Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Bullying, Violent Crime, Community Impact and Scott Brown signs for Celtic!!!!!

I attended the Executive Meeting last night to present the Report on Bullying which seemed to be well recieved. I have enjoyed my year as a Scrutiny Chair and hope to continue to look at Youth Provision in the borough as a major scrutiny in the forthcoming year.
I stayed around for another couple of items, one being on Serious Violent Crime Action Plans. The Executive refused the Labour Group request to develop a Strategic approach and instead have produced an Action Plan which is essentially a long list of current and future actions.

There is no doubt that there are a lot of resources being put into Community Safety and clearly a lot of good work going on but I am not clear how it all fits together and what the desired outcomes are, apart for the obvious implied objective of reducing serious violent crime in the borough. This is the serious weaknes in not having a strategic view of the problem and I dont think that it is good enough in a borough which has now taken over at the top of the violent crime league table in London as well as my Ward, Camberwell Green, being one of the worst five wards in London!!!
They were keen to emphasis the 2% reduction in reported violent crime (apart from murders which has obviously gone up this year!!) ignoring the high absolute numbers and no explaination about why we are the worst. I have been tol d that domestic violence and gang violence acount for most of the figures but why are we worse in Southwark? I dont see any hint of analysis and as a result no strategic policy just a long list of initiatives which may or may not be effective and which may or may not focus on the key problem areas!!!
The link to the action plan is below:

There was a late item on the Community Impact Analysis of the move to the London Bridge Offices as requested by OSC and as I suspected a very flimsy document was welcomed by Toby Eckersley as being "comprehensive" and agreed on the nod with no discussion! Surprise Surprise!! It is the first time that I have seen a Community Impact Assessment done with no involvement of the Community apart from a passing reference to a 2 year old staff transport survey!! It's conclusion was that there would be no adverse impact to the communities of Walworth, Camberwell and Bermondsey from the movement of large numbers of staff out of the areas! I am sure that the Report must have been knocked out in an afternoon by an Officer and I was going to ask whether the paper could be folded up to reform a fag packet!!

Sitting through an entire Executive you are struck by the complete lack of in depth discussion on anything and meetings over within a couple of hours.
I recall when we ran a "trial" Cabinet system from 2000-2002 where we had real debate and where we had a member from the other 2 parties at the table to engage and debate every item. Now the Leader of the Labour Group has to sit with the public and put his hand up hoping that the Chair will allow him to speak!!! Liberal Democracy in action!!!! I notice that the Lib Dem/Tory proposed amendments to the Constitution as all about further limiting the opportunity for questioning and debate!!! They are quite unbelieveable!!!!
Mayor Making tonight so I am expecting firework at St. Giles!!!

Bad news yesterday with Scott Brown signing for Celtic for £4.4M! Bad for Scottish football as he, and Scotland, would have gained from experience in the Premiership, and bad for Hibs as he will now be used against us alongside other Hibs plars Miller, Riordan and Caldwell with another group of ex-Hibs palyers turning out for Rangers, Murray and Thompson!