Opinion: Our staff help us juggle so much at once
PUBLISHED: 11:30 17 October 2019
Many people have a single issue they care most about. Not councils. We need to house people, care for people, empower people, support our residents, protect the environment and build an economy that works for everybody.
Haringey residents also expect their council to stand up for those most in need in our community. And after nine years of austerity, we have to do this with less and less money. This always results in competing priorities which we are determined to meet.
As we begin our budget setting plans for next year, I have been reflecting on all the work this council does. Our staff work tirelessly to deliver services in often difficult circumstances. Today (Thu) is Unison's Local Service Champions Day, which celebrates the work of staff who often go above and beyond, behind the scenes, under the constant pressures of unfair central government funding cuts and rising demands for help.
I want to thank every member of our staff because they give their best for this fantastic borough.
Whether it is clearing up fly-tips and catching those responsible, running our libraries, offering vital youth provision or providing adult social services, it is important that we recognise the valued work that council staff do.
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Our housing team are working to deliver 1,000 new council homes by 2022 - so far 227 homes have passed through planning and that is progress I'm really proud of. Our Housing-Related Support team have just been awarded additional funding which will provide lifesaving shelter and support for people rough sleeping over the winter - their dedication is a credit to Haringey. Only last Thursday, the council's arms-length management organisation, Homes for Haringey, had two shortlisted nominees receive national recognition at different awards ceremonies.
Hyacinth Foster won the Improving the Lives of Women or Communities category at the Women in Housing Awards in Manchester, while their in-house repairs team - HRS - was highly commended in the Repairs & Maintenance Provider of the Year category at the 24housing awards in Coventry.
Foster and HRS were among five HfH nominees across the two events in Manchester and Coventry, with honourable mentions for fellow finalists Esther Campbell, Denise Gandy and Hearthstone too. Well done to all five on their sterling work for our communities and residents.
The council's Connected Communities team are also finalists in the Europe-wide Innovation in Politics awards for their pioneering programme offering support to migrants and helping them to settle into life in Haringey. Our planning team (known as the Development Management Service) was even recently referred to as "one of the most impressive and efficient across the country."
And then there's the team doing everything they can to address the climate emergency. We all have to be hands on deck trying to improve Haringey's air quality and environment. It is no small task, but we have to make bold interventions to address climate change, and Liveable Crouch End is part of that. Residents should be assured that we will listen to feedback at the end of the two-week trial and consult widely on any future proposals
Like our staff, Haringey's cabinet is also committed to giving our absolute best to the borough. Last week we committed to our Community Wealth Building ambition - making sure that jobs and opportunities benefit local residents, and that every penny we spend benefits local people and the Haringey economy.
There is a huge amount going on every day in our amazingly diverse borough. Across Haringey Council we are working hard - and will continue to work hard - to deliver for you our residents.