National conference on Combined Authorities called by Greater Manchester TUCs on 24 September

Devolution: a grassroots assessment and response – towards a  People’s Plan? Contributions from trades union activists, community campaigners, academics and politicians on economic strategy, housing, transport, environment, NHS, democracy etc.

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Trade unions and the WMCA – now take the seats allocated , and demand parity with employers at the top tables

Trade Unions have been allocated seats on 8 lower-level committees alongside employers’ representatives. But while employers also sit on the top-level committees where the strategic decisions are made, the unions are excluded. Continue reading

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Closure proposals for city NHS Walk-in Centres

Proposals that could see the closure of all or some of the current of Birmingham’s 8 urgent care centres are being prepared for public consultation in the Autumn by the Cross City Clinical Commissioning Group. Urgent care is where an illness or Injury is urgent but not life threatening.

The Urgent care centres received a total of 322,058 annual visits at the last count . The busiest NHS walk-in centre is at Katie Road in Selly Oak which received some 64,000 visitors and is the only centre south of the city centre. The next busiest centre is Summerfield with 52,000 visitors. Continue reading

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Beyond the hype: Assessing the WMCA’s claims for HS2

 

One of the key themes of the WMCA, driven by the three Local Enterprise Partnerships, is the claimed benefits of HS2. They make no pretence of offering a balanced case, weighing the pros and cons. Instead what they are engaged in is a high-powered sales campaign designed to convince you that HS2, currently estimated to cost at least £56 billion, is in the public interest as well as being a taxpayer-funded bonanza for business. Continue reading

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On the Voluntary Children’s Services Trust and problems of being a Corporate parent 

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The fault lines of the proposed ‘Voluntary Children’s Services Trust’ model and its relationship with the Local authority started to appear at the discussion at Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

The report prepared by Deloitte setting out the case for change for moving some social work services into a Trust arrangement was accepted by Council’s Cabinet and received backing from the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Groups.

A set of organisational options for a Trust were identified by Deloitte and a further report will be made to Cabinet in September setting out the preferred shortlist of models. Cllr Brigid Jones, the responsible Cabinet member,  also said the Council would undertake a ‘market testing’ exercise over the summer to identify whether there were sufficient people of the right sort who could serve as Trustees on a future Trust Board.

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On options for the “Voluntary Children’s services Trust’

Dear Cabinet member,

The future of social work with children and families in Birmingham

On Tuesday you will consider a report prepared by Deloitte on the Birmingham children’s services model which sets out 19 potential models for delivering children’s social care services and a framework of critical success factors which a model would need to meet. The Cabinet report recommends that these different delivery models are appraised by Deloitte over the summer and a report with preferred options should be presented to Cabinet in September.

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Birmingham Against the Cuts asks Labour’s candidates for WMCA Mayor what they plan to do about the Combined Authority’s lack of democracy and public participation

Labour’s candidates for WMCA Mayor, Steve Bedser and Sion Simon, have now published their manifestos. Neither of them makes any mention at all of the glaring lack of democracy and public participation in the structures and processes of the Combined Authority that BATC has repeatedly criticised: Continue reading

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