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A message from Executive Director, Mike Ashworth - 15 July 2020

15 July 2020

With my retirement just weeks away, I’ve been reflecting on my working life with more than 30 years spent in local government and the contrast between my early days working as an engineer to the current circumstances we find ourselves in.

I can recall many challenges as well as successes over the years, but none so great as the unprecedented situation which has unfolded globally, nationally and locally since March.

The huge challenges of the coronavirus outbreak have touched us all and I’m extremely proud of the way we have pulled together across Derbyshire to support our residents and businesses and to contribute to international efforts.

Every one of our colleagues has been fundamental in that work and you have the heartfelt and sincere thanks of our organisation, residents and our partners nationally, regionally and within our communities.

Local government is often accused of being slow and ponderous, but this last year has been a demonstration of local government at its best.

Change has been fast-paced, advice from Government has come thick and fast and deadlines have been incredibly tight.

We’ve had to operate and adapt in ways we could never have imagined, and we’ve done it without missing a beat to keep on serving, helping and protecting the people of Derbyshire.

Credit for that goes to all of you working beyond what would normally be expected in many different ways and difficult circumstances, not only in our working lives but often through upheaval in our home lives too.

In a recent article, I was pleased to read Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, recognise the “incredible” efforts of local government in the swift publishing of local outbreak control plans and management of local outbreaks.

Huge efforts made in local government can often go unnoticed. But the outstanding work we have done, both at the county council and across our networks at every level, shows how we can work at pace and respond when challenged.

The last few months of my career have certainly not been the easiest but I’ll always be proud of what we have achieved as an organisation during this time and be glad I was able to play my part.