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South Gloucestershire’s brand-new Scrutiny Commission has begun deciding its review topics for investigation, and Labour councillors are welcoming the adoption of two of their priorities, looking at deprivation and school standards.

Labour’s proposal for a study into national best practice for dealing with deprived areas was approved, despite one Conservative councillor stating that ‘it’s hardly Brixton’ in regard to South Gloucestershire’s Priority Neighbourhoods, areas that rank highly in the national indices of deprivation.
 
IM_Boulton.jpgLabour Group’s Deputy Leader, Councillor Ian Boulton, proposed that the Commission should conduct a study into best practice by local councils for addressing the specific needs of Priority Neighbourhoods. He says:
 
“I was disappointed to hear a Conservative colleague say that they had never been to an area of deprivation in South Gloucestershire, as the council has designated five Priority Neighbourhoods based on Government indices of the most deprived areas nationally. I was astounded to hear these areas dismissed as ‘it’s hardly Brixton’.
 
The council’s Priority Neighbourhood approach recognises that we do have pockets of deprivation in South Gloucestershire. With ever limited funds, it is important that we learn what we can from other areas, so I welcome the Commission’s decision to back my proposal for a detailed investigation, with only one vote against.”
 
Labour was also successful in promoting another review topic, jointly with the Liberal Democrats, on improved educational attainment for all.
 
Gareth_.jpgCouncillor Gareth Manson, Labour Group’s Lead Member on Children & Skills, explains:
 
“South Gloucestershire secondary level pupils do not perform as well as they should at GCSE and beyond, based on their primary attainment and social background. Ofsted’s Regional Director advised councillors that our district’s results were his ‘number one concern’ when he addressed us back in April. He was also clear that the council could and should do more to make Academy Trusts account for themselves.
 
I believe this to be a top priority for the council and that this scrutiny review should bring increased urgency and focus to our role in working with partners to identify and tackle the problems.”

Deprivation and school standards to be reviewed

South Gloucestershire’s brand-new Scrutiny Commission has begun deciding its review topics for investigation, and Labour councillors are welcoming the adoption of two of their priorities, looking at deprivation and school...

The Leader of South Gloucestershire’s Labour councillors has criticised the Council’s ruling Conservatives for a lack of effort in seeking a better financial deal for the council and its staff.

At a South Gloucestershire Council meeting held on Wednesday evening, Labour pressed the Conservative Leader to pursue fairer funding for the area and fairer pay for council staff, but was rebuffed on both issues.

 

The Labour Group’s leader, Councillor Pat Rooney, explains:

Pat_Civic_Centre.jpg“The Leader of the Council sidestepped every opportunity I gave him to join me in opposing the 1% cap on council staff pay. Instead he argued that pay increases put further pressure on the economy and that reducing the deficit was the priority. His reply exposed a total lack of effort and commitment to get our staff – who have had their pay capped at 1% since 2013 – a fair pay rise.

The Leader also refused our request to echo the criticism made by other Conservative council leaders of the government’s deal with the DUP and to demand fair funding for the West of England, instead arguing that Northern Ireland deserved the extra investment.”

It is clear that local Conservatives lack the effort to stand up to their friends in the Tory government on behalf of our area or our staff.”

Labour criticises "lack of effort and commitment"

The Leader of South Gloucestershire’s Labour councillors has criticised the Council’s ruling Conservatives for a lack of effort in seeking a better financial deal for the council and its staff....

A leading Labour councillor has welcomed the success of his intervention which has resulted in getting an important health services decision scrutinised in public by South Gloucestershire’s health committee.

The first meeting of the new Cabinet created by the ruling Conservatives met today and its agenda included a decision on the Better Care Fund. Labour’s lead member on Health Scrutiny, Councillor Ian Scott, criticised its appearance as it had not been considered by the council’s Health Scrutiny Committee beforehand. In response to the criticism, the Cabinet endorsed the report in principle but referred it to Wednesday’s Health Scrutiny Committee for comment.

Ian_Scott.jpgCouncillor Scott says:

“The council has a structure that enables health matters to be discussed with NHS representatives and interested members of the public present. Until I raised my concern, this would not have happened in relation to today’s decision on the Better Care Fund as the scrutiny committee would not have had the opportunity to consider the report.

I am pleased that the Cabinet has made this concession as it would have been a bad move for the first Cabinet meeting to press on regardless. The government’s timetable prevents a proper public consultation on the Better Care Fund and although discussions have taken place with NHS bodies it is right for the council to have this scrutiny in public.”

Labour intervention leads to public scrutiny

A leading Labour councillor has welcomed the success of his intervention which has resulted in getting an important health services decision scrutinised in public by South Gloucestershire’s health committee.

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