Welcome to the website of the Liberal Democrat Group on Surrey County Council
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.
A Liberal Democrat county councillor in Surrey has received an astonishing letter from the government suggesting that residents can take Conservative-run Surrey County Council to the High Court over its unpopular Tory Tip Tax.
The letter was sent from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to Cllr Stephen Cooksey, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Highways & the Environment, after he wrote to the government outlining his concerns over the legality of recent charges for waste disposal introduced by the council.
Figures released by the respected Leonard Cheshire charity have revealed that Surrey County Council has turned down thousands of requests for social care in the last year.
In 2015/16, the county council turned down 78% of requests for social care which means that out of 35,565 requests, only 7,995 were successful. Leonard Cheshire also shone a light on the declining number of people that Surrey has provided adult social care to in recent years. In 2009, Surrey County Council provided 31,095 people with social care but by 2014 it had reduced to 29, 650 - a fall of 5%.
Liberal Democrats in Surrey have written to the Equality & Human Rights Commission asking them to investigate the Tory council's policy that has increased adult social care charges for disabled residents by over one million pounds a year.
In July this year, the Conservative cabinet agreed changes to the way in which it calculates adult social care charges for those on benefits such as Personal Independence Payments, Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance. The changes mean that the council will be charging disabled people over one million pounds a year extra for their care.
Liberal Democrat County Councillors have expressed their surprise and anger after it was revealed that Surrey's unpopular "Tory Tip Tax", where residents are charged to use local Community Recycling Centres (CRCs), could be illegal.
Legislation was passed in March 2015 by the then coalition government which prevented councils from charging residents to use household waste recycling centres, either at the point of entry, exit or disposal. The government guidance makes it clear that residents should not be charged for disposing of any waste from DIY, as it considers DIY waste from households as a type of household waste. But Tory-run Surrey County Council last month introduced charges for people disposing of household waste from DIY, despite opposition from the Liberal Democrats and local residents, and a consultation which resulted in massive opposition to the scheme.