At the end of March I was elected Leader of the City of Cardiff Council.
I’ve since started to meet with a wide variety of people and organisations who play a leading role in the public life of our city and will meet many more in the time ahead.
I’ve met with Ministers and made the case for Cardiff; with local authority leaders across South Wales and reaffirmed my commitment to the Cardiff Capital Region; with major employers and public service partners to understand the challenges they face and the great work they’re doing; and most importantly, with many citizens and community groups in whose name the Council acts.
I have appointed a new and talented Cabinet and outlined my vision for Cardiff: to be Europe’s most liveable capital city.
I believe Cardiff’s great strength is that it is a capital city on a human scale.
It’s therefore well placed to offer an alternative to the world’s mega-cities – where city-living has too often become synonymous with congestion, crime, high-prices and a sense of soullessness – adopting a wider approach to attracting talent and investment by creating a lively, safe, sustainable, inclusive, healthy and prosperous city.
In practice this will mean creating a city for people; designing and developing our city in a way which puts people first. It will mean ensuring Cardiff continues to develop as a great place to live, but improves its credentials as a place to work.
Making sure that this happens is a subject to which I expect to return in blogs over the coming weeks and months.
It will also mean increasingly designing and delivering services with people.
Working closely with communities will allow us to respond to specific needs, tackle shared problems together and to strengthen our relationships with the people of Cardiff.
It will mean embracing new ways of working too. A combination of severe budget cuts and increased demand means that our public services are going to be placed under even greater pressures.
Our response will require imagination, innovation and an openness to new ideas if we are to unlock the creativity and energy of our staff and our communities. It will also require learning from others. The challenges facing the City Council are substantial, but they are not unique. That is why Cardiff this month became the first Welsh member of the Co-operative Council’s Innovation Network and why I was pleased to welcome the network to Cardiff last week to meet the Cabinet, trade unions and senior Council managers.
Fundamentally I believe in public services, underpinned by co-operative values and the principle of working together towards a common goal. I’m looking forward to sharing great examples of these co-operative approaches to public services with you as they are developed here in Cardiff, and encouraging you all to get involved.
Finally, many of you will have noticed the name-change: from ‘Cardiff Council’ to ‘the City of Cardiff Council.’
This might seem like a small thing, but for me there’s a lot in a name.
I believe that we need to put the ‘city’ back in to Cardiff Council. Rebuilding that link between the Council and the city and unleashing the civic pride and energy that exists across the city is at the heart of my agenda for Cardiff.
And that’s really the reason for this blog – to keep you up to date with what I am doing (on your behalf), to let you know about the big decisions the Council is taking and to encourage you all to get involved in shaping your communities and the future of our city.