Happy New Year to you all,

As 2019 begins and we look forward to a new year, I wanted to take this opportunity to reflect with you on the past year. For most of us the festive season is a time to get together with friends and family but this isn’t the case for everyone. So I’m immensely proud of those who work or volunteer to help others in need, particularly the lonely and vulnerable. Thank you.

We’ve been absolutely committed to delivering core, local public services. During winter, we work as hard as we can to keep the county moving on our roads through frost and snow while safeguarding our most vulnerable residents. Throughout 2019, we will continue to focus on delivering our key services to a high standard to keep our residents safe and well and our county clean and prosperous.

In December, we were chosen by the Government to trial a new scheme to keep a larger share of the growth in business rates. What does this mean for Hertfordshire residents? Well, in practice, it means that we expect to keep an additional £11 million within the county to spend on vital public services and to invest in local growth.

We remain committed to finding innovative ways of getting the best value for residents’ money. In 2019, we will be working more closely than ever before with our public sector partners to achieve this as well as learning commercial approaches from other areas such as business. Even though we are financially robust we continue to need the additional funding from central government to repair our roads and provide care to those who need it most.

Finally, as an organisation, the county council is very fortunate to have Owen Mapley as its new chief executive. Owen knows the authority well, since joining us from the Home Office in 2016 and he has made a significant contribution to the council’s senior leadership as the director of resources. I do want to once again pass on my public thanks and tribute to John Wood, who has spent 27 years with Hertfordshire County Council - including the last six years as an outstanding chief executive.

I wish everyone in Hertfordshire a happy and healthy 2019.

  • Cllr David Williams, leader of Hertfordshire County Council