Date Added - 21/12/12
Councillor Allan Wright, leader of the Moray Council, released an end-of-year statement today. He said: "This is a time for relaxation, a time for families, a time for being together, and I take the opportunity to wish you all a very happy Christmas and a guid New Year.
"Looking back over the year, it seems like no time since the May elections and the formation of a new administration. But in that time we’ve travelled quite a long way in delivering on commitments like the flood schemes and new schools, and a third new school funded and awaiting development.
"From day one, my theme as leader of the council has been that the council can deliver a lot but can really achieve so much more in partnership with not only the other public agencies like NHS, HIE, police, fire and rescue, but with businesses, the voluntary sector, and the public.
"I sense a real will to work together within the community planning framework, driven by the acceptance that, in these tricky financial times, it is the only way.
"Very recently, the council had a visit from the Minister for Local Government. During that week he was speaking to more than 120 councillors and chief executives from all over Scotland, and named Moray as a council leading and driving forward community planning.
"What impressed him was that the framework is based on a series of partnerships – economic development, health and social care, community safety, children and young people, and sustainability. The Minister said that community planning would be working to best effect only when budgets were aligned. In Moray we have the framework to deliver on that in the year ahead, and it is the way we can rise to the economic challenge. All this in the year that saw the biggest public consultation on council budgets that the area has ever seen, and from which we await the analysis before setting the budget on February 13.
"The community planning framework includes a stand-alone community engagement group which will be led by the council’s convener, Cllr Stewart Cree and which will report directly to the board. He has also taken on the task of promoting and improving equalities.
"That is, in many ways, the formal partnerships. But they extend across the board and not least to the voluntary sector, a collective name for a tremendous amount of time and effort that brings help and advice to a lot of people. And sometimes cheer as well, like the group at Lhanbryde who organised a Christmas lunch for those who would not otherwise have had one.
"There will be other groups doing similar work, which exemplifies the caring nature of the folk of Moray.
"There are challenging times ahead; together we will meet those challenges and I believe be the stronger for it."