WELCOME to my first-ever blog as Oldham Council Leader – and thank you all for the many good wishes and congratulation messages that I have received.
I’m honoured to be following Jim McMahon in this role and – like him – I’ll be writing a blog each week.
I wanted this job because Oldham is in my heart and it’s in my blood.
I was born here, brought up here and have lived here most of my life.
As I explained in my first speech as Leader to Full Council last week, I’m very proud of the forward strides we have made since 2011 – and that work goes on.
There’ll be no lowering of ambitions, no slackening of effort and no settling for second best while I am at the helm in Oldham.
People want and deserve our long-standing regeneration schemes and these will continue.
But I will also be giving more focus to social regeneration: not just bricks and mortar.
A major priority in that respect is my pledge to ensure the Oldham Education and Skills Commission report recommendations are implemented.
Too many young people don’t get to reach their full potential because some of our schools are not yet up to scratch.
I’ve been asked what happens next.
Well, that document won’t be sitting on a shelf gathering dust – I won’t allow it.
Cabinet has already committed £1m to take this work forward and a meeting later this week will discuss the structure and governance arrangements that we will need to get cracking.
Parents and education partners will all want to see us get on with this work quickly.
You can rest assured I will be taking a keen interest in this – and I have high expectations of the difference that we can make by working together with those partners.