‘Thank you, Your Majesty. Thank you, district councils’
Districts have played a significant role in local commemorations for the Queen – and this autumn will provide further unprecedented challenges
Cllr Sam Chapman-Allen, Chairman, District Councils’ Network
The past few weeks have been momentous.
We have a new prime minister and government and, for the first time in 70 years, we have a new monarch.
Few can imagine life without Queen Elizabeth II. Her reign began before most of us were born, and I am sure that we all have the fondest memories of her.
For generations of members and officers on district councils a visit from the Queen was the epitome of civic pride. The jubilation of our local communities at her presence was truly the most joyous thing.
Against a backdrop of monumental changes in society, throughout her reign Her Majesty was a beacon of stability, faith and courage. History will show her contribution to our society has been transformative, and she will be truly remembered as one of Britain’s greatest monarchs.
On behalf of district councils across the country I have written to King Charles III to express our most sincere condolences to him and the Royal Family.
I also told the King that district councils will serve him and bring our communities together to celebrate everything that is great about the United Kingdom.
This work has – of course – already begun. In the past fortnight members and officers at district councils have been working flat-out to ensure their local communities could properly mourn the Queen and that the King has been proclaimed.
Such ceremonies and occasions do not happen automatically. I am aware of how much effort has gone into their organisation and management. I wish to give a heartfelt thanks to everyone who has been involved at district councils in ensuring this momentous period has been commemorated appropriately and smoothly.
During the period of mourning political activity has been suspended. However, now that it has resumed, the DCN will be working with our new government to support our communities.
When I meet ministers, I have a simple core message: DCN member councils can help them deliver their priorities.
No one knows our places quite like district councils: our scale means we have unrivalled knowledge of our communities and businesses. This is particularly essential when it comes to two national priorities: supporting people through the cost-of-living crisis, and tackling economic and social inequality.
I will be emphasising to Secretary of State Simon Clarke and his colleagues the immense enthusiasm of district councils towards levelling up the country. Our services, convening power and delivery capability can bring about the best outcomes on the ground.
And I will be discussing how the delivery expertise of district councils – demonstrated during Covid, supporting Ukrainians and so much else besides – can also be instrumental in helping people during this period of inflation. We are supremely well placed to target our support to those who need it most and the preventative slant of our services can help many from tipping into crisis.
This is an unprecedented time in so many ways. Thank you to you all for rising to the challenges we have faced and those that are still to come.