March 2024

Posted by: Councillor Tracey Dixon on 20 March 2024 13:21

Councillor Tracey Dixon, Leader of 鶹Ƶ
Councillor Tracey Dixon, Leader of 鶹Ƶ

As we are about to go into the pre-election period, I am writing this blog earlier in the month than usual.

March has been another incredibly busy month, with so much going on.

I am sure many of you will have read about the police investigation and our own internal investigations into the former Leader of the Council, Iain Malcolm who used his corporate credit card for his own personal use. You have the right to expect the highest standards from those you elect, and I completely understand that many of you will feel badly let down by what you have read and heard. I totally accept the anger and frustration I'm sure many of you will feel as I share it too - this behaviour falls far below the standards expected.  

I want to reassure you that this will never happen again. These are the actions of one individual only who is no longer an Elected Member.  

The Council has gone through a period of significant positive change since I became Leader in 2020. We have reshaped the Council to become a PROUD organisation - one that listens to you and puts you at the heart of everything it does - and acts on insights and evidence to make the Borough a better place. The Council's culture has changed, and our governance processes have been completely overhauled and improved, and this has been acknowledged and endorsed through regular work with Local Government Association (LGA) peers. 鶹Ƶ is widely regarded as a constructive influence within the new regional arrangements that are bringing billions of pounds to the North East.

I am committed as the Leader of 鶹Ƶ to continuing to deliver for residents - doing the right things, for the right reasons in the right way.

In other news, I'm pleased to say that we are bringing the management of our Council housing stock back in-house. There was overwhelming support for this with more than 94 per cent of people in an independent ballot voting for the move. Housing is about so much more than bricks and mortar and this decision will allow us to deliver a 'whole housing system' approach and consider tenants' housing and social needs in an integrated way. I am confident this new approach will ensure the very best outcomes for residents and I am truly looking forward to welcoming South Tyneside Homes staff into the Council.

I also wanted to thank you for your patience and understanding regarding the ongoing industrial action being taken by our waste crews. I know how frustrating you must be finding this situation but please bear with us, we are doing all we can to keep the conversations going to bring the dispute to an end as quickly as possible. Both myself and the Deputy have met with the workforce, the union and management several times. We have also had an external review carried out by our peers from other local authorities. We will keep you updated as soon as there is something significant to share. In the meantime, if you have any questions about operational arrangements please go to the FAQs on the website. They are refreshed very regularly based on residents' feedback and / or service changes.

Before I sign off, I would also like to share some really positive news. Earlier this month, we became the first council in the country to sign the Young Carers' Covenant, committing us to take practical and meaningful action for our young carers. One of the things we will be looking at is the development of a plan to help our young carers progress into adulthood which will include the offer of a mentor to explore their career options and aspirations. I am so proud that we continue to find new ways of supporting our young carers who do such an incredible job in supporting a friend or loved one.

In addition, our skills service - South Tyneside Works - has been rated Good by Ofsted. Inspectors recognised that most learners progress to employment, apprenticeships or further study and also benefit from effective careers information and advice. We also launched a number of Skills Bootcamps after we managed to secure £3.7m in funding. The free courses will give people the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills in Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles, HGV Driving, including transportation of dangerous goods, and Gas Engineering and Renewables. As a an industry leader in sectors such as low-carbon heat and renewable technologies, it is vital that we nurture the skills of our people so that you can take advantage of these emerging technologies. To find out more please visit .

As the lead for education, inclusion and skills in the new North East Mayoral Combined Authority, I know how important this issue is. I believe that good education and skills - taught at any stage in life - is what will drive our region forward. Yesterday I signed a 'trailblazer' devolution deal. As part of that, the investment to enable development of a North East film studio just over the border in Sunderland will be a huge boost to South Tyneside. It also includes a commitment for the North East and Government to work together to focus on our vital coastal communities. It will help us to do more and is rightful recognition that we are better placed to identify the priorities for our region.

Looking forward, this is a bumper year in local government with local, Police Crime Commissioner and North East mayoral elections coming up and, of course, the prospect of a general election. These are exciting times for our region so  I hope you all take the time to vote. I would remind those of you who are voting in person to take some ID with you. To find out more about what ID is accepted visit .

Finally, last but not least, I am delighted to let you know that the This is South Tyneside Festival will be making a welcome return this summer. The free, three-month long programme of live music, children's entertainment and, of course, the ever popular summer parade, is definitely one for the diaries. We will give you an update nearer the time but you can check the website at  or follow South Tyneside Events on social media: Facebook (South Tyneside Events) and on Twitter @STynesideEvents.

Councillor Tracey Dixon
Leader of 鶹Ƶ

Last modified: 10 April 2024 12:23