been approached by the Airports Commission to assist in facilitating a visit to
the Gatwick area for the Commissioners to meet with representatives from local
Airports Commission has been asked to examine the UK’s aviation capacity and
need in the context of maintaining the UK’s position as a leading aviation
hub. It has been asked to make recommendations to the Government about
how that capacity should be delivered. In its Interim Report (published
in December, 2013) the Commission shortlisted three proposals – two at Heathrow
Airport and one at Gatwick Airport – for providing additional capacity.
Airports Commissioners – Sir Howard Davies, Sir John Armitt, Dame Julia King,
Professor Ricky Burdett and Vivienne Cox – are keen to engage with local
authorities and MPs and communities around the shortlisted options.
Commissioners are also keen to ensure they understand local concerns as they
work through the appraisals of each option.
position is that we support the case for a second runway, in principle, but are
cognisant of the environmental and infrastructure issues that may arise.
We do understand that feelings run high and that there is a lot of opposition.
However, we do believe the economic case and the benefits it would bring to the
county are solid.
notice has been short, we have worked hard with the Commission secretariat to
facilitate this opportunity for local representatives to meet with the
Commissioners, which will take place on Wednesday. This is a private meeting
for the benefit of elected local authority leaders and MPs. It will be followed
by a wider discussion when they will answer questions from additional invited
guests, including Councillors, local groups and organisations such as parish
councils, Gatwick Diamond and Manor Royal.
I will post
another blog after the meeting because I am keen to share what happens as I
know there is a lot of interest.
the last few months there has been much work going on around transforming
services at County Hall -all part of
the County Council’s on-going evolutionary process .
the backbone of that evolution is the relentless focus we have on our three key priorities,
Start of Lifeand making sure children
have the best possible start,growing a
strong and diverse economy andLater
Life, ensuring our older residents can live as independently in their homes for
as long as possible. And of course, all that is underpinned by ensuring that
we, WSCC , are there in an emergency, that we protect the frail and vulnerable
and that we help people to help themselves.
new senior management structure has been designed to helpmeet our communities’ needs around these key
priorities. There has been a considerable amount of consultation with staff
about these changes - road shows, meetings and presentations to the county’s
different political groups.
On Monday, the proposed new
structure was formally discussed at the county council’sGovernance Committee where it was agreed.
will now go to the next meeting of the Full County Council on July 25 for
discussion and final approval.
structure is much smaller and cuts out some management hierarchy where we know
there is a real need to improve. It also provides a better focus on our work on
the local economy and growth and includes additional capacity to support our
agenda around being more commercial, providing value for money to the people of
course this means that staff numbers will reduce which is always difficult news
for staff. The plan is to reduce our senior management structure from 64 to around
20 with some of the functions in the current structure being delivered in a
different way. We will keep the model of a Chief Operating Officer as the most
senior officer of the council and there will be four executive directors (rather
than the current eight) to help lead the Council.
are confident that this leaner management structure will deliver those
all-important outcomes for our residents and our communities. This new
structure, when the next phase is carried through over the coming months, will
also achieve significant savings and when we are currently looking at finding around
another 128 million savings, this is welcome, particularly as it helps to
ensure frontline services are protected.
will inevitably mean redundancies, although many we hope will be voluntary.
Over the last couple of years we have been setting aside money to meet any such
have over the last couple of weeks read through the staff comments from the
consultation and been impressed at the considerable thought and realisation
that this is something that needs to be done.
doubt some of the political opposition will claim that these plans are not
radical enough or even too radical but let me reassure you that much thought
and consideration has gone into getting us where we are today. And we continue
to ensure a relentless focus on delivering those all-important services.
Fundamentally,as an authority delivering over 80% of local public
services to our residents, we need to be flexible and responsive at all times. This new
structure allows us to do just that.