Chil­dren’s ser­vices must be top pri­or­ity

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - OPINION -

READ­ERS may re­call last Au­gust Of­sted pub­lished their re­port on the county coun­cil’s chil­dren’s ser­vices.

It as­sessed them as in­ad­e­quate, their low­est rat­ing, and as putting chil­dren at risk.

I re­ally hope the new cab­i­net mem­ber re­spon­si­ble for chil­dren’s ser­vices will be able to steer through the re­cently agreed im­prove­ment plan.

It should in­clude the 20 per cent in­crease in fund­ing which is rec­om­mended by the coun­cil it­self and it should make th­ese ser­vices a top pri­or­ity.

I am ap­palled to learn that chil­dren’s ser­vices have been un­der-re­sourced by 20 per cent.

Let’s hope when the lead in­spec­tor for the Of­sted in­spec­tion team re­turns to as­sess what progress has been made the out­come will be deemed favourable.


Chair­man Che­sham and Amer­sham Con­stituency Labour Party

Latch­moor Way Chal­font St Peter

im­prove the vil­lage. There would in any case never be a need to con­sider an of­fice in Amer­sham or Chal­font St Peter as per the chair­man’s state­ment, un­less there is an amal­ga­ma­tion.

There are empty shops and of­fices in our vil­lage that can be rented or there would be the top floor of the li­brary, after buy­ing out the present ten­ant.

As the clerk is also re­tir­ing, next year, there is a chance for some­one young and ac­tive to ap­ply for the part-time po­si­tion of parish clerk.

I say part-time be­cause this is what it was up to about two years ago.

The vil­lage would be for­tu­nate to get some­one sim­i­lar to the part time clerk in Seer Green. I think a young mother with school age chil­dren would be ideal.

The vil­lage needs to be in­formed about ev­ery­thing that goes on at Parish Coun­cil meet­ings.

This is nor­mal in all the parish coun­cils around us, but peo­ple in Chal­font St Giles have been kept in the dark for many years.

If peo­ple know what goes on then they will be more will­ing to get in­volved in look­ing after the vil­lage and thus cre­at­ing a real com­mu­nity spirit.

I also hope that in May some of our shop own­ers will be­come parish coun­cil­lors. We need our few shops and they should get in­volved in decision mak­ing about the vil­lage.

It re­ally does not take up much time and almost any­one can do it.


Bot­trells Lane Chal­font St Giles

how much the new Bea­cons­field cy­cle net­work had cost Buck­ing­hamshire Coun­cil tax­pay­ers.

I can con­firm that the costs of this scheme have come from a gov­ern­ment grant and not from lo­cal coun­cil tax­pay­ers.

The na­ture of the grant means that it has to be spent on schemes to en­cour­age sus­tain­able travel, such as cy­cling.

I cer­tainly make no apol­ogy for schemes to en­cour­age and en­able more peo­ple to cy­cle rather than use the car for lo­cal jour­neys.

Cy­cling not only saves money, it re­duces con­ges­tion and en­cour­ages greater fit­ness.

I fully un­der­stand that cy­cling schemes are con­tro­ver­sial for some peo­ple, but I am proud that we are able to support health­ier means of trans­port.

MARTIN TETT Leader of Buck­ing­hamshire

County Coun­cil

Court or up to six months’ im­pris­on­ment by a mag­is­trates’ court.

Ac­cord­ing to YouGov, most par­ents would leave a 12-year-old child alone at home for an hour.

Par­ents ex­er­cise their own judge­ment us­ing knowl­edge of their own child’s ma­tu­rity and ca­pa­bil­ity to de­cide whether it is ap­pro­pri­ate to leave their child alone at home, and how long for.

Or­gan­i­sa­tions such as the NSPCC, and mum­snet of­fer guid­ance on the is­sue.

Chil­dren ma­ture at dif­fer­ent rates so a “one size fits all” rule wouldn’t work.

An 11-year-old who is a par­ent’s carer, and re­spon­si­ble for shop­ping and cook­ing, will be more ma­ture than many of their peers.

Spec­i­fy­ing an age at which a child can­not be left alone could lead to un­nec­es­sary con­vic­tions or cau­tions.

Take a sit­u­a­tion where an 11-year-old is left at home while a par­ent col­lects a sib­ling from a party.

Traf­fic on the re­turn jour­ney is heavy, and the par­ent is not back at the planned time. Should such a par­ent – who in all other as­pects of the parental role is pro­vid­ing a child with the support, love and home it needs – be crim­i­nalised, while the par­ent who reg­u­larly leaves their 12-year-old alone for hours at a time is not?

Surely fur­ther leg­is­la­tion is an ex­am­ple of the ‘nanny state’, re­mov­ing par­ents’ right to make in­formed de­ci­sions about their chil­dren?

CARO­LINE DUNNE Con­sul­tant Solic­i­tor

IBB Solic­i­tors

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