One of the enjoyable aspects of being Leader of the Council is the sheer variety that the role has. In a typical week, there is the opportunity to work with a diverse range of people and partners in delivering priorities and services forCrawleypeople.
Last week, I was privileged to be involved in the launch of Crawley Wellbeing at The Hawth. This initiative recognised thatK2as a leisure centre has important linkages with the health agenda. By placing an advisory service in this flagship facility, we are able to signpost people to a range of activities and resources to achieve better health outcomes.
Still on the health agenda, I was pleased to participate in theWest Sussexlaunch of the Time to Change campaign. This campaign focuses on challenging the stigma and discrimination that can impact people with mental health problems. When we consider that mental health problems can affect one in four people, this is a really important agenda.
With a more internal focus, I attended the first meeting of the Council’s Corporate Management Team Improvement Group. This meeting considered the Council’s performance across a whole range of services and indicators. The very existence of this group reflects our commitment to continuous improvement. We can always get better at what we do.
During a recession, we can expect an increased take-up of Council Tax and housing benefits. Indeed, the Council encourages people to claim their benefit entitlement through the appointment of a benefits promotion officer. I took the opportunity to attend a seminar covering benefits and how they are assessed. This is a complex area and I am thankful that we have officers with such strong expertise in the subject.
Last week also included a meeting of the Conservative Group which provides political leadership for the Council for whatever period electors choose to grant this. Today we have 26 members compared to just three members as recently as April 1999. This makes for interesting debate with a range of perspectives making their valuable contribution.
At the end of the week, I was pleased to meet Tim Campbell, winner of the first series of The Apprentice. He was promoting the Learning and Skills Council apprentices campaign and had the opportunity to meet some of the Council’s apprentices. The campaign is very worthwhile and can produce a win-win outcome for apprentices and employers, particularly during a recession and in helping with the subsequent recovery.
As with all councillors, I have a role that broadly encompasses three areas – ward, policy and party. I also have the opportunity to work with a wide range of agendas that work forCrawley’s prosperous future. It is a privilege to able to do so.
Councillor Bob Lanzer, Leader of Crawley Borough Council
28th January 2009