Working with others

A cheesy heading I guess. Don’t worry I’m not going to drone on about how important it is to get along etc. etc. Rather I want to give an insight into my role as the Chief Executive and the work I do with other agencies and organisations.

In local government we continuously work with others. It would be virtually impossible to get things done if we didn’t. You may be familiar with reading about how we work with Essex County Council on schemes to reduce congestion or with Essex Police if an incident occurs within Colchester. Although these things are often the statutory responsibility of others, we know, as your local Council that we need to influence these things.

But what happens when we have a large scale project? Take the improvements being made in Colchester Town Centre for example.

How many of you have heard of the Colchester Town Team? I wonder what a show of hands would reveal. Anyway – it is a group that I lead that brings together over ten business organisations and larger businesses in the town centre to build a better Town Centre.

We meet regularly to discuss ways to take the Town Centre forward, but branch out even further than that!

This is best highlighted by a report that the Colchester Town Team commissioned a few months back. We wanted to find out what issues businesses in the Town Centre are facing regarding their trading. So how did we go about conducting this?

Yep – you guessed it. We worked with them to find out their views. 145 businesses in fact!  How was it paid for? By all the organisations around the table making a contribution. This is because you cannot expect the Council to pay for everything each and every time. It does not work like that anymore even if it ever did in the past.

So what is the point of all this? Well – I guess what I’m trying to say is that there is much more going on behind the scenes than what meets the eye and much of it done by bringing people together. This is not about being secretive or excluding people. It is about the need to identify issues, consider actions and then look at how we can resource those actions.

People often ask questions of large organisations. It’s only natural. Colchester Borough Council make decisions that impact thousands of people but being in my position I can confidently say that they aren’t just made on a whim. Working with others is essential – to ensure a general consensus is gained and the right decisions are made.

I for one am pleased with the developments in the Town Centre this year – the return of the market to the High Street, the new park and ride and rolling out the town centre WiFi scheme to name just a few.


4 thoughts on “Working with others

  1. I read the town leaflets, had a good look at the presentation material and it looks good. Good enough to use at the tourist centre for visitors.
    What struck me though, both in the material and the blog post is that the team comprised council and businesses.
    Surely the public should have been involved? Why guess what the public want when they could simply be asked?
    More involvement of the community would only lead to a better feel of the town centre. A sense of ownership, even if just questions and opinions, brings a greater involvement and a greater determination to make something succeed.


  2. Regarding your latest blog “working with others” and which is then write is “cheesy”??? As you say it would be virtually impossible to get things done if people who live and work in Colchester, we do not work together. Thank you for confirming that our Local Council can “influence things”. Which brings me to a point in case.
    You say that you have led and worked with 145 business in the town to find out their views and what issues they face regarding their trading. Can you confirm if Market Traders and Colchester Street Traders were invited to take part and give their views beings who are a part of our Town Centre? Has the Colchester Town Team included and consulted with Street Traders Association, Trinity Traders, and businesses in Queen Street and St Botolphs Association? And is the subsequent report readily available to the public of Colchester?


  3. Ps having been into town today pleases note….
    I avoid roads where there are Chuggers. Today talk talk and a charity. Therefore I avoided all shops in that road.
    I don’t avoid roads with big issue sellers. They rarely accost me, never ask personal questions or ask for bank details.
    (Does anyone actually hand over bank details to a stranger with a clipboard and a backpack?)


  4. Thanks for you comments and question.
    Yes the Council has consulted with businesses and customers in the town over the last couple of years to help shape the future.
    In the Summer of 2013 the Council appointed a specialist consultancy to consult with market traders, their customers and non-market customers to recommend a variety of options for the market.
    Then is the Summer/Autumn 2014 another consultancy appointed on behalf of The Town Team to consult with 145 town centre businesses, not including the market or street traders as they have other consultations taking place, around the future of the town centre and whether there is an appetite to work together.
    And this Summer 2015 the consultancy from Summer 2013 is doing a follow-up consultation with street traders, their neighbouring businesses in nearby streets their customers and non-customers to recommend a variety of options for the future of street trading in the town. This survey is currently taking place.
    The results of these pieces of work have been shared with the businesses and Town Team.
    Kind regards,


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