Monday, June 02, 2008

Help write the Conservative Blueprint for Local Government

Sutton Conservatives' Policy Groups are cracking along looking at the very best ideas that are working in other Councils that may work here in Sutton. Nationally, the newly formed Conservative Council Innovation Unit are writing the 'bible' of best practice for local councils. This is instead of writing a national manifesto for local government. I am pleased that the Party is serious about localism; trusting local people to introduce and run the services for the place that they know the best.

The man charged with heading up this task is Stephen Greehalgh, the dynamic leader of Hammersmith & Fulham Council who has reduced Council Tax by 3% for two successive years as well as cutting council debt by £60m. During this time, satisfaction ratings with the Council have increased significantly. He is also on the panel that is undertaking an audit of City Hall for Boris. You can read more about Stephen's vision for the Conservative Council Innovation Unity on Conservative Home, here.


Anonymous said...

i wish we could have our council taxes reduced in sutton! we can only dream i guess!

Anonymous said...

We need a specialist school created for the growing number of children with ASD's.
The LBS currently spends millions each year educating and transporting our children out of borough as we have no schools which can meet the specific needs of these kids.
We need a specialist school NOT more bases.Surely it would be more cost effective to bring it within the borough?

Unknown said...


Thanks for your thoughts. I've been looking at the transport costs for SEN children as part of a scrutiny process. It is a budget that we always seem to overspend on by a considerable margin. It is also a volatile budget as it is very dependent on the makeup of the children that require help.

You are right that we educate a lot of children out of the Borough and to bring them back in would save a lot of money as well as giving them a better quality of life. Some of the journeys are very long to the extent that it would be hard enough for an able-bodied child to make on a daily basis.

The bases have come about as a piecemeal policy, partly due to money and partly due to space. Stanley Park High School, for example offered the Borough the opportunity to build a moderate ASD base on the new site otherwise there would not even be that capacity. It is also part of a drive to educate more SEN children within mainstream schools. Although this is not suitable for all children it is important that this opportunity is available.

I will look further into your suggestion and see what scope there is. Thanks again, for bringing it to my attention.

Anonymous said...

Paul,thankyou for your reply. I understand we are pressed for space within the borough but could an existing building owned by the council not be used?

The base at Stanley Park will have space for 56 pupils,there are currently at least 216 kids within the borough with a prime need diagnosis of ASD.I have found while searching for placement for my son some of the places within Sutton are also used by children from other boroughs,which I have no problem with at all(I know how hard it is to find a space) but it will lessen the places that will actually be available at Stanley Park too.

I agree mainstream/base provision does work for some children,but what if it doesn't for your child?

My son may end up travelling daily to Godalming or Sussex at this rate...For a child that has a strict routine,sensory issues,travelling problems etc the journey would be nothing short of torture.

My son has a right to an education too and we are not the only parents in Sutton with this problem.

Anonymous said...

The problem with focussing on assimilating ASD children into mainstream facilities is based on a misconception. Rather than trying to bring them into our world we have to find a way of getting into their world! Exclusion/inclusion policies are based on economic factors and bear no relevance to the needs of the child. Inclusion regularly leads to exclusion and severe trauma for the victim. Exclusion, paradoxically, often leads to inclusion later in life as they have developed in the correct environment for them. The changes in SEN transport will be a disaster and ill conceived and put many children at risk and put even more strain onto the parent/carer. There is a private "secondary" ASD school opening in Sutton later this year, there should be several more. Mainstream schools should only be deployed for children at the very mild end of the spectrum and even then stringently monitored. Good to see that there is an interest on this, I intend to lobby away, if anyone wants to have their ear bent for a week or two, I am available.

The Brinkster said...

What's the latest proposals for SEN transport as I'm due to attend a meeting about that this evening to consult about proposals without having been told what the proposals actually are??? potentially another example of Sutton's "Shoot first, ask questions afterwards" culture.....