“Claim ‘too many decisions at EDDC made by officers’ “

Owl’s question: why is EDDC involved in running a theatre at all? Perhaps it’s because Leader Diviani has a soft spot for them as he worked in the entertainment industry in the 1970s and 1980s!

“A debate over pay-and-display parking charges at a Sidmouth venue spilled over into claims key parties were not consulted and that officers repeatedly go over councillors’ heads.

East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) scrutiny committee raised concerns the proposed regime – aimed at raising up to £30,000 a year for the Manor Pavilion – could deter users and be ‘counter-productive’.

Members were told they could not ‘call in’ the cabinet’s decision to approve the new charges, but they could make recommendations on the implementation.

Graham Liverton, an honorary alderman of the council, said: “I do appreciate the efforts you’ve gone to get this on the agenda, but I fear it won’t make a jot of difference.”

He chairs the Manor Pavilion steering committee, but said he had received a letter from an officer saying it is ‘no longer required’.

The meeting heard that, while members can still meet, it will no longer be administered by an EDDC officer.

Mr Liverton said: “In other words, because we disagreed with the decision [to introduce charges], we get the sack. I think that’s a great shame. The whole thing, from beginning to end, has been disgraceful.”

He said many key users had to learn of the proposals in the Herald, adding: “The communication from EDDC has been so abysmal – it’s beyond belief.”

Officers said Sidmouth’s ward members had been told about the proposals, but admitted the town council was not consulted.

Councillor Maddy Chapman raised concerns no vote was taken about the future of the steering committee, adding: “Too many decisions are being made in this council that aren’t going through the proper channels. 
“Any amount of money won’t be enough to put new chairs in that theatre. It’s not going to work.”

Cllr Cathy Gardner added: “This is another example of how the council seems to be acting in a heavy-handed way of ‘we know best’. There are ways to make this usable for people who actually use the Manor Pavilion.

“If it means people don’t use the car park, that’s counterproductive. I can’t see how much money it will raise – it could have a big negative impact.”

The income from the car park’s 21 spaces will be ring-fenced for investment in the theatre and arts centre.

Theatre manager Graham Whitlock said its 277 chairs ‘will not last’ another five years and a previous quote said they would cost £150 apiece to recondition.

EDDC also hopes to bring in an online ticketing system he said will cost £10,000 a year.

“By charging for the car park we can continue to develop for the future,” added Mr Whitlock.

Scrutiny committee members backed EDDC’s plan to extend the maximum parking time from three to four hours, and called for the charges to end at 6pm, not 8pm as proposed.

They also said consulting users, ward councillors and Sidmouth Town Council should be an important part of the process.


EDDC and community hospitals: too little, too late, too suspiciously close to the general election

Well, they would say this now (“slamming” the decision to close Honiton and Seaton community beds with those in Axminster and Ottery already gone) wouldn’t they – after saying almost nothing before county elections but with all the recent bad news that reflects badly on incumbent Tory MPs and extremely well on Claire Wright!

Remember: talk is cheap and actions speak louder than words.


Expensive Teignbridge Council CEO not being replaced

Owl says: Remember when our current CEO went 50/50 to South Somerset Council and no-one noticed – and his work was shared out to other officers? Somerset terminated that contract early and he returned to us full time.


“A council chief who is paid almost as much as the Prime Minister is leaving her post next month. Nicola Bulbeck, Teignbridge Council’s CEO, told a meeting of the full council on Monday that she would be departing from her role on June 9 once she has fulfilled her duties as the Acting Returning Officer for the General Election.

Ms Bulbeck faced criticism last year after it was revealed that she had been awarded an inflation-busting 12 per cent pay rise. Her total remuneration package, including pension contributions and benefits in kind, jumped from £126,097 in 2014/15 to £141,972 in the 2015/16 financial year. Theresa May currently receives £143,462 for leading the country, the Conservative Party and overseeing the hugely complicated Brexit process. …

… Ms Bulbeck will not be directly replaced, but instead, her duties will be distributed between the existing officers and the Deputy Chief Executive, Phil Shears who will become the Head of Paid Service.”


What a busy chap the EDDC Monitoring Officer must be!

Criminal investigations in Colyton and Honiton, both needing the intervention of the EDDC Monitoring Officer and both being played out in the local press on a weekly basis.

What is the world coming to?

Probably overdue a meeting of the Standards Committee!

EDDC: priorities, dear boy, priorities

Of the many illegal activities taking place along the seafront parade in Budleigh Salterton the two most visible are dogs running free, not on a lead, and that of cyclists mowing down pedestrians on a pedestrian only pavement. And, of course, hungry seagulls.

The worst of these misdemeanours is the cyclists.

So it is good to know that EDDC have their priorities right with all the problems that the district faces at this time of cuts. EDDC is fining people who feed seagulls and a man was employed to spray DOGS ON A LEAD AREA on the parade pavement on a SATURDAY afternoon.

Cyclists remain to run free.

Bike wardens, anyone?

999 call for support at EDDC on 17 May for emergency motion on NHS in Devon

Save our Hospital Services East Devon Facebook page:

“EDDC council meeting 17th May, 6.30 pm – Knowle, Sidmouth.

We [Independent East Devon Alliance] have a motion going before the Council condemning the closure of our community beds.

Support from members of the public during public speaking would really help us and show your local ward member how you want them to vote.

If you can come along and support us we would be very grateful, this is a tough fight. The item is late (last?) in the agenda but you can ask to speak before that item rather than at the start of the meeting. Do contact me if you need more information. Here is our motion and the East Devon Alliance Councillors who are proposing it:

Councillor Cathy Gardner, seconded by Councillor Marianne Rixson and supported by Councillors Val Ranger, Matt Coppell and Megan Armstrong:
“That this Council condemns the decision of the NEW Devon CCG to close community hospital beds in Seaton and Honiton and calls on our County Councillors and MPs to oppose further cuts to services in East Devon as part of the ongoing Sustainability and Transformation Plan

This comes hot on the heels of a damning report on our so-called “Success Regime” Clinical Commissioning Group, which has managed to get us into an even worse mess than the regime it replaced:

(also from same Facebook page):

Largest CCG given updated legal directions as finances sink

Health Service Journal – 4 May, 2017 By Nick Carding

Fresh legal directions given to troubled NEW Devon CCG

Deadline for submission of 2017-18 operating plan is Friday

CCG’s cumulative deficit now stands at £120.5m

The largest clinical commissioning group in the country has been given fresh legal directions over its financial management, amid a worsening of its cumulative deficit.

NHS England has imposed several instructions on Northern, Eastern and Western Devon CCG, which has been in the region’s success regime since 2015, and is yet to agree its operating plan for 2017-18 with regulators.
The deadline for submitting the plan is Friday.

The updated directions, which took effect in late March, replace previous directions from August 2015.

They include:

The financial recovery plan and any amendments to it shall continue to be subject to NHS England approval.

NHS England may direct the CCG in any other matters relating to the financial recovery plan.

NHS England could dictate the process to be followed by the CCG in making appointments to its executive team or the “next tier of management”.
The CCG’s cumulative deficit since 2013-14 now stands at £120m, after it ended 2016-17 with a £42m deficit.

In 2016-17 it had forecast a cumulative deficit of £107m.

The region, which has been warned it could become subject to the new “capped expenditure process” devised by NHS England and NHS Improvement, has been ordered to come up with affordable operating plans by Friday.
The plans will be reviewed with national directors at NHS England and NHSI later this month.

The CCG and the NHS providers in the NEW Devon footprint had a joint financial plan for 2016-17.

Neither the CCG nor the providers could identify further savings without “having a severe impact on patient care”, CCG governing body papers said.
In February, the CCG confirmed plans to reduce the number of inpatient beds across four community hospitals in its eastern locality from 143 to 72.
For 2017-18, one of the main providers on the patch – Plymouth Hospitals Trust – has launched a £40m financial improvement programme, which includes workforce redesign.

HSJ asked the CCG what its financial forecast and savings target would be in 2017-18, but a spokeswoman said it would be inappropriate to respond to questions relating to 2017-18 because their plans have not yet been approved.

South Devon and Torbay CCG is also under legal directions.
Article updated at 3.33pm, May 5, after new information was provided by the CCG.

CCG board papers and information provided to HSJ”