Adur, West & East Worthing Party including East Arun

Worthing Liberal Democrats Weekly Newsletter – 2nd to 8th December 2012

Articles for the past week:

Leader:  Communications breakdown  

News this past week: 
1.  Santa Visits Homefield Park
2.  Lib Dem Euro Candidates
3.  Churchill Ward Voters Left In Dark
4.  Catherine Bearder Visits Shoreham Port
      •     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:  Communications breakdown

The week before last we had a week when it was impossible to access e-mails on the Worthing Borough Council (WBC) intranet.   Harold Wilson famously said “A week is a long time in politics” but, with the loss of instant access, the week felt like an eternity.

It was not only the lack of e-mail access either by councillors or officers that was the problem.  During the week it was impossible to make a theatre booking, a Fit 4 booking or book a slot for the crematorium on line.   The Councils much vaunted “new ways of working” could more aptly be described as “new ways of not working”.

The call centre telephonists did not have a ready made hard copy back up of the internal phone list and had to cobble together an incomplete version.  Similarly internal diaries could not be accessed and officers did not know when and where they had a meeting.  This is hardly a recipe for a more efficient service.

The Adur-WBC website blamed the breakdown on “a very rare double failure of ICT systems” but the whole point of business continuity systems is to expect the unexpected – otherwise they are a failure in themselves.  Unfortunately this is symptomatic of so many areas with a general lack of preparedness for the unexpected.

Lessons learnt by the devastation of Hurricane Katrina helped prepare for Hurricane Sandy with the subsequent less dramatic effect.  Yet with advance notice things still went wrong including loss of power for swathes of people.  WBC’s little local difficulty with IT pales by comparison into insignificance but how well are they prepared for a major disaster?

There is an Adur & Worthing Emergency Plan on the website dated “live 01.07.2010” with a review scheduled  one year from date of issue in May 2011.  There is no indication that a review has taken place which is not unsurprising as at the beginning of November there was no Emergency Officer in post and a recruitment process was in place.  It is the same Emergency Officer which is responsible for the Business Continuity Plan – last updated September 2011.

Adopting new ways of working with the new use of technology are in Adur and Worthing’s grand scheme to make budget savings and we applaud the initiative but we must ensure the new ways are fail safe.  The alarm bells are ringing now that Adur & Worthing Councils need to learn the lessons of this communications breakdown and revisit both the Emergency and Business Continuity Plans.  Over 100 years ago Lord Baden Powell instructed his scout movement to be “Be prepared” – that should be lesson number one.

Worthing Liberal Democrats 

Sunday 2nd December – Santa joined Lib Dem Selden Councillor Christine Brown at the “Action for Homefield Park” Christmas Fayre yesterday. The Fayre was a great success with a huge turnout from the local community with a good time had by one and all. Santa was, as ever, very popular with everyone who attended. The Christmas Fayre was held to consult with local residents on future plans for Homefield Park. The consultation was presented jointly with Worthing Borough Council officers and many people queued to give their views. The plans for a community garden also saw a steady stream of people interested. Most of the feedback given was encouraging with people pleased at the ability to easily access the Consultation and their Councillors. Many people quizzed Christine and Santa for their views on aspects of the plans and both were there for people to chat with throughout the day. Strictly for the grown-ups only we can reveal on this occasion Santa was really Lib Dem Central Councillor David Chapman.
Councillor Christine Brown said: “It is great to see so many people wanting to get involved in the future of their local park.  And it is great to see so many local residents giving their views on the plans.   Santa and I enjoyed our discussions with the local residents and being able to understand and identify their concerns. The future of Homefield Park looks bright.”
Sunday 2nd December – Liberal Democrats today announced their chosen candidates in the 2014 Euro elections for the South-East of England Region. After an extensive campaign by the candidates and fierce and intense competition the ten names (listed as they will appear in the ballot paper) are as follows: 1.Catherine Bearder  2. Anthony Hook 3. Dinti Batstone 4.Giles Goodall 5. Ian Bearder 6. Allis Moss 7. Steve Sollitt
8. Bruce Tennent 9. John Vincent 10. Alan Bullion.  Present MEP Sharon Bowles is standing down at the next Euro elections after two very successful terms and is also standing down as the Chair of the powerful Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee.  Sharon is presently ranked as one of the most powerful politicians in the world of finance and one of the most powerful politicians in Europe and indeed the World since the global financial crisis hit. Liberal Democrats currently have two MEPs for the South-East of England – Sharon being one and Catherine Bearder who is standing for re-election the second. South East Lib Dems are looking to increase that number to three in the 2014 elections. Campaigning is already off and running with Catherine choosing Worthing and Shoreham as her first campaign stops. Catherine will be visiting the area on 7 December.
Friday 7th December – Lancing Parish Council Tories feared a by-election when local Councillor Alan Milton passed away. So when ten Churchill residents called an election the Tories refused to even pay for polling cards. Without cards local residents wouldn’t know an election was happening or indeed if they are new to the area where to vote. Instead the Tory candidate and his colleagues guaranteed the Council sponsored magazine “Village Voice” would have all the information and be out in time for the election. But as revealed at the latest Parish Council they failed to meet even that promise. Lancing Lib Dems proposed the use of the Village Information Shop to keep residents informed but the Tory majority voted they can only use the shop themselves. The election is to be held on Thursday December 13th.
Lib Dem Candidate Richard Burt said: “Another broken Tory promise.  It’s the total disregard of Lancing voters and democracy by the Tories which flabbergasts me.  The Tories attitude will only make the apathy shown at recent elections worse.  I call on Lancing residents to show through their vote the Tory stance is neither acceptable nor democratic”.
Friday 7th December –  Lib Dem South-East Region Euro MP Catherine Bearder kickstarted her campaign for re-election with a visit today to the Shoreham Port Authority. Catherine was met at the port by the Chief Executive Rodney Lunn who gave a first class presentation on plans for the port’s regeneration. Plans included partial replacement of the industrial area with residential property and a new power station fed by residue oils from timber processing. Shoreham imports timber from the Baltic countries for use in the South East construction industry, exports grain for use at Quaker Oats and is the largest port for the handling of scallops.  Catherine was accompanied on the visit by local Worthing Lib Dem Group Leader Alan Rice and both gained a very useful insight into the future plans for the port and both posed constructive questions.
Tuesday 11th December – WSCC Planning Committee – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am
Wednesday 12th December – Lib Dem Northbrook/Durrington Ward Surgery – The Durrington Community Centre, New Road 7.30 to 8.30 pm
Friday 14th December – WSCC Full Council (meeting will be webcast) – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am
Friday 14th December – ADC & WBC Joint Census Committee – Gordon Room, Town Hall at 6.30 pm
Saturday 15th December – Lib Dem Castle Ward Surgery – St Richards Church, Maybridge at 10.00 am to 10.30 am
Saturday 15th December – Lib Dem Selden Ward Surgery – Jason’s Cafe, Ham Road at 10.00 am to 11.00 am
                              and every second Saturday of the month
Saturday 15th December – Lib Dem Gaisford/Tarring Castle Wards Surgery – West Worthing Baptist Church, South Street, Tarring 10.30 am to 12.00 noon
Tuesday 18th December – WBC Full Council – Council Chamber, Town Hall at 6.00 pm
Thursday 19th December – WBC Planning Meeting – Gordon Room, Town Hall at 6.00 pm
Saturday 5th January – Lib Dem Castle Ward Surgery – The Strand Parade shops at 10.00 am to 11.00 am
                              and every first Saturday of the month
Saturday 5th January – 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 5th January – Lib Dem Broadwater Ward Surgery – The Community House, Dominion Road 3.00 pm to 4.00 pm
and every first Saturday of the month
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