I still feel rather shocked about my unexpected elevation to the Cabinet at the County Council, although I have known that it was a probability for a week or so.
The brief that I have accepted is a very wide ranging one and basically encompasses most of the internal aspects of the council’s work; finance, property management, IT, HR and so forth.
There is also the additional responsibility for ‘Waste’, which will involve working alongside partners to continue to develop Suffolk’s Waste Strategy. This is an area that my fellow Babergh District Councillor, Clive Arthey has been working on for a long time, and I have to say that due to his clear exposition of the issues over the years I think that I have a basic understanding of much of what has been happening in this area.
Given my background, the financial aspect of the work should not prove technically difficult for me, but it is a daunting task to be responsible for reducing the size of the council’s budget by such a huge amount. I would much prefer, or course, to be looking at ways to spend money in the community, but unfortunately we are where we are.
A frustration is that Suffolk was actually a pretty efficient council to start with, and the Government has in no way aimed off for relative council efficiency in its funding settlements. This means that we are in a far more difficult position than some ‘bloated’ councils elsewhere, who, as a result of their former profligacy, are finding it much easier to find savings just by cutting the fat!
Although in a state of some surprise, I am very excited about this new challenge. I just hope that I will be able to keep up the flow of posts onto the Blog…..I will do my best.