Three days in

Well here I am again – 3 days into new role and the second edition of the blog.

Since Monday the weather has been absolutely beautiful – maybe that ‘barbecue summer’ we were promised last year? It has certainly given everyone I have talked to a real spring in their step.

Just attended my first meeting of Cabinet today – its one of those occasions where you have to be on best behaviour as the meetings are now webcast on a live basis and held for posterity. Despite having a bit of a cold I fortunately managed not to sneeze at an inopportune moment! Actually it was a great meeting with some really important things being debated and decided, including the schools admission policy, the council’s continuing approach to helping our communities through the recession, the Children and Young People Strategic Plan that sets the framework for improving outcomes for our younger residents and the latest budget position.

All these are hugely important issues, but I wanted to single out two more from Cabinet that really do sit at the heart of an effective, customer focused Council that works well in partnership for the good of Staffordshire.

The first of these is a proposal to consult with key stakeholders about turning Blake Valley Technology College in Cannock Chase into an academy, supported by Staffordshire University and South Staffordshire FE College. This is part of a wider initiative about regenerating the local community in Blake that has been affected badly by social and economic issues over the years. The initiative is bringing together the County and District Councils with other partners, including the PCT, Police, College and University to deliver tangible differences and improvements to the community. This partnership approach to a local area is the first of its kind for Staffordshire and gives a great and exciting opportunity to help the community.

The other issue was the approval of the Corporate Property Strategy. It may sound pretty boring but it really is fundamental to the way we work and the way our customers access us and our partners. Bringing together services under one roof – as we plan to do with Tipping Street in Stafford – is a far better way of providing both a more efficient way of working and avoiding customers having to traipse through a load of different buildings if they have more than one query to resolve.

Finally good news for the Bell household – we have finally exchanged contracts on our house. We need to be out by 14th May, so now comes the househunting bit. I know what I will be doing this weekend…

Bye for now Nick

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