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Reporting Back: Rangers, Union Reps and Youth Offending Team

by timpickstone on 18 December, 2012

Last Wednesday was the regular meeting of Bury’s ‘Full’ Council. This was the first time that Bury’s Council meeting had been streamed live on the internet. I’m not sure how many people were watching (!), or  if the recording is to be made permanently available – which would seem sensible if it is going to be become a regular thing.

A few things of note:
Each councillor is allowed to ask two questions, but normally only the first 10 or so questions are answered within the time allowed.

My colleague Councillor Donal O’Hanlon asked the Council to provide information on all the community events and activities that the Council’s Ranger Service had been involved in supporting in the last twelve months. The list was extensive, and we’ll publish it as soon as the Council makes the written replies available. It is a discrace that the Labour Council is proposing to completely abolish the Ranger Service who are currently involved in providing a wide range of community and educational events in and around our parks. I know they have been significantly involved in Prestwich ‘Clough Day’, and at Simister Wetland (to name just two things close to home).

I asked about Bury’s Youth Offending Team, and the rumour amongst the staff there that the management of the service is going to be transferred to Rochdale Council. Apparently ‘nothing has been decided’ (which is a regular answer from the Labour Group when rumours begin). I asked what assurances Councillors would have that we were able to meet our very important responsibilities around child protection, if a service was to be provided by another Authority, particularly given the recent history of other services in Rochdale.

We considered motions on making Bury a ‘Dementia Friendly Borough’, and on the importance of Remembrance Sunday. The real controversy came when we debated a Conservative motion to abolish all council funded Trades Union posts at the Council. At the start of all meeting we have to ‘declare any interests’ on the items to be considered. It was interesting to see that every single Labour Councillor (bar one) stood up to declare that they were a member of, or worked for, or had their election expenses supported by trades unions.

At present the Council spends £79,000 a year on paying for staff for local trades unions. We proposed, that whilst we recognise that Trade Unions are important, that these are very difficult economic times and there should be an all-party review of this expenditure, to find a more appropriate reduced level of support from the Council.

All the Labour Councillors voted against this (in my view very sensible) proposal, so no review will take place.

The full agenda for the meeting is here. Any questions please ask.


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