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Renfrewshire Council Must Follow Legal Standards


Renfrewshire Council Must Follow Legal Standards

The re-organisation of school estates in Renfrewshire was discussed in the Scottish Parliament this week.  The Cabinet Secretary for education, Mike Russell MSP, was questioned by Paisley’s MSP about the proper process that should be followed when local authorities are reviewing educational facilities.

george-abbeyAfter questioning the Cabinet secretary George said;

‘It is essential that full scrutiny and all relevant statutory processes are followed when reviewing local authorities educational estates.  The Cabinet Secretary agreed with me and I have voiced my concerns on the record in Parliament about what is happening within Renfrewshire Council.

‘The review and council consultation being undertaken by Labour in Renfrewshire must ensure that correct procedures are adhered to.  This is not only to ensure that parents and the children have full confidence in any of the proposed changes but to ensure that legal challenges do not emerge.

‘The information that I have had to gather myself from the council has raised some questions.

‘There are claims that shutting a school and moving the pupils to another school is not actually a school closure.

‘There are also concerns that the pupils being moved in to an existing school is not the model of shared campuses that we know.  Here in Renfrewshire purpose built schools were built to house shared campuses, differing educational facilities with other shared aspects.

‘These concerns are troubling.

‘We must ensure that any consultation is a real consultation, I would advise every parent to follow what is happening to their school, do not get caught out by changes that surprise you when the consultation process ends.’

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Universal Credit is “soul-destroying”

renfrewshire council logo .JPG

Universal Credit is “soul-destroying”

Renfrewshire Council’s Leader has called on the UK Government to wise up and open up after a leaked report revealed staff delivering its flagship benefit change branded the programme “soul-destroying” and “unbelievably frustrating”.

Recent media reports about Universal Credit findings, quote one member of staff as saying: “This is the third review in 16 months. No rollout plans, no confidence in going forward and stakeholders losing confidence in our ability to deliver”.

Councillor Mark Macmillan has branded the findings “shocking” and is calling on the UK Government to share the details of its plan to replace six benefits with Universal Credit across the UK.

Councillor Macmillan said: “These shocking findings prove what we have suspected all along – that Universal Credit is in chaos. We’ve now heard directly from people at the heart of this project that there’s secrecy, dishonesty, no rollout plan, and no confidence. Even the people working on the programme don’t know anything about future developments. That’s nowhere near acceptable.”

Universal Credit will replace child tax credits, working tax credits, income-based job seekers allowance, housing benefit, income support and income based employment support allowance.

renfrewshire council logo .JPGCouncillor Macmillan added: “The UK Government should wise up, open up and share all details of planned roll out of Universal Credit. They have a duty to reassure everyone receiving the six benefits that will be replaced by Universal Credit. Families in Renfrewshire will want to know exactly when and how they will be affected.

“The Government is insisting that everyone apply for this benefit online, despite many people not having an internet connection or a PC. They also want those receiving the new benefit to transfer their housing benefit to their landlord themselves, which is ludicrous considering there are many vulnerable residents who need support to manage their finances.

“The public deserve to know more about Universal Credit now so they can start to prepare for the major changes it will bring.”

Thirteen UK council areas were part of the original Universal Credit pilot that started in September 2012 and a recent announcement confirmed that six more places will offer the benefit from October 2013.