Exclusion Speech to Full Council by Cllr Sarah Dodds

Preparing this speech has made me ponder about the meaning of “exclusion.” We can all probably think of times we have felt the emotional impact of being excluded from something, even if the reality wasn’t quite the case. We can all empathise with those feelings of insecurity, of isolation, of failure, of a lack of belonging. We can all empathise with that sense of rejection, even if it is a fear more than a reality.

Turning to the dictionary I thought more deeply about the connotations of that word. The definition recorded of excluded is “to shut or keep out; prevent the entrance of” and “to shut out from consideration, privilege.”

|If schools were made to write home to parents and say “today we have shut your child out permanently from our school,” and were unable to use the institutionalised and clinical phrase “permanent exclusion,” I wonder if that alone would change behaviour.

Nationally, according to the 2017 report by the IPPR “Making the Difference: Breaking the link between school exclusion and social exclusion” that act of shutting out, happens to 35 children nationally every single school day

In 2016/7 in Lincolnshire it happened 180 times.

Now the fact that those figures are coming down in Lincolnshire while nationally they are going up is great, and I applaud the vision within Children’s Services that has brought that about. BUT 180 times is 180 times too many. Let’s call this what it is – that is 180 failures.

I want to talk to you briefly about a young Lincolnshire boy who I know – I will call him Jacob but that’s not his name. Jacob moved to secondary school in September 2017, with a diagnosis of autism and a transition plan in place. However, due to school staffing and management changes, that transition plan never happened. He was not getting what was agreed would give him the best chance to make that enormous transition. All the preparation from his mum and his primary school to get him ready fell by the wayside.

Despite the best efforts of the school inclusion team here, he received a permanent exclusion within his first half term. His behaviour was seen to be too much of a “problem”. The whole process took a massive emotional toll on the entire family, and tragically on Jacob himself. I was in daily contact with mum throughout this process at times. Jacob now has an EHCP plan in place and is now in a new school. But he still had to go through that process or being “shut out.” Of feeling he was not worth as much as anyone else. But Jacob’s behaviour was the manifestation of unmet needs, not the problem itself.

Just think again of those feelings I discussed. Think what it means to be an 11 year old autistic boy being told you are too much of a problem, not wanted. I’m not sure we all want to dwell of those feelings too much if it were our children.

In the Making the Difference Report, the IPPR highlight that most permanent exclusions are for persistent bad behaviour. However they also point out that excluded children have a complex range of vulnerability. They are

 

  • 4x more likely to be in Care,
  • 7x more likely to have SEN
  • 10x more likely to have mental health issues

SO the evidence is clear on this – we must stop talking about these children as having problematic behaviour, but see them as having vulnerabilities.

It is the key responsibility of school leaders to educate ALL children. Not just the ones who look good in Progress 8 and Ebacc buckets. Despite an awareness of the need to look at the accountability framework regarding exclusion, successive green papers have failed to lead to significant policy change whereby schools would remain accountable for the future success of the pupil’s they expel. Thus there is no incentive for schools NOT to exclude and toxic and mounting pressures on resources and attainment which mean it becomes easier for us to see the problems children bring rather than the vulnerabilities they need support with.

Making the Difference states “There are fewer preventative services whose work supports children with complex needs. Meanwhile there are increasing accountability and financial pressures on schools, which heighten the risk of exclusion for pupils, whose complex needs, require extra resources to assure their achievement.”

There is a huge financial cost to getting this wrong, with each excluded child estimated in the report to cost £370,000 in additional education, benefits, healthcare and criminal justice costs across their lifetime.

On a personal level, each excluded child is likely to suffer from long-term mental health concerns, struggle to gain qualifications, be long term unemployed and be repeatedly involved in crime.

Much of what we do in Lincolnshire is already so good, and those of us who sit on CYPS will testify of the political and moral commitment to this challenge from officers and counsellors alike. The Ladder of Intervention, BOSS and an improving range of commissioning for alternative provision, as well as a crucial level of challenge to schools and academies is all warmly welcomed.

However, what is at stake is so important that it cannot JUST be the remit of those of us who sit in Children’s. Bringing this motion to full council today is an opportunity for every one of us to make a statement to recognise the good we are already doing. But it also allows us to make a clear statement to national government and local Lincolnshire education leaders that we demand further improvement.

I believe that statement on an educational policy level is that we demand to see a more accountable framework to protect our children from the risk of exclusion.

But on a moral and relational level, in terms of what we value as a council, it’s our chance to welcome in, not shut out. It’s our chance to promote children’s ambitions and dreams; not prevent their entrance to life; and to afford to the same privilege to all of them that we would claim for our own.

Cllr Sarah Dodds

Who pays for pot holes

 

Across the country pot holes repairs for the last 12 months was nearly £120 million.

The government accept pot holes are in fact a major issue thus setting up the “pothole action fund” instead of actually tackling the issue by proper funding for local councils to use on roads

So what is the real cost to Lincolnshire County tax payers ?

Labour Boultham Councillor Kev Clarke will be asking Lincolnshire County Council at the forthcoming full council meeting on February 23- pothole claims in 2012/13 against the authority mounted too £358,684 for 1,412 claims, what is the amount paid out in 2016/17 and did any of the funds come out of the governments pothole action fund.

Labour motion to full council opposing the closure of Lincoln Walk-in Centre

 

July 11th 2017
Motion to full council

On 12 June Lincolnshire West Clinical Commissioning Group (LWCCG) launched a public consultation on the future of the Walk-in Centre in Lincoln with a closing date of 6 August 2017. The proposals are set out in ‘Have your say’ document produced by LWCCG and can be captured in a statement in the document which reads ‘Walk-in centres create demand for self-limiting, minor conditions and NHS resources would be better spent on other healthcare priorities.’ The ”Have Your Say’ document and a ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ sheet produced by LWCCG, accessible here, states that the centre opened in 2009, is used by about 100 people a day and in 2016 costed over £1 million to run.

It is argued that the LWCCG in their consultation document

  • have not demonstrated that alternative services have the extra capacity and are readily available currently to deal with the extra demand caused by the cessation of services at the Walk-in Centre.
  • have not provided statistical information to support the assertion that the 35,000 or so users of the service can be seen by a mixture of GP practices, NHS 111 and pharmacists if the Walk-in Centre closed.
  • have made no financial case to support closure to show that future delivery of services can be delivered more economically than the services provided at the Walk-in Centre which worked out at less than the £30 a visit  in 2016 (£1 million expenditure divided by the number of annual users at 35,000 a year).

For these reasons this council agrees that the Chief Executive should write to Lincolnshire West Clinical Commissioning Group opposing the closure of Lincoln Walk-in Centre.

To be moved by Cllr Robert Parker and seconded by Cllr Kevin Clarke

Councillor calls for safety check on street lights

 

June 2nd 2017

Boultham County Councillor Kev Clarke is calling for street light columns on Lincoln high street to be checked in fear of safety, following an incident witnessed by Councillor Clarke on Saturday afternoon where part of the street lamp fell to the ground.Councillor Clarke explains “I was in the paved area of the High Street discussing issues with a resident of Boultham when we heard a crashing noise. Standing only a matter of feet away from the column; I looked towards the direction we had heard the noise and there was a section of the light fitment on the ground.”

Councillor Clarke continued “the fitment would have acted like a spear, so thankfully no one was directly underneath the light at the time. However, I feel the County Council needs to carry out an urgent safety review.”

Councillor Kev Clarke
07969471191

Complaint Street Lights Grantham / Grantham East Police Panel Outcomes

 

At the East Grantham Police Panel attended by Cllr Charmaine Morgan and local Police Officers a number of local issues were discussed.

Cllr Morgan commented:

There has been an increase in crime in my division, Grantham South, which appears to relate to the lcc street lights going out. Brazen burglars are carrying out multiple thefts emboldened by the total darkness some homes and rear gardens are now plunged into.

One burglar even commented to the police that he waited for the lights to go out before leaving his home.

Fortunately due to some excellent local policing and good fortune, in the form of a wildlife camera, the culprits have been caught.

However we identified the area off Somerby Hill, hill avenue and the sunningdale estate, beacon lane as being of particular risk in East Grantham. I am surveying other areas.

I have also received a complaint re Harrow Street and am dealing with issues on Oxford Street and College Street.

Now the lights have been off awhile Cllr Morgan has contacted LCC Highways to request that these areas are reviewed and if all lights are not switched back on, as LCC Labour Group proposed, that night lighting is strategically placed, at the very least.

The loss of lights, especially on sloping streets, pose a pedestrian hazard due to the irregular poor paving combined with the dark. Grantham is located on a valley with hills around it.

Cllr Morgan also stated:

Shift workers returning home at 2am are in total darkness, as are some elderly residents whose habit is to go out shopping very early, even in the winter.

Passengers walking back off late trains can be plunged into darkness as lights go off around them.

There is a general concern over the poor paving in grantham including the st peters hill area.

Cllr Morgan made a complaint when her own daughter fell regarding the uneven paving outside the busy Isaac Newton Centre but nothing has been done by LCC to rectify the situation.

She has asked LCC to provide details of complaints made by injured pedestrians across the county by area.

She said the council are not taking public safety seriously enough and new cost cutting procedures within LCC Highways have made it harder to report concerns. I am escalating issues raised and welcome comments from members of the public affected on 07398 156296.

We also discussed other issues including ASB issues in and around McDonalds and boy racing in local streets. It is a huge pity a small minority of young people are behaving in a manner that is not only inconsiderate, but when using vehicles, potentially dangerous. The local police are taking a welcome proactive tough stance after a period of attempting to work with youths. Speeding hotspots are being randomly monitored to catch culprits as well.

There is an issue regarding the loss of Grantham Youth Club facilities over the last few years which we are also investigating. In rural areas Parish Councils and Town Councils stepped in when county concil funding was cut. Our young people should have a safe environment in which to come together.

We also looked at the possibility of a local joint campaign to highlight the dangers of taking drugs, especially unpredictable designer drugs. Tragically accidental overdosing can occur. Given the night closure of Grantham A&E, the risk of fatality has increased. Help is much further away should an incident occur.

It was observed the overall number of PcSOs has plummeted over the last few years with skeleton crews now covering areas supported by volunteers. A new PCSO recruitment drive was welcomed by all and volunteers thanked for their important contribution to local policing

Best regards
Charmaine

SKDC AND LCC COUNCILLOR CHARMAINE MORGAN
Mob 07398 156296

Evidence exposes Government plan for more Grammar Schools is seriously flawed

 

NEWS FROM LINCOLNSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL LABOUR GROUP

Evidence exposes Government plan for more Grammar Schools is seriously flawed – Labour

Evidence from across Lincolnshire reveals that Government plans to send more children to Grammar Schools would only entrench deep divisions in local communities.

At a meeting in Lincoln today (Friday), Labour county councillors will say why the plan for more selection is seriously flawed.

Proposing a motion for the plan to be scrapped, Cllr Phil Dilks (Deeping St James will say:

“When she became Prime Minister, Theresa May promised to govern for the many.

“Sadly, more grammar schools would only benefit a select few.

“Mrs May claims grammar schools improve social mobility.

“But where we still have Grammars and Secondary Moderns across large parts of Lincolnshire, the evidence exposes the stark truth that selection acts as a glass ceiling to the most socially deprived young people.

“The proportion of pupils entitled to free school meals is accepted as the best indicator of social deprivation: some 12% of pupils in Lincolnshire’s Secondary Modern Schools are entitled to free school meals, compared to only 3% of Grammar pupils.

“That blows the lid off the Tory claim that Grammars improve social mobility.

“Parents support the notion of a Grammar School in every town – until their own child doesn’t pass the entrance exam and is destined to find a place in a school for other 11-plus failures.

“Mrs May’s predecessor David Cameron was right when he said (May 2007) that establishing Grammar Schools was  “extremely difficult and… often leads to them being very unpopular and they are then got rid of”.

“He dismissed the Grammar School debate as pointless adding:  “…Parents fundamentally don’t want their children divided into sheep and goats at the age of 11.”

“Mrs May says every school will have the opportunity to become selective. But where a school in a rural area accepts her offer and rejects local children on academic ability, Hobson’s Choice for many will be getting the bus out of their community for secondary education somewhere else.

“Dividing and segregating children from their peers only serves to reinforce the deep divisions in our society, rather than challenge them.

“Results across grammars and comprehensives show that academic students can excel whether they are selected at age-11 as academically elite and destined for a grammar education or whether they are educated in a true all-ability comprehensive.

“Real school improvement and equality of opportunity comes not from selection but through schools collaborating, and being properly supported along with relentless concentration on the quality of teaching and leadership.

“If Mrs May is serious about improving educational achievement and social mobility, she should focus on ending the postcode lottery in Lincolnshire’s schools and concentrate on helping every child to reach their full potential instead of an elite few.

“For example, in some existing secondary modern schools in Lincolnshire, fewer than one in five pupils get five A to C grade GCSEs including maths and English while other similar schools achieve average results THREE times better?

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Phil Dilks on 07729 656710

Plans to close Grantham Hospital A&E are a cynical move by ULHT board members

 

Early plans to close Grantham Hospital A&E are a cynical move by ULHT board members to start their plans to down grade our A&E Services in advance of a Public Consultation due this Autumn.ULHT argue tbey are having difficulty recruiting staff yet we have been approached by some former staff members who advise the ULHT made no effort to renegotiate their contracts chosing to lose staff or use more costly locum doctors instead.

When acute services cuts were considered and implemented before local SOS Grantham Hospital campaigners argued it would make the hospital less attractive to new consultants who historically and successfully shared services across Lincoln Boston and Grantham.
that the trust is having difficulty recruiting is no surprise given the poor senior management decisions.

The closure of Grantham A&E at night puts the most vulnerable in our community and most in need at most risk. The hospital serves a community in excess of 100,000 people and has 3 of the poorest communities with highest levels of child poverty in the County at Harrowby Estate, Earlesfield and St Johns area. Low income residents, disabled residents and those unable to drive will be totally dependent on a poor if not nonexistent public transport system to get to A&E. residents without a car have been stranded at Lincoln in the early hours.

Whilst ULHT state their decision reduces risk the fact is their decision also puts local people more at risk especially patients who have acute breathing difficulties for whom time is of the essence.

Sos grantham hospital have an online petition which is being supported by petition forms being delivered across Grantham. The petition pre empts the autumn consultation but we urge as many people to sign as quickly as possible to make it clear we are still prepared to fight for our A&E services.

The petition may be used to call lincolnshire county council to consider our concerns. Further action is also being considered.

The petition is available at:

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/en-gb/948/618/734/stop-united-lincolnshire-hospital-trust-downgrading-grantham-hospital-ae-now/

Anyone unable to access online services may call 01476574748. Electronic petition forms or paper copies of the petition are available by contacting SOS Grantham Hospital at 07429334260 or emailing charmainemorgan50@gmail.com.

Best regards

Charmaine

District & County Councillor Charmaine Morgan
Chair SOS Grantham Hospital
45 Harrowby Road
Grantham
NG31 9ED
Tel 01476 574748
Mob 07429 334260

Petition to Reinstate Whisby Waste Facility not Processed by Lincolnshire County Council

 

Petition to Reinstate Whisby Waste Facility not Processed by Lincolnshire County Council

A petition signed by over 1,000 Lincoln residents asking to reinstate the Whisby recycling facility was not processed properly by Lincolnshire County Council

Councillor Rosanne Kirk says “I am very disappointed by the Conservative led County Council and their failure to fully adhere to due process in presenting the petition to ‘Reinstate Whisby Waste Facility’. Over 1,000 Lincoln residents who signed the petition have been dealt a double blow by the council who have not only closed a valued and well used facility, but have had their voices ignored.

The petition was signed by over 1,000 Lincoln residents and presented correctly on the 20th May to the Full Council Meeting . It should have been processed and then passed onto Reg Shore the Executive Councillor for Waste Recycling. However, the petition was not processed after being received. It was only after Councillor Rosanne Kirk became concerned that the Whisby site was already being mothballed that the the error was found.

Councillor Kirk went on to say “I am frustrated and annoyed for the residents who signed the petition and the many who have contacted me saying that they have already seen a rise in fly tipping in Lincolnshire and feel the council are not listening to their voice. This contentious issue actually had received national TV coverage and for the petition not to be processed even though I presented many of the residents comments to the full council is very regrettable.”

“After finding out that this important petition had been overlooked I asked for immediate answers from the council and the officers involved. I have been informed that it was an administrative error and this is the only petition to have not been processed correctly. I have received a further letter from Reg Shore who has said that even if he had received the petition it would not have affected his and the council’s decision to close the facility. I will let residents make their own reflections on this decision.”

“I realise that the Conservative government’s austerity programme has affected local government and we have seen the results in the closure of libraries, turning off of street lights, a maximum increase in council tax this year and the loss of a valued local service in the Whisby Recycling Facility. I would ask the council to think carefully on the decisions they make and the damaging effect they have on communities. I would also ask the council to put measures in place to assure that petitions cannot be overlooked. Residents have every right to voice their concerns and question decisions made. I am proud that so many people felt strongly enough to sign the petition and I am sure they will be disappointed and angry as to the outcome and the way the petition has been mishandled. “

Councillor Rosanne Kirk
Email : CllrR.Kirk@Lincolnshire.gov.uk
Mobile : 07837 809644
Telephone : 01522 684990

Labour call for halt to ‘hokey-cokey’ on-off street light plan

 

‘Tory U-turn shows street light switch off plans not thought through’

Labour in Lincolnshire has called for a halt to Conservative plans to turn off Lincolnshire’s street lights which has left residents feeling unsafe and ‘under curfew’.

Cllr Robin Renshaw (Lincoln East), Labour’s Shadow Executive member for Highways at LCC said:

“While we welcome today’s Tory u-turn which means they will turn street lights back on that they switched off at 10pm only last month, it is clear that the county-wide plan is in chaos and has not been properly thought through.

“What was supposed to be cost-saving cuts, now sees the added expense of a second visit to hundreds of street lights to turn each one back on just weeks after they set to turn off at 10pm.

“This on-off-on-off is fast becoming the hokey-cokey street light plan.

“Lincoln residents rightly protested when they were left in the dark last month and I raised safety questions on 20th May but they were brushed aside.

Cllr Phil Dilks (Deeping St James) said “Only a couple of weeks ago (20th May full council), Cllr Richard Davies (Exec member for highways) refused to consider my request to keep lights on until midnight in residential areas, claiming he would stick to his plan and not be diverted by ‘scaremongering’.

“While we welcome today’s concession, the Tories are still determined to rollout their big switch off of street lights right across Lincolnshire.

“Local communities across the county are still waiting to hear which streets will be plunged into darkness and when the switch-off will happen in their area.

“It would surely be sensible to now launch a proper consultation with parish and town councils and others with local knowledge before leaving anywhere else in the dark.”

Further information: Robin Renshaw 01522 823 730 or Phil Dilks 07729 656 710.

Labour motion for full council on Friday 20th May

 

This council notes in relation to the Serco contract for the delivery of back office services that

  • since 1st April 2015 because of the failure of Serco to deliver services as specified in the contract there have been serious operational difficulties which have caused problems for the citizens of Lincolnshire, our Local Authority schools, organisations we trade with and which supply us with vital services,  and our staff
  • as a consequence the reputation of the County Council has suffered severely because we as the local authority and as a fair trader and as a good employer have to take responsibility for the failures of our contractors
  • at the end of February 2016 when the last report was received by the Value for Money Committee, 9 of the 43 Key Performance Indicators which measure the delivery of services under the contract were still not being met by Serco
  • as a consequence of Serco’s failure to meet the terms of the contract, service credits amounting to just under £1.2m have been repaid by Serco since April 2015
  • at the present date there is no clear indication when all Key Performance Indicators and other projects not being met, will be met.

Accordingly this council expresses its serious dissatisfaction with the delivery of the back office services contract by Serco and resolves

  • to ask the Chief Executive to begin at once a review using independent specialists to examine all aspects of the drawing up and implementation of the contract between Serco and the County Council. Three particular areas to include
  • whether it was reasonable to expect there to be a smooth transfer of responsibilities from Mouchel to Serco and a shift from one IT system, SAP to Agresso, at the same time – 1 April 2015 – and
  • whether the contract as drawn up was too large for the County Council to exit from without very serious ongoing difficulties thereby restricting the council’s freedom of movement and
  • whether Serco and the County Council had sufficient specialist staff in place in the right numbers to handle their respective responsibilities during the run-up to and from 1 April 2015
  • to ask the Chief Executive to explore all options available to the County Council to bring an end to the contractual relationship between Serco and the County Council within the terms of the contract
  • to bring a report back to the next full council meeting in September to enable the council to make recommendations to the Executive.

Proposed by Councillor R B Parker

Seconded by Councillor P M Dilks

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