Getting things right first time for our customers

August 17, 2009

“As the Council Leader I really want to make sure that we re-shape our services to get things right first time for you and your family.  This week has shown me – at the coal face – how we can improve things for you”.

Checking out the lights

Checking out the lights

Let there be light

As part of a ‘back to the floor’ exercise, where I go out to meet front-line staff and our customers, I have literally been providing services to the people of Sheffield.  I was able to go out on my first day and work with Street Lighting to see how they keep Sheffield safe and light.  I found the team to be dedicated and really trying to ensure that our street lights are kept on for you.  There was clear frustration at times when due to the responsibility of the Electricity Company it takes longer than we would want to endure.  However, the facts are that at any one time 97% of Sheffield street lights are working for you to keep you and your family safe.


On the beat

I shadowed an Ambassador whose patch includes Kelham Island, city centre and St Edwards flats area.  A fascinating insight into how City Centre Ambassadors are not only out there to help people with problems, but able to report issues such as graffiti, bad street services etc, and try to improve safety.

Out with City Centre Ambassadors near Kelham Island

Out with City Centre Ambassadors near Kelham Island

 I met a number of really committed residents and tenants at St Edwards’s flats.  Talked to Moira about her plans for the children’s play area. 

 Went down to Kelham Island area and discussed some of the issues for local businesses, as well as speaking to some of the local residents about their concerns and hopes for the area.

Raising ambition and attainment of our young people

I met with a few people this week to discuss the Pledge for Success Campaign (see  It is really important that we help individual young people to raise their ambition so they’re able to succeed at school.  One of the ways we are doing this is to try to get businesses and individuals to pledge to make a difference to an individual child.  I am pleased to see that so many businesses and individuals are pledging time and effort to raise the ambition and hopefully, the attainment of our young people so they can lead fulfilling lives.

Environment, economy and green jobs

This week we had Cabinet, where the 10 senior councillors come together to make policy decisions for local people in the city.  One of the key papers to be discussed was the green new deal approach, ensuring that we use our research and development at Sheffield’s world class universities to help create Sheffield as a centre of excellence for green technology and environmental jobs. 

What we aim to do is to ensure that we tap into the knowledge of the local universities and the innovation and enterprise of local businesses to begin to find solutions to some of the problems that we have with regards to carbon emission. 

 I am pleased that the Council is prepared to support this, and we have got national recognition to say that we are beginning to be forward thinking.  I am committed to make sure that Sheffielders have a city of enterprise, and local jobs are created and this is an innovative way to help look at how we deal with the problem in the future, as well as look at new jobs here in Sheffield.

Make sure the bugs don’t bite

Setting a rat-trap!

Setting a rat-trap!

Continuing with my ‘back to the floor’, I went out with the Pest Control Service to look at how the Council tries to ensure that local people don’t have to endure bugs and rats in the city.  I went to a number of places where, free of charge, the Council day-in-day-out help to get rid of some of the pests that are around us.  Again, interesting to speak to customers and staff to find out ways to improve the service.

Local Jobs – Listening to Business

As part of my approach to get me out of the Town Hall and listening to Sheffielders, as well as going to local groups, I also visit businesses.  This week I went to City Cars on City Road and discussed how they wish to ensure that local jobs are preserved in the economic climate.  Having spoken to the owners of the business it became quite clear to me that they are committed to improving the service to the people of Sheffield, and particularly ensuring that taxi drivers’ customer care is centre to everything they do.  I came away with some good ideas and promised that we would follow them through to try to ensure that local jobs are protected, as well as the service to the people of Sheffield improved.


Every Local Neighbourhood Matters

I chaired the Strong Economy Board which brings together the Council, local businesses and voluntary sector to set out the vision for Sheffield’s economy for now and the future.  At this meeting we were clear that one of the things that Sheffield needs to do, as well as concentrate on the improvement of the city centre, is to ensure that every local area has improvement and can have job and enterprise opportunity.  The Board agreed that a major piece of work needs to be done around this to see what investment needs to be made in local areas to improve them and ensure that local people have good leisure, shopping facilities as well as opportunities for jobs and enterprise across the city.  This fits in with my view that we have really got to ensure that local businesses and local jobs are improved and enhanced.  


'Rascal Babies' - Grand Opening

'Rascal Babies' - Grand Opening

Showcasing Sheffield – New Shop Open

 Those of you that have been to the city centre recently will have noticed the wonderful talent being showcased in some of the shop windows in Sheffield that have been brought back to life.  As part of this Showcasing Sheffield event we are committed to try to bring some of these shops back to life.  I was delighted therefore to go down to Furnival Gate and open a local shop for baby clothes and accessories.  It was really good to see the shop opening, bringing it back to life within the city centre, and giving extra choice to Sheffield shoppers.

 As always I am here to try to improve the services that we provide to you and improve the city for everyone. 

Face Painting at Rascal Babies

Face Painting at Rascal Babies

Please feel free to contact me at and as always I am committed to making this a city where everyone matters.


This week… 22nd July

July 21, 2009

“This week has been another varied week working to help bring jobs to Sheffield…”

Me with pupils at Handsworth Grange

Me with pupils at Handsworth Grange

Education is really important to me and making sure that our young people get the best possible start in life. I visited Handsworth Grange School and was impressed by some of the work that is going on there to ensure the pupils get the best possible education.


Showcase Sheffield

Later I went down to unveil Showcase Sheffield. I am determined to show that our city centre stays as vibrant as possible for local people and visitors alike.

Sheffield Showcase

Come and have a look at Sheffield Showcase

Showcase Sheffield brings all the talent that we have within the city – established, new artists and designers have created eye-catching displays along with young people training to work in retail. Why not take some time to go and have a look and you’ll be amazed at some of the talent that we have within Sheffield. The great thing is that these shop fronts will be changing every 6 weeks and therefore there will be something new for us all to look at.

Joe Scarborough unveils a painting for Sheffield Showcase to some of the young creative talent involved

Joe Scarborough unveils a painting for Sheffield Showcase to some of the young creative talent involved

 It is important as Leader to understand that we don’t work in isolation and have to look at issues across South Yorkshire. I met with two other local Leaders and the Mayor of Doncaster to discuss key issues for this region including transport, protecting jobs in the recession, training and housing.

As I’ve said before my focus is to try to ensure we have jobs and good employment opportunities for local people here in Sheffield, with that in mind I led a delegation including the Council’s Chief Executive and Creative Sheffield down to Kent to visit Hitachi Trains.

Hitachi Trains

Visiting Hitachi Trains in Kent

Hitachi is looking to locate a new train assembly plant within the UK and also making it its European Headquarters for this type of work. Sheffield, I am pleased to say, is still in the running. They were very impressed with Sheffielders, Sheffield skills, Universities and our approach to modern manufacturing. It all now hinges on the site Sheffield can offer and how that compares to others being offered by town and cities in this country.

Sheffielders need to know that the Council and I are fully focused on this to try to ensure that at the end of the year we will hopefully become the new European Headquarters for Hitachi trains, and are able to bring more jobs and skills to the city.

Olympic and paralympic dream

Keeping ourselves healthy and fit is really important, and I was able to launch the new Sheffield Lighting the Flame Sport Strategy which is linked to the Olympic and Paralympics Games.

Meeting Jessica Ennis

Meeting Jessica Ennis to launch the new Sheffield Lighting the Flame Sport Strategy

It was great to see Jessica Ennis, a local Sheffield girl, supporting the aim to get more people participating in sport as well as us hopefully being able to reap some of the benefits from the Olympic and Paralympics Games. It was really aimed at getting everybody, regardless of who they area, involved in some form of activity and using the Olympic Games for economic, social and health benefits for individuals within the city.

Many Sheffielders will have been angered, like I was, that there is an attempt to try to block off the footbridge through the Station. I want to ensure that Sheffielders can move around the city, and can use the footbridge without hindrance. I was therefore delighted to go along and celebrate the 7th

Birthday celebration of the footbridge with a local residents group who have been really good and active in keeping this issue alive.  I am really pleased to have been able to join in the celebrations and try to ensure that this footbridge stays fully open.

Think BIG

Big logo

Big logo

Another major event this week was to go to the BIG programme, which is a way of getting more people to set up a business in Sheffield and create local jobs. I was able to go and support this initiative on Fargate as the weekend, just to celebrate some of the great entrepreneurs, ideas and small to medium sized business that we have in the City, and the contribution they make to keeping local jobs, particularly in these hard times.

I would also be pleased to hear your comments and feedback on what I have been doing.  To leave a comment you just need to sign up for a WordPress account.

If I can ever help in any way, please feel free to contact me at