This month’s report deals mainly with the future of Suffolk Libraries, but also mentions the official appointment of the new Chief Executive, potential changes to Suffolk’s schools admissions policies, the forthcoming Budget for 2012-13 and the dangers of heavy objects being thrown onto the A12/A14:
Happy New Year!
Chief Executive Having been officially confirmed in her post at full council, Deborah Cadman began her role as Chief Executive in the last week of December. I look forward to working with her. One of her first acts has been to address the issue of long-term ‘interim directors’ at the top of the council. As both the Directors of Children and Young People and Adult and Community Services are interim appointments, a recruitment process is now under way to appoint permanent postholders on fixed salaries.
Libraries Full Council also covered the administration’s decision to change the structure of the Libraries so that the current library provision will be transferred to an Industrial and Provident Society for the benefit of the community. This means that local libraries will be run by local “community groups”, who may be voting members of the IPS. The IPS, as the overarching organisation, will be run by an elected board, responsible for managing the grant funding from the Council. Local libraries are expected to make 5% of savings through a number of means – IT provision, maintenance contracts, use of volunteers and fundraising.
The opposition are concerned that there are still many issues which remain unanswered. The future of the Libraries is supposedly secure for 10 years yet the funding is only guaranteed for two years. There are continuing uncertainties about the fate of the smaller libraries. There is also concern about over- reliance on volunteers – not only to run the Libraries but also the home library service, which will no doubt see an increase in use after the reduction of the mobile library service.
2012-2013 Budget January’s Cabinet will take place on the 24th of January at 11am in Mildenhall at the Forest Heath District Council Offices. Can I remind you that members of the public are welcome both as spectators and to ask pre-booked questions in the usual way.
This is a very important Cabinet meeting as it is the first real look at the budget papers, which provide greater detail on what the Council is intending to do for the next financial year. The final vote on the budget for 2012/13 will take place at the next Full Council meeting (9th of February).
A12/A14 – incidents involving objects being thrown from bridges There have been a number of occasionss on the A12/A14 where objects have been thrown from bridges onto traffic below. This started with an incident in Essex but seems to have spread to south Suffolk as a copycat activity.
SCC, the Police, Fire and Rescue and partners are extremely concerned and taking all possible action to stop these extremely dangerous and irresponsible happenings. A senior detective has been appointed to lead a team dedicated to catching the individual(s) responsible.
We need to ensure that everybody knows that if they do see any suspicious activity on or near a road bridge, they must call 999.
Winter – Are you prepared? SCC is finally expecting colder weather. We may at last get use from those grit bins!
Admissions to Suffolk schools in 2013/14 Suffolk County Council has launched a consultation about their policies for admission to schools next year. It includes the admissions policy for community, voluntary controlled, voluntary aided, foundation/trust schools academies and free schools in Suffolk. As Farlingaye has recently become an academy, and there is a proposal that a new Transcendental Meditation Free School should start locally, this may well be of interest to many of us.
I am particularly keen that SCCs policy of free school transport only to the nearest catchment school is addressed if it turns out that the nearest catchment school is, eg, a Transcendental Meditation free school. You can find the consultation here
Kesgrave by-election: purdah Due to the unexpected death of John Klaschka, Councillor for Kesgrave and Rushmere, there will be a district and county council by-election on 9th February. As the purdah period is upon us, I am not now able to make any commitments as regards my locality budget till after 9 February