Meet Andrew Proctor - Leader of Norfolk County Council
So, Andrew – how is your new role?
In a word – busy. It’s an honour to be leader, because I get to serve the whole county. There’s lots to be done and good work to build on.
Can you explain the County Council’s role?
The County Council is involved in everyone’s lives – repairing your roads and pavements, supporting schools and campaigning for superfast broadband in your area. We run libraries and recycling sites and care for the most vulnerable children and adults. Other responsibilities include public health, museums and trading standards. We’re the only council that represents the entire county. We work with the district councils, the NHS, police and other organisations, to make life better
We keep hearing about councils being in financial trouble, like Northamptonshire. What’s happening here?
We’re not another Northamptonshire – we have robust financial plans in place. Our external auditors said we have a prudent approach to financial management, with no significant matters to report. We’re working to generate more income and become more commercial, as we know our Government grant is to end in a few years. Demand for care services is growing, so we’ll target our resources to the people who require the greatest support, while helping others to help themselves.
Does that mean you’re getting rid of services?
The way we deliver services will change. We need to manage demand, especially for care. We’re signposting people to help and advice in their own communities. That’s better for them and enables us to focus spending on the most vulnerable people. Making efficiencies within the council, using technology and better working with partners will help to deliver savings to run frontline services. Certain things will have to change, rather than go.
Have you got any other priorities?
We must continue to grow the local economy – skills, jobs and homes – which in turn, helps to grow the national economy. Infrastructure in the right places, like the Broadland Northway, can create jobs and growth. A growing economy helps us all and helps to fund our services. Improving social mobility and tackling loneliness are key to what we do. We’re influencing the national debate on both those issues. I also want to work better together with our other local authorities and public and private bodies.
What’s your message to the people of Norfolk?
We’re here to care for the county and I’m determined that we will do that. Norfolk’s a great county, with huge potential to be even better.