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Latest news from Cllr Michael Pavey
Labour Councillor for Barnhill & Cabinet Member for Stronger Communities
Cabinet Member for Stronger Communities
Well, a new job for me since my last enews. I’m now responsible for a sprawling range of activities from libraries to licensing, and from customer services to crime prevention.
It’s a really exciting brief because it covers issues that are genuinely close to people’s hearts. And it also includes lots of parts of the Council that people rely upon – but which they don’t often see. I’m looking forward to shining a light on some of these areas in the coming months.
My biggest challenge is to bring some coherence to this new role. The services I’m responsible for all serve the same community – but they are located in different parts of the Council. I hope to weave these services together into a shared commitment both to serve our community and to strengthen it.
I’m also responsible for Civic Enterprise. This is a brand new approach for Brent Council and a major change of direction. Our new Civic Enterprise agenda confidently sets out a positive alternative to salami-slicing ourselves into oblivion.
Why on earth does Harrow Council make ten times more money than Brent Council from wedding photos? Why is the Civic Centre car park virtually empty on event days when 90,000 are streaming past it to get into Wembley Stadium? Because there has been an institutional failure of entrepreneurship at the heart of the Council. The Civic Enterprise agenda is about changing that forever.
The Civic Enterprise Strategy I’m taking to Cabinet this month outlines five key ways to generate income. These are woven together by the common theme of changing the Council’s culture. Too often good ideas have been missed because no-one has listened to the views of Council employees. So it’s great that literally hundreds of staff suggestions have poured into the new Strategy.
Some of the early ideas coming forward include the Council setting up a trading arm to market some of our commercial services against private sector competitors – and hiring areas in local parks as wedding venues. These will be just the beginning as we’ve set ourselves the challenging target of generating £2.5m through Civic Enterprise over the coming years. We want this agenda to genuinely transform the Council.
Labour Councillor for Barnhill
Myself, Cllr Choudhary and Cllr Marquis are getting very excited about the “I Love Chalkhill” event on the afternoon of 16th July!
It’s going to be the best yet of our annual summer events in Chalkhill Park. There will be a wide range of family entertainment, including performances from lots of brilliantly talented local people – as well as food and many other activities. It promises to be a fantastic day, so please come along and celebrate our wonderful community!
“I Love Chalkhill” follows hot on the heels of our community clean-up days on Preston Hill and Chalkhill. I’ve got mixed feelings about these days. On the one hand it’s really uplifting to see the community coming together to tackle the curse of litter. It’s also brilliant to see various agencies and Council departments coming into the community to offer services to residents on their doorsteps.
But it’s also just so sad that these days are necessary. Pillows, crisp packets, nappies, estate agents boards – and beer can after beer can after beer can. I just don’t understand the attitude which thinks it’s ok to dump this rubbish, especially when they dump it in our parks and green spaces.
No mixed feelings about the new Chalkhill Business Initiative though. This fantastic new project from ABi is working with a group of local residents to support them in setting up a social enterprise. These particular residents happen to have a disability – but based on the fantastic launch event this month, I’m sure that won’t hold them back.
I was very deeply moved by the horrific, senseless murder of Jo Cox MP. I met Jo late last year and she made an enormous impression on me. I didn’t have a clue at the time that she lived on a houseboat or that she had spent years bravely working in war-torn countries – but it was immediately obvious that she was different. Very different.
She had a character which is rare in politics: utterly sincere, but also incredibly able. Too often in politics you get one or the other. When we met I was struck immediately by how personable she was. How natural. How normal. But as soon as we started talking, I realised she was an exceptionally skilled professional.
Jo and I shared a passion for Sure Start. As Director of Labour Friends of Sure Start, I requested our meeting in the hope that she might ask a supportive question in the House of Commons. But I came away from the meeting with pages of notes about how to build a powerful national campaign.
Jo was just brilliant. What happened to her was indescribably tragic, but the crime was worsened by the fact that she was a truly inspirational woman.
Sadly Jo will no longer be a part of Labour Friends of Sure Start, but we did just launch a powerful new pamphlet.
LFoSS have produced new evidence to objectively prove that Conservative Councils have closed more Children’s Centres than Labour Councils. Also Centres in Labour areas are more likely to be rated Good or Outstanding, whilst Centres in Tory areas are more likely to be Inadequate or Requiring Improvement.
We launched the pamphlet with our new patron, Yvette Cooper MP – please take a look and let me know your thoughts.
And finally …… the European Union!
Actually, I’m sure you’re all completely fed-up of the endless referendum talk, so just drop me an email if you’re interested in my views!
I’m always keen from people, so feel free to get in touch regarding anything in this enews, or any other issue. Or just pop along to my next surgery: 11-1 on Saturday 2nd July in the Chalkhill Community Centre behind Asda.