Wednesday, September 02, 2009

State of Sutton: A Borough of Contradictions

The London Borough of Sutton is spending £437 million of taxpayers’ money in 2009-10. Like the proverbial iceberg, many of the services are not always visible. Many services affect everyone, others affect the most vulnerable in our society. Either way, they matter, contributing to the quality of life of every resident in Sutton.

The State of Sutton: A Borough of Contradictions is one part of a once in a generation opportunity to conduct a thorough investigation of the relationship between Sutton Council, other service providers and residents. Conservative councillors in Sutton have listened to experts, politicians and residents. This is the only way to achieve the balance between a range of priorities while ensuring no-one is left behind. All but one preconceived idea was kept out of the investigation; one of the few rules that we are not prepared to be diverted from is that we must always achieve the very best value for money, making the most of every penny of tax and council income spent in the Borough.

As the Borough changes, we want residents to help manage that process ensuring that they continue to live in a place that represents their views and aspirations and one that reflects their concerns. This report is the first step in renewing the connection between politicians and residents. It is the first move in starting the debate about the changes needed in Sutton.

I'll be going through each area in turn over the next few days. In the meantime, you can read our report by clicking on the picture on the right or the link above. As ever, let me know what you think. It's your borough too.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Interesting reading - until pp 108, when google docs went AWOL. Why not just host the pdf on your site ?

Scully said...

Thanks anonymous. I'll look at an alternative when I'm in front of my own PC. In the meantime, the whole document can be downloaded from google docs by clicking on the button on the top left hand side.

Scully said...

Anonymous, I hope you can enjoy the last 50 pages now. I've changed the links as suggested.

Cllr David Pickles said...

It would be honest, of course, if the national Tory party could be straight with the electorate. Unfortunately for you Paul, and the rest of your coterie, whatever Cameron is perceived to do and say will eventually rub off on you and your troops. His, and William Hagues insistence that "we cannot let things carry on as they are" with regards to Europe and the prospect of a referendum is laughable. Until, and unless, the Tories are totally honest with people, they and you cannot really expect to be taken seriously.

Cllr David Pickles said...

......and as for your party's oft quoted saying "Vote for change", could you ask Philippa Stroud exactly what change would be enacted were she to become the MP for Sutton & Cheam? Would we, for instance, bring back hanging? Would be stop mass unwanted immigration? Would we leave the EU or give the people the freedom to vote on it? Would we hell. There would be NO change whatsoever for people, and certainly no insentive to vote Tory. A tory vote would be a lie.

Scully said...

David. You're not seriously suggesting that the only measure for whether Sutton has changed for the better is if hanging is introduced?

The report covers things that we can affect as councillors, so capital punishment, immigration and European policy aren't included as we won't be proposing that Sutton cedes from the Union in our manifesto.

worcester park forever said...

I've only read a few pages and this looks like a very impressive report and well researched. One or two things I think I disagree with buts its nice to see someone looking at the issues, unlike other local politicians!

Scully said...

worcester park forever

Thanks for your kind words. I'd love to know what you disagreed with, (as well as where we were on the right lines). As we go onto develop our manifesto, we want to ensure that we are addressing the concerns of residents. It's too easy to concentrate on narrow views and miss out on the real-life experiences of people from across the borough, hence producing this document in the first place. There may be some things that we'll fundamentally disagree on, but there may be others that we can review. Any feedback is very welcome.

worcester park forever said...

Not so much massive disagreements but concerns about adult social services because not everybody with disabilities can live so independently. Some people are basically incapable and need comprehensive services

I'm inrterested in what is happening in sutton borough.

Scully said...

Thanks. You are right about independence. We opposed the changes which meant that children with Special Education Needs would have to walk to pick up points rather than having door to door transport to school, because we believed that not enough regard had been given to protecting the care of children that could not manage this walk. The changes which were voted through were driven by money, not independence.

With adult care, this is where the word personalisation neeeds to be kept as more than a bit of local government jargon. Some people, as you say, need comprehensive services and changes should not be foisted upon them.

There have also been some spectacular examples of people flourishing in a changed environment. The closure of Orchard Hill is one example. One person who couldn't leave the building without screaming and shouting is able to go to do their own shopping.

Finance is important, though. We talk in the report about a demographic time-bomb. The Adult social services budget is already the biggest budget that the council has any discretion on (education is bigger, but given straight to schools). The pressures on the budget are only going to get worse. Fortunately, there are some forward-thinking council officers who are already planning for 30 years on and beyond.

It's important to treat each case individually and get the care right for that person. Cost is important but it cannot be allowed to harm someone's wellbeing.

john, sutton said...

I am pleased on what you have to say on law and order, i'm fed up of the bullshit about Sutton being safe, doesn't look safe to me on a friday night or a saturday night.

Thanks for the honesty - but please please get more cops on the street, i have seen an improvement but we need more.

sean pickering, north cheam said...

I agree with John's comments on crime. Regardless of what the police and the cllrs say my area (North Cheam) doesn't feel any safer ifn fact it feels worse. These plastic coppers dont make a blind bit of difference in my view and I'd much rather we employed proper PCs. I lived in the borough all my life, and up until Nov 2005 I lived on the St Helier estate and it felt safer there than it does in North Cheam.

This is a very impressive report, Cllr Scully, a bit wordy but i guess you need as much detail as possible. I don't normally vote but i'll vote for you guys if this is the kind of thinkinng you stand up.

worcester park forever said...

I agree with Sean about feeling safe but i think it does go further than that my area feels so forgotten by the council, we pay taxes for why dont we get some attention. Sutton high street (which is crap anyway) getsa most if not all of the attention.

WE WANT A FAIR CRACK AT THE WHIP TOO

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