Bryony Houlden, Chief Executive, South West Councils
Welcome to the latest edition of SWCouncilsNews – we hope you continue to find it useful. We have also just started a SW Councils Blog which can be found on our website. We are intending to use the Blog to share useful information, highlight best practice and/or to raise awareness of the wide range of services we provide to our 41 Local Authority member organisations and the 100+ Associate Members. I know from customer feedback not everyone knows all that we do – and that is not surprising as it is very wide ranging, one minute the team might be advising on sickness absence, the next being asked to develop and support the delivery of a behavioural framework or supporting a tricky disciplinary process or helping develop quality coaching or arranging a meeting with the Secretary of State for Transport – which we are doing for the SW Councils AGM on 18 July, and so on…. Part of the reason for the wide range of provision is that as a member led organisation we try and flexibly respond to your suggestions so please keep them coming.
One of the main areas of our work is supporting Councillor Development and we are responsible in the SW for assessing that against the Member Charter Framework. I am delighted to report that Devon County Council successfully achieved Charter Plus accreditation last month. The assessment team included our Vice Chair, Cllr Helen Holland along with me and Fay Edwards, SW Councils' Head of our Learning and Development. We were very impressed with the strong cross-party commitment to on-going development and the recent work to improve the robustness of scrutiny within the Council. We hope to see a large number of Councillors both those long serving and newly elected at our Essential Skills for the 21st Century Councillor on 15 July. Once again we have kept the cost very low for our members at only £45 for the whole day so we hope any Councillor who wants to attend will be able to do so – there will be a range of workshop choices as well as some short, sharp plenary sessions on the SW Syrian refugee programme, income generation and community leadership.
In addition to the C21st Councillor event we also have our annual Coaching Conference in July which regularly attracts over 100 delegates and really positive feedback and it is open to anyone with an interest in coaching The keynote speaker is the leading international expert Prof David Clutterbuck and there are a whole range of interesting and thought provoking sessions including one on Avatars in coaching!
As always, please do continue to let us know what you think of this newsletter or submit stories for publication, as well as ideas for future events and please keep telling us about your successes you want to share in this newsletter.
Publication of refreshed rail franchise schedule.......
Nuclear power station to boost local economy
On the 21 October, the Government announced that the proposed nuclear power plant, Hinckley Point C, in West Somerset is to become a reality. There will be two reactors at the site, with the first expected to be operational by 2023.
Both Somerset County Council and West Somerset Council have welcomed the approval of Hinckley Point C. Both councils have highlighted the economic benefit that the station will bring to the area and the region. It is expected that the construction of the plant will create 25,000 jobs and will inject £100m into the local economy, in addition to 900 permanent jobs for its 60 year lifespan.