Clinton Devon Estates and Budleigh Salterton “health hub” have an unhealthy relationship

Readers will recall an earlier Owl story of landowners Clinton Devon Estates grabbing a large part of the garden to Budleigh Hospital for development, considering the garden surplus to the requirements of the new “health hub” and much more suitable for their plans for two houses:

https://eastdevonwatch.org/2017/03/20/clinton-devon-estates-pitched-against-budleigh-health-hub-in-garden-olanning-battle/

The Budleigh Neighbourhood Plan designated the Hospital garden as open green space. Neighbourhood plans can do this and this space ticks all the NPPF criteria boxes. The garden was considered an essential part of the psychological and therapeutic welfare of patients at the “health hub”.

Bell Cornwell for CDE only commented at the very last minute of the very last stage. They made a number of general comments to EDDC on 16 February 2017 suggesting a loosening of a number of policy phrases and a general comment that too many green spaces were being designated. No mention of Hospital Hubs or development of that site at all.

http://eastdevon.gov.uk/media/2114156/bell-cornwell-for-clinton-devon-estates.pdf

An application to build two houses on the hospital garden was then submitted and validated on 27 February 2017 It takes about two-thirds of the garden, rather than the half suggested.

The Plan Inspector asked the steering group for clarification of criteria used in each green space case on 18 April 2017. The steering group responded, and its response was published on the internet.

The Inspector in her report sided with CDE.

The Neighbourhood Plan steering group unanimously agreed to accept all the Inspector’s recommendations except the one where she agreed with Bell Cornwell who, of course, had no medical evidence to draw on!

The decision to accept or reject Inspector’s recommendations now lies with EDDC.

The question now is – how brave will EDDC councillors they be? There is a track record of rolling over for tummy tickles when CDE engages with them. CDE has fingers in many East Devon pies and held restrictive covenants on the seafront at Exmouth that it relinquished to allow EDDC to approve the Grenadier development and has everything from large landholdings to small ransom strips all over the district.

Strong administrative pressure will be to do the easy thing and to get the plan to Cabinet in July with no controversy and no action against CDE.

Local opinion is running strongly against “droit de seigneur” ( medeival feudal rights) in this case.

If it looks like everyone is rolling over without a fight, the plan may well be rejected at referendum.

Hernandez appoints “old friend” as her deputy

Owl says: can this woman sink any further into the swamp? How many people were interviewed for the job, one wonders. The Police and Crime Panel has to ratify the post. Now THAT will be interesting!

Crime czar Alison Hernandez has named a Conservative colleague from her local council days as her second-in-command.

The Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner admitted in April this year that she was considering appointing a deputy commissioner to share the workload, including increased scrutiny.

She had toyed with the idea of campaigning for office alongside a running mate last year but eventually stood alone on the Tory ticket and was elected in her own right.

Now she has revealed that fellow Conservative and Torbay councillor Mark Kingscote will be her deputy.

Cllr Kingscote, a 55-year-old NHS support worker, who specialises in mental health is chairman of Torbay’s planning committee and a councillor since 2000.

He was born in Torquay and has been in the NHS for 25 years, is the elected member for Shiphay with the Willows, a ward Ms Hernandez used to jointly represent alongside him.

Devon Live first revealed the appointment earlier this month.

At the time Cllr Kingscote said he had not “had a conversation about” nor been offered the post, which carries an estimated salary level of £50,000 a year though it is expected to be part-time and cost the taxpayer closer to £30,000 annually.

However, he said he believed he had the experience to take on the role.

“I am more than capable of doing the job so I don’t see why not,” he added.

“I am chairman of the planning committee, have been on the scrutiny panel for more than four years and am perfectly capable of putting my hand to lots of different things.

“I have known Alison for a long time and we have worked together on lots of community projects in the past.

“I went down to help her last week – she said “do you want to come along?” and I said “yes”. It was quite casual, just supporting her really.

“I have been doing community engagement for a long time so it’s not unusual that I would get involved in a thing like that.

“I have been involved in diversity and supporting the police in wards I represent.”

Ms Hernandez is free to appoint a deputy, as other commissioners have, without approval from the Police and Crime Panel, which is set to convene early next month.

The commissioner’s predecessor, Conservative Tony Hogg, also took on paid help in the role.

He recruited Jan Stanhope for strategic support after he was elected, paying her around £20,000 a year for a two-day post, although she was not officially designated as his deputy.

Phillipa Davey, a Labour city councillor in Plymouth and a member of the panel which oversees the work of the commissioner, said that the appointment smacked of nepotism.

“I have to be careful what I say as at the moment I don’t know anything at all about the appointment or his credentials, she told Devon Live.

“It does seem a bit odd – jobs for people’s friends.

“I would be interested to know what experience he has and how qualified he is to do the job especially as this is a new post which we will all be paying for.”

The plans for a deputy come after the £100,000 a year chief executive of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner left at the end of last month.

Andrew White, who was recruited by Mr Hogg, has been hired by Lincolnshire Police to work as second-in-command to chief constable Bill Skelley.

Chief cons Skelly, who left his previous job as assistant chief constable in Devon and Cornwall last year, has hired White to become the force’s most senior civilian officer.

Ms Hernandez said she will next week ask the Police and Crime Panel to support the appointment of Mark Kingscote as her deputy.

She said he has significant experience in scrutinising the use of tax-payers money, planning, health (particularly mental health) and diversity.

“I have every confidence that Mark is the right person for this role,” she added.

“He is a strong individual who will represent the most vulnerable in our communities well, is committed to building safe, resilient and connected communities and with a track record in the areas we need to enhance efforts on.”

http://www.devonlive.com/crime-czar-appoints-old-tory-council-colleague-as-deputy/story-30406322-detail/story.html#1owjoWtiXb0PpTha.99

Another Tory dirty trick during the general election campaign?

“The Conservative party allegedly operated a secret call centre during the election campaign that may have broken data protection and election laws, according to an investigation by Channel 4 News.

An undercover investigation by the programme has found that the party used a market research firm to make thousands of cold calls to voters in marginal seats in the weeks before the election.

Call centre employees working on behalf of the party used a script that appeared to canvass for support rather conduct market research. On the day of the election, call centre employees contacted voters to promote individual candidates, which may be a breach of electoral law, the investigation claimed.

At the start of the election campaign, the information commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, wrote to all the major political parties reminding them of the law around telephone calls and data protection. She said that calling voters to promote a political party was “direct marketing” and was regulated by law.

The government also announced during the campaign that it wanted to tighten up the laws on nuisance calls and a bill on the issue was included in the Queen’s speech.

The Channel 4 News investigation, which ran over several weeks, found that a team employed by the Conservatives rang voters from a call centre in Neath, south Wales.

Operating from a script, the staff carried out calls for “market research” and “polling”. Identifying likely Tory voters in marginal seats could be important for the get-out-the-vote operation on election day, and also enable a political party to better direct its canvassing operation.

On election day, undecided voters were told that “the election result in your marginal constituency is going to be very close between Theresa May’s Conservatives and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party”.

They were then asked:

“So does knowing that you live in a marginal constituency that will determine who is prime minister for the Brexit negotiations, does that make you a lot more likely to vote for Theresa May’s Conservative candidate or a little more likely to vote for Theresa May’s Conservative candidate, or are you still unsure, or does it not make a difference?”

At an earlier stage of the campaign, the call centre staff said they were calling from a company called Axe Research, which does not appear to exist. Under the Data Protection Act, callers must disclose who they are and how the data will be used.

Asked what Axe Research was, one supervisor told Channel 4 News: “It’s just the name we do these surveys under, basically. I did a Google search, nothing comes up. But as far as anyone’s concerned, yeah, we’re a legit independent market research company.”

A week before the election, the same call centre staff started saying they were calling on behalf of Theresa May’s Conservatives.

The Conservative party said the call centre was conducting market research on its behalf, and was not canvassing for votes. The call centre confirmed it was employed by the party, but denied canvassing on its behalf.

A Conservative spokesman said: “Political parties of all colours pay for market research and direct marketing calls. All the scripts supplied by the party for these calls are compliant with data protection and information law.”

Evidence obtained by Channel 4 News suggests that on the day of the election, staff called voters in 10 marginal seats, including Bridgend, Gower, Clwyd South and Wrexham.

According to the Representation of the People Act, it is illegal to employ someone “for payment or promise of payment as a canvasser for the purpose of promoting or procuring a candidate’s election”. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/jun/22/conservative-party-call-centre-may-have-broken-election-law

“Ordinary people” – millionaires!

“This morning’s BBC Breakfast show contained an absolutely astounding series of interviews about the the Tories’ hated Dementia Tax policy and the state of the NHS.

What the BBC failed to mention during the course of both sections is that their supposedly ‘impartial’ voice of concern for the NHS (a man who the BBC described as ‘loving the NHS’ was actually an ex-Tory Councillor, millionaire property mogul who had worked for a PRIVATE healthcare company for 33 years.

The ex-Tory Councillor was interviewed both as a seemingly ordinary member of the public at 07:25, saying the council had been “phenomenal” when his wife was diagnosed with dementia and needed help, and just an hour later he returned in a pre-recorded segment debating the future of the NHS with a junior Dr who was distraught at the destruction caused the Tory cuts.

The first discussion was about Theresa May’s disgusting dementia tax. The interview starts with another member of the public expressing deep concerns about the cap on social care, saying she is worried that her children will be left with nothing if her or her husband have to go into care.

The conversation then moves on to a man who is referred to just as “Gordon”, and he speaks about his experience of funding care for his wife who he says was diagnosed with dementia in 2009.

The conversation then moves on to a man who is referred to just as “Gordon”, and he speaks about his experience of funding care for his wife who he says was diagnosed with dementia in 2009.

Gordon Maclellan BBCHe says that he found the local council to be “phenomenal” in offering him and his wife support to help fund her care. He goes on to say that he would certainly benefit from the Tories proposals to raise the cap on care costs from £23,000 to £100,000.

Just over an hour later on the same programme, we encounter another interview with the same man, or to give him his full title Dr Gordon Maclellan, who introduces himself as being recently retired.

This time he’s here to talk about the NHS crisis and discuss the best way to fix it with a 33-year-old junior doctor.

Breakfast describes Maclellan as being somebody who “loves the NHS”, and the purpose of the segment is to help people decide which party is best suited to cure the NHS crisis.

Throughout the interview, Gordon consistently uses classic Tory talking points and the usual ridiculous defenses of their carving up of the NHS, at one point he defends the Tories cuts by saying:

“people died in my day too”

So, who is this Gordon Maclellan? And why does he always seem to keen to defend the Tories? …

… Dr Gordon MacLellan worked as a Private Orthopaedic consultant for the Nuffield Health Brentwood Hospital for 33 years.”

http://www.devonlive.com/five-sets-of-roadworks-to-affect-major-devon-roads-next-week/story-30381759-detail/story.html

EDDC Cabinet meeting highlights

Wednesday, 14 June 2017; 5.30pm

page 26:

EDDC has underspent its Disabled Facility Grants by £336,000 as “Demand not as high as budget/grant allocation from Devon County Council”.

page 42:
Freedom of Information

658 requests have been dealt with under the Freedom of Information Act (Environmental Information Regulations) during the year 2016/17.

This figure has risen from 588 in 2015/16.

There continues to be a trend for requests originating from commercial organisations asking questions relating to council contracts; information pertaining to businesses and their payment of business rates; and topics of general news interest like the impact of changing legislation.

The council’s major projects, such as the office re-location and the regeneration of Exmouth seafront are also continuing to generate interest amongst local residents, and campaign groups, although these requests form a relatively small proportion of the overall number received.

The service areas receiving the highest number of requests are Council Tax, Environmental Health and Planning. …”

http://eastdevon.gov.uk/media/2140176/140617combined-cabinet-agendapublicversion.pdf

Swamp watch: “Crime czar set to appoint old Tory council colleague as deputy commissioner”

Owl says: Owl says nothing – it’s speechless!!!!!

“Crime czar Alison Hernandez looks set to name a Conservative colleague from her local council days as her second-in-command.

The Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner admitted in April this year that she was considering appointing a deputy commissioner to share the workload, including increased scrutiny.

She had toyed with the idea of campaigning for office alongside a running mate last year but eventually stood alone on the Tory ticket and was elected in her own right.

Now fellow Conservative and Torbay councillor Mark Kingscote has emerged as the strong favourite and is likely to be announced later this month, Devon Live understands.

Ms Hernandez has declined to confirm the appointment of the 55-year-old NHS support worker, who specialises in mental health – one of the areas she has identified she needs extra help.

Cllr Kingscote, chairman of Torbay’s planning committee and a councillor since 2000, joined the commissioner at two public reassurance events in Exeter and Plymouth last week.

He told Devon Live on Tuesday that he had not “had a conversation about” nor been offered the post, which carries an estimated salary level of £50,000 a year though it is expected to be part-time and cost the taxpayer closer to £30,000 annually.

However, he said he believed he had the experience to take on the role.

“I am more than capable of doing the job so I don’t see why not,” he added.

“I am chairman of the planning committee, have been on the scrutiny panel for more than four years and am perfectly capable of putting my hand to lots of different things.

“I have known Alison for a long time and we have worked together on lots of community projects in the past.

“I went down to help her last week – she said “do you want to come along?” and I said “yes”. It was quite casual, just supporting her really.

“I have been doing community engagement for a long time so it’s not unusual that I would get involved in a thing like that.

“I have been involved in diversity and supporting the police in wards I represent.”

Ms Hernandez is free to appoint a deputy, as other commissioners have, without approval from the Police and Crime Panel, which is set to convene early next month.

However, the appointment would be subject to a confirmation hearing within 21 days of any announcement, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) has said.

The commissioner’s predecessor, fellow Conservative Tony Hogg, also took on paid help in the role.

He recruited Jan Stanhope for strategic support after he was elected, paying her around £20,000 a year for a two-day post, although she was not officially designated as his deputy.

Phillipa Davey, a Labour city councillor in Plymouth and a member of the panel which oversees the work of the commissioner, said she had not been informed that an announcement ahead of next month’s meeting.

However, she said that if the appointment of Kingscote was confirmed, it smacked of nepotism.

Kingscote, who was born in Torquay and has been in the NHS for 25 years, is the elected member for Shiphay with the Willows, a ward Ms Hernandez used to jointly represent alongside him.

“I have to be careful what I say as at the moment I don’t know anything at all about the appointment or his credentials, she told Devon Live.

“It does seem a bit odd – jobs for people’s friends.

“I would be interested to know what experience he has and how qualified he is to do the job especially as this is a new post which we will all be paying for.

“We are going to have to wait and see what is announced.”

The plans for a deputy come after the £100,000 a year chief executive of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner left last week.

Andrew White, who was recruited by Mr Hogg, has been hired by Lincolnshire Police to work as second-in-command to chief constable Bill Skelley.

Chief cons Skelly, who left his previous job as assistant chief constable in Devon and Cornwall last year, has hired White to become the force’s most senior civilian officer.

Ms Hernandez declined to comment on Cllr Kingscote’s potential recruitment, but she defended her plans for the appointment of a deputy in April.

She said: “Half of all police and crime commissioners, of all political colours, have appointed deputies – some also have assistant PCCs as well.

“Our strategic alliance partners in Dorset already have a deputy PCC.”

She also said a deputy could carry additional formal responsibilities on scrutiny and could play a greater role with elected members.

“This is the largest policing area in England, with a population of 1.7 million, 18 MP constituencies, three unitary authorities, one two tier authority, numerous districts and offshore islands.

“There are eight community safety partnerships, two fire services and a number of clinical commissioning groups. I plan to play an even greater part alongside all these partners.

“HMIC has identified a number of areas for improvement recently, including the critical area of crime recording in which the public must have confidence.

“Both these areas require considerable scrutiny.

“Therefore I am considering having a deputy to provide specialist support and advice in these areas and also to enhance our understanding of mental health issues.

“I have not made a final decision about appointing a deputy. It is something I am considering.

“Should I decide to make an appointment I will need to provide the Police and Crime Panel with terms and conditions for their confirmation hearing and that will be publicly available at that time.”

The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners has said the law allowed commissioners to appoint a deputy.

“It is a matter for the local PCC to decide if he or she wishes to do this,” it said.

“In the event that a PCC is incapacitated or unable to fulfil their duties for any length of time, it is the role of the Police and Crime Panel to appoint an acting PCC.

“If the absence continues for longer than six months, then a PCC election must take place.”

http://www.devonlive.com/crime-czar-accused-of-jobs-for-the-boys-after-appointing-party-colleague-as-deputy-commissioner/story-30374165-detail/story.html

“Perception of rubber-stamping holds scrutiny back, research suggests”

“The top three reasons that local government scrutiny is felt to lack impact are a perception that it exists to rubber-stamp cabinet decisions, fails to address pressing issues and ignores the public.

Those findings have come from the Centre for Public Scrutiny (CfPS)’s 2017 perceptions survey.

This also found that overall confidence in scrutiny’s ability to make an impact was down by 8.5% on the 2016 survey.

The greatest constraints on successful scrutiny were under resourcing, cited by 53% of respondents, internal culture, mentioned by 41%, and lack of skills (15%).

Responses showed that 74% of people thought party politics affected scrutiny, though 76% thought scrutiny’s role was understood.
Two factors found to be common in successful scrutiny operations were focusing on priorities and fostering a culture where challenge is valued.
The more positive this culture the more scrutiny was valued although 39% of respondents felt cabinet members were broadly negative about the role of scrutinisers.

Scrutiny was imposed on all but the smallest councils as part of the reforms of the Local Government Act 2000, which introduced the cabinet system.
The Communities and Local Government select committee had, before the general election was called, launched an inquiry into the effectiveness of scrutiny in councils.

CfPS is an independent charity that seeks to promote the use of scrutiny in public services.”

http://localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=31422%3Aperception-of-rubber-stamping-holds-scrutiny-back-research-suggests&catid=59&Itemid=27