Have your say on Axminster’s future

“Community group Light Up Axminster is inviting people to have their say about the town’s future development during a programme of ‘Community Conversations’.

Funded by an Awards for All grant from the National Lottery the group is exploring the things that matter to those that live, work and visit the town.

The aim is to highlight the highs and lows of community life and how the town can shape its future together.

The ‘Community Conversations’ will take place at a range of venues and times throughout March and early April and will be led by Light Up Axminster’s Cindy Furse with film-maker Rich Tomlinson and Actiontrack’s Nick Brace.

Anyone attending is asked to take a photograph, picture, poem, drawing or description of their favourite thing about living in Axminster and the thing that they would most like to change.

These will be used to create a picture of what is important in the community. For anyone who can’t attend the themed sessions there will be a number of drop-in sessions, too.

Contact Cindy Furse on 07930 800225 or email cindy@lightupaxminster.co.uk for more information, or join the conversation on Facebook/LightUpAxminster

Sessions are:

Thursday March 14: The Light House (formerly Marle Gallery):

9am to 10am: drop in; 10am to 12pm – regeneration, development and growth; 1pm to 3pm – education and employment; 3pm to 4pm: drop in.

Friday, March 15, Axminster Guildhall: 9am to 10am: drop in;

10am to 12pm – sport and leisure; 1pm to 3pm – arts, culture and heritage; 4pm to 5pm – drop in.

Tuesday March 19: The Light House: 12pm to 2pm – spaces, places and facilities; 2pm to 3pm – drop in; 6pm to 7pm – drop in; 7pm to 9pm – health and wellbeing.

Wednesday March 20: Millwey Community Hall: 12pm to 1pm – drop in; 1pm to 3pm – education and employment.

Wednesday March 20: The Light House: 5pm to 7pm – drop in; 7pm to 9pm – sport and leisure.

Friday March 29: The Light House: 9am to 10am: Drop in; 10am to 12pm – health and wellbeing; 1pm to 3pm – spaces, places and facilities; 4pm to 5pm – drop in.

Tuesday April 2: The Light House: 7pm to 9pm – arts, culture and heritage.

Thursday April 4: Millwey Community Hall: 6pm to 7pm – drop in; 7pm to 9pm – regeneration, development and growth.”

https://www.midweekherald.co.uk/news/community-conversations-planned-to-help-shape-the-future-1-5934595

“Spending watchdog consults on new Code of Audit Practice for local auditors”

“The National Audit Office has launched a consultation on the development of a new Code of Audit Practice, which sets out what local auditors of relevant local public bodies are required to do to fulfil their statutory responsibilities under the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014.

The 2014 Act requires that the Code be reviewed, and revisions considered at least every five years. The NAO said the current Code came into force on 1 April 2015, and its maximum five-year lifespan means it now needs to be reviewed and a new Code laid in Parliament in time for it to come in to force no later than 1 April 2020. …

The consultation document which can be viewed here:

https://www.nao.org.uk/code-audit-practice/wp-content/uploads/sites/29/2019/03/Local-audit-in-England-Code-of-Audit-Practice-Consultation.pdf

supports Stage 1 of the process. …”

https://www.localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk/governance/396-governance-news/40054-spending-watchdog-consults-on-new-code-of-audit-practice-for-local-auditors

What can WE do to save our NHS?

“Greetings, KONP supporters in the South West!
Important information from Keep Our NHS Public on…

Integrated Care Providers

The Government likes to bury its plans to defund, break-up and privatise the NHS in jargon. KONP are producing a series of videos to help you understand what’s going on…

NHS England is consulting on the contract for a new model of health and social care provision that threatens the break-up of the NHS into units run by less accountable ‘Integrated Care Providers’ – or ‘ICPs’. Each of these ‘business units’ would control spend and rationing of healthcare for populations of up to 500,000. These huge contracts will be eminently open to the private sector to compete for.

The ICPs will deliver the dangerous new restructuring plans of government which could see fragments of the NHS managed by non-NHS, non-statutory and therefore less accountable bodies. They are the embodiment of government plans to disperse the NHS and its staff, drive down public funding, promote private contracts and put cost limits and profit before patient safety.

Integrated Care Provider contracts:

Dis-integrate the NHS;
Give control to non-NHS bodies potentially beyond scrutiny;
Threaten public accountability;
Hand over control to these non-NHS bodies for 10-15 years;
Manage multi-billion-pound contracts for blocks of 500,000 population;
Open the door to private companies winning these contracts.

Please watch the video above and share on social media to help spread the word about the Government’s deliberate and insidious privatisation plans.

You can also visit our website:

https://keepournhspublic.com/privatisation/icps-what-are-they/

and our Facebook Page:

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=167804364127012&id=172710059485626&refsrc=https%3A%2F%2Fm.facebook.com%2Fkeepournhspublic%2Fvideos%2F167804364127012%2F&_rdr

for more information, videos and links.

For a written explanation of ICPs and what the represent for the NHS please read and share this briefing (broken link) by HCT co-chair and KONP campaigner Louise Irvine.

How can you help?
1. Along with our friends at We Own It

https://weownit.org.uk

and Health Campaigns Together

https://www.healthcampaignstogether.com

we have created a petition

https://weownit.org.uk/ICP-petition-NHS

calling on the Government to;
a) Abandon the Integrated Care Provider contract model:
b) Guarantee that any Integrated Care Provider organisations will be statutory organisations i.e. NHS bodies, not private providers.
c) Focus health improvement efforts on pressing the government for:

o Sufficient funding and staffing for health and social care.
o Social care to be brought into public provision, free at point of use
o Legislation to end the failed NHS contracting system and to renationalise the NHS: the only sound basis for service integration.

SIGN THE PETITION

https://weownit.org.uk/ICP-petition-NHS

2. NHS England have launched a 12 week consultation on contracting arrangements for Integrated Care Providers. You can read the full consultation document here

https://gallery.mailchimp.com/053f4c95aa70981fdfccd7707/files/dc9643c1-bf3d-4f70-a09f-d571d49b02cd/integrated_care_providers_consultation_document.pdf

Please let them know what you think by submitting a response before the consultation closes on the 26 October. You can do this online. HCT have created a document of a sample response

https://gallery.mailchimp.com/053f4c95aa70981fdfccd7707/files/17b0a7d5-446a-4fcb-b46e-66a3fffc43ed/suggested.pdf

in case you wish to take some guidance from KONP and HCTs position.
You can also see a comprehensive written response:

https://gallery.mailchimp.com/053f4c95aa70981fdfccd7707/files/f6a7aae4-ac4d-4a5e-bf3e-862571fe3405/Consultation_response_PeterRoderick_FINAL_01Oct18_1_.pdf

to the proposed changes from the JR4NHS team who, along with the late Stephen Hawking, took Jeremy Hunt and ACOs to Judicial Review this year.

3. Share the KONP video, HCT and KONP briefing and the JR4NHS response to the NHSE consulation around your networks and on social media.

“Government faces court action over ‘illegal’ planning policy”

“The government is facing a legal challenge over its new planning policy, which campaigners say was illegally adopted because the government failed to assess its environmental impact.

The revised National Planning Policy Framework, published in July, informs local policies across England, from planning permission to town and country planning and land use. It has significant weight in development decisions, from the amount and location of built development to the way environmental impacts are assessed, and also deals with policies concerning air pollution, energy generation, water management and biodiversity.

A strategic environmental assessment (SEA) is required by EU law for public plans relating to land use and planning, among other things. It is required wherever policies are likely to have a significant impact on the environment. Friends of the Earth wants to force the government to undertake an SEA, consult the public and modify the framework based on those findings.

The NGO has filed a claim at the high court, saying the NPPF makes it “virtually impossible” for councils to refuse local fracking schemes, fails to rule out future coal developments, and introduces harsh new rules for wind energy schemes. It argues it is impossible to gauge the environmental impact of such policies without a strategic assessment. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/sep/04/government-faces-court-action-over-illegal-planning-policy

“Citizens’ Juries could become the core of a revived local democracy”

Owl says: a bit too radical for EDDC which is predicated on NOT listening to its citizens! It surely would have to be forced on the district with its current majority party!

“The Department of Digital, Culture Media and Sport has also now decided to pilot participatory democratic approaches in local authorities around England. Scotland and Wales are having their own discussions.

As with many innovations, the devil will be in the detail.

They will need to be representative of the area they are discussing. If half the residents are over 50, half the jury members should be too. They mustn’t be self-selecting: they can’t be yet another platform for the already engaged.

Both the Democracy Matters assembly on city regions and the Citizens’ Assembly on Brexit paid participants a token amount to reach ordinary citizens who wouldn’t normally volunteer.

In order for them to be Citizens’ Juries in more than just name, they need to have three equally important phases.

The first phase is learning about the options and how the process will work. Participants are guided through the current state of affairs and presented with the options for change.

Traditionally this has meant impartial experts preparing papers and delivering short lectures, which Ed Hammond correctly points out can get quite expensive. To combat this, we ran an experimental deliberative programme in the run-up to the EU referendum with recorded videos from academics from the ESRC’s UK in a Changing Europe project.

Following their briefing, participants then hear from campaigners, presenting their case for why the assembly should side with them. Members can question them armed with the knowledge they gained in the previous phase, and – if the assemblies I’ve attended are any measure – will rigorously scrutinise them.

The last phase is the deliberation itself. Breaking up into small groups and facilitated to ensure no one person dominates, they discuss amongst themselves everything they’ve heard, feeding back into the full assembly and eventually voting.

Citizens’ Juries are nothing like the fractious social media debate that tends to pass for political discussion today. All sides have a common pool of knowledge to draw from, and by discussing issues face-to-face, are far more likely to compromise.

They are also, in many ways, at the opposite end from the local councils they will be advising. Due to the voting system, local government in England is not representative of local political opinions, let alone local demographics.

It would be a shame if Citizens’ Juries became just another institution bolted on to deal with the unrepresentative nature of our local electoral system, rather than deal with the problem at the source. …”

https://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/citizens-juries-could-become-the-core-of-a-revived-local-democracy/

“Councils in crisis – consult more, not less”

“Lessons from the Northants County Libraries judicial review.

Rumour has it that there are several councils in danger of following Northamptonshire towards a similar financial plight. If so, they need to pay attention for the High Court has ruled against Northants’ decision to make cuts in its Libraries provision. A cash crisis evidently does not excuse councils of their duties under the Law of Consultation.

What happened here is that the County Council prepared options for rationalising its Libraries at the end of 2017. Its consultation was, according to the Court, perfectly acceptable, as was a decision taken by the Cabinet to support a ‘least worst’ option subject to further studies. What went wrong is that a few days afterwards there came a S. 114(3) notice under the Local Government and Finance Act 1988. It meant that the full Council meeting a week later reversed the decision and adopted a different option that might save more money.

Unfortunately, at that point the Council had no clear view of the true implications of the switch to the second option. Neither had it been able to consider the outcome of the further work that the Cabinet had identified as being necessary when it took its first decision. Part of this was because some of the Libraries were co-located with grant-aided children’s centres and closures involved potential grant claw back. Subsequently promising to hold a further consultation on those children’s centres did not correct the mistake of having been unaware of the impacts when the decision to close was actually taken.

A similar conclusion arises in respect of the challenge claimants issued in respect of Section 7 of the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964. This prescribes the statutory requirements for the service, and councils everywhere should heed the words of Mrs Justice Yip, as follows: –

“The result was that the executive decision to close libraries appears to have been taken without balancing the statutory duty against the financial pressures. The Cabinet cannot be criticised for being motivated by financial concerns. However, finances could not be the sole consideration. The Cabinet still had to be satisfied that they were complying with their legal duties. On the evidence before me, I am not satisfied that they appreciated what they had to decide.” (at Paragraph 88)

Irrespective of the legal niceties, the practical issues raised by this are serious:

Under what circumstances can public bodies amend their decisions following a consultation and what are the processes they should follow when they do so?
If you agree that further study is required following consideration of consultation responses, are there consequences were you not to be able to undertake those studies?

During the consideration period, what steps need to be taken to demonstrate that, in addition to taking account of consultee responses, there is also a proper assessment of statutory requirements?

This is the second important case affecting local government budget consultations within days. The other is the judgment on 3rd August in the in the Bristol City Council case where the Special Educational Needs (SEN) budget reductions were ruled unlawful.

Is it maybe time for Councils everywhere to re-think their Budget consultation practices and ensure they will not fall into some of the traps which ensnared Northamptonshire and Bristol. The upshot will almost certainly be that Councils facing financial turbulence may have to consult more – not less.”

https://www.consultationinstitute.org/councils-in-crisis-consult-more-not-less/