Cabinet Paper on Regulatory Services

Cabinet Paper on Regulatory Services

A proposal to explore a regional service for Trading Standards, Licensing and Environmental Health was agreed at Full Council last week. These are important services as they support local businesses to understand their responsibilities whilst ensuring the public are protected. The approach demonstrates how the Council is working with other local authorities, and the Welsh Government, to ensure the quality and sustainability of services are safeguarded at a time when council funding continues to be cut by Central Government.

By adopting this model of working, we can make savings and create long term resilience by pooling resources to ensure an affordable and sustainable service. This will also allow us to retain our high performance level in health and consumer protection.

You can read WalesOnline’s report by clicking here.

City Growth Commission Report

Last week’s final City Growth Commission Report (Unleashing Metro Growth) argues that the UK economy needs successful cities in order to continue to grow and balance this growth. It also sets out the need for cities to have more say in the UK’s political economy and devolution of power to our major cities.

This is an important and radical report, which could have major implications for Wales. When it comes to creating jobs, building homes and reforming public services, their report is unambiguous – cities need greater power and greater funding!

The report recognises the new economic realities of our time. Cities, as centres of productivity, innovation and creativity, represent the UK’s great economic opportunity.

The work of the Commission draws attention to what it calls our ‘over-centralised political system’. This it concludes is stifling growth and the report sets out a fundamental and compelling case for change by devolving powers and responsibilities to cities.

As one of the UK’s Core Cities I am determined that Cardiff is at the forefront of this agenda because the Welsh capital is crucial to the success of the Welsh economy. However we also need to look at economic opportunities beyond Wales and are rightly identified by the City Growth Commission, along with Bristol, as one of 6 ‘power-house super city regions’ upon which the British economy will rely in the future.

These Western cities- which include Cardiff and Bristol – are among the most productive and creative in the UK, but are so far an under developed national economic asset. I am currently in discussions with Bristol and other partners to see how the Western cities can be given the freedom and investment needed to unleash growth in the UK economy and to get on with the job of creating wealth and prosperity.

Launch of Alert Logic

Last week I was invited to speak at the official opening of Alert Logic’s European Headquarters in the Cardiff Enterprise Zone.

Based in Houston, Texas, Alert Logic is one of the world’s leading cyber security companies, employing about 360 people worldwide and their new presence in Cardiff will create almost 130 highly skilled jobs in the city – in a rapidly growing global industry.

Cardiff was selected because of our readiness to establish the European HQ quickly along with our excellent transport links, close proximity to London our skilled local workforce, with many researching cyber security at our local universities.

The firm is keen to develop strong links with our universities and schools to foster young technology talent and I wish them every success in our city!



Budget Settlement

Budget Settlement


Welsh Government announced their decision to cut £146m in the budget next year for local government in Wales, an average of 3.4% in cash support. This will mean that here in Cardiff, the City Council will have to make a further saving of £45m in addition to the £48m in the current year (and £120m over the last 5 years).

A reduction in funding support from Central Government puts even more pressure on budgets and local services that have already felt the strain of five years of cuts when Cardiff is experiencing rapid population growth and greater demands on public services.

As of yet, we don’t know what settlement has been agreed beyond 2015/16 but we are pressing Welsh Government for financial plan.

Despite the current position we remain committed to engaging with the people of Cardiff in the difficult choices ahead. Via initiatives such as the Cardiff Debate, we will be working with citizens and partners on a range of budget proposals over the coming months. The results of which will help us to drive new ways of service delivery.

Cardiff Debate Results and Launch of New Website


The first stage of the Cardiff Debate has now been completed! These initial events were aimed at raising awareness of some of the challenges we face in delivering public services in Cardiff and to engage people in conversations about their priorities and ideas for doing things differently.

Since the end of June we have undertaken over 37 events across Cardiff in every electoral ward, as well as a number of city-wide events such as the International Food & Drink Festival, Pride Cymru and Tafwyl.

To date, over 6,500 votes have been cast on which services mattered most to people (with 16 categories/services to choose from) with the top 3 city-wide priorities being health services (12.9%), education and skills (9.8%) and keeping children safe (9.5%).

To view the results for your area, please visit the Gallery Page on the new Cardiff Debate website.

In addition we have also carried out an on-line survey and Ask Cardiff survey which has received over 3000 responses and we have received over 2500 ideas of how we can do things differently in the future.

Dates for Part 2 of the Cardiff Debate will be announced in due course!

Made in Cardiff

Made In Cardiff

I had the pleasure of attending the Made in Cardiff launch on Wednesday night. Made in Cardiff is a new digital television channel created specifically for Cardiff. The channel will broadcast daily news and magazine programmes about the city.

Made in Cardiff has now started broadcasting live on Freeview channel 23 and also appears on Sky channel 134 and Virgin Media channel 159.

Cardiff Internet Exchange

Leader with John Souter CEO of LINX

We are now at the final stages of launching our very own internet exchange here in Cardiff! I was invited to the official launch of IXCardiff in the Millennium Stadium on Wednesday which was attended over 100 people from organisations including; the BBC, Cardiff Business Council and many UK wide ICT companies. Above you can see me pictured with John Souter, CEO of provider LINX.

At present, internet traffic in South Wales has to be sent via London. Local internet service providers pay to connect to London which is costly.

This internet exchange has significant benefits to our city and for the rest of Wales, cutting costs for local internet providers, making our city more attractive to investors and businesses. The UK Government has pledged £6.8m towards the programme and has dedicated £600,000 of it to ensure smaller businesses are also connected to the exchange.

With this development in digital infrastructure, becoming even more super-connected will enables the Welsh Capital to compete against other financial centres across the world.

Below I’m pictured with the our council’s Super Connected Cardiff Team and Susan Krouwell (Department for Culture, Media and Sport).

Leader with the Super Connected Cardiff Team and Susan Krouwell

Mipim Uk – Olympia

Mipim UK

This year MIPIM UK was held in Olympia, London between 15th to 17th October. MIPIM UK is the 1st UK property trade show gathering all professionals looking to close deals in the UK property market: investors, developers, local authorities, occupiers, hotel groups, agents and business service providers.

Cardiff had a large presence at the property show where the Cardiff interactive model was on display and we created considerable media attention. As Leader of the Council, I was delighted to attend and speak with potential investors about the Cardiff offer.

Youth Council Summit

Youth Summit 11

Last week I was invited to speak at the Cardiff Youth Council Summit as part of European Democracy Week. The event held at The Old Library, City Centre was one of many youth conferences taking place across the UK and indeed Europe!

The Summit was aimed at enabling young people to increase their understanding of local democratic processes in Cardiff and to have an opportunity to discuss current council themes with the Cabinet as part of the Cardiff Debate.

Over 50 young people aged between 11 and 25 from different backgrounds took part, some of whom came from schools in Cardiff. 11 in total! We also had college and university students as well as the unemployed. Young people were given the opportunity to discuss in groups with peers, Cabinet and Assistant Cabinet Members, a range of issues including; getting more people in Cardiff to vote in elections, ways to engage young people about decisions that affect them and preparing young people to be active citizens.

Throughout the event, two artists from People Around Here were busy creating a ‘graphic facilitation’ of the feedback received. The end result was incredible! We hope to display the artwork in County Hall shortly.

Above you can see me pictured with Rob Green, Chair of Cardiff Youth Council. Along with Rob, members of the Council’s Partnership Team and Cabinet Members were on hand to facilitate the group discussions and answer questions.



Cardiff Contemporary

Cardiff Contemporary

Cardiff Contemporary Logo

Last week I officially opened Cardiff Contemporary, Cardiff’s most ambitious contemporary visual arts festival, which over the next month will bring artistic flair to the city’s streets.   Access to great culture is crucial to creating a liveable city, and this is something which Cardiff already does really well.

Over recent years we have invested in excellent cultural facilities, like the Wales Millennium Centre and have hosted major international cultural events, such as the Artes Mundi Prize and WOMEX. All of these have been important for the city.

But events like Cardiff Contemporary, the Diffusion festival with Photography or the Swn Festival with music – signal a shift in approach. They’re about taking art and culture out of formal spaces like galleries, museums and opera houses, and putting them centre-stage on the city’s streets! They’re about celebrating the city’s own creative success alongside the best international talent. They’re about taking risks, and they’re about letting go.  Culture should not be dictated from on high by the Council or any other authority.  Our role as a City Council must be to open up the city, to create spaces – from castles to vacant shop units – which allow the creative talent of Cardiff to express itself. The programme for Cardiff Contemporary does this brilliantly.

Ruth Cayford

With Ruth Cayford Visual Arts Manager for the City of Cardiff Council at the launch in G39

This year’s Turner Prize nominee James Richards’ video work, “Not Blacking Out”, will be shown as part of the exhibition ‘A giant, whose shoulders I stand on’. Richard James, a former bassist with Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci and Welsh musician as well as producer R Seiliog will also create a sonic installation from the Clock Tower at Cardiff Castle.

For Bedazzled, ffotogallery are recreating Dylan Thomas’ favourite New York pub, The White Horse Tavern, inside a disused building in Cardiff Bay. Cardiff’s Goat Major Projects plan to convert an empty shop into a “virtual” mountain, where visitors can experience nature in an urban environment. Shipping containers will also be sited around the city and Bay by Cardiff’s g39 Gallery to create temporary art spaces housing “art experiences” exploring Cardiff’s world trade links.

This is just a flavour of what’s in store.  Be sure to get involved! Click here for the full programme!

Empty Walls

Running alongside Cardiff Contemporary is the ‘Empty Walls’ festival, which is another great example of the spirit of co-operative working.  Over 20 local and international artists will transform the streets of Cardiff in to an open air gallery of public murals. You can view some of the displays on this online video.

The festival is being organised by the Modern Alchemist collective, who recently transformed the old Cardiff Bus ticket office on Wood Street in the city centre into the Abacus, a contemporary arts centre which has run throughout the summer. Just like Cardiff Contemporary the success of this project has relied on the vision and energy of the Modern Alchemist team and the willingness on behalf of the Council to open up disused spaces so that young, creative people can take risks and make things happen.

City Lab

Jay Roewe

I’d like to thank Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Aspen Institute and The Atlantic for hosting CityLab 2014 to which I received an invitation in recognition of what our staff at the City of Cardiff Council are doing to promote Cardiff as a world class, liveable city.

The event brought together international Mayors and experts to consider the big challenges that face our cities.  Over 50% of the world’s population currently live in cities, a figure that is expected to grow to around 70% by 2050.

We heard from Jay Roewe, pictured here with me, from broadcaster HBO. He talked about taking the Game of Thrones to Northern Ireland and described the ‘economic force multiplier’ benefits Belfast. Over 300 local suppliers- including hotels, florists, make-up artists and restaurants –benefitted from the series being filmed there.  As you might expect we suggested Cardiff for his next creation!

I was also able to meet with CEO of Splash, Mike Young, who produced the Welsh animation series Super Ted and is currently working to bring a new film production to Cardiff. Whilst he is now US-based, Mike grew up on the terraces of Ninian Park and said there was only one place to shoot the film of 70’s wild man and Cardiff City FC icon, Robin Friday. The project has the support of the Film Agency For Wales and preparations are hoped to start later this year.