As a proud Yorkshireman I can relate to that well-known Tyke philosophy “tha dun’t get summat for nowt” and that’s certainly true when it comes to local government.
With the continued austerity measures and huge funding cuts by central government, councils up and down the land are feeling the pinch more and more every year and are having to make all sorts of tough decisions.
We hear on a regular basis about councils having to make large numbers of redundancies, cutting services to the public and stopping their investment in infrastructure and facilities.
However, in the East Riding, we have so far managed to avoid the drastic actions taken by some of our counterparts elsewhere in the country. That isn’t a coincidence or due to any stroke of fortune. East Riding of Yorkshire Council has been working extremely hard since the outset of the financial crisis to forward plan for these hard times and to innovate with new technology to make sure we can continue to deliver quality services to our communities on an ever-reducing budget.
We strongly believe in avoiding knee-jerk reactions and we continue to invest a lot of money into making the East Riding a fantastic place to live, work and visit.
And that brings me back to my starting point … our philosophy is that you don’t get things for nothing.
The council has an excellent track record on securing external funding for major projects such as highways schemes and the new East Riding Leisure Bridlington complex, but such successes are the result of a lot of extremely hard work to put together top-class bids in very competitive environments.
Likewise, the council is committed to a policy of investing to save wherever and whenever possible because we firmly believe that, through investing in technology to operate more efficiently, by ploughing money into great facilities and services for the public and by supporting local firms and high streets through grants, initiatives and superb business services, the rewards will be multiple.
That is why, for example, we have spent millions of pounds on our leisure centres, transforming them into state-of-the-art facilities which offer all sorts of health and wellbeing benefits for residents.
This commitment to investment, innovation and top-class service delivery has been recognised on a national level with the council being shortlisted for five Local Government Chronicle (LGC) awards.
The council has been nominated for national awards for how our public health team promotes health and wellbeing for residents, the partnership work between our public health and leisure services and specialist health teams and GPs, our community involvement with the YORhub 4 Good fund which provides grants to local projects, and for the success of our innovative leisure services’ online booking system.
Perhaps the most pleasing of our shortlistings, however, is in the prestigious category of the council of the last 20 years.
This is particularly apt because it was 20 years ago this April that East Riding of Yorkshire Council was formed and I am extremely proud of what has been achieved since, by not only everyone involved with the council in that time but also East Riding residents and businesses.
The LGC awards recognise the work of the best councils in the country and this is a great endorsement of how East Riding of Yorkshire Council continues to be so customer-focussed and committed to excellent service.