The People Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting is not the place to go to
see a petulant Chairman in action. Councillor James Hunt is always
exuding good humour, perhaps that is why his meetings can go on a bit. Two hours and forty minutes last night.
The People meeting is not the easiest to report, it rarely gets into anything deeply or controversial, instead there are usually scores of short questions directed at specialist guests, Council Officers and Cabinet Members. None of them were ‘stand out’ questions yesterday and listening to the meeting all over again via the recording is not the most attractive proposition. Instead here are a few things that were noted at the time. (†)
The Clinical Commissioning Group has been trying to find out - and keep a record of - where Bexley people would prefer to die. Somewhere else presumably.
The CCG representative said she had been told earlier in the day that the R11 bus from Sidcup to near the Princess Royal Hospital (Orpington) is to be withdrawn. No one knew if Bexley Council had been consulted.
Councillor Geraldene Lucia-Hennis was concerned about the lack of mid-wifery services in Crayford. She had raised the issue at a previous meeting and felt that the shortage was “totally unacceptable” and had still not been addressed.
Cabinet Member Philip Read, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services said a ‘Young Director’ had been appointed to provide a better insight into young people’s needs and communicate with them more effectively. It seems like a good idea.
Councillor Sybil Camsey was critical of the high number of pupils not being given the required minimum of 25 hours a week of education. 142 of them. Most had medical problems and all were closely monitored on a regular basis.
50 Bexley people are now living in Council funded accommodation in Manchester.
The number of Homes in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in the borough has grown by 150 in the past 18 months.
The number of HMOs in the borough is estimated to be more than 1,000 and could be as high as 1,400, mostly in the north. Councillor Sharon Massey said she had to argue with residents in her ward that not everyone living in an HMO would be a bad neighbour. She is right and as an acknowledged authority on the subject of bad neighbours her view should be respected.
Five more schools are on course to become academies. Chatsworth Infant School, Shenstone Special School, Castillian Primary School, Barrington Primary School and Parkway Primary School.
Two schools previously rated ‘Good’ by OFSTED had lost that rating. Bexleyheath Academy dropped to ‘Requires Improvement’ and The Business Academy, Bexley has been put into ‘Special Measures. Woodside school remains in the ‘Requires Improvement’ category. 86% of pupils are in schools rated ‘Good’ or better.
Bexley is to join a consortium of three councils in September (Maidstone, Sevenoaks and Tunbridge Wells) to pool licensing administration. It hopes to save £70,000 a year.
Deputy Director for Education Moyra Pickering was attending her last meeting prior to retirement and Deputy Director of Children’s Social Care, Sharon Wood, was at her first, having replaced Sheila Murphy.
† Actually I did listen to the recording and it produced no forgotten gems.