As a city we are very lucky that we still have a very wide range of council services available for residents, even if at times the quality of services falls below what we would like to provide.
These services depend on thousands of council staff, as well as staffing across schools, but staff, like many other residents, have seen significant change in their roles, services and plans over the last years since the global economic crash.
As a council we are proud of avoiding compulsory redundancies as part of our response to the squeeze on resources, but that doesn’t mean that valuable services have remained unaffected.
However if anything over that time staff’s commitment and enthusiasm to delivering the best services they can is undiminished.
They work long hours and often bear the brunt of public concerns over the changes that they themselves have very little say over. Sometimes a simple thank you can seem like a very small thing, but to people working at the front line of public services this can be a massive boost, and that’s why I wanted to highlight just one recent ‘thank you’.
A resident of the city emailed me regarding the seafront team – who ensure the quality and safety of our seafront services. I assumed (wrongly) that the email would be regarding litter, behaviour or the general state of our Victorian seafront. Instead I was really proud to read the story of how this resident, although a strong and experienced swimmer, had got into trouble in the sea and how our seafront staff had saved their life. It is unusual to receive a totally spontaneous and 100% positive description of the impact of our services on one resident’s life – but this was exactly that.
Our lifeguards regularly risk their lives to protect the safety and the lives of those who visit our beaches. They, along with all of our back room and front line staff, deserve our thanks and gratitude for the work they undertake on our behalf. Without them, there would be so much less support and help for residents - and one less resident of the city as well.
I thank them all.
Cllr Dan Yates is the Leader of the Labour Group on Brighton & Hove City Council