Monday, 4 March 2013

Kerbcraft: an open letter to councillors

This letter has been sent to all councillors by Michelle Cook, a Caia Park volunteer with Kerbcraft. We reproduce it here to highlight the way the current Labour-Independent-Tory coalition running Wrecsam Council is behaving:

Dear Councillors

I appreciate this matter does not apply to all councillors, but as you were all at the meeting to which I refer, I have included you in the interest of transparency.

I refer to the meeting held on Wednesday 27 February 2013 where senior council officials gave assurances that the Kerbcraft scheme would continue to receive funding and remain at the same level at which it is currently running.  These assurances were repeated in the Leader, Friday 1 March 2013:
Deputy leader of Wrexham Council, Mark Pritchard, stressed the good work carried out by Kerbcraft and insisted there had never been talks held on cutting cash for the scheme.  "I'm disappointed I have to stand up and discuss Kerbcraft" said Cllr Pritchard.  "I think it is a poor show some elected members play politics with children and fatalities.  It is a disgrace.  There haven't been discussions on cutting the funding."

I'm very sorry, I have to strongly disagree with Cllr Pritchard.  There is documentation available that suggests otherwise.  Officers also spoke to 2 members of staff a number of weeks ago informing them that the scheme was to be reduced from 12 weeks to 6 from April 2013.  A member of staff was given 90 days notice for terminating their employment on 8 April.  Mike Priestly, chairman of TAITH in North Wales also confirmed to BBC Wales that all North Wales councils (Wrexham councillor(s) included) voted to accept the proposed reduction to Kerbcraft in preference to motor bikes and young motorists.  You can read the article here.  So Cllr Pritchard, no discussion took place? I am glad that some elected members have taken an interest and supported our cause.

Imagine my shock, horror and severe displeasure to learn that the appeal to overturn the termination of employment had been lost.  An extremely important and valued member of the Kerbcraft team is going to lose their job on 8 April despite the assurances given less than 48 hours prior. 

As you are aware on Friday 15 February, I attended a demonstration in front of the Guildhall along with fellow volunteers and supporters .  Even then Cllr Pritchard came out and told supporters we had no need to be there, there are no cuts.  After our demonstration I hand-delivered a letter addressed to Dr Paterson (Wrecsam Council's Chief Executive) requesting answers.   To date I have received no correspondence, not even an acknowledgment.  I also requested that a copy be given to all councillors, to the best of my knowledge, this has not been carried out.  

On 17 February, I also sent a further e-mail to all councillors requesting answers.  Out of 52 councillors emailed I received 6 individual responses and one group.  I'm sure you will agree that is shocking, especially as most councillors have been given new iPads and other communication devices. 

I am at risk of repeating myself, however the questions remain;
  • If no discussions about cash cuts have taken place, why is a member of staff having their employment terminated, especially significant with the assurances to the contrary?
  • Exactly how is the service going to be delivered at the same level as assured?
Your earliest response would be appreciated.

Michelle Cook

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