Monday, September 24, 2012

September 2012 Leader's Report

September Leader's Report was up at the Full Council Meeting last Thursday - you can access it on CPOL here and/or even watch it all here...

... and here's the text below:
Leader's Report

Leader's report banner heading

Sept 2012

New initiatives picking up a pace

Andrew BurnsSummer may be coming to an end but Council staff are picking up the pace on a number of new initiatives. We are putting in place ways to widen access to Council meetings, change the way the Council does business and, this week, the Council launched a new economic strategy for the city.
On Friday 7 September we took the first steps in changing the way the Council does business. At the Co-operative Edinburgh Seminar, over 100 staff from the Council and third sector partners heard Councillor Steve Reed, Leader of Lambeth Council give real life examples of the pioneering work being done by his council. The seminar concluded with people working together to identify how we can make this work in Edinburgh. We want the Council to become more co-operative as an organisation and we want to explore the development of co-operatives as a way of delivering services. Our report on the seminar will be available from the Council’s website in the next few weeks.
By now, you’ll probably be aware of this week’s significant legal developments in relation to the plans to build a new Portobello High School. This is the Council’s initial response and I will be giving an update to full Council on 20 September with a full report coming to full Council on 25 October.



From 20 September you’ll be able to watch your councillor debate at full Council meetings the issues that affect you and your community live online. You’ll also be able to see archived full Council meetings which will be available from two days after the end of the meeting until a month after the original live webcast.
This is an important new communications tool that will help us engage with all of you, both as residents and as Council staff. I want to take a moment to thank the team who have worked hard to deliver the webcast project on time.
You can find out more about our webcasts on the Council’s website.


Celebrating sporting achievements

On Sunday 16 September Sir Chris Hoy, the six-time gold medalist, will be joined by fellow Olympic and Paralympic stars on an open-top bus tour in the city centre, ending at the Assembly Rooms on George Street where Sir Chris will receive the Freedom of the City honorary award in a private ceremony.
This will be immediately followed by a civic reception, hosted by the Lord Provost in honour of the athletes together with their coaches and support staff, officials, plus some of the many volunteers who gave up their time to make London 2012 such a success.
If you would like to celebrate our Olympic and Paralympic stars, you can find more details of the route and timings on our website.  


Property Repairs

You still have six weeks left to make your views known on options for a brand new service supporting homeowners to manage private property repairs. We have already received more than 450 responses to our on-line survey. It’s important that anyone with an interest in this issue, including staff, takes part before the consultation closes on 31 October. To make sure the consultation is as wide-ranging as possible, the Council is also carrying out extensive meetings, focus groups and face to face briefings with a range of individuals as well as local groups such as community councils and heritage bodies.
These views will help to shape the new service, which has at its heart the principle of owners taking primary responsibility for managing their property repairs. I’m aware that this change in emphasis will not be universally popular but it will mean home owners will be more in control of their own home maintenance and the Council, as is the case in cities elsewhere in the country, will only be used when attempts at self-management have failed. It’s really important to stress that the emergency service, which responds where there is a risk to public health or safety, is likely to be retained.


Revised Governance

September’s full Council will consider a report proposing changes to the way the Council does business. These proposals would see a new Public Petitions Committee, a new Budget Sub-Committee and a greatly strengthened Audit and Risk Committee. The way in which committees work will also change to ensure that there is more time to talk about the development of policy and strategy with public input.
We are making these changes because we believe that local groups and members of the public should be able to be far more involved in Council decisions. More information will be on the Orb and Council website shortly about the changes being made.


Edinburgh Economic Strategy

The Council is calling on its public sector partners and Edinburgh’s businesses to help support the creation of 20,000 new jobs in the city. This was the main theme at a conference which I attended earlier on 12 September which launched an ambitious five year economic strategy for Edinburgh.
The strategy’s three key targets for 2012–17 are to support the creation and safeguarding of 20,000 jobs, to support £1.3 billion of infrastructure investment in the city and to help 10,000 people into work or learning.


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