“Devon County Council health scrutiny committee district representative [Diviani] must consult before voting”

From the blog of Claire Wright.

If you wish to show your disapproval of the man and his conduct (see below), turn up at EDDC HQ, Knowle, Sidmouth tomorrow evening from 5.30 pm onwards for the vote of “no confidence” in him – brought by Independent members of EDDC.

Watch and note which Tory councillors cave in and continue to back the man who neither represents us nor cares about us.

“The district council member of Devon County Council’s health and adult care scrutiny committee will need to consult before speaking and voting, it has been recommended today.

The Procedures Committee (which I am a member of) met this afternoon and debated the fallout of the controversial July health scrutiny meeting where the chair ended up as the subject of a Standards Committee hearing, following a vote against a referral to the Secretary of State over the loss of 72 community hospital beds.

Paul Diviani, leader of EDDC, also voted against a referral to the Secretary of State, despite his own council robustly opposing the bed cuts.

His actions have been much criticised by local people, who quite reasonably, believe that Cllr Diviani did not carry out his responsibility fully.

If he had voted in line with the views of his own council a referral on the closure of 72 hospital beds, would now be winging its way to the Secretary of State for Health, as the vote was so close – 7/6.

Later, Cllr Diviani (who is now facing a vote of no confidence at a specially convened meeting tomorrow evening) admitted that he had not asked any district council for its position on hospital bed closures.

At this afternoon’s Procedures Committee, it was proposed, seconded by me, that the district council member of the health scrutiny committee, should be required to “collate” the views of local councils before speaking and voting on health scrutiny agenda items.

It’s a nonsense that an appointed representative should not actually need to represent the views of local councils so this move should mean that in future, the representative will fully and fairly discharge his duty.

The recommendation will go before full council next month.”


How do you spot a development site? Look for a road tunnel!

This article contains a useful overview of the Clyst Honiton bypass tunnel, whose lights are being replaced by LEDs.

But the accompanying aerial view of it is the more interesting photo:


It is a “Growth Point” development site


and, obviously, a new road could not interfere with that given its access to vastly more development land a la Lidl and Skypark!

With the airport and other developments in “Greater Exeter”, will Cranbrook become one of the most polluted places in Devon?

TOMORROW 6 PM: “Motion of No Confidence in EDDC Leader, this Weds 13 Sept, 6pm at Knowle. Considerable public presence expected.”

With the BBC Spotlight report (03/09/17)* and considerable coverage in the local press, most East Devon constituents will be aware of the Extra Ordinary meeting this Wednesday 13th September, to consider a motion of no confidence in Paul Diviani for voting against referring hospital closures to the Secretary of State.

The meeting will take place in the Council Chamber, Knowle, starting at 6pm. Good attendance of the public is anticipated. The first agenda item is public speaking . Those wishing to speak should register on arrival, by completing the speaker request slip ( with topic, name and contact details) available on table just inside Council Chamber, and handing it in to the secretary.

For precise details of the motion, see

‘Motion of no confidence lodged against district council leader’, reports today’s Sidmouth Herald

‘Motion of no confidence lodged against district council leader’, reports today’s Sidmouth Herald
* The Spotlight report, by Hamish Marshall, has been captured on https://www.facebook.com/eastdevonalliance/”


Head of NHS says it needs more winter beds! Already blaming councils for potential problems

Hot on the heels of the closure of Honiton and Seaton community hospitals comes this from the head of the NHS:

“… The southern hemisphere has just experienced its worst flu season in many years, and previous experience suggests Britain may be hit by the same H3 strain this winter.

The World Health Organisation is now reviewing the efficacy of the flu vaccine used in Australia and New Zealand to prepare for the last winter, Stevens said. The NHS’s own annual campaign is due to start within weeks, using a vaccine ordered months ago. Questions may now be raised about whether it will prove effective if the same H3 strain arrives in Britain.

Putting the NHS on high alert, Stevens told bosses to do everything they could to ensure that the health service is was as well-prepared as possible to deal with a potential spike in people falling ill, including reducing hospital overcrowding so that flu victims can be admitted.

Australia in grip of worst flu season yet, with experts saying vaccinate now
“For the next three, four, five months the top priority for every leader, every part of the NHS, is ensuring that the NHS goes into winter in a strong a position as possible.

“We know we’re going to have more hospital beds open, we know we are better prepared, but we also know that the pressures are going to be real. We know that there is a great deal of work to be done over the next six to eight weeks with our partners in local authorities to put the NHS on the right footing for the winter ahead,” Stevens said.

He said he was reviewing the Australia and New Zealand experience, where hospitals had closed to new patients and reported very long waiting times.

“The evidence is we are likely to have a more pressurised flu season this year,” he said.

NHS England has already committed to freeing up between 2,000 and 3,000 extra beds to help avoid a repeat of last year’s struggles, which led the British Red Cross to describe the chaotic state of hospitals as a humanitarian crisis, by clearing out “delayed discharge” patients who are medically fit to go home but cannot safely be discharged, often because a social care package has not been put in place for them.

Stevens said, however, that the NHS’s ability to meet that pledge, which will assume extra urgency in light of the fears about flu, was out of its hands and down to action taken by local councils, which have been given £1bn more this year to improve social care. It is unclear how many beds have been freed up so far. …”


“A civil servant has revealed that HS2 was a political vanity project”

… George Osborne wanted HS2 very much against the advice of his officials. Osborne saw a high-speed railway as a way of increasing the Tories’ appeal in the North, while his officials saw it as a vanity project which would bring far less benefit than smaller-scale improvements. Osborne pushed HS2 because he wanted to be able to boast that Britain had the fastest railway in the world (in spite of its geography not justifying that).

It is bizarre that the government has now cancelled electrification projects across the North of England, so that Trans-Pennine services will continue to be provided with dirty diesel trains (conflicting with its announcement of a ban on new diesel cars from 2040), while pushing ahead with a 225 mph railway between Manchester, Leeds and London.

It doesn’t make much economic sense, but, as Macpherson questioned, does it even make political sense? Build a fast railway from north to south while simultaneously ignoring commuter services in the North and you send a pretty powerful message to northerners: go south, young man. That’s where the big opportunities are. If it is all supposed to be about boosting the North why is so much of the budget allocated to rebuilding Euston station.

HS2 is really designed around ministers’ lifestyles: it enables them to travel to the North to make an announcement, cut a ribbon or close a factory, and still be back at Westminster in time to vote and have a subsidised dinner. Meanwhile, the public transport which Londoners take for granted continues to be denied to the North. …”


Budleigh Salterton neighbourhood plan passes final hurdle

“Budleigh Neighbourhood Plan gets 95 per cent approval

Budleigh Salterton is set to become the first town in East Devon to have their neighbourhood plan implimented after 95 per cent voted in favour of adopting the blueprint document

The Budleigh Salterton community has given its backing to a plan which lays out how the town could look in the future.

Residents went to the polls on Wednesday (September 6) on Budleigh’s Neighbourhood Plan.

Voters were asked to say yes or no to the question: ‘Do you want East Devon District Council (EDDC) to use the Neighbourhood Plan (NP) for Budleigh Salterton to help decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?

Some 94.7 per cent of the 1,320 who voted said yes while 5.3 per cent voted no with two ballot papers spoiled. There was a turnout of 31 per cent.

The plan will now go back to EDDC cabinet to me ‘made’. This will make Budleigh the first town in East Devon to successfully complete the Neighbourhood Plan process.

When the document gets rubber-stamped by EDDC, it will have to be referred to alongside the East Devon Local Plan, when any planning applications are considered.

Town mayor Alan Dent said: “This will help control future development, will support businesses and will really help in securing a viable future for the town.

“The NP will also protect the character and history of Budleigh which is loved and admired by both residents and visitors. … ”


“Secondary schools struggling to get enough teachers, says watchdog”

“Secondary schools are struggling to recruit enough teachers to keep up with retiring staff and rising pupil numbers despite annual expenditure of about £21bn on their teaching workforce, the government’s spending watchdog has said.

Tens of thousands of teachers left England’s schools before reaching retirement age last year, and headteachers are finding it difficult to fill posts with good quality candidates, according to the National Audit Office.

A report released on Tuesday concludes that the Department for Education cannot show that its attempts to keep teachers in the classroom are working or demonstrate value for money in keeping with the NAO’s remit.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the school leaders’ union NAHT, said the report was “pretty savage but entirely justified”.

“As the report says, the government cannot get away from the fact that it does not keep data on local supply and demand and cannot show that its interventions are improving teacher retention.

“As such, the DfE is scrambling around in the dark, wasting money and without a clear plan to tackle recruitment and retention. It’s a national problem. So it needs a national solution,” he said.

The report found that 34,910 qualified teachers left the profession for reasons other than retirement last year. There was a 4.9% fall (10,800 staff) in the numbers of secondary school teachers, it said.

A survey by the NAO found 85% of secondary school leaders did not think they had been given enough support by the government to retain high-quality teachers, while 67% said teachers’ workload was still a barrier to keeping people in the profession. Nearly all – 97% – thought cost was an obstacle to improving the quality of their workforce.

Schools filled only half their vacancies with teachers who had the right experience and expertise, the survey found, and in about one in 10 cases, the post was not filled. …”