Conversation with my County Councillor

Friday, March 7th, 2008. 8:54pm

I had an interesting conversation with Cambridgeshire County Councillor Rupert Moss Eddcart during which we discussed a range of subjects:

  • On Schools
    • The executive county councillor responsible for schools is not technologically aware, and takes it on trust when officers say schemes such as fingerprinting pupils, issuing online laptops to pupils and creating databases of the whereabouts of pupils outside of schools being created in the county are reasonable.
    • The executive councillor responsible for education appoints county council appointed school governers, county councillors have no say. (I had written to Cllr Eddcart drawing his attention to the problem of those who had lost elections to positions as parent governers being appointed Local Authority governers,)
    • When raising problems brought to him by those working in schools he is told he can’t get involved as he is their employer. When raising problems in schools he is often told he can’t influence decisions which are made by executive councillors.
    • There are no “select committees” for executive councillors at the county council to be held to account he appeared to think there was a lack of accountability.
    • County councillors elect the council leader who then appoints the executive councillors, so the county councillors have no direct say over who gets which role.
  • On Virgin Media
    • As he is working on the Ebbsfleet fibre optic to the home project he can’t take any further the issue of Virgin Media mis-describing their broadband service as being delivered over fibre optic cables when it is not, but he agrees that what Virgin are saying could be misleading and will pass my letter to a colleague.
  • On Cambridge’s Congestion charge and proposed transport improvements
    • It is hard to enthuse people to take an interest in the important things, smaller more immediate problems take up people’s thoughts and time.
    • He’s also having trouble getting any detail out of council TIF bid officers.
    • He blamed yet another level of Government – the Regional Assembly for planning decisions and strategies driving the growth of Cambridge at a potentially unsustainable rate.
    • He believes there is the required improvement to the transport infrastructure in the TIF bid to support the development in the East of Cambridge on the Airport Site, North of Newmarket Road, and North of Cherry Hinton, I had questioned this.

2 comments/updates on “Conversation with my County Councillor

  1. Richard Taylor Article author

    Following an academy school in London forcibly taking children’s fingerprints at last there is some uproar and national press coverage on the matter:

    We shouldn’t be teaching children that the state forcibly taking fingerprints against their will and without their parent’s consent is normal or acceptable. If fingerprints are to be used there need to be strong safeguards in place, children and parents need to be aware of those.

    How should the data be used; who can it be shared with?

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