Thursday, 30 June 2011

And so it goes on, and on...

The wheels of democracy turn so painfully slow. On Monday the Dorset County Council, Policy Development Panel met for the second time to discuss the situation with School Crossing Patrols following the consultation process. I know that all the schools have been consulted because the BBC carried out the same consultation (in slightly less time) and the majority decision was that schools would not be spending their children's education budget on road safety.

I know for a fact that DCC officers have been asking local councils and parish councils if they will provide the funding and likewise the replies have been negative.

The third idea was seeking sponsorship. I don't believe for one minute that the PDP has been tasked with finding this sponsorship or even that county council officers have been instructed to spend the next 3 months ringing around all the firms in the county seeking this sponsorship. Therefore they should have been able to reach a decision on the strength of what they discussed on Monday.

Of course the panellists will be claiming expenses for these meetings, which is more money that could be saved if they just got on and made a decision.

You wouldn't run a private company like this. If there was a problem of this magnitude to be sorted you wouldn't have meetings at 3 monthly intervals, you'd sit round a table for a long as it took until the matter was resolved.

When DCC was approached by our local BBC correspondent for a comment about the meeting on Monday this was the response.
Angus Campbell, leader of the county council, said: "I know that the future funding of school crossing patrols is a difficult and sensitive issue about which many people are anxiously concerned. A panel of councillors has been looking into this. They are due to complete their discussions in September, after which there will be a wider discussion leading to a decision by the county council in November. I look forward to hearing the panel's views as a valuable contribution to our decision-making."

Colin Jamieson, chair of the Policy Develop Panel on school crossing patrols, said: "The county council faces making tough decisions in order to make the level of savings required of us. We are engaging with schools, town and parish councils and county council officers on the options for how the safety of children is safeguarded. We aim to have our ideas ready in September." 
In the meantime, all the hard working School Crossing Patrol staff continue to live in a state of anxiety unsure whether they will still be working this time next year. This is a shameful way to treat people.

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