There were no Cabinet meetings held during August, however there are a few items I would like to take the opportunity to update you on.
Visit to Herefordshire by the House of Lords Select Committee on the Rural Economy
Councillor David Harlow and I were invited to participate in a round table discussion with members of the House of Lords Rural Economy Select Committee on Wednesday 12 September. Organised by Community First, the visit was to highlight the challenges of a rural economy and so that committee members could hear first-hand from successful local businesses. We took the opportunity to share with them how we support local companies and our vision and plans for future business development in the county.
Article in Guardian newspaper – refugee resettlement
Some of you may have already seen the article in the Guardian newspaper regarding Syrian refugee families who have settled in our county.
When Cabinet took the decision in 2017 to voluntarily participate in the government’s refugee dispersal scheme and extend our pledge to support the resettlement of 95 individuals, it was not popular in all quarters. However, on reading this article it is clear the decision was the right one and it is heartening to read that the families feel welcome in our county.
New council publication
The council peer review in February highlighted that, “External communications should be more proactive and coordinated to better promote the council’s achievements and increase awareness of its vision”.
Building on the positive public response to the council tax brochure published in March 2018, a new quarterly publication is being launched at the end of September. ‘Herefordshire Now’ will provide the council with an outlet to explain its work and achievements to residents in its own words, and build a better understanding of the council’s strategic direction, vision and ambition. Articles will help explain to local people how their council tax is spent and how the council works, alongside information about the council working in partnership with other organisations and businesses.
The publication is available digitally via the council website. It is also planned to print 5,000 copies of each issue which will be distributed through established community outlets such as council offices, libraries and leisure centres. This has been at a cost of £499 for the first issue, however it is planned that advertising will cover the printing cost in future.
Parish Council summit
The first Parish Council summit is being held on Wednesday 17 October, 6.30pm in the Shire Hall, Hereford. The evening aims to improve the way we work with Parish Councils to share our collective knowledge and experience and identify practical ways to work together to address challenges and promote opportunities to provide the best for Herefordshire residents. A written report will be provided following the summit, for information.
Councillor Jonathan Lester – Leader of Herefordshire Council