Meet the Leader & Cabinet October 17, 2014Posted by leaderofhavering in : Uncategorized , comments closed
On Wednesday 1 October, my Cabinet colleagues and I hosted the first Meet the Leader & Cabinet event in the Liberty Centre, Romford.
During the event we spoke to many residents on a multitude of matters, taking up any issues that required further investigation and casework.
We have now confirmed arrangements for these meetings, across the borough until April 2015. So, if there is anything that you wish to discuss with a Cabinet member or myself in an informal manner, please feel free to visit us on any of the dates below:
Wednesday 5 November 2014, 13:00 – 14:00 at Sainsbury’s, Hornchurch
Wednesday 17 December 2014, 13:00 – 14:00 at Tesco, Rainham
Wednesday 28 January 2015, 13:00 – 14:00 at Waitrose, Upminster
Wednesday 11 March 2014, 13:00 – 14:00 at the Liberty, Romford
Budget Consultation September 25, 2014Posted by leaderofhavering in : Uncategorized , comments closed
Yesterday the Cabinet voted to approve the launch of the Council’s consultation on the Council’s budget proposals.
Over the next four years, we need to reduce our budget by around a third, in response to a triple whammy of Government funding cuts, inflationary costs and a growing and ageing population.
A reduction in our budget of that scale will inevitably have some impact on our services. We want to do everything we can to limit that impact and balance the savings in a fair and proportionate way across the services we deliver – taking into account the needs of the whole community. And we have given a great deal of thought to what we ought to protect – which is why we propose to keep weekly rubbish collections, keep all libraries open, preserve vital social services and protect measures like CCTV and the Parks Protection team.
But we’re keen to listen to alternative ideas. The public consultation, launching on Monday 29 September, will last until Christmas and we will be seeking the views of as many people as possible on the overall proposals. In addition there are three specific consultations being launched on the same day regarding proposed changes to libraries, parking and council tax support.
To access these consultations, visit www.havering.gov.uk/yoursay
Hard copies of the consultation documents will be available in libraries in due course and a special budget issue of Living in Havering will be published in October.
Three public meetings will also be held which members of the Cabinet and I will be attending. The dates are:
Wednesday 12 November 2014, 18:30 – 20:30 at Elm Park Primary School
Monday 17 November 2014, 18:30 – 20:30 at the MyPlace Centre, Harold Hill
Thursday 20 November 2014, 18:30 – 20:30 at the Romford Baptist Church
Your comments and feedback will influence our final decisions in the New Year. I would like to stress that any decisions taken on the provision of services are not, and will not, be taken lightly. As I stated at the beginning of this post, the Council is responding to a reduction in funding, increased costs and increasing service demand. This consultation will help to enable us to make the best of a bad situation, prioritising services that our residents need and want most.
I implore all residents to take the time to consider these proposals and please visit www.havering.gov.uk/yoursay for details on how to submit your comments online.
Meet the Leader & Cabinet September 22, 2014Posted by leaderofhavering in : Uncategorized , comments closed
These events will provide residents with an opportunity to discuss any issues or concerns they may have with me and/or a member of the Cabinet in an informal manner.
To ensure that we are able to meet with as many of you as possible, these events will take place in rotating locations in Hornchurch, Rainham and Upminster in addition to Romford. A full list of dates and locations will be published on this blog and the Council’s on-line events calendar very soon.
Another Green Flag for Havering’s Parks August 8, 2014Posted by leaderofhavering in : Uncategorized , comments closed
This year Havering’s Parks have even more to boast about after receiving another Green Flag in Raphael Park, taking our total to nine.
The Green Flag Award is the benchmark national standard for parks and green spaces in the United Kingdom. The scheme was set up in 1996 to recognise and reward green spaces in England and Wales that met the laid down high standards.
The award, handed out by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, recognises and rewards the best parks and green spaces across the country. A Green Flag flying overhead is a sign to visitors that the space boasts the highest possible standards, is beautifully maintained and has excellent facilities.
To attain the award, a panel of judges visit the park to check they meet the criteria of being welcoming, safe and secure, clean and well maintained, sustainable, that they support conservation and heritage, and encourage community involvement.
The announcement of this year’s award-winners came in the same week that thousands of people up and down the country celebrated the UK’s fantastic parks and green spaces with Love Parks Week, which ran from July 25 to August 3.
Parks and open spaces are one of the most frequently used public services in the borough, with more than 50 per cent of people visiting a park at least once a week and many using green spaces as an integral part of daily life. This is why the Council has maintained the high standards of its parks – as they are so valued by residents.
The Council has secured the Green Flag awards for the following parks:
- Raphael Park, Romford
- Bedfords Park, Havering-atte-Bower
- Cottons Park, Romford
- Harold Wood Park, Harold Wood
- Hylands Park, Hornchurch
- Lawns Park, Collier Row
- Lodge Farm Park, Romford
- St Andrews Park, Hornchurch
- Upminster Park, Upminster
These awards do not just reflect the efforts of the Council to maintain our parks, but also the efforts of many residents that help support our parks through Friends of Parks groups.
Havering has approximately 6,000 hectares of green belt, which covers almost half of the borough. Havering Council manages around 100 sites in the borough. The parks have very busy and seen lots of visitors over recent weeks due to the hot weather. To see where they are and what activities people can get involved in, visit www.havering.gov.uk/parks
Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Collation Ceremony of Reverend Shaun Moore, the new Vicar of St. George’s Church in Romford with the Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt. Reverend Stephen Cottrell. It was lovely to meet Shaun who I am sure will lead his Church well.
Full Council, Wednesday 16 July 2014 July 21, 2014Posted by leaderofhavering in : Uncategorized , comments closed
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, 2014Posted by leaderofhavering in : Uncategorized , comments closed
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, 2014Posted by leaderofhavering in : Uncategorized , comments closed
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.
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
Have your say on policing in London February 25, 2014Posted by leaderofhavering in : Uncategorized , comments closed
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.
Romford Salvation Army Hall,
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
Budget Supports Resident’s Priorities February 18, 2014Posted by leaderofhavering in : Uncategorized , comments closed
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.