Friday, March 18, 2011

Some positives

I'm not a member of Stockton Council's cabinet - that's reserved for Labour & Tory members at the moment.  I do attend most meetings, partly to keep an eye on what's going on and partly because that means that sometimes I can make comments or suggestions that make a difference, albeit quite a small one.
Tonight's agenda was a long one but a couple of things are worthy of note.  First of all the report on a review of admin staff in the council - a horrible job done really well and with care.  Horrible because the inevitable outcome was going to be loss of jobs and that means loss of people's livelihoods.  But done well because at the end of it the officer leading the review, the committee checking it and the unions representing those staff all agreed that it had been done with care and sympathy.  Although even the voluntary redundancies are traumatic they are less so than compulsory ones and to end up with only a handful of the latter is a tribute to all concerned.  Of course the local press don't come along and report when a union rep stands up and pays tribute to the considerate way in which the review has been carried out - only bad news seems to sell papers.
The other thing worthy of note is the economic climate in the borough - not good but a lot better than in some other places and apparently improving though slowly.  To help it on its way was the enterprise strategy presented tonight.  It's not often that I welcome yet another strategy but this one I did.  7 years ago I suggested that the borough needed a plan to ensure that more people started their own business, whether it's as a window cleaner or a rocket scientist.  For too long we've relied on large employers and now even a large employer doesn't employ thousands on a site.  Multi-million pound industries work with a hundred or two people and lots of high tech equipment so we do need lots of smaller businesses to employ people.  At last we have a strategy to do just that.  It pulls together all the things that have been happening and gives something for people to point to as the way forward.  Fingers crossed that everyone does their bit!

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