Saturday 30 June 2007
At the MJ
dinner on Park Lane tonight, one of those events that everybody who is anybody is at (well in local government anyway). Andrew Marr
is the presenter for the evening and the sarcasm is cutting as the reshuffle is well and truly underway.
The first tier has been done with 20 of the 23 senior ministerial posts changed. Ruth Kelly has left local government for Transport, Hazel Blears
is the new Communities Minister and within an hour or two of her appointment arrives to address the 900 plus guests at the drinks reception. What a coup for Michael and Heather at the MJ
does a hysterical routine on stage where he talks about having packing crates outside his office when he arrived this morning, with a civil servant telling him it is just in case! He also continuously checks his phone waiting for the dreaded call, for Phil however I think it will be at worst sideways.Tameside
win the well deserved council of the year trophy and I congratulate Janet Callendar
the Chief Executive as she leaves the stage, well done to her and all her team, the hard work has payed off.
A great night is had by all and its after 1.30am when we slope of into the night.
Thursday 28 June 2007
Went to the New Local Government Networks summer reception at Parliament this evening and the tension was almost unbearable. Today Gordon Brown received
the keys to number 10 and the inevitable ministerial reshuffle was only hours away.
There was lots of Ministers and MPs
buzzing about in expectation, anticipation and maybe even fear. Nick Raynsford
gave a speech and whilst he is still excellent value he probably knows his days of high ministerial office have came and went. Ruth Kelly also said a few words and probably knows that she will be on the move, the gossip can't quite make up its mind as to whether it will be demotion or enhancement. Angela Smith is also there and I would hope her star is rising, as she has always been kind to APSE.
It was good to catch up with a number of the familiar faces on the circuit, swap
stories and scoff the orange juice and canapies
. The terrace at Westminster is a beautiful setting, pity about the rain.
Saturday 16 June 2007
Its the Scottish AGM of APSE today at Perth Racecourse and with all the changes in Scottish Local Government at the recent elections we know its going to be an unpredictable outcome. It makes a change from the usual cries of unopposed, as we have up to 3 nominations in some of the categories for election as chairs.
Pat and me spend the night before drafting standing orders for the meeting and we get these adopted at the start of the meeting along with the passing of the constitutional amendments to ensure that nobody can gripe after the event. The format is to be secret ballot done on an exhaustive basis. Although there are over 60 in attendance, there are only 19 member bodies present and therefore every vote is crucial.
The first election is for Scottish Chair and we have 3 candidates, after the first vote we have a split of 8, 6, and 5. So the candidate on 5 drops out and the membership vote again, this time it finishes 10 votes to 9 and Cllr Frank Anderson of West Lothian is elected.
There are a number of other close run contests during the process and despite some long standing members losing out, I can't help feel that the competitiveness of the occasion added to the status of APSE and the atmosphere of the meeting.
Friday 08 June 2007
Another day, another climate change conference, this time its at the Scottish National Football Stadium, Hampden Park. I am Chairing the event and I set off at 6 am to get there in time.
The event goes well and the debate is encouraging, but I still can't help get the feeling that not everyone gets this yet.
Evan Williams from the Scottish Environmental Protection Unit does a good impression of Al Gore by utilising a lot of data from 'an unconventional truth', and its a very good way of getting the message across.
Saturday 02 June 2007
With APSEs headquarters being based in Manchester many in our Northern Region see themselves as being the soul of the organisation, although other areas would argue this point.
It's there annual seminar and agm in Durham and I am invited along to do a slot on climate change. I have done better presentations but I am heartened by the level of debate that takes place and start to think that issue is starting to register amongst all those involved in service delivery, which is the message I wanted to get across.
To many people see it as something someone else deals with in the authority rather than something that everyone should be addressing.