A number of new changes to the Cabinet of Bridgend County Borough Council have been confirmed at the Annual Meeting of Council today.
After five years in the role, Cllr Phil White has stepped down from the position of Cabinet Member for Social Services and Early Help.
Commenting upon his decision, Cllr White, who previously also served for five years as the Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic compounding my own personal health issues, the timing is right to step down from my Cabinet role.
“The last six months has proved to be a challenge, not only for me but the authority as whole, and I think it is now right for someone else to continue in that role.
“As the newly-appointed director for Social Services and Well-Being is starting work at the council, it makes perfect sense for me to take this opportunity to also step aside.
“Serving as the Cabinet Member for Social Services and Early Help and working alongside colleagues and officers to provide essential services for some of the county borough’s most vulnerable residents has been one of the biggest privileges of my life.
“I will continue to serve the community as a ward member for Caerau, and will also retain my links as an independent member of Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board.
“I would like to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to the Leader, my fellow Cabinet members, and the officers who have provided me with such high-quality support and expertise over the years.
“Working in local government is often a thankless task, especially when increasingly difficult decisions have been forced upon us. After a full decade of cuts to the funding we receive, it is certainly true that the last few years have been some of the hardest we have ever had to face.
“Nevertheless, I am retiring from this role in the knowledge that we have succeeded in prioritising and protecting the core essential services which our most vulnerable residents rely upon, and that this council will continue to do so as we look towards whatever the future may bring.”
The new Cabinet Member for Social Services and Early Help has been confirmed as Cllr Nicole Burnett. Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Burnett said: “Councillor White leaves behind an impressive legacy, and I am honoured to take on this role.
“Supporting and safeguarding older residents and people with learning and physical disabilities, sensory impairments or mental health and substance misuse issues remains a priority for this council.
“I am very proud to be asked to chair the Cabinet’s crucial committee on Corporate Parenting where we will focus on the well-being of our most vulnerable children and young people.
“As a passionate believer in social justice and building strong, healthy, active communities, I will do all that I can to support them, and to promote their best interests.”
The Leader, Cllr Huw David, said: “Councillor White has offered tireless service in his time as Cabinet Member for Social Services and Early Help, and I know only too well how he has done so while dealing with significant health issues of his own.
“He has never once allowed this to prevent him from carrying out his responsibilities, and has continued to provide superb service throughout the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“In addition to his responsibilities as a Cabinet and ward member for Caerau, he has also acted as the council’s official champion for carers, older people, and children and young people, and his dedication has been an inspiration both to me personally, and to his colleagues.
“It has been a pleasure and an honour to serve alongside Councillor White. He has offered me fantastic support over the years, and should feel justifiably proud of his service to the people of the county borough.
“Councillor Burnett has demonstrated similar dedication and commitment, and I have no doubt whatsoever that she will ably fulfil the responsibilities of this important role.
“I am grateful that she has accepted this position, and together with my Cabinet colleagues, I would like to offer her a warm welcome.”
At the same meeting, Cllr Ken Watts was appointed as the Mayor of Bridgend County Borough for the year ahead, Cllr John Spanswick as Deputy Mayor, and Megan Stone as Youth Mayor.
Cllr Julia Williams was announced as the Mayor’s consort and Mrs Susan Spanswick was announced as the Deputy Mayor’s consort.
The Annual Meeting of Council was held on Wednesday 30 September. For details of the agenda and minutes, visit www.bridgend.gov.uk