July was a very busy month here at the council.
The month started with a meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee, where I successfully brought a Labour group amendment to utilise the budget underspend on a number of initiatives.
These included the electric vehicle car share pilot, a feasibility study on park and ride, clearing weeds, investing in community wealth-building projects, park wilding, women’s safety and additional early years tuition support.
I’ll continue to meet with officers and councillor colleagues to chase these initiatives through and make sure positive outcomes for the city are achieved.
The last committee I attended was the Health and Wellbeing Board, where we discussed the Strategic Needs Assessment outcome measures, the new Learning Disabilities Strategy and had a presentation on the NHS Health and Care Bill, which Labour opposed recently in Parliament.
I can’t praise the officers and service users enough who, despite pandemic restrictions, successfully co-produced the Learning Disabilities Strategy, otherwise known as “The Big Plan”.
Officers and people with learning disabilities worked with many others to get the plan right, including carers and families, health care staff, service providers and voluntary organisations that work in this field.
It is available in an inclusive easy to read format. To see it, click here. It’s well worth a look.
Let’s hope we can deliver on the targets, particularly improving friendships and community, employability and health checks.
There was much less positive news about a newer group of very vulnerable people arriving in our city.
Disturbingly, we saw a group of young asylum seekers placed here by the Home Office without either notice or consultation.
There was no discussion with our communities or with councillors and all arrangements were made and are being managed by the Home Office.
We are deeply concerned about the welfare and wellbeing of these young people and fully support the action taken by the leader of the council in communicating these concerns to the Home Office.
We hope that both information and resources will be provided to look after this group safely.
Councillor Carmen Appich is the joint Labour opposition leader on Brighton and Hove City Council.
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