The new president of council directors’ body ADEPT has stressed the importance of ‘making the case for place’ as he began his new term.
Simon Neilson is the executive director, economy and environment for Walsall Council and was previously vice-president of ADEPT.
Mr Neilson said: ‘We are increasingly seeing the signs of public dissatisfaction in the state of our roads, environment and streets – visible to all communities that we serve. We need to redefine the purpose and importance of place as a key enabler of people’s lives.’
New ADEPT president Simon Neilson
Mr Neilson said his key ambitions for his term are to see ADEPT focus on building alliances and driving the contemporary role of place directors, recognising the critical role they play in shaping, building and maintaining communities for the future.
He said: ‘ADEPT’s members have a multi-faced role, responsible for setting the strategic, long-term direction for their communities as well as ensuring that core day-to-day services are delivered effectively. It is vital we make the case for place.
‘Increasingly the role of ADEPT needs to become one of addressing future needs. Modern infrastructure is not just about the built environment, more fundamentally, it is about creating opportunity for people and developing the social, economic, digital and environmental frameworks necessary to create thriving communities.
‘We do of course need to have an eye on the here and now: local authorities starved of funding are increasingly placed in a no-win scenario, cutting back key place services to shore up support to social care.'
On taking over from outgoing president Rupert Clubb, Mr Neilson said: ‘I want to thank Rupert for all his work for ADEPT over the past year. Under his leadership, the Association has continued to modernise and adapt itself to become increasingly outward looking, something that has been reflected in his commitment to developing new partnerships.’