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Full Council, Wednesday 16 July 2014 July 21, 2014

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Coat of arms of London Borough of Havering

Coat of arms of London Borough of Havering (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last week the Council met for the first time since the administration has been formed, which was also the first Council with official business.

This meeting marked the start of another leg in a long and challenging journey. As many of you will already know, over the last four years the Council have been responding to a significant cut in the founding that we have received from Central Government. This has meant that we have had to reduce our overall costs by £40 million, which is approximately a quarter of our budget. So far this has mainly been achieved by making the Council more efficient, employing new technologies and reducing our running costs.

Over the next four years this task will become more challenging as we are expected find an additional £60 million in savings. This will mean that the Council will have to take difficult decisions on how services are modelled and how they are delivered. At the meeting I assured members, of all parties, that the administration would be briefing members about potential savings to enable greater debate and transparency before formal considerations. Over recent years, through surveys such as ‘Your Council, Your Say’, residents have told us what matters most to them. I wish to assure you that over the coming months, the Council will also continue to seek your views as we form plans to save money.

At the Council I also announced that there will be a review of both the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny functions and Special Responsibility Allowances that will report to Council in September. I also discussed Transport for London’s consultation for a new Thames River Crossing, which has proposed, amongst others, a bridge from Belvedere joining the A13 near the boundary between Havering and Barking and Dagenham. I have asked the newly formed Rainham and Wenington and South Hornchurch Working Party to consider this proposal.

At the end of the election, no single party in Havering attained the 28 seats required to have a majority in the Chamber, meaning that in addition to the above, there is now an even greater need for members of all parties to work together to reach the best decisions for Havering over the next four years.

Havering’s First Autism Ambassadors July 16, 2014

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Last Saturday I had the pleasure to attend the Frances Bardsley Academy/RIEES Graduation Ceremony for Autism Ambassadors of the Sixth Form Autism and Disabilities club.

Havering’s first Autism Ambassadors have passed the Leadership Development and Autism Volunteering course, the first ever course coupled with volunteering for Autism in the Community in the whole of the UK.

As part of their course Ambassadors had given up their Saturday’s to work with 18-24 year olds with Autism at the RIEES Club in Romford, demonstrating generosity and kindness beyond their years.

RIEES, which stands for Romakey International Education Empowerment Services, helps support young people with learning disabilities or autism through the transitional period from school to independent adulthood. RIEES supports youths within Havering and the surrounding boroughs.

I, and other Councillors, was pleased to represent the Council and personally thank the students, as well as staff at the Academy and RIEES for their contributions to the community.

To see pictures of this fantastic event, check out the pictures page.

If you would like more information on RIEES and their work, head to: http://www.romakey.co.uk/home

Havering Business Expo a Great Success! March 17, 2014

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This year’s Havering Business Expo has been the biggest and best held yet!

Since their beginning in 2014 the Expo has grown each year and this year included 41 exhibitor stands and eight seminars, attended by several hundred visitors.

The event attracted a diverse group of exhibitors, ranging from caterers, to landscape gardeners, cleaning suppliers and property management service providers.

The seminars were equally diverse, providing advice on topics like networking, supply issues, marketing and employment law. All of which are key areas to running a successful business.

Havering’s prime location, with close proximity to London and easy access to infrastructure and transport links make it a great place to do business, so it was a privilege to welcome so many guests to discuss expansion and possibilities for start-ups for prospective entrepreneurs.

Our guests enjoyed it too, commenting on what an opportunity it was for networking and learning from the seminars.

If you would like more information on the Council’s support for businesses, you can visit the Council’s business webpage at: http://www.havering.gov.uk/Pages/Category/Business.aspx

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Have your say on policing in London February 25, 2014

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English: A photo of a traditional "blue l...

On Thursday 27 February 2014, Stephen Greenhalgh, Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime and Assistant Commissioner Byrne, for the Metropolitan Police will be coming to Havering to discussing policing in the capital and Havering.

The Deputy Mayor and Asst. Commissioner will be accompanied by Borough Commander Jason Gwillim as they seek to update residents on progress made on the Mayor’s Police and Crime Plan, discuss how it has affected local policing and share statistics about crime in Havering.

The Local Policing Model, which is central to achieving the goals set in the Police and Crime Plan will also be discussed.

Elm Park Ward Member and London Assembly Member for Havering and Redbridge, Cllr. Roger Evans AM will Chair the meeting and lead a question and answer session, where you will be able to put your own questions to the panel.

This event will take place in the Romford Salvation Army Hall (address below) at 18:30 on Thursday 27 February.

Romford Salvation Army Hall,
High Street,
Romford,
Essex
RM1 1JJ

For more information on the Mayor’s Police and Crime Plan, visit: http://www.london.gov.uk/priorities/policing-crime/mission-priorities/police-and-crime-plan

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Budget Supports Resident’s Priorities February 18, 2014

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English: Town Hall of Havering London Borough ...

English: Town Hall of Havering London Borough Council. Category:Images of Havering (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At the full Council Meeting on 26 February 2014, Havering Council will debate a budget for 2014/15 that seeks to support resident’s priorities, as identified by the ‘Your Council, Your Say’ survey.

During the survey residents made it clear just how much they value our parks, facilities for younger people and well maintained roads and pavements – all areas where we have identified significant funding in the budget.

We’ve allocated £500,000 to improve roads and fix pot holes around the borough. A further £500,000 to provide state-of-the-art 4G football pitches at the brand new Broxhill sports park in Harold Hill and £300,000 funding to clear silt from the lake in Harrow Lodge Park.

The real headline though is our commitment to freeze the Havering element of council tax for a fourth consecutive year. That means that the Havering element of council tax of a band D property will remain at £1,195.18

That Havering are able to make such bold commitments during a time of constraint in Local Government funding is testament to our successes in implementing more efficient ways of working and reducing the costs of our back office.

Funding for Local Government is made up of two main sources, the main one being from the Government and the second coming from council tax. This year Havering’s overall revenue grant from the Government was reduced by around £6m. Havering is already one of lowest funded boroughs in London per population size.

Again, that Havering is able to achieve a council tax freeze, producing a rate lower then it was 2009/10 when it was cut by 0.5 per cent, in such difficult circumstances demonstrates our successful efforts to keep council tax stable in the borough.

 

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Full Council 29/01/14 January 29, 2014

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As many of you will now know, at tonight’s Full Council meeting I will be stepping down as the Leader of Havering Council in order to take up a new position in the private sector.

I have thoroughly enjoyed leading this council over the last ten years and I am very proud of what we have been able to achieve. It has been a privilege to work with a group of such visionary Councillors and hugely committed Officers. I would like to thank them all.

Together we have had many successes, ranging from the stabilisation of Council tax bills; investment in local priorities – from parks and social care to libraries and schools and we protected valued services like weekly bin collections. These successes have helped ensure that Havering remains an exciting and rewarding place to live.

Tonight, somebody new will be given the honour of leading the Council and the Conservative group into the local elections in May. I will stand in the hope that I may continue to represent the people of Squirrel’s Heath ward, but as I return to work in the private sector I don’t believe that I can continue to devote the time needed to lead the Council effectively.

I am sorry to leave this fantastic honour and privilege, but I am proud to have played my part in making Havering a better place to live and I wish my successor the very best for the future.

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Green Flag Awards November 29, 2013

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English: Bedfords Park, Havering-atte-Bower A ...

English: Bedfords Park, Havering-atte-Bower A sunny spring day shows off the trees to full advantage. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Wednesday 27 November, eight of Havering’s parks were recognised as some of the best in the country with the raising of the new 2013/14 Green Flags.

The Green Flag Awards are the benchmark for parks and green spaces in the UK, recognising parks and green spaces in England and Wales that meet the high standards in 1996.

Since 2007 the Council has been recognised by this scheme and we have now attained eight of the prestigious awards.

Havering parks that were recognised this year are:

 To see images of the flags being raised in Havering’s parks, head to the photos tab above.

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Harold Hill Meet the Leader October 31, 2013

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The Harold Hill Meet the Leader event that was originally scheduled for 16 October 2013 has now been rescheduled for Monday 25 November, 1-2pm at the Harold Hill Library.

Harold Hill Meet the Leader October 16, 2013

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Today’s Meet the Leader event at Harold Hill Library is cancelled as Cllr. White is unwell. The event will be rescheduled and full notification of the rescheduled date will be made on this page. 

Local Democracy Week October 9, 2013

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European Local Democracy Week starts next week on Monday 14 October 2013, with the theme of ‘Active citizenship: voting, sharing and participating’.

As part of my participation in this European event I will be hosting additional Meet the Leader sessions across the borough over the weeks beginning Monday 14 October and Monday 21 October 2013. Full details of these sessions can be found at the bottom of this post and at the Contact Me page.

Over the coming weeks I will be helping to promote active citizenship with Havering Students by giving an assembly at St. Edward’s Sixth Form and hosting Democracy Engagement lessons for students of Havering College in the Town Hall, discussing participation at the local level and the importance of registering to vote.

Later in the year, on 15 November, Havering Asks will return for its third year. The BBC Question Time styled debate show has proven to be a great success with students across the borough and provides an excellent opportunity to raise questions with political and cultural leaders face to face. The show, jointly hosted by Havering College and the Council, is produced entirely by Havering Students, from media students managing filing and editing and beauty students doing panellists hair and make-up. This year the show will be webcast for the first time, check here later for details on the webcast.

Meet the Leader Dates:

Monday 14 October 14:00 – 15:00  –  Waitrose, Upminster

Tuesday 15 October 15:00 – 16:00 –Sainsbury’s, Hornchurch

Wednesday 16 October 14:00 – 15:00 –Harold Hill Library

Saturday 19 October 11:00 – 12:00 – Next to Starbucks, The Liberty, Romford

Friday 25 October 13:00 – 14:00 – Tesco, Rainham

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