New County Councils Network chairman announced

CCN Latest News, CCN News 2019 | 05 July 2019

The County Councils Network (CCN) today announces that Cllr David Williams has been elected leader of the Conservative group for the network – and will now be chairman elect for the organisation.

This follows a leadership contest between Cllr Williams, who is leader of Hertfordshire County Council, and Cllr Philip Atkins, leader of Staffordshire County Council.

He will formally replace the current CCN chairman Cllr Paul Carter at the organisation’s Annual General Meeting on September 19th as Cllr Carter has finished his maximum term under the CCN constitution.

Cllr Williams, 61, has been leader of Hertfordshire County Council since 2017 and was previously CCN spokesman for health and social care. He has pledged to bring a ‘fresh energy’ to the network’s advocacy, whilst building on the progress the organisation has made over the past four years.

He said that his immediate priority for his term was ensuring greater financial certainty for CCN member councils. He also wants to redouble the organisation’s focus on the ‘place-based’ leadership role of counties in delivering good local growth and public sector transformation.

Cllr Williams said:

“I am hugely proud and privileged to be elected as chairman elect of the CCN. Under Paul Carter’s leadership the organisation has gone from strength to strength, becoming a hugely respected organisation across the sector with good relationships with government. I want to build on this and bring a fresh energy to CCN and its advocacy objectives. 

“Whilst there are excellent foundations in place, our members face severe financial uncertainty. We must immediately intensify our efforts on making a compelling case for additional funding for the sector, securing the implementation of the Fair Funding Review, and reforms to adult social care. 

However, we must have a wider positive vision for the strategic role of counties in supporting post-Brexit economic and housing growth. 

A feature of my chairmanship will be to redouble our efforts on articulating the crucial place-based role counties have in economic growth, housing and infrastructure. I will also focus on promoting the county-led innovation, collaboration and service transformation taking place across services and the wider public sector. This must be underpinned by a real offer of devolution to the shire counties. 

We will have to move quickly over the coming weeks to make the county voice heard with the new Prime Minister and ministers. 

“As a strong cross-party organisation I will do all I can, working with councillors and senior officers in our member councils across the political spectrum and the LGA, to ensure that we make a persuasive case to government on behalf of county communities.

Cllr Carter, who is leader of Kent County Council, said:

 “I am proud of what CCN has achieved over the last four years, working with county colleagues around the country and the well-motivated CCN officer team. The network is highly regarded in Westminster and Whitehall and we have built strong relationships with ministers across government.  

“With a delayed Brexit, we have to face up to the consequence of key decisions facing the sector being delayed that we had hoped would have had been concluded by now. It is disappointing that we have not yet secured a new evidence-based funding model for local government alongside a Spending Review that reflects rising costs and rising demands. We will continue to make the case for devolution to empower ‘strategic counties.’ 

“I believe the CCN is in very capable hands under David Williams’s chairmanship and I look forward to seeing him take the organisation forward and for unfinished business being satisfactorily concluded.”