Buckinghamshire Council launched today. Leader Martin Tett reflects on the the readiness of the new authority to face the challenges of the current emergency.
The council services you currently use haven’t changed overnight, but today your local council has. From today the five district and county councils serving Buckinghamshire residents have now been replaced by the new Buckinghamshire Council.
Leader of the new Buckinghamshire Council, Martin Tett, said: “As we face the Coronavirus outbreak, teams across the council have sprung into action to work together to deal with an unprecedented national emergency situation and to protect, support and inform residents and businesses in Buckinghamshire. Over the course of the last year or so, specialists from all five councils have been working closely together as one team to prepare for the new Buckinghamshire Council. Because of this, we have been able to step into ‘battle rhythm’ and literally hit the ground running.
I am proud of the hard work and dedication of all our staff and councillors that has got us to this position and even more so by what I see them doing each day throughout this difficult time to support the people of Buckinghamshire. We have worked hard to come together over the last year and risen to the challenges we are now faced with today.
Whilst the current emergency has meant we have had to reduce or even stop some of our services we continue to work hard supporting our residents especially the vulnerable and where necessary keeping essential services like our waste and recycling collections going. We are also working really closely with government and local communities to help those affected whether this be through the provision of food or other support for people stuck at home without any other help. We are also working closely with our business community on a number of the financial schemes to support employees and businesses.
Life is difficult enough and I know people’s circumstances will vary tremendously as we all learn to cope as best we can with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. We are doing all we can to find ways to help others including stopping car parking charges and additional support with council tax and other benefits. However this will of course impact on the council’s own funds as we see our income streams reduce.
Looking to the longer term future, he says: “When we are on the other side of the current crisis our immediate focus will be on supporting our local communities and helping people in Buckinghamshire to get back to normality. Then, over time, we’ll move to improving and building the new council together with our staff, partners and local communities. In the future, our residents, communities and businesses will start to see more and more benefits of having one council. More joined up local services, one single organisation serving them, more investment in local priorities and a stronger, louder and unified voice to champion for Buckinghamshire at a national level.”
Martin concludes: “Right now we are responding to the challenges that Coronavirus brings us and we’re focusing all our efforts on delivering the practical support that our residents and businesses need to help all of us get through this.”
There are current changes to some of our services as we focus our resources on the services people need the most. This includes making sure that our vulnerable adults and children are safe and well, working to support communities and continuing to deliver essential services like waste and recycling collections where we have faced staff shortages. We are posting regular updates on our website where there is a special section about Coronavirus services and support. Go to www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/coronavirus