We had a fair amount of snow on Wednesday 1st December which made it a challenging day for everyone. I commend our Council staff for their commitment and determination in maintaining a high level of service within and outside of the Town Hall. In that spirit we wanted to proceed with the Cabinet meeting that evening and I am pleased that this decision was well supported by staff and councillors.
It is incumbent on employees and politicians to do all that we can to provide a continuous service. That includes the political decision-making process which our monthly Cabinet meetings represent. The Cabinet of Wednesday 1st December had some important conclusions to reach affecting our wider community including people employed by the Council.
Our first key item was around the provision of a new depot facility for our Amenity Services team. These are the people whose activities include the maintenance of our green spaces and street scene. They make a huge contribution to the look of our town and their efforts were evidenced by the success that we have recently enjoyed in Britain in Bloom.
We had needed a new depot facility for some time. Crawleyis a compact area and suitable locations do not often come forward but last Wednesday an opportunity site became available atMetcalf Way. The site already had a structure that could be relatively easily adapted for our purposes and allow relocation away from Goffs Park Depot,Southgate.
In deciding this, we enhance the working environment for our people and assist the operational efficiency of Amenity Services, which benefits everyone.
The second major decision was around the eagerly-awaited Leisure Management Options Appraisal. A lot has been written about this process but it is right for the Council to look at the way it delivers services and how to improve them for the future.
I am not one for prescribing that in all cases public provision is better than private or vice versa. That is a nonsensical and sterile debate since all situations need to be viewed on their merits. I am provider-neutral but keen to get the best possible service and value for money. That means an objective analysis of what we do today and can do in the future, which was exactly the purpose of the Leisure Management Options Appraisal.
The headline decisions were thatTilgatePark, the Venture Play Service and Community Centres Management will all remain under in-house management. That said, we will look at options for change to reduce costs while exploring opportunities for new services.
For The Hawth, the Council will seek expressions of interest for defined parts of its operation from suitably qualified non-profit making Trusts and commercial operators against a specification to be drawn up a cross-party group of councillors. Fundamental Community Arts Development will be retained in-house and any contract specification will ensure support for events thatCrawleyholds dear, such as the Crawley Festival, the MELA and Crawley Irish Festival.
Whatever individual views there may be about these outcomes, Wednesday 1st December saw a productive Cabinet taking decisions that really matter for the future.
Councillor Bob Lanzer, Leader of Crawley Borough Council
6th December 2010