Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Attempt to ignore local councillor views on childrens services defeated

A proposal from Cornwall Council's Chief Executive's department to abandon a plan to involve local councillors in children's services has been thrown out thanks to my Lib Dem colleague Pat Rogerson who represents Bodmin.

At the end of today's Children's Scrutiny committee meeting was a paper on 'Local Elected Member Champions for Children and Young People'. In order to help make our children's services better (they had been labelled failing) a councillor from each community network area would become the champion for children and young people in their area. In Launceston, we chose Cllr Phil Parsons to undertake the role.

The plan was delayed at least twice without explanation and it was now proposed to abandon the scheme as being too costly and too ambitious. Instead, we would see a smaller number of officer only boards. No elected member involvement and losing the vital link to local communities. No consultation had been held and the proper reasoning for the change was a mystery to those who read the paper.

Pat Rogerson slammed the new plan as being too centralised, anti-democratic and lacking transparency. She also attacked the reasons given for the proposed change. She pointed out that local councillor involvement in local meetings would cost nothing extra and she derided the idea that we should not be ambitious for local children.

Pat proposed that the paper should be rejected and a special meeting held to discuss the plans for local member champions. The Committee unanimously backed this and so another proposal to exclude elected representatives has been delayed - and hopefully defeated.

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