Are Wirral councillors about to make another Town Hall bungle on education?

Are Wirral councillors about to make another Town Hall bungle on education?

Are Wirral councillors about to make another Town Hall bungle on education?

                                

Cabinet 17th December 2014 vote on Lyndale School closure L to R Cllr Tony Smith (Cabinet Member for Education), Cllr George Davies, Cllr Ann McLachlan
Cabinet 17th December 2014 vote on Lyndale School closure L to R Cllr Tony Smith (Cabinet Member for Education), Cllr George Davies, Cllr Ann McLachlan

Pictured above is Cllr Tony Smith (Cabinet Member for Children and Family Services) who has political accountability to the public for education at Wirral Council.

For those with long memories, who read my article The reasons why Wirral Council’s Lyndale School call in is being delayed or the Wirral Globe article headlined Town Hall bungle means Lyndale meeting called off you will recall when I pointed out to a certain Monitoring Officer called Surjit Tour who works for Wirral Council that the call in over the Lyndale School closure wasn’t lawful. He agreed with me and the public meeting had to be postponed.

Regulations that the last Labour government brought in The Education (Parent Governor Representatives) Regulations 1999 require the education committee of a local council, to have a minimum of two and a maximum of five parent governor representatives with voting rights.

Many councils appoint three, so that if one should cease to be a parent governor at that school, die, or indeed not turn up to meetings for six months without sending apologies and therefore be removed it doesn’t drop below two.

Wirral Council next week meets at Wallasey Town Hall on Tuesday 16th May 2017, see here to appoint its committees for the 2017-18 municipal year, although the agenda and reports are here.

As previously stated on this blog, the People Overview and Scrutiny Committee (which covers education) is proposed to be split into two new committees, the Adult Care and Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Children and Families Overview & Scrutiny Committee.

The People Overview and Scrutiny Committee, currently has only has one parent governor representative on it.

Below is video of Cllr Steve Foulkes explaining why Wirral Council can’t carry on with only one parent governor representative (although at the time the Committee he was referring to had none).

So why are Wirral Council seemingly ignoring this legal requirement in 2017?

Will Councillor Steve Foulkes remember next week what he stated in 2014? Or do the Wirral public just have more political fudge to look forward to next week from a council whose leadership, management and governance of education was rated inadequate by OFSTED last year?

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Coordinating Committee (Wirral Council) 5th February 2014 Part 1 of 2

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Coordinating Committee (Wirral Council) 5th February 2014 Part 2 of 2

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Why did a councillor refer to NHS Plan for cuts as a “PR disaster”?

Why did a councillor refer to NHS Plan for cuts as a “PR disaster”?

Why did a councillor refer to NHS Plan for cuts as a “PR disaster”?

Before I write about what happened at Monday’s People Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Cllr Phil Davies shut down any debate and ruled that he wasn’t allowing the public to speak at an earlier public meeting of the Health and Wellbeing Board (which he chairs) on the Sustainability and Transformation Plan.

Protest outside Wallasey Town Hall side door 28th November 2016 38 Degrees Wirral West over NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plan
Protest outside Wallasey Town Hall side door 28th November 2016 38 Degrees Wirral West over NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plan
Protest outside Wallasey Town Hall 28th November 2016 Green Party over NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plan
Protest outside Wallasey Town Hall 28th November 2016 Green Party over NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plan

Prior to the People and Overview Scrutiny Committee starting there were two protests at ways in to Wallasey Town Hall (photos above). Apologies for the poor quality of the photos!

The Sustainability and Transformation Plan is published on the Wirral CCG website or alternatively you can watch the video of the meeting (which contains a long presentation by the NHS followed by discussion by councillors).

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Video of the People Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Wirral Council) NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plan starting at the 6m35s point)

I’ll try to sum up what this means in a nutshell. If you look beyond the fancy words, glossy brochures in essence it’s a plan for NHS cuts (that is if the plan is implemented people will lose their job).

In addition to that with such a radical reorganisation of how NHS services are delivered locally proposed, services to the general public are also likely to be altered too.

Before a decision is made there will have to be a formal consultation with the public.

I’ve been asked to decipher what decision the People Overview and Scrutiny Committee made on the STP Plan.

However councillors do have a scrutiny role over matters such as this. To give an example, the move of some of the functions of Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology to a new hospital in Liverpool from 2019 was rubber stamped by a scrutiny committee made up of councillors from the affected areas. The impact on thousands of Wirral patients and the consultation was reported previously on this blog.

This is what was agreed by councillors (although some voted against) at the People Overview and Scrutiny Committee (followed by my analysis of what it means).


  • The People Overview and Scrutiny Committee thank Phil Meaken for attending the meeting and presenting the key points of the Sustainability and Transformation Plan.

  • The Committee is concerned that elected Members [councillors] have had no opportunity to feed into the development of the STP, nor have they been given the opportunity to see the plan before it was published on the 23rd of November.

  • The Committee is also concerned by any lack of meaningful consultation with the public of Wirral prior to the publication of the Plan.

  • As a result of the failure by authors of the Plan to engage with local authorities in Cheshire and Merseyside Committee is concerned at the high level of anxiety and speculation of the implications for the future delivery of health services on the Wirral which the Plan has generated.

  • The Committee further notes that though there is very little detail included, many of the proposals would represent a significant varia