I AM very pleased to be launching the new column for council leaders in our local newspaper.

While I enjoy reading the news and views of colleagues in Westminster and Cardiff Bay, local government is at the heart of delivering of public services and we are the representatives closest to our communities.

In Newport and all across the region we have seen unprecedented challenges – councils have less money and resources to deliver our essential services. But, there are definitely many positive things to highlight and in my first column I’d like to focus on partnership working.

As a council we can’t and shouldn’t deliver services alone, so we are working very hard to build strong relationships with other key organisations in the city.

As part of One Newport, the city’s local service board, we are working with the police, fire service, health, housing and third sector to improve the lives of our residents. A recent example is the introduction of a public space protection order in Pill which will help all agencies positively tackle the specific issues in that area. Last week’s day of action saw people from across the community get involved in making positive changes and raising awareness of what can be done together.

We’ve also seen the opening of a flagship health, housing and support development. Leading the way in Wales, T? Eirlys will provide a much needed pathway between supported and independent living for adults with learning disabilities. It is the result of a successful partnership between Newport-based care provider Reach, Charter Housing (both part of Pobl Group), Newport City Council, Welsh Government and local builders Willis Construction.

Recent collaboration with the National Software Academy, part of Cardiff University has also helped to secure its expansion within Newport. The academy offers a unique and innovative programme that is heavily focussed on engagement with industry. It is strategically important to the city’s aspirations to develop as a technology hub and will help to attract inward investment by producing world-class graduates.

It has also been great to see acknowledgement of the work carried out by our long-term partners Wastesavers. The charity, which carries out weekly kerbside recycling on behalf of the council, was singled out for praise at the annual Resource Association lecture in London and presented with an award for delivering high quality recycling.

These are just some examples of how working together can benefit the city in many different ways – but we won’t rest there – we are always looking for new and better ways to deliver services for our residents.