Archive for October, 2014

The Medium Term Financial Strategy

Monday, October 27th, 2014

My second week in my new office has been much more down to earth than last week.  The big topic for discussion this has been our budget and Medium Term Financial Strategy (the ‘MTFS’).

We had the first of a number of Cabinet and SLT away days to talk about our plans for next year and beyond, and, as usual at this time in the budget process, we find our spending plans to be considerably in excess of the resources available!  It gets tougher every year, but the gap is similar in scale to those we’ve faced at this point in previous budget rounds, and with further work I’m confident we’ll find ways of meeting the shortfall.

What we will do is avoid short term fixes or salami slicing, and approach this as a medium term (5 year) problem.  We know we will face further pressures next year, and the year after, and so on, so we need to plan for the fact that we will have less money in the future by coming up with plans to reshape, remodel and reinvent how we do things.  If we stay true to this principle we will still have the capacity and capability to make a difference, ensure Staffordshire remains a dynamic ,vibrant and successful county, and improve the lives of those who need us.

The other thing I want to mention this week is that our Chief Information Officer, Sander Kristel, has won the 2014 SOCITM Digital Engagement Award for his work developing the council’s ability to adapt to the changing world of digital.  This is a tremendous achievement for Sander, his team, and all those within the county council who are driving Staffordshire and the county council into the digital age. Well done, Sander and colleagues!

First blog post from the ‘hot-seat’

Monday, October 20th, 2014

So this is my first blog post as Chief Executive and I’ll be blogging regularly to keep you up to date with my thoughts, findings and experiences.

Cabinet met on Wednesday, and I thought you’d like to know that they agreed the relocation of Stafford Library to Staffordshire Place.  This is a great opportunity for us to create the modern, accessible, fit for the future library that the county town deserves.  This also allows us the opportunity to work with Wolverhampton University to do something exciting with the Shire Hall to further enhance the town centre.

On Wednesday I also had the great privilege to be involved in picking the staff Connect Awards winners.  I was, as ever, amazed by the range of things that the County Council is involved with, but, more importantly, I was delighted, inspired and humbled by the stories of the work that our officers do, day in and day out, to make Staffordshire a better place.  It made me very proud to have the opportunity to lead this organisation and I am now looking forward to the awards ceremony at Staffordshire University on the 20th November when I will have the opportunity to thank some of those who have been nominated in person.

I attended the signing of our Growth Deal with Government on Thursday.  This will bring in over £80million of Government money to Staffordshire and Stoke and help create a further 5,000 new jobs.  This will help to cement Staffordshire’s economic renaissance as one of the fastest growing regions in Europe.  This is the result of some great work by Darryl Eyers, Peter Davenport, and many more officers across the County Council, and I would like to thank them for all their efforts to make this happen.  Now on to Growth Deal 2!

Finally, if anyone is in to social media they may wish to follow me on twitter at @owlrabbitcross where I will try and provide a little bit of commentary on what is happening in my world.  And for those wondering, the name isn’t as daft as it sounds but it would take too long to explain!