Sandwell is a metropolitan borough in the Black Country made up of six towns: Oldbury, Rowley Regis, Smethwick, Tipton, Wednesbury and West Bromwich. Located in the West Midlands and bordering Birmingham, Dudley, Walsall and Wolverhampton, Sandwell is divided into 24 wards and is represented by 72 ward councillors.
With 327,378 residents, Sandwell has the third largest population in the West Midlands Combined Authority area and is the 34th biggest local authority in Great Britain. It is predicted to grow faster than the West Midlands and the national average.
We have a young and diverse population with more than 40% of residents under the age of 30, compared to around 30% across the UK. Almost 40% of residents are from an ethnic minority, making us more diverse than the regional and UK average of 18.8% and 14% respectively.
Sandwell is made up of six historic boroughs covering a patchwork of towns and townships, urban villages and localities that developed with industrialisation. People very much identify with their local community. Sandwell is characterised by widespread deprivation with pockets of prosperity, for instance in Wednesbury and Smethwick. It is the 12th most deprived English local authority out of a total of 317.
Sandwell has many growing and productive businesses and a higher than average proportion of our businesses are small. Sandwell has 136,000 jobs and 8,775 businesses. We are incredibly proud of being the supply chain centre of the UK, but this great strength also potentially exposes us to risks in particular sectors. Our businesses need a better skilled workforce to grow and they need support to accelerate innovation. We also have a limited amount of quality land for businesses to expand and grow in the borough’s industrial core.
Although Sandwell has many challenges, it also has a significant number of opportunities that we aim to build on over the next five years. This includes the new Midland Metropolitan University Hospital, the new Sandwell Aquatics Centre which will host the swimming and diving events for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, the extension to the Midland Metro line, HS2, many planned new homes, being part of the 5G testbed and bidding for major funding for three of our towns through the Stronger Towns Fund. This plan and our Inclusive Economy Deal will be focusing on the challenges for people, place and business and the opportunities we must make a difference.
SANDWELL VISION 2030
Developed through extensive engagement with partners and communities across Sandwell, we have a clear vision for what the borough should look and feel like by 2030:
In 2030, Sandwell is a thriving, optimistic and resilient community. It’s where we call home and where we’re proud to belong - where we choose to bring up our families, where we feel safe and cared for, enjoying good health, rewarding work, feeling connected and valued in our neighbourhoods and communities, confident in the future, and benefiting fully from a revitalised West Midlands.
Our engagement with local people and partners in developing Vision 2030 has been invaluable in helping us shape this five-year business plan – Big Plans for a Great Place. The plan is not intended to provide an exhaustive list of everything we do as a council but sets out those outcomes that are strategically important for delivering Vision 2030.
Big plans for a Great Place sets out six strategic outcomes. This is supported by our vision for One Council: One Team to create a modern efficient council to deliver this exciting agenda. This plan will provide the framework for delivery plans.
• The best start in life for children and young people
• People live well and age well
• Strong, resilient communities
• Quality homes in thriving neighbourhoods
• A strong and Inclusive Economy
• A connected and accessible Sandwell
Realising our vision in Big Plans for a Great Place is a huge undertaking and will mean breaking the cycle of poverty, improving support and outcomes in a child’s early years, increasing skills and education attainment, reducing health inequalities, creating an environment for more inclusive economic growth and ensuring all residents are able of benefiting from new opportunities.
ONE COUNCIL: ONE TEAM
To deliver this ambitious plan we will create a modern, outstanding council, one where our organisational structure, business systems, process and people and cultural working practices are fully aligned to deliver our strategic outcomes. We will build a One Council: One Team ethos, breaking down departmental barriers and building collaborative team working.
At the centre of everything we do are the services we provide on a day-to-day basis, the services that make life better for people in our communities. We want to make sure that Sandwell people get a good quality, consistent level of service, however they choose to contact the council. Central to this is the development of our digital services. We already have more than 100,000 people signed up to using the MySandwell portal and this year we will be rolling out a range of other services. A key part of this will be supporting those people who want help in improving their digital skills. Where people do need support to access services, then we will ensure that adequate support is in place, so that there are no inequalities in people accessing services.
GREAT PLACE TO WORK
One of our many strengths as an organisation is our staff and their commitment to give Sandwell people the very best. We already have the Investors in People silver award, but we are committed to ensuring that we have the right type of environment and culture to enable creativity and collaboration to flourish. A skilled, diverse, motivated and healthy workforce is key to this success.