February 2024

Posted by: Councillor Tracey Dixon on 29 February 2024 12:06

Councillor Tracey Dixon, Leader of South Tyneside Council
Councillor Tracey Dixon, Leader of South Tyneside Council

It's been another whirlwind month packed with so much going on. You know how much I value your feedback and your views have mattered more than ever with a range of consultation and engagement happening right across the council.

Thanks also to all those tenants and leaseholders who have taken part in the independent ballot to have their say on the future of council housing. If you haven't yet cast your vote, consultation runs until 7 March. You, our tenants, are at the very heart of this and we are keen to hear your views. For further information and to vote, visit Council Housing Review - South Tyneside Homes

We also began consultation on plans to extend the existing Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) for a further three years. The orders give us, and the police, additional powers, and greater flexibility to address persistent anti-social behaviour which is having a detrimental effect on local communities.

I know that anti-social behaviour is one of your key concerns and we will use all measures at our disposal to tackle it. Last year we invested £650,000 in a new state-of-the-art CCTV control room to boost safety and security and we continue to work closely with our partners to crack down on crime and disorder.

We want to make sure that residents can feel safe, and proud of, where they live. That is why we've made those investments to support tackling anti-social behaviour as well as protecting our street cleansing and road maintenance budgets despite pressures.

Bringing forward a balanced budget is one of the most challenging and important things we have to do, our services protect those in need and deliver essential services. It is our responsibility to agree a balanced budget and I am pleased that we have once again managed this in 2024/25 despite ongoing increasing cost pressures and savings targets. You can find out more about the Council's budget here.

I know that you'll all be keen to get an update about the ongoing waste dispute. Things are now moving forward with positive dialogue in recent weeks that I have been involved in directly. Although all parties acknowledge the progress, dialogue, and engagement to date, at the time of writing issues currently remain unresolved and so industrial action continues. However, we remain committed to listening to the workforce and addressing concerns to find a resolution together. We'll continue to keep you updated on any operational matters via the Council's website.

February marks National Apprenticeship Week. As the North East Combined Authority Portfolio Lead for education, inclusion, and skills I believe that good education and skills - taught at any stage in life - is what will drive South Tyneside, and the wider region forward. Apprenticeships are a fantastic way of fostering home-grown talent and ensuring that our residents are equipped with the right skills to take advantage of opportunities such as IAMP, Dogger Bank and the growing green economy right here on our doorstep. Our devolution deal has people at its heart, improving lives by giving everyone the skills and support they need for our economy to thrive.

I wanted to take a moment to share some positive news with you and some recent successes.

Our Shared Lives scheme received a well-deserved Good rating by the Care Quality Commission. Inspectors found people were well supported to live the lives they wanted in the service, which involves carers providing support in their family home to adults with a learning disability and/or autism.

I'm really pleased that the CQC recognised the positive culture of this wonderful scheme. We are always looking for more carers and I would encourage anyone who is interested in getting involved to get in touch at sharedlives@southtyneside.gov.uk.

I was also delighted that three more of our innovative projects have gained external recognition and been shortlisted for prestigious national awards

In particular the South Tyneside Pledge is through to the finals in the Public/Private Partnership category, the Viking Energy Network in the Net Zero category and the council's Organisational Development Team for Small Team of the Year in the Local Government Chronicle awards.

We also had our successes recognised in the LGA Labour Report '101 Achievements of Labour in Power'. The report looked at policy proposals and wins from Labour councils across the country. Our mockingbird foster model, our renewable energy centres, our winter readiness scheme and of course the South Tyneside Pledge have all been recognised on a national level for the brilliant achievements that they are.

I'm incredibly proud of some of the groundbreaking and transformative work we have been doing both within the council as an organisation and to support our communities, and it's fantastic that these schemes have been shortlisted as being among the best examples of innovation and quality in the local government sector.

Councillor Tracey Dixon
Leader of South Tyneside Council

Last modified: 29 February 2024 12:06