The news last week that Cambridgeshire County Council is requiring some of its staff to take ‘unpaid leave’ between Xmas and New Year is alarming on at least two fronts, writes Councillor David Jenkins.
Firstly CCC seems to be running out of money. As a senior finance officer said ‘we are simply spending above the resources we have available’. And that’s even after all the savings we accrue from having so many vacancies within Highways.
Secondly why is it the employees who get the pain? It’s the latest in a series of developments which have put pressure on them without any prospect of any reward.
Conservative Councillors would rather library computers go unused than change their failing charging policy.
At a committee meeting of Cambridgeshire County Council on Tuesday (11 September), the policy of charging residents to use library computers was shown to be driving people away from using the computers, and raising little money in the process.
The Conservatives' decision to charge people for using library computers has been a complete failure.
Computer use is down 55% in Cambridgeshire's libraries and the charging scheme has raised £4000 against a prediction of £50,000.
The Liberal Democrats and thousands of residents had opposed the charges, saying it would both put people off using the computers and fail to raise money.
Serious questions need to be asked about the way Peterborough & Cambridgeshire Combined Authority is being run say the Lib Dems.
August has seen Mayor Palmer's appointment of a Conservative colleague of his on a salary of at least £100,000 and today it has emerged that the Chief Executive (on £150k) is on 'Gardening Leave'.
Cambridgeshire County Council has unanimously backed a motion to back the Motor Neurone Disease Charter.
At its 17 July meeting, Cllr Amanda Taylor (Lib Dem, Queen Ediths) proposed the motion that was seconded by Conservative Cllr Anna Bailey.
Cllr Taylor said, “It was a privilege to be asked by the MNDA to propose the adoption of the Charter. I’d like to thank all the other county councillors for their support — it is great that people from different political parties can come together over a quality of life issue like this.”
Our bus service needs proper support, say Cambridgeshire Lib Dems
With thousands of people in Cambridgeshire depending on their local bus service, the Liberal Democrats continue their support for public subsidy for buses as its future becomes more uncertain.
Bus subsidies have become the responsibility of Mayor Palmer, having previously been the job of the County Council.
“The Mayor seems to be prejudiced against buses,” said Cllr John Williams. “The Conservative-run County Council has been bad enough but some important services have survived. We mustn’t lose the services we have.”
With the number of people killed and seriously injured on Cambridgeshire roads rising significantly, Conservative transport bosses are neglecting road safety, according to the Lib Dems.
“Unfortunately, serious accidents on Cambridgeshire’s roads are getting more common,” said Lib Dem leader on the County Council Lucy Nethsingha. “But instead of investing in road safety measures to cut accident levels, the Mayor and Conservative County Council are pouring money into more and more consultants reports for roads we don’t yet know we need or can afford.”
£13 million has been poured into a fen east of Ely to salvage the mismanaged Ely bypass while a few miles away, the same road is an accident blackspot with an ever-increasing number of serious accidents.
“We know the Conservatives aren’t putting enough money into road repairs. Now it’s clear they are ignoring their responsibility to make roads safe,” added Lucy.
Labour, Liberal Democrat and Independent councillors on the Combined Authority’s Scrutiny Committee have called in the Mayoral Interim Transport Strategy Statement which was agreed at the Board Meeting on 30 May. The six councillors on the Scrutiny Committee who called it in have argued that it was incorrrectly listed as a non-key decision at the Board meeting as it would have a significant strategic impact on the area, and also raised a series of questions in regard to its standing and potential consequences for Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire District Councils in their Local Plan inspection process, managing current development plans and tacking congestion in their areas.
While official figures on Delayed Transfers of Care, or DTOC, are said to be nearing national target levels, the situation in Cambridgeshire has been bad enough to warrant an inspection by the Care Quality Commission – expected in the autumn.
"Beneath immediate fire-fighting and the critical need to streamline health and social care services lies a deep-rooted gap in our workforce,” says Cllr Susan van de Ven.
Cambridgeshire County Council’s Children and Young People’s Committee has today responded to an OFSTED report flagging up serious concerns about some areas of children’s services in Cambridgeshire.
The OFSTED report expresses particular concerns about high staff turnover, and very high case-loads, leading to delays in assessing children who may be at risk of harm.
"Children’s services in Cambridgeshire seem to have been in a constant state of re-organisation" says Liberal Democrat leader Lucy Nethsingha.