To receive any announcements from the Mayor, Leader of the Council, Members of the Executive, Chairmen of Scrutiny Committees and the Head of Paid Service.
(a) Councillor Duffield
The Mayor was pleased to announce that Councillor Anne Duffield was admitted as a Freeman of the City of York at the city’s Guildhall on 6 October 2014. The Council conveyed its congratulations to Councillor Duffield, the fourth generation and first woman in her family to be accepted as a Freeman of York.
The Leader of the Council welcomed Will Mitchell, a pupil at Altrincham Grammar School, who was studying politics and gaining an experience of the Council that day.
(c) Healthier Together Update
Further to the previous meeting of the Council held on 17 September 2014 (Minute No 42 refers), the Leader of the Council reported on the response he had received from Lord Howe, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Quality concerning the Healthier Together consultation process.
Lord Howe noted the concerns the Council had about the process and mentioned that Healthier Together was a local NHS consultation process and the Government was clear that the provision of health services was a matter for the local NHS. Lord Howe had shared the Council’s concerns with NHS England and the Chief Executive and the Leader had met with Mike Burrows, Director of the Greater Manchester Area Team to discuss the concerns further.
The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State had been advised by the local NHS that Healthier Together did not propose that any A&E departments should be downgraded or close and that the proposals covered the most seriously ill patients in A&E, acute medicine and acute surgery, having an impact on an estimated 1 in 25 of the Greater Manchester population. In respect of changes at Trafford General Hospital, the local NHS had advised that it had 3 neighbouring teaching hospitals with A&E departments, 2 of which would be specialist hospitals under all of the options proposed and the third hospital, University Hospital of South Manchester, could be either a specialist or local hospital. The local NHS believed that Healthier Together did not conflict with any commitments made as part of the previous Trafford consultation.
Lord Howe’s letter concluded that no final decisions had been taken by the NHS on the Healthier Together proposals and that the process was led by Manchester clinicians working to design services to improve quality and sustainability and ensure improved outcomes for patients. He encouraged the Council to continue to engage with the local NHS as the Healthier Together programme progressed.
(d) Councillor Acton
The Leader of the Council was aware of some news concerning the Leader of the main Opposition and invited Councillor Acton to address the Council, whereby he announced that he was standing down as Leader of the Labour Group.
Councillor Acton indicated that after 17 years as Leader of the Group, including 7 years as Leader of the Council and 5 years as Deputy Group Leader beforehand, it was becoming difficult to manage his other roles as Chair of the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and most recently the Labour lead on the Local Government Association for fire nationally. After careful deliberation he announced his decision to colleagues and had decided to formally step down that evening.
Councillor Acton thanked all Members and officers past and present for the goodwill shown to him and hoped that it would continue.
Councillor Anstee, Leader of the Council placed on record his Groups thanks and appreciation for the manner in which he had worked and wished Councillor Acton well with his roles on the Fire and Rescue Service and the Local Government Association.
Councillor Bowker, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group thanked Councillor Acton for his support, reflected that they had worked well on numerous occasions and wished him well in his duties.
On behalf of the Council’s Officers, the Chief Executive also thanked Councillor Acton for his time and patience and wished him well for the future.
(e) Scrutiny Work Programme
Councillor Mitchell, Chairman of Scrutiny Committee announced that the arrangements for the forthcoming budget scrutiny were in place and that Members would be scrutinising the proposals over the next few weeks. The findings from meetings arranged for 17 November and 8 December would be submitted to the Executive before Christmas.
In January 2015, Scrutiny would be looking at the proposals for Joint Venture and Councillor Mitchell wished to thank the officers for the briefing Members had recently received.