About This Blog

The public should know all we can about the business of the decision makers that affect our lives, our wallets and our democracy. This is a record of my efforts to try and improve the levels of transparency and accountability within Sheffield City Council and others. To shine a light on how decisions are made and where the money goes. If I can also help others to find their own voice and influence along the way, then that is a bonus.

Friday, 3 October 2014

3rd September 2014 - Meeting of Full Council, by Nigel Slack.

After the usual preamble, the meeting began with an urgent motion, brought by the leader of the Council, Cllr Julie Dore, expressing no confidence in the current Police and Crime Commissioner, Shaun Wright, following the publication of the report by Prof. Jay into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham.

This somewhat rendered my original question about the costs of a by-election (a reason put forward by the PCC for not resigning) somewhat facile. So I withdrew that question (though Cllr Dore did answer that as well) and substituted a question following on from the vote passing the motion of no confidence in the PCC. This question asked whether the PCC would be at the emergency meeting of the Police & Crime Panel ( the committee set up to scrutinise the PCC's office) or whether he would be at the Home Affairs Select Committee hearing scheduled for the same day.

The essence of the answer, given by Cllr Harry Harpham who chairs the Police & Crime Panel, was that he would be at the select committee hearing as parliament takes precedence but that they were looking for a further date that week to require the PCC to attend and answer questions from the panel and the public. Cllr Dore added that the costs of any by-election would be covered by the Home Office.

The audio recording of the question and answer are below.

My second question of the day followed my being there when the 'Darlington Moms' left Sheffield Town Hall to continue their 300 mile march (in the steps of the Jarrow marchers of the great depression) in support of and defence of the NHS. The question asked about the relationship between the NHS and the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership)which risks permanently privatising the service and whether the Council would pressure the National Labour Party to drop their support of TTIP.

Cllr Mary Lea (Cabinet member for healthcare and independent living) responded to the effect that the NHS was under threat from many areas and Labour were committed to repealing the Health and Social Care Act and were also calling for NHS and other public services to be exempt from the TTIP.

The audio is below

My third question was on the subject of Academy Schools. I have concerns over the way such schools are now being promoted as the only way to open a new school, something way beyond their initial remit of rescuing failing state sector schools. In particular it seems to have become a way of some quite dubious 'for profit' or 'faith' organisations to infiltrate state education. The question is quite long but asks, essentially, about the mechanism for choosing such schools. The answer was quite long also and included a promise to provide the information in writing.

The audio is below.

Minutes of Full Council Meeting 3rd September 2014