Worthing Liberal Democrats Weekly Newsletter - 10th to 30th June 2012 - Adur & Worthing Liberal Democrats
Adur, West & East Worthing Party including East Arun

Worthing Liberal Democrats Weekly Newsletter – 10th to 30th June 2012

OUR EDITOR HAS BEEN ON HOLIDAY – HENCE THE THREE WEEK ISSUE TODAY
Articles for the past three weeks:

Leader:  “Education, education, education”

News this past three weeks:

1. “We Are Not All In It Together” Says Worthing Lib Dem Leader Alan Rice
2  What Happened There Then?

3. Little Progress On Theatres Business Plan
4. Whole of Worthing Shakespeare Festival Great Success
5. Worthing Borough Officers Keep “Stum” On Decoy Farm
6. Worthing Lib Dems Call For Schools To Be Open On Childrens’ Future

WORTHING LIBERAL DEMOCRATS WEEKLY NEWSLETTER 10TH TO 30TH JUNE 2012

      •     Lib Dems will keep Worthing’s services local
      •     Lib Dems will get on with bringing our town into the 21st century – no more dither and delay
      •     Lib Dems will ensure ‘We are all in it together’ – no more waste and high pay
      •     Lib Dems are the only opposition in Worthing – Labour can’t win here
      •     Lib Dems support 20 mph in Worthing’s residential roads

        Leader:  “Education, education, education”

 Not many would disagree with Tony Blair when he set out his priorities for office in 1997 the three most important concerns to the people were and still are education, education and education. These are concerns expressed by parents for their children and concerns expressed by businesses looking to take on competent employees. During the last three weeks these concerns have come to a head for many parents and teachers locally as Worthing High Trust School Board of Governors voted to become an academy.
What has been clear in the debate is there is a lack of understanding of the academy process and quite rightly Worthing High parents have sought greater clarity.  The lack of understanding even appears to extend to their local Tory MP Tim Loughton who actually works for the department concerned.  Mr Loughton’s boss is the Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove and it is Mr Gove who is pushing through the academy agenda. Unsurprisingly then is Mr Loughton’s desire to earn brownie points in pushing schools in his own constituency to become academies.
In his latest newsletter Tim says: ” I welcomed news that Worthing High School has taken the decision to initiate steps to becoming an academy. In doing so, they will join the majority of secondary schools in the country who have already gone down this road and are benefitting from new financial and academic freedoms. With Shoreham Academy and Sir Robert Woodard Academy in Lancing having been in the early wave of converters, this will now mean that the majority of maintained secondary schools in my constituency have gone down this route, reflecting the momentum for this status amongst schools across the country.”
But as the Worthing High Academy Action Group points out: “It really is shocking that a MP and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children is so ill-informed. Neither Robert Woodard nor Shoreham Academies are converters – they are both SPONSORED academies.”   The difference between these two and Worthing High arises from the two different ways a school can be come an academy – to quote from the New Schools Network website:
Traditional academies (Sir Robert Woodward and Shoreham):
  • What are they?  Usually existing poorly performing state schools which are given to a new provider.
  • Who sets them up?  Universities, FE colleges, education charities, businessmen.  The provider must form a charity and cannot make a profit.
  • How are they run?  Academies are held accountable through a ‘funding agreement’ – a contract with the Government. They are free from the Local Authority.
  • How do they get permission?  The Department of Education (DfE) ‘brokers’ between academy providers and schools which are underperforming.
Academy converters (Worthing High):
  • What are they?  Existing, usually highly performing schools which opt out of Local Authority control to gain independence and automony.
  • Who sets them up?  Existing state schools.
  • How are they run?   The school governing body signs a funding agreement with the Government and are independent from the Local Authority.
  • How do they get permission?  Outstanding schools go through a rapid approval process.  All schools can apply to the Government.
Worthing High’s latest OFSTED inspection report published 14th July 2011 rates overall effectiveness as 3 or satisfactory. 1 is outstanding, 2 is good, 3 is satisfactory, and 4 is inadequate.  So no rapid approval there then.
Worthing High Board of Governors played “cat and mouse” this week with parents as they sought to be included in the discussion and it looks like Mr Loughton is also playing “cat and mouse” with the parents as unusually none of his announced surgeries are in Worthing this month – only in Shoreham and Lancing.
Worthing Liberal Democrats called on Friday for all Worthing School Board Of Governors meetings to be held in public to stop this misunderstanding in future and give the parents on the issue a better education.
We also hope Mr Loughton will take the opportunity to educate himself.
Fifteen years after 1997 we are still short on that all important education, education and education.
Worthing Liberal Democrats 
NEWS FROM THE PAST WEEK

“WE ARE NOT ALL IN IT TOGETHER” SAYS WORTHING LIB DEM LEADER ALAN RICE

Close on 60% rise proposed for Leader of Worthing Borough Council
Tuesday 12th June – In a report to be considered this Thursday is a proposal to raise the allowance for Worthing Borough Council (WBC) Leader Paul Yallop by close on 60%.  The proposal comes when Worthing Borough Council staff are expected to accept a zero rate increase in view of central government cut backs. Any increase accepted by the Leader in these dire economic times would be an affront to those hard working staff and residents. The size of this increase makes a total mockery of the mantra “we are all in it together.” The report by the Independent Remuneration Panel is to be presented to the Adur & Worthing Joint Governance & Audit Committee on Thursday. The Independent Remuneration Committee is charged each year to review allowances for all councillors and make recommendations. The three members of the panel are neither WBC officers nor councillors. Mr Yallop’s current allowance as stated on Worthing Borough’s website is £11,364 which comprises of the basic allowance all councillors receive of £3,897 plus a special responsibility allowance (SRA) of £7,467. Option One in the report proposes an increase in the basic allowance to £4,000, an increase to the Leader’s (SRA) to £10,000 and an increase to a Cabinet Member’s (SRA) to £4,000 giving a grand total of £18,000 or a 58.39% increase. Option Two is less generous with no increase to the basic allowance, an increase to the Leader’s (SRA) to £9,742.50 and an increase to a Cabinet Member’s (SRA) to £3,897 or a 54.32% increase. Last year it would appear Mr Yallop waived the Cabinet Member’s (SRA) but the report schedule does state all six cabinet members are entitled to receive the allowance. Waiving that allowance this year would still produce an increase of 23.2% in Option One and 20.02% increase in Option Two.
Leader of Worthing Borough Council Lib Dem Group Alan Rice said: “I do believe all councillors deserve an increase including the Leader when the time is right but that time is not now.  It is outrageous to even consider such a huge increase when council staff are expected to have a zero increase and cuts are being made to the services provided to residents. We will argue for zero change to allowances this year but we will also argue for the special responsibility allowance for policy advisors to be dropped. This is just a sop to Tory ‘boys and girls’ If we really believe we are all in it together let’s prove it. After all we are not casino bankers.”  (Bob Smytherman – Press Release)
WHAT HAPPENED THERE THEN?
Thursday 14th June – Adur and Worthing residents sitting in the public gallery at tonight’s Joint Governance & Audit Committee were left perplexed by the debate on councillor allowances. Before the committee was the report by the Independent Remuneration Panel recommending a 60% rise to Leader of Worthing Borough Council Paul Yallop.  Mr Yallop had commented to the press that he expected to get some flak but that he had “broad shoulders”. Worthing Lib Dem Committee Member Hazel Thorpe proposed, in view of the harsh economic times, allowances remained unchanged with the exception of policy advisors where the additional allowance should be dropped.  Although supported by the new Adur Labour member the proposal was defeated.  The Worthing Tory Chairman Noel Atkins made another counter-proposal which he stated was on the tables before the committee – this was duly passed.  But no detail was given out publicly and nor was a copy of the table available to the public gallery – which included a very member of the Independent Remuneration Panel.  The Panel member asked others in the public gallery and indeed committee members “what happened there then?”  No-one including a Tory member who voted for proposal seemed to know.
 
LITTLE PROGRESS ON THEATRES’ BUSINESS PLAN
Thursday 21st June – Worthing Borough officers reported tonight to the  Adur & Worthing Joint Strategic Committee the revised business plan for Worthing’s theatres was still being worked on and the plan was not ready for presentation to the committee as previously indicated. A further meeting of the Theatres Working Group is scheduled to take place to review the final draft in a few weeks time.  In the meantime the theatres continue to make losses – famously estimated by Leader of the Council Paul Yallop at £3,000 per day or £123,000 since the May 2012 election day.
WHOLE OF WORTHING SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL GREAT SUCCESS
Monday 25th June – The Whole of Worthing Shakespeare Festival championed by Sally Hague, Head of Drama at St Andrews Boys School, was a great success in spite of the inclement weather. Although the Festival battled against gale force winds in the week and nearly gale force winds at the weekend, over 150 kids performed and over 800 people saw at least one play last week. The Whole of Shakespeare Festival was just the latest project West Sussex Worthing County Local Commitee (CLC) has been pleased to fund. Applications to the CLC Community Initiative Fund must be supported by the local County Councillor which in this case was Lib Dem Alan Rice as St Andrews Boys School is in his Broadwater Division. Sarah advises the Festival looks like having a bright future becoming a biannual event.
WORTHING BOROUGH OFFICERS KEEP “STUM” ON DECOY FARM
Tuesday 26th June – Worthing Liberal Democrats have had two meetings recently with Worthing Borough Council officers and have each time broached the subject of West Sussex Waste Management Strategy consultation.  Under the strategy West Sussex officers have identified Decoy Farm as a potential site for a waste plant – either for a waste transfer plant or for a waste to energy plant. The consultation lasts until July 27th and Worthing Lib Dems have been trying to ascertain the official Worthing Borough view by asking the Leader of the Council, the Cabinet Member for Environment and the officers. The only response has been Worthing Borough will be submitting a response to the consultation but remain very tight-lipped on what that response will be.
WORTHING LIB DEMS CALL FOR SCHOOLS TO BE OPEN ON CHILDRENS’ FUTURE
Friday 29th June – .Worthing Liberal Democrats are today calling on all Worthing School Boards of Governors to hold their regular meetings in public.  The call follows the current controversy over the proposed conversion of Worthing High Trust School to an academy which was approved by the school governors behind closed doors. Parents and teachers were refused entry to listen to the proceedings at the Board of Governors meeting held on Wednesday May 30th where governors voted to move to Academy status. Last night the parents gathered again at Worthing High’s gates to register their protest as the governors arrived at the next Board of Governors meeting but this time the venue was secretly switched at the last minute to the Nsure Group premises in Rowlands Road.  The Chair of the Board of Governors, Mr Tony Cohen, is Managing Director of Nsure Financial Services.  The parents were not to be dissuaded by the move and went en masse to protest outside the building asking again the Board of Governors to meet with them without success. Board of Governors meetings are not required to be held in public and anyone can be excluded including parents but copies of minutes must be supplied to any reasonable request.  Worthing Liberal Democrats understand parents had to resort to using a Freedom of Information request to even obtain these.  The form of meeting Worthing Liberal Democrats envisage is the one used by West Sussex County Council (WSCC) County Local Committee (CLC) meetings which are meetings held in public rather than public meetings.  CLC meetings include a public question time where concerns can be raised but the public are simply observers for the meat of the meeting.  This ability to observe shows democracy in action in a transparent way – something which has been sorely missed at Worthing High.
West Sussex County Councillor for Tarring, Bob Smytherman, whose division Worthing High resides, said: “This is potentially a life changing decision for the children attending Worthing High but the parents of those children are denied even to listen to the discussion – let alone participate.”   (Bob Smytherman – Press Release)

DIARY
Monday 2nd July – WSCC Governance Commmittee – County Hall, Chichester at 2.15 pm
Tuesday 3rd July – WSCC Cabinet – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am
Wednesday 4th July – WSCC Health and Adult Social Care Select Committee – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am
Wednesday 4th July – Lib Dem Northbrook/Durrington Ward Surgery – The Durrington Community Centre, New Road 7.30 to 8.30 pm
Thuesday 5th July – WSCC Policy and Resources Select Committee – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am
Saturday 7th July – Lib Dem Castle Ward Surgery – The Strand Shops 10.00 to 10.30 am
Saturday 7th July – Lib Dem Gaisford/Tarring Castle Wards Surgery – West Worthing Baptist Church, South Street, Tarring 10.30 to 12.00 noon

Saturday 7th July – Lib Dem Central Ward Surgery – Sidney Walter Centre, Sussex Road 10.30 am to 12.00 noon
and every first Saturday of the month
Saturday 7th July – Lib Dem Broadwater Ward Surgery – The Community House, Dominion Road 3.00 pm to 4.00 pm
and every first Saturday of the month

FURTHER AHEAD

Tuesday 10th July – WBC Licensing and Control Committee – Town Hall at 6.00 pm
Wednesday 11th July – WBC Planning Committee – Town Hall at 6.00 pm
Thursday 12th July – ADC & WBC Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee – Adur Civic Centre at 6.30 pm
Tuesday 17th July – WBC Full Council – Council Hall Chamber, Town Hall at 6.00 pm
Tuesday 17th July – Lib Dem Durrington Surgery – New Life Church, Durrington 7.00 to 8.00 pm
and every third Tuesday of the month
Friday 20th July – WSCC Full Council (meeting will be webcast) – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am
Tuesday 24th July – WSCC Planning Committee – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am
Wednesday 25th July – WSCC Pensions Panel – County Hall, Chchester at 10.30 am
Wednesday 25th July – WSCC Pensions Panel – County Hall, Chchester at 2.15 pm
Thursday 26th July – WSCC West Sussex Joint Commissioning Board – County Hall, Chichester at 2.15 pm
Thursday 26th July – ADC & WBC Joint Strategic Commitee – Town Hall at 6.30 pm

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