Pitmen supporter and HTFCSA committee member Paul Woodhead was recently elected as a Cannock Chase District Councillor for Hednesford. You will see him around the ground most match days, usually as Pitman Pete and in the Strikers Bar after the game where you can talk to him about any matters or issues of concern.

In these articles I want to bring the role of the councillor alive to you and ensure I am accountable to you as the elected representative for the ward in which the football club resides. I will highlight some of the things I get involved with and the decisions the council makes on your behalf. I will be available after most home games for a general conversation and we can arrange a private discussion should that be appropriate. Alternatively you can contact me by phone on 07930 120077 or by email paul.woodhead@greenparty.org.uk

Councils are being encouraged to work together in at a time where funding cuts are having consequences on services being delivered. This has a wider agenda of getting public bodies to cease working in silo’s and share information in a collaborative, joined up manner which is intended to deliver better outcomes for us as a community. Some of this has come from very serious safeguarding failures of the past and others come from the reduction in resources and people in each organisation creating the desire and mechanics of cooperation.

Cannock Chase District Council and Stafford Borough Council have also taken steps to look at how shared services can be delivered at a lower cost. We can discuss separately if services resulting in job cuts can deliver the services expected of the community. The approach taken is to look at key functional roles Human Resources, Legal Services, ICT and Finance.

This has created a close working relationship between the two councils where one will lead whilst the other shares the costs. This allows for expertise to be retained at an appropriate level whilst allowing access to this across both authorities. There are two aspects of this approach and whilst this does remove some duplication of roles the reality is that the same workload is distributed amongst fewer remaining staff.

There are proposals in the recent consultation to extend this shared working to some frontline services which we should consider with caution that we do not lose our local identity.