Welcome to the website of the Liberal Democrat Group on Surrey County Council
A Liberal Democrat county councillor in Surrey has written to a government minister asking him to scrap Surrey County Council's unpopular charges for taking household waste to Community Recycling Centres (CRCs).
Cllr Stephen Cooksey, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Highways & Environment, has written to Marcus Jones, Minister for Local Government, as part of his long-running campaign against the charges. The unpopular fees were introduced by the Conservative-run County Council in September 2016 despite a consultation in which residents made clear their opposition to the charges and their fears that fly-tipping would increase across the county as a consequence.
Surrey County Council has announced today that it has failed to meet its target to deliver a Superfast Broadband service to almost 100% of residential properties in Surrey. Furthermore it is planning to drop this target following a county council report which has revealed that 15,300 Surrey properties in the Intervention Area are unable to access Superfast Broadband. The county council's plans to increase the number of premises able to receive Superfast Broadband will not achieve 100% coverage and will take two years to deliver.
Cllr Hazel Watson, Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Surrey County Council said today:
It will come as no surprise to head teachers and many parents that provision for children with Special Educational Needs (SEND) in Surrey has been heavily criticised by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission.
Following a joint inspection by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission conducted during October this year, a number of serious criticisms have been set out which require a Written Statement of Action to Ofsted to set out how Surrey will tackle serious areas of weakness.
Commenting on the Ofsted SEND inspection findings in the letter sent to Surrey County Council, Cllr David Goodwin, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson on Schools, said:
"The message from this Ofsted inspection is clear - Surrey County Council needs to improve the services it provides to children with special educational needs and disabilities, and at a much faster rate than it is currently doing.
Surrey County Council should re-think its plans to change the support it gives to carers, according to a cross-party group of councillors.
Cllr Fiona White, Liberal Democrat spokesperson on Social Care, has added her voice to a council call-in procedure, where councillors can ask the Conservative Cabinet to re-think a decision it has made. The matter will now be considered by the Social Care Services Board, which meets on Friday 9th December.
Liberal Democrat county councillors in Surrey have achieved a significant victory after the Conservative-run administration finally agreed to invest in key worker housing for staff.
The proposals will see the county council investing in housing for staff in key roles such as social workers, highways engineers and those who work with children, and were agreed to following a meeting of the council on December 6th, but follow years of campaigning and pressure by Liberal Democrat councillors.
Liberal Democrats on Surrey County Council are calling for the council to urgently address the lack of key worker housing available to its staff, which could save it millions of pounds each year.
In 2015/16, the county council spent £14.9 million on agency staff and have so far spent £7.4 million in this current financial year from 1st April. The council's over reliance on costly agency staff is a result of the difficulty the council has had in recruiting and retaining key staff to work for the organisation. These include social workers, planners and highway engineers. The council currently has 510 vacancies, 378 of which are for social care staff. The lack of affordable housing and the high cost of living in Surrey makes it difficult to attract the skilled staff that the council needs to provide vital services for Surrey residents.
Liberal Democrat county councillors have expressed their concern after it was revealed that Surrey County Council's spending on consultants has increased by over 40% from the previous year.
Following a question tabled by Cllr Hazel Watson, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, at the Cabinet meeting on 22nd November, it was revealed that spending on consultants has risen from £305,000 in 2015/16 to £431,000 so far in 2016/17, with the bill set to rise further before the end of the financial year. Day rates ranged from £350 to a shocking £1800 per day - meaning that some consultants working for the Tory administration were earning the equivalent of £468,000 a year. The council also admitted that it cannot supply figures for spending on consultants before 2015 and did not release information as to whom the county council had paid to do the work.