Standing down as Leader

This is a blog post I knew I would have to write one day and that day has come.

After 11 years as Leader of the county council, I have taken the difficult decision to stand down and hand over the reins.

Regular readers of my blog will remember I was first elected to the county council back in 1987 where I represented Uttoxeter Rural division. 33 years on and I’m still there and more so, our great county is unrecognisable.

Both Staffordshire and the council have changed enormously in the three decades and for me, there have been many highlights. The innovation of extra care homes has led to a different and much better way of caring for our elderly, and, through the dedication and hard work of both Members and staff, we’ve taken Children’s Services from an Inadequate Ofsted rating when I became Leader to close to Outstanding today which means children are safer.

Landmark developments such as i54 South Staffordshire, Keele Innovation Centre 5 and 6, Branston Locks, Stafford Western Access Road, Redhill, Lichfield Southern Bypass and more are all projects I am very proud of.  These have all helped put Staffordshire on the map while creating more better quality jobs for people.

The discovery of the Staffordshire Hoard in 2009 is also something I won’t forget about in a hurry. I still remember how exciting it was, not just for everyone at the county council but for everyone in Staffordshire and even across the globe.

It’s not every day you find the largest hoard of Anglo Saxon gold in the world. It certainly put Staffordshire on the world map as has the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, when Staffordshire even got a mention at Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding as Patrons of the NMA in Staffordshire, one of our four National Centres, National Football, National Forest and National Brewing Centres.

There’s many more highlights, too many to mention, but you’ll find details throughout my blog.

I really have had the privilege of working with so many brilliant people all helping to improve the lives of the people who live and work in our great county. 

Also serving as Deputy Leader of East Staffordshire Borough Council, vice chairman of the County Councils Network, Chairman of West Midlands Councils and been a member of Midlands Engine and Midlands Connect as well as serving as both school and college governors have all kept me busy.

And, in The Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2016, I was incredibly touched to have been awarded an OBE for services to local government.

As I stand down as leader, the County Council is in a strong position, and financially stable, and I have every confidence that we will bounce back from the Coronavirus pandemic which we have been battling over the last four months.

I still have work to do and hope to remain a  county councillor for Uttoxeter Rural so will stand at the next election. I offer the new leader and cabinet my continuing support in the months ahead.

I hope people are able to fulfil their dreams.

Please continue to be proud of our great county.

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