Cardiff last week acted as the host capital for the NATO Summit 2014.
It has been a privilege to host such a high profile event attended by some of the most recognisable world leaders. The issues discussed will have a significant impact on global affairs, and South East Wales can be proud of its role in hosting the NATO delegates.
The summit has also showcased Wales and Cardiff to the world and provides further evidence that the capital city region can deliver on a global stage. The image of world leaders gathered below the historic keep of Cardiff Castle on Thursday night shows that Cardiff is a genuine player on the international stage, and goes some way towards explaining why so many people feel such pride in the city.
As part of our approach to building on Cardiff’s strengths, a marketing campaign was launched during the Summit to promote the city. The campaign focuses on providing a clear message to financial and professional organisations about the city’s credentials as a business location and its standing as a leading quality of life city. The message throughout the week was that Cardiff is open for business.
The city is a youthful and vibrant European capital which has much to offer those who chose to live, work or invest here. Having made significant investment in new sporting and cultural attractions over the past two decades, we are now focusing on the city’s credentials as a world class liveable city. I have no doubt that the Summit will have gone a long way towards showing people what the city is all about and builds on recent events including the Extreme Sailing Series, One Day Cricket International and the Super Cup.
Of course, hosting major events like NATO is no small feat. That is why I must thank the residents of Cardiff, as well as local businesses, for their patience during the lead up to the Summit. I’d also like to extend my gratitude to everyone involved with the NATO preparations. All the hard work has ensured a successful event with as little disruption possible.
Lessons learnt from Wales Audit Office Corporate Assessment
The Wales Audit Office has committed to working with Cardiff to tackle the challenges we have identified.
The report from the WAO, which follows a review undertaken in March of this year, makes a number of very important points and clearly lays out the areas we must focus on as an organisation. It also emphasised the importance of the Council’s new three-year Organisational Development Programme to reshape the way the Council operates.
As an organisation we are committed to working hard to deliver services for our communities. We are under no illusion about the task facing us and it is clear a great deal of work needs to be done to ensure the Council can keep delivering for communities during a time of unrelenting financial pressure. This means we need to think differently about how we design and deliver our services in the future, and work with our partners and communities. We are already starting to do this in some areas. For instance, we have formed a partnership between Sports Cardiff and Cardiff Metropolitan University to help deliver sports provision.
The programme of organisational development agreed by my Cabinet is now driving forward a much more customer and community focused agenda. This will allow us to respond positively to the challenges forecast over the next few years. We have also launched a major consultation programme, the Cardiff Debate, which I blogged about recently. This is a genuine opportunity for people to put forward ideas for improving the city.
It is important that the Wales Audit Office has recognised the significance of this work.
The Council has also established a Challenge Forum which draws together experts in local government service delivery to test, challenge and support our approach and ensure the rapid improvement that the city of Cardiff needs and deserves. The Council is now looking at how we can learn and share better practice both nationally and internationally. Again being part of the Co-operative Councils Network will play an important role in helping us face the challenges that Cardiff faces.
2K Family Fun Run and Cardiff 10K
People from all over Cardiff took to the streets to take part in the 2K Family Fun Run and the Cardiff 10K on Sunday. Runners at all levels set off from City Hall and made their way through Cathays and Roath, returning to a warm welcome at the finish line. I also took part in my first ever 2K run! Well done to everyone who took part and thank you to those people who came out to support us.
Mayor’s Dinner at the Mansion House
Last night I attended a Dinner at the Mansion House with the Lord Mayor Councillor Margaret Jones and five Mayors from the across the U.S.A (Compton, Santa Fe, Syracuse, Newton and Irving). The mayors at this Dinner have been chosen to represent smaller US cities, comparable in size to Cardiff.
The purpose of this Dinner was to build relationships, to share best practices and innovative solutions to common issues. It was also an opportunity for Cardiff to develop a close relationship with influential individuals heading up cities in key US states. The visit presents the possibility of future business opportunities in terms of joint events, trade missions and business development.