•   Local Tories channel Trump in attempt to bamboozle over cuts to Devon's NHS A rather Trumpist email (sent to me by a concerned resident) appears to be a stock response being circulated to people contacting their conservative councillors about the service cuts being made to the NHS in Devon, as part of a government instruction to save over £400m by 2024. The annual budget is £2.6bn. It comes after a previous attempt to make significant savings to Devon’s NHS failed, partly because the government forced a £30bn ‘efficiency savings’ programme on the NHS nationally[...]

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    I have just submitted this motion to Devon County Council for the full council meeting on 23 July. It was an absolute pleasure to work with the thoughtful and considered sixth form students at The Kings School, especially young BAME people, to create this motion. The BLM movement appears to have triggered something very powerful and potentially very healing... and is in my view, an ideal time to address very many issues that will help resolve long-standing divisions. The Kings' School students plan to campaign on this and I am very much looking forward to working with them. It [...]

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      A plan to build thousands of new houses across East Devon was unveiled last week, with proposals for specific areas in the county. I have since spent time talking with strategic planning officers to try and understand the detail of the national policy driving this. Strategic planning is technical and complicated and takes some learning. I was heavily involved in strategic planning while a councillor on East Devon District Council between 2011 and 2015, so I felt compelled to examine this new plan and its proposals. I will endeavour to explain my findings below! [...]

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    I have just delivered this letter to around 25 of my neighbours... Dear Neighbour A few days after I discovered my garden had weedkiller sprayed on it last week I found a little hedgehog curled up in the full sun of my flowerbed. It was breathing rapidly and clearly unwell. I have seen hedgehogs in my tiny garden each summer but never before have I encountered an unwell one. I called a wildlife centre based in Woodbury and someone who was nearby kindly came and collected the poorly creature. I am delighted to learn that a week later she is doing well and that she is a feisty[...]

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    I have just delivered this letter to 25 of my neighbours...   12 June 2020 Dear Neighbour I have been incredibly upset that the vast majority of my valerian plants appear to have been sprayed with weedkiller, probably some time last week, and are in various stages of death. The wild sweet peas below the valerian are dying, and so are the branches of the bushes behind the flowering plants. I have consulted four plant specialists and all confirm that poisoning is the most likely outcome. This is criminal damage and I have reported the matter to the police. [...]

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    My annual report - A summary of some of my work between April 2019 and March 2020 East Devon care at home service is ‘fully recruited’ The East Devon Care at Home Service otherwise known as ‘rapid response’ was described as “fully recruited”, Devon County Council senior officers confirmed at the 21 March 2019 Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee meeting. Councillors at the meeting, heard from senior officers that their long-standing efforts to recruit to a team that was around 17 per cent under staffed (sorry I don’t have the numbers) had been successful with the [...]

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    Devon County Council's Cabinet last week endorsed the scrutiny task group recommendations to improve the lives of unpaid carers. I proposed and led the review between last summer and February this year. It was one of the most important pieces of work I have been involved in and I hope it will result in profound improvements to the lives of unpaid carers. Here's the report in this week's Express & Echo - https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/carers-isolated-exhausted-angry-system-4132421

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    Below is the latest (received today) briefing from Devon's NHS to Devon County Council's Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee. My fellow Independent colleague, Cllr Martin Shaw and I have been asking for an urgent online scrutiny meeting before the one on 16 June, to ask questions about these issues and many others. It has been agreed instead, to have a webinar, where councillors can ask questions in advance.  This is likely to take place during the final week of May. It is as yet unclear who will be involved in this. On the whole the briefing is very reassuring and shows that [...]

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