15 - 19 October
In celebration of Black History Month, we’re hosting a series of free film screenings in the Council Chamber next week (23, 24 and 26 October). If you haven’t seen Selma, Anita and Me or Hidden Figures, or even if you have and would like to see them again, do come along and bring your family and friends with you. Don’t forget to book your tickets online.
On another note, I was very pleased to be appointed to the Skills for Londoners Board by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. The purpose of the board is to advise on actions to support the Mayor’s Skills for Londoners Strategy and his skills and employment programmes. If you live in the borough of Hounslow and need support to find employment, training or apprenticeships, find out what help is available to you.
Big congratulations to the Hounslow and Richmond Community Healthcare NHS Trust, who’s rating has now been improved to ‘good’ in every area by the care quality commission. As always, thank you to the staff and volunteers who ensure our health services are consistently of a high quality.
To kick start the week, on Monday I had a conference call with officers at the London Council regarding the Capital Ambition Board meeting next week (Tuesday 23). Topics on the agenda include homelessness, temporary accommodation and housing.
I then had a meeting with Cllr Samia Chaudhury, Mayor of Hounslow, to discuss how she’s getting on with her budget particularly around transport. Later in the day, I had a meeting with Local Government Ombudsman (LGO), and colleagues here at the Civic Centre.
It was a very positive meeting and we discussed how we can improve the way we deal with complaints that go to the LGO in a timely manner. We’ve agreed a series of actions that include more training for staff and we also discussed the use of best practice documents that will help us deliver a better service to our residents.
On Tuesday I met with Mark Frost, Head of Traffic, Transport and Environmental Strategy, to discuss transport hotspots that are causing problems for residents across the borough. I then met with representatives from Hounslow Cycling Campaign, as you will be aware they are very keen that we support Cycle Superhighway 9 – a new superhighway proposed to provide a clearer and safer route for cyclists in west London, largely separating them from other vehicles. TfL will be consulting further on the changes they’re proposing to the original scheme.
I then had a meeting with representatives of the Travelling Showpeople, who were pleased we have decided not to pursue the development of their two sites in Feltham, you can read more about this here.
Shaking hands with John Parnham at the meeting
In the evening, we had our cabinet meeting – the big ticket item was the delivery of our housing pledge to secure 5,000 new homes for local people, which was approved by Cabinet Members. We’re keen to get started on delivering more homes for the people that desperately need them in the borough. You can find out more about the progress of the pledge and sign up for updates.
On Wednesday, I went to Slough to attend the Heathrow Community Engagement Board’s Strategic Advisory Group and was joined by many other council Leaders. This was the first meeting of this group, which has been tasked to consider the strategic view of the proposed expansion of Heathrow Airport from a local authority perspective.
Later in the day, I chaired the West London Employment Skills Board. It was another positive meeting with the board, who are really pushing ahead to ensure we get the best results for residents across London – particularly for those who are hard to reach and trapped in low paid jobs.
On Thursday, I had my monthly finance meeting with Cllr Shantanu Rajawat, Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate Services, Clive Palfreyman, Director of Finance and Corporate Services, and our Interim Chief Executive, Alan Adams. We’re working very hard to ensure we reduce our overspend and meet our financial targets. Austerity isn’t over, especially in local government and other public services. We’re also working very closely with our health colleagues to try and reduce the risk to vulnerable groups this winter, particularly the elderly.
In the afternoon I met with Cllr John Todd, ward member for Chiswick Homefields, and the chair of the Chiswick House Trust, Andrew Fane. It was my first meeting with the chair and like all charities, they’re feeling the financial squeeze. We are always trying to do our best to help in these very difficult times.
Today, after a series of meetings in the morning, I’ll be out and about in the borough as usual meeting with residents. If you see me, come and say hello!
As always, good luck to the Bee’s this weekend in their match against Bristol City!
Have a good weekend all.