Time really does fly. The past month – my first as Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich - has sailed by at lightning pace. I’m delighted to say it’s been an incredible time for me – busy, yes, very, but an absolute pleasure to be serving the people of this great borough in this way, and enjoying all that comes with that immense responsibility.
Two of the best aspects of this job are firstly, the incredible variety and secondly, the people I get to meet. Every day brings something new. A brief snapshot of my last month has seen the fantastic Great Get Together and Armed Forces Day at Woolwich Barracks – attended by thousands of local people coming together for our biggest community event of the calendar. I’ve welcomed a group of industry leaders from the digital sector to a conference at our Digital Innovation Centre – where we discussed the fascinating and exciting future of how technology can support peoples’ everyday lives – and how we as a council can use technology to improve the services we provide. I’m really proud that the digital innovators at our very own centre are leading the way in this so-called ‘Smart Cities’ technology. I’ve attended a number of important council meetings – including Full Council and Children’s Trust Board – which of course always carries the huge responsibility of decision making on behalf of the people of Greenwich – and taking into consideration the views put forward on a huge range of issues. I’ve had the absolute pleasure of meeting some of our youngest residents at various events in my ward – a rose planting afternoon in Abbey Wood and a prize giving at Boxgrove Primary School and I’ve also had the pleasure of welcoming our new Mayor to his new role.
A lot of the past month has also been about getting on with the most important task in hand – making sure that our new administration delivers 100% for residents. I’ve held a number of important strategy meetings with council officers and external organisations like TfL – to lay the groundwork for the work we will be taking forward. And by that I mean how we will deliver the policies our residents’ say they want. I’ve been meeting with and supporting newly elected councillors, and councillors who, like me, have spent many years already serving the people of Greenwich. I’ve also prioritised meeting with the Leader of Bexley Council, Councillor Teresa O’Neill and The Mayor of Lewisham, Sir Steve Bullock– to discuss the issues impacting both of our areas. It’s really important to me that we have positive and constructive relationships with our neighbouring boroughs so we can ultimately benefit all of our residents.
This is a new era for the Council. We are a listening council – open to new suggestions, new ideas and new ways of working – if that’s what makes sense for the people of Greenwich. I do not lose sight of the fact I’m here to take forward the ideas and policies that the people who have elected us want – and while the time continues to fly by I will stand firm in that commitment. And for now – I’m looking forward to what the future brings, in particular in the coming weeks as we turn our attention to hosting what promises to be a memorable spectacular – the 2014 Royal Greenwich Tall Ships Festival from 5-9 September. Just as we did with the Olympics, we will do our utmost to show the borough off at its absolute best and are all working hard to make the event a brilliant success for visitors, residents and businesses alike. Make sure you don’t miss it!