Coverage from the EADT today, 13/10/10
Although most people I have talked to about Suffolk County Council’s undemocratic, incoherent, and – worst of all – unbudgeted plans have been very keen to express an opinion, a few timid souls feel it safer to stick their heads firmly in the sand and hope everything will just go away.
“Its not happening,” they say. “They’ve not told us what they’re going to do. How can I do anything, when they haven’t told us what they are doing?“
This reminds me of that Foreign Office strategy of masterly inactivity described by the great Sir Humphrey:
Stage 1: There is nothing happening.
Stage 2: There may be something happening, but we should do nothing about it.
Stage 3: Maybe we should do something about it, but there’s nothing that we can do.
Stage 4: Maybe there is something that we could have done, but it’s too late now.
You can see the massive flaw in this, can’t you?
Unless we press our point firmly enough – it WILL be happening. And the tragedy is, they HAVEN’T told us what they plan to do, In fact it is clear they haven’t the foggiest.
DESPITE THIS, the first tranche of ‘divestments’ are planned to happen in April: in SIX months time! That is, the planned ‘divestment’ of:
- Independent Living Centres (these provide advice and information on equipment which can be used by disabled people)
- Highway Services
- Youth clubs, and Integrated Youth Support and Outdoor Education
- Early Years & Childcare, including Children’s Centres
- Home First (this is a social care service)
- Country Parks
- Transactional property
- Suffolk traded services
- Employment enterprises, learning and careers advice
- A record office
- Economic Development
- Home Shield Plus
- Hate Crime Service
And what happens if this unplanned, uncosted, unbudgeted, unhinged piece of ideological claptrap fails, and we lose (for example) our highway service? Thats right, the one people love to moan about – the one that (unheralded and unsung) trains all its staff to man gritting lorries so we can have a 24 hour service over the winter?
We suffer, that’s what happens. And we lose people , teams and services that took a long time to train and which will be impossible to replace.. We are, in short, a lot worse off!
Though, come to think of it, thats everybody except for the Chief Executive herself. She doesn’t live in Suffolk!
Saturday morning in Woodbridge – and people of all ages are using their much-loved library.
Please, Suffolk County Council, will you make clear what your plans for ‘divestment’ by April 2011 will actually mean to the library-user in the street? We know what we are fighting for – but we need to know what we are fighting against!
WHAT IS THE FUTURE FOR WOODBRIDGE LIBRARY?
The SCC Chief Executive, Andrea Hill and Council Leader Jeremy Pembroke are pushing through a scheme supposedly to save money by – in effect – privatising Suffolk County Council. Without consulting the people of Suffolk they are planning on ‘outsourcing’ as many staff and departments as possible.
Top of the list are our libraries!!!
You think this is a bad idea? Sign the petition here or online:
Putting the principle to one side, this hasn’t even been planned or costed – and the timescale is ludicrous. For example, although libraries are due to be “divested” next April, SCC have absolutely no idea of what they plan to do with them.
SCC claim they’re “consulting with communities” – well not in Woodbridge they’re not. Our library has not heard a word about its future. Will libraries remain part of a County network even? The council is strangely silent.
Consultation? They have not consulted us – not you, not me, not anyone. And the plan was certainly not in ANY manifesto. But though they haven’t asked you, you can still give them your opinion. Please, sign this petition and tell your friends!
PS Perhaps the worst thing about this is that the council has just spent a lot of money moving the library from its old, horrid sixties concrete site to the renovated victorian school building that was once New Street school. WHY should Suffolk residents pay good money for a building that is immediately hived off to some external income-generating organisation?