Medway Council Ombudsman outrage

In which Medway Council finds itself on the receiving end of yet another critical report, this time from a very unhappy Ombudsman..

Medway Council is in trouble with the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman for a second time as top councillors haven’t changed their rules about how to support families with transport costs to get to school.

Who is this Ombudsman?

His name is Michael King. He’s quite a nice chap, whose job is to make sure councils do what they should and everyone gets a fair deal. He investigates complaints about councils, is independent, and gives recommendations.

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Anna and the conference

In which Anna McGovern, the Chair of Medway Youth Council, talks about the organisation achieved at their recent Annual Conference..

In a recent national ballot for young people called “Make Your Mark”, it was overwhelmingly highlighted that 40% of young people in Medway wanted “Protect The Environment” to be prioritised as a national campaign. This is our youth demographic, denied the vote – but longing for a say on their future. The timing of our Annual Conference couldn’t have been more spot on.

On the 20th November 2019, the Medway Youth Council hosted their Annual Conference for 2019 – “Climate Change – A Real Threat To Our Future!”. We invited young people from across Medway to partake in a series of workshops, have the opportunity to converse with climate change professionals, and to attend an afternoon Q&A panel focussing on the key themes within the climate crisis. We were particularly fortunate to have MidKent College in Gillingham host our event for the day.

The purpose of our Annual Conference was to educate and inform young people on the issues concerning climate change on a local and a national scale. Whether you join Extinction Rebellion, engage in a protest or even make small changes in your lifestyle – we wanted to impart onto our young people that there are so many ways in which they can contribute towards the reversal of climate change.

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Doing it for the kids, part 3

In which our intrepid reporter continues to look at the state of children’s social care in Medway following another damning report..

In case you hadn’t heard, Medway Council has not magically been able to improve children’s social care services in three months, following ten years of austerity. 

However, the council is not off the hook and will continue to provide social care for children in the towns. On top of that, the big guns that have been sent in to help the council clean up its act and will stay for at least another six months.

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Policies affecting young adults before an election

In which Anna McGovern, the Chair of Medway Youth Council, looks at the relevant issues for young people in this General Election..

Thursday 12th December will be a crucial day in the UK’s political sphere. It is the General Election – a day in which the people vote for who they want to represent them in Parliament. A total of 650 candidates will be elected as Members of Parliament (MPs) to decide laws and policies governing the UK. Individuals vote for the candidate they wish to represent them within their constituency on a Parliamentary scale. Many of these candidates will belong to a political party, but some candidates do stand independently. Current polls suggest a Conservative lead, with the Electoral Calculus website outlining an 82% likelihood that there will be a Conservative majority. But I tend to take these polls with a slight pinch of salt, because you can never truly know what to expect until the election result is announced to the UK. Individuals will be voting for their preferred candidate (or, in some cases, the “best” out of a bad bunch) within their constituency for the General Election.

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Safeguarding Rehman about town

It’s election time and it’s not unlikely another one is possible next year as well! As elections ever more become social media battles, PPCs promote themselves to anybody who has a pulse and is willing to fake a smile. With that in mind, it’s worth looking at guidance regarding safeguarding and the sharing of images of children online.

This isn’t about if you should share pictures of children online, but if you are interested in that, The Independent covered it here.

The following piece was inspired by a social media post by Rehman Chishti MP. The editing, as will become clear, is by us.

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Standing up for those standing down

In which former Medway councillor Anne-Claire Howard ponders why female MPs are stepping down in this General Election..

The first question is, are many women MPs standing down? More than men? If that’s the case, are they long standing MPs? And what reasons are they invoking? And are they of all parties, ethnic origin, or ages? It’s a little easy to make all-encompassing statements like this, so I did a little research. 

First of all, of the 58 politicians who are stepping down, 18 are women. “Well, that’s not so bad”, I hear you say. No, that’s not so bad. It’s basically the same proportion as there are female MPs in the house. This in itself is an issue, but not the topic of this piece. So proportionally as many women are standing down as men. But many of these women are relatively young and relatively recently elected compared to their male peers. That is more of a concern.

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iFAQ: Housing infrastructure fun

Medway was recently awarded a £170m grant from the Housing Infrastructure Fund to unlock future housing developments on the Hoo peninsula. While homes are desperately needed in Medway, these developments are very unpopular around the peninsula due to a perception of over-development. As such we decided to ask if this was the best use of the funding, or could it have been better spent in other parts of Medway.

It was recently announced that Medway has been awarded £170m from the Housing Infrastructure Fund to unlock future developments on the Hoo peninsula. Do you feel that this is the best use of this money, or do you feel that other parts of Medway could have benefited from access to these funds? If so, how?

As usual, we told all of them that we would publish their responses unedited. You can find them below in the order they were received.

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Boring History: The Zinoviev letter

In which Chris Sams looks to the past to try and figure out the General Election, and finds a Medway parallel along the way..

As the nation enters the throes of another General Election the bored electorate seem to be heading out to vote again, but there seems to be such divided opinion it would only take a news event to cost either of the big two parties their lead.

This is what happened in 2017 with Theresa May, when she singlehandedly cost the Conservatives votes by speaking at debates and events causing people to slide away. This time around Boris could do the same, Jacob Rees-Mogg may have already done so with his Grenfell comments, but who can tell at this stage?

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If not now, then when?

In which Steve Dyke takes a look at what each party is pledging to do to tackle climate change, with very mixed results..

Thanks in no small part to David Attenborough, Greta Thunberg, school strikers, Extinction Rebellion and the predictions of IPCC scientists, the environment (and in particular the climate emergency) has featured in this General Election campaign far more than in previous ones.  In the past, such issues were largely the preserve of the Green Party, for whom environmental protection is a core principle.  However in 2019 it seems as if any serious political party feels it must have policies and pledges to attract voters concerned with the climate crisis.  Do I personally feel attracted by what is on offer?

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Political Figures Predictions: Rochester and Strood

In which Alan Collins from Medway Elects looks at the third and final Medway constituency, Rochester and Strood, to see what the future may bring..

It’s November. It’s cold. And there’s another election looming. I have fired up my data projection model and already analysed the potential results in Chatham and Aylesford and Gillingham and Rainham. Now as I conclude this series it’s time to take a look at Medway’s third, and arguably most volatile, constituency. 

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