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Helping make west Cheshire a better place to live

By Morgan, Strategy and Innovation Manager

I’m not sure how much my job title helps explain what I do, but I’m a Strategy and Innovation Manager here at the Council. That means I’ve got a role in developing corporate strategy, in particular our Borough Plan, and the golden thread that runs from that Plan through other key strategies, business plans and our corporate performance management.

It's a really interesting and enjoyable role because it gives you an overarching view of the Council, the borough and the opportunities and challenges that we face. It’s also varied, with a focus that changes as the political, economic and statutory context does. I tend to get involved in new projects and new ideas, as well as having a bit of a licence to get out and about to see what other authorities and organisation are doing so that we can steal any good ideas.

Early in my career I worked as a housing officer on a central London housing estate. I really enjoyed meeting (most of) the residents and the tangible difference that you could occasionally make in people’s lives. But I also felt constrained by the policies and procedures that set out what you could and couldn’t do. It’s an over-simplification, but I think I’ve moved into strategy and policy to try to have a greater positive influence. You also have to take people to court less frequently in a policy role than you do in housing.

I enjoy the variety of my role, and a current project is the development of a new borough plan for west Cheshire. This will be the next four-year strategic plan, not just for the Council but also for local communities and organisations. We are engaging early on this, asking people to ‘Join the conversation’ and tell us about the strengths, opportunities and challenges that they face in their communities, so that we can draft a plan which we can consult on. It’s a great project because it is about people and what matters to them - it’s enabled me to get out to join discussion groups with local people. It’s also great for the way it brings together people and specialisms from across the Council.

We’re fortunate to have a specialist research and consultation team who have a really rigorous approach to engagement. We’re linking in with the comms team and our graphic designers to create something that people will notice, and with our communities team so that we link in with the conversations and events already happening in the borough. With my strategy head, we’re also beginning the development of a Local Transport Plan and a Local Plan and the opportunity to better link and integrate all these plans is a huge opportunity.

You spend a lot of your life in work and very early on in my career I decided I wanted to work towards something worthwhile, so have mainly worked in the voluntary and public sectors. I’ve lived in Chester for 22 years, brought up three kids here and made a lot of friends locally. I’m really lucky to have found a role in Cheshire West and Chester which is interesting and varied, but fundamentally I see my job as being to help make the place where I live a better place to live. How can you not get passionate about that?

You can click here to give your views on Join the Conversation to help share ideas that will be used to form the borough plan.

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