Archive for December, 2010

New faces

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

I’m glad to say we are helping break the glass ceiling at the county council. We have announced the appointment of two new directors in the last few days. Both have been appointed because they were absolutely the best candidates and both are women.

Dr Catherine Raines will take on the newly created role of Deputy Chief Executive – Place, while Jacqui McKinlay is the new Director of Communications and Customer Services.

 Dr Raines will lead on the ‘place’ agenda for the authority with responsibility for all elements of Staffordshire’s environment, infrastructure, culture and economic development.

Jacqui’s new role is a first for the county council putting customer service and communications at the top table – it reflects the importance of customers as well as putting Staffordshire on the map. Jacqui has been with the county council since 2002, having first joined as Head of Communications, so we are already on first-name terms.

Both appointments form part of our overall restructure. We are changing the way the county council operates to reflect our new priority on achieving better outcomes for local people, and our overall expenditure on senior management will fall as a result.

At last, Government decides we are competent!!

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Yesterday’s local government settlement seemingly contained nothing we have not thoroughly prepared for.

I say “seemingly” because the devil is always in the detail, and there is a lot of detail lying behind the headline figures and it takes time to thoroughly review.

We’re already achieving significant savings and have a sound financial base – this is reflected in our recent decision to impose a zero per cent council tax rise for 2011/12.

We will continue to listen to residents so we know what their priorities are, improve the county’s economic prosperity and ensure we’re there for the most vulnerable people.

The publication of the new Localism Bill was also welcome.

The highlight is the introduction a General Power of Competence that could free local government and local people of a considerable amount of bureaucracy. It will help local councilors work more closely with the people they represent on local issues, without Whitehall sitting on their shoulder.