Saturday, 28 July 2007

July 26

The chairs of the scrutiny committees met today to discuss the workload for the year ahead.
There is some interesting stuff coming up. Not interesting enough for Paul Dale to bother with of course but then a lot of council work is the nitty gritty of local government and does not make for headlines although it impacts on a lot of lives. It is interesting how some topics involve lots of the work we do. If you look at teenage pregnancies it covers health, benefits, education, children's services, housing and then sometimes anti-social behaviour etc. I don't know if I have said this before but I think becoming a teenage mother is the equivalent of getting married to the state, and the state makes a poor husband. He is a poor provider and is seldom there when needed. It reminds me of an old saying that not all men are bastards but it is an enduring mystery to young men that young women make a bee-line for the ones who are.
Later that day we met with our new Constituency manager. Our old one has been promoted to the grand position of Interim Assistant Director for Constituencies.
That evening we went to a meeting of the Longbridge Consultative Group. Keith found himself in the unusual position of agreeing with Richard Burden MP and being agreed with by Cllr Steve Bedser. I don't think I am turning into an old leftie but I will watch myself.

On Friday it was the latest meeting of Keith's Vulnerable Children's committee. A small victory today as we have got the service to come up with a policy on young people using kitchenettes in children's homes. It may seem a small thing but we found that in some homes they were not allowed to use kitchenettes on "health & Safety" grounds. This meant that some kids leave homes not being able to prepare the simplest meals for themselves and thinking food comes in catering tins. The main point was the inconsistency where some homes encouraged kids to learn to cook and some didn't. Now there will be one policy and members will be able to check it out when they visit. Of course there will still be individual assessments and some training but that's all to the good.

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