Wiltshire Council’s decision to close outdoor education centres triggers ‘call-in'The decision made by Wiltshire Council to close its Outdoor Education Centres did not follow correct procedures says Councilor Jon Hubbard and nine other Wiltshire councillors. A ‘call in’ public meeting with the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee will be held at 10 am on Tuesday April 10 at County Hall, Trowbridge.
A 'call-in' is an extraordinary power intended for use only when the principles of decision making have not been followed. Jon Hubbard and the nine other councillors supporting the ‘call-in’ say the decision of closure of the centres “was taken in a secret session of the cabinet, with absolutely no papers published in the public realm, not even the Scrutiny Task Group Report. There was no consultation with service users or staff in advance of the decision being made.”
Councillor Hubbard stated, “On the day following the decision (Wednesday March 28) I wrote to the Cabinet Member setting out my concerns regarding the Gifted and Talented Programme, stating my concerns and saying I was considering a Call-In as an option.”
“I would like to see the Cabinet reconsider this decision, following listening to the feedback of parents, children/young people and schools. “
“I would also like to see serious consideration given to working with staff to look at how a separate organisation could be established to run the centres.”
The meeting on April 10 will assess whether the ‘call-in’ stands. If this is found to be the case there has to be further debate on the closure decision.
Parent Lucy Gomes, whose petition to Wiltshire Council over the closures now has over 13,500 signatures says,“The sheer number of signatures on the petition has triggered the need for further council debate anyway but this ‘call in’proves the weight of opinion behind this decision, not just from the public but within Wiltshire Council.”
“Given the lack of consultation, especially with schools, it would be especially helpful if any local teachers or heads could attend Tuesday's meeting to put their cases across.”
Click here to sign the petition and click here to find out more about the ‘call in’ and the meeting on Tuesday April 10.