Achievements for 2015 and looking ahead to 2016

As we move into 2016, it is a good time to reflect on both the achievements and highlights of the last year and some of the challenges we will face in the year ahead.

Last year, together with our partners, the county council continued to work hard to deliver what is best for the people who live and work in Staffordshire. That is better jobs, better health, better care and better lives.

On the economic front we have seen major projects supporting new jobs and growth take shape right across the county, notably the continued success story of i54 South Staffordshire, Liberty Park in Lichfield, IC5 at Keele and the Redhill Business Park in Stafford.  It is also fantastic to have ended the year with news that the number of people claiming Job Seekers’ Allowance in Staffordshire is at its lowest since records began more than 20 years ago.

While our role in education is changing, we still have a role to play in helping ensure students make the best choices for them with the best opportunities to access the education and skills they need to get even better jobs, matching the requirements of our businesses in Staffordshire.

Further highlights for me in 2015 included the huge success story of our first Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire, the opening of our new high-tech library in Stafford and the continuing rollout of superfast broadband to a further 40,000 properties. We also welcomed a new Chief Executive in John Henderson who is helping shape and oversee the delivery of our priorities.

But the dominating theme of 2015 and one that will continue has undoubtedly been health and social care and how the public sector can all work better together to help people be well, keep well and where necessary hopefully get well as quickly as possible.

We need to do more to support people to help themselves, their families and their communities by giving people the good choices to be active, healthy and stay independent for as long as possible. Local people helping local friends, colleagues and neighbours, putting a little more back into their local community.

In 2016 we will continue to champion the cause of Staffordshire and ensure that peoples voices are heard loud and clear on major infrastructure projects such as HS2.  We will also continue to explore with partners how wider devolution could work for Staffordshire around our key priorities.

As we continue through 2016, Our focus must not be on the problem, but on the solutions, and working even more closely with our partners will lead us to better outcomes for you, our residents who we all serve.

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