, outward-looking, collaborative, open and focused. We want to develop a culture of inclusion, nurturing talent, promoting diversity and creating connected employee communities.

We will develop new patterns of thinking and working that reflect the modern society in which we operate and enable the organisation to effectively adapt, change and perform sustainably, in line with the 2030 Vision.

Digital and data

Innovations in digital technology and the use of data are reshaping our society, economy, culture and lifestyles. Digital innovation is central to the continued transformation of how our organisation operates, interacts with residents and partners, and delivers enhanced outcomes for the people and place of Surrey.

The Digital Strategy sets out the council's digital ambition. We will adopt a digital approach in order to achieve the vision to be 'Living' as a Digital Council by 2025. This approach includes using digital technologies, data and insights that inform designs and decision making and redesigned business models that address key challenges. In order to successfully deliver transformed services our staff will need the ability to work almost anywhere, whenever, wherever, to collaborate and contribute without constraints. We will support culture change within services, provision of equipment for smarter working, maximising use of the property portfolio and reducing unproductive time for staff.

Data is a vital asset that can help us to transform the way we design, deliver and transform our services to improve outcomes for residents, drive efficiencies, and achieve greater collaboration. Through our adoption of digital technologies, we will generate a greater volume and variety of new data and at much greater speeds. This has the potential to unlock new insights and enable better and faster decision making. Being more data-driven will further develop our understanding of the people and places in Surrey, where needs are located and how we are collectively responding to those needs.

We will improve the way we use our data and our analytical capabilities to better manage our performance and develop greater intelligence about demand and the needs of the residents, communities and places. With partners, we will use data to help predict future demand for services and design and deliver preventative solutions.

Measuring success

Success is determined by the collective ability of public sector organisations, the voluntary, community and faith sector, businesses and residents to achieve the outcomes set out in the 2030 Vision. Each individual organisation has a responsibility to contribute towards achieving the outcomes, but success will be a result of our combined efforts. Knowing if we are making the progress we all want to see will rely upon transparent and accountable performance monitoring.

Beyond measuring Key Performance Indicators, we must embed a performance culture across the organisation, so that every individual in the council can link their daily work back to the deliverables set out in this strategy and the 2030 Vision for Surrey.

We will publish success measures annually which clearly track our performance and delivery towards the 2030 Vision outcomes. We will develop an outcomes-based performance framework with indicators that will track and monitor our progress. Scrutiny will be an important part of the process to ensure we remain on track. This will be internal through the council's scrutiny processes but also through the inclusion of partners and residents in our performance monitoring process to ensure a comprehensive evaluation of progress.