“John Lewis culls top jobs with Waitrose management merger”
“John Lewis culls top jobs with Waitrose management merger”
Below is a story about Sara Randall, Chair of the Adult Health Scrutiny Committee and a County Councillor for Broadclyst, Richard Scott, a committee member and Exmouth County Councillor and Phil Twiss, a committee member and Honiton County Councillor meeting with carers. Sue Younger-Ross and a DCC Officer Timothy Ridgeway were also attendance.
These are Tory councillors who have continuously and viciously thwarted the Herculean efforts of Independent Councillor Claire Wright to get a fair deal for carers, to investigate the county’s provision for health and social care and refused to discuss any aspect of Devon’s Clinical Commissioning Group’s massive funding cuts. A group which also refused to fight the closure of community hospitals in Axminster, Honiton, Seaton and Ottery St Mary, (though Twiss did make a very mild stand, knowing full well he would be outvoted by his pals).
It is a sure sign there is an election brewing and a breathtaking exercise in hypocrisy.
The article is here:
This time from the blog of DCC EDA councillor Martin Shaw.
“Conservative County Councillor for Honiton, Phil Twiss told Devon County Council on 4th October that ‘Sonja Manton [Director of Strategy for the Devon Clinical Commissioning Groups] said at the Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee the other week that there no plans to close any community hospitals in our area. We were talking about Seaton, Honiton and Axminster at the time.’
I was surprised that he should give us this good news in passing, and that the CCG had made no announcement of something so obviously important. So eventually I watched the webcast of the Health Scrutiny meeting on September 20th. Although Sonja Manton spoke several times, I couldn’t find her saying anything like what Phil said – indeed anything about community hospitals at all.
So I emailed Sonja and she confirms she didn’t speak about the hospitals. As for the issue, all she would say was, ‘I can assure you that our continued focus remains on planning and commissioning services and support to meet the needs of the Devon population in the best possible way. We recognise how strongly communities feel about community hospital buildings and will continue to work with communities and stakeholders to modernise and evolve the way our services are delivered and where they are based to make sure we make best use of all our resources and public estate.‘
So was Sonja more forthcoming at another, presumably private, meeting, Phil? Or was what you said wishful thinking?”
Gobsmacking! Villages such as Feniton and Beer manage to have a quorate Neighbourhood Plan group, so have smaller towns such as Budleigh but Honiton can’t manage it:
Some really serious questions need to be asked and answered here otherwise Honiton will be descended on by vulture developers for years.
Didn’t Councillor Twiss intimate that he is Honiton’s problem solver …?
“Town councillors were asked to consider a recommendation to shelve the document at a meeting last night because its current steering group is ‘inquorate’ – meaning it is not made up of enough members.
A report submitted to the council by deputy clerk Heloise Marlow said: “A steering group made up of about nine to ten members with one-third councillors and two-thirds community members is essential.
“In view of the lack of past and current interest from the community of Honiton, the officers recommendation is that a neighbourhood plan cannot currently be delivered.
“As such the recommendation would be to put the process on hold for a period of two years.”
As part of the proposal, the town council’s annual budget of £10,000 would be put into earmarked reserves for a maximum of three years, including the financial year 2020-2021.
Research into average costings for a Neighbourhood Plan indicate that funding from the town council in the region of £30,000 would be needed, and there is limited grant funding available.
The deputy clerk’s report added: “Currently there is £1,022 being brought into earmarked reserves which is the balance of the East Devon District Council start up grant.
“In May 2020 when the matter is reviewed, there would be earmarked reserves available of £31,022 and therefore should the drafting of a Neighbourhood Plan over the next two years gather public support, and the decision is taken to revive the process, this would allow funding to be made available immediately.”
Councillor Caroline Kolek said: “I think we all understand the recommendation and I feel we have no option but to go with it.
“Having been involved with the Neighbourhood Plan right from the start, I think it’s really sad that we are at this point.”
Councillors opted to vote on the recommendation at next month’s meeting after Cllr Roy Coombs voice his concerns over the recommendation.
He said: “There’s no deadline but if we had got our Neighbourhood Plan in place now, possibly things could have been done differently over the Halse of Honiton site or the Ottery Moor Lane business park.
“There could be other missed opportunities – if we have not got a Neighbourhood Plan in place it could, I feel, become a developers’ free-for-all.”
Cllr Coombs proposed to defer the item to the council’s June meeting.
His motion was unanimously approved.”
It seems councillor Twiss is a modern-day superhero – able to help you with just about any problem you might come across.
So, if you live in Honiton, do contact him:
Telephone: 01404 891327
Address: Swallowcliff, Beacon, Honiton, EX14 4TT
or at DCC:
True, he hasn’t so far sorted East Devon’s broadband not-spots, wasn’t able to halt the closure of Honiton Hospital’s community beds or stop Baker Estates from weaselling out of their affordable housing commitments and the ‘fillip’ to Honiton’s jobs and shops when the EDDC HQ moves to Honiton will be at the expense of Sidmouth … but these are just minor hiccoughs … aren’t they?
“Cllr Rob Longhurst said: “The main thing I would be concerned with is the idea that a green wedge could be disposed of if it doesn’t fit. It was put there for a reason after long debate and I think it is wrong to suddenly discard it as being inconvenient.”
Cllr Mark Williamson said: “It is so clear in the strategy of the Local Plan that it only takes up a single sentence, saying within green wedges, development will not be permitted. There are six green wedges in the Local Plan so if this was allowed then there will be sleepless nights around the district, where the other green wedges are, particularly around Seaton and Colyton.”
Owl says: and still it has no town centre and developers refuse to fund one!
“Feedback on how Devon’s newest town, Cranbrook, should grow and develop over the next 15 years, goes before councillors next week.
The Cranbrook Plan: Preferred Approach’ document sets out how the growth of the town up to around 8,000 households over the next 15 years will be achieved.
A community consultation ran for eight weeks from mid-November last year to early January and it gave residents of Cranbrook and its neighbouring communities the opportunity to comment on the proposals for the future of the town contained within the document ‘Cranbrook Plan: Preferred Approach’.
In addition to identifying land for new houses, the document also identified land for sport and community, economy and enterprise, schools, allotments and Gypsy and Travellers pitches. …
Outline planning permission for the first 2,900 homes at Cranbrook was issued in October 2010 followed shortly by the reserved matters for the first 1,100 homes in April 2011. Today there are approximately 1,700 households living at Cranbrook, equivalent to a population of around 4,000 people, but the Local Plan anticipates Cranbrook comprising approximately 7,850 new homes by 2031. This equates to a population of around 20,000 people meaning that Cranbrook will have quickly expanded to become the second largest town in the District.
The consultation revealed that there is a concern over relationship with properties at Broadclyst Station, who are keen to retain a separate identity, that the East Devon New Community partners say that the Treasbeare area could accommodate a minimum of 1,000 dwellings as opposed to the 800-950 stated in the masterplan, and that there should be a school in both of the Bluehayes and the Treasbeare area of Cranbrook..
On transport issues, the responses reveal that the delivery of a half-hourly rail service is a key ambition of the plan in order to encourage use of rail travel as an alternative to the car, but that despite the wishes of residents for the old A30, the B3174 London Road to remain as a bypass to developed, it is scheduled to be downgraded from its current status and to become an integral part of the town. …”
One presumes that Councillors Diviani and Twiss are aware of this, having declared hospitality from Baker Estates in September and December last year:
“Developer requests reduced affordable housing provision on residential development at Hayne Lane, Honiton
Local planning authority will consider offer from Baker Estates to provide improved mix of houses at Hayne Lane development plus £0.5m contribution towards off-site affordable housing
East Devon’s Local Planning Authority (LPA) has received a request from Baker Estates to amend the amount of affordable housing that they provide on their development of 300 houses on land to the west of Hayne Lane in Honiton.
The request will be considered after 12 noon at the next meeting of East Devon District Council’s Development Management Committee on 6 March 2018, which is being held at Exmouth Town Hall
East Devon planning officers are recommending that the request be agreed.
As present Baker Estates is required to provide 40% of the dwellings (120 units) as affordable housing in accordance with the original planning permission granted on the site in 2015.
However, the developer is now asking the LPA to agree to reduce the affordable housing provision to 30% or 90 dwellings, whichever is the greater. This change would also affect the amount of financial contribution being secured for off-site open space, which would be reduced from £488,000 to £210,000.
In exchange Baker Estates is offering an improved mix of houses on the site and £500,000 financial contribution towards off-site provision of affordable housing.
The applicants have submitted this request as they believe that current planning policy would support a reduction in the provision of affordable housing down to 25%, if a new planning application were to be submitted. While they are offering less than the 40% affordable housing provision currently secured, they are offering more than the 25% they believe they would be required to provide if a new planning application were submitted.
The planning officers’ report advises that while there is a chance that Baker Estates may not be able to successfully argue 25% affordable housing provision as part of a new planning application, there is an equal chance that such a proposal would be acceptable should an application be submitted and determined on appeal by the Planning Inspectorate.
In addition, the planning officers believe that the viability of the site is such that it is unlikely that the council would be able to secure the current 40% provision into the future, and that agreeing to the request will negate the need for a lengthy and costly planning appeal, enabling the development to proceed as quickly as possible while providing 90, much needed, affordable housing units.
The report can be viewed on the council’s website:
Cllr Mike Howe, Chairman of East Devon’s Development Management Committee, said:
“It is important that this sort of decision is made in the public view, so that everyone can understand the issues at stake. It is about striking a fair balance, while ensuring that the right amount of affordable housing provision is made.”
Can be found here:
Councillors Diviani and Twiss appear to have only ever met only one developer (Baker Estates) but have done so twice in September 2017 and December 2017 to discuss “future projects in East Devon”, Councillor Skinner has been a beneficiary of rugby tickets paid for by the Carter family (Greendale) several times, Councillor Moulding has met developers St Modwyn and Heritage Developments and Clinton Devon Estates treated several councillors to a concert at Exeter Cathedral.
Free Sandy Park rugby match tickets seem to be quite popular with Councillors Diviani, Godbeer, Skinner, Wright and Moulding.
Anyone notice how Brandon Lewis (Chairman, Conservative Party – whose new job is to whip the ageing party’s members into better digital shape) looks and sounds just like EDDC Conservative Councillor Phil Twiss (the man who is their Chief Whip but assures us he has never whipped anyone ever and who has been in charge of EDDC’s digital policies).
Has anyone ever seen them in the same room together!
The DCC Health Scrutiny Committee lurches from poor practice to bad practice to utter chaos under the continued Chairmanship of Sarah Randall-Johnson
Can you imagine saying you will vote against questioning NHS Property Services about their intentions on the future of community hospitals which they now own “because they might not come”! And Randall-Johnson saying she is “not aware of any threat to any community hospital!!!
[CCGs have been offered match funding from the government for any properties sold in their areas]
Claire Wright’s Blog:
“NHS Property Services will be invited to attend the next Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee in January.
But my simple request prompted a debate lasting over half an hour, at Tuesday’s meeting (21 November).
The lengthy and baffling discussion gave a poor impression of the committee in my view, with some Conservative councillors claiming confusion and dismissing the proposal several times as “premature.”
It all started off with a presentation to the committee by Independent councillor, Martin Shaw, under the final work plan agenda item.
Cllr Shaw rightly pointed out how many people were concerned about the potential loss of the hospital buildings, that they had put their own money into them and still there was no clarity over their future, yet NEW Devon CCG were (or at least would very soon be) paying large sums of money in rent each year when previously they owned the buildings outright.
NHS Property Services, a private company wholly owned by the Secretary of State for Health, set up under the Health and Social Care Act 2012, acquired the ownership of 12 community hospitals in Eastern Devon at the beginning of this year.
Given that the NEW Devon CCG is one of three most financially challenged health trusts in the country and must make huge cuts to try and stem a deficit of over £400m by 2020, people’s concerns about the future of the hospitals are very valid.
Following my proposal to invite NHS Property Services to the January meeting, chair, Sara Randall Johnson said there was a full agenda for the next meeting so it may not be possible to include it. She said that she was not aware that there was a threat to any community hospital.
Liberal Democrat, Brian Greenslade said NHS PS had been invited previously but questions had been remained unanswered and so should be invited again.
Conservative, Phil Twiss, who represents Honiton which has lost its own hospital beds, claimed in a number of long statements that it was “premature” to invite the company because the future of the buildings had not yet been decided.
He later added that they wouldn’t come anyway.
I replied that waiting until the March meeting was far too long and could mean that decisions were already made. Surely we need to talk to NHS PS and the CCG before their decisions?
I attempted to explain again why it was important we invited the company to the January meeting.
But apparently confusion reigned.
Conservative members became very fixated with the legacy issue, even though I had made it clear that it was about questioning NHS PS and the CCG about their plans on the future of community hospitals and the legacy issue was only part of that.
Chair, Sara Randall Johnson, suggested holding a meeting first to agree some questions to ask NHS PS. I have not seen this approach in my four and a half years as a member of the committee.
I had to make my proposal numerous times, while one or two persistent Conservative members continued to challenge it.
There was an amendment by Liberal Democrat, Nick Way, who wanted a spotlight review into the issue as well.
Phil Twiss then changed his tack and claimed there was no point in asking the company to attend as they wouldn’t come. He was in favour of a spotlight review instead (spotlight reviews are held in private).
But when the vote finally was taken, it was on the spotlight review amendment and not my original proposal to invite NHS PS to the next meeting …
I tried to intervene. Fortunately, the officers corrected matters… and then the majority of the committee voted in favour of my proposal. Finally.
My proposal couldn’t have been more straightforward or uncomplicated. It was entirely within the committee’s remit.
It was also within a couple of hours of hearing the county solicitor’s presentation about how scrutiny should do its job properly. Or be culpable. See this blogpost here – http://www.claire-wright.org/index.php/post/devon_county_council_solicitor_tells_health_scrutiny_committee_you_have_a_v
Here’s the webcast. It is the final item on the agenda – https://devoncc.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/302658
Pic: Me exasperated!”
Claire Wright’s blog:
“Devon County Council’s solicitor, Jan Shadbolt, reminded the Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee of its legal responsibilities at Tuesday’s (21 November) meeting.
I had asked for this agenda item following a disastrous meeting in July where a referral to the Secretary of State for Health on the closure of 72 community hospital beds in Eastern Devon was thwarted by the Conservative members of the committee, resulting in over 20 complaints from members of the public.
Mrs Shadbolt read out a paragraph from the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry, led by Sir Robert Francis in 2013. Many people had tragically died there as a result of poor care.
The local council’s scrutiny committee was deemed to have failed in its duty to effectively scrutinise the local health trust and identify problems.
Mrs Shadbolt said it was the first time that non-executive members of a local authority were held to account because they were deemed to have failed in their duty.
New regulations were brought in afterwards to beef up the legal powers of health scrutiny committees. These were that health scrutiny committees can:
– Require a local officer to attend to answer questions
– Expect to be consulted by an NHS body or service provider on substantial developments (although there is no definition of substantial developments)
– Refer to the Secretary of State for Health (subject to a series of constraints)
The county solicitor told the committee that we had a “very powerful role to play within the community” and that we were “unique in scrutiny committees” on that basis.
Conservative, Phil Twiss wanted to know who “scrutinises the scrutineers.” The county solicitor replied that the ultimate scrutiny was being called to account over the failure of a service provider, but that generally speaking councillors were answerable to the community.
Cllr Twiss then wanted to know how the committee knew it was performing properly. Mrs Shadbolt said that the committee’s role was to ask pertinent questions, call any officer to present. She added that there are all sorts of bodies who can give information to help with this, such as Healthwatch.
Conservative councillor, Paul Crabbe, wanted to remind the committee that this agenda item had been added because “some members felt we failed to scrutinise correctly…” He went on to say that a “chap from south Devon was fizzing with excitement over the success and how about how wonderful his new system was” then they were later asked to vote that it was “rubbish.”
Cllr Crabbe said that this struck him as a nonsense then and still struck him as a nonsense and just because the committee voted against “someone’s particular view” it didn’t necessarily mean that the committee was not fulfilling its role.
Liberal Democrat, Cllr Brian Greenslade asked the county solicitor to remind councillors that scrutiny is not a normal committee of the council in that it is not supposed to be political. He said that he thought it was worth underlining this point…”
Here’s the webcast – https://devoncc.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/302658
Oh, how different it will be if (when) Tories lose control of DCC. We will then hear Twiss and his party colleagues saying EXACTLY what Claire Wright is saying!
Party politics sucks. More Independents needed – urgently.
From the blog of Claire Wright:
“.. And the County Solicitor will be called to address the committee to remind it of its responsibilities.
Devon County Council conservatives blocked my proposal yesterday to record significant concerns over the biggest cuts facing Devon’s health service in living memory.
Sonja Manton from NEW Devon Clinical Commissioning Group gave an update on the plans to slash around £500m by 2020, as part of Devon’s Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP).
The county’s STP is one of 44 across the country and is the government’s main programme of major cost cutting and centralisation in the NHS, to stem a £30bn shortfall by 2020.
I asked a number of questions mainly on staffing, budgets and buildings, along the following lines:
What are the vacancies and how do you plan to fill them and when do you plan to make redundancies (which has been previously hinted at)?
The answer was woolly (and no amount of pushing would encourage Dr Manton to reveal more). It contained no information on numbers, but she did mention that there is a 30 per cent turnover rate across Devon, in home care staff and that 75 per cent of the NHS budget is spent on staffing.
Next I asked whether pregnant women would still have a genuine choice where to give birth, as three community maternity units at Okehampton, Tiverton and Honiton were set to close (two have already closed temporarily due to staffing issues).
The answer was that the new service would meet national guidelines, so I pushed and asked whether pregnant women would be able to have a choice of a midwife led unit and how far they would have to travel. The answer was that there will be a new midwife led unit at the RD&E, adjacent to the consultant led unit.
So essentially women from all over Devon will soon have to either have a home birth, or travel to Exeter to give birth, whether that’s at a midwife led unit or a consultant led unit. There was a bit of a disagreement about me saying the current midwife led units were closed, despite the announcement having already been announced that this was the intention and two being temporarily closed due to staffing pressures.
Next I asked how many more beds were planned to be cut.
I pushed. Was the figure of 600 bed cuts recognised, which was the broad figure in the first draft of the STP?
Yes this figure was recognised but it depended on a raft of issues.
Finally, I asked about the selling off of redundant estate. How many, where and when? Another non answer ensued. It was the next piece of work.
Entirely frustrated at the refusal to answer questions, not because I believe, the answers are not known but because there is a total refusal to get into any detail whatsoever, I expressed my complete frustration and disappointment at the answers. It made no difference.
Other councillors asked other questions.
At the end of the debate I proposed a resolution that the committee express significant concerns over the STP, its potential effect on patient care and the lack of transparency so far.
I called for urgent information on staffing, beds, buildings and budgets, in particular.
The proposal was seconded by Chair, Sara Randall Johnson, who added that a piece of work would be done on this.
Unfortunately, my wording appeared to upset the conservative group. Cllr Philip Sanders said he didn’t like that I had said the process appeared not to be transparent and wanted this word deleted. I replied that that it was entirely justified and refused to amend my proposal.
But fellow Conservative, Phil Twiss, wanted ANY mention of concerns deleted.
He said: “We don’t need the emotional language.”
Three years ago, Cllr Twiss reported me and this blog to the police cyber crime unit. You can read about it here, if you like – http://www.claire-wright.org/index.php/post/eddc_tory_whip_reports_me_to_the_police_for_a_comment_on_this_blog
Cllr Twiss then proposed that ALL my words were deleted, simply retaining the section that relating to a task group being set up.
This was voted through by the vast majority of the Conservative group.
Letting down every single resident in Devon who relies on the NHS.
Yes, I think that’s everyone.
Ambulance Trust response targets are failing and RD&E unable to discharge its patients in good time
Later in the meeting we were examining the performance review.
The South West Ambulance Trust which used to meet the national target of eight minutes largely without a difficulty, are now significantly under target. Only 59 per cent of calls were answered within eight minutes, across Northern, Eastern and Western Devon, in July of this year. The target is 75 per cent.
Lives are surely being put at risk. Certainly news of the failures are hitting the local media.
The narrative attached to the graph claimed that the reason was the rural nature of the South West. Yet the South West has been rural for years and this wasn’t a problem previously. Of course there have been cuts to budgets, and reductions in the number of ambulances so that is more likely to be the cause of the failure.
Problem with delayed discharges at the RD&E
Similarly, the RD&E was shown to have a significant problem with delayed discharges.
In June this year a daily average of 66 beds were occupied by patients who were well enough to go home.
It was obvious from the graph that the problem was clearly way out of kilter with other local NHS trusts.
This was largely to do with major staffing problems in the care sector, an officer confirmed.
of course it is these staff among others that we will rely on, to look after people in their own homes following community hospital bed cuts.
I proposed a resolution that the committee record its concerns at the ambulance response rates and the high level of delayed discharges at the RD&E and invite both trusts to the next committee meeting.
I had to argue with the chair that the proposal should retain the bit about recording concerns, before it was seconded by Cllr Brian Greenslade.
One of the Labour councillors was unhappy with me mentioning the RD&E at all in my resolution because she was chairing a piece of work looking at delayed discharges. I tried to point out that the resolution supported her work but she was adamant …
Then Cllr Twiss started up again. He said he didn’t like my wording and that I was simply making a statement that “looks good in the press.”
I reminded Cllr Twiss that the committee is legally constituted to scrutinise health services on behalf of the people and our job is to hold the health service to account. In fact such words had been used recently in a standards committee hearing minutes.
Anyone who is familiar with the basic requirements of an audit trail will recognise the importance of the committee recording concerns about service failures in this way.
I told Cllr Twiss that I intended to ask in the work programme agenda item, that the county solicitor attends the next committee meeting and outlines our responsibilities.
The final amendment removed my words about concerns about the RD&E’s delayed discharges but retained the words about the ambulance trust target failure.
So Ambulance Trust representatives will be invited to the next meeting.
I have certainly heard anecdotally that things are very challenging indeed within the Trust, with too few ambulances and low staff morale.
I duly asked in the final agenda item for the County Solicitor to attend the next meeting to remind the committee of its remit.
Some councillors appear to be in sore need of training.
Playing political games with health scrutiny resolutions is a dirty and unacceptable game.
NHS Property Services and buildings
Cllr Martin Shaw spoke to a report he submitted to the committee on this. The upshot will be that a sub group will examine the future of community hospital buildings.
The speaker itemised webcast can be viewed here – https://devoncc.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/301904”
Diviani’s excuse for not (at least) buying time for our closed community hospitals was that 14 such pleas had been refused so ours was unlikely to succeed. Not CERTAIN to succeed – unlikely. BUT the referral would have
(a) bought us time and ensured our beds stayed open over winter, and
(b) forced the CCG to give us MUCH more information about their numbers.
IF/WHEN we run out of winter beds the BLAME will lie fairly and squarely on Diviani, Randall-Johnson and all those Tories who voted for bed cuts at DCC – PLUS Twiss – who although he voted for referral at DCC, according to news reports, supported his Leader at EDDC last night.
“Hospitals and GP surgeries will struggle to cope this winter as a severe flu outbreak heads towards Britain, the head of the NHS has warned.
Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, has given the health service six weeks to empty beds in order to avoid chaos in A&E as more elderly people than usual get sick.
He also told NHS leaders that he would have a “hard look” at why life expectancy growth is slowing, after The Times revealed this week that progress in Britain has stalled while people in other countries live ever longer.
Theresa May has been briefed about health chiefs’ fears of a winter crisis after hospital wards ended the quieter summer months already dangerously full. Now Mr Stevens has warned that after Australia experienced its worst flu season for many years during the southern hemisphere winter, the virus is likely to strike Britain hard.
NHS flu vaccination will shortly get under way and while it will include the H3 strain dominant in Australia, health chiefs never know in advance how well the jab will protect patients. Last year the vaccine did not work in the elderly but protected children.”
Source: Times (pay wall)
Owl says: that’s the drawback of shared IT services – one out all out! Have they tried turning it off and on again!
One for EDDC councillor and computer whizz Phil Twiss in charge of getting broadband to not-spots in East Devon. Now, it’s all not-spots.
now that’s going to cause a few problems…
“East Devon one of three councils hit by major IT fault
East Devon District Council’s phone lines and website have gone offline after a major IT fault.
Engineers have been tasked to fix the problem.
Services offered by Teignbridge District Council and Exeter City Council have also been affected.
A spokesman for Teignbridge District Council said it was working to fix this the fault as soon as possible.
Exeter City Council said people may not be able to make online payments as a result of the network issues.
It is asking people who want to get in touch to do so through social media.”
Tonight sees the vote of no confidence in EDDC Leader Paul Diviani, who, with his former EDDC pal and DCC Councillor Sarah Randall-Johnson, sabotaged a last-ditch attempt to keep beds at Honiton and Seaton hospitals open.
Now EDDC Tory Councillor Mike Allen has written an extraordinary letter in today’s Midweek Herald claiming Diviani acted alone at DCC and, in fact, all other Tory councillors at EDDC backed the action to try to keep the beds open.
We know Diviani acted alone when he voted at DCC, as he was supposed to consult all the other councils in this part of Devon (8 councils in all) about his vote, which he admitted he did not do (see post yesterday on his censure for this).
So, tonight he faces a vote of “no confidence”.
What will Tory councillors do?
Diviani allegedly refused to follow their unanimous instruction about how to vote at DCC. Which councillors will vote to keep him in his job and why?
Could it be like the national Tory situation – where Mrs May stays in power only because her party has no-one better to offer so her bodge-jobbing is the best bodge-jobbing they can muster?
Or will we someone emerge from the shadows to oust the Leader – and, if so, will it be an improvement?
We note that Councillor Twiss voted against the motion that Diviani voted for at DCC (though maybe because he valued his Honiton DCC seat more than the community beds). Is he waiting in the wings?
Tonight will tell.
Stakeholders? Bet it isn’t us but developers he’s talking about! Exmouth’s Queen’s Drive access for Grenadier, “improved access” to Feniton, Gittisham and Cranbrook western extension here we come!
“Since September last year, EDDC has been charging Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) on certain types of new development.
The council passes 15 per cent of this income, or 25 per cent if a neighbourhood plan has been completed, to town or parish councils, with the remainder to be spent by EDDC.
The council is now inviting stakeholders involved in the delivery of infrastructure to bid for this cash by September 22, with a final decision to be made in February 2018.
Councillor Phil Twiss, EDDC’s portfolio holder for strategic development and partnerships, said: “The CIL is a fairer, faster and more transparent way of funding infrastructure delivery.
“It provides more certainty than the current Section 106 system, which is negotiated on a site by site basis.
“However, unlike 106 money, CIL money can be spent anywhere in the district.
“Unfortunately, the projected income from CIL falls a long way short of the total infrastructure costs required to deliver the Local Plan.
“This is because the legislation requires the charges to be set based on what is viable for developments to pay rather than what is required to deliver the necessary infrastructure.
“CIL was designed to be matched with funds from other sources in order to deliver projects and so difficult decisions will need to be made in terms of prioritising projects and projects should demonstrate what other funding would be used in addition to CIL.
“The CIL pot is never going to be able to meet all demands made on it and we will have a robust and rigorous qualification process in place to ensure that the money is well spent and in the right places.”
“Councillor-Sara-Randall-Johnson (from this article):
Why did Devon’s Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee block the proposal to refer the closure of our beds to the Secretary of State?
The idea that the Chair, Councillor Sara Randall Johnson (left), was settling an old score with Claire Wright makes a nice story but overlooks the concerted Conservative position. The collusion between Randall Johnson and Rufus Gilbert – who rushed to propose a ‘no referral’ motion before Claire could move her motion to refer – was obvious to all, as was her keenness to persuade her colleagues not to have a recorded vote.
Equally striking, however, is that only one out of 12 Tories on the Committee – Honiton’s Phil Twiss – voted against Gilbert’s motion. The other 7 Tories who voted were all for allowing the beds to be closed; 2 who had reservations abstained; 2 more were (diplomatically?) absent. Whipping is not allowed on Scrutiny committees, but this gives a strong impression of a Tory consensus. Members who were uncertain of their support were unwilling to defy it beyond abstention. Twiss was obviously a special case, as the one committee member whose hospital will lose its beds.
Clearly the Conservative Group on DCC gave their East Devon members the main role in dealing with the Eastern Locality hospital beds issue when in May (with its return to Scrutiny looming) they made Randall Johnson chair and nominated two Exmouth members, Jeff Trail and Richard Scott, as well as Twiss as members of the Health Scrutiny Committee. With East Devon Tory leader, Paul Diviani, representing Devon’s district councils, 5 of its Tory members were from East Devon and only 7 from the other five-sixths of the Tory group.
East Devon Tories on the committee certainly lived up to their role on Tuesday. All except Trail voted, making half of all Tory votes cast on the committee and 3 out of 7 on the pro-CCG side. In contrast, only 4 of the 8 Tories from elsewhere in the county cast a vote on this crucial issue: East Devon’s Tories may have convinced themselves, but not their colleagues.
Paul Diviani spills the beans
With Randall Johnson preoccupied with timekeeping (except when the CCG were speaking), Scott silent and Twiss asking questions, it was left to Diviani to express the Tory rationale. He claimed to speak for Devon district councils as a whole, but has acknowledged that he had consulted none of the others. He was happy to defy his own Council, which has voted to keep hospital beds, and spoke for himself – and East Devon Conservatives.
Diviani’s caustic little speech deserves more attention than it has been given.
He started by saying that those who decide to live in the countryside expect diminished service, and must cut their cloth accordingly in current times – forgetting that many have lived here all their lives, or moved here long before the present Tory government arrived to savage the NHS.
‘Costs will always rise without innovation’, Diviani continued, forgetting that the ‘costs’ of community hospitals are rising particularly because of the Tory innovation which gave them over to NHS Property Services and its ‘market rents’.
‘Local decisions should be made locally’, he averred, overlooking the fact that Sustainability and Transformation Plans, Success Regimes and NHS property sales are all national initiatives forced on the local NHS – while NEW Devon CCG is so unrepresentative even of local doctors that only full-time managers (Sonja Manton and Rob Sainsbury) are allowed to present its case in public while its ‘practitioner’ figurehead, Dr Tim Burke, hides in a corner.
When, however, Diviani warned that ‘attempting to browbeat the Secretary of State to overturn his own policies is counter-intuitive’, he expressed the truth of the situation. The closure of community hospitals results from the determined policies of the Conservative Government. (Referral would have served the purposes of delaying permanent closures, embarrassing the Government and forcing its Independent Reconfiguration Panel to give an assessment of the issue.)
East Devon Tories are the Government’s faithful servants. ‘Don’t trust East Devon Tories’ over the hospitals, I warned during the County elections. How right have I been proved.”
Councillor Martin Shaw (EDA, Colyton and Seaton) reports:
[Names of those voters have been amended – it does not affect the result]
“The 7 councillors who voted NOT to refer the decision to close Honiton and Seaton hospital beds were:
Paul Diviani (Leader of East Devon District Council, representing Devon district councils), and county councillors
Richard Scott (Exmouth),
Paul Crabb and
The 6 councillors who voted against this motion, i.e. to refer the decision, were Claire Wright (Otter Valley, Independent), Brian Greenslade and Nick Way (Liberal Democrat), Hilary Ackland and Carol Whitton (Labour) and Phil Twiss (Honiton, Conservative).
Jeremy Yabsley (Conservative) abstained as did John Berry. Two other Tories,
Jeffrey Trail (Exmouth) and
Philip Sanders, gave their apologies.
Six public speakers, Cllr Roger Giles (Chair of East Devon’s Scrutiny Committee), Paul Arnott (Colyton), Cllr Jan Goffey (Mayor of Okehampton), Cllr Mike Allen, Bob Sturtivant and Stephen Craddock (Honiton), spoke eloquently against the closures for two and a half minutes each. County Councillor Ian Hall (Axminster) and I also addressed the committee for five minutes each.
Three representatives of NEW Devon CCG and the RD&E (who run the hospitals and are working with the CCG) were then allowed to make a very lengthy Powerpoint presentation and contribute freely to the discussion – which none of the public speakers, Ian Hall or I were allowed to do.
Claire Wright had prepared a detailed motion to refer the closures and had submitted it to the Chair before the meeting. However when debate began, Cllr Randall Johnson chose not to call Claire to speak but called Rufus Gilbert who immediately proposed the motion not to refer, which was quickly seconded by Sylvia Russell.
This blatant manoeuvre by the Chair meant that the committee never considered point by point, as Claire’s motion would have required it to, the 14 questions on which it had asked the CCG to satisfy it. Despite an excellent report from Hilary Ackland which concluded that the CCG had failed to convince, the Committee basically abdicated its scrutiny role and blocked a referral without discussing most of the objections which we had raised.
Claire and I are planning to complain about the way the meeting was handled. If you want to watch it, it’s online at
Thank you all for your support for the hospitals over the last 9 months. Be assured, however, that this is not the end of the matter, since the CCG and RD&E are both developing ‘estates strategies’ which will centre on what to do with space freed up by the closures. “
The DCC health and social care committee chaired by Sarah Randall-Johnson also has on it DCC Councillor Phil Twiss and EDDC representative member Paul Diviani.
Neither has ever been seen at health service cut protest meetings to save threatened hospitals (either in their council or personal capacities) and both known (along with Randall Johnson) for enthusiastically, even possibly zealously, toeing the Tory party line and all gung-ho to give Mrs May their utter devotion. And they had to be dragged kicking and screaming by EDDC Independents to stand up for local services still being viciously cut.
Luckily, we still have Independent Councillor Claire Wright to represent US. And one Independent Claire Wright is worth more than three local slavish Tories!