“We need to cut the jargon” says councillor

Community asset transfer reception at Luddenden Foot Civic Centre. Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker, Deputy Mayor of Calderdale John Hardy and Jill Smith-Moorhouse from Luddenden Foot Community Association outside Luddenden Foot Civic Centre
Community asset transfer reception at Luddenden Foot Civic Centre. Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker, Deputy Mayor of Calderdale John Hardy and Jill Smith-Moorhouse from Luddenden Foot Community Association outside Luddenden Foot Civic Centre

Budget proposals may be too difficult for the public to understand, according to one councillor.

Councillor John Hardy (Con, Skircoat) made the comments at a meeting of Calderdale Council Children and Young People Scrutiny Panel.

He said: “A key concern is that we have got to be able to put the message over to the public clearly and relatively concisely.

“It’s bad enough for councillors to understand some of the jargon let alone members of the public.”

The panel met to discuss budget proposals that will increase provisions for looked after children but also cut 21 jobs.

The budget will now go to cabinet before finally being approved at full council meeting later this month.

The provision for looked after children will see £2.5million put forward in 2012/2013, £2million in 2013/2014 and £1.5million in 2014/2015.

Councillor Colin Raistrick (Ind, Hipperholme & Lightcliffe), who chaired the meeting, asked if there was any leeway in the budget depending on demand.

“Would it not be more sensible and enable better scrutiny if the budget was related to bandwidth, so that we spend money depending on how many children come through?”

Director of children and young people’s services, Stuart Smith, dismissed the suggestion saying there were too many variables to make such a calculation.

The growth in funding for loked after children will be funded by cuts elsewhere. There was criticism of the budget proposals to make cuts in school improvement.

The new proposals suggest that schools handle the majority of the improvement budget with a school improvement manager and admin officer overseeing their progress.

Sue McMahon, secretary of the Calderdale branch of the National Union of Teachers, said: “I have great concerns how this one officer and one admin will affect things.

“It will have an impact both on the local authority and schools and put them both in a vulnerable position.

“There are key functions that are statutory that would be impossible for them to carry out. I would urge scrutiny not to go for this model.”

The panel will now have the opportunity to make any submissions by email before the report goes to Cabinet.