Working together as One City

Working together as One City has delivered far more than the council ever could have alone. By bringing together public, private, voluntary, and third sector organisations around shared goals, we are accelerating work to make Bristol a fairer, healthier, and more sustainable place: a city of hope and aspiration, where nobody is left behind. The pandemic highlighted the importance of collaborative working with our NHS, businesses, and other organisations.

Late in 2021, we decided to take a closer look at our One City Thematic Boards to see if we could improve how they operate. After a process involving workshops with our Board members, and taking feedback on our opportunities and challenges, we started an Expression of Interest process for new (or existing) members on 24 January. We’re pleased to announce that the refreshed membership of the Boards has now been finalised, with our new members are now listed on the One City website

Our City Office received over 120 Expressions of Interest from new and existing partners from across Bristol, to join one of four Boards: Homes and Communities, Children and Young People, Transport and Economy and Skills. The Environment Board also took this opportunity to recruit two new members to fill a recent vacancy. 

Why did we decide to refresh our Boards?

Many of the Thematic Boards launched in late 2019, meaning that they had met only once or twice before the pandemic started. Initially designed to be spaces to work together and implement responses to the One City Goals, during the pandemic they became important spaces for our Public Health team to relay key updates, and for our partners to share best practice. This space was invaluable. 

What did we and our partners achieve?

Throughout 2021, the Health and Wellbeing Board have been focusing on reducing social isolation, their work attracting funding for a City Lab project working with communities to highlight what citizens need to improve mental health. In October, the Children and Young People’s Board launched the Belonging Strategy (owned by Children’s Services) that set out a collective vision to ensure the voices of Bristol’s children and young people are heard in the city.

The Environment board lead the rollout of a citywide communications campaign in the build-up to COP26 about #BristolClimateAction and #NatureRecovery. Board members also led the delivery of a world-leading Bristol and Avon catchment market to deliver nature recovery and carbon reduction, meeting another of the Environment priorities for 2021. Members of the Homes and Communities Board were active in supporting the challenge definition phase of the UN Habitat ‘Climate Smart Cities Challenge’ along with representatives from other One City boards and forums, including the Bristol Advisory Committee on Climate Change and the Environment board. It’s still been a productive time.  

We’re excited about this new phase, but it would be remiss of me not to highlight the importance of the work contributed by all our Board members so far, as we wouldn’t have got to this stage without you – thank you. And, to our new members: we look forward to working with you, in partnership, to continue improving the lives of our citizens over the coming years.