It is an enormous privilege to be elected Deputy Leader of the Royal Borough. Although we had a brilliant result in the local elections. Nothing must be taken for granted. With power comes responsibility to get things right in the interests of the community we serve. In the age of social media, problems and criticism emerge quickly, not always accurate but they demand a more urgent response. Sometimes seen as uncaring, more often seen as unwilling to listen and taking everyone for granted. So far from the truth.
Each day is a learning process for me in my new role. The majority Group under the leadership of Denise Hyland is determined to make the difference to improve the lives of those living in the most difficult circumstances. Bringing economic prosperity, employment and housing remain key priorities. Achieving these objectives are difficult but important. In the coming months, major decisions will need to be taken. How we create the climate to achieve our manifesto commitments requires difficult and sensitive negotiations with those who do not always have a sense of civic commitment.
It is extremely important that we involve and engage our residents in the decision making process. I welcome the critical comments made in the blogs that exist and are emerging. However inaccurate they are, the responses always warrant consideration. The myth about the Council reserves is a case in point. All of the financial transactions are in the public domain but are constantly misquoted. No surprise that those who are hostile will attempt to gain an advantage having failed at the elections. Increasing our majority suggests we are getting something right.
In the months ahead every waking hour will be about sustaining our services, despite the swingeing budget pressures placed upon the Council by this Government. As the attack continues on the most vulnerable our challenge will be to find creative ways to protect those vital services valued by the community.
Spending more time in the community and discussing issues is something I am keen to develop in the coming months. Town Hall meetings for residents need to be developed. I welcome any thoughts of suggestions you have are welcome. Write to me firstname.lastname@example.org or. Happy to arrange meetings as necessary and of course, all local Councillors have regular surgeries, details for which can be found on the Council website.