08:08 Tuesday 17th May 2011
Peterborough Breakfast Show
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
PAUL STAINTON: It’s all change at Peterborough City Council following an eventful meeting at the Town Hall last night. Council Leader Marco Cereste made a few changes to his Cabinet. Matthew Dalton and Wayne Fitzgerald given new roles. Meanwhile, Councillor Paula Thacker was unveiled as the new Mayor of Peterborough, taking over from the very very hardworking Keith Sharp. Here to explain the changes is the new, old, Leader, Marco Cereste. Good morning.
MARCO CERESTE: Good morning Paul. How are you?
PAUL STAINTON: I’m very good. Congratulations on your reappointment as Council Leader, or Leader of the Conservatives, or both, or whatever.
MARCO CERESTE: Thank you.
PAUL STAINTON: So, a few changes Marco. Why did you feel you needed to shake things up a bit?
MARCO CERESTE: Well I think we’re in a new world. We’ve got to do new things. We need new skills. And that’s really basically it really.
PAUL STAINTON: Yes. Some of the roles, let’s start with Matthew Dalton. He’s going to be the Cabinet Member for Communications. Do we really need one?
MARCO CERESTE: Well we do need marketing and communications. If you think about it, let’s face it, even you would agree that last year we had a fantastic year in the city. We’ve created new jobs, new investment, new businesses. Well it’s no good if we’re the only people in the country who know that. If we want to continue the growth, and the great works that the city’s been doing, we need to make sure that the rest of the country and possibly even further than that know that this is a place where people can come, invest, and run businesses and do well. And we’ve got to get that message out, and get that message out really well.
PAUL STAINTON: So Matthew Dalton’s going to become the standard bearer for the city is he?
MARCO CERESTE: Well yes. He’s going to be in charge of marketing, communications, making sure that the message gets out. Making sure that the people of Peterborough understand what we the Council are doing. And making sure that the wider business community are happy with what we do, and get that message out to the rest of the country to attract more business so that we can get greater investment and continue with the growth.
PAUL STAINTON: How does that job then dovetail with Andrew Mackintosh, who’s the Director of Communications? Do they work together?
MARCO CERESTE: Absolutely. Yes. It’s virtually a .. well it is a partnership, not virtually a partnership. Absolutely. What you’ve got is you’ve got the Director that’s doing the job, and you’ve got the Cabinet portfolio holder who is making sure that you give the right strategic direction, the right input and of course overseeing it on behalf of the people of the city.
PAUL STAINTON: Wayne Fitzgerald, Cabinet Member for adult social care, what skills does he bring to that job?
MARCO CERESTE: Well, let’s face it, you know, he’s a bright intelligent guy. He’s got a job to do. He’s keen to get on with it. I wanted to reorganise the portfolio, and Councillor Lamb is going to help me set up the Wellbeing Board, and do some of the more .. some of the new things. So I’ve brought Wayne in to carry on to do adult social care. And I’m sure he’ll do it very well. I’m looking forward to working with him. I think we’ve got a fantastic Cabinet.
PAUL STAINTON: Yes. And about your good self, could you take on much more work. You’re taking over Gavin Elsey’s responsibilties as well as everything else that you were doing before. You’re going to be busy.
MARCO CERESTE: Well, you know, yes. And you in the past, and some of your colleagues, have quite rightly said, well, you know, there wasn’t clarity in the city about the business .. the range of business portfolios that we had. And I think that was fair comment. So what I’ve done is I’ve brought all the business bits and pieces under my portfolio. So now any businessman, any business person, investor, developer, entrepreneur wants to come to the city. You know, that’s my portfolio. It’s my responsibility. And they know where to go. A one-stop shop. And of course you know you’re right. It’s far too much for me to do on my own, so we’ve reorganised the support that we had for the Cabinet. And we’ve put a Cabinet adviser in to help me deliver the business role. And she will have. Jan Goodwin will have personal responsibility for international links, business engagement and tourism, which is something we’ve not had before. And I think this city has a great deal to offer, and tourism is one of those things that we need to improve on.
PAUL STAINTON: Do you think, was part of the issue here Gavin Elsey’s perception in the minds of business leaders and businesses coming to Peterborough? Because you hear all sorts.
MARCO CERESTE: Pardon?
PAUL STAINTON: Did you remove Gavin Elsey because of the perception of him? Or was it just strictly something that you wanted to do?
MARCO CERESTE: No. I mean, Gavin’s been a really good Cabinet member. I’m ever so sorry to lose him. We, you know, we’re good friends, and have been friends for a long time. It’s just one of those really difficult decisions. In the end my job is to make the right decision for the benefit of the people of Peterborough. And I think I’ve demonstrated that as much as, you know, as much as what I probably would have wanted to make a different decision on a personal level. But the best decision for the people of this city is to put the portfolio for the entire business range into one single portfolio.
PAUL STAINTON: So what are you in charge of now Marco? Can we run through it?
MARCO CERESTE: Well it’s strategic .. it’s strategic planning, business engagement, it’s international links, tourism, city centre, it’s all the .. Opportunity .. you know, the representation onto Opportunity Peterborough, the Local Enterprise Board. I’m doing that obviously, with Councillor Goodwin. So, ..
PAUL STAINTON: I hope you stay well Marco, I really do.
MARCO CERESTE: (LAUGHS)
PAUL STAINTON: If we lose the dictator, what’s going to happen?
MARCO CERESTE: Now now now. That’s not nice Paul.
PAUL STAINTON: (LAUGHS) No, I don’t mean it like that. But do cities like Peterborough need something of a .. I mean this in the nicest possible way .. do cities like Peterborough need something of a dictatorship? One person to drive things forward sometimes?
MARCO CERESTE: Well I don’t know. But certainly what I’ve been doing is listening to the community. The feedback that I’ve been getting from the business community is that they want a one-stop shop. They want to know that they’re going to one place, and one place only, to really come to the city and understand what needs to be done, get the business engagement, get the skills, get the, you know, understand about the skills that are available etcetera etcetera etcetera. As I say, fortunately I don’t do it on my own. I’ve got a fantastic team of officers that work with me. And I will have Councillor Goodwin that works with me. But it’s got to be, if you think about it, it’s got to be in the interests of the city for any of investor, any developer who says look I want to go to Peterborough. Where do I go? Right. There’s one Cabinet member who’s responsible. Bang.
PAUL STAINTON: Whatever works I think. Whatever works.
MARCO CERESTE: That’s it. It’s what it is, what it works for the city. That’s all I’m interested in. Trying to deliver more jobs.
PAUL STAINTON: Marco, thank you for coming on this morning. As I say stay well. You’ve got a lot on. Marco Cereste, the new slash old Leader of Peterborough City Council. A lot of work.