Cabinet changes as Council prioritises community and business recovery

South Cambs District Council and rainbow flag

Changes are being made to South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Cabinet to increase support and representation for communities and businesses as they recover from Coronavirus.

The alterations were confirmed at a Full Council meeting yesterday (Tuesday 14 July) and aim to ensure the Council is in as strong a position as possible to work even closer with local residents and companies as they deal with the continuing impacts of the pandemic.

Cllr Bill Handley, previously Lead Cabinet Member for Environmental Services and Licensing, takes up the new post of Lead Cabinet Member for Community Resilience, Health and Wellbeing. He will be tasked with learning lessons from the past few months which has seen the Council help coordinate thousands of volunteers across the district, and ensuring any future response should it be needed is even more effective.

Cllr Handley commented: “I’m delighted to been appointed to the new post of Lead Member for Community Resilience, Health and Wellbeing. These are incredibly important issues and the creation of a cabinet post to oversee them shows the Council’s commitment to them.

“The Covid-19 crisis has brought out the best in our communities, with around 4,500 volunteers across the district actively involved in helping others. Lessons have been learned at every level of government and we need to make sure that these experiences are remembered and built into our strategic thinking and emergency plans.

“It’s obvious that business recovery is vitally important as we come through the Covid crisis, but so too is the resilience of our communities and the health and wellbeing of our people and I am really excited to have been asked to play a key role in the Council’s response.”

Cllr Brian Milnes, one of two District Councillors representing Sawston, fills Cllr Handley’s previous post and becomes South Cambridgeshire District Council’s New Lead Cabinet Member for Environmental Services and Licensing, which will include working with his counterpart on Cambridge City Council to oversee the Greater Cambridge Shared Waste Service.

Cllr Brian Milnes said: “I’m very happy to be appointed to the Council’s Cabinet, and to be given the position of Lead Member for Environmental Services and Licensing. The Coronavirus outbreak has given new awareness of the essential nature of refuse collections. Our bin crews have rightly been given ‘local hero’ status for keeping collections going with remarkably little disruption, meaning today that they are running a largely ‘normal service’.

“It’s critical that our Green to the Core policy continues to drive our agenda, and that as we continue to assist the recovery from Covid-19, that we re-establish and extend best practices, use less, re-use more and recycle as much as possible.”

Duxford member Cllr Peter McDonald, who works for one of the UK’s leading agricultural advisory businesses, takes up the new position of Lead Cabinet Member for Business Recovery and Skills. Since March, Cllr McDonald has played a key role in co-ordinating the Council’s support and advice for local companies affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. Leading Councillors expect supporting local businesses to recover will be a main priority for the years ahead, and the appointment of a Lead Cabinet Member in this area will see them and their concerns better represented.

Cllr Peter McDonald said: “We face significant challenges in recovering economically from Covid-19. We have created a new Cabinet post and recruited a new Business Support team to respond effectively to these unprecedented times. With my business background and work with our Business Rates Team in the last 3 months in deploying over £23million of grants, I have really got a sense of what's important for businesses. This is a top priority for South Cambs.”

Cabinet members receive additional allowances to compensate them for the extra responsibilities. The cost in extra allowances for the new Cabinet structure, around £11,700 for the rest of the year, is being met within the overall budget reserved for Councillors and democratic representation. There is no additional cost to the taxpayer. Furthermore, costs continue to be saved as members are not travelling to and from South Cambridgeshire Hall in Cambourne for meetings – rather they continue to take place virtually.

The Council’s Cabinet is now as follows:

Leader: Cllr Bridget Smith

Deputy Leader (Statutory): Cllr Aidan Van de Weyer

Deputy Leader: Cllr Neil Gough

Lead Cabinet Member for Environmental Services and Licensing: Cllr Brian Milnes

Lead Cabinet Member for Finance: Cllr John Williams

Lead Cabinet Member for Housing: Cllr Hazel Smith

Lead Cabinet Member for Planning: Cllr Dr. Tumi Hawkins

Lead Cabinet Member for Business Recovery and Skills: Cllr Peter McDonald

Lead Cabinet Member for Community Resilience, Health and Wellbeing: Cllr Bill Handley

To read more information, click here.

South Cambridgeshire is the second largest district in Cambridgeshire.

South Cambridgeshire District Council