Delivering On Our Ambitions

This is my first Leader’s Blog since the Local Government Elections and the first opportunity to place on record how honoured I am to serve my local community of Mountain Ash West once more and also to represent the Council as the Leader.  It is a huge honour and privilege to once again be appointed Leader of the Council and I remain committed to tackling the challenges ahead of us by setting an ambitious direction for our County Borough.

It is evident from the General Election, that for the foreseeable future at least, austerity will continue to be a major challenge for the Council and our local communities. In these circumstances, any successful Leader will need to effectively manage reducing financial resources.

I am committed to taking the same approach as we have done previously to ensure key frontline services are protected from likely public sector funding cuts in the future. As an example, to support this approach I have asked for proposals to be drawn up for future consideration by Council to further reduce the cost of the authority’s corporate management arrangements. In our last administration we delivered over £2M of senior management savings to protect frontline services and we are committed to securing further savings corporately over the coming months to support the delivery of next year’s budget.

Over the last five years the Council has demonstrated very visibly that through strong financial management, it is still possible to invest in key areas and make a tangible difference, despite continued funding reductions, and it was pleasing to receive independent recognition of our approach last week from the Wales Audit Office via an extremely positive Annual Improvement Report relating to the Council’s performance and approach to corporate management.

Already, my new Cabinet team, working alongside Council Officers, have started the job of delivering our ambitions improvements that were supported by the public and residents at the local elections. By securing opportunities to continue investing we are committed to continuing to take RCT forward and I am confident that we can make swift progress on the delivery of our ambitions in the coming months.

As a starting point, at the first meeting of the new Cabinet this week, we will consider the findings and views of local residents on how best to tackle the significant issue of dog fouling, following the recent consultation initiated just before the end of the last Council term. You may have also already seen reported in the media that in the coming weeks we will also be prioritising measures which will further support our local high street economy, including significant investment and enhancements for Tonypandy town centre.

I will provide further details about how we plan to deliver our ambitions programme to take RCT forward in my blog over the coming weeks.

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