Angus & Mearns Liberal DemocratsWorking Year Round for Angus, Mearns & Stonehaven

Aug/15

27

Chief Constable resigns

By David May

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I am delighted to see Stephen House go and I back the comments by Scottish Lib Dem Leader Willie Rennie. In my view the centralisation of our police force has been a disaster for Angus in ways such as as the loss of many of our police counters, our traffic wardens, their civilian staff and the role they used to play with travellers.

This resignation gives us the chance to look at how to reform the way Police Scotland operates, and a move to a return to local policing priorities, accountability and community policing.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie, who has been a fierce critic of the single force, said Sir Stephen’s departure would not by itself solve the “deep-rooted problems” in Police Scotland and that the force needed a “fresh start”.
He added: “Ultimately the SNP government must accept responsibility for this chaos. They rammed through the centralisation of our police service despite warnings. They set up the toothless Scottish Police Authority. They appointed the chief constable.”

From:: David May

By David May

This is what I said at the council meeting

I am aware that we as a council are having no choice but to implement the new Scottish Government policy of Self Directed Support. We have been told that SDS would mean the now the client would make the decisions about where they would now go for the help that been identified needed. In my view it is nonsense to suggest that in the previous system our social work staff did not engage with the Angus residents in a 2 way discussion about appropriate support needs and then get decisions made quickly to get these implemented.

In my view the Scottish Government’s SDS system is much more bureaucratic, it means more time in form filing, wastes resources, and could potentially put some adults at risk.

SDS means a new assessment system has been created and although I have heard from some Angus residents that our social work have been praised, they are attempting to do the impossible – implementing this new time consuming and buraucrtis system while at the same time our Social Work department have to implement the integration of social work and helath for adults.

I informed the social work committee that my evidence for SDS problems is anecdotal so I was delighted to get the agreement of the convener that the committee would get a written report on progress being made with SDS worts and all, total transparency , and if there are difficulties our staff are facing in implementing this in the laid down timescales that we hear about these. I made the point that this was not a tick the box cerise but that it was important we did this properly and if there are difficulties we know about them so we can work together on a way forward, even if these means we have to allocate more resources to get it done properly, and if this leads to resources outwith the Social work department we must do it. Doing it properly is much more important than doing it quickly as peoples quality of living is much more important.

From:: David May

Aug/15

24

Access office to be open to police issues?

By David May

At the council committee I highlighted that police counters in Montrose and other burghs in across Angus have been closed due to the decision by the much criticised Police Scotland , which I have been told will not be changed.

In order to help the people in these burghs I called on the council to expand the role of our access offices to enable local residents to be able to hand in loss property as presently people in Montrose have to travel through to another burgh to do that. I also called on the access offices to to be able to report issues which could then be passed onto the police to follow up.

Another possibility which is worth considering is that of a police presence for a limited period such as a morning each week, as this would enable at least some direct local contact with the local police at a set time each week.

I pointed out at the council meeting that I am aware that this would be particularly useful to many elderly people but it is clear that the opening of access offices for police issues to be raised would be beneficial to many others Angus residents.

From:: David May

Aug/15

16

Teacher vacancies in Angus Schools

By David May

The leading article about teachers vacancies in the Courier last Wednesday is not good news for many youngsters, parents and schools in Angus as they start a school year short of staff, and it is quite clearly a national issue that the Scottish Government have to take responsibility for. The article showed that in our Angus schools there was an overall shortage of 25 teachers with there being 6 in primary and 19 in our secondary.

It is a pity we were not informed about this at the Angus Council’s Children and Learning committee the previous day, as we as councillors could have asked where the shortages were, which subjects there were shortages in and also what the council were doing about this. I have written to the director for details.

From:: David May

Aug/15

16

Children and Learning Committee

By David May

This is what I said at the Children and Learning Committee about the new “Into Headship’ course which the Scottish Government have introduced and in future applicants for head teacher posts must have this qualification. AS you can see I am critical of the way this course has been set up.

“Convener, I was previously involved in helping to run the predecessor to this course namely the SQH course so am more than aware of the benefits of this Into Headship course for aspiring headteachers

However, it is clear to me that making this course compulsory, making our candidates pay for this and also take this course in their own time as well , is bound to make it even more difficult than it has been to get enough applicants to apply for the post of It did not work in the past with the previous SQH course when the course was free and candidates were given time off so there is no basis for it working now.

Furthermore, it appears that the Scottish government are only committed to funding this for the first two years and I can only imagine that we at the council are going to have the pick up the bill in future while we make more and more cuts.

Convener, although I support the aims of the course the government should put this course on hold and think again.

From:: David May

Aug/15

13

Excellent response from council staff

By David May

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Some foliage and branches from trees in Mill Street were so big that pedestrians were having problems getting past along the pavement.

From:: David May

Aug/15

8

Montrose issues being acted on

By David May

In the last week I have had various issues raised with me and often this has led to site meetings with the constituents and following that I have made contact with either council officers or the local police.

The issues have included overgrown council gardens which nearby neighbours have complained about, branches and foliage from gardens making it difficult to walk along the pavement, legal highs, speeding, seagulls and the Ferryden round about.

From:: David May

Aug/15

8

Sunnyside Hospital buildings

By David May

I have been told that there are plans to demolish some of the buildings at Sunnyside, including the chapel, Laurel Cottage and Angus House. As a regular walker round the Sunnyside Hospital site, it is a great pity to see any of buildings on the site being demolished as most of the them are beautiful and superbly built, and they have served the users of the hospital as well as the staff over many, many years. However, it would also be a great pity for the buildings to fall into total disrepair due to neglect, as this has occurred on other hospital sites, and the site as well as the views from it over the town and towards Scurdieness Lighthouse are amazing. In my view it would be great news if a developer with grand design vision to take it on and make good use and save some wonderful buildings.

From:: David May

By David May

This came as a result of the chair of the village committee contacting me about getting goalposts as the village have many youngsters. I then spoke to the local parks manager about this and he investigated and found suitable goalposts were no longer in use. The council staff have refurbished them and I am very grateful to them for all their help which I am sure the youngsters will welcome.

From:: David May

Jul/15

27

Golf boost to some of our local businesses

By David May

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Open week at Montrose Golf Links is obviously a superb economic boost to our town and to many of our local businesses as over 170 golfers play in the CKwAoqxWUAA23NL annual golf week, and a large number of them are visitors from elsewhere in the UK as well as abroad. This means many of them will have to stay in our hotels and bed and breakfast establishments, as well as eating in our restaurants. This is obviously good news for the town and local area.

At the presentation of prizes for the Pro-Am on Sunday our chairman Andy Boyd said “ Our thanks are due to all our sponsors for their support, and especially to Barr Demolition who have again sponsored our open week as sponsorship makes such a difference to us”

Claire Penman company secretary commented “ We are delighted to have golfers from all over the UK as well as overseas such as Dubai playing our links courses this week and this event is one of the most popular in our golfing calendar. Our course staff have been preparing the course for this prestigious event and each day they are out each morning at about 5.00 am in order to ensure the course is at its best”

Jason Boyd golf professional added “ The fact that we have so many visitors to play and to watch the event is a huge boost to our 3 golf clubs as not only do they provide refreshments, but also have various events planned each night in their clubhouses. Furthermore, the number of visitors who play means a huge financial benefit to many local businesses such as accommodation providers and food establishments. “

From:: David May

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