Somerset County Council has been forced to change the design of it’s so called “Somerset Early Childhood Support and Services Offer” due to a direct challenge from Labour’s Kathrine See who appeared at the scrutiny committee meeting on 26th January and accused the Council of misleading the public. She had with her a copy of the Councils latest service provision offer which was emblazoned with a large Somerset County Council logo.
Kathrine said “The document contained a list of all the available groups and services for parents and preschool children in Somerset. However, Labour had high lighted the list for West Somerset showing that 70 % of the entries are actually provided by voluntary groups, private franchises and other individuals not associated with the County Council. One group had even been set up by the mother of a child with additional needs in direct response to the cut in services at her local Children’s Centre. When the group that Siobhan Lennon-Patience had been attending with her son, was cut by the Council she was left with no choice but to set up her own support group. She is keen to stress that this was not part of David Cameron’s ideological big society but a hard-pressed mum being forced to take action, that she really did not want to, in order to plug the void left by the Council. She felt the need to step in and help parents who had been left with no support what so ever even though she already has more than enough on her plate.”
A direct result of Labours challenge the County Council have now been moved to remove their logo from the document and change its title to “Early childhood support and services on offer in Somerset”.
Kathrine concluded “This shows us two things 1) How dishonest the Conservative Councillors are prepared to be to protect their own image and 2) That direct action can make a difference if people are prepared to step up to the plate and make a challenge. This is something which I would strongly advise that more people do.”