MONDAY: First meeting of the day is with the finance team. The main topic is the new financial system and the challenges of integrating any new technology based system. This one will have huge benefits.
As well as looking at next year’s budget we’re also planning for the following year and beyond. Finding the money for local services is challenging us rightly to be far more commercially minded as the funding from central government reduces. A couple more meetings and a catch-up with my fellow directors before sitting down with the legal team. It’s good to hear about the day-to-day challenges people are involved in and how they plan to address them. Keeping in touch like this is really important. Home at a reasonable time so a chance to read some papers ahead of meetings later in the week.
TUESDAY: While no two weeks are alike, Tuesday morning is always set aside for a meeting of the Joint Leadership Team, the department heads who manage staff working for both St Edmundsbury and Forest Heath. We’re now a single staff working for both councils and I’m proud of how people have adapted. I enjoy this session; it’s essential we catch up on the progress of projects, and keep driving forward to improve services. Local government doesn’t stand still these days. A quick sandwich and briefing with the St Edmundsbury council Leader before meeting a developer to discuss the eastern relief road at Moreton Hall, part of the infrastructure needed to support the planned housing and business growth for the town.
WEDNESDAY: Working from Mildenhall today with only a few diary commitments, so I can catch up with phone calls and emails and draft some reports. A late finish as there’s an evening workshop for councillors on the budget and new funding arrangements.
THURSDAY: More budget meetings today, which is normal for this time of year as the Council Tax and budgets are finalised and agreed in February. I keep a watching brief on a parish by-election at Red Lodge because as returning officer I’m legally responsible for the poll.
FRIDAY: Off to Lowestoft for a meeting with the Leaders and chief executives of all the councils in Suffolk to discuss the progress we’re making in helping to boost prosperity and a range of other shared priorities. It gives me and the two West Suffolk Leaders invaluable time in the car to talk over our priorities and approach, and some key issues.
Back to the office to catch up with emails and tie up any loose ends. A busy week, but never a dull moment.