READERS may be aware from the council’s recently published Corporate Plan, that my cabinet colleagues and I have agreed a set of key commitments that we want to make to Caerphilly county borough residents.

These are a series of standards that residents can expect from us, and are how we want to be held to account.

These new commitments set out seven key pledges that will help us shape the way we deliver services in the future.

This is a bold move, and we are aware that we must be fully accountable by living up to these commitments, but my cabinet colleagues and I are fully on board and we are committed to leading this authority from the front.

I believe this approach is unique, in that no other cabinet in Caerphilly county borough’s history has ever done anything similar to this, in terms of making such a public declaration of its priorities and accountability.

Our commitments are around protecting jobs and services within the current financial climate, building on the council’s reputation as a high performing, innovative local authority, ensuring we have a motivated workforce, striving to ensure we deliver value for money, protecting the vulnerable, welcoming feedback and considering the views of residents and being open, honest and transparent in everything we do.

I hope readers will welcome this bold move - it’s important that they know what they can expect from the council’s political leadership, and this set of commitments are how we want to be held to account over the coming years.

I was also pleased recently to gain the support of my council colleagues in calling for the UK Government to reconsider relocating the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) office from Caerphilly town centre.

While I appreciate that the DWP, like local government, are seeking to make changes to their operations in response to ever increasing financial pressures placed on them from austerity measures imposed by central Government, relocating 225 jobs out of Caerphilly town could have real implications on the sustainability of the town centre.

I was therefore very pleased that colleagues unanimously supported my Notice of Motion at a meeting of the council recently, where it was agreed that we would write to the UK Government to request they reconsider their decision.

Finally, at that same meeting, councillors also voted unanimously to support a motion put forward by my colleague Cllr Eluned Stenner, to support the national campaign Lucy’s Law, in an effort to ban and outlaw third party puppy farming.

It’s so important that we demonstrate our support for this important campaign and proactively highlight it to our residents.

We are fully committed to looking after the welfare of animals and will simply not tolerate third party puppy farming.