New Swindon Borough Council leader Cllr Jim Robbins reflects on his first weeks in office in his Swindon Link column
It has been positive to have received such a warm welcome from so many people, and it is staggering to see just how much positive and exciting work is going on in the town that we will be supporting as a council.
As councillors, we have been really busy trying to put our key pledges into action, and I’m looking forward to being able to start to make some really positive announcements over the next few weeks.
It hasn’t all been plain sailing, and we have certainly inherited some challenging issues from the last administration and there are tough decisions and tricky situations to manage.
We will be having an inspection of our Children’s Services department and it is clear from our pre-inspection work that the department isn’t currently running as we would expect, and we immediately put in place an action plan to improve it.
We are certainly committed to delivering the very best service for our youxng people and we are determined to ensure that we improve the service and ensure the very best outcomes for Swindon’s children.
As residents will know, the financial position for local authorities is very concerning and we will need to make in-year cuts to deliver the budget set for this year.
Next year’s budget will also be very tight, and we are expecting to have to make even more significant cuts to the budget as the national Conservative Government continues to slash away at council’s grants.
Despite this lack of support from the Government, we are positive about the future and believe that we can change the direction of the council to deliver better and more responsive services in line with the priorities of the people of Swindon, but it may take us longer to achieve things due to lack of money to invest in the town.
We are committed to placing our three missions - to reduce inequality, to build a better Swindon and to reach our Net-Zero targets - right at the heart of the council and we will be bringing forward constitutional changes at the July council meeting to deliver three new policy committees to really drive forward on this agenda.
I’m really excited that it will make it easier for the public and all councillors to feed into the council’s decision-making process and help us set the strategy for the town.
I hope that all of the town’s political parties will buy into the changes and help us deliver a Swindon that works for all and that we can all be proud of.
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