Swansea Council leader David Phillips writes for the South Wales Evening Post

30Jan2014
Swansea Council leader David Phillips writes for the South Wales Evening Post
By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: January 30, 2014
http://www.southwales-eveningpost.co.uk/Swansea-Council-leader-David-Phillips-writes/story-20525883-detail/story.html

MY colleagues and I were elected to run Swansea Council in 2012, on a pledge that “community engagement … empowering local communities, enabling their voices to be heard”, would be at the heart of what we did.

And that is what we put into practise with the Sustainable Swansea — fit for the future consultation — asking residents, staff, businesses, the voluntary sector and partner organisations what you wanted, and then listening to and considering your answers.

If we scroll back to September last year, you’ll remember that we were – and still are — looking at having to make savings of £26-plus million this year and a total of £45m over the next couple of years.

For the first time since devolution, councils like ours are staring at a real-terms reduction in funding. It is a huge challenge. It means we have to think differently, do things differently and do different things.

Unlike some councils we saw this challenge as an opportunity. We shared with you our ideas about what the future shape of services might be. Some people — not all — doubted whether it was an open and honest effort to listen.

But it was and your feedback has influenced the development of our budget to help us achieve the smarter, leaner and more efficient Council people wanted to see in the future.  More…

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We have listened

24 JAN 2014

‘We have listened’: Swansea’s ruling Labour group alters proposals on care homes, parking charges and school crossing patrols

From: South Wales Evening Post; Saturday January 24, 2014
http://www.southwales-eveningpost.co.uk/listened-Swansea-s-ruling-Labour-group-alter/story-20496147-detail/story.html

CITY leaders in Swansea insist they have listened to the public after rowing back on a number of controversial budget proposals.

From care homes to car parking, libraries to lollipop men and women, Swansea’s Labour administration has gone back to the drawing board.

And it said this was ample proof that its public consultation on the budget proposals, which ended on Wednesday, was no sham.

“People accused us about not being serious about the consultation,” said councillor Rob Stewart, cabinet member for finance.

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“But this demonstrates that we are serious, and that we do listen and change our position.

”The Labour administration will publish its revised budget proposals shortly.

They will be debated by full council at an earlier than planned meeting on February 11.

Mr Stewart said the revised proposals were:

– A commitment not to close any residential care homes before April 2015.

– Giving Pennard library campaigners a further eight months to look at different ways of funding the service, plus a commitment to review library services throughout Swansea to match provision better with demand.
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Bishopston Primary School Parent Newsletter Issue 8 January 2014

08 JAN 2014
Bishopston  Primary School:  Parent Newsletter Issue No. 11: 8th January 2014
https://swansea-edunet.gov.uk/en/schools/BishopstonPrimary/Pages/newsViewArticle.aspx?a=6604
In this week’s newsletter:
Welcome Back;  Safety Reminders;  School Dinner Price Increase;  Illness – 48 hours return;  Attendance;  Clerk to Governors;  Kitchen Hygiene;  Meeting re. proposed closure of Pennard Library

Pennard Library

Pennard Library

Pennard Library
Below is a message I’ve been asked to pass on to you:
Proposed closure of Pennard Library and Mobile Library Services.  There is a public meeting on Monday 13th January at 7pm in Pennard Golf Club.  This is to be attended By Nick Bradley, the Cabinet Member for Regeneration and senior council officers.  This is the public’s opportunity to ask questions and make your views known to them.”

National Assembly for Wales Inquiry re Public Libraries (in Wales)

In late November 2013, the National Assembly for Wales commenced an “Inquiry into Public Libraries” when it posted online a letter stating “The National Assembly for Wales’ Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee is to undertake a short inquiry into public libraries in Wales“, and went on to say “To assist with its inquiry, the Committee would welcome your views on the following matters:

  • The extent to which progress has been made by the Welsh Government towards achieving its Programme for Government commitments relating to libraries, and how sustainable any progress is in the current climate;
  • The extent to which the current legislative and policy frameworks are suitable to meet the challenges facing local authorities delivering library services in Wales;
  • How well-prepared the Welsh Government and local authorities are to mitigate the impact of public sector cuts on library services;
  • Options for improving the financial sustainability of library services, including alternative models of provision;
  • The contemporary and community role of public libraries in Wales.

Invitation to contribute to the inquiry
The Committee welcomes responses in English or Welsh from both individuals and organisations and will hold oral evidence sessions in due course.”

N.B.  To read the National Assembly for Wales’ original letter in full, please see http://www.senedd.assemblywales.org/documents/s21921/Consultation%20letter.pdf

Pennard Library

Pennard Library

Unfortunately, the Pennard Library Working Group only found out about the said ‘Inquiry’ in early January 2014, and as all replies had to be submitted to the ‘Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee [at the] National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff’ by 17 January 2014 latest, a reply was quickly formulated and sent.