WELCOME to my first blog as Oldham Council Leader.
You’re probably wondering why I am blogging? There’s a simple answer – but it’s also very important.
For too long I think there’s been a serious ‘disconnect’ between Oldham Council and local residents.
I’ve had my ears boxed on doorsteps for several years about this. People say the Council is too distant, its members sit in an ivory tower (i.e the Civic Centre), and are not listening to the concerns of ordinary folk.
This blog is just one part of a much wider programme that is trying to bring your Council back closer to you – the people we are here to serve.
So, in later blogposts, I’ll be explaining more about how other changes we’re planning – like devolving power back to local neighbourhoods with district offices – will do just that.
As I write I’m reflecting on my first full week in office. It is humbling that people gave myself and colleagues their electoral support, and taking office was a big day for me personally. But there’ll be no point in any of that if we don’t now make a positive difference.
I want to have a ‘common sense’ approach in all that we do here, which is why one of my first decisions was to decline the offer of a Leader’s credit card.
At a time when ordinary residents are struggling to pay household bills I think it sends out the wrong message for an elected politician to have this facility. It was a ‘no-brainer’ for me.
Another part of our new approach started on Monday.
We took Cabinet out of the Civic for the very first time and approved plans to re-open Limecroft Day Centre in that very same building.
The reason for doing this is that if we’re discussing matters that affect local people we should, whenever possible, visit their neighbourhoods to listen and engage with them.
Finally today, I’d like to say that without the support of my family I wouldn’t be able to commit the hours and effort that are going to be needed to make this Borough a better place.
I’m conscious then that if I am to deny them that time – as a partner, and a Dad – it would be pointless if I do not make this work. That is a determination that will spur me on to get things right for residents.
That’s all for my first post, but I’ll be back next week.
Don’t forget: if you’ve got any questions, comments, or topics you would like me to cover in future blogs, then please email
Thanks for listening.