06 - 10 March
Monday 6 March
Yesterday [Sunday] I was out and about canvassing in Syon Ward, of which I am one of the ward councillors. As always, it was good to say hello to many people.
Today I was in and out of the office dealing with casework and meeting residents.
Tuesday 7 March
I had the usual round of meetings today.
In the evening, I had a meeting with cabinet colleagues to discuss various council reports and had a reasonably early finish to the day, winding up around 8.30pm!
Wednesday 8 March
This morning I attended the Heathrow Academy Apprenticeship Day.
It was great to see many companies who are part of the employers and supply chain from Heathrow Airport Ltd. It is a great academy that provides apprenticeships for many of our residents, offering them an opportunity that will hopefully led to great career prospects.
Apprenticeships is also something we value here at the Council and we have an award-winning scheme that sees many people get experience of work, a chance to learn and enhance skills.
Later in the day I joined around 70 senior council officers at the Hounslow Leadership Group event. I was grilled at the Q & A session!
It was a good event and there were some tough questions to answer, but interesting to hear everyone’s thoughts and questions on areas such as Council Tax, cuts to our budgets and how we transform services to meet the needs of our residents.
I followed this by joining Councillor Tony Louki, ward councillor for Osterley & Spring Grove, plus officers from our council enforcement team and local police to discuss problems we have in Osterley with fly tipping and prostitution.
We are currently putting together a comprehensive plan in how we can look to tackle both. If anyone is caught, they can be sure to have their collars felt, as the old saying goes.
I then met with the Mayor of Hounslow, Councillor Ajmer Grewal and Deputy Mayor, Councillor Daanish Saeed for the quarterly meeting we have. At this meeting we discuss the Mayor and Deputy Mayor’s activities and events, plus their budget.
I am pleased to say both are in good shape. Both Cllr Grewal and Cllr Saeed are great representatives of the borough.
The last meeting of the evening was the weekly Leaders meeting which was hosted by our Chief Executive Mary Harpley, myself and Councillor Amrit Mann, Deputy Leader.
This was the last meeting for Cllr Mann before he heads off to represent the Council at the MIPIM event in Cannes, France next week.
Cllr Mann will be joined by senior officers from the Council and they will meet up with other London council leaders and leaders of councils across the country. This is a major business, conference and networking event that attracts businesses from all over the world.
Cllr Mann and the council officers will be flying the flag for Hounslow and the trip comes at no cost to the Council as it is a fully sponsored event.
The reason I will not be attending is that we have the Local Government Peer Review next week. A team of colleagues from across local government, supported by the LGA will be on site to look at our successes, progress and capacity to deliver. The process involves engaging with a wide range of people including staff, councillors and partners connected with the Council and the findings will help us to continue to respond to our local priorities and issues to the greatest effect.
Thursday 9 March
I had several meetings this morning.
One of the most important was the quarterly adult safeguarding meeting.
Ensuring our elderly residents are kept safe is a top priority for us here at the Council. Our social workers and other staff do a fantastic job.
The rest of the day saw me host various one-to-one meeting with council staff.
Friday 10 March
Up early this morning to catch a train to Sheffield. Joining me will be Councillor Corinna Smart, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Leisure, and Councillor John Todd, ward councillor for Chiswick Homefields. Representatives from sports clubs such that use Dukes Meadows were also there, including Chiswick RFC and Old Meadonians FC.
We visited an FA [Football Association] Parklife Scheme as part of the development of our masterplan for Dukes Meadows. It is always good to see other venues to use as an example and see if there is anything we can bring to our own projects.
We are keen to attract investment from such organisations as the FA and the RFU and to work in partnership with them so we can develop Dukes Meadows and other places in the borough. Travel costs for this trip were covered by the FA.
This Wednesday [15 March sees the last of the consultation events in the borough, on the Heathrow Airport expansion proposal. These events are run by the Department for Transport. This the chance for residents to have their say on all aspects of the proposal. I urge everyone if they can to go along and make sure to have your say. Read our latest press release
I understand police were called to Willow Close, Brentford today, as munitions were found at a property, they were immediately made safe and removed by special unit police personnel. There was no risk to residents at any time but I would like to thank the police and other emergency services whose usual efficiency ensured there was minimal inconvenience to residents.
Many residents may have seen the article in the Evening Standard today – The news that 147 people were charged with stealing food in Hounslow last year is of great concern to us.
We are working closely with the police so that less people will be criminalised and more can be done to help those residents who are struggling to feed their families.
The Council also works with the local food banks in the borough, whose volunteers do a fantastic job in supporting those families that are in most need. I guess sadly, it is a sign of the times, but we will ensure, where we can, to support these services so they can help families in the borough. Visit Hounslow Community Foodbox website
Residents have until Friday 31 March to sign up for the Council’s garden waste service for this year.
We are offering a free one-year subscription for the 2000th, 4000th, 6000th and 8000th person who signs up online. Read our latest press release
It will be an interesting weekend for rugby fans like me as the Rugby Six Nations sees home nations battling it out against each other. England go head to head with Scotland, while Wales host Ireland. Good luck to all home nations.
Good luck also to Brentford this weekend who face Huddersfield, looking to follow up their 3-2 away win at Nottingham Forest in midweek.
Have a great weekend!