CABINET CALL: By Coun Malcolm Chandler
It hardly seems possible that we’re approaching Christmas and the end of 2015. Reflecting back on the year, there’s been a great deal of challenge and achievement.
We had the local elections in May, with new councillors joining those re-elected.
In terms of public protection, which is one of my responsibilities, we saw a growth in organised crime in a minority of our retail outlets, but we countered this with successful joint actions with Trading Standards, Police and HMRC to remove those trading on the proceeds of crime from our streets.
Other highlights include the ongoing improvement of food hygiene ratings in businesses/restaurants, the introduction of safeguarding training for our licensed taxi and private hire vehicle drivers, our ‘Stamp it Out’ campaign to crackdown on illegal alcohol sales and the voluntary smoke free code for nurseries, schools and play areas.
We’ve worked hard to improve the safety and wellbeing of our district and will continue to do so.
As you’ll be aware, councils are facing tough challenges due to reduced public funding.
We’re working to become more efficient and our Transformation Programme to develop new digital solutions is under way.
This will enable people to engage with us and ‘do it on line’ and ‘book and pay’ but we will also continue our face to face services.
Moving forward, we are considering the Government’s Devolution programme along with other authorities.
This centres on central government passing down powers to local councils. It represents a huge opportunity for us to deal with important issues and make decisions which best serve the community and stimulate growth.
Funding for these devolved powers will drive growth across the district, especially around infrastructure, skills, health care and housing.
Leaders and chief executives of the ten Lincolnshire councils are currently considering how the devolvement of central control can improve our communities.
Several devolution deals have been agreed across the country and over the coming months we’ll be seeking the best solutions for South Holland residents.
We’ve had a full and productive year which puts the council in a good position to move into 2016 ready to meet the challenges ahead with confidence.
I wish everyone a very Happy and peaceful Christmas and every good wish for health, prosperity and happiness throughout 2016.