This is my first weekly report-back on the blog. It is currently a trial, and you can read some of my thoughts about it in a blog-post I wrote before commencing the reports. It is not intended to be, nor can it be, an exhaustive report of what I have been doing during the week as a councillor, above all, the nature of a councillor’s work means a lot of the work done for ward residents remains confidential. It is very much a selected highlights of the week.
Neighbourhood Watch Strategy
Much of the start of the week was taken up with final preparations for the Neighbourhood Watch strategy – which combined with an unsettled baby – managed to dominate much of the bank-holiday weekend. I’m rather proud of Neighbourhood Watch in Wandsworth, which has been a key partner in making Wandsworth inner London’s safest borough. The new strategy will be launched next week, and enhances the role of Neighbourhood Watch as well as, for the first time, setting out what Watches, the council, police and other partners can expect from each other to help make Wandsworth even safer.
Meeting with Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce
Along with the Leader of the Council I regularly meet with the Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce to chat about issues in the borough. Perhaps unsurprisingly the biggest topic of discussion was the recession. I have tended towards the bearish when discussing the recession – thinking it will be long and hard. However, a lot of the anecdotal evidence I’ve heard suggests the recession is focussed on the retail sector and while property and construction are showing signs of recovery the retail sector is going to be struggling for some time to come. What was pleasing, however, is that Wandsworth’s businesses still seem fairly optimistic about the future.
CompeteFor London 2012 event
On Thursday I attended and said a few words at a CompeteFor event in Wandsworth. Almost as evidence of business confidence in Wandsworth around 150 businesses attended the event in Wandsworth Town Hall to hear how they could bid for work associated with the 2012 Olympics. When you often assume businesses are struggling to think what they will be doing for the next three months, it was great to see businesses keen to bid for work for the next three years and beyond. If you are a business interested in bidding for Olympic related work then you should visit the official Olympic site at london2012.com/business and CompeteFor.com which is handling the online bidding process.
One of the drawbacks of starting these reports now is that the council tends slow during summer, while we don’t have a ‘recess’ as such there a few formal meetings over summer. In addition, the council enters a purdah during election campaigns which means many meetings and events have to be cancelled. And, of course, that gap gets filled by campaigning by those of us unfortunate enough to be political animals. When I’ve not been at the town hall this week I’ve been on the doorstep (maybe even your’s). It has been an interesting campaign, perhaps for the wrong reasons with the expenses scandal. I hope to find time to post some reflections on it next week.