Work more effectively

I WAS disappointed by last week's coverage of issues relating to North Somerset Council which included some inaccurate and incomplete reporting of the facts.

I WAS disappointed by last week's coverage of issues relating to North Somerset Council which included some inaccurate and incomplete reporting of the facts. For example, the opinion column suggested that councillors voted to "move hundreds of jobs out of the town".

Councillors actually voted to support a proposal that will enable the council to work more effectively with and for its residents across the whole of North Somerset, and with partner organisations like the health service and police, provide staff accommodation that is fit for purpose and save the council, and therefore the taxpayer, money within four years.

Last week's story focusing on the museum service also crucially missed out information relating both to the proposal to develop a new facility in a prominent location which can make use of the museum's collections and working with neighbouring councils with a view to establishing a museums trust.

I am pleased to see the issue was more accurately reported on your website earlier this week.

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The fact is, as a council we have to do something to protect vital services and to explore ways of providing them differently in the future as the public purse shrinks. The best way to protect services and facilities might mean looking at whether other people like the voluntary sector or private companies are better placed to deliver the services rather than the council directly. We simply cannot bury our heads in the sand, continue as we are, and hope it all goes away. It just won't. Not in North Somerset or anywhere else in the country. Preserving the status quo is not an option.

Other councils, some nearby, are talking about cutting hundreds of jobs. We are trying a more positive approach of trying to protect the jobs, services and facilities we provide by finding creative ways of delivering them to minimise any negative impact on local people.

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Whichever Government exists in a few months, we will have to face more spending cuts, and probably harsher cuts in years to come. By preparing to make the difficult decisions now we stand a much better chance of weathering the storm that's coming our way.

I think it's vitally important that Mercury readers, and indeed all the residents of North Somerset, have the opportunity to understand the whole picture on the big issues facing the council. I am happy to set aside time to brief your reporters so that the full story is understood.


Leader, North Somerset Council

Town Hall


Editor's note: The Mercury's editor has made two appointments to be briefed by the leader of the council, both of which he unfortunately had to cancel. We would be happy if he approached us to find mutually convenient dates

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