The big issues that will shape our communities

I hope that all first readers were able to take some time off over the Christmas period, and I would like to wish you a happy new year and all the best for 2022.  

As first was going to press, there was significant concern in the UK and elsewhere about the impact of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

Before Christmas, the Prime Minister announced extremely ambitious targets in relation to booster jabs, and there were reports of long queues of people patiently waiting for their third dose.   

I would like to thank all of you for the hard work that I know you will have undertaken to support this crucially important booster programme, and by the time you read this I hope we are celebrating significant numbers of people having been given additional protection against the Omicron variant.  

“Councils have done an immense amount to support their communities throughout the pandemic”

As ministers have consistently remarked when they join us for conferences, webinars and other events, councils have done an immense amount to support their communities throughout the pandemic, and I have no doubt about the important role you will have played in this latest stage.    

I am sure that, like me, you are tired of hearing about COVID-19, and the hope must be that in 2022 we can again focus on the big issues that will shape our communities over the coming decade. 

There are various white papers and other key announcements that we are expecting to see this year, including in relation to special educational needs and disability (SEND), levelling up and devolution, planning, waste collection, and fire service governance, to name just a few. 

While it is unfortunately likely that COVID-19 will be with us for some time to come, I hope as we progress through 2022 our focus will increasingly turn to these key issues and that we can work in partnership with the Government to bring about real and sustained improvements for the people who we have been elected to serve.


Time to fund councils properly

Not just another year?