Friday 25 November 2011

Weird World of Carmarthenshire Consultations

Carmarthenshire Council appear to have difficulty with public consultations. I may have mentioned this before. As an objector to the closure of Pantecelyn secondary school I witnessed first hand the public consultation meetings which were entirely geared to pushing through the council's 'preferred option'. A similar scenario is developing over Furnace School in Llanelli. I do not want to get drawn into the merits or otherwise of the proposal in Llanelli, that is something for the people in the surrounding area to decide. (The arguments and detail have been well publicised recently in the local press) Whatever your opinions, the council's consultation document clearly states, as they all do, "we want to hear your views" and invites responses on an attached form. People still have until the 2nd December to object to, or support of course, the Statutory Notice.
There are now several objections and the Council are not taking this well and have taken the rather bizarre and distinctly undemocratic step of asking members of the public to withdraw their objections. This blog has had sight of the correspondence from the Director of Education. It is clearly a 'think of the children' piece, which is strange coming from the same council who accused Pantecelyn campaigners of 'emotional claptrap';

From: Robert Sully
Sent: 23 November 2011
To: xxxx
Subject: Re: Ysgol Y
Dear xxxx,

I acknowledge
receipt of your submission.

I am deeply concerned to receive your views
on this vitally important matter for the children of Furnace and the surrounding
area. A great deal of work has been invested by officers and members of the
County Council over a number of years to assess the most effective option for
providing primary phase education in the Llanelli area, including expanding the
provision of Welsh medium education in response to demand from parents, and the
strategy agreed by the Council democratically, with support from all the main
political parties, included the provision of a new expanded school at Furnace.
This extensive analysis considered the most appropriate structure for schools
and concluded that the present proposal offers the most appropriate way

I urge you to please reconsider your position on this matter and
to place the educational interests of the children of the area above other

Given that you have written formally to object if you are
prepared to change your position it will require you to withdraw your objection
in writing. I urge you to please do this.

The children of the area
deserve the very best in provision and learning environment and it will be most
unfortunate if their opportunities are prejudiced by a delay in the decision
making process by the need to refer the matter to the Welsh Ministers for
determination if your objection stands. We have secured over £10 million of
capital grant from the Welsh Government towards the costs of constructing new
premises and it would be a tragedy for the Llanelli area if this funding was
placed at unnecessary risk.

I hasten to add that the Governing Body of
Ysgol Furnace is fully supportive of the County Council’s proposals and is eager
to see the project proceed.

Thank you.


Robert Sully
Director of Education and Children’s Services

According to a source, one of the school governors has said that they were not consulted as to what type of school they wanted, just told what they were going to get, as is the tradition of Carmarthenshire Council.

1 comment:

Cneifiwr said...

If that is a fair copy of Robert Sully's e-mail, then the Director of Education needs to attend a remedial punctuation class, even if we overlook the grammatical mistakes and jargonese (you don't "invest" work in English or in Welsh). Whatever his qualifications for this job were, basic literacy was clearly not one of them.

As you say, Mr Sully has quite a track record of screwing up consultations, and the costs are mounting rapidly.