Eye Spy Springfields and Trent Vale

Ever keen to promote democracy, Eye Spy feels it is his duty to bring residents’ attention to the candidates for the upcoming Springfields and Trent Vale byelection, seeing as the Council PR Department haven’t.

Anyone searching for the Statement of Persons Nominated at the end of last week could be forgiven for not finding it, tucked well away from the homepage (alongside the Masterplan for Stoke town centre no doubt…). Continue reading

Eye Spy the By-election

So the by-election has finally been called for the vacancy for Office of Councillor for the Springfields and Trent Vale ward, it’s only taken since 27 April. So now the ballot boxes are being broken out and just in the nick of time… frustrated residents in Springfields & Trent Vale are already starting to petition the council over local issues, having begun to feel the effects of no local representation for the last few months.

Despite having more councillors than they know what to do with, Labour have not fallen over themselves to ensure residents have felt looked after, which is perhaps why there are rumblings that this by-election may see upwards of 8 candidates all vying to fix the numerous potholes and clear the litter on the yellow brick road from Trent Vale to Stoke. Hardly a ringing endorsement of previous incumbents…

Continue reading

Inside the Civic

Those who thought all out elections would bring some stability to our Council must be feeling embarrassed this week as Council Leader Mohammed Pervez took a scalpel to his cabinet, cutting out the disobedient Gratton and challenger Hill, and carving up the other portfolios in what is quite clearly more than the ‘tweaking’ he described it as.

The introduction of Platt and Dutton is seen as a nod to the left wingers in the group, who re-emerged in 2011 to rival the modernisers who were in danger of taking over Labour. Continue reading

Liberal Democrats A New Era

By: Pits ‘n’ Pots Reporter

Audio interview with Kieran now online:

Stoke-on-Trent Liberal Democrats are moving in to a new era of leadership today.

The Liberal Democrat councillors have selected a new leadership team to lead them when the City Council’s new governance arrangements take effect in June.

Kieran Clarke

Kieran Clarke

The new leader will be Councillor Kieran Clarke (pictured) and the deputy leader Councillor Dr Zulfiqar Ali who will officially take up their new duties on 1st June 2009.  Between now and June 1 they will prepare for the transition to the new way the City Council will be run.

Leader designate Kieran Clarke says “This is a new team for a new era in our City. We look forward to working with all other groups and councillors on the council for the benefit of all our citizens. We really do need to put Stoke-on-Trent first and politics second! Â  Major changes have taken place over the past two years and we hope that the firm groundwork already in place will provide a springboard for the future.”

Dr Zulfiqar Ali also stated “With regeneration in our City now under way we have a once in a lifetime chance to grasp the opportunity to drive our City forward.”

Councillor Clarke also paid tribute to the outgoing Liberal Democrat leadership team of Councillors Jean Bowers and Paul Billington for their hard work and leadership over the past 5 years.

Tony Walley met with Councillor Clarke this afternoon, click on the audio player below to hear our exclusive interview

[audio:http://www.pitsnpots.co.uk/audio/0409/kieran-clarke-leader.mp3]

Paul Billington Calls for 100 Days of Action! – Leave Our City Fit For Purpose!

Wednesday 25th February is a significant date for S-O-T. It marks exactly 100 days left of the Electedbillington Mayor system before Mark Meredith vacates Mayoral office on 05th June 2009.

Many Councillors recognise that this City MUST have a solid plan of action in place before June if it is to be deemed to be fit for purpose by Inspectors and be able to build on its last rating (Oct08) 3* and improving well.

The new Comprehensive Area Assessment Framework will look not only at the work of S-O-T City Council, but also that of its Public sector partners, relying on shared evidences and organisational assessments as well as key National Performance Indicators to reach a much more holistic conclusion of what life is really like for the Citizens of S-O-T.
With this in mind, I call on the Mayor, and Executive and our Partners with a 100 Day challenge.

1) Â Ã‚  We request that our Policy Officers analyse every Service, area by area against the Audit Commissions Key Lines Of Enquiry (KLOE) for CAA and develop policy proposals and changes that are concordant with those aims (Days 1-5)
2) Â Ã‚  We Request that our Service Heads analyse current Service provision, area by area against the KLOE based proposals at 1) and recommend to Council whatsoever changes are necessary in order to implement them (Days 5-10)
3) Â Ã‚  We request that our Performance and Best Value officers evaluate the BVR (Best Value Review) Recommendations for All Services from past 10 years, and produce a report for Council, detailing whom had accountability for delivering the Reviews Recommendations, which measures had been implemented, which had failed to be implemented (and why) and which could possibly still be implemented to make our Council as efficient as possible. (Days 1-5)
4) Â Ã‚  We request that Days 10- 100 are broken down into  appropriate 10 day milestones and used to implement an “Ëœimprovements action plan’ that underpins actions 1), 2) and 3). These action plans should cover step by step what is necessary, who is responsible for delivering what and what pressures in resource terms will be encountered, and be aligned to fit the milestones as described, and be reported to the respective Scrutiny panel for comment.

5) Â Ã‚  In order to ensure that this challenge is successful, a strategic group of competent Members and Officers(including Partners) should be
drawn together to oversee the administration aspects of this Â Ã‚ Ã‚  proposal, and meet as necessary to receive updates and ensure the Â Ã‚ Ã‚  business meets its timescales. (days 1-100)

If this plan is followed and implemented properly, I believe that no matter who is in the “Leaders” position in June, we will as a Council all have something tailored and tangible that will not only place us in an ideal position for CAA and other inspections, but that sets out a Service Delivery roadmap that is both forward looking and fit for purpose no matter who is in charge.

I acknowledge that this is an ambitious challenge.
I seriously hope that the Mayor, and Executive will accept the challenge.
I believe that if they do, in addition to the benefits described above, the Governance Transition Board will see that at least some  S-o-T City Councillors DO recognise the importance of the job at hand and are still worthy to be masters of their own destiny.

The timescales are tight, 100 days is NOT very long, but every elected Member seems to agree, enough is enough and there is no time to lose.

I am committed to personal participation in this challenge and urge all forward thinking Councillors in the City to do likewise regardless of their Political persuasions. 100 Days from now will be too late to decide what we should do, yet nobody else is suggesting any other plan! It will take most of us to buy in for this to work. The time for action is NOW.

P Billington
Liberal Democrat
Stoke and Trent Vale

Tony went along to the Civic Centre and spoke to Paul about is call for action. Listen to the Audio Interview here:

[audio: http://www.pitsnpots.co.uk/audio/0209/paul-billington.mp3]

If you want to visit the Audit Commission website and view Stoke’s last Audit letter click HERE. You can also browse the Performance Indicators.