Leader's update speech, by Elizabeth Campbell, 24 January 2018

Madam Mayor,

This Council’s first priority is to continue to support the survivors and victims of Grenfell.

Our next priority is to support those residents directly and indirectly affected by the tragedy.

And our third priority is to enable every member of this community to live well and thrive.

We want this Borough to be one where opportunities exist for all.

[Housing]

We live in the one of the most attractive urban settings in the country.  Let this Borough be the benchmark that every other borough in every other city aspires to be.

While we have to accept that there are always going to be limits to the number of people who can live here, we can be the model Borough for ensuring everyone lives in a high quality home and is in receipt of high quality services.

The refurbishment of the Lancaster West estate – co-designed with the participation of the local community – will result in high quality homes.
And the taking back of responsibility for the management of social housing from the TMO will result, over time, in better quality services for all council tenants and leaseholders.

Where new housing is developed, we will encourage different tenures. We will expect developers to bring forward proposals to include intermediate housing and affordable housing for rent, as well as housing for private sale and rental.

I want people who buy homes in the Borough to live here. To raise their families here, to send their children to school here, to pay their taxes here, and to play their part in the life of the community. We don’t want any of our homes to be left empty.

[A Safer Borough]

Madam Mayor, it is no good feeling secure inside your home if you feel uneasy the moment you step outside your front door.

Living in the inner city does not have to go hand in hand with feeling unsafe.

And while no Council on its own can ensure community safety, we can play our part...

... by participating in community forums, by working with the police and by listening to neighbourhood groups.

In Kensington and Chelsea, we have bucked the London trend and seen an overall decline in youth crime, and a fall in the number of first time entrants to the criminal justice system.

As you will see in the Youth Justice Plan in the Council papers, when young people are able to engage in purposeful employment or training “... this has a notable impact on reoffending”.

However, like every other Borough in London, we have a long way to go, particularly on knife crime.

We need to continue to support initiatives such as the The One Life No Knife event taking place next month at St Charles Sixth Form College, where the police and experts in the field will be giving families practical advice.

[An Opportunity Borough]

We on this side of the Chamber believe that education is the biggest determinant of a person’s life chances. 

Education, education, education.

It starts with the basics. 

That is why I am so proud of the fact that state primary school children in Kensington and Chelsea are the best in London at reading, writing and maths...

... and of the fact that our state secondary schools send a higher proportion of A level students to university than any other borough in the country

... and of the fact that children from disadvantaged backgrounds in this Borough do better than any other part of the country.

Moreover, together with the West London Zone, we will introduce a scheme for children who are struggling... whereby they will receive tailored services such as well-being support, extra tuition and access to wider opportunities.

Madam Mayor, this is a Borough where every child matters.

It is so important, too, that children with learning disabilities are stretched to their full potential so they can lead fulfilled lives. 

This year we opened the new Marlborough Primary School, with its new Centre for Autism
We are one of few Boroughs that actually commits its own funds to building new schools, like the outstanding Kensington Aldridge Academy, which also has a Centre for Autism
And we are determined to find the money, not only to rebuild Barlby Primary School but also to  build a new special school for pupils aged 3 to 18 on the Barlby site

An outstanding education is the greatest gift we can give to young people.  It is the first rung on the ladder of opportunity.  So we will not stop there.

We are looking at new ideas to support employment and enterprise in the Borough...

such as better use of Council buildings to support the growth of start-ups and SMEs, like the Workery in the Brompton Library
and we are going to try and place more council contracts with local firms which employ local people, so that a higher percentage of the Council’s expenditure supports our local economy.

Our Council is one which works alongside its residents at every stage of life to help create opportunities that they might not otherwise have had.

[A Cleaner Greener Borough]

The Borough also has some of the best maintained physical infrastructure of any urban setting in the country.

We are proud of our heritage buildings and we are continuing to ensure they are well maintained
Our terraces are ideal for family and community life
We have more garden squares than any other borough
Our extensive parks provide havens for exercise and tranquillity
Unlike surrounding boroughs, our roads are pothole free
And our streets are clean because we are tough on dog fouling and litter, and because we insist on two bin collections a week...

... unlike Labour Camden, which is moving its general waste collections to once a fortnight.

Madam Mayor, we have exciting plans to make this an even cleaner and greener Borough in which to live.

We are one of only two London Boroughs (out of 25 applicants) to have secured the maximum £50,000 grant for the installation of electric charging points on lampposts...

... and we will be rolling them out right across the Borough

We will also will be drawing up plans to look at low cost, low carbon replacements for the Council’s existing fleet of vehicles.

Measures which are not only cleaner and greener, but make us healthier too.

Each of us now has access to new, upgraded health and leisure facilities.  We have refurbished the Chelsea Leisure Centre and rebuilt the Kensington Sports Centre to provide everyone with public indoor spaces in which to exercise.

As we have seen in the news, life expectancy in some of the most deprived areas in the country is actually falling. It is one thing to provide equal access to facilities but this is not the same as tackling health inequalities.

Madam Mayor, we are tackling health inequalities where they are most stark. The Go Golborne initiative is encouraging children and their families to eat well, keep active and feel good – so the children get a better start in life by getting into good habits.

[Getting Alongside Our Communities]

In the digital age, we need to get smarter about the way we interact with our residents.

It is not just about finding contractors to provide services to a certain quality threshold anymore.

It is about giving residents more say in the way their community is run; about providing them with more democracy, as they take advantage of new forums and communications methods to express to us what they want to see happening.

And it is about being more open and receptive to thinking from elsewhere; and being more open to partnership-working with other organisations too.

For example, we will deliver a platform, accessible using an app, to allow residents to be notified (and see in 3D) planning applications in their area. We are one of three European municipalities pioneering the use of this technology - Hamburg and Rome being the others.

We as a Council need to be smart enough to recognise where our service delivery could be adapted and improved; and flexible enough to be able to make constant and seamless improvements to the quality of services we provide.

In future, we will be judged not on our ability to determine our residents’ needs, to find the best service provider and to dispense money.  We will be judged instead on our ability to listen to residents, to understand and to adapt - in short, to find solutions to social problems which need fixing.

As the world changes, so we need to change with it. And in the best pragmatic traditions of my party, we are going to reform the way this Council works, so that we are there for everyone...

This is going to be a safer borough, a greener borough, a healthier borough, a smarter borough and an ever more enterprising Borough.

A Borough where there are opportunities for all.

We are making a real difference to the quality of people’s lives. 

And we will modernise to meet the challenges ahead.